Sunday, November 20, 2005

What's In A Name?

Yesterday, in testimony to be published elsewhere, I had the good fortune to attend a memorial mass and celebration of a just-departed Phi Kappa Theta fraternity brother, Ken "Wheels" Pulkonik. As the stories were being told, a talk by Gene "Monk" Montrone, the senior spokesman for the brothers, reminded me how I had tasted my very first three martinis. He and Sylvia, also present, were married in the summer of '64 atop the faculty club at MIT. When I confessed to Monk about their wedding initiating my affection for the Martini, fostered by ancestry and now taste, he told how the the brothers must have conspired to "keep the bar open so long as the receiving line". This was due to repeated visits to both by any number of brothers, possibly yours truly.

I confess here, to Monk and the world, I was a willing, and now grateful dupe.

(Watch this page for the report of the "testimony to be published elsewhere".)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Metropolis -- The Movie

The fourth Martini -- Chipazzo -- since his days at the School of Visual Arts, has called your third Martini's attention to a milestone in Movie History: Metropolis.

On this THREE-day weekend and with NJ filling it's dry reservoirs, it's time to clear the Netflix queue in which Metropolis has been aging. Imagine my surprise when the heroine, Maria, the shift-change evangelist for the workers in the underground city, preaches before an altar with not THREE crosses, but three SETS of three crosses. A Frankensteinish scientist, who has sold his soul to the city's master, is cloning an anti-heroine to confuse the workers in the city. The movie hinges on her being recognized for who she really is.

The theme of the movie, amplified in the final text-banner is: The HEAD and HANDS need the mediation of the HEART! (While I don't know what the original German text might have been, I'd like to think the THREE-fold alliteration on the letter H is respects the original).

Monday, September 12, 2005

Succor, School, and the Supreme court

The disaster in Lousiana ( sorry Mississippi, while you added area to the disaster it's about the total population). offers a chance for us to apply succor to the unnecessary victims of unimagined tragedy.

Yours truly has returned to school.

And, to round out the trilogy, the Senate considers a nomination to the Supreme Court. Your tres-martinis editor has opined on the latter at his weblog: the News Dark Time

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Writers Have Three

Last Sunday's (8/14/05) NYT Book review got me thinking. What does it take to be a successful writer? You are familiar with real estate success, need I mention (three things): location, ... Well the Book Review cover page was waxing on the work of Bret Easton Ellis. "I've heard of that name", I'm saying to myself. Before long, I was reminded why: American Psycho, I believe it was. The reviewer went on to explain the pre-publication copy of Mr Ellis' current work had a letter inside the cover, explaining Mr Ellis's style. Aha, .. I'm recalling blood, gore, probably lots of sex, not that I've read any Ellis, but, as I say, am remembering the name.

So, I'm still asking myself, "Why is it I'm remembering his name?" Could it be talent? And an agent, to write the necessary apologia? All well and good, but what is the hook that caused me to remember his name: Ahah! It came to me in a flash: Three Names! Quick, think of an author: Barbara Taylor Bradford, F Scott Fitzgerald, Flannery O Connor, to name just three. Of course, the names needn't be names, initials will do: P D James. ee cummings, E F Schumacher. (For some reason, I want to call him E G?)

It would seem you have to decide at an early age on your persona: three names or not. Mr Ellis reportedly made it big while of college age, where he no doubt established the person he would become: Three names were a requirement. What was he known at home? Bretty? While yours truly, moving half a continent away at college from his roots in rural Minnesota, dropped the "Mickey" mantle, and switched to the more regular "Marty", which in Minnesota was used to refer to his father, while "Mart" was reserved for the first in the line of M J McGs.

While there are many authors who succeeded with fewer than three public names, this pundit is waiting for the scientific evidence in support of the Three Name Hypothesis. Let me know if you have support one way or the other.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Watch the Sky

This morning my best man, Bob Simcoe, presented his project: digitizing the astronomy photographic plates of the Harvard College Observatory. Working as an associate of the Observatory, he today for the first time publicly revealed, to a monthly colloquium of the US Naval Observatory, plans of the team at HCO. The challenge, while understood for the better part of 20 years, has not yet been comprehensively addressed. The HCO took and collected 600,000 photographic glass plates between 1872 and 1989. This represents roughly one-third of the IAU estimate of 2 million photos in the world.

Interest in digitizing the photographic record has been growing since 1990. Bob's HCO plan is to produce a system, followed with a proof-of-concept operation, so that a reasonably staffed team could conclude the digital capture in approximately 5 years. He's designing a scanner capable of a 20-second duty cycle on 8x10" photos, and one minute on 14x17". As of a few weeks ago, they had moved the center piece of the project, a 4x4' table into the basement 0f the Plate Stack in the library in Cambridge MA. They've mounted the CCD camera, the 1x1 twinlens system on the table. They let a project to the WPI senior engineering seminar to design the photo-holding tray. Coupling that and the light source to the table are the remaining major pieces before the p-o-c work can begin. Answering the last question, Bob said "We should be taking pictures, by August or September, depending on vacaction schedules. But don't hold me to that".

The audience had few questions about the technical detail. Bob was frank about the state of the project, and the pieces remaining to install and test; the next phase is a demonstration of the p-o-c, developing the handling for the whole collection with a 10,000 plate sample. This is probably a year's worth of work. One gentleman raised the question about the archeological value o f the dust on the plates. Bob thought the atmosphere, as captured in the data would be a more likely source of information.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Tres Cincos

Yesterday, 5/5/5, "cinco de mayo" around here, was also fifth of twelve ( three x 4 ) "century days". What's a "century day"? One of those day's whose digits are all the same. Note, that in the (rest of the) civilized world, the day is noted in decreasing signficance. This year, for example the Fourth of July is 7/4/5 in the USofA. In Europe, it's noted 4/7/5. Today is 5/6/5 in the USofA, 6/5/5 in the rest of the world.

Yesterday, 5/5/5 is identical in all systems. Ambiguity is marginalized. Let's call it "tres cincos". The next one will be 6/6/6, or "tres sies"! For Mr and Mrs Martini III, this will be number 36 in the aniversary dept. That's _three_ x 12, for those of you counting. Or, to put it in terms of threes: its "three to the third plus three times three"

It's three martini time!

Friday, February 18, 2005

So, What's a FURL?

Among the many new words you've encountered here in the Web is "FURL". Check the links here to see the "Editor's FURL". So why should you be interested?

It's a guess, but "FURL" stands for File (as in the verb, "to file") the URL. So, we're filing something. What's the something? A URL, pronounced "You are ell", as in "you are ill". We could make this a never-ending-tail, and it may be.

So, what's a URL?

Among the many new words you've encountered here in the Web is "URL". In our current use, it's three-fourths of a FURL. So, the URL, as in "you are ell", as opposed to my high school chum Earl, as in "Big Earl", is the acronym for Uniform Resource Locator.
  • Uniform, as in "works the same everywhere",
  • Resource, as in useful, or informative thing, and
  • Locator, as in where is it anyway?
So, a "FURL" is a File for a Uniform Resouce Locator. I tend to think of it in the sense of the sound of the word. Rather than hurl something somewhere, I just tend to "furl" it. And now for the big question: can you Furl FURL?

Well, you might, but that's too much never-ending ... so, instead, just visit Furl Headquarters and get started with your own furling. Again, as with everything on the web, it's a social thing, so it's quite easy to track your friends' furling.

Three Martinis

Three Martinis
has become my Master Blogger. In keeping with the theme of three, my other sites are

  • The Statboni Room,
    where I'll harp on sports. the subject du jour being the NHL.
    I suppose other entertainment features would be appropriate
    uniter the three-martini umbrella.

  • The News' Dark Time, where "serious" commentary may be found.
    It's suffering from a mortal blow this past Novermber, but it's a suitable
    place for decidedely partisan polemic.

  • The State by State Network will be home to the irenic (, rather than the polemic. Things appropriate for this forum are discussion of Jim Wallis' "God is Not a Republican -- Or a Democrat!" book, for example. Some may think this is liberal; to me, it's merely open-minded, whatever that is.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Tree's Down

The Tree's down, the tree is out, the tree is gone.

So long, Christmas Season. The homily last weekend was "let's make it last". Would that we could. What makes the Christmas season special is that it only comes once a year. Some of us, many of us, heck, all of us at one time or another can say, "thank goodness" that it's only once a year. This wasn't one of those for us. As with any season, it had it's ups, downs, and sames. I like it that way.

The one chore left is stowing the boxes of ornaments and lights back in the crawl space behind our upstairs hall closets. Get the garden kneeler for these old knees!

This is still January, so it's football season. The moment yesterday was the Jets at Steelers. With family in Pittsburgh and children in NJ (where the real Jets fans live), it was going to be a draw at best. Patty's cousin Bob's wife Toni is noted for her scream "Jerome, Jerome", whenever the Bus crosses the Line. We have this thing going: should the Steelers game make it into the NYC area, and there is a Bettis scoring moment, like his touchdown pass (!!) in the regular season game against the Jets. We hop on the phone (it's on speed dial) and tell Toni to hold down the screamin'. "We can hear you all the way over here". It's gotten so regular, that as we approached the playoffs, Bob and Toni were hosting their family in front of the Big Screen. The phone rings at the appropriate moment, and they know who is calling. At first, the family members thought Bob and Toni were psychics. The line is, "Can't you tell by the ring who is calling". Hey, most cell phones now offer the feature.

It's yet to be written what the result of this season is. But now that the Jets are emptying their lockers, son-in-law Mark offers that today's Colts-Pats game is for all the marbles. You remember marbles. Back when they were worth playing for.

Next year we may consider the artificial tree. They're starting to look real.