Show me some characters…

When he was a child, my nephew Roberto Rivera held a mechanical pencil for the first time. Now, he is a full-fledged conceptual artist.

No, he is not the type that invites people to a gallery opening where only imaginary pictures are exhibited. On the contrary, he is an immensely prolific and talented draftsman who designs the characters and backgrounds in animated movies, series or video games.  or in packaging.

When I asked him what characters inhabited him, in three minutes he designed the following. I timed him. Three minutes.

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Which he quickly cleaned to show me this.


Boy, am I thrilled to be his aunt!

His site is at

“Emotional Incontinence” and My PD

From Gil Thelen’s great blog…

My “Parkie Pal”  Laura Crawford unloads great phrases that snap me to attention. I often borrow them with pleasure and her permission.

Take the one on PD being a “pesky tenant.” Writes Laura: “My uncle Rodrigo (who  has PD)  was the first family member I called the day I was diagnosed. I was very scared because I had just goggled the chart and the word dementia at the 5th level had terrified me. But my uncle advised me to consider PD as a pesky tenant living in my body. A horrible nuisance, yes. But no longer that monster I had imagined.”

Another Lauraism: Emotional Incontinence. Technically, EI appears to mean uncontrollable crying in PD or a Parkinson-like disease. I experience EI differently.

Case in point was last weekend’s 60th reunion of my high school class at the Milwaukee Day School (now part of the University School of Milwaukee.)

It was a pleasantly…

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Walls with a twist

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” goes Robert Frost’s poem. I paraphrase it with an additional word: “Something there is that doesn’t love a blank wall” and goes to extraordinary aesthetic lengths to make it more interesting. This is the gallery where I store pics of walls (or doors, which are walls that open and close) with a twist.


Extraordinary Hair/Profile Gallery

Taking pictures for this series is not as easy as it seems. Not at all. The subjects that attract my eye because of their profile and unusual hair are usually working, walking, talking to friends, buying ice cream, or such things that people do who with their lives.

So to bring these pics to you across the digital space I walk to mostly total strangers; put on a face that tries to convey that I am not a truant, a pervert or crazy; tell him or her that I love their hair or profile (also true) and that I would like to take a picture for my blog.

Finally I ask them to stand against a suitable background and take the pic. I have to be quick, which I hate, because I am not a sports photographer, just an amateur.

So even if you don’t like these pictures, dear reader, you have to admit that they are a nifty display of social engineering.

[UPDATE – Oooops… some friends and family have snuck into this gallery,.. It’s Ok. They are cool.]


The dad of digital, the bit in byte

If you ask any stranger –for example during your next elevator ride– if he knows who Claude Shannon was, the odds are that you will get: “Claude who?”  Yet this blog believes that Shannon deserves to be even more talked about than Beyoncé, JZ, Trump, Steve Jobs, Bob Dylan, JK Rowling and Adele mixed together.

Just ponder this: if I was able to post this in my blog and you are reading it in the gadget of your choice, it is fundamentally due to Shannon.

In our own modest or immodest way, we all help shape the world. But he was the father of what we call information theory, which sprang from his 1948 A Mathematical Theory of Communication paper, which gave forth the digital age we live in.

All digital circuits can be said to be his offspring.

So ingrained is he in the digital fabric of our lives that the unit of measure that we call a bit  (as in bits and bytes) is officially called a shannon.

He has not gone viral in what we call the social media, but if we text, facebook, tweet, youtube and such, we should at least give a bit of a thought (bad pun unintended) to Claude, on his 100th anniversary.


See those eyes? They stare into the digital age.

Unfortunately, during his last years he had Alzheimer’s, so he did not get to appreciate fully what he had founded.

It is what it is, my dad would have said.