CHILDHOOD’S END //  a midwestern gothic mix

The town where the train never stops, where bright smiles hide rotting teeth, and everyone pretends the shadows do not exist  {Listen}

In The Year 2525 - Zager and Evans // California Dreamin’ - Scala & Kolacny Brothers // Beggar’s Prayer - Emilianna Torrini // Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles // This Time Tomorrow - Trent Dabbs // Blowin’ In The Wind - Bob Dylan // Video Games - Lana Del Rey // If I Had A Hammer - Peter, Paul, & Mary // Furr - Blitzen Trapper // For What It’s Worth - Buffalo Springfield 

Proof of Proof

Tracy Zager (twitter, blog) had this great collection of proof quotes on a Dan Meyer blogpost, which is a response to a “math traditionalist” article in the Atlantic. They argue that student explanations in K-12 math are at best boring and at worst harmful. Tracy connects students explaining to mathematicians explaining.

Ian Stewart:
“A proof, they tell us, is a finite sequence of logical deductions that begins with either axioms or previously proved results and leads to a conclusion, known as a theorem….This definition of ‘proof’ is all very well, but it is rather like defining a symphony as ‘a sequence of notes of varying pitch and duration, beginning with the first note and ending with the last.’ Something is missing. Moreover, hardly anybody ever writes a proof the way the logic books describe….A proof is a story. It is a story told by mathematicians to mathematicians, expressed in their common language….If a proof is a story, then a memorable proof must tell a ripping yarn….When I can really feel the power of a mathematical storyline, something happens in my mind that I can never forget” (2006, 89-94).

Marcus du Sautoy:
“A successful proof is like a set of signposts that allow all subsequent mathematicians to make the same journey. Readers of the proof will experience the same exciting realization as its author that this path allows them to reach the distant peak. Very often a proof will not seek to dot every i and cross every t, just as a story does not present every detail of a character’s life. It is a description of the journey and not necessarily the re-enactment of every step. The arguments that mathematicians provide as proofs are designed to create a rush in the mind of the reader” (2015).

Paul Lockhart:
“A proof, that is, a mathematical argument, is a work of fiction, a poem. Its goal is to satisfy. A beautiful proof should explain, and it should explain clearly, deeply, and elegantly. A well-written, well-crafted argument should feel like a splash of cool water, and be a beacon of light—it should refresh the spirit and illuminate the mind. And it should be /charming/” (2009, 68).

“A proof should be an epiphany from the gods, not a coded message from the Pentagon” (75).

Paul Halmos:
“The best seminar I ever belonged to consisted of Allen Shields and me. We met one afternoon a week for about two hours. We did not prepare for the meetings and we certainly did not lecture at each other. We were interested in similar things, we got along well, and each of us liked to explain his thoughts and found the other a sympathetic and intelligent listener. We would exchange the elementary puzzles we heard during the week, the crazy questions we were asked in class, the half-baked problems that popped into our heads, the vague ideas for solving last week’s problems that occurred to us, the illuminating problems we heard at other seminars—we would shout excitedly, or stare together at the blackboard in bewildered silence—and, whatever we did we both learned a lot from each other during the year the seminar lasted, and we both enjoyed it.” (1985, 72-73).

Ian Stewart:
“When two members of the Arts Faculty argue, they may find it impossible to reach a resolution. When two mathematicians argue—and they do, often in a highly emotional and aggressive way—suddenly one will stop, and say, ‘I’m sorry, you’re quite right, now I see my mistake.’ And they will go off and have lunch together, the best of friends” (2006, 28).

A Night at the Playboy Club: 70s Edition

i. Pinball Playboy- Cook County// ii. Them Changes- Buddy Miles// iii. Jump Into the Fire- Harry Nilsson// iv. You Should Be Dancing- Bee Gees// v. I Feel Love (Extended Dance Edit)- Donna Summer// vi. Chicken Pox- Booker T. & the M.G.’s// vii. Baby Get It On- Ike and Tina Turner// viii. Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky- Claudia Lennear// ix. Superstition- Stevie Wonder// x. Love Rollercoaster- Ohio Players// xi. I Will Survive- Gloria Gaynor// xii. (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher- Rita Coolidge// xiii. Disco Inferno- The Trammps// xiv. Got to Give It Up (Part 1)- Marvin Gaye// xv. Let’s All Chant- Michael Zager Band// xvi. In the Bush- Musique// xvii. He’s the Greatest Dancer- Sister Sledge// xviii. Right Back Where We Started From- Maxine Nightingale// xix. Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)- Elton John// xx. Get Down Tonight- KC and the Sunshine Band// xxi. Star Wars- Meco// xxii. I Was Made For Lovin’ You- Kiss// xxiii. Have A Good Time- Paul Simon// xxiv. Jungle Boogie- Kool & the Gang// xxv. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing- Leo Sayer// xxvi. Le Freak- Chic// xxvii. Whatever Gets You thru the Night- John Lennon// xxviii. Midnight at the Oasis- Maria Muldaur// xxix. Knock on Wood- Amii Stewart// xxx. Girl You Need A Change of Mind- Eddie Kendricks// xxxi. Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel- Tavares// xxxii. Don’t Leave Me This Way- Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes// xxxiii. Brick House- The Commodores// xxxiv. The Hustle- Van McCoy// xxxv. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!- ABBA// xxxvi. Shake Your Groove Thing- Peaches & Herb// xxxvii. Footstompin’ Music- Grand Funk Railroad// xxxviii. Turn the Beat Around- Vickie Sue Robinson// xxxix. Escape (The Pina Colada Song)- Rupert Holmes// xl. Macho Man- Village People// xli. Boogie Wonderland- Earth, Wind & Fire// xlii. Jet- Paul McCartney & Wings// xliii. Barracuda- Heart// xliv. Miss You- The Rolling Stones// xlv. Lady Marmalade- Labelle// xlvi. Blinded By the Light- Manfred Mann’s Earth Band// xlvii. Blame It On the Boogie- The Jacksons// xlviii. Joy to the World- Three Dog Night

Interview: Cloette Zager

Today we’re joined by Cloette Zager. Cloette is an incredibly talented jewelry maker. Her work is incredibly unique and quite beautiful. It’s very obvious a lot of love goes into every piece. Aside from jewelry making, Cloette also enjoys writing and has done a bit of graphic design in the past. She’s a wonderfully enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.


Please, tell us about your art.

Jewelry-making is my main art at the moment, but I also write quite a lot of fiction and poetry, and did a bit of graphic design work in the past (mostly designing the layout for magazines). Eventually I might turn the various lyrics I’ve written into songs.

My jewelry has always set me apart. I stick to a medium-width style, symmetrical design, typically with large pendants as centerpieces. Picking the right beads in shape, color, and sheen is the most important part.

I can still do the complicated weaving and stitching that you might find in professional beading magazines, but find it’s usually not worth it. I once made a purse entirely out of beads and string over a two-week break, and my brother broke it under his shoe. Ever since, I’ve held myself to a rule that if a project will take more than four hours to complete, I have to simplify it. 

What inspires you?

Cats. No, really!

Besides cats, I like to look at things that are already beautiful and build off of them in new ways, frankensteining styles together until I have something suitably “original” that I still love.

The things I typically find beautiful?

  • Cats.
  • Androgynous people? I can’t explain why but I find people with long hair 40% more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Nature: stones, shells, stars. Flowers are overrated for me.
  • Over-the-top desserts. Always down-to-eat, that’s me!
  • Anything that is more than meets the eye – lockets with glow in the dark stuff, magnetic materials, hidden compartments, false walls, characters that are more than caricatures…

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

When I was little, my mom bought me one of those make-your-own candy necklace kits. I spent hours making necklaces in different patterns and never ate the candy!

Honestly, being artistic was never a choice – my whole family is full of artists, and they were determined to relate their passion to mine somehow. Though I’ve never thought of myself as having natural talent for it, I have gotten better at various artsy things through practice and observation. I was forced (and I do mean forced) to play the violin for 8 years, and even participated in 3 different symphonies. Can’t sketch, paint, or watercolor to save my life. But jewelry? I can understand the math behind good designs, and apply that to already beautiful beads to make an aesthetically pleasing product.

When I was young, I wanted to be a full-time artist because my parents wanted me to be one. I clung to that objective for a long time, and then took a computer science course in college. Science and math were actually my strongest subjects all throughout school, but no one pulled me aside and said, “Hey, this is something to be proud of and has opportunities.” When I saw the job prospects of computer scientists, I realized it didn’t make sense not to build upon the things I was naturally good at. My family has always struggled financially (and been unstable because of it), so fear played a lot in that decision.

I’m not a full-time artist, but I’m proud of everything I do create. Including code. :)

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I do! Haha, I actually got sent to the principal’s office once because one of the school police officers thought it was a “gang sign”:

It’s simple, and I’ve never seen it anywhere else. Usually found on my handwritten work, like first drafts of fiction stories or poetry.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1.      GOOD JOB! It’s easy to be an audience; kudos for being a creator.

2.      Make things just for yourself, or you’ll only create ¼ (or less) of the things you’re inspired to make.


Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual, so if you imagine the spectrum as a temperature scale I’m absolute zero. Also touch-averse, although I think that got a special name awhile back. I’m single and never down to mingle!

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Hrmghflgl. Not ace-specific prejudice.

Had a lot of weird situations at work where I because ostracized because I didn’t want to talk about guys. Had a not-great experience with the two people I came out as aromantic to, (they spent an hour each trying to define romantic attraction in a way I couldn’t deny. They failed to find a definition that I had experienced) but everyone thus far has been chill about asexuality. I think public awareness efforts have gone a long way.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

People often think it refers to the action of not having sex, rather than the absence of sexual attraction.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Knowing your orientation? It doesn’t have to change anything in your life. It’s something that says, “hey, I’ve taken a long look at myself, and this is a pattern I’ve noticed. I’m now aware of it.” Inevitably, we follow up with questions: “What now? Should I adjust things in my life?”

And I get that those last two questions can cause panic. For me, I didn’t feel like adjusting anything at the time. I still wanted to date the person I had been dating. And that’s 100% okay! For others, they might realize that some of their past sexual experiences were less consensual than they thought. They might feel that their dreams of having a family are incompatible with the lack of frequent attraction they expect to experience. And giving up on a dream, and trying to find a new one, are hard. But trust yourself to know if it’s worth it, if it’ll make you happy, if it’s necessary or not.

And if you decide to become a single-for-life person, welcome to the club! We have cookies!

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Simbi, simbi, simbi! My artsy stuff lives there. If you’re looking for my writing/poetry… welp, I’m still working on that. If I do make a site/blog/AO3 for that, I’ll probably link to it with my Tumblr blog about page. Or just send me prompts.

Thank you, Cloette, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.


Hello, I have a new album coming out next month on Wharf Cat Records called ‘Unexplained American Goat’. Here’s a music video I made for it.
Also, I’ll be touring with my good friends and talented artists; Jeff Zagers and Justin C. Rhody in October. Here are the dates.
10/7 - Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
10/8 - Chattanooga, TN @ Barking Legs Theater
10/9 - Memphis, TN
10/11 - Kansas City, MO @ Night Blooms Bookstore
10/12 - St Louis , MO @ Kerr Foundation
10/13 - Milwaukee, WI @ Green Gallery
10/14 - Chicago, IL @ Archer Beach House
10/15 - Ypsilanti, MI @ Ypsilanti Experimental Space
10/16 - Pittsburgh, PA @ The Tub
10/17 - Buffalo, NY
10/18 - Providence, RI @ Tommy’s
10/20 - Far Rockaway, NY @ Red Light District
10/21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Heaven’s Gate
10/22 - Baltimore, MD @ Floristree
10/23 - Chapel Hill, NC @ The Nightlight
10/24 - Savannah, GA