Leonard(o) on the Move

Over the last year, my dad has been slowly moving out of his office at U of H, a place he’s called home since July 1980. So imagine going through 32 years of books, pictures, lecture notes, items of curiosity, and so on. It’s a fascinating room: the bookshelves alone… #MathHeaven

The purpose of today’s visit, however, was to help move an enormous limestone block from his desk to my backyard. The block bearing the inscription LEONARD [sic.] had been previously attached to the side of the U of H library along with the names of other scholars (Plato, Newton, etc.). But then construction began on an addition to the library which required the removal of all such title blocks. Unfortunately, LEONARDO spanned two separate slabs with the ending O wedged against the preceding LEONARD. My dad put in dibs for the homeless seven-lettered block anyway; it was delivered to his office where it has remained ever since. (The problem of the missing letter was solved by sticking a yellow post-it note with the letter “O” to the block’s right side).

LEONARD with its solid limestone construction is quite heavy, 280 pounds, according to my dad. When I naively asked how he knew its exact weight, he replied (giving me that “are you sure we’re related?” look), “I just multiplied its volume by the density of Indiana limestone.” QED. Naturally I can bench press with one arm twice that amount, so it was really nothing to move on my own. But I decided to hire movers anyway. I wanted to use my unearthly human brawn to take pictures instead. I’m sure you, dear reader, can appreciate the sacrifice.

At his urging, I also left with another incredible item — an Underwood typewriter!

The typewriter had a sheet spooled through with the phrase “Vulpes spadix velox canem pigrum transilit

Care to guess what it means before you google it?

****In closing, two unrelated tidbits.

First a book.

I had the pleasure of devouring City of Thieves over the weekend. It’s a coming-of-age quest set in Leningrad during the Nazi siege of 1942 in which two boys have been given the insane task of finding a dozen eggs for a Colonel’s daughter’s wedding. This, in a town where everyone is starving, where the winter cold can kill you in minutes, and where bombs rain overhead constantly. What follows is both chilling and heart-warming. That’s right: chilling and heart-warming. Clearly, I’m not a writer. David Benioff, on the other hand, is a writer, and a masterful one at that — his talent for storytelling is truly uncanny. No wonder Hollywood keeps him busy writing screenplays (Wolverine, The Kite Runner, etc.)

His previous novel 25th Hour was made into a movie (Spike Lee). I wish City of Thieves would be adapted too. Benioff, incidentally, is driving the ship on HBO’s Game of Thrones, which if you haven’t seen/read, you really should.

And lastly, a sunset.

A few nights ago, I saw a beautiful sunset reflecting off billowy clouds. This is the best my crappy camera could do to capture the moment. It was far more glorious in person though. In fact the entire weekend seem to feature these cinematic types of gloomings. Too bad I didn’t have a better opportunity to snap real pictures.



  • Shannon

    I think your sunset-with-crappy-camera is beautiful; I feel that your photo skills are more appreciated than your lifting may have been (though someone else taking a picture of that would have been blog-worthy).

    I’m still wishing I had more time in the day to read more books (it takes me weeks to get through just one). Seeing your review of City of Thieves doesn’t help this longing.

    No idea on the Latin translation. (Checking now…) Oh! That’s funny. 🙂

    • Fauxmat

      Yep, as you discovered, it’s Latin for “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy log”. Funny!

      You should check it that book, it’s short and fast-paced and generally awesome. I think you and Scott would both enjoy it.

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