The Miami Herald
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Miami, Fl 33132
I should be grading differential equations tests or writing a scholarly paper on obscure general relativistic mathematics but instead I just had to write and thank you for allowing me to make it up to my wife for waiting 3 hours at a Williams-Sonoma sponsored Giada de Laurentiis book signing and forgetting to ask that HER name (ms ani, not Giada) be added to the dedication to ME (dr bob), which after 3 minutes in line at the Philadelphia Free Library book signing I briefly explained to you and you seemed to actually have a moment to reflect on that unlike Giada who could only flash her killer smile at me after about 450 previous customers, of whom I was the next to last because some woman with an imaginary friend asked if we could switch places (I actually wanted to be last) so her friend might show up (yeah, in the 15 extra seconds she gained)...where was I?
And I want to thank you for all the bits of stolen humor that have made me smile over the years since I only seem to catch your columns by chance owing to the fact that I never seem to have time to read books anymore (very few and at a slow rate, in any case). Every time I do read you, I think, how does this guy do it so well? I guess when I was a teenager (now I am 55) I wanted to be you, I mean do what you do, but I guess my mathematical skills were more honed than my funny bone and I fell into theoretical physics where I had to eventually be employed as a professor teaching students calculus most of the time, which is my day job here at Villanova University, as opposed to my summer job which involves spending at least a month in Rome not getting to enjoy the Eternal City because I am tied up with my collaborators there at the university / research institute, and of course there is the other job, husband to ani which is pretty time intensive and the one that I have obviously given my priority to in life. When I am lucky, we can join together my other job and my summer job and do pasta and wine together in the big boot (at least it looks like that on the map of the Mediterranean).
I don't know if you will ever get to read this, since it falls under the category of fan mail, and we all know celebrities get way too much of that, but I do know that somehow my friend John with the expired Delaware license plate ANARCHY on his VW Rabbit exchanged some letters with you in the early nineties, so maybe there is some hope. In fact this connection with John was in my mind since I sprung him from the Philly mental institution during his fight with manic depression, sprung him to go hear Noam Chomsky talk at UPenn. Not a book talk, but he is an author, no? Unfortunately John, a Main Liner Villanova Economics professor, started reducing his meds and put himself in front of a train near the Bryn Mawr train station one icy night during the blizzard of '94, ending his story. You would never know about that of course. Life goes on.
"Giada who?" You actually said that, I guess blinded by your thing for another mispelled Berry, Halle Berry, second after your wife of course as you were quick to clarify. Giada de Laurentis has a much longer name, but makes it worth watching the Food Network not only for her authentic Italian inspired cooking, the spirit of which I can vouch for after years of accumulated dining in Italy financed by theoretical physics, which did wonders for my travel experience that would never have happened if I had just been another failed humorist, unlike yourself... where was I, yes, the over 50 crowd, memory loss, that must be your excuse for "Giada who?". Google her.
I heard you and your band in an NPR interview not so long ago and learned that in addition to being very funny on a word processor, you are pretty good on your feet too, and this free author talk at the Free Library of Philadelphia hammered home this point, that you are also an excellent stand up comedian. Verbal and vocal. Thanks for being so entertaining.
dr bob jantzen, pHd
dept of mathematical sciences
head honcho at:
PS my wife only has a masters in chemistry hence the ms in ms ani, in case you were wondering, or even in case you were not, but now you know.
PPS Since you don't do email anymore because of people like me, you can't just click on this link:\\
to get some pictures of the Amalfi coast with dr bob and ms ani superimposed.
I'll just send you a letter, as you requested, using the "U.S. Disgruntled Postal Worker Service." (I am quoting you, since you never remember your thousands of memorable quotes---see, I was paying attention at your talk, I wish my students would do the same.)