2.1.2023 – even if was on

even if was on
the right track, could be living
in wrong century

I really believed that I was on the right track, but that did not mean that I would necessarily reach my goal.

It could be that the methods needed to take the next step may simply be beyond present day mathematics.

Perhaps the methods I needed to complete the proof would not be invented for a hundred years.

So even if I was on the right track, I could be living in the wrong century.

So says mathematician Andrew Wiles in the documentary, The Proof, that was broadcast by NOVA on PBS on October 28, 1997.

For some reason, I watched it.

I was married, three kids and I watch a documentary on how someone figured out something called Fermat’s Last Theorem, a math puzzle from 1637 that proved that no number worked in the equation an + bn = cn.

I cannot for the life of me tell you why I watched this program.

I never watched NOVA.

I never liked math.

But I watched it.

And I remembered it.

The show was very well done and it was very engaging.

The story has stayed with me ever since.

As did one other thing.

The sound track music.

Never saw the show again but the repetitive left hand bass scale on the piano in the theme music has rattled around in my brain for more than 25 years.

I am not sure why I thought of this today but I did.

It is as if there are layers of my thought processes and these layers have very small holes in them and these layers all revolve and spin inside each other and once in awhile, some of the holes line up and an old, odd hidden thought or memory falls out.

And old, odd thought or memory.

And the world wide web.

Match made in heaven.

I got on the Google and my first search was ‘old math theory solved’.

After a few clicks I got to Fermat and his Last Theorem.

A few more clicks on Fermat and Nova, I got to the show, which was titled, as I said, The Proof and it was about a man named Andrew Wiles and his effort to prove, or write a mathematical proof, that no number worked in an + bn = cn was indeed correct.

It needed to be proved because this feller Fermat SAID he proved it, but neglected to leave a copy of his proof around as proof.

So the math world fixated on matching Fermat and his proof or, at least, proving that Fermat was fibbing.

The story is told in an almost spell binding manner and you can watch it again (click here) and it is worth the 57 minutes to watch.

You will feel the thud of Mr. Wiles disappointment when he thinks he has it down but a further examination of his work shows he did not.

I had found the show AND once again, I heard the background music.

I have to say it was almost as exciting to hear the long lost music again as it was to watch these fellers work out the math problem.

I scrolled to the credits but no credit was given for the music so I was back at square one.

I knew the Internet Movie Database often gave sound track info but it was a dead end.

I went to wikipedia in hopes that maybe some lost soul (those souls that wikipedia what it is) had made the effort to create an episode guide to NOVA that listed any and all pertinent production facts about each episode.

The beauty of Wikipedia is that you just never know.

Wikipedia did indeed have a page that listed each episode of NOVA.

But the information for each entry was not much more than a TV Guide blurb about the show.

The list was listed by date and I scrolled down to 1997 and found the entry for the The Proof.

By chance, the entry had a small foot note that linked to a now dead archive for the now dead producer of the show, a Mr. Simon Singh.

The page was made available through a web feature knows as the WAY BACK MACHINE.

An odd thing of the World Wide Web is that content has been being added to the WWW since it was invented in 1991.

As we all know the INTERET is as old as computers and goes back to when computers were first connected by phone to create an Inter Network back in the ’60s.

The World Wide Web of information that lives on the internet was created in the ’90s.

You can win a bar bet by claiming the person next to you doesn’t know the difference between the Internet and the WWW but I digress.

To this day, NO ONE has created an effective way to clean up the WWW.

No one is 100% sure what data is needed and what isn’t, so everything more or less just stays in place.

Websites use something called DNS or Domain Name Servers to connect a site URL (Universal Resource Locator IE: nohaikuforyou.com) with the actual information in that site using technology not too far removed from the old telephone switch board.

If a site loses its IP (Internet Protocol) or place on the WWW, the site is still there, the hole the operator would plug in the phone line connector, is still there but empty, the URL is just not connected through the DNS.

So all this info is out there somewhere and sometimes it finds a home through the WAYBACKMACHINE.

And the page I found was a page were the producer of The Proof told how it was made.

I read through a fascinating batch of info about the show but nothing on the music.

There was in the margin one more link that said, BEHIND THE SCENES.

And on the Behind the Scenes page, I came across this paragraph.

Music is a crucial part of the editing process and finding the right music is always a satisfying achievement. One evening, after a long day of editing, Horacio and I decided to head out for a pizza prior to more editing and a late night session. It was in the Pizza Express on Shepherds Bush Green that we heard the music that we had been searching for. The waiter told us that it was the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and the next day we ordered up every album that they had ever released. Their music would pepper the final cut.

Isn’t that fabulous?

We heard the music that we had been searching for!

All this time, I had been searching for the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and never knew it.

The music is titled Perpetum Mobile and I created an MP3 for you to download and hear for yourself – click here.

I warn you that the music has a punch-brothers-punch quality to it and you may hear it your brain for the next 25 years.

Intrigued, I searched out the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and learned from wikipedia that the PCO was founded by Simon Jeffes who, “After becoming disillusioned with the rigid structures of classical music and the limitations of rock, in which he also dabbled, Simon Jeffes became interested in the relative freedom in folk music and decided to imbue his work with the same immediacy and spirit.”

Wikipedia went to say that one day when Jeffes was on the beach a poem popped into his head that …

started out ‘I am the proprietor of the Penguin Cafe, I will tell you things at random’ and it went on about how the quality of randomness, spontaneity, surprise, unexpectedness and irrationality in our lives is a very precious thing.

And if you suppress that to have a nice orderly life, you kill off what’s most important.

Whereas in the Penguin Cafe your unconscious can just be.

It’s acceptable there, and that’s how everybody is.

There is an acceptance there that has to do with living the present with no fear in ourselves.

Is that not also fabulous? (I have to find this poem – stay tuned.)

There is an acceptance there that has to do with living the present with no fear in ourselves!

I like that.

I like that a lot.

(I really like that it came about on the beach as I do a lot of my best thinking on the beach lately).

YES, THERE IS A lot going on here and I hope to come to a point soon.

First, let me say that I was searching for something that I didn’t know existed.

It was hinted at by my memory but I didn’t know what.

The Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

The Proof was about a man, searching for something in mathematics that was hinted at by Mr. Fermat but the feller in question, Mr. Wiles, didn’t know what.

Just a nice happenstance I guess.

Second point, I started with an old, odd thought and look where this came to an end.


What can be done today online!


Lastly is the quote I started with.

So even if I was on the right track, I could be living in the wrong century.

I once heard this tune that someone once heard in a pizza parlor in London over 25 years ago.

With the tools at my finger tips, I tracked that tune down.

Let me tell you, what I great century this is to live in.

A century with problems to be sure.

But there is an acceptance there that has to do with living the present with no fear in ourselves!

I think of the problems of this century and of the last few years and I think of the FEAR that pervades those years.

Pervade is such a perfect word.

The fear that is spread through and perceived in every part of those years.

But there is an acceptance there that has to do with living the present with no fear in ourselves!

I am going to forward with God and without fear.

Buy your guns if you have that fear.

Vote those books out of your library if you have that fear.

Close your borders if you have that fear.


I am going to embrace the quality of randomness, spontaneity, surprise, unexpectedness and irrationality that is in our lives is and hold them be very precious things.

I am going to embrace the idea that if you suppress these very precious things to have a nice orderly life, you kill off what’s most important!

I will let my unconscious just be and search out those old, odd thoughts when they come to mind.

As good ol’ FDR said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself and BOY HOWDY but did he have things, real things to fear about!

I hope to go on living the present with no fear in ourselves!

What a great century to live in!

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