Margaret Ball margaret at
Tue Dec 21 10:54:40 EST 2004

Irina wrote

>I always longed for an eccentric intellectual 
>family where it's usual to discuss weird scientific facts at the dinner 
>table and outsiders can come and soak up culture 
You want to move in with us? What with my husband and my mother and me 
all reading weird books, dinner table discussion is likely to range from 
How To Ship A Horse in The Thirteenth Century, to the root causes of the 
Franco-Prussian War, to the peculiar habits of Antarctic explorers in 
the early twentieth century. Hmm. More historical than scientific, now I 
come to think of it; but with Steve's subscriptions to Nature and 
Science, we get the odd bit of scientific information as well.

Our best scientific/historical discussion, though, took place some years 
ago, when the youngest kid was still living at home and working pretty 
heavily on the theory that she was adopted and that her real parents 
were normal people. It went something like this:

Gayle (my grandmother): Did you know they're taking DNA samples out of 
Frederick II's sarcophagus?

Steve: To compare with what? Did he leave some DNA on a murder scene? Or 
is this to settle an argument about the succession to the Holy Roman Empire?

Gayle: Of course, due to the fact that they frequently reused sarcophagi 
after the original corpse was pretty much gone, they can't be sure whose 
DNA they're actually getting.

Steve: You mean they have to take pot luck, so to speak.

Sarah (putting head down on table) Ok, that's it, I'm going to pack 
tonight and go find my REAL family.

Margaret Ball

It's finished! The bead embroidery book is here. Lots of pretty pictures at

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