Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.


The document that I hope will become part of my dissertation is now slightly over twenty pages. This makes its equation filled contents difficult to manage, and it’s become a little overwhelming to edit the thing. In an effort to correct this problem, I split the document up from one large file into several smaller files. Each file contains one subject or topic, which makes the document as a whole much easier to manage and update.

Sometimes I have so much on my mind that I can’t recline. In such situations, I have found it helps to break my thoughts up into smaller, easier to manage parts. The idea of compartmentalizing one’s thoughts was something President Clinton claimed as one of his great skills. It might explain his infamous conversation with Sonny Callahan.

Despite potential misapplications, parts are often easier to deal with than the whole. Unfortunately, the idea does not work universally. Take it from this SNL Celebrity Jeopardy sketch.

Alex Trebek: That’s very nice. Good job, Burt. Tell you what, we’re gonna let Michael Keaton pick a category.

Michael Keaton: All right, um, Number. See, because sometimes it helps to understand a word if we break it down. Let’s do that now, shall we? Numb, see, if you’re numb, you can’t feel. [ pauses for a second ] See, yeah if you’re numb you can’t feel. And then Ber..

Alex Trebek: Numbers for $800. And the answer is: This number comes between five and seven. [ Keaton buzzes in. ] Mr. Keaton.

Michael Keaton: ..See and then Ber, if you’re, you know if you’re cold, that’s the sound that you would make. I guess I, I guess my answer will be uh, somebody who can’t feel that they’re, uh, that they’re cold.

Alex Trebek: No.

Michael Keaton: What is somebody who can’t feel when they’re cold?

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