Saturday, December 31, 2022

My most popular post on my blog for 2022 – and the inaccessibility of such statistics on Facebook

I post my daily 111-word texts to Facebook and my blog. Until 11 December, I also posted a link to each blog post to Twitter; now I post the links to Mastodon. In the course of 2022, my blog post with the most hits (69) is the one from 8 March on the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi, Czernowitz, or Cernăuți. To figure that out, I just had to skim the statistics provided by Blogspot. I would have liked to be able to skim through my posts of daily prose on Facebook, but Facebook's Activity Log doesn't sort by hashtag, and the listed posts have no statistics for reactions, shares, or comments. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 31 December 2022)


Friday, December 30, 2022

Updating the list of books I have taught in courses on contemporary Anglophone poetry since 2016

While preparing my post yesterday with eight great twenty-first century Anglophone poems from the United States, I noticed that my post from 2019 with the books for my seminars on contemporary poetry at the University of Basel needed updating with the last two semesters I taught the course. I've now taught the course six times, at six books per course, with poets from the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jamaica, Liberia, India, and Trinidad and Tobago. Although it will be in a different format (verse novels), I'll add two more countries to the list next term, with works by Anne Carson from Canada and Les Murray from Australia. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 30 December 2022)


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Eight great twenty-first-century poems from the United States alone

Poetry did not "die 100 years ago", when T. S. Eliot supposedly "killed" it with "The Waste Land". On tbe contrary, contemporary Anglophone poetry is thriving, from North America to Australia and New Zealand, from the Caribbean to Africa to South Asia. If you like poetry but think that contemporary poetry is dead, here are eight great twenty-first-century poems from the United States alone: Natalie Diaz, "Waist and Sway"; Martín Espada, "Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100"; Ilya Kaminsky, "We Lived Happily During the War"; Danez Smith, "Dinosaurs in the Hood"; Maggie Smith, "Good Bones"; Tracy K. Smith, "Don't You Wonder, Sometimes?"; A. E. Stallings, "Sestina: Like"; C. Dale Young, "Torn". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 29 December 2022)


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

"It seems the Bolsheviks are starving all his people to death": The Ukrainian famine in Les Murray's "Fredy Neptune" (1999)

While Fred Boettcher in Les Murray's "Fredy Neptune" (1999) is in the United States, he finds a fellow strongman, the Ukrainian Bulba Domeyko, overwhelmed by tears, and their friend known as Iowa explains: "He / got another letter. They get smuggled out of his country, Ukraine. // It seems the Bolsheviks are starving all his people to death. / They just drop, in the pasture, anywhere." Earlier in the book, as I re-read it for a course next term, I noted references to the wearing of masks in Australia during the Spanish flu; this reference to the Russian oppression of Ukraine is another moment with uncanny relevance for the world today. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 28 December 2022)

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Find me a case of someone saying "fewer" followed by an uncountable noun: On the "rule" about "fewer" and "less"

A Facebook friend insisted that "fewer" should be used with countable nouns and "less" with uncountable nouns. I pointed him to a blog post about the history of this rule, which was invented by Robert Baker in 1770, but he continued to object that many people don't understand the difference. If you follow this rule, I have a request: You tell me when you hear someone say "fewer knowledge" (or any uncountable noun). That is, I'm pretty sure the only usage you are objecting to is "less" followed by a countable noun (as in "less eggs", which I've found several cases of online) rather than "fewer" followed by an uncountable noun. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 27 December 2022)

Monday, December 26, 2022

On threads on Mastodon

Like others wanting to escape Elon Musk, I signed up for Mastodon, which resembles Twitter but is decentralized and does not privilege some posts over others. Some of the Twitter users I followed wrote excellent tweet threads and have continued to do so on Mastodon. But the presentation of threads is not set up the same way on Mastodon, so if I read my feed normally, with the most recent posts first, each of the posts in a thread comes up in reverse order. Mastodon could introduce threading of posts – or perhaps those used to writing threads could find other ways to provide more information than in a 500-character Mastodon post. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 26 December 2022)

Sunday, December 25, 2022

On the difficulty level of reading books in Spanish (with my intermediate skills)

For months now, I've been reading three books in Spanish: Gabriel García Márquez's "Cien años de soledad" (1967), Jorge Luis Borges's "Cuentos completos", and my friend Agathe Cortes's "Gacelas que comen Leones" (2022). When I find the time to read them, I'm happy to manage a paragraph or page of each per day. Yesterday, I noticed once again that, despite the reputations of García Márquez and Borges, I often find them easier to read than Cortes. Her work is very colloquial and full of phrases I often don't recognize as idioms, while the more literary style of the two men makes them easier for me to read with my intermediate Spanish. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 25 December 2022)


Gacelas que comen leones
The cover of Agathe Cortes's "Gacelas que comen leones" (2922)

Saturday, December 24, 2022

To colorful holidays and a colorful new year

In November, I ordered a set of colorful cloth bags to wrap Christmas presents in (and be Christmas presents), with a purple one for myself. While doing last-minute shopping today, I also bought myself three T-shirts, one blue, one turquoise, and one red, with no brand names or other designs on them. Then I put my presents for everyone into their bags, and when we opened our presents, I got even more colorful stuff – cotton socks, wool socks, a lovely blue wallet, three little drawstring bags, and even three pairs of lovely underwear. Now they are all in my purple bag. Here's to a colorful holiday season and colorful new year! (Andrew Shields, #111words, 24 December 2022)

Friday, December 23, 2022

"All the people in Newcastle, all on the train wore these face-masks": The Spanish flu pandemic in Les Murray's "Fredy Neptune" (1999)

In Les Murray's 1999 verse novel "Fredy Neptune", Fred Boettcher returns to his native Australia from the Eastern Mediterranean theater where he has drifted around during World War One: "Coming home, I walked into a masquerade. / All the people in Newcastle, all on the train wore these face-masks / of white cotton gauze, some dirtied with tobacco and words. / I had to, too." Murray wrote in the 1990s of Boettcher's return, eight decades earlier, to a country requiring face makes during the "Spanish flu" pandemic. According to Wikipedia, the first wave of the pandemic reached Australia in July 1918; the third, much more deadly wave arrived in January 1919. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 December 2022)

Thursday, December 22, 2022

"Your use / of Bayesian inference // in the history of slavery": Alfred H. Conrad, "The Economics of the Antebellum South", and Adrienne Rich's "Winterface"

In Adrienne Rich's 2008 poem "Winterface", from "Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010", the speaker receives an inquiry: "Someone writes asking about your use / of Bayesian inference // in the history of slavery". It might seem strange to analyze the history of slavery using statistical concepts originally developed by Thomas Bayes in the eighteenth century. But Alfred H. Conrad, who was Rich's husband in the 1950s and 1960s, actually did co-write a ground-breaking 1958 study, "The Economics of Slavery in the Antebellum South", whose statistical analysis demonstrated that, contrary to previous claims, enslavement in the United States was economically stable and would not have disappeared without the Civil War. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 22 December 2022)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Reading Adam Zagajewski's "Spróbuj opiewać okaleczony świat" in seven languages

This morning, I asked the students in a seminar what languages they speak (and this being Switzerland, they speak many languages). Then, in honor of our exchange student from Poland and to celebrate the end of a semester of great discussions (and after a few minutes of internet research), we read Adam Zagajewski's poem "Spróbuj opiewać okaleczony świat" in the original Polish and in translations into German (by Karl Dedecius), English (by Clare Cavanagh), Italian (by Krystyna Jaworska), Spanish (by Xavier Farré), and French (by a translator I have not been able to identify), along with an improvised translation of the German version into Swiss German by one of the students. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 21 December 2022)

Monday, December 19, 2022

FC Basel and the coaching staff of Argentina's men's football team

Two of the assistant coaches for Argentina's team that won the Men's World Cup yesterday played for Valencia against FC Basel in the Champions League in the fall of 2002: Pablo Aimar and Roberto Ayala. And Argentina's head coach, Lionel Scaloni, also played for Deportivo La Coruña against Basel that season. I discovered these tidbits of trivia because I was looking up Argentina's third assistant, Walter Samuel, who never played against Basel in the Champions League – but did play for Basel for two years from 2014-2016 at the end of his career, which (as far as I know) makes him the only former Basel player to win a World Cup championship. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 19 December 2022)

Sunday, December 18, 2022

"Join, or Die" and the Seven Years' War

My daughter Sara is studying the American Revolution in her high-school history class in Basel, and one of the images she was given to consider is the famous "Join, or Die" cartoon. I have always associated it with the 1770s, but the image, which is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, was originally published in 1754 in the earlier context of the Seven Years' War. That is, it was not about the colonies uniting in the face of the British government's exploitation of them. Rather, it was about the colonies uniting to face the threat of the French military coming from the west. Only later was the image reinterpreted as resistance against Britain. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 18 December 2022)

Saturday, December 17, 2022

A version of renku with my creative-writing course yesterday

Yesterday, my creative-writing course did a version of the Japanese renku form. The students began as "writers" of one three-line stanza each for me as the "reader" to choose among. Then I became a writer, and the student whose stanza I chose became the reader to choose among the writers' new set of two-line stanzas linked to the first. With each further alternating three-line and two-line stanza, the writer of the chosen stanza became the reader for the next stanza. From the third stanza on, the content of each stanza linked to the previous one while shifting from the next-to-last one. We completed ten stanzas by the end of the session. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 17 December 2022)


fifteen minutes or two hours

the wait, unbearable

only to see if the story ends                             (MK)


it eats me up from inside

as my mind is unravelling                               (AR)


thoughts spiralling

there's no escape

at least for now                                               (DL)


maybe, after some coffee

the plan will bear fruit                                    (MK)


oranges, grapes or apples

I could transform it into jam

Maybe the outcome will be a masterplan      (SZ)


Add a little sugar to the mix

that's not a problem we can't fix                     (JH)


but what if I pick salt instead?

will it burn or

will it make it worse?                                      (RG)


how bad can it be?

choking on your destiny                                 (EK)


then will it finally be

fulfilled, at last

jam-filled lungs, my end                                 (MK)


sticky and stuffy

but at least sweet                                             (LA)

Friday, December 16, 2022

"Tongue your own lips": Repeating a gesture from Adrienne Rich's "From Sickbed Shores" (2008)

When a gesture is described in a novel, story, or poem, I often find myself repeating that gesture – sometimes consciously, sometimes completely unconsciously. In her 2008 poem "From Sickbed Shores" (from "Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010"), Adrienne Rich recalls a phone conversation she had from the sickbed mentioned in the title: "Did you then holding / the phone tongue your own lips." Reading the lines this afternoon, I briefly touched my tongue to my upper lip and then wondered if that was the gesture she was referring to. Later, I remembered that moment while driving back from my daughter Sara's riding lesson and briefly "tongued my own lip" again. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 16 December 2022)

Thursday, December 15, 2022

On not going to see Tamikrest three more times in the next five days

If it wasn't the next-to-last week of the semester, with classes to teach tomorrow morning and next week every morning from Tuesday to Friday, if instead it was the second week of semester break in January, and perhaps also if I wasn't 58 years old, I would not have gone to see Tamikrest in Basel last night without having been inspired to channel my twenty-something self (who went to seventy-plus Grateful Dead concerts over several years in the San Francisco Bay Area) and to go see the band again in Freiburg in Germany tonight, at Le Singe in Biel in Switzerland tomorrow night, and at Moods in Zurich on Monday night. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 15 December 2022)

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Tamikrest, Kaserne Basel, 14 December 2022

At the Tamikrest concert at the Kaserne Basel tonight, the songs often started with rubato passages with ringing melodies by Ousmane Ag Mossa on guitar. As soon as the music hovered enough, Cheick Ag Tiglia on bass, Nicolas Grupp on drums, and Paul Salvagnac on guitar established a groove that drove the dancers in the crowd. Ousmane's vocals came in to shifts in the rhythm, then Cheick harmonized before the driving instrumental groove returned. While often the instruments were all texture, sometimes one guitarist took a more pronounced, even psychedelic lead, and even when the drummer and the bassist took solos, they kept the grooves going, and the crowd kept dancing. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 14 December 2022)

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Listening to Tamikrest on the way to the supermarket and anticipating their Basel concert tomorrow night

An hour or so ago, I had butternut squash to make into soup, but no onions, so I made a shopping list, dressed up warmly, and got out my earbuds to listen to music at the end of a sluggish day. The last thing I listened to on my phone was Tamikrest, so I picked up where I left off – and remembered I have a ticket for their show at the Kaserne in Basel tomorrow night. The band's steady, hypnotizing pulse carried me along through the dark, cold evening to the nearby supermarket, and I found myself dancing along in happy anticipation of the dancing I'll do tomorrow at the concert. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 13 December 2022)

Monday, December 12, 2022

Dickey Betts, his 79th birthday, "Ramblin' Man", "Jessica", and earworms

My friend Tom Deveson posted this morning that Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band turns 79 today, with a link to a 1972 live version of "Ramblin' Man". Although I never saw the Allman Brothers live, I've always enjoyed the melodies and textures in their music. In the summer of 2014, I did see Allmans drummer Butch Trucks sit in with John Scofield's Überjam band in the south of France. In keeping with my comments yesterday on earworms, I spent the morning humming "Ramblin' Man", and a commenter on Tom's post shared a live version of "Jessica", so now its fluid Dickey Betts lines are echoing around in my mind. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 12 December 2022)

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Earworms with lyrics; instrumental earworms; fighting off earworms

I heard a lecture last week about "earworms"; one issue that came up is whether songs that get in your head are most effective with lyrics. While I definitely find lyrics to be a major engine of "earworm" effects, I also often get long instrumental parts repeating ad infinitum, such as the guitar solo in the coda of "Hotel California", by The Eagles. Sometimes my head turns such things into jams that take me to other songs; at other times, I have to combat them with "Monk's Dream", by Thelonious Monk – or, as I was just reminded by what I'm listening to right now, "China Cat Sunflower", by The Grateful Dead. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 11 December 2022)

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Emily Dickinson's birthday and dashes in Robert Frost and Elizabeth Bishop

Today is Emily Dickinson's birthday (born in 1830, "called back" on 15 May 1886, as it says on her gravestone). I am not teaching a course on her work this semester, but my class on poetry in general did spend a session discussing "I'm Nobody"; as usual with that poem, new angles came up in the discussion. But one of Dickinson's trademarks is dashes, and dashes have come up in that same class (the dash in Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", which I touched on yesterday) and in my seminar on Elizabeth Bishop, whose occasional dashes have a wide range of implications, from emphasis to hesitation to being more precise. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 10 December 2022)


Friday, December 09, 2022

The making of a fairy tale with a moral in Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"

In a discussion today of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", a student (Noa) mentioned the poem's fairy-tale scenario of a transformative journey on a path through a forest. This, I noted, is in keeping with the popular understanding of the poem as having a moral: when faced with a decision at a potential crossroads in our lives, we should take "the road less traveled". But I also noted how the poem comes to that moral: when the speaker tells the story "ages hence", he will briefly hesitate ("and I— / I") and then turn his past choice between the poem's barely distinguishable roads into a fairy tale with a moral. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 9 December 2022)

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Characters in the background of photographs in "The Spanish Prisoner" and "The Old Guard"

After Joe Ross (Campbell Scott) and Susan (Rebecca Pidgeon) in David Mamet's "The Spanish Prisoner" (1997) take snapshots of each other, Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin) offers to buy Joe's camera. As Jimmy later claims, he was in the background of Joe's pictures with his best friend's wife. To get rid of the evidence, he needs the roll of film. In Gina Prince-Bythewood's "The Old Guard" (2020), when Andy (Charlize Theron) notices that tourists taking a group selfie with her in the background, she offers to take a picture of them, but doesn't have to buy the phone: she just deletes the photo of her before taking the photo for the group. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 8 December 2022)

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

A memory of puzzling sounds when I first arrived in Basel

Leaving the University of Basel English Department on Nadelberg on this cold winter evening, I heard a sound that reminded me of my first months in the city in late 1995. There were surely dark, cold evenings like this one where I heard an unfamiliar sound that began to puzzle me as I heard it again and again: distant music played on what I thought were pennywhistles. It seemed to be coming from underground. Only months later did I found out that the music was indeed coming from underground, from the cellar rooms where participants in Basel's Fasnacht were practicing their piccolos (not pennywhistles) for their marching with drums during carnival. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 7 December 2022)

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

"Lent trees" in Elizabeth Bishop's "Electrical Storm"

Elizabeth Bishop's poem "Electrical Storm" (from "Questions of Travel", 1965) ends with trees: "The Lent trees had shed all their petals." The poem has been rarely discussed by scholars, so I figured out "Lent trees" by myself. First, I stumbled on a German translation for "Lent tree": Echter Korallenbaum. This led me to the genus Erythrina and the Purple Coral Tree (the petals' color is also mentioned). But then I invented the German word Fastenbaum and found the Brazilian tree Quaresmeira (Pleroma granulosum) – and Quaresma is Lent in Portuguese. The tree is called that because it flowers during Lent, and Bishop wrote the poem while living in Brazil in the 1950s. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 6 December 2022)

Sunday, December 04, 2022

A dramatic teaching moment that a student remembered but I forgot

My second story about my first academic-writing class starts when I saw the class's best student a few years later. Teaching essay writing for high-school students, she'd tell them about "what you did to my essay." She was surprised I didn't remember how, in a meeting about one of her essays, I'd crossed out everything but its brilliant final sentence and told her to start with it and revise accordingly. – Today, although I might point out an essay's best moment, I'd never cross out the rest, and I'm sure I only did it with hers because she was an excellent student. But it's a dramatic story about what revision can entail. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 4 December 2022)

Friday, December 02, 2022

Three Swiss football players who could soon have the most matches for the national team

The Swiss football player with the most appearances for the national team is Heinz Hermann, who played 118 matches for the team between 1975 and 1991, followed by Alain Geiger, who played 112 matches between 1980 and 1996. Three current players could still pass them: Ricard Rodriguez played his 103rd match for Switzerland this evening, and captain Granit Xhaka played his 110th. Both of them first played for Switzerland in 2011 – and won the U-17 World Cup with Switzerland in 2009. Their teammate Xherdan Shaqiri was too old to be part of that team; he debuted with the national team in 2010 and reached a nice number of matches tonight: 111. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 2 December 2022)

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Pushing my glasses up while teaching

In fall 1990, in my third year of graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, I taught a first-year writing course for the first time. Two stories have stuck with me from that class; here's one. A couple days before the first session, a friend said that when I pushed up my glasses if they slid down my nose a bit, I should use my index finger and not my middle finger. I thought that would ruin my class, because I would worry about my glasses and fingers too much, but in fact, I ended up worrying enough about them that I did not worry about the contents of the class! (Andrew Shields, #111words, 1 December 2022)

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

"Like Robinson Crusoe's money" in Charles Dickens's "Little Dorrit" (1857)

During my reading of Charles Dickens's novels in chronological order (which I started sometime in mid-2020), I have frequently noted his references to Robinson Crusoe. In "Little Dorrit" (1857), Arthur Clennam spends two decades in China with his father after the end of his engagement with Flora Casby, and the "wealth" of his memory of her is evoked with Crusoe: “That wealth had been, in his desert home, like Robinson Crusoe's money; exchangeable with no one, lying idle in the dark to rust, until he poured it out for her.” Unlike Crusoe's money for Clennam, Crusoe is a source of figurative exchange for Dickens, to be poured out again and again. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 30 November 2022)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

"Had nothing to say and said it": John Cage and the Circumlocution Office in Charles Dickens's "Little Dorrit"

John Cage wrote his "Lecture on Nothing" in 1949 and published it in "Silences: Lectures and Writings" in 1961. I have long known one passage from it: "I have nothing to say / and I am saying it / and that is poetry / as I need it." I was surprised to find an anachronistic "reference" to Cage in Charles Dickens's "Little Dorrit" (1857) when the "Circumlocution Office", with its principle of "How not to do it", is first described in the chapter "Containing the Whole Science of Government", in one of the Office's reactions to being challenged in Parliament: "[...] the Circumlocution Office had nothing to say and said it." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 29 November 2022)

Monday, November 28, 2022

On rereading Charles Dickens's "Little Dorrit" and remembering my father as well as Alec Guinness as Mr. Dorrit

Before I read Charles Dickens's "Little Dorrit" in 1999, I'd seen Christine Edzard's 1987 film with Alec Guinness as Mr. Dorrit, Derek Jacobi as Arthur Clennam, and Sarah Pickering as Little Dorrit. Although I've watched the film again since then, I'd forgotten many details before my recent rereading of the novel, so I was overwhelmed anew the other day when an ailing Mr. Dorrit (presumably having a stroke) speaks of his time in the Marshalsea prison while at a social event in his honor. My father, who loved Guinness and his Mr. Dorrit, succumbed to his third stroke in September 2016, twenty-plus years after he first introduced me to the film. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 28 November 2022)
Alec Guinness, Derek Jacobi, Sarah Pickering

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The missing attribution to a common quotation from Emily Dickinson – and the unquoted half of the sentence

The other day, I came across a quotation attributed to Emily Dickinson: "To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations." I wondered, first, if the attribution was correct, and secondly, where she said it. Unfortunately, the quotation is pervasive on the internet with no further information, but eventually I thought of checking Wikiquote, which says it's from her letters. After more digging, I found it in a letter to Thomas Higginson in 1872; the rest of the sentence never comes up when it's quoted: "To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations though Friends are if possible an event more fair." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 27 November 2022)


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Adding Elizabeth Bishop's reference to Lucky Strikes to the Wikipedia page about the cigarettes

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the reference to Lucky Strike cigarettes in Elizabeth Bishop's poem "At the Fishhouses" and how it was not included in the list of cultural references to the cigarette brand on the Wikipedia page about it (which include its roles in the "Mad Men" TV series and in the movie "Beverly Hills Cop"). When I also mentioned that I had never edited a Wikipedia page, I admit I was hoping somebody would do it for me, but in class, a student told me that it looks easy to sign up, so this morning I did, and I added the reference to the Lucky Strike page. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 26 November 2022)


Friday, November 25, 2022

Reading a note about reading Hans Magnus Enzensberger in 2004 and re-reading him in 2017

In early 2017, when I reread several books by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, who died yesterday at 93, I posted several quotations from his poems in the course of several weeks – as I'm wont to do while reading poetry. But I also write notes in books: thoughts about lines, connections with other poems and other poets, and comments about what's going on as I read them. So one of my HME posts from 2017 is not about his poem but about my biography: "A note from the last time I read Enzensberger's "Leichter als Luft", next to the line 'dauernd wird jemand geboren' (people keep getting born): 20.4.2004, Luisa three days old." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 25 November 2022)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Palindromic dates and square and cube years: Calender numerology

In most of the world but the United States, today's date is a palindrome: 22.11.22. Unless I'm mistaken, it's the last one before 13 November 2031: 13.11.31. Such numerological play with dates is meaningless but fun. The other day I came across the claim that "2022 is a cube", which I understood arithmetically. But the cube root of 2022 is 12.64...! The last cube year was 1728; the next will be 2197, so none of us will experience one. But the most recent square year was 1936, and the next one will be 2025, so anyone turning 89 three years from now will have lived from one square to the next. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 22 November 2022)