A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Asymptotes, Sine Waves, Bell Curves & Beverly D'Angelo
Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not too long ago I had a Vancouver choreographer of note in my studio and I asked the choreographer how things were. The reply was startling and dismaying, "I had my moment years back."

In the early 60s I studied mathematics and statistics and learned about curves. I have since then come to the conclusion that just about anything related to human nature and human relationships can be defined by three curves.

1. asymptote
2. bell curve
3. sine wave curve

I wrote about the sine wave here and about asymptotes here.

Of the asymptote I would like to write further. Lucy will not take away the football so that Charlie Brown will not fall when the asymptote finally (inexorably?) hits the X or Y axis. My wife Rosemary will stop worrying when all our problems, our children's problems, our granddaughter's problems, our cat's problems, etc are solved. And that will happen, in the best of all possible worlds when that asymptote nudges that X or Y axis as it nears mathematical infinity.

Around 1980 the careers of Sissy Spacek ( a sine wave with its ups and downs) got in phase with Beverly D'Angelo's career sine wave (with its ups and downs). For that brief moment in time both would shine in that beautiful 1980 film, Coal Miner's Daughter and then both actresses would go their way and out of phase.

If one were to investigate D'Angelo's career one would guess that Coal Miner's Daughter was not the high point of her career (the top of a statistical bell curve) but her role in 1983's National Lampoon Vacation.

By the time I photographed her in 1988 when she had come to Vancouver to publicize the film Cold Squad with Martin Sheen her moment and her position in that bell curve (over that top hump) was gone.

Can our lives possibly be so depressingly mathematical?


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