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The story behind the title of ‘The Picayune Sentinel’

The title “Picayune Sentinel” is a nod to my late grandfather, Max A. Zorn, who for many years in the pre-Internet era distributed a mimeographed newsletter titled “The Piccayune Sentinel” to his colleagues in academia and interested friends and family. (“Change of subject” was his all-purpose segue).

The spelling error in the title was in all probability one of the many in-jokes that peppered the one-page publication, some couched in foreign languages and many of them so obscure that only my grandfather understood them.

His tagline, as you see, was “Beautiful Thoughts Beautifully Expressed” but the following representative passage does not persuasively make that case:

If you do not know how an inner function which is singular at an isolation point comma behaves, you better disregard what follows. (It tends to zero faster than any Hardy-Lebesgue f tends to infinity).

My aim is to make this revival more accessible and less eccentric, while maintaining the spirit of friendly communication.

Max was born on 6-6-06 and died on 3-3-93, a set of number divisible by 3 that seems mathematically interesting. His great-grandson, Alex, who went on to get a PhD in math, was born on 12-24; his other great-grandchildren were born on 6-12 and his grandaughter-in-law was born on 12-6.