Monthly Archives: November 2017

Hedy’s Folly


I bought this book secondhand in May 2015, partly because of my interest in George Antheil, though also because of the spread-spectrum system developed with Hedy Lamar whom I remember in some movies. I was intrigued. After reading it I thought I should write something about it because the story is fascinating, but the book was left on one side and then submerged by other books.

Thank you Brooklyn Public Library for throwing out the book – for my benefit. This is one of several books I have that, sadly, have been discarded by public libraries.

Hedy's Folly cover
Hedy’s Folly cover

Hedy's Folly back
Hedy’s Folly back

What fascinated me most was the mix of two unusual people in arts & entertainment who did some lateral thinking in science/technology to come up with frequency-hopping radar. Antheil was in some ways a technologist musician; his Ballet Mécanique is for mechanical instruments. They parallel pianist Joseph Hoffman who had over 70 patents on inventions from improvements to the piano key mechanism to compressed air pneumatic shock absorbers for cars. The current message is that you need certification in an area of study to come up with new ideas; this can be a self-fulfilling argument.

Rhubarb Chutney

I could not resist some last-day, reduced-price rhubarb at the supermarket.
This makes excellent spicey, sour chutney. It is easy and quick to make.
This amount of rhubard will give four to six portions.

  • 800g rhubarb (washed and chopped into pieces, I do about 2 cm)
  • Chopped ginger
  • Mustard seeds
  • Crushed red chillies
  • Sea salt (I use different salts over the days, iodized salt, 60% potassium salt, to get that range of trace elements)
  • Muscovado sugar (this is critical for the best flavour). I minimize sugar use.
  • A teaspoon of turmeric.

Quantities are not critical but you can see what I have used. I like lots of ginger and dried red chillies, others may want less.


This is cooked in a mixture of coconut oil & ghee in a thick-bottom, stainless-steel pan. That’s a tablespoon in there.

Coconut oil & ghee
Coconut oil & ghee

First, melt the fats and drop in the mustard seeds with high heat. Cover with a lid and turn off the fire when the seeds start popping. When the seeds have finished popping, add the chillies & ginger, and let them fry for a few seconds, add the turmeric, stir. Then immediately add the rhubarb. Add about a teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of sugar.

Ready to cook
Ready to cook

Cook on the fire for 10 minutes at most and add a tablespoon of boiling water if it looks dry. The aim is to have the rhubarb soft but not disintegrated. This is meant to be eaten at room temperature – as a chutney, not the main meal or dessert. Keep it in the refrigerator if not for immediate use.

Cooked Chutney
Cooked Chutney