Our star is born. We're delighted to inform you of the birth of our daughter, Tara Shriram Fisler. The baby is well, the mother is recovering, and the father is trying to not get in the way. Photographs follow the AFQ.

Any complications with her birth?

No. We did find it touching that the daughter of two people fanatical about recursion would need induction to be delivered. (Oh gosh, you think, is this going to be that kind of AFQ?)

What does she weigh?

About as much as a mid-range bicycle frame. (Oh dear, you conclude, it is going to be that kind of AFQ. But it improves.)

What's with “Beansprout”?

At her first ultrasound, she resembled a kidney bean. So we called her “The Bean”. At the next ultrasound, she still looked like a bean, except one that had sprouted arms and legs. Hence “Beansprout”.

What does Tara mean?

In some Indian languages, “tara” means “star”. It is apparently also a word in Gaelic, Aramaic, and perhaps other languages. Then again, you can't believe anything you read on the Web.

Why Tara?

Four letters (in Latin alphabet), two syllables, easy to dictate, hard to mis-spell or render unrecognizable. After years of having had to dictate my name over the telephone, that was a non-negotiable constraint.

So how's that working out for you?

Poorly. The first time we mentioned the name on the phone to a non-family-member, there was an awkward silence at the other end, followed by, “Is that really a name?”—“What do you mean?”—“P-A-R-A: that's a name?” But then again, Matthias has never been any good with names.

So, hopefully you have better reasons for choosing it?

Sure. Stars, as in: what we're made of, what we hope she aspires to, and where she may someday live.

How is it pronounced?

Indians would pronounce it THA-rah. Some Americans, TEAR-ah (“TEAR” like to-rip, not like to-cry). We're going to go with TAR-ah. Others, who knows: she'll find out over the course of her life.

Why Fisler?

Why not? Actually, we chose the last name based on her sex. Also, only one of us has a last name.

Huh? And why Shriram?

If you have a great deal of time, you could read up on patronyms and on South Indian naming conventions. “The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.”

Does this explain all your recent painting?




Or just sleeping in the sun.

[with mother]
Lying with mother.

Little hands...

[with mother's hand]
...grasping mother...

[with father's hand]
...and touching father.