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They Took Paradise and
Won't Let Me Put Up A Parking Lot

11 Backus Way
Palm Springs, CA
September 12, 1997

Math 236 Students
Wheaton College
Norton, MA 02766
Dear Multivariable Calculus Students:

Lately, Lovey and I have been reminiscing about those carefree days of yesteryear. As a special surprise to her, I've decided to build a little getaway on the site of our old hut on the island. However, I've been have some trouble because of the zoning ordinances that were passed while I was attending to business in Reykjavik. After brief consultation, your enterprising and resourceful professor naturally referred me to you.

In order to ``protect the quaint and intimate atmosphere of the island'' (or some such hogwash), no residential lot may be more than 30 meters wide (whatever a meter is. . .feet and yards have always been good enough for the Howells). As a further intrusion on the rights of property owners, no structure can be within two meters of the property line.

To make matters worse, there is a shortage of old growth bamboo on the island, which is the only material approved for use in the frame of new buildings. With the island imposed bamboo rationing, I have only been able to get my hands on 250 meters of bamboo for the frame. In the finest Howell tradition, I want the house to appear as large as possible from the front, so it should fill as much of the width as the zoning ordinances allow. Once the width of the house is determined, I also want it to be as large as possible on the inside, but I am not sure how deep or how tall to make the house.

I've included a rough sketch of the house showing where I need to use the old growth bamboo in the frame, and your enterprising and resourceful professor has assured me that you will be able to determine the optimal dimensions for me. I may be able to talk the Professor out of 50 meters of his bamboo ration, so I'll also need to know how this could affect the plans.

In order to avoid construction during the raining season, we need to break ground in early October. To facilitate the planning, I would greatly appreciate your report by September 24.

Aristocratically yours,
Thurston Howell, III


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