I still take it off my shelves from time to time and enjoy Halmos's delightful writing.
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one, John. My wife thinks I'm nuts, and she and my younger daughter make motions as if they're slashing their wrists if I actually talk about the beauty of mathematics.
John Kelly's General Topoloy was my graduate set theory source, but I defected to economics and law too soon. I was particularly sorry I hadn't stuck around when I learned in 1973 that the Banach-Tarski paradox depended on the formulation of the Axiom of Choice. By then, it was too late to go back.
In 1935, my father, who had recently completed an MA in math at Alabama (winning the Comer Medal), decided he would pursue a PhD in pure math, and would begin at a summer session at Michigan. His first course there was intro to topology. At the end of the session he returned to the South and in 1950, after working at several non-academic jobs, got his doctorate at Texas in economic statistics. He told me that topology was too far out for him.
I was fortunate to have a great professor for my first topological adventure, and years later enjoyed teaching the course to our senior math students.
The axiom of choice bridges the gap between the real and the unreal, in my mind. But that's just me!
Here in Pueblo County, district 60 - the in-town district, with several pockets of poverty - has chosen to reduce the math requirement for graduation in the least academic track, while keeping the requirement for college-bound students. The district is under notice that unless general test results improve the state will come in and take over. Results have been steadily declining for several years. One tack the district is taking in desperation is to seek a less rigorous accreditation organization.
District 70, which includes Pueblo West, where I live, has done considerably better, with test results exceeding state standards. The suburban areas in the county are more prosperous and vote to give more than adequate financial support to the schools.
I suppose I have mixed feelings about reducing math requirements for students who have not expressed a desire to go to college. On the one hand many may never need the more advanced material that is to be eliminated, but of course this sort of tracking makes it more difficult for students to change their minds about higher education once they complete the vocational curriculum. In that instance, however, most colleges have remedial programs for students who lack basic credentials, as well as those who have taken the more advanced secondary offerings but show little evidence of remembering concepts and techniques. I saw a lot of that when I was teaching.