A most peculiar Halloween

Math is everywhere

Ah, the peculiar Halloween of 2020. My wife and I mused on what we would do if we were to actually get a trick or treater at our door. I considered looking on YouTube for videos on building a candy catapult, but I opted against that.

I talked with a friend on the phone who was distraught during our previous discussion. He’s happier now.

At some point, I caught the news that Sean Connery had died. I was sad. Yet, here’s a confession: I’ve never seen ANY James Bond film. But I liked his advocacy for Scotland. He was a hoot in that third Indiana Jones film. I also enjoyed the movie Finding Forrester (2000). Here are 10 movie quotes.

I printed out three recipes for my wife. One was from Australia and had a reference to 160 Celsius. What’s that in Fahrenheit? I asked my phone, but it kept hearing “Once it.” Heck with that, I’m using pen and paper. I need to multiply the Celsius temp by 9/5, then add 32, which gets me 320°F. Hey, I still remember!

In the afternoon, a man in his 40s or 50s who I had never seen before rang the doorbell. He wanted to know if he could do some yard work. Immediately, I said “no thanks.” Then I thought about it. 1) He obviously needed the work. 2) I could afford to pay him.

And most importantly, 3) I HATE raking. It is what my economics teacher might call the “law of diminishing returns.” The more I do it, the less satisfying it is. I went to the front porch. The guy was already four houses up the street. I called, and he came back. He swept the porch and the sidewalk, as well as raking the lawn. Money well spent.

I did a couple of Venmo transaction for my wife so she could fund some teaching activities. I’ve yet to use it for my own needs.

The total was zero

Walking to the bank and back, I was struck by how few people were outside. It was a chilly day, but still. And I was reminded that it took a pandemic for my bank to dispense five- and ten-dollar bills, not just twenties.

I’d purchased about $30 of candy earlier in the week. NOBODY came to our door, compared to about 240 last year. Perhaps it was the fact that there were alternative activities.

From 3 pm to 5 pm the City of Albany will partner with a variety of sponsors and community organizations to host Halloween events in 11 City Parks.

“As per guidance published by New York State and the Centers for Disease Control, the City of Albany is calling on residents to avoid high-risk activities to help prevent the spread COVID-19, such as door-to-door trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treats, attending crowded costume parties held indoors, or going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together. “

I had missed the memo. On one hand, I was really happy not having to worry about opening the door. On the other hand, I missed seeing the costumes. No satisfying some people, I guess.

My wife and I went out about 9 p.m. to see the full moon. A little while later, we went to bed. But I could not sleep at all. It really wasn’t the noisy next-door neighbors in their backyard. Maybe it was the over 98,000 COVID cases the day before. Or my fear of what the body politic was going to do this week. A peculiar Halloween, indeed

May rambling #2: a controlled descent of a vertical drop


Online Privacy Guide for Journalists 2017

How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind

Race and education make a bigger difference in who you vote for than ever before

Voting Rate for the Non-Hispanic Black Population Dropped in the 2016 Presidential Election

John Lewis: “Get in the way”

vlogbrothers: Your Neighborhood, Your Life Expectancy

Cartoon: Freedom to be screwed, 2017 edition

Are we monsters?

Quora: Before Obamacare, when insurance companies denied people for pre-existing conditions, did that mean people who had them couldn’t get insurance? (The short answer is “yes”, over and over.)

Climate of Propaganda

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality II; last 4 minutes are true about people on the Internet

The statement issued by 50 prominent Republican national security experts in August 2016 pointing out that a man who would not, under normal circumstances, ever be given a high-level security clearance was unfit to be President

#37 counsels #45

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” – Dante

“Closer Look” with Seth Meyers, maybe the sharpest political comedy on TV these days

The 5 Worst Dressed Men on Capitol Hill

Narcissistic personality disorder

He is what he appears to be

Pence embodies what’s wrong with Washington

‘SNL’s’ Yuuuge Year

Danth’s Law is an Internet axiom which asserts that if a person has to insist that he or she has won an Internet argument, it is likely the said person has lost

Mark Evanier writes about palliative care for Carolyn Kelly

Mauno Koivisto, president who led Finland out of Soviet shadow, dies at 93

Steve Palermo, Umpire Whose Career Was Ended by a Bullet, Dies at 67

Internet Archive cited for Lifetime Achievement at the 21st Annual Webby Awards

See Old New York in Stunning Photos

You Use Algebra All The Time (Even If You Don’t Realize it)

Find Percentage With Percent Increase Online Calculator ; I’ve had to use this to explain a point this year

50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

Word of the week: An abseil (/ˈæbseɪl/ or /ˈɑːpzaɪl/; from German abseilen, meaning “to rope down”), also called a rappel after its French name, is a controlled descent of a vertical drop, such as a rock face, using a rope. Climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection. Pronounced AB-sale. As seen here.

The Mystery of the Mysterious Glass

Now I Know: The Self-Aware Conference Call Line and The Off-Color Golden Arches

The sandwich alignment chart

MUSIC

Walter O’Brien: The Man Who Never Returned by PETER DREIER and JIM VRABEL. “In 1949, the Boston People’s Artists wrote ‘MTA’ for a left-wing candidate. The song became a hit — the man behind it disappeared.”

Visions, by Jules Massenet

Baltimore – Audra McDonald

Coverville Cover Stories 1169: Badfinger and Tommy James & the Shondells and 1170: Talking Heads

Julie London singing Cry Me A River and…

The great songs: Time Is Tight by Booker T. & the M.G.’s

Meet the critic who panned ‘Sgt. Pepper’ then discovered his speaker was busted; he’s still not sorry

TheDowntown.church, Springfield, MO

English in Math

I can yield in my pedantry, but only so far.

Percentage_IncreaseEnglish in Math, part 1:

Recently, several media outlets noted that the US women’s soccer team was subjected to wage discrimination, and that “the World Cup winners were paid four times less than their male counterparts last year.” One can argue the numbers, but there is a clear disparity.

What struck me, though, was the phrase “four times less”, which to my ears, seemed incorrect. I asked my spouse, who is a teacher of English as a New Language (ENL), the new designation for what had been traditionally referred to as English as a Second Language (ESL), in part because those learners may be taking on English as a third language, or fourth, or more. She agreed it “sounded wrong.”

We both would have said the men made four times as much, or the women made a quarter (or a fourth) as much. Professor Milo Schield, from the Department of Business, Accounting and MIS at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN, would agree with us. In COMMON ERRORS IN FORMING ARITHMETIC COMPARISONS, he writes of Using ‘times less’ as an inverted form of ‘times as much’:

Since six is three times as much as two, it is tempting to say that two is three times less than six. Two is definitely less than six and their ratio is definitely that of three to one. But if two were three times less than six, then six should be three times more than two. Recall that six is three times as much as two – two times more than two. ‘Times less than’ is an inverted form of ‘times more than’ – not ‘times as much’. This error is more common in speech than in writing. This error is a variation on… Confusing ‘times as much’ with ‘times more than’.

Got that? Of COURSE, you do.

But after reading this language log, and this observation, I’m willing to cede that, while my thought process is technically correct, I may be willing to give this one a pass. I KNOW what they mean, and explaining the “error” is far too exhausting.

Percentage increase

On the other hand (English in Math, part 2):

Our tax accountant gave us an interesting tidbit, citing our cash charitable contributions as 320% higher than others who earn the same amount and noncash contributions as 40% lower. So, I surmised that if the AVERAGE person gave $100, we would have given $420. Ah, but that’s not what he meant. We have given $320 versus $100. That is 220% higher than OR 320% of the average.

Quoting the professor:

The essential feature is the difference is between ‘as much as’ and ‘more than.’ ‘As much as’ indicates a ratio; ‘more than’ indicates a difference. ‘More than’ means ‘added onto the base’. This essential difference is ignored by those who say that ‘times’ is dominant so that ‘three times as much’ is really the same as ‘three times more than.’

I saw this same error on The Daughter’s First in Math, where there was a 700% increase shown, but the choices were increases of 100%, 200%, 400% and 800%. We picked the 800%, since it was the closest, and it registered as correct.

This all goes to show that I can yield in my pedantry, but only so far.

The Coates book, Black-ish, & other things

Have you seen the common core math? [Note: I have. He’s not far wrong.]

coatesIt was days before our Albany presbyter (think bishop – but not really) was to lead the adult education class about race and white privilege and the book Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

That Thursday morning, I watched Black-ish, the ABC sitcom. (I’m a notorious TV time shifter.). And it was good, very good. Sojourners, a journal that “sits at the intersection of faith, politics, and culture,” noted that In Less Than Two Minutes, This Clip From ‘black-ish’ Explains Why Racism in America Isn’t Over. And the New York Times declared With Police Brutality Episode, ‘black-ish’ Shows How Sitcoms Can Still Matter.

Of course, the episode referenced the Coates book, even having the author on briefly. One of those shows that if you get a chance to see, you should. Oh, and read the book, which I should review, shouldn’t i?

A restless night

The night before, I had been watching Modern Family another ABC sitcom. The plot was about a thunderstorm knocking out the power. Suddenly, the loudest thunderclap I think I’d ever heard went off, and I quite literally jumped out of my chair, startled. I turned off the TV.

This blast woke up my household. While The Wife was able to return to sleep, the Daughter could not.

You know I don’t think I can write an excuse for school saying, “Daughter is a little fuzzy today because of thunder.” Heck, I was a little fuzzy myself.

3+3 does not equal 94

Somehow, I got sucked into a Facebook conversation about facts.

A: [who I know]: If I were your math teacher and you told me 3 + 3 = 94 and argued that you were right, I’d have to ask you if you had actually read your lesson in the book…

B: Well that depends on who is doing the math. Now you have to show the 15 steps you took to come up with that 6.

A: you mean I have to show that I’m holding up 3 fingers on each hand and counting them?

B: Have you seen the common core math? [Note: I have. He’s not far wrong.]

Eventually, I threw in my six cents.

“3+3=12 in base 4, 11 in base 5, and 10 in base 6. Just sayin’.”

A: In case anyone is wondering, Roger is a lot smarter than your average person – Not a good one to argue with. He was on Jeopardy.

Damn, I get a lot of mileage being on a game show nearly 20 years ago.

December rambling #1: your first draft

Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact – Gonna Be Alright (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

25mphPicture per HERE.

How Republicans Trumped Themselves. Still, I’m NOT convinced that FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com reflects true Trump supporters on Facebook.

How people respond to Bible quotes when told they’re from the Quran.

The Deadliest Mass Shooting Everyone Forgot.

Ikea’s Newly Designed Refugee Shelters.

Why Poor People Stay Poor. Saving money costs money. Period.

UN Fighting to make LGBT people Free & Equal.

Speedway gas stations and Common Core math.

The Twitter blue bird? Hatched in Albany.

I fit the description.

2016 colors of the year.

Tom Tomorrow: The Gun Policy Debate in Four Sentences and The last thing a chaotic crime scene needs is more untrained civilians carrying guns; The Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper discovers that becoming an effective good guy with a gun is harder than it looks. Plus Guns are security blankets, not insurance policies.

Conversation between Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jon Stewart & a number of 9/11 First Responders who are fighting to extend health care and compensation to responders, many of whom need it dearly. Congress is the #worstresponders.

An Interview with Catharine Hannay: Creator and Editor of MindfulTeachers.org, who I know personally.

John Oliver on the art of regifting.

Now I Know: Gator Aid and How to Make the World’s Best Paper Airplane.

The satire section

Study: Scalia Better Off in “Less Advanced” Court. Satire of very real comments from a member of SCOTUS.

Native Americans call for ban on Christians entering the US.

Donald Trump is actually Andy Kaufman.

Syrian family gets into U.S. by disguising themselves as guns, as the US Congress marks third anniversary of doing nothing in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Newtown.

The Jaquandor section

Your First Draft is NOT Crap!!!

Jaquandor’s family’s first Thanksgiving in New York. Several neat posts, such as at the Hayden Planetarium, et al.

Music!

Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact – Gonna Be Alright (OFFICIAL VIDEO), plus On the field interview with Rebecca Jade!

Liz Callaway bobbles the lyrics to a Stephen Sondheim song. Or does she?

Dustbury: RIP to music’s P.F. Sloan and Cynthia Robinson.

Coverville: All-Beatles covers Thanksgiving show for the 12th year in a row! “Track by track tribute to Rubber Soul for the 50th anniversary of its release, as well as a tribute to Paris with a full set of French-spoken Beatles covers.”

Chuck Miller wants to be buried with Stevie Wonder’s “Hotter Than July”, which I consider his last great album.

Funnies

AV Club’s favorite graphic novels, one-shots, and archives of 2015.

Mark Evanier continues to list the twenty top voice actors in American animated cartoons between 1928 and 1968, including Paul Winchell (Tigger) and Howard Morris (Atom Ant) and Stan Freberg (Junior Bear), and Paul Frees (Boris Badenov, Professor Ludwig Von Drake, Poppin Fresh the Pillsbury Doughboy) and June Foray (Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha Fatale) and Daws Butler (Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Captain Crunch).

Buster Keaton – the Art of the Gag.

Smilin’ Ed Comics by Raoul Vezina & Tom Skulan. Hardcover on IndieGoGo.

GOOGLE alerts (me)

Time to Ask Arthur Anything. He answered mine about Prez and Veep candidates and Ranking the Republican candidates and The USA’s gun problem.

SamraiFrog’s 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums.

Twing toustlers.

GOOGLE alerts (not me)

St Peter’s set for £1.2 million renovation. “Admitting to being “very nervous” about taking on the large-scale project, Friends chairman Roger Green, who this year won an award for his volunteering, has agreed to stay on and see through the changes, which are not likely to be complete until at least the end of 2019.”