Monthly Archives: May 2018

I mentioned a while back that I was going to try something different to stay in touch with friends, now that I have cut the Facebook cord.  This feature, called Note from Self,  is one idea toward that end.  I intend this to be a month-end catching-up on a more personal and newsy level, without so much of the “grinding self-commentary” that my favorite college professor David Walton decried.  Less Thoughts at Large, more Strictly Personal, to put it in Sidney J. Harris terms.

So here goes.  May has been a month of blossoms and raindrops.  Our Catawba (purple) rhododendrons are spent and their new shoots are sprouting.  The mountain laurels that have managed to survive on our windswept lot are in profuse bloom.   The multitude of peonies that Sue adores have been beaten down by our rains, and it has been a race to cut them and enjoy them before their blossom-heads explode or fall to the ground under their own weight.  We had almost five inches of rain from May 13-19, another half-inch May 20-26, and almost an inch in the last two days (and raining again).  At least I have not had to water anything.

The wet weather has given me the excuse to avoid yard work and focus on the paper I plan to submit to the MDPI Games Journal.  I’ve worked a long time on this project, which deals with optimum bidding strategies in the Showcase Round of The Price is Right show. (I discussed this in a previous post.)  I hope to finish the paper by mid-July.  This will be my first submission to a journal since the days of the now-defunct Journal of Recreational Mathematics.

I also spent some hours this month doing art for a music CD that my singer-songwriter friend Bruce Irving created.  It is his fourth, speaking of dedicated efforts.

We just lost our 13-year-old side-by-side refrigerator that we had named “Steve & Eydie” in honor of the famous rendition of “Side by Side” by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme.  (OK, we really didn’t name our fridge, I just made that up.  Some things haven’t changed here at the blog.)  But our fridge really did conk out, and right on time, based on their average 13-year life expectancy.  We learned a few things from the experience.  One is to estimate the value of the contents of your fridge when it fails.  Knowing this could save you many dollars worth of ice and dry ice.  Dry ice is not cheap and it lasts 40 hours max in a regular cooler.  Figure $10 a day to keep your frozen food frozen.

It took seven days for us to get our new fridge delivered, and then another 12 hours for it to cool down after it was installed.  It is possible we had $75 worth of food in the freezer — but not much more.  That said, it has been a long time since I had a chance to play with dry ice.  So from lemons, lemonade (or whatever this fiendish concoction is).

We have had various medical and dental appointments along with the regular ones for my left eye.  We took the opportunity before one appointment to have a wonderful anniversary dinner at Bentley’s on 27 in downtown Charlotte.  The view was impressive, the service was great, the food was excellent, but the company — my wife — is what made the evening special, more than the accoutrements.

• • •

This was my first attempt to be newsy and I’m not sure how it went.  It’s like Jon Stewart has given way to Trevor Noah here.   We’ll try this again next month and decide.

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The privacy of your data means a lot to me.  I feel very badly about how you shared all your favorite television shows and music and restaurants on Facebook, and how Facebook had the nerve to turn around and show you advertisements that echoed your interests and then sold your information to others.  How dare they — and every other online presence — take such advantage of you.  But to save you further turmoil, I promise this will be the last time I mention your quaint notions about privacy.

To protect my own readers’ privacy and avoid drawing the wrath of EU bureaucrats who would love to haul my data-careless ass to Brussels for a Zuckerberg-style tongue-lashing,  I have made important plain-English updates to my Terms of Service.  If you care anything about safeguarding yourself, your data, and me, then you should read and memorize these:

§ 1.  If you comment on one of my posts and I disagree with you, I promise that I will only disparage you in the privacy of my own home.  But who knows what my wife will say and what she will share.  She is not bound by these terms.  So, your call.

§ 2.  If you share your e-mail address when making a comment, I promise to re-use it only when I order weapons from Soldier of Fortune magazine or when I write to the FBI about my shady-looking neighbors and their really annoying little dogs.

§ 3.  Under my new policy, I will no longer compile the IP addresses of the visitors of this site, and then brew craft beers, and then name my beers after your IP addresses.   Too bad, because the one I was planning to name for Reader was a satisfying brew.  On the other hand, Reader, your beer tasted like rotted geraniums.  You are lucky I tossed that batch before your reputation was sullied.

"Private Duty" by Faith Baldwin, featuring Private Duty Nurse Carolyn Cutler§ 4.  Here at The 100 Billionth Person, we respect privacy.  We pay particular respect to Private Gomer Pyle, Private Maxwell Klinger, Private Investigator Sam Spade, Private Detective Nancy Drew and Private Duty Nurse Carolyn Cutler, whose visage graces this post.

§ 5.  People in Britain pronounce privacy with a short i, to make it sound like principle.  But I live in America, and I pronouce privacy with a long i, to make it sound like I don’t care.

§ 6.  Visitors who read half of one post and then get tired of The 100 Billionth Person and leave the site (and I know who you are) will be treated the same as people who walk out of a church service during the first hymn.  Your IP address will be sent to Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, for followup and shaming.  And roundly deserved, I say.

§ 7.  When you use a mobile device to access The 100 Billionth Person, we may install a tiny data file on your device.  This file is a harmless little app that runs in the background and uniquely identifies your device.  Also, this app randomly disables one icon every day, until you reset all your icons by visiting The 100 Billionth Person again.  It is a fun game, when you think about it, guessing which one of your icons will be the next one to go.

§ 8.  We do not sell your information to advertisers or commercial interests.  We tried, but  no one was interested.

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Royale with Cheese

So, we have just enjoyed (or endured) a three-day-weekend-ful of Royale with Cheese.  One overly-enthusiastic BBC World Service reporter exclaimed last night that the world (yes, the world) has been “captivated” by the Royal Wedding.  If by captivated she meant held hostage then I would agree.  Nothing like a Royal Wedding to turn news reporting organizations into fawning spinoffs of Entertainment Tonight.

That said, over our morning coffee we partook in an hour or so of the televised festivities.  My favorite moments were the performance of “Stand By Me” by a London gospel choir and the beautiful cello pieces by Sheku Kanneh-Mason, although I felt the song selections were a bit somber for the occasion.

So much had to come together to put on this spectacle.  So many talented people, from florists to choir directors to horse handlers to the printers of the large-print programs, gave their best to make this event a superlative one, worthy of a possibly-future king.

And then, like all wedding celebrations, it ended the day it started.

You know what other famous Brit inspired a lot of talented people to get together for an event featuring outstanding musical performances?  Hint: the year was 1971 and the Brit was a former Beatle, who would be snubbed for knighthood by this same Royal Family.  The Concert for Bangladesh organized and headlined by George Harrison is credited for raising $12 million for Bangladesh relief.  (That would be $45 million in 2018 dollars.)

By contrast, the Royal Wedding was estimated to cost $43 million, most of which was paid for security.  So George Harrison and his generous musical friends outspent the Royals on something that really mattered, and there was no carriage ride for them afterwards, only the satisfaction of having done something important.


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