Thoughts at Large: 57

• As the legendary 19th-century mathematician and master of infinities Georg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor said, “There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are one of those kinds and those who are not.”

• After many dozen online contests, I have found there are three types of Scrabble games.  One may draw lucky letters and score one great word after another, an embarassment of riches; or one draws a few good letters among mostly mediocre ones, just enough to give one hope during the uncertain struggle; or one’s letter tray follows a winding road, veering between six consonants and a vowel and one consonant (surely a V) and six vowels (mostly I’s and U’s), delivering a stern lesson in frustration and powerlessness.  That’s life.

• Actually, I am tiring of online games.  And more to the point, I am growing tired of luck.  If my prospects when entering a given endeavor are no better than 50-50, perhaps it’s time to pick a different endeavor.  No point being quixotic at this point of my life.  Better to use what I know, whatever that is, to produce good things, whatever they may be.

• At the supermarket, one can buy 20 tablets of the brand-name laxative Senokot for $6.98 (or 35 cents each), or one can buy 100 tablets of the generic version of the same laxative, sitting right next to the Senekot, for $3.78 (4 cents each).  Simple choice?  Note the empty space in the tray where several boxes of Senekot once sat.

This (click on it) is the most annoying television commercial I have had the misfortune to watch in a long, long time.  It gives a bad name to being progressive.

• The enemy of one’s enemy may be one’s friend, but it does not follow that a foolish man pointing out another fool is smart.  Indeed, he may be a stable genius.

• What we call nations are simply land-collectives.  They may be founded under variously-stated precepts and principles, but in the end they are about people holding onto land.

• Here’s another supermarket find, from the same store on the same day (click image to enlarge).  You may choose (on the left) 8 oz. of Premium Saltines for $2.97 or (on the right) 16 oz. of Premium Saltines for $2.98.  The 8-oz. box is made for people who are afraid to have too much of a good thing.

• Someone close to me recently made an intriguingly-stated observation: “The dead trees look great not there.”

• A few weeks ago, there was a story about mothers waiting in line for hours on end at shopping malls across the nation, with their young children in tow, to take advantage of a Build-A-Bear promotion.  I wonder how many hours those people will stand in line to vote.

• Procter & Gamble, the maker of Tide and Pampers, is trying to obtain trademark rights for millenial catchwords and phrases such as LOL and WTF.  This is a pretty radical idea for such an old-and-storied company — are we about to see a product in our supermarkets called “WTF Is In This Diaper?”  In any event, two can play this game.  If I had lots of cash and a suitable lack of brains, I would develop a Star Trek-themed funeral-home franchise called “He’s Dead, Jim,” a toilet-bowl cleaner called “Grime of Thrones” and a line of roach-killing products under the “CU-L8R” brand.

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4 Responses to Thoughts at Large: 57

  1. Sue Collins says:

    Hmmmm, I think that I know the person who liked the dead trees gone . . .

  2. Rob says:

    -Choosing endeavors wisely seems to be more important as I age. I want to slow down and yet I want to continue to be useful, informed, and entertained, not necessarily all at once.
    -If consumer habits made sense, ultimately the consumer economy would collapse.
    -Nations are about land in one sense (so are yards), but they are also about the things land allows, like digging for coal or launching a ship.
    -Your brand names are excellent.

  3. Bruce says:

    I read an article about luck recently. Turns out there ain’t no such thing. “[It seems] judgments about luck are inconsistent and changeable, the predictable result of framing effects and idiosyncratic personality traits. They raise the serious possibility that ‘luck’ is no more than a subjective point of view taken on certain events, not a genuine property in the world that we discover.” So it’s all in your head. But so is everything.
    Good luck,
    Bruce

    https://aeon.co/essays/why-luck-might-be-subjective-and-not-part-of-the-world

    • Craig says:

      Thanks Bruce… and in zero-sum games, one person’s bad luck is the other person’s good luck, so it definitely is subjective. Perhaps I should have stated things in terms of the tails of the distribution, but that would have required a lot more explaining!

      I am “lucky” to have readers of the blog! Hopefully, that’s not a zero-sum.

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