Monthly Archives: October 2018

With the emphasis firmly on not at all, I am not at all interested in…

• Owning or petting a pet, whether dog or cat.

• Cruise vacations, whether ocean or river.

• The Kardashians, Kayne West, Gwyneth Paltrow and other so-called influencers.

• The Academy Awards’ Best Picture, the Grammy Awards’ Best Recording, the Tony Awards’ Best Play, and the Country Music Awards’ Entertainer of the Year.

• Crewing on someone’s sailboat (as if they would ask me).

• Whether it was Laurel or Yanny, or white-and-gold vs. black-and-blue.

• Playing the slots (or anything else) at a casino.

• The local symphony orchestra (wherever local may be).  Even in a casino.

• The Property Brothers.  Or their personal-grooming products.

• Church.  (I would attend an AME Zion service if they would just let me sit in the balcony and listen — and yes, that would be a contradiction.)

• What will befall Roseanne now that Roseanne is no longer on the show and what will befall Today with Megyn Kelly now that Megyn is no longer on the show.  Let me guess, not that I am interested in either outcome.

• Nor am I at all interested in basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, college football,  NASCAR, or competitive hot-dog eating.

• Or Mike Pence’s self-imposed marital fidelity guidelines.

• Or Fresh Air with Terry Gross and whoever her guest is.

• Or iPhone sizes, features, resolutions, or…

• Where my chicken comes from.

• Watching glaciers fall into the ocean on a ship off the coast of Alaska.

• Standing in line for almost anything, including Disney World.

• Whether my non-existent gun collection will be confiscated by the government.

• Investing my time in people who aren’t very interested in returning the investment.

• Whatever Trump has to say, especially when he is called upon to be truthful or sincere.  But just about every other time as well.

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Forgive me Readers, it has been four months since my last confession.

I have mostly, not entirely, given up online Scrabble.  I recently engaged in a few games with a randomly-selected opponent named Nadine.  Thanks to lucky letters, I defeated Nadine two games in a row, scoring a record (for me) 525 points one game.  However, our third game was much closer — during the game, each of us played two seven-letter words and after eleven rounds (with my having passed on the first round) the score was 385-381.

We started Round 12 with no letters remaining in the bag.  I played WOO for 29 points.  Nadine played YWIS for 23.  I texted to Nadine on the sidebar chat how I would be sure to remember YWIS the next time I had a Y, W, I and a blank in my tray.  I don’t think Nadine appreciated my comment.  After I played VEE for 27 points, she quickly played GREED for 10 points, clearing her tray and ending the game.

I won our third game by 24 points.  Nadine has not asked for a rematch.


It seems some Scrabble players want to win so much that they sit down before games and memorize odd words like YWIS.  And other Scrabble players want to win so much that they consult anagram-finders during play, to see what can be done with their letter tray.  Who is to say what took place there?  And moreover, does it matter?

I really don’t want to know the answer.  It is just a game.  Getting the win is fun, but I am not a better person if I win or a worse person if I lose.  If YWIS (Your World Is Scrabble) then we have little in common.


I have always tried to enjoy my interests and hobbies without feeling that I have to be the best — or even very good — at them.  At times, this has led me to resent our culture of virtuosity, where only excellence is admired and anything less means that your rightful place is in the audience.

Imagine a world in which human creativity and intelligence are not stifled by poverty, racism, sexism and fundamentalism.  Imagine what might blossom, if everyone in the world had the wherewithal (as I do) to achieve even their most modest goals (as I try to).


I know this is getting old, as it feels old to me.  I am still working on my The Price is Right optimum-bid research paper.  Since my last post, I did more study and found more data, and those findings led me to revise half of my text and almost all of my graphs.  So my new goal is to submit my paper to the MDPI Games Journal by Thanksgiving.

I need to finish this vanity project so I can move forward with my other vanity projects.


I resigned this month as the editor of our homeowner-association directory, after eight years of way-overthinking it.  I had originally volunteered because I was tired of seeing stock photos on the cover of the directory — of course, my photos would be much better.  Like most volunteer work, it was a thankless task.   Well, a few people did say thanks over the years, cancelling out those who found something to complain about.

As I said, time to move forward with my other vanity projects.


Fall-color-season in the Pisgah Forest of North Carolina has arrived again.  Which means that local tourism is in full-swing.  I don’t really get it.  Around our place, the leaves turn a dull yellow, then a crispy brown, then they fall off (except for oaks, which hang onto their leaves until spring, requiring two fall cleanups).  The brilliantly-colored trees, the maples and red oaks, are not as abundant here as they are in Pennsylvania and points north.

I say to the great people of Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama, drive another eight hours to the north, especially to the Laurel Mountains of Pennsylvania, if you want to see some really unforgettable fall colors and help reduce traffic congestion in Asheville.


Apathy is Death -- Scene in Asheville NC, 2018I voted early.  Afterwards, I stuck my voting sticker on the rear-view mirror of my car.  It may be too much to hope that my quantum act of political will will make a large-scale difference, but you never know.  Like the Mega Millions lottery, you may only be one of 300 million but someone is going to win.  You folks who bought a lottery ticket and figured out how to spend that billion dollars, I invite you to take the same chance on voting — it is free and the payoff is much better.

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The participants in major league baseball’s 2018 World Series have now been decided.

The two teams that will vie for the championship are the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose team payroll was $199,582,045 (3rd of 30 teams), and the Boston Red Sox, whose team payroll was $228,398,860, highest of all teams, and $20 million more than the next-highest team.

Meanwhile, the 2018 team payroll for Pittsburgh Pirates was $91,025,861, a little less than two-thirds of the league average.  The Pirates finished with a .509 winning percentage and  despite their hot streak in July were never really in playoff contention.

Moral of the story: If you want to play power ball, you need to spend mega-millions.

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