Cosmic Quote #25

“Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player.  It’s staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in.”–Casey Stengel

If the ‘ol professor Stengel was right–and who am I to argue with him–one can surmise that Alex Rodriguez and his .132 post season batting average have spent the last three Octobers in the Bronx pulling all-nighters.**  I guess it pays off, as in getting Cameron Diaz to feed you popcorn at the Super Bowl (see video).  On the other hand, Derek Jeter seems to have a much better batting average than his controversial teammate, both with runners in scoring position and with women in scoring position.   He seems to performs well, both on the field and with the ladies, at all times.  Yet according to one article that appeared on the net couple of years ago, he was just 6 for 100 during the previous season.  That is, he has dated 6 of Maxim Magazine’s hottest 100 women in the world.  That’s a batting average most guys would  love to have.  Eat your heart out, A-Rod.  Thanks to my friend Dave Carlson at The Blog of Funny Names for the nifty work of art below.

Jeter meme**I quantify A-Rod’s futility in clutch situations in the next Equations of Everyday life, now in post production.


Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #5: Count the Cats!

“Dogs are my favorite people.”–Richard Dean Anderson

9c) Mark Anderson

(c) Mark Anderson

Bethany, CT is just a typical, quiet New England exurban town.  Now.  But some thirty years ago, when Cheryl started working there, it was still imbued with a certain quirky character hailing from its agrarian Yankee roots.  The vet she worked for was a lanky, laconic and formal kind of guy who actually wore a tie to work, even on the road for large animal barn calls.  If Dickens were alive in the 1980’s and living in New England,  he would have found all the persona inspiration he could ever need right there in Bethany.   This story hails from that era.

The client, Cathy X, was a groom at a local stable.  She was short, chubby, slovenly and smelled like her work.  It seems her dog, a massive Russian Wolfhound, was in distress, and she let Cheryl know about it the instant she walked in the clinic door.

Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound

Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound

“He’s got a twisted gut, I just know it.”

“What’s going on, Cathy?” My wife was a bit skeptical up front.

“Well…um…,” the exasperated woman could hardly get her words out, ” he’s  lethargic, not eating,  and his stomach is distended.”

Cheryl felt around and disagreed, it just didn’t feel like a torsion.  She thought it was just an upset stomach.  But the client persisted.

“Ok, Cathy, I’ll try a stomach tube and see what that yields.”

The idea here was simple, if the gut was twisted, the stomach tube would not pass.  In went the tube–all the way in.   Seek and ye shall find.   VARRROOOOM.   Almost immediately there arose a torrent of projectile vomiting.   But it was not just gunk.  It was black and white fur, followed by a completely intact trachea and set of lungs!


Momentary silence (while everyone in the office painfully held back laughter).

“Um, maybe not,” my wife protested, “these organs are way too big to be a cat.  And the smell…ugh.”

I assume by now you have figured it out.  If not, let’s just say it was a mistake worthy of Pepe Le Pew.

You now have permission to hold your nose pending my next smelly post.

Signature    @MarkSackler



Time Out: Remembering My Dad on Father’s Day

“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”–Anne Sexton

Albert Allen Sackler
October 8, 1919-April 27,2012

The word serendipity usually conjures up images of inventors or scientists shouting “eureka” when they stumble upon some unexpected discovery.  But serendipity–the so-called happy accident–has its place in art and life as well. On this second father’s day without my beloved dad, here is a story of fond remembrance that might make you smile.

It was the fall of 1967 and my father had just installed some custom cabinetry in our large family den.  It was state of the art for the era: bookshelves, bar and a media center with a stereo and a color TV, the latter which he assembled himself from a Heathkit.  He was, after all, an electrical engineer.  What he never was, before or since, was an artist.  But he was about to become one for just a brief shining moment.

Overspray #1

The bar consisted of a fold down counter which revealed the spirits in the compartment behind it, and above it a cabinet with doors for glassware.  The doors had clear plexiglass window panels, which somehow did not suit my mother’s taste.  My father dutifully removed them to the basement, where he proceeded to spray paint them bright, solid colors.  He replaced the panels, and was prepared to discard the plywood square that had been the drop cloth for the paint job.   But our neighbor, physician and author Jack Shiller, just happened to stop by and call a halt to the demolition.

“Don’t throw that out!”  Dr. Shiller exclaimed


“Put a frame around it!”

He did.  And he entered it in a local art show.   And it won an honorable mention prize; boy, were the judges pissed when they found out the story behind it.

Serendipity or not, I’m glad he was my dad and will love him forever.

Happy Father’s Day to all.  Be sure to hug your dad if he’s still alive.


Summer Rerun: Equations of Everyday Life #2, Inane Celebrity Memes

“I enjoy watching reruns of Saturday Night Live and counting all the dead people.”–George Carlin

Hey, I need that!

Hey, I need that!

Ah, summer.  I’m not actually on vacation, but my neurons are.  Here then, forthwith, is a rebroadcast of my post that was Freshly Pressed on WordPress last September.  I’m still getting Google hits on this one, though we might have to call it Slightly Stale Pressed now.


September 23, 2012

“You’re not famous until my mother has heard of you”–Jay Leno 

(Jay Leno graduated from Emerson College the same year I did.  Aren’t you unimpressed?)

Lindsay Lohan…Paris Hilton…Charlie Sheen…you just gotta follow these people to be “with it” in this day and age.  What I can’t figure out is exactly what “it” is. The nonsense involving these silly (do I dare say ridiculous?) excuses for humanity, and the speed with which their inane meme virality propagates throughout the internet and general mediasphere is stultifying.

 How do we quantify this vacuous tripe?  Quite obviously with:

The Index of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality

Get out your calculators folks, though the math on this one may require something more like a Cray supercomputer.   This process requires not one step, but three.

  1. Rate the inanity
  2. Compute the Virality Index
  3. Classify the virality using the Virality Classification Scale

Rating Inanity

This part is for those of you who—like many politicians—prefer fuzzy math.  In order to compute the virality of an inane celebrity meme, you first need to give it an inanity rating.  This, however, does not compute.  You need to estimate it by a process that could be seen as similar to the way we old folks were taught to compute square roots in days before electronic calculators.  You sort of have to zero in on it—surround it, using  a combination of whatever logic or intuition works for you.

Using a scale of 0 to 1.0, we rate the inanity based on how unusual, how cable newsworthy and, of course, how inane it appears to be.  Using the Lindsay Lohan example, let’s rate some real and imagined events.

Lindsay Lohan gets up in the morning and brushes her teeth (or not).  Probable rating=0  (probable rating because, again, there is some subjectivity here).

Lindsay Lohan gets busted for another probation violation.  Approximate rating=0.5 (This is fairly commonplace but due to media culpability still maintains some newsworthiness.  Also, the specific story behind the arrest may result in some adjustment up or down; the next item demonstrates this.)

Charlie Sheen stubs his toe on the curb of 34th Street in NYC, stumbles into oncoming traffic causing Lindsay Lohan to swerve her speeding Porsche through a display window at Macy’s, decapitating several mannequins, skidding across the retail floor and then crashing through a sidewall into a back room where she runs over Paris Hilton who was in the act of giving her boyfriend a you-know-what.  Absolute rating of 1.0.  This theory does not permit a rating higher than 1.0, but we’ll give this one a 1.0 with a star, meaning it also generates spontaneous orgasms in Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and every Fox News and CNN anchor past, present and future.  (Note that while coverage on Comedy Central will actually lampoon the coverage by the other networks, this will add even greater fuel to the viral fire than serious reporting).

Computing the Virality Index

Here comes the fun.

ξ = Φ(F+T)(µ-110)

Symbol key

ξ =Virality Index I chose that squiggly symbol because I think it looks like Kate Middleton mooning the paparazzi.

Φ =Inanity rating Aren’t those Greek thingies cool? This one is iota, as in “I don’t give one iota of a hoot about these nitwits”.

F= number of “friends” or “likes” on celebrity’s Facebook page

T= number of Twitter followers of the celebrity There is a reason they call it TWITter.

µ =the median IQ of the set whose members are F+T. For the uninitiated µ is the scientific symbol for micro.  How appropriate. (Can’t you just imagine those two sentences being uttered by Dr. Sheldon Cooper?)

To sum it up:

The virality index is the inanity rating multiplied by the combined number of Twitter and Facebook followers multiplied by what I call the vacuity index (median IQ of all followers minus 110).

Classify the Virality

For any chance at virality, the final Index number MUST be negative.  This works perfectly fine for most of the personalities discussed above.  If we are talking about Stephen Hawking, however, there is a better chance of finding virality in the singularity at the center of a black hole.

The classifications of virality are as follows

If ξ ≤  -100,000  minimally contagious

If ξ ≤  -500,000  highly contagious

If ξ ≤  -1 million  immutably viral

If ξ ≤  -10 million globally pandemic

If ξ ≤  -100 million worthy of hours of uninterrupted coverage on CNN and FOX News.

Still to be determined is the threshold at which Geraldo Rivera coverage kicks in.

So if we compute the Charlie Sheen meme virality index for the automobile accident scenario hypothesized above,  we multiply the inanity index of 1 times the combined number of his Twitter and Facebook followers (roughly 10.5 million, don’t worry about being exact, this is fuzzy math) times the vacuity index. We will estimate the latter for Sheehan as (100-110)= -10.  This may be generous but 100, after all, is the definition of median IQ.  This yields a score of -105 million.  If you compute and add to this the scores for Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan who were also involved in the scuffle,  the Index plunges much lower.  The New York Post would be sure to issue a special edition.

This leaves one unanswered question, however.  We now know how to compute the manner in which these viral memes are turned on.  But what determines how they are turned off?  As you would expect, I have the answer which I call the medialogical constant.  I will discuss this in the next Equations of Everyday Life post, which may or may not be published within your lifetime.

Images credit: Meme Center   All other material in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler



Cosmic Quote #24

“The creator of the universe works in mysterious ways.  But he uses a base ten counting system and likes round numbers.”–Scott Adams

The most sublime way to say "100."  So what if its only worth $0.02?

The most sublime way to say “100.” So what if its only worth $0.02?

Well, whomever he she or it is, he she or it must love this post–#100 in the short and illustrious history of The Millennium Conjectures.™  Now if only we counted like computer code, in base 2(binary) this would be post #1,100,100 which looks way more impressive.  Then again, every other post would be on a round number and #100 would have come just a couple of weeks into this gig.    The moral of this story–if any of my stories ever had one?  Don’t get too crazy over round numbers, and be glad we don’t have 17 fingers.

Signature  @MarkSackler


Charles Dickens and the Funniest Names in Fiction

My monthly guest post on The Blog of Funny Names….

The Blog of Funny Names

Charles John Huffman Dickens (1812-1870), as any literate speaker of the Queen’s English knows, was one of the greatest writers in the history of Western Civilization.   No, his name was not funny, and not even eponymous.  The origin of the term dickens as a mild oath or euphemism apparently dates to more than two centuries before his birth.  But what the illustrious Mr. Dickens  was, and to this day remains, is the godfather of funny names in fiction.  His most famous character is the archetypal funny-named character, Ebeneezer Scrooge, who most certainly is eponymous. defines a scrooge as a skinflint or miserly curmudgeon.  And while the use of the word generically to describe any Scrooge-like individual does not appear to have emerged until the late 1930’s, it clearly developed from Scrooge and A Christmas Carol.

But Scrooge is just the start.  The list of funny names…

View original post 377 more words

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