post

Hurricane Rerun: The Sackler Laws (Part 2 1/2)

Here is part two of the rerun which began on Monday.  If the northeast USA has been washed away by the time you read this, consider it my last will and testament.  If not, brace yourself for something new by the weekend.

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

Having kids is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”–Alan Bleasdale

Part B: The Equation of Kid Chaos.  As the number of kids in any household or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said kids increases logarithmically.

As we saw in Part A of this law, The Equation of Canine Chaos, dog generated insanity increases exponentially as dog population increases.  With kids it is infinitely more complex; so we see:

Heaven help us! (even if we are not pious)

When n=1 then Ck=1, but when n>1 then Ck=10n-1

So…n is the number of kids present in a given environment, and Ck is the potential kid-generated chaos in that environment.   In plain English?  The potential chaos increases by an order of magnitude with each kid added!  In other words—for the mathematically challenged among you—two kids may be 10 times as chaotic as one; three may be 100 times as chaotic; four, 1000 times, and so on.

But the increase in analytical complexity here is far greater than the math.  For dogs, the equation is for actual chaos and is a good average.  For kids, it is only for potential chaos, and is somewhere between an approximation and a wild guess.  For one thing, the interactions between children are so complex that they quickly become incalculable.  A good metaphor for this is Newton’s laws of gravity when applied to orbital mechanics of celestial objects: the interaction between two of them is precisely calculable, but as soon as you add even one more the math becomes intractable.

This does not even bring into the equation the question of other variables, such as age, upbringing, setting and proximity to bedtime.  Setting is particularly important.  For example, put 20 nine-year-olds in a catechism class taught by an angry nun wielding a ruler, and the chaos will appear so infinitesimal even the CERN supercollider would be hard pressed to detect it.  Now put the same twenty kids in an unsupervised free swim in a public pool, and you’ll pin the needle on the Richter scale.

But wait, it gets worse!  Dog chaos is pretty obviously measured by noise and activity; but with kids that doesn’t completely tell the tale.   Even when they are quiet there is no telling what’s going on in their little crania.  Take, for example, those twenty tykes in the catechism class.  They may appear behaved now, but what they are plotting to do to that nun when class gets out makes Lord of the Flies look like a sitcom.

This brings us to the most perplexing problem of all: putting multiple kids and dogs together and attempting to calculate what will happen.  It is not unlike trying to unify relativity and quantum mechanics into a single theory of quantum gravity.   In discussing this with my cousin Marion, I asserted that she could not imagine what the equation would look like.  Her sly reply was that she could not even imagine what the room would look like!  Not being one to back off from a challenge, I found this image which fairly represents what both the resulting math and the domicile will look like.

The Equation of Combined Kid AND Canine Chaos


With that,  have a great holiday week and brace yourself for more.

post

Cosmic Quote #8

“How is it possible to find meaning in a finite world, given my waist and shirt size?”–Woody Allen

(c) 2012 Matthias Giesen. Used by permission. Click image for link.

Physically, I am now back in Connecticut.  Mentally, I am still on vacation in Dubai.  My circadian rhythms?  MIA–but probably floating somewhere north of Saturn and west of Alpha Centauri.  The time difference is 8 hours and we partied way too late every night for old farts of our pre-digital generation.   (We didn’t chose Dubai to vacation, it chose us.  More on that some other time; now back to my day job.)

post

Vacation Rerun: The Sackler Laws (Part One)

While I vacation with my family in an opulent mystery location,  here is a rerun quite appropriate for the current political season; or, for that manner, any season.   Fans, you will have to endure at least one more rerun before I return, if I return, if I’m still breathing.   If the ratings drop because of repeat content, I’ll run a test pattern the next time I’m on vacation.

Now for something completely ridiculous

Okay. You were promised ridiculous as well as sublime, so here goes. But be forewarned: sublime posts are speculative; ridiculous ones are not.

The Millennium Conjectures are speculations, guesses, wild assumptions. The Sackler Laws are not. They are not conjectures. They are not theories, nor hypothesis, nor speculation, nor guesses.

They are absolutely immutable laws of the universe. So you have been warned, and with that I present Sackler Law #1:

The Law of Bumper Sticker Activism

A person with one political bumper sticker on their car is a person with a cause.

.

A person with two political bumper stickers on their car is an activist.

.

A person with three or more bumper stickers of any kind on their car is a complete nut case!

As previously stated, this law is absolute, immutable, and not open to debate. It matters not the persuasion: liberal, conservative, moderate, authoritarian, libertarian, religious, atheist, vegan, cannibalistic, tea party, green party, toga party. It’s all the same. I have spoken. End of discussion. Next question please! (For a complementary, but not competing view on the subject of bumper stickers, click here.) Text in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

post

Timeout: Google This! (or, The Color of Stupidity)

“If there are no stupid questions, what questions do stupid people ask?”–Scott Adams

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”– Benjamin Franklin

Ben on stupidity

Good ol’ Ben knew stupidity when he saw it.

Nothing enables stupid, silly, naive, ridiculous or downright ignorant questions like internet search engines.  Judging by some of the search queries by which my blog has been found, I’m guessing that some of these people were either drunk in a bar, or reading too many ridiculous blogs.  Courtesy of WordPress.com’s excellent blog stats page, here are some of the best examples,  along with my appropriately astute responses.  (NOTE:  These are all verbatim from the aforementioned WordPress stats summary.  Somebody out there actually found my blog using these search queries.)

Where would we be if we traveled 777 billion light years?  I have no idea, but I’d hate to have to pick up the tab for the cab ride home.

Sixteen times four equals what?   Probably 42, if you are Douglas Adams

Let me explain infinity, it is a measure of a human power, which actually not compatible, .  for ex infinity is sir Albert Einstein…   I just report them; I don’t explain them.  But if you have any clue as to what planet the person who wrote this query is from, please inform us all.

Mark Sackler DVM  After 30 plus years of marriage to a veterinarian, I have apparently been awarded an honorary degree.  I certainly deserve some sort of award–or at least sympathy.

Barbayaki  Say what??!!  (According to the stats, this query has found my blog FOUR times.  As Casey Stengel said,  “you could look it up.”)

Why they add 1 millennium in 21st?  OK.  I give up.  Why?

Funny pro-conservative bumper stickers     See my post on non-existence. 

Millennium Twain NASA   You left out rutabaga.

Funny names for mark  What? “Mark” is not funny enough by itself?

Molenium conjectures  Hey, moles can have ideas, too.

Is there still a lawyer for Einstein?  I’m not sure, but I think there is a lawyer for everything–even non-existence.

Please feel free to share your responses to any of these nut-case inquiries,  and be sure to check back in a couple of months.  There are bound to be more where these came from… 😉

post

Timeout: The Sackler Laws (Part 3)

The Law of Laws

“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.”  Douglas Adams

The only law that works better in practice than it does in theory is Murphy’s Law.

Image Credit: Cartoon Stock.com. Used by permission.

Whomever said originally that Murphy was an optimist was at least hinting at this. But this blog is about cutting to the chase, cutting out the crap, and stating the obvious (or the “should be obvious”) as directly as humanly possible.  After all, it is Einstein who said one should make things as simple as possible.  So for all the countless corollaries, addenda and sub-clauses to the infamous milieu of Murphy,  I do not believe anyone has ever stated this obvious notion so directly.

quote

“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”-Groucho Marx

Now if I could only find a child of five to write my next post, I could get out of here for the weekend.

Forever five years old


quote

“Today must be Thursday.  I could never get the hang of Thursdays.”–Douglas Adams

Please Thursday, don’t muck up my weekend.

My creative pipeline is constipated;  it will probably require a massive mental enema to flush out the next significant post.  In the meantime I’m hitting the golf course this morning.  It’s a form of self-flagellation, I know, but it beats passing kidney stones.  Wish me luck.

post

Introducing: The BLAHS

“What’s with all these awards?  They’re always giving out awards”–Woody Allen as Alvie Singer in “Annie Hall”

Golden Raspberry

The Golden Raspberry Award. Given annually to the worst films, it’s the only Hollywood award I have any respect for. This is probably because my sister Micki has been a presenter at many of their ceremonies.

Woody Allen is famous for his disdain for entertainment industry awards.  But there is, I have discovered, one media cohort that gives out even more awards than Hollywood.  You’re in it right now.  It’s the blogosphere. It seems that every third blog I visit claims to have won a blogging award.  How can this be?  It’s because just about every third blogger gives out awards.  Hell, I’ve even won one already!  And unlike Groucho Marx, I have no problem belonging to a club that has me as a member.  So without further ado, here come the BLAHS.

The BLAHS (BLog Awards Handed out by Sackler)

There are three significant things you should know about the BLAHS.  (That is, if you are interested, which is a dubious assumption on my part).

First, the term “BLAHS,” itself, is in an appropriate-for-this-blog state of superposition.  It is simultaneously singular and plural.

Second, the awards will be quasi-semi-maybe annual.  This means I will give them out whenever I damn well feel like it for whatever I feel like and too whomever I feel like.

Third, I am still working on an actual physical prize.  Trophies are nearly worthless.  I would much prefer to give out something completely worthless.  Like a years’ supply of rutabaga.  And since I don’t know anybody who actually uses rutabaga–or eats it–the  prize would be….nothing!  OK, you say you can think of uses for a rutabaga?  A doorstop? A very small lopsided bowling ball?  A shot put for a 98-pound weakling?  If you can think up 20 more uses then you have less of a life than I do and still won’t win anything.

And now–may we have the envelope and a piccolo trill, please–the winner of the first BLAHS is:

Dave Carlson of The Blog of Funny Names

Ossee SchreckengostBenedict CumberbatchOuterbridge Horsey…if you haven’t heard of these names, well, you have now!  And if you had been following The Blog of Funny Names since it’s debut last December, you would not have needed me to clue you in.  Every weekday Dave and his co-authors present another great name from history, entertainment or current events.  Special features include a weekly Funny Names in the News column.  Oh and of course, they also give out blog awards; they gave me mine.  Here is what they said about me:

Mark Sackler of Millenium Conjectures wins the Rube Waddell Ridiculousness Award. He’s a newer fan of ours who has already earned some notice. He’s an avid baseball fan and a kindred spirit who formerly kept a funny named baseball players list, and prides his blog on the “ridiculous and sublime” – also a good descriptor for Rube Waddell.

Great demented minds are equally demented.  But besides the obvious quid pro quo, there is another great reason I selected Funny Names for the first BLAHS.  It’s my favorite blog–other than my own, of course.

Endnote: if you have any suggestions for a suitable prize for the BLAHS, or a logo for that matter,  please send them to me, or post them herein.

post

Timeout: 15 Minutes and 45 Seconds of Fame

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”–Andy Warhol

Bob Watson

The date was May 4th, 1975.  The place was Candlestick Park, San Fransisco.  And the man of the hour was Bob Watson of the Houston Astros,  who scored the 1 millionth run in major league baseball history.  Watson beat Dave Concepcion of the Cincinnati Reds by four seconds in a race around the bases from opposite ends of the country.  It was one of the most exciting early-in-the-season baseball moments ever.

To this day Watson’s name, and to a lesser extent Concepcion’s, is associated with that event in baseball history.  But there was another name in the news that was connected to the story.  He was  a 24-year-old local sportscaster from Westport, CT who used a first generation, eighty dollar electronic calculator to research and originate the millionth run contest, thus scooping all the professional statisticians and baseball journalists.  He went on a media tour to promote a “guess-the-player” contest sponsored by Tootsie Roll.  His picture and name appeared in wire service stories, in Sport Magazine and in the New York Daily News.  He appeared on television and spoke at press conferences alongside the likes of Stan Musial, Ralph Branca, Mel Allen and Bowie Kuhn.  He had 15 minutes of Warholian fame.   Then came oblivion.

The 24-year old whiz kid with the calculator was, of course, me.

I was exhilarated, excited and even euphoric;  then it was over.   And for thirty-something years the memory simply faded, almost to the point that it seemed to have happened to another person in

Millionth run center

The 1,000,000th run countdown center. That’s me talking to the gathered media as Stan Musial naps in the background. Check out my 1975 hair!

another lifetime.  It became just another forgotten footnote in the deep and illustrious history of our national pastime.  After awhile, I didn’t even care, so why should anybody else?

Then something funny happened.  Straight out the blue, nearly four years ago, I received an email from Kansas City Star sportswriter Joe Posnanski.

“Are you the Mark Sackler who originated the millionth run?” he asked.  “I’m writing a book about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds.  I want to include it and the events involving Davey Concepcion as an interesting sidebar to the season’s story.”

The next year, The Machine, Posnanski’s book chronicling a great season by one of the best teams in the game’s history, appeared in bookstores with a chapter on the millionth run.  After 34 years, somebody remembered.   My sister joked that I was getting another 15 minutes of fame.  My retort was that it was more like 30 seconds.

But then it happened again.  A few months ago, a gentleman named Timothy Gregg contacted me on Facebook to make the same inquiry.  Was I the millionth run originator?  Gregg, also a former sportscaster and sports promoter, now a digital media producer, was co-authoring the memoirs of Houston Astros TV commentator Bill Brown.  Of course, there would be a chapter on the millionth run in that book as well.  This time not from the Reds point of view, but the Astros.   This book–My Baseball Journeywas just recently published.  So fifteen minutes of fame is now fifteen minutes and forty-five seconds.   And counting…

If you are a baseball fan, both of these books are worthwhile.  Otherwise, stay tuned for more effluvia from my hopelessly cluttered cranium.

post

Timeout: The Sackler Laws (Part 2 1/2)

The Laws of Kid and Canine Chaos

Having kids is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”–Alan Bleasdale

Part B: The Equation of Kid Chaos.  As the number of kids in any household or otherwise confined environment increases, the chaos generated by said kids increases logarithmically.

As we saw in Part A of this law, The Equation of Canine Chaos, dog generated insanity increases exponentially as dog population increases.  With kids it is infinitely more complex; so we see:

Heaven help us! (even if we are not pious)

When n=1 then Ck=1, but when n>1 then Ck=10n-1

So…n is the number of kids present in a given environment, and Ck is the potential kid-generated chaos in that environment.   In plain English?  The potential chaos increases by an order of magnitude with each kid added!  In other words—for the mathematically challenged among you—two kids may be 10 times as chaotic as one; three may be 100 times as chaotic; four, 1000 times, and so on.

But the increase in analytical complexity here is far greater than the math.  For dogs, the equation is for actual chaos and is a good average.  For kids, it is only for potential chaos, and is somewhere between an approximation and a wild guess.  For one thing, the interactions between children are so complex that they quickly become incalculable.  A good metaphor for this is Newton’s laws of gravity when applied to orbital mechanics of celestial objects: the interaction between two of them is precisely calculable, but as soon as you add even one more the math becomes intractable.

This does not even bring into the equation the question of other variables, such as age, upbringing, setting and proximity to bedtime.  Setting is particularly important.  For example, put 20 nine-year-olds in a catechism class taught by an angry nun wielding a ruler, and the chaos will appear so infinitesimal even the CERN supercollider would be hard pressed to detect it.  Now put the same twenty kids in an unsupervised free swim in a public pool, and you’ll pin the needle on the Richter scale.

But wait, it gets worse!  Dog chaos is pretty obviously measured by noise and activity; but with kids that doesn’t completely tell the tale.   Even when they are quiet there is no telling what’s going on in their little crania.  Take, for example, those twenty tykes in the catechism class.  They may appear behaved now, but what they are plotting to do to that nun when class gets out makes Lord of the Flies look like a sitcom.

This brings us to the most perplexing problem of all: putting multiple kids and dogs together and attempting to calculate what will happen.  It is not unlike trying to unify relativity and quantum mechanics into a single theory of quantum gravity.   In discussing this with my cousin Marion, I asserted that she could not imagine what the equation would look like.  Her sly reply was that she could not even imagine what the room would look like!  Not being one to back off from a challenge, I found this image which fairly represents what both the resulting math and the domicile will look like.

The Equation of Combined Kid AND Canine Chaos


With that,  have a great holiday week and brace yourself for more.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: