Thursday, October 20, 2016

getting lucky

At dining!

Last weekend, my wife and I spent a night in Manchester. We had driven by the queen city many times but never really explored the place.

We were on foot and looking for a place to dine. We found the Hanover Street Chop House, which looked good, but there was a 45 minute to 1 hour wait.


We could sit at the bar--which also had a wait list, please check with the bartender.

Which we did.

And...we got a spot within about 30 seconds of being added to the list. was a corner spot, so we could converse easily. was close enough to the live piano player to hear the music, but not so close as to drown-out our talking.

Oh my God! The prices! Glad we didn't have the whole family with us!

Spared at the last moment: There was a bar-menu with smaller portions, which is all we really wanted and had much more reasonable pricing.

We shared a beet salad with goat cheese, nuts and dried cranberries. Vaishali had a fancy meatloaf with garlic mashed potatos and shoestring onions. I had some steamed hard shell clams and a petite fillet (rare) with fried oysters.

The food was great and we had just enough of it to be satisfied.

The evening could not have worked out better!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Brave Sir Knight, tell us of your crusade!

I voted for Hillary Clinton.

Surely there were great hardships on your journey to the polling place, tell us of them!

The polling place is at our local elementary school.

Prithee, Sir, were there fierce dragons guarding this place?

No. There was a bit of a line though.

In fairness: Both sides seem to have abundant Sir Knights!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Old & Very Wrong Predictions

But still very informative...

I was prompted by a Gary Johnson post in Facebook: Hillary and Trump could both come up short of 270 Electoral votes and throw the election to the House of Representatives. (Where Johnson could presumably be chosen)

I went looking to see what the law said on this topic. I should have just gone to the document itself, but willfully clicked on a link to an article from The Atlantic that seemed promising. Little did I expect that it would be from October 1980! (Yay for The Atlantic for getting those archive issues on-line!)

If Anderson wins only the thirty-nine electoral votes of Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut -- three states in which Ronald Reagan's polls have shown Anderson leading -- Jimmy Carter could end up with 230 votes from the urban Northeast and part of the South, forty short of the 270 needed for a majority, and Reagan could take the rest -- including the West and Midwest -- for a total of 268 electoral votes, two votes short of the presidency.

In case you think Laurence H. Tribe and Thomas M. Rollins were just spinning a fancy...It sounds to me like they really thought this could happen.

That the odds of a House election seem high in 1980 is not just a function of Anderson's strong showing in the polls; those odds will remain high and grow higher as the political gaps left by our major parties continue to widen.

What was interesting, even though I have a faint recollection of seeing this before, is that the House does not choose the President by simple majority. It chooses by a majority of state delegations. So the California delegation gets one vote, the New Hampshire delegation one, etc. I am pleased to note that Republicans have a majority in 33 states, Democrats in 14 and it is evenly split in the remaining 3.

The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the
President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole
Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than
one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of
Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately
chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person
have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List
the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President.
But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by
States, the Representation from each State having one Vote;
A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or
Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of
all the States shall be necessary to a Choice.

A final note: The election of 1980 had the final results of: Reagan 489 electoral votes, Carter 49 and Anderson zero.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

I Do A Little Math

And realize that someone came up with the mysterious number, by doing a little math too.

From the 1960s onward, his romances often overshadowed his professional life. There were great loves (Joan Collins, Natalie Wood, Julie Christie, Diane Keaton) and many, many shorter trysts, from Cher to Madonna. He insists there is wild hyperbole in his reputation as a manslut and disputes the mathematics of the 12,775 women one of his biographers, Peter Biskind, has claimed for him. "Think about it, sleeping with 12,775 people," he says, not without a certain amount of glee. "That would mean not just that there were multiple people a day, but that there was no repetition."

From an AARP piece on Warren Beatty

12,775/365 = 35 Exactly 35! Someone probably figured that 35 is the number of years between when Beatty became "a man" at 18 and when he became a husband at 54. One different woman every. single. day. Yeah, not likely, but very likly that is where the number came from.

Friday, September 23, 2016

They Say It So Sincerely, It Must Be True

Until the smallest and easiest bit of logic or reason is applied.

1. I had a guy who insisted that softball hitters were much more skilled than baseball hitters. There was lots of theory about how there is less time to react and the ball has more curve etc. You can even google it: This guy wasn't the only clown to make the claim. But it all wilts under one question: If softball hitters are more skilled and they are mostly women, how come there isn't a single woman in the MLB? The pay is huge for players that can hit and there is no rule prohibiting women from playing.

2. This is an old one from my youth and so you may not be able to find anyone claming it now: Back then, people would often claim that guns will not work in space. The people who made the claim often felt that it was deep somehow: Futuristic Man will have no need for such primitive and backward things etc. I never understood the basis for even thinking they wouldn't work: The fuel and oxidiser are contained within the cartridge--chemical reactions don't need gravity.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Okay, (backing away slowly)...But why would I want to find Hillary likable?

To find Hillary Clinton likable, we must learn to view women complexly

The article is TL;DR but begins with a howler that does not encourage further reading:

Clinton is on one hand the most qualified human being to ever run for president of the United States,...

Without getting into the weeds of whether or not it is possible to like Hillary, let's just for the sake of argument say that it is possible and consider instead why one would want to go to the tremendous work of getting to like Herself.

1. If you are inclined to do this, doesn't this seem as if you are just looking for reasons to justify the vote you have already decided to cast?

2. If you currently dislike Hillary, what possible reason would you have to want to change your mind?

Advice for Caroline Siede, if you think Trump:

In fact, Donald Trump is the only candidate who is more disliked than Clinton. And he’s not only overtly racist, sexist, and Islamophobic, but also unfit and unprepared for office.

Why not follow your own advice and figure out how you have been conditioned by your life experience to hate a guy like Trump and overcome this bias--isn't this what you are asking of your readers? Or is she really focusing on case # 1?

Maybe we can just accept that the sum of our experiences give us each the ability to make judgments? Anyway the premise is weak enough: Find any interview with Dolly Parton and unless you are very unusual, you will agree that she is unrelentingly likable and is also a woman. So, societal conditioning notwithstanding, it is possible to be a woman and likable.

The article somehow reminds me of these lyrics:

Any world that I'm welcome to
Is better than the one I come from

Thursday, September 15, 2016

While I'm On The Topic of Sunglasses...

I have quite a few pair. This is because, for whatever reason, it is now near impossible to find ones with glass lenses. This is a, Problem For Me™. I don't care how durable the makers claim their plastic lenses are, they are not, not in my hands. Within moments they are unusable nicked, faded, abraded and shot. I keep them around though. Driving on bright days or a day at the beach requires something, even if it is shabby.

Well, I bought a really good pair of Ray-Bans and a quick phone web search at the time of purchase led us to believe they are glass. It is really hard to tell until or unless they scratch, so until they do there is some doubt about the construction. The other day, I grabbed the good ones and soon noticed all kinds of problems with the lenses. I was full of recriminations at having paid so dearly for what ended up being useless trash. What I didn't notice for a while was that these were a crappy older pair. The kicker is that I've done this more than once! The frames are a lot alike but I know that both pair exist. Why isn't my first assumption that I grabbed the wrong pair, rather than that my fancy new ones are damage-prone plastic lensed sunglasses?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hillary (Strangelove) Clinton

Madame President became Dr. Strangelove so gradually that hardly anyone noticed until too late...

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Tents Situation

A flood of texts hit me this morning about the kid's camping trip. Which tent should they take--they both look the same. They are both in green bags, but one is a pup-tent for two (actually big enough for the two campers) and the other is 9' X 7' and could hold 6 people.

Later: The truck won't start and somehow it is at the bottom of the driveway. I don't quite know how this is possible. It is an automatic, how did they roll it down the driveway in drive? Did they think it could be compression started? The girl drives a stick shift and I have shown her how to compression start the car but I don't think she has ever done it--anyway, it doesn't work with an auto.

Then: Where are the jumper cables? I hid put them in an access hatch in the back of the truck--where the jack and lug wrench go. This took five minutes to be found but they made a good comeback by jump starting the car with modest levels of angst.

Finally: What grade of fuel does the Saab take? They switched from the truck to the wagon to be safe from further dead battery situations. Premium. "Is that the same as Super"? "Just put in the grade with the highest octane number and you will be fine".

The End (for now)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Tale Of Two Poles

The North polar region and South Polar regions are not just literally polar opposites; they are opposites in another couple of fundamental ways. The arctic ocean is a body of water surrounded by land--Canada, Alaska, Russia and Greenland. The South is covered by a continent with a sea around it--the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

It is well known by followers of "climate hysteria science" that while the arctic sea ice is declining, the antarctic sea ice has been setting records in the opposite direction.

Here is an experiment to try: Google "why is the arctic..." it will autocomplete to "why is the arctic sea ice melting" You will get a bunch of hits that all agree with the first thing that pops up:
"Increased water temperatures and air temperatures due to human-caused global warming are the dominant reasons for the record melting of the Arctic sea ice."

Let us try this for the Antarctic..."why is antarctic sea ice growing". You will get a bunch of articles that essentially say what the first hit say:

"Antarctic sea ice has been growing over the last few decades but it certainly is not due to cooling"

If it were still the 1970's, one might expect the opposite result: Back when global cooling was the problem, the Antarctic sea ice would have been because duh! Global cooling and fancy explanations would have been foisted on the strange decline in the Arctic sea ice.

Similarly: Look for "difference between models and temperature measurements" and you will find two kinds of articles--ones that spin theories of various levels of complexity to justify the discrepancy between the climate models and actual temperature measurements. They almost never show the kind of graphic below: This is found mostly in skeptical articles:

A picture is worth a thousand words and who wants to write an extra thousand when you could just not include the troublesome image?

Monday, August 08, 2016

Girls In The World

Wednesday was a banner day for the Pecchia girls:

S. The oldest, presented her Summer research work in a poster session at UML. It was solid work and presented very professionally.

D. The 'forgotten' middle girl, began her clinical practice as part of her CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) course.

J. Obviously the youngest, assisted teaching masters classes with the head of her dance studio.

They are all out there, making a mark on the world.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Situational History

Wait! Didn't Obama ridicule Mitt four years ago for saying that Russia is our number one adversary?

Yes, but times change and now the Russkies are really dangerous...

Is this because president Romney has been treating the Russian Federation like it is our enemy and so they have been pushed into a corner? You know, an honest to to goodness self-fulfilling prophecy?

You know as well as I that president Obama has been in the oval these last four years.

So are you saying Romney was right, or are you saying Obama is responsible for the deterioration in US-Russian relations?

Wait! What? Shut up! The real issue is that Russia and Trump are colluding to reveal top secret information.

Do you mean the 30,000 emails Hillary deleted because they are not work related? If they are not work related, how could they have anything top secret on them? Are you saying Hillary was less than honest about the emails she deleted?

Wait! What? Shut up! Look! A squirrel!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Little Things On My Morning Run

Well, "run" is being generous at the speed I am making these days, but let's set that aside for a moment and look at interesting little things.

1. I dropped Jemma off at captain's practice by 6:05. Lots of girls there, so we were not too late.

2. 20 minutes later, I was back home, changed into running clothes and on my run. Soon after I started, I noticed something rabbit-sized dash across the road. It didn't bounce though, it ran like a bird, which is what it was. It was a baby turkey and it was joining about 7 of its siblings in a front yard with one adult turkey. As I ran by, slightly concerned that the adult would attack me, the one closest to the road skittered over to its mom for protection.

3. About a mile in, a woman jogger about my age turned onto the road from a side street. I said "good morning" as I passed her.

4. I saw three young women going the opposite direction at about mile 4 of my run. I said "hi" and noticed that I know one of them, she is a friend of Dahlia.

5. Having finished my 6 miles and showered. Jemma texted that she was ready to be picked up. On the way to picking her up, I noticed the woman from #3, heading in the opposite direction as the last time I'd seen her.

6. When I picked up Jemma, I told her about seeing A. Jemma said, "Yeah, I know, she told me she saw you".

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why Bother?

Why do heavy weight boxers have to weigh-in? They can weigh as much as they want since there is no upper limit.

They do, you know.

Boxing is a sport but it is also show business. There is an informational content too: If a boxer is heavier, then he is probably slower, but also harder to hurt.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

For The First Time Ever, Not Voting Republican for President

Full disclosures:

1. I live in Massachusetts and if Trump has a chance here, he will win in a landslide anyway.

2. For all his problems, I would much rather have Trump be president than Hillary Clinton.

I only bothered to vote for president so that the Republican candidate would lose by one less vote than if I stayed home. Trump does not deserve this validation and lucky me, it doesn't matter here. I truly do feel for my friends in NH though. I really do. Sucks to be you right now. But we are all in a boat full of people who are gleefully shooting holes in the, kind of sucks to be an American right now.

I will still vote: I am sure there are important things down-ballot, who is running under the Libertarian ticket this year? Frankly, it doesn't matter, they have my vote.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

My Two Cents Kept

I was checking out at the grocery store today and could not help but notice the unusual assortment of items held by the guy behind me in line. He had 4 large bottles of ketchup and 6 heads of fresh fennel.

I really wanted to ask but held off and instead, Kung Fu like, thought of another grocery store in another time.

I was in college buying groceries with my room mate and considering cucumbers. I thought they were an essential salad vegetable but he was skeptical. A woman nearby offered that they were diuretics. I knew even then the meaning of the term but kind of felt like messing with her and rejoined to my partner, "See, I told you they are good for you"!

My wonder about the odd items was satisfied soon anyway. In driving out of the shopping center, I saw the guy crossing the parking lot to Burton's Grill.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New $20? I hope so.

Replace a slave holding founder of the Democratic party with a gun-toting Republican!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Stories Like This Depend On Reader's Short Memories

Here is another in a long line of "Bush is to blame for ISIS" stories:

Where did ISIS come from? The story starts here.

The "logic" seems to be that ISIS got its start because Bush did not allow former ruling party officials any role in the new Iraq:

Hashim and other analysts estimate that up to 60 percent of top leadership roles in ISIS are held by ex-Baathists.

But here is the problem with the story line: ISIS was formed in 1999, when GWB was governor of Texas.

Second, ISIS was insignificant until sometime in 2013. Look for yourself: Do a Google search with a time range ending at the start of 2013. You will find nothing related to the terrorist group. So if Bush is to blame for ISIS, how come they never did anything noticeable until 4 years after he left office?

The obvious truth is that yes, ISIS existed for a long time before they gained power (14 years). They only took off after Obama abandoned Iraq. Even Obama claimed in 2011 that:

"Iraq's not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self reliant Iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people. We're building a new partnership between our nations and we are ending a war not with a final battle but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement,"

So, let me get this straight: Five years after Obama declares success in Iraq, it is Bush's fault everything is falling apart now?