Fun with numbers.

Michigan being one of the last states to start school — by law, it cannot start before Labor Day, the rather thin legislative legacy of my last state representative — it’s among the last to finish, too. The teachers have to oversee their unruly herds for 4.5 more days, including today, and I don’t envy them, because the corrals are in danger of being kicked to pieces. In keeping with the livestock theme, I hope they were all issued cattle prods after Memorial Day.

No, that’s not fair. The end of the school year is as important as any other part of it, even if the tone is distinctly different. Yesterday’s science class was the time-honored Mentos-and-Diet Coke experiment, and next week in math class, they’ll be watching a movie.

“What movie?” the cinéaste parent queried.

“I don’t know.”

“A math movie?” I pressed.

“Who would make a movie about math?” she replied.

Oh, child. How young you are. I’d sign a parental R-rating waver waiver [Yoinks! — ed.] if the teacher screened Pi. Or “Good Will Hunting,” or “A Beautiful Mind,” for that matter. “Stand and Deliver,” “Proof” — there’s no shortage of possibilities, but my guess is, they’ll probably watch something bland and PG, and it’ll likely be “The Blind Side.”

Are there any documentaries about math and its close relationship with madness? Surely that ground has been plowed. Ted Kaczynski was a mathematician, remember, a PhD from Michigan. Go Blue. Many years ago, the New Yorker ran a long profile of two deeply eccentric Russian brothers, one of whom lives in an apartment where they do nothing but tend to a supercomputer that calculates pi, endlessly.

How long will it take Google to find it for me after I type “russian brothers who calculate pi” into my search window? Point-one-seven seconds. Some Russians used their math prowess to more profitable ends. You want a movie? Your head could explode just thinking about stuff like this:

Around the three-hundred-millionth decimal place of pi, the digits go 88888888—eight eights pop up in a row. Does this mean anything? It appears to be random noise. Later, ten sixes erupt: 6666666666. What does this mean? Apparently nothing, only more noise. Somewhere past the half-billion mark appears the string 123456789. It’s an accident, as it were. “We do not have a good, clear, crystallized idea of randomness,” Gregory said. “It cannot be that pi is truly random. Actually, a truly random sequence of numbers has not yet been discovered.”

Not long after this article was published, “Northern Exposure” had an episode in which a young woman blows through Cicely, Alaska, doing this very same work. She is lovely and sane, not Russian and a little bonkers. Which goes to show “Law & Order” writers aren’t the only ones who rip from the headlines.

More math/movie strangeness: Schlock director Paul Verhoeven has a doctorate in math. I hope the class won’t be watching “Showgirls.”

Does today have a theme? Let’s just cut to the damn bloggage, eh?

This South Carolina Senate situation gets weirder by the moment:

Indeed, in a three-hour interview, the unemployed military veteran could not name a single specific thing he’d done to campaign. Yet more than 100,000 South Carolinians voted for him on Tuesday, handing him nearly 60 percent of the vote and a resounding victory over Vic Rawl, a former judge who has served four terms in the state legislature.

“I’m the Democratic Party nominee,” Greene says in the interview at his father’s home on a lonely stretch of rural highway in central South Carolina. “The people have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina.”

Someone punch that guy’s reset button.

A strange piece of e-mail arrived last night, from “Information Technician,” i.e. service -at- vh4rs.com. Subject line: The information you requested. No links within. No attachments. WHOIS lookup ambiguous. The contents of the e-mail, in its entirety:

Recipe: Overnight Fruit Salad

Ingredients

1 small head cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups)
1 15oz can pineapple chunks, well drained
2 11oz cans mandarin orange sections, drained
2 cups seedless green grapes
1/3 cups light raisins
1 1/2 cups cubed Edam cheese
1 8oz carton lemon yogurt
1 cup dairy sour cream

Instructions :

1. Place cabbage on bottom of large salad bowl.
2. Top with pineapple chunks, mandarin orange sections, grapes and raisins. Sprinkle cheese atop.
3. Combine yogurt and sour cream; spread over salad, sealing to edge of bowl
4. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. If desired, garnish with lemon and lime twist, curly endive, and a grape.

I wonder if this is some sort of extremely baroque virus. I wonder, if I prepare and consume this fruit salad, if I will be turned into a zombie. Whatever, I think two cups of dressing sounds like way too much, even for this much cabbage and fruit. What’s the verdict of the crowd?

Whatever, it’s time for me to get a-movin’. Second wind is in progress! The weekend awaits!

UPDATE: No, wait, one more, for any of your Fort Wayners who recall Charles’ Pugh’s brief time as a TV reporter in town. Now that he’s council president here in the D, he’s moved on to costing taxpayers even more money than his salary and the city car he wrecked his first month in office. For his bodyguard. Every Detroit resident I know manages to find their way around the city at all times of day without hired muscle, using naught but their common sense. Not this waste of oxygen. I ask you.

Posted at 10:06 am in Uncategorized |
 

53 responses to “Fun with numbers.”

  1. brian stouder said on June 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Sprin­kle cheese atop.

    I will say that this word selection caught my eye.

    Hmmmmmmm

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  2. Deborah said on June 11, 2010 at 10:18 am

    My husband majored in theoretical math for his undergrad degree, his master’s was architecture. I have to use geometry a lot for my job but I’m math impaired so I always call my husband when I have to figure something out.

    Crazy morning walking to work today, there’s going to be a Blackhawks parade a block away from where I work in an hour or so. I’ll probably go out and watch.

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  3. Snarkworth said on June 11, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I’d sign a parental R-rating waver

    Oh no! My idle has feat of clay.

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    • nancy said on June 11, 2010 at 10:26 am

      Ack! Fixed.

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  4. Dorothy said on June 11, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Remember a while back when Nancy suggested we try to come up with some words or combination of words to stump Google? Well I accidentally found one yesterday. I’m directing a play soon called “Thespians.” It was written by a professor/actor I knew from the Pittsburgh area named Bill Cameron. In the play he has the thespians do something he calls “Renslakov breathing exercises.” I had never heard of this, but I know acting classes go through weird machinations to get you to do dumb shit in the hope of making you a better actor. So I Googled Renslakov breathing. It found nothing! The word Renslakov had no hits either. He must have made it up! I’ll have to check – he’s a friend on Facebook. No wonder it had all the auditioning actors stumped!

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  5. ROgirl said on June 11, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Ted Kaczynski lived in East Quad, the same dorm that I lived in for 2 years when I went to Michigan. In his day it was the engineering and math dorm (the Engin. school is down the street), and by the time I got there it was also the home of the Residential College (you lived in and took classes in the same building, emphasis on the arts and languages) and med students (one of whom kept a tank of nitrous oxide in his dorm room).

    He hated Michigan.

    http://www.michigandaily.com/content/he-came-ted-kaczynski-he-left-unabomber

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  6. Bob (Not Greene) said on June 11, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Regarding that South Carolina story: What. The. Fuck. Some guy who appears to be mentally incapacitated wins the Dem nomination for SENATE? And no one can find out anything about who’s behind this. Don’t they have mandatory pre-election contributions filings that can be found online? Jesus, if this is where we’re headed, let me off the bus.

    UPDATE: I checked the Federal Elections Commission web site and — the guy received no contributions of any kind, according to the FEC. Bizarre.

    And, Nance that “salad” sounds like something from 1955. I wouldn’t eat that with Dick Cheney’s mouth.

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  7. Sue said on June 11, 2010 at 11:09 am

    My son had to watch Old Yeller (such a heartwarming story!) not once but three times in one week, one end-of-school year. Nobody’s thinking straight by June.
    Speaking of math, here’s a handy-dandy test excuse if you’re willing to join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
    http://www.venganza.org/

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  8. Julie Robinson said on June 11, 2010 at 11:38 am

    The recipe has been updated; if it were from the 50’s it would be Velveeta instead of Edam and marshmallow fluff instead of yogurt. Or maybe whipped cream. Plus it would have some sweetened coconut sprinkled on top. And a maraschino cherry.

    If math geniuses be mad, then I be sane. I bless the invention of the calculator.

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  9. Jim In Fl said on June 11, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I can remember watching “Donald Duck in Mathamagic Land” in the Ft. Wayne Community Schools back in the day at the end of the year. It has its own Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_in_Mathmagic_Land

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  10. Scout said on June 11, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I suck at the maths. All except for the most basic stuff, which is fortunate since my employment includes bookkeeping!

    The whole SC political drama is really weird. Between the sex scandals and the Forrest Gump who won the Dem primary, the whole place is as wacko as Arizona is bigoted. Do they have Diebold machines there?

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  11. Peter said on June 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    You know, back when Illinois Democrats (with help from the Republicans) elected two LaRouchies to lt. governor and sec. of state in the primary, I thought that, outside of electing a Nazi, we set the standard. But looking at Ariz., Nevada, and SC, I’m not so sure.

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  12. Jolene said on June 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I think we will learn shortly how Mr. Greene came to be on the South Carolina ballot. At the time of his arrest, he declared himself indigent, and he was assigned a public defender, which wouldn’t have happened if he’d had 10K or anything close to it.

    Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the House whip has asked for both state and federal investigations, so stay tuned. Apparently, there were anomalies in a couple of other districts as well.

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  13. brian stouder said on June 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Jolene – I’d start the pool for how soon the amen corner Tenthers and/or the rightwing noise machine puts up a howl about the horrible injustice that anyone would dare impugn a sovereign state’s right to conduct an election just as shabbily as the People of that state wish –

    except I suspect that the howl has already gone up from the Flying Monkeys of the rightwing airwaves

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  14. Sue said on June 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Who knew that Texas would be looking almost rational these days?
    Right now my irritation is reserved for the fallout from the Arkansas primary. Bill Clinton and Blanche Lincoln bash unions to get her through the primary, and the only Democratic comment on that is a nasty ‘anonymous’ quote (Hi Rahm!) from the administration about unions flushing their money away.
    The ‘outside interests’ involved in the Arkansas primary included ordinary citizens and came about because Blanche jeopardized the passage of the health care reform legislation, after she helped gut it. It’s not a local or state issue if your senator’s behavior affects millions of Americans outside of your state.
    I sent a note to the Pres stating that now that there’s nothing for either progressives or union members in the Democratic party, I would be leaving most spaces blank when I vote next November. When the vote is for Republicans or Republicans pretending to be Dems, why bother?

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  15. Jolene said on June 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Oh, good lord. More red-state lunacy. Someone in Oklahoma is launching a referendum that, if approved, will ensure that state judges do not draw on sharia law or any other foreign law in making decisions because, y’know, there’s a big danger of that in the Sooner State.

    The guy leading the effort said he hopes that people in other states will catch wind of his project and take similar measures to “save their states”.

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  16. beb said on June 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I am appalled by the number of movies I daughter has seen while in school. Hollywood movies, not the edutainment ones. It’s not the rating level of the movies that bother me, they’re PG-13 or lower, but the sheer number. The purpose of school is to teach kids stuff. Not show them movies. You’re not teaching stuff when you’re showing movies!

    Of course we never saw movies when I was her age. Film hadn’t been invented yet!

    One reason classes are still running so long is the week long winter break in February and then the Easter break in April. Eliminate the Winter Break, close up some of the Proffesional Training Days and you could close school a lot earlier in June. Frankly I think we could shorten the school year by a week or two as well. Kids knew that Summker doesn’t end before Labor Day and begins with Memorial Day. Kids won’t learn before the end of Summer and stop learning with the start of Summer. So lets make those the bookend to the school year.

    Davod X. Cohen, the co-creator of Futurama loves sticking math jokes into the show.

    I saw Olbermann try to interview the Dem candidate for the Senate from S. Carolina. It was like interviewing a brick wall.

    Pugh was invited to the White House for a GLBT luncheon. The local TV station reporting on this honor showed his invitation but didn’t mention what GLBT stands for. And now he’s running around with bodygrards? Who does he think he is — Kwame Kilpatrick?

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  17. MaryO said on June 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    In Maryland our kids get out next week too. Of course, their cousins on the other side of the country were out what — two weeks ago? We go back on Aug. 30. No movies in the classroom that I can tell of from here…

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  18. prospero said on June 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Listen y’all. We live in SC. Hilton Head, so we mostly live in denial, but still burdened with DeMint, and particularly cruelly, Joe Wilson. We vote on machines called Election Systems and Software iVotronics, that can apparently be manipulated by refrigerator magnets and Palm Treos.

    All the national reporting is claiming Senator Demento had no apparent motive for shenanigans. Not sure where this originates (yeah, right), but instate polling before Tuesday indicated that Vic Rawl was had moved to within 7% in a putative race against the incumbent. Greene is indigent according to the SC justice system, so somebody sure as hell gave him the $10grand.

    Despite Greene’s apparent lack of resume, money, and minimal social skills, and his gross web-surfing predilections notwithstanding, I don’t ever vote none of the above</i). If the ballot ends up Demint/Greene, my conscience would dictate tapping the Rain(coat)man.

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  19. prospero said on June 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    And now, NPR says the Spill is going to mean we have more tourists than usual this year. Embarrassing politicians and sunburned fat dangerous drivers. What’s nest? Toads or locusts?

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  20. brian stouder said on June 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    A question for Prospero: I have read that South Carolina has an “Open” primary. How does this work?

    For example, here in Hoosier-land, we have a “Closed” primary, so that a voter must declare which party’s primary election they want to cast their votes within – and then that voter will be presented a ballot that only shows candidates within that party.

    (here comes the straight-line)

    So, what happens when a voter goes to the polls on Primary day in South Carolina?

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  21. Connie said on June 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Brian, I have lived and voted in Michigan, Ohio, and Minnesota, and while things may have changed, Indiana is the only place I have been required to declare a party.

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  22. Dexter said on June 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    OMG…what a horrible story out of Arkansas, 16 dead and…
    “More than 40 people were unaccounted for after the Caddo and Little Missouri rivers rose quickly overnight – at times faster than 8 feet per hour…”

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ARKANSAS_FLOODING?SITE=MOSTP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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  23. Julie Robinson said on June 11, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    When I first registered to vote in Illinois, some 35 years ago, you had to declare a party at registration. No switching back and forth as some (ahem) have been known to do in Indiana, so no crossing over in the primary to vote out a particularly loathsome candidate. Not that I know anyone (ahem, ahem) who has ever done that.

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  24. LAMary said on June 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    You have to declare when you register in CA.

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  25. MichaelG said on June 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    We won’t any more, Mary if Prop 14 holds up. It’s an open primary proposition that was passed on Tues. Both Democratic and Republican leaders predicted the end of the world if it passed. It won handily and I’m sure there will be court battles before it either comes into play or is tossed for good. If everything goes well the 2012 primary should be a lot of fun.

    I’m hoping for a bit of peace on my TV before the fall campaign gets into full swing. I’m sick of all the viscious commercials and know that the ones coming up are going to be worse. My phone is also quiet now.

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  26. Dexter said on June 11, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    The only movies I remember seeing in school were a docu about alcoholism, in which the dad , in the end, drove past the beer store and instead brought home a sack of oranges for the kiddies, and all was well, and then a short about the St. Lawrence Seaway, and then when I attended IUPUFW , Prof. Dale Iwataki showed a foreign film every Friday afternoon in a classroom, so long ago there were no vcr s , just big heavy reels to lug around and run through a projector. I don’t remember if the school had them or Mr. Iwataki got them at the downtown library.
    Here’s the film that was the best of the prof’s choices:
    http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1734148633/
    The Blue Angel

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  27. LAMary said on June 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I don’t miss the Meg/Steve/Carly commercials at all. These are three people with far more money than sense. Meg and Steve had the exact same platform, that being “the other guy is more liberal than I am.” Steve was a little more overtly racist. Carly flat out lied in her commercials and used that S.Palin quote about her opponent being no different to Barbara Boxer.
    They all suck.

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  28. prospero said on June 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Brian

    The open primary means that when you’ve shown ID and reservation, the poll worker asks which party’s ballot you want to complete. You’re escorted to the machine and the poll person inserts a cassette of some sort that loads the ballot.

    If I thought the GOP ballot had a space to vote “Anybody but those dickheads Demint and Wilson, I might have been tempted to risk the embarrassment of being seen voting for SC Republicans. Clearly, the possibilities for screwing with primary results in this system come in a variety of permutations.

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  29. brian stouder said on June 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Prospero – interesting! Then South Carolina and Indiana have essentially the same set-up. I was wondering if a person could actually vote in BOTH parties; that is, cast a turdball vote in one, and a sincere vote in the other, so it is at least a LITTLE re-assuring to hear that, whoever voted for the empty-suit in SC had to at least throw away their whole vote to do it.

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  30. prospero said on June 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Sure Brian,

    But no GOPer was going to worry about it. Demint had nominal competition at best on the other side. Also, it took me about two minutes to find out that there was a seriously inordinate high number for Dem turnout. Last off-year election (2006), 140,000 or so Democratic Party ballots were cast. This year, about 200,000 (faced with the same Quixotic odds of actually winning). 30% increase seems eye-catching, and, considering we use Habro vorting machines with no paper receipt, nose-wrinkling.

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  31. coozledad said on June 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Glenn Beck’s novel via http://mediamatters.org/blog/201006110032:
    -Noah and Molly find themselves in bed together early in the book after a harrowing experience at a Founders’ Keepers rally. They agree to sleep in bed together because Molly is too scared to sleep at home, but Molly insists that nothing sexual will take place. Noah agrees, on the condition that she “not do anything sexy.” She presses her cold feet against his legs, and Noah responds:

    “Suit yourself, lady. I’m telling you right now, you made the rules, but you’re playing with fire here. I’ve got some rules, too, and rule number one is, don’t tease the panther.”

    I think the standard thing to say here is that one has vomited in their mouth a little. But it would probably be better to start a Glenn Beck sexy writin’ contest.
    “She ran her fingers through the colorless bristles on his scalp in a widening circular motion. The little folds of fat at the back of his neck began to grow damp with sweat, and as he guided her hands to the curve of his heavy breasts, he thought he heard something catch in her throat.
    “I’ll go put on the sweater. Don’t leave like you did the last time.” He said, stifling a sob. “The fridge is full of pudding.”

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  32. prospero said on June 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Next sentence: He sighed dejectedly and reached for the sprung-back first edition of Sisters.

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  33. LAMary said on June 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    cooz, you have set the bar too high. The crypto-teabaggers around me are wondering what I am laughing at.

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  34. Deborah said on June 11, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Off-topic. I made the mistake of venturing out during lunchtime after the Blackhawks victory parade in Chicago. First of all it was stifling, the heat and humidity were unbearable. The streets were still full of oversized toddler dressed, sweaty, loud, obnoxious hockey fans. I ended up walking as far away as I could get to the Museum of Contemporary Art where I figured there would be none of that. I was right, there were about 3 or 4 of us quietly having lunch at the Puck’s run cafe there. On the way back I ran into a friend of mine who was returning from lunch at a sushi place. He also accurately surmised that there would be few hockey fans lunching on sushi. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that the Blackhawks won the Stanley cup, and of all sporting events out there I think professional hockey is one of the more exciting games to attend. I’m just not a sports fan by any stretch of the imagination.

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  35. Holly said on June 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    We had tropical week at the old folks home. Monday a movie about Hawaii, Tuesday I had to make Margaritas for the residents and we played tropical bingo. Wednesday we had tropical wheel of fortune and coconut bowling, Thursday was ice cream and Friday the residents and I made fruit salad. Try making fruit salad in a bowl about the size of a sink. After having to stir and stir the salad it looked like mush. I will admit it was good but mushy. Next months theme will be strawberries. Any funny ideas.

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  36. MichaelG said on June 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Amen about Meg, Steve and Carly. I wonder what Meg and Carly are going to do about trying to recover the large and growing Hispanic vote.

    That was great, Cooz. I laughed out loud.

    The system voted in last Tues is different from what has been described in comments here. There will be only one ballot. It will have all the names. Here in CA there could be thirty or forty people running for senator. After the votes are counted, the top two will be on the ballot for the general election. Could be two Dems or two Reps or one of each or neither. A lot of things have been predicted for the new system, but one thing is sure. Incumbents in “safe” seats will start sweating.

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  37. crinoidgirl said on June 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Nice find on “Sisters”, Prospero.

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  38. brian stouder said on June 11, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Well, was this another suicidal aerial attack?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37649194/ns/us_news-life/

    an excerpt:

    A small plane nosdived into a high school in a small eastern Arizona town Friday afternoon and exploded, killing both people aboard. Authorities said there were no reports of injuries on the ground, with classes out for the summer. The Cessna circled the area two or three times before it suddenly slammed into the main building at Round Valley High School in Eager at about 2 p.m., Apache County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Guinn said.

    People who board the political crazy train have always been around, but this trend toward crazy Cessnas smashing into public buildings leaves me increasingly uneasy.

    We know that the rightwing noise machine will whirr into overdrive if the pilot turns out to be a dark skinned person (let alone an illegal alien in ‘Papers Please’ Arizona), and the left will splutter if it’s another angry Arizonan with white hair and white skin and a martyr complex.

    But meanwhile (and in any case), if a public shool was selected as a terror target from the air, then this feels like a prelude to much darker times

    edit: from another story –

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/06/11/20100611arizona-high-school-hit-plane-crash-abrk11-ON.html

    The school was out for summer break but a large political meeting was scheduled to be held in the high school Friday night, said Mark Sanders, spokesman for J.D. Hayworth’s senatorial campaign. State Treasurer Dean Martin was at the high school just minutes before the plane crashed into it, preparing for a tour of the forest with Citizens for Multiple Land Use and Access. Along with Martin were Sen. Carolyn Allen, former Sen. Rusty Bowers and several others who met around 1:15 p.m.

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  39. Dexter said on June 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Deborah: Sorry the Hawks parade sorta bummed you out. The 1997 Red Wings parade was so wonderful for me that I remember it totally. It was a blast.

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  40. Jen said on June 11, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    We watched quite a few movies in school. Most of them had SOMETHING to do with the subject matter – “Glory” when we learned about the Civil War, “Dances With Wolves” when we learned about American Indians, “The American President” when we were learning about the Executive Branch. Of course, we also watched “Air Force One” when we were learning about the Executive Branch, but that was senior summer government class, so nobody really cared about it. I mainly took it so that I could get out of some of the most hellish parts of marching band practice and so that I could slack off even more my senior year of high school.

    The worst was watching sad/inspirational/crying movies at school, such as “Ol’ Yeller.” I distinctly remember sitting in classrooms, trying desperately not to start snuffling and snorting (I’m a loud crier) while watching movies in school.

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  41. joodyb said on June 12, 2010 at 12:23 am

    OH, cooz. sexy writin’ contest. you had me at ‘little folds of fat.’ oooh.

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  42. Denice B. said on June 12, 2010 at 1:32 am

    I remember a middle school movie us girls had to watch. It was about how ‘Susie Bunny Was Growing Up’! She was becoming a woman and needed to know about her “monthly visitor”. Susie was able to do things like tennis and sports while burdened with her ‘curse’. Somehow, the bitch smiled all the way through that happy cartoon. It messed me up for life.

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  43. del said on June 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Catching up on the thread here, still digesting Prospero’s link on Sisters and Lynne Cheney’s video. Good catch.

    I saw lots of newsreel style movies in school; highlighting International Harvester agricultural technology, how germs spread. Nothing Hollywood.

    Nance’s post on mathematicians’ fixation on patterns and sequences reminds me of mild-mannered Jeff’s introduction (to me anyway) of the word “apophenia,” which means, essentially, to find patterns in random data. Fine line between brilliance and madness sometimes.

    South Carolina senate race — waiting to see how this unfolds, the air’s starting to stink down there. Maybe Colbert will shed some light on it all.

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  44. Deborah said on June 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Dexter, I lived in St. Louis in the early 80s when the Cardinals won the World Series, they had a huge parade downtown which went right past the building where I worked, we all went outside and cheered our heads off, and it was fantastic. It was in the fall when the weather was glorious and the population of St. Louis is much smaller than Chicago. The Blackhawks parade yesterday was on the muggiest day we’ve had so far this year. The crowd was intimidating, not fun to me at all. But a lot of people looked like they were enjoying it, they were whoopin it up big time.

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  45. MarkH said on June 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Or, Brian, it could have been as simple and innocent as this: The same AP story that was cut off on msnbc ran seven more paragraphs on the CBS site. It included eyewitness accounts of audible mechanical trouble with the plane, in addition to high winds in the area:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/12/national/main6574901.shtml?tag=cbsnewsSectionContent.2

    Or it could have been a flight instruction session gone horribly wrong. Conclusion: no one knows (yet).

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  46. Kirk said on June 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Our thanks to The Sun, in London . . .

    CURSES!
    New keeper cock-up as Green gifts Yanks a point

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  47. prospero said on June 12, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    My homestate after Michigan slouches into the fray to ensure SC it’s not the only idiot state.

    How many of y’all went to public universities and colleges. Remember the admissions process? If you’d no credentials to prove you weren’t from Mexico, would you have been accepted. Y’all are pretty discerning in general, and very smart. I’d appreciate some opinions about the astoundingly xenophobic comments about this article if you haven’t got anything better to do. Are these people simply unregenerate nationalists like Bill the Butcher or brainwashed and obtuse?

    I’d say these comments represent everything destructive of democratic social order by an inclination over anonymous internet to bulldoze civil discourse and logical consideration of informed comment, ignorance of facts, and unadulterated partisanship. Oh, and W’s favorite, straw man fallacy.

    I don’t know why I engaged these people over so many comments. I guess I always believe nobody can be that dumb and/or spiteful (and I don’t invoke the virgule haphazardly), and I want to think human beings are part of creation becoming God (that’s Teilhard, and I want to believe in that theology so much, I do.). (Doesn’t the punctuation belong both inside and outside the parentheses depend on the parenthetical phrase itself, and it’s connection to the sentence?)

    And far as y’all is concerned, how is that not part of standard English? More useful than most contractions by a mile.

    But as a very good, and very smart college friend of mine once said, with neither sarcasm nor any awareness of how funny it was, “Serianly, all pandonion is breaking loose.” (He actually had a lithp, but I haven’t seen him in years, and would really like to, and his sister was a close friend, so while I’ll report his quasi-Spoonerisms I won’t do that Mark Twain thang.) Isn’t there a frightening no-nothingism inherent in American politics these days, to go along with the crass, self-aggrandizing obstructionism?

    I’m only running on like this because it’s the weekend. If you look at the linked article, I’d like to know if I’m wrong about some $half-mil per annum political hack pushing a partisan agenda with no possibility of effecting anything but GOP obstructionism and race-baiting politics.

    Everything on Nancy Nall is polite, and everybody says what she wants to say.

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  48. brian stouder said on June 12, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Prospero, I followed your link, and you make me feel old. I used to argue and argue and argue on a politics folder, and the colloquy on yours reminded me of those days.

    You seemed to be at batting practice, popping one ball after the next out of the park, as the predictable-as-a-pitching-machine crowd of righties lobbed one sophism after the next to you.

    At the end of the thread, a long-winded and frustrated fellow was reduced to near incoherence, regarding YOU (at least, I think you’re the “gutless coward” who engages in “illegal thinking”!!):

    This is the same kind of unfair and nonsensical and illegal thinking that allows the local outlaw government of Athens Clarke County, for example, to force all property owners out Commerce Rd. to pay for the public bus service of others, while denying them any service at all! How would the gutless coward above like to be forced to pay for the costs of others while not receiving any service at all?

    He goes on spilling ink for almost a thousand words, before capping off the gulf between himself and reality with a proud assertion of his Birther beliefs with regard to the President of the United States.

    Anyway – keep up the good fight; it makes me tired just reading that stuff.

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  49. brian stouder said on June 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Mark says –

    …it could have been as sim­ple and inno­cent as this: The same AP story that was cut off on msnbc ran seven more para­graphs on the CBS site. It included eye­wit­ness accounts of audi­ble mechan­i­cal trou­ble with the plane, in addi­tion to high winds in the area

    and of course, it could indeed have been a genuine, terrible accident, and not an attack. I look forward to saying that you were right and I was wrong, Mark. But I still fear that I won’t get the chance.

    At this writing, the story remains quite bizarre, and now we learn that the plane had 4 people aboard – and we are not told who they were, yet. The “audible” mechanical difficulty thing, reported by folks on the ground who witnessed the crash, means very little at this point*. The circling near the school (two or three times?) that the witnesses report seems more important.

    To be clear, I’m pointing to what I find troubling in the story, and saying that the details that might mitigate the troubling parts aren’t reassuring me much, yet.

    *if the pilot was attacking the building, he may have been dithering as he made sure it was indeed the target he wanted. A person like me on the ground would say the engine sputtered, and didn’t sound right. On the other hand, if the guy could circle two or three times, why could he not aim for the road – or at least away from buildings – and try for an emergency landing?

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  50. MarkH said on June 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    4 people aboard. All that does is add to the bizarreness of things, Brian. Three additional people latch on to a loony suicide mission? Why? It makes no sense, and again, nothing is known at this point except that four people are dead and a building is severly damaged. For example, the initial reports were that it was a Cessna. It now comes out that it was a Piper PA 32R 300.

    Also, there was this on the Flagstaff ABC TV station weblog this morning from “Lostfamily4”:

    “The pilot was our very good friend and neighbor. He was a VERY experienced pilot and was flying his family to Arizona for a vacation. We have deep sadness in our hearts for the loss of our friends and their children who were on board that plane. Our friend would have tried to land his plane without danger to any person. He was a GREAT person and he and his family and children will be missed greatly by us…”

    This supports the eyewitness account of hearing engine trouble. But still nothing is known about the cause, let alone any conspiracy theories.

    More here at the Flagstaff channel 15 website:

    http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_northern_az/other/report%3A-plane-crashes-into-eastern-arizona-school#viewSingle98588177

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  51. Hunter Cutting said on June 24, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    That “baroque virus” struck me too, and went I went searching I found your reference.

    This is the message I received (from the same address)

    Quote:

    There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph
    of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as
    angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.

    Vonnegut
    from The Sirens of Titan

    Nice quote, to be sure. but hella strange – as many good things are.

    Thought you’d like to know.

    Hunter

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  52. Brandon said on June 30, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Hi Nancy,

    I noticed you were as inquisitive as I was from the post on your website. I received an email from “Tech Support” with the same email address (service at vh4rs dot com) as well, only my message contained an inspirational quote. I was surprised when it came to my personal email address as it’s not listed anywhere online – only friends and collegues.

    I did an IP trace on the email and it appeared to originate in the Boston area. Other than that the domain appeared to be dead and unregistered.

    I’ve been curious about that message and have been wondering about it, as for some reason I couldn’t simply chalk it up to spam mail as I normally would being fairly tech savvy myself.

    Anyway, I thought I would let you know that I too received an interesting message from the same email addy. Did you ever find out anything more?

    Best,
    Brandon

    Brandon Waiss
    Founder, President: GravityDesignStudios.com – We speak, for your business

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