Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2020

Trick or Treat

 Friends, There's been some hype about the “rare Halloween blue moon” tomorrow, a curious way of phrasing the coincidence. By definition, a blue moon is the second full moon of the month, and since the synodic lunar cycle lasts 29 days and change, any full moon occurring on the last day of October will by necessity be the second that month. In other words, all Halloween full moons are also Halloween blue moons. Sure, blue moons only come around once every two to three years (once on a blue moon, if you will), which works-out to six times this century for a Halloween full moon —so they are relatively rare— still, since the only kind of Halloween full moon is the blue variety, it seems misleading to imply they’re rare because they’re blue. Then again, I may just be getting grumpy in my old age. In any event, since a celestial object is in the limelight this year, it feels appropriate to wear a sci-fi themed mask. As a bonus, I can wear mine any time, for as long as the pandemic lasts

What the Random?

Friends, Patterns are ubiquitous to those who seek them —and humanity tends to seek them. Our brains try to make sense of everything, even chaos. The patterns we impose on random events are a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. It seems we’re so predisposed to create patterns, that a team of scientists spent a decade in the late 1940s and early 1950s creating a random number “bible” which could assure market researchers and quality control workers everywhere that their samples contained no bias. As it turns out, even that valiant effort wasn’t as successful as had been believed for the past 65 years. Just last month, someone poked a hole in THE definitive random authority: “A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Deviates”. Does that mean millions of gallup polls done before the age of computers should be thrown-out? Nah! –the numbers in the book are still pretty darn random. Are people lousy at randomness? Absolutely! Still, one can try. This week I thought I’d share some “random” observa

Django Donuts

Friends, With Trump forfeiting the second presidential debate, the clear winner in last night’s “game 2“ was the American public. Unless, of course, you tuned-in to one of the town halls to get some echo chamber reinforcement, in which case you have my sympathy. As for myself, I watched Django Unchained. As a form of escapism, nothing beats a good revisionist western, with Tarantino’s trademark excessive blood effects (seriously, Quentin must think of humans as blood sacks, ready to explode when pricked). Sure, the references to orthopedic inner soles (Dr. Scholl’s) and children’s games (Candyland) are too cute by half, still, my only regret is having waited eight years to premiere the movie. It occurs to me that if they ever remaster, re-release or redo Django, Dunkin’ should pounce on the promotional possibilities. They could of, course, temporarily rename the stores Django Donuts. Then, they could give their donuts nicknames to align with characters in the movie. The French crulle

Spirit Donuts

  Friends, Parents like to brag and boast about their children. It’s as natural as it can be annoying. New parents may not realize this, however, beauty and merit are often in the eye of the beholder. Miguel de Cervantes put it best: “A father may have a child who is ugly and lacking in all the graces, and the love he feels for him puts a blindfold over his eyes so that he does not see his defects but considers them signs of charm and intelligence and recounts them to his friends as if they were clever and witty.” These words ring as true today as they did when they were first used to preface the Don Quijote back in the 16th century. I say this to introduce my youngest son, Rafael. While I hope my 27 year experience as a parent of four has removed some of the subjectivity, I will let you judge for yourself. This Holy Family High School junior’s “spirit week” attires have been a hoot! Although the idea was for students to follow each day’s theme, I don’t think his outfits were exactly

Prime Time Donuts

Friends, Prime numbers have a certain mystique that makes them elusive. As the foundation of modern computational cryptography, it's not an overstatement to say ecommerce would be impossible but for very large prime numbers (more accurately, numbers that are highly likely to be prime). Cicadas come out in prime number intervals and, if you’ve been around me long enough you’ve heard me use my infamous 1-17 mood scale (17, of course, being a prime number). On the surface, prime numbers’ sole commonality is that they are only divisible by themselves and by one. Think of them as the Breakfast Club of natural integers. They’re all serving detention, but have nothing else in common. Yet look a little deeper and patterns start to emerge. Both the diagonals on an Ulam Spiral and curves on a Sack’s Spiral reveal that, although prime numbers continue to elude a predictive theorem,  they do align in patterns. Having turned 53 this week, you could say I’m in my prime (number) age. Obviously