Archive for June, 2019

Beach Week …

June 17, 2019

Taking a break … back next week.


Bethany Beach, Delaware


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Words really do matter … especially in a kid’s early years.

June 14, 2019

Interesting study reported in The Atlantic

A pair of psychologists – Betty Hart and Todd Risley –  got curious about why some 3 and 4 year old kids are more academically ready than others.

“They devised a novel (and exhaustive) methodology: for more than three years, they sampled the actual words spoken to young children from 42 families at 3 different socioeconomic levels: (1) welfare homes, (2) working-class homes, and (3) professionals’ homes. Then they tallied the quantity and quality of the words spoken to the kids. “


The results were – in the words of the researchers – “astounding”…


Dilbert asks: “Who wants a dangerous man in the White House?”

June 13, 2019

Well, not actually Dilbert … rather Dilbert’s author Scott Adams.


With all of the MSM “Trump is a wild & crazy guy” hysteria … fever-pitched during the Mexican “play or pay” negotiations … I was reminded of a prior (and once again timely) post.

During the Presidential campaign, Adams hit the nail on the head on his Dilbert blog, …


Adams observed that, during the campaign, , Hillary’s constant refrain that we can’t have a loose cannon in the White House.  Of course, Dems and the MSM have kept that notion front-burnered for the past 2-1/2 years.



Adam’s cut to the chase on on “Dangerous Trump”:


Life in the digital age …

June 12, 2019

Quick: Name the last book you read.


That’s the simple question Jimmy Kimmel asked people on the street.

The results are predictable … most choked on the question.

You can view the 2-minute clip below … or just take my word for it.


What  the heck is going on?


Americans are decreasingly willing )or able) to move … “mobility” in sharp decline.

June 11, 2019

According to NextGov:

Mobility in the United States has fallen to record lows.

In 1985, nearly 20 percent of Americans had changed their residence within the preceding 12 months, but by 2018, fewer than ten percent had.

That’s the lowest level since 1948, when the Census Bureau first started tracking mobility.


What’s going on?


With Mexican agreement Trump gets the last laugh … again.

June 10, 2019

Pelosi spews silly-talk; GOP Senators outted as border-indifferent.


OK, Trumps threatens Mexico with tariffs unless they help with the border crisis.

Think “wallets” and you’ve variant of a Teddy Roosevelt negotiating principle: “If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”


Mainsteam media made fun and lambasted (“won’t work”)  Dems cried foul (”abuse of power”); some GOP Senators jumped ship (opting to side with corporate donors).

But, within a week, an agreement is reached with Mexico agreeing to militarize its southern border and hold asylum seekers in Mexico.

Not a bad week, right?

But, there were some losers…


Mastering math … or anything else.

June 7, 2019

Some insights on the science & practice of learning.


Interesting article buried in a weekend edition of the WSJ: “How a Polymath Mastered Math—and So Can You”

The subject polymath (a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning) is Prof. Barbara Oakley.

To make her long story short, she was a self-proclaimed horrible math student in high school, dove back into math in her mid-20s, and is now an engineering professor..

“Her progression from desultory student to respected scholar led her to a sideline in the study of learning itself.”

She is the author of ‘A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra)’ and ‘Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential’.


Here are a few snippets from the article …


Star gazing: How reliable are online user ratings?

June 6, 2019

When we’re buying something on Amazon, we all glance at the user ratings, right?

5-stars, it’s a keeper … 1 star it’s a bummer.

Real reviews from real users.

What could be more accurate?



Some researchers tried to answer that question.

Since Consumer Reports has been in the quality testing business for decades with a reputation for rigor, objectivity and impartiality … So, to test the reliability of user ratings, the researchers took the Consumer Reports’ scores for 1,272 products and compared them to more than 300,000 Amazon ratings for the same items.

Their findings may surprise you …


Shocker: IHOP is staying IHOP.

June 5, 2019

And now, I’ve got a beef with IHOP !


Last summer. IHOP shocked the world by announcing that they were changing their name from IHOP to IHOB … from P is for pancakes to B is for burgers.


At the time, we posted: IHOP changing name to IHOB … or are they?

We argued that changing the name chainwide would be pure folly since (1) IHOP is an iconic brand that “owns” the pancake niche. (2) “IHOP” — the name — has “stretchability” … since not all folks are even aware the IHOP “P” stands for pancakes (3)  The battlefield is strewn with the bodies of companies who have tried to do battle with the burger chains (4) Changing a brand name is a very expensive process … it costs a lot to change the signs, menus, letterheads etc.

At the time our bet was that the publicized name change was just a marketing ploy … aimed at generating mucho publicity for the non-pancake part of the menu … for getting more lunch and dinnertime business.

And, we said: If that’s the case, then the headfake is a brilliant marketing move … garnering  a lot of buzz around some new burgers on its menu.

OK, that was then, this is now … so let’s update….


Why did the (former) Jeopardy champion end his streak with a meager $1,399 wager?

June 4, 2019

Answer: Pure game theory … perfectly executed..


Well, it finally ended.

James Holzhauer– the 34-year-old professional sports gambler — was dethroned by librarian Emma Boettcher.


Boettcher was quick on the buzzer (and James seemed uncharacteristically late-triggered), she answered all of her questions correctly and she she had some luck — hitting both Daily Doubles in the double Jeopardy round.

Bottom line: she deserved to win.

A major conversation piece from the game was Holzhauer’s measly $1,399 wager in Final Jeopardy.

I can explain that…


The legal gospels according to St. Robert and St. James … behavior or intent?

June 3, 2019

Mueller & Comey seem to have their own rules of jurisprudence.


A couple of decades ago, Pres. Jimmy Carter — a very religious guy — was interviewed by Playboy.

Say, what?

One of the questions was: “Have you ever been unfaithful to your wife?”

Paraphrasing, Carter answered: “No, but I have lusted in my heart (for other women), so I am a sinner.”

In other words, Carter believed that fantastical intent was the moral equivalent of behavior.



Apparently, Mueller & Comey were impressed by by Carter’s thinking.

Let me explain…


Which prevails legally: behavior or intent?

Let’s start with the Comey – Clinton case.

In his July 2016 public statement, Comey made clear that Clinton’s use of a personal server to store and transmit classified government information violated criminal statutes.

But, he said that there was no evidence that she intended to break the law, so no charges would be brought.

Ditto re: the destruction of 30,000 subpoenaed emails … and the Bleach-Bitting of her computer.

Yep, she did it … but there was no evidence that she intended to break the law.

Curious reasoning at best.


Now fast forward to Mueller – Trump.

Mueller reported 10 anecdotes about situations that “might” indicate obstruction of justice.

The headline story was telling the White House attorney to “get rid of” Mueller.

Note: Since Mueller was technically one of Trump’s employees, he (Trump) had the right to fire him (Mueller).

Bottom line: Mueller didn’t get fired.

After the WH attorney slow-rolled the execution, Trump let the idea go.

Since there was no action that obstructed justice, Mueller flipped the logic.

Applying Jimmy Carter’s logic, Mueller argues that presumed intent without action is sufficient cause to deem obstruction.



So, action without provable intent gets a pass.

But, presumed intent without consequential action is criminal.

Does that make any sense at all?


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