Ralph Emerson famously said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” but I also like what Wilde Oscar said: “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” The last two words in both sentences signify something important. Consistency is the enemy of creativity, art, and philosophy, although it’s generally welcomed in other places (one’s airline pilot, surgeon, or government, for instance).
Which is all by way of excusing the dreadful consistency of this so-called Monday Miscellany series. Episodes in 2012, 2014, and then not again until 2020, is barely a series. Another one so soon is definitely suspect.
Chalk it up to “creativity, art, and philosophy.”
Suffice to say I’m in a weird mood these days. Life has gotten so strange, and the bizarre seems to be accelerating. It says a lot that, compared to now, 2016–2019 seem almost like normalcy. (They weren’t, not at all normal, but that’s how far down the rabbit hole we’ve fallen.)
I really do wonder what form of us (and of the US) comes out the other side of all this. November is going to be a huge statement about who we are now.
That said, I’ve been avoiding getting too political until October.
Or at least until after the Autumnal Equinox, which is tomorrow.
(That is, tomorrow for me as I write this and also for you if you read this today when I publish it. If you’re late to the party, sorry, the smoked salmon is all gone.)
The Equinox is at 13:31 GMT, so tomorrow morning here in the US of A. It’ll be at 8:31 AM for those of us on central time.
Sunrise is at 7:00 AM tomorrow, so if I head out on my morning walk just before that and head east down an east-west street, I should see the Sun rise directly in front of me — dead east.
For you evening walkers, it, likewise, sets dead west. Depend on it!
The bummer is the part about how, for the next six months, it will rise and set south of east and west. The days of the northern Sun are over until the next Equinox.
As much as I love fall, the Autumnal Equinox is my least favorite Solar moment. The dark cold is coming.
There is, or was, something about being out at night in bitter winter cold that evokes strong childhood memories (of cold dark winter nights).
Now that I’ve been back in Minnesota for what is now more than half my life, that association has faded. I have plenty of adult memories of cold dark winter nights.
But when I first moved back here in 1984, those memories were really strong. Weirdly so, almost. I think part of it was due to how smell evokes memories. There is a smell to bitter cold (actually, kind of the lack of one).
I’m not going to say which post it is just yet — I want to avoid affecting the numbers as much as possible — but I noticed something really weird regarding a post of mine from 2014:
For the last three years (with a hint in the fourth), there’s been a surge of page hits on this post in September.
There were a lot of hits when I first published it (off the chart, in fact), but those died out over time. (Which is what one would expect.)
There’s a tiny September bump in 2017, but what in the world is going on the last three years?
There’s also a bit of a surge that starts last November and builds in the first part of this year before dying off. I might know what that’s about, but I’ll need to do some research.
I have a guess this September bump might be related to school starting, but that’s just a guess. (Mostly it’s the only thing I can think of that might explain it.)
There has been no activity the last few days, so the bump may be over. Once I’m sure it is, I’ll post about this again and reveal what post it is.
The short season (60 games) for the Minnesota Twins is just about over — only five games remain. (Weirdly, we end the season with three games hosting the Cincinnati Reds.)
The Twins were in first place in the Division for much of the year, but some struggles at the plate knocked them down to second. Since the top two teams from each Division are going to postseason, the Twins will be in postseason again this year after clinching the second place spot this past weekend.
Overall, it’s been a good season. Their record, with five games remaining is 33-22 (.600 exactly). They finished two games behind the first place Chicago White Sox (who were really strong this year).
Between COVID-19 and everything triggered by George Floyd’s death, plus some personal weirdness in June, and on top of the last four political years, this has been a surreal year for me. I think for a lot of people.
I’ve never in my life felt existentially threatened, but I have of late. We live in “interesting” times.
Which is all to say that baseball hasn’t seemed real to me this year. It’s in part the lack of crowds, in part the perception it’s being done mostly for money along with the perception that maybe it shouldn’t have been done at all.
This is the first year since 2010 I haven’t tracked the stats. I have had nearly all the games on (was out of the house for a few), but they’ve been on in the background while I did something else.
Just didn’t care this year. Too many distractions.
(I feel really bad for my sister team, the Texas Rangers. They finished last in their Division and last in the American League. Ouch. The Twins were in that spot for many of the years since 2010, so I know how much it sucks.)
Speaking of life and death, largely for lack of anywhere else to stash them, I have a couple other charts. They come from my looking into population data for the line, “Worldwide, on average, almost 12 million babies are born each month,” from my recent Zodiac post.
The first one is the worldwide annual data from 1950-2030 (predicted data from 2015 on):
The number of births from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s indicates the post-war “baby boom” — there’s another surge in the 1980s (general prosperity accounts for that, I’d guess).
The second chart is the same thing, but for the USA only:
These are raw numbers, not rates, so naturally the number of deaths increases over time — there are more people. What’s interesting is how the number of people born fluctuates.
Overall, both worldwide and in the USA, the number of new people added each year has declined, so that’s a good thing.
I’ll leave you with two other charts. This first one shows number of errors per day (the colors break down error type):
The average is around 80 per day, which is seriously bumming me out.
This second one shows, over the month of collected data, the number of errors per ten-minute slot during the hours of the day:
All things being equal I’d expect that data to be relativity flat, and it clearly isn’t. So part of the mission is explain that bump between midnight and 8 AM.
I need to run tests from my other devices, and, when I do, I’ll write a post explaining in detail. For now I’ll just say the errors in question are my laptop trying to connect to a website (my personal website).
Preliminary tests on my iPad show zero errors, so I’m very much of the opinion this Dell XPS 15 laptop has a problem. (I’ve written of my disappointment with it. This just amplifies all that.)
Suffice to say I am very unhappy with my Dell purchase. (And the amount of snail mail and email spam those folks send has gotten offensive. Dell has managed to make me hate Dell. I was originally inclined to favor an American company. Next time I’ll try HP.)
By the way, one last bit of business. The previous post, Perfect Albums, was a Draft post for several months, and at one point I accidentally clicked [Publish].
That probably sent an email notice to those of you who get them (the accidental post got four hits before I changed its status!), so that was confusing. When I did post it, I didn’t get an email notice, and I assume no one else did (apparently it only ever happens once, like losing your virginity).
So if you depend on the email notice, just a heads up that I published Perfect Albums last Friday. (WordPress has a lot of nice features that make it an excellent blogging platform, but total control over your posts just isn’t one of them.)
Stay warm, my friends! Go forth and spread light and beauty.