Archive for the 'Coincidence?' Category

Not Once, But Twice

Monday, September 18th, 2006

black cat

Originally uploaded by hananoki.

Strange. The road ahead of me was crossed by a black cat once on my way to work this morning, and once again on my way home. I doubt it was the same cat, as the incidents occurred several blocks apart.

I’m not sure if the superstitious would consider me to have a double case of bad luck, or whether the evening crossing undoes the bad luck of the morning crossing.

It was a pretty good day, too.¬† I didn’t have a reason to perceive¬†any doom or ruin.

Either way, I figure that the odds of that happening to one person twice in one day are pretty low.

I hope this guy’s making a good living…

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

. . .he’s certainly providing me with some¬†entertainment.

After a long week (fun, busy last weekend, followed by stomach flu, manifested by one day flat on my back in bed longing for good health, followed by gradual return of good health focused toward catching up on urgent projects at work), I decided, this fine Friday evening, to take stock of what might be going on in the world (or at least on the Internet). 

And what to my wondering eyes should appear but (on one of Paul’s favorite surf sites, Yahoo’s most popular news items for today,) an article about this Friday – today – June 23, being the happiest day of the year.

Hmmm.  I was in a pretty good mood today.  So I read on.

Wait a minute.  The article talks about a researcher (Mr. Cliff Arnall) who has a formula to prove that today is the happiest day of the year. 

It’s as easy as “O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He” you see.¬† Well, of course!

Now, it occurred to me as I read the article that I’ve seen this kind of mood formula before.¬†

In fact, I opined about being a mere statistic after I learned that I booked a cool vacation trip on a cruddy day in January that was alleged to be both the worst¬†mood day of the year and the day on which people book “paradise” getaways more than any other day of the year! (It’s true.¬† Check out my old post right here).

So I had to look back at the old post and see the name of the researcher quoted there. 

And yes.  It was no coincidence!  (Or was it?!)  The man who made a statistic out of me in January was the very same man now being quoted about Happy June 23. 

So hat’s off to Mr. Cliff Arnall.¬† I’m going to be keeping an eye out for him.

And from now on, all January 24s and June 23s will be marked with the appropriate notations on my calendar, too!

Here’s the story:

Friday is happiest day of the year, British scholar finds


Fri Jun 23, 8:49 AM ET   

Feeling more happy than usual this particular Friday? You should be, according to a scholar in seasonal disorders at a British university.

Cliff Arnall has analysed such factors as outdoor activities, nature, social interaction, childhood memories, temperature and holidays — data gathered over a period of 15 years in interviews with 3,000 people around the world.

His conclusion: June 23 is the happiest day of the year.

“People across borders experience happiness when they meet with friends and family and establish close social relationships,” the University of Cardiff academic told AFP. “We need some close emotional ties.”

He used what he considers a “simple equation” to reach his conclusion — O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He.

O stands for outdoor activities, N for nature, S for social interaction, Cpm for childhood summers and positive memories, T for temperature and He for holidays and looking forward to time off.

Arnall has already figured out the saddest day of the year. It was January 23 — a Monday. “Surprise, surprise”, he quipped.¬†


Happy Birthday, Bono!

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Bono's Birthday Cake


             Happy Birthday, Bono!  From Me РKelly! 


I’m sending you these birthday greetings in my blog because I know¬†you’ll stop by soon to read it.¬† It¬†was great to see you last year.¬† It was on Paul’s birthday as a matter of fact.¬† You performed in the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.¬† I was in the crowd of thousands.¬† You know, up on the left-hand side?¬† I’m the one that really felt sorry for you when that drunk blonde woman who got up on stage hugged you and wouldn’t let go the whole time¬†you were trying to sing ‘With or Without You.’¬† I’m sure you remember.¬† And as you told us when we saw you,¬†that night was the 30th anniversary of the forming of U2.¬† Is it a coincidence that your real name is Paul David and that I married a man named Paul David with that birthday?¬† I don’t think so!

You are 46 today.¬† And I don’t care how old you are, Bono.¬† I paid good money and trudged through the rain last year in hopes of getting to see you crawl around on the stage.¬† I don’t think there was actually as much slithering as I had anticipated,¬†but not to worry.¬† I got my voyueristic gal’s money’s worth.¬† You’re such a great performer, and the¬†stage design and effects were great.¬† You know I’ve had a thing for you, Bon, since I’ve been 17.¬† I’ll still probably think you’re cute when you’re 80.¬† (But tell the Edge I’ve figured out that he wears those caps because he’s lost all his hair).¬† Paul thought the political exhortations at the concert were a little heavy handed, but come on! It¬†just wouldn’t be a U2 concert without those.¬† Mark and Fran were there with us, too.¬† And Grandma and Grandpa K. were at our house on their first serious baby-sitting mission with 6-week old Emma.¬†¬†No one else could have pulled me away for so many hours from such a tiny daughter but you.¬† Anyway, all the best to you for a great¬†day and year!¬†

Just A Statistic

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

OK, I admit it. I’m a sucker for pop-astrology, and more than willing to believe that much of the behavior of anyone I know is driven primarily by his or her particular sun-sign. That little bit of (arguable) irrationality aside, I like to think of myself as an independent spirit, and certainly not as a predictable type, or as one governed by mean trends.

But all that’s been blown to “H-E-double toothpicks,” as we say in Wisconsin, after yesterday.

Yesterday was January 24, 2006. And do you know what they say about January 24ths, in general? I didn’t, until last night, when I caught a report of a study (click here) that claims that on January 24ths, people are the most depressed than on any other day of the year.

And how did the scientist conducting the study figure this out? By using a very precise formula, of course. Here’s a quote:

Dr. Cliff Arnall’s calculations show that misery peaks on Monday. Arnall, who specializes in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Wales, created a formula that takes into account numerous feelings to devise peoples’ lowest point.

The model is: [W + (D-d)] x TQ/M x NA

The equation is broken down into seven variables: (W) weather, (D) debt, (d) monthly salary, (T) time since Christmas, (Q) time since failed quit attempt, (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

Hmmmmmm. So – ya’ got that everyone? It’s a simple matter of computing the Weather plus the sum of Debt minus monthly pay multiplied by the product of time since Christmas [does this work if you’re Jewish?] and time since failed attempt to quit [does it matter what?], divided by the product of low motivational levels and the need to take action.

Of Course! And here I thought everyone at work was acting sluggish just because we’ve hardly had any sunlight and everyone has S.A.D.

But, OK, now I see – mood can instead be predicted, apparently, by a nuanced calculation of the above-listed factors that causes, as the scientist puts it, ‘reality’ to kick in:

while days technically get longer after Dec. 21, cyclonic weather systems take hold in January, bringing low, dark clouds . . . . Meanwhile, the majority of people break their healthy resolutions six to seven days into the new year, and even the hangers-on have fallen off the wagon, torn off the nicotine patches and eaten the fridge empty by the third week. Any residual dregs of holiday cheer and family fun have kicked the bucket by Jan. 24.‚ÄúFollowing the initial thrill of New Year’s celebrations and changing over a new leaf, reality starts to sink in,‚Äù Arnall said. ‚ÄúThe realization coincides with the dark clouds rolling in and the obligation to pay off Christmas credit card bills.

That’s all well and good. But look at what the article goes on to say next:

The formula was devised to help a travel company “analyze when people book holidays and holiday trends,” said Alex Kennedy, spokesperson for Porter Novelli, a London-based PR agency. It seems that people are most likely to buy a ticket to paradise when they feel like hell. (Emphasis mine).

Well, I’ll be damned.

Do you know what I did yesterday – before I heard about this study, mind you – I bought two tickets to paradise. Or, to be more precise, to a week-long vacation on an Alaskan cruise for later this year. It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for over a year, and I just finally booked it yesterday. It’s not that we should really be spending money this way now, suddenly, as opposed to any earlier time. It’s just that I really want to go. And that I really wanted to book it yesterday.

So I give up. My actions are all predictable and governed by the laws of a universe of barely tangible equations. I’m a lemming, an unknowing conformist, a plaything of the gods. I might as well just give up on the concept of free will, and – what the heck – on moral responsibility while I’m at it.

But at least I’m going to enjoy me some glaciers. There’s nothing you can do to stop that, Dr. Arnell. And I’m going to sign up for the whale watching trip that “guarantees” some whale sightings, too.

So there!