Monday Moanin’

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Miscellany

I’m not sure it’s terribly compelling, but these days, I eagerly gulp down every ounce of sanity I find: “Muhammad Ali’s only biological son says that his father would be against Black Lives Matter, calling the movement ‘racist’ and the protesters ‘devils.’ . . . Of the BLM movement, Ali Jr., a Muslim like his father, said: “I think it’s racist.”

Ali spent his retirement about an hour from my house. His local high school played in our athletic conference. I guess you’d occasionally see him in the stands. I never did, but one of my best friends talked to him during an event.

To wear a mask or not wear a mask? I’m agnostic on the issue. Whenever possible, I let the people around me decide. The only time I resent wearing it is while I’m at Mass and already assiduously distanced more than six feet from everyone, and when I’m merely walking around outside. Otherwise, I keep it on me and don it when asked or when clearly appropriate. It’s a minor inconvenience, and if it lets our society avoid Hitlerian lockdowns, I’m all for it.

Nassim Taleb appears to agree with me, but on five mathematical, statistical, and logical grounds. “[T]he naive approach is to say if masks reduce the transmission probability to ¼, one would think it would then drop from R0= 5 to R0=1 ¼. Yuuge, but there is better. For one should count both sides. Under our simplification, with p=1/4 we get R0’= p² R0 . The drop in R becomes 93.75%! You divide R by 16! Even with masks working at 50% we get a 75% drop in R0.”

Entertaining trip down memory lane: Defunct restaurant chains. (Caution! It’s the dreaded slideshow presentation . . . ugh!). Number 12 was my favorite restaurant while growing up: Burger Chef. The description reflected my recollection: “At one time, Burger Chef had over 1,000 locations and rivaled McDonalds. The chain also introduced several fast-food staples to the industry, including kids’ meals with toys. However, they were doomed by bad business practices, and Burger Chef was sold to Hardee’s in 1981.”

One thing I’ve never been able to figure out: Does Hardees’ hamburgers taste anything like Burger Chef’s? I absolutely loathe Hardee’s. Every time I’ve gotten one of their burgers, I’ve sworn that the meat must’ve gone bad.

It reminds me of an old joke: Q: Why do White Castle hamburgers have five holes in them? A: It takes five bullets to kill a rat.