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Odd Lots

J and C - 5-27-2023

  • Our longtime friend David Stafford stopped in for an evening on 5/27, and we took him to Tutti Santi restaurant at 64th & Greenway. It’s one of our favorite eateries here, high-end Italian, and we ate on the patio. David took some photos, which turned out pretty well, as you can see above.
  • Could the ancient Greeks see the color blue? This is evidently a massive, long-term fistfight in certain circles, as ridiculous as it sounds. Mostly, the best guess is that the Greeks didn’t have a word specifically for blue tints. Matt Iglesias posted the best discussion I’ve found. It’s apparently more about linguistics than color vision.
  • I’ve posted some of my weird experiences dealing with modern AI here. AI images often have the wrong number of fingers or toes, and sometimes bizarre body proportions. Now an AI has created an entirely fictional governor of South Dakota, whose term in office was 1949-1951…in its imagination, or whateverthehell creates AI weirdness like this.
  • Carol and I have three Intel NUC computers, which are both small and quiet and yet still manage to do pretty much anything we do in terms of computing. (We are not gamers.) I’m not entirely sure why, but you can now buy a lid for a NUC machine that is a Lego base plate. I gave what Lego I had to our nieces years ago, or I’d be sorely tempted.
  • I’m a sucker for robots, so an article stack-ranking the top 100 movie robots was a must-read, even though my all-time favorite film robot, Kronos, only made it to #57. (I do agree with the very high quality of #1, which may be my second favorite movie robot.) Some of the robots are very old and/or very obscure; I think there were fifteen or so that I’d never heard of and another four or five that I’d simply forgotten.
  • A study published in the Lancet shows that natural immunity to COVID19 is equal to and often greater than what the supposed vaccines offer. The paper is a real slog if you’re not a researcher, hence the link to City Journal‘s overview.
  • And another City Journal piece I enjoyed, about Rod Serling and some of his struggles during the rise of television as the premier form of American entertainment.
  • A cow got loose in Carol’s thoroughly suburban hometown of Niles, Illinois (just north of Chicago) and CBS News described the results as “Udder chaos.” Points for that one, guys.
  • Some lunatic stole two million dimes from the US Mint in Philadelphia. That’s not as much money as it sounds like (do the math) but the bigger problem is how to spend it. Unless you’re getting a burger and fries at McDonald’s, paying for things by the pound (of coins) will attract a great deal of unwanted attention.


  1. Tom Roderick says:

    Jeff, I find it hard to believe that they missed the first appearance of Robbie The Robot in “Forbidden Planet” from 1956. I was 9 when that came out and I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen at that time. Of course the “Monsters from the ID” gave me nightmares for some time after seeing it! I have watched it several times in the decades since and the special effects, characters, and acting were not too shabby for that era.

    PS: If I have collected more change than I want to have I often use it to pay for low cost items. Many places still seem to appreciate it even thought I am not seeing the signs about a coin shortage like I did a couple of years ago.

    1. Ummmm…I went back and looked, and our Robbie came in at a very respectable #5. He was a big favorite of mine too, along with TOBOR the Great, and later on, Robot from Lost in Space, who was one of the few reasons I watched the show, on which poor Robot was mostly wasted.

      Forbidden Planet was the 2001 of the 1950s. The SFX were as good as anything else in that era, and the very notion of monsters from the id was damned subtle and way beyond anything in earlier cinema. When the invisible id monster crosses the force-field fence and lights it up, yow! That made us all jump.

      Later on, in one college literature class or another, the teacher opined that the film was a space-era update of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which comes closer to the truth than one might think. We have Ariel/Robbie and (possibly) Caliban/id monster and a very convincing Dr. Morbius/Prospero, who also has a pretty daughter. We lack a Sycorax, though if she were there, she’d doubtless be one of the Krell.

      Carol and I pay for the “leftovers” (the cents part of a purchase past the last dollar) with change at the McD drive-thru, and when I buy other items for cash, usually at the Fry’s grocery, the change ultimately ends up in the change tray in my Durango. I wonder what the poor kids at the cashier window think of the weird old bald guy in the red car who hands them 26 pennies, a dime, and a nickel plus a few singles for coffees or whatever. I have a pint cream jar into which I drop any penny I receive in change older than 2000. I’ve been surprised at how many old pennies are still kicking around, some of them going back to the wheatback design pre-1959. I started the jar in (I think) 2020, and it’s almost full.

      1. Tom Roderick says:

        Sorry Jeff, I completely missed seeing Robbie as number 5. Yes, “The Tempest”, is often said to be the plot model for “Forbidden Planet.” Discussed this many times with one of my first cousins who was an English professor and about 6 years older than I am.

        One other show from my childhood has finally found its way to reality. “Tom Corbett Space Cadet”, from early 1950’s TV, showed his space ship, “Polaris”, always landing tail first on its engines. I am now 76 years old and am truly thankful to see this memory come true.

      2. Richard Rostrom says:

        There’s another Tempest element in FP: the drunken cook who hangs out with Robbie/Caliban.

        1. I’ll have to go back and read The Tempest again; it’s been a few years. But I certainly remember the cook from the film.

  2. Richard Rostrom says:

    2,000,000 dimes weighs 4.5 tonnes. How the heck did they move that much weight?

    1. As I understand it, the dimes were stored in an 18-wheeler. How the knuckleheads thought they would get away with it is unclear. Coins are now tokens for rounding errors. I keep some small change in the console in my Durango, basically to avoid getting any more. If the drive-through says the bill is $13.12, I hand them a 20, a dime, and two pennies. The last thing I need in my console is another 88 cents, irrespective of how many coins that might involve.

  3. Bill Fultz says:

    Hybrid immunity = natural immunity + vaccination
    According to an analysis published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, a recent, robust study shows that hybrid immunity is longer lasting and more effective than disease-induced immunity or vaccination alone.
    The analysis reviewed 26 studies that examined protection against reinfection, hospitalization and severe disease caused by omicron. The findings indicated:
    The effectiveness of previous infection against hospital admission or severe illness at 12 months was 74%, with effectiveness against reinfection waning to 24%
    For hybrid immunity, protection against hospital admission or severe disease was 97% at 12 months with primary series vaccination and 95% at six months with the first booster shot. Effectiveness against reinfection waned to 41% at 12 months and to 46% following the first booster shot at six months
    In other words, people in the study with hybrid immunity had the highest magnitude and durability of protection, whether they received the partial primary vaccine series, the complete vaccine series, or the first booster shot.
    “Despite having a very successful subvariant of omicron (XBB1.5), we’ve not seen a big spike in hospitalization or death (as was seen with delta or omicron),” says Dr. Rupp. “This is good news for the human population! As we’ve gained more and more immunologic experience, we are seeing fewer persons get seriously ill.”
    The bottom line: If you’ve had COVID-19, don’t miss out on the more robust immunity you will establish by getting a vaccine booster a few months after infection.

  4. Jonathan O'Neal says:

    Happy Birthday, OM. (Around here, that appellation feels less figurative every day. Carpe diem, illegitimi non carborundum (with apologies for the dog Latin).)

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