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“the eponym for the evolution of cooperation”

So says Justin Leiber on page 74 regarding TIT-FOR-TAT.

I watered my plants today, went to the grocery store, and took care of a few administrative tasks relating to cars. Woodman’s sells dried banana chips for $1.09 for a 12oz. bag. A local newspaper is reporting that we are getting a Trader Joe’s.

After 2,000 Years, a Seed From Ancient Judea Sprouts: Jurassic Park for plants. It is nevertheless an interesting story about germinating/growing a date seed from way back when, from, so it seems, the location where the Romans wiped out a bunch of zealots in A.D. 73. A more interesting time-of-jesus story than the Da Vinci Code, no?

The NBA Finals this year: Detroit vs. San Antonio. I am partial to the Spurs, and have been since David Robinson entered the league oh-so-many years ago. As I write, Game 3 is being hotly contested ... a much better battle in the first half here than in the previous two games. The Spurs are more than just Tim Dunca, featuring players from Argentina, Slovenia, and France, for example. Speaking of the French, let us not forget this oldie-but-goodie from a while ago:

Not Ready for Their Close-Up: A neat story about how high-definition TV is going to create problems for quite a few actors and others showing up on TV due to its added colors and resolution. In short: part of what makes people with makeup look okay on TV now is that current televisions and television signals are 1) fuzzy and 2) color-poor. Evidently quite a few people who are considered attractive look heinous in high definition ... scars, blemishes, pores, caked on makeup, etc. This story needs to be mentioned in combination with the Awful Plastic Surgery website (see, for example, Kate Beckinsale and the archives).

The Old College Try: a little puzzle provided by our friends at the NY Times.

Thanks to Merryl, the music of the day is from Paul Anka’s new album, Rock Swings, on which he covers a lot of pop and rock staples as swing pieces.

Paul Anka - Rock Swings
  1. It’s My Life
  2. True
  3. Eye of the Tiger
  4. Everybody Hurts
  5. Wonderwall
  6. Blackhole Sun
  7. It’s a Sin
  8. Jump
  9. Smells Like Teen Spirit
  10. Hello
  11. Eyes Without a Face
  12. Lovecats
  13. Way You Make Me Feel
  14. Tears in Heaven

Anka’s album reminds one of the works of Richard Cheese, though Cheese’s loungey Vegas covers are more wink-wink-nod-nod than anything else, whereas Anka seems to treating the songs a bit more sincerely, though his voice is not always up to the task.

Andrew recommended, in contrast, the sweet, poppy Anniemal from Norwegian singer Annie. Cute title. The music is very manufactured/produced, and much like cotton candy. There really is nothing there, but it is so inoffensive that it is difficult to complain. “Oh no, Oh no, you’ve got it all wrong ...” Some songs, such as “Helpless For Love,” are all about the beat; it is just a eurotrash club CD, but a sweet and enjoyable one.

Annie - Anniemal
  1. Intro
  2. Chewing Gum (Vocal Mix)
  3. Always Too Late
  4. Me Plus One
  5. Heartbeat
  6. Helpless Fool For Love
  7. Anniemal
  8. No Easy Love
  9. Happy Without You
  10. Greatest Hit
  11. Come Together
  12. My Best Friend

The other day I breezed through Justin Leiber’s Paradoxes, which deals with the topic in a broader sense than Roy Sorensen’s more analytic and thorough volume. It is part of the Interpretations series (Roy Harris, editor) by Duckworth press (1993). The “other paradoxes” section/appendix is the most rewarding portion of the book after the relatively interesting chapter on the so-called Monty Hall paradox.

The Monty Hall problem is interesting insofar as it can be properly and sufficiently analyzed, but its solution is not entirely intuitive, and as such it demonstrates the failure of a certain type of pragmatic or common sense reasoning. Game Theory and the Prisoner’s Dilemma illustrate a similar point. Leiber deals little with what I might call hard-core paradoxes, the difficult to unravel sorts rather than the competence-vs-performance of reason type.

The 4400

I decided to watch “The 4400”, which first aired last year as a mini-series on USA. It was renewed for a new, second season and two episodes have aired so far. I heard about the show last year but was reminded of it due to a recent CNN story (or rather: press/publicity piece) on its villian. More influential in getting me to watch it was a NY Times story from a few days ago (June 12). A brief comparison was made to “Lost.” One reason I like “Lost” so much is that it refuses to resolve issues; “The 4400,” however, and partially because it was a mini-series, reveals much early on. The first five episodes (a 2-hour pilot and 4 following episodes) is structured classically, with a setting of the stage, some rising action, a turning point, falling action (plenty of action, too) following from that turning point, and a resolution of sorts. A future villian is identified, the source of the 4400 and their reason for being, so to speak, is explained. The sci-fi premise is, I fear, only a setup for a classic combination of morality tale and soap opera, with a bit of X-Files and conspiracy thrown in for good measure.

I still like it.

It is now the end of the 3rd quarter of the basketball game. It is still close.

I will add meth-mouth at a later date.

—June 14 2005