Theories (Steve Valdez)
The Theories have been developed by Steve Valdez – thought-provoking and worthy of conversation.
Math is Hard
Having a degree in Physics and enduring myriad calculus classes, I believe I am more than qualified to sound off on this subject.
Math is the only subject that creates an emotional response when brought up in a conversation. People either love it or hate it. There is no in-between. And many people base their love/hate feelings about it on situations that occurred while they were in school.
Those that math came easy to sat in the front of the class, answered every question correctly, and, for the most part, felt pretty good about themselves. Those that had difficulty with math sat in the back, scowling, and agonized over how slow the clock was moving.
What differentiates math from other subjects is that in other classes, you’re taught new things, you study them, and you either learn and remember them or not. But math and this is at almost every level, is taught under the guise that it “isn’t that tough,” “is actually quite simple,” “is something everyone should be able to understand.” And because it’s “supposed” to be easy, and half the class is getting it, when you don’t get it, you feel stupid. It’s easy, and everyone else understands it except me. Therefore, I must be a dumbass!
The truth is that MATH IS HARD! It is an abstract subject that constantly changes its rules the farther along you go. First, only positive numbers exist, then you have negative numbers. Then you can’t take the square root of a negative number, then all of a sudden, you can. What teachers should be telling all their students at every level is that MATH IS HARD. Some people may get Algebra right away, others will do well in Geometry, but most people don’t understand every aspect of the subject.
If students were told that MATH IS HARD rather than easy, then they wouldn’t feel so stupid when they don’t get it right away. It’s a complicated subject, they are normal, and the ones that do get it are just good at math. It’s up to the teachers to let all of them know that if they don’t catch on right away, it’s OK; it’s just the nature of math.
Math is hard. Period.
Using paper as a toilet tissue dates back to 6th Century China. The TP we use today is a variation of the first roller-based paper that came about in the 19th century. Since then, the debate regarding “over” or “under” has raged on throughout the teeming masses.
Having spent many years studying physics, as well as a 3 yr stint as a Night Custodian at Disneyland, I feel qualified to finally put this topic to rest.
As it turns out, the orientation of the toilet paper has to do with the Angular Momentum of the roller juxtaposed with the Rotational Inertia of the paper. And, after solving a few rudimentary second order differential equations, the result is QED – quod erat demonstrandum. In other words, “over the waterfall.”
Baseball: Leave it alone!
Baseball has been around for almost a century and a half. And like most sports, it has had its share of equipment upgrades, team re-alignments, and rule changes.
The pitcher’s mound has been raised and lowered. Teams have jumped from one league to another. Baseballs have been juiced and un-juiced (but let us not open up THAT wound!).
Though sometimes annoying, these changes are bound to occur from time to time. But what makes them tolerable is that they originate from MLB itself. Or the Player’s Union. My point is that the changes are made by the League and for the League.
And then, someone allowed non-baseball folks to have an opinion. Announcers, columnists, the “casual fan”. And their opinion was universal – “The game’s too long, the game’s too slow. There are not enough runs being scored. There are not enough home runs. There are too many strikeouts.” Nails on a chalkboard, people, nails on a chalkboard. They say that more people would watch the game if there were a time limit on it, or if only a limited number of extra innings were allowed. Stop already!
Where to begin………First of all, these complainers are not trying to make baseball better, they are trying to make their lives and jobs easier. A faster pace and fewer extra innings would make the announcer’s job, which is just an ad-lib infomercial of the game, much easier because they wouldn’t have to work so hard to make up little anecdotes for the listener to enjoy. I guarantee you, if they were paid by the hour and not by salary, we wouldn’t hear a peep from them on this issue!
And the casual fan? Why would anyone even care about the casual fan? By definition, they only tune in to the game when they are bored with everything else. Nothing else to binge-watch on Netflix, the Cooking Channel is showing a baking show and I don’t bake, all my “texties” are really annoying me right now…..Then they turn on the game and they say, “What a boring sport! I would totally watch it more if it was only an hour-long”.
I define “texties” as people that you text on a regular basis.
None of them have making the game of baseball better as a priority. It’s all about their own agenda. There are reasons that no time clock exists. Baseball is a game of strategies. Each pitcher has certain strengths and weaknesses, as does each batter. And those qualities change as the game goes on. After several innings the pitcher gets tired, the batter learns his “tells”. The fielders know the batter’s tendencies and where he is most likely to hit the ball, depending on whether he’s facing a lefty or a righty. Are there runners on base, is this a day or night game, what is the air temperature, what is the elevation of the field…? These and many more are all variables that are taken into account on every pitch. Both teams set up their players accordingly, wait for the pitch and the result thereafter, then based on that, make an adjustment or two, then do it again.
Baseball is not a sprint. It’s a half marathon. Extra innings make it a full marathon. If all you can see is the score or how many times the ball leaves the park, then not only are you missing the entire point of the game, you are in no position to force your self-centered opinions onto the baseball community. I am part of that community and I will fight for baseball. Not because I love it (and I do), but because I get it.
Leave baseball the hell alone!
The Old American
The other day, a friend of mine had some Kettle Corn, so he offered me some. I said, “No, thanks. I don’t like Kettle Corn”. He was incredulous. “What?! How can you not like Kettle Corn? What are you, un-American?”, he said jokingly. I replied, un-jokingly, “No, I’m just ‘old’ American”. In other words, I don’t like…
Sugar in my popcorn
Salt in my caramel
Wheat in my beer
Flavors in my whisky
Anything with an Italian sounding name in my black, no I don’t want room for cream and sugar, drink any time of the day or night, scalding hot coffee.
God vs.The Big Bang
If this were titled, God vs. Religion, I could have written pages and pages and kept adding new material as I read or learned it. But for the sake of brevity, I chose this one particular comparison.
Is it as the religious community believes, that God always was and always will be? Or is it as scientific community believes that in the beginning, there was nothing, a void; then the Big Bang occurred, and the Universe began. People have been debating this for a long time; Theologians and Physicists, priests and laypeople, church ladies, and science geeks. One of the problems is that in a lot of arguments and discussions, the two parties believe that one side has to be right and the other has to be wrong.
One of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes is,
“Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
Science and religion are NOT mutually exclusive. Both can exist simultaneously. In the case of God vs. the Big Bang, my take is fairly simple:
God created the Big Bang.
Wild Caught vs. Sustainable
What a crock! Six months ago, my usual haunt for fish tacos started advertising “Sustainable Fish.” According to the little sign they had posted, they were proudly doing their part not to
promote overfishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods of fish caught in the ocean. Farms. Fish farms. That was the answer.
Six days ago, that same seafood joint started advertising “Wild Caught” fish. Salmon, cod, trout…According to the little sign they had posted (which was probably on the back of the other little sign), they were proudly doing their part to not promote environmentally destructive fish-farming practices, including water pollution and the threat to local flora and fauna.
Are you kidding me? Can a restaurant be more hypocritical? Pick a side, why don’t you! The irony is that there are just as many good things and bad things about catching fish in the ocean as there are about herding them and rounding them up on fish ranches.
Besides, I heard a rumor the other day that focusing on just the fish that taste good is racist because not all fish get the same opportunity to lie dead and seasoned on some human’s plate.
The Fanny Fan
My daughter tells me that Fanny Packs are making a comeback. Or maybe she’s just the one-woman crusade determined to make sure that happens. I don’t know, but if so, it’s great timing for my invention – The Fanny Fan.
It’s a fact of life that as people get older, they are in less control of their bodily functions as when they are younger. I am speaking specifically about flatulence. It’s unavoidable. Every now and then, a little “air biscuit”* is going to escape without the permission of the donor. But have no fear. Enter the Fanny Fan.
The Fanny Fan is a small cordless fan concealed inside of a fanny pack. When putting on the device, just make sure the pack is placed over your backside. A mesh lining in the pack lets the air from the fan blow out and dissipate any unwanted odors in the general vicinity. Yes, a modicum of smell is bound to make its way to a passerby’s nose occasionally. But the difference between that and being hit with the fumes from a full-blown blast is (g)astronomical. A small on/off switch is located on the strap when the fan is not needed.
In Church, in the grocery store, or while out on a stroll, the Fanny Fan allows you to go through your normal daily routine free from the fear and embarrassment of the occasional extraneous emittance.
And yes, I am willing to discuss partnership offers.
*I think Whoopi Goldberg was the first person I heard use this expression. Priceless.
The “G” Word
My dad was a pretty funny guy. At 5’1’’ and about a buck fifty, he was a ball of fire. Always yelling, screaming, annoying waitresses, embarrassing the rest of his family. Classic little guy syndrome. It wasn’t until about the time that his children started having children that I saw another side of him. Gentle, loving, great with the babies. Unless one of them happened to call him the “G” world – Grandpa. Talk about don’t poke the bear (Theory #25)!
You see, as much as he loved his kids and grandkids, he couldn’t accept the concept of himself being a grandparent. So he made them call him Pete. Which was even funnier because his real name was Epitacio.
Fast forward 50 years and I have become his legacy. At least in that regard. None of the new generation of my people is allowed to call me ‘grandpa’ or ‘gramps’ or anything else starting with a ‘G’. Nor do I call them my grandkids. I just call them “my daughter’s kids”. And they call me ‘Pops’. The older ones do, at least. The 6 and 8-year-old. The babies (4-year-old twins) call me Popsy. Not my idea, but you gotta give them credit for creativity.
Being the babies of the brood, they are continuing the generational trend of non-conformity. “Rules?”, they giggle. “The Status Quo?”, they snicker. Not them. So Popsy it is. For now. It’s definitely better than the “G” word.
I had a thought. I’ll bet 50 years from now, their smaller generations of themselves will shake things up a bit, too. They’ll probably just call the twins, “Hey Old Guys!”
Thought I’d weigh in on the baseball cheating scandal like everyone else.
First of all, every team from every era since time began has tried to steal signs from the opposing team. Every one of them. What MLB is telling us now is that the problem wasn’t sign-stealing per se, it was using technology to assist in sign-stealing. So what they are saying is that if your guy is on second base, and he looks into the catcher’s crotch, then signals the batter as to what pitch is coming, that’s ok. But if a camera in the center field looks into the catcher’s crotch, then signals the batter as to which pitch is coming, that’s not ok. Ludicrous. Either stop all cheating or get better at hiding signs. Like football.
I heard this ex-football player on the radio the other day. He said that all football teams try to steal signs from the opposing team. Every one of them. You know that he’s right because all coaches cover their mouths when calling a play from the sidelines for fear of someone reading their lips. And you know that teams are using the best technology available to do so. But in football, that’s not considered cheating. It’s called “getting an edge” or “taking advantage of opportunities” or “just doing your homework on the other team”. They steal signs, they deflate footballs, they hire ex-players from the opposing team that know the opposing team’s playbook,….all ok. “It’s just a part of the game”.
But baseball is being vilified for the “scandal” of sign stealing. And if you notice, nobody is talking about making signs more difficult to steal or using technology to convey to the pitcher what pitch he should throw. All you hear is how much the “cheaters” need to be punished. Take away their World Series rings, make them give back the money they made, yadda, yadda, yadda. Managers have been fired, teams have been fined, reputations have been ruined. Let’s use technology to stop the cheating altogether. Just like in the steroid era. Come up with better testing methods to catch the cheaters.
Baseball has been dealt with another black eye. Just put a raw piece of meat on it, learn from it, and move on.