Random Thursday

Photo: Geese flying in formation
More than 100 geese flying in formation

Howdy, folks. I just realized that November is more than half gone and I’ve neglected to post anything. Feel free to email your thank-you notes at your convenience.

Today is International Check Your Wipers Day (or Día Nacional de Revisar Tus Limpiaparabrisas for our south-of-the-border amigos), and I’d like to pause for a moment of silence in remembrance of the 90% of drivers, according to a survey by someone that may or may not make a living selling windshield wipers, who don’t take the time for this all-important bit of automotive maintenance.


OK, let’s move on to lesser matters.

Even alert Gazette readers have no logical reason to remember this post in which I described my experiment with a temporary tattoo of a QR code that linked — theoretically — to this here blog-like thing.

I’m calling attention to this decade-plus old post because of an article in today’s Wall Street Journal (“That Scannable Spotify Tattoo Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time“) describing the woes of some folks who discovered that getting linked ink isn’t all that after all.

It seems that a number of people (at least a half dozen or so, anyway) wanted to commemorate something by have a tattoo of a bar code that, when scanned by a phone, would result in a song being played via Spotify. As it turns out, the combination of ink and human skin doesn’t have the same lasting quality as, say, laser-etched metal or carved marble or even a printed postcard. Tattoos become fuzzy over time, and gravity is inexorable, with the result being that the best one can hope for is to hum the tune whenever someone points a phone at them.

Well, as they say (or print), if you go down that road, make sure you’re able to stand by this important motto: no regerts.

Say, perhaps you missed the news while you were trying to see through your dirty windshield, but the Texas Rangers Baseball Group won the misleadingly-titled World Series Baseball Tournament last month. Or this month. Sometime somewhat recently.

I assume the hubbub has settled down sufficiently to allow us to digest some unusual-if-not-downright-interesting statistics about this achievement, courtesy of Jayson Stark over at The Athletic (link possibly behind a paywall).

  • The Rangers had a losing record in their last 102 games (50-52).
  • The Rangers had lost a total of 196 games in the previous two seasons. No other World Series-winning team had lost that many games in the preceding two seasons.
  • The Rangers had more blown saves than actual saves. Once again, no other WS-winning team in history had that lopsided performance from its bullpen.
  • If you include the 11 years they were known as the Washington Senators, this franchise took 36 seasons to win its first playoff game.
  • It also took 50 seasons to win its first playoff series.
  • OK, this one sort of boggles my mind: the Rangers/Senators franchise has lost more games (5,217) since it first came into being than any other team in baseball.
  • The Rangers pitcher who got the save in the last game of the Series, Josh Sborz, had a season-long ERA of 5.50, the worst in the history of Pitchers Who Got The Save In The Last Game Of A World Series. Plus, that save was the first one he got in the entire season.
  • To be fair to Josh, he was incredible in the Series, with an ERA of 0.75. Peaking at the right time is a Pretty Big Deal, y’know?
  • Finally, the Rangers had 10 innings in the post-season where they scored four or more runs. That was three innings more than any other team in baseball history.

I’m not a baseball fan, but I’m constantly intrigued by the richness of the statistical aspects of the game. And in the interest of full disclosure, if I was going to be a fan of a given team, it would be the Texas Rangers. I kinda love it that they’ve finally got a big trophy.

Thanks to some timely rainfall, the whitetail deer in the Texas Hill Country are looking pretty healthy, not to mention plentiful. We’re seeing a lot of bucks with impressive racks around our neighborhood and across town. Eight-pointers abound and it’s not unusual to spot a ten-point set of antlers. But twelve points? Pretty rare within the city limits, in our experience.

So Debbie and I were transfixed at the sight of the buck shown below as we ran past him on Tuesday morning. I realize that the photo is inconclusive due to the camera angle and the busy background — and the poor zoom quality of an old iPhone. So you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that it really was a twelve-pointer.

Photo: 12-point whitetail buck in Horseshoe Bay, Texas
As I told someone else, this buck was less impressed with us than we were with him.

For those who are familiar with Horseshoe Bay, the deer was standing near the northwest corner of the intersection of Blister Gold and Bay West Boulevard.

A new-to-me online resource for All Things Automotive is iSeeCars.com, which despite its twee name provides some interesting studies and rankings of cars. Want to know the most popular car colors in 2023? They’ve got your data (hint: it rhymes with “bite”). Have a burning desire to know the fastest selling used car in Connecticut in July, 2023 or the fastest selling new car in New Mexico? Yep, they can tell you (Acura RDX and Nissan Sentra, respectively)…unless you live in South Dakota or Wyoming where apparently nobody bought new cars or Alaska where nobody trusted used cars in July. However, in my expert and completely unbiased opinion, they dropped the ball with their list of Top 20 American Muscle Cars which inexplicably omits even a mention of Chevrolet’s Corvette.

The website is perhaps most useful in its rankings of vehicles in terms of reliability, resale value, and safety. It offers those rankings in ninety-seven (97!) categories, some of which are less useful than others (some categories have only two or three vehicles; there are 67 in the Best Luxury Crossover SUVs, whatever those are).

As I said above, there are some interesting things on the site; their usefulness is a whole other subject. As with any black-box statistical analysis, take it all with a grain of informed skepticism.

My pal Berry Simpson is once again reminding/challenging us to create a list of “100 Things That Made 2023,” an exercise designed to help us remember the details — major and minor — of our lives that should engender a feeling of gratitude. Here’s Berry’s list for 2022, for inspiration.

I tried this last year and found the exercise to be deceptive in its difficulty; in fact, I came up with only 75 items. In my defense, I started late, the sun was in my eyes, the dog ate my homework, and I was despondent about once again not winning the Powerball; apparently you have to actually buy a ticket to do that last thing. Who knew?

Anyway, I’m starting earlier this year, working on it only at night, and refusing all dog sitting opportunities until it’s finished. I’ll probably still be despondent about the Powerball deal, though, so no promises.

In closing, let me recommend to you the following, without reservation. If you fancy yourself a guitarist, try not to be like the fellow that left a comment on another similar video, saying, in effect, that he’d been playing guitar for decades, and after watching this video, he’d been inspired…to sell his guitars.

By the way, AJ Lee is the one playing the mandolin. Sully (Sullivan) Tuttle is the singer, and he’s Molly Tuttle‘s younger brother. Molly is a world-class guitar player in her own right, and I’ve featured some of her music in a previous post.