Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Some Quick Enumerated Points

I have a few points to cover — just to get out of the way, before too much of a backlog accumulates:

(1) I have set up a program that provides temporary tucked-away housing for family members of staff, until we can get a handle on the apparent threat. All they have to do is produce photocopies of documents evidencing kinship with active personnel. (Don't think, Mr. Homicidal Perpetrator, that you can just go to the Motel 6 closest to these people's houses. We'd be damned fools if we relocated at-risk persons to the Official Budget Hotel Chain of the Future Regime. And we're not damned fools, pal.)

(2) Not much progress on suspects, but it's an ongoing investigation, and if there's one thing I've learned from my days in Human Resources, you never comment on an ongoing investigation.

(3) You're taking this the wrong way, Gloria. You should be flattered that I wrote what I did. Remember: I was surprised that you were that old; that's what prompted my reaction. You don't look a day over 45, which to me is the perfect age for a woman. A woman at 45 is experienced and world-wise, but still spry, and with a lingering capacity for wonder.

(4) To the Shadowy Dude on My Doorstep: there are more water balloons where that last one came from. And next time, it won't be water. So think about that when you take up your post tomorrow morning. Ya prick.

(5) I'm in talks with the Boston Archdiocese about renting space for a fundraiser — moving my peeps' extended families into hiding costs money. I'll keep you posted on the details.

(6) I've created a new blog that documents certain highlighted correspondence. I've lodged a permanent link over there on the right. Click it and keep pace with History, B/S.

Friday, April 07, 2006


I just saw this article in the Globe, and yes — I find it troubling indeed.

But Phutatorius, are you sure you're being objective? Why SHOULDN'T the Filipinos rally against a regime that oppresses them? Honestly, just because you're SLEEPING WITH the President —

No, B/S. You misunderstand me. That's not it at all. It's that I had no idea Gloria was fifty-nine years old. Well, of course she wasn't 59 until just recently, but I didn't have a clue she was even close to the Big 6-0. Shoot: I had her pegged at late 40s, max (I mean, look at the photo. She's a babe!).

That's it, then. I have one year to break it off. Here's hoping that I can get control of her army by next March. Because there's no way I'm going to get it on with a woman (no matter how good she is), if I know she's over 60.

My Renowned Statisticsologist Says . . .

Here's the analysis I just got back from My Renowned Statisticsologist:

(A) Well, first calculate the probably of one acquaintance having an accidental death in the family. This — in the long run — is simply the number of families that have accidental deaths in the average week divided by the number of families (this is in the world, in the US, in your state — whichever you think is most relevant).

Now, two calculate the chances of two in the same week, you need to define your terms a bit more explicitly. (1) Do you mean in one particular week (e.g., what's the probability of two such occurences in the week of March 3-9)? (2) Or do you mean at some point in your life two will happen in a week? (3) Or do you mean that given one happened, what's the probability of another happening within 7 days?

(3) is easiest because we can make a reasonable assumption about independence because we will clearly be talking about two separate events. There might be some correlation, but it's probably small. Then the answer would simply be whatever you got for (A).

(1) is next easiest. If we assume independence (a big assumption) then you just square (A). If we think there is some positive correlation, i.e., acquaintances' family members might often travel together in the same car, then this will be closer to just plain old (A). Or, if accidental death includes things like death by earthquake, then there's certainly some positive correlation. If you really mean, a safe dropping on someone's head or falling down the stairs, then these are probably close to independent and your answer is (A)^2

(2) This is the hardest. Since the chance is so small you can approximate it by 1 - ((1 - "1")^N) where "1" is the answer you get in the above paragraph and N is the # of weeks you live in a year.

Did you get all that, Brother/Sister? Well, just in case you didn't, here's the upshot: the odds are ASTRONOMICAL that my two Stenos' family members would suffer near-simultaneous mortal "accidents." Like a gajillion-and-a-half to one. So I'm going to proceed on a double-homicide theory.

And Brothers and Sisters, please do let this insider's access I've given you into my management of this crisis inform your understanding of how I intend to govern the planet, once I take over. A Benevolent and Wise World Leader does not act willy-nilly — he consults with trusted and knowledgeable advisors and makes rational policy conclusions that incorporate and reflect their analytical expertise.

That, people, is how you govern.

Whether or not I decide to formalize the position of Renowned Statisticsologist — er, Statistician — into my regime structure, you can bet I will be relying heavily on this aforequoted gentleman's number-crunching insights well into the future.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Death by Dune Buggy/File Cabinet

Somebody — I think it was Rodrigo from Valladolid — wrote in to ask whether I should be concerned that the relatives of two of my Stenos had died so suddenly and coincidentally.

Well, now that's a good point. And I've been making calls, following up.

The way I see it, there are two possibilities: (1) Opie and Big Cheese are playing hooky, and they've gone down south to take in some spring training baseball and get some sun; or (2) somebody hell-bent on derailing my Bid for Power has been targeting family members of my staff.

I can tell you that I've already ruled out (1), because I've had Opie and Big Cheese tailed by private investigators. Big Cheese is where he should be right now, with his bereaved sister in Kansas City. Opie is down in Venice Beach — in the sunshine, admittedly — but only because his parents had retired there, and it was his mother's wish that her body not be returned to North Carolina for burial, but set to sea on an inflatable (and presumably inflated) raft.

On to (2), then. I think a good point to start here is to consider the Circumstances of Death. Opie's mother, age 75, run down by a dune buggy (police are guessing, based on the tire tracks coming and going) while she walked the beach at sunset. The hit-and-run perpetrators have not been caught. No known enemies, no gambling debts or money trouble. She had embroiled herself in a protracted squabble with neighbors about the color of their mailbox, which she thought detracted from the uniformity of her gated community. But those neighbors drive a Cadillac Coup de Ville.

Big Cheese's brother-in-law was hit by a file cabinet that fell from a fourteenth-floor window just as he left his office. This sounds completely suspicious to me, and I told the police that I thought so. They begged to differ, on the ground that a file cabinet takes some time to fall a full fourteen stories, and what is more, it's a difficult object to aim. The odds of successfully hitting a target with a file cabinet from fourteen floors are slim:

"If you wanted to kill a guy, why not hire a sniper?" the lieutenant asked me.

I asked him if the building had a 13th floor. You know, Brother/Sister, how triskaidekaphobe contractors will "elide out" the 13th floor when they build a building. They'll actually call the 13th floor the 14th floor — as if that fools old Beelzebub.

The policeman confirmed that the building did not have a 14th floor.

"Aha!" I said. "So the file cabinet only fell thirteen stories!"

"So?" said the lieutenant.

"So it was 7.14285% easier to aim than you think."

"Wait a minute. who are you again?" the lieutenant asked.

"I'm Phutatorius."

"And what do you have to do with this investigation?"

"I employ the deceased Mr. Woczniak's brother-in-law on my staff up here in Massachusetts. I'm a famous and controversial Internet personality, and I have reason to believe that somebody killed Mr. Woczniak to get at me."

"Are you kidding?"

"I absolutely am not, Lieutenant, and I encourage you to speak with Sergeant Huntington at the Venice Beach Police Department in Florida. They're investigating another homicide down there, and you may find some leads worth exploring by comparing notes. In fact, you might check the surveillance video, see if there was a dune buggy parked near the building when the accident happened. With Florida plates, maybe?"

"Yeah — yeah, I'll totally look into that," the policeman said, in that uninspired way that policemen have.

I don't expect much in the way of results from the KCPD, but I owe it my Stenos to get to the bottom of this. I'll keep these private eyes on the case in Kansas City and Venice Beach. I also intend to contact a renowned statisticsologist (right word?) I know, just to see what the odds are of two acquaintances suffering accidental family deaths in the same week.

Statistician, PePe says. He's right. Sometimes I think he knows the language better than I do.