Fifty

Fifty percent is one-half. And this glass is half-full. Can't you tell? There is so much to look forward to. So much hope in the world. Why, every day there's a new scientific advancement. The Opportunity Rover just died on Mars, after fourteen years on what was supposed to be a three-month mission. (A three-hour tour, mayhaps?) … Continue reading Fifty

Forty-Nine

I think the first time I heard the phrase "49th parallel" was while listening to the 1993 song "The Lazy Boy" by Moxy Früvous. "The Lazy Boy" is a song about the United States (maybe?), sung from the standpoint of Canadians. The song contains odd lyrics comparing furniture to countries, such as "I put my … Continue reading Forty-Nine

Forty-Eight

I am no expert in classical music. In fact, I know very little. I received the same classical education we all got from Looney Tunes so many years ago, but I couldn't tell Brahms from Beethoven. This is an actual text I sent to a friend a few months ago: What's the famous classical piece that … Continue reading Forty-Eight

Forty-Seven

The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are exactly 47 degrees apart from one another. Well, not exactly. More like 46.87362. But who's counting? What are the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, anyway? And what do I mean by "degrees"? I'm glad you asked. They are latitude lines, lines that run parallel to the Equator. … Continue reading Forty-Seven

Forty-Five

When I was a kid, we had a record player that had four settings: 16, 33, 45, and 78. These numbers, as anyone over a certain age will remember, determined the speed at which the disc would spin while it was read by the needle. The slowest setting, 16, made the disc rotate at 16-2/3 … Continue reading Forty-Five

Forty-Four

When I hear the number forty-four, I think of President Obama. It's funny -- I never thought of Reagan as forty, or Clinton as forty-two. But Obama is forty-four, and Trump is forty-five. I'm not sure where it started, but my guess is that it happened when George W. Bush became president. Suddenly we had two presidents … Continue reading Forty-Four

Forty-Three

The youngest person to become president of the United States was Teddy Roosevelt, who was a 42-year-old Vice-President when William McKinley was assassinated. But the youngest person elected President was John F. Kennedy, at age 43. That's so odd to me, because that's the age I am right now. Am I old enough to be "the leader … Continue reading Forty-Three