P&V’s LOL #14: Don’t curse across generations

All the fuss last week on GMG over offensive language and the controversy surrounding the language in Django Unchained, makes it perfect timing for this new Law of Life (LOL for short).  For some reason, that I’m not sure I understand, cursing seems to be taken as more offensive by people outside your generation.  Here’s an illustration.

Many years ago, when our eldest son was about 5, he told us that the two-year-old sister of one of his friends knew his name, his friend’s name and all the swears.

“Really?” remarks Vickie.  “What are all the swears?”  It’s an early Summer morning and she hasn’t had much coffee.
“Oh, I can’t say them.”
“I’ll give your grace.”
“Yup.  You can say them.”
“OK … fuck and shit.”
“That’s not all the swears.”  These words escape before Vickie’s coffee deprived brain can retrieve them.
“Well, what are all the swears?”  The little one’s eyes widen.
“Oh, I can’t say them.”
“I’ll give you grace!”

This is where I step in and explain that you just can’t swear across generations.  Parents swear with their friends and nobody seems to care.  Kids do the same.  But kids can’t swear   when parents are within earshot — and parents can’t swear when kids are within earshot.  Probably the worst thing you can do, I explain, is cross TWO generations and swear when your grandparents are within earshot.

Here’s a funny music video tribute to one of my favorite Sci-fi writers by a slightly bookish, but sexy comedian who isn’t afraid of swearing across many generations.  WARNING: Don’t show this to your kids or your mother-in-law!

P&V’s LOL #13: The Law of the Conservation of R

With all the talk about accents on GMG today, it’s clearly time to put forth our new Law of Life, or LOL for short.  (You’ll notice we skipped our LOL last week due to all the fuss about Nemo).

This week’s LOL is based on Antoine Lavoisier’s Law of the Conservation of Mass, the same principle as our very first LOL, which was You’re more likely to gain weight if someone you know is losing weight (see the explanation here).  Only in this case, Mass refers to Massachusetts and what we’re conserving is the letter R.

You natives may not notice, but people like Vickie and me, who didn’t grow up here, have discovered that whenever you take R off a word (Beer for example) you somehow feel compelled to add it to another one.  So you say Peetser and Beah instead of Pizza and Beer.

But it doesn’t stop there.  You guys add Rs to words even when you aren’t removing them from other words.  For example, Tuner and Mayo (instead of Tuna and Mayo — although I doubt Joey mixes mayo with tuna, but that’s a topic for another post.)

Doesn’t he look like he’s yelling SHAAAAAAHK!

It seems like you’ll jump at any chance to add an R, as if you’re feeling guilty for all those poh innocent Ahhs you’ve slaughtered during your lifetime.

So here’s the question: is there some sort of underground R accounting that only Boston area natives know about?  Is there a website I can check to see what the R deficit is as of this very moment?  Are you all secretly working together to help save your precious Rs from extinction — along with the great white shahk?  Oops, did I just add to the deficit?  Does something magical happen every time you add an R to a word where it doesn’t belong, sort of like the magic in this video?

P&V’s LOL #12: Sometimes you just can’t blame anybody

(For those of you who have just tuned in, “LOL” stands for Law of Life.  Click here to see the first 11.)

Everybody’s looking for somebody to blame — especially for last night.  First there’s the power outage.  Even though the official line still makes vague reference to an “abnormality”, you can bet people are scrambling to nail somebody’s ass — or “hold them accountable” to use the latest PC term.

Then there’s Beyoncé.  Joey may have liked her lip-synched dance numbers, but Vickie and I have to agree with venerable music curmudgeon, Bob Lefsetz, who said, “I wasn’t sure what to do after Beyonce’s appearance, join a gym or masturbate.” (We know Joey’s done the former.  What about the latter, Joey?)

Lefsetz tries to blame Madonna, CDs, Hip Hop (read his full tirade here) and he lauds  Prince, Adele, Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.  (Joey likes The Lumineers too.  See this post.  Their show tonight at House of Blues — yup, across the bridge — is sold out.)

Singers love to lay blame.  Usually they blame somebody else, like when Beyoncé admonishes “you should have put a ring on it.”  Once in a while somebody writes a great song blaming himself.  Of those, my favorite is Guilty by Randy Newman, sung here perfectly by Bonnie Raitt.

You’ll be blaming yourself big time if you don’t get VIP tickets to see Henri Smith featuring Charles Neville this Friday.  It’s the best dinner / show / Mardi Gras party deal around.  Best of all, you can avoid feeling guilty because you’ll be helping to send local YMCA Teens on their service-learning trip to New Orleans in April.  Oh, and Henri won’t be lip-synching.

The older I get the more I realize that casting blame feels good, but doesn’t accomplish much — sort of like masturbating.

Blame is best left to songs.  Chelsea Berry knows how to write a great song that lays blame.  And you can bet she won’t lip-synch when she sings it at her  Shalin Liu concerts.

P&V’s LOL #11: Clean, matching socks repel

EINSTEINADVERTISEMENTCalling all quantum physicists.  (I know you’re not a physicist, Paul, but perhaps you can help me out.)  There must be some sort of mysterious force at work here.  Try this experiment to see what I mean:

STEP 1: Hold your nose and take off the pair of socks you’ve been wearing all day, being careful to put them in the laundry basket right next to each other.

STEP 2: Now wash and dry all the laundry in that basket.  (In order for this experiment to work, there must be at least 3 other pairs of socks in the laundry that you wash and dry together.)

STEP 3: Take all the laundry out of the dryer and start pulling out socks looking for a match.

Here’s what I bet you’ll find (assuming there are 4 pairs of socks in the laundry):  You’ll pick out one sock from each of the four pairs before you find a single match.  Now the probability of that happening is very low.  (It’s been a while since I solved probability problems by I’m pretty sure I’m right about this.)

So what causes these clean matching socks to repel?  My guess is that it is related somehow to quantum entanglement, which Einstein derided as spooky action at a distance, but was nevertheless proven experimentally several times (see this article for a good timeline of quantum entanglement).

Now, this doesn’t seem to bother Vickie at all, and normally I just let these little life mysteries go and don’t worry about them.  But sparks are flying out of my socks because of this awful dry weather, lately.  These socks are taunting me, as if to say, “Bet I can shock you four times before you’ll find a match!”

Any help you geniuses can offer would be greatly appreciated.

P&V’s LOL #10: Lasting change never comes until you defy authority

Martin Luther King, Jr. arrested in Montgomery, AL on 4 Sep 1958

It’s obvious, really.  Authority is the machine that defends the status quo.  It’s like inertia — a body stays in motion or at rest until a force acts against it.  Defiance is that force.  When you look at people from all times and cultures who have brought us lasting change,  defiance is the one thread that runs through their words and deeds.

Let’s start with Jesus.  He was defiant at every turn.  When he said, “if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;” he was preaching defiance, not submission as some people think.  In Jesus’ culture you’d only strike someone with your right hand.  You’d punch or slap a peer, which would land on his left cheek.  But masters backhanded slaves, hitting their right cheeks.  It was an insult.  So by turning your cheek to present your left side, you are defying both the insult and the authority of the master, thereby treating him as your equal.  (For a more scholarly treatment of Jesus’ nonviolent defiance, click here.)

The founders of our country were defiant.  One quick read of the Declaration of Independence settles that matter.

Gandhi was defiant.  Using the “weapon” of non-violence, he simply refused to accept British rule.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was defiant, exalting the practice of non-violent civil disobedience to new heights in order to bring us the lasting change that paved the way for an African-American to be inaugurated for his second term into the highest office of authority anywhere, on the official national holiday celebrated in Dr. King’s name.

Last Friday, activists posted MKL’s I Have A Dream Speech on YouTube as an act of civil disobedience defying the copyright laws that make posting his speeches illegal.

Watch this video with your kids.  It’s not just a lesson in how to bring lasting change.  Dr. King is one of the greatest orators of all time.  His brilliantly written speeches are full of musical references, quotes from songs, poetry and metaphor — all woven into a moving piece of performance art.  Dr. King’s voice is lyrical and musical.   It’s like hearing a great song — as entertaining as it is profound.  Enjoy!

So what’s next . . .?

P&V’s LOL #9: Your view of life is based on the direction your head is pointed

Ever notice how kids are always thinking and talking about the future?  That’s because their heads are pointed that way (toward the future, that is).  Makes sense, since most of their life is ahead of them.  Having their heads all pointed toward the future shapes their view of life — and the way they put 2 and 2 together.

Here’s just one example:
It’s 1985 and my oldest is 3.  Being exceedingly proud of herself for having just learned our phone number, she wants show off by calling Mom from a play-date.  Great idea.  She asks to use the neighbor’s phone and calls home, excited to dial the number herself and thrilled when Mom answers.  A few days later, we’re at home and she has a question for Mom.  “Well she’s out doing errands now, so we’ll have to wait until she gets home,” I explain.  “Why don’t I just call her?” she replies as she picks up the phone and dials our number, which gives her a busy signal. “What’s wrong with the phone?  Why doesn’t Mom answer?”

At three years old, she’s predicting the future we’ve grown accustomed to today, where kids can call their moms any time they want regardless of where Mom is.  Whether or not this is a good thing is highly debatable, but that’s for another post.

While kids are unwittingly predicting the future, many of their grandparents’ heads seem to be pointed toward the past. “When I was your age …”

It happens to all of us as we age.  Once we get to the point where the bulk of our life feels like it’s in the past, we’re tempted to look back more often than we look forward — and that shapes our view of life.

Here are three examples of Gloucester people with heads pointed toward the future.  The Wilkins Noise takes over hosting Open Jamm at the Rhumb Line tonight and J.B. Amero takes Dan King’s seat tomorrow, joining Dave Brown, Dave Mattacks & Wolf Ginandes at Jalapenos.  Live music in Gloucester continues (see schedule here) even though we will all miss our friend Dan King, who flies out to make his mark on L.A. tomorrow, head squarely pointed toward his future.  Bon Voyage, Dan.  Come back soon!

Here’s a video of one of Dan’s songs we’ve all come to know and love

Now just because we have a peek at the past, doesn’t mean we have to keep our heads pointed in that direction . . .

P&V’s LOL #8: Accounting is the art of telling the story you want to tell with the figures you have at hand

Tom Conley

I was introduced to this Law of Life by Tom Conley when he was CFO of Yankee Fleet back when Carol & Jerry Hill owned it.  Vickie and I have worked with hundreds of people and I think it’s safe to say that Tom Conley was among the most fun.  Look at the photo and imagine him saying,  Accounting is the art of telling the story you want to tell with the figures you have at hand with that little impish grin.  No laugh.  Not even a chuckle.  Here’s the best part: he doesn’t remember saying it.  Really, Tom?

Come to think of it, this photo from his website is the first time I’ve seen TC (as we called him) in a suit.  When he worked at Yankee Fleet, he performed every imaginable task from stocking boats with bait (imagine doing that in a suit) to marketing, advertising and (of course) accounting.

As far as I can remember, TC formulated this LOL in response to my assertion that Yankee Fleet should pay us a lot more money for the work were doing based on how much we contributed to their bottom line (we cut their ad budget by 2/3 and more than doubled their on-line sales in only a year).  My point was, Just look at the accounting.  Even if you add up all the money you’ve paid us to build and promote your websites, you’re still way ahead.  Of course, his quip completely disarmed me and we quickly agreed on a discounted price for our next project, making TC perhaps the best negotiator I’ve ever encountered.  We’re smarter now.

On his never-ending cost-cutting quest, TC once asked, “What if I just send you the code?  Then what would it cost?”  He said it over the phone, so I couldn’t see that grin.  At the time we were building a high-end, database driven engine for him to mange 4 websites, build newsletters, sell gift certificates, track comment cards, etc.  Even though he was kidding, TC liked to dabble in HTML and I’ll bet he actually thought he could save us time by sending us some code, which he never did — thank goodness for that!

As for the wisdom of his LOL, well it’s self evident, isn’t it?  This time of year, all you accounting folks, struggling with year-end, are trying to tell one story to the tax man and an altogether different story to your investors.  Isn’t that fun?

It couldn’t possibly be as much fun as working with TC.  Now that he’s got his own consulting business, we don’t get to fight over pricing and dream up ever more clever ways to market, promote and analyze the whale watching/deep sea fishing business.  Those were the good ol’ days.

Speaking of good ol’ days, check out this video of George Harrison and Eric Clapton performing Taxman live!  (In this video, TC’s the guy who dims stage lights–before Harrison has a chance to say Thank You–just to save a couple of bucks on electricity;)

P&V’s LOL #7: You’re freezing when it’s colder than your age

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

Of course, this LOL is only true for those of us who use the temperature scale developed by the inventor of the mercury thermometer, Mr. Fahrenheit.

This Law of Life, was inspired by Kevin Ricci of The Village Restaurant in Essex, whose answer to my question about why he always vacations in warm climates was, “I just don’t like when it’s colder than my age.”

It didn’t take me long to realize that Kevin was on to something.  You can easily test this law by asking yourself at what temperature do you feel like you’re freezing.  As predicted, that temperature (for me) is right about my age, which is considerably warmer than either the air or water will be tomorrow, hence the reason I will NOT be taking the plunge.  (There’s part 1 of your answer to this post, Joey.)

Last year Vickie took the plunge, but she’s a year older now.  More importantly, she’s a lot wiser, so she will not be taking the plunge either (part 2 of the answer).  Now the Zip Line Kid, is certainly young enough not to feel freezing in 45 degree water, but his commentary in yesterday’s video was so good that he’ll be filming instead of plunging (part 3 of the answer).  So we’ll bring donations to the Open Door, a camera, a commentator and plenty of enthusiasm for those young enough and/or crazy enough to plunge tomorrow.

But before we even think about tomorrow, we just have to point out just how much music is available tonight MORE THAN 70 SHOWS TO CHOOSE FROM!   See the full NYE schedule here.

Here’s a wintry video from 25 years ago to get you into the NYE and plunge spirit:

These girls ROCK, but their version omits the 2nd half of the bridge from Simon & Garfunkel’s original.  Does anybody know what those lyrics are?  Here’s some help:


P&V’s LOL #6: Multitasking isn’t

What impact might multitasking be having on the brains of young people? Researchers are starting to look into the issue, with weighty results.  Photo credit: © Alberto Pomares/iStockphoto

Multitasking isn’t.  Isn’t what?  Isn’t Multi.  Not really.  Just when we thought we were more efficient, science rears its ugly head and proves us wrong.  Google multitasking and you’ll see most of the results busting the myth of multitasking — many even saying it’s bad for our brains (see an example here).  YIKES!

You can still walk and chew gum at the same time.  That won’t fry your brain.  You can even drive and listen to the radio or sing or talk to the passenger at the same time.  But “switching tasks”, according to this article, isn’t just bad for your brain, it can even threaten your “basic health.”  Looks like interest rates are about to change (click here if you’re wondering about that).

Our new phones have a new feature they’re trying to sell us.  It transcribes voice-mails to text so you can read them on your phone.  So I ask Vickie, why would I want that?  It’s so much easier to listen to my voice mail.  I don’t have to fumble for my glasses.  I can listen in the car …  Well, you can read them in a meeting, she replies.

Really?  Seems to me that if I’m in a meeting where I can read my voice-mail, I’m in the wrong meeting.  Turns out, Google agrees.  According to this article in Forbes, Google banned laptops at meetings and guess what?  People who had more important stuff to do just left the meeting.  Brilliant!

Here’s a fun experiment — proof that multitasking isn’t.  Watch the video below while doing something else, like talking on the phone, or answering emails or reading transcribed voice-mails.  I’ll bet you won’t laugh.  Now stop everything else and watch.  It’s hysterical!

In the spirit of trying to quit (multitasking, that is) we’re gonna do you  a favor and not  post anything tomorrow (sorry, Joey).  You won’t be tempted to read our post while sitting in church or opening presents or eating Christmas dinner.  Nope.  You’ve got a multitasking free day.  Enjoy it, and imagine how clear your head will feel and how wonderful life will be once you’ve quit for good.

Then try this on Wednesday.  Go to one of Gloucester’s excellent music venues (see live music lineup here) and actually listen to the music (eat & drink if you like, but don’t talk).  You’ll get why we keep telling you Gloucester has top talent and a burgeoning music scene.


P&V’s LOL #5: Entertainment is more powerful than guilt

Ever wonder why Pope Julius II Commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel?
Sistine Chapel

Well, the Catholic Church had been losing influence — and parishioners — partly due to tensions created by events leading up to the Protestant Reformation, which was sparked a few years after Julius II died.  So, thought Julius, what better way to bring people back to the fold than to make his churches the most beautiful buildings you’re ever likely to see.

And then, of course, there’s the music, which matured over the next 200 years to produce such great works that we still play them today.  Think our popular music will be played 300 years from now?  Here’s a piece you proabably know, written about 300 years ago:

Imagine life in the early 1700s (when Bach was a church organist — 200 years after Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel).  The only sounds you heard were those of nature–birds chirping, rustling leaves, whistling wind, the roar of the sea, the gentle wash of a babbling brook or running stream.  Think of this as the background music of the day upon which you hear the human voice: the sigh of a maiden in love; the jealous rage of a prince betrayed; the joyful song of family gathered around a crackling fire; a newborn’s cradle gently rocking on wide pine boards to his mother’s soft candlelight serenade.

People of the day spent their lives listening to the sounds of nature augmented only by music they made themselves, the notable exception being on Sunday.  Church music was an utterly exotic and extraordinary sound — and most likely the loudest sound anyone ever heard.

So, you fill the most impressive building in the city with the best art and music available anywhere on Earth and you’ve got a draw.   That’s what got people to church.  And it still does.  Just ask Greg Bover who buys most of the organs he builds at CB Fisk.

Regardless of their religious affiliations, more people go to church during big celebrations than at any other time — and a big reason is that’s when the music and pageantry (entertainment wrapped in ceremony) are at their best.  Check out this video of an Easter 2012 church service to see what I’m talking about:

P&V’s LOL #4: The harder you resist change, the more you need it

Direct Porportionality
y is directly proportional to x (y ∝ x)

Given that we’re now in our 4th week, those of you who follow GMG probably know about our Monday series Peter & Vickie’s Laws of Life (LOL, for short).  Click here, if you missed any of the first 3.  In our LOL #2, we introduced the concept of inverse proportions.  Today’s concept of direct proportions is much simpler and today’s law could be stated thus, The vigor with which you fight against change is directly proportional to your need for change.

It won’t take you long to think of plenty of examples of this LOL, the most obvious being addiction, but I thought I’d start with a personal one.  Back in 1998, when Vickie and I founded Van Ness Group, we built complex, data-driven websites and Web applications for public companies and big financial institutions.  We were experts in a niche and that was that.  People told us to diversify.  We resisted.  Local businesses asked us to build websites for them.  We refused.  Clients wanted us to help with marketing.  Forget about it!   We had spent 10 years becoming experts in employee stock benefit plans and 15 years in database technology.  We were determined to stick with it — and we did!  That is, until the niche vanished suddenly in 2001 right before our very eyes like a cheap magic trick.  YIKES.

Mayor Kirk alluded to this LOL in her Mayor’s Desk column with this gem, “Expansion of the commercial tax base is the antidote to rising taxes for homeowners which most people claim to want relief on but at the same time is fought every step of the way.”

Back to addiction.  You’ve probably seen or heard of addicts resisting, with all their vigor, the one thing that is their only hope — to quit.  But this applies to lots of things, not just drugs.  Before the Civil War, the South was addicted to slavery — they believed their economy depended on it.  But in the long run, the best thing for their economy was the abolition of slavery.

Now the one addiction I’ll just accept is music.  I’ll never try and quit.  Especially while I live in the middle of the hottest independent music scene north of NYC.  Just look at all the music this week — and it’s off season!

Here’s one of my favorite videos from MTV’s heyday about another addiction:

P&V LOL #3: Health advice changes with the direction of interest rates

Last Monday we introduced the mathematical concept of inverse proportions, as part of our new series Peter & Vickie’s Laws of Life (LOL).  This week’s LOL is an example of  another mathematical concept, the one-to-one-correspondence, A.K.A. bijection, and could be stated thus: There is a 0ne-to-one correspondence between the change in direction of health advice and the change in direction of the U.S. Treasury Bond Interest Rate.


Here are some examples that support this LOL (refer to the graph above):

One of the best teachers I had was Mr. Ford, a bulky, real-man-football-coach, who didn’t eat salad but always found fun, engaging ways to teach.  For a few weeks of 8th grade biology, he would begin nearly every lesson with, “When you eat a ham sandwich with lettuce …” and proceed to explain how you digest carbs, protein, etc., but the lettuce was pure cellulose, provided no nutritional value and went “right on through.”  This became a class favorite.  He’d say his line and excited hands would instantly thrust into the air as our little buts bounced off the seats.  We just couldn’t wait to finish the rant against lettuce.  In fact, the final question on that year’s final exam (worth 20 points) was an essay: “What happens when you eat a ham sandwich with lettuce?”  My buddy Austin Shelton (who played guitar in my band back then) got 25 points because, in addition to the correct answer, he added a diagram of the complete “lettuce path”, showing it coming out the ass.  The year was 1968 and interest rates were on the rise.

Then, in 1982 Frances Moore Lappé published Diet for a Small Planet, in which she, among other things, promoted the nutritional value of lettuce and interest rates made their steepest reversal of the 20th century!

Need more proof than this? OK, here goes:

In 1941 people begin using Margarine (a trans-fat) instead of butter and the war against saturated fats in our diets begins in earnest.  Interest rates reverse course.  In 2006, saturated fats are good again, trans-fats are bad, trans-fat labeling becomes mandatory and NYC bans trans-fats in restaurants.  Once again interest rates reverse course.

In 1900, doctors actually prescribed smoking to calm nerves, etc.  Smoking was thought to be good for you.  Interest rates were on the rise.  But scientists were beginning to connect smoking to health problems and in 1921 several states banned smoking.  Interest rates began to drop.  In 1940 doctors began promoting smoking again and, believe it or not, cigarette companies advertised in the JAMA.  Interest rates began to rise.  In 1960 Smokey the Bear said (in an anti-smoking campaign) “Only you can prevent forest fires.”  Interest rates began to fall.

What’s next?  Guess we’ll have to wait until interest rates rise again to see the newest health fad.  Until then, I’ll follow the advice I heard from Julia Child defending her “rich French foods”, saying that her mother always advised “Moderation in all things and a little bit of everything.” — and I’ll enjoy a little bit (or a lot) of everything at our great local restaurants — especially the ones with live music (see here).

In these days when TV chefs are more popular than rock stars, here’s a tribute (with music) to the greatest TV chef of all time.

P&V LOL #2: The more sure you are that you’re right, the more likely you are to be wrong

Last Monday we began our new series, Peter & Vickie’s Laws of Life (LOL for short), with a law about losing and gaining weight (see here).  That LOL was a corollary of a well known law of chemistry & physics and hinted at the mathematical concept of inverse proportions.

Today’s law (inspired by Greg Bover’s Quote of the Week) is an example of inverse proportions and could be stated thus: Your likelihood of being right is in inverse proportion to how sure you are about it.

Susceptibility to this law begins in childhood and blossoms in teenagers.  For example, when they say things like “Mom it’s gone; I’m positive it’s not there.  It’s nowhere in this house.  I’ll bet you a million bucks.  Somebody must have stolen it,” at which point Mom takes a quick look and finds it in 45 seconds.

Elements of the Hyperbola

Once people reach adulthood, they tend to be sure of more profound things like when the world is gonna end (the next date is next month on 12/21/12).

People who are the most sure they’re right often spew hyperbole (hype for short) to make their points — which proves this LOL, since the graph of two variables that are inversely proportional is a hyperbola.

Of course, I’m absolutely positively sure about the veracity of this law.  In fact I’ve never been more sure of anything in my entire life — except, perhaps, that Gloucester & Cape Ann have the best music scene in the entire universe as evidenced by this week’s live music lineup — see here.

I doubt the world will end on 12/21/12, but I guess, given this LOL, that I’d better not be absolutely sure.  Here’s a video of Sugarland, Matt Nathanson & Little Big Town covering the classic R.E.M. song on the last day people were sure the world would end:

New GMG Series ~ Peter & Vickie’s Laws of Life ~ Every Monday

Vickie and I don’t exactly work a normal Mon-Fri week, but we have a kid in school, which means we feel the same way about Mondays as pretty much everybody else does.  So we figured we’d lighten Mondays up a bit with our new series starting today, called Peter & Vickie’s Laws of Life.  LOL for short 🙂  Why, you ask, does Peter get top Billing for this series when Vickie has it for the posts?  Well I’m writing the first one in the series, so I get to name it.

Last week I mentioned one of my heroes, Richard Feynman, in this post about Will Hunt’s Cape Ann Rocks for the Rockaways benefit, which raised over $300 for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and his wife by Jacques-Louis David, ca. 1788

Feynman was one of the world’s greatest theoretical physicists, so I thought we’d start the series off with an LOL loosely based on a law of nature, namely Antoine Lavoisier‘s Law of Conservation of Mass, which, simply put, states that mass in never created or destroyed; it just gets rearranged or converted into energy.  So here’s the LOL corollary:

You’re more likely to gain weight if someone you know is losing weight.  According to Lavoisier, all that weight people lose HAS to go SOMEWHERE, right?  So if your wife complains that you’re getting fat this holiday season, ask your her to STOP LOSING WEIGHT.  It only makes it harder for you.

Next Monday, we’ll have another LOL.  Until then enjoy a week of good food, good music and good friends — and encourage everybody to eat as much as they like.