I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

October 16, 2015 - 12:39 p.m.

The Social Network

I will start off with a disappointing health report. I was feeling pretty good last night. I walked to the store, all of a block away, but it did involve going up and down the stairs and I was able to take it one step after the other. My leg hurt and was stiff but it wouldn't even be worth more than a casual mention here if that's all it ever was. I woke up this morning expecting to be even better. Instead my leg hurt like hell when I got out of bed and I hobbled to the bathroom. I thought I might even need the cane. I didn't. Now I'm back in bed with ice on my knee and my leg on my sleeping bag to keep it elevated. My hope is that it was so god last night I could sleep in a position that stressed the knee. I didn’t take an acetaminophen as it doesn't hurt when I stay in bed. I will when I get up. I need to do some real shopping and to go to the bank. I also want to see Rod Picott tonight at Hill Country Barbecue. We'll see what I am up to. Don't worry, I won't be stupid, I know how to take care of myself physically.

The main reason I went out was to buy eggs for breakfast this morning but I also wanted something for dinner. I bought hamburgers. I haven't had beef in a while. I made it absolutely perfect, as rare as it can be but not be at all slimy.

I bought one other thing, Twinkies are back! Not just back but there are chocolate covered Twinkies! There is hope for America! It is not in inevitable decline. With Twinkies we can do anything.

More proof we can do anything, the Mets won! I am so happy I was wrong about this team. They did do it with mirrors but that's what happened in 1969 too. Do you know who my favorite Met is? Jacob deGrom. Got a live arm and long hair. That's enough for me. Also like Dickey, a former favorite Met, he has a good back story and is a late bloomer. He got far better after Tommy John surgery. It wasn't the surgery, he was taught better mechanics and that added velocity. Same thing happened to Jon Matlack in the 70s; he wasn't a great minor leaguer and not a strikeout guy but Rube Walker tweaked his delivery and he became Rookie of the Year and the second best left-hander in the league. Let's go Mets!

Part of me is sad because I haven't watched this year because I don't have a TV and my friendship with Alan who I went to games with faded when I moved to Brooklyn. This is difficult for me to deal with.

I had planned on what to write today and I might still get to it but last night I distracted myself. I started thinking about the Closeness Index. That's a measure I invented of how much two people's social network's overlap. I use Facebook to provide the data. The formula is: where c=closeness index, m=# of mutual friends, f1=#of friends my friends has, and f2 is the number of friends I have. It's the harmonic mean of the fraction of my friends that are mutual friends and the fraction of the other person's friends that are mutual friends. It gives an idea of what fraction of our friends are mutual. As we have different numbers of friends you have to take some sort of mean and I chose the harmonic. The way to interpret it is if the closeness index is 0.10 then a about a tenth of my friends are friends with the other person and visa versa. It works best when we have roughly the same number of friends. The problems arise when the numbers are far different. Let's say I have a friend with two friends, me and one other and that other is mutual. Then half, 0.50 of his friends are mutual, I don't count though I could. And let's say I have 100 friends, so only .01 of my friends are mutual with him. How do you handle that? I use the harmonic mean. It is lower than the arithmetic and geometric means. One more thing. Some people are missing because they don't let others see how many friends they have so i can't calculate their index.

OK so what's the point? It tells me who lives in the same social world I do. I would like my close friends to have high indices but it's not always true. They don't always have he same friends I do. All the highest are friends from the music world. You know how I say the folk world is small and incestuous, this is a measure of that. I calculated these years ago but when my life got disrupted I stopped doing it and the spreadsheets are on a computer I don’t have access to. But I did write about them on Wise Madness and I used that to find my former to 25. So now I'll show you the new top 25 and what their ratings were back in January 2012, the last time I calculated this. As I was working on different formulae at the time I labeled the closeness index "Harmonic" as I used "Geometric" originally. I'm thinking of tweaking the definition again.

Now for the current list.


I was not surprised that Carolann moved up to the top spot. When I last made the list I was about to see the Chicks with Dip do their first Blue show, the celebration of Joni Mitchell's seminal album. I saw them do that show many times and got closer to all of them. The indices of all the Chicks should be higher now. And Carolann is now one of the people I see socially the most often. The other chicks on the list are Catherine, Honor, Meg, Sharon Goldman, and Cheryl; Jay and Mark Allen Berube are married to chicks, Catherine and Carolann respectively. So seven out of 25 are from the henhouse. I just made up calling the world centered on the Chicks that. Another group is presenters: Mike Kornfeld, Jake Jacobson, John Platt, Kathy, Carter, Mark Miller, Coco, and Ron. John and Ron are also DJs, Mark I know more as a musician he's in Spuyten Duyvil.

There is only one person on the list that does not go to NERFA, Fred. He and Sharon Goldberg are the only ones that are not music professionals. But of course I know them both through music. Anyone that doesn't have an Old Rating was not on the top 25 last time. Most were somewhere high on the list but not Joe or Fred. I don't think I knew Joe then.

The one whose drop I can't explain is John Platt. Did he or I meet lots of people the other didn't. She didn't come close to making the top 25 but Carey. dropped from 0.109 to 0.083 because she discovered Theme Music and met a slew of people I don't know.

Another common thread is Falcon Ridge; who has not been there? Just Ron. If you want to be high on my closeness index go to both NERFA and Falcon Ridge.

I'm a bit surprised at the gender breakdown, 11 women and 14 men. Yes that's very close but I thought there'd be more women. There are all those Chicks. My original motivation for doing this was because it seemed that Amy Speace and I knew all the same people. So what happened? She moved to Nashville. Now she is all the way down at 43.

You can calculate your own index. If you belong on the top 25 let me know. I'm going to do this again in a few months after NERFA settles down. Everyone who goes will make a lot of new friends. Their indices will rise

Now I'm going to finish this and make breakfast. I'll try and not take an acetaminophen. It's not because I want to tough it out and not because I'm afraid of side effects. It's because I want to evaluate my condition. Even if it hurts at first it might ease up as I move around. I want to know if it's OK for me to go out later.





Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile October 16, 2015
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