Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2007 by the numbers . . . the good, the bad and the just plain bizarre

First confession of the goyishe New Year: I am not much of a numbers person . . . not in politics, not in sports, not in parking tickets, not when it comes to balancing my checkbook or keeping up with ATM withdrawals and deposits . . . not in much of anything. Odds and numbers can be quite deceiving. Pitching around a batter who is hitting .300 could mean that a manager does not trust his pitcher enough to get that person out, even though the batter only has a 3 in 10 chance of getting a hit. Or, it could mean that you are "playing the averages," taking note that this .300 hitter hasn't had a base hit in 12 consecutive at-bats and is "about due." But even a statistical incompetent such as myself can figure out that going 0-12 has no bearing on the next at-bat. No major league baseball player --with or without steroids -- has ever hit in more than 56 consecutive games, which means that no player has ever hit in all 162 games in a season. A .300 hitter can go 0-12, then 4-4, then 3-8, then 0-5, and then 1-1 over the course of five games to average 3 hits in 10 at-bats. But nothing predicts when those hits will come, or when they won't. That is why most major league managers, even with all the statistical tools currently available to them, still make decisions based on instinct and feel.

But . . . a .300 hitter is still a .300 hitter, regardless of how and when he gets those hits. So numbers can tell us some interesting things. Here is my 2007 by the numbers (with some occasional commentary):

498 my posts to PoliScope
30,434 visitors to PoliScope
3,803 unique visitors to PoliScope
48 countries visiting PoliScope
51 states and territories in the US visiting PoliScope
4,873 most popular viewing region (Washington, D.C.) (number of visits)
5 least popular viewing regions (West Virginia, North Dakota, Mississippi, Vermont, Idaho) (number of visits)

Note: most frequent visitors outside the US came from Canada, the UK and Egypt (go figure!)

134 blogs citing PoliScope
13 old friends with whom I reconnected through blog, Internet, etc.
1 friends lost as a result of bizarre on-line comments and Internet behavior

Most popular posts to PoliScope:

1. Back to school, 13th grade style
2. Absolute power: the Supreme Court 2006 term
3. Another world in black and white
4. Are students the new East German judges of higher education?
5. There are black ones and brown ones and tan ones . . . and they all look just the same

4003 tunes on my iPod
364 artists on my iPod
76 tunes purchased on iTunes or Amazon mp3 downloads
64 CDs/Music DVDs purchased
41 live gigs I played
13 requests by audience members for my bass player's phone number
0 requests for my phone number
3 times I was mistaken for a black drummer
10 drumsticks I gave away to little kids attending gigs
10 times little kids thanked me for giving them sticks
46 recommendations I wrote for students
6 thank-you notes I received from those students
154 class sessions scheduled for 2007 spring, summer and fall semesters
2 missed due to illness or professional conflicts
162 students I taught in 2007
6 nasty evaluations alleging severe IQ deficiency, personality defects, etc.
210 office hours held
12 students who came to my office hours
0 students who came to my office hours before botching an assignment
2 former students whose weddings I attended
6 former students who had children
18 annual birthday phone calls from David Luber, who I taught in WS Fall 1989
3 pairs of shoes purchased for me
2 snare drums purchased for me
17 replacement drum heads purchased for me
27 pairs of shoes purchased for my nine year-old teenage daughter
4.3 average number of outfits worn per day by daughter
4.3 average number of outfits worn per week by 13 year-old son
2 pairs of ice skates purchased for my son
3 hockey sticks purchased for my son
3 pairs of shoes purchased for my son
1,483 times I ruined my daughter's life
482 times I ruined my son's life
65 number of youth hockey games and practices I coached
24 number of youth baseball games and practices I coached
7 number of youth soccer games I "reffed"
101 number of adult hockey games (league and pick-up) I played
2 penalty minutes
2 E.R. visits due to sports related injuries
3 run-ins with crazy sports parents
3 times vindicated after these run-ins
0 car stickers displaying my children's sports or academic accomplishments, academic pedigree or allegiances to pet causes
4 concerts attended
21 NHL games attended
0 MLB games attended (first time ever)
0 football games watched, college or professional (25 years and counting!)
25 approximate times I locked myself out of my office
365 times I thought I lost my keys only to find them
0 articles read in professional political science journals from start to finish
5 approximate hours devoted to yard work
2,500 approximate hours devoted to laundry
0 TV shows I watch affected by writer's strike
3 TV shows I watch(ed) on a regular basis (Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mad Men)
15 days before I knew that TV writers had gone on strike
0 political roundtable shows I watched
1/2 inches gained in waist
$714 cost of annual physical, with blood work, EKG, urinalysis, etc.
145 books read
7 magazine subscriptions
55 burritos eaten at California Tortilla
11,135 miles driven
1,344 miles biked
0 hours spent watching Democratic or Republican presidential debates
too many hours spent watching YouTube
23,367 complaints by old people overheard at the JCC gym and steam room
0 complaints by old people overheard at the YMCA or AU gym
6.5 average sleep per night
0 hours in the day I wish I was doing something else other than living my own life

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