The Thinker: Rich Galen


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The definition of the word mull.
Mullings by Rich Galen
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Desultory Christmas/Holiday Week Stuff

Wednesday December 21, 2005

Click here for an Easy Print Version

From the Louisiana Pachyderm Annual Dinner
New Orleans, LA

  • First of all on the Christmas v. holiday business. I am often asked about this in the Q & A period after speeches, especially those during which I tell this story:
    Shortly after my Iraq adventure, I was speaking to a breakfast in the Capitol. I was asked the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. I said I had been married to a woman for over thirty years who was either Presbyterian or Methodist and, as I am Jewish, I still didn't know the difference, so there is zero chance I will ever know the Sunni/Shiite answer.

    Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole (a huge, HUGE Mull-fave) said, "Rich, the difference is: in one case your wife married you of her own free will; in the other, she was predestined to make that mistake."

  • At GOP dinners there is always an invocation and in about half of those the prayer ends with the words, "In Jesus' name we pray." I always heartily join in on the "Amen."

  • Two reasons. First, I need all the help I can get. Second, there is a chance that Christians have been right about Jesus all along. I'm just covering my bases.

  • Anyway, I have no problem with either being wished a "Merry Christmas" or wishing one on someone else. People who have a problem with the notion of a "Christmas Tree" are just posturing for posturing's sake, or are deeply in need of a hobby to otherwise occupy their time.

  • As for me, I'm putting up a Festivus Fern.

  • Follow me on this. Premium gasoline hit an average high of $3.30 per gallon after Katrina, which happened to be my last visit to the Big Easy until yesterday. I know that at one point, it cost me over $75 to fill the Mullmobile.

  • I was at my neighborhood Starbucks the other day and I got to thinking about how much I spend on my daily Grande Mocha.

  • $3.50 per day, as it happens, at the store on Union Street in the People's Republic of Alexandria, Virginia.

  • A Grande Mocha comes in 12 ounce cup. There are 128 ounces in a gallon. That means there are 10.67 Grande-sized cups to the gallon (assuming each cup was filled to the brim which it is not because I like whipped cream with mine thus adding to the overall healthfulness of the beverage).

  • Still with me?

  • $3.50 per cup times 10.67 cups means that a gallon of Starbucks' mocha would cost $37.34.

  • The Mullmobile holds 25 gallons. If I were to start with an empty tank and fill it with Starbucks' mochas, the cost would be $933.62.

  • How about some Congressional hearings on the excess profits generated by high-end coffee?

  • Next Topic: This was an actual news story on Yahoo! the other day:
    Ex-Programmer Fined for Posting Fake News on Pseudo Yahoo Site

    TOKYO - A former computer programmer was fined 500,000 yen Friday for posting a fabricated news article with a false Kyodo News credit on a pseudo Yahoo Japan News website, which said Chinese warplanes had invaded Japanese airspace over Okinawa.

  • As a professional writer, I was impressed that someone had figured out how to get the words "fabricated," "false," and "pseudo" into the same sentence.

  • Along those same lines, one morning in Baghdad Mullpal (and Green-Zone-office-mate) Don Hamilton and I marveled over the economy of style displayed in a situation report informing us that "an Iraqi policeman had reported to coalition forces that an improvised explosive device had blown up while being put in place by an Iraqi citizen, and there was no further information available on the matter." This was the actual language:
    IP reported to CF an IZ blew himself up while emplacing an IED. NFI.

  • Been waiting two years to use that.

    Dear Mr. Mullings:

    Is that it?


    Aren't we forgetting a little something?


    Does December 21 not mean anything special to you?

    Yes. Shortest day of the year. Winter Solstice. First day of. At 1:35 pm Eastern this year.


    And it's my birthday.

    What was that? We couldn't quite make that out. Did you say it was your � BIRTHDAY?


    Why are we having to drag this out of you?

    Because only birthdays divisible by 5 or 10 are important. This one is a prime number and best forgotten.

    WHICH prime number would that be?

    Here are some to pick from: 31, 37, 47, 53, 59, 67, 79, 83, 89, 97.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A LOT of great stuff. The definition of desultory; a discussion of Festivus; how much 500,000 yen is in real money; all the prime numbers from 2 to 100; a truly terrific Mullfoto (regular readers will remember the reference); and the requisite Catchy Caption of the Day.

    --END --
    Copyright © 2005 Richard A. Galen

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