Anonymous Distributor

Here’s some news to make you shiver from The Old Farmer’s Almanac by way of The Wall Street Journal:The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting that three-quarters of the nation will ‘see temperatures below normal’ this winter, from ‘white and wet’ in New England to ‘stinging’ and ‘bitter’ in the Midwest.”

I would suggest you “take this statement with a grain of salt,” unless you need to use it on the surface of your local roads. On the other hand, remember that The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s long-range weather forecast can often be amazingly accurate.


Casey Cep tells a story about her father’s act of kindness early one morning while she and her two sisters were still in their beds sleeping. To this day, she wonders where he got the power to say what he did, as simple as it might have been. I would say it was kindness coming from overwhelming love. Read the story and see what conclusion you reach.

“Years ago, when I was not yet a teenager, my father nearly died. He had a series of heart attacks, but then a triple bypass saved his life. There is so much to say about the weeks he spent in the hospital and the months he spent in recovery, as well as the miracles of medicine and the mysteries of the human body, but I want to say something about when his failing heart first shot pains through his left arm.

“It was early in the morning, but he knew exactly what was happening in his chest and woke my mother to ask her to call an ambulance. Our telephone was in the living room, but before she could leave their bedroom to use it, he asked for something else. My father asked that the ambulance not use its siren.

“Weeks later, when the fear of death had receded like some strange tide, my mother asked him about the siren. My father said simply that he worried it would have woken and frightened his three sleeping daughters. It is true that we were all light sleepers and that our farm was usually blanketed by the polite silence that comes from having no close neighbors, but what impossible kindness there was in my father’s request.

“I have called it an act of kindness, which I think it was. It was considerate in a way I cannot begin to understand; generous in a way no one would expect, much less demand. Years later, I still do not comprehend how in what very well might have been the final moments of his life, my father thought to ask for quiet so that his daughters might continue sleeping.”


Here’s an interesting story about a cholera outbreak in the mid-1850s in London and how the outbreak was ended by simply acting upon data: “In 1854, London’s Soho district was struck by the worst cholera outbreak that the city had seen to date. Unconvinced by the dominant theory that the disease was spread by ‘bad air,’ Dr. John Snow set about mapping the location of each death. The pattern that emerged revealed that the outbreak was centered on the corner of Broad and Cambridge streets, where a public water pump stood.

“Snow’s chemical analysis of the water was inconclusive, but he discovered that the victims within 250 yards of the pump had drunk from it. There were a few anomalies, however: a monastery, a prison and a brewery, each of which reported almost no cases, despite being close to the pump. The prison had its own well; the monks in the monastery and the patrons of the brewery drank only beer. In other words, they weren’t anomalies at all. When the pump’s handle was removed, the outbreak ended.”


The three most important factors in buying real estate are always location, location and location. And that’s a mantra we can all believe in. But did you know that it also applies to buying real estate in the game of Monopoly?

Leo Penzo says, “Conventional wisdom when playing Monopoly suggests that the best property to own is Boardwalk because it commands the highest rent. However, savvy players know the most valuable property is actually Illinois Avenue. How can that be? Well, one of the biggest reasons is that Illinois Avenue’s board position — two “seven” rolls from Jail — gives it the distinction of being the game’s most landed-on property; Boardwalk is ranked 14th.”

Curious about which Monopoly game properties rank in the top 10 of most landed on? B&O Railroad is second. New York Avenue is third. Reading Railroad is fourth. Tennessee Avenue is fifth. Pennsylvania Railroad is sixth. Saint James Place is seventh. Water Works is eighth. Kentucky Avenue is ninth. And Indiana Avenue is 10th. I always liked owning the railroads and the orange and red properties when I played Monopoly. Now I know why.


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