I’m a numbers guy. I notice a lot of relations between numbers, in addition to finding them in analysis and such. However, I sometimes miss some for years that when I realize it, I am just stunned as to how I could have missed it. The most shocking example still is the one that has to do with my age when running my first marathon, and which I didn’t realize for like a decade. However, this one about my spending and taxes in recent years comes close.
Each time I to to enter a competition with a fee, I wonder if that fee couldn’t be put to better use in another “competition”, as in the lottery. That is, what might I be losing out on, or what economists call opportunity costs, in not having spent that money on lottery tickets that could really change my life if I won a jackpot or even secondary prize? After all, few competitions I enter would either change my life as much as a decent lottery prize. Nor would I have better odds of winning or placing well in those competitions, in many but not most cases, like the Boston Marathon. In some small races or other competitions, like writing, I have done well enough to merit some recognition. However, the prizes have always been essentially negligible. That is, there were some value to them, just not much value to me. Well, at least not material value. Moral value like confidence and social value like perception in the eyes of others, also known as bragging rights without the bragging, are another matter, though. Still, as “priceless” as they may be, I can’t help thinking what chances at winning a jackpot I would deprive myself of in putting money towards these competitions rather than to a lottery, for which I don’t often buy tickets. So what to do?
This past weekend, I ran my 30th marathon in just under 13 years. Re-energizing afterwards, I thought I’d take a few moments to reflect on what it’s meant to me.
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) issued a ruling today which censored Dire Straits’ mega-hit song from over 25 years ago, Money for Nothing. The CBSC said the song should either be banned, or suitably edited, for its use of the homophobic word “faggot”, three times. (CBC, Jan 13 2011; CSBC Decision)
(I’d have embedded the actual music video but those *^&*@$ at YouTube have all these copyrights rules now that don’t let them be seen in Canada and other countries).
I understand the principle to censor the song, but completely disagree with the psychology of the action. For the sake of an ideal, the fight against homophobia just took a step backward rather than a step forward.