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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Writer's Life 6/13 - By the Numbers

In the Fast Takes column in today's NY Post, economist Charles Hughes provides an opinion on worldwide poverty that flies in the face of what most people think. It's not increasing - far from it. He says: "...In 1970, about 60% still relegated to extreme poverty. Now, the figure is 9%." Wow.

A Post blurb reports the findings of a new survey. 62% of Americans believe in life after death, 17% do not, 20% are unsure. I'm among the third group, and lean toward the second.

The NBA and NHL seasons are complete. I was curious about what the odds for a championship in those sports were before the season began. was right on the money in pro basketball, listing the Golden St. Warriors at 2-1 and the runner-up Cleveland Cavaliers at 5-1. Year after year the NBA final pairing seems the easiest to predict. The site listed the perennial underachieving Washington Capitals as Stanley Cup favorites at 9-1. The champion Penguins were 10-1. Runner-up Nashville Predators were 40-1. There seems to be more surprises on the ice than in any of the other big four sports. Then again, it wasn't that big a surprise that the Penguins repeated, but it wouldn't have been had any of several other teams gone all the way. In MLB the Cubs, who have been mediocre, were 4-1 at the start of the season to repeat as champions. The Yankees, who at the moment seem unbeatable, were 30-1. Except for the dynasty years of the Bronx Bombers, I've always felt the World Series winner the most difficult to predict. At, the current odds of the Patriots repeating as Super Bowl champions are 6-1. As long as the Brady-Belichick tandem leads the way, a prediction of a New England championship seems safe. The Dallas Cowboys are 8-1. I didn't understand bleacherreport's way of calculating NFL odds. It awards points. It too has the Patriots way ahead of the rest of the field.

The floating book shop did well today despite the heat. My thanks to the woman who bought the two children books the Lady Eve donated yesterday; to Ira, who bought the Charlie Chaplin bio Herbie gave me; to Shelley, who purchased three Nora Roberts novels; to Michael, who chose The Raphael Affair (Art History Mystery) by Iain Pears; and to the gentleman who selected a book in Russian. I spent the entire three hours under the scaffold, venturing into the sun only at the end of the session to return the wares to the trunk of the old Hyundai. I was eager to get to the apartment and douse my head with cold water.
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