Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Mathematics of Superstition and Other Irrelevants

I was walking to work yesterday morning, when out of nowhere two identical, entirely black cats scooted across my path, a mere step in front of me (while an all white cat sat on the edge of the sidewalk, unmoved.)

Which left me wondering: is the bad luck from black cats additive or multiplicative? In the former case, I can expect twice the bad luck of a single black cat, but in the latter, I would expect good luck representing the square of the bad luck from one black cat.

I guess I'll have to wait and see as, for once, Wikipedia is not helpful.

Went to see the new Harry Potter movie the other day (note to Canadian Conservatives and other supporters of 'Canada's New Government': by 'new', I mean the 'new' Harry Potter movie that opened this week, not the 'new' one that opened in late 2005, or the 'new' Harry Potter movie that opened in 2004.) and it was pretty well done. Probably the second best so far after Prisoner of Azkhaban. Cutting 766 pages of print into 2 1/4 hours of film can't have been easy and there's really only one scene left out that I really thought should have been left in (Harry and co. meeting Neville's parents at the hospital), so, well done to screenwriter Michael Goldenberg, who also managed to get away from Steve Cloves (screenwriter for the first 4 movies), tiresome Hermione=good, Ron=comic relief dichotomy in an effective manner.

Before the movie there were previews for film translations of two other children's novels: The Golden Compass, which looks good, and 'The Dark is Rising' which, alas, looks like the epic battle between good and evil as penned by Susan Cooper, re-imagined as an American after-school special - "I'm supposed to save the world, I can't figure out how to talk to a girl" Will tells us in the preview which suggests that being too faithful to the book won't be a concern for this particular adaptation. Sigh. Oh well, 2 out of 3 is pretty good, especially when we're talking books made into movies.

Back on the topic of previews, I have to say that Steve Carell was born to play the role of Maxwell Smart. There's an adaptation that has some real comic potential.


Before the movie, we were, as always, subjected to a pile of commercials, with cars and cell phones among the usual suspects, but there were two ads I noticed in particular - one from a bank advertising its new 0 down-payment mortgage (as if mortgages were physical products and the U.S. housing implosion was causing their banks to ship their leftover inventory North), and one from local condo Marketer Bob Rennie offering the usual incoherent condo-babble (a dialect all its own, really). Two desperate real estate pitches in the pre-movie ads? Can you say bubble? More on this in a later post.


  • but perhaps bad luck is not negative good luck but more like a different vector ... always the pessimist ;)

    By Blogger KevinG, at 5:29 PM  

  • Hmm, good point.

    Even more pessimistically, I guess it's possible that it's good luck that is really the negative of bad luck, with two horseshoes (for example) leading to bad luck, but black cats just piling up more and more bad luck. A depressing thought indeed, albeit an appropriate enough one for a Friday the 13th....

    I'd better keep an eye out.

    By Blogger Declan, at 6:34 PM  

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