Monday, January 28, 2013

Apple #622: Referring to Former Governors and Presidents

This is another topic that came up in conversation.  A group of us were sitting around, talking about the news of the day, when someone mentioned someone who used to be governor.  "Here's a Daily Apple question for you," my friend Carmela said.  "When you're talking about somebody who used to be governor, do you call them Governor, or since they're not governor anymore, what do you call them?"

Her husband Carlyle said, "I think if it's an office that only one person can hold at a time, only the current governor is called governor.  Otherwise, they're a former governor."  But Carlyle said he wasn't sure, he'd only heard that through the grapevine, so could I confirm that.

It turns out, Carlyle is exactly right.

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is now just Mr. Schwarzenegger. Or perhaps the Terminator.
(Photo from

Used to Hold an Office Occupied by Only one Person

  • If you're referring to a person who used to hold an office that only one person can have at a time -- mayor, governor, president, vice president, etc -- you no longer refer to that person as Mayor Whosit or Governor Whatsit or President Lollygag or Vice President Codswallop.  Only the current officeholder is Mayor Bobolink or Governor Titmouse or President Mudskipper, etc.
  • Exactly how you designate a former single-person officeholder depends on your situation.
  • If you're talking about them in conversation or in a paper or a news article, you refer to them as former governor So-and-so.
  • If you're speaking to the former one-person-officeholder, you use the title indicating the highest previous hierarchical level that person has achieved.  
    • When you speak to former Vice President Al Gore, call him "Senator Gore" (see below).
    • Former President Bill Clinton's previous highest position was governor, but somebody else is governor of Arkansas now so you can't call him that anymore. Before that, he was just a Mr., so you would call him "Mr. Clinton."  
    • Similarly, former President George W. Bush was governor of Texas, but you can't call him governor anymore, so you would call him "Mr. Bush."  
    • If you were to speak to former President Dwight Eisenhower, you would call him "General Eisenhower." 
  • If you are formally addressing or announcing a former officeholder, you refer to them as The Honorable So-and-So.
    • If you were having a party where a butler was announcing the arrival of each guest, when former President Bill Clinton arrived, the butler would say, "The Honorable William Clinton." (He'd probably say William because butlers like to be formal.)
    • If you were going to send an invitation to George W. Bush to come to your party, you would address it to "The Honorable George W. Bush." 

Jimmy Carter will always be Jimmy, even with "The Honorable" in front of his name.
(Photo from the Huffington Post)

Used to Hold an Office that Many People Could Hold

  • In the case of positions where there are lots of them at one time--Senators or Congressmen or Trustees, etc.--they retain the title even after they have left office.
    • You would still refer to Elizabeth Dole as Senator Elizabeth Dole (especially to distinguish her from Senator Bob Dole).
    • Bill Frist was a doctor before he became a Senator, but US Senator is considered a higher position than Dr., so you would still refer to him as Senator Bill Frist.
    • Speaking to multi-person officeholders, you use the same title: "Hello, Senator Dole."
    • When formally addressing or writing an invitation to a former multi-person officeholder, you also use The Honorable So-and So.

Even if Senator Dole had gone back to being president of the American Red Cross after having been Senator, she would still be Senator, since the US Senate trumps the Red Cross.
(Photo from EHS Today)

Some Exceptions

  • Sometimes journalists will change up these rules within an article just to avoid sounding overly formal or redundant.  For example, a journalist might refer to President Obama as "President Obama" on the first occurrence, and then on subsequent mentions in the same article, even though grammar and etiquette says he should be called "President Obama," they will switch to "Mr. Obama."
    • Side note: after much debate and consideration, NPR has decided to stop calling him "Mr. Obama" on second mentions now that he has entered his second term.  NPR's managing editor has decided that "Mr. [Last Name]" is now an antiquated form, and that Mr. Obama has become so familiar to us, the Mr. seems too overly deferential.  So once they've refer to "President Obama" the first time in a piece, after that he will simply be "Obama."
  • Some journalists keep using "Governor" even after he or she has left that office.  During Mr. Romney's Presidential campaign, for example, he was often referred to as Governor Romney, even though he no longer occupied that office.  
  • Some political pundits still refer to Mrs. Sarah Palin as Governor Palin, even though she is no longer Governor. The appropriate title for her now is Mrs. Palin.


  • When the office is used as a title preceding someone's name, it is capitalized:
    • President Barack Obama
    • Senator John Boehner
    • Governor John Hickenlooper
  • When the office is used as a title following someone's name, it is capitalized:
    • Sincerely, Marjorie Woolgatherer, Doyenne Extraordinaire
    • Warm regards, Lucius Malfoy, Death Eater
  • When referring to the office in general, or to the officeholder by title only, do not capitalize it:
    • I'm thinking of running for president.*
    • Why not just run for governor?
    • Because the state attorney general will beat me. 
    • *(Some people do capitalize President only when it means President of the United States [POTUS]). 

Hope that helps, Carlyle, Asker of This Topic.
The Apple Lady

President Obama, smiling in front of the White House logo. Perhaps Mr. Obama doesn't care whether people call him "Mr. Obama" or "Obama" on second mentions.  "Barry" is probably going a bit too far -- in formal contexts, anyway.
(Photo from Zap2it)

The Protocol School of Washington's Honor & Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address, Governor and Senator
English Language & Usage, Addressing a former office-holder by that office's title
NPR Ombudsman, That's 'Mister' To You, Buddy, October 5, 2012
NPR Will Stop Referring To Obama As ‘Mr.’ On Second Reference To Avoid Appearance Of ‘Favoritism’ Media-ite, January 18, 2013
Emily Post, Addressing a Former President of the United States
Why so formal with the president? Chicago Tribune, August 8, 2012

Friday, January 25, 2013

Apple #621: Naming Winter Storms

Questions about why winter storms are getting named first came up in November.  I found an article about it and posted it to the Daily Apple news feed on facebook.  It seemed like that article covered all the bases and a full Daily Apple would only be redundant, so I left it at that.

But I see that some people are still asking questions, and it seems that the controversy about this practice is continuing.  So I thought a full Daily Apple entry was in order after all.

The Weather Channel's list of names they plan to use for winter storms.  Won't winter storm Ukko be fun?
(Image from

  • The Weather Channel is the only weather service that is naming winter storms.  They came up with this idea in November 2012, and they're the ones deciding which winter storms get names and what to name them.
  • NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), which is essentially the official weather service for this country, and the American Meteorological Society (AMS), which is the leading society of licensed meteorologists, are not participating in the TV channel's practice of naming winter storms.
  • The National Weather Service is the official meteorological body that names hurricanes and tropical storms.  Unlike hurricanes and tropical storms, the NWS has not named winter storms for several reasons:
    • winter storms can weaken and redevelop across a wide area, making it difficult to determine where one storm starts and another begins
    • a winter storm can be very erratic, with several centers that may not be well-defined, so it's difficult to determine who will be affected, and how, by a "single storm."
    • since the weather within a winter storm area can vary significantly (e.g., fog and rain in one area, heavy snowfall in another, wintry mix of ice and snow in still another), it may be confusing to call such a range of weather by a single name.

The radar maps below show what can happen with winter storms. In this system, there was a southern branch of this storm that was mainly freezing rain, though the northern swath also included freezing rain.  After a while, the southern branch broke away.  So was that 1 storm that became 2?  Would you then keep talking about the 2 branches with the same name?  Or were they really 2 storms that happened to be next to each other?

By the way, I deeply apologize for the use of Comic Sans in these images.  But they're from 2008, so hopefully the image creator knows better now.
(Weather radar maps from Chicago Area Weather Blog)

  • In spite of such scientifically-based reasons for not naming winter storms, the Weather Channel, a TV station, decided to start naming winter storms anyway.  They say they decided to do so because:
    • "Naming a storm raises awareness.
    • Attaching a name makes it much easier to follow a weather system’s progress.
    • A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own, which adds to awareness.
    • In today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
    • A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future."
  • I find it interesting that when they say "raises awareness," they do not add "about the storm." I think they're hoping to raise awareness about The Weather Channel. 
  • I think I'm guessing accurately because they also list this as their final (and I think real) reason: "Finally, it might even be fun and entertaining and that in itself should breed interest from our viewing public and our digital users."
  • In other words, they're doing it for the ratings!  For the money!  They want to make it rain for TWC! 
  • I imagine somebody at TWC pitching the idea something like this:
    • Picture this: snow is forecast across several states a few days from now.  Everyone is waiting on tenterhooks to see what TWC will name the storm.  Everyone tunes in, and then when the storm is named, everyone uses TWC's storm-name and mentions The Weather Channel when they talk about how much snow is falling.  Think of the free publicity!  It'll be practically snowing mentions of TWC!   
  • Well, that's my fanciful idea.  But in practice, things haven't worked out like that for TWC at all.

Behind the scenes at The Weather Channel.  I see a lot of TV-related stuff.  Not much weather-related stuff.
(Photo from Inc.)

  • After TWC named the first winter storm Athena, the National Weather Service issued an internal memo, which said: "The NWS does not use named winter storms in our products. Please refrain from using the term Athena in any of our products."
  • Publicly, the NWS said they didn't care if any private businesses wanted to go around naming winter storms, but the NWS wouldn't be doing that. 
  • (Except they do name winter storms after the fact when they can tell exactly what happened where, and they can quantify the data.)

The NWS. Not afraid to zap bad ideas.
(Logo sourced from The Houston Chronicle)

  • Shortly after this, meteorologists, weather forecasters & broadcasters, and just plain weather buffs from around the country started to weigh in.  Pretty much universally, they hated it.  In a nutshell, here are the reasons they gave:
    • The TWC is doing this completely unilaterally.  They're not communicating with anyone else before they name the storms. Instead of fostering communication and awareness, by acting so independently from the rest of the weather community, they're actually creating disunity and fostering confusion. ("The Weather Channel has essentially tossed effective risk communication out the window"; "Who died and made them King?!")
    • By deciding on their own and in secret when and how to name the storms, they are closing the process to scientific input.  Maybe it really would be a good idea to name winter storms, but by not allowing any peer review to take place, they're keeping their decisions at the level of gimmick, rather than a meteorologically sound practice.
    • That said, naming winter storms as if they're one unified event really isn't accurate, and it is confusing, so they shouldn't be doing it. (“In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, The Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety. We have explored this issue for 20 years and have found that this is not good science and will mislead the public.")
    • The criteria that TWC are using are very closely tied to ratings.  One of their determining factors is the amount of "impact" it will have, and they're defining "impact" in terms of the number of viewers--er, people affected.  Time of day (e.g. prime time-- er, rush hour) and day of the week (e.g., Monday vs. Saturday) are also factors.  Thus, in the eyes of TWC, not all winter storms are created equal. ("A bad winter storm here in CNY could miss out on getting named. Big lake effect events wouldn't count.")
    • Compared to hurricanes whose effects are widespread, devastating, and deadly, while some winter storms can be severe, winter storms often do not approach the same level of threat.  Especially since winter storm "Athena" happened shortly on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, it was kind of laughable by comparison. ("TWC gimmick named it Athena today. Most mets [NYers] laughing at them.")

"Winter Storm Athena"
(Weather map from

Hurricane Sandy
(Weather GIF from Hurricane Season 2012)

  • So the upshot is, pretty much no weather service is joining in TWC's storm-naming games.  Instead of all kinds of happy bandwagon publicity, the real result seems to be that they've only created a vehicle that makes it all too obvious that very few people in the weather community take them seriously.  Call it Meteorology Freeze-Out Freddy. 
  • By the way, guess who are part-owners of The Weather Channel?  NBC and Bain Capital. Talk about strange bedfellows.

Tom Niziol,, Why The Weather Channel is Naming Winter Storms, November 11, 2012, Weather Channel naming system backfires when NWS rejects Athena, November 7, 2012
Rob Manker, Winter Storm Athena? National Weather Service tells its forecasters not to use The Weather Channel's name for storm, The Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2012
Jason Samenow, TV weathercasters criticize unilateral action by The Weather Channel on storm naming, Washington Post blog, October 3, 2012
American Geophysical Union Blogosphere, Weather Channel Plan To Name Winter Storms Gets Frosty Reception, October 3, 2012
Weather Underground, MAweatherboy's blog, Why TWC Is Wrong To Name Winter Storms, November 9, 2012
Matthew Kemeny, 'Khan' shows its wrath on midstate highways; Weather Channel names winter storms to 'raise awareness, The Patriot News, January 25, 2013
Michael de la Merced, Weather Channel Is Sold to NBC and Equity Firms, The New York Times, July 7, 2008

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    Apple #620: Beer Styles and Hoppiness

    No, that's not a typo in the title of this entry. I really do mean "hoppiness," as in how much hops are used to make a particular kind of beer.

    Daily Apple reader Carmela asked me last night, as several of us were sampling various craft beers, what are some examples of "hoppy" beer, and what are some more "malty" beers?  I told her that IPAs are usually hoppier, while wheat beers are kind of the opposite.  She asked where stouts fit in, and I realized I wasn't sure.  Then the group started throwing out all kind of words like pilsner and ale and bock, and it was obvious we were all kind at sea.  Clearly, we needed the Apple Lady.

    So many styles of beer, so many colors and flavors, how is a body to know what's what?
    (Photo from Tostevin)

    Beer Basics

    • To understand what "hoppy" and "malty" means, I had to revisit the recipe for beer and how it's made. 
    • So the recipe for beer is, very basically, water + yeast + malt (sugar) + hops (flavor).  

    The four basic ingredients in beer
    (Poster from society6)

    • Yeast likes to eat sugar.  When yeast eats sugar, it produces alcohol and carbon dioxide (a.k.a. the bubbles in the beer).  
    • This process of yeast eating the sugar and producing alcohol is what people mean when they say "fermentation."
    • The question is, what kind of sugar are you going to give the yeast to eat?  If it's starchy or sugary, yeast likes it.  Give it grapes, and you'll get wine.  Give it grain, and you'll get either liquor or beer.  But let's concentrate on just the beer.
    • Let's say you decide to feed barley to your yeast. In order to make sure the yeast will get the most sugar out of your barley, you want to let the barley sprout and start to grow just a tiny bit. Then you stop the sprouting process right there and dry it to keep the barley from growing any further.  At this stage, the highest number of sugar-producing enzymes are present in the barley, but there's also still a lot of starch in the plant, too.  It's a yeast's fantasy feast.
    • That process of letting the barley germinate and spout and then drying it is called malting.  The sprouted and stopped barley is now called malted barley, or just plain malt.

    One type of barley malt called Crystal Malt.
    (Photo from Wikipedia)

    • Next, you feed the malt to the yeast.  The yeast loves the malt and starts bubbling away happily, making bubbles and alcohol.  You'll have to add a second batch of malt, this time broken down for the yeast into a boiled, soggy mush called mash.
    • So all we've done so far is fed sugar to the yeast.  If you drank your soggy yeasty mash now, it would taste somewhere on the spectrum of faintly-sweet, like if you poured water over your cereal, to kind of damp-grainy, like if you took your Minute Rice off the stove too early.  More on the starchy/grainy end of the flavor spectrum.

    Beer mash in progress.  This will make a Virginia estate beer.  But you can see all the bubbles, which means fermentation is happening, and you can see how this would taste kind of grainy/starchy at this stage.
    (Photo from Barlow Brewing)

    • But then the beer gets another component: the hops.  Hops is a plant that has all sorts of aromatic oils and enzymes in it.  Hops add flavor--mainly bitterness, which counterbalances the sweetness of the malt.
    • Sometimes other flavors are added, you have to do more stuff to your soggy mush, and you have to let it ferment a little longer, strain it, and do some other stuff with it, but basically, that's beer.  Water + yeast + malt (sugar) + hops (flavor).

    Hoppy vs. Malty

    • The fun everybody has with making beer is experimenting with flavor.  Generally, this comes down to a choice between whether you like it more malty (grainy/nutty/distantly sweet) or more hoppy (bitter/funky).  Here are a few little facts about hops that may inform your choice.
    • Hops is part of the hemp family.  It's a close relative of the marijuana plant.  They look sort of similar, and they both have a similar skunky kind of aroma.

    Cannabis sativa leaves and buds.
    (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

    Hops leaves (here, damaged by pests)
    (Photo from BeerFM)

    Hops buds hanging from the vine
    (Photo from the ASPCA -- because the hops plant is toxic to dogs. It will give the dog seizures and maybe even kill the dog.)

    •  So sometimes the flavor that hops contributes can be slightly skunky, like cannabis. Or so I've heard.
    • The aromatic oils and enzymes in hops that give flavor to the beer degrade rather quickly.  So if you're choosing a beer that is more hoppy, you'll want it to be as fresh as possible. 
    • Since alcohol is made in the malt + yeast part of the process, the more malt a brewer uses, the higher the alcoholic content (more sugar --> more food for the yeast --> more alcohol). 
    • That said, hoppy beers can also be pretty strong.  This is because the brewer will often add more malt to balance the bitterness of the hops.  
    • If you want to know which styles of beer ten to be more or less hoppy, you can always consult the IBU Graph.  Ah, yes, of course, you say.  But what the heck is that?
    • IBU stands for International Bittering Units.  It's a measure of how bitter a particular beer will taste.
    • Or you can consult the graph below, which I think is a little easier to use than the IBU.

    This chart is slightly different than IBU, and I think it's a little easier to use.  This one compares styles of beer in terms of the ratio of bitterness units (BU) to gravity units (GU). In more practical terms, the bitterest-tasting and driest beers are at the yop, while the less bitter, more sweet and light-bodied beers are at the bottom.
    (Chart from Charlie Rohwer's Homebrewing page at UMN)

    • Neither the IBU graph nor this one will tell you how a Magic Hat will taste compared to a Budweiser.  But they will tell you how an American IPA compares to a Standard American Lager.  Which means you need to know your styles of beer.

    Styles of Beer

    • (By the way, that's the word to use to refer to a type of beer: its style. If you're talking about the differences between a stout and a porter, you're comparing styles of beer.) 
    • There are two major categories of beer: ales or lagers.  Everything falls under either of those two categories.  I'll describe each category and list a few of the more popular styles.  There are so many styles and variations of those styles, I could never hope to cover them all.


    These are all lagers.  But there's a whooooole lot more to lagers than just these mass-produced canned things.
    (Photo from the Hop Press)

    • LAGERS -- most of us Americans are more familiar with these. These are bottom-fermenters, meaning fermentation happens at the bottom of the pot, they require cold to ferment, and take about 3 months to make. "Lager" means "to store" in German because you had to store these someplace cold while they fermented.  Generally less hoppy than ales.
      • American lite lagers -- But Lite, Miller Lite, etc.
      • American standard -- Budweiser
      • Pilsner (or Pilsener, from the Czech Pilzen) -- golden color, moderate hoppiness
      • Oktoberfest or Marzen -- summer beer, often amber-colored
      • Bock -- strong, dark, usually made with wheat
      • Doppelbock (double bock) -- traditionally brewed by monks to sustain them through the Lenten fast, light on the hops
      • Munich Dunkel -- malty, almost bready, sometimes also with a chocolatey feel
      • Schwartzbier -- literally, black beer. Dark in color but light in body, quite hoppy

    These are a few brown ales, only a tiny sample of the huge variety of ales. Because ales are relatively quick to make, it's easier to home-brew or micro-brew an ale than a lager.
    (Photo from The Beerists)

    • ALES -- these are top-fermenters, meaning the fermentation happens at the top of the pot. They take only a few days to make, and they ferment at roughly room temperature. They tend to be heavier-bodied, darker in color, and have a higher alcohol content than lagers. But the hoppiness can vary a lot.
      • Barley wine - very strong, maybe only a hint of hops. 
      • Wheat beer (or Weizen or Weiss) - usually pale orange or yellow and cloudy, mild and a little sweet in flavor, sometimes banana-y, often served with an orange slice
      • [varieties of] Ale - there are so many ales from all over the place, it's tough to generalize, but usually brown, light on the hops, high on the alcoholic content
      • Lambic - oldest type of beer still made, an ale that uses wild yeast, takes 3 years to make, aged in wooden barrels, very sour, but with a fruity aroma.
      • Saisons - Belgian summer beers, made to quench the farmer's thirst, amber or orange, low alcohol, dry, high hops, a little sour
      • English bitter - while the bitterness can be fairly high, the funky hop flavor is almost absent.
      • English strong ale and Scottish ale - malty, fruity, amber-colored, medium- to full-bodied.
      • IPA (India Pale Ale) - golden or coppery in color, very hoppy; lots of hops and lots of alcohol helped preserve the beer on the voyage from Britain to India.
      • Porter - made with black or chocolate malt and roasted barley, lots of hops but lots of malt too. They can be either sweet or bitter depending on who's making it.
      • Stout - Guinness is the best-known example here. Black or very dark, made with unroasted barley, lots of hops, lots of bitterness, did I mention lots of hops?
    • This list is only a place to start. For some more complete lists, along with fuller descriptions, notes on alcohol content or bitterness levels, and examples of each style, check out Bend Brewfest's Beer Glossary (good descriptions) and's Style Guide (click or scroll down for descriptions and examples)
    Hope that helps you decide which new styles of beer you might like to try, Carmela.

    Howstuffworks, What's in Beer and Yeast
    Aaron J. Schohn, RPI, A New Look at Brewing, Malted Barley
    Tyghe Trimble and Chris Pagnotta, How to Make Beer (Cheaply, Simply): Step-By-Step Guide, Popular Mechanics
    Badger & Blade, "Non-hoppy beers?
    5280, Beer Lesson: Hops versus Malts
    Brewer's Friend, IBU Graph
    Titletown Brewing, Why are hoppy beers so strong?
    A Perfect Pint, Malty vs. Hoppy Flavors in Beer
    Beer by BART, Hops Category entries
    Homebrewing beta, should hoppy brews be aged?
    Second City Soiree, Beer! Ale vs Lager vs Stout vs Pilsner vs . . .
    Bend Brewfest's Beer Glossary's Style Guide

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    Apple # 619: Ticket Sales & Resales

    With all the football games that have been going on lately, regular Daily Apple reader Joachim and I were talking about buying tickets to football games, and about how hard it is to get tickets to a game at Lambeau Field, but that some people were selling them on StubHub. But then, we wondered, since we've heard so often that it's illegal to re-sell tickets, how can StubHub be legal?

    But why is it even illegal to resell your tickets anyway?  You can resell your books, or your house, or a car, why not tickets to an event?

    And speaking of places where you can buy tickets, what about that whole Ticketmaster antitrust debacle that Pearl Jam raised?  What's up with that, and how come Ticketmaster isn't illegal either?

    So, a whole host of questions about tickets.

    Packers tickets. Very hard to come by, but supposedly not impossible. Well, no one's going to be buying tickets to a Packers game anymore this year. Thanks a lot, 49ers.
    (Photo from

    Ticket Sales

    That's a lotta tickets.
    (Photo from The L Magazine)

    • It is of course legal for the venue itself to sell tickets.  Say your favorite group, the Hokey Pokeys, are doing a show at the Miracle Ballroom down the street.  The Miracle Ballroom can sell you those tickets, they can decide if they need to add any surcharges like building fees, or if you want them  mailed to you a delivery fee, etc.  This is all legal and well and good
    • But say your friend in Hawaii wants to go see the Hokey Pokeys at the Miracle Ballroom with you.  You just went down there to get a ticket for yourself, you don't feel like going there again because their ticket office is hardly ever open, so you say to your Hawaiian friend, "Can't you buy a ticket online?" This is where things start to get just a touch more complicated.
    • The Miracle Ballroom is a tiny non-profit venue; they can't afford to run their own ticketing website and handle all that stuff.  So they signed a contract with a ticket agent service to handle the web sales for them.  This service gets a batch of official Miracle Ballroom tickets to sell, they answer questions about seating charts at the venues, they handle the transaction and shipping the tickets to your friend in Hawaii (and anyone else who wants to buy from their website). Ticketmaster is an example of a ticket agent (more on them later).  All this is also legal; now there's a middle man in the deal, that's all.
    • As the date of the Hokey Pokeys' concert approaches, your friend in Hawaii realizes that she can't make it after all. Her jet-powered surfboard broke down so she can't make it to the mainland.  So your friend has this ticket that she can't use.  You don't know anybody who likes the Hokey Pokeys so you say to your friend, "Why don't you see if you can re-sell it online?"  We have now entered the realm of ticket re-selling, and here is where the questions about legality start to fly.

    Ticket Re-Sales

    Usually when people talk about reselling tickets, they mean scalping, and often that means selling for a profit--but not always. 
    (Photo from

    •  All sorts of factors determine whether re-selling tickets is legal.  
      • 1. Laws governing the reselling of tickets assume that you want to sell them for more than face value.  If you sell your tickets for less than face value, nobody cares.
        • There's an important caveat to this: a prosecutor could argue that you tried to sell your ticket for more than face value but for whatever reason couldn't (not enough demand perhaps). The fact that you tried to scalp your tickets but failed could still get you into trouble, and it's possible that a given state could consider any re-selling illegal, whether you made a profit on it or not.  So exercise caution here.
      • 2. Laws about re-selling tickets for more than face value (scalping) vary from state to state. 
        • Some states ban it completely (Michigan).  
        • Other states say it's OK, but the re-seller has to pay the state a fee to be licensed (Alabama, among others). 
        • Other states say only certain types of people are allowed resell tickets (Virginia: religious or charitable organizations reselling tickets for fundraising)
        • Other states say for certain types of events, no re-selling is allowed (Hawaii and Indiana: reselling tickets to boxing matches is illegal; Wisconsin: reselling tickets to the state fair is illegal). Reselling tickets to any other types of events is OK.
        • Other states impose limits on what amount greater than face value the ticket seller can charge (no more then $3 in Georgia)
        • Other states limit where the ticket reselling can take place (Louisiana: only on the internet but Louisiana law also says that all ticket reselling is illegal and they've prosecuted people who've sold tickets online so who knows; New York: not within 1,500 feet of a venue that seats more than 5,000)
        • Still others pass the buck to the city or county level and let them decide what's legal (Ohio)
        • Many states have some combination of the above requirements 
        • Some have no ban on scalping at all (Florida; but they limit how many tickets you can buy in order to prevent hoarding & driving up the price)
      • 3. On top of state laws, other laws prohibit unsanctioned scalping in specific situations, including
    • NFL games
        • Auto raceways
        • Certain events will say on the ticket that it's illegal to resell it.
        • On stadium or venue grounds (this is why you see scalpers holding up tickets outside the venues)
      • 4. In addition to all this confusion, the law generally only goes after the re-seller, not the buyer.  And when they say "reseller," they usually mean a large reselling service rather than an individual.  
    • So before you go setting up shop as a scalper, either on the street or online, familiarize yourself with your particular state's laws.  You'd better not rely on some internet summary of them, either, but read the actual law because some of them can get pretty detailed and convoluted.
    • Back to our example.  If your friend in Hawaii posted a notice on her facebook page that she had a ticket to the Hokey Pokeys to sell, she probably wouldn't get in trouble.  (If she lived in Louisiana, though, she might.)  
    • If she couldn't sell her ticket online, mailed it to you, and you tried to sell it at the concert, if you sold the ticket outside the Miracle Ballroom, you'd probably be OK.  If you sold it just inside the door of the Miracle Ballroom, you'd probably get busted.
    • If your friend used a reselling service or a secondary ticketing service, she might or might not get in trouble. StubHub is an example of a secondary ticketing service. But before I start talking about them, it's important to understand:

    Why So Many Laws?

    Counterfeit tickets to Patriots games. The first giveaway is the Ticketmaster logo on them. Ticketmaster doesn't put its logo on Patriots tickets. Other clues are typos, seats that go with a different stadium, the wrong face value price, etc.
    (Photo from the New England Patriots, sourced from

    •  Some people think, as I do, that a ticket is a good that can be bought and sold like anything else.  Once you've purchased it, it's yours to do with as you please, and if you can find somebody who will pay you $200 for that $10 Hokey Pokeys ticket, good for you.
    • But that's on an individual basis.  The problem arises when brokers buy up scads of tickets to an event, so many that the public can't buy a ticket from the venue, they have to go to these brokers and pay them exorbitant amounts. The venue doesn't see any of that profit, the fans get gypped, and the broker walks away laughing and rubbing his hands with glee.  Tickets Galore, ABC Tickets, and Vivid Seats are examples of ticket brokers.
    • But wait, the brokers say. We're not evil just because we can afford to buy up tons of tickets and make a profit. We're just being capitalists. Besides, we might have bet wrong on any event. We might have bought thousands of tickets to that Hokey Pokeys show at Madison Square Garden, but it turned out only 1500 people wanted to go, and we couldn't even sell the tickets at face value, so we lost our shirts on that one. The marketplace is a brutal enough regulator.
    • Ah, but there's yet another problem. Some ticket brokers are selling counterfeit tickets. With internet ticket sales, this is getting even more prevalent. Ticket holders are showing up at events only to discover that their ticket won't scan right by the agent at the door, and they can't get in.  If the ticket holder goes back to the broker, the broker usually shrugs and says, tough luck, no refund, you're out the $1,000 you paid, tell it to the wall.
    • So the states hope that by imposing various regulations on the reselling of tickets, they can put a damper on some of that ticket fraud and exorbitant pricing. 

    Secondary Ticket Agents

    StubHub logo. They might not give a thumbs up to this entry.

    • Now I'm ready to talk about the secondary ticket agents. Unlike brokers, they're not selling the tickets themselves, they are facilitating the sale of tickets that someone has already bought and wants to re-sell.
    • StubHub is probably the best-known of these services.  It's actually owned by eBay--they're providing a portal for you to sell your tickets the same way you might want someplace to sell the T-shirt you got at that last Hoke Pokeys show.
    • On StubHub's site, you can post a notice that you want to sell your ticket for whatever amount you decide.  But StubHub can decide to limit that amount (though reports seem to suggest that they don't).
    • StubHub does charge a commission on each ticket sold.  They get a percentage from both the buyer and the seller.  It's only about 10%, but that amount can add up quickly if they sell enough tickets.
    • And you can sell NFL tickets through StubHub.  But up above, it says that's illegal, so how does that work?
    • StubHub signs contracts with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA that allow them to resell official tickets to those sporting events.  They pay a lot of money up front in the hope that, as the only place allowed to sell those tickets legally, they'll be able to make up their investment.  So they're sanctioned scalpers.  Legal.
    • But problems have crept in here too.  Even though StubHub has all kinds of guarantees that you can get your money back if the tickets are counterfeit, that's really not much of a consolation if you pay all that money to fly from Hawaii and travel to the Magic Ballroom and go to a Hokey Pokeys exclusive tailgate party ahead of time only to find out that your ticket is no good (or it never arrives) and you can't see the show.  Or the Green Bay Packers game. Or the Oregon Ducks game. Or the BCS Championship game.  Or whatever the case may be.
    • To be fair, they've recently been investing in a lot of sophisticated analytics to catch fraudsters. So people might start having more reliable experiences with them in the future.

    So is it Legal?

    Something else to keep in mind: if the person you sold your game ticket to gets drunk, misbehaves, and gets kicked out, you could lose your season tickets.

    While reselling your tickets might be legal, and it's kind of less illegal to buy re-sold tickets, you could wind up losing not just a chunk of money but also the chance to see a pretty good game. Or concert. Or race. Or state fair. And I hear those Hokey Pokeys play a wicked accordion.  You'd hate to miss that.


    Ticketmaster and its new partner, Live Nation
    (Logo from Offbeat)

     I almost forgot; I said I would talk about Ticketmaster.
    • They don't resell anything. They're an agent working on the venue's behalf, and the tickets they sell are they sell are the original seats. 
    • They make money on the fees they charge. Some of the fees on top of the venue's ticket price are assessed by the venue, like a building charge. But other fees like processing or handling, that's Ticketmaster's cut.
    • When Pearl Jam brought its suit against Ticketmaster, they said that the fees Ticketmaster charged were exorbitant and that since they kept buying up all the smaller ticket agents, they had no competitors to force them to charge less, and the band was also forced to have its tickets sold to its fans through Ticketmaster.
    • Then Pearl Jam tried to organize a tour that went to places that didn't use Ticketmaster, but they got into arguments with each other, and they wound up cancelling the whole tour. They blamed Ticketmaster; Ticketmaster said it wasn't their fault.
    • Shortly after that, the Justice Department said it found that Ticketmaster did have competitors, so they were dropping the investigation, and that was the end of that. For a while.
    • Ticketmaster recently merged with a concert promoter company called Live Nation (They're now officially Live Nation Entertainment).  Once again, the Justice Department looked into the possibility of antitrust infringement, and they said, Go ahead and merge, but you have to create a pair of rival companies to compete with you.
    • So they agreed to allow another ticketing company, AEG, access to Ticketmaster's software, and Ticketmaster sold off a subsidiary called Paciolan to Comcast Spectator, which sells sporting event tickets.
    • The DOJ is hoping this will do the trick, for both music and sporting events.
    • I offer these statistics in reply:
    In 2008, Ticketmaster sold more than 141 million tickets worth more than $8.9 billion and had a market share of more than 83% for major venues, according to concert-industry tracking publication Pollstar. Its next-biggest competitor's share was just under 4%.  (LA Times)

    OK, I think that covers everything. Whoof, I'm beat.  Got just enough juice in the tank to see how much tickets to the next Hokey Pokeys show are selling for. . . .

    WiseGeek, Is Ticket Scalping Illegal?
    CT General Assembly, Office of Legislative Research, Ticket Scalping, December 18, 2006
    Arragon Perrone, Ticket resale laws and anti-fraud legislation in the U.S. and United Kingdom, Ticket News, Feb 7, 2012
    Michelle Kaminsky, "Who Needs Tickets? Is Ticket Scalping Legal?" LegalZoom, September 2006
    LSU cracking down on student ticket scalping, WAFB, Ticket Broker FAQ
    StubHub FanProtect(TM) Guarantee, and StubHub and MLB Advanced Media Renew Secondary Ticketing Partnership, December 10, 2012 Richard Sandomir, "That Season Ticket on eBay? It Could Cost Seller the Seat," The New York Times, September 24, 2006
    Chuck Philips, "U.S. Drops Ticketmaster Antitrust Probe : Entertainment: Abrupt closure of investigation lifts cloud of uncertainty over firm, catches others in industry off guard." Los Angeles Times, July 6, 1995
    Dawn C. Chmielewski, Ben Fritz and Randy Lewis, "Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger gets Justice Department's approval," Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2010

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Apple #618: Puerto Rico and the Miss Universe Pageant

    Now that I've gotten a couple broken hand-related entries out of my system, I can move on to the topic that have accumulated in my brain while I've been away in the Land of No Internet.  First on the list is this question from Daily Apple reader Katerina:
    So, the Miss Universe Pageant was on the other night. Naturally, I did some research. Did you know that there's a separate Miss Puerto Rico and Miss U.S.A.? Why is this? Puerto Rico is still part of America, right? Are there other similar scenarios for other countries that participate in Donald Trump's pageant? I feel like there's a Daily Apple in here somewhere.

    It seems to me that there are two ways of going about answering this.  The first would be to clarify Puerto Rico's official, political relationship with the US, and then to see how the Miss Universe rules compare.  But that is clearly the more boring option.  So I'm going to take the other route and start with the Miss Universe pageant.

    Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2012, Bodine Koehler
    (Photo from Missisology)

    • Between 75 and 85 countries send a candidate to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
    • The reason this isn't an absolute number is due to a host of possible reasons: 
      • Some countries choose their national candidate through a private modeling agency screening process rather than in a pageant, which the Miss Universe pageant frowns upon
      • Some countries don't hold a pageant because they can't get enough TV viewers interested
      • Some countries resist the requirement that their candidates compete in a swimsuit competition
      • Some countries simply do not send a candidate, such as Sweden in 2005, in response to an outpouring of feminist protests in the country.

    Sweden seems to have changed its mind about the issue, because they sent a candidate this year, Hanni Beronius.
    (Photo from Missisology)

      • In 2002, Miss Lebanon pulled out of the competition because Miss Israel was competing. In 2006, the contestants from the two countries made sure not to stand next to each other for photos, lest the photos prove "dangerous" for Miss Lebanon on her return home, "as have similar photos for Arab Miss Universe contestants in the past."
    But I'm digressing.

    This is all very interesting, but it doesn't answer the question.  I guess I'll have to go about this from the boring direction.

    Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean just east of the Dominican Republic.
    (Map from worldatlas)

    • Puerto Rico is currently a commonwealth.
    • In practice, being a commonwealth works a lot like being one of the United States: the US federal government is their ultimate authority, they use US currency, they elect Puerto Ricans to run things locally, they have their own governor, and while its civil laws are based on the Spanish civil code, in practice, the laws are very similar to those in the US.  Citizens of Puerto Rico are United States citizens.
    • The major differences are that Puerto Ricans can't vote in US Presidential elections, they have no representatives in the US House or Senate, and they are not subject to some of the IRS' income tax requirements, though they do pay into and receive Social Security.
    • Here's a little note on the site that is my primary source for this information: "Although Puerto Rico is considered a territory of the United States, the island has its own Olympic team and competes in the Miss Universe pageant as an independent nation."
    • That leads to the next part of the question: is Puerto Rico unique, or do the other US commonwealths have their own contestants competing in Miss Universe? 
    • Other US commonwealths (inhabited and therefore able to send someone to the Miss Universe pageant):
      • American Samoa
      • Guam
      • Midway Islands
      • US Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas)
    • American Samoa did not have a contestant in the Miss Universe pageant in any year from 2009-2012, but they did host the Miss South Pacific pageant this year.
    • Guam has sent a contestant each year from 2009-2012.

    This year, Miss Guam Universe was Alyssa Cruz Aguero.
    (Photo from Telemundo 47)

    • Midway Islands, like American Samoa, has not sent a contestant for the past 4 years.
    • The last time the US Virgin Islands sent a contestant was in 2010.

    Miss US Virgin Islands Universe in 2010 was Janeisha John.  Miss Angola won that year.
    (Photo from Linda Ikeji's Blog)

    • So it seems that the Miss Universe organizers consider US commonwealths to be separate countries.
    • By the way, Puerto Rico regularly debates and votes about changing its status relative to the US.  Some Puerto Ricans want the commonwealth  to become an independent country; others want it to become the 51st state.  Ultimately, it is the US Congress that can decide Puerto Rico's political status.

    Here are all the 2012 Miss Universe contestants.  Plus showgirls, of course.
    (Photo from Beauty Contest Update)

    Miss Universe, FAQ
    Sweden without Miss Universe Contestant for the First Time Ever, PRWeb, April 14, 2005

    Nathan Burstein, Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon: Not Best Friends After All, The Jerusalem Post, July 26, 2006
    Welcome to Puerto Rico, Government
    CIA World Factbook, Puerto Rico
    American Samoa’s Vaeafe defends Miss South Pacific pageant, Radio New Zealand International, December 3, 2012

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    Apple #617: Showering with a Cast

    As you may already know, I broke a bone in my hand last week.  I've had a cast on my hand & forearm since New Year's Day.

    My hand, casted.
    (Photo by the Apple Lady)

    At first, I was daunted by all the things that would be a lot more difficult thanks to not being able to use my right hand.  But I've discovered that I can pretty much do everything that comes up; it just takes longer. The results might be a little messier, but the job gets done.

    So I thought I'd share a few tips, for anybody else who might find themselves having to rely almost entirely on their non-dominant hand.

    First, Why Keep the Cast Dry
    If I didn't have to worry about getting the thing wet, I might use my clunky club stump to support things or brace them while I use my left hand for the detail work.  So why can't you get a cast wet, anyway?
    •  In short, because water softens plaster.
    • The nurse in the ER (his name was Brian) told me that casts are made with the same kind of plaster used to build houses.
    • Specifically, it's plaster of Paris.  It's cheap, it sets quickly, and it's easy to use.
    • Actually, first, Brian wrapped my arm with a cotton bandage.  It's really soft and comfortable.  Imagine taking a bunch of cotton balls and making a piece of cloth out of it.  That's what's against my skin.
    • Next, he applied the plaster.  But it wasn't like he painted it on.  He unrolled a whole bunch of plaster-impregnated gauze in hot water, which made the plaster gooey and sticky.

    Bandage coated with plaster, ready to be moistened and used to make casts.
    (Photo from Supplies Central)

    • He pressed the layers of wet plaster bandage into shape around my hand and arm, smoothed it, and tamped it down, all while avoiding the sore place on my hand.
    • Finally, he wrapped the whole thing in another bandage that has a long strip of Velcro at the end.
    • So the outer cloth provides some protection, but if the plaster got wet again, it would soften up and fail to fulfill its purpose in keeping my hand immobile while the bone heals.
    • One kind of interesting thing: as it hardened it got warm, almost hot.  Brian told me that would happen.
    Now that we know why I can't get the cast wet, here's how I've been avoiding that.

    Washing Dishes

    (Photo from Life less hurried)

    I don't have a dishwasher, so washing dishes by hand becomes more of a problem.

    • First, I've been using the lazy-person's dishwashing method, which goes like this:
    1. Rinse dishes
    2. Fill sink with very hot water and dish soap
    3. Add dirty dishes
    4. Let soak a good long time, at least until the water's cold
    5. With hot water, rinse the dishes again and wipe off anything that might be lingering
    6. Let air dry
    • The slight difference here is that I'm doing all of this with one hand.  That's not much of an issue except for during step 5.  I put the bowl or glass or plate in the empty side of the sink and kind of work a dish cloth around the dish until I'm satisfied.
    • The silverware and pot lids don't look as shiny as usual, but hey, they're clean and my cast did not get wet.
    • Then of course there's the strategy of not getting dishes dirty in the first place.  I've been using paper plates and the occasional plastic fork (This isn't exactly earth-friendly, but it sure does help.)

    Making Food

    Pre-sliced cheese: the hand-in-a-cast's best friend.
    (Photo from Sargento)

    • Since wielding a knife doesn't really work, or would be dangerous, I've gotten pre-cut things from the grocery store: sliced cheese, diced onions, salad-in-a-bag, etc. 
    • I have scoffed at this prepared stuff, but that was when I had both hands available.  Now I'm very grateful that somebody else cut up the watermelon for me.
    • I've also chosen things that I could heat up with a minimum of manual input.  Pre-shaped hamburger patties, sausages, cheese.
    • The naturally hand-held food items are also much-appreciated.  I'm thinking mainly of apples.  But peaches, apricots, cherries--all sorts of fruit fall in this category.  Then there are the hand-held snack foods like hot dogs, roasted & shelled peanuts, potato chips, etc.
    • I'm very proud to say that I cracked 5 eggs with my left hand.  Then I made scrambled eggs. Go, Lefty!
    • Finally, there's always the option of microwavable meals (I can only take so many of those, though, before I start to feel as alert as cardboard), or delivery: pizza, Chinese, sub sandwich, etc.


    This was the activity I was looking forward to the least.  The doctor and a couple nurses in the ER gave me different tips for how to avoid getting the cast wet.  The doctor told me to put my arm in a garbage bag and tape it shut.  But the idea of pulling tape from a roll, putting it down to cut it with the scissors, and then wrap it around my arm, all without getting it stuck to itself or the wrong things just seemed like a recipe for major frustration.

    So I came up with a different plan.

    • Wrap one sheet of Saran Wrap around the arm part of the cast.  Make sure the plastic covers everything from about the thumb down to the end of the cast, with a little extra extending beyond the end
    • Pull & press the plastic wrap snugly to minimize gaps.

    Plastic wrap draped around the cast, before getting wrapped snugly.
    (Photo by the Apple Lady)

    • In case the press n seal nature of plastic wrap doesn't stay stuck, add rubber bands.  The kind they put around broccoli at the grocery store work especially well.
    • Tuck the end of the plastic wrap into the end of the "sleeve" of the cast.  Again, make sure there aren't any gaps.

    The first of several rubber bands securing the plastic wrap.
    (Photo by the Apple Lady)

    • Next, drape another sheet of plastic wrap over the hand & fingers.  Use a generous amount to leave room for your thumb, which will want to move around a lot.

    You can see the rubber bands I've added, and now I'm draping the 2nd piece of plastic over the fingers.
    (Photo by the Apple Lady)

    • Finally, make sure the plastic over the fingers covers any last gaps.
    • Secure with another rubber band or two.

    Here's the finished result.  Note the extra wiggle room for the thumb.
    (Photo by the Apple Lady)

    Totally worked!  When I get out of the shower, I tamp dry the plastic just to make sure that doesn't get anything wet.  When I take off the plastic, everything under it is dry, not even damp.

    I'm still encountering things where I have to figure out how to do them with just one hand & a thumb (like tying shoelaces), but as I also continue to discover, it's all doable. I just have to get a little more creative and a little more patient.

    my own trial & error
    Elsa Chung, Nursing Management of Patient with Casting, July 5, 2009
    Supplies Central, Plaster Bandages
    Voluntary Simplicity, Washing Dishes Made Easy

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    Apple #616: Uh-oh, It's Broken

    For about the past week and a half, I've been away in the Land of No Internet, so I could not post anything to the Daily Apple.  In the meantime, I've been collecting ideas and suggestions for new entries, so I have a few in the hopper.

    (Also in the meantime, a Korean site that I think is something like Reddit picked up my entry about the power symbol, so there was a flurry of visitors here for a day or two.)

    When I got back to the World of the Wired, I was going to get cracking on those ideas in the hopper, but first a little accident happened.  I was watching the recent Packers-Vikings game with a friend.  I'll call him Minnesota Mad Man to protect his, uh, innocence.  I'm a Packers fan and Minnesota etc. is obviously a Vikings fan.

    M^3 was doing some trash talking while the Vikings were rather easily beating the Packers.  After a few quarters of this, I made to tackle him -- as one does during football games -- and he put up his hand to block me, the two hands collided, and smack.  My finger got jammed into his arm and I was curling up and saying ow ow ow ow.

    I once upon a time broke my toe, and that was so painful, I could hardly see straight.  This hurt, but only about as much as it does if you jam a knuckle.  After some careful poking around, I discovered that the heart of the pain was in the body of my hand, below my ring finger.  I thought of those two tendons, one from your ring finger, the other from the pinky, that come together there.  I couldn't move my finger at all at first, but in time I was able to bend it slightly.  All of these things led me to conclude that I hadn't broken anything but maybe strained that tendon and that, with a little ice and ibuprofen and time, it would be fine.

    I also didn't want anything to be broken.  This was my right hand.  My number one tool.  Crucial to me in so many ways, for so many reasons.

    Two days later, after icing and avoiding using it and bonking it by accident which led me to yelp in pain, my hand is slightly swollen, and the knuckle looks like it's sunken down.  I Googled "broken hand" and lo and behold, there was an array of pictures of hands in situations that looked a lot like mine; which is to say, they don't look that obviously messed up, just a little bit swollen.  Sites like the Mayo Clinic and WebMD said that any injury to the hand should be examined immediately.  Whoops.

    The swelling in this guy's broken hand is a little more obvious than mine, but this is pretty close to what my hand looks like.
    (Photo from Club Pebble Beach)

    So I'm off to the emergency room.  On New Year's Day.  So this should be a whole lot of fun.  I'm bringing my copy of The Brothers Karamazov with me.  Maybe I'll finish it by the time they get to me.

    By the way, my hand is a bit achy after typing this with my left hand and three fingers of my right.  So probably I'm a numskull.

    Anyway, pictures and more stuff to come when I can.

    ----- 3 hours later -----

    Back from the ER. Typing almost entirely with my left hand because I now have this:

    They took 3 X-rays.  "You broke it," the doctor said when they were ready.  He showed them to me on a computer screen.

    On the metacarpal of the ring finger of my right hand there were marks like a fine, maybe two-inch greater-than symbol on its side.

    This isn't my hand, and the fracture is worse than mine, but the location is similar.
    (Photo from Wikipedia)

    He told me it's not a bad break, and it's in the middle of the bone which means it will heal relatively easily.

    They put the cast on, which will stay on for about a week, or until I can see the hand orthopedic doctor.  They'll take the cast off, look things over, decide what to do next.  The ER doctor told me that because the fracture is relatively mild, "they probably won't need to put a pin in it."  !

    He said he can't promise what they'll do, so they might want to put in a pin, but most likely another cast for 6 weeks.  !

    They included my just-fine middle finger in the cast because they like to give stability to the broken finger on both sides.  So, thanks to the cast, there's not much I can do with my right hand.

    Ach.  I'm beginning to feel frustrated.  It took me almost an hour to do just this much.  I'm ready to take off the cast or at least free my 3rd finger so I can do something with my right hand.  But, nope.  It will have to stay on for 6 weeks.  I'll have to order out for food -- for 6 weeks.  No washing dishes -- for 6 weeks.  I'll have to wrap my hand in plastic and tape it closed -- for 6 weeks.  No writing by hand, which I dearly love to do, only typing with my errant and slow left hand -- for 6 weeks.

    I have already had trouble putting on my coat.  The sleeve almost didn't fit over the cast.  I've had trouble eating, using a fork with my left hand.  I had trouble putting my car into Drive, had to use my left hand.  This isn't some funsie little game I can stop playing now.  I'm going to have to struggle with such basic activities for 6 weeks.

    I'm wishing I hadn't gone to the doctor and gotten the cast after all.  I mean, here's how my hand looked before the cast:

    You can hardly tell that anything is wrong, can you?  If you didn't know to look for the slight swelling on my right hand, would you ever have guessed that it's broken?
    (Photo by the Apple Lady)

    When I said something about it being a pretty minor break, the ER nurse said, "But it's your hand.  It's a delicate and important tool."  So she's right, I don't want it to heal wrong or be messed up in some more permanent way.  But this sure is annoying and frustrating, and I've only been wearing the damn thing for less than 2 hours now.

    She also told me I should stop hitting my friends.  I wanted to retort, But you don't understand!  He was being so smug!  I had to stand up for the Packers!  Now I wish I had at least knocked him over.  I mean, all this and I didn't even really tackle him.  Sigh.

    The Packers play the Vikings again next week.  At home, in Lambeau Field.  The Packers had better win, that's all I have to say.  For my honor as well as theirs.

    [Note: I am pleased to report that the Packers won their next game with the Vikings, 24-10. M^3 is rather grumpy about it, too.  Vindication!]