ON TECHNICAL WRITING

November 1, 2021

November 1, 2021

I once humorously offered this comment to my students: “either you’re from Harvard and can’t count or from MIT and can’t write.” This comment was made to stress the importance of being able to communicate, and introduce the difference between non-technical wiring and technical writing.

Well, what about the difference? The technical and non-technical materials are written in contrasting styles. Technical pieces are written in a factual, ‘dry’ style emphasizing quantitative analysis, whereas the non-technical pieces contain numerous adjectives and modifiers. Similarly, engineering texts (I’ve written 131 of them–all of which have one thing in common: they don’t sell) contain a minimum of pictures and graphs, usually in black and white. Non-technical texts, by contrast, contain numerous color pictures and graphics. The contrast in style between the two is reminiscent of the contrast between a black and white “how to” video, and a high-budget movie. Generally, the engineering texts use a pragmatic and mechanistic approach, while the non-technical books have a policy and philosophical bent on what I define as the liberal arts approach. Further, one generally transmits information while the other entertains. In any event, this article is concerned with technical writing, a topic that should be of interest to many of the readers.

Technical wiring really isn’t that difficult; it is NOT a talent that only a handful of people are born with. With that in mind, here are a few basic rules that can transform one’s writing from a confusing, garbled mess into something that will impress readers.

  1. If applicable, know thy reader(s).
  2. It helps if the subject has not been written about before. If it has, improve what is available by editing, rewriting, expanding and updating. There should also be an element of interest to the readers(s).
  3. Prepare an outline. This should include an appropriate title, objective(s), introduction, background material, results, conclusions, and recommendations.
  4. Improve the foundation of the outline by filling it in with notes and sentences.
  5. Keep related ideas together and establish a logical flow from paragraph to paragraph and section to section.
  6. The abstract or executive summary (for technical reports) is the most important part of the writing; spend a significant amount of time here. It is the only material that is read by most of the readers. The reader (perhaps your immediate supervisor) can then decide whether to go deeper into the writing; this is very important. The abstract should contain a brief summary of the report without referring to the main body of the report.
  7. Sentences should contain little to no unnecessary words; paragraphs should contain little to no unnecessary sentences. One certainly would not have unnecessary lines in a diagram or unnecessary parts in a machine.
  8. The swan song of the successful writer is revision, revision, revision. Start early, e.g., weeks before it is due and/or submitted. Get colleagues, friends, your wife (my usual option) to review and critique your material.
  9. If your “report” is a resume, make sure it is current. Be prepared to tailor your resume to the individual reviewing it. And, don’t be bashful. I often refer to myself as “the foremost environmental authority in the world. “
  10. If there is a Table of Contents, list every section title, and heading, starting with page 1 not page i, and give the number of the page on which it appears.
  11. If there is a Statistical Error Analysis, it must be written with opening and closing paragraphs. It should include theoretical equations along with written explanations and conclude with a discussion of the numerical values determined from the error analysis.
  12. Conclusions and recommendations (if required) are just that. It is generally written as an extended paragraph even though it is often a series of loosely related topic sentences.
  13. References may be required. Footnotes are not commonly used in the technical literature. All the references cited in the report must be listed at the end of the report and (my preference) in the order of their appearance.

I hope this helps. In the final analysis, the more one reads and writes, the easier it becomes. It’s like tying shoes; it’s a little hard at first, but once mastered, it will never leave you.

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NEXT POSTINGS

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

JANUARY 1:             On Zzzabuu VI

FEBRUARY 1:          On Great Eats VI

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. If an opposing team’s offense is run by their playmaker, the defense should attempt to prevent him from getting the ball and if he does, he should be immediately double-teamed – hopefully forcing him to pass the ball.
  2. Defensive drills should include double and perhaps triple-teaming an offensive player.
  3. Practice various strategies when boxing out at the foul line.

October 1, 2021

ON THE ULTIMATE QUIZ V

October 1, 2021

As indicated in IV, this has become one of my favorites. You are asked to provide the correct answer to the following 20 (plus 1) questions. You already know the routine: 5 points for each correct answer. A grade of 90 indicates that you are brilliant… anything below 25 is, well…

  1. Who authored “Fourscore and seven years ago…”
  2. Who were the stars of the movie “Sampson and Delilah?”
  3. Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?
  4. What famous singer said “So when you see your neighbor carrying something, help him with his load”?
  5. What famous New York baseball owner’s motto was “If you do something good for someone, and more than two people know about it, you did it for the wrong reason.”
  6. Unlike healthcare workers, what professional group refused to work because of health concerns and demanded that they be paid?
  7. Prior to 2014, what basketball Hall of Famer had the second highest season scoring average?
  8. True or false: The radius of the sun is approximately 900,000 miles.
  9. What Hall of Famer broke the baseball color barrier?
  10. Who was elected President of the United States in 1952?
  11. What Hall of Famer started and ended his career with a Boston team?
  12. What famous Astorian won an Olympic gold medal in wrestling and later became boxing’s light heavyweight champion?
  13. What was Connie Mack’s real name?
  14. True or false: Queens joined New York City in 1898.
  15. What has often been referred to as the most Irish town in the United States?
  16. What is the currency of Turkey?
  17. What animal is located on California’s state flag?
  18. What city’s cable cars are the only National Historical Monuments that can move?
  19. Where is the Liberty Bell located?
  20. What city, located on the West Coast, was destroyed by fire and an earthquake in 1906?
  21. Explain the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic.

ANSWERS:

  1. President Abraham Lincoln
  2. Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr
  3. Full credit. For me, it is Kevin Durant.
  4. Bob Dylan
  5. George Steinbrenner
  6. School teachers
  7. A tough one here: Rick Barry. Wilt, of course, had the highest average.
  8. False. According to my files, the answer is approximately half this value.
  9. Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1947
  10. Dwight Eisenhower
  11. Babe Ruth
  12. A toughie; Paul Berlanback, 1924 Olympics.
  13. Another toughie: Cornelius McGillicuddy.
  14. True; and it was first established nearly 200 years earlier.
  15. Full credit here. Butte, Montana, a place our family visited three times.
  16. Lira
  17. A tough one: A grizzly bear named Monarch.
  18. San Francisco, California
  19. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  20. Once again, San Francisco
  21. Epidemic is defined as “prevalent and widespread among many.” Pandemic refers to “over a whole area, country, and universe.” Thus, the difference relates to the size of the affected area.

Prepare for another one VI early next year.

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NEXT POSTINGS

NOVEMBER 1:         On Technical Writing

DECEMBER 1:          On Zzzabuu VI

JANUARY 1:             On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Every attempt should be made to exploit the team’s offensive capabilities against the opponent’s defensive weaknesses.
  2. Players should learn to dribble with either hand.
  3. Players should learn to shoot with either hand.

ON GREAT EATS VI: HAMBURGERS

September 1, 2021

September 1, 2021

Six years ago, I wrote the GREAT EATS article. The fifth article in this series appeared a year ago and was concerned with steakhouses. Here’s what I had to say then:

“Steakhouses? A recommendation? I can close out this article right now with my answer: stay away from steakhouses. Period! They are a group of restaurants not to be frequented…but…if not a steak, is there another option? I have come to really enjoy hamburgers. What could be better than a hamburger with fried onions on a crusty roll? Add some ketchup, French fries and a sour Jewish pickle and you’re in business”.

A check of the literature provides a host of restaurants that could rightly be described as “hamburger joints.” Here is an abbreviated list of 10 along with, in some cases, their locations.

  1. The Wild Goose, Port Washington
  2. Prohibition Kitchen, Port Jefferson
  3. Burger King, (chain)
  4. McDonalds, (chain)
  5. Memories, Williston Park
  6. Bareburger, (chain)
  7. Beginnings, Atlantic Beach
  8. J.R.’s Great American (under construction), Williston Park
  9. Majors, (chain)
  10. Swing the Teapot, Floral Park. Last but not least, a solid burger with the trimmings, including some really tasty fries. Ask for Mary to be your server. Great entertainment on the weekends; try to catch Hell or High Water.

You might also consider just simply putting some chopped chuck on the grill. The price is definitely right. I don’t know if burgers at some delis and supermarkets qualify for this article but one can occasionally get a delicious burger there…a bargain for which there is no 9-% sales tax and 20+% tip.

You want more? Just check the Yellow Pages. But as for me, I offer the following suggestions for burger joints.

  1. Any diner. I’ve yet to have a bad burger at a diner. Honestly, the price is always right and the French fries almost always hit the spot.
  2. Shake Shack. My favorite. My family’s favorite. The burgers are tasty and reasonably priced. The French fries are fair but the shakes are excellent.
  3. Wendy’s. Dave’s single; a meal in itself. A $5 bargain and the fries are excellent. They occasionally have a 2 for $5 deal…what a bargain! The shakes are fair.
  4. The Cornerstone Pub and Restaurant, Mineola. A lot to choose from here but the burgers stand out. A bit pricey but the ambience is excellent.
  5. Any of the steakhouses. Hamburgers are your best bet at these spots but the prices are way out of whack.

Visit the author at:

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NEXT POSTINGS

OCTOBER 1:             On the Ultimate Quiz V

NOVEMBER 1:         On Technical Writing

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

JANUARY 1:             On Zzzabuu VI

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Try to prevent the opponent’s offensive team from taking three-point shots from the end-line and the head of the key (where a higher percentage of shots are made).
  2. A great defensive player is as valuable as a great offensive player.
  3. A weak defensive player is as ineffectual as a weak offensive player.

ON ZZZABUU V

August 1, 2021

August 1, 2021

You were reintroduced to Zzzabuu four months ago. He had arrived earlier in 2003 from the planet Zzokki in a faraway galaxy, having been dispatched to Earth on a fact-finding trip involving politicians in the United States. Zzzabuu had been selected once again for a special assignment by The Superiors in 2021 because of his great intellect, analytical mind, and his love of gambling. On reaching Earth, Zzzabuu set out immediately to accomplish his specific assignment: to determine details (both pros and cons) of gambling investment opportunities on Plant Earth. As per instructions from the Superiors, Zzzabuu met with a retired, often confused, outspoken, nefarious chemical engineering professor (who shall remain nameless) in order to obtain background material and guidance prior to preparing a final report on his assignment.

As promised, this second of five articles on gambling is concerned with pari-mutuel racing, i.e., betting on horse races. This piece is particularly appropriate since the New York Racing Association (NYRA) venue is now in full swing in upstate Saratoga Springs…a place I have visited 66 years in a row. In any event, here is my take on this betting activity.

Let’s proceed directly to the bottom line. This sport is dying a slow death. Why?

  1. NYRA is a totally corrupt and incompetent organization, unable to run a legitimate business.
  2. There is a 15-20% “takeout” that significantly – and I mean significantly – reduces the probability of the bettor winning.
  3. The sport is currently supported by the aged few, e.g., yours truly, for whom this form of gambling has unfortunately become a way of life. Attempts to attract the younger generation and the opposite sex continue to fail miserably.
  4. The bettor has consistently been treated as a third class citizen, not a patron to be valued.
  5. I predicted NYRA’s demise when I appeared as an invited guest at a Presidential Crime Commission hearing in 1976. My predictions have come true.
  6. I have proposed a legitimate possible solution to the sport’s dilemma…but I hold no hopes for its implementation.
  7. Finally, NYRA has successfully alienated its base and continues to discourage live fan involvement.

But, what about those in this reading audience who will continue to wager on horseraces? Although you should accept the fact that the probability of losing is extremely high, here are a handful of hints that I believe will increase your chances of winning.

  1. For the beginner or novice, who has little or no knowledge of pari-mutual wagering, simply bet the number 1 (one) horse every race.
  2. Always give serious consideration to betting the 1 (one) horse, particularly with 2-turn races where the inside post is a major advantage.
  3. What about tips? The general rule here is to never bet tips. Here’s a quick tale that will seal the deal. Mary and I owned Katy R, a standardbred. One night prior to one of her races at Roosevelt Raceway, I was introduced to a guy who suddenly claimed he had a tip on a horse in the race. What horse? Katy R. I asked him about the source of this tip. He showed me the program that read OWNER: M.K. Theodore and L. Theodore, Jackson Heights. He claimed that he got the tip directly from L. Theodore, a gambling degenerate who was owner and the chef of a diner in Jackson Heights. I showed him my horseman’s photo ID card. He snickered and walked away. So much for tips.
  4. What about win bets? I rarely bet win because tickets are being punched AFTER a race starts. I believe this could be proven in a court of law. (Successfully gaining illegal entry to computers, protected by sophisticated systems operated by true experts, has become painfully clear in recent months.)   Never bet place or show. I also generally try to stay away from favorites, particularly in stake races. I also prefer betting large field cheap claiming races rather than small field stake races.
  5. Try to key on betting on Pick-3, Pick-4, Pick-5, and triples.
  6. What about jockeys? I stay away from established older jockeys, e.g., John Velasquez. Their ROI, i.e., return on investment, is almost always negative. For me, the greatest jockey of all time was Jerry Bailey. The most overrated were Angel Cordero, Eddie Arcaro, and Mike Smith. Give bug-boys (apprentices) more consideration for longer races since the weight allowances are sure to come into play.
  7. Give apprentices more consideration in later races, particularly during the cold winter months, as the journeymen are more likely to be disinterested bystanders.
  8. What about race changes? I love first-time turf but stay away from turf to dirt. I also love horses going long the first time and stay away from horses going long to short.
  9. Give special consideration to 2nd-time starters.
  10. Try to stay away from betting on favorites.
  11. Give special consideration to speed horses in stake races.
  12. Try to avoid betting on layoff (21 or more days) horses in cheap claiming races since they obviously have missed a turn — for a reason.
  13. Finally, stop betting NYRA tracks. I now bet Gulfstream, Pimlico, etc.
  14. Where to bet? Find an OTB or a simulcast facility that offers track odds or bet from home with a phone account since live at-the-track betting has become a dying form of entertainment.
  15. What about money management? Forget about it. It is a non-entity for the real gambler. It all depends on the risks you are willing to take. For the novice, bet only an amount that losing will have no impact on your life.
  16. What about bringing friends and family to the track (as I have often done)? Don’t waste your time. Most are looking for “instant gratification” and become disillusioned / bored when they realize there are 30-35 minutes between races.

Good luck in the months (and hopefully years) ahead. If you continue to bet, and my above suggestions don’t work, blame it on Karma.

Zzzabuu will return early next year (if  I’m still around).

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NEXT POSTINGS

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Great Eats VI

OCTOBER 1:             On Technical Writing

NOVEMBER 1:         On the Ohi Day IV

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season / EWSD (Budget Vote)

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice putting the ball in play; there should be several options available (and known) without the need to take a time out.
  2. Always run on offense; the only exceptions are:
  3. The bench is weak, and
  4. A key player is in foul trouble (shorten the game).
  5. Motion offense is a must, otherwise your grandmother can guard you.

Note: Mary (M.K. Theodore) and I (L. Theodore) just published a book titled “Introduction to Environmental Management”, 2nd edition, CRC Press / Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, 2021 (99$). The book is the definitive source for those seeking a non-technical presentation of technical environmental issues, e.g., electromagnetic waves, noise pollution, nanotechnology, global warming, desalination, etc. Homework problems and exams (with solutions) are also available for those who adopt.


On Technical Jargon II

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

Many of the individuals in my reading audience classify themselves as “professionals.” A good number of them would also classify themselves as “technical”. I think of myself as fitting into both categories but I doubt anyone would agree with me.

Here’s what I recently wrote about technical professionals communicating with the average citizen: “Be honest, fresh, and open … technical language and jargon are useful as professional shorthand, but they are barriers to successful communication with the public.” I believe this is good advice when dealing with the public. But, it is another matter if you are dealing with another professional. All bets are then off, and many revert to a language that resides solely in the domain of the professional. I became aware of the unique phenomena following receiving two potable water provisional patents, the submission of a report to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the preparation of a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF). Although words can mean different things to different people, I have listed below two dozen sentences and phrases employed by us gifted few; each is followed by a layman’s pragmatic definition and / or explanation.

  • Congratulations continue to pour in – The only thing being poured is the Dewars to help me forget this mess.
  • I can say with certainty – My brother-in-law Vito (on my wife’s side) mentioned it to me last night in a Go-Go joint.
  • We can say with certainty – My cohorts were also there.
  • A Foundation Director concluded – She read it in the New York tabloids.
  • An informed local official concluded – He’s got an IQ to match his age.
  • An informed state official concluded – Her IQ is in the single digit range.
  • An informed federal official concluded – He doesn’t have an IQ.
  • An informed career federal official concluded – His IQ approaches negative infinity during any thought process.
  • There may be negative international repercussions – Only if our findings get out.
  • Definitely worthy of NSF support – It is a totally useless project that can in no way serve mankind.
  • My mental process has concluded the following – Your guess is as good as mine.
  • A reliable source has just informed me – A guy named Pepe mentioned it to me in a bar last night; we were both cockeyed.
  • There is wide range agreement – No one believes a word of it, including my colleague Lefty.
  • The results appear to indicate a trend – Unfortunately, we can’t figure out what the trend is.
  • The results appear to indicate a definite trend – We are totally confused at this point in time.
  • We intend to pursue this aspect of the investigation vigorously – Only if someone puts up the moola.
  • Based on my limited experience – I’m looking for clues.
  • Based on my experience – I’m desperately looking for clues.
  • Based on my extensive experience – I’m clueless.
  • Getting started on the study was no problem – We simply assumed the subject in question to be a sphere.
  • Thanks are due – I had to mention his name since dinner at his restaurant last week was on the arm.
  • Thanks are due the NSF – I have a policy of thanking anyone who gives me money on a no-strings-attached basis.
  • My colleagues congratulated me – They really meant that I was mentally deranged.
  • If I were you Thank God I’m not.

Much of the above material was drawn from yes, an earlier “On Technical Gargos” article that appeared in the press on July 6, 2000 – 21 years ago … and much of it still applies.

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NEXT POSTINGS

AUGUST 1:                On Great Eats VI

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Technical Writing

OCTOBER 1:             Zzzabuu V

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice inbounding the ball at various locations on the court when the opposing team is pressing.
  2. The player nearest to the ball should take it out immediately after a basket or foul shot and pass it to the first open man.
  3. Do not leave the foul line after the first of two (or three) free throws, and do not slap / shake the hand of a fellow teammate.

ON MEMORIAL DAY V

May 31, 2021

June 1, 2021

How often do those in the reading audience give thanks for being an American? How many give thanks for having been born and raised in America? How often do we give thanks for our lifestyle – cars, TVs, restaurants, vacations, home(s), cellphones, etc? And how often do people around the world give thanks for their present-day lifestyle?

But, who should we and those around the world give thanks to? For some, the answer might be the bureaucrats, politicians, lawyers, etc. For others, it might be doctors or engineers or scientists. For me, thanks would be directed to those who have served or are presently serving in the defense of our great nation. I feel a pang of guilt every year when Memorial Day rolls around. I am 87 years old and never served America. Although I have been told that I am not in the “Jane Fonda” mold, this haunting memory shall not leave me, nor should it.

This is the 21st Memorial Day of this century. It provides us with another opportunity to reevaluate the meaning of this special day. It is a day we primarily pay tribute to those who have died in battle for our country. We also pay tribute to those veterans who have served our nation.

It is a day of reflection, and on this day of reflecting I am reminded of an old saying: “to live in the memory of a loved one, is to live forever.” It is appropriate that we pay homage to these men and women who have provided us with our present-day quality of life.

Twenty years ago, I attended Memorial Day festivities on our Village Green. I was treated to a touching and compassionate speech by Tony Cassella (former Mayor of the Village of East Williston). The speech was written by his son Paul. Tony graciously provided a copy of the speech to me. I would like to pass along (with permission) part of that speech.

“To me, Memorial Day, like Thanksgiving Day, is that day when we pause in our busy lives and think about all of the people who sacrificed so much so that we may enjoy our freedom in this wonderful country. When I think of Memorial Day what first comes to mind are the dramatic opening lines of Thomas Payne’s Pamphlet written during the Revolutionary War wherein he stated “These are the times that drive men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crises, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Those words were so powerful that our first President, George Washington, before crossing the Delaware to attack the sleeping Hessians on Christmas Day, read Payne’s pamphlet to all of his troops. Little did Thomas Payne know that from that time on to this very day the citizens of this country would never be summer soldiers or sunshine patriots. Throughout world wars and the many conflicts and police actions over the last years, our citizens have met their call to duty. It is because of their actions that today we honor those men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice and who have been injured in conquering tyranny. The actions assure that we today would enjoy the wonderful life that we have in these great United States, here in East Williston, and in villages like ours across the country.”

I also want to leave you with my thoughts for those who came before me and made the ultimate sacrifice:

  1. They fought for and defended our way of life over these past 2 ½ centuries.
  2. There were over 1,000,000 service members who didn’t make it back – American Revolution (4,500), WWI (110,000), WWII (400,000), Korean War (35,000), Vietnam War (60,000), etc.
  3. My gratitude is forever.
  4. I will never forget.
  5. Let us remember what they died for.
  6. Their sacrifice guarded and continues to insure our freedom.

For me, forgetting and not honoring our fallen heroes of the past provides strength to our enemies of today. Let us all help erase this advantage on this special day. It would be great if the Village Mall were jammed packed for this coming Memorial Day celebration. It is up to each and every one of us to help make this happen. It will serve as a reminder to all of the sacrifices made by the men and women who served our great country in the past and those who are serving today.

Have a great Memorial Day. Enjoy it as grateful and thankful Americans and let us never forget its significance.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

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NEXT POSTINGS

JULY 1:                      On Great Eats VI

AUGUST 1:                On Technical Writing

SEPTEMBER 1:         Zzzabuu V

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice various strategies when boxing out at the foul line.
  2. Practice various defenses when opponents are inbounding the ball from various locations on the court near the end of the game.
  3. Try to maneuver opponent near a corner in the back court if pressing.

On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Men’s Basketball Season and The East Williston School District Budget Vote

May 1, 2021

May 1, 2021

This is not an easy newsletter for me to write. There are two parts: one concerned with Hofstra’s 2020-21 basketball season and one concerned with the upcoming East Williston School District (EWSD) budget vote. There is bad news on both subject matters. In any event, here goes.

  1. Hofstra’s 2020-21 Men’s Basketball Season

In case anyone forgot, Hostra won its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA Men’s Basketball Championship) in March 2020, defeating Northeastern 70-61. The teams’ combined wins over its past two years include 26 wins in 2019-20 and 27 wins in the 2018-19 campaign. These 53 wins placed them 14th nationally and was the main reason they won consecutive regular season titles. In addition, Isaac Kante was exceptional with a 65 percent field goal average – 9th in the nation. They were worthy champions in 2020 but, alas, the COVID-19 struck and the NCAA Tournament was cancelled.

The bad news continued following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season when coach Joe Mehalich took sick and has retired from basketball. The new season brought forth a new coach with Kante selected on the CAA’s preseason first team plus Jalen Ray and Tareq Coburn were preseason honorable mentions. I was pretty certain they were going to have another great year. But, the team’s performance turned out to be less than stellar. They arrived at the CAA Championship Tournament with high hopes but failed miserably.

My notes on this past season are listed below:

  1. They continued to play zone defense; even mediocre teams don’t play zone.
  2. There was no hustle on defense – a characteristic of many zone defenses with players confused at times as to who was guarding who.
  3. They couldn’t hit 3-pointers with any consistency.
  4. There was often poor shot selection.
  5. The other teams were simply better.

What makes for a winning team? Here is what legendary coach Rollie Massimino offered in my Basketball Coaching 101 book: “Every team has an identity and for me it is family. The magic word is WE. We are all together. Most of our family of players, coaches, etc., regularly contact each other for Christmas. I also still get calls from my gang at the beginning of each season wishing me well.” The Hofstra team? They looked like a pickup team; it was as if the 5 players had just been introduced. The bench? It appeared comatose most of the time. I once half-jokingly mentioned that “if you hope to win a championship, you’d better be with people you love.” Now I don’t think of it as a joke.

Next season? Look for them to rebound with a new coach. The new coach? What a great choice: Craig “Speedy” Claxton. Speedy played at Hofstra and won the Haggerty Award (top New York metropolitan player) as a senior. He followed that with 7 years in the NBA. Hopefully, he will not follow in the same footsteps as Chris Midlin. One thing we know is that Hofstra has had a really fabulous record of recruiting top guards and this included both Speedy and Juan’ya Green plus my favorite – Charles Jenkins. More recently, Speedy was apparently responsible for not only recruiting but also developing Justin Wright-Foreman and Desure Buie. Let’s hope the tradition will continue since it is guards who bring home championships. Regarding Speedy, my dear friend and mentor, Jack Powers, former Executive Director of the NIT, had this to offer: “He is a wonderful kid, a quality person, a credit to our sport, and certain to succeed. Rick Cole made a great choice.” My sentiments … exactly.

II. The East Williston School District (EWSD) Budget Vote

Over the years, I have been critical of teachers for taking yearly salary increases at a time when many people in the private sector are being laid off, taking salary cuts, or losing their benefits. Such is the situation this year.

A question we engineers often ask when evaluating a scheme, proposal, contract, etc., is as follows: Is it cost-effective and is there sufficient accountability? When applied to education, most school boards, school administrators, and teachers have conveniently avoided answering this question. In fact, these individuals continue to try to convince concerned taxpayers that taxes need to be raised further if our children are to receive a quality education. Our teachers also maintain that they are dedicated professionals. What in the world is the rest of the workforce? To hear the teachers you would think they were God’s gift to society. Regarding our teachers, I have more respect for the NYC teacher, who I believe is as dedicated, if not more, because they are exposed to combat duty, often on a daily basis. Furthermore, one need only compare the recent conduct of teachers with 9/11 first responders and the COVID-19 pandemic health care workers.

Needless to say, I shall vote against the budget since it contains increases and not reductions in teachers’ salaries and benefits. I suggest District taxpayers do likewise. Remember, it is Okay to vote NO on the budget.

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www.theodorenewsletter.com

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NEXT POSTINGS

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day VI

JULY 1:                      On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXXI

AUGUST 1:                On Great Eats VI

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Technical Writing

OCTOBER 1:             Zzzabuu V

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Every attempt should be made to exploit the team’s offensive capabilities against the opponent’s defensive weaknesses.
  2. Players should learn to dribble with either hand.
  3. Players should learn to shoot with either hand.

ON ZZZABUU IV

March 31, 2021

April 1, 2021

Zzzabuu is his name. He arrived earlier in 2003 from the planet Zzokki in a faraway galaxy, having been dispatched to Earth on a fact-finding trip involving politicians. Zzzabuu had been selected once again by The Superiors in 2021 because of his great intellect, analytical mind, and his love of gambling.

On reaching Earth, Zzzabuu set out immediately to accomplish his specific assignment: to determine details (both pros and cons) of gambling investment opportunities on Plant Earth. As per instructions from the Superiors, Zzzabuu met with an outspoken chemical engineering professor (who shall remain nameless); he had earlier published a book titled, “Probability and Statistics for Environmental Engineers and Scientists”. Part of the material in the well-received text addressed games of chance, including dice, cards, football pools, Lotto, etc. The professor proved an invaluable source of information despite being dubbed “The Chemist” by his friends and colleagues because of an uncanny ability to turn their money entrusted to him into horse manure.

Several weeks of intensive study followed. After obtaining all the facts, Zzzabuu prepared his report in a manner that any Zzokkian could relate to and understand. The executive summary in his z-mail to The Superiors follows.

“The financial alternatives of any game of chance can often be measured by the cost of the game / investment. This cost effectively represents what the gambling industry charges the investor for the opportunity to gamble. For example, a 5% cost figure could represent the “takeout”, that is, a measure of what percentage – on average – of the investment that the gambler automatically pays for this opportunity. Alternatively, it could represent what percent – on average – one would expect to lose with a particular game of chance. This information follows for a host of gambling options.

            Lotto                           50%

            Pari-mutuel Racing* 16%

            Real Estate Industry* 5%

            Sports Wagering*       5%

            Roulette                      3.5%

            Slots                            1-5%

            Dice                            0.5%

            Blackjack (“21”)*      0.1%

            Securities Industry*   0%

Each Zzokkian should note that the five activities with asterisks are not truly games of chance since each individual can control his / her own destiny, i.e., chance of winning, by intelligent gaming decisions. For example, with thoroughbred pari-mutuel wagering, the ability to select winning horses could negate the 16% takeout and result in a profit. The same applies with investing in securities via the Internet where the only cost could be as low as $6 for a multi-million dollar investment.

Most of the inhabitants on Planet Earth, including the nefarious professor, delve into most – if not all – of the above games of chance. Obviously, Lotto is a game for those individuals whose IQ is in the 2-digit range and in need of a grade school refresher course in arithmetic. The game of blackjack offers some interesting possibilities since one may employ a “counting” technique that actually could convert the odds to slightly favor the gambler. Finally, the real estate and securities industries have a track record that, on average, have produced significant profitable returns over the years to investors.

The Superiors need to realize that the aforementioned term probability must be an integral part of any gambling study or analysis. Webster defines probability as ‘the number of times something will probably occur over the range of possible occurrences, expressed as a ratio.’ For me, probability can be interpreted subjectively as a measure of degree of belief, on a fractional scale from 0 to 1 or 0 to 100 on a percent basis, that an “event” occurs. This interpretation is frequently used in ordinary conversation. For example, if someone says, “The probability that I will go to the movies tonight is 90%”, then 90% is a measure of the person’s belief that he or she will get to the movies. This interpretation is also used when, in the absence of concrete data needed to estimate an unknown probability on a basis of observed concrete data, information and / or facts, the personal opinion of an expert is sought. For example, an expert might be asked to estimate the probability that a stock will double in the next six months; the estimate would be based on the expert’s familiarity with the stock market.

The Superiors and / or Earthlings may obtain additional details on all of the above games of chance at no charge by calling (516) 742-8939.”

In order to accommodate some of my readers, future articles – Zzzabuu V, VI, VII, and VIII – addressing pari-mutuel wagering, stock market investing, casino gambling, and sport book betting, respectively – will provide specific details on each of these four topics. I will provide not only pertinent odds but also helpful hints in these write-ups. And yes, I am significantly involved in all four pursuits.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

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NEXT POSTINGS

MAY 1:           On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season / EWSD Budget Vote

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats VI

JULY 1:          On Technical Writing

AUGUST 1:    Zzzabuu V

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. If trailing with more than a minute to go, attempt (perhaps via a timeout) to prevent any delays in inbounding the ball by your opponents.
  2. Practice various defenses when your opponents are in-bounding the ball from various locations on the court.
  3. Finally, never forget that defense is 50% of the game. Coaches, are you reading this? Players, are you reading this? DEFENSE IS AS IMPORTANT AS OFFENSE. You can never lose a game if your five starters have the capabilities of shutting down their opponent. However, you can lose a game even if your 5 starters have the capability of scoring at will.

ON THE THEODORE COVID-19 VACCINE DISTRIBUTION PLAN

February 28, 2021

March 1, 2021

The distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccine is obviously significantly flawed. Who is at fault? It depends on who you talk to but it really doesn’t matter. For sure, there has to be a better way of handling this situation. Here are my comments followed by my vaccine distribution approach.

Three questions first need to be addressed before proceeding.

  1. How should the number and timing of vaccines be maximized?
  2. Who should decide who gets the vaccine and when?
  3. How should the vaccines for the recipients be distributed?

The answer to question (1) is simply this: the federal government should subsidize the creation / discovery and preparation of the vaccine supplies with generous bonuses for timely deliveries. This apparently did occur. Anyone or any group – other than the CDC or WHO – should determine the answer to questions (2). Why not me, even though there must be a host of others who could better provide an answer. Obviously (3) is the key question. Both questions (2) and (3) should be dynamic and vary with individual states, counties, locales, etc. In any event, here is what I propose.

The prioritization (high priority to low priority) is presented in terms of 6 categories. Categories include:

  1. Healthcare workers
  2. Infrastructure personnel (police, firefighters, etc.)
  3. Senior citizens
  4. High risk groups
  5. Children
  6. Others not included in A-D

My prioritization follows. Note that there are 20 groups.

A1.   Employed healthcare workers

B1.   Policemen and firefighters

C1.   Citizens 90 and over

D1.   Citizens with cancer, lung, liver, or heart disease

C2.   Citizens 85-90

A2.   Unemployed healthcare workers

C3    Citizens 75-85

D2.   Citizens with flu or pneumonia

C4.   Employed citizens 60-75

D3    Citizens with any past lung, liver, or heart disease

C5.   Parents with 3 or more children

D2.   Other employed infrastructure personnel

D3.   Other unemployed infrastructure personnel

E1.    Children under 1

C6.   Employed citizens 18-60

C7.   Unemployed citizens 18-60

E2.    Children 1-18

F1.    Used car salesmen, realtors, and dentists

F2.    Lawyers, elected officials, and government personnel

F3.    School teachers, college professors, and veterinarians

I believe the first four groups (A1-D1) in any order – should receive the vaccine first. The last three groups should receive the least consideration.

The assignment of any of the priorities above is not based on any solid scientific or medical data and information. It is simply a gut feeling drawn from my limited experience. As is the case with this sort of judgement, this prioritization will vary with both the individual and time. But for me, the key would be to have as little impact as possible from the government and bureaucrats.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS:

APRIL 1:                     On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On Great Eats VI

JUNE 1:                      On Technical Writing

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice inbounding the ball at various locations on the court when the opposing team is pressing.
  2. The player nearest to the ball should take it out immediately after a basket or foul shot and pass it to the first open man.
  3. Do not leave the foul line after the first of two (or three) free throws, and do not slap / shake the hand of a fellow teammate.

THE ULTIMATE QUIZ IV

February 1, 2021

February 1, 2021

As indicated in III, this has become one of my favorites. But, this one is a little different. It is solely political in nature and each statement to follow requires either a true or false answer. And, there is no correct answer … it is basically your call. The 40 comments to follow concern events/ actions that occurred during the 2016-2020 time period. You are asked to provide a true or false response.

I personally will not take a position on the results/grade of your true – false test. But, based on your number of true answers, I feel that you would be classified in one of the five categories:

  1. 0-8:     a staunch liberal
  2. 9-16:   a liberal
  3. 17-24: a moderate
  4. 25-32: a conservative
  5. 33-40: a staunch conservative
  1. The stock market increased at a near exponential rate, no doubt due to a turnaround robust economy, commitments to job creation, and a decline in poverty levels.
  2. Our nation is now classified as energy independent (remember the price of gasoline is now $2.00/gal)
  3. Contrary to earlier predictions, there was a return of manufacturing jobs.
  4. Black colleges and universities received an unprecedented increase in financial aid from the Federal government.
  5. The U.S. military prowess increased dramatically.
  6. The air, water, and land (soil) was never cleaner.
  7. Despite a departure from the Paris Peace Accord, CO2 emissions decreased below expectations.
  8. NAFTA was dissolved and replaced.
  9. New rules were put in place to stop the exploitation by China.
  10. Built nearly all the Southern wall and stopped illegal immigration across the Southern border.
  11. The majority of the public came to realize that the media was corrupt, self-serving, and un-American.
  12. The Washington establishment – consisting primarily of career bureaucrats, often referred to as “The Swamp” – was corrupt, self-serving, and un-American.
  13. Stopped the ISIS killing and torture.
  14. Several elements of the Obama Health Care Act were eliminated.
  15. Reduced the North Korean threat.
  16. For many citizens, there was a return of pride and love of country.
  17. Contrary to earlier predictions, our presence in foreign wars was significantly reduced.
  18. Abuses in veterans’ hospitals were significantly reduced.
  19. The COVID-19 pandemic was responsibly addressed medically and economically.
  20. Delivered ventilators and hospital beds immediately to an ill-prepared NYS.
  21. Delivered the COVID-19 vaccine in 7 ½ months, not 5-10 years (as predicted).
  22. Taxes were lowered for the middle class.
  23. The President was impeached based on a telephone conversation with a third-world country that was interpreted in a questionable manner.
  24. Unemployment levels for Blacks reached an all-time low.
  25. The Food Stamp Program was significantly reduced.
  26. Per capita wealth increased at a near exponential rate.
  27. Property values increased at a near exponential rate.
  28. Many companies, after moving abroad earlier, returned home.
  29. The MS-13 presence in our country was reduced.
  30. Eliminated the presence of ISIS in the Middle East.
  31. Our soldiers are now coming home.
  32. The Iranian threat was significantly reduced.
  33. Contrary to earlier concerns, no nuclear wars were initiated.
  34. The US was the first country to stop to and fro travel with China.
  35. Unemployment levels for Hispanics reached an all-time low.
  36. Unemployment levels for Asians reached an all-time low.
  37. Unemployment levels for women reached an all-time low.
  38. Contrary to failed promises from a host of past presidents, the US Embassy in Israel was relocated to Jerusalem.
  39. The economy and newly created jobs grew at an unprecedented and exponential rate.
  40. Contrary to the prediction of nearly all the bureaucrats, peace treaties were signed between Israel and several Arab nations.

How many true answers did you come up with? Where do you think Trump would be classified? Biden? Pelosi? Cuomo? Pence?

Note: For some of my fans, I recently co-authored an Amazon book ($7.99) titled “Virus Contacts”. The lead author is Ann Marie Flynn.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS:

MARCH 1:                 On Technical Writing

APRIL 1:                     On Great Eats VI

MAY 1:                       On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Every shot, particularly of an “outside” variety, should be contested — unless you are the size (5’ 6”) of the author.
  2. Every attempt should be made to exploit your team’s defensive capabilities against the opponent’s offensive weaknesses.
  3. If fouls committed by your team are low relative to your opponent, substitute for your star or key players – assuming they need a breather anyway – since the officials are more prone to call “touch” fouls on your team.