Michael Larson and Press Your Luck

From Wikipedia:

On an episode aired June 8 and 11, 1984, a self-described unemployed ice cream truck driver named Michael Larson made it onto the show. Watching the show at home and with the use of stop-motion on a VCR, Larson discovered that the presumed random patterns of the game board were not random and was able to memorize the sequences to help him stop the board where and when he wanted. On the single game in which he appeared, an initially tentative Larson spun a Whammy on his very first turn, but then played 45 consecutive spins without hitting a second one. He earned a total of $110,237 in cash and prizes, a record for the most money in cash and prizes won by a contestant in a single appearance on a daytime network game show. Although this record lasted until 2006 when Vickyann Chrobak-Sadowski won $147,517 in cash and prizes on the Season 35 premiere of The Price Is Right, it still remains the record for highest single-day winnings on a series with returning champions.

Although CBS investigated Larson, they determined that figuring out the patterns was not cheating and let him keep his winnings. The board was reprogrammed for more (and more complicated) patterns to prevent another player from being able to memorize the board like Larson had.

Michael Larson’s wiki entry goes into detail on how he actually did it.

The Best Comment Award

The Best Comment Award will be rewarded to the person who gets the most likes for their comment on days that I’m desperate for something to post. So congratulations to Carolyn and Stefano who tied for the best comments yesterday.

I’d give you both an award but since you’ve proved yourselves to be upstanding Cynics, you wouldn’t believe me or think there was some kind of catch so I’ll save us all the embarrassment.

Mexico’s Bicentennial

From The Big Picture:

This week, Mexico commemorated the 200th anniversary of the beginning of its War of Independence. In September of 1810, a Mexican priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla uttered a call to arms against the Spanish, later known as the Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”). Soon after began a series of battles with the Spanish that would build into a war that lasted over a decade, eventually resulting in independence. This bicentennial year, tens of thousands of Mexicans thronged the streets of Mexico City to celebrate. The celebrations took place under a somewhat subdued light though, amid the violence of a brutal nationwide drug war and vocal criticism of government spending on the lavish ceremonies.

Huckabee Supports Denying Coverage For Those With Preexisting Conditions

From Political Correction:

Pleasing the crowd, Huckabee launched into a long attack on the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill passed into law earlier this year. In an odd political move, Huckabee came out swinging against the most popular aspect of the bill, outlawing insurance companies from denying health coverage to those with preexisting conditions.

HUCKABEE: And a lot of this, it sounds so good, and it’s such a warm message to say we’re not gonna deny anyone from a preexisting condition. Look, I think that sounds terrific, but I want to ask you something from a common sense perspective. Suppose we applied that principle that you can just come along with whatever condition you have and we’re gonna cover you at the same cost we’re covering everybody else ’cause we wanna be fair. Okay, fine. Then let’s do that with our property insurance. And you can call your insurance agent and say, “I’d like to buy some insurance for my house.” He’d say, “Tell me about your house.” “Well sir, it burned down yesterday, but I’d like to insure it today.” And he’ll say “I’m sorry, but we can’t insure it after it’s already burned.” Well, no preexisting conditions.

March to Keep Fear Alive

From the CSMonitor:

Mark your calendars. The Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive will be held on Oct. 30 on the National Mall in
And we’re pretty sure Glenn Beck has not been invited.

Last night, Comedy Central faux journalists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert each made a “big announcement.”

First up to the plate was Jon Stewart.

In response to “the loud folks,” such as the Hitler-sign making folks, Stewart asks, “Why don’t we hear from the 70-80 percenters?” – the majority of Americans who don’t have extreme political views.

Enter the Rally to Restore Sanity.

“A million moderate march…a clarion call for rationality!” Stewart exclaimed.

With the motto of “Take it down a notch for America,” Stewart is offering to provide signs with the “appropriate” level of political emotion, such as “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”

You could also go with “I am not afraid of Muslims/Tea Partiers/Socialists/Immigrants/Gun Owners/Gay…but I am scared of Spiders.”

To counter Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and to restore “truthiness,” Stephen Colbert announced his own rally: The March the Keep Fear Alive.

Calling Stewart’s announcement “disturbing,” Colbert says he will “not take it down a notch,” saying that “Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom!”

And, “Need I point out that ‘reason’ is one letter away from ‘treason?'” Colbert asks.

Here’s the website.