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You’ll just be walking along, and WHOOF!

Remember all that shit you learned in High School about the fire triangle? You know — fuel, heat, oxygen…take one away and the fire goes out?

Pff! Don’t you believe it. Carelessness causes fires, son. Carelessness. You’ll be walking along, not a care in the world and whoof! Up you go like a Buddhist monk.

I discovered this important scientific fact during nap time (which is right after cookies and juice time but before story time), while I was scrutinizing my bed linen trying to work out of Dunlopillo rhymes with armadillo.

Attentive readers of sweasel.com — at least one of which, I feel sure, there will be some day — may recall that my birthday lands in early May. And that I therefore dawdle around for the first two weeks of the month, making half-hearted posts of more than ordinary lameness, while seldom a sober breath is drawn in Badger House.

It begins…


Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 4, 2010, 11:13 pm

Mine was yesterday, when is yours?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 4, 2010, 11:19 pm

Not saying exactly. I want plausible deniability when somebody in my family asks if that’s really ME dropping all those F-bombs on the interwebs.

I noticed Facebook ratted your birthday out to me, though. Happy birthday!

It’s also roughly our cat’s birthday.

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 4, 2010, 11:27 pm

Aw, well, happy birthday kitteh!! And a stealth birthday to you as well, Mz Weazie!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 4, 2010, 11:34 pm

Been some serious cake making going on here… ‘course being a foreigner a traditional birthday fruit cake isn’t good enough. Oh no – has to be sponge, an’ cream and strawbris…

Anyone seen badger’s wooden spoon?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 4, 2010, 11:41 pm

A “traditional” cake, per Uncle B, is probably some variety of fruit cake. Probably with a quaint old-fashioned name like a “flaming pudenda” or something.

I’d murder for a real traditional birthday cake — white cake and buttercream frosting and a bunch of stupid shit written on it in colored icing. He made me a very decent facsimile thereof last year.

This year, I’m trying for a sort of strawberry shortcake simulacrum. He’ll make a sponge cake, and I’ll put mashed up strawberries and cream on it until it’s a sort of rich mush.

Comment from Allen
Time: May 4, 2010, 11:49 pm

I remembered because you and I are a little more than a month apart. IIRC it’s also the big Five O, I know it is for me. Book ’em Danno.


Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 4, 2010, 11:55 pm

That reminds me of our wedding cake. It was stunning but omg, it tasted like crap!!! Who eats that fruity cake shit? That’s not CAKE, cake doesn’t make your face go ‘ew’ That’s a door proper opener, that is!

We offered ‘cake’ to all of the other guests at the B&B’s we stayed at (the ‘cake’ travels well) but not a one took any ‘cept some naive children from Amsterdam. When we dumped it in the trash I swear the ground beneath groaned.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 4, 2010, 11:55 pm

Yep, it’s the big half century. I so racked my brains trying to come up with something special I wanted to do or buy or make to mark the occasion…but I couldn’t think of anything.

I guess that means I have pretty much everything I want already. Not counting, you know, world peace, immortality and a whisky you can drink 24/7 without getting overdrunk. That’s a wonderful thing, but it feels a little pathetic, honestly.

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 5, 2010, 12:02 am

Those 0’s are a killer, I had one after my number this year as well. This was a hard one, I’m lucky the family didn’t kill me when I napped. I was a hardcore bitch this weekend.

Comment from naleta
Time: May 5, 2010, 12:15 am

Happy birthday month! For me the rough birthday was 45. It took me about half a year before I quit thinking of myself as 44. Now that I’m 52 and finally playing with a full deck, no more worries. 🙂

Comment from Anonymous
Time: May 5, 2010, 12:28 am

sobriety in May is way over rated. May is made for drinking…it’s very name screams alcohol, as in “may I bring you another?”

Comment from armybrat
Time: May 5, 2010, 12:30 am

opps….that last anonymous post was me.

Comment from JC
Time: May 5, 2010, 12:34 am

“(S)trawbris” are the traditional topping for a Jewish ceremonial cake.
But be careful with those Dunlopillows. They are know to carry leprosy, as do their new world cousins, the armadillo.
As my Krishna brother says: Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Birthday Birthday, Happy Happy (whilst spinning and making annoyinbg sounds with finger cymbals)(be glad you missed it).

Comment from Allen
Time: May 5, 2010, 1:05 am

I know what you mean Weasel. I wanted a physical constant named after me. Hey there’s a contest, if you had a physical constant named after you what would it be a measure of?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 5, 2010, 1:07 am


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 5, 2010, 1:07 am

And if you want to know how eccentricity can be physical, you’ll have to work out where I live.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: May 5, 2010, 1:57 am

Happy birth-fortnight Stoaty! I just hit 40 a couple weeks ago meself. The Parental Units took me to see Steven Wright. That guy kills me.

Comment from Garland
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:06 am

Happy Birthday, whenever it is. Enjoy all of you!

Comment from Allen
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:10 am

Hmmm, I thought there wasn’t going to be any math on this test. OK, if I ‘member correctly the eccentricity of a circle is zero, and the eccentricity of a straight line is infinite… Therefore, Stonehenge?

Hey, there’s a birthday present any guy would be happy to present to his gal if she asked: paint me blue and let’s re-enact a pagan ritual.

Uncle B, get on it. 🙂

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:18 am

As one May birthday person to another–but with 7 years’ seniority: Happy, happy, Merry, merry, oh the hell with it, let’s go get pissed.

In the British slang sense.


Comment from Spad13
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:19 am

Three things to say

Happy S. Weasel Bday!!

Rember alcahol burns clear!

If you don’t rember that alcahol burns clear. For gods sake stay away from the cake.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:24 am

If you don’t rember that alcahol burns clear. For gods sake stay away from the cake.

AND we expect details in either the best scar or the “dumbest thing I’ve done” thread. . .or both!

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:36 am

Happy early-ish, Weas. I hope you two are enjoying your second birthday as a permanent resident of Ol’ Blighty.

Five-oh, huh? That’s a good round number with plenty of factors. Personally, I’m excited about being an even number again this year. But next year, I’ll be not only odd, but prime, and furthermore, a prime that ends with 9. I don’t like 9. I might skip it and be 28 twice and then go straight to 30 in 2012.

(I may or may not be obsessive-compulsive.)

Comment from Elphaba
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:43 am

Well, Gee! Happy Nebulous Birthday, Stoaty! It’s not every day that one gets to turn fiddy…Wiccapundit did that 2 years ago, and you’d never know it to look at him. 😉

Do try to avoid being careless, whilst lighting the candles on your cake!

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:47 am

Oh, too bad you mentioned the twice 14 number–I was gearing up to conclude 28 based on next year ending in 9 and: the only primes under 100 ending in 9 are 19, 29, 79 and 89; from your past posts, you are DEFINITELY younger than I, but have been an independent adult too long to be facing 19.

You may or may not be OCD–I definitely AM, but mildly and undiagnosed. And one of my techniques for dealing with insomnia (not uncommon in my life) is identifying prime numbers. . .one of my techniques. Yes.

So, um. What is the significance of the following two numerical sequences?



Comment from bad cat robot
Time: May 5, 2010, 4:11 am

O Weas: Hippo Birdy! I shall scan the police reports to find out how your celebratin’ went. Set up a deadman post with a link to a bail fund, just in case.

Allen: you have an entire class of *wrenches* named after you. Don’t be greedy. (I hope they name a stardrive after me. My last name is a Verb of Action, so it would even make sense!)

Comment from Allen
Time: May 5, 2010, 4:30 am

That’s true Bad Cat, but they also call them hex wrenches. I suppose being equated with the evil eye might be a step up.


Comment from scubafreak
Time: May 5, 2010, 4:36 am

Regretably, I cannot join you in your celebratory adult beverages. Apparently, burning a hole in the lining of your stomach is considered a counter-indication…..

Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 5, 2010, 4:39 am

Happy Birthday, Weasel! My sister’ is having her 5-Oh today, but she never has quite caught up to me yet.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: May 5, 2010, 4:59 am

Happy Birthday Weasel! You are a Lucky Stoat to have a Badger looking after you.

As to physical cpntants, everyone knows that the Badger ( B or b), is the inernational unit of measure for affability and cuddliness.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 5, 2010, 6:34 am


First one’s easy: mod 10 of squares of integers. Here’s a few more:


Then cubes. Here’s 200 of ’em:


We see the multiplicative order arising from the numeric structure.

Inquiring minds will, if nature guides them, find the enchanting structures embedded within the numbers known as quadratic, cubic, quartic residue series modulo a number (in this case 10. Number theory is fun. Don’t let me get you started on p-adic numbers.)

Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: May 5, 2010, 9:59 am

Happy Within-A-Bursting-Radius-Of-Your-Birthday, young lady!

I can say “young lady” (and do it with a perfectly straight face) because I’m old and febrile-minded, and General Order Number One precludes my rectifying that with an appropriate libation — although my coffee has been known to knock people on their kiesters…

Comment from Roman Wolf
Time: May 5, 2010, 10:39 am

Happy B-day Weasel…when it comes and all. Yeah, I’m still around, just don’t get around to commenting much.

Enas Yorl,

Hah. I’ve seen Steven Wright live as well. That was back in…erm… the 7th grade I believe. As usual, I feel incredibly young(22; At this age I’m meant to be an empty minded liberal, where did I go wrong) around here.

Comment from steve
Time: May 5, 2010, 11:58 am

1 sweasel = 1 Kg/m/sec

Excentrifugul Forz

(Happy Birth Month!)

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: May 5, 2010, 12:23 pm

Whoa! Numbers!! I’m going back to bed.

Comment from Pupster
Time: May 5, 2010, 12:31 pm

“…seldom a sober breath is drawn in Badger House”

Stoaty, you can certainly paint the scene with prose.

Happy Birthday you fuzzy little thing.

Comment from St. Feargal Fitz-Ferret, The Irish Mustelid
Time: May 5, 2010, 1:27 pm

By me begorrah, five-oh is a good age. All pretense of middle-agedness gone, one earns a license to go bat-guano off yer nut loco. Youth is a necessary ingredient of world, for the young are hard-working, easily motivated, easily part with assets and and have non-sagging subcutaneous fat layers necessary for lactation.
Hello to the golden age of smacking everything with a cane, demanding discounts, “speak up!” catchphrase, Matlock re-runs (or is you more of a Ken Dodd-lassie?), knowing about gout, arthritis, and senile necrotic osteoporosis, socks with sandals, bizarre haircuts and I could go on for a long time.
I’ll raise a thimbleful or 8 in your honor, Miss Stoaty. Five-oh of dodging owls and hawks and lacquer bottles, and Oreck vacuum cleaners and other mortal enemies of weaselkind and you still have 16 toes and fingers. That’s not a bad outcome.

(kennel papers say 42, mentally 147).

PS. Are you any kin to meerkats? I saw one the other day, sunning himself under IR lamp.

Comment from Deborah
Time: May 5, 2010, 2:41 pm

… happy biRTHDay dear Stoatie, happy birthday to you (shift to appropriate day). You can get the Senior Citizen’s discount at McDonalds, or Denny’s now! I don’t know when they actually start giving it. Bless those youngsters—they don’t want to ask outright and embarrass a patron. They make a judgment call. But 50c for a cup of coffee is nice compensation for age.

Strawberry shortcake for a birthday cake sounds yummy, though I’d bake you a proper southern B-Cake. Two or three layers of buttermilk white cake, with thick chocolate (Hershey’s cocoa!) butter cream frosting. Strawberry ice cream served along the side to make it healthy 🙂

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 5:14 pm

mod 10 of squares of integers

Uh-oh. I had to go look up “Mod 10,” and all I find are references to credit card validation, and what appears to be a computer game?

Granted, I shouldn’t have tried to show off about numbers in front of a bunch of programmers and the like. . .but the (admittedly most unsophisticated) answers I was looking for were:

01496569410: final digits of the squares of zero through 10 (and, as a consequence of that fact, the repetitive sequence of final digits of the squares of all succeeding integers)

01874563290: final digits of the cubes of zero through 10 (and, as a consequence of that fact, the repetitive sequence of final digits of the cubes of all succeeding integers)

I like contemplating the organizedness of those two sequences. And yeah, I guess I’d get additional pleasure out of contemplating Mod 10s, if I understood them.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: May 5, 2010, 6:04 pm

CMHC: “mod” is short for “modulo”.

If X and Y are integers,

X modulo Y = the remainder when X is divided by Y.

The last digit of a decimal number N is N modulo 10.

“mod” is the modulo operator in BASIC, FORTRAN, PL/1, Ada, Lisp, and Pascal. There is a MOD() function in Excel and most other spreadsheets.

There, now you _know_.

Stoaty: Ogden Nash, as usual, had something good to say about this particular milestone:

The Calendar-Watchers, or
What’s So Wonderful About Being a Patriarch?

I’m like a backward berry
Unripened on the vine,
For all my friends are fifty
And I’m only forty-nine.

My friends are steeped in wisdom,
Like senators they go,
In the light of fifty candles,
And one on which to grow.

How can I cap their sallies,
Or top their taste in wine?
Matched with the worldly fifties,
What chance has forty-nine?

Behold my old companions,
My playmates and my peers,
Remote on their Olympus
Of half a hundred years!

These grave and reverend seniors,
They call me Little Man,
They pat my head jocosely
And pinch my cheek of tan.

Why must I scuff my loafers
And grin a schoolboy grin?
Is not my waist as ample?
Is not my hair as thin?

When threatened with a rumba,
Do I not seek the bar?
And am I not the father
Of a freshman at Bryn Mawr?

O, wad some pawky power
Gie me a gowden giftie,
I’d like to stop at forty-nine,
But pontificate like fifty.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 5, 2010, 7:23 pm

Richie, DON’T make me start posting Baracle Bill songs again! It WON’T be pretty! 😉

Comment from St. Feargal Fitz-Ferret, The Irish Mustelid
Time: May 5, 2010, 7:42 pm

>> cap their sallies,

Is that what it is called these days?!

Comment from MarkT
Time: May 5, 2010, 8:10 pm

Happy Birthmonthday, Sweasel! 50 was great. Instant official license to be an old git. What’s the female equivalent? I guess you can race around “like an old mad woman?” 50 is very freeing, once you get your head wrapped around it. But for some reason this year, 55, has been difficult for me. I keep thinking I’m about to drool. Instead, I’ve decided to become sage.

Have you ever had one of those ‘cakes’ with the almond icing shielding it? It’s the same composition as an x-ray apron. The flavour of the icing is great, but then there’s all that dried gunk inside, and there is ALWAYS a stray pip. Who wants seeds in their birthday cake?? No, thanks. I’d rather have a nice piece of that Southern buttermilk cake. With the strawberry ice cream!

Cheers to you both–enjoy your bevvies!

Comment from Pupster
Time: May 5, 2010, 8:20 pm

What’s the female equivalent?

Crazy Cat Lady.


Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 5, 2010, 8:30 pm

CHMC: note also that the sequence 01496569410 is a palindrome. This is a general property of quadratic residues.

I’m a prime this year, but just a regular prime*, not like the last time when I was an irregular prime for the first time. My age this year will be a supersingular prime, a Sophie Germain prime and a Newman-Shanks-Williams prime, which is nice (you’ll be an NSW prime at most twice unless someone invents an immortality drug.)

* So it doesn’t divide the class number of its associated cyclotomic field.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 9:02 pm

[Holds head and moans “What have I done? Will I never learn not to try to show off in front of the big kids?”]
OK, RR and DG, I’ll chew on those thoughts very carefully for awhile. Tasty tidbits, but tough.

And agreed, with all, that 50 really ain’t that bad. Neither is 55, once you move a little past it. Just think, 10 years from now you won’t believe you were ever this young. . .

Comment from St. Feargal Fitz-Ferret, The Irish Mustelid
Time: May 5, 2010, 9:08 pm

I have never regretted being a male, but there are times when being a female has its advantages. When the odometer starts creeping up, all a female has to do is to hand in some funds for a tiny vial of magic creme and voila, all will be better with the world.

I guess an equivalent of an old stoat is a river otter. Slick and fancy still, but no longer chases cottontails.

I drool whenever I can or whenever there are witnesses, whichever comes first. Sometimes I even drool and shuffle my feet at the same time – multitasking.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 10:24 pm

[after rereading RR’s post carefully,having escaped from work and no longer having to think about client matters as well. . .Eyes light up!]
Gottit! David Gillies and I were saying the same thing about the squares sequence (and yes, I had noted the palindrome, which is one of the things that gives me pleasure about it), only he knew the correct language! Thank you!

Still decoding age hints. . .

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 10:30 pm

And since you mention Ogden Nash–although this one is about an earlier milestone, the sentiment applies equally to age 50 (and up):

A Lady Who Thinks She is Thirty

Unwillingly Miranda wakes,
Feels the sun with terror,
One unwilling step she takes,
Shuddering to the mirror.

Miranda in Miranda’s sight
Is old and gray and dirty;
Twenty-nine she was last night;
This morning she is thirty.

Shining like the morning star,
Like the twilight shining,
Haunted by a calendar,
Miranda is a-pining.

Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.

Time is timelessness for you;
Calendars for the human;
What’s a year, or thirty, to
Loveliness made woman?

Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
Pick up your glass and tell me, then–
How old is Spring, Miranda?

Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 5, 2010, 10:36 pm

CHMC sez:

Gottit! David Gillies and I were saying the same thing about the squares sequence

Hmmph. That’s the onliest thing I did know about what youse was saying~thet you was saying the same thing, and no, I didn’t notice it was a palindrome, either.

I have a feeling that all the girls cuddle up around David when he gets a wee tipsy at a party.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: May 5, 2010, 10:46 pm

I sure hope someone else is willing to be the attentive reader, because I’m too lazy to do a good job at it.

And happy birthday, Stoaty, whenever it may be. I hope you rack up many more before you take the dirt nap.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 11:24 pm

I have a feeling that all the girls cuddle up around David when he gets a wee tipsy at a party.

Alls I know is that he is acquaint’ wit’ some ver’ classy broads. By his own account. . .

Comment from nbpundit
Time: May 5, 2010, 11:35 pm

Happy biferday stoaty.

And here’s a nice tidbit for you, alls’ it needs is some icing!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 5, 2010, 11:49 pm

Hahaha…you’re the third person to send me that link, NB.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: May 5, 2010, 11:51 pm

I thought the palindrome was what you were getting at, can’t hark…as for the second number, the pattern I saw was that 1 and 9 add to 10, 8 and 2 add to 10, 7 and 3 add to 10, 4 and 6 add to 10, and 5 is half of 10.

Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 5, 2010, 11:53 pm

S. Weasel:

Hahaha…you’re the third person to send me that link, NB.

It was a plot by those radicals over at GCP, but we were too damn grouchy to look and see who drew the short straw.

Or maybe it was the long one.

Did I send that yet?

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 5, 2010, 11:55 pm

Mrs. Peel–Yes, that is one of the elegancies of the (Hah!) mod 10 of cubes of integers; and no doubt Rich Rostrom, and David Gillies (and possibly even you) could explain why it works that way. I’m the word-besotted daughter of an electrical engineer who loved numbers: they fascinate me, but I have to pick my painful way to understanding of them.

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