Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday at the Hut - 3/17/12

Today at The Tobacco Hut saw me enjoying a bowlful of G.L. Pease's outstanding Chelsea Morning tobacco in the Stanwell that Paula surprised me with for Christmas. It smoked well all the way to the bottom of the bowl, providing a great taste and excellent room note. The rest of the gang was smoking cigars and there was a fair number of us so it was welcome relief when Lou decided to prop open the door to air it out a bit.

This is probably close to what
Jim's iPad looked like after
being run over.
In attendance today were Lou and myself, of course, Scott R, Jeff D, Paul O, Paul V and - toward the end of the day, Jim C. I'll open the blog with a tale that Jim recounted about his iPad. He received it as a gift from his wife but several days ago, whilst driving on US 19 near S.R. 52 with the windows open and the iPad on his dashboard, made a turn and promptly sent it flying out the window. Unfortunately, he didn't notice it until he got home and then retraced his path and discovered it in the middle of the road, having been run over multiple times. But, guess what? Apple replaced it! Jim is now a full believer in Apple. If it hadn't been replaced, I was going to suggest that he get in touch with Joe who is probably ready to sell his iPad 2 now that the latest version is on the market.

After Scott and Lou conducted a little business (the former had sold some of the latter's old lighters and other collectibles on eBay and was delivering the proceeds), Scott and I got down to our business. Specifically, the solution to the brain teaser I had posed in this space a couple weeks ago, regarding the 911 dispatcher's help to the man suffering from a heart attack. Probably the only people that cared were in attendance today, but I'll give the solution here in a moment. It actually didn't take Scott long, after a few carefully considered questions, to hit upon the answer. Although maybe it was a repeat from a couple weeks ago where Scott did all the "heavy lifting" and Paul O actually answered it...I can't remember. Okay, for those of you were wracking (or "racking", either is acceptable) your brain for the solution: The dispatcher had the man read off the license plate of the car parked in front of him, she ran the registration through the computer, and directed the ambulance to the address, saving the man's life.

A little later when Paul V arrived Scott had me pose the same question to him and, with some more heavy lifting from Scott, he worked out the solution.

We had some good sports discussions...who the Bucs had picked up and their prospects for the coming season, how the Rays were looking, the ongoing NCAA March Madness tournament, and the "good ole' days" of sports television when you basically had on option for watching sports - ABC's Wide World of Sports which showed the highlights from various games from the previous week. Now, as Scott pointed out, you can watch practically every game live, start to finish, but there still doesn't seem to be anything good on.

I was feeling lucky so I sprang another puzzler on Scott and the boys. I produced a deck of cards and asked Scott if he could cut the deck exactly in half. He didn't think so, but he actually did pretty well, cutting 28 cards. I then had him shuffle the two halves together and deal some piles of cards face down. There were several piles consisting of just two cards, a few piles of four cards and two piles of thirteen cards each. As he dealt each pile, I bet him what each pile would consist of: the pairs of cards would contain one red and one black card, the piles of four would consist of one card from each suit, and the two piles of thirteen cards would each contain ace through king. As the odds of each of these bets got longer and longer, Scott had no problem betting against me, especially since we were using "hypothetical" money, not the real thing. But, sure enough, after he had dealt through the deck, the cards were turned over and I was correct on each pile.

I emphasized that Scott had cut and shuffled the cards and done the dealing, so there could be no pre-arrangement or sleight of hand since he had shuffled and handled the cards. I've always enjoyed legerdemain, especially when it comes to playing cards. Next time, Scott, we'll see how well you do separating the reds from the blacks, sight unseen. And if you want to invite me to your next poker game...

Lou made a sad, but not entirely unexpected, announcement. The lease for the store is up at the end of April and he has decided that without a buyer, he will be forced to close the doors so he can devote more of his time and energy in taking care of Dotty. He would prefer to sell the store and keep it open - and has lowered his asking price considerably - but will have to close down if he is unable to sell it. Now is the time to spread the word if you know of anyone who would like to take over the shop. After almost 28 years it's an institution in Pasco County and I think we all share Lou's desire to see the store continue, even under different ownership.

 - Bob

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