Super Bowler

Day 56: Monday

Morning, Tim!

Yesterday was the biggest day of the year for American sports. The Super Bowl has come and gone.

I tried to pitch having a party where there was only soup to eat, and you had to pick between that soup or getting a bowl. It would have built teamwork between party guests, not too dissimilar to how the big game builds teamwork between players. Your sister wasn’t having it.

Over the weekend we celebrated a friend’s birthday at The Cheesecake Factory. It was a nice to spend time catching up with friends. When most meals come with a side, the waitress asks “…and would you like a soup or salad with that?” I take way too much joy in saying “Oh! Yes, a super salad does sound really good, thank you!”

In case you missed the game, it was quite exciting. The Patriots overcame a scoring deficit greater than twice what any team had overcome previously (in the super bowl…). Those are the silly kinds of statistics we got to hear on the TV. “No team has ever played in the Super Bowl in 2017 before these two; these two are both setting records right now because of that”.

But nevertheless, it was exciting. The grit to keep on chugging is commendable. As a wise woman once said:

What a game!  Kinda gives you a lesson to never give up even if things look bad and you’re down 28 to 3.

It only really applies when you’re down 28 to 3, though…


Until tomorrow,


Love isn’t onion breath

Day 50: Friday

Morning, Tim!

Yesterday wasn’t my best day. Nothing dreadful happened. Much worse has happened in my life, let alone others’. But it still wasn’t good.

I spent nearly 13 hours in a windowless room. Lunch was catered in, and we worked through it. Breath after eating Middle Eastern food is potent; multiply it by 40, heat it up – not one of my top 5 favorite smells. Following work I went to school, listening to my professor lecture about investments for 2 hours without pause. Good stuff.

Upon arriving home, I nestled in, just thankful for the day to be done. I complained to my wife, who simply listened. I was grateful.

But then it got much better.

For our first anniversary (months ago, now), my wife made me a box of presents. Envelopes to open at different times given the occasion — perhaps a wonderful day, perhaps boredom. All of these envelopes had letters fitting the occasion, a way to make me smile. Many had a present accompanying. One letter was when I needed to feel handsome — a beautiful note of encouragement, a pep talk, and a mirror to show me what she sees.

I had forgotten about these, but am thankful to have stumbled upon them last night. I opened the box, rifled through it a bit, and was thoroughly blessed to find this:IMG_1074.JPG

One was for having a bad day.

In it there was yet another beautiful letter, comforting me. Not knowing one bit about my day the near year ago when it was written, it was just what I needed. It also contained this gem:


which should make anyone smile. Especially me. Puns are the best.

You may have noticed the Gift #2 on the envelope. In case you’re curious, it was a book – Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. So I read it in a silly voice, and felt much better.

It’s great to feel known, cared for, loved.

My day wasn’t so bad after all. I drifted off to sleep, cherishing as always the sound of John Cage’s 4’33’’ as my eyelids slowly came to a close.

Until Monday,


Suspected bibliophile

Day 44: Thursday

Morning, Tim!

Tim, It should be obvious to long standing Thily Fin readers that you are quite the avid reader. Not only do you regularly write and cite poetry, you also go into roots and philology. Hopefully you don’t (regularly, at least) fall prey to the Etymological Fallacy

What readers may not know is that I have (outside of Thily Fin) accused Tim of liking old books (note to readers: if you did know this…well I guess I don’t want to think about that scenario). Tim has adamantly denied that he likes old books simply for the sake that they are old – it is the content that matters. In other words, he wouldn’t judge a book by its old cover…

Now Tim, I came across this article and found it particularly intriguing. You see, a man checked out some library books throughout the year, similarly perhaps to how you and our readers might use libraries. He was a bit different, though. To paint a fuller picture, he checked out over 2300 books!! That’s quite remarkable. Importantly, his motive was a bit paradoxical. Because books infrequently checked out fall prey to algorithms (blast you, technology!) which help cull dated material to create room for the new, he was checking these books out to ensure they did not leave the shelves. However, he also wanted these books to be read by future patrons – to get taken off the shelves. I’m sure the authorities pointed out this wonderful logic “WHICH IS IT?! DO YOU WANT THEM ON THE SHELVES OR NOT?! Guess he couldn’t make up his mind…

That’s a silly little spew of consciousness. The other, perhaps more interesting take on the story, is a warning. Tim, when I first saw this story, I immediately thought the culprit might by you, secretly embarrassed by the voracity with which you bring to learning. Unwilling to confess your secret, you created this story to throw everyone off the scent, only to have it backfire with repercussions. Thankfully I realized it couldn’t possibly be you — 2300 books is way too few.

Until tomorrow,


Bow ties

Day 42: Tuesday

Morning, Tim!

I wanted to leave you a Surprising Saturday Something. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.

You see, Tim, you have a thing for neck-ties, particularly bow ties. I’m sure this part is actually no surprise to you – evidence points directly towards it. Whether it be a noodle or something worn around the neck, you like them. And the evidence on this blog is really only slight compared to the evidence I’ve amassed about your true passion.

And I like bad puns and humor generally.

So how do these combine?


This gem.

I hope to find more soon.

Until tomorrow,


A Poem. Christmas is coming!

Day 26: Monday

Morning, Tim!

I’m getting excited for Christmas! We’re almost 12 days away, which could be time to start the 12 days of Christmas. But to my surprise, and contrary to everything I knew growing up, the 12 days of Christmas actually start on Christmas day and are the 12 days after.

That said, I’m still excited. Lots of decorations:


It’s been a snowy wonderland:


A Christmas poem for you:

A Christmas tree stood up with care

But topple down will it? A prayer:

will Sophocles stay

away or horseplay?

Please fill out this brief questionnaire.


And a poll:

Until tomorrow,


Cat puns; Reasoning in foreign languages

Day 18: Wednesday

Morning, Tim!

Thank you for acknowledging my curation of cats. To be honest, I didn’t realize I was playing into the rampant trope of cat photos on the internet at the time, and so it was your work that really provided the curation.

As luck would have it, I recently got in an email chain spouting off cat puns. I’ve tried to curate the best of these below:

  • The first pun lobbed being less than purrfect, with a response to stop kittening around
  • Gratitude for fur-ends that would engage in such nonsense, tailented and hissterical as they may be
  • An acknowledgement that most of the cat puns weren’t very Clawver
  • And finally, from someone who had not been involved in the conversation, the suggestion that the laughter was going to cause them to “Puma pants — and that would be a catastrophe


Tim you may have noticed in my last post my tendency to delve far too deeply into wordplay and puns. This is likely due to my fascination with language, albeit typically taking a different angle than your interest as a philologist. I recently came across some research suggesting that people make decisions differently when reasoning in a foreign language. Namely, when reasoning in a foreign language, people may be more willing to take on risk because they perceive risks to be lower. Additionally, when making moral decisions, reasoning in a foreign language also makes people more likely to espouse a utilitarian perspective (i.e., sacrifice one life to save five) than they otherwise would.

As you know, Tim, I work in the healthcare space. While I had been made aware of the risk-taking bias when reasoning in a foreign language, I had not made the connection to utilitarian action or to the suggestion outlined in the linked research above around the impact this may have on physicians reasoning in another language. Not having any conclusion yet, having just come across the research yesterday, I simply wanted to pass on the information to you, knowing it may be interesting from a philosophical perspective ala normative morality over utilitarian ethics as well as ongoing interest in impact on how languages impact thinking generally and what that may look like when extrapolating to a second language rather than an original, primary one.

Until tomorrow,



Over-hydrating Plums; Kittens; Hashtags (again)

Day 16: Monday

Morning, Tim!

I’m glad to see you are back to your senses (at least taste…I do love a good cup of Earl Grey!)

I’m not sure I’m satisfied with your explanation about latin phrases, but I will take this opportunity to enlighten you about my weekend. While visiting family (again!) I came upon two kittens. While they smelled a bit like res, they were utterly adorable, and I knew immediately you’d want me to capture a picture for you!

cf.cats cf.cuteandcuddly cf.icantevenhandleit


I also had a very good discussion while home regarding something I believe you to be keenly interested in. Naturally, we discussed purple fruits.

First we discussed grapes and raisins. Grapes are delicious. They can be made into wine (more delicious) or grape juice (still good). Raisins are also fine, but they are dried grapes. There is no raisin juice (makes sense…they are dried grapes).

Then we discussed plums and prunes. Plums are good. Prunes are…useful. But you don’t typically get plum juice, you get prune juice. What?! That doesn’t make any sense. Prunes are dried plums. Why aren’t we making juice from the juicy version of the fruit?

Just when you thought I was going to be done talking about purple fruits though…

So Tim, you know your hands can get pruney, perhaps by washing dishes for a long time or taking a lengthy soak in the tub? Some suggest this happens naturally to help with grip but that’s pretty irrelevant to this discussion. Importantly, it occurs when you are overexposed to water. That’s the exact opposite way we currently make prunes. Yet I think I’ve provided sufficient evidence suggesting you could go from plums to prunes by over-hydrating and dehydrating. Where was THIS when I was looking for a science fair project?

Sometimes as I write, I imagine my future employer coming across this blog…

I do wonder about this as well. I assume you are referencing this in hopes they do come across to see the deep, rigorous analytical thinking you’ve done in the past. I think my above logic speaks for itself.

Loved the perfume, Tim – keep it fresh.

Until tomorrow,


The Nuts of It

Day 2: Tuesday

Morning, Tim!

I’m excited to start a new project with you. I’m not sure why I let you go first; introductions seem to suit my skill set better than yours. Not that I do it well; but in a relative manner, you’re great at so many things, and I’m mostly good at introductions[1].

Thily fin seems like a wonderful adventure. As you set out yesterday, it is the box we get to fill. Together. I’m not sure how we’ll fill it, or with what, but thankfully we’ve agreed to keep trying each day. But you’ve really narrowed us in, put us in a box (literally). You didn’t specify how large of a box it is, so that could be a plus; or it could mean we are really cramped. I’m a large person, Tim – be considerate. Regrettably you’ve also made it live in a financial model; that ensures no one will read it.  I suppose if this thing never takes off, it’ll all go back to you opening, perhaps too remarkably. And some might say you should then get credit it if does take off.

But it’s in a financial model, so that’s not going to happen.

In other news, I’m remarkably impressed at how well you’ve captured my work life. Below you’ll find a selection from the financial model I was working on yesterday:

161108_Cashew_Nuts Cartoon_part 1.png

161108_Cashew_Nuts Cartoon.png

I call this piece “The Nuts of It”. It is actually the first in a two-part series on teaching financial modeling. If you’d like, I’m happy to continue teaching you about financial modeling; at least the bolts of it (nuts piece found above).

I suppose I’m done with my bad nut puns (for now).

I intended to write more, but it’s surprising how long those masterworks of art take to create. Eager to see how the Thily Fin box continues to be filled out. Were there things you had intended to fill it with? My initial suspicians: Music, Philosophy, Healthcare, Swordfish fighting (there’s gotta be a good Youtube channel on this, right?), Digital exercises (as in finger movements, not a silly phone app for cardio), etc.

Until tomorrow[2],



  1. As evidenced by this really strong introductory paragraph
  2. I got really worried I’d need a clever sign off that would work each time; then I realized you started with one that would be impossible to use correctly each time based on the aforementioned rules. A bit of a relief knowing I can take my cue by simply forcing you to be creative on Friday.