All Star Fan Fest

We’re having a great time here at the All Star Fan Fest at the Anaheim Convention Center. We strolled through many displays including selected items from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Stacy had her picture taken with Gary DiCarcina, okay with a tiny picture of Gary DiCarcina.
Now we’re sitting in line to get Tim Salmon Autographs.

Super Bowl XLIV is over, what next?

Okay, wait just a minute…  What the heck is this XLIV stuff anyway.  Well, kids…  Teachers need a reason to keep teaching you about the Roman Numeral system, so in collusion with the NFL and other less obvious organizations, they keep throwing out these cryptic letters.  What does XLIV mean anyway?  The letters translate into the number 44.

The Romans were active in trade and commerce, and from the time of learning to write they needed a way to indicate numbers. The system they developed lasted many centuries, and still sees some specialized use today.

Roman numerals traditionally indicate the order of rulers or ships who share the same name (i.e. Queen Elizabeth II). They are also sometimes still used in the publishing industry for copyright dates, and on cornerstones and gravestones when the owner of a building or the family of the deceased wishes to create an impression of classical dignity. The Roman numbering system also lives on in our languages, which still use Latin word roots to express numerical ideas. A few examples: unilateral, duo, quadricep, septuagenarian, decade, milliliter.

The big differences between Roman and Arabic numerals (the ones we use today) are that Romans didn’t have a symbol for zero, and that numeral placement within a number can sometimes indicate subtraction rather than addition.

Here are the basics:

I The easiest way to note down a number is to make that many marks – little I’s. Thus I means 1, II means 2, III means 3. However, four strokes seemed like too many….

V So the Romans moved on to the symbol for 5 – V. Placing I in front of the V — or placing any smaller number in front of any larger number — indicates subtraction. So IV means 4. After V comes a series of additions – VI means 6, VII means 7, VIII means 8.

X means 10. But wait — what about 9? Same deal. IX means to subtract I from X, leaving 9. Numbers in the teens, twenties and thirties follow the same form as the first set, only with X’s indicating the number of tens. So XXXI is 31, and XXIV is 24.

L  means 50. Based on what you’ve learned, I bet you can figure out what 40 is. If you guessed XL, you’re right = 10 subtracted from 50. And thus 60, 70, and 80 are LX, LXX and LXXX.

C  stands for centum, the Latin word for 100. A centurion led 100 men. We still use this in words like “century” and “cent.” The subtraction rule means 90 is written as XC. Like the X’s and L’s, the C’s are tacked on to the beginning of numbers to indicate how many hundreds there are: CCCLXIX is 369.

D  stands for 500. As you can probably guess by this time, CD means 400. So CDXLVIII is 448. (See why we switched systems?)

M  is 1,000. You see a lot of Ms because Roman numerals are used a lot to indicate dates. For instance, this page was written in the year of Nova Roma’s founding, 1998 CE (Common Era; Christians use AD for Anno Domini, “year of our Lord”). That year is written as MCMXCVIII. But wait! Nova Roma counts years from the founding of Rome, ab urbe condita. By that reckoning Nova Roma was founded in 2751 a.u.c. or MMDCCLI.

V Larger numbers were indicated by putting a horizontal line over them, which meant to multiply the number by 1,000. Hence the V at left has a line over the top, which means 5,000. This usage is no longer current, because the largest numbers usually expressed in the Roman system are dates, as discussed above.

Wasn’t that fun?  Oh, yeah, so what’s next?  Why Super Bowl XLV of course; weren’t you paying attention?

Why am I bothering you with this anyway?  Beacuse I figured you all were tired of reading my “A Few Days Before Christmas” poem and I didn’t have time to think of anything better.


A few days before Christmas

It’s a few days before Christmas and all through our home,
“How long ’till Christmas?” our kids they do moan.
The stockings are hung on the mantle it’s true,
the fire is off and closed is the flue.
The kids are all antsy and running around
while visions of video games, in their heads, do abound.
Mamma going shopping, me on the notebook,
I am blogging for all to have good a look.
When out in the street there came a big noise,
’twas big kids on minibikes, kids and their toys.
I sprang from the couch stubbed my toe on the table,
would have chased after them but found I wasn’t able.
So I opened the door and stood on the mat.

The grass was well groomed, trimmings in the green can,
with the mower Branden groomed and helped out his old man.
The smell of 2 stroke engines assaulted my nose,
while the sound of them faded where once they had rose.
The kids were much older, a reckless driving attack,
I knew in a moment that they would be back.
They rode really fast knocking over the trash,
not a care in the world or thought of a crash.
Hey Johnny, hey Carlos, ’sup Frankie, ’sup Joe,
let’s hit the next block, come on, let’s go!
We’ll trash all the yards, do donuts on lawns
we’ll rip up the reindeer, run over the fawns.
Now here I must pause, as no more could I see,
I closed my front door and pondered my tree.

My kids were good boys, they’ve been good all the year,
and gifts they will get lots of gifts do you hear?
Santa will come in the quiet dark of the night,
he’ll come down the chimney and the tree he will light.
By the glow of the tree he’ll get straight to his task,
he’ll leave all their toys and then what you may ask.
He’ll eat the cookies and milk that Bailey has left,
to replenish his strength, his spirit, his heft.
While he eats and he drinks he admires his work
and chuckles and smiles with just a hint of a smirk.
As he ponders his big day and the years culmination
he sits and he wonders what to do on vacation.

For he’s got some time coming after all the toiling,
his muscles are sore and his bunions are boiling.
The time is now fleeting, back to work he must go,
the reindeer are a waiting ho ho, ho ho ho.
He zooms up the chimney and gets into his sleigh
and in the blink of an eye they’re off, they’re away.
The next family on his list with his toys he will see,
and presents will he leave, for the kids, by the tree.
Again and again the scene it will play,
’till the gifts are all gone and it’s dawn the next day.

He’ll head off to the pole, the workshop and his elves,
the reindeer will be fed and have time to themselves.
He’ll thank everyone for a job that’s well done
and they’ll head off to bed and rest their tired bones.
And Santa will head off to his suite to share
with Mrs Claus all the tales from his feat through the air.
He went round the world and all in one day,
and gave the kids joy and games with to play.
Now a gift for Mrs. Claus, and one thing left to do,
say “Happy Christmas to all and good-night to all of you.”

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