Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

February 21, 2013

This and that and the other ...

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — We must admit that we went into our recent surgery without a clue as to what the recovery process might actually entail. And while we believe we are doing fairly well, we still think the process is proceeding much slower than we might like mostly due to the fact that our usual somewhat limited mobility is more limited now than ever. Thus we have had be content in engaging in activities that meet our current abilities. And this has, we must admit, not been all bad.

We have watched what we might consider to be our yearly quota of movies thanks to the TV movie channels, Netflix and the village of Cooperstown library. Our stash of crossword puzzles has diminished significantly. And we have found ourselves engrossed in many more books than we normally find time to read. Plus we seem to have caught up on our reading of magazines. And this is, no doubt, all to the good, especially since we came across something to share in the column.

While reading the most recent Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, we came across an article about “The Elements of Statistics,” a course taught by Marie Snipes at the college. And tucked into the article was the following joke:

“Did you hear the one about the statistician?” “Probably ...”

“A mathematician, a physicist, and a statistician went deer-hunting. When they spotted a buck, the mathematician fired first, missing the buck’s nose by a foot. Then the physicist fired; he missed the tail by a foot. The statistician leaped up, exultant, and shouted: ‘We got him!’ “

We are still laughing.

And, of course, each day, Monday through Saturday, we await with baited breath the arrival of the postal person to see what news might be coming from the outside world. And while we have received a number of delightful “Get Well” cards, much of the mail tends to be rather boring, a category into which we always put all bills. But every so often, something arrives in the mail which makes our day, one way or another. And we received such a piece of mail just last week. In fact, this piece of mail necessitated the postal person ringing our doorbell.

We answered the door to discover we were to receive a piece of mail that required our signature not once, but twice. It seems The Bassett Medical Center had sent us a certified letter with a return receipt requested. We were told, of course, that we could refuse the letter. But we decided we really wanted to know what information was of such pressing importance that Bassett would spend $6.11 to send it to us.

Imagine our surprise when we opened it only to discover it was a letter confirming actions taken by Bassett, as well as an apology for what happened, as a result of a complaint we had filed regarding a most unpleasant, and we might add painful, experience we had when an x-ray of our new hip was taken. And while we were happy to receive written confirmation of what was done, we hasten to note that it followed two telephone calls on the same subject.

Plus we are not quite certain why such a letter needed to be certified with a return receipt requested. It seemed like overkill to us, not to mention a complete waste of the $5.66 spent above and beyond the cost of a first class stamp. When we asked as to why the letter was sent as it was, we were told it is not policy, but it is done a lot to make certain that the recipient received the letter. And while that might be important, we tend to think sending such certified, return receipt requested letters is rather a waste of health care dollars.

And while we mused about the letter for several days, we were able to put it out of our thinking when we realized we had two years, 2011 and 2012, of the “Cooperstown Criers” saved, waiting for the opportunity to clip the columns and add them to our collections of columns that date back to 1984. We always enjoy clipping the columns, although we do have to keep reminding ourselves that we do not need to re-read each and every one of them. However, we do tend to scan them to remind ourselves what the actual comings and goings were.

In doing so, we realize that the way time is flying it will soon be time for us to concern ourselves which two pressing issues which face the community this time of year. The first is, of course, a tallying of the potholes, something which we suspect will be difficult for us to do this year as we are not yet zipping around town under our own steam. Thus, since this lack of mobility makes it somewhat difficult for us to locate the offending potholes, we may have to depend on readers to fill us in on the details.

The second issue that is about to come to a head, is the 2013-14 school budget, slated for release on March 6. We must say that in prior years we seem to have known more about the budget than we do this year. In fact, this seems to have been the least transparent year regarding the upcoming budget as we have heard nothing about it, except that current first-grade parents are lobbying for four sections of second grade next year.

Such lobbying, of course, is not new as it seems that the thinking is that the smaller the class size, the better the education. However, we must say that we are not certain that class size is the best indicator of student success. From our perspective, the quality of education depends much more on the quality of the teacher. But then, we also think that spending more on education does not necessarily mean the quality of the education will be better.

We also note that we do not envy the school board as they face what will probably be difficult decisions for the 2013-14 budget. Nonetheless, we do hope that they are able to balance the needs of the students for education with the needs of district residents for fiscal responsibility. Time will no doubt tell how successful they are at doing so.

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by e-mail at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com