I Married a Statistician: Pt. II ( OR a Question of BINGO!)

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(Click to enlarge)

I persist in the occasional practice of buying lottery or scratch off lotto tickets despite regular feedback from my statistically savvy spouse that I have a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever winning.

Here’s how he explains the probability to me:

Your odds of winning the 5 of 5 California lottery as well as the mega number are less than 1 in 175,000,000
Your odds of winning 5 of 5 lottery are around 1 in 4,000, 000
Your odds of winning the super lotto 5 of 5 plus mega number are 1 in around 40,000, 000
In other words, you are never going to win, and this is a waste of money.

“Okay. FINE,” I say. “I’ll buy ten tickets then.”

He says, “In actuality that will not increase your odds of winning.”

“What do you MEAN?” I say, “If I buy 1,000 lottery tickets, this won’t increase my odds of winning the Lottery at ALL?”

His answer, “Mathematically yes, Actuality, no.”

You see, this is where I start to get peevish with these math n***s, I mean people, they’re so, equivocating……

Anyhoo, back to the subject of BINGO.

I recently bought 5 Lotto tickets. Upon scratching off the first ticket, I was able to ascertain that this card required more than the usual determination of whether I got a winning, $5 -$5 -$5 combo or, better yet, the lucky $50,000-$50,000-$50,000 combo, which I know I’m gonna get really soon since the odds are in my favor.
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This matching three numbers type of computational activity is already stretching the outer limits of my most advanced mathematical capabilities.

This card had actual numbers, in COLUMNS, that required CALCULATIONS, plus additional WEIGHTING FACTORS!

See sample cards: (click to enlarge)
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Due to religious and ethical considerations, as I have explained before, I do not partake in such mathematical misadventures, and leave all of this type of questionable activity solely to my savant spouse.

So, I left the five tickets on his desk after he went to bed, with a nice post-it-note, asking him to figure out whether or not I (we of course) had won.

In the morning I found five of these sheets on my desk, along with a nice note attached saying:

“Please don’t buy these types of tickets anymore.  They are too difficult to score. Your odds of winning $20,000 are 1 in 600,000.  If you buy one of these tickets every week for 10 years, your chance of winning will be 1 in 8,000 and you’ll spend $15,600 for this chance. And by the way, you lose.”


Well. Clearly I did.

But, on the other hand……

I didn’t have to spend 45 minutes figuring this out now, did I?

He really does take all the fun out of gambling though.

Here is how the California Lottery doesn’t explain to you the probability of your winning their games: (in case you think my husband’s explanations are convoluted)

Odds and Available Prizes

Prizes Odds 1 in Total # of Winners
$20,000  600,000    46 15 31
$1,000     300,000    92 30 62
$500         60,000       460 192 268
$100         1,091 25,300 10,201 15,099
$50           632 43,700 17,501 26,199
$40           414 66,700 26,689 40,011
$30           333 82,800 33,598 49,202
$25           194 142,600 56,103 86,497
$20           125 220,800 85,671 135,129
$15           125 220,800 89,059 131,741
$10           125 220,800 85,861 134,939
$9              100 276,000 111,134 164,866
$8              56 496,800 190,363 306,437
$5              17 1,600,800 616,991 983,809
$4              14 2,042,400 777,826 1,264,574
Ticket       13 2,208,000 837,018 1,370,982

I must admit though, living all these years with a math whiz, has really improved my probabilistic abilities.

'According to our research 56% of the 34% of people responded to the 48% of questionnaires sent out thought the statistics were meaningless.'
‘According to our research 56% of the 34% of people responded to the 48% of questionnaires sent out thought the statistics were meaningless.’

Which gives me a great idea……..

Let’s form a pool!  If we all go in together and buy 500 tickets this will really improve our odds of winning!!!

Who’s in?

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Tech Marvels & the TV Tray.

(Please click on ads to read small print.)

Some of you may recall, I previously posted prior segments of this 1950’s series, ending with photos from Betty Crocker’s house and barn and anything else I found there to photograph (See October 11 post under Tech Marvels.).  My mother Eleonore came with me on this adventure , as we browsed at the antique barn and acted like undercover paparazzi, snapping shots incognito for your pleasure and edification.  This was so exciting.  I couldn’t stand it.

Today, part four ( for those who are numerically challenged, like me) we will be discussing that integral part of the 1950’s-60’s life,  The TV Tray.

TV trays were of course made to eat TV dinners on in the 1950’s & 60’s.  TV dinners started out rather small,  so the original TV Trays were rather small too.  Everything in the 1950’s was small, bathrooms, closets, me.

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I think this retro-ceramic TV dinner from the 1950’s for sale on ETSY for the incredible steal price of $450.00 will be a perfect launching point for our discussion of this fascinating topic.  There is only one of these ceramic beauties available, so if you must have it, you better move quickly.  Here is the website:


And here is the ceramic product,  I mean art piece ( it looks good enough to eat just like a real TV dinner):

The original TV Dinner made by Swanson’s was this delectable turkey delight that cost only $1 in 1953:

It came out just a couple of years before I was born actually, and was advertised as the “perfect solution for women who worked out of the home,” and didn’t have time for pesky things like making dinner, and who also had no intention of engaging in boring activities like a family dinner, and would rather watch TV as they enjoyed this gourmet repast. See ads:


Swanson sold millions of these babies, so they ramped up production and diversified to things like my favorite as a child, “Salisbury Steak.” See example. YUM!


So truth be told, millions of kids like me were sitting in front of tv screens, numbing our brains in the 50’s/60’s watching TV.  The computer now at least requires some type of cerebral activity in users.

For those too young to remember what a TV tray is. (Sacrilege!) I have included some helpful examples.  For the rest of us, these will just serve as memory prompts for our already severely challenged senior cerebellums.  TV Trays, the point of all this ramble in the first place, were designed and released in 1954 as the perfect technological advancement to make eating and watching TV not only possible, but darn easy.  Here are a few examples of this wizardry in actual operation in the 1950’s.  They were sold in 4-paks with an innovative device developed to store them after use:

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By the time the 1970’s rolled around, TV dinner’s technologically advanced one more time.  “Hungry Man” larger TV dinners were developed. This was in response to the men’s movement (or something).  Anyways, ads came out with a song & jingle, whose lyrics were, “How do you handle a hungry man?  The manhandlers.”  I kid you not!  It was sung in basso profundo by lumberjacks or something.  Anyhoo, “The Man Handlers,” were an innovation by Swanson again (The Apple of their time) to handle the big appetites of big men, who were obviously not happy with their TV dinners and must have been bitching, I mean complaining about them at home.  I ate them so I can attest to the fact they consisted of an additional two ounces of something approximating chicken noodle soup, a delectable three ounces of “fruit” (I use the term loosely) cobbler, and an extra couple of ounces of something resembling vegetables.


This huge leap forward in innovation required additional modification of the TV Tray, which became outdated just like your original i pod and pad.  “The King Size TV Tray,” was invented to bridge this gap. Here is an example:

The best thing about the invention of the TV dinners was that a woman no longer had to wash dishes if she didn’t want to. The TV dinners could just be thrown away after use!  This prevented the sort of dish washing drudgery that I shared with you in a previous post:

This is where my expertise about all this incredible 50’s innovation ends. My parentals would go on “date night, ” the sitter would arrive, and my brother and I would sit contentedly in front of the boob-tube, I mean TV, watching Bonzana and eating our favorite “Man Handler’s” on our TV trays.  Those were the days……

I am exhausted now by all this extensive history, I am sure you are too, and I am too tired to make dinner.  Where are the damn TV trays?

How Come one Woman is so Happy Washing Dishes, and the Other Isn’t? Can You Guess?



Well, duh, the poor tired woman doesn’t even have a dish drainer! Sheesch!

I got to thinking about 1950’s housewives and decided to do a post about my grandmother Rose (who I called Nana). She was really a 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s housewife. She took it seriously, did it well, and I respected her. She died in 1987 in her mid-eighties. She was the consummate housewife and cook. Here is a photo I saved from Architectural Digest taken in the early 1950’s of her kitchen and family dining area. Look pretty 1950’s to you? Ozzie and Harriet could walk right in the door. (If you are too young….gooogle it).


I still have my grandmother’s handmade aprons and can attest to the fact that they were worn always in the kitchen. She had everyday aprons and fancy, for party-aprons, that were made  out of taffeta. I kid you not! I swear this lady stole Nana’s taffeta apron and I want it back!

I would SO wear it for parties.

Here is one of her everyday aprons that I kept.

This is a recipe from Nana. She would make it for family dinners and picnics. I especially remember eating it on a picnic in Borrego Springs when I was a child, around fifty years ago! My grandmother was of Polish and German descent and she was an incredible cook. This is a sticky fingers chicken dish, hence it’s name!  I haven’t seen a recipe like it and it is still a hit in my family.

So here is my tribute to Nana and her:


1 package chicken thighs with bone and skin

1 package split chicken breast with bone and skin

4 T flour

2 heaping T bacon fat (for best flavor or canola oil for health)

1 large chopped yellow onion

1 heaping cup chopped celery

1 package Far Eat Rice Chicken Flavored Rice with spice packet (Nana used long grain white rice)

1/3 cup wild rice

1 t salt

½ t pepper

1 T fresh chopped parsley

1t fresh thyme

1t fresh minced sage

½ t nutmeg

1 cup hot chicken broth

¼ cup dry vermouth

Shake chicken pieces in flour in large zip lock bag. Brown in bacon fat until well browned. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion and celery and sauté until soft and slightly brown scrapping the brown bits into the veggies.

Remove from heat.

Add two rices to bottom of a large roasting pan with seasoning packet. Stir in ½ cup of hot broth. Place chicken on top of rice. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, sage, and nutmeg. Pour remaining broth and vermouth over herbs, seasoning, and chicken. Cover pan tightly with lid or foil.

Bake for 1 hour at 350-degree oven.

Serve with your choice of vegetables.  And, don’t forget your apron!

I’ll leave you with a 50’s ad if you need a brush up on the era.


I love this 50’s theme so my next post is going to be, “I Live Near Betty’s Crocker’s House,” which I do, and I will prove in my next post. So stay tuned!