Saturday, November 04, 2006


I learned to use a sliderule (remember those) when I was in Junior High. I was quite skilled with them. I had to take a test at Naval Nuclear Power School that was nothing more than a test of your skill with a sliderule, which I had known how to use for years. Guess which test was the only knowledge/skill test I ever failed while I was in the Navy. Reason: I didn't take it seriously and got badly overconfident. Fooling around instead of applying myself to the test, I ran out of time and couldn't complete it. Fortunately later tests erased that embarrassment but I learned a hard lesson.

In any endeavor, be it football, life, business or politics, overconfidence will bring down a giant.

Ball State has a football program that, while of interest to those connected to Ball State, is barely a blip on the national screen. Today it almost became a giant killer.

The Wolverines of Michigan did not take this second or third tier team seriously going into the game. Ball State was taking it seriously. Michigan pulled it out but Ball State gave them a run for their money.

You have to take every opponent seriously in any endeavor. It's the one you're not watching that will sneak up on you. I learned the hard way; the Wolverines almost did.


Blogger The Oneonta Teletype said...

Ah the old Keuffel and Esser Log-Log-Decitrig slipstick, as we called 'em.

You could always tell an engineering student on campus because he had one strapped to his belt in a leather case.

Just as I mastered the slipstick, along came the Hewlett-Packard HP45 calculator (at $700) so I kept the old bamboo calculator.

Today your digital watch from the Dollar Store contains 300,000 transistors on microchips, far more than the calculator.

But what do I know? I still have radios here that operate on vacuum tubes.

Roger Thornhill

8:34 AM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I never mastered the slide-rule.

BTW My buddy, Andy, went to the Great Lakes Navy Nuclear Power School before being on the Enterprise. That must have been around 1984.

10:45 AM  
Blogger The Oneonta Teletype said...

A neutron walks into a bar --orders a beer.

The neutron asks the bartender: "How much do I owe you?"

The bartender replies:

"For you sir, there is no charge"

(a little nuke humour for you on Sunday AM)

10:49 AM  
Anonymous ABF said...

Ah yes.... remember it well, and it would probably take me a few minutes/hours/days to figure it out again ... As far as the confidence thing goes, it works in everything. Were watching the conservative gov up here real close, even though we shouldn't have to. As they become more over confident, they step on the people that put them there.

11:16 AM  
Blogger lilfeathers2000 said...


1:40 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Hello, Shoprat.

You're right, overconfidence will screw up the works every time. People who think they are indispencible are shocked to find out when they go on vacation everything runs smoothly at the workplace without them. I've seen it many times. Our Priest went on a three month sabatical and came back for a visit over the weekend. He was shocked that we are able to get anything done without him there. LOL! Poor man is a control freak.

1:55 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Oneonta, PJC and ABF I think kids should learn to use a sliderule simply to understand logerithms. Actually seeing them in action makes them much easier to understand.

lf2K Thanks

Gayle Overconfidence indeed ruins much for many.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Shoprat - you've given me an idea on teaching logs. Thanks!

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point there Shop...

Mid American Conference football teams are extremely talented. The bigger teams almost always underestimate MAC teams.

In the NFL I firmly believe it's good to lose a couple here and there in order to not get complacient. Because it will come back to bite you in the rear. In college you obviously can't afford that. One loss will certainly keep you out of the Big Dance...

I'm anti BCS. I'd like to see a playoff system. It's ALL about money though.

I try so hard to not get over confident myself; I have my share of bad expierences also.

8:49 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

lp good luck finding sliderules for all your students.

gunz The legendary Knute Rockne once told his, just defeated, Notre Dame football team "One loss is good for the soul!"

9:01 AM  

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