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Rich Simons | Upper East 11th

Photo illustration Art Olson.
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Every month, Rich Simons answers readers’ most perplexing questions.

Q: Doc! You there Doc? You gotta help me, Doc. I’m goin’ outa my tree, Doc. I mean I don’t know what to do. I just got my Official Voter Information Guide for the upcoming election. It runs to 222 pages and is so heavy it takes two strong men and a boy to lift it. It lists 67 propositions written in language I can’t understand, upon which they expect me to form considered, intelligent opinions. Look – what the hell are we paying those bozos up in Sacramento for? What should I do, Doc? You gotta help me out here. – s.h.

Relax there, s.h. Doc Rich is here to help you out. Now I realize that some time has passed since you submitted this problem, and I can only hope that you have not done something foolish in the interim, i.e. – voted. If you have, of course I can’t save you, but just in case there are others out there with this dilemma, I will soldier on.

The primary rule of voting, that always makes it easier is: “just DON’T do it – it only encourages them.” However, if you choose to ignore this rule, here are ways to make it simpler and faster (I assume, for these purposes, that you are NOT going to read the pro and con blather accompaning each proposition. If you do that – well I can’t help you.) With that understanding, let’s look at these techniques:

Simple Decimation: Just run down the ballot and fill in every other dot.
Variations: Every third dot, etc.

Monte Carlo: This is more fun. But first we need kind of a real-life roulette wheel. You know – something that happens randomly but frequently so you can observe it. Like the number of cars passing by your house every minute (no – that won’t work. Maybe you live on a cul-de-sac.) Let’s look outside at your bird feeder (what! – you don’t HAVE a bird feeder?) Shame on you. You’re making it hard for me to help you. Go get one. I’ll give you a little time. Now when you’ve got it set up and the birds have found it, look up whenever you need an answer. Count the number of birds. Even means yes; odd means no. No birds means you forgot to put any seed in the feeder. Simple, yes? And fun, too. I hope this advice has been helpful.




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