Hmm Weekly for April 7, 2020

Why is this Tuesday different from all other Tuesdays

Hmm Weekly for April 7, 2020

Another Week, Another Hmm Weekly

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NEW TRUTHS EMERGE from a moment of crisis. Here's one: It is now a matter of widespread, officially backed public understanding that it takes 20 seconds to wash your hands until they are genuinely clean. The hands are, however, only one part of the human body, and a fairly small one. How much time, therefore, should it take to wash your entire body clean?

A study of 34 men and 31 women in Korea in 2007 found that hand surface area was approximately 2.5 percent of total body surface area for men, and 2.4 percent for women. It was 2.5 percent for lean people and 2.3 percent for overweight people.
Since we're looking for a minimum time, let's work from the maximum average size: call a hand 2.5 percent of the surface of the body, or 1/40 of the total. Both hands together, therefore, account for 1/20.

If it takes 20 seconds to wash your hands clean, then, it should take 400 seconds to wash the rest of the body. That would mean 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

Already, the five-minute shower—the gold standard of ascetics and personal-action conservationists—is ruled out. But even this calculation is surely too low. As cliche or proverb tells us, "One hand washes the other"; that is, the 20-second hand-washing time is based on both hands being active participants in the washing process. Washing the more passive parts of the body should be only half as efficient.

This would produce a true effective shower time of 13 minutes and 20 seconds—or, minus the part of the shower where the hands are washing the hands, 13 minutes flat.
We are necessarily oversimplifying things. Many parts of the body are topographically simpler than the hands, and presumably faster to clean; other parts, especially those with hair, are more complex. Some parts are cleaner than the hands to begin with, while others may be notably dirtier. Some of the washing may be done bilaterally and simultaneously, while other parts need alternate scrubbing.

Nevertheless, we now have a range: somewhere between 7 and 13 minutes. Call it 10 minutes. You can sing the extended dance mix of "This Corrosion" by the Sisters of Mercy, with a little time to towel off at the end. If you're in a hurry, you may be able to get away with "Fun House" by the Stooges. These are the guidelines. Stay clean.


THIS IS A followup, and quite frankly and I apologize in advance, is probably gonna be a series, after last week’s complaining (by me) about the new Celebrity-studded version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on ABC television, 10 p.m. Eastern time or Eastern Savings Time or Eastern Daylight Savings Time, I am not sure, Wednesday nights, consult your local listings.

If you want to try and win some scratch, it might be important to catch the show when it airs, because there is a play-at-home component immediately after the broadcast, at 11:05 p.m. I missed the broadcast, so I can’t complain about the play-at-home part, but I watched the show “on demand,” and it’s as annoying to me as I figured it was gonna be, and as a veteran of a thousand Millionaire psychic wars, I have a few problems.

Firstly, the Celebrity gets somebody to sit behind them and help them with the first nine questions! Come on! I know this is for charity, but this new version isn’t giving us the genuine Peril of Millionaire, where you can blow one of those “easy” questions—but of course, we can’t have Celebrities subjected to any ego damage.

Secondly, everybody sits. I know that this is making it more like the original network version, but there is something really boring about how everybody is sitting, I dunno. All I know is I stood on goddamn Millionaire, like a REAL contestant! Argh!

Beyond that, this is all about Celebrities wallowing in an opportunity to be all like, “Oh, I love this game, it’s so hard being on television, I’m so normal” while half the questions are getting handed to them, and we’re supposed to watch at home and get invested. Bleah!

I will be back next week with my report on if I made any money playing the home version. For the record, I do not approve of this version of the show, but if it means this is a way back to a version with real humans playing for real dough, I will tolerate it and support, it after a fashion. Also: Dr. Phil. Urgh!


Spring, Part 5

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HERE IS A post for Easter/Passover, from 2019. Please enjoy this Used Content!


WE DRAW NEAR to the time when we will cease presenting our selection of recipes for ancient but reproducible sandwiches, found in The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich, by Eva Greene Fuller; 1909; McClurg and Co., Chicago, found in the public domain for the delectation of all.

Slice cold hard-boiled eggs and lay them between very thin, buttered slices of white bread, seasoning them with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Garnish with a pickle.

Mash the yolks of five hard-boiled eggs and moisten with a teaspoonful of melted butter and a drop of vinegar, work to a paste, adding salt, pepper and a little French mustard, and a drop of tabasco. Spread the mixture between slices of lightly buttered Boston brown bread cut wafer thin. Garnish with an olive.

Between thin slices of lightly buttered white bread, place a crisp lettuce leaf that has been dipped in Mayonnaise dressing. On this place round slices of cold hard-boiled egg. Dust with pepper and salt. Cut sandwiches in squares and tie with lavender baby ribbon.

If you make one of these sandwiches, before you eat it, please send a picture to


I RECEIVED VERIFICATION/login codes for a Mailchimp account, my 401(k), and an app to play the home version of television’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Should I be concerned they all came from the same phone number?

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