Apophenia is the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.
After college, Dave, my partner in the Columbia Refreshment Agency, and I were invited to develop a business at NY’s flat track system reproducing the photo finish of races and selling them through the Stevens cigar stand franchise (which our own Refreshment Agency had so very much paralleled). So, for the length of one season, Dave & I were at the track six days a week. The business sucked and looked like it would continue to suck, I had the draft hanging over my head, Dave was waiting on a naval commission. What the hell, we had nothing better to do, our lives owned by the war mongers, so we stayed with the silly job through the move to Saratoga for the month of August. We’d get an ill-paid vacation out of it: our investors had shown that they had no intention of sharing the wealth with us no matter how much money the business might make: Dave and I were used to splitting the net 50 / 50. (What we took in was gross. Columbia University took 5% of that. For their 5% Columbia not only provided us with our venue but paid all the bills: Coke for Coke, Oscar Meyer for hotdogs, $5 a day for each freshman laborer … What was left was the net, and that Columbia split seven ways: 10% each to junior managers, the 50% left Dave and I shared equally. If the junior earned $100 for the day (1959), Dave and I got $250 each: for the one day. These clowns at the track were paying us a guaranteed $100 a week each. But if income flowed, we expected 10%; our bosses in the end looked like they had like $125 a week in mind. The hell with them: we wanted to make “$100” per hour: if the money was there.
Our two investors — one had the idea, the other had the capital to play with — proposed a reproduction technique. Dave & I replaced it with an altogether better, faster, cheaper, method. They wanted us to write it down. We never did: we took the ability away with us when we left (unpaid for, our time wasted, chiseled from us), essentially in our minds. They could retry the business any time, anywhere, but without our manufacturing blueprint.
So: we were in Saratoga for the month of August, on vacation.
We stayed in the White Horse Hotel, we had a mens only bar, we had Michelob on tap: a rarity in 1961.
And we went to the track Monday thru Saturday. We got to know a lot of weirdos, track flies, degenerate gamblers, compulsively paying the state’s expenses so the rich and the sensible didn’t have to pay: through taxation.
The “n-” get shafted by the society: and they pay double to get screwed! Harlem had a huge OTB billboard at 125 Street! People in Westchester might gamble too, but not like people in Harlem! [Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 06, euphemizing the most popularly offensive words, so ironic for the freedom guy]
(The otb image I’d originally had showed conspicuously that it was in Harlem.
There was one woman attending the races every day. She scrounged around to find money to bet on every race. She won some races. But she never had a penny left after the Ninth Race!
(I saw a waitress once in Nevada who put every cent of every tip into the slot machine: and she kept playing until every cent was gone! She worked round the clock and took home zero!)
The last race ends, everyone heads for the exits. At Saratoga everyone went out through one main parking lot (a Shenck concession, that was part of our capital! Bernard Baruch was the other main part).
The track bars emptied swiftly with the day’s flat track gambling done, other bars, other kinds of betting, would now inflate. Dave & I needed only a minute or two to close our office, to put our factory to bed. So we were in the last tide to exit, right on the heels of the wave before us: only the most miserable of the losers were in this final little wave with us: and the woman above mentioned was the most miserable of losers at Saratoga. I was always civil to her: for five seconds, then I wanted out. She knew better than to hit me up for charity, she knew that I alone at the track bet zero on zero, every day: I gained nor lost not one penny! an alien! But, she was civil to me too, even briefly friendly. Brief was fine.
This day as we approach the first row of cars she suddenly smacks herself on the forehead.
Damn, she says. There is was, right in front of me. God was trying to tell me, on my way in.
This outburst had a fraction of even my attention at east for a moment: Huh? I ask.
“There!” She points at a license plate: 2468AZM1357, some damn bunch of alphanumerics.
Huh? I’m still thinking.
“There,” she screams: “the daily double. 3 & 7! It’s right there!”
That’s like saying that my grammar school’s frieze of letters that ran around over the blackboard, A, B, C … tells us all of Hamlet, or the Bible … Only if you’re insane it does.
And this woman was insane, poor thing.
Is there a man in the moon? Is today being codable as 11 11 11 going to bring the world to an end?
(Every day is the end of one world
(and the beginning of another).
We could say that God made the world in 4004, we could say God won’t make the world until tomorrow.)
I see a man in the moon, my whole culture sees a man in the moon. A rabbit? No, I don’t see any rabbit.
But Polonius can see a camel in the cloud if Hamlet says so.
I’m reminded of Professor Key’s book on Subliminal Seduction: a book I love.
I saw the big Sex scribbled into the Gilby’s gin ad. I saw “sex” sown in salt on the Ritz crackers.
I also see a “Bible” when I hold the book my minister gave me at age twelve: that’s what he called it, a “Bible,” that’s what I call it, that’s what millions of other Protestants call it.
Is the “sex” really there? We see a light in the sky, we call it a star: is it really a star? Is that what God calls it?
See my Theory of Macroinformation: every thing we see is in our head!
Is there any world outside my head? Didn’t a world exist before I was born? Certainly: but that’s a universe we know only through our heads.
Immune to the Gambling Bug
One of our bosses was a fellow Columbia College alumnus, it was the Columbia employment agency that had turned these capitalists onto David and me in the first place. His money man was Perry Frank, I forget his name, it might have been Paul too. He lied at 1 Fifth Avenue: I’ll call him “One Fifth.”
It didn’t take long before Perry, One Fifth, Dave, and I saw that results were a disappointment. Sales of reproductions of the photo finish disappointed. Dave and I were in limbo because of the military nature of our civilization; Perry and One Fifth accepted a limbo of their own: hell, they were at the track every day. They hung out in the club house, it was full of beautiful rich women: there was food, drink, gambling … The business was a good pretext for all of us.
Perry arrived in his Rolls, Dave and I drove around in the same wreck we’d commuted to Belmont and Aquaduct in, One Fifth arrived however. But he, One Fifth, had other business ideas. One Fifth had a betting system. One Fifth wanted to hire me to apply his betting system for him: he knew that he himself was psychologically incapable of applying the system consistently. “All” gamblers would be similarly incapable and for the same reasons: system and gamble don’t go together.
I would have applied the system, or not, with the same indifference. I wouldn’t have cared what my hunch about a horse was: I didn’t have hunches about horses that connected to any itch to do anything about them. I would have applied One Fifth’s system indifferent to whether he was making a million or losing a million.
Back in the city after Saratoga, Dave and I again unemployed (till Dave’s brother offered me a different job), One Fifth hired Dave to research his betting scheme in the track library backward over time: see what it theoretically would have done had anyone employed it. Records went back five years.
Dave compared the morning line for every race over the past five years with the pari-mutuel payout.
One Fifth’s idea was very macroinformational: it involved discrepancies between rational prediction and actual behavior. Track science computes the odds: that’s the morning line. But the state doesn’t pay off according to the morning line; it pays off according to what handle the public actually places on each race. Say track science estimates the horse’s chances of winning at 20 to 1. Given the information we have, the horse should win approximately one out of twenty such races run. That what the odds “mean.” But the payout depends on what people actually wager. If the people at the track bet one million dollars on race one, the state takes 20% and pays out the remaining $800,000 to holders of Win, Place, and Show tickets.
The horse may be rated at 20 to 1; but the public may bet the horse will the payout is only 10 to one. If so: One Fifth’s system was to avoid betting that horse. Never mind that you have a hunch: the math is bad, don’t do it.
If however the public has neglected to bet the horse, and post time odds have altered to 30 to 1, see:
The track will take 20%, that’s given.
The difference between the morning line of 20 to 1 and the post time odds of 30 to 1 exceeds the 20% rakeoff: bet that horse.
Don’t put everything on that horse, the horse will probably not win. But when it does it will pay out at a rate that erases the write off. But for all such positive discrepancies, don’t bet where the discrepancies are negative. Don’t bet at all unless there’s a discrepancy greater than 20%.
Dave researched the results backwards in time. Had One Fifth’s system been applied over the past five years it would have returned 500%.
How come everyone doesn’t bet that system? One Fifth wasn’t the first or only to see it?
Because gambling is done with the emotions, not with the intellect.
One Fifth would go to the track intending to follow his system. But his system might require him to sit on his hands in race 1, and to sit on his hands in race 2 … No, no; he wanted to play! And playing costs 20%, on average. $1 gambled returns 80¢, on average: not a good deal.
Theoretically I could have gone to the track, taken my Shakespeare with me. Theoretically I could have sat in the stands, read The Tempest for twenty minutes, glanced at the tote board, noted discrepancies with the morning line, applied a formula, and bet, or not, according to the formula.
Had I agreed to work for the Nazis, I could have counted the Jews walking past me toward the cattle car, I could have counted them: 1, 2 … I could have taken a Luger and shot every second Jew. Even pk can count to two!
But I didn’t want to shoot any Jews! So I don’t work for the Nazis.
I had just been at the track, every damn day. I didn’t want to go to the track any more. My month in Saratoga Springs was over.
One Fifth was offering me $100 a week. Dave & I had been making $125 a day! All I had to do was count the money from the sales of hot dogs! Actually, Dave did that. As a junior I had distributed the hot dogs: for 10% of the net. As a senior I was retired, let Dave count it, Columbia will recount it. Dave liked to walk around with the Brinks guards, carrying the money bags: good, let him. I sat and basked.
That’s what I like: retirement.
I spent time showing Key’s book to my son, bk got to bge pretty good at finding patterns that some ad agent may have been instructed to air brush into ince cubes, hair, chest curls … the leaf of a plant … Since then bk seems to have maintained the party line of CICOP: atheism in the face of Madison Avenue skullduggery. I’ve know people who swear that they were employed to paint in the S E X s: but that, by itself, doesn’t prove much. The point in my mind is to realize the kind of thing that can be done, and not to assume innocence where economic manipulation is involved: I presume the purse snatcher to be innocent; I presume the ad man to be guilty: and the bureaucrat, the politician …
Driving from Philadelphia to the Main Line one afternoon I pulled over to contemplate a Billboard advertising Newport. Eventually I drove away witout a clue, but paused at that sign on other occasions subsequently: I finally saw it! Some girl’s wet hair cantilevered perpendicular to her face. That’s perfectly simple: soak her hair, photograph it haning down, turn the photo 90o counterclockwise, et voila! But why?
This ain’t the ad, but it is an ad: and for Newport.
The why is what I had finally said Eureka to. Maybe that’s how they made the photo to be redrawn; but that’s not the image that I decided was being projected. The girl’s hair wasn’t hanging, it wasn’t hair. The girl was clearly excited: what looked like “hair” didn’t hang, what looked like hair was mashed up against her face. This girl, delightedly, was getting her face raped by a gigantic cock! She was giving a “Thor,” some super-sized “god,” a blow job! Boy, did she love it. Newport!