10 April 2009
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This Year's Mulch

It's Spring.  Here Comes the Heap'o'Mulch!

Mulch delivery sequence
Empty parking spaces ready for mulch delivery And there I have it!  Take a perfectly usable pair of parking spaces, call 1-800-TOPSOIL, give them $288, and the next thing you know, you will have a giant heap of New Jersey's Finest Topsoil & Mulch in their place. 

True Mulch Fact
and a Mystery Solved

New Jersey's Finest Topsoil & Mulch on the side of a big dumptruck
Steaming mulch pile I had never been present at an actual mulch delivery.  And so I never knew that, when delivered, it's actually a giant heap of steaming mulch!  And I found out the reason for the flat top that puzzled me in previous years:  The truck tailgate lops off the top, leaving only a frustum.  Mystery solved! Steaming flat-topped mulch pile

See?  Steam!


See?  Flat top!

If you didn't enter or follow the Mulch Madness contest in 2007, you probably don't remember my attempt to measure the leftover mulch that was the subject of the contest.  Or the damage my tape measure suffered in the process, after which I cleverly lamented that I was "done in by a simple twist of tape."  I've waited two years and not a single Dylan fan offered either plaudit or raspberry.  In any event, with the advent of this year's mulch, I know how big the pile is from the invoice:  15 cubic yards.  According to Google, 15 cubic yards = 1.40871525 10-6 cubic furlongs*, to preserve my units of measurement, if not those of the contest winner.  Compare that to my 2007 approximation of the amount left after several weeks of nibbling with wheelbarrows:   V = .2618 * 44 * (23716 + 11858 + 5929) = 478,000 cubic inches or 9.62*10-7 cubic furlongs.

This approximate ratio of 1/3 used, 2/3 remaining, gives me faith in my own measurement, in the honesty of the vendor, and in the capacity of the wheelbarrow.  I'm not planning to run a contest this year; I have good reason to believe that the heap will be reduced long before July.  Please wish me and the parking spaces luck.

*  If you're CNN, I know that after my continual whining about your arithmetic you're looking at that number with triumph in your eyes and revenge in your spleen.  You finally caught me using far too many decimal places. 

No you didn't.  15 cubic yards, an exact measure, really does have all those decimal places in furlongs, assuming Google got it right.  Of course I didn't get exactly 15 cubic yards of mulch, and my measurement of the pile two years ago was even less accurate.  The result, 1/3 vs. 2/3 is as imprecise as you could hope for, and as accurate as it deserves to be.

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 "Terrapin Station"
Robert Hunter


Yes fall tour 1974 T-shirt rear.  Clair Brothers issue.


A genuine Yes Fall Tour shirt from 1974.  Clair Brothers did the sound reinforcement for the tour.  I'm a big fan of Yes.  I still listen to Tales From Topographic Oceans.

Yes fall tour 1974 T-shirt.  Clair Brothers issue.
Richard Factor

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