Friday, July 20, 2018

CNN Anchors Speechless After Guest Goes On Long, Coherent Thought

They say it's a report from The Onion but I am not so sure.
CNN Anchors Speechless After Guest Goes On Long, Coherent Thought

NEW YORK—CNN Anchors Brooke Baldwin and Dana Bash reportedly sat speechless Thursday after their guest Dr. Gina Jimenez went on a long, coherent thought, unleashing a tirade of articulate points completely relevant to the topic at hand. “Dr. Jimenez, if I could just quickly interrupt you for a moment—could you please go back and rephrase that last remark as a bit more of a muddled, unhinged rant?” said Bash, breaking the moment of stunned silence that resulted after the Stanford constitutional law professor laid out a clear thesis backed up by logically consistent supporting arguments, all while maintaining a calm and pleasant demeanor throughout.

What citizens are most interested in, the media are not. What the media are most interested in, citizens are not.

I have contended that there is a large reality gap between the general public and the academic/media/government complex. Or perhaps it is better to say a la Scott Adams that most Americans are watching a different movie than the academic/media/government complex. Americans are watching not a different movie, but a better one. Because journalists and their ilk are watching a different movie, it is hard for them to understand a perspective in which life is good and the president is not stupid.

Two different sources of information lend their support to this contention.

First is from Gallup. This past week has had the emotionally academic/media/government complex at fever pitch with cries of treason and collusion. The New York Times worried about Trump and Putin meeting "behind closed doors" as if this were not bog standard for all meetings of state. The academic/media/government complex have been carrying a torch for Russian collusion ever since their Weltanschauung was unseated in 2016, despite the absence of any evidence after tens of thousands of man hours of investigation and tens of millions of dollars.

In the face of this existential threat as seen by the academic/media/government complex, what do most Americans think? How much of a threat is posed to us by Russia?

It literally does not rate. Gallup has fewer than one percent of Americans who identify Russia as among the most important problems facing the US.

Our establishment political class is among the worst ever, left and right. Our previous administration had eight years of failure to launch "recovery summers" and could never make the connection between the declining fortunes of Americans and the declining political fortunes of the administration. Economic concerns were rarely below 40% of all concerns, and reached as high as 86%. If the economy is bad, people's livelihoods are bad or at risk. Talk about transgender bathrooms, intersectionality, racism, open boarders, etc. all you want, if people are pinching the belt and worrying about their job, you are not going to command their attention.

There was an interesting article last year comparing the concerns of average Americans versus the amount of time the media spent reporting on those concerns. It makes a similar point. Over time, citizens tend to be primarily concerned about jobs, the economy, healthcare, taxes and security. Take care of those issues and they will focus on other priorities. Fail to address those issues and you are not relevant.

I put together a crude chart at that time:

What citizens are most interested in, the media are not. What the media are most interested in, citizens are not.

The establishment political class across North America and Europe and elsewhere have been incurring the ire of their citizens, not so much because of their ideology but because the establishment political class is so manifestly uninterested in the concerns of citizens.

A year and a half into the new presidency, only 14% of citizens are concerned about the economy compared to the normal 40-60%. Citizens concerns about government have fallen by a third.

There is no polarization. Roughly the same small single digit number of people are concerned about race, unity and respect in July as were concerned in January. There is no deterioration of civility.

Meanwhile, citizen concern about immigration is at a recent high. Concern about gun control is a small fraction of its highest recent share. Concern about healthcare has fallen by half. Concerns about crime and national security are down by half. That is not the impression you would get from the (no longer) mainstream press. The press is concerned about collusion and treason and Russia and environmental catastrophe and global warming and social justice. Things which barely register for citizens.

A second data source that emphasizes the disconnect between the concerns of those in the academic/media/government complex and those in the rest of America is the most recent data from Real Clear Data, the results for President Trump Job Approval. We have had a solid week of nearly uniform and sustained vitriol from the press about the president. How has that affected the average American's perception of the president? It has made them fonder of Trump.

From Althouse.
Look at the dates and compare the same poll. The summit was on the 16th.

Economist/YouGov took a poll for 3 days, including the summit day and the day after, and got a -8 spread, which isn't high, but if you look at its previous poll, the number was -9, so it was a 1-point improvement. The Reuters poll is partly after the summit, and the number is -12, up from -16. He's also rising in the Gallup poll but there, the newest poll (at -9, compared to an earlier -15) is all pre-summit.

Why would this be? It might be that the Trump critics sound so antagonistic that they seem less credible (or less watchable) than usual. Connected to that is the possibility that people want better relations with Russia and want to feel hopeful about improvements. Maybe people sense that the President is the voice of the nation with respect to foreign relations and accept the reality that Trump is the President.

Look at the trend lines. He is up 6 points YTD, a fifteen percent improvement. Sure, a lot of people disapprove of him, but even the disapproval is down ten percent (five points) from December 2017.

There is clearly a huge disconnect between what the public is concerned about versa what the academic/media/government complex would like them to be concerned about. There is also seemingly an emerging negative correlation between media opinions and the public's opinions. The harder the academic/media/government complex goes after the president, the more sympathetic the public appear to become to his performance. When you add to that mix that the president is more focused on the concerns of most interest to the public, then you have a recipe for another set of surprises.

They could not stand up to the perverts, bullies and monsters in their own world but want to criticize those who have actually accomplished things.

From Everyone Is Smart Except Trump by Dov Fischer. He doesn't get all of it right but he gets much of it right and he gets much more of it right than most the guff you read.
It really is quite simple. Everyone is smart except Donald J. Trump. That’s why they all are billionaires and all got elected President. Only Trump does not know what he is doing. Only Trump does not know how to negotiate with Vladimir Putin. Anderson Cooper knows how to stand up to Putin. The whole crowd at MSNBC does. All the journalists do.

They could not stand up to Matt Lauer at NBC. They could not stand up to Charlie Rose at CBS. They could not stand up to Mark Halperin at NBC. Nor up to Leon Wieseltier at the New Republic, nor Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone, nor Michael Oreskes at NPR, at the New York Times, or at the Associated Press. But — oh, wow! — can they ever stand up to Putin! Only Trump is incapable of negotiating with the Russian tyrant.

Remember the four years when Anderson Cooper was President of the United States? And before that — when the entire Washington Post editorial staff jointly were elected to be President? Remember? Neither do I.

The Seedier Media never have negotiated life and death, not corporate life and death, and not human life and death. They think they know how to negotiate, but they do not know how. They go to a college, are told by peers that they are smart, get some good grades, proceed to a graduate degree in journalism, and get hired as analysts. Now they are experts, ready to take on Putin and the Iranian Ayatollahs at age 30.

That is not the road to expertise in tough dealing. The alternate road is that, along the way, maybe you get forced into some street fights. Sometimes the other guy wins, and sometimes you beat the intestines out of him. Then you deal with grown-ups as you mature, and you learn that people can be nasty, often after they smile and speak softly. You get cheated a few times, played. And you learn. Maybe you become an attorney litigating multi-million-dollar case matters. Say what you will about attorneys, but those years — not the years in law school, not the years drafting legal memoranda, but the years of meeting face-to-face and confronting opposing counsel — those years can teach a great deal. They can teach how to transition from sweet, gentle, diplomatic negotiating to tough negotiating. At some point, with enough tough-nosed experience, you figure out Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” yourself.

Trump’s voters get him because not only is he we, but we are he. We were not snowflaked-for-life by effete professors who themselves never had negotiated tough life-or-death serious deals. Instead we live in the real world, and we know how that works. Not based on social science theories, not based on “conceptual negotiating models.” But based on the people we have met over life and always will hate. That worst boss we ever had. The coworker who tried to sabotage us. We know the sons of bums whom we survived, the dastardly types who are out there, and we learned from those experiences how to deal with them. We won’t have John Kerry soothe us by having James Taylor sing “You’ve Got a Friend” carols.
Those are the critics - the academics and other unworldly beings of the academic/media/government complex, all existing on sinecures of the effete elite. Their fear and hysteria are understandable given that a rationalist world where we deal with real problems rather than phantasmagorical emotional issues leaves no room for these courtesans of the State.

Dov is a little over the top but directionally right about the target of their criticism.
At the end of the day, Donald Trump is over seventy years old. He has made many mistakes in his life. He still makes some. He is human. But Trump likewise has spent three score and a dozen years learning. He has seen some of his businesses go bankrupt, and he has learned from those experiences to be a billionaire and not let it happen again. No doubt that he has been fooled, outsmarted in years past. And he has learned from life.

He is a tough and smart negotiator. He sizes up his opponent, and he knows that the approach that works best for one is not the same as for another. It does not matter what he says publicly about his negotiating opponent. What matters is what results months later. In his first eighteen months in Washington, this man has turned around the American economy, brought us near full employment, reduced the welfare and food stamp lines, wiped out ISIS in Raqqa, moved America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, successfully has launched massive deregulation of the economy, has opened oil exploration in ANWR, is rebuilding the military massively, has walked out of the useless Paris Climate Accords that were negotiated by America’s amateurs who always get snookered, canned the disastrous Iran Deal, exited the bogus United Nations Human Rights Council. He has Canada and Mexico convinced he will walk out of NAFTA if they do not pony up, and he has the Europeans convinced he will walk out of NATO if they don’t stop being the cheap and lazy parasitic penny-pinchers they are. He has slashed income taxes, expanded legal protections for college students falsely accused of crimes, has taken real steps to protect religious freedoms and liberties promised in the First Amendment, boldly has taken on the lyme-disease-quality of a legislative mess that he inherited from Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama on immigration, and has appointed a steady line of remarkably brilliant conservative federal judges to sit on the district courts, the circuit appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.

What has Anderson Cooper achieved during that period? Jim Acosta or the editorial staffs of the New York Times and Washington Post? They have not even found the courage and strength to stand up to the coworkers and celebrities within their orbits who abuse sexually or psychologically or emotionally.

The argument was correct; the data were absolutely wrong.

From Churchill: The Power of Words edited by Martin Gilbert. Subtitled His remarkable life recounted through his writings and speeches.

From My Early Life by Winston Churchill.
My aunt, Lady Wimborne, had lent us her comfortable estate at Bournemouth for the winter. Forty or fifty acres of pine forest descended by sandy undulations terminating in cliffs to the smooth beach of the English Channel. It was a small, wild place and through the middle there fell to the sea level a deep cleft called a ‘chine’. Across this ‘chine’ a rustic bridge nearly 50 yards long had been thrown. I was just 18 and on my holidays. My younger brother aged 12 and a cousin aged 14 proposed to chase me. After I had been hunted for twenty minutes and was rather short of breath, I decided to cross the bridge. Arrived at its centre I saw to my consternation that the pursuers had divided their forces. One stood at each end of the bridge; capture seemed certain. But in a flash there came across me a great project. The chine which the bridge spanned was full of young fir trees.

Their slender tops reached to the level of the footway. ‘Would it not’ I asked myself ‘be possible to leap on to one of them and slip down the pole-like stem, breaking off each tier of branches as one descended, until the fall was broken?’ I looked at it. I computed it. I meditated. Meanwhile I climbed over the balustrade. My young pursuers stood wonder-struck at either end of the bridge. To plunge or not to plunge, that was the question! In a second I had plunged, throwing out my arms to embrace the summit of the fir tree. The argument was correct; the data were absolutely wrong. It was three days before I regained consciousness and more than three months before I crawled from my bed.

The measured fall was 29 feet on to hard ground. But no doubt the branches helped. My mother, summoned by the alarming message of the children, ‘He jumped over the bridge and he won’t speak to us,’ hurried down with energetic aid and inopportune brandy. It was an axiom with my parents that in serious accident or illness the highest medical aid should be invoked, regardless of cost. Eminent specialists stood about my bed.

Later on when I could understand again, I was shocked and also flattered to hear of the enormous fees they had been paid. My father travelled over at full express from Dublin where he had been spending his Christmas at one of old Lord Fitzgibbon’s once-celebrated parties. He brought the greatest of London surgeons with him. I had among other injuries a ruptured kidney. It is to the surgeon’s art and to my own pronounced will-to-live that the reader is indebted for this story. But for a year I looked at life round a corner.
Two lines in there:
The argument was correct; the data were absolutely wrong.
But for a year I looked at life round a corner.

When emotional conviction out-paces reason and evidence

Humility is a necessary human attribute given the complexity of the world and our own fallibility. Necessary but always in short supply.

No matter how convinced we are that X is true, there is always the possibility that it is not, because we have been ignorant of, overlooked, misinterpreted, or misunderstood something. From The Correction Heard 'Round The World: When The New York Times Apologized to Robert Goddard by Kiona N. Smith.
Fifty years before Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins climbed into their small capsule to fly to the Moon, many people weren't even convinced that rockets would work in space. When a rocket engine ignites, it burns fuel and pushes exhaust out the back end of the rocket with tremendous force. According to Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction -- which means the backward thrust of the rocket's exhaust also acts on the rocket, pushing it forward. Many people, including the author of a January 13, 1920 editorial in the New York Times, misunderstood Newton's law and assumed that rockets worked because their exhaust pushed against the air itself. With no air to push against, how could a rocket actually push itself through space?

Today, we know that Newton's Third Law means that rocket engines don't need air to "push against," but in the early days of January 1920, Goddard faced instant skepticism when he published an article in Popular Science describing how rockets could launch ships into space. It was an ambituous piece of work, and Goddard even outlined an uncrewed Moon mission, in which a rocket carrying an explosive payload would crash into the Moon, producing an explosion so large that scientists could see it from Earth. Goddard was ahead of his time in some ways: NASA and other space agencies have crashed quite a few objects into various Solar System bodies, because slamming a heavy, fast-moving object into a planet turns out to be a great way to learn something about what it's made of.

Although the article caught the public imagination, it also drew harsh criticism. Various outlets argued that the velocity required to escape Earth's gravity would produce so much friction that the rocket wouldn't survive the heat (rockets accelerate gradually, so by the time they reach escape velocity, they're in the thin upper layers of the atmosphere), that payloads would never survive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere (engineers worked that problem, and Goddard himself proposed an ablative heat shield to protect returning spacecraft from the heat of re-entry), or that there was no scientific or social reason to shoot things into space (shortsightedness is not a new phenomenon). Others argued that it would be impossible to make all the calculations required to account for high-altitude winds and the complex relative motion of Earth and the Moon. Fortunately, the Apollo program had Katherine Jonson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and other "computers" to make that happen, but it's easy to see how daunting the prospect would have been in 1920.

And on January 13, 1920, the New York Times published an editorial insisting that a rocket couldn't possibly work in space:
"That professor Goddard, with his 'chair' in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution [from which Goddard held a grant to research rocket flight], does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react -- to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools."

Eventually, of course, Goddard would be vindicated by the 1944 launch of a German V-2 guided ballistic missile. But it took until July 17, 1969, the day after the launch of a crewed mission to the Moon, for the New York Times to take back its harsh words. The 1969 correction is almost comically dry and conspicuously doesn't mention the Apollo mission.

"Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th century, and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere," the Times editors wrote. They added, "The Times regrets the error."
The New York Times, however, never regrets its errors enough to actually display humility when dealing with complex science, especially if they have an ideological dog in the fight. Witness their multi-decade commitment to anthropogenic global climate warming. An ideological fig leaf for authoritarian action based on skimpy data and an incomplete understanding of multiple loosely coupled complex dynamic systems, none of which are fully understood.

AGCW has virtually disappeared from the lexicon, first replaced by climate warming, and then, as that failed to appear in the data, replaced yet again by the virtually meaningless climate change. Given that climate is always changing and that virtually no one claims otherwise, the hunger for imposing ideological solutions remains, even as the evidence for the problem disappears.

Goddard had to wait 49 years for an apology. Perhaps all the "deniers" (as mischaracterization if ever there was one) will get an apology circa 2039.

Back Pages, 2005 by Greg Drasler

Back Pages, 2005 by Greg Drasler

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ja sei Namorar by Matthieu Forichon

Ja sei Namorar by Matthieu Forichon

Click to enlarge.

The most passionate are the most obdurate.

A few years ago, a slew of states passed large, fairly comprehensive pre-K head-start type programs in a bid to improve education outcomes as well as to close the education gaps that exist from first grade and wide every grade following between children of the poor and their better-off peers. Both desirable goals. However, pre-kindergarten programs, while popular for more than half a century as a solution, have rarely performed as anticipated. Multiple reviews of the grandaddy of pre-k programs, Head Start, have shown at best mixed results. The more rigorous the study, the smaller the measured results. A common finding of Head Start and similar pre-k programs, is that they yield a boost in assessed in academic performance at First grade but all vestiges of that boost have disappeared by third-grade. There is no persistent effect.

It cannot be overlooked that these programs with vestigial outcomes are expensive.

Despite the lack of rigorous evidence, we keep trying to find how to rejigger the design or administration so that we get better results. Oklahoma and Tennessee were a couple the second generation pioneers trying to rectify failures in earlier programs and launching/re-launching new programs which it was hoped would yield positive results.

I am seeing a first large, rigorous review of the Tennessee effort for the first time.

From Effects of the Tennessee Prekindergarten Program on children’s achievement and behavior through third grade by Mark W.Lipsey, Dale C.Farran, Kelley Durkin. From the Abstract:
This report presents results of a randomized trial of a state prekindergarten program. Low-income children (N = 2990) applying to oversubscribed programs were randomly assigned to receive offers of admission or remain on a waiting list. Data from pre-k through 3rd grade were obtained from state education records; additional data were collected for a subset of children with parental consent (N = 1076). At the end of pre-k, pre-k participants in the consented subsample performed better than control children on a battery of achievement tests, with non-native English speakers and children scoring lowest at baseline showing the greatest gains. During the kindergarten year and thereafter, the control children caught up with the pre-k participants on those tests and generally surpassed them. Similar results appeared on the 3rd grade state achievement tests for the full randomized sample – pre-k participants did not perform as well as the control children. Teacher ratings of classroom behavior did not favor either group overall, though some negative treatment effects were seen in 1st and 2nd grade. There were differential positive pre-k effects for male and Black children on a few ratings and on attendance. Pre-k participants had lower retention rates in kindergarten that did not persist, and higher rates of school rule violations in later grades. Many pre-k participants received special education designations that remained through later years, creating higher rates than for control children. Issues raised by these findings and implications for pre-k policy are discussed.
Ouch. Their summary:
• This study of the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Program (VPK) is the first randomized control trial of a state pre-k program.

• Positive achievement effects at the end of pre-k reversed and began favoring the control children by 2nd and 3rd grade.

• VPK participants had more disciplinary infractions and special education placements by 3rd grade than control children.

• No effects of VPK were found on attendance or retention in the later grades.
Straight Talk on Evidence has a report here. They note:
In this report we discuss newly-published findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Tennessee’s voluntary prekindergarten (pre-k) program for low-income children (Lipsey, Farran, and Durkin 2018). We are highlighting this study for two reasons. First, the effectiveness of state and local pre-k programs is a topic of high policy importance. Approximately 28 percent of the nation’s four-year-olds are enrolled in pre-k programs funded by states, municipalities, or school districts—a number that has grown rapidly over time (Chaudry and Datta 2017)—and policy officials often tout pre-k as a powerful tool for closing school achievement gaps between minorities and whites and increasing earnings later in life (e.g., Executive Office of the President 2015).

Second, this study provides uniquely credible evidence on the topic. It is the first large RCT of a state-funded pre-k program, and one of only two such studies ever conducted of public preschool programs—the other being the national RCT of the federal Head Start program. Other studies of public or private preschool programs have had weaknesses that limit the reliability of their findings, such as lack of random assignment (e.g., Oklahoma universal pre-k, Chicago Child-Parent Centers) or small samples and imperfect randomization (e.g., Perry Preschool Project, Abecedarian Project).
Straight Talk's report has this disturbing addendum from the researchers:
In 2008 we worked closely with the Tennessee Department of Education to craft a strong experimental design that would assess the effectiveness of the TN Voluntary Pre-K program (TNVPK). Other than the Head Start Impact study, this would become the only randomized control study of a scaled-up public pre-k program.

Our initial results supported the immediate effectiveness of pre-k; children in the program performed better at the end of pre-k than control children, most of whom had stayed home. The press, the public, and our colleagues relished these findings. But ours was a longitudinal study and the third grade results told a different story. Not only was there fade out, but the pre-k children scored below the controls on the state achievement tests. Moreover, they had more disciplinary offenses and none of the positive effects on retention and special education that were anticipated.

Those findings were not welcome. So much so that it has been difficult to get the results published. Our first attempt was reviewed by pre-k advocates who had disparaged our findings when they first came out in a working paper – we know that because their reviews repeated word-for-word criticisms made in their prior blogs and commentary. We are grateful for an open-minded editor who allowed our recent paper summarizing the results of this study to be published (after, we should note, a very thorough peer review and 17 single-spaced pages of responses to questions raised by reviewers). We are also appreciative of the objective assessment and attention to detail represented in the Straight Talk review.

It is, of course, understandable that people are skeptical of results that do not confirm the prevailing wisdom, but the vitriol with which our work has been greeted is beyond mere scientific concern. Social science research can only be helpful to policy makers if it presents findings openly and objectively, even when unwelcome.

We share with our colleagues a commitment to the goal of providing a better life for poor children. Blind commitment to one avenue for attaining that goal, however, is unnecessarily limiting. If pre-k is not working as hoped and intended, we need to roll up our sleeves and figure out what will work, with solid research to guide that effort.
Rhetoric, emotion and advocacy play too dominant a role in our public discourse. No one is bettered by suppressing evidence we might dislike because it contradicts our priors. We only improve by tackling the world as it is rather than as we might wish it to be.

They had large resources of compulsion at their disposal

From Churchill: The Power of Words edited by Martin Gilbert. Subtitled His remarkable life recounted through his writings and speeches.

A wonderful collection. I have read several of his books and what a master of the word.

From My Early Life by Winston Churchill.
The greatest pleasure I had in those days was reading. When I was nine and a half my father gave me Treasure Island, and I remember the delight with which I devoured it. My teachers saw me at once backward and precocious, reading books beyond my years and yet at the bottom of the Form. They were offended. They had large resources of compulsion at their disposal, but I was stubborn. Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn. In all the twelve years I was at school no one ever succeeded in making me write a Latin verse or learn any Greek except the alphabet. I do not at all excuse myself for this foolish neglect of opportunities procured at so much expense by my parents and brought so forcibly to my attention by my Preceptors. Perhaps if I had been introduced to the ancients through their history and customs, instead of through their grammar and syntax, I might have had a better record.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Of the 143 cases of abbreviation or shortened words

I am (re)reading Aunt's Aren't Gentlemen by P.G. Wodehouse. It was published in October 1974, shortly before Wodehouse's death on 14 February, 1975.

I noted a particular verbal tick Wodehouse ascribed to the protagonist, Bertram Wooster, of abbreviating words to a representative initial letter. I am familiar with it from the many other Wooster/Jeeves books but it had not ever registered with me just how frequent this tick occurred. Reflecting on the observation, I came to the conclusion that perhaps I had not especially noticed the affectation because I was relatively young when I first read Wodehouse's oeuvre. Probably 13-18 years old or so.

I imagined that I was a young enough reader that I was probably unconsciously skipping over the instances where this occurred as one does as a young reader, often skipping over unknown words. Perhaps.

But then I had reason to look up Aunts Aren't Gentlemen in Wikipedia to get the publication date. In doing so, I discover that indeed, the abbreviations are more prevalent in Aunts Aren't Gentlemen than in the earlier books.
Bertie regularly abbreviates his words, with abbreviation becoming more common as the series progresses. Of the 143 cases of abbreviation or shortened words (such as "the old metrop"), only 11 occur in the short stories, and more than half occur in the novels that follow Ring for Jeeves (with that novel having none, as Bertie is not present in the book). In order to make the abbreviations comprehensible, Bertie either introduces a word first and then abbreviates it, or abbreviates a familiar, clich├ęd phrase. Wodehouse uses these abbreviations to repeat information in varied and humorous ways. For example, Bertie uses three abbreviations in a passage in chapter 3:
So far, I said to myself, as I put back the receiver, so g. I would have preferred, of course, to be going to the aged relative's home, where Anatole her superb chef dished up his mouth-waterers, but we Woosters can rough it, and life in a country cottage with the aged r just around the corner would be a very different thing from a country c without her coming through with conversation calculated to instruct, elevate, and amuse.
Amazing. I had an impression and then, courtesy of the internet, I discover someone has actually done the counting.

Now I can know. I wasn't skipping over the frequency of abbreviations. They were rare at the beginning of the series and built in frequency over the course. I was not skipping, I was inured.