On 31

This week is a big one is our household because my wife’s last day of work is Thursday. Yep, after 31 years with a major company that is well-known around the world, she’s retiring. To say she’s looking forward to retirement would be an understatement. She worked hard to be a highly valued employee, but she’s ready to move on to the next phase of her life.

Although the week will end with our wedding anniversary, this post is a salute to her retirement – which also means I’m preparing another salute to a different number.

Life will be an adjustment for both of us, but we’ve been a team for a long time – so the new available time should be fun. A tip of the hat to my partner in life – the one I’ve loved for a long time.

In Language
31 – Tridhjetenjë (Albanian), Třicet jedna (Czech), Enogtredive (Danish), Kolmkümmend üks (Estonian), 30 En (Swedish), Tiga puluh (Indonesian), and XXXI (Roman numerals). Do you have others?

cooltext31

Image from cooltext.com

In Mathematics
31 – a natural number, an odd integer that is only divisible by 1 and itself

31 – a third Mersenne prime, the fourth primorial prime, the twin prime of 29. The fourth lucky prime, the 11th supersingular prime, a centered triangular number, a centered decagonal number, the lowest prime centered pentagonal number, the lowest possible Steiner topology for Steiner trees with 4 terminals, a repdigit in base 2 and base 5

In Chemistry
The atomic number of gallium – so a single neutrally charged atom of gallium has 31 protons and 31 electrons

In Biology
31 – the number of pairs of spinal nerves in humans

31 – the number of pairs of chromosomes in donkeys, gypsy moths, and giraffes

cooltext31

Image from cooltext.com

In Astronomy
Messier object M31 is in the constellation Andromeda and is readily visible to the naked eye in a modestly dark sky.

The New General Catalogue object NGC 31, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Phoenix

31 Orionis is a star in the constellation Orion – 31 Leonis is a star in the constellation Leo – and many more 31s throughout the galaxy

In Geography
31st parallel north crosses land of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, Japan, Mexico, and the United States

31st parallel south crosses land of South Africa, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil,

31st meridian east crosses land of Norway, Russia, Finland, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, and Swaziland

31st meridian west only crosses land in Greenland

31st Street in New York City begins at the West Side Yard, and ends at Second Avenue at Kips Bay Towers and NYU Medical Center

Chicago as a 31st Street Beach

Virginia Beach’s 31st Street Park has an outdoor stage for movies, concerts, and shows

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In History
Papyrus 31, an early copy of the New Testament in Greek, dates back to 7th century

31st US President was Herbert Hoover

31st Congress met 1849-1851 during presidential terms of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore

Federalist No. 31, an essay by Alexander Hamilton (pseudonym Publius), is the second of seven essays on taxation

Year 31 CE
A common year starting on Monday

Berber calendar year 981, Assyrian calendar year 4781, Coptic calendar year −253 – −252
A possible year for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Year 31 BC
Either a common year starting on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday or a leap year starting on Tuesday or Wednesday

Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian becomes Roman Consul for the third time

Roman Civil War: Battle of Actium: Off the western coast of Greece, Octavian Caesar defeats the naval forces under Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII

The fortress Masada completed in the Judean Desert

By some scholars, the Hellenistic period ends

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In Sports
In Super Bowl XXXI, the Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35-21 on January 26, 1997 at the Superdome in New Orleans, and Desmond Howard won the MVP

31 – a common number worn by Ice hockey goalies

Retired #31 jerseys

  • (MLB) Dave Winfield (Padres), Ferguson Jenkins (Cubs), Greg Maddux (Cubs and Braves), Mike Piazza (Mets)
  • (NBA) Cedric Maxwell (Celtics), Reggie Miller (Pacers)
  • (NHL) Grant Fuhr (Oilers), Billy Smith (Islanders)
  • (NFL) William Andrews (Falcons), Jim Taylor (Saints)

In 1,071 NASCAR races, car #31 has won 7 times: Jeff Burton (4) and Robby Gordon (3) – plus finished in the top 5 87 times

In Entertainment
Seinfeld episode #31 (season 3) “The Pez Dispenser” first aired 15 January 1992

31 – an American independent horror film (2016) written and directed by Rob Zombie

31 – a card game

31 – a type of game played on a backgammon board

31 Songs, a book by Nick Hornby

Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 31

Symphony No. 31: Paris by Mozart

Symphony No. 31 by Joseph Haydn is also known as Hornsignal

Ludwig van Beethoven composed Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Opus 31 No. 1 and Piano Sonata No. 16 in D Minor, Opus 31 No. 2 – the latter is also known as The Tempest (click to hear the Allegreto)

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In Business
31 – the number of flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream; which is called 31 Ice Cream in Japan

31st Street Studios in Pittsburgh offers studio production and management

31 Gifts (actually Thirty-One Gifts) is a party and gift consultant organization

Miscellaneous
The number of days in the months January, March, May, July, August, October and December

The code for international direct-dial phone calls to the Netherlands

There are 31 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet

In French the expression trente et un (31) refers to someone who is well dressed

31 years is roughly a billion seconds

31 (XXXI): a women’s honorary at The University of Alabama

31-bit integers – a component of computer architecture introduced in 1983 for mainframes

Music has a 31-tone equal temperament tuning system

J31 – the first jet engine produced in quantity in the United States (by GE)

On Suggestions to the Super Committee

Several weeks ago, I sent a letter to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who not only is one of my senators, but he also was my former representative and is a member of the Super Committee. I focused on retirement, including Social Security by aiming at four points: 1) Establishing individualized, privatized Social Security accounts, 2) increasing money flow into the Social Security system, 3) maximizing avenues for individuals saving for retirement so they are less likely to seek government assistance, and 4) decreasing the tax rate for all businesses (employers).

With this focus on retirement, examining the current system of retirement accounts is part of the solution. For instance, the IRS currently limits IRA contributions based on income. To be honest, there is no good reason to limit retirement contributions in this manner. After all, Bill Gates has as much of a right to deposit into his retirement account and any middle class citizen.

With this in mind, I suggested these 11 points.

1)   Everyone 30 years or younger shall establish an individual, privatized account into which a 5% payroll deduction is automatically deposited. These accounts should be employee-directed, but with limited investment options to minimize risk.

2)  Everyone 30 years or younger shall have 1% withheld to be sent to the current Social Security fund.

3)  Employers deposit 4% payroll deduction into the employee’s individualized account.

4)  Employers also send 2% to the current Social Security fund.

5)  Raise the Social Security salary cap to $150,000.

6)  For all salaries above the salary cap, employees pay 1% to the Social Security fund.

7)  The employer’s obligation ceases at the salary cap.

8)  If they so choose, all employees can deposit into their approved IRA regardless of salaries: limited to $2000 into a traditional IRA and $5000 into a Roth IRA.

9)  If they so choose, an employee can submit participate in a 401K up to a maximum percentage established by the law. Whether or not an employer wishes to contribute to an employee’s 401K is a business decision.

10) Contributions to 401K, IRAs, and individualized Social Security accounts should have no cumulative bearing on the others, thus allowing n employee to build retirement wealth; therefore, no need for government assistance.

11) Employees currently over 30 years old continue to pay in accordance to the current system with the salary cap raised to $150,000 plus the additional 1% for income over $150,000 to the general fund.

I realize that each committee member is probably swamped with correspondence, so I do not have much hope that Senator Portman even saw my letter, let alone the committee doing something with the suggestions – but at least I tried.

On a Thought from 2005

Early in his second term, President Bush launched a trial balloon regarding reforming Social Security. As a basic supporter of the notion, he caught my attention, but I had questions. As we know, the idea did not get any traction because (as a whole) Republicans fumbled and Democrats balked. However, my interest and questions still exist.

Like anything, Social Security has a history. Yes, Congress enacted the legislation in 1939, but here is a link with more of the story. The bottom line is that Social Security’s intent was to protect senior citizens from poverty.

As it can happen over time, and regardless of the reasons, many Americans developed a view of Social Security as a retirement system. As the largest demographic group in our population is approaching their time to draw, and with high unemployment numbers, Social Security’s financial soundness is questionable.

If it ever happens, odds are that privatizing Social Security won’t affect me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not supportive of the idea. Money from individual paychecks going into a dedicated account for that individual simply makes sense. Giving some basic investment choices for that account that the holder decides makes sense. I guess “making sense” is the reason Washington won’t do it and if they do, they would screw it up.

Yet, my questions from 2005 are still on the table.

  • How will we financially transition from the current system to another?
  • How will we protect senior citizens from poverty during and after the transition?

I may be for privatizing Social Security, but I still believe in its intent.

On Learning Never Stops

Whenever someone asks me if I would like to return to a younger age, my response is the same; “To be that stupid again? No thanks.” Abraham Lincoln said it best.

I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”

There’s no question that learning is a lifelong event. As a matter of fact, one could say that learning is a major lifelong event. No matter one’s age or their stage of life, learning happens every day.

A friend told me that he enrolled in enrichment classes at the University of Cincinnati. Of course I was thinking it was a deal for retirees to take credit classes for noncredit, but that was wrong.

The Bernard Osher Foundation supports 119 institutions across the country offering the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes to people age 50 and older. At UC, over 70 noncredit classes.

Now here’s the stunner. The classes meet for about 90 minutes, once a week for about 8 weeks for the mere cost of $75. Oh no, not per class, the $75 registration fee covers all classes. (The UC catalog states that most people take 3 classes.)

So to my readers over 50, see if there is an Osher Learning Institute near you. For all others, pass the information to your family and friends over 50.  Keeping the mind active is good for everyone, and there’s always more to learn about any topic of interest.