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As Spring approaches, we should all look forward to a new start, a regeneration, a re-invention of ourselves. We should feel positive about the future. We should wake up each morning looking forward to the challenges that the new day brings. That, of course, is as completely fictional as the Kellogg family. Do you seriously know anyone who acts like that in the morning? I worry that ad agencies live in a different galaxy. It’s not even remotely aspirational. It’s totally unattainable. Would you really want to be like that anyway? Everybody would hate you even more than they do now. However, I am always ready to lend a hand. I have devised a number of courses which should help with your self-improvement.

SI 100 Creative Suffering
SI 101 Overcoming Peace of Mind
SI 102 Ego Gratification through Violence
SI 103 Dealing with Post-Realisation Depression
SI 104 Overcoming Self-doubt through Pretence and Ostentation
SI 105 Feigning Knowledge – A Career Advancement Strategy
SI 106 Whine your Way to Total Isolation
SI 107 Guilt Without Sex
SI 108 Children – An Avoidable Distraction in Educational Decision Making
SI 110 Carrying a Piece of Paper While Walking Briskly
SI 111 How to Make the Most of a Self Catering Holiday in Afghanistan

Early indications are that it is unlikely that I will have many delegates for SI 105 as people in our business know more about this than I do and most claim to already be expert in SI 110.

I was once given two pieces of good advice: never play cards with anyone called Doc and never sleep with anyone who has more problems than you do. These have formed the corner stone of my philosophy ever since.

For my erudite audience (that’s you), I offer an erudite quiz. Which five Shakespeare plays are these?

3 inches
6 inches
9 inches
wet
dry

Answers on my next desktop. No prizes (come on, what did you expect?). A clue – think dirty.

And now back to the wonderful world of statistics.

There appears to be some controversy over leap years. Well, I can confirm that the year 2000 will be a leap year. Centuries are leap years if the first two digits are divisible by four to give an integer, so 1900 wasn’t as 19 divided by four isn’t a whole number.

This means the girls have to wait four years instead of eight to pop the question. As if any girl is going to be restricted by yet another man made subterfuge.

The Henley Centre warns that the average consumer is extinct. Its report concludes that there is also a growing polarisation between the richest and poorest consumers.

The over 60s’ spending will rise by a fifth by 2000 but the under 30s’ will rise by only 8%. Watch out for pensioners with attitude.

On the subject of averages: if I have one foot in a bucket of ice water and the other in a bucket of boiling water, on average I am quite comfortable. I have never actually tried to prove this, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

The Office of Population and Census Surveys and the Central Statistical Office are to merge. The new name will be the Office of National Statistics. What was wrong with Stats ‘R’ Us?

Those of you who check my page on a daily basis (get a life!) will have been disappointed that it is some time since my last missive. I’ve been on holiday. Yes, even a donkey on Blackpool beach gets a break. I went ski-ing in Cervinia (Italy). Naturally, if I could find some way to combine ski-ing and statistics, the holiday would be perfect.

So I emptied my piggy bank and splashed out on an Avocet watch/altimeter/thermometer. It measures amongst other things, the number of vertical metres ski-ed in a day.

I should not have let myself become too engrossed with the watch as mountains are pretty dangerous places. On a decidedly iffy day, I ski-ed over to Zermatt (Switzerland) only to find that the weather closed in. Now as there is no road between the two resorts, I had three options. Stay overnight in Zermatt at a cost of one arm and two legs, take a taxi for the eight hour journey by road at a cost approaching the UK National Debt or ski back. Being fond of my arms, legs and wallet, I chose the latter. At 12,533 feet up the Kline Matterhorn on a glacier in a white out blizzard with the snow travelling horizontally in a force 9 gale, I began to question the wisdom of this judgement.

It’s strange how the thought of death distracts one from statistics. As I am describing this event, I obviously survived, but I have to report that I forgot to check the temperature at the top. I also couldn’t find the dotted line that separates Italy and Switzerland. It is definitely on my school Atlas, but I guess the snow had covered it up.