Tag Archive: Donald Chesebro

Message in the Muzak

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

I went into a Walgreen’s tonight to get some aspirin, and while I was in the Pain Relief section looking for the large store brand bottle (that they apparently were out of), I realized that the song playing on their sound system was “I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones.  Apart from the quirk that it was playing while I was standing in the aisle that stocked pain relief and sleep aid products, I had to wonder whether some research firm recommended that particular song to boost sedative sales.  What next? “Love Is The Drug” by Roxy Music to push Viagra?

[EDITOR: There’s a lot to be said for businesses manipulating their customer base with scents, sounds, and images to get them to stay, leave, or buy. A lot of it’s been disproven as myth and paranoia, while some remains. While many view coincidences as nothing but, others believe there’s a higher power in control. The truth is sometimes surprisingly in the latter section, even if that power goes no higher than corporate. Although I’d say in the case referenced above this was nothing but the former.]

Not a Trivial Coincidence

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

I watch hundreds of movies a year, much more than the average person, and take notes during most of them as part of preparing for an annual trivia contest in my hometown.  Thus, whenever a character drives or otherwise encounters a motor vehicle, I will write down (for example) what type of vehicle it is and what its license number is, if it’s visible.

Yesterday lunchtime, for no particular reason but for the first time in the over 15 years since I’ve owned my 1993 teal Accord, I wondered why I’d never seen anyone with my model of car in a movie.  I probably see another teal 91-94 Accord on the streets of LA at least once a month, but I’ve never seen it in the thousands of films and TV episodes I’ve watched since I bought my car (used) in 1995.  I figured it had something to do with Hollywood having deals with Detroit, or the like.

This morning, less than a day after I wondered if I’d ever see my car in a movie, I started watching the 2011 remake of “Fright Night,” the first movie set in the U.S. that I watched since framing my question (the only film I watched in between was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 the night before).

Four minutes into the film, there’s a ’91-’94 teal Accord parked in the driveway of the character named Doris.

[EDITOR: Meanwhile my car’s bumper sticker is “My other car is a Nimbus 2000,” so I probably would have seen my second vehicle the first night and made it even crazier a coincidence!]

Electric Light Coincidence

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

This afternoon, while watching several TiVoed episodes of Doctor Who from 2006 that I’d never before seen, I was switching from one episode to the next and randomly thought of the Electric Light Orchestra — specifically, wondering where they came up with that name.

The next episode of Doctor Who that I watched moments later featured a character who was a huge Jeff Lynne fan and the show featured several ELO songs.

[EDITOR: I imagine the Doctor wouldn’t find this coincidental at all. But the explanation would be all timey-wimey and far too technical. Cut to the end: you’re welcome for still being alive.]









The First & Original

This coincidence story deserves a place of honor. It was this story on a group mailing list that triggered a member of our team’s idea of a coincidence collection which eventually led to… The Odds Must Be Crazy.

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

You know those unbelievable coincidences we always hear about and then dismiss skeptically?  It happened to me this afternoon.

A few minutes after my Packers’ crushing defeat in overtime (after a 17-point valiant comeback), I was humming a morose minor-key tune on my way to browse at The Iliad bookstore in North Hollywood.  When I entered the store, there was a sixties surf-rock instrumental playing on their stereo that had the exact same tune I’d been humming, at least eight bars worth, in its refrain.  I did not recognize the recording and did not know what the song or band was (it was certainly not a big hit record I was likely to have heard before), but I listened to the refrain the second time around and it was definitely the same tune I had been humming moments earlier.

Banking on a Coincidence

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

On Saturday I went to a bank in the Fairfax neighborhood of Los Angeles to deposit my first paycheck from my new job because my direct deposit wasn’t set up yet.  I opened my bank account at a branch on Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank about a year ago.  While I was waiting in line at the Fairfax branch (which I visited because I am currently house-sitting for a friend near there), a bank representative came up to me and said he could help me at his desk.  It turned out to be the same guy that had helped me open up my account in Burbank!  He had changed branches because it was closer to where he lived.

The Bird is the Word…

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

Last night, a very loud bird outside my bedroom window kept me awake late and woke me several times through the night.

This morning, while checking e-mail and listening to the BBC’s World News Hour on my local NPR station, I was thinking of searching for a website with bird calls so I could try to figure out what kind of bird was being such a nuisance. Before I got to that, I suddenly heard the bird’s call on my radio.  It was almost exactly the same sound I’d been forced to listen to for hours.  The BBC was doing a report about the declining population of the nightingale in England.  They can have mine!!!

I See 3-D

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

This afternoon I was walking past a bus stop and saw a poster for the upcoming film “Step Up 3-D” and started wondering what other films eligible for a second sequel might be coming in 3-D.  The first thing that came to my mind was “Oh God! Book 3-D”.  A few minutes ago, I saw a note in the news that someone is planning to remake “Oh God!” starring Betty White.  No word on whether it’ll be in 3-D.

Political Bumpers

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

Sunday afternoon I dropped a visiting friend at the place he was staying.  When I pulled over to the curb, I saw the car parked in front of me had a Kerry/Edwards sticker from the 2004 presidential election.  I also still have a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on the back of my car. I drive an early 90’s Honda Accord.  The other car with the sticker was also an early 90’s Honda Accord (not same year or color, though).

It takes a licking…

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

Last Monday was my first day of work at a new job.  I decided to wear an old Timex analog watch that I’ve had since high school, but which I haven’t worn in years (although, like the ads, it indeed keeps on ticking).  When I put it on, I pulled the pin to set the time, but when I looked at the watch face, the time on the watch was 8:11 a.m.  The presumably correct time on my cell phone was 8:11 a.m.  (The day and date did need to be changed, though.)

EDITED 6/25/2012

[EDITOR: An especially simple story, but funny nonetheless. But what are the odds? There are a few factors to account for. Obviously one could argue the watch kept exceptionally good time, but as the date needed to be changed, we can assume it was, indeed, running fast or slow during the years it wasn’t in use. While a typical quartz watch IS capable of being accurate enough to lose/gain only 5-25 seconds per YEAR, it’s quite reasonable for them to be quite a bit further off than that due to a variety of issues. So assuming we have no way to directly predict the exact accuracy, or lack thereof, of this watch’s crystal, we’re left to assume this element’s unpredictable.

So that leaves us with the mere chance of its seemingly-random time lining up perfectly, on the day Donald decided to use the watch, with the actual time. Since there are 1440 minutes in a day, and as analog watches ignore AM/PM cycles, it appears that we’re left with as low as a 1-in-720 chance that the minutes would line up.

Although what’s not accounted for is that the watch may still have been many seconds slow or fast, leaving him to catch the time at the exact right moment, only for them to become out of sync within seconds. So a worst-case scenario, with the watch fast or slow by a full 59 seconds, leaves us with 2 seconds out of 86,400 in a day to line up, or a 1-in-43,200 chance.Still, he’d be unlikely to note the time as 8:11 at a glance if the margin was that tight, so we’re probably at a worst-case window of maybe 15 seconds, or a 1-in-5760 chance of this occurring.

So our end result here is certainly well within reasonable enough odds when you consider the huge number of people who must reset various old watches every day, but still a welcome surprise to Donald when he likely could use the spare moments while prepping for his new job. – Jarrett “Please Correct My Math” Kaufman]