Erich's Top Ten Lists

10 Sports and How I Would Change Them
  • Basketball - play with 2 balls at once
  • Football - eliminate "illegal formations"
  • Soccer - make the goals 4 feet wider
  • Golf - blindfold the golfers
  • Baseball - eliminate "infield fly" rule
  • Auto Racing - widen track to make passing easier
  • Hockey - remove "offsides" rule
  • Bowling - play with 15 pins instead of 10
  • Tennis - eliminate "tiebreakers"
  • Track and Field - institute "obstacle course" in decathalon
   
10 Unusual Things I've Done
  • Lived in Illinois for 3 days
  • Got my Ph.D. in 4 years
  • Sky dived
  • Dressed up as a woman (3 times!)
  • Slept on the 90th floor of a building
  • Had something named after me
  • Attended an all-male college
  • Blew up a microwave oven
  • Paid for my own college expenses
  • Visited my mother in a mental institution

10 Favorite Songs of the 60's
  • Son of a Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield)
  • Under the Boardwalk (The Drifters)
  • Chapel of Love (The Dixie Cups)
  • If You Want to Be Happy (Jimmy Soul)
  • In My Room (Beach Boys)
  • Rocky Raccoon (Beatles)
  • I'm Henry the VIII I Am (Herman's Hermits)
  • Walk Away Renee (Left Banke)
  • Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? (Lovin' Spoonful)
  • Venus (Shocking Blue)
   
10 Favorite Songs of the 70's
  • Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
  • Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones)
  • Dust in the Wind (Kansas)
  • Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
  • Candle in the Wind (Elton John)
  • Life's Been Good (Joe Walsh)
  • Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits)
  • I'm a Train (Albert Hammond)
  • Brandy (Looking Glass)
  • At Seventeen (Janis Ian)

10 Favorite Songs of the 80's
  • It's Still Rock and Roll to Me (Billy Joel)
  • Dirty Laundry (Don Henley)
  • Subdivisions (Rush)
  • Land of Confusion (Genesis)
  • Same Old Lang Syne (Dan Fogelberg)
  • Allentown (Billy Joel)
  • Don't Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin)
  • Africa (Toto)
  • Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson)
  • What's Love Got to do With It? (Tina Turner)
   
10 Favorite Songs of the 90's
  • Lost in the Moment (Edie Brickell)
  • A Hundred Lovers (Timbuk 3)
  • Meet Virginia (Train)
  • That Girl in the Corner (Lyle Lovett)
  • True Companion (Marc Cohn)
  • Indiana (Rockapella)
  • Sam's Town (Kevin Welch)
  • Baseball Song (Kenny Rogers)
  • Closer to Fine (Indigo Girls)
  • More Than Words (Extreme)

10 Favorite Songs of the 00's
  • Lose Yourself (Eminem)
  • Give Me Just One Night (98 Degrees)
  • Forever And For Always (Shania Twain)
  • Your Body Is A Wonderland (John Mayer)
  • Picture (Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow)
  • 100 Years (Five For Fighting)
  • White Flag (Dido)
  • Unwritten (Natasha Bedingfield)
  • Black Horse & The Cherry Tree (KT Tunstall)
  • When You're Falling (Afro Celt Sound System)
   
10 Goals of Mine
  • Find love (1987)
  • Earn a Ph.D. (1991)
  • Write a computer game (1995)
  • Get tenure (1998)
  • Have something named after me (1998)
  • Publish puzzles (1999)
  • Sky dive (2005)
  • Learn to play guitar or piano (still might happen)
  • Learn to ride a unicycle (still might happen)
  • Retire (will I live that long?)

10 Mathematicians That I Know Well Whom I've Never Met
  • Neil Sloane - maintains the Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences
  • Nick Baxter - organizes the U. S. Puzzle Championship
  • Ed Pegg - runs mathpuzzle.com
  • Joseph DeVincentis, Trevor Green, and Brendan Owen - frequent contributors to MathMagic
  • Erik Demaine, Martin Demaine, David Eppstein, and Greg Fredrickson - wrote a paper with them
  • Mike Keith - wrote a paper with him
  • Berend Jan van der Zwaag - wrote a paper with him
  • Robert Pratt - wrote a paper with him that was never published
  • George Sicherman - worked on some tiling problems
  • Martin Gardner - my hero

10 Favorite Books
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach (Douglas Hofstadter)
  • Foundation (Isaac Asimov)
  • Millennium (John Varley)
  • The Hollow Man (Dan Simmons)
  • Maus (Art Spiegelman)
  • Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
  • Replay (Ken Grimwood)
  • Winning Ways (Berlekamp, Conway, Guy)
  • The Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (Sloane, Plouffe)
  • Inversions (Scott Kim)
   
10 Stupidest Olympic Events
  • synchronized swimming
  • equestrian events
  • rhythmic gymnastics
  • water polo
  • ping pong
  • sailing
  • wheelchair racing
  • hammer throw
  • beach volleyball
  • synchronized diving

10 Nicknames
  • E-rich
  • Enrique
  • Thud
  • Friedwoman
  • Erk
  • EJF
  • Friedmanski
  • E
  • Dr. Erich
  • Kinky
   
10 People Who Taught Me Something
  • Henry Friedman, who taught me that few decisions are permanent.
  • Mr. Watson, who taught me that a teacher does best by being himself.
  • Kurt Friedman, who taught me to make the best of a bad situation.
  • Liz Tanner, who taught me when to be selfish and when not to be.
  • Barbara Graber, who taught me that my friends are more important than my work.
  • Kendyl Linn, who taught me that sex is a good thing.
  • Kelly Crone, who taught me that you can't please everyone, and you shouldn't bother trying.
  • Margie Hale, who taught me how to love.
  • Lynn Hatfield, who taught me not to use my childhood as an excuse.
  • Barbara Stone, who taught me to enjoy attention, but not be attached to it.

10 Favorite Math Riddles
  • Q: Why did the mathematician name his dog "Cauchy"?
    A: Because he left a residue at every pole.
     
  • Q: What's sado-masochism?
    A: The standard deviation of the mean.
     
  • Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant and a grape?
    A: I dunno, but its magnitude is Elephant, grape, sin theta.
     
  • Q: What do you get when you cross a mountain climber with a grape?
    A: You can't. A mountain climber is a scaler.
     
  • Q: What do farmers study in trigonometry?
    A: Swine and cow-swine.
     
  • Q: What's the contour integral around Western Europe?
    A: Zero, because all the Poles are in Eastern Europe.
     
  • Q: How many numerical analysts does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    A: 0.9973 after the first three iterations.
     
  • Q: How many statisticians does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A: Two plus or minus three.
     
  • Q: How many applied mathematicians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    A: One, who gives it to two statisticians, thereby reducing it to an earlier riddle.
     
  • Q: How many topologists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: It really doesn't matter, since they'd rather knot.
     
   
10 Favorite Authors
  • Martin Gardner
  • John Varley
  • Orson Scott Card
  • Douglas Hofstadter
  • Sheri Tepper
  • Greg Bear
  • Stephen Jay Gould
  • Bill Bryson
  • David Brin
  • Kurt Vonnegut
 
10 Favorite Games
  • chess
  • poker
  • go
  • backgammon
  • bridge
  • mah jongg
  • bughouse
  • pente
  • scrabble
  • pinochle

10 Things I Did Much
Later Than Most People
  • had sex (age 20)
  • bought a car (age 29)
  • went to a concert (age 30)
  • bought a house (age 37)
  • got a speeding ticket (age 38)
  • bought a television (age 40)
  • bought a computer (age 41)
  • attended a pro sports game (age 47)
  • bought a cell phone (age ?)
  • left the United States (age ?)
   
10 Things I'd Most Like To Know
  • How the universe was created
  • Who really killed JFK
  • How long the human race will survive
  • Whether 240 unit squares will fit inside a square of side 15.999
  • When my life will end
  • Whether it's possible to travel faster than light
  • What the best chess strategy is
  • Why my life has been so lucky so far
  • Whether Jesus was right-handed
  • How many people actually read these lists

10 Things I Do or Mention To Show Off
  • Solve the Rubik's Cube in 90 seconds
  • Recite 50 digits of pi
  • Juggle
  • Reveal my Erdos number
  • Do my favorite card trick
  • Build tall structures with playing cards
  • Disclose math contest victories
  • Recite the periodic table
  • Mention my World Championship puzzles
  • Make web pages
   
10 Favorite Movies
  • Groundhog Day
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • North By Northwest
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Sleeper
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Dead Poets Society
  • Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
  • Airplane
  • Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street


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