High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Sunday, December 19, 2010

$#*! My Del Says...My Numb3rs Up! Smarty Pants Skeptic Challenges Accuracy of Dell's Greatest Hits List!

Hold the phone...and your horses!

Stop the presses!

It had to happen sooner or later...

I picked up my first HATER!

I was minding my own business and getting ready to publish Part 2 of Rodentia Intelligentia when somebody stopped me in my tracks!


I don't like receiving negative feedback, but at the same time I don't believe in censorship. I am therefore publishing, albeit reluctantly, the critical comments sent in by a reader who has the utter audacity, the unmitigated gall to challenge
the exactitude of my 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell!

Charlie E. of Los Angeles writes:
"Your so called 200 Greatest Hits list is quite interesting, Mr Knight. Unfortunately, the method you used in compiling it was flawed."

"You made the assumption," Charlie continued, "that every Dell patron played an equal role in determining which songs were played most often, thereby becoming 'hits.' You failed to take into account several important variables that contaminated the data and skewed your findings."

Please be gentle
with me, Charlie!

"I took the liberty of creating a probabilistic algorithm," Charlie stated.

Oh, how thoughtful!

"It will help to illustrate how randomness adversely affected your outcome."

"Let’s suppose that there are 100 people in a room, in this case, the Shady Dell barn where the jukebox was located."

"Your top tunes survey cannot accurately reflect the cumulative tastes and preferences of the entire group unless each of the 100 people played the jukebox the same number of times."

"Obviously, that is highly improbable.
Think about it." 

"Some of the people in the dance hall were only there to socialize – not to dance. This 'passive' group of Dell customers corrupts the equation because they did not play the jukebox. They let others choose for them."

"Some people were there to dance and to play the jukebox, but they had less money
to spend on the jukebox than others. Therefore, these people cast their votes
for the songs they liked best by playing the jukebox, but they did so less frequently than others."

"In the third group are people who had ample money to spend on the jukebox as well as the desire to do so. These liberal spenders played the jukebox and they played it often. Essentially, they got to vote many times while other people got fewer votes or no votes at all. It becomes apparent then that out of the 100 people in the room, the results of your top tunes survey were dictated by only a handful, perhaps 10 of them – the 'active' group of patrons that had both the motivation to play the jukebox and the financial resources to play it frequently."

"Therefore, Mr. Knight, I’m sorry to say that your list of the Dell's Greatest Hits is biased and should be declared null and void."

Oh I get it, Charlie... this is one of those
I'm Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC - GOTCHA!!! moments... score one for the star mathlete, right? Wrong!
Sorry Charlie, but it appears that you are the one who needs a little more educating!

You see, Dell rats had their own system of checks and balances in place to maintain parity. Here’s how it worked.

There was this guy that I knew... a friend of mine….a friend. Let’s just call him Shady Del…Jones. Yeah, Jones, that’s it.

Anyway, this friend of mine was new to the Dell and not too sure of himself and all he wanted was just to be popular and fit in so he went to play the jukebox and as he was pushing the buttons to pick a song he got distracted by one of the pretty girls dancing near him and he ended up pushing the wrong button and accidentally played “Tiptoe Thru the Tulips” and he didn’t mean to do it and he was sorry and everything but everybody got mad at him and gave him dirty looks and this great big guy came over and kicked the jukebox and the song stopped playing.

Uh, therefore…..the point I am trying to make is that if somebody played a song that was unpopular with the crowd, no matter if it was done on purpose or by mistake, one of the young men would take it upon himself to abort the song, either by kicking the jukebox, by throwing a body block into it or, if the fellow had finesse and was technically inclined, by reaching behind the machine and pushing the eject button. This swift action weeded out unwanted songs. The songs that were not ejected were the ones that the crowd as a whole wanted to hear, and they are, by definition, the consensus Dell favorites.

Another case in point. That same friend…Shady Del Smith…I mean JONES, Shady Del Jones…he was new to the Dell and not too sure of himself and all he wanted was just to be popular and fit in so when these girls noticed that he had a roll of quarters in his pocket they were glad to see him hee-hee and the girls hugged him and they said that they liked him and they asked him if he would give them his quarters so that they could play the jukebox ‘cause they didn’t have any money 'cause they had to give all their money to their boyfriends 'cause their boyfriends needed to buy gas 'cause they needed to drive down to the Maryland line 'cause they needed to pick up a bunch of their friends: Mick, Bud, Bo, PBR, Gunther, Schaefer, Johnnie Walker Black, Jim Beam, old grand-dad and Clan MacGregor and I just wanted them to like me so I gave them my quarters. OOPS! Did I say "I"? I meant my friend, Shady Del Johnson...I mean JONES!

Oh, alright, if you must know.....Shady Del Jones was me!
The point that I’m trying to make is that people with little
or no money to spend on the jukebox could still play their favorite songs by participating in the Shady Dell’s exclusive “sponsor me” program in which a person with a few extra coins to spare could, if he so desired, “sponsor” a deserving individual. I felt proud to have been considered by several
of the Dellettes to be the “go to” person in this landmark “sponsorship” program. They liked me. They really liked me!

And now for the coup de grĂ¢ce, Charlie. Before I send you back to the chalk board out there in La-La Land, I will reveal the one essential fact that you carelessly overlooked when you formulated this bogus hypothesis of yours. I call my survey The Dell’s Greatest Hits. “Greatness” is a subjective term, my friend. Greatness cannot be objectively quantified. The number of times a song played and the number of people who took part in playing the songs were not the only criteria that I used to assemble my list. I took into account the reaction of the crowd. I took note of the songs that were met with the greatest enthusiasm, which ones got the gang dancing, which ones had them singing along, which ones had the power to instantly galvanize Dell rats and transform the mood of the dance hall. The Shady Dell was a phenomenon that defied the conventional laws and principles that are your stock in trade, my friend!

Your numb3rs have no power here, demon...

Look, Charlie, I'm gonna level with ya. I know you're bummed about your series being canceled and all; but instead of taking it out on me and finding fault with my song survey...

me thinks your time would be better spent t.c.b. on the home front, know what I mean, Vern?

Have a Shady day!


  1. I had so much fun reading this one Shady and the way you handled that guy was priceless. Really made my day. Hope you are feeling OK &have a great rest of the weekend.

  2. I'm feeling fine, Odie, thank you! I'm glad that I was able to put a smile on your face as you start your Sunday. Thanks for your comment, good buddy!

  3. That post certainly did make me smile, Shady! Actually, it was very cleverly put together. I assume that Charlie was just a figment of your imagination but, if not, he really should get a life!

  4. Hi, Thisisme! Charlie Eppes is a fictional character on a long running TV series here in America called Numb3rs. Charlie is a math genius and I borrowed him to help people understand how I arrived at my list of Greatest Dell Hits. Thank you so much for commenting, Thisisme, and have a wonderful day in Devon!

  5. This was a great way to explain how you came up with your top 200 list! Love the pics.

  6. Thank you Belle! I'm glad you love the pics. The last one's my Pick to Click! Stay well and have a wonderful day in British Columbia, dear friend!

  7. Your story made me smile! Goodness you are a taleted writer...

    I would also like to sincerely thank you for the kind and thoughtful comment on my blog! It's always nice to hear a male's point of view. I really appreciate it and I wish you Happy Holidays!

  8. Lauren - Thank you so much for paying a visit to SDM&M and for your generous compliments. You are always welcome here and I hope you will come back soon. Happy holidays to you as well!

  9. OMG, did this guy actually exist? How HILARIOUS!! You definitely proved your point and the authenticity of your list, well done!!

    On a side note, you should know that on last night's Lawrence Welk offering, it was the 1985 Christmas Reunion show! Lots of 80's hair, and I think Guy and Ralna had actually split by then! Ah, memories! Merry Christmas, Shady!!

  10. Hi, Joan! My mother used to make me watch The Lawrence Welk Show, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby and similar music variety programs in the hope that they would rub off on me, make me turn away from rock 'n roll and listen to "good" music, "real" music, "their" music. I admit that I actually enjoyed a lot of the music that came out of the WWII generation but it obviously wasn't the antidote to rock and R&B that my mom was hoping it would be. My eclectic taste in music can be traced back to those childhood influences. I believe in giving all types of music and all types of people a chance. Thank you very much for commenting, Joanie, and have a great day in Tennessee!

  11. way to stick it to him Shady :) Thank you so much for your comments on my blog, they are always so pleasant and I honestly look forward to reading them.

  12. Ditto to you, Amber! I always look forward to reading every new entry of yours because your writing is intelligent, witty and self-effacing. Thank you very much for your comment and have a wonderful New England day, Amber Blue Bird!


You talkin' to me?