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Happy 50th Birthday, Allison Bailes III, You’re Younger Than Dirt!

The Obituary Of Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, Written Prehumously

happy-birthday-allison-bailesI tried to think of something clever to write today for Allison’s 50th birthday, but let’s face it I’d only embarass us both. The reason; I can’t be as clever as Allison is. Period. I mean, the man wrote his own obituary, posted it on our blog, and caused uproar in the building science community. People were calling me from all over with their condolences.


No, what I have to say is simple: Allison A. Bailes III, PhD is really really really…OLD! Not just last week old, like leftover food. And, not just last year old, like computers. I mean antique old, like a Model A.

Here are a couple of examples of just how old Allison really is:

The year he was born…


…the first Ford Mustang had not hit the streets yet


…we hadn’t landed on the moon!


…the average home price was around $2,500


…the price of gas was 27 cents per gallon!


There is one thing that I think we can all agree had been around long (but not THAT long) before Allison was born, and that’s dirt.

Happy 50th Birthday, Allison. I think most of us would be glad to have lived as long, to have seen as much, and to have juggled as many knives as you. And, I know we would all be glad to have you as our friend (and boss) for another 50.

Keep on keepin’ on, Allison! (And, be careful!)




Mustang, moon landing, gas pump and dirt photo from, used under Creative Commons license.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. So that I can better
    So that I can better understand the reference, how old is dirt?

  2. Happy Birthday Allison! I
    Happy Birthday Allison! I didn’t know we were born on the same day (although, apparently, many years apart).

  3. Hmmmm, you are older than the
    Hmmmm, you are older than the Ford Mustang too? I didn’t know that fact. Wow, you really are old! Ha, ha, ha… just kidding. Happy Birthday!

  4. Well, I really can’t give you
    Well, I really can’t give you a hard time about this, because I pre-date you by just a little bit. Between the two of us, we probably have more rings than a redwood! 
    The knife juggling photo reminds me, of a motivational speaker guy I once saw juggling a bunch of knives just like you are. He kept saying “Remember, every fear has a handle. Focus on the handle and the sharp end will take care of itself”. I still can’t see how you guys do that stuff 🙂 
    Happy Birthday, and hope you have a great day! ~John

  5. Happy Birthday Allison &amp
    Happy Birthday Allison & great job Chris – so has he recovered from his 10 hour meltdown?

  6. How old is dirt? That
    How old is dirt? That depends on the dirt, and how you define dirt. But, we are still pretty sure that a lot of dirt, possibly even most dirt, is older than Allison.

  7. Thanks for all the HB’s!&amp
    Thanks for all the HB’s! 
    And Happy Birthday to you, too, Gareth! Always nice to meet/know of another March 23rder.

  8. But aren’t we all really just
    But aren’t we all really just dirt?

  9. As a person who is older than
    As a person who is older than the rock that was eroded to form the basis of the dirt we’re talking about, I pronounce Allison to be a spring chicken. 
    BTW . . . excluding material that has hit the planet from space from space, dirt is about 4.7 billion years old, although it wasn’t always in the same specific form. 
    We’ve all got some way to go before we get to that age!

  10. Well, Happy Birthday Allison.
    Well, Happy Birthday Allison. For a few months we can share the first digit of our age. 
    I won’t pretend to be able to compete in the cleverness field but FWIW, when some disrespectful whippersnapper calls me older than dirt I respond that it is not true… I do, however, remember thinking that the introduction of trees was a good idea.

  11. Ha! Chris nailed ya! Better
    Ha! Chris nailed ya! Better him than those knives, though! And why do you look worried in the picture, eh?

  12. Thanks, Ed, Bill, &
    Thanks, Ed, Bill, & Alexandra!  
    Me? Worried? Ha! That’s a look of total concentration, not worry. Actually, I’ve juggled knives once in my life, for about 5 seconds. It just so happened that it was at the Int’l Juggling Festival, and my friend/photographer/fellow juggler Joyce Howard was there with her camera. (And really, I was a bit worried, but don’t tell anyone.)

  13. Happy Birthday AB3PHD. Great
    Happy Birthday AB3PHD. Great post Chris!

  14. wait a moment!!! I was in
    wait a moment!!! I was in college at Lehigh University in 1969 and gas at the local Hess Station was $.179 per gallon … Allison was 9 at the time … either a gas shortage that we didn’t know about … or one of your raters is gonna have to analyze your paperwork! LOL, chris … I know there must be a reasonable explanation

  15. Paul, you’re right. I wasn’t
    Paul, you’re right. I wasn’t going to say anything, but I recall gasoline costing about $0.30 per gallon in ’73 right before it doubled to about $0.57 per gallon during the oil embargo.

  16. Paul, if I’m gonna have to
    Paul, if I’m gonna have to PAY to have one of our raters to analyze that paper work, than I want 1961 prices! 🙂 
    Interestingly, I found a picture of a sign from 1961 showing the price at 37.8 cents ( Of course, that was at Yellowstone Nat’l Park. Not sure how well that represents the rest of the country.

  17. Allison…happy happy
    Allison…happy happy birthday and welcome to the 50s club! If you make one slight error with that risky juggling you may not be in the club that long! I don’t recall you performing such antics at Southface! Thanks for your blog, and all your contributions to our field…

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