Thursday, June 09, 2016

Baseball Cards and Fine Art

Prufrock (if you're not subscribed, you're ill-informed) linked to a piece in the New York Times last week about vast quantities of fine that are locked away in storage in free ports around the world. (If you want to know more about that or what a "free port" is, I commend the article to you.) The article notes that a number of works sold for more than $100M are among those stored away. Which is a bit ridiculous.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

How I Know I Work in a Hippy-Dippy Left-Wing City

In the small plaza across from my office there are two small pillars (plinths?). On top of each of these plinths (pillars?) is a small statue. Each of these statues is a woman. Each of these women is, apparently, doing yoga. In the nude.

No, I'm not going to post a picture.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Pirates, Assassins, and Templars

The Assassin's Creed series has a lot of problems if examined at all closely. The gameplay does tend to be very repetitive. The underlying "philosophy" is half-baked and peculiar. The story isn't particularly inventive. By the same token though, there are some very viscerally satisfying moments. The slow-motion drop from a rooftop onto a target doesn't get old. And one gets a distinct sensation of being the baddest man around from dropping into a crowd of a couple dozen guards and then walking away casually after piling up the bodies.

But!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sentiment not sentimentalism

It is inevitable that the decay of sentiment should be accompanied by a deterioration of human relationships, both those of the family and those of friendly association, because the passion for immediacy concentrates upon the presently advantageous. After all, there is nothing but sentiment to bind us to the very old or to the very young. Burke saw this point when he said that those who have no concern for their ancestors will, by simple application of the same rule, have none for their descendants. The decision of modern man to live in the here and now is reflected in the neglect of aging parents, whom proper sentiment once kept in positions of honor and authority. There was a time when the elder generation was cherished because it represented the past; now it is avoided and thrust out of sight for the same reason. Children are liabilities. As man becomes more immersed in time and material gratifications, belief in the continuum of race fades, and not all the tinkering of sociologists can put homes together again.
~p. 30
Ideas Have Consequences

Do They Even Know It's Spring?

Walking around downtown yesterday when the high temperature was about 60 or so, I saw people with scarves and winter coats all hunched up like they're freezing. Waiting for the bus a woman walked past in a heavy coat and wearing a wool cap like it was midwinter. Okay, folks got spoiled by the unseasonably warm weather last month, but this is ridiculous. Get a grip, people!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Well, It Was a Good Run While It Lasted

Perhaps enough Republicans decided they were tired of being called fascists by the Democrats and figured they'd really nominate one. They have their internationally-minded socialists, so the GOP decided to go with a nationalist socialist. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Quick Redesign

Just a quick update to the blog's layout and design. It's mostly a pre-fab template with a few tweaks for fonts and colors and a background photo of my own.

Father Daughter Baseball

Took my girls to the M's game last night, and it was a good one. The Royals pitcher struggled right away walking several batters in the first couple innings and having to work out of a jam in both the first and second, but I was surprised when I noticed in the fifth that he was still working on his no-hitter despite seeming to have trouble with his command.

Game ended well and was exciting right to the end with Martin needing to making a running catch against the wall in center to secure the final out. Girls mostly had a good time; I think they liked getting to stay out late with their dad as much as anything, but they did get rather cold. Lesson learned for next time: even though I'm dressed warmly enough, apparently I don't get nearly as cold as they do.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Slog of Writing

For every blog post that I publish, there are another half-dozen or so that I write out by hand on paper to a point of 80%-95% completion. At which point I often find that what is down on the paper is adequate for the point I wanted to express and the feeling of satisfaction at it being written down is enough. I tell myself that eventually I'll get around to typing them up for the blog, but really they just live in my notebook for a few months until the next time I get the urge to clean them up and then they all end up being recycled with the other odds and ends of paper this house generates.


Sunday, February 07, 2016

Leonard Maltin's Favorite Movies

A couple Christmases ago, I got a copy of Leonard Maltin's (last) Movie Guide. After flipping through it a bit and browsing, I became a bit annoyed because he didn't seem very consistent in his evaluations. So I thought I'd go through and look at all of the films that he gave four stars (his highest rating) to see if there was any sort of pattern. (There wasn't.) His list clearly has some problems. Nothing from Pixar? Only one Ozu film? No Twilight Samurai? None of Branagh's Shakespeare? Too many concert movies. A disproportionate number of Italian films.

Anyway, it was interesting enough that I'm going to put the list up below the break. It's (obviously) in alphabetical order. The movies that have years after them are titles with multiple entries in the Movie Guide. The films I've seen are in bold, the ones I have on my list to see are in italics.

After working through the list again, I found the pattern. Left-wing films. They dominate this list; lots of propaganda.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Problem With Broodhollow

I must begin by saying that I am a big fan of Kris Straub and the work he's done over the years. I was (am!) a fan of Checkerboard Nightmare. From some of his writings, Straub gives the impression that he finds his earlier work lacking in some regards. It makes sense; we all look back on the things done and said in our youth and find some of them that we would do or say differently in retrospect. It's only to be expected. Regardless of how CN might be improved, however, it was a clever, creative strip.

Time Friends was an interesting idea that played with a form of crowdsourcing the writing of the comic. I can't find anywhere online that it's been archived, but there are odd strips available here and there around the web.

F Chords was an interesting departure from his surreal comics that preceded it by remaining almost exclusively in the realm of the mundane world. It was short-lived and I don't know that it really resonated with Straub (hah!), but I wouldn't be sorry to see him pick that thread up again in the future.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Movies

I've added a page at the top that will list the movies I watch this year. I might do the same for books if it looks like I'll read a number of them about which I won't be embarrassed.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Statistical Error

I got annoyed by a tweet this morning. Here it is.


You can see I replied a couple times, but he only engaged once. Which is fine. If I was in his shoes, I wouldn't have answered me at all, so it was good of him to bother.

The chart is basically a tease for his article on the Hall of Fame and most of it is considering which active players might get in. It's worth reading.

But that chart... is very misleading.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Authoritative Ordering of Pixar Films

Pixar films, ranked correctly, from best to worst. Full list and some highlights of the reasoning below the jump.

The Great

The Incredibles
Toy Story 3
Toy Story 2

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Interesting Thing

Penny Arcade is doing a Kickstarter and I have learned an interesting thing from it. They have been doing a thing for a number of years now called Pinny Arcade. Basically, they sell you some overpriced pins with stuff on them related to games or their comic and then you can trade them with folks. There are special and somewhat limited pins that are only sold for a time or pins that are available only at certain events and whatnot. It's a giant and successful money grab. Nothing wrong with that, so far as it goes.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

L: Longest Books

She whom I follow in posting these alphabet-related topics had some difficulty in determining the lengths of various books and was forced to surmise in some instances. Allow me to suggest the very helpful LibraryThing site. Also useful for many other bookish things.

So, adding page counts to my catalogue listings and sorting on that field... Next we ignore reference books (sorry, Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide) and books I haven't read (don't hold your breath, Les Miserables), and we arrive at Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace at 1,472 pages. There are actually more books that I've read over the 1,000 page mark than I realized.

K: Kinds of Books I Can't Abide

Romance novels. Modern romance novels. You know the type. There's always a bare-chested man with superhero dimensions and long, flowing hair with a woman who through artifice or accident has managed to demonstrate a remarkable amount of cleavage and expose at least one shapely leg from toe to 3/4 of the way up her thigh. She will either be clinging to him as to a life ring in the stormy Atlantic while they gaze intensely into each other's eyes or busily swooning whilst he effortlessly supports her with one arm and stares broodingly into the middle distance.

Also, no modern crime whether true or fictional. I don't need to read vicariously sadistic accounts of gruesome murders.

There are lots of other books I won't read or am not interested in reading, but no other genres spring to mind.

Original here.