Monday, December 10, 2012

*must... show... restraint*

I was so, so very tempted to just post this link with a maniacal laugh under the title "VINDICATION!" But I'll have to settle for a little paralepsis instead.

Heh.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

I don't normally do this.

But I have a New Year's resolution of sorts. I'm usually opposed to such things, but this is a long-standing ambition of mine and I think I'm going to take a serious crack at it this year. I'm going to try to read 200 books in 2013. I've never gotten through more than about 175 or so in any year where I kept track. I'm up to 130 so far this year, so I'm well off my usual pace, which is in the 150-160 range. If I can get through 16 or 17 books each month, I can do it.

So, a little planning. I'll plan to read through my collection of Wodehouse, as well as re-read the Master and Commander series. That's about half of what I need to read right there. I've decided to start on the mystery novels of Margery Allingham (apparently she is a Golden Age mystery author that was coeval with Sayers and Christie, but is largely forgotten now) which is about another 20 or so (I think, maybe it's more). I'm not sure how many Erle Stanley Gardner mysteries I can get my hands on, but those are fun reads too. Of course I need to re-read LOTR and The Count of Monte Cristo, but other than that I think I can safely read as the whim strikes me.

Bookstores, Second-hand

An elegiac article from Theodore Dalrymple in the Telegraph about the slow demise of the second-hand bookstore. It is a thing to be regretted, but he is wise enough to know that fulminations and grandiose plans to arrest their imminent doom are useless and foolish. Here is the best paragraph.
Customers of second-hand booksellers, such as I, are also a rum lot. What kind of person spends two-and-a-half hours in a shop and then havers indecisively over whether he really wants a copy of Augustine Birrell’s (unjustly) forgotten essays marked at £3? If he fails to buy it, he will regret it the moment the shop has closed or he can’t get back to it. If, on the other hand, he (and customers are almost always he) buys a book that his wife will find outrageously expensive by comparison, say, with a pair of shoes, or even a single shoe, he will ask the bookseller to rub out the price. All booksellers are so familiar with this pattern that they are ready with their rubbers even as their customers buy.
And if you liked that, here's another article he write a few years back on the same topic.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Spurs 1, Stern 0

Despite the fact that the NBA commissioner levied a fine of a quarter mil on the San Antonio Spurs yesterday (Today?) for failing to play all their starters and sending them home instead of to Miami, the Spurs got the last laugh by taking Miami down the wire with their reserves. There's an excellent article at Y! Sports (why can't it just be Yahoo Sports?) about how this is part of a pattern of behaviour from Stern persecuting the Spurs for not seeking success in the way he wants them to. I have to say, now that my Sonics are gone, I'd like to see San Antonio succeed; they play the game the way it ought to be played. And that's both on and off the court.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stupid Blogger!

It's a small thing, to be sure, but it really annoys the heck out of me that the Blogger login page, alone of all the Google-brand login pages, doesn't automatically place a cursor in the login box.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Soccer" isn't an American term.

It's a British term. No, really. Check it out. I actually knew that already since I spend a fair bit of time looking at random things in the OED, but I expect it comes as a surprise to a fair number of folks. The best part of the article though is the soccer snobs in the comments who come out to whine (as soccer players and enthusiasts spend much time doing) about how it must be wrong because those benighted Americans couldn't possibly be right about their precious game.

Next thing you know they'll be pretending that the game isn't played by skinny whiners who can't manage to demonstrate enough skill to play a real sport.

Monday, November 19, 2012

That *was* helpful.

So, there's this movie that Netflix suggested for me. Rubber, which is about... well, let me quote the description.
In this inventive twist on low-rent revenge flicks, a car tire named Robert rolls through the desert Southwest, using its strange psychic powers to blow everything up. But when Robert spies a gorgeous woman, he decides to take a chance on love.
Yeah. Is it really worth it though? The most helpful review on Netflix gives this information:
On the surface this movie is boring, unfunny, and repetitive, but when you take into account the underlying iconography and deconstructive subtext, it's boring, unfunny, and repetitive.
Okay, then. Duly noted.

Schoolin'

My employer is paying for me to take a class to aid in my ability to do my job. I came in with high hopes, but, based on the first day (today) I'm not sanguine about the outcome. On this particular topic I've tried auto-didacticism and looking over the lesson plan for this three-day class it appears that my company could have just tossed the money out the window and gotten about the same return on its investment.

This is something of the problem with learning things on your own. I've apparently learned enough on my own to scrape by well enough for a beginner, but no one believes that you've done so until you go and get credentials for that knowledge. I mean, this isn't any MS certification or anything, but it's a class with a paper trail which counts for more than just knowing the material.

If I wasn't lazy, I would here draw the connection between this attitude and the "need" for everyone to go to college, but, well...

No Comment(s)

I turned off the comments because no one uses them anyway. And it's not like I'm writing a ton of posts for a bunch of readers.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I helped a friend move on Saturday. He and his family aren't moving far away, really. Across the water and, though I am no good judge of such things, I doubt it would take more than an hour to get to his new place.

We said the things people do about staying in touch, not allowing our friendship to lapse into that slow death from complacency and so forth. I'd like to think that it was true. It certainly wasn't a lie, but there is a gap between fact and truth into which many things can, and do, fall.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Plus bot

There seems to be some sort of bot or glitch that causes any blog post that I share publicly on Google+ to get an automatic +1 as soon as I post it. It's very strange. I'd make a D&D joke, but I can't think of one witty enough.

Mostly Reasonable

I like a lot of what Joe Queenan has to say in this WSJ article, but not all of it. Some of what he says is funny and insightful, but he does show himself to be an idiot in a couple places too. Which is fair enough, I don't doubt he'd think similar things about me and my reading choices.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mazel tov, friends.

Drove about 10 hours round-trip (including two stops both directions) with the family today to attend a wedding reception. I wouldn't do this for just anyone, but I've known this guy and his family for about my whole life, and it surprised me that he was surprised that I would do this. It was a long way, sure, but it was easily done in a single day and it's not like it cost me an arm and leg for a flight or something. It was a few bucks for food, a tank of gas and a Saturday. For a life-long friend and his lovely bride, yeah. In my mind, they would have had every right to be offended if I hadn't driven down.

Besides, I like road trips.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Equality versus Fraternity

The comity of peoples in groups large or small rests not upon this chimerical notion of equality but upon fraternity, a concept which immeasurably antedates it in history because it goes immeasurably deeper in human sentiment. The ancient feeling of brotherhood carries obligations of which equality knows nothing. It calls for respect and protection, for brotherhood is status in family, and family is by nature hierarchical. It demands patience with little brother, and it may sternly exact duty of big brother. It places people in a network of sentiment, not of rights—that hortus siccus of modern vainglory.
~ p. 41

How much frustration of the modern world proceeds from starting with the assumption that all are equal, finding that this cannot be so, and then having to realize that one can no longer fall back on the bond of fraternity!
~ p. 42
Ideas Have Consequences

Vindication

Turns out the idea that JK Rowling was a hack who caught lightning in a bottle isn't such a far-fetched idea after all. Here's one of the best kinds of book review: one that eviscerates its subject. An excerpt from the review:

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Pure democracy" is nonsense

It is generally assumed that the erasing of all distinctions will usher in the reign of pure democracy. But the inability of pure democracy to stand for something intelligible leaves it merely a verbal deception. If it promises equality before the law, it does no more than empires and monarchies have done and cannot use this as a ground to assert superiority. If it promises equality of condition, it promises injustice, because one law for the ox and the lion is tyranny.
~ p. 44
Ideas Have Consequences

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Animated Films Have You Seen?

A list found at First Things that has 240 animated films on it. Not so much for bragging rights, but because it's interesting and it's nice to find new ideas. Taking my cue from Mr Carter, "X" for movies I've seen all the way through and "O" for movies I've only seen part of. 73 (EDIT:76 now) in full and 14 in part. Not as many as I thought it would be, but after reading through the list, it seems about right.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Partial Revival

I finally got through editing the 1600 or so posts. I cleaned some up, took a few down, added labels and titles to the really old ones and then linked this blog with my Google+ account. We'll see if I bother to do much with it.

Hell and Justice

"There is bitterness in the thought that there may be no hell; for—in the irrefutable syllogism of the theologians—if there is no hell, there is no justice."
~ p. 185
Ideas Have Consequences