Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Beer and the Search for Novelty

I've updated the beer list linked at the top of the blog. But I've hit a wall, to a degree. I don't want to set myself up as some sort of beer expert, because I most certainly am not. But at this point there aren't many styles of beer I haven't tried. (Most of them would be in the lager family since I don't really have a fondness for those.) And the novelty aspect is beginning to be limited to things like the ridiculous Rogue/Voodoo Doughnut collaborations. This isn't to say that I don't find beers like Abyss or Helldorado to be delicious. They are delightful. But they are also much of a muchness. The different Abyss vintages are subtly different, but not so much so that one needs to really try them all. If you have had a few, then you have the idea and while I'd suggest enjoying them when they cross your path, there's probably no point for someone like me to seek them out. At this point it's just checking boxes or finding ways to brag.

This isn't going to keep me from updating the list, nor looking for new beers I haven't had, but I think the joy of the search has worn off a bit and I need to find something else to interest me in terms of searching out some new experiences. Whiskey, perhaps?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mixing Up Metaphors About Muggles

If you don't want to read the Harry Potter books, I think it's fine. (I only read them to check on their suitability for my children.) But if you haven't read a book, you probably ought not to make part of it the central metaphor of your unrelated opinion piece. You run the risk of misunderstanding and then you make a hash of your point inadvertently.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Authorial Chutzpah

It seems like Patrick Rothfuss and George RR Martin have a one-upsmanship fight going about how badly they can abuse their fans without alienating them all.

George: I can make them wait more than 6 years for a book.
Pat: I can make them wait more than 7.
G: I can make them wait more than 20 years for the story to end.
P: I can start a TV series based on my trilogy before I've finished.
G: I can have my TV series pass the books and spoil the plot.
P: I can sell 10th Anniversary editions of my first book without any hint of the third book being ready.
G: Ooh, good one.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sexual Apologia

It no longer surprises, but it still disappoints that The Federalist writes a sympathetic brief for sexual immorality on the occasion of Hugh Hefner's death. They are, after all, the publication that went ahead and published articles on defense of prostitution and polyamory. What's a defense of a pornographer after that?

EDIT: Joe Carter is in the breach, yet again saying what needs to be said.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


I deleted my Twitter account.


It was only in retrospect that I realized the timing coming so close on the heels of having met @educatedwhinge in person might have left a false impression. The actual reason was that I kept being unreasonably angry at things that I ought to have been able to laugh off. People I normally enjoyed interacting with were making my blood boil and I needed to avoid writing things I would have regretted. We'll see if/how long it sticks.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Week in Paterson

I watched the movie Paterson recently, and I'm not quite sure what I think of it. I liked it, but beyond that I'm uncertain. So this will be as much about me working out my own thoughts through writing as anything else.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hall of Fame Players

How many Hall of Famers are playing baseball right now? The pedantic answer is "none". You can't officially be a Hall of Fame baseball player until at least 5 years after retirement. (Unless you're dead, in which case an exception can be made.) But clearly there must be some. Barring injury or other dramatic change, Mike Trout is well on his way. Ichiro is a lock. But surely there are also some lurking out there who are not so obvious. Is there any way to figure out how many and maybe who they are?

Let's take a look at answering that. First, we should take the pulse of the Hall of Fame and take a stab at how many players in a given year will end up in the Hall of Fame. Fortunately for us, I've looked at this before for other reasons and we can repurpose the data. Looks like we're going to have to juuuuump!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

World Baseball Snooze

Why don't I (and most US baseball fans, I suspect) care about the World Baseball Classic? Because the US isn't really fielding a proper national team. We get the best baseball in the world from April to October and so sending the best US players to the WBC wouldn't really make a lot of sense because why would that be more important than the World Series?

A lot of folks in the US who hate sports and folks from other countries mock the idea of the MLB championship being called the "World Series". After all, it's not like we invite other countries. Moreover, the US doesn't win the WBC. But that's because if you're one of the best baseball players, you play in the MLB. The players who stay behind in Venezuela, Puerto Rico (why do they have a national team anyway?), Japan, etc. aren't nearly as good as the ones who come to play in the US. There may be exceptions; I suspect more than a few Japanese players could make in the MLB, but find the culture shift and potential for a reduced role in the US sufficiently unpleasant that they prefer to stay in Japan. On the whole, however, the World Series is the true world championship. Join me after the jump for a few stats and facts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Pothunters: Review

It's probably a misnomer to call this a review. That I would be able to properly review anything is unlikely having neither the expertise, experience, or inclination to do it right. With that disclaimer out of the way, onward!

The biggest problem with The Pothunters is that it's rather disjointed. There are a few plotlines and they never quite mesh fully. They're related and they interact, certainly, but there is a distinct lack of that seamless weaving of the threads of multiple subplots that will be such an important feature of Wodehouse's later work. There are amusing moments here too, but this book isn't written to be as comedic as most of his works and the jokes here are indicative of his later mastery. It's raw ore waiting to be refined; you can see the potential, but it's not realised.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Movies, Lists, and Greatness

Nearly 20 years ago (time flies) the American Film Institute made a list of the top 100 American movies for the centenary of American film. They made the list by
[inviting] more than 1,500 leaders from across the American film community – screenwriters, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, editors, executives, film historians and critics among them – to choose from a list of 400 nominated films compiled by AFI and select the 100 greatest American movies.
Which is okay, I guess. This is a pretty good crowd to ask about movies; they should know a fair bit about them. But they limited them to a pre-culled list of 400, which is not so great. But the really interesting thing was that 9 years later, in 2007 they did it again.

The brief text on their site makes it sound like they asked all the same people again, thought I would have expected at least a few of them to have been unavailable. Perhaps some of them had died in the intervening years, or were out of town, disinclined to participate, something. Be that as it may, the differences between the lists are what really caught my attention. And there are some significant differences. Hit that jump and let's discuss.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

The Pothunters

First up on the tour through the works of PG Wodehouse is The Pothunters. This was originally published in 1902, according to the information on the copyright page. Before it was a book, however, it was first published as a serial in Public School Magazine in January-March of the same year. This is one that I've read before and, if I recall correctly, much of the style and mannerisms that are a source of humor in Wodehouse's later works are taken more seriously in this one. According to the back text and my own memory, this is a quasi-mystery story about stolen cricket trophies and a noble youth unjustly accused who seeks the real culprit in order to remove the stain from his honor.

He started out writing these kinds of mildly amusing, earnestly moral stories for magazines aimed at boys in their early teens. Wodehouse himself was a young man not far removed from these school days; he was about 20 when this story was written. I'll check in again when I've finished the book with some more detailed thoughts.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Just Like for Grown-Ups!

So, while you may have noticed that I have a widget there to the right (left, if you're facing away from the screen) which rotates through a sample of my books catalogued over at LibraryThing, if you'd rather peruse them in a way that feels more like a library's online catalogue (and who wouldn't, really?) then you can also check out this link. It's a software service that LibraryThing makes available to its users for free (if it's for personal use) or very cheap if you're more of an organization. Why do I have it when I don't really let anyone "check out" my books from my house? It was free, so why not?