Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
3:28 pm - Hot, Hazy, and Humid  
"Well, round about one a.m. I thought the time was ripe. I stole from my room and went downstairs. The pie seemed to beckon me."

I nodded. I knew how pies do.


Bertie Wooster certainly knows his pies. Right Ho, Jeeves, is terrifically funny. Laugh out loud funny. As good and funny as the Hugh Laurie-Steven Fry adaptations are, the books are better. Bertie's internal monologues are things of beauty, especially his description of a fortified Gussie Fink-Nottle presenting prizes to the young graduates of Market Snodsbury Grammar School. The plot revolves around Bertie's spectacularly unsuccessful efforts to repair a pair lovers' quarrels that have erupted at his Aunt Dahlia's stately home. The first involves his cousin, Angela, and his pie-loving best friend, Tuppy Glossup, while the undercard features Gussie and Gussie's beloved Madeleine Basset. Of course, Jeeves eventually saves the day with a flurry of skillful maneuvers, once again sacrificing his employer's dignity for the sake of domestic tranquility. Bertie takes it all in stride, as usual, realizing that his dignity is a small price to pay if it means that he himself won't end up marrying the Bassett.

Next up is Larry Niven's Ringworld's Children, which I approach with a bit of trepidation. Niven was one of my favorites. I've read all the Known Space books, I liked both Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers quite a bit, and can remember most of the major events in each. OTOH, Ringworld Throne was abysmal, and I barely remember anything about it other than that there was tons of not very interesting ritual sex between different species of hominids. Since Children picks up a just few months after Throne, I suspect there are going to be a lot of references I won't recall. Bother. I'm debating whether to reread Throne again first. I'm already about forty pages in, of which twenty are preface, glossary, and dramatis personnae, and I'm already getting a tad confused. There is plenty of exposition, and references to the first two books as well as the third, but I'd probably appreciate it more with a reread. Hmmm. Niven is a quick read, and maybe I can just skip over the rishathra. That should speed things up considerably.

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Speaking of Bertie Wooster, MLB and Bank of America are running a rather peculiar contest, one that could've been designed by the same folks who put Bertie's Aunt Agatha on a soup can. The grand prize is a pair of tickets to a World Series game, which isn't all that peculiar, but the marketing geniuses who designed the entry form did so in such a way as to piss off fans of all but six teams in the majors. Okay, I get that the theme of the contest is baseball's great rivalries, but when you include a required field entitled "Which team do you root for?" and only include the Dodgers, Giants, Sox, Yanks, Cubs, and Cardinals on the drop down list, you're going to annoy some folks. These are sports fans you're trying to appeal to. They don't take perceived snubs very well. It doesn't help that half the teams on that list have virtually no shot at even making the playoffs this season, much less the Series. As it happens, I do root for one of the teams on the list, so I entered. If fact, the more fans who refuse to enter out of pique, the better the odds I'll have, so "Go, marketing geniuses," I say.

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R.I.P., Gene Mauch, a pretty fair manager who worked for a lot of crummy organizations. He is the winningest manager of all time who never managed in the World Series. He is also the third losingest manager of all time. Unfortunately, he's best known for managing teams that choked horribly. His '64 Phillies managed to blow a 6.5 game lead with twelve games to play, arguably the worst in-season choke of all time. His '86 Angels were on their way to the World Series until Donnie Moore gave up a game tying home run to the Sox's Dave Henderson in the bottom of the ninth of the final game of the ALCS. (Moore was never the same pitcher after that, and eventually committed suicide.) This article makes a good case for Mauch's election to the Hall of Fame. You really do have to be pretty good to be allowed to lose that many times.
 
 
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