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Inside Out review

6/22/15 This weekend we watched Inside Out, the latest full-length feature from Pixar studios. And it was fine. Riley is an 11-year-old girl undergoing the stresses of moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. In her head, five emotional managers, with Joy as their informal leader, more-or-less take turns at the controls in Riley’s mind, simultaneously […]

Bach Pranks Bach

About a month ago, I listened to the first volume of the Great Lectures treatment of Bach and the high baroque. I say “the first volume” because the second still hasn’t returned to the library. As a fan of Bach, I expected some interesting anecdotes about Bach himself, which I got, but didn’t expect any […]

Retirement Plan

Yesterday I wrote that Vetinari is one of the two characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series I consider my favorites. It’s also the only fictional character who fits into a recurrent daydream of mine. I like to imagine an hour with some historical notable, a chance to gauge his reaction to news of the future. […]


Farewell, Terry Pratchett. Pushing Steam is his final book, discounting the somewhat ghoulish practice of co-authoring from his notes, as others have done with Tolkien and Asimov. I found it very sad. Not so much because of its explicit content, but as an expression of the approaching end of Pratchett’s life and literary career. Things […]

The Continuing Story

Eileene and I have been watching Downton Abbey together. It’s very much in the spirit of Upstairs, Downstairs or Gosford Park (which latter shares writer Julian Fellowes with Downton Abbey): an ensemble casts portrays the trials of gentry and their servants on the eve of WWI. It’s good but not great. It stretches the limits […]

Three-Time Loser

I got the Black Adder series. All four seasons, plus a fifth DVD of supplemental material, are available in one box at our local public library. I’d seen a couple episodes before, and never understood what all the fuss was about. But it’s certainly popular in the geek crowd, so when my eye fell across […]

Noodles to Go

Amazon may be bad news for traditional book stores. Unless the internet learns better to reproduce the process of browsing—the freedom to sample books where we like rather than a given selection, the ability to feel a book’s weight and construction as well as sample its content, the ability to browse an entire shelf at […]


Last night we watched the movie version of Whiteout. I didn’t expect much from it, since I vaguely remembered it getting panned, but we bought it used for $1 at Blockbuster, and figured we had nothing to lose. Just a second, let me check on that…yes, it got panned. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 7%, […]

Raw, Bloody Flesh

Eileene wants to try poke (poh-KAY) when we go to Hawaii. We will, of course. Half the reason we travel anywhere is for the food. (Yes, even when we visit family. Mom’s cooking. Sampling new restaurants. Genuine Filipino food.) And I’ve got a code of honor concerning new food: I have to try at least […]

Villainy for Fun and Profit

I’m using Edward Luttwak’s Coup d’Etat for RPG instruction. See, the campaign is titled “Bastards!” and we’re all to play bastards of one stripe or another: people denied inheritance of once kind or another and determined to win it back by any means necessary. I intend to play a conquering hero closed out of the […]