Monthly Archives: February 2011

1979 Baseball Abstract by Bill James: a review

Here, in the third edition, Bill James finally finds the voice we all love (or hate). And the Abstract’s rapidly moving toward its mature format. Every team gets an essay, most of which are interesting; a couple are used to demonstrate concepts. And there’s a long essay, purporting to compare Guidry’s season with Rice’s, which puts all the basic sabermetric tools on display. There’s also considerable exploration of the limits of the available defensive statistics.

Continue reading

Posted in Baseball CrankSpace, Bookworm Alley | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

News Over the Wires by Menahem Blondheim: a short review

Impeccable research; serviceable but certainly readable prose. Truly a great job of historical synthesis.

Continue reading

Posted in Bookworm Alley, History Scrapbook | Tagged | Leave a comment

Robert Morris by Charles Rappleye: a review

The strongest takeaway, for me, is a reminder about how fragile the American Revolution really was. Rappleye certainly gives Morris too much credit for the Republic’s survival, but what’s clear is that Robert Morris was a key player and that his financial machinations were essential. Rappleye portrays his subject as a master administrator and a master politician, and generally succeeds in bringing him to life.

Continue reading

Posted in Bookworm Alley, History Scrapbook | Tagged , | Leave a comment


All in all it was a fun summer. I’ve always claimed this was my favorite job. Three years later, I gather, I’d been replaced by a computer. Hmmm.

Continue reading

Posted in Dear Old Macalester, Life's Stories | Leave a comment

Computer Decide

An unavoidable reality of DMV life is that the Legislature rewrites the Drunk Driving laws every two or three years. The Legislative package typically includes well-intended amendments to other driver licensing laws. The Legislators rarely give much thought to the new act’s impacts on the driver’s prior record, nor to their predecessors’ attempts to improve traffic safety. This routinely gives rise to odd interactions which need to be implemented in the workflow–and written into the programming supporting that workflow. A side effect is that Computer Decide has grown quite complex. Mainframe programs supporting other departmental operations have similar issues, and have grown similarly complex.

Continue reading

Posted in Bureaucratic Whimsy, Semi-Geekery | Tagged | Leave a comment

An Anniversary, a day or four late. And a thank you.

On January 24 of 1996 I began work on what would evolve into, but the site’s original URL was The first page, built from a template supplied by my Web Pages host, was an early draft of this biographical page–that bio’s structure remains basically theirs–and two days later I’d composed A Fan’s Guide to the Midwest League in Lotus Word Pro and uploaded it to the site.

Continue reading

Posted in Baseball CrankSpace | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Easy on Readers (1939)

Its four symbols and their meaning
V — Verified.
OP — Official propaganda.
A — Seems authentic.
R — Rumor.

Continue reading

Posted in Politickin', Rant | Tagged | Leave a comment