Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Mother Hunt by Rex Stout: a short review

Quite possibly my favorite Nero Wolfe. Just delicious.

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BAM’ll Fix It

After years of missed targets, it’s fair to say we’ve proven that a system which took decades to build cannot be easily replaced. I’m reasonably comfortable with that, but my opinion’s not universally shared. Moreover, recognizing that the problem is difficult is very different from accepting an inadequate solution, which remains a real danger.

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“Father of Army Baseball”

The 11/29/1940 Dallas Evening News (my thanks to GenealogyBank) tells me that R.H. Johnson’s military career mostly occurred during WWI, as an enlisted man in Artillery, which was before his West Point stint. At the USMA he was quite active in sports, including baseball; he captained the basketball team. Johnson subsequently served for a few years as a ROTC instructor in the NYC area before resigning his commission to enter the banking business on Wall Street. In 1929 he founded R.H. Johnson & Company, and in 1947 began Franklin Investments.

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Baseball in the Garden of Eden by John Thorn: a review

This is a well-researched history of baseball’s origins. Baseball wasn’t really invented, of course, but Thorn makes a good case that certain individuals were very important to its development as an institution. This is, in one sense, obvious; what’s perhaps less obvious is who some of those individuals actually were. This part of the book is well-done and, on the whole, convincing.

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1981 Baseball Abstract by Bill James: a short review

One thing that’s obvious is James’ dependence on inadequate tools. Box scores just don’t have enough information to answer the questions he’s asking. That need will lead, ultimately, to Project Scoresheet, to STATS, to Baseball Information Solutions, to Retrosheet. But in 1981 none of these existed.

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Farnham’s Freehold by Robert Heinlein: a short review

Creepy. I first read Freehold as a serial in IF magazine, in my teens. Didn’t like it then. Don’t like it now. Appalling at basically all levels.

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The Making of Victorian Values by Ben Wilson: a short review

A very readable and immensely likable book. This is more a collection of anecdotes, though, than a monograph. Absolutely delightful as a portrait of London during the Regency, but unfocused.

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