Brian J. On The Best and Worst Books of the 20th Century

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has produced a list of the 50 Worst Books of the 20th Century and the 50 Best Books of the 20th Century.

As is my wont, I took these to be a quiz and looked to see how many of each I’ve read.

On the worst books, it’s 1.something; I read John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage in middle school, and I started Paul Tillich’s The Courage To Be in 2016 but did not finish it (and have since put it back in the stacks instead of leaving it lying around).

Of the best books, I’ve only read one: Strunk and White’s Elements of Style (which, as you know, gentle reader, is one of my favorite books to give away as well–whenever I find it at a book sale, I pick it up and give it to someone).

I would double my scores on both if I I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X as it appears on both the best and the worst list.

I don’t see many on my to-read shelves from the worst list except the aforementioned books (I picked up a copy of Profiles in Courage since I borrowed Mrs. Pickering’s copy in middle school). As to the best, I have Churchill’s history of World War II and Copleston’s History of Philosophy, but these are both series of books and not single volumes. I probably have the C.S. Lewis book The Abolition of Man around in one of the omnibuses and might have the Niebuhr’s The Nature and Destiny of Man.

I don’t know what that says about me as a reader, but it does track more and more with the more modern lists.

(Link via the world-famous Ace of Spades Book Thread.)

Wherein Brian J. Proves He’s Too With It For His Own Taste

Neatorama links to a Refinery29 (who?) listicle of The Best Albums of the 2010s, and I own, sort of, two.

Let’s do this quiz style, with the ones I own bolded.

  • Taylor Swift, 1989
  • Billy Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE
  • Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer
  • Robyn, Body Talk
  • Lorde, Pure Heroine (which I bought in 2016
  • Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour
  • Adele, 21 (although, really, I only sort of own this since it actually belongs to my oldest son who went through an Adele phase a couple years ago).
  • Beyonce, Lemonade
  • Rihanna, ANTI

To be honest, I’m pleased I don’t know who several of these artists are, and others I only know of from reading newspaper Web sites.

But I will say this: Of the two I do own, I can only add that Leo improved upon them.

A Quiz I Passed, If You Ask Me

In Memoriam: Technology That Died in 2019.

I won’t reproduce the entire list of, what, 67 “technologies” that appear in the listicle. I will, however, point out that I have only used three of them (Adobe Shockwave, Google+, and iTunes on the Macintosh). I have heard of a couple more of them, but most of the others are companies or offerings I’ve never even heard of.

Which I count as a win, as it might mean that I focus on the important things in life, which are in meatspace, or that I am not a young Internet content creator who feels the need to come up with an extensive list of obscure things for $25.

Instead, I’m an old Internet content creator who feels the need to comment on such listicles for free.

(Link via Instapundit.)

Scoring Low On A Rolling Stone Quiz Is No Shame

Some twenty-year-old has compiled a list called The 25 Greatest Christmas Albums of All Time.

How many do I own? Answers in bold:

  • Weezer, A Weezer Christmas
  • Christmas Joy in Latvia – Latvian Christmas Cantatas
  • Jacob Miller, Natty Christmas
  • Sufjan Stevens, Songs for Christmas
  • Bob Dylan, Christmas in the Heart
  • New Wave Xmas: Just Can
  • t Get Enough
  • Cee Lo, Cee Lo’s Magic Moment
  • She & Him, A She & Him Christmas
  • Christmas on Death Row
  • Carpenters, Christmas Collection
  • Johnny Cash, Christmas With Johnny Cash
  • A Very Special Christmas
  • Frank Sinatra, A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra
  • The Ventures, The Ventures
  • Christmas Album
  • Willie Nelson, Pretty Paper
  • Ella Fitzgerald, Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas
  • Soul Christmas
  • Bing Crosby, White Christmas
  • Beach Boys, Beach Boys
  • Christmas Album
  • Louis Armstrong and Friends, The Best of Christmas Songs
  • A Motown Christmas
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • James Brown, James Brown
  • s Funky Christmas
  • Elvis Presley, Elvis’ Christmas Album
  • A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector

Of the ones I’m missing, I might only want a couple. Ella, Louis Armstrong, maybe the Charlie Brown Christmas, the Sinatra, maybe the Phil Spector one. Am I allowed to want the last? He went to jail for murdering his wife. I mean, it’s not the same as touching a woman on the bum who later decided she didn’t want to be touched on the bum.

At any rate, one wonders how many Christmas records a modern journalist has or plays at all.

You know I do.

(Link via Ace of Spades HQ.)

Speaking of 80s Movies

Since we were just talking about 80s movies, I saw this image on Facebook and thought it would make a good quiz:

I won’t bother to type them all out because I am lazy, but allow me to identify the ones I have not seen and why.

  • Friday the 13th: I think in my slasher movie days, which is to say in the days when my friends wanted to see slasher movies or my friend’s father wanted to watch slasher movies so he rented a couple for us when we slept over at his house, that I might have missed the first in the series although I caught most of the middle of the first ten.
     
  • Steel Magnolias because it’s a chick flick and no chick I’ve been with since the 1980s has insisted upon watching it with me.
     
  • Raging Bull which is more of a 70s film according to zeitgeist, ainna? At any rate, I just haven’t come across it cheaply at a book sale or anything.
     
  • Broadcast News because it looked kinda preachy, and I haven’t sought it out.
     
  • Mystic Pizza. See above comment about Steel Magnolias.
     
  • Flashdance. A dancing movie. To be honest, I’ve not seen Footloose either. I guess I dodge movies that look to be dancing movies that were made after, what, 1960?

That’s six movies I’ve not seen out of 36, which is 30 of 36 or 83%.

Not bad since the ones I mentioned are chick flicks and whatnot.

I’ve seen Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Weird Science, and Die Hard within the last year. I’m hoping to see The Goonies and Top Gun with my children soon. A couple others on the list I’ll consider revisiting. A couple, like The Evil Dead and Heathers I’ll probably never need to see again. Of the ones I have not seen, Flashdance and Raging Bull are most likely and Friday the 13th is the most likely to not.

Brian J. Lacks A du Toitian Education

Kim du Toit has posted a list of things he encouraged his children to read while homeschooling them.

A list of books? That’s a quiz!

So how do I do compared to a du Toit?

Once again, I will bold the things I’ve read and underline the things I own but have not yet read.

  • 1984 George Orwell
  • Animal Farm George Orwell
  • Of Civil Government John Locke
  • On Liberty John Stuart Mill
  • Our Enemy, The State Albert Jay Nock
  • The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli
  • Basic Economics Charles Sowell
  • The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith
  • From Dawn To Decadence Jacques Barzun
  • Heroes Paul Johnson
  • A History Of The American People Paul Johnson
  • A History Of The Jews Paul Johnson
  • The Iliad Homer
  • The Odyssey Homer
  • The Proud Tower Barbara Tuchman
  • United States Declaration of Independence
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • United States Constitution
  • The Federalist Papers
  • Carnage And Culture Victor Davis Hanson
  • The First World War Martin Gilbert (or John Keegan)
  • A History Of Warfare John Keegan
  • The Second World War John Keegan
  • A War Like No Other Victor Davis Hanson
  • The Bible (The NIV, so one of the short ones)
  • The Book of Journeyman Albert Jay Nock
  • Confessions St. Augustine
  • Essays Moral and Political David Hume
  • Intellectuals Paul Johnson
  • Meditations Marcus Aurelius
  • Memoirs of a Superfluous Man Albert Jay Nock
  • The Republic Plato
  • Summa Theologica St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Coriolanus William Shakespeare
  • Hamlet William Shakespeare
  • Julius Caesar William Shakespeare
  • King Lear William Shakespeare
  • Macbeth William Shakespeare
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream William Shakespeare
  • Othello William Shakespeare
  • Richard III William Shakespeare
  • Romeo & Juliet William Shakespeare
  • Billy Liar Keith Waterhouse
  • Faust Goethe
  • The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde
  • Lysistrata Aristophanes
  • ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore John Ford
  • Waiting For Godot Samuel Becket
  • “The Eagle”, “Charge Of The Light Brigade” Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • “Dover Beach” Matthew Arnold
  • “The Soldier” Rupert Brook
  • “The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • “The Good Morrow” and “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” John Donne (I’m not sure if the first is in the Selected Poems I read in 2011, and I can’t find it quickly to see.)
  • “Ode To A Nightingale” John Keats (If not now, then by the time I finish the complete works I’ve been working on for a year or so).
  • “The Gods Of The Copybook Headings” Rudyard Kipling (I haven’t alluded to it in a whole week!)
  • “To Althea, From Prison” Richard Lovelace
  • The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
  • “Ozymandias” Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • “Leaves of Grass” Walt Whitman
  • “Tintern Abbey”, “The Solitary Reaper” William Wordsworth
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
  • Alice In Wonderland — Lewis Carroll
  • The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
  • The American Henry James
  • Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
  • As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
  • Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
  • A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh
  • The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis
  • The Count Of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
  • Don Quixote Cervantes
  • A Farewell To Arms Ernest Hemingway
  • Emma Jane Austen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
  • The Invisible Man H.G. Wells
  • Zorba the Greek Nikos Kazantzakis
  • Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift
  • The Mayor Of Casterbridge Thomas Hardy
  • The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner
  • Fathers and Sons Ivan Turgenev
  • Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
  • Les Misérables Victor Hugo
  • Carry On, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse
  • Lord Of The Flies William Golding
  • Crime and Punishment Feodor Dostoyevsky
  • Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • The Harry Potter Stories by J.K Rowling
  • Women In Love D.H. Lawrence
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (probably not all of them, but I did read The Return of Sherlock Holmes this year.)
  • Catch-22 Joseph Heller
  • The Portrait Of A Lady Henry James
  • The Wind In The Willows Kenneth Grahame
  • Rebecca Daphne du Maurier
  • Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
  • Sons And Lovers D.H. Lawrence
  • Uhuru Robert Ruark
  • The Birds“, “Don’t Look Now” Daphne du Maurier
  • “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”, “The Killers” Ernest Hemingway (likely, but I’m not 100% sure.)
  • The Pit And The Pendulum” Edgar Allan Poe
  • “Bartleby the Scrivener” Herman Melville
  • “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” Ambrose Bierce
  • The Jungle Books Rudyard Kipling
  • “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, “Good Country People” Flannery O’Connor (although perhaps they’re in a collection I bought in 2008 and deserve an underline.)
  • “Boule de Suif”, “The Necklace” Guy de Maupassant (although I also have a collection of his gathering dust which might mean the first need underlining.)
  • “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty”, “The Unicorn in the Garden” James Thurber<
  • The Gift Of The Magi“, “The Cop And The Anthem” O. Henry
  • “Where I’m Calling From”, “Little Things” Raymond Carver
  • “Sredni Vashtar”, “The East Wing” Saki
  • “Mountain Victory”, “A Rose For Emily” William Faulkner
  • Ars Amatoria Ovid
  • Delta Of Venus Anaïs Nin
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover D.H. Lawrence
  • Memoirs Of A Woman Of Pleasure (or Fanny Hill) John Cleland
  • The School of Whoredom Pietro Aretino

How did I do?

Not good enough.

Especially since I have not made much progress in thirteen years on improving my score on the list of Kim du Toit’s favorite short stories.

Books For The Ages And Brian J.

A photographer for the Washington Post has a listicle up called Books for the Ages which includes a book (or a series, or more) for each year of life.

It’s a silly list, but it’s an excuse for me to compare what I’ve read against the list.

Books I’ve read I’ve put in bold; books I have to read are in orange. I’ve included links for the books I’ve read and reported on on this very blog.

Here they are:

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
  • The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier
  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
  • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  • The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story by Paul Monette
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  • Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • The Sportswriter by Richard Ford
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  • Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  • The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
  • Stretching by Bob Anderson
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro
  • Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
  • Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
  • Dynamic Aging by Katy Bowman
  • The Five Years Before You Retire by Emily Guy Birken
  • Fear of Dying by Erica Jong
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
  • Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
  • Old in Art School by Nell Painter
  • 65 Things to Do When You Retire edited by Mark Evan Chimsky
  • The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  • I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
  • Master Class: Living Longer, Stronger, and Happier by Peter Spiers
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
  • The Years of Lyndon Johnson four volumes, by Robert Caro
  • Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • The Coming of Age by Simone de Beauvoir
  • Coming Into Eighty: Poems by May Sarton
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver
  • The Summer of a Dormouse by John Mortimer
  • All the thrillers and mysteries
  • The Last Unknowns: Deep, Elegant, Profound Unanswered Questions About the Universe, the Mind, the Future of Civilization, and the Meaning of Life edited by John Brockman
  • Ravelstein by Saul Bellow
  • Old Filth by Jane Gardam
  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • Nearing Ninety: And Other Comedies of Late Life by Judith Viorst
  • A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing 90 by Donald Hall
  • Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God by Joe Coomer
  • Selected Poems: 1988-2013 by Seamus Heaney
  • Nothing to be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes
  • Sapiens by Yuval Harari
  • This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite
  • The Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante
  • Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill
  • My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary
  • Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman
  • Little Boy by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author by Herman Wouk

Of the books that I don’t have colored in the list above, I don’t expect that I’ll even consider reading. I mean, most of the YA fiction listed above that I haven’t read is message-oriented, as are many of the other novels. I might read Gilead but that’s only because I gave a copy to my beautiful wife and her mother for Christmas a couple years ago, so there’s bound to be one or more floating around by the end of my retirement.

Fun fact: Rabbit, Run and Stretching are both at the chairside book accumulation point. I’ve tried to read Rabbit, Run, but I’ve found it odious. And I got Stretching on the indirect advice of my editor. For years, I’ve meant to take up stretching, but I haven’t yet.

At any rate, make of it what you will, the intersection of my reading habits with that of a photographer.

(Link via Althouse.)

Apparently, Brian J. Favors The Bizarre Hits Of The 1970s

It’s one of the listicles that PJ Media is trying to become famous for, but here at MfBJN, it’s a quiz: The 10 Most Bizarre Hits of the ‘70s.

How many does Brian J. have on vinyl?

  • “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks
  • “Pop Muzik” by M
  • “Playground in my Mind” by Clint Holmes
  • Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band” by Meco (on vinyl and CD)
  • “(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates
  • “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band (twice: once on the Saturday Evening Fever soundtrack and on the album of the same name, although it’s credited simply to the Walter Murphy Band there)
  • “The Streak” by Ray Stevens (also on the videocassette of his greatest hits)
  • “Muskrat Love” by The Captain and Tennille
  • “Convoy” by C.W. McCall (although I might have this on an album or single, but it’s not what I listen to on the turntable, so I’m not sure)
  • “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots

I thought I did better because one of the entries mentions the Chipmunks’ “Christmas Song” which I have on single and probably on a Chipmunks or Christmas album somewhere.

So that’s 33%, or better than I do on coffee house-based album cover quizzes.

The Classic Rock Coffee Album Cover Quiz (II)

Yesterday, I had a second opportunity to kill some time at the Classic Rock Coffee shop after dropping my kids off at school, so I sat at another booth and snapped a picture of the album covers on the walls.

How well did I do?

Well, let me bold the ones I have:

  • Riptide Robert Palmer
  • Dream Police Cheap Trick
  • Rockin’ Into The Night .38 Special
  • Get the Knack The Knack
  • Bachman-Turner Overdrive Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • Led Zeppelin II Led Zeppelin
  • 4 Foreigner
  • Brothers in Arms Dire Straits

Okay, so that’s a whopping 0 out of 8.

Apparently, I am a classic rock poser. I didn’t even recognize two of the covers and couldn’t make them out. This would probably be easier in any month but October without the fake spider-web decorations.

In my defense, I once saw BTO in concert at Summerfest. Also note I do have greatest hits collections from Foreigner and BTO, so I have the hit tracks from each album in my personal collection.

As I mentioned, 25% is likely to be the ceiling for my scores in these quizzes. If you recognize one of the album covers I couldn’t identify, leave it in the comments, and I’ll correct it in the list above. I won’t likely correct it in my music collection, though.

(The first in this series of quizzes here.)

UPDATE:Thanks be to Friar for supplying the missing album titles. In unrelated news, he titled his post today after another classic rock album.

The Classic Rock Coffee Album Cover Quiz (I)

I had a couple of minutes to kill after dropping my children off at school and before I was scheduled to help set up the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale (I’m not just a messy patron; I’m also, sometimes, a volunteer). So I stopped at the local outpost of Classic Rock Coffee for a cup of joe.

If you’re not familiar with it, Classic Rock Coffee is outfitted more like a rock club than Starbucks (and this particular location has a music venue off to the side). There are black lights and music memorabilia on the walls. And several of the booths have a collection of classic rock album covers beside them.

So, because I’m bored (or was during that interim), I’ve decided to make it a quiz. Which of the albums beside the booth do I own?

I was sitting today at the western most booth, which features these album covers:

I’ll bold the ones I own:

  • Sticky Fingers The Rolling Stones
  • Now and Zen Robert Plant
  • Chicago 13 Chicago
  • 52nd Street Billy Joel
  • Crimes of Passion Pat Benetar
  • Night Moves Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
  • Private Eyes Hall and Oates
  • Wheels are Turnin’ REO Speedwagon

25%. Not very good. Given my other experiences at the coffee shop, this is about what I get for every booth.

Note that the albums I own from the above list I first got on audiocassette, but I have since upgraded the Billy Joel to CD.

Obsolete Technology Quiz; Or, “What’s In Brian J.’s Closet?”

Via Ace of Spades HQ’s overnight thread, we get this story: Obsolete technologies that will baffle modern children – in pictures.

You know what that looks like to me? A quiz about what things Brian J. still has lying around the house.

So I’ll bold the things I still have and will italicise the things that I had at one point because, hey, there are multiple text styles.

  • Floppy disk (I have both 5.25″ and 3.5″)
  • Sony Walkman
  • Rotary phone (I still have an old timey wall-mount phone with a cord)
  • Typewriter (I think I’m down to one old electric typewriter these days)
  • Stand alone camera (Many)
  • Atari 2600 (Also many)
  • Nintendo Game Boy (it’s on the wall, but some Game Boy Advances are in the closet)
  • Betamax (I might have had one pass through my possession in the old eBay-selling days, but I can’t be sure–I did have some Betamax cassettes though)
  • VHS tapes (which are on the shelves with the DVDs)
  • Cathode Ray Tube Monitor (Although at this point, I am down to a boxed Commodore monitor)
  • Slide projector (I don’t have one, but I do have a little slide viewer and a bunch of old slides)
  • Game cartridges (for many systems from the aforementioned Atari 2600 to the depicted N64)
  • Walkie talkies (my children have one or more sets, or at least one of one or more sets)
  • Pagers (Never had one, but carried one, briefly, when I was ‘on call’ as a technical writer for the Y2K remediation effort)
  • Polaroid instant camera (Got one for selling Olympic, but I have since divested myself of the one or more I’ve owned)
  • Answering machine (Not tape-based, but I still have the one that my mother bought me in 1997 so she could leave me messages in my new apartment)
  • Sony MiniDisc Player (Although I suspect there’s a Sony DiscMan around here somewhere)
  • Camcorder (Maybe I had one pass through my hands; I don’t know what happened to my mother’s old one)
  • Edison Gold and Stock Ticker
  • Fax machine (although I can send faxes with my all-in-one printer, it’s been a year or so since the last stand-alone fax machine passed through Nogglestead as my mother-in-law got rid of one by giving it to me to use or donate–I donated it)
  • BBC Micro (Never heard of it, but now I want one)

Jeez, I am only 11/21.

I can do better.

Also, note that my children do know many of these old technologies as a result.

How Many Of These Six Items Do You Store In Your Garage?

My insurance company has provided this listicle about What Not To Store in the Garage, and I thought it would be a great chance at a quiz.

The items are:

  • Extra fuel
  • Paint or home improvement chemicals
  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Anything fragile or valuable

A quiz for you, I mean. You’ll notice I have not bolded or italicised things that I store in the garage. Because I don’t want my home insurance rates to go up based on my blog response to a listicle composed by a 23-year-old marketing intern from a series of other Internet postings he/she/it found.

Note that storing extra fuel or solvents in your garage might also violate the contract you signed with your mortgage. What, you didn’t read it?

Not depicted, or detypeted as the case may be, on this list, other things that you might consider storing in your garage:

  • Automobiles. These things can emit dangerous gases or, based on our marketing intern’s research in watching action films, might be extremely prone to explosions.
  • Power tools. Which are electrocution dangers at best, death, decapitation, or disfigurement dangers at worst (according to our marketing intern, based on studious research of historical documents 80s slasher films).
  • Anything not valuable. They’re hazardous to your marriage if you just keep random things (or so I’ve heard) and can be a fire hazard.
  • Cigarettes. Because smoking is bad, and if you’re not planning to smoke them, you’re smuggling them, which comes with all the attendant organized crime risks.
  • Toys from the twentieth century. No matter what they are, they are killers of one sort or another. Jarts? Books printed with lead ink? Asbestos-stuffed teddy bears? Chemistry kits with real acids? Just call out the hazmat team or ordinance disposal professionals!
  • 21st Century Nerf Guns. Advances in Nerf technology have made it so you don’t need a BB gun to shoot your eye out. Or, more likely, your brother’s.

I’ll not answer that list, either.

Although if you retitle the article Whatnot to Store in Your Garage, that probably describes the contents of my garage.

Give Or Take Twenty-Five Years

The +/- on this quiz must be a little wide: Pick Your Favorite Movie from Each Series, and We’ll Guess the Exact Year You Were Born.

I am a man out of cinematic time, apparently.

Of course I got that. The list included a number of series that I haven’t seen any films from (DC expanded universe, Harry Potter, The Fast and the Furious).

But the quiz did not ask me about my favorite from The Thin Man series, which is a shame. To be honest, it’s either The Thin Man or After the Thin Man, although my favorite Myrna Loy movie might be The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer which also happens to be my favorite Shirley Temple film.

But I digress.

As I comb through the archives, I can’t help but note how quizzes and quiz widgets were quite a bit of my blogging back in the old days, before social media companies took over to use them to mine for your personal information (to better serve you–on a platter!). I should find a way to make it so again to ensure I deliver to you, the valued reader, fresh content often even if it’s not content of the highest quality writing.

But perhaps it’s more engaging.

I Got a 0 On This Quiz; I Call That A Perfect Score

Linkbait headline is 10 Things That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago That We Now Can’t Live Without.

Here’s the list (in descending order in the article). I’ve put in italics things I’ve used and in bold things I cannot live without.

  • Uber
  • Bitcoin
  • Instagram
  • The Selfie Stick
  • Spotify
  • “Woke”
  • Airbnb
  • Snapchat
  • Tesla
  • The iPad

Number of things I can’t live without: 0.
Number of things I use regularly: 0.

I mean, I’ve used Airbnb once, and it’s still not my go-to accommodation. I’ve got Spotify installed, and I use it once in a while to try to discover new music (I found Anna Danes and Lauren Meccia on it), but the radio stations I create based on artists I like tend to play the same bands over and over, so once you’ve listened to it for a while, it’s like listening to a radio station with a small playlist). And I have an iPad, but it’s for testing purposes mostly, and it sits on the desk needing a charge until such time as I need it for testing.

I’m getting to a point in my life where I’m becoming a bit of a Luddite. Technology and its toys and trinkets are not the meaning of life, and as I get older I recognize that you get more satisfaction from real life endeavors rather than endless selfies and incomplete games of Civilization.

So I’m proud not to need the things in the list or I’ll die. I feel justified in trying to steer my children from devices and apps as often as possible, or else they might end up writers of twee listicles mistaking the Internet for life or meaning.

Also, I really hope people can live without Tesla, especially the people who have plunked down deposits for cars that might not ever be manufactured.

A Dickens Quiz Wherein Brian J. Scores 4 of 4

4 Dickens Christmas Stories You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

The stories are:

  • The Chimes
  • The Cricket on the Hearth
  • The Battle of Life
  • The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain

Of course I have heard of them. I have an English degree, for cryin’ out loud.

It helps that they were all collected in the Walter J. Black edition of A Christmas Carol that I read in 2008. Reading that book nine years ago around Christmas time might have kicked off my mostly annual tradition of reading a Christmas-themed book around this time of year.

We Already Know How Gimlet Is Going To Vote

As well as how would if I were to do such thing in the StLToday.com What St. Louis jingle do you LOVE to hate? poll.

As this post from 2008 (!) indicates, I favor (or disfavor) the Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center jingle, while Gimlet might prefer “Feld! The Red Hot Dealer!”

Although you can actually vote for Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, but Feld is only mentioned in the teaser story for the poll and not in the poll itself.

Sorry, Gimlet, you’ll have to choose another, and Johnny Londoff is not available, either.

Although I would not be telling the whole story if I did not admit that I sang, “If you want TDs, say Hundley, and smile,” during the recent period when Green Bay Packers backup quarterback started games during Aaron Rodgers’ recent injury. It’s based on a jingle for Hautly Cheese. No doubt, this selection would be my children’s choice based on my revision.

Best of the Best Books of 2017

Someone has taken a several Best Books of 2017 lists and coallated the information into a single list that weights the books based on how many times they appeared on the best of lists.

You know me; any list of books, and I make it a quiz.

So here we go: Which of best books of 2017 have I read? I have put in bold the books I have read; I have put in red the books I own and have yet to read, and in underline books that I want to get someday.

For the fiction:

  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • White Tears by Hari Kunzru
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
  • The Answers by Catherine Lacey
  • What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
  • Ill Will by Dan Chaon
  • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

For the nonfiction:

  • Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
  • We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
  • The Future Is History by Masha Gessen
  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
  • Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay
  • Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
  • What Happened by Hillary Clinton
  • The Evolution of Beauty by Richard O. Prum
  • Sticky Fingers by Joe Hagan
  • Locking Up Our Own by James Forman Jr.
  • Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
  • Grant by Ron Chernow
  • Behave by Robert M. Sapolsky
  • Ants Among Elephants by Sujatha Gidla

That’s right.

Not a damned one.

I’ll let you, gentle reader, be the judge of whether that more indicts books published in 2017 or the taste of people who publish Best Books Of lists. To be honest, more likely the latter.

Nevertheless, He Remained Married

StLToday.com has a quiz right in my wheelhouse. Well, it’s not a quiz; it’s a slide show of the worst Saturday Night Live skits turned into movies.

The quiz portion of it is: “How many of these has Brian J. seen in the theater?”

Here’s the list; I’ve bolded the ones I saw in the theatre.

  • It’s Pat: The Movie (but I did read the book which was not the movie book).
  • Stuart [Smiley] Saves His Family (I never found Al Franken funny, even after he started doing comedy playing that character in the Senate).
  • A Night at the Roxbury (but my friend Scott and I did not dress up for it, as we discussed).
  • The Ladies Man with my beautiful wife.
  • MacGruber with my beautiful wife. On our anniversary.

I thought one of the films in the slide show would be Superstar! as one of the slides alluded to Molly Shannon’s character, but no. Which is just as well, because I have not seen that at all.

I’m pleased to have gotten a 60% on this quiz because I have a special place in my heart for bad comedies, and most of the Saturday Night Live movies fall into this class.