The Rise of the Nation-State

Given our primal tribalism, city-states make a whole lot more sense as a political unit than these far flung nation-states of today. 
The internet somewhat countermands this, but I care for my local community and not at all for BFE upper nowheresville or lower burbistan. 
Central governments have broader reach and more avenues of control than ever before and there are significant advantages to nation-scale so I don’t see going back to pre modern times at any point in my lifetime unless central authority entirely breaks down. 

Content I’ve Absorbed This Year

.. an ongoing series. All ratings 1-5, integers only. 


  • Underground Airlines – 5
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – 4
  • Dark Matter – 2
  • The Last One – 3 (first 1/3rd = 5/5, then 2/5 for remainder)
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another – 1
  • Natural History – 3
  • The Water Knife 5
  • Kill Process – 2
  • Flash Boys (audio) – 3
  • The Tipping Point (audio) – 3
  • Misbehaving (audio) – 3
  • Writing the Movie -4
  • Writing Great Fiction (audio) – 4
  • Slaughterhouse Five – 5 (audio)
  • Secrets of Story (audio) – 4
  • Legion (I am Bob) – 2
  • Dialogue (audio) – 4
  • All Systems Red (murderbot 1) – 3
  • Three body problem – 2
  • Shakespeare (lecture series, audio) – 5
  • The Iliad (lecture, audio) – 5
  • The fifth season – 
  • Adventures in the screen trade – 4



  • Black Monday Murders (ep 1-4) – 5
  • Y the Last Man (whole series) – 4 
  • Wicked & Divine (TP1-4): 3
  • The Beauty (TP 1-2) – 3 (completely diff series 1-6 compared to 7-11)
  • Shutter (1-22) – 3
  • Trees (TP 1-2) – 3
  • Revival (whole series) – 4
  • East of West (TP 4-6) – 5
  • Ancestor – 4
  • Paper Girls (1-10)
  • Throwaways (1-8) –
  • The Vision (vol 1-2) – 5
  • Black Panther – 2
  • Chew (full series) – 5
  • The Beauty (TP 1-2) – 4
  • Pretty Deadly (TP 1–2) – 4 
  • The Fix (1-9) – 5
  • Sex Criminals (1-15) – 3
  • Animosity (1-4) – 4
  • The discipline – 2
  • Lazarus (-26) –
  • Kim&Kim (vol 1) –
  • The goddamned (vol 1) –
  • The best we could do – 3
  • My favorite thing is monsters – 
  • The interview – 
  • Saga, Walking Dead, Lazarus, Southern Bastards, Bitch Planet

 Movies & TV

  • La La Land – 3
  • Hidden Figures – 4
  • The Expanse (season 1 & 2) – 4 
  • Edge of Seventeen – 4
  • Kubo & the Two Strings – 4
  • Tootsie – 4
  • Big Little Lies – 1
  • Arrival – 4
  • Temple Grandin – 3
  • Sherlock season 4 – 2
  • It (miniseries) – 2
  • The Leftovers (season 1) – 
  • Project Anthropoid – 5
  • Handmaid’s Tale – 4
  • Patriot – 
  • Twin Peaks – 
  • Casablanca – 5 but I still think bogart was wrong choice


  • Die Hard – 5
  • Django Unchained – 4
  • Silence of the Lambs – 2
  • Million Dollar Baby – 5
  • Shawshank Redemption – 4
  • Body Heat – 3
  • Tinker Tailor – 3
  • Bourne Identity – 4
  • Anatomy of a Murder – 
  • Alien – 3 lots of vision to make it a Movie
  • Casablanca – 5

Not listed: news, magazines, newspapers, podcasts, and Twitter FAKENEWS

Everything old is new again. No, wait. There’s nothing new.

I was just thinking about how terrible of a person I was for no longer doing long-form posts, having Deep Thoughts, linking to articles (let alone quoting or dissecting in a scholarly-yet-aggressively-unacceptable way) and such. You know, like we used to do in the old days.

Then I remembered that writing is hard and no one reads anymore. Not just books or newspapers, but anything longer than 140ish characters or so. And writing them is even harder than reading them. And then I made myself feel better by looking back at my early posts circa 2002 and realizing they were little better than tweets then anyway (the 2003-6 period is my heyday of long-form, fueled by general life dissatisfaction, ample time, and the outrages of the worst president in US history).

It was then that I realized – this domain is a fuckin teenager now – I’ve owned this domain for more than 15 years. I wrote my own publishing/protoblogging software by hand for this site and released much of its current form more than 10 years ago. Holy shit! Holy shit… I’m old!

Now that we’ve gotten past the brunch at the old timer’s gathering, I’m going to try to do more long form topics as time (and desire) permit, but no promises. I definitely have a whole bunch of additions to the Pearls of Wisdoms/grumps section because, hey, who isn’t fucking annoyed by people with no apparent physical issues who take the elevator to go up one goddamn flight of stairs?!? amirite?

OK, then.

Rock On

My hammam experience

Stage 1: Chris Confit. Not too bad, bikram yoga is worse. Chill out for about 15 minutes.

Stage 2: No one expects the Inquisition! Some lady comes in with a cat o’ 9 tails and flays you. I am now scored and ready for…

Stage 3: HOLY MOTHER OF FSM! What the flippin’ hell is this?!? They turn on the steam pressure cooker and you breathe 130F moist air until you think you’ve had enough. Then they turn it on again. I am now nicely tenderized and the meat is falling off the bone.

Stagev4: the escape…

Been a while, so … feel the POWA


Love gut explosions. These strings were what I was using when The Magic Night happened (a tennis Magic Night of Sublime Awesomeness, not one of those romantic Magic Nights). Yes, I will be using this setup again.

Main: Tecnifibre Black Code @ 52
Cross: Gaucho gut @ 55

After a loooong time between breaks (winter has cramped my schedule), I broke 3 in one day. The other two looked pretty pedestrian, so no need to display.

Side note: taking off the headtape on one of the other racquets took off the graphics with it. Boo in that cheapass decals come off/aren’t underneath a layer of lacquer and boo that its resale value was just trashed, but yay in that the graphics just became much less embarrassing. Don’t quite know how to feel about that one.

I don’t know if I would go that far

Yeah, the aughts have sucked donkey dong, and here’s TIME with The 10 Worst Things About the Worst Decade Ever … but I’m pretty sure 1929-1939 was far worse than what we’ve gone through lately.

The TIME piece is, however, more evidence that we’re the biggest collection of whiny ass babies in our country’s history though. So we’ve got that going for us.

Musings on Muse

Is there any current band with a bigger disparity between awesomeness of the music and craptacularity of the vocals & lyrics than Muse? They’re Queen 2.0.

I thought they were going to be a what-if-Kid-A-never-happened version of Radiohead, but instead appear to be closer to Rent fans who happen to have an electric guitar handy.

WWL – Maryhill Winemaker’s Red 2006


Maryhill Winemaker’s Red 2006. ~$15

Well rounded blend of reds, the resulting wine was full, smooth, and tasty. Not too acidic or harsh, it was a perfect compliment to salad and marinara pasta. It was a complex flavor without being overbearing, without any real variation in sensation from early taste to aftertaste.

Andy Murray

This is old, but here’s some great tennis:

I fully enjoy both Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal (who, along with Federer, are my favorite 3 to watch), but the player I most enjoy is Murray. His court movement is fantastic (it’s better now than in the video above), his 2-handed backhand is the best I’ve seen, and as you can see in the above clip, his down the line forehand is monstrous. Plus, I think Murray and Fed are the best strategists currently on tour (watch the above when Murray starts throwing in soft shots amongst all the pace), which is fun to watch and think about. Like a great jazz soloist or chess champion, it becomes apparent down the road what the setup was all along. Fed has better technical footwork, but Murray glides … like a dancer. There’s a grace there you don’t see often. I’m absolutely jealous of Murray’s footwork. And backhand. And talent.

Here’s their 2008 US Open match (Murray won). Watch Murray’s footwork:

Watch Murray’s movement, court coverage, and return of serve preparation – all way above where they were a year before. He’s still improving and will be, I think, the next new #1 player in the game (Fed may retake it again, I don’t see Rafa having a multi-year stranglehold on the spot, and I don’t see Djokivic in the top 3). Unlike Rafa, Murray’s serve is a strength (Rafa’s is merely adequate), which is a great help on hard courts and non-2008 Wimbledon (which was slower than in previous years, to Rafa’s benefit and Federer’s detriment). As a side bonus, unlike Rafa, you can actually learn from and attempt to emulate Murray’s technique.

Rafa’s one of those singularities – an inimitable freak of nature (among other things, he’s actually a righty who plays lefty). He’s all energy and enthusiasm and fun, and he’s no slouch in the strategy department, but to-date he’s never really had to strategize as his sheer physical skills and refusal to give up on any point keep him matches that could be a bit shorter if he thought ahead a couple more moves. I think he’s a great player, but until he gets a better serve he’ll be limited in success on hard courts. He seems like a really genuine, nice guy … with OCD, some mania, and a supreme focus on tennis.

Federer is, of course, amazing and probably the best player of all time. But that’s for another day. Or another writer.

Back to Murray. Here he is practicing groundies – notice the footwork and the pace even when he’s just practicing. That he probably has 6″ precision throughout is standard for the good pros, but still a sight to behold for someone like me. Good times.

Last Chance to Get it Right


This entire aughts have been a rough, not so very good happy fun sexy time for most. So you know what that means, bitches – time to turn this decade around and rescue its reputation by having a majorly kickass year.

Get to it.