I feel a bit remiss about not commenting on Bobby Fischer's passing. As a bookish chess-obssessed kid, I lived for his Boy's Life chess column and, during the "Match of the Century," I was hitchhiking to and from Iowa and the Spassky/Fischer battle of wits was always a safe topic of conversation. (1972 was ground zero for the mainstream born again movement and it seemed like half the people that picked me up wanted a conversion in exchange for the ride. Thank goodness for chess!)
For many years one of my most beloved guilty pleasures has been reading George MacDonald Frasier's books. Not just the Flashman Papers, which I have found delightful and from which I have learned a lot of 19th century history, but also his McAusland novels, his Mr. American,his spirited adventure novel Candlemass Road (which, at a taut 181 pages, is one of the finest examples of economical action writing ever), and his masterful history of the Scottish boarder wars, The Steel Bonnets.
In yesterday's philippic about CES's petty annoyances, I said that I continue to be a recidivist in spite of them. The reason? Pretty much that the high-end portion of the industry remains a fascinating, personal, and essentially civilized place.
Our least trusting cat has inexplicably determined that her favorite perch in the house is on the heavily trafficked threshold between the kitchen and living room. She's training us to step lightly—and as far to the other side as possible.