Category Archives: endorsements

What It’s Like

“A good writer needs to know what it’s like, and ‘it’ can be just about anything. We have far too many writers today who have never ridden a horse, or fired a gun, or sharpened a knife, or fought with their fists, or been shot at. And so on and so on. They are like those professors who get a Ph.D. and a job teaching. Clearly nobody can try everything, but it’s possible to try a lot. I’ve sailed on a small boat, for example.  Also a troopship, and a luxury liner.  I’ve been a waiter, worked in a factory, and flown in a light plane. (No, I was not the pilot, but I wish I had been.)”

Gene Wolfe

Scarecrow Video

This is the video store I went to as a teenager, which, come to think of it, explains a lot about me.

Say No to Troll

Over at Slate, Farhad Manjoo — in between trying on awesome sweatshirtsargues against the reflexive labeling of anything and everything one happens to disagree with as “trolling.” This is something I’ve noticed more and more of recently too. It’s time to squash it. Things have really started to get out of hand. Heck, there’s even a term for people wanting to tar arguments they agree with: “concern trolling.”

But, Manjoo asks, “What if all these people aren’t trolls? What if they’re just, you know, disagreeable or stupid or merely wrong? What if, despite holding opinions that you don’t like, and despite expressing those opinions in a manner that seems a tad impolite, they came by their views honestly?”

He continues: “I think it’s time we took back troll. Let’s reserve the term to refer to people who are being actual nuisances. To apply it to punditry is to dilute it of all meaning — and, in an odd way, it also ascribes unnecessary genius to people who might just be misguided.”

Hear, hear.

Help me, would you?

Final Exam Prank Idea

Via Charles Shields’s And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life comes this great prank idea from Kurt Vonnegut:

He came up with a prank to ridicule his classmates’ angst over grades. Taking a seat for a final exam at midyear in a class he wasn’t registered for, he waited until everyone was deep into the test. Then with a groan of disgust, he ripped the exam to shreds, stalked up the aisle, and tossed the pieces of paper into the astonished instructor’s face, storming out the classroom door. It started a fad among the student body that lasted a few semesters.

It’s getting to be final exam time, and though teacherly propriety prevents me from endorsing this prank outright, I do sort of think it would be cool if it caught on.

Repair Your Own Jeans


The white patch thing is one of Vlieseline’s many iron-on interfacings but I’m not sure which one.  More information — including a link to order a free repair kit — can be found at the Nudie Jeans website.

Jeans, like leaves in the fall, are at their most beautiful just before they disintegrate. This guy’s got the right idea:

Carl Chiara

Buy Good Things. Own Them a Long Time.

Via The New York Times. Hat tip Put This On.

Coors

Paul Newman

This may sound absurd to anyone born after 1975, but there was actually a time when Coors – and I mean Coors, not the watered-down Silver Bullet stuff your girlfriend drank on spring break – was, bar none, beer of choice for the man’s man. Both Hud and the real-life Paul Newman loved the stuff. Tom Waits was known to knock back a few. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young swilled it while hanging out in Laurel Canyon (okay, so Nash was never quite a paragon of masculinity, but back in the day Stephen Stills was a country-blues-slinging demigod – look it up). And what did The Graduate’s Benjamin Braddock take to drinking while drifting in the pool after getting his first taste of red-hot American cougar? Coors.

—Tyler Thoreson, “Coors Original: An Appreciation” (2009)

Other famous Coors fans? Burt Reynolds, at least in Smokey and the Bandit, a movie whose McGuffin is smuggling a truckload of Coors from Texas to Georgia. Also, king-of-cool Steve McQueen, who not only loved the stuff so much he asked for it on his deathbed, but for whom the beer figured so prominently in his cosmology, a lover once described his penis as “two Coors beer cans welded together.” Then there’s singer-songwriter John Denver, baseball hall-of-famer Carl Yastrzemski, 38th President of the United States Gerald Ford, the late, great Ray Bradbury, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestial. Yes, even E.T.

Now, I realize that appealing to celebrity is a common fallacious appeal to authority, but maybe, just maybe, these (white, save for E.T.) guys knew something – at least when it comes to easy-drinking, pale, fizzy lagers in a can – the beer connoisseurs don’t.

Dean Martin

Dean Martin

Keith Richards

Keith Richards

Coors the company, it must be said, has, by some accounts, a pretty shady record, Ice Cube’s recent shilling for them notwithstanding. But that certainly doesn’t make them unique among corporations.1 Assuming products can stand on their own merit regardless of what company produced them, let it be said that I like their beer, not their (past) politics. Besides, I never pay for my Coors, I steal it.


  1. All sorts of corporations do all sorts of shady things, and while that’s not good, it doesn’t, for the most part, stop us from giving our money to them. As Adrian Woolridge notes in Masters of Management, “Philip Morris is still one of the best-performing stocks in the world. A study by the Wharton Business School … found that ‘ethical’ funds underperform the general market by 31 points a year. A study by the European Union showed that while 75 percent of consumers said they were willing to adjust their shopping habits in light of ethical and environmental considerations, only 3 percent had actually done so.” In other words, people tend to like products from companies that are evil.  ↩