“Baseball is a turn-based tactical role-playing game”

If you read The Idler, then chances are a bit better than average that you enjoy both baseball and video games. If so, you will love, love, love “The gamer’s game” from The Brainy Gamer, in which he makes the case for why video game fans should love baseball. As I did. And do.

If you are a fan of either but not both, then you should definitely go read. I’m having a hard time not quoting the whole thing, but I’ll give you one salient and juicy point:

Baseball is a 9-stage boss battle, and the pitcher is the boss. To defeat him, you must hit him repeatedly or gradually wear him down. He has strengths and weaknesses you must identify and exploit. If you can successfully guess what he’s about to cast, you can use it against him and deal damage. Near the end of the game, he may be replaced by an even stronger boss with a higher ATT, but much lower HP.

And if you don’t love either baseball or video games, um, I’m not entirely sure why I’m talking to you. But go read it anyway, just for the joy of such unexpected but well-reasoned connections between two such wildly divergent pursuits.

Angst: a love story

My original plan for this evening was to shower and then spend three hours pondering the truth of how we never know what we’ve got ‘til it’s gone. But since my hot water has yet to return since running off with its druggie boyfriend my night is suddenly free for reading and reflection. Lucky you. … Continue reading

N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk

N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk is a critically acclaimed, renegade stage show about race and racism. Sporting only three actors who reflect the “characters” in the title, and using a combination of theater, stand up and slam poetry, this smart comedy has been a runaway hit throughout the US. The New York Times has called it “A … Continue reading

Stick ’em up

The other day at the gym I looked up from my elliptical to the TV in time to catch grainy video footage of a skinny kid getting body slammed. It was sickening. I gasped in horror and was suddenly fuming with outrage over such senseless brutality. Bullying. I was so upset and could only run … Continue reading

In which I cannot contain myself any longer

Sure, it’s still barely above freezing in Michigan. And, yes, were I still in high school (and not just the same height I was in high school) we’d be taking grounders off the basketball court because no one practices outside in this bullshit weather. But it’s sunny. Clete Thomas has been sent back to the … Continue reading

Clearly, the time was right

For all you Final Fantasy junkies, just as the Gamers’ Club playthough of Final Fantasy VII has wrapped up, Kirk Hamilton and Leigh Alexander at Paste are working on a playthrough of their own. You can check it out at http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2011/03/the-final-fantasy-vii-letters-part-1-welcome-to-mi.html

And just in case you need to catch up (or want to compare and contrast), The Gamer’s Club FFVII playthrough got started here, here, and here, and a full archive is available here.

Broiler alert: salmon


I hate to admit it, but all this cooking I’ve done in the name of The F Word means that I’ve advanced. I don’t know that I can call myself a novice anymore. This doesn’t mean I’m going to start making soufflés (but ooh, soufflés) or lecturing you about the best kinds of olive oil. … Continue reading

March 21-26, 2011

Teal Amthor-Shaffer digs through her stuff, and tries to figure out how relationships so often embed themselves in objects, and how we decide which to hold on to and which to throw away. Read “Souvenirs”

Mike Vincent meditates on mortality and Polly Jean Harvey in “Stuck”

Darwin Carmichael is a long way from being right with the universe. This is bad news for him, but great news for us. Also, he has an awesome magic cat (manticore). Read Kate Sloan’s “Darwin Carmichael is karmically fkd, you guys”

The Gamers’ Club finishes Final Fantasy VII. Read “Now that’s an ending” by Gavin Craig, “The end” by Daniel J. Hogan, and “It is finished” by Andrew Simone

Kevin Mattison was never one for sports. Not playing them, anyway. In real life. Watching them is an entirely different matter, and apparently he’s not alone, as the best sport video games seem to put as much attention into simulating the experience of a broadcast game as in the mechanics of play itself. Read “Prime time presentation”

Ana Holguin takes a look at America’s newest touring comedy sensation, Charlie Sheen, and she’s not sure that she sees anything funny. Read “On winning and losing it”

In Jim Leyland, Angela Vasquez-Giroux finally finds an echo of the men who made her fall in love with baseball: Lance Parish, her father, and her abuelito. Read “Why I watch baseball, or, falling in love with Jim Leyland”

What happens when meeting your exercise goal doesn’t do what you thought it was going to do? Lindsey Malta tries to figure it out in “Eight weeks to nowhere”

Jill Kolongowski takes a look at American food disfunction, and her own struggles with the time and effort involved in putting together a real meal, and offers that a nap could help. Read “How we are hungry”


The sun is setting in France, sherbet melting down the trees. You tell me about this, describing Rouen, the fresh scallops you sautéed for dinner, all of the little dogs you’ve seen waiting patiently for their owners outside of cafés. And I place you, face down, on my bed. Photograph by photograph, pulled from the … Continue reading


Sometimes we let our guard down. Sometimes a glimmer gets in through a crack and everything changes. Happens to all of us, it has to. I know it happens to me. Not quite as much as I would like, but it happens. Happened recently, the other afternoon in fact. And it has left me not … Continue reading