Archive for the “Miscellany” Category

David Brooks, throughout his long history as a pundit, consistently seems to love drawing sweeping generalizations from just a handful of anecdotal examples. Sometimes even just one. In his latest column, he’s resorted to using an imaginary one. Brooks retells the fable of the ant and the grasshopper through an imaginary middle-American voter he calls Continue reading →

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At last, the grand finale! Over the course of several previous installments (all linked below), diligent effort and careful reasoning have allowed us to structure a timeline of all 60 cases in the Sherlock Holmes canon, to a degree of precision of at least a month or season and a likely year even for the Continue reading →

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At this point we have very nearly completed our chronology of the Sherlock Holmes Canon. We have spanned his entire career, from his earliest investigations through his disappearance and return to his retirement and beyond. We have determined along the way that his colleague and biographer Dr. Watson married twice, once in 1888 (to Mary Continue reading →

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We have reached the midway point of our chronological project, having dated and arranged all the cases of Sherlock Holmes prior to his apparent death in the spring of 1891. The time has come to turn our attention to the later part of his career. Thirty-two adventures of Holmes (novels aside) were published between 1903 Continue reading →

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In the endeavor to derive a comprehensive Sherlock Holmes chronology, we have at the outset resolved (to my satisfaction, at any rate) the question of the number of Watson’s marriages through a judicious application of Occam’s Razor. This has allowed us to set up a framework that covers the cases published up through the Great Continue reading →

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So, the project is this: to construct a reliable, chronological reading order for the Sherlock Holmes canon, as written by Dr. Watson. The goal is clear: to glean a more complete and robust sense of the life of the Great Detective, and of his friend and colleague, than afforded by any single tale. The methodology Continue reading →

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Sherlock Holmes has been much in the public eye of late, thanks to the big-budget Hollywood movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. (And it’s an enjoyable picture; if the overall style is a bit too frenetic and overblown, and a few obvious liberties are taken with the source material, still the filmmakers at Continue reading →

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Open sewers run through the streets. Disease is rampant, up to and including recurring outbreaks of the plague. Criminals are routinely castrated, disemboweled, and hacked to pieces in public executions. The rotting heads of political enemies are mounted on public gates. The bloody torture of animals is a popular form of entertainment. Wretched poverty is commonplace. Literacy Continue reading →

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The Chicago Reader is a local institution. It dates back to 1971, one of the oldest free weekly papers in the country (preceded by the Village Voice and perhaps one or two others). And it’s been near and dear to my heart since I first moved to Chicago in the mid ’80s. It always provided a Continue reading →

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In my personal opinion, naturally. YMMV. If this were in any way authoritative, it would have been carved in stone by a finger of flame. But I have been pondering, of late, the sort of things I like to read and watch, and I find myself mulling over some commonalities. There seem to be four Continue reading →

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