Robin Hood redux

I’m very pleased to have “Class War in the Time of Robin Hood” selected for the Clichés of Progressivism collection:

Cliché #49
“People Love the Robin Hood Story Because He Took from the Rich to Give to the Poor”

Look for the book later this year.

a PDF is not an ebook

Ceci n'est pas un ebook.On the Invisible Order blog, my beloved missus explains why a PDF is not an ebook, despite what the advertising may claim.

Here’s my summary:

It’s not an ebook if you can’t read it on your iPhone.

She also explains why there is no automated process for converting PDF files to ebooks. (And there won’t be, until artificial intelligence improves significantly.)

For the full story, read her post.

construction set

Last night, Benjamin and I came home from Lowe’s and got to work on the simpler version of this instructable:

PVC Pipe Multi Toy – Absolutely Simple

I cut the pieces, and Benjamin began to assemble the toys.

Here’s what he has built already:

Here is what he has yet to build:

If you already have a way to cut PVC pipe, this great construction set should cost less than $10.

(Now to figure out how to make modular wheels for the less-simple version of the construction set.)

misty gate

Hm. “Misty Gate” sounds a bit like the stage name of an “adult film” actress, but it’s the best name I could come up with for this device:

I spent my bachelor week fixing and building things, trying to balance my online billable hours with offline nonbillable handiwork. One project I took on was this PVC construction from Instructables:

KidWash 2 : PVC Sprinkler Water Toy

In the photos above, Benjamin, just returned from a 9-hour drive after a week away from home, decides he wants to play in the mist with all his clothes on. I call that a success.

how to play marbles

Figure 1

Benjamin and I are learning to play marbles. It’s more fun than I’d have thought.

I love these images from

Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9

a tour of the Mises Academy

the art of leftovers

Back in the early days of my two-year stint as a househusband, I asked my friend, Ant Johnston, for any recipes he’d recommend for a culinary beginner like me.

Ant, in one of his many professional incarnations, used to be a restaurant cook. He recommended stuffed chicken breasts:

You butterfly cut a chicken breast (see this YouTube video if you don’t know what that means), stuff it with baby spinach, mozzarella, and prosciutto, tie the whole thing closed with butcher’s string (I made the mistake of looking for such a thing at a butcher shop; turns you can buy it at the hardware store!), and

Put all that in the oven at 425 for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes […] drop the heat to 350. Leave it in the oven till it’s done.

One thing to note is that if the pan starts to dry up, you should add some white wine or water to it to keep things moist. In fact, I’d even say cover the pan the first 35 minutes, and then uncover it after that. Just keep poking your head in the oven every 8-10 minutes (no sooner or the heat won’t stay stable in the oven)

(Yes, in fact, I do log all my instant-message conversations.)

The result is delicious, especially served on a bed of baby spinach, but what I really love are the leftovers. The next day, take the cold stuffed chicken breast out of the fridge, cut it up into little pieces, and make it into a fancy chicken salad, rolled in a warm tortilla for a quick chicken wrap.

The other night, my wife decided to make Ant’s recipe for dinner, and the next day I tried something new for the chicken-wrap phase: when we splurge and buy sushi for dinner, we always buy extra wasabi and extra ginger, because the amount that automatically comes with the sushi isn’t enough for our tastes. But the extra is always too much and it ends up sitting in the refrigerator for months and months. By the time we eat sushi again, we buy new wasabi because the old stuff is all dried out. But I thought it might mix well with mayonnaise to make our own wasabi mayo. A lot of old wasabi mixed with a little mayonnaise makes a surprisingly mild (but delicious) wasabi mayo, and that combined with the fancy cut-up chicken leftovers makes an intense chicken wrap.

I highly recommend it.

like finding the ictus

If you are inclined to buy this beautiful bow tie from…

…you may find this video, created by a certain Misesian, helpful:

Jeffrey Tucker put that together not as part of his Austrian-school life but as part of his sacred-music life. So don’t feel too bad if you don’t know the meaning of ictus:

(No, he is not suggesting you find the “stroke or seizure.” Stick with definition #1.)

what to do when your editor is on holiday

For the sake of the premise, I’ll pretend I’m not working this Thanksgiving day. Another part of the premise is that you are a writer without access to an editor. From the blog “Adventures in Editing,” here are 3 Tips for Editing Your Own Work:*

Editing your own writing is never easy; that’s why some people pay me to do it for them. But if you have a firm grasp on the basics of spelling and grammar, you’re not intimidated by dictionaries and style guides, and you’re willing to take the time to actually edit rather than “read-it-real-fast-one-time-and-hope-I-catch-everything,” you can make a significant difference in the quality of your writing.

Here are three methods I use to edit my work. These tips will help you approach your work with fresh eyes and a new perspective, which is exactly what you need to catch mistakes in your writing.

1. Set it aside.
Don’t write your last word and then go right back to page one and begin editing. Set the work aside for as long as you reasonably can. Hopefully you will be able to wait at least twenty-four hours. If you can wait a week or a month, do it. Even if you can only take an hour, do it. Go for a walk, do a load of laundry, watch a movie. When you come back and sit down to edit you’ll see your work with new eyes and catch errors you might have missed otherwise.

2. Read it out loud.
This trick is especially useful for catching any awkward phrasing. If you’re reading merrily along and suddenly your tongue is twisted, you may have some rewriting to do. Reading aloud can also help you spot repetitious passages and bland sentence structure.

3. Make it look different.
This is especially useful if you’ve already made one or two editing passes and you want to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Print the document out if you can. Errors you might miss on the computer screen will jump out from a printed page. If you can’t print your 300-page novel, try changing the font and/or font size (or even the color) and then edit on screen. Change the page size. Change the margins. Altering the appearance will give you fresh eyes for the document and help you see errors you hadn’t noticed before.

When editing your own work, anything you can do to approach things from a fresh perspective will help you. Try these tips, and please share any of your own favorite methods.

Write on!

* Chicago tells us not to use complete titles the way I just did:

8.185 Title not interchangeable with subject

The title of a work should not be used to stand for the subject of a work.

Dostoevsky wrote a book about crime and punishment. (Not . . . about Crime and Punishment)

Edward Wasiolek’s book on Crime and Punishment is titled “Crime and Punishment” and the Critics.

In their book The Craft of Translation, Biguenet and Schulte . . . (Not In discussing The Craft of Translation, Biguenet and Schulte . . .)

But I don’t like that rule.

match rocket

My match rockets have not been nearly as successful as my paperclip trebuchet.

Medieval warcraft: 1; modern rocket science: 0.