The answering of the questions continues. As Samuel L. Jackson said in Jurassic Park, "Hold onto your butts!"
Local activist Christopher Byrd asks:
Barring a cataclysmic event, would you be interested in being a judge at next year's Buffalo's Best Pierogi Contest?
Wow, that sounds fun! I know next to nothing about pierogi, so I hope I don't have to talk like some pompous-arsed foodie -- "I find the flavor profile of this one particularly fine, the interplay between the duck spleen and the Jamaican garlic." Let me know how this works!
Reader Josh asks:
What's your opinion of the work of T. H. White?
I only know White by one book, The Once and Future King. I love that book dearly and am probably due for a re-read. It's one of the finest treatments of the Arthurian legend ever written, and it is full of wonderful, beautifully poetic prose, with what may be the most gorgeous closing paragraphs I've ever read in any book. Other than that book, though, I'm entirely unfamiliar with White. Any recommendations?
Roger, who always asks a ton of questions, has one very pressing one among all the rest (to which I'll get in posts to come):
Who is going to win the NL Central? And will the Pirates, who have the best record in baseball at this moment, FINALLY have a winning season, first since 1992?
Longtime readers know that when I was a much more of an active baseball fan than I am now (my baseball interest is basically on life-support), my team was the Pittsburgh Pirates. I inherited this fandom from my father, and during their last run of success -- 1990 to 1992 -- he and I had some pretty nice bonding experiences watching Pirates games at local taverns. Alas, after 1992 and a money-induced purging of the roster, the Pirates went into a period of rebuilding, which failed. So they started rebuilding again in 1996 or so, and that one failed. And so on and so on, to the point where the Pirates have literally not had a team finish the season with a winning record -- minimum, 82 wins -- since 1992. Twenty years. That's not only a baseball record, it might well be a record for all sports.
The last couple years, the Pirates have started out well each year, giving the impression that maybe that was the year, but each time, they faltered badly down the back half of the season to still end up losing more than they won. This year, however, they've been consistently good for just about the entire year (after a slow couple weeks to start out). So, as of right now, this writing, their record is 74-52. They are 22 games over .500, and more importantly, in order for them to finish this year with a losing record, they would have to lose 30 games before they manage to win 8. (Well, technically 7, since a record of 81-81 is neither winning nor losing.) That would be a collapse for the ages. The sports poets would sing of that for generations to come. So, I feel somewhat confident in saying Yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates will finish the year with a winning record.
Now, as for their division...that's tougher. The Pirates currently own a one-game lead in the NL Central, over the St. Louis Cardinals. That's mostly on the strength of their pitching, which has been excellent this year. But I always have a hard time picking against experienced teams like the Cardinals. They've been in the playoffs nine times since 2000, and they were World Series champions just two years ago. I'd love to pick the Pirates, but I tend to be of the mindset that you don't pick against the defending champ until someone beats 'em. So my pick has to be the Cardinals.
I have a Twitter bet with a Braves fan, by the way: if the Braves and Pirates meet in the postseason, the fan of the team that loses has to post ten positive tweets about the team that wins. I'll have to say ten nice things about the Braves, who were, once upon a time, my baseball equivalent of the New England Patriots. Wow. How do I get myself into this stuff?
All for now! The answers shall continue!