John Scholvin

John Scholvin

still can’t fit a half-stack in the trunk

22 Nov 2020

sunday seven 20201122

I confess I’m feeling something like writer’s block lately. Not because I don’t have ideas I want to explore, but because I find myself overwhelmed by the political and epidemiological crises that are unfolding around us. My thoughts about those matters are unfocused, and seem to be centered in the lower, more ancient parts of my brain. You can get better takes from people who aren’t locked in fight-or-flight mode. And to talk about literally anything else in this moment feels foolish. Like, nobody wants to hear you bitch about the days getting shorter when the Enlightenment is dying in real time. Regardless, I’m tackling this Sunday Seven with a fake-it-til-I-make-it mentality. Let’s see if I get there.1

The image above is really cool. I am not sure exactly how his algorithm works, but this guy Oscar crunches a bunch of numbers every week based on every FBS (née Division I) football games’ outcomes and comes up with a power ranking based on strength of schedule and presumably some other stuff. Lots of people do this and have been doing it forever, but 1) this guy’s graphics are boss and 2) he’s got Northwestern at #2 in his rankings and who am I to argue with that.

I generally prefer American and Scotch whiskeys over Irish—a sacrilege against my heritage—but I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of this today, just for the name. It’s quite good! Sweeter and less medicinal than a lot of its competitors. And while we’re talking about the Irish, my favorite poem of all time just turned 100. Timeless perfection, it’s every bit as relevant today as it was when the last pandemic burned across the planet, and when democracy was last mortally imperiled. Here’s McNulty reading it as perhaps only a kinsman could. What rough beast, indeed.

Those of you consuming this via email may be noticing a brand new look and feel. I had a slow week last week, so I was able to spend some quality time with a template for responsive HTML emaill. I don’t have a lot of clients to choose from in testing, so if you got this via email and you use something crazy like an Android phone or a Microsoft product, let me know how it looks. Welcome to the beta program.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why I spend all this time chopping up other people’s open source and hunting down services to block spammers from signing up for my list, all when perfectly fine (and free) services like Mailchimp, Substack, and Medium already fill that space, that’s something I’m working on expounding on, too, when (if) the block lifts. It boils down to that ancient idea that if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product. And in the online “self-“publishing world, it’s not the writer who’s the product, it’s the reader. So I home brew. For you. More to come.2

I know my pessimistic stance is often hard for others to take. It’s exhausting and corrosive even to me, the owner of these thoughts, and I can only imagine how they come across to an outside observer. But sometimes I forget myself. You’d think someone this paralyzingly self-aware would do better there. Inevitably, though, I remember. And then I shut the fuck up about it for a while, or take it somewhere else and wax elliptically about it.

Free business idea: manufacture and distribute artisanal eggnog to grocers in Illinois. The only choices in the stores here are either corn syrup based garbage from global food processors, or the excellent but unbuyable product of the region’s premiere fascist3, whose side hustle and apparent kink is getting humiliated in local elections every couple of years. Make a product as good as his, but without the authoritarian stink. (I’m not even going to debate you if you think eggnog is gross. That’s because you’ve never had the good stuff. I will die on this hill, and you’ll die without knowing one of the season’s great pleasures.)

  1. yep, made it ↩︎

  2. another bug I have to fix is the need to change the subject from “sunday seven” because otherwise this post picked up all the tags from all previous posts with the same title. This will be hard to fix, because the guy who runs the Hugo support forum is a penis, and I’ll have to figure this out myself by digging through a bunch of code in a language I don’t really know. ↩︎

  3. yeah, no link—fuck him. If you know you know, and if you don’t, you win. ↩︎