What It Is: 7/27/09

What I’m reading: I finished A Drifting Life, and started Edwin Mullhouse, which came up in last week’s 0-fer post.

What I’m listening to: I had Underworld Day at my office last week. That kept everyone away.

What I’m watching: Things Change, Napoleon Dynamite, Get Shorty, some Arrested Development, and the second-to-last episode of this season of The Deadliest Catch.

What I’m drinking: Juniper Green, another one of my snooty-ass highbrow gins.

What Rufus is up to: Another grey-hike, a bath. We were considering taking care of the latter this weekend, and his decision during the former to start tromping through muddy puddles sealed the deal.

Where I’m going: Scotch-Bowl night this Saturday! It’s a big benefit evening for our greyhound rescue group. I get to show off my dainty wrists by weakly flinging a bowling ball. Joy!

What I’m happy about: That Rickey Henderson’s Hall of Fame induction speech was as entertaining as I’d hoped.

What I’m sad about: Having to revise my opinion that Fight Club was 2/3rds of a good movie before going off the rails. Upon review, it’s turn-for-the-bad takes place almost exactly at the halfway point.

What I’m worried about: That you guys will get get mad if I use bit.ly URLs instead of the original URLs for Unrequired Reading links. Let me know if that would bother you. That is, do you roll over my links and see where they point before you click through? If you do, then my converting over to bit.ly would be a problem.

What I’m pondering: Whether the process of re-scanning all my books for Delicious Library will lead to my chucking at least 100 more of them into the “I’ll never read this in my lifetime” pile.

The B.S. Report

I’m too giddy with anticipation of Rickey Henderson’s Hall of Fame induction speech to do any real blogging this weekend, dear readers! I know it’s too much to hope that he’ll deliver his speech in the third person, but chances are it’ll be a memorable speech (not as awesome as Ozzie Smith’s, but hey).

To tide you over, I offer up a post from fellow St. John’s alum Bourgeois Surrender. A few weeks ago in Unrequired Reading, I linked to Fired from the Canon, about “canonical” books that don’t deserve that status. I was too busy to write about the list and the comments, but it turns out that B.S. ruminated on the topic for a bit and offered up his takes on the books mentioned there. I liked his exploration of Absalom, Absalom!, a book I really need to read again. (He closes with some thoughts on National Geographic and Children of Paradise, but those are entertaining too.)

* * *

In honor of this evening’s fine dining experience — I’m taking Amy to Chef’s Table, a wonderful French restaurant here in NJ — I’ll also link to Bourgeois Surrender’s take on fine dining.

I think he may be conflating Really Amazing Restaurants with Very Formal Restaurants, but I can understand where he’s coming from. Thanks to years of business travel, I’ve learned to appreciate Really Amazing Restaurants, even when they’re a little pricey.

Two years ago, I met up with my pal Elayne at Otto, the Mario Batali pizza restaurant near Washington Square. During our meander after (she was chaperoning two teenagers who were in town to see a Korn concert at South Street Seaport), she mentioned another Batali restaurant, Babbo. She mentioned that Babbo was so expensive, she felt it wouldn’t be right to eat there. She’s progressive, politically speaking.

As is my wont, all I could do is quote from Miller’s Crossing: “You’re missing out on a complete life.”

(While our recent meal at Batali’s Del Posto with some food-blogger friends of Amy’s was nothing to write home about, it was the single best service-experience I’ve ever had in a restaurant. The wait-staff was mind-bendingly good.)

When my brother and his family were visiting last month, he told me that a friend of his from college had recently gotten hitched. The bachelor party took place in Las Vegas and the bill for one dinner of 20 patrons came out to $6,000. I said, “Yeah? That’s $300 each. If you’re buying wine or booze, you can hit that number in no time.”

I think he was a little shocked at my blitheness. It’s not that I go out and spend that sort of cash on meals, but I’ve been out with clients to good restaurants and peeked at the check before my boss picks it up.

That said, my brother’s circumstances and fine dining opportunities are different than mine. He has two children and doesn’t drink. Our lives sure have diverged over the years.

All of which is my roundabout way of saying, people shouldn’t splurge on fancy meals when they can’t pay their bills, but sometimes an expensive meal is worth it. (And I can understand how working people with children would be averse to this sorta thing.)

Now go read some Bourgeois Surrender!

Today, I am the greatest!

Later today, the MLB 2009 Hall of Fame class will be announced, and Rickey Henderson will likely have the most votes of anyone in nearly 10 years. I’m sure pre-steroid Barry Bonds would beg to differ, but I think Rickey’s the greatest player I’ve ever seen. I’d love to see him give a 2-hour induction speech in which he lobbies to get on an major league roster for the upcoming season.