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Top Twenty Top Ten Lists I've Made in the Last Month or So.

I played Hearts last night and it was fantastic. Hearts is always fantastic. Why do I play anything other than Hearts?

Related, I have a question to those of you have played a ton of Hearts. Do you think that Shooting the Moon is easier at 3p than 4p? Last night was my first time playing 3p so I could be completely wrong about this, but that was the feeling that I got.

This post is not about Hearts.

It's my blog and I'll do what I want to do to earn those unsubscribers.


A few of us at work have gone crazy with lists lately. Since this blog is no longer about tabletop games (until it is again), here's a list of lists without any further comment.

Feel free to argue with me about any of these. I'd also to see any of your own lists.


Top Ten Novels of the Last Ten Years Roughly Ranked
Treacle Walker
The Buried Giant
Anthropocene Rag
Station Eleven
Medusa’s Web
Universal Harvester
The Risen
Joan is Okay

(This is the list that started the list-making spree. What are the ten best books of the last ten years? I feel good about the top 5. I love Treacle Walker and The Buried Giant more than most others do. Anthropocene Rag is the only genre SF that I’ve really respected from the last 10 years. Station Eleven and Homegoing are my nods to LitFic, where I’m sure there’s still good stuff being written, but I hardly ever see it if it is.The next 5 on the list I could take or leave. I’m mixed on all of them, but they came to mind as stuff to fill out the list. I wouldn’t be upset if they all disappeared. I’m somewhat interested in Franzen’s current project and will read the next novels following Crossroads. Medusa’s Web is the last Powers book I enjoyed; I haven’t really cared for any of his novels since. Universal Harvester’s mood stuck with me, but I’m not sure if there was anything there. The Risen is Rash, who I like better as a short story writer. Joan is the last LitFic novel that I read and enjoyed, though it’s not something that I think I’ll want to re-read, which should be an automatic disqualification for any list, but there it is just the same. I don’t have enough current books to fill a list of ten. The #1 takeaway from this list is that I’m not a fan of contemporary literature. I don’t read much of it. I rarely love it when I do.)

Top Ten 2000-2012 In No Particular Order
The Knights of the Cornerstone
American Gods
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
No Country for Old Men
The Name of the Wind
Wise Man’s Fear
Singularity Sky
Echo Park

(Another weird list proving that I’m not your guy if you’re interested in contemporary literature. But I can at least justify almost all of these books. Knights of the Cornerstone is my favorite Blaylock, probably not Blaylock’s best, but the one that I find the most re-readable/loveable. American Gods is a book that I’m not even sure I like, but I’ve read it three times, and think that it’s among the most important sf/f books of the past few decades. Kavalier and Clay I loved when it came out, but I’ve never returned to it. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the Armitage translation, a bit of a cheat, but it has become my favorite version. No Country for Old Men is quite good. I’ve been meaning to read older McCarthy. I also like his Sunset Limited. I have a problem with some of the MarySue-ish-ness of the Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear among other things that bug me, but… these two books are the only fantasy books that I’ve read in the last twenty years that made me feel like a little kid again, just so happy to be caught up in a giant story. It has been a long time since I’ve read Singularity Sky so I don’t even know if it’s any good, but I bring up its central “Cornucopia Machine” premise fairly often, so I know that the book has stuck with me. I should re-read it. Similarly, I remember the “mood” of Tinkers but not much else. As for Echo Park, it’s a stand-in for the entire Bosch series. I don’t remember hardly anything about any of the plots, but I burned through more than a dozen of those Bosch books in the late 00s.)


The Twentieth Century
The Ten Best Novels

The Man Who Was Thursday
The Sword in the Stone
The Little Prince
The Broken Sword
The Lord of the Rings
The Sirens of Titan
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
The Devil is Dead
The Drawing of the Dark
The Book of the New Sun

(The 20th Century is what shaped me and is still where I spent much of my time in terms of literature/arts. I had a shortlist of at least 50 books for this list. I couldn’t figure out how to narrow it down, then I stumbled onto the incredibly stupid gimmick of only listing books that began with the word ‘The’. So, yes, this list is artificial and not entirely reflective of a ‘desert island’ list, but I still think it’s a great list. All of the above are favorites and I would recommend all of the above with no reservations (or minor reservations depending on the audience.)


Top Ten Anthologies/Collections
An Anthology of Famous American Stories edited by Angus Burrell and Bennet Cerf
Great Tales of Terror & the Supernatural edited by Herbert Wise and Phyllis Fraser
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929–1964 edited by Robert Silverberg
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two A edited by Ben Bova
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B edited by Ben Bova
The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
Tales Before Tolkien edited by Douglas A. Anderson
The Rediscovery of Man edited by James A. Mann
The Man Who Talled Tales edited by The Books of Sand
The Complete Stories of Robert Louis Stevenson edited by Barry Menikoff
Bonus! The Year’s Best Science Fiction edited by Gardner Dozois (all 35 volumes)

(Confession: I have not read all of the stories in all of the above collections. But I’ve read a lot of them. And if I had to pick a collection of short story anthologies to take with me to a desert island, the above list would be 100% what I’d pick.)


Top Ten Video Games
Tower Fall
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
ToeJam & Earl
Super Mario World
Shining Force
Mario Kart
Street Fighter II Turbo

(This is a nostalgia list, but it isn’t just a nostalgia list. Video games have moved on without me. I’m not a fan of 3D worlds, first-person shooters, online play, or whatever else is popular. I mostly like my video games the same way I like my board games, played in person with other people.)


Top 10 Movies Aughts
La Moustache
The New World
Still Life
La France
No Country for Old Men
The Romance of Astrea and Celadon
There Will Be Blood
A Serious Man

(This is mostly based off of memory and a few previous lists. I would love take a few days off from work, rent a cinema, and re-watch all of these right now.)


Top 10 Movies All-Time
On the Waterfront
3:10 to Yuma
Blast of Silence
The Hustler
Minnie and Moskowitz
The Great American Chase
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Rubin & Ed
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Julien Donkey-Boy

(If the above aughts list is personal and idiosyncratic, this one is doubly so. I’ve made all-time top tens, top twenty-fives, top one hundreds, and I’ve toyed with the idea of making a top one thousand list. These ten here are all films that I’ve at one point or another used as the answer to “What is your one favorite film?” That question is even more impossible to answer than a list of ten, but all of these films (and more) are right there at the top, great for so many objective and subjective reasons.)


Top 10 TV
The Twilight Zone
Fraggle Rock
Sesame Street
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
Land of the Lost
The Outer Limits
Monty Python's Flying Circus
At the Movies
The Muppet Show
Star Trek: The Next Generation

(I miss intelligent television.)


Top 10 Hanna-Barbera Productions
Wacky Races
The Herculoids
Thundarr the Barbarian
Space Ghost and Dino Boy
Birdman and the Galaxy Trio
Hong Kong Phooey
The Pirates of Dark Water
The Smurfs
The Quick Draw McGraw Show
Scooby’s All-Star Laff-Lympics

(This was a bit of a joke list, but I stand by these choices. I haven’t re-watched most of these in years, but I did recently purchase a Herculoids blu-ray that I need to watch with the kids.)


Top 10 1950s Westerns
Johnny Guitar
River of No Return
Decision at Sundown
The Searchers
3:10 to Yuma
Night Passage
The Tall T
Terror in a Texas Town
Ride Lonesome

(It’s Chris C’s fault that I made this list. I should do an ‘all-time’ Westerns list, but I often freeze when options are too wide open. I need restrictions even if they’re self-imposed!)


1860-1968 American Recordings - Favorites
American Folksongs for Children - Mike & Peggy Seeger
The Complete Blind Willie Johnson - Blind Willie Johnson
The Complete Studio Recordings - Mississippi John Hurt
Death Chants, Breakdowns & Military Waltzes - John Fahey
Devil Got My Woman - Skip James
His Folkways Years 1963-1968 - Dock Boggs
Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes - Elizabeth Cotten
The High Lonesome Sound - Roscoe Holcomb
My Rough and Rowdy Ways - Jimmie Rodgers
This Land Is Your Land: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1 - Woody Guthrie

(My initial response to an “all-time” albums list was to just refuse to do it and instead come up with my favorite “collections” of songs, all entirely American. I love lots of world music, but I am naturally most steeped in the Anglo tradition which is reflected above. It’s a tradition that I love.)


1968-2023 American Recordings - “Concept” Albums Kinda/Sorta/Maybe - Favorites
The Voice of the Turtle - John Fahey
Zaireeka - The Flaming Lips
1st Imaginary symphony for Nomad - The Music Tapes
69 Love Songs - The Magnetic Fields
De La Soul is Dead - De La Soul
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
Surf's Up - The Beach Boys
Liquid Swords - Genius/GZA
The Gay Parade - Of Montreal
Amalgamated Sons of Rest - Amalgamated Sons of Rest

(This was an attempt to make a more honest albums list, but limiting the list to albums that I felt were doing something interesting as albums and not just as collections of songs. The Amalgamated Sons of Rest album is on there just because I needed to include Jason Molina, Will Oldham, and Alasdair Roberts and not because it’s a great album; in short, it’s what’s called “a cheat”.)


1990s - Ten Albums/EPs I Probably Listened to More Than You Did - Favorites
Deep Dead Blue - Bill Frissell & Elvis Costello (1995)
The Diamond Sea EP - Sonic Youth (1995)
Dusk - The The (1993)
Little Earthquakes - Tori Amos (1992)
Flood - They Might Be Giants (1990)
Mermaid Avenue - Billy Bragg & Wilco (1998)
The Mollusk - Ween (1997)
Ocean Songs - Dirty Three (1998)
So Tonight That I Might See - Mazzy Star (1993)
Violator - Depeche Mode (1990)

(Another list that could easily be doubled or tripled. The idea is right there in the title. I tried to pick only albums that I genuinely thought I had listened to more than anyone else who was going to see the list. And they’re all 1990s albums, when I was a young person with nothing but time, time, time.)


1990s - 11 Rap/Hip-Hop Albums - Favorites
3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of… - Arrested Development (1992)
De La Soul is Dead - De La Soul (1991)
Fear of a Black Planet - Public Enemy (1990)
Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai (Music From The Motion Picture) - RZA (1999)
Liquid Swords - Genius/GZA (1995)
The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest (1991)
Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop - Anticon (1999)
Nia - Blackalicious (1999)
Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) - Digable Planets (1993)
Return of the Boom Bap - KRS-One (1993)
The Score - The Fugees (1996)

(More 1990s. The 1990s was when I still cared about hip-hop and cared about keeping up with music at all. I’m sure there’s still good stuff out there now, and I’ve found some of it, but I’m still mostly ignorant of what’s going on, and don’t like pop stuff at all.)


Top 10 Stouts
Old Rasputin
Strike Out Stout
Old No. 38
Burly Beard
Black Chocolate Stout
Milk Stout Nitro
Founders Breakfast Stout
Dragon’s Milk

(Self-explanatory. I’m sure I forgot something.)


Top 10 Breweries
North Coast
Cooperstown (before they were bought out)
Sierra Nevada
Oskar Blues
Beer Tree



RIP Dead Beers
Cooperstown Strike Out Stout
Brooklyn Pennant Ale ‘55
Galaxy Andromeda
Rogue Chipotle Ale

(Making the above lists made me realize that there are beers that I once loved that are now completely gone while so many worse beers remain. In general, I’ve been disappointed by the last decade’s move towards higher ABV, even while enjoying those higher ABV beers myself. Really great beers like Strike Out and Pennant Ale were low ABV and just eminently drinkable any time, any place. They were favorites. Also lost to me are North Coast’s Red Seal Ale and Old 38, both of which I remember loving. They’re still being made as far as I can tell, but they haven’t had distribution around here in at least over a decade. Anyhow, I know that there are at least five more beers that I could put on a list like this, but I gave up after four because the list was too sad.)


Top Ten Moonshiners
Roscoe Holcomb
Bob Dylan
Peter Rowan
Uncle Tupelo
Cat Power
Charlie Parr
PigPen Theatre
Jesse Stewart
Molly Tuttle
Tejon Street Corner Thieves


Top Ten Fish Including Shellfish

(This was written as a response to a Top Ten Phish Songs list.)


Top Ten Games I'd Rather Play Than Hearts Right Now

(This list remains blank. What a silly thing to try to list.)
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Fri May 26, 2023 6:48 pm
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Christmas Day - "No light, but rather darkness visible / Serv’d only to discover sights of woe, / Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace / And rest can never dwell, hope never comes / That comes to all;" -JM

From gallery of trawlerman

Sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, anxiety.

It's the holiday season.

From gallery of trawlerman

That title is from Milton. Darkness Visible.

There's a single sentence in a Charles Williams novel that I've always found so chillingly true.

"He desired hell."





they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.


I can't find a YouTube version to embed, so sorry for that, but click through this link for Dan Zimmerman doing Handel, something I like a lot.

From gallery of trawlerman

From gallery of trawlerman

I've written this in advance and set it to auto-post. Some more time travel.

Let's all hope that I'm spending time with my family, maybe even playing a raucous game of Strike at just this moment. You know, actually playing games with loved ones. Instead of writing dopey posts about how hard it is to play games with loved ones. Here's to hoping that you're all doing the same, enjoying the goodness of this day and all that you've been given. Take it for gift. Take it for granted.
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Sun Dec 25, 2022 7:00 pm
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Music to help you get through your Monday.

I've been up since 3am. For reasons. A couple of hours ago, I put together a playlist to help me get through the rest of the day. I'm sharing it now just in case you too need help getting through the rest of the day. Sorry if you don't have Spotify.
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Mon Nov 22, 2021 2:33 pm
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