Mildly Malevolent

"So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information." --George Orwell

"Anbody can make history. Only a great man can write it."--Oscar Wilde

contact info:

ecohn-at-uchicago-dot-edu

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Thursday, May 08, 2003

I wonder if there's anyone who actually finds this Onion article funny. It just seems too plausible... Or, rather, it seems too plausible to be amusing, and is lacking the mixture of plausibility and implausibility that good satire needs.

(Yes, I realize that it's kind of lame to cite random Onion articles and their hilarity or lack thereof. But I feel a profound need to procrastinate at the moment.)

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

A little over a week ago, the University of Chicago won the CBI national championship. Two things that amused me:

a) Three of the four teams competing in the tournament's double-elimination playoffs were captained by former members of the Swarthmore college bowl team. I'd like to think that this is a sign of my alma mater's greatness as a quizbowl program, but I'm afraid it's really just evidence of CBI's decline among the three main quizbowl formats.

b) One of our four losses was to the eleventh-place University of Delaware, which defeated the first- and third-place teams but lost to the last-place team, Montana State. That should tell you something about the questions.

Don't interpret that last comment as an all-out slam on CBI, though. I don't share the company's view of quizbowl, but I actually think that when you take into consideration the goals of the organizers, the CBI NCT was the best-edited of the three national championships in QB. My biggest problem with CBI isn't the questions (as much as I dislike them): it's the way that some CBI officials treat players like junior high kids. But that's a subject I don't really want to go into.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

It feels kind of strange, now that my days as a quizbowl player are finally over. Around six o'clock yesterday, we finished hosting our junior bird, which was my last function as an active member of the Chicago team. (Well, I guess there's the end-of-year party, but I'm not sure that counts.) I'm not going to say that I've "retired" from the game, partly because that phrase always seems kind of pompous to me and partly because I could conceivably play in another tournament for Chicago sometime, but my days as an active player are now over. Not that I'm disappearing entirely: I'll come by practice, do some writing and editing for NAQT, help out at Chicago tournaments, and play in the Chicago Open. But I don't think I'll play in another non-masters tournament.

Don't be shocked if this blog becomes the home to a series of self-indulgent musings about quizbowl over the next couple weeks. Then again, given my sorry record at updating this blog, you shouldn't be shocked if I never write another blog entry again. Life is full of uncertainty!