Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

In which I attempt to unfold my somewhat odd arms-length relationship with pro football. College football has never really done much for me, though I did feel like the OSU-Michigan game was a bit of home while I was living in South Carolina. It’s NFL week 2, and I find myself wondering what the games are this week even though I probably won’t pay all that much attention to them while they’re on.

I am a man of no team, which makes me an oddball. It’s relevant that I grew up a Cleveland Browns fan in the 80’s, hanging on all the last-second outcomes of the Cardiac Kids. It’s partly a reaction to the emotional trauma of The Drive and The Fumble. (Note, by the way, how much better Wikipedia is at documenting trauma than joy. Best thing in Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch is his realization that fandom is inherently about pain). It’s partly about Bill Belichick dismantling that team as part of his first step toward becoming what he is now. It’s partly about fraking Art Modell. All of this pain is twenty years old, but I still feel it.

I like watching long spirals, and the unfolding of blocking schemes, and a well-run West Coast offense. I like fingertip catches and open-field tackles, and the two-minute drill.

I am not a fan of hype or manufactured drama or advertising which plays on people’s obsessions to sell crap or weirdly frenetic graphical sidebars which purport to provide information but which actually just draw attention away from the game. I’m looking at you, Fox, with your bizarre football robots.

Must be time to check the broadcast map and see what’s on in my TV region.

Ebooks are a mess

Was reading Tim O’Reilly’s comment that ebooks, especially EPUB ones, are essentially web pages which have been locked away from the web. I wish they would just converge already so there will be some findable authoritative editions. My own experience of ebooks lately has been about pain, largely to do with bad metadata. Two projects this week: looking for Thomas Hobbes’ translation of Thucydides, and looking for a copy of the Koran.

Hobbes’ translation was done in the 17th century. It’s definitely out of copyright. There’s a version in Early English Books Online, which I try not to use because I’m offended that it’s so expensive that only about two dozen libraries in the country can afford it. There’s a version at the Online Library of Liberty, which looks to have been directly ripped from someone else’s scan and completely conceals where it comes from. Google Books has part of it, volume eight of Hobbes’ complete works, but I spent half an hour trying to figure out whether they had volume nine. There’s also an 1823 edition, but they’ve maddeningly regularized the spelling. Also, I can have a PDF or I can have EPUB based on an annoyingly bad OCR job. Internet Archive seems to have it, but again I can’t tell whether they have all of it or not. Elapsed time: forty-five minutes. Kindle edition, elapsed time fourteen seconds. Except that it’s the same version in Google Books.

Failing OCR, which doesn’t work terribly well on older books, I need to be able to put the details of particular editions into my searches and have them work. A little help here?