20 January 2010


Reading Diary: The Final Four of Everything

You might not agree that Paul Newman's best role was in Absence of Malice, or that Mary Tyler Moore is the greatest American named Mary--ever! Or that Crunch Berries is the best breakfast cereal or that Mark Twain had the best pseudonym and that a brew from Louisiana named Turbodog is America's best beer. Or that Maine has the most stylish license plate and "This Land Is Your Land" is the best choice to replace our current national anthem. Or that 1941 was the greatest sports year . . . or that Scrabble is a better board game than Monopoly.

If you regard any of the above opinions as fighting words, then you're already enjoying this book in the way we intended . . .

(Oooooh, fighting words! I just love fighting words!)

Brackets are arrogantly beautiful--and they should be. They're lists with an aggressive edge, and all lists are naturally lovely. To think in lists is already poetic, but to think in brackets is to understand that all the entries on the same list don't have to get along with each other, and is therefore both poetic and political.

Keeping with the poetry analogies, if the Top 5 List is an acrostic, then a Tournament Bracket is a villanelle. Both of them are also centos! (Hmmmm. Which would you rather read: Top 5 Forms of Poetry or a Poetry Bracket Smackdown?) I love poems, lists and brackets alike because they let a writer take the pieces of the universe and put them together in new ways. They are variations in a game of synthesis, for which Shredded Cheddar shall be my personal virtual play area.

This image gets half its power from those brackets in the background.

Notice the way they make it seem as if
Daniel-san is going to get it in the solar plexus.

What a complex and excellent visual!
I like director John Avildsen more and more everyday.

The first thing I learned about brackets is that you need a square of 2 to build them. (I hope I'm using the right mathematical terminology!) That is, you have to start with 4 or 8 or 16 or 32 (or even more, if you dare!) in order to work your way down to a final winner. These numbers ensure that every entry on the list will be able to go head to head with another entry in every round.

Compiling Top 5 Lists is tough enough, so I originally thought I'd do a warm-up bracket of 8 entries.

Then I ended up doing a full 32: Sancta Sanctis Sidebar Smackdown.

(Yes, you'll have to click on the link to see the "tournament." No, I can't draw proper brackets on my blogs.)

That Abbey-Roads emerged the winner surprised me only a little. I think that if I had to choose between Abbey-Roads and Sancta Sanctis, I'd still choose Abbey-Roads.


1) Since I actually had more than forty blogs on the Sancta Sanctis sidebar, I ended up deleting some. I started with the retired blogs, those that are rarely updated, and those I rarely visit anyway. I continued the ruthless culling--occasionally rationalising that since I "follow" certain blogs, they don't really need to be on my sidebar--until I had a perfect number to fit in a tournament bracket.

2) Many thanks to Random.org for the great List Randomiser that helped me impartially decide which blogs would go head-to-head. (Once the tournament began, of course, all impartiality went out the proverbial window.)

My first bracket smackdown was quick and dirty--and deliberately so. I'm not about to explain why one blog made it and another didn't . . . though if you ask nicely enough about specific pairs, I might change my mind.

Image Sources: a) The Final Four of Everything b) The Karate Kid clip


Michael said...

I must say - pretty unique post. A blog smackdown. I like that. :-)

berenike said...



Enbrethiliel said...


Michael: Thanks! =)

Berenike: Retribution? ;)

berenike said...

nono, I'd turn the other cheek if I had another blog. You could scorn me on Facebook, I suppose.


Enbrethiliel said...


I don't know whether it's lucky or unlucky that I'm rarely on Facebook!

A mutual friend of mine had to teach me (over a live chat!) how to find my Wall!

*embarrassed face*

Anne said...

This was a very intriguing way to get me to Shredded Cheddar!

I am so honored to even be included in the game that I can't be disappointed that I was out after the first round. When I was a kid, I was always the last one chosen for anything, so being on the list is extremely satisfying-thank you so much!

Enbrethiliel said...


Welcome, Anne! =)

Yes, it was all sneaky strategy. ;)