Friday, July 31, 2020

Star Trek: Manhunt

Episode: "Manhunt"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2, Episode 19
Original Air Date: June 9, 1989
Manhunt (episode) | Memory Alpha | Fandom
via Memory Alpha
The Enterprise is transporting delegates to a conference, including two Antedeans and Lwaxanna Troi (Majel Barrett).  Lwaxanna wants a man.  Naturally, Picard is her primary target.  When he spurns her, she turns her attention to Riker, much to Deanna's dismay.  She sizes up Worf and - yikes - Wesley, too.  Meanwhile, Picard manages to escape into a Dixon Hill fantasy on the holodeck.  The noir tale is based on Farewell, My Lovely and The Little Sister, both by Raymond Chandler.

"Manhunt" was another Tracy Tormé script gone awry.  Tormé intended the Dixon Hill story as the primary narrative but all changed when Lwaxanna, played by Gene Roddenberry's wife, came into the picture.  As with "The Royale," he was so upset with the changes that he insisted on the use of a pseudonym: Terry Devereaux.  I can't say I blame him.  I like the Dixon Hill part better, too.  I'm also not a Lwaxanna fan.

That said, there is genuine, laugh-out-loud humor in the episode.  Once Picard realizes Lwaxanna's intentions at an unexpectedly intimate dinner, he recruits Data to join them.  Lwaxanna is not impressed:

Acting Notes
Mick Fleetwood - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
Mick Fleetwood (one of the Antedean dignitaries) is the second member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to be featured in this space.  He was born Michael John Kells Fleetwood, June 24, 1947 in Redruth, England.  Interestingly, like fellow rocker Michelle Phillips, Fleetwood spent large portions of his childhood living abroad - Egypt and Norway - as his father was in the Royal Air Force.  As a result, Fleetwood is fluent in Norwegian.

Mick Fleetwood is most famous as the leader and drummer of Fleetwood Mac, one of the best-selling rock bands in history.  He is, in fact, the only member to stay with the band through its entire existence.  Without a doubt, they were one of the dominant musical forces of the 1970s.  Overall, the band had three albums reach the top of the Billboard charts.  Their 1977 album Rumours is a rock and roll masterpiece.  Fleetwood's writing credits are few, but do include his contributions to this classic, the band's usual concert opener on tour:

His acting career has been modest, also appearing in The Running Man.  He has also dabbled in wine production and owns a couple of restaurants.

Mick Fleetwood | Memory Alpha | Fandom
via Memory Alpha
Fleetwood is a huge Star Trek fan.   He objected neither to the two-and-a-half hours for makeup nor to the fact that he would be unrecognizable on screen.

Manhunt (episode) | Memory Alpha | Fandom
via Memory Alpha

Thursday, July 30, 2020

On the Coffee Table: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (8580001045948 ...
via Amazon
Harry and his friends are back for another year at Hogwarts.  However, House Elf Dobby - Harry didn't even know there was such a thing before - has warned him not to return for his own safety.  There's a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart, a too-famous author who tries to get chummy with Harry.  There is trouble, of course.  Students are being attacked and initially, Harry is blamed.

The original book was a tough act to follow and overall, I would say the second book isn't quite as good.  That said, it's still amazing.  I admire Rowling's efforts to break away from her own formula quickly.  For instance, Harry isn't trapped with the Dursleys all summer, actually getting to spend the last month at the Weasley's charming home.  Getting physically to Diagon Alley or even Hogwarts wasn't quite as simple as it was the year before.  We see more tension in the adult wizard community, particularly between the Weasley and Malfoy families.

Strong world-building elements:
  • There are both cookbooks and comic books targeted to the magical community in the Weasley home.
  • We learn of Ron's favorite club quidditch team: the Chudley Cannons.
  • A quidditch question: are substitutions allowed?  There are only seven players on the Gryffindor house team and only seven allowed on the pitch at a time.  That seems short-sighted.
Chamber of Secrets is a good book for the Hufflepuffs - or not so good depending how you look at it.   Justin Finch-Fletchler befriends Harry and is clearly impressed by his fame.  Unfortunately, he was also one of the victims of the attacks, apparently targeted as Muggle-born.  Ernie Macmillan is a friend of Justin's and one of the most vocal of Harry's accusers, though he comes around in the end.

Chamber of Secrets is also the first important Ginny Weasley story.  Spoiler: Ginny's my favorite character in the series, followed by Neville Longbottom and, of course, Snape...  More on that in future books.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Squid Mixes: Capricious

A capricious combines gin, dry vermouth, elderflower liqueur and Peychaud's Bitters.  I got my recipe from Mr. Boston.  The cocktail was invented by Eric Alperin for the St. Germaine company, which produces elderflower liqueur.

There's a lot going on flavor-wise.  The drink reminded me of a fresh lychee: sweet with floral hints and a bitterness close to the pit.  It's quite pretty in the glass, the bitters supplying a delicate pink.

Vermouth Battles: Noilly Prat vs. Gambarelli & Davitto

Noilly Prat is a French brand based in Marseillan.  The original product was a dry vermouth, more typical of France, but the line now includes both red and amber varieties.  The brand has been owned by Martini & Rossi, an Italian company, since 1971.

The Manhattan Test Decision: Noilly Prat

We both preferred Noilly Prat.  My wife described it as cleaner.  Next we'll put it up against Tribuno.  For now, they are...

Co-Champions: Noilly Prat and Tribuno

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Jolabokaflod: The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book

Title: The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book
Writer and Artist: Bill Waterson
The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book (Volume 4): Watterson, Bill ...
via Amazon
I have written previously about my love for Calvin and Hobbes here and about Jolabokaflod here.  This particular book was a gift from my niece a couple years back when we all gathered in Montreal for Christmas.  She was, I believe, eleven years old at the time.

Lazy Sunday Book collects the Sunday strips from May 24, 1987 to July 30, 1989 in full color.  The Sunday strips lack the punch of the dailies.  However, the longer format provided a broader canvas for Watterson to exhibit Calvin's dreamscapes: outer space, dinosaurs, giant insects and, never to be underappreciated, his own backyard.  Plus, there's nothing wrong with a joke taking a little longer to develop.  I particularly enjoy Calvin and Hobbes's interpretations of baseball, including at least 23 bases and one "secret" base.  Calvinball, an expression of genius all its own, wasn't introduced until 1990.  It's fun to observe the thought process leading up to it.

As an added bonus, Watterson opened the book with a new 10-page, 25-panel story.  Four of the panels are full-page, in fact, though two include inlays.  In the afterword, the author waxes nostalgic over the greater amount of space afforded to a single Sunday strip in a bygone era.  It's fun to see what he would have done with more space himself.

What more can I say?  As I have written before, C&H, Bloom County and The Far Side are the best strips in the history of the medium and I feel extremely fortunate to have grown up with all three.  Forced to choose, I'd probably pick Calvin as the best of them all.  I'm delighted to see it enjoyed by a new generation and I am charmed to know that it made my sweet niece think of me.

It does make me wonder about what my sister has told her about what I was like as a child...

Monday, July 27, 2020

Marvel Immersion Project: Howard the Duck #18-24

I probably only have a couple more weeks with Howard.  The series was in trouble at this point.  Steve Gerber's inability to meet deadlines was driving the artists crazy, as you can probably glean from the switches in personnel on this particular run.

It's too bad.  Howard the Duck is an amazing series.  I don't find the character himself to be particularly appealing - or unappealing - but the stories are fantastic.  For the most part, the plot lines alone demonstrate why the series was special.  As such, I haven't felt compelled to add too much in the way of commentary.  I always enjoy good satire and Howard is wonderful along those lines.  I am intrigued by his influence on the rest of the medium and also on such publications as Mad Magazine and Cracked.  Best of all, the stories are unpredictable: quite a novelty in the comic book industry.

Particularly since he is the artist for issues 22 and 23, it's time to pay tribute to Howard's co-creator...

Val Mayerik was born March 29, 1950 in Youngstown, Ohio.  He broke into the comic book industry the summer after he graduated from college.  He worked for Dan Adkins, an inker for Marvel including many of the issues I have read during my immersion project.  He is best known for his work on Howard but he also contributed to Man-Thing and several novel adaptations, including The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells and The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

My Recent Reads

Howard the Duck #18
Originally Published November 1, 1977
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Gene Colan
  • In exchange for a promise not to kill Howard, Bev agrees to marry Dr. Bong.
  • Bong's Moreau-esque machinery turns Howard human.
  • Bong's duckwoman accomplice Fifi escapes with Howard.

Howard the Duck #19
December 1, 1977
  • Howard, now in human form, roams New York aimlessly.
  • As always, he makes friends: Mad Dog, a smelly vagrant; Amy Pope, a woman who latches on to Howard to get away from her needy boyfriend and Elton Burke, said boyfriend.
  • Dr. Bong discovers Howard and Fifi's escape.  He vows to kill Howard.

Howard the Duck #20
January 1, 1978
  • Howard is a duck again.  He evades Dr. Bong's attack and finds himself alone on the street, basically having to start over from nothing.
  • He gets a job washing dishes from diner owner Lee Switzler.  Neither we nor Howard know it yet but Lee is Bev's uncle.
  • Howard witnesses the creation of Sudd, a sentient swarm of bubbles set on cleansing society.  Howard and Lee must find a way to combat Sudd, and quickly.

Howard the Duck #21
February 1, 1978
Gerber/Carmine Infantino
  • Having destroyed Sudd, Howard and Lee become a target for those who supported his cause.
  • Lee leaves town and leaves Howard his apartment.
  • Howard is kidnapped by SOOFI (Save Our Offspring From Indecency), whose leader attempts to brainwash him, in a washing machine, naturally.

Howard the Duck #22
March 1, 1978
Gerber/Val Mayerick
  • Howard is recruited/abducted by some old friends to help save the universe, among them:
Dakimh (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
    • Dakimh (first appeared, Fear #14)
Jennifer Kale (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
    • Jennifer Kale (Fear #11)
Theodore Sallis (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
    • Man-Thing (Savage Tales #1)
  • The issue's sub-title, "May the Farce Be with You," is an obvious tribute to a popular 1977 science fiction film.

Howard the Duck #23
April 1, 1978
  • In #23, the Star Wars spoof is full-on, from the cover onward.  The issue is sub-titled "Star Waaugh!"  Worth noting: Marvel also had a highly successful Star Wars comic book series running at the time.  Not to put too fine a point on it, that series probably saved the company.  See here.  
    • The C-3PO equivalent is called Naac-P30.
    • The R2-D2 equivalent is a wastebasket named 2-2-2-2, Tutu for short.
    • The Millenium Falcon equivalent is called Epoch Weasel.
    • The Death Star equivalent is called Death Store, the entire story a dig at consumer culture.
  • I quite like Man-Thing.  Between him and Black Bolt, I seem to be partial to Marvel characters who don't speak.  What is this telling me?

Howard the Duck #24
May 1, 1978
  • To be honest, there isn't much to this issue.  Man-Thing and friends drop Howard off on the first page and he meets Winda's and Paul's ship at the dock on the last.  In between, he mostly wanders the street and moans about his life.
  • There's trouble ahead for this series - real world trouble.  An issue like this probably wasn't a good sign: Gerber was running out of ideas.  Or at any rate, his capacity to get decent stories in on time was getting worse.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Squid Flicks: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Title: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Director: William Shatner
Original Release: June 9, 1989
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
Back to the movies this week!

Krik, Spock and Bones are on a camping trip in Yosemite when they're called back to the Enterprise.  Diplomatic hostages have been taken on Nimbus III and our heroes are sent to rescue them.  The lead baddie is the Vulcan Sybok who turns out to be Spock's long-lost half-brother!  Sybok takes over the Enterprise and leads the crew and his own disciples to Sha Ka Ree where he hopes to meet God.

Unfortunately, the camping scenes in the beginning are probably the best part of the story.  Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is easily the most widely panned of the Star Trek films.  In fact, it is generally regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, period.  It won three Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Actor (also Shatner) and was one of the nominees for Worst Picture of the Decade.  The writing is uneven at best, awful at worst.  Attempts to match the humor of The Voyage Home fall flat.  So, how can I possibly give it 4 stars?  I am 100% certain I'll watch it again someday.  By choice.  When it comes to Star Love, what can I do?

Herve Bennett, the executive producer, blamed the box office failure on the fans' lukewarm response to The Next Generation.  However, as we have seen in recent weeks, the new series was starting to hit its stride at this point.  It certainly wasn't the new kids' fault that the originals were losing steam.

A few un-Trek moments:
  • The shoot first, ask questions later attack on Paradise City, where the hostages were being held.
  • Spock Vulcan-pinching a horse.
  • Kirk ordering Spock to kill Sybok (spoiler: he doesn't do it).

There are redeeming treats.  My blogger friend Spacer Guy recently wrote a delightful post about the campfire scene.  Here's the full video:

Kraft produced a marshmallow dispenser like Spock's for sale via mail order:
Marshmallow dispenser | Memory Alpha | Fandom
via Memory Alpha
Star Wars influence is noticeable.  The bar in Paradise City is definitely Mos Eisley-inspired:

Music Notes

Jerry Goldsmith came back to do the film score.  He resurrected a couple of his themes from The Motion Picture but also created new work.  Unlike the rest of the movie, the music drew praise from critics.  However, the project was such an overall disaster that Goldsmith turned down the job for Star Trek VI.  He was the second composer to do so.  He wouldn't score another Trek film until #8, First Contact.

Uhura does a seductive dance to Hiroshima's "The Moon Is a Window to Heaven."  Worth noting, it's Nichelle Nichols's own singing voice in the scene.   Not surprisingly, it's Nichols's favorite scene:

The movie ends back at the campfire.  Spock plays the Vulcan harp in accompaniment to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat":

My ranking of the movies so far:
  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  2. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  3. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  4. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  5. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Coffee Table: Jim Harrison

Title: The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand
Author: Jim Harrison
The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand: Harrison ...
via Amazon
Jim Harrison was a successful writer of poetry, novels, non-fiction and, especially novellas.  The money came when Hollywood came calling, most famously for Legends of the Fall.  He was a man of great passions, most especially food.  The Raw and the Cooked is a collection of essays, most previously published between 1989 and 2001.  Harrison was no mere consumer.  He was an enthusiastic cook and an avid hunter, especially of game birds.

Harrison had expensive tastes and, at least while the screenwriting money was coming in, the bank account to afford it.  This is not an ode to the simple charms of simple eating.  Most of us can't afford multiple homes in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, Arizona and Montana.  Few of us would consider $500 a reasonable price for a great meal.  Not all of us have the chance to rub elbows with Jack Nicholson and Francis Ford Coppola (Harrison's name dropping is particularly tiresome).  In all honesty, I would have enjoyed the book more if the author had a touch more humility.  MFK Fisher, after all, was most definitely upper class but that wouldn't have stopped me from angling to sit next to her at a dinner party.  With Harrison, I'm pretty sure I would have found an excuse to leave early.

That is not to say the book is without charm, quite the contrary.  Harrison wrote beautifully and his musings on life are more interesting than his musings on food.  Harrison was not a whole lot older than I am at the time of the earliest essay and his attitude towards middle age isn't so different from my own.  In short, I am what I am.  It's too late to get hung up on all the things that I am not.  Best to relax and enjoy what is.  And not all was rosy for Harrison.  He devoted an entire chapter to clinical depression and his loving eulogy to his favorite hunting dog is genuinely sweet.  I certainly would not have been too proud to sit at his table, either.  His brisket recipe left my mouth watering.  A couple lines I especially like:

"Art is in no position to duke it out with our baser appetites..."

"Decay emerges from the scorn of the ordinary, or from the political distortion of the ordinary where greed and psychotic tribalism are the most esteemed virtues."

Harrison also devoted a great deal of thought to a curiosity I share: genuine American cuisine.  Just as American culture itself is hard to pin down, so is our food tradition.  The challenges are obvious: our nation is enormous and the internal and external cultural influences practically innumerable.  But in thinking about it, I realized something: there really is no such thing as a national cuisine anywhere in the world.  All cuisine is regional.  What we think of as French?  It's really a combination of Parisian and Lyonnaise with sprinklings from Alsace, Dijon, Burgundy and Bourdeaux.  Italian?  Well, do you mean Bologna? Naples? Sicily?  What we think of as Japanese food is Tokyo-based and anyone from Osaka would set you straight in a hurry.  Spain?  India?  China?  Forget it.  Maybe a place like Luxembourg is small enough to boast a genuine national cuisine but most countries are too big.

We do have genuine regional cuisines in the States: Maine lobster, Maryland crabcakes, Louisiana Cajun, etc.  Barbecue alone is highly regionalized.  And there's plenty that predates Columbus:  corn, potatoes, maple syrup, turkey.  American cuisine is not as delicately balanced as others - it's dangerously protein-heavy in particular - but that is not to say it doesn't exist.

It's a precarious moment in world history for food culture.  On the bright side, people are cooking at home more than they have in generations.  On the more desperate side, the restaurant industry is suffering brutally from COVID.  While "fine dining" isn't everything, professional kitchens are where the art of cooking is preserved and developed.  Also, travel is discouraged so my urges to head to the seacoast for fresh shellfish must be put on hold for now.  I think of the old Southwest Airlines tagline: "You are now free to move about the country."  We're not really just now.  As a natural introvert, I'm okay with social distancing most of the time.  I might even go so far as to say I thrive with it.  But I miss our food adventures.  Mind you, I'm lucky.  In Vermont, we have exceptional access to farm fresh ingredients and I certainly live with a gifted cook.  But "normal life" will resume one day and Harrison made me think a lot about the parameters of future gastronomic exploration.

There are questions I ask myself before applying a GoodReads rating to a book.  Is it a book I will hold up as a standard in measuring others?  That's a 5.  It's been a good year for 5s.  Would I want to read others like it?  That's a 4.  I would probably answer yes for The Raw and the Cooked, though what I really want are books that are like it but better.  So, call it a high 3.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Squid Mixes: Pegu Club

A Pegu Club combines gin, triple sec (I used Cointreau), lime juice, simple syrup, aromatic bitters and orange bitters.  I got my recipe from David Lebovitz.  The result is basically an alcoholic limeade - quite a nice thing.  The syrup is optional and if we were to try it again, I might go without or at least less.  I do enjoy a tart lime.

The drink is named for a club in Rangoon during the British colonial era.  The Pegu is a river in Myanmar.

Vermouth Battles: Gambarelli & Davitto vs. Tribuno

Gambarelli & Davitto (G&D) is a sweet vermouth we have used fairly often.  G&D also produces our currently favored dry vermouth.  Like Tribuno, it is a New York-based company.

The Manhattan Test

My wife preferred the G&D, finding it more fruity.  I preferred the Tribuno which definitely produced a sweeter drink.  In G&D's favor, I would say that with less sugar, the other ingredients were more pronounced which is a good thing.  However, a little bit of that wheaty aftertaste crept in with the G&D.  It's not as pronounced as with the Martini & Rossi but it's there.

Decision: Split

Yes, in previous battles, I have favored my wife's choice in the name of the Customer Is Always Right principle.  However, I'm not ready to concede in this case.  It's not a deal-breaker but I want to get rid of that aftertaste if I can, frankly even if it means switching to dry vermouth.  My wife said she would be happy with either of the current contestants and I probably would also but it's just too close to call.  Price doesn't help either.  The cost per volume comparison varies with size of the bottles.  For now, I am willing to consider the two brands as...

Co-Champions: Gambarelli & Davitto and Tribuno

Monday, July 20, 2020

Marvel Immersion Project: Howard the Duck #11-17

Gene Colan - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
Eugene Jules Colan, the primary artist of the Howard the Duck series, was born September 1, 1926 in the Bronx.  In addition to Howard, he was best known for his work on Daredevil and The Tomb of Dracula.  He was the co-creator of several characters who eventually found their way into movies: Falcon, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics, Carol Danvers and Blade.  Colan was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2005.  He died in 2011 from complications of cancer and liver disease.

My Recent Reads

Howard the Duck #11
Originally Published April 1, 1977
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Gene Colan
  • Delirious with exhaustion, Howard takes off on Bev and catches a bus, destination anywhere.  He is discouraged when he discovers the bus's actual terminus: Cleveland.
Winda Wester (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • His seatmate is Winda Wester, a young woman with a speech impediment whose parents believe she is possessed by the Devil.  They have sent her to Cleveland to be exorcised.
  • Several passengers, including Jesus (at least by appearances) and a Hare Krishna, try to sell Howard on various spiritual paths out of his misery.
  • The Hare Krishna says "Goo-Goo-Goo-Joob" at one point, simultaneously referencing "Humpty-Dumpty," Finnegans Wake and, of course, the Beatles:

Howard the Duck #12
May 1, 1977
  • Howard, Winda and the Kidney Lady are on trial for their roles in running the bus off the road.  The Kidney Lady is let off but Howard and Winda are sentenced to 90 days in a mental institution.

10 Great Moments from Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck
via Chasing Amazing
  • In the final frame, glam metal band Kiss makes their cameo entrance.

Howard the Duck #13
June 1, 1977
  • The hospital brings in an exorcist, Daimon Hellstrom, to help Winda.  He determines she's not possessed and cleared to leave.  Howard remains a mystery.
Daimon Hellstrom - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
  • Daimon Hellstrom first appeared in Ghost Rider #1 in September 1973.
  • Joon Moon Yuc is back, having survived the house explosion in #7.  He would seem to have his own plans for the "demonically possessed" Winda.
  • On the final page, Howard gains the powers of Hellstrom's alias, Son of Satan.

Howard the Duck #14
July 1, 1977
  • As Son of Satan, Howard breaks Winda and himself out of the institution.
  • He abandons Winda in the woods, setting off to Cleveland on his own to find Bev.
  • Bev has been worried about him, too, not understanding why he wandered off before.  Paul Same is with her.  Howard bursts in on them and hauls her away to talk.
  • Howard, while possessed, is violent towards both Winda and Bev.
  • Fortunately, Daimon finds Winda and brings her the rest of the way to Cleveland.  Once there, we have a consequential confrontation with all four characters.  Most importantly, Howard is freed from Son of Satan's possession.
  • Howard is happily reunited with both Bev and Winda.

Howard the Duck #15
August 1, 1977
  • Howard, Bev, Winda and Paul are on a cruise ship, headed homeward.
  • This is the trippiest story so far.  The ship is attacked by a giant sea monster with a pleasure center button, bombarded with giant rocks falling from the sky, then crashes into a rock that turns out to be the egg of a concrete swan.
  • Whereas straight-laced Steve Ditko would not have been pleased by Doctor Strange's adoption by the counter-culture, the lifestyle choices of the Howard creative staff are made pretty clear in this issue...
  • Bob Dylan reference, this song:

  • On the final page a new character is introduced: Dr. Bong.  Gerber was not one for subtlety.
Doctor Bong - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia

Howard the Duck #16
September 1, 1977
Gerber/"Cast of Thousands"
  • Howard the Duck #16 is, I believe, unique, at least within Marvel Comics.  I know the word unique is overused but it fits here.  Steve Gerber, for all his considerable brilliance, was notorious for missing deadlines (perhaps related to the lifestyle choices noted above?).  Eventually, this professional liability would cost him his job.  Before things reached that point, he wrote Howard the Duck #16, subtitled "Zen and the Art of Comic Book Writing."  Unable to get the expected story ready in time, Gerber wrote a long essay about the comic book industry and his frustrations with his own creative struggles. 
  • The text is presented in basic typewriter lettering over beautiful two-page panels from a variety of Marvel artists.  

Howard the Duck #17 
October 1, 1977
  • We return to the Dr. Bong story.  Bong brings Howard and Bev to his castle.  
  • Bong reveals his past to Bev, a past in which he knew her during their college days.  What's more, he was obsessed with her.
  • Meanwhile, it would seem he has nefarious Moreau-esque plans for Howard.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Star Trek: Up the Long Ladder

Episode: "Up the Long Ladder"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2, Episode 18
Original Air Date: May 22, 1989
The Enterprise receives an archaic distress call and goes to investigate.  The society they encounter, descended from Neo-Transcendentalist Earth colonists, is based on a subsistence, back-to-basics, low tech ethos.  At head writer Maury Hurley's encouragement, they are based on an Irish tinkerer village.  When Danilo Odell, the leader of the group, suggests the possibility of a second, separate colony, our heroes find another M class planet in the vicinity.  Lo and behold, the other party is there.

This second group, while decidedly more sophisticated - at least by outward appearances - is in trouble.  Their reliance on cloning for reproduction is taking its toll and they ask the Enterprise for help.  After a few missteps, Picard finds a solution to everyone's problems.

"Up the Long Ladder" is based on strong narrative ideas and contains some wonderful moments.  But taken as a whole, it doesn't quite work.  It feels like two incomplete story ideas stapled together rather than a cohesive whole.  However, as noted, there are a few gems.  Brenna Odell, Danilo's daughter performed by the amazing Rosalyn Landor, is one of the more appealing characters to come through in a while.  The tale's resolution, while certainly unconventional, is oddly satisfying.
Brenna Odell | Memory Alpha | Fandom
via Memory Alpha
The installment is also, rather surprisingly, a fantastic Worf episode.  In an additional, tacked-on, tertiary story line, the security chief collapses on the bridge.  Dr. Pulaski diagnoses him with rop'ngor, Klingon measles.  Worf is embarrassed by the childhood disease and Pulaski covers for him with the rest of the crew.  In gratitude, Worf performs the Klingon tea ceremony for her.

Later, he introduces Danilo to chech'tluth, a potent Klingon alcoholic beverage.

Acting Notes

Image result for barrie ingham
via TARDIS Data Core
Barrie Ingham (Danilo Odell) was born February 10, 1932 in Halifax, England.  He served in the Royal Artillery.  Ingham made more than 200 appearances on both British and American television.  However, his more impressive credits were for Broadway musicals: Copperfield, Camelot, Aspects of Love and Jeckyll & Hyde.

Ingham died January 23, 2015.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

On the Coffee Table: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Title: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Author: John le Carré
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is probably spy novel master John le Carré's most famous single novel and with good reason (read here).   His most famous character, though, is George Smiley and The Quest for Karla is the series which brings the man into full bloom.  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the first book of that trilogy, one which has inspired numerous screen adaptations.  The role of Smiley is a powerful lure for actors, having drawn such major talents as Alec Guiness and Gary Oldman.  Much of the character has been clearly established in previous books: quiet, inconspicuous, cuckolded, politically naïve and undeniably brilliant at the job.  In TTSS, we finally get to explore his world in full.

Smiley has been forced out of the Circus, the nickname of his (fictional) agency within the British Secret Service.  Control, his former boss and main supporter, is dead.  Powerful people outside the agency, however, are worried about the current state of affairs at the Circus and they recruit Smiley to sort it out.  An agent has come in from the field and it soon becomes obvious his cover was blown.  In fact, Circus agents are being blown all over the world, most conspicuously in an incident in Czechoslovakia.  Some suspect a mole within the agency and Smiley sets about finding him.

Le Carré's genius is character building.  As noted above, Smiley was already clearly established for those who had read previous books and we also get beautiful development for several in the supporting cast including his right-hand man Peter Guillam, his rival Bill Haydon, field agent Jim Prideaux and Smiley's deliciously enigmatic nemesis Karla (Patrick Stewart in the Guiness interpretation, an empty chair in Oldman's).  Smiley's interview of Karla is the highlight of the tale in all versions.  In the end, the story becomes an exploration of motivation.  What keeps you in the game?  What could inspire you to betray: patriotism, loyalty, money, ideology, love, adventure?

Le Carré shares Martin Scorcese's gift for realism.  His spies are neither James Bond nor Jason Bourne.  They are the unassuming English gentleman walking home from work, the little old lady next door who dotes on her dog, the eccentric French teacher at a boarding school.  As a reader, it was a jarring experience trading off this ultra-realism with pure Harry Potter fantasy.

I know both the Guiness and Oldman versions so I already knew whodunit.  However, the film versions take significant liberties with the book.  I am eager to revisit them now that I know the original story better.

And, of course, I'm excited for the next book: The Honourable Schoolboy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Squid Mixes: Café Frappé

My Francophile wife recently acquired a book which I expect to have a significant impact on my mixological endeavors for the foreseeable future: Drinking French by David Lebovitz.  Lebovitz is an American professional cook/baker/food writer living the ex-pat life in Paris since 2004.  His new book is as much about the café culture of his adopted city as it is about the recipes, of which the cover claims there are 160.  That should keep us busy.

We begin our exploration with café frappé, a combination of espresso, milk, water, sugar and ice.  Preparation is easy, especially if you're already comfortable with a cocktail shaker and your wife makes the espresso the night before.  You don't even have to strain out the ice if you don't want.  The one minor inconvenience: there's too much liquid involved to shake up two at once.

The result was lovely.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

On the Coffee Table: J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Rowling, J.K., GrandPré ...
via Amazon
Let's begin with the elephant in the room: Rowling's recent unfortunate statements regarding transgenderism.  If you don't know about the controversy, I refer you to this thorough breakdown.  I want to get my own feelings out of the way off the bat:

First and most importantly, transgender women are women, transgender men are men and nonbinary identities are valid.

Second, the responses from other luminaries of the Potterverse were swift and eloquent.  Daniel Radcliffe wasted no time at all and I especially appreciate this statement: “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished. I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you…. And in my opinion, nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”

It can be difficult divorcing art from artist in a situation like this and the Rowling matter is far from the most challenging along those lines.  Want to talk about Miles Davis sometime?   Transcendent musical genius of the 20th century and also a well-known wife-beating monster.  My beloved Beatles?  John Lennon was not the blameless, peace-loving hippie you were lead to believe.  To his credit, at least, he owned up to his faults.  See also the bottomless well of sexism, racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia in classic world literature.  Artists have never been perfect.  That doesn't mean we're obligated to hate their work.

Finally, if we're going to grow as a society through our numerous cultural crises, people need to be allowed to make mistakes.  We gain nothing by shutting people out the instant they say something disagreeable.  It is brutally painful work but we have to be able to talk through these challenges.  I am choosing to believe that Ms. Rowling made a mistake.  Like the rest of us, she has a lot to learn and I hope she will.

And now back to the easier discussion...

The Harry Potter books are amazing.  My wife and I first read Sorcerer's Stone aloud to one another in our tiny SoHo apartment in the late '90s.  Along with the rest of the book-loving world, we eagerly anticipated each new release and devoured each treasured volume almost immediately.  Our daughter was a surprising hold out for years but then binged the entire series one summer.  We love the movies.  When we were in Edinburgh two summers ago, we dutifully hit all the Potter spots.  Yes, we're definitely fans.

In case you're wondering, I'm a Hufflepuff.  If you're not sure of you're house assignment, go here.  I have to admit, I prefer the color schemes for Ravenclaw and, especially, Slytherin.  But what can I do?  The Sorting Hat knows best.

I have long had in mind to re-read the series and here I go.  I am happy to say that the first book - and I believe this was at least my third time through - has lost absolutely none of the original magic for me.  I still get excited by a Quidditch match and I still giggle about the Weasley sweaters.  Yes, I read differently knowing what's going to happen but I am no less astonished by Rowling's gift for drawing us in to this rich, textured and welcoming world.  She has been criticized, even by me, for taking ideas from others.  Some have gone so far as to accuse her of plagiarism.  The criticism is absurd.  Every author you've admired - Tolkein, Lewis, Carroll, Dickens, Twain, Tolstoy, Shakespeare - built on the ideas of others.  Same for Beethoven, Michelangelo, Scorcese, Frank Lloyd Wright.  That's what an artistic tradition is.  Nothing comes from nowhere.  The genius lies in re-framing the old in a form digestible for the current and, if you're really good, future audience.  22 years in, Rowling is on the brink of enchanting a second generation with no sign of slowing down.

What am I hoping for in this re-reading adventure?  In some ways, it's not so different from my reasons for re-watching Star Trek or immersing myself in Marvel comic books.  I am in awe of the world building and seek to learn from it.  In particular, I would love to glean more about the "other two" houses, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.  So much of the Potter story centers around the Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry that it's easy to forget about the others.  And just as I have grown to appreciate the elegance of the Kansas scenes in The Wizard of Oz, I now pay closer attention to Harry's life with the Dursleys.  For both stories, the contrast with the mundane is vital to the magic.

So, expect periodic Potter reviews.  I am already excited for Year 2.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Marvel Immersion Project: Howard the Duck #4-10

Howard the Duck co-creator Steven Ross Gerber was born September 20, 1947 in St. Louis.  As a teenager, he helped launch one of the first comic fanzines, Headline.  After graduating from St. Louis University, he found work as a copywriter in advertising. 
Steve Gerber - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
Frustrated, he wrote to Roy Thomas, one of his Headline collaborators and by the time of the letter in 1972, Marvel's editor-in-chief.  Thomas brought him on board.  First came Man-Thing, a monster character introduced in Adventure into Fear #11.  Howard was introduced in issue #19 of the same series. 

Gerber died in 2008 of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.  He was posthumously inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2010.

My Recent Reads

Howard the Duck #4
Originally Published July 1, 1976
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Gene Colan
  • Howard and Bev are disturbed by their upstairs neighbor, struggling artist Paul Same.  
Paul Same (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
Note: even Winky-Man wears his mask properly.  Via Marvel Database
  • As it turns out, he's a sleepwalker who goes out in the night as a vigilante hero, Winky-Man.

Howard the Duck #5
September 1, 1976
  • Howard and Bev are struggling to pay the bills, Bev's artist modeling work not enough to support them both.  
Gonzo the Clown (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • Howard looks for work, including an ill-fated stint on a children's television show with Gonzo the Clown.
Selma Blotte (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • Also featured: Kidney Lady, her second appearance.  She harasses Howard on the city bus.
  • Fed up with Cleveland, Howard and Bev set out to hitchhike their way to New York.

Howard the Duck #6
November 1, 1976
  • Howard and Bev are stranded in the Poconos.
  • Frustrated with her traveling companion, Bev sets off on her own.  She finds a creepy mansion where she is presumed to be the new governess by
Patsy Dragonsworth (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
Patsy Dragonworth (last name attached in later stories).

Joon Moon Yuc (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • Howard is discovered by the followers of a religious zealot, Joon Moon Yuc, who sees our hero as an agent of Satan who must be destroyed.  He is undoubtedly based on real-life lunatic Sun Myung Moon.  Unfortunately, the character image promotes Asian stereotypes.
Heathcliff Rochester (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • Howard is rescued by a gallant realtor on horseback, Heathcliff Rochester.
  • References to Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre and House of Seven Gables abound. 

Howard the Duck #7
December 1, 1976 (note: upgraded to monthly)
Gingerbread Man (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • Little Patsy brings a Ginger Bread Man to life, Frankenstein-style.
  • Howard and Bev finally make it to New York where they find jobs at the national convention for the All-Night Party.
Dreyfus Gultch (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • Introduced: Dreyfuss Gultch, a country singer who picks them up in the Poconos.
  • Howard saves the presumptive presidential nominee from a bomb by pole vaulting into a multi-tiered, celebratory cake (1976 was an Olympic year, too).
  • Overwhelmed by his heroism, the delegates instead select Howard as their nominee!

Howard the Duck #8
January 1, 1977
Howard the Duck #8: Gerber, Steve (Writer) Gene Colan (Artist ...
via Amazon
  • I love the cover for this issue!  I want a t-shirt.  And a campaign button. 
  • Howard is running for President.  He dodges constant assassination attempts.  He tangles with message wranglers.  Most amazingly, he tells the truth.

Howard the Duck #9
February 1, 1977
Pierre Dentifris (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • In the previous issue, the Presidential campaign was derailed on Election Day by a scandalous, and doctored, photo of Howard and Bev taking a bath together.  The dirty work was done by a bellhop working for Pierre Dentifris, aka Le Beaver. 
Preston Dudley (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
  • On their Canadian adventure to clear their names, Howard and Bev are helped by a Canadian Mountie, Preston Dudley.

Howard the Duck #10
March 1, 1977
  • Howard has an identity-crisis dream with lots of character cameos, including
Pro-Rata (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
    • Pro-Rata
Arthur Winslow (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom
via Marvel Database
    • Turnip-Man 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Star Trek: Samaritan Snare

Episode: "Samaritan Snare"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2, Episode 17
Original Air Date: May 15, 1989
Samaritan Snare (episode) | Memory Alpha | Fandom
via Memory Alpha
Picard leaves for Starbase 515 for a heart transplant, embarrassed to have Pulaski do the procedure on the Enterprise.  Wesley is along for the ride so he can take another stab at the Starfleet exams.  Meanwhile, Geordi is abducted by the relatively primitive Pakleds, led by Grebnedlog.

"Samaritan Snare" is widely panned for admittedly weak writing.  The Picard story is especially clunky and feels rather tacked on to boot, not good for what is supposedly meant to be the primary narrative.  And there's something a little embarrassing about the simplicity of the Pakleds.  However, to me the dialogue between Picard and Wesley en route to 515 brings a small measure of redemption to the episode.  Picard tells a story of his reckless youth, adding some dimension to our captain.  There's also a nice glimpse of Riker's leadership style in Picard's absence.  It's not so unlike Jean-Luc's in sounding out others for their opinions, and he decides on a good old Kirk-style bluff.

Acting Notes
Christopher Collins (Grebnedlog - Goldenberg backwards - haha, just got that) was born Christopher Lawrence Lotta, August 30, 1949 in Orange, New Jersey, though he grew up in Manhattan.  He attended NYU for a year.  He is better known for his voice work than his on-screen credits, having voiced Cobra Commander in GI Joe and Starscream in the original Transformers series.  This was his second of four Trek appearances between TNG and DS9.  He was Captain Kargan in "A Matter of Honor."

Collins voiced the roles of Mr. Burns and Moe during the first season of The Simpsons.  He was let go during that season because, in Matt Groening's words, "he was just kind of jerky to everyone." From that point on, Mr. Burns was voiced by Harry Shearer, Moe by Hank Azaria.  When asked about Collins, Azaria said "That guy could have been on The Simpsons his whole life. Lesson to you kids: always be nice!"

Collins died of a brain hemorrhage, June 12, 1994.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Vermouth Battles: Tribuno vs. Martini & Rossi

Full disclosure: I went into this project assuming the vermouth was the least important ingredient in a Manhattan.  After all, most of the flavor comes from the whiskey and the bitters.  Even switching to a higher grade of cherries made more of a difference than I would have expected from a change in vermouth.

Long story short: I was wrong.

Let's back up a little.  What is vermouth and what is its function in my favorite cocktail?  Vermouth is a fortified, aromatized wine.  The fortification distinguishes vermouth from brandy which is distilled wine.  Vermouth came from Italy originally but, naturally, the French can never resist a good Italian food idea so they started making it, too.  Generally, the product comes in one of two forms: sweet and dry.  They are occasionally listed as Italian and French vermouth respectively or red and white vermouth respectively.  There are additional varieties but most of what you'll find in a liquor store sits under one of those two umbrellas.

A traditional cocktail is built upon three legs: base, sweetener and bitters.  While there are some drinks which use vermouth as the base liquor, it more typically serves as the sweetener.  Such is the case with the sweet vermouth in a Manhattan.

As noted in this post, I recently made a discovery about vermouth.  I'd long perceived a wheaty aftertaste in our Manhattans which I'd assumed derived from the barley-based whiskey.  But then I tasted the same in a completely different cocktail which didn't involve whiskey but did include sweet vermouth.  I wouldn't exactly describe the taste as a flaw but given the choice, I could do without it.  As such, trying out different vermouths became a more meaningful exercise.

Martini & Rossi has been our brand of choice for a while.  It was recommended by one author or another - I can't remember whom - and has served us just fine.  The company is based in Turin and has been producing vermouth since 1863.  Tribuno is our first challenger, an American product, originally from New York City, 1938.  Vermouth is relatively cheap so price is not a major consideration but for the record, Tribuno is the less expensive of the two.

The Manhattan Test

Without a doubt, the Martini & Rossi is the culprit in the aftertaste mystery.  It went away with the Tribuno.  Merely sniffing the bottles revealed a significant difference.  Tribuno smells and tastes simply more like, well, wine.  The resulting cocktail is fruitier and, at least to our palettes, better.

Winner and New Champion: Tribuno

Squid on the Vine

Azienda Vinicola I Pastini, Antico Locorotondo White Blend 2019
Starts sweet, finishes sour
A not quite ripe green apple
My rating: 8.0

Denavolo Catavela Malvasia di Candida Blend 2018
An orange wine
Smells of peach, tastes like apricot
Quite dry
Smells better than it tastes
My rating: 8.1

La Garagista Ci Confonde Pétillant Naturel Rosé Blend
Sour cherry
Floral nose
My rating: 8.1

Domaine d'E Croce (Yves Leccia) Ile de Beauté Biancu Gentile 2019
Delicate fruity nose, a hint of metal
Dry but with a kick at the end
My rating 8.5

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

On the Coffee Table: Please Understand Me

Title: Please Understand Me: Character & Temperament Types
Authors: David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates
Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types: Keirsey ...
via Amazon
Before we go further, the material of the book, and my post, will be more meaningful if you know your Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality type.  I am INFJ.  If you don't know yours yet, I recommend the following quick online quiz:

I also recommend reading the type descriptions on the site.  Please share your result in the comments!  I find this stuff fascinating.

Keirsey and Bates's survey of the MBTI types was first published in 1978.  Their particular angle is relating the 16 types to Carl Jung's four temperaments.  They classify the SPs (sensing-perceiving) as Dionysian.  The SJs (sensing-judging) are Epimethean.  The NTs (intuiting-thinking) are Promethean.  The NFs (intuiting-feeling), like me, are Apollonian.  More of the book is devoted to delineating between these four temperaments than the 16 types, though each of those is afforded its due in the appendix.

The book is excellent, though dated.  The sex and gender politics reflect a very different era.  The working woman was not yet a normalized concept and the possibility of homosexuality not even considered.  The text also deals in absolutes and, of course, real people are a lot more complicated than that.  All of that acknowledged, I found the material quite insightful.

A quick rundown of the four dichotomies measured by the MBTI:

Extroverted vs. Introverted
Sensing vs. iNtuiting
Feeling vs. Thinking
Judging vs. Perceiving

To add to my own personal context, I asked everyone in my life to share their types.  I sent out solicitous emails and also posted on Facebook.  The responses were fascinating.  Additionally, I looked into those who have assigned types to characters within various fictional universes, specifically Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Cheers, M*A*S*H and the Muppets

A modest sampling of my findings:

SPs, the Dionysians, those who love freedom
Sam Malone | Cheers Wiki | Fandom
via Cheers Wiki
ISTP: Harry Potter, Chewbacca
ESTP: Han Solo, Sam Malone
ISFP: my best friend, Hagrid
ESFP: Will Riker, Maxwell Klinger

SJs, the Epimetheans, those devoted to duty
Walter "Radar" O'Reilly | Monster M*A*S*H | Fandom
via The Monster M*A*S*H Wiki
ISTJ: Spock, Margaret Houlihan
ESTJ: Darth Vader, Carla Tortelli
ISFJ: Worf, C-3PO, Radar O'Reilly
ESFJ: my father, Dr. McCoy

NTs, the Prometheans, those who seek power
Tom Riddle | Harry Potter Wiki | Fandom
via Wikipedia
INTP: Data, Yoda, Hermione Granger
ENTP: my daughter, Dr. Crusher, R2-D2
INTJ: Jean-Luc Picard, Draco Malfoy
ENTJ: Leia Organa, Miss Piggy, Lord Voldemort

NFs, the Apollonians, those who strive for self-actualization
Kermit the Frog | Muppet Wiki | Fandom
via Muppet Wiki
INFJ: The Armchair Squid, Deonna Troi, Obi-Wan Kenobi
ENFJ: Diane Chambers, Albus Dumbledore
INFP: my wife, Luke Skywalker, Kermit
ENFP: my sister, James Kirk, Hawkeye Pierce, Animal

My most interesting discovery in the fictional world was that I could see the types most clearly in M*A*S*H.  I'm sure it helped that we'd recently binged the show as a family but I also think the series is particularly rich in clearly drawn and differentiated characters.  In my personal life, I was initially surprised to find the prevalence of NTs and especially NFs.  We are in the minority in terms of the broader population.  However, it was less surprising once I learned the NTs and NFs are more likely to go to college.  I expect they're also more likely to spend time on social media and more likely to answer personal, probing questions from me.

My biggest surprise, though, was the importance of SFJs in my life, both E and I.  I don't know so many of them but nearly all whom I do know have played meaningful roles in my personal history - even comparable roles.  I'm sure this fact says more about me than it does about them.  It says plenty about the sorts of people I've been drawn to, and even those who have been drawn to me.

And yes, INFJ has me nailed perfectly.  There are some interesting insights to share there, too.  I was an INFP for years, or at least I thought I was.  In reading the book's type descriptions, I'm not sure I was ever actually a P.  In the past, I may have answered the questions as to how I wanted to be as opposed to how I actually am.  Age has brought greater self-awareness.  The only one of the four factors I'm close on is F/T.  In fact, technically, I was INXJ according to the test in the book, meaning I was evenly split between the two.  However, in the test linked above, I'm an F and I can say with confidence that's closer to who I am.  Noneteless, the T tendencies are there and not insignificant to the broader picture that is me.

The Facebook thread got especially interesting.  One friend asserted that Myers-Briggs is inherently racist and thus unfairly used in hiring practices.  Poking around, there are strong arguments on both sides: it's racist and it's not.  I'm not sure what I think yet.  Obviously, I am fascinated by the types.  However, I can see the capacity for misuse.  Are the questions themselves culturally biased?  I have to acknowledge that's worth examining.  It depends on the particular test, of course, and there are plenty of different ones around.

The more important consideration, though, is how this sort of classification might be used.  Does an employer go into a candidate search with the assumption that some types are better than others or better-suited to particular roles?  Keirsey and Bates certainly devote plenty of material to the latter, if not the former.  To the authors' credit, they imply rather that a variety of types within an organization is ideal.  Also, the types do nothing to measure strengths or skills.  Being extroverted, for instance, does not mean you have better social skills than an introvert.  The differentiation merely identifies a preference in one's social interactions.  One can certainly see how an employer who misinterprets the data could use it unreasonably - if not intentionally unfairly - in hiring decisions.

Before leaving this topic, let me make very clear that there is plenty of racial bias in hiring practices.  That much is demonstrable fact.  I'm just not convinced MBTI is part of the problem.  I'm also not convinced it isn't.

Keirsey, who died in 2013, wrote several more books on the subject.  I'm definitely interested in reading more.

So, what's your type?  Do you think it describes you accurately?  Do you think MBTI is inherently racist?