I stole this idea from Barb Knowles who got it from Paul who got the idea from Aaron who stole it from Jess. (Whew! It all reminds me of the Tom Lehrer song “I got it from Agnes”–quite possibly the dirtiest song ever written without using a single off-color word. But I digress.)

  1. Blogging
  2. American football
  3. Pizza
  4. Economics
  5. The color red
  6. History
  7. Desert landscapes
  8. The movie Lawrence of Arabia (combines 6 and 7)
  9. Writing
  10. The book A Confederacy of Dunces
  11. A good scary story.
  12. Gilbert and Sullivan operettas
  13. Political theory
  14. Hazelnut coffee
  15. Conspiracy theories
  16. Well-written, metered, rhyming satirical poetry.
  17. The number 17
  18. Thunderstorms
  19. Friendly political debates
  20. The sound of howling wind.
  21. The unutterable melancholy of a winter sunset in a farm field.
  22. Pretentious sentences like the one above.
  23. Knights of the Old Republic II
  24. Halloween
  25. The book 1984
  26. Niagara Falls
  27. The song “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”
  28. Pumpkin-flavored cookies. coffee, cake etc.
  29. The book The King in Yellow
  30. Hats
  31. Chess
  32. Trivia competitions
  33. Numbered lists
  34. Mowing lawns
  35. The smell of fresh-cut grass
  36. Black licorice
  37. Beethoven’s 3rd,5th and 9th symphonies
  38. The color light blue.
  39. Exercise machines
  40. My iPad
  41. Feta cheese
  42. The movie Jane Got a Gun
  43. Etymologies
  44. Gregorian chants
  45. December 23rd
  46. The story “The Masque of the Red Death”
  47. Mozzarella sticks
  48. Leaves in Autumn
  49. Long drives in the country
  50. Fireworks
  51. The song “You Got Me Singin'”
  52. The book To Kill a Mockingbird
  53. Constitutional republics that derive their powers from the consent of the governed.
  54. Strategy games
  55. Puns
  56. Ice skating
  57. My Xbox One
  58. The smell of old books
  59. Hiking
  60. Tall buildings
  61. Bookstores
  62. Gloves
  63. Rational-legal authority, as defined by Max Weber
  64. Bagels with cream cheese
  65. The Olentangy river
  66. The movie The Omen
  67. Far Side comics
  68. Planescape: Torment
  69. The song “Barrytown”
  70. Reasonable estimates of the Keynesian multiplier
  71. Stories that turn cliches on their heads.
  72. Editing movies
  73. Really clever epigraphs
  74. The movie “Chinatown”
  75. Ice water
  76. Deus Ex
  77. Silly putty
  78. Swiss Army Knives
  79. Anagrams
  80. Wikipedia
  81. Radical new models for explaining politics.
  82. Weightlifting
  83. Lego
  84. Madden 17
  85. The song “The Saga Begins”
  86. Trigonometry
  87. Writing “ye” for “the”
  88. Well-made suits
  89. Popcorn
  90. Pasta
  91. The word “sesquipedalian”
  92. The movie Thor
  93. Blackjack
  94. The movie The English Patient
  95. Pretzels
  96. Cello music
  97. Bonfires
  98. The story “The Hound of the Baskervilles”
  99. Soaring rhetoric
  100. Astronomy
  101. Getting comments on my blog posts.

I keep hearing the words “Hunger Games” being bandied about. I see signs with the words “Hunger Games” plastered on them. People keep making references to “the Hunger Games”. I believe there is even a blog on the front page of WordPress that has something to do with the “Hunger Games” on it. I never really paid enough attention to figure out what they were about or why I should care.

And then I read Thingy talking about “The Hunger Games” on her blog, and so I decided it was time to find out about them. I whisked myself to Wikipedia forthwith, and commenced to read. So, The Hunger Games is a series of books for young adults, which, like all YA books nowadays, has been adapted into a movie, which comes out tomorrow.

I have to admit, just reading the synopsis made me a little bored. “Post-apocalyptic America…dystopian totalitarian government… sacrifices by lottery…” It all seemed tired to me. As Thingy noted, the “deadly lottery” aspect of the story sounds a lot like “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. (Full disclosure: I only know about that story because it’s the model for Vault 11 in Fallout: New Vegas… another post-apocalyptic tale.)

But then,as Zaphodb2002 commented on this post: “It is more about how the story is told, not necessarily what the story is about.” So, just because it’s got a lot of familiar trappings doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting book. I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

I wonder why the post-apocalyptic idea is so popular. I guess because it gives the author a “clean slate” to build the kind of world s/he wants. And maybe because it lets you show familiar settings in a state of destruction, and that’s pretty dramatic. But it certainly seems like the post-apocalyptic genre is popular with audiences these days. I wonder why.

I’m not an expert on the genre, but I don’t think it was always thus. It seems to me that fiction that dealt with “the end of the world as we know it” used to be just plain apocalyptic–e.g. Dr. Strangelove, where the end of the movie is the nuclear annihilation. I wonder what the change signifies.

And another thing: is it true that one of two things almost always happens with the post-apocalypse: either there is no government, no law and order, and humanity is reduced to fighting gang-warfare style, or else there is a tyrannical, all-powerful government controlling the wasteland. Or is that just my impression?

As long as we’re on the subject, how is this related to another phenomenon both Thingy and Ferrerman have addressed lately: “preppers”? That is, people preparing for what they believe to be the imminent apocalypse. Are they fans of post-apocalyptic fiction? If so, since they all seem to be going the “gang warfare” camp, where’s the sign-up sheet for the “tyrannical government” camp? I bet the first 50 people in get cushy positions in the Thought Police or something.

Anyway… how depressing. Perhaps Tom Lehrer can make us feel better:

 “Views in favour of dictatorship, xenophobia and anti-Semitism are increasing in popularity” in Germany. (Hat Tip to Little Green Footballs)

I am reminded of this quote from a Tom Lehrer song:

“Once all the Germans were warlike and mean,/But that couldn’t happen again/We taught them a lesson in 1918/ And they’ve hardly bothered us since then.”