Friday, December 19, 2008
I think one of the reasons I got tired of doing stuff recently is that I’ve done a bunch of stuff this year. You know how that works—at a certain point, after travelin’ and writin’ and sittin’ around and readin’ and thinkin’ and writin’ some more, you say, “OK, that’s enough stuff for now.” And you say, “you know, now seems like a really good time to order this thing from the Internets and watch the Canadiens-Soviet Army game from New Year’s Eve 1975.” Why the Canadiens-Soviet Army game from New Year’s Eve 1975? Because it is Classic, that’s why, and because in the course of writing an essay about hockey last month, I wound up reading Ken Dryden’s The Game, also a Classic, which I barely looked at 25 years ago when it was published (1983 was just about the low point of my interest in hockey—I had just started graduate school and had given away all my equipment) but which turns out to be crazy good. I mean, just crazy good. You’ll probably be hearing more about it on this humble blog in the future, so keep your RSS feeds tuned right here! And then I started reading Vladislav Tretiak’s autobiography, which a friend gave me ten years ago, and, well, what better way to keep the train of thought going than to watch Tretiak and Dryden in their classic showdown on December 31, 1975? It was Classic, don’t you know. A brilliantly played 3-3 tie, with goals by a couple of the best players in the world, guys like Yvan Cournoyer and Valeri Kharlamov. Tretiak stopped an amazing three hundred and eighty-seven shots in that game! And Dryden stopped ten. (One of these figures is slightly false.)
I have no idea why this boxed set of the greatest games in Montreal Canadiens history does not include the amazing seventh game of the 1970-71 Stanley Cup finals against Chicago, in which the Canadiens rallied from a 2-0 deficit thanks to two extraordinary third-period goals by Henri Richard (hey, check out my “away” link at the top left of this blog to see a pic of me and Richard not long thereafter) or the equally amazing second game of the ‘70-’71 quarterfinals against the heavily favored Boston Bruins, in which the Canadiens rallied from a 5-2 deficit—also in the third period. Can someone on the Internets fix this? Because that’s just silly. Thank you.
Anyway, that’s not what I’m blogging about today. I’m blogging to let you know that back when I was doing stuff, earlier this year, one of the stuffs I did was this review essay on Alan Sokal’s new book. It is my very first-ever appearance in American Scientist, for although I am an American in American Airspace, I am not a Scientist. And it represents the very first-ever time I have managed to come up with a “clever” punning title for an essay all by myself. In Latin! I knew that Jesuit high school education would pay off someday. And handsomely, too.
So if you have a second, give the review a look and let me know what you think in comments. Just be sure that all your claims are empirically grounded! No, wait, I close the review by rejecting the whole empirical-grounding-of-belief thing. So never mind. Alternatively, those of you who insist on making empirically grounded claims may feel free to weigh in on an argument begun last week by Scott Lemieux: was Tony Esposito a better goaltender than Ken Dryden?