Good Things of 2019 (links and images:

1. CodeAcademy, for learning Python in particular. What perfect pedagogy for computer coding!

2. Six-inch LED portable work light with a hook and a magnet on the back. Short, no heat, well-designed, and cheap.

3. The Petroleum V. Nasby letters by David Locke. The current owners of the Brodie Farm found my great-great-grandfather's copy in a shed and gave it to me. Hilarious! Humorous letters of a fictional 1860's Ohio Democrat who wants to play the race card so as to become a postmaster and be able to pay his whisky bills.

4. Nothing Gold Can Stay (那年花開月正圓, 那年花开月正圆) (2017), a Chinese drama about a merchant family in a provincial town in the 1880's who take the big leap into western-style cotton spinning. It's all about corporate finance and government interference with business.

5. 24 (2001-2010) an American eight-season TV series about fighting Islamists, Russians, and other bad guys. Lots of game theory involved with threats, warnings, and commitment. The very first episode is too lewd; the next 60 are okay.

6. Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace (如懿傳, 如懿传) (2018) an 87-episode Chinese historical drama about the Emperor Chien-Lung's harem politics and his most beloved concubine, Ruyi.

7. The Gourmia Air Fryer, about $70, an ingenious invention for easy deep frying.

8. Illustrated Japanese Characters (1989, 191 pp., $3.59+) This whole Japanese Travel Bureau series of little books is good. Watching Ruyi, I wanted to be able to spot characters. And we want to encourage Lily in her Chinese.

Jeppson's Malort, a Chicago regional bitter liqueur. At our timing-belt-changing party, all the boys and men except Joseph Bortka and me liked the comparison to grapefruit juice mixed with gasoline. But we two enjoyed it.

10. The Restore:Chicago conference, (2019) a wondrous one-day event with good speeches about how to recover from a church that you thought was sound but had corrupt and hateful leadership that betrayed you. See Julie Roys's speech on courage, in particular, but they're all good.

11. Teaching 3-year-old Sunday School, with Helen over the summer. It's nice to get to know an entire cohort of kids. And relaxing, despite the constant stimulation. We're eager for grandchildren.

12. The Annual Article List, To try to make the ephemeral into the permanent. A list of a dozen good articles discovered this year, with web links. You need to go to

Other possibilities: Chinese biographies book, @HbdChick on Twitter, T-34 Russian movie (2019), Abbot's Understanding Analysis (2016), Oliver Winery Indiana Creekbend Chamborcin Rose. Bill Murray movies What about Bob? (1991) and The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997), IMDB parental warnings for movies, Tesla cars, breaker bar wrench extenders.