How to Make a Subtle Distinction

You still have a chance to win a signed copy of the new edition of Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0). In addition to that book, the prize package will also include the Basic Instructions 2014 Box Calendar, and a signed copy of a book by a different author. This week, the bonus book is You, by Charles Benoit.

You can enter below by friending Off to Be the Wizard on Facebook, following me on Twitter, or by leaving a comment on this post answering a simple question. (FYI, last week there was some confusion because only those who entered could see the question. For the record, the question is "Do you prefer paper or e-books, and if if it e-books, what format?")

Sadly, the offer is only open to people in the United States. Shipping costs, what can I say? The contest closes on, April13th at 12am, then a new give away with a different bonus book will begin. Thanks, and good luck!

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As always, thanks for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

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Reader Comments (42)

"Things are what they are, which would be simple if we all agree what they are." & "Figuring out what a thing is and is not can offer insights to what it could be."

You know, you are in distinct danger of becoming profound here...


April 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames D. Gray

That is the best definition of "Sport" I have ever heard. "Is someone selling me booze?"

April 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Chosen One

I love bowling, it's the only sport where you can have quadruple bypass surgery and still kick ass.

April 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdeimos

I very much prefer to buy paper, but lately I read mostly library ebooks.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessica S

As far as "performance-inhibiting" drugs go, I went bowling with some friends last month and one woman couldn't hit a single pin in the first game. By the end of the night she was beating me (I'm not very good) and competing with everyone else. Apparently she can only bowl drunk.

I agree that bowling isn't a sport, though. Mainly because I "don't do sports" either, and I like bowling. Maybe the real difference is that in games, having fun is more important than winning, and the booze is just a natural consequence of that?

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Kindle version.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

So, bowling is bowling. Sometimes bowling is a sport. Usually it isn't. I don't think the problem, if it is a problem, is that we don't agree what bowling is, but that we invented a thing, sport, that it sometimes is and sometimes isn't. And we do that a lot, and we expect things to fit into our artificial categories, but they don't.

How's that for becoming profound? Or is it just picky? I think I just explained myself out of the profound zone.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

Bowling is not ever a sport. A sport is a real-time competition whereby opposing players / teams actively and physically interfere with each other's goals while attempting to accomplish their own.

Bowling is a competitive display of skill. In order for it to be a sport, you'd have to, at a minimum, have multiple players rolling at the same time and trying to knock each other's ball into the gutter.

Although, that would be pretty cool...

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteruncollated

[You may need to be British to understand this comment]

There is no real need for the alcohol to be being sold, however. Croquet is a "sport" best played with glass of wine, a cocktail or a G&T in the hand and a picnic laid out on the grass beside the lawn. It certainly was when we used to have inter-collegiate matches when I was at university.

I only know one person who was really serious about winning. In fact I think he even became a member of his country's national croquet team!

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

I don't always read ebooks, but when I do, I prefer Kindle. (I really mostly still like paper)

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Would you bowl on a team of people you didn't like just to win? Or would you only bowl with people you like to interact with socially? I think that is the mark of whether it is a sport or a game.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Wouldn't a Drunken Baseball League be men's softball?

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRick Snee

I prefer ebook, either pdf, or epub

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

So, uncollated, by your definition we conclude that track and field and nearly every event in the winter olymipcs are not sports. But curling and shuffleboard are sports.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRuss

Bowling is a competitive display of skill. In order for it to be a sport, you'd have to, at a minimum, have multiple players rolling at the same time and trying to knock each other's ball into the gutter.

...and, you've just defined curling. Also can be considered a non-sport. Personally, the only sports I'll watch are Snooker and Aussie Rules.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvelyn

@Graham - I wonder how difficult it is to get on the National Croquet Team - "Ooooh, James is here and he brought gin!" All: "James, you're on the team!!"

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMoon

Rick Snee... Brilliant!

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFlimFlam

ebook, kindle

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAC

I prefer paper. (and panel two.)

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMickle Spiffy

I love my Kindle for travel. Lately I request books from the library and check all the formats. So then sometimes I end up with a paperback and a digital download. I love digital borrowing because then the book just disappears after 3 weeks.

I do think your next book should be a graphic novel. I'd be ok with the standard set of poses you have for all the characters.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeepa

Anything that involves driving a vehicle is not a sport.

And I use a kindle most often.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Some people are interesting no matter what they do. Others require... other means. BADLY DANCE FOR MY AMUSEMENT.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinh

I prefer paper books, but mostly buy ebooks on Kindle now.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArriay

I don't consider anything a sport if someone can play it professionally whom you couldn't call an athlete while keeping a straight face.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRich

I prefer paper for books I buy. When I do buy digital, I prefer the ebook format so I can read it with iBooks or Stanza or ...

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim

I generally prefer paper, but I do a fair bit of 'recreational' reading on my kindle. For e-books I strongly prefer the kindle, with its screen without backlight. I do enough screen viewing at work.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRasmus

I prefer paper, but all recent acquisitions are Kindle books.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I think sports would be a lot more interesting if various drugs like LSD were handed out randomly. To the players I mean.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVaughn

I personally prefer digital copies of the epub variety. They play nicer with Moon Reader for android.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

Besides curling, in English bowling you aim your shots at the other players' balls.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

Vaughn, I think you're onto something there. I might actually watch some sports if they did that.
I don't really object to any sport in which everyone involved is there voluntarily, but I object to how seriously people take sports...
If you're going to go on as though the NFL draft mattered, please find a fellow believer to argue with. It's entertainment, it's a game, it's an industry, but it really doesn't change anything (except marriages. Marriage and sports don't seem to mix)

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Drunk baseball would be boring since every batter would just walk. Drunk hockey, however, has promise.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Ah, books. Digital, epub format, I think. Technology is a wonderful thing.

April 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThrenody

Dave, you are so right about drunk hockey. Here in Canada, we have professional hockey, which is a sport, and recreational hockey, which is a game.

The term ‘beer league’, which in the U.S. usually refers to softball, in Canada almost always means recreational hockey. And yes, there is much beer consumed, and it is awesome.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuperversive

Prefer ebooks. Because reasons.

Jim Gaffigan has a pretty funny take on bowling too: It's the only "sport" with an ashtray built into the bowling equipment. And that hand dryer thing? If you're sweating while you're bowling, you're out of shape. And if you're out of shape and you're bowling, you're probably a professional bowler.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

So it's not the activity itself that qualifies as a sport or game, it's the way it's done - competitively on the one hand, or socially or for fun on the other. Scrabble can be played very competitively - there's a world championship and everything. I myself have been in "games" that I thought were going to be pleasant social occasions but turned out to more closely resemble blood sports.

Funnily enough, the word "game" was exactly what Wittgenstein used in his analysis of words, pointing out that of all the things that get called games, there are very few characteristics that they all share. He claimed that there were a "family of meanings" for it, as I understand it. And Wittgenstein is rated as one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century.

So there you go Scott, your insights are on a par with great philosophy. They're also a damn sight more fun to read than Wittgenstein who was a very somber fellow. If you ever see a picture of him you'll think that you're looking at some notorious serial killer.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStevie Hair

I prefer e-books on Kindle or pdf

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTom D

I thought hockey players always played drunk. How else to explain the (drunken) brawls?
Oddly, I have always played a better game of pool after a few beers.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike N

I prefer reading ebooks, because I read so much that there's just no room to store everything. But I do like to keep some books as objects, either buying nice hardcover editions of favorites, or displaying books that were gifts or that have some emotional value.

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

Hardback if possible

April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

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