Monday, March 31, 2008

Why was Hanson snubbed?

Drew Hearon, the most prolific submitter to, sent me this email today

we had a card game friday night......we hit a lull in conversation, and at
Midnight, one of my friends said "Dude, I just got your friends Barguments book,
throw some of them out to Liven this conversation up!"
We spent the next 2
hours doing exactly'd have been blown away.

We also came up with this bargument...

What is the best Brothers Band of All time?" ie..ACDC, Allman Brothers,
etc. etc.

Good one, Poker People. I'd add the Jackson Five, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Bee Gees. Oh, and the Thompson Twins.

Let me know who I've forgotten in the comments section.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

They get it

The Washington Post declared Barguments "buzz worthy" today in a write-up in their Sunday Source section. That's the new section where Post writers tell you how to enjoy yourself.

Amy Orndorff notes that everyone has barroom arguments but "unlike most of us, Hanks remembered them in the morning and wrote them down."

She calls me a "guru" (a first!) and declares that I'm not "preachy" in the book since I'm offering questions, not answers. Compliment taken, Amy.

My favorite: the final line.

Amy writes the book "makes a handy coaster."

Can't bargue with that...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Best Friend or Breakfast?

These fun people from the Coconut Grove Sailing Club offered me a new bargument last night.

You're sailing across the ocean with just your dog when you get stranded on a deserted island. How long does the dog last?

They voted 2 to 1 for "until it dies of natural causes." Can you guess who voted to eat the loyal pet?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Joe Six Pack Endorses Barguments

Joe Sixpack, who writes a column for the Philadelphia Daily News and whose official title is "Daily News Beer Reporter," has come out in favor of Barguments

In a column out today, he calls Barguments "a fun little book called "Barguments" (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $9.99) from Doug Hanks, a reporter with the Miami Herald who, like me, apparently managed to convince his editors that his weekly bar tab is a legitimate business expense."

I wish, Joe. But I do hope to convince the IRS of that very soon.

Read the column here. It also mentions another book, "He Said Beer, She Said Wine" (DK Publishing, $25), where the authors bicker over whether you should pair food with beer or wine.

From Joe:

On what goes better with cheese:
She says, "There are no more perfect
partners in the realm of food and beverage pairing than wine and cheese."
says, "What do you drink with pizza when your friends come over to watch the
game? I'll give you a hint: it isn't wine."
On pairing with kung pao chicken
or jambalaya:
She says, "Light, off-dry whites calm the flames, while
aromatic reds can provide a complex counterpoint to layered flavors and
He says, "The carbonation, maltiness and alcohol content of
beer makes it the perfect partner for even the spiciest dishes. To be fair,
though, I once used a Riesling to put out a grease-fire."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Barguments article

Ryan Cormier, the pop writer at the News Journal in Wilmington, Del., wrote a well-reported article about Barguments. Granted, the reporting involved him going to bars. But good reporting nonetheless. He does both Barguments and bars justice in the story.

You can read it here.

For the story, he had asked me my answers on a few barguments, including "Name the three best guitar players in history." I'm glad he didn't print the answers, because my response was lame: Jerry Garcia (easy), Jimi Hendrix (lame) and Eric Clapton (lamer).

I just write the questions. I don't come up with smart answers.

But since we're asking, what IS the answer to that one?

(UPDATE: I just saw the sidebar in which Ryan DID publish my answers. I'll never show my face in Delaware again.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To be sure you're right, test your answer

Here are some barguments submitted during the big Barguments Happy Hour in Oxford last weekend.

If you could sleep with one of your spouse's best friends without anyone ever knowing, who would it be?

Which liquor is the worst to throw up? (from my cousin, Peter Hanks)

The bar at your wedding can only stock five liquors and three beers. Which ones do you want?

And, finally, a wholesome bargument from KC Bridges: Which is the better Girl Scout cookie: Thin Mints or Samoas?

Monday, March 17, 2008

First look at the big Barguments Happy Hour

The Barguments Blog is still feeling the effects of the Oxford Barguments Blow Out at Latitude 38 on Saturday night.

About 100 friends and family gathered at the bar that started it all. Owners Wendy and Gretchen were generous, patient, fun, and enthusiastic hosts. Gena Levy baked a wedding-quality Barguments cake. KC Bridges handled the decorations, including a portrait of the Barguments cover. The Latitudes crew printed up some photos of me from the old Masthead/Latitudes Halloween parties. (Including me as Bill Clinton, which prompted some Hanks for President! signs outside the bar.)

Harrison Street Books packed up their cash register and set up a table at the party. By six o'clock, the crew had drank Latitudes out of Bud 10-ounce, Miller Lite bottles and all the draft beer. The taps were dry. But the Bud longnecks survived, as did a good chunk of the party into the late evening. (It started at 3.)

Katie Southworth sent these photos. I've got some on my camera as well, but I'm having trouble uploading them. The 10 ouncers might be to blame...

Here's famed barguer Eric Abell and Colin Kelly, who recently added an impartial review of the book on You know it's early in the day. Not because of the sunlight, but because of what they're both drinking.

Steve Lewis, Tom Farmar (who got the prize for buying the most books) Andrew Southworth and Matt "Cheeks" Harrison. There was a box in the bar for people to submit their own barguments. One of the entries: "What the f*** is wrong with Steve Lewis?"
A group shot. This reminds me I was supposed to get all the guys together for Katie (third from left) to take a similar picture, and never did. Sorry, Katie. Below that picture is the amazing cake Gena baked. In a possible nod to Miami, I think the filling was dulce de leche.

The two top contributors to this blog: Farmar and Mike Valliant.

The Barguments Guys. Fairly late in the evening...

What a party. Thanks, Katie, for the pictures, and thanks to anyone reading this who was there. It couldn't have gone better.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Barguments Shore Tour

Here's the sign for the big book signing in Easton, MD., Saturday. I did one of these in Miami and it was marked by long periods of staring out from a small table with a large stack of books. Hopefully the home-town advantage -- plus an excellent Star-Democrat write up with a nod to one of the greatest barguments on the Chesapeake Bay, which I will post as soon as I can find it on -- will help. Can't complain about the in-store promotion.

Then it's off to the Barguments Happy Hour at Latitude 38 in Oxford from 3 to 7. Here's KC, official Barguments Spirit Chair, working on some games for the Latitudes event.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Barguments Shelf Placement Report, II

From the Borders in Coral Gables. They put it face up, not me.

But you can't ask for better placement than what Books & Books in Coral Gables did for Barguments. They had me sign a few dozen books there. I hope that pile is smaller by now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Well said!

Here's a partial transcript from a segment on Cosmopolitan magazine's Sirius Radio channel. The show: Cocktails with Patrick.

Patrick: "This book should be on your coffee table."

Patrick: "This is a good book to have if you're trying to decide if you should start a relationship."

Patrick: "This is going to be one of those ideas where you're going to wish you thought of it. But Doug Hanks did."

The original bargument

Veteran blogger and early barguer Michael Valliant points out in his blog today that even before lion v. bear, there was man v. car. This all started at one of the Oxford bars (I think Schooner's) when we were trying to decide if it would be quicker to swim across the Tred Avon River or drive around it.

Valliant was at the time drinking coffee and training for the Marines (might have been the Army) and volunteered to test the premise. He dove into the Tred Avon, while I proceeded to drive from Oxford to Bellevue. You'll have to click on his excellent account to find out what happened...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Would you still pick Kramer after the...incident?

Lots of comments on the blog item below about the best TV theme song. That spun-off a bargument on about the hottest TV mom from the 80s. And that spin-off also spawned a mini bargument on TV sidekicks that now brings me to this spin-off three times removed:

Pick a neighbor from television to move in next door.

This person has to qualify as a true TV neighbor-- that is, someone cast in that familiar role to orbit around a show's main characters. Larry from Three's Company, Ned Flanders from The Simpons, and yes -- of course-- Kramer.
Update: I did put a version of this bargument on the site,

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bargument event today!

I forgot to post for loyal Barguments Blog fans that I'll be doing a signing today at the Bookstore in the Grove from 4 to 7 (targeting Happy Hour Readers) then heading down the hill to the Coconut Grove Sailing Club for a special Barguments Night party.

It's technically an invitation-only party, but everyone reading this blog will be considered my invited guest.

The Coconut Grove Grapevine blog did a little item on the event. Click here to read it. You have to scroll way down.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Barguments shelf placement report

Longtime barguer Chris Nosher sent in this report from the Barnes & Noble in Tysons Corner, VA. Johnny Hart must be happy..

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gone fast with a girl named Bo...

Barguments fan and Doug Hanks cousin Michael Valliant first nominated this for Best TV Theme Song. I agree. Competitive hot-dog eater and sports writer Will Champman sent me the video today.

Update on

Wanted to make sure this was high up for anyone who might be annoyed with the site.

The good guys at Absolute Web Services just tweaked the site to allow multiple users from the same IP address. Now you're limited to one vote on each bargument per computer.

But as a result, it resets the tracking so that you'll need to vote again on the barguments to see the results.

Sorry the for the trouble!

P.S. I'll post some photos tonight from the big Barguments Launch night. They sold out of books quickly at Books & Books, but did not run out of beer at The Bar.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Barguments Day at the Miami Herald

Thanks to Ina and Niala -- early Barguments fans and pioneer Barguments contributors -- for thinking of me on the big Barguments Launch Day. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Change at

The good guys at Absolute Web Services fixed a lingering flub with Now votes will be limited to one per computer, not one per IP address. But the transition means that your computer will be reset, meaning you can vote on all the barguments again.

Sorry for the inconvenience. But at least you'll have the chance to rethink your decisions. Is Rock Me Amadeus really more annoying than Milkshake?

UPDATED UPDATE at 9:23 a.m. Wednesday: Problem seems to be fixed. You do have to vote on all the questions again to see the results. Sorry for that!

UPDATE AT 12:02 PM on Tuesday: There seems to be a problem with the site, in that it's not recognizing previous votes. The tallies are all there, but you can keep voting again and again. Not a bad time to launch your big pro-Lost campaign, but annoying for visitors. The AWS guys are on it. Check back for updates. For now, if you leave open on a browser on your deskstop, nothing will reset. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Time to sell the books

It's 2:50 a.m. on Barguments Launch Day and I'm on the radio in Minneapolis.

UPDATE: It's 3:01 a.m. The media blitz is over. I'm going back to bed.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dave Barry and Barguments

When you google "Barguments,'' Dave Barry's blog pops up first most of the time. Not a bad thing. His post on my interview with him and his wife, Michelle Kaufman, got more than 50 comments from readers. (Don't get too excited: the photo above got 222 comments at last count.)

Click here to read the post.

My favorite:

Bear v. Lion?
Depends on the bear. If we're talking a Grizzly, they weigh up
to 1800 lbs! They would just stomp a lion to death.
A Polar Bear would just
wait until the lion froze.
A Koala Bear would get its butt kicked by a lion,
that's pretty certain!
A Panda would cute the lion to death!
Posted by: Moon 12:14 AM on March 2, 2008

Barguments on local cable tv

Here's a pretty long segment on Barguments that ran on Plum TV. Don't know what's going on with my hair in this, but hopefully that won't hurt the Barguments Amazon ranking.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Paul and Young Ron

Barguments Blog news update: I'm booked for an in-studio appearance on the Paul and Young Ron radio show Monday morning at 7:20. Good thing I behaved myself today and didn't go sailing. I need be fresh and chipper for my Morning Zoo debut.

Barguments Night in Coral Gables

This Tuesday, March 4, Barguments officially launches. I'm having a reading that night at Books & Books in Coral Gables (265 Aragon Ave.), followed by Barguments Night at The Bar (172 Giralda Ave.).

Should be fun. I've got some books to give away, and I'm trying to arrange for beer at the reading. But I think Books & Books has a bar (a sign of a good bookstore) so we should be fine.

How do you give a reading of Barguments? I have 15 minutes to speak. I could almost read the entire book by then. Let's hope it's a fun crowd.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Barguing with Dave Barry

Dave Barry, who works hard at making humor writing look easy, was nice enough to join me at a the JohnMartin's Irish Pub recently for a barguing session.

His wife, Michelle Kaufman, came too and she turned out to be a crucial addition because (a) she's a sportswriter and took my side in a sports bargument and (b) she was funny.

Click here to read my Miami Herald story on the encounter.

But since space is never infinite in a newspaper, some good stuff got left out of that article. I'm posting some of that here, exclusive to Barguments Blog readers.

Among the lost tidbits:

1. This exchange on the bargument: You’ve been kidnapped, and the characters from one television show can make a rescue attempt. Who gets the call?

Dave: The A-Team. They come in the van, kick your ass, you know? Mr. T—I’d like to meet Mr. T.
Michelle: How about Tubbs and Crockett?
Dave: No, they would come in and one of them would be really depressed about a girlfriend. And they wouldn’t actually save you. You’d probably get killed.
Because that would make it more poignant. They would have a better song to play.

2. For the bargument "You've been sentenced to prison for 30 years and can subscribe to one magazine. Which do you pick" Dave said quickly: The Economist.
I laughed but he wasn't kidding.
"I love the Economist. It covers the whole world. I wouldn't pick the Atlantic because that's monthly."
Moral: You have to be well-informed to be funny.

3. Asked to name his Top 5 sitcoms, Dave reluctantly chose six: Family Guy, The Simpsons, Cheers, Seinfeld, South Park and Extras. Extras and Seinfeld were his top picks, and he called Extras "the most brilliant sitcom ever."

Disagree? Watch this: