|These slapdash "Buy books about whatever-you-searched-for at Amazon!"
search-result pleadings are occasionally amusing, but rarely quite this
Buy and sell "kevan davis" and millions of other items at LookSmart Auctions Centre.
Cash and respite would be nice, I admit, but auctioning myself off seems
a bit of an extreme way to do it. And I'd kind of assumed that I already
had the top job in the industry...
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|Shades of Fahrenheit 451 in a piece of shameful foot-and-mouth news
from the Eye:-
"The impression of agricultural crises as media show intensified
when the police also told journalists that, although the corpses of
livestock were ready for lighting at 3pm, MAFF would wait until dark
to give a better photo opportunity."
|American researchers suggest that we start
infected livestock, such an assault being far cheaper and quicker than
the construction of hideous petrol-soaked pyres.
|The excellent Dr
Richard Wiseman comes out with another sceptical experiment; seeing
who's best at predicting the stock-market -
financial analyst, a financial astrologer or a four-year-old child.
Results - the astrologer lost £294, the analyst came out £178 worse off,
and the child lost just £11. Hurrah.|
And tangenting from The Trial, Dr Wiseman's also quoted elsewhere as saying, as part of an experiment to see if
juries are more likely to find thuggish-looking defendants guilty, that
"although scientists no longer accepted the 19th-century belief
that offenders had certain facial characteristics, the public still believed
in criminal stereotypes".
|Following on from talking fag packets, a
vodka bottle is patented. Amongst other things it "allows you to drink alone",
although the thought of tinny sampled party laughter ringing around an
empty bedsit seems more in the league of "mocks you for drinking alone".
[via Blue Ruin]
|A magnificent production of Kafka's
The Trial at the Brighton
Komedia last night; five actors in slapdash monochrome facepaint, a
revolving corner-of-room set and a variety of white and grey costumes.
Gripping stuff, with a superbly edgy K. giving occasional earnest
spotlight soliloquies, against a memorably eclectic supporting cast and
rather creepy usage of the
audience as both court officials ("You're all wearing the badges!")
and the waiting-room arrested. Must read the book again.|
And browsing relevant bits of the Web, I've found a rather good
paper that analyses the tale and puts it into
and historical perspective. Interesting stuff.
|"Britain Plans Pre-Emptive Cull, Doo-Dah, Doo-Dah."
||The Cube Dvorak deck, based upon
Vincenzo Natali's film,
is ready for consumption. It does contain a couple of spoilers, but I
suspect the film's predictable enough for them not to impact that much,
|Byliner is a far more useful conglomeration of
writings, however - it scans a hefty collection of online magazines
and newspapers and, if you give it the names of some columnists, will
drop you a line whenever any of them publish anything. Handy for keeping up
with your favourites,
and also for finding obscure one-offs from
||The Open Diary
- a community of vapid online journals,
sampled at random on the front page like a radio cruelly tuned to the
brainwaves of passers-by too asinine or egotistical to tinfoil their
[via Hate the Stupid]
"My name is Quaid Loman. I don't know what the Game is or who is running
it. I don't know where I am -- although it seems to be some isolated
island resort -- and I don't know how I got here. There are nineteen
total strangers here with me who appear to have no more idea than I do
what is going on. We have discovered no means of communicating with the
outside world, and no boat or plane with which to escape from here.
Although we have no memory of it, all of us seem to have signed the
And the contract is a basic Nomic ruleset,
which the prisoners are allowed to modify by consensus, it being
inferrable that those who deviate from the rules are killed by
helicopter gunships or something. Written by a veteran Nomic player,
Omega Game seems an obvious next step from other mysterious
social-psychological dramas, one of those story ideas you can't see
why you haven't thought of yourself. I wonder if it ends with someone
pulling off a clever ruleset scam to the annoyance (and/or death) of
everyone else? Or with the shadowy overseers turning up and apologetically
mumbling that, having moved house and started new jobs, they haven't really got
time to run the game any more?
|Struggling to tell a joke properly (I usually just summarise them
with apologetic disinterest):-
"There's a particularly nasty throat infection going around at the
moment, which causes people's tongues to retract and fold up at the
backs of their mouths. Doctors say it's the worst epidemic of Futon
Mouth they've seen in years."
Memetic mutation of a rather poor "Futon Mouse disease" joke a
nameless entity told me yesterday. Although I wonder how many
jokes are so irresistably obvious that they must evolve
convergently all over the place.
"Finally, when the notion of the static ichnograph proves limited, she
begins to understand the Cube in terms of a procedure, a movement
governed by the tension Massumi calls 'paradox with precision', an idea
that refers one back to the thesis on the machine's ability to re-order
transgression as pseudo-transgression, the use of the desiring body as
Horrific pseuds-corner philosopher-dropping
over-analysis of the vaguely irritating but thought-provoking-afterwards
psychological sci-fi film Cube.
|Hm, after far too much starting of new books on long journeys (why bother
taking along something half-read that you'll have finished by the time
you change at Victoria?), I've finally shed bookmarks from a couple.
Harry Thompson's biography
of Peter Cook made for witty, insightful and ultimately
tragic reading; although I already knew a good bit about the man and his work,
I never really appreciated how it all fitted together, how much of his
great material was written so early, and how so many of his career's later
optimistic upswings fell miserably away. Thompson's fairly flat
writing style keeps everything in perspective, whilst making the frequent
quotations and anecdotes all the more striking and brilliant, and it
paints a memorable picture of the greatness and sheer boredom that
genius can bring.|
As well as that, I wrapped up Iain Banks'
The Business with rather too little interest.
His habit of assuming the reader knows as much about the setting as he does is alright
if you live in the right universe, but it was still a
rather irritating book. Countless samey "meeting up with an eccentric
person for plot-advancement conversation" segments, an odd, rather bad
choice of main character, and an ominously interesting sub-plot that fizzled
out in favour of the painfully-obvious other one. The atmosphere of
the made-up Himalayan country of Thuhn was great, and Ferrindonald
had some good material, but the rest of the book was a bit too
grating for my brain. Passable journey fodder, but I wouldn't recommend it
|"People of Earth, this will not take long. We only want to
fribble your tweems."
||Feh; Catherine posts a link to
UFO in Kushiro, a Murakami short story seemingly
written specifically for New Yorker magazine, but
the page in
question was replaced first thing Monday, new content for a new
week. Has anyone still got the previous in their cache?