Search inside!

Search Inside Lolita?

Wow — I entirely missed Zeldman’s original post about this, but Kirsten just pointed out a hilarious little side effect of Amazon’s addition of “Search Inside!” or “Look Inside!” text to book cover images featuring their full text search feature.

As if the term ‘Lolita’ didn’t attract enough pervs already, now we have little things like this to feed the obsession.

More amusing instances of this can be found on Kirsten’s post, or at Another Pointless Dotcom.

iTunes: “Fun With Drugs” by Velvet Acid Christ from the album Fun With Knives (1999, 5:25).

The Death of a Foy

It was extremely unusual for a Foy to be dying on earth. They were the highest social class on their planet (which had a name that was pronounced — as nearly as earthly throats could make the sounds — Sortibackenstrete) and were virtually immortal.

Every Foy, of course, came to a voluntary death eventually, and this one had given up because of an ill-starred love affair, if you can call it a love affair where five individuals, in order to reproduce, must indulge in a yearlong mental contact. Apparently, the Foy had not fit into the contact after several months of trying, and it had broken his heart — or hearts, for he had five.

All Foys had five large hearts and there was speculation that it was this that made them virtually immortal.

Maude Briscoe, earth’s most renowned surgeon, wanted those hearts. “It can’t be just their number and size, Ray,” she said to her chief assistant. “It has to be something physiological or biochemical. I must have them.”

“I don’t know if we can manage that,” said Ray Johnson. “I’ve been speaking to him earnestly, trying to overcome the Foy taboo against dismemberment after death. I’ve had to lie to him, Maude.”


“I told him that after death, there would be a dirge sung for him by the world-famous choir led by Harold J. Gassenbaum. I told him that, by earthly belief, this would mean that his astral essence would be instantaneously wafted back, through hyperspace, to his home planet of Sortib-what’s-it’s-name — provided he would sign a release allowing you, Maude, to have his hearts for scientific investigation.”

“Don’t tell me he believed that.”

“Well, you know this modern attitude about accepting the myths and beliefs of intelligent aliens. It wouldn’t have been polite for him not to believe me. Besides, the Foys have a profound admiration for earthly science and I think this one is a little flattered that we should want his hearts. He promised to consider the suggestion and I hope he decides soon because he can’t live more than another, day or so, and we must have his permission by interstellar law, and the hearts must be fresh — Ah, his signal.”

Ray Johnson moved in with smooth and noiseless speed. “Yes?” he whispered, unobtrusively turning on the holographic recording device in case the Foy wished to grant permission.

The Foy’s large, gnarled, rather tree like body lay motionless on the bed. His bulging eyes palpitated — all five of them — as they rose, each on its stalk, and turned toward Ray. The Foy’s voice had a strange tone and the lipless edges of his open round mouth did not move, but the words formed perfectly. His eyes were making the Foyan gestures of assent as he said, “Give my big hearts to Maude, Ray. Dismember me for Harold’s choir. Tell all the Foys on Sortibackenstretethat I will soon be there.”

Isaac Asimov has long been one of my favorite writers. In addition to writing incredibly good science fiction, he could also craft nonfiction scientific essays that were just as interesting to read, a rare gift in any writer. And, of course, he had an absolutely wicked sense of humor and a great love for bad puns.

I just had to share after finding this one. :)

(via MetaFilter)

Cheaper By the Dozen

I absolutely, uncategorically, and unquestionably refuse to go see the Cheaper By the Dozen movie currently playing in the theaters.

The original book by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey was one of my favorite books growing up. It’s the true story of the Gilbreths, a turn of the century family unlike any other. Father was an efficiency expert, hired by companies to examine their work processes and find ways to speed up production — and he ran his life and his household by the same standards as his business. His wife shared in his duties, giving lectures on efficiency techniques (no small feat for a woman in 1917), and continued her husband’s work and business after he died. Then, there were their children — all twelve of them.

At first, when I saw that there was going to be a new movie made from the book, I was interested. Then, I found out that it starred Steve Martin, and I began to worry. Then I saw the previews, and my fears were confirmed — in the name of “modernization”, the story I loved as a kid has been gutted to the point where apparently the only connection to the original source material is the number of children. Such a shame.

I was ranting about this to Prairie after seeing the preview a while back, and while she could sympathize with my frustration, she couldn’t empathize, never having read the book. So, one of her Christmas presents from me this year was her own copy of Cheaper By the Dozen. She’s been reading it off and on all evening as I’ve been dinking around on the computer, and I’m constantly hearing her start to giggle (or out and out laugh) at one passage or another. I love it when something I loved so much when I was younger gives someone else the giggles as they read it for the first time.

Words, words, words

I’m so set for reading material for the next few weeks — it’s great!

Prairie just got me started reading an old series from Marion Zimmer Bradley, and I just finished the first book — The Inheritor — this morning. Unfortunately, I won’t have anything else in the series until this weekend.

No worries, though. Amazon just delivered Neil Gaiman’s newest work, Endless Nights, his return to the Sandman series.

And, on top of that, I picked up the latest book from Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver, the first book of a planned trilogy called The Baroque Cycle.

So if my posts are a little less frequent than they sometimes are for a bit…at least you know why. ;)

Burning toast brightly, proudly, and with great beauty

Following up on yesterday’s book banning post, today comes news that the books will not be removed from the school curriculum.

In the end, the school board voted unanimously to keep Brave New World and Stranger in a Strange Land, while giving parents more control over their students’ choices by requiring principals to automatically offer an alternative to a challenged book.

While I’m very glad that this was the final decision, the requirement to offer alternative choices seems a little silly. How is that going to work? Most of the class reads Brave New World, while two or three students read something else? Class discussions are going to be an interesting experience.

(via Go Fish)

Inappropriate sexual arousal for teens

Concerned parents in Texas want to ban Brave New World and Stranger in a Strange Land.

The board of directors for the South Texas Independent School District is expected to decide tonight whether to ban two books — Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land — from the high school’s 10th grade English Advanced Placement curriculum.

The books, part of the class’ summer reading list, may lead to “inappropriate sexual arousal of young teens,” parent Julie Wilde wrote in her complaint to the district.

Obviously (to me, at least), this is patently stupid. But I did have one question.

Would Ms. Wilde be so kind as to suggest some alternate reading that provides appropriate sexual arousal for young teens?

Britney Spears’ autobiography, perhaps?

(via Go Fish)


Something else to add to my ever-growing reading list, thanks to Cory Doctorow: a beautiful new edition of the original Pinocchio fairy tale. Here’s what Cory had to say about it…

Pinnochio is one of my favorite children’s books. Like many of the great children’s stories that have survived history, it is a lot darker than most people realize. In fact, it’s a vicious little bastard of a book, and screamingly funny in places. […] Now, Tor Books has brought out a beautiful new edition of the public-domain text of the novel, deisgned by Chesley-Award-winning art director Irene Gallo (who is astonishingly good at her job, and who has a special fondness for this book, I’m told), and lavishly (and I do mean lavishly) illustrated by Gris Grimly, in sepia-toned macabre ink drawings that are as angular and jocularly grim as the text itself.