Thursday, October 17, 2013

All Men of Genius

All Men of GeniusAll Men of Genius by Lev A.C. Rosen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book stands on its own, but as you've no doubt read in other reviews / previews, it's also a mashup of Twelfth Night and The Importance of Being Earnest. Related to Oscar Wilde's personal issues, and the masquerade / hidden (sexual) identity in Twelfth Night, All Men... has alternate sexuality as plot points. None of it is "R" rated, I think, but perhaps a strong PG-13.

Readers with tenaciously held convictions regarding traditional sexuality may be more or less offended. Readers with less concern with those matters will not be bothered.

The story involves Violet Adams who wants to attend the premier science institution, Illyria College, where only men are accepted as students. She pretends to be her brother (the names of the character and the college are deliberate, not to say obvious allusions to 12th Night). All Men of Genius is not a pioneer after 12th Night using sexual disguise as a plot device. For example, in the first Alanna book in the series by Tamara Pierce, the plot point is exactly the same with all the complications involved for a teen girl trying to pass as a teen boy.

Along side the difficulties and confusions of Violet's progress in science academics is also the couples / mating "rituals" in an alternate Victorian England. This too, is well done. Like much of science fiction, it speaks to issues of today's culture through a lense of an alternate time.

The struggles involved in invention, discovering and fighting an elitist scientific club's plan to take over England and then the world provide page turning thrills. Many readers will finish quickly to appeaase their desire to discover "what happens next".

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Rhyming dictionary websites

Only two I will mention. There are others.

First of all, I get distracted by words like shiny objects or the exclamation, "Squirrel!" I was walking along and I saw the phrase, "100 years ..." and then I was past it.

Although I confess, I have not read the book, the first thing that came to me as I thought on the flashed phrase was "100 Years of Solitude." Then I thought of plays on that title--100 Years of Attitude, 100 Years of Certitude, etc.

So I looked for a rhyming dictionary online to help me come up with other amusing word mash-ups to see what meanings might result. RhymeZone rhyming dictionary at is woefully inadequate. I'll just say it. Even if you ask it to search for near rhymes, if finds fewer words that I can think of off the top of my head.

The WriteExpress Online Rhyming Dictionary at works much better and came up with words I was expecting to see, including one syllable words that you could add to a phrase as well as the three syllable words that fit exactly into stress and rhyme pattern of solitude.

Oh. And another spoof title thought up by a colleague: 100 Years of Running Nude.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Song for Closing

Sometimes, one must change up the routine to get the attention of perfectly fine, but busy people when the time comes to empty the building. One method for this is my "Poorman's Al Yankovik" Fair Use parody of some helpless, innocent song.

I submit for your consideration, "I Think We Are Closed, Now," wrenched from Tommy James and the Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now," also covered in the 80's by Tiffany.

Print files or save!
That's what we say when we are closing
And don't let's delay
Let's close like we planned
And so we're checking out as fast as we can...
Giving to you a helping hand
Trying to get away into the night
And then you gather up your items and you wander to the door
And then we say, "I think we are closed, now
There doesn't seem to be anyone around.
"I think we are closed now,
The beating of our hearts is the only sound."

The song ends there, because when you're making closing motions, people really don't want a two or three minute radio ditty. About a minute is enough inflict on people without rousing their annoyance beyond having been interrupted in their task and being asked to leave in the first place.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Just Saying.

I won't bother to reprint one of the latest little pop
science news stories making the meme rounds.

Let me imagine that the following is suitable for any debate using behavior of animals in nature to support any advocated human behavior in society. I'm not getting all caveman flame by any means. However, I do wonder does this mean anything that shows up in nature is appropriate for some analogous behavior in human society, or only ones that seem sensible to the people looking at it? How is that different from the majority or the most vocal doing what is right in their own eyes? If we get to claim support from this natural phenomenon, does not anyone else get to claim support from any other natural phenomena they find that support their opinion on some issue? To be entirely fair, I do think God should be credited and charged with the saves and the losses in natural disasters: I just don't think it is rhetorically useful to cherry pick part of an evidence while discounting similar evidence that doesn't fit the position. At that point, just say you're right and events in nature don't justify nor condemn anything in human society.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

When metaphors don't work

A line in a song says, "Open the eyes of my heart..." Now, I've mentioned this somewhere else, but that metaphor (which I believe does work, and I'm willing to stipulate so here) made me think of one that I feel should work when you look at the comparisons involved, and yet it doesn't.
   "Sprained ankle of the heart"--certainly sprains ache and hearts ache. And the way that sprained ankles can keep paining you for months or years after the initial injury fits how an heart ache can do. So it seems to me that it should work as a metaphor, but it just doesn't. It' lacks that "Aha!" moment that the best metaphors have. Maybe, you could have a working metaphor if you just referred to "sprained my heart," but I'm still not convinced. It would have the immediate relation to "break my heart." So, like you can sprain a joint or break its bone--sprained ankle, broken ankle--you could have "sprained heart," "broken heart." I'm just not sure if that works or works enough.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Come see the Tugginc screening of The Exquisite Corpse Project!

 It's funny how one thing can lead to another. I was practicing finding, checking out and reading on line magazines from the library's Zinio service. This is work related, because I have to be able to show patrons how to do all the steps and get it downloaded to their tablet, ereader, or smartphone. And let me tell you, it's complicated to annoy even me, so you can imagine it's not  going to be, shall we say, "intuitive" for many patrons fresh on the Internet.
  Anyway, I was looking at Mental Floss, which is one of the available free to check out and keep magazines on the library's collection of Zinio magazines. While looking at the pages, one of the letters to the editor said something about pg 64 in a previous issue. Page 64 was a link, and I clicked it to see if it would take me to the past issue. No such luck. What it did do was take me to page 64 in the current issue.
  While that was not a useful link to see what the letter writer was referring to, it was a page that had a small article about The Exquisite Corpse Project, which is a movie based on a parlour game with a twist. From the article (on pg 64 of the July-August 2013 issue of Mental Floss): A segment called The Rules done by Ben Popik and his sketch comedy group might go like this--pick 3 of the worst experiences in your life, write a sketch based on them, you have 5 minutes, start NOW. The article says that the results were usually (always?) horrible, but watching the process made it great and funny.
   For The Exquisite Corpse Project, Popik asked his former comedy team to write 15 pages of script after seeing only 5 pages of the script section before the section each member was to write. According to the movie webpage, they'd only agree if he committed to making the movie if they scripted it that way. He did; they did; it's out there.

Page 64 of Mental Floss (remember when we were there?) included a link to a blog where one can download the movie (for $5.00). At the blog is a link to Tugg or something that has a make a reservation for a movie theater showing link If you're near Portland, Oregon, in time, it'd be great to go. (Plus they need 43 more reservations to actually have the screening take place there. Search for other screening appearances if PDX is too far away. But the venue is really cool!
Join me at this @Tugginc screening of The Exquisite Corpse Project!: Join me at this @Tugginc screening of The Exquisite Corpse Project!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Evidence of Yet Another Disorder--ADDD

The names have been hidden to protect the guilty.
Perhaps the corporate sponsor was 3M
This is the cover of a Summer Reading Programs brochure which details the different programs and dates and times on a separate page for each of the library branches in the system. The cover as seen here, and the nearly alphabetized pages by library branch inside, illustrate a newly identified disorder:
Attention to Detail Deficit Disorder.

Friday, May 31, 2013

A Random post from a Transatlantic Journey

The beer was ordinary Heineken; the olives were Spanish
green. I don't know what the price was about.
Beer and I thought complimentary green Spanish olives. At a little bar behind the Teatro Romano, Cartagena, Spain. Saw no menu. Admission to Teatro Romano, €6.00; food & beverage seen here: €13.50; learning to check for costs before ordering in a foreign bar: priceless

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I see travel in the future. Magic Eightball says, Signs point to yes.

I'll be riding a ship on a thirteen day journey across the Atlantic, debarking at the port 45 miles outside Rome and flying home (boy, I expect my arms to get tired then)!

Still, with the cruise market slump because of the Carnival Cruise disaster (and no doubt because of the Italian cruise capsize disaster before that) prices for last minute reservations have come down quite temptingly. At least, I thought so. Of course, in an ironic switch, cruising this year has proved to be a grasshopper market and not favoring ants' forethought and planning. Anyone buying back in, January, say instead of now or two weeks ago, would have found prices around $800 higher per person for the exact same cabin. So much for the benefits of planning ahead.

Anyway, If I think of it, if it's not too expensive (one has to pay for unreliable internet access on board ship), I'll try to post a picture or two and make some envy-provoking comment. I'll find something more interesting than grey-green water out to the horizon.

It's a little ironic that I should pay big money for 13 days at sea when the Navy used to send me on 10-23 day cruises and pay me for it. But I won't have anything to do on the thirteen days besides amuse myself and maybe try a little Karaoke. Unlike in the Navy where there were external demands placed on my time.

Having said that, both sets of sea journey managers want(ed) me to dress up for certain occasions.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Writing on writing: A short short

Writing on Writing
  When I took driver's ed, it was held at a near-by college campus. The driver's ed simulation room was near-by the freshman English composition classroom. On a bulletin board between the two rooms, students' one, two or three sentence works were posted. Some were amusing; some were "meh"; I assume for the sake of argument, some were horrible, but I can't remember any of those.
The one that I remember all these years down read like this: "A guy asked me for an aspirin. I gave him a Mydol."

My short short for this post is in the picture at left, transcribed below:

Some students, unwilling to revise their writing, seem to imagine themselves as some kind of Pontius Pilate of composition saying, “What I have written, I have written.” (cf. John 19:22)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

a table not next to the wood stove
I just posted a lie as a comment at a friend's posting request. He asked his Facebook friends to lie about how they met him. I am (much) more pleased with my lie than it deserves, so I thought I might inflict it on you as well--a kind of a "short-short" story. (You may hear an imperfect echo of a Marty Robbins song.)

We met...

Down in the West Texas town of El Paso, where I was drinking a Dr. Pepper.

You sat at a table placed next to the wood stove, and asked, "What do you think on a day like today?"

Thinking that this was the espionage pass phrase
I had been waiting for I answered thus, "Like the tide when the moon is leaving the seaside, your hair line, though dark is receding."

You started to jump up in umbrage proclaiming, "That is the rudest thing I've heard all day!"

Apprehending your meaning was not based in spying,
I tried to leave quietly, out the back door.

The waitress, though cute, had no patience with vagrants however they looked.
She brought a bouncer, bounced me back to the cashier. I was embarrassed and red.
This was not the unobtrusive meeting my handler had said.

And you were astonied, as they tossed me out, muttering, "I just bet he listens to old rock and roll five times a week if not daily!

We never saw each other again until, ironically, I was checking meal tickets and collecting lunch money at the serving line entrance in an El Cajon campus. Mostly unobtrusively, but without any espionage to keep me warm.