Friday, May 31, 2013

Entangled in the telephunk (365 Poems, Poem 41)

Hot Actress:
Lena Headey

  by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I've got it right.)
Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I'd better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)


I have been reading poems off and on all day long, or at least all morning long, in between phone calls and emails, taking a little break here and there to read a poem while I tried to find something that I thought merited being in the list of 365 poems that are worth reading and rhyme, etc., and I stumbled across this one.

I liked it because of the wordplay and the fun way it read; even reading it silently to myself I enjoyed the way the words jumped around in my mind.  It immediately made me want to read this poem to kids, to Mr Bunches and Mr F, perhaps, although I'm not sure how much they would appreciate it, but I wanted to read it to them, anyway, right away.

To me, that's one of the hallmarks of a good, or great, poem: you want to read it aloud, again and again, and share it with people, and it rolls around in your mind.  That may be true of anything you read that is good or great, but with poems, the rhythm and the rhymes make them more... sticky.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"From the floor of the double-damned." (365 Poems, Poem 40)

I was looking for a summery poem to post today and came across... this.  It's not summery at all, but it is awesome.

  A Tale Of The Thirteenth Floor

by Ogden Nash

The hands of the clock were reaching high
In an old midtown hotel;
I name no name, but its sordid fame
Is table talk in hell.
I name no name, but hell's own flame
Illumes the lobby garish,
A gilded snare just off Times Square
For the maidens of the parish.
Hot actor:
Armie Hammer. No idea who he is.
He just turned up on a google search.

The revolving door swept the grimy floor
Like a crinoline grotesque,
And a lowly bum from an ancient slum
Crept furtively past the desk.
His footsteps sift into the lift
As a knife in the sheath is slipped,
Stealthy and swift into the lift
As a vampire into a crypt.

Old Maxie, the elevator boy,
Was reading an ode by Shelley,
But he dropped the ode as it were a toad
When the gun jammed into his belly.
There came a whisper as soft as mud
In the bed of an old canal:
"Take me up to the suite of Pinball Pete,
The rat who betrayed my gal."

The lift doth rise with groans and sighs
Like a duchess for the waltz,
Then in middle shaft, like a duchess daft,
It changes its mind and halts.
The bum bites lip as the landlocked ship
Doth neither fall nor rise,
But Maxie the elevator boy
Regards him with burning eyes.
"First, to explore the thirteenth floor,"
Says Maxie, "would be wise."

Quoth the bum, "There is moss on your double cross,
I have been this way before,
I have cased the joint at every point,
And there is no thirteenth floor.
The architect he skipped direct
From twelve unto fourteen,
There is twelve below and fourteen above,
And nothing in between,
For the vermin who dwell in this hotel
Could never abide thirteen."

Said Max, "Thirteen, that floor obscene,
Is hidden from human sight;
But once a year it doth appear,
On this Walpurgis Night.
Ere you peril your soul in murderer's role,
Heed those who sinned of yore;
The path they trod led away from God,
And onto the thirteenth floor,
Where those they slew, a grisly crew,
Reproach them forevermore.

"We are higher than twelve and below fourteen,"
Said Maxie to the bum,
"And the sickening draft that taints the shaft
Is a whiff of kingdom come.
The sickening draft that taints the shaft
Blows through the devil's door!"
And he squashed the latch like a fungus patch,
And revealed the thirteenth floor.

It was cheap cigars like lurid scars
That glowed in the rancid gloom,
The murk was a-boil with fusel oil
And the reek of stale perfume.
And round and round there dragged and wound
A loathsome conga chain,
The square and the hep in slow lock step,
The slayer and the slain.
(For the souls of the victims ascend on high,
But their bodies below remain.)

The clean souls fly to their home in the sky,
But their bodies remain below
To pursue the Cain who each has slain
And harry him to and fro.
When life is extinct each corpse is linked
To its gibbering murderer,
As a chicken is bound with wire around
The neck of a killer cur.

Handcuffed to Hate come Doctor Waite
(He tastes the poison now),
And Ruth and Judd and a head of blood
With horns upon its brow.
Up sashays Nan with her feathery fan
From Floradora bright;
She never hung for Caesar Young
But she's dancing with him tonight.

Here's the bulging hip and the foam-flecked lip
Of the mad dog, Vincent Coll,
And over there that ill-met pair,
Becker and Rosenthal,
Here's Legs and Dutch and a dozen such
Of braggart bullies and brutes,
And each one bends 'neath the weight of friends
Who are wearing concrete suits.

Now the damned make way for the double-damned
Who emerge with shuffling pace
From the nightmare zone of persons unknown,
With neither name nor face.
And poor Dot King to one doth cling,
Joined in a ghastly jig,
While Elwell doth jape at a goblin shape
And tickle it with his wig.

See Rothstein pass like breath on a glass,
The original Black Sox kid;
He riffles the pack, riding piggyback
On the killer whose name he hid.
And smeared like brine on a slavering swine,
Starr Faithful, once so fair,
Drawn from the sea to her debauchee,
With the salt sand in her hair.

And still they come, and from the bum
The icy sweat doth spray;
His white lips scream as in a dream,
"For God's sake, let's away!
If ever I meet with Pinball Pete
I will not seek his gore,
Lest a treadmill grim I must trudge with him
On the hideous thirteenth floor."

"For you I rejoice," said Maxie's voice,
"And I bid you go in peace,
But I am late for a dancing date
That nevermore will cease.
So remember, friend, as your way you wend,
That it would have happened to you,
But I turned the heat on Pinball Pete;
You see - I had a daughter, too!"

The bum reached out and he tried to shout,
But the door in his face was slammed,
And silent as stone he rode down alone
From the floor of the double-damned.

Notes on a poem:

First, I had never read this poem before I wrote my own horror poem, Lazy Bones Jones, which you can read here and which is something like this one.

Second, "Walpurgis Night" is a night exactly six months before All Hallows' Eve, and figures into such stories as Bram Stokers' "Dracula's Guest." In Germany, where the tradition is the spookiest, it is the night that witches meet to party with the Gods.  It was mentioned, also, in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Third, "Dr. Waite" was a doctor who poisoned his victims, first with diptheria and other germs, then arsenic when that didn't work.

Fourth, "Ruth and Judd" may refer to "Winnie Ruth Judd," who shot her two roommates, hacked up their bodies and hid them in trunks.

"Nan... from Floradora bright" is Nan Patterson, a "Floradora girl," or Broadway show girl, who was having an affair with a man she shot (?)-- while riding in a coach with him the morning after a breakup fight.  Patterson claimed that her victim shot himself in the chest. A mistrial and two hung juries later, all charges against her were dropped.

There's probably many more fascinating stories in this poem, but I'm out of time and have to do some legitimate work now.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What would I have made a mistake about? 5 Things Arrested Development got wrong. (WRONG!)

WRONG! is a new feature here where I take something from pop culture and debunk it.  And since today is Arrested Development Day! I'm taking a cold hard look at the facts...?... of that series.

1.  The Securities Exchange Commission does not have boats.

In the pilot, the Bluth family boat is chased down by SEC boats, kicking off the premise of the entire series.  But nothing could be further from the truth!  The SEC does not have boats, as explained by this actual quote from the actual head of the actual SEC in the actual 2006 Vanderbilt  address about what the SEC is like:

 I became convinced that the SEC had gone mainstream when it was featured on the Simpsons a couple years ago.1 Homer unwittingly gets caught up in a company gone bad. The SEC swoops in and arrests him, and he gets sent to prison. But, unlike the depictions on this and other shows, we do not carry M-16s, chase down yachts of inside traders in SEC police boats, or parachute James Bond style into illicit corporate board meetings. It is much tamer than that. We don’t carry guns; we have no boats; we have no planes. We do not even have authority to arrest people.

If you are disillusioned by the fact that your favorite TV series began with a lie, take heart by remembering that you can still get a job at the SEC, where your complete lack of power is offset by having a job in which you apparently spend all day watching The Simpsons.

2. They DO have bars in hospitals.

"This is why people hate hospitals," Lucille tells Michael when Michael breaks it to her that she can't wait in the hospital bar.  ("Key Decisions, Season 1, ep. 4).

Michael is wrong, at least according to this 2011 article about a proposal to put a bar in the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, and why not put a bar in a children's hospital? Do parents have to be dedicated and responsible and loving and not drunk ALL THE TIME? COME ON!

Looking over the site for the actual hospital, it appears that the bar is not in the hospital.

 But they do have a 2-story aquarium and a collection of 9 meerkats.

All jokes aside, that is pretty awesome.

3.  The first frozen banana stand in California was NOT built in 1953 on Balboa Pier.  

It was built in 1940, on Balboa Pier.

Most sources you read say that the idea of a frozen banana on a stick began with the 1933 World's Fair.  That was the fair that followed up on 1893's "White City" World Exposition -- that 1893 one being the one with all the murders.

Not so in 1933, which was filled with fan dances by Sally Rand, Judy Garland and the Andrews Sisters performing at a mock Moroccan nightclub,  and a "midget city" which had sixty live babies in incubators.

No, really.

They really did that.  There was even a helpful booklet, "Your Questions About Midgets, Answered."  Which is ridiculous because nowadays we would never put up with the commercial exploitation of babies.

or women.

Why everyone says the frozen banana idea came from the 1933 thing, I don't know.  There were lots of other cool things at that fair -- which, coincidentally (?) began on May 27, 1933, almost exactly 80 years ago -- such as the fact that they used the light from the star Arcturus, shone on a photoelectric cell, to flip the switches, turn on the lights, and officially kick off the Fair.  

As for the banana thing? The Smithsonian a few days ago did a whole blog about the story, detailing how the first guy opened his stand on Balboa Pier in 1940, and then had another stand open directly across from him in 1963, and especially how Mitchell Hurwitz actually worked at one of the stands. (The second stand may not have opened until the first was closed by the health department.)

4.  Lawyer is NOT "Latin for liar,"

as GOB tells Michael in Season 1, episode 17, while he's trying to convince Michael to have a one night stand with someone.  But lawyer doesn't mean liar, except in real life whenever the word is used.  It means "person who laws," according to the Online Etymology Dictionary:

late 14c. (mid-14c. as a surname), from Middle English lawe "law" (see law) + -iere. Spelling with -y- first attested 1610s (see -yer).

So from the 14th through 17th centuries, there were laweiers.  There were also attorneys, who were too dumb to know how to spell the word that described what they did.  The word "attorney" comes from French, atorne, which means "to appoint," so an "atorne" is someone you appoint to do stuff for you.  As that same online dictionary points out:

The double -t- is a mistaken 15c. attempt to restore a non-existent Latin original. 
"Mistaken" being a polite way to say "you were trying to be all fancy, and you failed."

5. Someone is already planning to build a city on the water.

Part of the third season revolves around Michael's relationship with Charlize Theron

who wasn't mentioned here just to show that picture of Charlize Theron.  She was mentioned here to show this picture of Charlize Theron:

but also was mentioned because she had the idea to build a city on the water, which sounds so crazy it just might work, if you are a Japanese corporation thinking of growing a city on the water.

The Green Float Concept is an idea being developed by the Shimuzu Corporation.  It is a city built on lily-pad like "cells" that would house a central tower and outlying lower townhouses, and would float around and/or join up with other floating cities to form countries, countries which could simply drift to whatever shoreline they want and hang out there for a while, not unlike Cousin Eddie.

Since most of the technology needed to make a Green Float city doesn't exist,  yet, the company's got a way to go, but they're shooting for a 2025 opening day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

It's a TWOFER! (Or should that be "Two-Fer"? I'm never sure when to hyphenate my -fers)(365 Poems)(Your Saturday Morning Feel-Good Song)

First the poem:

What a queer bird, the frog are
When he sit he stand (almost)
When he walk he fly (almost)
When he talk he cry (almost)
He ain't got no sense, hardly
He ain't got no tail, neither, hardly
He sit on what he ain't got hardly

Then the song:

That's suitable for:

-- writing stories about little boys pretending to be frogs.
-- thinking the poem comes from Ogden Nash
-- learning it does not.

Instead, according to Wikipedia, the poem is an anonymous 19th century poem, and says not much more about the poem.

Musanim, which did that video, says the poem appeared in 1920s publications.  This guy, who was born in 1924, says his grandpa used to recite the poem to him, so it must have been around in 1924 or earlier.

That is where the story ends.  Other sites say it has appeared in other countries, Canada, New Zealand, and the like, but nobody knows where it started or who wrote it or what the story behind it, if there is one, might be.

It just exists.

And, finally, the Hot Actress, who I asked Sweetie to name but she didn't so we'll go with...

Elsa Pataky, who is in Fast and Furious 6 and plays

... I forgot what I was saying.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Today, I am off of work to go on a field trip to a farm with my kids. To celebrate, it's a poem about farm-ish stuff. (365 Poems, Poem 38)

Tender Buttons [Chicken]

  by Gertrude Stein

Hot Actor:
Chris Pine.
(Gotta get Michael Offutt to read
these poems SOMEHOW)

Pheasant and chicken, chicken is a peculiar third.


Alas a dirty word, alas a dirty third alas a dirty third, alas a dirty bird.


Alas a doubt in case of more go to say what it is cress. What is it. Mean. Why. Potato. Loaves.


Stick stick call then, stick stick sticking, sticking with a chicken. Sticking in a extra succession, sticking in.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When you have no new messages, perhaps the medium is all you can use to sell your books: On Stephen King's Fake Anti Ebook stance.

"I'm out of ideas."

Hey, remember this post? I do, but maybe you don't.  Just about a year ago I got word that Stephen King was going to only publish his new book in hard copy, not as an ebook. Today -- May 21, 2013 -- Stephen King got yet another bump of publicity out of that stunt, which surely cannot be his plan, right? I mean, why would an author want places like NPR, Huffpo, and the Daily News Books Blog to write about him and his book just before it comes out?

Or, to ask it another way: is it possible that Stephen King's now-much-more-publicized "stance" against ebooks is simply more hype?

SURE, it is possible.  Consider this new quote from Stephen King:

King told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes to inspire fans to buy the print edition in bookstores and said he does not know when he will make the book available digitally. “I have no plans for a digital version,” King said. “Maybe at some point, but in the meantime, let people stir their sticks and go to an actual bookstore rather than a digital one.”

Source.  Hero of print? Hero of talking out of his butt, I think.  Let's focus on that:

I have no  plans for a digital version... maybe at some point.


What King really wants, as I pointed out in the essay a year ago, and below, is to control your experience of his book, something no author can do.  What he wants, as a corollary, I suspect, is to crack down on e-publishing, which authors think costs them money by keeping book prices down and by letting indie authors in.  They are barring the gate, these legacy authors, and using their market power to try to keep any new writers from getting in, because they like sucking up 90% of the book-buying public's money.  Garrison Keillor once lamented that once everyone can publish a book, all authors will make a couple of bucks.  What he meant was what King means now: once everyone can publish a book, legacy authors will make less money, and they are doing what they can to stop that.

Here is what I wrote about King a year ago:

Today, I sat in my air-conditioned house, with a half-full pint of Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Cake ice cream and a Diet Coke, reading Great Expectations.

Not the book; I was reading a screen, on my phone, propped up on the table on a molded plastic stand.  I'd eat some ice cream, read a page, swipe a finger and move on.  Ice cream, sip of soda, swipe the finger, move on.

Would Charles Dickens approve of that?

Stephen King would not, I know.  Stephen King thinks I should sit in a sod-roofed hut reading books on paper and if I eat ice cream at all, it should be ice cream I made myself in a still or churn or whatever it was they made ice cream in when ice cream was first invented, and then stored in an ice house under blocks of ice carved out of lakes in the winter and kept under wraps until the summer when the iceman bringeth me some cold.

Stephen King thinks that humanity should never progress and that only certain experiences are authentic enough, is what Stephen King would have you think.

Picking on Stephen King, which will not matter at all to him but matters to me and to people who like to read, expecially people who like to read what they want to read, as opposed to what Stephen King and his publishers want us to read, is difficult for me, as I am a fan of his writing and am in the process of writing an essay lauding one of his works.  But I have to do it, because Stephen King is a big phony who is posturing about how great only his experiences are, and/or Stephen King is also choosing sides in the burgeoning battle between indie authors and Amazon, on this side (a/ka/ people who want to let you read whatever you want to read) and King and Garrison Keillor and old-line publishers on that side -- a/k/a People who cannot figure out how else to save their jobs other than to keep books rare and expensive.

Recently, Stephen King announced that his next book, whatever it will be, is only going to be available in paperback, at least at first.  King announced this and said that he is doing that because he liked reading pulpy thrillers in paperback and wanted his readers to have that authentic experience.

This came as a surprise, kind of, in that King has in the past been at least interested in trying to e-publish his books.  He tried taking one old book he'd never gotten around to finishing and serializing it, charging people about $1.00 per 5,000 words.  The experience, from what I read of it, was less than satisfying, with King being upset that people were illegally downloading his work and limiting the production of new installments, which then caused fewer and fewer people to buy the new installments because they worried that it wouldn't get finished, that he'd quit.

Imagine, a writer quitting writing because not enough people pay him to write!

Perhaps it's that Stephen King isn't really a writer so much as he is a salesman, which is fine -- he sells people a service (storytelling) and I'm okay with that; I sell people a service (suing other people) and make no bones about how expensive that can be.  But I don't pretend I'm doing a public good, or that suing other people is an art that is a higher calling for me*...

*... I don't, also, insist that all lawsuits be carried out with a powdered wig in courtrooms where stenographers take notes with a charcoal pencil, because I'm not as interested in the authenticity of the experience; I just want people not to be harassed by big banks...

...and so when I say something like "If you won't pay me, I won't write that brief," which I don't actually say that much (I'm softhearted) it's at least honest.  When King says If you won't pay me I won't finish this story he's pretending that he's something other than a merchant and that what he's doing is art, and it's too bad he's gotta make a buck at it, but etc. etc. and in the end, he's still a salesman wrapped in wolf's clothing.

Or something; my indexterity with a metaphor is possibly one of the reasons my sales lag behind others.*

*(Another reason? Nobody ever gets my symbolism.  Dear Elizabeth Tecca: I rarely comment on my own writing because it should stand on its own, but I will go so far as to say (a) thank you for the 4-star review of Eclipse and (b) the reason all the nouns are capitalized in those parts has a lot to do with how Claudius thinks.)

King later on tried to e-publish another book, with only about 40,000 copies being sold, a disappointing number for him and his publisher, although only his publisher admitted it.  He's also expressed interest in multimedia-type presentations of writing.

So why the sudden switch away from higher-tech and innovative presentations?  Is it really because King thinks the act of reading a paperback book makes the appreciation of the book so much the better?

And who is he to decide?

Let's assume that King is being honest (he's not, I think, and I'll explain why) and that he honestly believes that his book will be better if you can hold it in your hand, turn a real page with a real finger and smell the ink or the pulp or something, that it will enhance the experience.

In the first place, it is highly unlikely anyone will be reading that book in the same world King read it in, a world where there were only three television channels that didn't even broadcast around the clock, a world without laptops and the Internet and before flying became easy and common, a world that exists now only in reruns of Stand By Me on cable TV.  So King is setting himself -- yourselves -- up for failure:  you cannot be a young Stephen King reading in a hot house at night under the covers while the transistor radio beams staticky news of Tom Gordon into your ears.

In the second place, can the artist dictate to the viewer how his work must be appreciated?  Only, and at best, to a limited extent, and often I find that to be a pretext.  The Beatles, for example, held out and held out making their work available on iTunes, agreeing to do so only at the 11th hour.

Literally: they agreed to license their work exclusively to Apple just before the copyrights were set to expire on their earliest songs.  So was it artistic integrity that caused The Beatles to hold out against digital reproductions of their work?  And if so, why did they change their mind... just before they would be unable to stop anyone from putting Love Me Do online?

One reason I almost never comment on my stories, period -- this post excepted -- is that I think that a work of art must stand on its own.  A painting, a poem, a book, a t-shirt... all of them must be appreciated for what they are, and, as I've posited many times before, the My Aunt's Dog Theorem means that an artist ultimately cannot control what the viewer brings to the work.*

*The My Aunt's Dog Theorem posits that no matter how much time and effort and energy you put into a work, the viewer's own interpretation, based on that viewer's own experiences and mood at the time of consumption, ultimately warps your work into something you may not have intended.  It gets its name from the idea that if you spent a dozen years crafting an abstract painting that attempted to, through the use of pointilism and dadaesque found art make a wry comment on man's inhumanity to man, and finally had it ready to go and unveiled it at the Louvre in front of the entire world, someone would look at your masterpiece and say "Kind of looks like my aunt's dog."

Trying to control the way a viewer sees your art is not only futile but demonstrates a lack of faith in one's ability to actually convey the message through the medium.  One time, when I wanted Oldest Daughter to watch The Amityville Horror, a movie I've always found frightening, I made sure she would have the best chance of being scared, too: we watched it in the dark, with no commercials and no cell phones and no interruptions, my attempt to control all those elements betraying my fears that a 1970s movie might not prove frightening to her when it terrified younger me.

If King was truly comfortable with his writing, he'd trust the reader to get the sense he wants to convey, without having to fret about whether I'm reading it on paper or my phone.  Great Expectations remains thrilling and amusing and interesting even though I read it in spurts between going outside to play water balloons with Mr F.

And trying to control the medium, the message, is bullying -- when Jack White insists you listen to an album on vinyl, he's not just admitting he can't give you gravelly,  bluesy authentic rock and roll any other way, he's insisting that you enjoy things the way he enjoys things, or get the heck out of here and leave him alone.

As I asked on Twitter the other day: Do people who insist books be paper insist also that music be played only on wax cylinders and view only magic lantern shows?

Or does Stephen King go see The Avengers in 3D in an air-conditioned theater even though movies, when he was a kid, had none of those special effects and were shown on small screens in black-and-white?

There's an intellectual dishonesty to the paper-only people; they don't churn their own butter or weave their own clothes but they would deny technological advances to the rest of us, making me read on paper when I'd rather not, because they deem it better.  Paul McCartney wants me to still have a record player.  Stephen King won't let me use my laptop to read his book, and they want me to believe that's because they think it's better that way, but I don't think they believe it, really.

 As I said, if The Beatles really felt making their songs available on iTunes cheapened them, why'd they cave?

I have a trick I use on clients who come see me for foreclosure advice.  I ask them if they want to save their house and they say yes.*

*there is a reason I ask that, but it's lengthy to get into.  Suffice to say it has to do with strategy.

 When I ask why, they say sentimental reasons, often, and I say "What if I were to give you $5,000,000 for it right now. Would you sell?" and they always say yes, which means that it's sentimental value up to a point.  Sentiment's great and all but five million bucks is five million bucks and the kids'll understand if you have to move.

Stephen King thinks his book can only be appreciated in paperback... at first: he's saying later on you might be able to buy it digitally, so apparently after a couple of months pulpy fiction ages just fine onto a Kindle Fire.  How's that for an artistic statement?  Is that one silent movie that won all the Academy Awards now having words and color added?

What's really going on is some combination of contrived scarcity, added value, and a fight against Amazon and other indie booksellers like Smashwords.

Contrived scarcity is what Disney and the makers of Westvleteren 12 beer do (although the latter, being monks, deny that's what they're doing.)  Disney won't let you buy The Lion King whenever you want; you have to wait until it comes out of the vault.  The monks who make "the best beer in the world" carefully limit access to it, although when push comes to shove both open up their doors -- the monks started shipping their beer because they needed money to fix their abbey, which is understandable and they're still doing God's work but they're doing it for a profit.

Making your book available only through a small publisher and only in paperbacks guarantees scarcity, which can drive up demand.  (Westlveteren sells for over $500 a case on eBay).  It guarantees people pre-ordering the book and lines when King goes to the bookstores for signing -- and it guarantees stories about the book for months in advance, free publicity being the best kind, especially if it's authentic free publicity (which is why I'm not naming the book.)

The added value comes from the scarcity of the experience:  when you get that The Lion King DVD, or King's book, or a plain brown bottle of beer, you had to work for it and it's something not everyone has and that makes it more valuable to you.*

*I had an idea for a line of t-shirts once: each one would be simply a plain t-shirt, colored some color, but each would have, up near the collar, a small symbol, say a rocket ship or perhaps a tree or maybe, in some cases, a car.  The symbol didn't matter; what mattered is that there would be a wide array of symbols but only an arbitrary number of them made. I might make, say, 100 rocket-ship-t-shirts, so that if you had one, you were special and people would really want the rocket ships.  I still might do it, once I finish all the other things I'm doing.

The added value also, these days, comes from the feeling that something is authentic: Slow-churned ice cream, organic foods, restaurants that aren't chains, all these things that seem a throwback to something simpler and nostalgic.  There's a diner near us, where Middle Daughter works. It's a mock-1950s diner that people think is a small business and it does a bang-up job of selling that.  It's part of a chain of restaurants in our city owned by a corporation, but very few people know that part or that the owner likely is a Mitt Romney backer.  It feels authentic and that's enough for most people, who never experienced a 1950s diner in the first place.

King's book is supposed to be like 1950s pulpy books and so it'll be more valuable if it feels authentic.  No matter if it is or not, but it can't be, because it was written and produced with modern (i.e., non1950s) processes.

The value is important, as is locking the door to that world of value.  Publishers are running threatened and, don't kid yourself, so are the writers.  One of the people on Twitter who saw my comments said Stephen King has very little to fear from indie authors, and he doesn't but not for the reasons he thinks, and that's why Stephen King and publishers fear indie authors.

King doesn't have to fear indie authors because reading begets more reading.  People who buy books buy lots of books.  Read a good book and you're likely to buy  more books.  E-readers aren't slowing this down: they're increasing the consumption of books -- of all kinds of books. But ebook readers read moreEbook readers read 24 books on average last year, as opposed to 15 for hard-copy readers.

So if indie writers make more use of electronic formats and people like them, that means that people will buy more books.  What's not to like about that for King, and his publishers?

Aside from the fact that the people on top always fear competition.  King, who likely has enough money to never need to sell another book, still also likely fears someone else outselling him -- whether for monetary or pride reasons.  It can't be fun to be a best-selling author and get beat by Amanda Hocking or that girl who wrote Fifty Shades Of Gray, just as it can't be easy to watch Wool get indie published and then optioned for a movie when nobody's making Stephen King books into movies anymore.

So Stephen King has little to fear from indie writers fiscally,  but much to fear from pride and relevance: Stephen King isn't ready to stop being Stephen King, and rather than take indie writers as a challenge, King has decided it's Katie Bar The Door*

*not sure I'm using that right

time and decided to close the door behind him:  King's publishing method for his next book can be seen not as a way of sharing what it was like to be lil' Stephen reading the pulps but instead a way of proclaiming this to be a "real book" and Kindle Indie Authors to be nothing of the sort.

The real music movement with vinyl adherents has a long tradition*

*long and stupid

And I suspect that King's move is traditional publishing co-opting that to help promote itself and keep writing, and the profits, to themselves.  Real Books By Real Writers is a slogan that has to have been kicked around publishing houses in Manhattan (go ahead and use it, Random House) -- because real books by real writers means the traditional publishing structure with all its inefficiencies and stupidities continues: they get to select who will be published and what, and the rest of us are reduced to bloggers and fanfic writers, assuming the public can be convinced that it makes sense to give up the ease, speed, and inexpensivity*

*probably not a word

of e-readers.  Publishers already hated that Amazon was selling books for $9.99, and that's why Apple and other companies are being sued by the feds, but that's also why you have to pay $15.99 or more for a book that has zero production costs, really.  You know how long it takes to convert a file to a Kindle reader? Five minutes.  Cost of delivery, production, etc.? Whatever five minutes of electricity is plus the cost of storage on Amazon's servers, which is getting cheaper all the time.

So why are we paying $15.99 or more for ebooks?  Because we're paying publishers to produce them in the traditional sense even though no traditional publishing is needed anymore.  Louis CK made a million bucks producing his special himself and Jonathan Coulton doesn't have a record label, and I'm publishing writing every day, on my blogs and in ebooks.*

*Full disclosure: I like to get a hard copy of my books and hold them in my hands, but only because I fear the Internet is just a passing fad.

If King sold his books as ebooks for $9.99, he'd make, under Amazon's pricing model, about $3.50 per book.  If he sold just 40,000 copies, that's $140,000, decent money but not enough to make him a millionaire.  After taxes, that's less than $70,000 take-home (an amount of money that puts him in the upper half of all income earners in the US' most expensive place to live, New York City)

But the publisher wouldn't make hardly anything -- not off Amazon's model, because Amazon takes the rest.  So either King splits with the publisher (in one sense or another) or someone's losing money.

Does King need the publisher? Probably not.  But he wants them -- because, remember, he still wants to be Stephen King and it's harder to be a big name when your name isn't in big letters in all the Barnes & Nobles in America.  Stephen King probably has the muscle to do that on his own -- he could self-publish a book and do a tour and get the posters and the displays and the interviews, but he'd have to arrange it all himself, which means he'd have to spend all that time doing that, or hire someone to do that, and then he'd have to pay that person, which means he's essentially just becoming his own publishing house and why do that when his publishers already have all that stuff just waiting around for him?

So to keep on being Stephen King, King needs publishers -- and publishers desperately need Stephen King to need them because otherwise they don't exist.  If all the authors in all the Starbucks around the world decided that by gum they will go it alone and hire their own publicists and arrange their own tours and design their own covers and etc., Random House goes the way of Lehman Brothers but much more quietly, and all those underpaid editors with BAs in English and hipster glasses grousing about the slush pile suddenly have to be independent contractors hustling for another author and who wants that?

So Stephen King will work to convince people that real means tangible and a whole lot more because Stephen King doesn't want to stop having lines at book signings and because his publisher wants there to be a slush pile, and the alternative is that both me and Stephen King have an equal chance at being the top seller on Amazon come July 1, with the results being dictated by not just writerly skill with a metaphor, but by how hard we work to sell the book and by the fickle demands of the public that right now wants housewife-y BDSM but a year ago wanted dragon tattoos and in July, God only knows.

Stephen King's got an edge in that battle -- neither he nor I nor you know what we'll be reading in July, and our talent is for you to judge, but he's got a whole war machine that's gearing up to puff smoke and steam and charge and make sure you know about his book and see it and hear about it everywhere, real paper and all.  He's inside that machine, and he'll be damned if he's going to let you join him.

Or come outside.

Would King, I wonder, approve of me typing this post on my laptop?  JK Rowling, remember, wrote her books on a legal pad sitting at a coffee shop.  Is writing more authentic when done by hand?  Should I have scratched this on the back of a shovel with charcoal, the way Lincoln wrote his homework, so that you'd know how heartfelt the plea is?

And back to the original question: would Dickens approve of my reading Great Expectations on a telephone, while I ate prepackaged ice cream in a house where the air was being cooled for me?  That's a far cry from the pamphlet-style books Dickens shipped out as serials for people to crowd onto the docks to get.

Dickens serialized his books in part to make more money writing them.  He understood that by selling them as serials he could reach people who might not buy the whole book at once, and that he could thereby broaden his audience and make more money.  Dickens did readings, for profit, too -- charging people a second time to hear his work.

I take that to mean that Dickens was both honest -- he was a salesman, selling stories -- and understood something that King, who apparently fashions himself more a literary artiste than the great Charles Dickens, does not: that the medium is not the message.

Then again, if you've got no messages left in you, then maybe the medium is all you can rely on to keep making a buck.


I've always been big on Indie books and publishing, and down on authors who try to crack down on newcomers.  Read here my 2011 best of indie books and predictions for 2012, as well as a discussion of publishing.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I understand that there is some sort of Star Trek thing happening this weekend, or maybe last weekend? Or sometime, I think, and as that sentence shows, I am an expert on all things Trek, owing to my extensive history of knowing about and being experienced in Star Trek.  As just an example of my in-depth experience with Trek, let me tell you that I:

A. Have watched the first 8 minutes of the pilot episode of the original series on Netflix, and

B. Owned, when I was a kid, a Star Trek playset with a "real" transporter.  That having been the days when kids were not forewarned that "real" toys were not actually "real" toys, I was somewhat disappointed to learn that the transporter simply spun Captain Kirk around left him standing in the back of the cardboard box.

C.  Instead of a "Klingon" doll -- these were dolls, not even "action figures" because this was before Star Wars figures became a thing, so boys were still playing with dolls, but they were manly dolls like "Big Jim" and the like -- I had "The Lizard" from the Spider-Man set, and when I asked my uncle (who'd given me the set for a birthday) why I had "The Lizard" instead of a "Klingon," he said "Isn't The Lizard more fun than a Klingon?"

So I am something of a Trek expert, or "Trekexpert," if you will, and I am therefore qualified to do what Whodathunkit!? has been boldly doing since it's inception five years ago: to explore [something something something related to that old Star Trek intro, look it up later]

WHODATHUNKIT?! as always, gets past the usual stuff the "media" covers.  You won't get any flashy shots of sexy celebrities like this:

Not here! WHODATHUNKIT?! never stoops so low as to simply load a post with click-bait photos like

...Chris Pine shirtless.

Nor does WHODATHUNKIT!? simply replay trailers 

like this blog is simply some highly-paid flunky for the Big Studios, taking armfuls of cash to mindlessly flog their latest overpriced piece of 3D drivel.*

*NOTE TO BIG STUDIOS: This blog is more than willing to become some highly-paid flunky for the Big Studios, taking armfuls of cash to mindlessly flog their latest overpriced piece of 3D drivel. And with over 3 readers on average per YEAR I think we can see the value I can bring.  Contact me today!

No, WHODATHUNKIT!? as always, goes for the "story behind the story," peeling away the layers of pop culture like an archaeologist slowly uncovering a weirdly-shaped rock he will later claim is a "dinosaur" even though everyone knows the world was created in 1902 by an occult group working in tandem with Thor, and so "dinosaurs" never existed... in this dimension.  READ YOUR SCIENCE BOOKS!

WHODATHUNKIT!?'s main purpose is to give you, my reader(s), something to talk about at these big events, something nobody else will know, something that will make people pause in awed silence, look at you in wonder, and then edge slowly away in case you are carrying something sharp.  So read these THREE ACTUAL THINGS THAT ARE SOMEWHAT TANGENTIALLY RELATED TO STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, and feel free to share them as you wait in line at the theaters, or as you sit in the seats waiting through the interminable trailers, or as you wait through the endless credits following the movie to see if the director snuck some clever little closing bit in there.

Let's begin!

1.  The movie has a title, right? What's that all about?

If you are familiar with this movie, you know that the "title" or "Foreword," as movies call it, is somewhat controversial this time around.  That is because traditionally Star Trek movies have no title; in the past, when people wanted to go see them, they would say something like "Me? I'm going to see that..." and then trail off rather than admit they were paying money to see a Star Trek movie.  (NOTE: this rule does not apply to "The Wrath Of Khan," which everyone acknowledges is a  movie so great that it has spontaneously cured blindness in orphans just upon hearing it referenced by Simon Pegg in a blog post).  After producers became aware of this effect, they simply stopped naming the movies, thereby saving millions, if not billions, that had previously been paid to professional movie namers, who were forced to subsist on minimum wage payments from Disney,  which is why that movie was called "John Carter."

Seriously: Consider Disney's recent movie titles.  "Toy Story." "Cars." "A Bug's Life." "John Carter."  If this trend continues, the next big thing from Disney is going to be called "Movie."

Anyway, the controversy about this movie is not just that it has a title but also that the title might not have been properly capitalized.  There's even a Wikipedia page about the controversy, which begins:

There has been much debate over whether the word “Into” in the title of Star Trek Into Darkness should be capitalized

That article summarizes the main arguments for and against capitalizing the word "into" in the title "Star Trek Into Darkness."

The best argument FOR capitalizing it? It seems to me?

Every single source capitalizes it.There is no source which does not capitalize it.
 Which is to say: "All the people involved in making the movie want it that way."

But as a powerful counterpoint to that argument, consider this other argument on the Wikipedia page:

You’re being unreasonable or stubborn.

Hard to argue with that one!

The real problem, apparently,  is that if the word is NOT capitalized that means that "Star Trek" is being used not as an overall title, but as part of a sentence, making trek into a verb and Star into an adverb, and we all know how much everyone hates adverbs!


As noted in this post, Star Trek has long offended grammarians, beginning with when it split an infinitive in its voice over.  You would think that this being 2013 and our world facing serious challenges in the areas of finance, terrorism, health care, ecology, and the like that there would be more important things to discuss.  YOU WOULD BE RIGHT. But because this is the world we live in, we are discussing this, and not anything that actually matters.

WHICH IS NOT TO SAY THAT GRAMMAR DOESN'T MATTER, except it doesn't, because you know what? We English-speakers do not even have an official grammarian.  So how can we say that it really counts if we don't have an official grammarian, is what I'd like to know?

Consider the French.  No, seriously, I know this is America and so we hate the French which is why we set all those Liam Neeson movies in France, to show how terrible the French are, only then we wimp out and make the bad guys some vague ethnicity like "Jrbanik," which isn't even a word, I made it up, which just goes to show how wimpy English is, as a language.  Not as an ethnicity.  English as an ethnicity is pretty tough, I think, what with the stiff upper lip and putting vinegar on their food as a condiment.

Not so with the French, who have L'Academie Francaise, which is the official French authority on how to speak French.  (And here you thought it was your 9th grade French teacher, Mademoiselle Jrbanik. WRONG.)  The Academie, and I am not making this up, is staffed by forty immortals (it says so right on Wikipedia) and together they make pronouncements about the proper way to speak French, pronouncements which, because they come from immortal French Academie authorities are...

...nonbinding.  Well, that was a letdown.  At least we know that France has discovered the secret to immortality, and that they are using it on grammarians.

English, on the other hand, traces all its rules for grammar to

(Are you sure you're ready for this?)

A pamphlet.

Specifically, William Bullokar's "Pamphlet For Grammar," or, as it would be called today: "Pamphet: Into Grammar."  The 1586 Pamphlet For Grammar was the first guide to English Grammar to be written in English, so basically it took 16 centuries for English speakers to decide to write about their language using their language, and with that kind of history, it's easy to understand why we're still confused about whether the word "Into" is an adjective or (as many grammarians contend) "some kind of bug."

If you are interested, you can download the "Pamphlet For Grammar" for free from the Oxford University Computing Services.  I'd have done it but there was a lot of stuff like "agreements" and "things to read that were boring" before I could do that, and there was precious little of this:


2.  I heard this movie is actually just thinly veiled propaganda supporting Obama's secret powers to kill your family with a drone strike while you're watching Dancing With The Stars.

You heard right.

Also, don't talk so loud he'll hear you too late DUCK!

Or, to quote "The Washington Free Beacon," 

Star Trek Into Darkness is actually a crypto-neocon defense of the necessity and morality of drone strikes.

[SPOILER ALERT!] The spoiler is this: did you know that one of the actors in the movie is actually named Benedict Cumberbatch?  I just found that out, and I cannot believe that

A.  There is a person named "Benedict Cumberbatch" and I am only just now hearing about this person, because that is an awesome name, and

B. That person is not a living, breathing, incarnate Dickens character.

I mean, honestly? I have read a lot of Dickens' work* (*about three books, maybe four) and I am certain that more or less every single character in those books was named Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict Cumberbatch, notably not asking for more gruel or wheeling Miss Havisham about a bridal chamber while playing at spades.
But about the drones? Apparently Benedict plays a terrorist (who goes by the name of Khan because nobody has any time to think up original ideas anymore and everything has to be a #(@#$*#& reference to our childhoods or we won't go see it) and Kirk gets the order to fly into enemy airspace and destroy him... let me have The Washington Free Beacon, which I am 92% certain runs a daily essay on why pot should be legalized everywhere, tell you:

Star Trek Into Darkness is centered on the hunt for a terrorist played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Early on in the film he blows up a large library in London, killing many people, and then launches an assault on the high command of Starfleet, taking out a number of senior officers (including Admiral Pike, James T. Kirk’s mentor). After the attack on the high command, Cumberbatch flees to an uninhabited portion of Kronos, the Klingon homeworld. Once his location is discovered, Kirk and Spock are given a controversial order: They are to fly into Klingon space, locate Cumberbatch in the uninhabited border areas of Kronos, and kill him with a torpedo from thousands of kilometers away.

Lest you miss the point, the Free Beacon drives it home in the next line:

Sound like anything America might be currently engaged in?

So anyway, I am as anti-random, due-processless-murder-by-done as the next guy -- so much so that I have tweeted my opposition to this, in a bold stance! -- but it might be saying a bit much to assume that Star Trek: Into Iran (as the working title of the movie was, according to inside sources) is a propaganda film put out by the Administration to dull the public's outrage over drone strikes, mostly because the public so far completely lacks any outrage over drone strikes.

At least, the American public.

An Internet poll* (*i.e., completely useless unscientific smattering of opinion from people who spent the ten minutes before and after taking the poll "poking" their friends' cat pictures on Facebook) in February found that the American public largely favors drone strikes on foreign countries, 56% to 26%, which leads me to this important question:

Who were the 18% of the people who voluntarily took an Internet poll on drone strikes only to have no opinion on drone strikes? 

And this important follow-up

Seriously, who are those people and why are they allowed to vote?

Not surprisingly, the results among foreigners, a/k/a "the people most likely to be targeted by drone strikes," were dramatically different, with 100% of respondents muttering from the corner of the bomb shelter that they never did anything to America.

What is also interesting* (*"alarming") is that of the people who favor drone strikes, fully 1/3 think that the drone strikes might be being conducted illegally.

Let me summarize the position of about 1/6 of the country:

Shoot them furriners with bombs, even if you have to break the law to do it.

Or, as Republicans like to say:


Let's go to point three.  Or, to put it more futuristicationally:

Point Three: Into Absurdity.

3.  So what's Benedict Cumberbatch's story? Does he have two middle names, or what?

Bingo.  To be precise, which we must be because he is British, -ish, he is "Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch," which is the most English phrase ever written, and he is possibly the most British person ever born, considering that not only is he named Benedit Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch, a name that deserved a schoolhouse rock song if ever there was one, sorry Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla,

but also Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch -- I'm typing that out each time, not copying it, and my fingers are going to be able to crush brick by the time I'm done -- also he has in the past played William Pitt, Stephen Hawking, and Sherlock Holmes, among this notable roles, so basically Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is Great Britain, Incarnate.

(Which, in turn, Free Beacon, somewhat muddies the message J.J. Abrams was commanded to work into his film by Obama, in that now Americans are being subliminally encouraged to want us to shoot Great Britain with drones, which can't be the... OH MY GOD IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW THAT IS WHY PRINCE HARRY WAS HERE THIS WEEK.)

The secrets and lies go deeper and deeper.  Ready to go down the wormhole?  Consider this actual, SINISTER, phrase from Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch's Wikipedia page:

His great-grandfather, Henry Arnold Cumberbatch, CMG, was the British Consul General in Turkey. His grandfather, Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, was a decorated submarine officer of both World Wars and was a prominent figure of London's high-society at the time. Cumberbatch is also a distant cousin of astronaut Chris Hadfield, through shared British ancestry

Still not piecing it together? I think the Free Beacon gets me.  But let me spell it out for you:

1. Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch shares a name with Benedict Arnold, who is history's greatest monster (Revolution Edition).

2. Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch appears as a man named "John Harrison" in this movie, Star Trek: Into An America In Which Obama Failed To Protect Us From Foreign Threats Because All Democrats Are Secretly One-Worlders."

3.  John Harrison is both the inventor of the marine chronometer, in Britain, and the scion of one of our most prominent political families (no, not the Clintons), the Harrisons.

4.  One of the Harrisons was a president:  William Henry Harrison, who died only forty days into office.  (Or: Forty Days: into Office.)

5.  Another was Benjamin Harrison, who despite being a Republican passed the Sherman Antitrust Act and was the first president to spend more than a billion dollars (a feat that is remembered in the classic rotoscope feature "Benjamin's Millions.")

6.  Meanwhile, Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is also a "distant cousin" of KNOWN CANADIAN Chris Hadfield, who even as we speak ...sorry I am behind on my news... just finished orbiting the Earth and repeatedly taking what can only be described as Targeting Photos For Drone Strikes.


Which, I don't have to remind you, is the only war that in which all the major battles were fought after the end of the war. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch, giving the traditional and chilling Canadian Battle Cry:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pradaxa side effects are worth knowing about.

How much do you know, really, about the drugs you're taking?  Probably not very much.  I just found out yesterday that something my doctor gave me for strep throat can cause heart problems, something nobody told me when I took it.

Or take this website about the pradaxa side effects you may not have heard of. Pradaxa is an anti-coagulant used many times as a blood thinner.  Pradaxa is said, though, to not have one thing that other blood thinners do -- something called a "reversal agent," which can stop internal bleeding.

So Pradaxa has been approved in 2010, but over 17,000 people in the next 2 years reported adverse side effects in which Pradaxa (according to an FDA database) was the primary suspect.  The most commonly reported side effects were internal bleeding and hemorrahge, and 6,249 people were hospitalized, according to this pradaxa recall site.

Learn more about the drugs you are taking, and if you or someone you know has taken Pradaxa, click those links and read more.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Great Gatsby! Two handwritten poems by F. Scott Fitzgerald... (365 Poems,etc.)

.... handwritten by Fitzgerald in 1931 (the first one) and 1937 (the second one), while he wrote "Tender Is The Night" and cared for his dying wife, Zelda.  The poems were written to a friend's daughter -- and the daughter would die of polio at 19.

Also, your hot actress and actor, from The Great Gatsby:

Hot actor: Leonardo DiCaprio

Hot actress: Carey Mulligan.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nothing I believed when I was young turned out to be true. (Awesome Covers Of Already Awesome Songs)

This is a true story:

Not the song.  I don't know if that's true or not.  Just the story behind the song, which is:

I have always loved the song Modern Love,  by David Bowie.  I ave since I first heard it maintained that Modern Love is the #1 best rock and roll song ever recorded (by humans. I have no idea what aliens might have recorded).

Also: I have never actually known the lyrics to the song, as it turns out, which should not surprise anyone who is familiar with the Elefino joke. 

(The Elefino joke and my failure to understand it for decades is explained more fully here, and it says something about people, or the Internet, or aliens, maybe, that the explanation for that joke is the most popular post, ever, on my blog, beating out even Robbie Benson's underwear.)

(It says something about me that I have a post about Robbie Benson's underwear, and what it says, specifically, is that I have a wife who thinks Robbie Benson is a hunk.)

So the other day, I was reading an article, and the lyrics to Modern Love, the opening lyrics, were quoted in that article.

Here is what I always thought -- for nearly three decades-- Modern Love began saying:

I don't want to go out
Want to stay in
Get things done.

That did not exactly make sense, but it didn't exactly not make sense, either, and that was good enough for me, at the time.  I never really gave any thought to what the song said or what it meant or whether it was a happy or sad song or what.  I just liked it, you know?

Here is what Modern Love actually says:

I know when to go out
And when to stay in
Get things done.

So I was what, less than 1/3 right?

That changes, I think, the entire meaning of the song, from what I sort of assumed it was about (a guy who didn't want to go out but had to, probably because all this modern love made him) to what it actually appears to be about (a guy who can choose when to go out or not).

Which makes all the difference, because if you can control yourself in the face of all this modern love, then how powerful is the modern love, at all? Not very powerful, it would seem.

That revelation, that the song I loved for so long above all other songs -- yes, even above Faith, by George Michael, which has held onto #2 since it was released-- might not at all be the song I thought it was.  It's as though one day you wake up and your spouse has brown hair and all along you thought it was black hair, even if it's not like that at all.

Anyway, that got me to thinking about Modern Love and how other people might have interpreted it over the years.   And henceforth, here they are!

The Grey's Anatomy Cover:

Is Grey's Anatomy still on? The only funny thing that comedian Whitney ever said was a joke about how silly it is for guys to wear football jerseys when they watch the game; she compared it to women wearing scrubs while they watched Grey's Anatomy.

I was struck by how sad that cover of the song was, given how electrifying the original is.

The Israeli Rock Star (?) Cover Version:

I don't know who that guy is.  But he made the song sad, too. Is it possible I have been misconstruing this song my entire life? Is it really a sad song? 

I catch a paper boy
But things don't really change
I'm standing in the wind
But I never wave bye-bye

But I try
I try

There's no sign of life
It's just the power to charm
I'm lying in the rain
But I never wave bye-bye

That could go either way.  Sure, the singer/protagonist is standing alone in a barren postapocalyptic world where paper is blowing around in the neverending wind and rain, but he's not giving up (i.e., he's not waving bye-bye)

The Cover Band Version Of The Song:

They got that beginning part right, didn't they? I used to be somewhat skeptical of people who played in cover bands and bar bands and never made it big.  Why do they keep trying? I wondered, one time.  Then I remembered that I blog and self-publish my books, and I shut my mouth forever.  You keep going, cover bands.  Never wave bye-bye.

Let's keep this party going.

The version by that one band that made the song "Blue", I think?

That guy sounds like Boris Grebenshikov.  I hope I'm not the only person who remembers who Boris Grebenshikov is.  But I feel like I am.

Also: Turns out there is more than one band named "Eiffel," and this particular one is not the "Blue" one but the one that was "born from the Ashes of Oobik & The Pucks."  The next time I have to do a bio, I am going to say I was born from the ashes of Oobik & The Pucks.  That is too cool of a phrase to die away.

But I did like that version.

The version by a guy who did a whole week of David Bowie covers, apparently:

He says that's a different take but it seems that everybody thinks this song is sad.

Or maybe not everyone.

The "isn't Cursive one of those hipster bands I feel like I should know about but then I don't care to know about them" version:

That started out great, and stayed pretty great. In fairness, it's hard to stay as cool as a drumline beginning promises.

This next one promised to be the best.  Why? Because it was by a band called Pizza!, and if there is anything that has remained more constant in my life than my love for the song Modern Love, it is my love for Pizza, and exclamation points.  Let's listen:

The FingersCrossedThatThisLivesUpToThePromise Version:

That was beautiful.  I am crying tears of joy.*

*And I want some pizza.

Want to celebrate the weirdly optimistic-feeling sentiment that this post sets up?  Do it via t-shirt:


**guarantee not valid where it is not valid.