March 19th, 2009

Oops - the drawback about writing books “ripped from the headlines”

I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. It takes about a year from the time a book is accepted to when it’s published, and then you add in the writing time, and pretty soon, you understand why a (satirical) book called Damn, it Feels Good to Be a Banker: And Other Baller Things You Only Get to Say If You Work On Wall Street got published.

The New York Times talked to the unlucky author a while back. You can read the interview here.

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A junior Madoff? - third grader traded in non-existent cake futures

NPR had a funny story about a guy who moved to a new school where kids traded treats at lunch. But sugar was banned at his house. "People would say, 'Oh, well listen, I've just had my fill of Rice Krispies treats for two weeks in a row, straight. Why don't I have some of your Fruit Roll-Ups?' And so they would trade it all around," Bearman recalls. "And it actually is a pretty efficient system. Everyone got what they wanted. It kind of all worked out for them. It didn't work out for me at all because I was totally outside of this economy. Because my peanut butter and jelly sandwich had no currency value in this market whatsoever."

So the guy made up a cake that would be delivered by his mom the last day of school. The most fantastic cake you ever saw. And if you wanted a piece, all you had to do was give Josh something now.

Read and hear more here. A few years back, the same guy told a poignant story about his messed up family on This American Life, which you can hear here.

Back to the cake futures - can't you just see a middle grade book in that?

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You, too, can be Captain Kirk

The first episode of Star Trek debuted on September 8, 1966 on NBC. It didn't get great ratings and was nearly canceled. The show's supporters—now called "Trekkies"—helped keep the series going until 1969.

Some people love Captain Kirk. Love him enough to build or buy replica chairs to put in their living room and sit in while wearing their home-made or purchase Star Trek costumes.

The NY Times cites one such: “Everyone wants to sit in it,” said Bruce Boyd, an unemployed auto parts manager in Roseburg, Ore., who completed his chair — which he also keeps in the living room — in November. “There’s some sort of charisma there. It’s hard to explain.”

“I know it’s not real,” added Mr. Boyd, 43, “but the minute I sit in it, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.”

Oooookaaay. You can read the rest of the scary story here.

Others of us are Spock fans. I have long been one such because Lenord Nimoy's first promotional trip for Star Trek was to my home town of Medford, Oregon (approximate population at the time - 18,000). He was the Grand Marshall of Pear Blossom Parade in 1967. says, "It was the first sign that he'd finally made it. This idea was confirmed after the Pear Blossom Parade when Nimoy signed autographs for a crowd of fans so large officials had to 'rescue' him from the well-meaning autograph seekers."

My mom was seated next to Nimoy at the banquet. He came in his whole getup, ears and all, and seemed uninterested in his steak (I've heard from sources that he was vegetarian, a probably completely foreign concept in Medford in 1967). My mom asked if he was going to finish it and when he said "No," she forked it over onto her plate. I believe she may have picked it up and gnawed the meat off the bone. What can I say? She grew up poor.

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