April 1st, 2009

Blogs to Books

USA Today looks at blogs that have led to books, including Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander, Jessica Cutler's The Washingtonienne and Ana Marie Cox's Dog Days. I could not get through Julie & Julia, but maybe it was just me.

They also mentioned It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita, “a memoir by Heather B. Armstrong, creator of dooce.com, a well-trafficked blog and website in which she writes about her depression and pregnancies.” The clever title reminds me of my friend Karen Karbo’s Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me: A Novel.

Read more about blogs to books here.

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Best April Fool's Spoof Ever

Okay, this spoof issue of Shelf Awareness is funny right at the place where funny and painfully true collide.

There's an extended fake article about new plans for BEA, including:
"* The New Swindle: A Virtual Handheld Bookstore. Hear about this new Amazon product. Press a button on the device and a virtual bookstore with cats, cappuccino and artificial intelligence booksellers appears all around you. In 30 seconds, a droid will be handselling an e-book, BBQ grill, shampoos and telling you to have a nice day seconds before you logout. CEO Jeff Bezos giggled, "We've often heard from customers that they miss the 'real' interaction of going to their local bookstores, so we've created the Swindle just for them. No more worries about parking, walking or unnecessary human interaction. Version one is already out of stock, and version two will have slightly less creepy-sounding voices. For version three, we're developing a mask you wear with it, in which a virtual bookstore smell that we've patented is puffed into our customers nostrils."

* Down 60% Is the New Up: Bookselling in Modern Times. Three booksellers from across the country will discuss what it's like selling in a depression. Meet rain or shine at the soup kitchen on the corner of Twelfth Avenue and 28th Street."

And there's a hoax article about an intrepid bookseller who has figured out how to prosper: "Craig Wilkins of Best of All Possible Bookshops has an intriguing new concept for increasing sales at the retail level--smashmouth, trash-talking, in-your-face handselling.

Wilkins said he realized last summer, as the economy began to slide, that his problem as a bookseller was "the damned readers. They weren't listening to me and even when they came to the bookshop, they often slipped out with no purchase."

Instead of the traditional, cooperative, conversational, low-impact approach to bookselling, he began taking the fight directly to his opposition. "Essentially, I make them eat their words," Wilkins said. "We don't let them out of the bookstore until they've bought books."

And if his customers think they can avoid all this by simply not coming to the shop, Wilkins has a little news flash for them. "I know where they live and I have a van," he said, touting the advantages of an up-to-date mailing list. "We go to their houses just like Amazon does and make them buy books, but with the added incentive of actually being there in person so they have to look us in the eye to say no rather than simply moving a cursor over to a toolbar and switching to the Desperate Housewives website."

To read more of the spoof issue, click here.

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Teaching a Kid a Lesson He'll Never Forget - not an April Fool's Day Joke

About 45 miles south of here, a grandmother was arrested for driving 103 mph in a 45 mph zone - on a stretch of road which has seen several fatal accidents.

"Sandra Nardi, 53, told the officer she was showing her 10-year-old grandson how not to drive dangerously, and to never try to drive the way she was. Deputies said she explained that several people had died on the road and it was a “popular place for kids to seek thrills” on the steep hills.

"This is by far the highest recorded speed on this road that I am aware of," Deputy Ryan Postlewait said."

Now that I know this method of imparting a lesson, just think of all I can teach Teen when she comes home from school today.

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The Guiding Light to end

My aunt, Jeanne Arnold, was on the Guiding Light from 1970 to 1973. She played Ellen Mason.

Wikipedia reveals part of the convoluted story line: "Janet found out that her mother, Ellen Mason had become an alcoholic after her husband's death. Janet asked Ed to help get her mother into Alcoholics Anonymous, and Ken seeing the two of them together started to become pathologically and violently jealous. While Kit was going after Joe and Sara Werner, Ken started to become violent with Janet, forcing her to have sex with him so she would get pregnant, which she did. She gave birth to a daughter named Emily. After the birth of Emily, Ellen started to go to AA, and Ken started to seem more mentally stable after Janet forced Ken to see a psychiatrist). Then he truly became loving and devoted to both Janet and Emily. But one evening when Ellen had an alcoholic relapse, Ken caught Janet and Ed talking privately to each other and Ken became even more jealous and stopped going to see his psychiatrist and stopped taking his medications. Ken did not tell Janet or his partner Mike about this. A few evenings later, while he and Janet were out on a date, Ken drove the car into a tree. "

Just your typical American family.

The show started in radio in 1937 and then came to TV in 1952. Read more about it here.

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