October 5th, 2007

  • lizhand

You may already be a weiner!

This year's Ig Nobel Prizes have just been announced. I'm glad to know that, finally, our country is doing something to promote the cause of world peace.

The winners

Medicine: Brian Witcombe of Gloucester and Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, for their report in the British Medical Journal, Sword Swallowing and its Side-Effects

Physics: L Mahadevan of Harvard and Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Santiago University, Chile, for studying how sheets become wrinkled

Biology: Johanna van Bronswijk of Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, for a census of the mites, insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi with whom we share our beds

Chemistry: Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Centre of Japan, for developing a way to extract vanilla essence from cow dung

Linguistics: Juant Manuel Toro, Josep Trobalon and Núria Sebastián-Gallés, of Barcelona University, for showing that rats cannot tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and a person speaking Dutch backwards

Literature: Glenda Browne of Australia, for her study of the word "the" and the problems it causes when indexing

Peace: The Air Force Wright Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, for instigating research on a chemical weapon to make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other

Nutrition: Brian Wansink of Cornell University, for exploring the seemingly boundless appetites of human beings by feeding them with a self-refilling, bottomless bowl of soup

Economics: Kuo Cheng Hsieh, of Taiwan, for patenting a device that catches bank robbers by dropping a net over them

Aviation: Patricia V Agostino, Santiago A Plano and Diego A Golombek of Argentina, for the discovery that Viagra aids jetlag recovery in hamsters.


Procrasti Nation, or A Day in the Life of a Non-Writer

I've been pissing the day away, avoiding work, watching old boxing tapes, listening to music. This is usually what I do when I finish a project, but I haven't finished a project--I have seven approximately half-finished novellas or short novels, which for me is a huge number of stories to have going. Plus a novel and screenplay. Oy. I've been reading too. Following a stint of reading Zoetrope All-Story, I started in on Stephen King's Best American Short Stories this morning, found a couple of stories I liked a lot, three I sorta liked, a bunch of literary comfort food, and more than two that I despised. Par for the course. I inadvertently thought about writing, but instead of solving some of my sticking points in the various novellas, I came up with two new stories, one relating to a job I once had, and the other about a young guy whose girlfriend cheats on him but he stays with her because of the lies she tells to excuse her mysterious absences and the other signs of her infidelity. They're wonderfully intricate Rube Goldberg lies, depending on miraculous chains of coincidence, and he begins to relish them, to enjoy them actually....until one day he realizes he's living in her world, a world rife with implausible and unlikely chains of event, a world in which she may be innocent of infidelty, the world of her imagination or something, an unfinished world that seems to be constantly rearranging itself around him. I entitled it Planet of Coincidence and considered starting it right away. Not wise. I don't need another half-finished story.

Before entering the music-listening, boxing-tape-watching phase of my day, I internet-surfed for a bit and learned, among other things, the meaning of the word "montane," as in montane forest, and then, while rooting around on IMDB, discovered that the next Michael Gondry project is a Rudy Rucker novel, Master of Time and Space. Hmm. Gondry (Eternal Sunshine, etc.) and Rucker might be a great combination. It's scheduled for 2009. Here's hoping it doesn't go away.

The mail brings two catalogues, no checks, a DVD (Morgan's Ferry) starring Kelly McGillis--I'm something of a McGillis completist--and Ben Peek's new book, Black Sheep (thanks, Ben), a dystopian novel on racism. Sounds fun, though for me that old Star Trek episode about the guys whose faces were half-white half-black said it all. :)

While watching the first boxing tape, I become depressed, because there aren't any fighters around today who could stay in more than a few rounds with guys like Tommy Hearns; then I think about writing again, which implies that writing is an article of depression. What's the longest title of a story? I can't recall--probably something by Harlan. I try to come up with a long title. I recall a line from a song I wrote for my second wife, a anthropologist specializing in Tibetan Studies:

I've Got Those Way Down Below The Himalayas In A Secret Cavern Burns A Flame Brighter Than The Sun Tibetan Blues

If not the longest, at least memorably long. I wonder what the story might be about. Wham. Now I've got three new stories. Maybe I'll dump one of the half-finished novellas.

And so it goes.

Here's some of the music I've been listening to. The Mabuses from their new album, Mabused:

  • pgdf

Punch 3.00

[Clicking enhances]

Nothing ages worse than editorial cartoons. In a few decades, they are nigh-indeicpherable, like this one. Still, the artwork can always be enjoyed.

I assume the politician being mocked is Stanley Baldwin. Perhaps something in his Wikipedia entry would illuminate this jape.


Posted by Paul DiFi.
  • pgdf

Jerry Ordway book

[Click for viewability]

Amazon listing: http://tinyurl.com/yqpdxw

For my first major comics assignment, I was lucky enough to be paired with one of the best artists in the business, Mr. Jerry Ordway. Working with Jerry was a dream. His talent and insights into the graphic medium are unsurpassed.

Now you can dip into his career and knowledge base as I did, with the brand-new volume depicted above. About the only thing you won't discover in this retrospective is his ongoing battle with rural deer intent on eating his tomato plants!

Posted by Paul DiFi.