Monthly Archives: December 2011

More Information Than You Require

I bought a book at the Dollar Store recently, my go-to store these days because of my somewhat straitened circumstances.  This book was by John Hodgman, the guy who used to portray the PC in those Apple vs. PC commercials in which Justin Long portrayed the Mac.

Anyway, it seems as if Mr. Hodgman is an actual comedian who is actually funny.  He’s got two books out, of which I bought the second.  It is hysterical, at an almost Monty Pythonesque level.

The book is called More Information Than You Require, and I heartily recommend it, especially if you can snag the hardback as I did for just one dollar.

Anyway, what made me want to post this was a (for me) laugh-out-loud section that struck home.  The book is divided into several sections, each supposedly offering previously little-known information on the subject at hand ( presidential nicknames, cooking owls, etc.).

The section I was reading began innocuously enough…

“Something about the oyster that you did not know is that it is host to a parasite.

There is a tiny crab that lives inside the oyster that covets its pearl.  Known as a ‘pea’ or ‘oyster’ crab, it is one of the only living creatures that feeds almost exclusively on envy, apart from writers of short stories.”

So true I almost laughed myself into unconsciousness…


Borrow My Books? Sure.

Amazon, the amazing and wholly positive company that will, one day, rule the world along with Wal-Mart, Apple and Coke Zero, has instituted a new program that I have taken advantage of.

It’s called Kindle Select, and it means that you can now borrow books from Amazon…borrow them, as in read them and return them, for free.  Like a library.  Without the ridiculous card, the late fees and the musty smell of stacks of unread books and unwashed (but somehow hot) librarians.

OK, well, you do have to first have a Kindle from Amazon, but these are stupidly cool devices for stupidly little money.  And then you have to be a member of Amazon Prime.  What is that, you ask?  Amazon Prime is a $79 a year membership that buys you, among other things, unlimited access to a huge library of  streaming movies and TV shows, permanent free two-day shipping for anything you buy through Amazon, and now free borrowing of books from Amazon’s extensive library.

For me, it means that the 10 “test” short stories I have up right now at Amazon, are now free to borrow, provided you have the Kindle and the Amazon Prime membership.  Otherwise, the stories are still available for just 99 cents each.

If you know me, you know of my nearly carnal love for all things Amazon, especially a little something called Subscribe and Save (a subject for another post).  About the only way I could be dissuaded from spending 99% of my (admittedly limited) free cash with them would be to find out one of two things:

1).  Amazon supported the Nazis during WWII, a difficult proposition since it went online in 1995, 50 years following the end of the war.  Or

2)  Jeff Bezos and the entire board of Amazon hold Satanic rituals at their board meetings where they actually sacrifice and eat live babies.

Since neither of these is likely, Amazon continues to be a great company in my opinion.  This Kindle Select Program is just another reason I love them.

Here’s the link to my Amazon store:

http://www.amazon.com/John-F.D.-Taff/e/B005C6BZMY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

If you do buy my stories from them, and like them, leave a review that has as many stars as you see fit to leave.

Thanks…and since I have been strenuously advised by the girlfriend to lay off the stoat pictures, I leave you with a picture of an angry marmot.


Merry Belated Christmas!

Funny, as only Terry Gilliam could be.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe one.

See you in 2012!

 


48.

Another birthday down the tubes, and here I am, still alive.  Who’d have thunk.  Heart problems couldn’t kill me (ummm….yet) nor could a massive staph infection.  So, I am well on my way to 49 and the end of the world. Yay!

Now, off to Christmas and New Year’s Eve and then 2012!

Hope everyone is safe, happy and prepared for what I know, for me and mine anyway, will be a great year…the Maya aside.

And…OK, well, no stoat pictures with this one.


Stoat Post!

Thanks to the girlfriend for these random stoat pictures!

 

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Happy Penultimate Birthday to Me!

Today, December 21st, is my birthday.

On this day, 48 years ago, at approximately 10:20 to 10:40 a.m. on a Saturday morning in 1963, I was born.

Appropriately, this is the darkest day of the year, the winter solstice…the day when the earth is farthest from the sun.  Fitting.

Next year, my birthday brings the world to an end.

 

Next year, gifts aren’t necessary.


And Now Some Words from a Mr. Hemingway…

I hate Ernest Hemingway.  Well…at least his writing.  I never had the opportunity to actually meet him.

I hate Ernest Hemingway’s writing.

There, I said it.  It’s almost like saying “Fuck” in church, especially if you’re an English Major educated in America post 1960, like me, for example.  Hemingway has been canonized by academia as the model of a great American writer.

I dissent.  Hemingway’s sparse, Spartan style is akin, to me at least, to reading a novel serialized by a newspaper reporter.  A little too lean for my taste, but this is an argument for another post.

Here’s a quote from the author I found tonight (I believe it’s from A Farewell to Arms) that struck a deep, deep chord in me.

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.  But those that will not break, it kills.  It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.  If you are none of these, you can be sure it will kill you, too, but there will be no special hurry.”

If the world breaks you, as I have learned, you have to pick up the pieces and glue them back together.  And you have to hope that you will be the better for it.  The stronger for it.  I believe, I have to believe that if it does, and if you do, then you will be.

This quote has a profound meaning for me, all the more so because it comes from a writer I don’t necessarily like.  I and most everyone I know have had life throw something at them hard enough to break them.  Most, like me, tried to prevent that thing from breaking them.

I learned the hard way it’s better to let it happen, to let life happen to you.  When it’s out to break you, let it.  When it’s out to make you, let it. On the other side of both, I strongly believe, there’s a better life…a better you.  I know that continues to be the truth for me.

And because this midnight philosophical bent may be making you roll your eyes, here is a picture of a stoat.



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