Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

It’s almost as good as shelving the Mystery section backwards

July 15th, 2013

Check out what one book store is doing to illustrate the axiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover”:
By the keywords on the wrapping paper, I would say the book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (one of my all-time favorites).

It helps that there’s a promise of quality no matter which book you pick up. (I’ll forgive them the unnecessary apostrophe in its.)

Think about how many flags will have to be replaced

November 8th, 2012

The results of Puerto Rico’s vote are in and they have chosen statehood. Now we wait on Congress to approve it. If they do, we’ll have a 51st state.

No more big ears

September 13th, 2012

Growing up, whenever I looked at political cartoons in the newspaper, I felt like the caricatures of politicians were these grotesque creatures with misshapen features. And every politician has big ears, I guess. That, to me, means political cartoons. There are still some of those around, but the essence of the political cartoon has changed with new media. The current trend is  to take a photo, whether of an angry cat or goofy chocolatier, and add some sarcastic text to it.

That’s not too new by Internet standards. Our current junior high students don’t know what it’s like to live in a world pre-I Can Haz Cheezburger. What’s new, though, is the huge influx of political versions of these pictures. These new political cartoons are more prolific because of three factors:

  1. Accessibility of creation tools
  2. Accessibility of audience
  3. A sense of duty for the artist

If you have Microsoft Paint or even Word, you can add text to a picture. Since the picture is already created, the words are usually the only thing that needs to be added. The site someecards illustrates this perfectly in that the pictures are already there for you to pick.

Distribution is even easier. The artist doesn’t have to impress any acquisition editors at a newspaper or get big enough for syndication. Nope. You just need a social media account to blast out whatever idea you have. Since Facebook is already established and has a variety of reasons why people will log in, that’s why you see the majority of these new political cartoons on Facebook. Most people check their accounts for updates from friends, someone posts a political cartoon, and the reader can then share the photo. do nothing, or comment in disgust. Even if the cartoon was created on another site, it will end up on Facebook. Since newspapers are losing subscribers, you’ll see more and more of these cartoons be the norm for political cartoons because of the ready-made audience.

The sense of duty in creating/sharing the picture is what intrigues me about the new political cartoons. Where a paid political cartoonist needs to produce something each week or more frequently, the new cartoonist does it without much promise of getting recognition. Maybe they’ll win a bunch of likes, but not if someone just makes a copy of the image and posts that. There’s an unspoken understanding of copyright with these images, many of which borrow and remix other images. It boils down to the image being shared to get a laugh/get the idea out there. But it’s the sense of duty of the people that re-post, that take that idea and feel the need to educate others about it, which is missing in current newspaper cartoons. The new artists are unpaid campaigners in a world where social media is gaining more and more influence.


August 5th, 2012

A friend of mine just showed me Postertext, a company that makes posters using the text from a book. Check out the War of the Worlds one.

What causes old book smell?

July 19th, 2012

Mental Floss has a fun article about some of the compounds found in and on books. Having been around books for quite some time, I can tell you that the environment that they are in definitely affects how long they last. Check out the article here.

Nielsen’s list of the most powerful events in TV history

July 11th, 2012

I suspect that this list is very modern-biased, given that the Casey Anthony verdict or the earthquake in Japan beat out things like, oh, I don’t know, STEPPING FOOT ON THE MOON.

Usually you hear questions like, “Where were you when you saw…?” I can remember distinctly the OKC bombings, the Columbine shootings (bravo to my education professor for an impromptu and extremely memorable lesson), and 9/11 (and having to try to explain it to my Freshmen).

While what happened in Japan was a huge tragedy, and the details of the Casey Anthony case extremely sad, I don’t think people will be able to say, “I remember I was ____ when I heard the news.”

So, here’s the list from the most recent Sony Electronics and Nielsen study:

1. Sept. 11 tragedy (2001)
2. Hurricane Katrina (2005)
3. O.J. Simpson verdict (1995)
4. Challenger space shuttle disaster (1986)
5. Death of Osama bin Laden (2011)
6. O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase (1994)
7. Earthquake in Japan (2011)
8. Columbine High School shootings (1999)
9. BP oil spill (2010)
10. Princess Diana’s funeral (1997)
11. Death of Whitney Houston (2012)
12. Capture and execution of Saddam Hussein (2006)
13. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech (2008)
14. The Royal Wedding (2011)
15. Assassination of John F. Kennedy (1963)
16. Oklahoma City bombing (1995)
17. Bush/Gore election results (2000)
18. L.A. riots (1992)
19. Casey Anthony verdict (2011)
20. Funeral of John F. Kennedy (1963)


“… but also was inspired by a book in which a character was told to bring a bus under control by turning off the ignition”

April 10th, 2012

And this, my friends, is another reason why I love YA fiction – and why it’s important even for fiction writers to get their facts straight. Check out this article about a real life School Bus Sam.

C-3PO has seen better days.

October 21st, 2011


Because the pop-up book is so popular, he’s been made to suffer. It’s his lot in life.

Zombie Boxcar Children

July 28th, 2011

I understand it’s a trend right now, but seriously?

And it’s book #128 in the series? I could understand that many books when the Hardy Boys were the only game around. 128 books is approaching The Land Before Time scale.

Check your sources

May 4th, 2011

There’s a quote that’s been going around Facebook that’s attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr.

I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

The original post was:

I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” MLK Jr.

But, in another example of the telephone game, Internet-style, the quotation marks got left off and a lot of people ran with it. In this case, doing a search for the last sentence of the quote led me to this article which then led me to checking archived writings of Dr. King.