Book Log – Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

This is a darn fine Moore book. He writes amusing mind-candy, and this one is pretty tasty.

Jesus knew Kung-Fu! Awesome! And I love the idea that God created Man because Angels were… well, stupid.

So, now I’ve read all the C. Moore books but:

The Stupidest Angel : A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
Bloodsucking Fiends: a Love Story

Bill the Gate

I heard an interview with Bill Gates this morning, and he said three things that just got my goat.

1. Not enough kids are going into science and engineering, that’s why we have to hire in India and China.

Wait… aren’t kids who did major in science and engineering having a hell of a time finding jobs right now, as well as experienced scientists and engineers? And isn’t a part of that because jobs of that sort are going overseas?

2. We sell our products at rock bottom prices and make up for it in volume.

OpenOffice Suite FREE
StarOffice 7 Office Suite $79.95
WordPerfect Office Standard $300.00
Microsoft Office Standard $400.00

3. People upgrade because we provide innovative new products. If we didn’t, people would just stay at the same version.

We upgrade Windows and Office to stay compatible with other people who have newer systems, because planned obsolescence is part of Microsoft’s strategy. Can you even buy Windows 3.1 anymore?


For the Shakespearean Investors…

from Investopedia…

Term of The Day: Lady Macbeth Strategy
A corporate-takeover strategy with which a third party poses
as a white knight to gain trust, but then turns around and joins
with unfriendly bidders.

Investopedia Says:
Lady Macbeth, one of Shakespeare’s most frightful and ambitious
characters, devises a cunning plan for her husband, the Scottish
general, to kill Duncan, the King of Scotland. The success of
Lady Macbeth’s scheme lies in her deceptive ability to appear
noble and virtuous, and thereby secure Duncan’s trust in the
Macbeths’ false loyalty.



I happened to notice some features on Amazon this morning that I hadn’t seen before. It’s not available on every book…

Statistical information on the text of the books:

From Wicked:

First Sentence:
From the crumpled bed the wife said, “I think today’s the day.

Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs):
her roomie, pleasure faith, unionist minister, mumble mumble mumble, saffron cream, green glass bottle’s Statistically Improbable Phrases, or “SIPs”, are the most distinctive phrases in the text of books in the Search Inside! program. To identify SIPs, our computers scan the text of all books in Search Inside. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to all Search Inside books, that phrase is a SIP in that book.

SIPs are not necessarily improbable within a particular book, but they are improbable relative to all books in Search Inside. For example, most SIPs for a book on taxes are tax related. But because we display SIPs in order of their improbability score, the first SIPs will be on tax topics that this book mentions more often than other tax books. For works of fiction, SIPs tend to be distinctive word combinations that often hint at important plot elements.

Click on a SIP to view a list of books in which the phrase occurs. You can also view a list of references to the phrase in each book. Learn more about the phrase by clicking on the search link.

Text Stats
Readability: 		               Complexity: 
Fog Index:  8.8                                      Complex Words:  9%
Flesch Index:  70.9                                 Syllables/Word:  1.5
Flesch-Kincaid Index:  6.5                       Words/Sentence:  12.7
Number of:                       Fun Stats:
Characters:  861,413         Words/Dollar:  14,872
Words:  151,694               Words/Ounce:   8,861
Sentences:  11,940

The Text Stats feature calculates a variety of statistics for each book in the Search Inside the Book program. The Readability calculations estimate how easy it is to read and understand the text of a book.

* The Fog Index was developed by Robert Gunning. It indicates the number of years of formal education required to read and understand a passage of text. A score between 7 and 8 is considered ideal, while a score above 12 is considered difficult to read.
* The Flesch Index, developed in 1940 by Dr. Rudolph Flesch, is another indicator of reading ease. The score returned is based on a 100 point scale, with 100 being easiest to read. Scores between 90 and 100 are appropriate for 5th and 6th graders, while a college degree is considered necessary to understand text with a score between 0 and 30.
* The Flesch-Kincaid Index is a refinement to the Flesch Index that tries to relate the score to a U.S. grade level. For example, text with a Flesch-Kincaid score of 10.1 would be considered suitable for someone with a 10th grade or higher reading level.

I especially like the words/dollar statistic.

Book Log – The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This… is a good book.

Time Travel is tough, dramatically speaking. There are a few ways to write it, and it’s tough to do any of them well without flubbing up the logistics or the narrative.

Back To The Future, while entertaining, is full of enough plot holes to make it a swiss cheese you could drive several trucks through. It uses the convention that you can change past events, but it is dangerous to do so. (One wrong move, and you destroy the universe or at the very least, yourself.) They slap all sorts of inconsistencies and odd conventions to increase the drama, which just ends up in a holy logistical mess. I get frustrated just thinking about it, so I won’t anymore. (Twenty minutes!? Twenty minutes!? Marty gave himself TWENTY EXTRA MINUTES to try and prevent Doc Brown from being killed?! WHY NOT A DAY?! A WEEK!? A YEAR!!!??? Arg. Ahem.)

12 Monkeys subscribes to the “nothing changes” convention, where everything that has happened, has happened, and you can’t change anything by traveling in time, because you didn’t. I think this movie is good, and intellectually satisfying, but suffers a little bit in the narrative sense.

The Time Traveler’s Wife also subscribes to the “nothing changes” convention, but the narrative does not suffer in the least. On top of that, it is an engaging romance novel.

The story revolves around Henry and Clare. Henry lives a life where every now and again, against his will, he drops out of his present and lands in a different time and place for a while. The author explores just about every nook and cranny of the consequences of such a life, and how a romance could happen in this situation.

It is funny, sad, and captivating. I was concerned that this would be a Romance novel with some bad time travel thrown in, or a Time Travel novel with some corny romance thrown in, but it is neither.

And now I have to give it back to Stacey, who was in the middle of reading it when I swiped it from her nightstand. Sadly, I believe I lost her place, too. Damn.

Fictional Characters in My Midst

I read A Confederacy of Dunces in 1995, when I was living just off the Tulane campus in New Orleans.

I remember sitting in our living room near the window reading, and at one point, a character was being described as walking down the street near my house, in such a way that if he had really been walking there, I could have looked out my window and seen him.

And, of course, I looked. Because you never know.

He wasn’t there.

I am reading The Time Traveler’s Wife, an excellent romance/sci-fi genre blend that I hoarked from Stacey. In a recent scene, the characters are walking around Evanston, IL. I looked at the date related to the scene (the date when each scene occurs is listed at the top of the section, as this is a book about time-traveling), and it was on a date when I would have been in Evanston, possibly even in the area where they are walking.

I don’t know why these little things give me a thrill… they just do.