April 28th, 2006

Ken Nordine

pits and bieces: how squeamish ossifrage got kissed by norman mineta and led the war for kidness

000. I finally figured out what it was I liked about Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta: He's the type of civil servant who has the perfect name for public buildings. And whadya know: In 2001, the San José, California airport was renamed Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport. A far cry better than, say, the Norman Mineta Traffic Administration Building or the Norman Y. Mineta Waste Reclamation Facility.

001. Say what you will about the silliness of the Da Vinci Code (conveniently out of litigation just before its film debut!) but you gotta admire the judge presiding over the copyright infringement case, who encoded his own secret message into his official ruling. Even funnier is the fact that, after the code was cracked, the judge said "I hate crosswords and do not do Sudoku as I do not have the patience."

010. More and more of the fiction offerings I see on used bookstore shelves feature titles spelled out in super-thin sans serif fonts winding around dotted lines, passing daisies or other such clip art, and all placed over bright stripes of blues, greens, yellows and pinks. It's like little chick-lit crocuses and tulips sprouting up all over! Awwww! I didn't notice them in such abundance this time last year, when the students usually start cleaning out their bookshelves and other such folks have similar fits of spring cleaning, but this year, the crocuses are out in full force.

011. I don't particularly like feeling that used bookstores are the places where books go when their reader doesn't love them anymore, but that's just the object empathy talking. I'd much prefer to think that the books just decided to get up and go themselves to find new friends. Then again, I can't escape the constant nudging of the personal: The used copy of Skinny Malinky Leads The War For Kidness that I received this week from an online used seller is signed by the author "to Barbara and Alvaro, with love." I wonder how they knew Stanley Kiesel, and I wonder what happened to Barbara and/or Alvaro that prompted them to give the book up. And I wonder what route the book took to eventually make it to me. So maybe giving it that kind of tragic abandonment history gives it that much-needed mystique.

By the way, I think I like the first book better; the second is darker as some previous folks said, and in growing darker (much like Harry Potter!) the book loses a great deal of the non-conformist whimsy that I loved about the first. Still, it was nice to see some familiar names again, and perhaps there's a bit of closure there, too.

100. I'm proud to state that this journal is still and forevermore free from any mentions of Kaavya Viswanathan. Oh.

Aw, damn...
Typewriter Guy

(no subject)

And this week's "Okay, Okay, We Get It Already" award goes to the normally reliable Disney journalist Jim Hill, whose recent write-up on the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel (SPOILERS AHEAD, CAP'N) contains this gem:
...up until now -- the plot for this follow-up to "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" has been kept under lock & key. But today, we're going to pull a Will Turner and stealthily snatch that key. Liberating this oddly shaped object from its usual hiding spot (Which is around Davy Jones' neck) and then use that key to open "Dead Man's Chest."
I'll let you know when my eyes have stopped watering.