Malasada told me a story of a college friend who’d stayed up until three the night before a final, so he set two alarms, one of them across the room, to be sure he got there in time.
He woke up three hours late with the alarm clock from across the room in his hand.
Maybe one of these top ten most annoying alarm clocks would have made the difference. I’ve admired several of these before, like the one that launches a helicopter you have to catch, or the one that rolls of your night table and hides, but the one that launches puzzle pieces into the air that you have to re-insert for it to silence was a new one to me.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest building in the world for some 3800 years, until the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, England was rebuilt between 1307 and 1311.
At the Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, Georgia was the deadline: anyone crossing it was shot dead. The OED’s earliest citation for the modern usage of deadline is 1920: “Corinne Griffith..is working on ‘Deadline at Eleven’, the newspaper play.” It seems that newspapers adopted the term because the deadline was the (temporal) point which, if crossed, would get your story killed.
The whole text of Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, a detailed account of the poor of Victorian London is available on-line.
As a lad, I was a big fan of the People’s Almanac series. I recently discovered that there was a relatively recent addition to the series, The People’s Almanac Presents the 20th Century. Not long after taking it out of the library and beginning it, I ordered my own copy. Did you know that the superintendent of the NJ State police that investigated the Lindbergh kidnapping was Norman Schwarzkopf,. father of the Gulf War general?
Here’s a proposed wiki successor that doesn’t appear to have any content yet.
Paperbackswap is a great way to turn a pile of books you don’t want into a pile of books you do.
The idea’s simple: all books of acceptable condition or better are assumed equal. You list your books; if someone wants one, you mail it at your expense. When the recipient says it’s received, you get a credit, and can ask someone else for a book, and you get it without further expense.
I used to have a bunch of books listed on Half.com. Occasionally, one would move; mostly, they languished there month after month. A couple of weeks ago, I finally registered with Paperbackswap. For listing ten books, I received two book credits (in this respect, it’s sort of like a Ponzi scheme that works.) I requested Alternate Oscars, which I received promptly, and there wasn’t any other activity.
Last week, I passed on to Malasada a book I’d started and lost interest in. She quickly lost interest, too. “I know,” I thought. “I’ll post it to Paperbackswap.” While I was at it, I posted three recent mass-market science fiction paperbacks, too.
And, boom. Members can have wish lists, and as soon as a book on your wish list is posted, you’re informed and can confirm you really want it (or, alternatively, you can set it to automatically order a given wish list item without confirmation.) Three of the four new books had been others’ wish list items. Then I cleared nearly everything I’d had on Half.com and listed them and more on Paperbackswap.
I ended up mailing 4 packages on Friday, and have 8 more ready to mail today, which include things that had just sat on Half.com. The cumulative postage for all of these will set me back around $25, but, for that, I’ll have my pick of a dozen books shipped to my home.
(I vacillated on mentioning this, as I don’t like any appearance of shilling, but if, when you register, you list zedlopez as having referred you, I get a book credit. But I recommend it whether or not I get any referrer credits.)
The business of building stories seems not much different from the business of building anything else.
Here’s how it starts:
1. A DIFFERENT MURDER METHOD FOR VILLAIN TO USE
2. A DIFFERENT THING FOR VILLAIN TO BE SEEKING
3. A DIFFERENT LOCALE
4. A MENACE WHICH IS TO HANG LIKE A CLOUD OVER HERO