Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When Pumkins Go Bad-

UPDATE: A comment Angryman made reminded me that I didn't include a picture of my favorite extreme pumpkin in yesterday's post. So here it is! [insert evil laugh]

It's Halloween and if you haven't carved all your pumpkins yet, there's a great site called "Extreme Pumpkins" which may give you some ideas.

The three illustrations here are all from the site.

And after you carve your pumpkins like this all the little kids will run, screaming, away from your house tonight and you can eat up all the candy yourself!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The Book Elves love Halloween, and always spend a great deal of time preparing a huge Halloween party. Everyone is still talking about last year’s “5000 Pumpkin Bonfire Roast”, but under the terms of the restraining order taken out by the Fire Dept. they won’t be repeating that again anytime soon. This year they decided to stage a haunted house with a twist- real ghosts. They had this “Yuri Geller Ghost Summoner” kit they bought on late-night QVC, and I’ll be darned if the silly thing didn’t actually work!

The upside was that the ghosts were a great hit at the party and scared the bejeezus out of all the kids, so the Book Elves have lots of candy left over to eat themselves. The downside was that ghosts turned out to be, well, let’s just say “unpredictable”. Call me crazy, but I wasn’t aware that ghosts did things like fill your car with lime jello. We’re also still looking for the bathtub, which was last seen galloping down the street, singing “Feelings”...

But before they found themselves stripped naked, painted orange and stranded on the porch roof, the Book Elves finished our latest catalog-

“A GRAVE AFFAIR- Old & Interesting Books on gravestones, cemeteries, epitaphs, mourning customs, funerals & funeral customs” is now ready, and posted on the web.

Highlights include-

-an 18th century manuscript collection of epitaphs.

-a nice copy of one of the greatest English epitaph books, the 1631 “Ancient Funerall Monuments”, written by John Weever, “connoisseur of graveyards, tobacco-enthusiast, sycophant, satirist, dwarf, [and] penner of dirty ditties”

-a pair of interesting 1930s “Modern” style German gravestone trade catalogs.

-an 1851 manual to good taste in cemeteries by a man who hated cherubs.

-an 1820 American manuscript funeral sermon for the minister’s wife.

-a fantastic French Victorian design book of memorial and other hairwork.

-The ceremonies at the 1883 dedication of the Robert E. Lee mausoleum at Washington and Lee University.

And much more!

Printed copies are also available.
Please let us know if you would like one.

Monday, October 29, 2007


no words necessary.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Fun-

There's a new State of Denial post up this morning over at Wand of Wonder, having to do with a road trip George, Dick and Condi took...

There's been talk lately of sports teams and logos and stereotypes, so of course I'm going to jump right into the stereotype contest with these probably apocryphal tidbits, to get you all ready for the weekend-

Actual "Personal ads" in the Dublin News:

Heavy drinker, 35, Cork area. Seeks gorgeous sex addict interested in a man who loves his pints, cigarettes, Glasgow Celtic Football Club and has been known to starting fights on Patrick Street at three o'clock in the morning.


Bitter, disillusioned Dublin man, lately rejected by longtime fiancée seeks decent, honest, reliable woman, if such a thing still exists in this cruel world of hatchet-faced bitches.


Ginger haired Galway man, a troublemaker, gets slit-eyed and shirty after a few scoops, seeks attractive, wealthy lady for bail purposes, maybe more.


Bad tempered, foul-mouthed old bastard, living in a damp cottage in the arse end of Roscommon, seeks attractive 21 year old blonde lady, with a lovely chest. (I didn't know booksellers advertised in the Dublin News)


Limerick man, 27, medium build, brown hair, blue eyes, seeks alibi for the night of February 27 between 8 PM and 11:30 PM.


Kim Novack says, "Have a great weekend, everyone!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Random Musings-

Bush is mouthing off about Cuba again. A reporter asked Presidential Press Secretary Dana Perino yesterday why Dubya was so obsessed with Cuba, and she replied that he was obsessed with "human rights".

Well... I'm damned glad to hear it. I suppose that tomorrow he will be announcing an economic boycott of Dik Cheney's friends, the Saudis, in whose country women are not allowed to drive, vote, or basically do anything, and which bars Jews from entry.

Or maybe we'll just start bombing them?

I'm tuning in to CNN now to watch for updates.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bullshit Bingo

Somebody sent this to me and with all the talk of offices and work lately, I thought some of my fellow bloggers might enjoy it-

How to Stay Awake at Meetings

Do you keep falling asleep in meetings and seminars? What about those long and boring conference calls? Here's a way to change all of that.

1. Before (or during) your next meeting, seminar, or conference call, prepare yourself by drawing a square. I find that 5" x 5" is a good size.

Divide the card into columns-five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:

* synergy
* strategic fit
* core competencies
* best practice
* bottom line
* revisit
* expeditious
* to tell you the truth (or "the truth is")
* 24/7
* out of the loop
* benchmark
* value-added
* proactive
* win-win
* think outside the box
* fast track
* result-driven
* empower (or empowerment)
* knowledge base
* at the end of the day
* touch base
* mindset
* client focus(ed)
* paradigm
* game plan
* leverage

3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"

TESTIMONIALS from satisfied "Bullshit Bingo" players:

-- "I had been in the meeting for only five minutes when I won.." -
Adam W., Atlanta

-- "My attention span at meetings has improved dramatically." -
David T., Orlando

-- "What a gas! Meetings will never be the same for me after my first win."
Dan J., New York City

-- "The atmosphere was tense in the last process meeting as 14 of us waited for the fifth box."
Ben G., Denver

-- "The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed 'BULLSHIT!' for the third time in two hours. The Bullshit Bingo Championship will be played at the next meeting."
Rod H.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sox, Stocks, and Memories

Red Sox Nation is doing the Happy Hamster Dance this morning after last night's win. The series comes back to Fenway Saturday night with Curt Schilling on the mound. Given that Beckett can't pitch every game, there's nobody I'd rather have on the mound for a Big Postseason Game than Schilling.

This Friday's State of Denial post is up on the Wand of Wonder this morning. It has to do with Dick Cheney's future job opportunities...

It was 20 years ago today... that the Stock Market plummeted 508 points, losing almost a quarter of its value, in what became known as "Black Monday". I'll always remember that Monday vividly, because I had boarded a train at Boston's South Station bound for Chicago on Sunday evening. We'd done a book fair Sunday, and there was a book auction in Chicago on Tuesday which I wanted to attend, so I took the Overnighter. We arrived in Chicago early Monday afternoon and had heard no news while we traveled.

I took a cab to the auction house for the preview. Halfway there the driver glanced in the mirror and said, "Shocking Day, huh? Just terrible!"

"Uh huh, yes". I mean, what else do you say?

"What do you think's gonna happen?"

"I don't know". Since I had no idea what he was talking about, it was completely true.

When I arrived at the auction house to preview the books there was an undercurrent of tension everywhere. I overheard the young women on the gallery staff whispering to each other in panicky tones (national financial meltdowns the day before an auction are not a good thing). Beginning to get a bit panicky myself now, I edged over to do some eavesdropping.

"Well," a young 20-something blond was whispering, "my boyfriend works at the Exchange and he says this could be it".

"It" what?

Her friend nodded. "My husband's on the Futures Board and he says he's never seen anything like this. Nobody knows what to do".

Welcome to Chicago. Oh, and the national economy collapsed while you were on the train.

Now, of course, it didn't turn out that way. Stocks steadied the next morning (the national networks provided live coverage of the opening bell, something unheard of in those days before MSNBC, et al) and the market steadied. By the end of the year it had regained all the lost ground and more. But nobody knew that that day. 1929 was our only point of reference. It was scary. And it was disconcerting as Hell to walk into the middle of it not knowing what anyone was talking about. I'll always remember that feeling.

That's a picture of actress Deborah Kerr. She died yesterday, but has left us with wonderful memories.

We're off to a local bookfair, so I may not be checking in before Monday. Have a great weekend, and Go Sox!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We're Talking Beisbol-

Word of Warning- if you have any friends, relatives or acquaintances in New England, do not call them between 8 pm and 11 pm this evening.

They will be otherwise engaged.

Tonight, with their backs to the Wall, our Boston Red Sox try to prove that you can survive in the playoffs while having only one pitcher in your starting rotation who's able to make it through the 5th inning. His name is Josh Beckett, and he starts Game 5 tonight, so we're fairly confident of at least short-term satisfaction. If we lose, that's it for 2007.

So, best of luck to all our fellow-baseball fans in Cleveland, may your team play well tonight, but not quite as well as the Red Sox. Whatever else happens, it looks to be a good game. And keep The Faith fellow BoSoxlers, we're not through yet by a long shot.

OK, get the beer, pizza and chips ready, unplug the phone and close the shutters. I'll see you all on the Other Side.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Make Mine Hot, Hot, Hot-

Mike was writing about his chili yesterday. I love hot peppers and I love chili, and his post reminded me of this story which I found several years ago and have posted once before, but back 'afore most of you were dropping by-


Includes notes from an inexperienced chili tester named FRANK, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast. Frank notes: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking directions to the beer wagon, when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy, and besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting - So I accepted."

Here are the scorecards from the event:


JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

FRANK: Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could use it to remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.


JUDGE ONE: Smokey, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.


JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A bean less chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.

FRANK: Call the EPA, I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now- get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my back bone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all the beer.


JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds?


JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very Impressive

JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage; a barmaid saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off? It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks!


JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb!

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. Can't feel my lips anymore.


JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Judge Number 3, he appears to be in a bit of distress and he is cursing uncontrollably.

FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a damn thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. At least during the autopsy they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful. Screw it, I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach


JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare it's existence.

JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor Yank, wonder how he'd have reacted to a really hot chili?

FRANK: (Not available for comment.)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wintertiiime -and the living is sleazy.

It's officially winter. Oh, I know, the leaves are just starting to turn and it's only October, but winter has come, and I'll tell you how I know. As my wife likes to phrase it, I have a Giant Enormous Head (and long, monkey-like arms). It's true, I take an X-Large size hat. For as long as I can remember, I've had a problem waking up with headaches during the winter when my room hasn't been warm enough. Ever since oil surged in the 80s and thermostats have been kept much lower at night, this has been a constant problem. Along about 1985 I realized that I was losing so much heat through my big, enormous head that I was tensing all the muscles in my face as I slept, hence the headaches. I started sleeping with a woolen cap (my "helmet") every night during the winter, and the problem was instantly solved. I know it's winter when I start sleeping with my helmet, and spring when I no longer use it.

Last night I used it for the first time this season. It's winter. I'm going to go dig out the snow shovels.


Yesterday Preposterous Ponderings was writing about getting older, and that got me musing and the Circle of Life, how everything is cyclical. I think this is best seen in the simple somersault. Think about your friends and family's reaction to seeing you do a somersault-

Age 4: "Be careful, don't hurt yourself!"

Age 14: "That's nothing, watch this!

Age 22: "That's nothing, watch this! Hey, someone hold my beer."

Age 50: "Be careful, don't hurt yourself!"

Age 80: "Well, at least he died doing what he loved."


Hey, the Sox look strong, the Pats play Dallas tomorrow, and the sun is out (well, actually it's quite river-foggy right now, but they say the sun is coming out soon). Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 12, 2007


A post yesterday by Here Today, Gone Tomorrow about blogging got me to thinking about how I've organised my blogs. Back in March of 2006 I started another blog, originally called "Mulligrubbing Fudgenuts" (that was a phrase Phoebe once used that I really liked) which eventually came to be titled "State of Denial" (I know, I know, that's now the title of Bob Woodward's new book, but I had it first). State of Denial eventually developed into a running series of stories by one of Satan's demons assigned to White House duty. Its' few readers seemed to find it amusing, but I never really developed a large readership for it, and I was trying to write new material three times a week, which was just too often. Eventually I burned out on it, and things over there have been more or less inactive for more than six months now.

So here's what I'm going to do- I'm taking "State of Denial" on the road, over to Wand of Wonder, where (assuming the hosts don't tar and feather me) there will be a new post every Friday. My S.o.D. blog will go back to being "Mulligrubbing Fudgenuts", and be a place I muse about politics, hopefully at least semi-humorously. I'll try it for a while and see how it works.

So, there's a new State of Denial post over at WoW right now, called "Turkish Delight"...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Say it with a Pineapple and a Twenty-

A rainy Wednesday in Hamphsire County, so I spin the Cheer Me Up Wheel and find Dolores Moran, who starred with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in 'To Have and Have Not'.

I didn't write the post below, it was sent to me as an email a few years ago. I thought it was funny, even for those not old enough to remember who most of these people were-

If you remember the Original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this may bring a tear to your eyes. These great questions and answers are from the days when "Hollywood Squares" game show responses were spontaneous and clever, not scripted and (often) dull, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course.


Q. Do female frogs croak?

A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.


Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?

A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.


Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.

A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.


Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?

A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.


Q. According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?

A. Rose Marie: No; wait until morning.


Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?

A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.


Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I Love You"?

A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.


Q. What are "Do It," "I Can Help," and "I Can't Get Enough"?

A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.


Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking?

A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget.


Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?

A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.


Q. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?

A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.


Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?

A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.


Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?

A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures


Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?

A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.


Q. Can boys join the Campfire Girls?

A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.


Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?

A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?


Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?

A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.


Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?

A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.


Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?

A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn't neglected.


Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?

A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.


Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?

A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?


Q. When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex?

A. Charley Weaver: I'll lend him the car, the rest is up to him.


Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?

A. Charley Weaver: His feet.


Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?

A. Paul Lynde: Point and Laugh.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Musings-

Amy and I were driving home last Monday afternoon when we passed a house with the remains of a weekend yard sale sitting there beside the road in several cardboard boxes with a big, nicely-lettered "FREE" sign in front of them. Amy got out and poked around but didn't see anything, but I knew what I wanted, so I took the sign. Hey, it said it was free.


Speaking of truth in advertising, driving to a bookfair Saturday morning we passed a store called "The Final Markdown" and they had big signs in their windows announcing their "Big Fall Sale".

Now how can a store called "The Final Markdown" then put stuff on sale?


The dj of the morning show on our local Country station has a daily quiz (yes, I listen to country music when the news on NPR gets too depressing). Last week he asked the following question, and I was surprised that it took 8 callers before he got a correct answer-

William's wife Wendy was washing woolens while weeding her wonderful wildflowers. How many "W"s are there in all?

Now, I assumed everyone had heard a variation of this riddle before, but if you haven't and are still puzzling, ask yourself what question is really being asked.

It's a rainy, gloomy Monday here in Western Massachusetts, but we're all happy because both the Sox and Pats won yesterday, and there's no snow in the forecast.

It feels like a Veronica Lake sort of day.


A new commenter, Moooog35, appeared this morning in response to this post, so I mosey'd on over to take a look at his blog and read the funniest damn thing I've read in a long time. It's called "Raisins are People Too". I see a few of you have already found this, but anyone who has not yet seen it needs to go over, NOW.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Hey- I Recognize That!"

Sara Sue has certain themes she tends to focus on from time to time, and a post she made yesterday reminded me of a particular detail in this story...

This is the story of a gigantic (so to speak) scholarly “oopsie”-

In late 1915 Gisela Richter, renowned expert on Greek and Roman antiquities at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, received a letter from John Marshall, the Museum’s veteran purchasing agent in Italy, describing a newly discovered life-size Etruscan warrior figure in terra-cotta which had been discovered in an Italian field.

The “old warrior” (he had a white beard and was emaciated, somewhat like, as one observer commented later, a Giacommetti sculpture) was soon followed by a massive four-foot tall terra cotta warrior’s head, and there was even talk of a greater treasure waiting to be found...

It was, of course, all fakery, carried out on a grand, almost “mythic” scale, a scale meant to make experts put aside all their nagging doubts and see the “Etruscans” as what they were not (namely, ancient). The white-bearded warrior and the massive head had been created by Riccardo Riccardi and Alfredo Fioravanti, two young men of skill and a certain vision. Riccardo’s father and brothers had also specialized in historic pottery, but Riccardo was the true genius of the family. With his friend Alfredo he first created the anorexic, white-bearded warrior.

The figure was modeled as one piece and then broken up into 24 fragments for firing, as the kiln was not large enough to accomodate the entire figure. The warrior is missing his right arm for the simple reason that the two forgers could not agree on how to position the arm, so they compromised by breaking it off and discarding it.

After selling the figure to the Metropolitan, the pair began work on another figure, this time a gigantic warrior's head. Working from a description by Pliny of a 25-foot tall statue of Jupiter in a Roman temple, the pair made the head four and a half feet tall. This was broken into 178 pieces, fired, and shipped off to the Met. And then Riccardo and Alfredo had to leave to serve their time in the Italian Army.

When they returned they began their most audacious project yet- a Colossal Warrior in terra cotta, standing over eight feet tall. Then tragedy struck. Riccardo was killed in a fall from his horse that winter, and his place was taken by two less-skilled cousins. As with the earlier pieces, the statue had to be fired in pieces as it was much too large for the kiln.

It proved, in fact, to even be too large for the room it was being modeled in, and by the time they had modeled up as far as the waist it was obvious that the elegant classical proportions of genuine Etruscan sculpture would have to be ignored -there simply was not enough room for the upper body without going through the ceiling. The odd result- classical legs and a stocky, disproportionate torso, troubled some scholars.

In 1921 the Met. purchased the warrior for an undisclosed price said to have approached 5 million dollars in today’s money. The statue was reconstructed from the fragments by the Met's experts with one odd exception- the genitals, which had been carefully modeled (the warrior, like many Etruscan statues, was partially nude from the waist down) were left off and apparently kept in storage. It may have been just as well.

One story that came to light later related that while the body of the figure was based upon that of Riccardo's cousin and helper Teodoro, the "privates" were modeled after Riccardo's own, and had been recognized by a number of young Italian ladies of his hometown...

Attempts to erase doubts that were already being whispered in art circles in Europe, as well as the hope that the “secret” field they had been found in might be divulged by their “discoverers”, delayed the publication of a scholarly monograph on the three figures until 1937. For Richter, bringing them to the Met. and publishing them represented one of the crowning achievements of her distinguished career, and it was undoubtedly this fact that blinded her to what was becoming all too obvious to other scholars who were not emotionally or professionally attached to the warriors.

The talk about their true origins swirled quietly for the next decade or two, but after a visiting Italian scholar was offered a chance to see all three statues in 1959, and commented that he did not need to see them since he knew the man who had made them, authorities at the museum decided something had to be done. In 1960 a series of tests concluded that the glazes on all three specimens contained chemicals which had not been in use before the 17th century, and in 1961 Fioravanti signed a confession of the whole affair, and supplied a missing thumb which fit perfectly.

At that point several other “bothersome” points that had been noted over the years began to make more sense- the Colossal Warrior, for instance, could not even support its own weight, and when compared to real Etruscan statuary, simply looks crude and even modern. Today the statues are stored far away from prying eyes, but they still provide an entertaining and sobering lesson in fake busting.

A much more detailed account of the warriors was written by David Sox in his excellent book “Unmasking the Forger, The Dossena Deception” (1987), from which most of the material for this essay was taken; Thomas Hoving, the former Director of the Met., also deals with the story, and speculates on the role of John Marshall, in his book "False Impressions: The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes" (1996).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Me! Me!

Yesterday Mike tagged me for this meme, and as Catalyst had already tagged me for a similar meme a week ago, I finally have to stop sending them nasty emails step up and do the job!

The rules, which you've probably already seen elsewhere, are-

1 Link the person who has tagged you.
2 Tell seven true things about yourself.
3 Tag seven new people.
4 Leave a message with the person you have tagged so they know about it.

Anyone who thinks I can follow such complicated directions, I'm going to do all four, needs to keep thinking. But here we go-

1. I'm inordinately proud, for no good reason, of being left-handed.

2. My favorite piece of music in the entire world is Bedrich Smetna's 'The Moldau' (Vltava) part of his 'My County' (Ma Vlast) symphonic poem.

3. I love cooking and have bookcases full of cookbooks, but am mentally unable to actually follow a recipe. I skim cookbooks with an ingredient in mind, looking for ideas, and then wing it.

4. I cannot deal with having people behind me. At auctions I always sit in the last row, against the back wall. When I'm sitting at my desk and someone stands behind me to look at the computer screen it freaks me out.

5. Most people are "working on a novel" -I've actually written full two (unpublished) novels and two screenplays. The novels were crap, flawed, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process and learned a lot for next time. One of the screenplays actually got a good first report from a Hollywood reader for a major director, but was judged too expensive to produce for its probable return.

6. One of my bookselling sub-specialties is books and other materials on historic funeral customs, epitaphs, gravestones and mourning. My wife delights in introducing me at parties as "The Death Guy".

7. I took my SATs in my sophmore year of high school, graduated in three years and took a "year off" before college, and then never went. I fell into bookselling (there's no other way to get into bookselling) and have been doing it ever since.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dang Coo Debacle!

A few weeks ago I noticed a spam message subject line that was unintentionally funny, so I sent the staff here at MMB out into the wilds of the internet to find more spam subject lines that were worth collecting and displaying. I am now proud to present the-

First MMB Exhibition of SPAM.


Please speedy attention to this lettern

This is the first one I collected. At first it seemed to be merely a misspelling at the end of an illiterate sentence, but as I've regarded it over the past few weeks, I've become convinced there is a much deeper meaning in there.

dang coo debacle

I get upset when my darn coo goes bad, too.

womanly anomaly

I'm here to help...

pharmacological preparations for life

In the 70s we just called them 'ludes'. I do love the 21st century.

ghastly stalactite

Now see, I had been under the impression that once you saw one stalactite, you'd seen them all, but apparently not. Maybe this one is shaped like Dik Cheney.

frozen grizzly bear

On Special this week - $8.99 a pound.

angiospasm angiosplastic angiosperm

Uh oh...

A pretty-pretty fly

Is now pretty-pretty swatted. Too too bad.

Infected tail light

Flatulent oil filter

And the tires don't look real good either.



unoppugned poetic ingwersen

matrimonial paramus nut

I've no idea what they mean, but they're fun to say and if 'unoppugned' isn't really a word, it damn well should be!

Go d ´ s me s s a ge. (no sp a m)

I was struck by the sincerity of this one. I had suspected it was spam, but would Go d lie about something like that? I th ink no t.