The Philosophy of Ambiguity

Another non-bookish read, found in my inbox. Apologies for the all caps, it came like that in the e-mail and I’m too lazy to write it all over again in proper caps!

FOR THOSE WHO LOVE THE PHILOSOPHY OF AMBIGUITY, AS WELL AS THE IDIOSYNCRASIES OF ENGLISH:

1. ATHEISM IS A NON-PROPHET ORGANIZATION.

2. IF MAN EVOLVED FROM MONKEYS AND APES, WHY DO WE STILL HAVE MONKEYS AND APES?

3. I WENT TO A BOOKSTORE AND ASKED THE SALESWOMAN, “WHERE’S THE SELF- HELP SECTION?” SHE SAID IF SHE TOLD ME, IT WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE.

4. WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS?

5. IF A DEAF CHILD SIGNS SWEAR WORDS, DOES HIS MOTHER WASH HIS HANDS WITH SOAP?

6. IF SOMEONE WITH MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES THREATENS TO KILL HIMSELF, IS IT CONSIDERED A HOSTAGE SITUATION?

7. IS THERE ANOTHER WORD FOR SYNONYM?

8. WHERE DO FOREST RANGERS GO TO “GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?”

9. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SEE AN ENDANGERED ANIMAL EATING AN ENDANGERED PLANT?

10. WOULD A FLY WITHOUT WINGS BE CALLED A WALK?

11. IF A TURTLE DOESN’T HAVE A SHELL, IS HE HOMELESS OR NAKED?

12. IF THE POLICE ARREST A MIME, DO THEY TELL HIM HE HAS THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT?

13. WHY DO THEY PUT BRAILLE ON THE DRIVE-THROUGH BANK MACHINES?

14. WHAT WAS THE BEST THING BEFORE SLICED BREAD?

15. ONE NICE THING ABOUT EGOTISTS: THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.

16. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A CIVIL WAR?

17. IF ONE SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER DROWNS, DO THE REST DROWN TOO?

18. IF YOU TRY TO FAIL, AND SUCCEED, WHICH HAVE YOU DONE?

19. WHOSE CRUEL IDEA WAS IT FOR THE WORD ‘LISP’ TO HAVE ‘S’ IN IT?

20. WHY ARE HEMORRHOIDS CALLED “HEMORRHOIDS” INSTEAD OF “ASSTEROIDS”?

21. IF YOU SPIN AN ORIENTAL PERSON IN A CIRCLE THREE TIMES, DO THEY BECOME DISORIENTED?

22. CAN AN ATHEIST GET INSURANCE AGAINST ACTS OF GOD?

Hope you had a chuckle or two out of that! Any particular favourites? I love no. 3, I’d love to say that without being called or thought cheeky by the customer!

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Holiday Eating Tips

Sigh, I’ve been really neglecting this blog. Anyway, something non-bookish for a change but fun to read nonetheless! Happy Holidays. 🙂

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet
table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see
carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum
balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare.. You
cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who
cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if
you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a
treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you
think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of
gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of
your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk
or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a
sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to
control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is
to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New
Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.
This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the
buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of
eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like
frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position
yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before
becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of
shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them
again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each.
Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin.
Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one
dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the
mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean,
have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the
party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention.
Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the
corner.

Nothing Mere About Mum

Interesting use of words to describe what being a mum is all about!

Just a Mum?

A WOMAN, renewing her driver’s licence at the county clerk’s office,

was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

“What I mean is,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job or are you just a …?’’

“Of course I have a job,’’ snapped the woman. “I’m a Mum.’’

“We don’t list ‘Mum’ as an occupation, ‘housewife’ covers it,’’ said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about that story until one day when I found myself in the same situation, this time at my town hall. The clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high-sounding title like “Official Interrogator’’ or “Town Registrar”.

“What is your occupation?’’ she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out.

“I’m a research associate in the field of child development and human relations.’’

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly, emphasising the most significant words.

Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

“Might I ask,’’ said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, “I have a continuing programme of research (what mother doesn’t) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out).

I’m working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters).

“Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?), and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it).

“But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of satisfaction rather than just money.’’

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants – ages 13, seven and three.

Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, a six-month- old baby, in the child development programme, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another Mum’’.

Motherhood! What a glorious career. Especially when there’s a title on the door.

10 Book Sale Shopping Tips

1. Go through your bookshelf and make notes of titles you do and do not have of books by your favourite authors or series. You might be able to find the missing titles at the sale, though don’t get your hopes up! Also, you will remember what titles you do have and that can avoid you from buying the same title again.

2. Bring a bag (and then a few more) if you plan to buy a lot. It’s lighter than the baskets or boxes they will provide you at the sale to carry the books. It’s environmentally-friendly too!

3. Book sales are best to go to when they just open. If you can go on the first day the moment it opens, that’s the best time as the few good books might just be yours for the taking! Also, it’s less crowded and makes the trip more comfortable than if you were to go during the weekend. If you’re a real bookworm, taking the day off from work can be worth it.

4. Unless you plan to go through every single title and spend the entire day at the sale so you won’t miss out, just skim and glance through the books. Most of the time you’ll find the same titles all over the place as you go along, so why waste time meticulously poring over every title? If you miss one you’ll probably chance upon it as you go along anyway.

5. If you’re considering buying a title and are in two minds about it, just chuck in the bag first. You can decide again when you’re about to pay for your books. If you place it back, you might not be able to find the book again, or someone else could’ve taken it if you went back and tried looking for it.

6. Before buying your books, sort them into categories of books you know you want, books you’re not sure if you want, and books that you know you don’t want anymore. You can discard the books from the third pile, and then decide again on the second pile based on how much you will spend on the first pile. This way, you can control your budget better.

7. If you’re the sort who has no control when buying books, it’s advisable not to take the plastic with you. Bring cash instead and that will limit your purchases with the amount of money you have. That said, don’t bring out such a huge chunk of cash just to compensate! There will always be other book sales, so no need to splurge on this like it’s the last.

8. Remember that book sales are places to go to try new books, not just hunting for titles you’ve been looking for. So be adventurous and buy books you might want to read but fear not liking it. If it’s cheap enough it won’t hurt, and it’ll widen your reading repertoire.

9. Dress lightly and comfortably, with good shoes! Book sale venues are often not customer friendly. And never go to a book sale when you’re rushing for time. Then you’ll really miss the good books for lack of time.

10. Enjoy the gems you picked up from the sale! And if you happened to be suckered into a few duds (I do that often because of the attractive covers!) well, at least you didn’t pay full price for the mistake.

Book Covers Have Awards, I Didn’t Know That!

Like, seriously. So much for the saying don’t judge a book by its cover, right?? Anyway, I don’t believe much in that saying ‘cos there’s been many times I was duped into buying a book based on a really appealing cover!

Simplicity shines as book designers take a crafty approach

The bee's knees ... judges praised the simple image by Anna Maley-Fadgyas (left). The young designer of the year, Allison Colpoys, won with a diverse portfolio (middle and right), Gayna Murphy won the literary fiction category (below right) and Toyoko Sugiwaka took the award for best designed book of the year (below left).
The bee’s knees … judges praised the simple image by Anna Maley-Fadgyas (left). The young designer of the year, Allison Colpoys, won with a diverse portfolio (middle and right), Gayna Murphy won the literary fiction category (below right) and Toyoko Sugiwaka took the award for best designed book of the year (below left).
Susan Wyndham Literary Editor
May 22, 2009

SQUIGGLY lines, wobbly handwriting and childish drawings were winning features at the Australian Publishers Association Book Design Awards last night. A reaction to electronic publishing, environmental concerns and hard financial times, perhaps?

The book with the best-designed cover of the year was Wild Bees: New And Selected Poems by Martin Harrison. Anna Maley-Fadgyas, 29, the in-house designer at the revamped UWA Press, said her final design “isn’t far removed from my original scribblings”, though she created the simple image of a bee’s flightpath with a computer program and mouse, then highlighted it in bronze foil against the black background.

The judges were impressed that the design “creates almost an aural effect” of buzzing bees, achieved “maximum effect with least elements” and “proved that you don’t have to be a big book to sweep the board”.

Wild Bees was also highly commended in the literary fiction category, which was won by Gayna Murphy/Greendot Design for One Foot Wrong by Sophie Laguna. The fragile cover illustration by Miranda Scoczek reflects the novel’s emotionally damaged child, and the judges said the book “starts with emotive appeal and gets more beautiful on every page”.

Simplicity, naivety and a handcrafted feeling ran through many categories.

Toyoko Sugiwaka, the Japanese-born winner of the biggest award – best designed book of the year – is also a photographer, felt- and toymaker. Her intricate work for Murdoch Books on Another Time Past Created, a photographic memoir by Brett Hilder, looks like a private journal with leather cover and some photographs stuck onto pages by the Chinese printing company. Also chosen as best illustrated book, it was described as “stunning in its visual and tactile communication”.

The young designer of the year, Allison Colpoys at Penguin, won with a diverse portfolio. She handpainted the watercolour cover of Air Kisses by Zoe Foster; used a new computer tool to place the title of In Bed With (an anthology of women’s sex stories) across a photograph of a woman; and met the slick “brand” requirements of Fishing For Stars by Bryce Courtenay.

But her most daring design, which was also named best children’s cover design of the year, relied on typography. For Something In The World Called Love by Sue Saliba, she handwrote the “long and beautiful title” and added a few “sweet and girly” sketches of a bird, a feather and a peg.

“I lean towards graphic covers and I prefer handmade things,” said Colpoys, 30, who moved from multimedia into book design 18 months ago. “When computers started everyone jumped on board and pushed the limits. Now everyone is hyped up again about craft.”

The Inside Out of Book Design is at the Sydney Writers’ Festival today at 10.30am, Bangarra Theatre, Walsh Bay.

Last year’s winners: Putting art on their sleeves

You can view the other winning covers in this link.

The Book-Buying Flow Chart

For people having problems curbing their book-buying tendencies like me, perhaps we need to take this flow chart out whenever we go to book sales. 😆 (The bit about US trip can be replaced with vacation or other occasion which requires a book binge, heh.)

davidwolfbookflowchart

Taken from here.

Related Post

Reading… Aurally

There was a cheap book sale last week and I picked up an audio book for RM5: Jilly Cooper’s The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous, read by Samuel West. I have the book itself, but I thought since it was such a steal at RM5 I might as well get it and give audio books a go.

This is my first time listening to a book. I have not finished listening to it obviously, for if you know this book you’d know that it’s about 800+ pages! Thus far, my opinion is that listening to books pales in comparison to reading it.

To be fair, though, I have not been listening to books as long as I have been reading them, so perhaps I am not accustomed to books being read to me. As a child, my parents did not read books to me either, contrary to popular belief that reading to kids will help them cultivate a reading habit. I mean, well, I do think reading to your children might make them more likely readers as adults, but I’m saying that I was an exception to the rule.

Anyway, what is it like for me to listen to a book?

1. I’m not comfortable with a male reading chick lit. Whenever I read my books, or even writing blog posts, I hear my own voice in my head as I read or type the words. I suppose I couldn’t be hearing my own voice in that audio book 😆 but I would think a female voice might be more suitable for a chick lit. Just my personal preference, I think.

2. Since this is my first audio book, I cannot gauge what voice makes for good reading. Samuel West has a deep, smooth voice which is quite animated. When the characters are *ahem* making love, he would intonate to that err, amorous effect as well. I blushed hearing the sexy bits read out loud! 😳 I guess what I’m saying is I don’t know if Samuel West is a good reader. He does sound impressive, but I do not like a male voice reading chick lit nonetheless.

3. It has been difficult for me to imagine while listening to a book. I’m currently listening to the audio book in the car. I figured it would make rush hour driving a bit more bearable and indeed, I have been staying in the car slightly more than usual because I’m listening to this book. But I digress. I find it hard to imagine because the reader is reading the next sentence while I’m still digesting the previous sentence. When I read a book, I am free to speed up or slow down as I wish. I can skip over parts I don’t want to imagine or take my time imagining a scenario. Because of this, I have a fuzzy picture of what’s going on in the book, even though I have read it before. Then again, driving requires some concentration on my part too which I cannot devote to listening.

Anybody want to share their audio book experiences with me? I am keen to hear from people who love to listen to books. I’m thinking this could be a whole new genre opened up to me if I can embrace it in time. I can read twice as many books if so!! 😀

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