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Things I've Found 33 (Lucky Wander Boy Goes Home)—8/13/2003

by Mark Rose

A double in-joke in the Subject line since I just got back from a family reunion which was an absolute hoot and holler. I feel very lucky indeed to be a part of a family (in-laws as well!) that all get along so famously. Nothing better than playing cards and Trivial Pursuit until 3 in the morning, and knocking back whiskey while laughing your fool head off. And on that note, on we go with another set of hopefully interesting links.

New Snack Food: This one’s for the dietitian who gets this email (you know who you are). Iowa State Fair will begin offering Salad on a Stick: http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0812SaladonaStick-ON.html [gone; try this one instead: http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=1&display=rednews/2003/08/13/build/world/46-salad.inc]

Basically, it’s one (1!) spinach leaf wrapped around a cheese cube and then you can dip that ungodly healthy combination in a honey mustard yogurt dip (as long as you cover it in sprinkles and the bar of chocolate from the condiments bar). How can this be construed as a salad? I’m all for the world of dairy having grown up the son of dairy farmers, but good golly, couldn’t we at least have 2 or maybe 3 spinach leaves with our cube of cheese? Check out the quote in the article from Makita Bolden (always nice to name your daughter after a brand of power tools). OK, I’m overweight too but at least it’s because of alcohol.

Googleicious: http://www.bananaslug.com uses the Google search engine to provide a different look at your searches. What it does is add a random word to your search string. The goal is that while Google generally returns the most relevant options for your search, sometimes interesting sites are catalogued way down the list and you’ll never have the patience to click on them. So the Banana Slug tool adds a random word to your search just to spice things up. Fun. For instance, when I tried “miniature golf“, the first word it chose was “healing“ to add as the random selection, and on a second search, “cousin,” each of which resulted in a different search slate.

Googleicious, Part 2: OK, I know you’ve all seen this one by now. Go to http://www.google.com and in the search text field, type (with the quotes) “weapons of mass destruction”. Then hit the I’m Feeling Lucky button. Har har, a good shot at Bush. But now there’s a new one. Type in “French military victories” and then hit the same I’m Feeling Lucky button. Touche! Unfortunately, this was A LOT funnier two weeks ago when they didn’t put the damn advertising on the site. Scum! [The weapons of mass destruction part no longer works but the latter one does.]

Speaking of the French, or was that scum we were talking about (and yes, that little dig is for a few others of you on this list, snicker), the French government has banned the use of the word “email” in all official documents. The French civil service must refer to email as courriel, which is an abbreviation of courrier electronique. This, of course, is in order to preserve French culture from the increasing colonization of said culture and language by us filthy Anglo-Saxons. What the French fail to realize is that if you’re going to go to this level of insanity to protect your culture, you’ve already lost.

The Periodic Table in Comic Books. Click an element from the periodic table and note all the references to it in comics from the Golden through the Silver to the Modern Age. Obviously not comprehensive but a tremendous start for chemico-comico bibliographers!


Designers Who Get this Email: You’ll like this site: http://www.baddesigns.com/

This is why 520 is always screwed up. A microsimulator of road traffic you can play with: http://vwisb7.vkw.tu-dresden.de/~treiber/MicroApplet/

Whooo, I feel queasy: http://www.starkitten.com/08/yay.jpg [Gone; not even sure what it was.]

Great lost photos found and collected at Time Tales. Browse through them and send your friend an e-card with your favorite lost photo. Very cool. Visually inspiring, charming and sad at the same time. http://www.timetales.com/

Book Review of the Month . . .er . . .week . . .er . . .installment of T.I.F.:

Lucky Wander Boy by d.b. weiss, Plume, New York, 2003, 275 pp. — Absolutely the best novel I have read all year (and I’ve read 24 of them; yes I keep count, sad, isn’t it?). The annoyingly non-capitalized writer weiss takes us on a tour through the history of arcade video games, all of which is wrapped around his obsession with creating The Catalogue of Obsolete Entertainments, an encyclopedia of video games, and which itself revolves around the super-mysterious game Lucky Wander Boy, which he played as a child. The game is a metaphor for enlightenment, and the protagonist undergoes this selfsame quest for enlightenment as he searches for the game and its creator. When he stumbles upon a job working with a half-assed new media company that owns the rights to the movie based on the video game, he figures he’s home free. But there’s a lot for him, and us, to learn before the end of the book. The protagonist isn’t quite likable, he is indeed a monster of selfishness as described in the book, and there is quite a bit of disturbing imagery, experimental writing with replays of previous scenes and movie scripts, and a style especially in the catalogue entries that is so post-ironic it’s exoironic. But it’s good. Really good. I think you’ll want to have a fair knowledge of arcade video games to really appreciate the wholeness of what weiss has attempted here. To me, this looks like a debut novel that won’t be matched in subsequent efforts just because the first is so pure. So read it while you can.

And so . . .

I sign off again hoping that someone somewhere clicks on the links so lovingly collected herein, and says to themselves, “Damn, that was cool. Where did I hear about that site in the first place? Oh yeah, I think it was in Wired Magazine, or maybe it was ESPN.” Sigh. Well, that’s about as much as I can freaking expect, isn’t it??!!