Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Acephalous's Index III Number of times Japanese schoolgirls have been featured on Acephalous: 0 Number of times Firefox's spell-checker underlines the word "acephalous" when members of the Kaufman household type it: ∞ Dinginess of the kitchen in said household in units of disgusting: 7,671 Time (in hours) the male of the household requires to clean it: 0.19 Time (in days) before he will do so: 219 Percent of sarcasm in previous item: 78.6 Ratio of promises to clean the kitchen to actual cleanings: 9:1 Guilt (in buckets) the above ratio produces: 17 Number of Asian men currently sitting in the middle of the parking lot drinking beer on plastic lawn chairs: 2 Ratio of affected to actual double-takes Kaufman gave them: 5 to 1 Percent of people in the Kaufman household who spent the past week doing nothing but reading quality Scottish detective novels and watching three seasons of The Wire: 50 Weariness (in soul) attendant the same week: 1,910,382 Number of times Kaufman has mistakenly typed "The Wife" instead of "The Wire": 4 Percent of psychoanalytic critics who would think that very, very significant: 100 Percent who would be correct: 31 Number of Acephalous readers who have purchased Kaufman the fourth season of The Wire: 0 Percent who should if they know what's good for his soul: 100 Percent who should if they know what's good for his career: 0 Number of times Kaufman's danced this dance before: Once or Twice How much funnier (in joules) those previous attempts were: 1 Yottajoule
The New York Times' 100 Notable Books Awful Blurbs of the Year Like Jill, I'm a fan of The New York Times' list of "100 Notable Books of the Year." (I even find the clumsy phrasing of its title charming.) I'm only a fan because it reminds of a number of books I'd planned to read, but for whatever reason didn't. Thing is, were I to base my wish list on the blurbs provided by The Times, I wouldn't have planned to read any of them. Consider this: WINTERTON BLUE. By Trezza Azzopardi. (Grove, $24.) An unhappy young woman meets an even unhappier drifter. Two unhappy people meet for 273 pages? Quite a meeting that must've been: An Unhappy Woman: Hullo. An Even Unhappier Drifter: Hullo. An Unhappy Woman: Nice to meet you. I am an unhappy woman. An Even Unhappier Drifter: Nice to meet you too. I am an even unhappier drifter. An Unhappy Woman: How do you know you're unhappier? An Even Unhappier Drifter: Weren't you listening? An Unhappy Woman: ... An Even Unhappier Drifter: I am An Even Unhappier Drifter. Of course I know the book's better than that, but the blurb does it a disservice. In truth, every blurb on the list does its book a disservice. Not a one doesn't surrender to the effusive. (I count eight "powerful" somethings alone.) The compression blurbs require transform what may be decent into drab reckonings of white privilege: MY NAME IS EXOTIC TO YOU. By Exotic To You. (Smith, Johnson, White and Smith, $25) This is a powerful book about a powerful brown person who lives a powerful life in America. Not really. But ... THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO. By Junot Díaz. (Riverhead, $24.95.) A nerdy Dominican-American yearns to write and fall in love. THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST. By Mohsin Hamid. (Harcourt, $22.) Hamid’s chilling second novel is narrated by a Pakistani who tells his life story to an unnamed American after the attacks of 9/11.

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