Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dr, Boli's Top Ten

Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine informs us of the Top Ten Inventions of the Last Thousand Years, to wit:

  1. The top-ten list. This epochal innovation in philosophical method gave the ordinary thinking man or woman in the street a simple means of organizing all useful knowledge on any given subject, elevating common discourse to its present exalted level.
  2. Tomato sauce. It is hard to imagine, but before Columbus there was no such thing as tomato sauce in any European cuisine. The life expectancy in the Middle Ages was appallingly short, and many culinary experts believe it was because most of Europe’s favorite foods were barely edible without some form of tomato sauce.
  3. The newspaper. Until the advent of the newspaper in the 1600s, fish was sold unwrapped, and carrying it home from the market was a delicate and frequently messy business.
  4. The advertisement. Before the discovery of advertising, anyone who wished to purchase an item would have to pay a personal visit to the craftsman who made it. The craftsman would then be required to produce actual samples of his work to prove that his goods were satisfactory, depriving a great many incompetent craftsmen of the means of making a living. Today, the purchaser seldom handles the goods until after the purchase, and buying decisions are made on the basis of the seller’s claims rather than the buyer’s observations. The quality of the advertising, rather than the quality of the goods, thus determines the ability of the manufacturer to make a profit.
  5. The Jacob’s ladder. Until the invention of the high-voltage traveling arc, commonly called a Jacob’s ladder, it was impossible for a mad scientist to know whether anything electrical and sciencey was actually going on when he attempted to give life to the monster he had created.
  6. The greeting card. Today it is hard for us to imagine the primitive world before the greeting card, when correspondents who wished to communicate by writing were required to express their own sentiments in ink, which in turn necessitated their having sentiments to express.
  7. Homeopathy. Thanks to the pioneering discoveries of Samuel Hahnemann, it is possible to start with literally nothing and end up with profitable employment for countless thousands of homeopathic practitioners.
  8. The grant proposal. In ancient times, an artist soliciting a commission was forced to come up with a design, often one requiring considerable mechanical skill in the execution, that expressed some definite idea which was communicable by visual means to the viewer. The advent of the grant proposal made it possible for artists of any skill level to receive commissions for piles of detritus pulled from the Dumpster out back, as long as the proposal itself assigned a suitably fashionable meaning to the work.
  9. Pong. This wildly popular game showed the world that there is no activity so excruciatingly dull that it cannot be rendered enchanting by projecting it on a computer screen.
  10. The emoticon. Before the technology experts at Carnegie Mellon provided us with a means of expressing the intended mood of written communications, writers were forced to make precise choices of words and sentence structures to indicate whether a given statement was to be taken as cheerful, surprised, sarcastic, or sad >;K (winking cat).

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Whoa, What's This?

adam amateur theology Aquinas argument from motion Aristotelianism art atheism autumn of the modern ages books brains breaking news captive dreams cartoon charts chieftain clannafhloinn comix commentary counterattack crusades culcha dogheads easton stuff economics eifelheim evolution factoids on parade fake news fallen angels Feeders fir trees in lungs firestar flicks floods flynncestry flynnstuff forecasts forest of time fun facts gandersauce gimlet eye global warming glvwg headlines henchmen high frontier history home front how to lie with statistics humor hush-hush hypatia in the house of submission irish Iron Shirts irrationalism january dancer jihad journeyman kabuki kool letter lion's mouth lunacon maps mayerling medieval metrology miscellany modern mythology moose zombies music new years nexus odds odds and ends paleofuture passing of the modern age philosophy philosophy math poetry politics psyched out! public service quality quiet sun quote of the day razor's edge redefinition of marriage religio reviews river of stars scandal science science marches on scientism scrivening shipwrecks of time shroud skiffy skiffy in the news skools slipping masks some people will believe anything stats stories stranger things the auld curmudgeon the madness continues the new fascism the spiral arm the writing life thomism thread o' years tofspot topology untergang des abendlandes untergang des morgenlandes up jim river video clips vignettes war on science we get letters we're all gonna die whimsy words at play xmas you can't make this stuff up