You Must Read These Books Because I Said So

One of my invisible New Year’s revolutions is to put up a Wetmachine post every day. Ideally I would like to put up something interesting or at least grammatical, but with time winding down and my intended piece for today not quite written, let me leave y’all with a reaction to this post by Goddess of the Porcelain Feet about “other people’s ‘must read’ book lists”.

I found her blog while ego-surfing; she analyzes this list by 18th Candidate (scroll down) in which my book Acts of the Apostles appears in this alphabetical context:

# Stowe, Harriet Beecher – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
# Styron, William – Sophie’s Choice
# Sundman, John F.X. – Acts of the Apostles
# Svevo, Italo – Confessions of Zeno
# Swift, Jonathan – Gulliver’s Travels

Not bad company, I must say.

Anyway what most amused me in 18th Candidate’s list was his commentary on the list (also reachable by the above link) about Harold Bloom’s list of “278 books you should have read by now:”

The list by Harold Bloom that starts off this node is perhaps the most pretentious and self-absorbed list of its kind that I’ve ever seen. While most of the books in it are good, to call it a list of books you should have read by now and include six titles by John Ashbery smacks of a world of self-absorbed cultural irrelevance. These aren’t 278 books you should have read by now, these are 278 books that a pretentious literary twat should have read by now.

Priceless. I’ll be on this guy’s list any day.

Phew, I got this post done before midnight, so I have posted two days in a row. If the time stamp says othewise, ignore it. Who you gonna believe — me or some damn machine?

Revolutions 2010: Booklife Unbound

So here it is January 1st, 2010 (at least according to my calendar–yours may vary by a day or two one way or the other), and by long standing tradition a time for New Year’s Revolutions. This is to be a big year for me –momentous, even–and hence a big year for all of us at Wetmachine– exalted Wetmechanics like me and mere lowly wetmachine readers like you alike. So pay attention. These revolutions could save your life.

Why is 2010 going to be so momentous, which is not to say (or is to say, depending on the definition you choose) portentous, you ask? Because 2010 is going to be the year that all my problems go away. Howso, you ask? First, during this year I will become a wildly successful writer. Achieving wild writerly success will make me financially solvent. Being financially solvent will reduce my worry and stress, and my health will improve as a consequence. Seeing that, the Fates will smile upon me and grant me a reprieve from all my other worries and problems.

Let me explain. Other than my own financial and physical health, I have only two other kinds of problems: (1) The world is going all to hell (global warming, Darfur, Wes Welker, etc), and; (2) people near to me have problems, and this causes me worry, which is a problem.

The first class of problem I solve by fiat, that is, by declaring the world’s going all to hell “not my problem”. That leaves only the second class, the problems by proxy. Because all problems stem from not having enough money, when I become financially unbound as a consequence of becoming a successful writer, I will give mass quantities of money to people close to me, and thus their problems will go away, which will make my problem of worrying about them evaporate, ipso facto. You see, I control my own fate! This is called New Age (or “Republican” or “magical”) thinking. It’s gonna work. Count on it.

So everything hinges on my becoming a successful writer. Very quickly. That may seem like an audacious goal, but thanks to Jeff Vandermeer’s “Booklife”, which I received as a Christmas present from Dear Wife (& to Booklife-related blog & web sites), I now have a plan by which to acheive such success as a writer (and person). See below for details. (You really should continue reading, by the way, since the more you read the closer you become to me, and thus more exigible for expiation of all your problems. As in tales of supplicants whose wishes were granted by touching Jesus’s robe. Not that I’m claiming divinity; just say’n.1)

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Revolutions and Resolutions and Revolutions

I was reading once, I think it was in an article that Douglas Hofstadter (“Doug” to us intimates) wrote, in the New Yorker of all places, about the art of translating literature from one natural language to another. At least, I think it was Douglas Hoftstadter, but maybe that’s just my fixation shining through. Maybe the article was by Dan Hofstadter, or by somebody else altogether. Puns, of course, present a great challenge to translators, and I remember the clever instance sited therein: in a translation of Alice in Wonderland, a pun on “axes”, as in, the earth spins on its axes–speaking of axes, off with her head– was turned into a pun on revolutions: each day the earth makes a revolution– speaking of revolutions, off with her head. Now that I check my Project Gutenberg, however, I can find no such instance, so maybe, like Alice, I was dreaming.

But that’s got nothing to do with Wetmachine’s being a finalist in the 2008 Weblog Awards!
The 2008 Weblog Awards

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2008 Revolutions

Well, the new year is upon us and I’m already 3 days late with my new year’s revolutions. But I have a good excuse: I got laid off from the OpenLaszlo project on November 16, and so I’ve been very busy with the day job and the holidays. No, wait. I don’t have a day job. I must have been busy with something else. Perhaps I was busy thinking. Or raking the leaves. Or thinking while raking the leaves. Let me check my notes and get back to you on that. Rather, I suppose I should resolve not to bore yzall with formulaic blog posts, so let’s drop the whole subject. I hereby resolve to not resolve.

Resolutions aside, I do have a Wetmachine goal for 2008, and that’s to increase readership by at least a factor of ten over 2007. While leaf-raking, I came up with some startling ideas about how to do that–starting with a free toaster for every single one of you who clicks on a “Read More” link, and including:

* an upgrade of the Bonehead Computer Museum to Croquet 3-D space
* podcasts of my novels as radio plays featuring William Shatner, Kay Parker, and Tom Hulce
* “Bloggers of Wetmachine” swimsuit calendar
* switching to lolcat dialect for all entries about software or writing
* Videoblogging Harold Feld vs Kevin J. Martin in steel cage ultimate boxing match

Stay tuned, as somebody around here said. This is going to be the best year yet, for you, and you, and you! Amen.

P.S. Details on that toaster coming soon.