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June 26, 2013

Familiar With Memes
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 06:11 PM * 149 comments

He once wrote an eight-volume trilogy. He published his first sonnet in a paying market at the age of three. He ended a novel with the revelation that it was only a dream, and people loved him for it. He only uses prepositions when it is entirely necessary. He doesn’t misplace commas: He helps commas go into the Punctuation Protection Program. The characters in his novels send him fan letters. The New York Times apologized to him that there was no slot on their best-seller list higher than #1. He once wrote a story that consisted of a single sentence—which was serialized in three issues of The Paris Review. When he publishes a hardcover it uses up the entire world paper supply for a month just to print enough copies. When Michiko Kakutani dreamed of giving him a bad review she woke up and begged forgiveness. He is his own genre. He turned down the National Book Award because it seemed too faddish. Charles Bukowski went on the wagon after reading one of his poems. His ink-jet printer never clogs. He abandoned Emacs as a word processor because it wasn’t flexible enough. You need more adjectives to describe his adjectives than most people have in their working vocabularies. He once made up a word and Webster’s added it to their dictionary the same day. The Pope has him on speed-dial for when he needs help with a sermon. When he was in a coma after an automobile accident he made his deadline anyway. A copy-editor once queried one of his sentences—and he remained gracious. The financial crisis of 2007 was caused by him cashing one of his royalty checks. When he responds to Amazon reviews the reviewers thank him. He opened a novel with ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ and made it work. He invented metafiction—on a bet. He considers mere words to be a necessary evil. He makes cliches fresh. People read his prologues. His grocery lists have gone for six-figure advances at auction. Grammarians adjust their rules to match his realities.

He is the most interesting writer in the world.

“Keep writing, my friends.”

Comments on Familiar With Memes:
#1 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 06:40 PM:

Inside of a dog, you can still read his books.

#2 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:07 PM:

The Angel Gabriel appeared before him and said, "You mind if I just take notes while you talk?"

#3 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:08 PM:

Once he accidentally sold a well-written query letter.

He doesn't own a copy of the complete works of Shakespeare, he just recreates them on demand.

He thinks Tolstoy was once a promising writer.

His experiments with galley distribution in the 90s invented the modern Internet.

The Universal Library contains extra prints of each of his books.

He won the Nobel Prize for Literature using only Markov chains.

On a bet, he invented a religion that was so convincing, reality changed to conform to it.

#4 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:19 PM:

CliffsNotes doesn't sell study guides for his books because high school students want to read every word of the originals.

#5 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:27 PM:

He doesn't participate in year's best anthologies, because his writing is the best for more than a year at a time.

The copyright office registers with him.

#6 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:35 PM:

Water lines up to walk on him.

#7 ::: John Costello ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:36 PM:

His books are never filmed because not even 3D has enough dimensions to contain his characters.

#8 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:41 PM:

Alternatively, his books are never filmed because Hollywood is afraid to mess them up.

#9 ::: -dsr- ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:57 PM:

When he attended a WSFS business meeting, all the motions passed unanimously without debate.

#10 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 08:03 PM:

He doesn't need comments on his blog because once he's finished writing, there's nothing left to say.

Or, he doesn't need to moderate the comments because everyone respects him too much to be uncivil.

#11 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 08:06 PM:

He translates his novels into six different languages -- simultaneously.

Readers buy the translations just to learn other languages.

Once his book was accidentally remaindered and sold for more than list price.

#12 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 08:47 PM:

Each of his revisions improves upon the perfection of his original lines.

Alphabets were invented for several languages so his works could be translated into them. That came to an end when audiobooks were invented so people could hear him pronouncing his own prose.

#13 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 09:38 PM:

He won a Hugo and a Nebula just for talking about one of his dreams.

#14 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 09:58 PM:

House style guides are rewritten to conform to his drafts.

#15 ::: Alexander Kosoris ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 10:33 PM:

His plot twists are never expected, even when read more than once.

#16 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 11:42 PM:

AuthorHouse pays him not to do business with them.

#17 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 12:15 AM:

When Chuck Norris is afraid of the dark, he tells him stories until he can sleep.

#18 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 12:29 AM:

His dangling modifiers spontaneously generate new nouns to attach to. When he splits an infinitive, the pieces fit so closely that you cannot slide a piece of foolscap between them.

English had a fourth, fifth, and sixth person until he gave them the cut direct.

In his unmarked dialog, it is always clear who is who, even if they're just exchanging eloquent, wordless glances.

His sex scenes are so hot that nobody has ever managed to finish reading one in one session.

He once wrote a novel whose protagonist was a better writer than him.

#19 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 12:51 AM:

He tied for the Best Novel Hugo—with himself.

#20 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:04 AM:

@18 "He once wrote a novel whose protagonist was a better writer than him."

And included quotations proving it.

#21 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:09 AM:

She never quotes Shakespeare because people might find out she wrote the plays.

Personalized inscriptions from her book signings have won the Best Related Works Hugo four years running. It would have been five but she wrote the Hugo committee a mildly worded letter. Now the award is named after her.

Twitter gives her extra characters, but she donates them to charity because she never needs them.

#22 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:13 AM:

Plagiarists cannot manage to copy more than one of his sentences before they can no longer control their weeping.

#23 ::: Galen Charlton ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:26 AM:

He wrote all the best Chuck Norris and Bruce Schneier facts -- none of which were true until he put pen to paper.

#24 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:55 AM:

She isn't just familiar with all Internet traditions -- she created them.

#25 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:56 AM:

When parents read her "A B C" book to their toddlers, the children become fluent readers in their own right before their parent finishes the page devoted to the letter "U".

Her translation of the Bible into English is considered to be of far more influence on the language than the King James version.

#26 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 02:35 AM:

It would take two infinities of monkeys with typewriters an infinite amount of time to replicate his works.

#27 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 03:05 AM:

Readers don't just fall in love with her characters—they marry them and have their children as well. Registrations of birth in seventeen countries now have a space for recording this.

#28 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 03:21 AM:

If you type out her writing on the musical typewriter she herself designed, each novel is a symphony that makes Beethoven's music appear childlike.

#29 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 03:22 AM:

You don't need light to read her work. Even on paper and eInk screens, her words glow.

#30 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 03:26 AM:

He was once the subject of an advertising campaign proving definitively the superiority of radio over television.

#31 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 03:42 AM:

Every page at TV Tropes has a reference to one or more of her works. She is the trope-namer for a good number of them.

#32 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 03:53 AM:

Leaders of all major religions have pronounced that her characters have souls and are therefore admitted to the afterlife. Readers who are grief stricken by the loss of these characters when her novels end are authorised to hold funerals in religious buildings.

#33 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 04:06 AM:

Before she started writing, there were only six basic plots.

#34 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:27 AM:

The CIA, the FBI, and the Secret Service go to great lengths to ensure that no American politician ever reads one of his books: John F. Kennedy was difficult to explain.

#35 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:35 AM:

The line always asks him to toe it.

#36 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:57 AM:

He seldom posts on someone else's blog, but when he does, he never has to wish it had an 'edit' button.

#37 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 06:42 AM:

(Plaintively): Can someone tell me who the guy in the meme photograph is?

#38 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 06:51 AM:

Charlie Stross: Here ya go. (The actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, once played a redshirt on Star Trek, in "The Corbomite Maneuver". His character survived.)

#39 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 06:53 AM:

Charlie @37:

The actor is named Jonathan Goldsmith; he's playing the part of "the most interesting man in the world" from a series of American beer commercials (for Dos Equis).

Further information here.

(I didn't know either; it's after my time in the US. But I was looking at Know Your Meme for other reasons just yesterday and learned about this guy.)

#40 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:12 AM:

His postings are always polite, readable and on-topic, even without vowels.

#41 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:46 AM:

Lila... He did play a redshirt, but he made thru the episode. Maybe Balok wanted to trade beer tips with him.

#42 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:47 AM:

Lila... Somehow I missed that last bit you wrote.

#43 ::: Alexander Kosoris ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 10:10 AM:

I'm just curious to see what she looks like now.

#44 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 10:21 AM:

When he coins a phrase it never becomes a cliché.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

#45 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 10:35 AM:

When The Most Interesting Writer In The World makes up a gender-neutral or gender-ambiguous third-person pronoun for English, it enters common use just from people who got ARCs adopting it. By the time the actual first edition comes out, it's already been accepted for the next edition of the OED.

#46 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 11:03 AM:

Her blurbs for other author's work have won the National Book Award. Twice.

He once wrote a lipogram. Before that, English had 27 letters.

STET is derived from her initials.

#47 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 11:27 AM:

Charlie @37

Notable lines (as in, lines I can remember) from the actual commercials include:
"He once ran a marathon just because it was on his way"
"His small talk has altered foreign policy"
"He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels"
"He has inside jokes with complete strangers"
"He's won trophies for his game face alone"
"He can speak French in Swahili"
"He won a lifetime achievement award -- twice"

There's a whole series of these commercials. They start something like "He's the most interesting man in the world", show vignettes with voiceovers of him Doing Interesting Things, and end with the Interesting Man saying "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, it's Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my friends."

#48 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 12:44 PM:

abi @ 39: ...from a series of American beer commercials (for Dos Equis)

Ah. I was going to be the Not Quite The Most Pedantic Man In The World and "correct" you that Dos Equis was, in fact, a mexicano beer not a norteamericano one, but then I see you were not, in fact, saying it was an American beer.

Signed,
The Not Quite Most Mistaken Man In The World.

#49 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:04 PM:

I know very well that Dos Equis is a Mexican beer. I am, in point of fact, a big fan of Dos Equis in both of its varieties. It's a continuous annoyance to me that one can't get it in any but the most specialist of beer shops on this side of the Pond, while that Sol crap is everywhere that fajitas are sold.

#50 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:11 PM:

I'm quite fond of Dos Equis Amber.

--------------

The most interesting writer in the world is the namesake for three major literary awards. One is named after her first name, one after her last name, and one is just her middle initial.

#51 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:12 PM:

From the commercials, but almost applicable here: "Even his nod Sounds Like a Plan".

#52 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 02:07 PM:

I think The Most Interesting Writer In The World and The Man Who Doesn't Always Drink Beer, But When He Does, He Drinks Dos Equis may both be descended from Ira Gershwin's plaintive polymath in that sleeper hit from Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, "I Can't Get Started:"

I've flown around the world in a plane
I've settled revolutions in Spain
The North Pole I have charted
But I can't get started with you
[...]
I've been consulted by Franklin D.
Greta Garbo has had me to tea
But I'm broken-hearted
'Cause I can't get started with you

Melody by Vernon Duke.

#53 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 04:00 PM:

Many of her best-loved characters have taken on lives of their own, including Chuck Norris, Bruce Schneier, and a character of indeterminate gender known only as The Most Interesting Writer in the World.

#54 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 04:51 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 52: Ah, the progenitor of "I Can't Get Next to You."

(Because he was all of the Temptations--at the same time.)

#55 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 04:57 PM:

If he had written the script for The Hobbit, three films would not have been enough.

#56 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:03 PM:

Performance video of "I Can't Get Next To You" because it's better.

#57 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:03 PM:

The ink in his pen is of no earthly colour.

#58 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:11 PM:

Her short story about a rock band won the Grammy for Best Song.

#59 ::: David Brin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:19 PM:

Ah, my role model... ;-)

#60 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:36 PM:

He is the least interesting writer in the world.

But he sure is popular.

He is Dan Brown.

#61 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:37 PM:

He once wrote an eight-volume trilogy.


no wait, he is George Ronald Reuel Martin.

#62 ::: David Brin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:39 PM:

His palindromes work vertically, as well. And in other dimensions.

Her works in Second Person are obeyed by readers.

He avoids future tense because it always comes true.

#63 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:39 PM:

Her postings are always polite, readable and on-topic, even without vowels.

Nate Silver proved that every possible re-emvoweling of a given post is polite, readable and on-topic.

#64 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:51 PM:

One of his novels won the Rita, the Howie, the Stoker, the Hugo, the Golden Duck, the Pushcart Prize, the Pulitzer, and the Booker, simultaneously. Its title won the O. Henry award for short story.

#65 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 05:59 PM:

Her novels don't just suspend disbelief, they give it escape velocity.

#66 ::: Vogon Pundit ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 06:11 PM:

Wait a minute--- there's no way his inkjet printer doesn't clog.

#67 ::: bartkid ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 07:09 PM:

The number of his errata is a negative value.

#68 ::: David Brin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 07:22 PM:

Time travelers arrange for him to be their grandfather.

The identical twin he sent at 0.999c to Sirius returned older, wiser and more interesting than any of us.

She talked Skynet out of going there and doing that.

Many states have enacted exemptions to incest laws, in case he is ever female-cloned and wants to do a "heinlein."

The Singularity met with her for an hour, came out and declared itself redundant.

#69 ::: Kari ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 08:01 PM:

Charlina Bukowski changed gender after reading her poems.

#70 ::: Dan Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:05 PM:

He once wrote a book with George R. R. Martin as a character... and killed him in the third chapter.

#71 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:19 PM:

Her books are so wonderful that all the would-be vanity-published authors give up* in despair, and PublishAmerica and its ilk go bankrupt.

*but keep writing for their own enjoyment and that of their families

#72 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:29 PM:

Are our European correspondents familiar with Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad campaign? Chris and I have been hoping The Man Your Man Could Smell Like and The Most Interesting Man In The World would team up for a buddy movie.

#73 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:33 PM:

The Most Interesting Smelling Man in the World.

#74 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:37 PM:

His Erdős and Bacon numbers are both less than one. In fact, he invented bacon so convincingly that it seems to us it has always existed.

#75 ::: Mike Reeves-McMillan ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:44 PM:

Nobody writes fanfiction of her books because, really, what would be the point? She's said it all. So beautifully.

[Sobs]

#76 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:55 PM:

When he isn't drinking Mexican beer, the most interesting author in the world drinks Irish whiskey.

#77 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 10:15 PM:

Her "million words of shit" are on permanent display at Gagosian Gallery.

#78 ::: Galen Charlton ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 10:19 PM:

No artist has ever been commissioned to design a cover for her books -- her publisher simply picks a marginal doodle from her manuscript. She won the Hugo for best professional artist three times in a row, then withdrew her name from future consideration to give Bob Eggleton a chance.

#79 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 10:30 PM:

Avram @ #72, why not? The Man You Could Smell Like already teamed up with Beowulf's followers.

#80 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 10:57 PM:

One of her manuscripts once fell out of the envelope and scattered all over the floor. The editor picked the pages up at random, read through the story, and was astonished to realize that every page was in exactly the right place.

Later, the manuscript fell over again. A different editor picked them up in a *different* random order, and *got a better novel*.

They haven't had the nerve to try it a third time.

#81 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 11:07 PM:

He wrote a novel without the letter E. Nobody has ever noticed. They were distracted by the fact that it was a perfect palindrome.

#82 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 11:37 PM:

The strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis was only true in languages in which she has not yet written. As of 2003, that means no languages.

#83 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 11:54 PM:

PublishAmerica gave him an advance.

#84 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 01:08 AM:

"He once wrote a book with George R. R. Martin as a character... and killed him in the third chapter."

Who hasn't?

#85 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 01:24 AM:

Harvard has a two-semester 400-level course just to analyze his first graffito. It's in the Philosophy department.

The year after each of his books comes out, the protagonists' names lead the world-wide baby-name popularity lists.

Each of his books is printed in a typeface he designed himself. A different one for each book.

#86 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 01:43 AM:

Her daughter Quinoa is following in her footsteps, albeit on another front.

#87 ::: Debbie has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 01:51 AM:

The most interesting writer in the world would never be gnomed. Their use of Words of Power would give entirely different results, and whatever punctuation they used would be fine. Oh, wait. Maybe the gnomes would change the filters and arrange be-gnomings so they'd get extra time to review the posts and bask in the glorious text.

If she did get gnomed, the food offerings would be ambrosial. In my unworthy case, I'll gladly share my fresh cherries and strawberries.

#88 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 02:53 AM:

Bill Higgins @ #52, Have you ever heard trumpeter Bunny Berigan's version?

Interesting note from Wikipedia:

In 1975, Bunny Berigan's 1937 recording "I Can't Get Started" on Victor as VICTOR 25728-A was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

#89 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 04:03 AM:

The most interesting writer in the world once wrote a revue comparing J.R.R Token, Gandi, and Samuel R. Delayn but instead of turning out to be an ambarrasment it was wierdly appreciated by Coinosuers around the world.

Teressa even went to so far as to accomadize his highly original spellings into her reference, the only such occulence in this Millenium.

#90 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 06:14 AM:

Apropos nothing, and at risk of annoying the gnomes, here's Lorem Ipsum translated into English by Google Translate.

(I think it may be an improvement, surrealism-wise.)

#91 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 06:16 AM:

Mark Twain's secret hundred-year book cites him. He is the most interesting writer in the world.

The actor often eats in the restaurant of friends of our. I told them they should put "I don't always eat lunch out, but when I do, I eat at the Silver Spoon" - but they ignored my valuable professional advice.

#92 ::: Cadbury Moose thinks Charlie Stross has been had at #90 ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 08:09 AM:

It looks nothing like the original text, and I suspect the chocolate factory has sneaked a Lorem Ipsum detector into the translation software and used it to trigger a word-salad generator.

But that's just me.

I wonder what other translation programs make of it?

#93 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 09:09 AM:

Cadbury Moose, 92: Well, obviously! Everyone knows that "Lorem" is the accusative singular of "Lorax."

#94 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 10:03 AM:

Her novel won the Tiptree, and so did his—and it was the same novel.

Jeremy 53: There was a brief spate of Cory Booker ones, after he rescued an elderly neighbor from a fire.

#95 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 10:29 AM:

Her use of the written word is so economical that when Reader's Digest condensed one of her novels it came out longer.

#96 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 10:30 AM:

Cadbury Moose @ #92:

I can see a way it might be genuine.

As I understand it, Google Translate doesn't just rely on dictionaries but incorporates information about how things (including phrases and longer passages) are actually translated in Google's large collection of texts. This means that, at least in theory, it gives better results for vernacular expressions than a word-for-word literal translation. (On the other hand, it's a pain in the neck when you want to know the actual translation of a book or movie title that was called something completely different in English.)

What we see here might be the result of the clever algorithms that identify parallel translation text going to work on all the pages with lipsum on them, and then trying to aggregate the results.

#97 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 10:34 AM:

@96, @92: Alternatively, Google is associative -- so these may be random servings of word salad from sites that are under development, with lorem ipsum in some sections and the other text in proximity.

#98 ::: bartkid ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 11:13 AM:

@94: Bravo. I was trying to say something like this yesterday - about Tiptree - but you put it much better than I would have. Again, bravo.

#99 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 11:19 AM:

When he wrote an online novel it won all the internets.

#100 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 11:42 AM:

bartkid 98: *blush* [expressions of gratitude deleted to avoid visiting the gnomes*]

*Not that I don't like them. Just don't have time for a visit right now.

#101 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 02:16 PM:

She identifies imprints by smell.

She invented a concept that is too poignant to be used again.

When she capitalizes every word, it doesn't look like shouting.

Her extra sense is sensawunda.

She does speak a private language... in public.

#102 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 08:34 PM:

#92, #94

I did a test; copied a chunk of De Bello Gallico, and it translated fine. Inserted a sentence of lorem ipsum,and that sentence was nonsense about Joomla, embedded in the still sane translation of Caesar. So, it appears to be an ovum paschalico, so to speak.

#103 ::: Henry Troup visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 08:36 PM:

Commenting on word salad has its risks. We have some nice fresh strawberries, if the gnomes care to indulge.

#104 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 09:07 PM:

On further testing, I believe Charlie Stross has the right of it. I started deleting bits of the Latin. Some of the English that appeared, transiently, contained terms like "dummy item". So I am now convinced it's associated text. And I am pondering what else might show up from similar phenomena.

#105 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 05:05 AM:

He once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die, and wrote a bestselling nonfiction novel about the event. He was found not guilty at trial because the jury found that the book justified his actions so well.

#106 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 11:31 AM:

Nobody asks him for a cover blurb: he is scrupulously fair, but other people's books just don't meet his standards.

#107 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 12:08 PM:

Her novels won her three Nobles Prizes--Physics, Economics, and Peace

#108 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 12:43 PM:

Actually, Dave Bell, the issue is that the cover blurbs are beautiful in their own right and as much as we'd like to see them, it's too complicated to figure out the royalty payments. When he does blurb a book, it's for charity.

#109 ::: rcjhawk ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 01:06 PM:

@38 (The actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, once played a redshirt on Star Trek, in "The Corbomite Maneuver". His character survived.)

After this, it was mandatory for all future red shirts to die, because no one could possibly play a living redshirt better.

#110 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 01:07 PM:

The one time she wrote a cover blurb the book became a best-seller -- but no one read beyond the cover.

#111 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 01:11 PM:

Advance reader copies of her books are the subject of furious bidding wars from reviewers.

#112 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 03:33 PM:

Twelve of her haikus spontaneously became martial arts.

#113 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 07:42 PM:

While editing his manuscript, John Ordover didn't want to change a single word.

#114 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2013, 12:34 AM:

Gun enthusiasts and horse lovers use his novels as reference books due to their great, and absolutely correct, detail.

#115 ::: Jeffrey Kramer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2013, 03:47 AM:

At a ceremony in the spirit world, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon declared her "the Second Coming who inaugurated the Completed Testament Age!"

#116 ::: Jeffrey Kramer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2013, 04:04 AM:

Wait a minute, let me come in again. At a ceremony in the spirit world, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon testified, "if she had been my speechwriter, I would have been elected God-king of the world for life!"

#117 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2013, 10:06 AM:

She needed help moving once. Complete strangers offered to help on the condition that they be allowed to keep the boxes. When they discovered that the boxes had been used multiple times by people who weren't the most interesting author in the world, most of them backed out. The ones who didn't now own priceless works of spontaneous poetry incorporating found words, all written on cardboard with permanent marker. Cuisinart attempted to license the label on one of their reused blender boxes because it brought all the text together so seamlessly, exactly the way a blender takes things apart but in the opposite direction, but it turned out the model was discontinued and focus grous reacted very, very poorly to the 'updated' version.

(guess who's typing from a room full of boxes?)

#118 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2013, 03:12 PM:

Diatryma @ 117

"(guess who's typing from a room full of boxes?)"

*Raises hand.*

Oh, you mean you. Nevermind.

#119 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 10:11 AM:

Linkmeister writes in #88:

Bill Higgins @ #52, Have you ever heard trumpeter Bunny Berigan's version?

Is the Pope Argentine? It's canonical.

I first heard it, though, from my dad. Despite exposure to a fair amount of music from the Big Band Era, I had never encountered this particular standard until I was maybe sixteen. We were working on some project together in the garage, and he started singing "I Can't Get Started." I laughed as the accomplishments of the singer got progressively more awesome ("On the golf course, I'm under par/Metro-Goldwyn has asked me to star") and determined to learn the song.

Never did memorize the chords, but I can sing the words. I have the sheet music around here somewhere. These days, though, one can usually find the chords to a song on the Web someplace.

D. Potter in #54: Yeah, the Guy Who Can't Get Next To You must be the next generation in the family of the Guy Who Can't Get Started With You, just as Stephen Stills's Guy Who, If He Can't Be With The One He Loves, Loves The One He's With is probably descended from Yip Harburg's leprechaun Og, who, If He's Not Near The Girl He Loves, Loves The Girl He's Near, and furthermore, When He Can't Fondle The Hand That He's Fond Of, Fondles The Hand At Hand, as well as Fancying The Face He's Facing when He's Not Facing The Face That He Fancies and Clinging To The Kiss That's Close when He's Not Close To The Kiss That He Clings To.

I love Stephen Stills's music, but he's no Yip Harburg. Nobody is.

#120 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 04:20 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 119: Ah. Everything old is remade again. (I've heard the Harburg all my life, but could not have said where it originally appeared. Also, the cleverness attribute in lyrics has been deprecated.;-))

#121 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 02:25 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 52:
And a close relative of one who sings*:


I can turn the gray sky blue
I can make it rain whenever I want it to
Oh, I can build a castle from a single grain of sand
I can make a ship sail, huh, on dry land

But my life is incomplete and I'm so blue
'Cause I can't get next to you

* Do listen to Annie Lennox' cover of this song.


#122 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 02:29 AM:

Oops, D. Potter @ 54 beat me to it.

#123 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 02:48 AM:

Her works fill a wing of Borges' Library of Babel, which is of transfinite cardinality, and every single volume is a superbly written and coherent text which moves and inspires any reader.

Several companies have attempted to use her voicemail as a paid service because so many people call just to hear her recorded message.

She doesn't get jet lag because her time zone travels with her.

There's no point in her playing role-playing games because all other players' characters aspire to be her.

Robert Heinlein admitted that she was the Grand Solipsist.

#124 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 03:14 AM:

She wins every beard contest she enters.

#125 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 06:47 AM:

Edmund Wilson liked his fantasy novel.

#126 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 04:10 PM:

And Hugo Dyson liked his elves.

#127 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 04:30 PM:

And I liked her vampires. :-)

#128 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 04:57 PM:

Libraries have a standing order for resupplying copies of her works, because they are so frequently checked out that they get tattered and worn quickly.

You can never find a copy of his books in a used bookstore or at Goodwill because people always keept their copies around to reread later.

#129 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 08:30 PM:

She almost made "sparkly vampires" work. Almost.

(Some things are beyond even The Most Interesting Writer In The World.)

#130 ::: Mumbling Sage ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 09:45 PM:

She did, however, make sparkly zombies work.

#131 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 05:10 AM:

In their rustling language the trees name her Reaper; they go willingly.

#132 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 08:20 AM:

heresiarch! Oh please stay around and post more.

#133 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 08:35 AM:

Whoa! Welcome back, heresiarch.

#134 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 10:28 AM:

Hi, heresiarch!

#135 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 11:05 AM:

heresiarch: Welcome back! I've missed you.

#136 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 12:05 PM:

Bienvenue, Heresiarch!

#137 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 12:46 PM:

Hir writings make those who have taken a vow of silence speak! (WB, heresiarch - good to see you.)

#138 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 01:02 PM:

Jim #95:

In fact, her writing is so economical, PKZIP used on an ASCII version of her novels returns a slightly longer file.

#139 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 01:11 PM:

heresiarch, yay! Missed you.

#140 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 03:08 PM:

Thank you! I've missed you folks too.

#141 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 04:51 PM:

Yes! The Return of Heresiarch!

#142 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 05:01 PM:

Welcome back Heresiarch!

#143 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 05:08 PM:

Hey! heresiarch!! Welcome back!

(And don't do that to us again!? okay?)

#144 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 06:47 PM:

Welcome back, heresiarch!

#145 ::: heresiarch seems to have been gnomed already ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2013, 07:55 PM:

Their form of greeting, I suppose.

#146 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2013, 09:11 AM:

Καλώς αιρεσιαρχών! (Thusly do I hope to avoid gnomulation.)

#147 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2013, 11:31 AM:

Welcome back, Heresiarch.

#148 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2013, 11:28 AM:

Bruce@121:

Have now watched said video. (It doesn't seem to have an official one, so I watched the first one on the list, fan-made, around 3:19?...) Was irresistibly struck, for nearly its whole duration, by the fancy that the singer was actually Neil Gaiman's Desire character. Please advise.

--Dave, it was uncanny

#149 ::: David DeLaney, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2013, 11:30 AM:

Alas, my post is en-gnomed. I can only theorize that either I used too few of the personal pronoun, or that I am too late to this thread's conversation. Peanut Butter Crunch, anygnome?

--Dave

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