Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Endangered sayings

August 9, 2013

Endangered sayings

Some things stick around in English long after the things they originally have referenced have disappeared from the real world. One of my regular readers and commenters, Tuxgirl, mentioned something that got me thinking about sayings that might eventually vanish from our language…or, they may still be around, but most people won’t have any idea what they originally meant. Here, then, are some phrases they may make sense to you now (although I suspect some will be strange to some of you), but could be endangered in the future…

“Do you have a dictionary?”

“I  mis-dialed.”

“What’s on TV tonight?”

“I lost my place.”

“Catch you on the flip side.”

“May I borrow your pen?”

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

“I’m in the groove!”

“Did you know…?”

“I don’t have enough to read.”

“See you in the funny papers.”

“Flash card”

“That’s yesterday’s news.”

You’re showing your age.”

“Tune in tomorrow”

“We’ll be right back after these commercials.”

“Bookstore Betty coat”


“You sound like a broken record.”

“Movie theatre”


“Disc jockey”


“I want to make sure we’re on the same page.”

“Turn over a new leaf.”

“Spine” (for a book)

“Dog ear” (for a page)



“Tape a show”

“Books on tape”

“They are like two bookends.”

“Page turner”

Here’s one that will never be obsolete…”Story”. ;)

Those are just a few that occurred to me. Do you have any favorites? Is there an expression that you’ve used, and realize that you don’t know what it means? For example, I hear people use “one fell swoop” when good things happen at once. That’s really not what it meant originally. A bird of prey snatching an animal off the ground is “swooping”. “Fell” meant evil. A “fell swoop” is when the bird gets two animals at a time, like grabbing two mice at once…technically, it means bad things happening together. However, my adult kid who is a linguist has made me aware that if people use it to mean something, it means it…even if it didn’t used to mean that. So, if you have any questions, comments, or want to add a few of your own for me and my readers, feel free to comment on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

The Author Game

July 30, 2013

The Author Game

Sparky: “Whatcha got there, Brain?”

Brain: “It’s a new boardgame I just bought. It’s called The Author Game. Want to play?”

Sparky: “Sure…how about you, Oddball?”

Oddball: “Can I make up my own rules?”

Sparky: “Maybe next time…let’s try it with the official rules first.”

Oddball: “Okay. I want to play with my eyes closed.”

Brain: “You can’t–”

Sparky: “Sure, that’s fine. We’ll tell you what’s on the cards. It has cards, right, Brain?”

Brain: “Yes.”

Sparky: “What happens next?”

Brain: “You two are Authors, and I’m going to be the Publisher.”

Oddball: “What does that mean?”

Brain: “It’s like being the banker in Monopoly. I control all the money.”

Oddball: “Cool. I hate money.”

Sparky: “So, what do we do?”

Brain: “First, you have to decide if you want to be an independent author or a traditionally published author.”

Oddball: “What’s the difference?”

Brain: “If you choose to be an indie, you have this short path here. If you choose to be a traditionally published author, you go on this spiral path around the outside until you end up in the middle of the board.”

Sparky: “I’ll go first. I want to be an indie.”

Oddball: “I’ll be Short Round! Dahduhdundah! Dundundun! Dahduhduhdah! DundunDUNDUNDUN!”

Brain: (sighs): “Okay, Sparky. Pick a card.”

Sparky: “Do I have to write a book first?”

Brain: “That’s not important to this part. What’s the card say?”

Sparky: “Pay $100 to a proofreader and $50 to a cover artist, or roll the dice and go directly on the web…I guess I’ll go on the web.”

Brain: “Now it’s my turn. I’m going to use my piece to block you getting on TV and in the newspapers.”

Sparky: “How am I supposed to get to the readers?”

Brain: “It doesn’t say. Oh, wait, you can write a blog.”

Sparky: “How do I do that?”

Brain: “You roll the dice. If you get a twelve, somebody buys your book.”

Sparky: “Can I just pick another card?”

Brain: “Sure…what does it say?”

Sparky: “Mow the lawn. Lose one turn.”

Brain: “That means it’s my turn again.”

Sparky: “Doesn’t Oddball get a turn?”

Brain: “Not until I say so. I play my lawyer card to make you go back to the beginning.”

Sparky: “You mean I’m not even on the web any more?”

Brain: “Nope.”

Sparky: “How many lawyer cards do you have?”

Brain: “As many as I need.”

Sparky: “Hey, Oddball…do you want to buy my book?”

Oddball: “Sure! Release the Booken!”

Sparky: “Great! I made…ninety-nine cents! How much have you made, Brain?”

Brain: “I would have made money, but I had to pay my lawyers.”

Sparky: “So I’m winning? Yay! How about giving Oddball a turn?”

Oddball: “Excelsior!”

Sparky: “Oddball, do you want to be an indie or traditionally published?”

Oddball: “Untraditionally published!”

Sparky: “That’s as close to a choice as we are going to get, Brain. Oddball wants to be traditionally published. What happens next?”

Brain: “Oddball, roll the dice one hundred times.”

Oddball: “Roll the dice, roll the dice, eat beans and rice, find genes to splice!”

Sparky: “Oddball got a six. What does that mean?”

Brain: “It means there are ninety-nine more rolls to go.”

Sparky: “No cards? No moving?”

Brain: “Negative. As far as I can tell, Oddball just rolls the dice forever, and nothing happens.”

Sparky: “Well, gee, Brain, thanks for letting us play your new game! Oddball, what do you want to do?”

Oddball: “Let’s play The Two Musketeers!”

Sparky: “Don’t you mean The Three Musketeers?”

Brain: “Or four…if you count d’Artagnan.”

Oddball: “Pistachio!”

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Everybody’s a writer nowadays

May 21, 2013

Everybody’s a writer nowadays

Jean: “Hey, can I ask you a question?”

Pat: “Just a minute…I’m writing a book.”

Jean: “Okay…wait, writing or reading?”

Pat: “Writing: sh! Aaaaaannnnnndddd…done! Whew! What did you want to ask me?”

Jean: “I forget. What did you mean you were writing a book?”

Pat: “What does it sound like it means? I just finished my tenth novel.”

Jean: “I didn’t know you were a writer.”

Pat: “I’m breathing, aren’t I? :) Everybody’s a writer nowadays.”

Jean: “I’m not.”

Pat: “Sure you are. We’re having a conversation, right?”

Jean: “Right.”

Pat: “You didn’t memorize what you were going to say ahead of time, right? It’s not a script?”

Jean: “Of course not.”

Pat: “There you go…you just wrote some dialog.”

Jean: “That’s not writing. That’s just…speaking.”

Pat: “Tomato, tomahto. It’s really the same thing. The only difference is that I’ve been published.”

Jean: “Who published you?”

Pat: “I did.”

Jean: “Huh. Oh, I remembered what I wanted to ask you! Can I borrow twenty bucks?”

Pat: “Yep…let me check. I can give you nineteen dollars right now…should have twenty in another minute or so.”

Jean: “How come?”

Pat: “Royalties. See, as soon as I finished writing the book, I published it. People have been buying it, and those are my royalties…yep, I can loan you twenty!”

Jean: “Cool…I don’t get this whole book thing, though.”

Pat: “It’s simple. I just wear this hat…it’s internet-connected, and it reads my mind.”

Jean: “Of course it does.”

Pat: “Technically, it’s BMI…a brain/machine interface. I think about what happens in the story, and my Hatway puts it into words, makes it available on the web, and collects the money.”

Jean: “You thought of all the words in ten books?”

Pat: “No, I told you…the Hatway puts it into words. I just think about what happens.”

Jean: “So your hat writes the book?”

Pat: “No, no, no! A hat can’t write a book. Besides, a BMI can’t read specific words. I picture the characters, and decide what they do. The Hatway uses parts of other books to put together the dialogs and descriptions and junk.”

Jean: “Is that legal?”

Pat: “Sure…it only uses books that aren’t under copyright.”

Jean: “Who would want to read a book that’s just parts of a bunch of other books?”

Pat: “Wow, you really don’t read, do you? Most books are just parts of other books. You’d be hard-pressed to find 50,000 unique words…and if you did, people probably wouldn’t understand it or like it.”

Jean: “I guess you’re right. But isn’t using a…um…hat like that sort of cheating?”

Pat: “That’s up to the market to decide…and so far, they don’t seem to be objecting. Look, either I read a lot of books, and then put the same sentences together in different order, or the Hatway does it…it’s the same thing, just more efficient.”

Jean: “I suppose. Couldn’t the Hatway do the same thing with plots? You know, find scenes and stuff and just stitch those together?”

Pat: “Now you are just insulting what I do as an author. Are you sure you don’t need $25? I just hit the bestseller list…”

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Top of the line #1

May 9, 2013

Top of the line #1

“You just won the Powerball!”

What’s your biggest problem?

Trying to figure out how to spend all that money, right? ;)

Naturally, you’d want to run right out and find the most expensive things there are and buy those…

Actually, that probably isn’t what I’d do. Yes, we would want to put in a chlorine-free pool (I’m a former competitive swimmer who now has a really severe problem with chlorine). We’d give people we know money, we’d give some causes money…and okay, I’d like to get some fancy way to convert public domain books I have to digital files…non-destructively.

Ooh, and we’d probably invest in some creative things! I have this idea for an amusement park/hotel I think could really work…but the Powerball probably isn’t enough money to do that, and…where was I? Oh, yeah…top of the line stuff. ;)

I wanted to take a look in the Kindle store and find the most expensive item of various types…just for fun. :)


Collier on Bankruptcy, Volume 8

Price: $6,399.20 (discounted from $7,999.00) (all prices will be for the USA Kindle store at the time of writing)

We have a new winnah! For quite a while, there were some physics books at the top of this list, but they have been surpassed.  More than the first twenty-five most expensive e-books are all in this Collier bankruptcy series, and they are similarly prices.

Hmm…maybe the first step to avoid bankruptcy is not to spend more than $150,000 on e-books about bankruptcy… ;)


Old Cars Weekly

$79.98 per year

Since it’s a weekly, that’s not really a bad deal…it’s $1.48 per issue. I suppose if you are a dealer, you might need to see what changes every week. There are other magazines that are a lot more expensive per issue…I saw several quarterlies that are about $10 per issue.


Leagle Daily Tax Wire

$42.50 per month

Of course, that’s not even counting what it would cost to have a lawyer read it for you! Let’s see…$250 an hour, average reading speed of a lawyer is… ;)


Google Public Policy Blog

$1.99 a month

Amazon sets the prices for blogs in the Kindle store…I think they are either $1.99 or $0.99 (like this one). The more popular ones, oddly enough, usually have the lower price. This blog was top ten when I just rechecked, for example. That’s what happens to supply and demand with infinite demand, I guess.

Kindle Active Content (games and apps not for the Fire)

eReviewBook MBE


The price of this one surprised me! Active content is usually inexpensive. This is a study book for the Bar exam…apparently, they want to teach the low value of money even before they become lawyers. ;)


kate spade new york Pebbled Leather Case for Kindle Fire HD, Green (only fits Kindle Fire HD 7″)


Honestly, I thought I’d find covers that were a lot more expensive than this (I’m looking at you, Oberon). I guess they don’t sell through the Kindle store.

Now, let’s look at a few things you might use on your RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle…anything but a Kindle Fire) or on your Kindle, but aren’t exactly in the Kindle store.


Russian Phase 3, Units 1-30: Learn to Speak and Understand Russian with Pimsleur Language Programs [Unabridged]


Actually, there are 80 (!) of these different Pimsleur courses at that price. I haven’t dug deeper in other categories, but I did want to see what was past the Pimsleurs…and this was it:

Our Mutual Friend


David Timson portrays fifty-eight characters. They make the point that you could get this one free when you first join Audible (which is also owned by Amazon).

Apps for Fires

The most expensive one was actually right about $1,000, but wasn’t available to me as a USA customer…so I’m going with the next one:

Country and Wood animals


That’s right…more than $350 for an app! For kids! It appears to be a memory-type game…gee, at that price point, I’d expect it be holographic. ;)

Amazon Instant Video

Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son (Institutional Use)


Well, there you go! I guess you’d know you are really Richie Rich if you buy these…which might be why people do it. :) Actually, some of these have specialized uses which might justify the prices.

The lowest priced items? Well, for e-books, it is zero…and lots and lots of them at that price. ;)

I guess I should say…I’ve paid $100 and more for books, although those were collectors’ items.

Just to make this fun, what about you? What’s the most that you’ve spent for a book? I know, if we include encyclopedias and such, it will get much higher. Let’s limit it to a single volume. Do you regret the purchase? Why did you buy it? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Bonus tip: Amazon Giveaway of Streaming Devices

Amazon’s really been promoting their new TV pilots…they want people to watch and vote.

So, in conjunction with that, we have this:

Amazon Pilots: So Many Ways to Watch Giveaway

They are giving away these prizes:

• One First Prize winner will win a Samsung UN46F6300 46-Inch 1080p 120Hz Slim Smart LED HDTV [approximate retail value (“ARV”) $899.09].
• One Second Prize winner will win an Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect and an Xbox LIVE 12 Month Gold Membership [Online Game Code] (total ARV $359.98).
• One Third Prize winner will win a Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Console (32 GB) (ARV $349.99).
• One Fourth Prize winner will win a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ Tablet (16 GB) (ARV $269.00).
• One Fifth Prize winner will win a Sony BDP-S590 3D Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi (ARV $149.99).
• One Sixth Prize winner will win a Roku 3 Streaming Player (ARV $99.99).

Those are cool (and hot) gadgets!

One drawback…you can only enter if you are on Facebook…they don’t even give you a way to mail in an entry. Still, many of you probably are Facebookers, so then this seems like one of those “why not?” situations. :)

You have to be 18 years old, a US resident, and enter by May 17th…good luck!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Eddiecoms #6: “You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you”

April 25, 2013

Eddiecoms #6: “You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you”

This is one in a series of posts about what I call “Eddiecoms”. You can see more detail about what these are in earlier posts on the topic, but it boils down to this. These are ads intended to promote something, disguised (often not very well…my favorite one recently was a post by someone listed as “Similar Internet Site”) as comments on something I’ve posted. I test a comment in a couple of ways before deciding it is an Eddiecom, including doing a Google search for the same wording. When I do use Google, I’ll sometimes find hundreds of instances of the same comment on different blogs, ones which are often unrelated in topic.

“Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and
let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its
a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.”

This one came up in Google more than 8.5 million times. The comment was also made on a post with no pictures. It is reasonbly well-written, though, which isn’t always the case. I suspect that what some of these may do is simply clone a genuine comment.

“Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with
SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results.
If you know of any please share. Kudos!”

A paltry two and a half million Google results…SEO in this case is “Search Engine Optimization”, and I would think this is simply a clone…except that ending with “Kudos” in that case is strange…perhaps they edited out a comment that was specific to the post.

“This is the right site for anybody who would like to find out about this topic.
You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will
need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that has
been discussed for a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!”

“Hi there, I found this blog once, then lost it. Took me forever to occur back and discover it. I wanted to view what comments you got. Very good blog by the way”

“I am truly happy to read this website posts which consists of plenty
of useful data, thanks for providing such statistics.”

“Hi there friends, its great post on the topic of teachingand fully
explained, keep it up all the time.”

When I did the Google search, I actually also found this one with “Hello, mates” instead of “Hi there friends” in the beginning…interesting international adaptation.

“This piece of writing is in fact a good one it assists new the web visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.”

This one also has some variations…they are getting smarter. :)

“It was developed by Walter L. Pizza crust, bread, pancakes, and any food that contain sugar should be taken out and erased from the list of foods one can eat. Consider the following statistic.”

That is where it stopped. This one was promoting the “paleo” diet. Gee, I wonder if Walter L. Pizza and Charlie T. Wheat were friends? ;)

“Good day! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.”

“At this time I am going to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming over again to read other news.”

More than 115,000 results on that one…

“Fantastic website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any community forums that cover the same
topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!”

Nicely written…over five million times. :) That’s the one from “Similar Internet Page”: I’ll bet that person got teased in school! ;)

“Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a superb article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.”

“Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog.
An excellent read. I will definitely be back.”

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

AFD News: “Amazon buys the English language”

April 1, 2013

AFD News: “Amazon buys the English language”

April 1, 2013 (AFD News)

Amazon (AMZN) announced today that it had purchased the English language from Webster & Johnson, for an undisclosed amount.

“We are pleased to become part of the Amazon family,” said Nosam Johnster, current CEO. “We want to assure our customers that we will continue to operate English, and do not anticipate any major changes. Amazon brings us the additional resources that we need to stay preeminent in a changing marketplace.”

Industry speculation is that this purchase comes in light of recent advances by Japanese in the global market.

While Amazon has not said anything specific about changes it might make, it is known to have had a light hand in other acquisitions. Despite a recent rumor from, it seems unlikely that the e-tailer would standardize the language across countries. As pointed out by Geebee Shaw in the New York Times, the current situation of being able to have multiple versions of the same book for different markets is likely a moneymaker for the e-tailer.

The Best Authors Haven (BAH) has issued a statement declaring that they were exploring legal options to counter the move, and that the end of the world was upon us.

The news comes on the heels of Apple’s recent buy of the language now styled iTaliano, and Google’s announcement that it was discontinuing support for its language platform, Esperanto, on July 27th.


Happy April Fool’s Day! :)

Update: you might also find this AmazonLocal deal interesting:

AmazonLocal deal for today

Update: thanks to my reader Bailey for this one:

Update: in a case of apparent parallel creativity, author Michael Bourne also published a piece this morning on Amazon purchasing English…

Amazon Announces Purchase of English™

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Eddiecoms #5: “its really remarkable in support of me”

February 12, 2013

Eddiecoms #5: “its really remarkable in support of me”

This is one in a series of posts about what I call “Eddiecoms”. You can see more detail about what these are in earlier posts on the topic, but it boils down to this. These are ads intended to promote something, disguised (often not very well) as comments on something I’ve posted. I test a comment in a couple of ways before deciding it is an Eddiecom, including doing a Google search for the same wording. When I do use Google, I’ll sometimes find hundreds of instances of the same comment on different blogs, ones which are often unrelated in topic.

“It’s awesome in favor of me to have a web site, which is good in support of my know-how. thanks admin”

That one had 139,000 Google results (of course, some will be false positives).

“artikelnya sangat informatif sekali..terimaksih banyak”

Interestingly, thanks to Google translate, I know this is Indonesian…and that it apparently has a  misspelling! The corrected version translates to “very informative article .. thanks so much”. Yes, it also failed the Google test. That same day, I got five comments in Indonesian…on five different posts. A couple of them duplicated each other.

“An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your web page.”

356,000 Google results on that one…

“It’s not torture for most of these conserva-queens. The closeted lifestyle is a fetish. Anonymous hookups, the fear of getting caught, public sex with complete strangers — it all adds to the thrill.”

I only found that one on a couple of other blogs (word for word). Another interesting thing, though, is that the poster’s name included the word “marketing”, so they aren’t hiding their intentions very well. :)

“We absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for.Would you offer guest writers to write content available for you?I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome website!”

“Good day! I just noticed your web site: Understanding Whispersync � I Love My Kindle when I was searching It looks as though someone enjoyed your website so much they decided to bookmark it. I’ll certainly be coming back here more often.”

This one took a little more effort, since it includes the actual name of the post…but again, 126,000 Google results.

“I really like what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and reporting!
Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to our blogroll.”

Over five million results on this one!

“What’s up colleagues, how is everything, and what you wish for to say concerning this paragraph, in my view its really remarkable in support of me.”

This one had actually had some word variation in other postings, although it was clearly the same (they all started with the six words). Again, that’s getting cleverer.

“A person essentially assist to make significantly articles I’d state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular post amazing. Excellent task!”

“Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you using?
Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my
web site loaded up as fast as yours lol”

This one almost reads as though it is real, although I had over 7 million Google results, and it was posted on an older post (which is one of the red flags).

“I think that everything wrote was very reasonable.
But, think about this, suppose you added a little content?
I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, however what if you added a post title that grabbed people’s
attention? I mean Flash! Early preview software 3.
1�page numbers! � I Love My Kindle is a little vanilla. You might glance at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they write post titles to get people interested. You might add a video or a related pic or two to grab readers excited about what you’ve written.
In my opinion, it might bring your posts a little livelier”

Again, this one incorporates the title of the post…a new trend, perhaps?

“Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this piece
of writing i thought i could also create comment
due to this brilliant article.”

Adding a name gives it a nice touch of credibility…even if that credibility is then demolished with a simple Google search. ;)

“I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This piece of writing posted at this website is truly nice.”

Seems simple, but fails more than one test.

“When the laptop division went to Lenovo, as in the T61, the design and appearance
declined. If you look around your community, our country, and the world,
there is little evidence of loving actions. Official Picture of President Reagan
by the Executive Office of the Presidency used under Public Domain.
As a rule of thumb, if an app has been successful in i – OS or
Android format, it is likely to also be found on Windows Marketplace.
Cons. Those pain killers and medications hide the problem without dealing with the true cause.
They will check into a purpose built sports complex 8 miles from the
venue of their first match in Rustenburg. I’m the kind who smokes and judges people’
Vanda pretends to demonstrate a yoga pose with a cigarette in her hand’ ‘Whoa, THAT guy’s out of shape”. I was excited to see what they would come up with, since I already have two children. We have witnessed this first hand in this business.”

This one is truly bizarre. I think it might have just picked up some random English phrases from websites to string this together.

“I feel this is one of the most significant information for me.
And i am satisfied reading your article. However want to observation on few common issues, The site style is great, the articles is truly great : D.
Excellent task, cheers”

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.



Retina Count Exceeded

February 7, 2013

Retina Count Exceeded

Jan: “Whatcha reading?”

Kris: “It’s called Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?!, It’s got a hundred haikus about this zombie kid, but the really cool thing is these cartoons by Gahan Wilson.”

Jan: “Oh, I love Gahan Wilson! Let me see one.”

Kris: (turning the Kindle around so Jan can see): “Here you go.”

Jan: “I don’t see anything.”

Kris: “What do you mean?”

Jan: “The screen’s blank.”

Kris: (turning it back): “Huh. Looks okay to me. Maybe it’s the  angle of the light or something. Come take a look over my shoulder.”

(The screen changes to read, “ERROR:RCE”)

Jan: “What does that mean?”

Kris: “I don’t know. It’s never done that before.”

Jan: “Oh, well.” (sits back down)

Kris: “Hey, it cleared up again! Come look!”


Jan: “Did you wiggle it or something?”

Kris: “I don’t think so. It was fine until you came over here.”

Jan: “Maybe it’s me.”

Kris: “Ha, ha. This is weird. I’m going to call them.”

Kindle Support: “Hello, Kris, how can I help you today?”

Kris: “Well, my Kindle has this weird message that keeps coming and going. I thought you could tell me what it was.”

Kindle Support: “I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing a difficulty. I’d be happy to help you with that, Kris. What does the error message say?”

Kris: “It says, ‘ERROR:RCE’”.

Kindle Support: “One moment…RCE stands for Retina Count Exceeded. Have I answered your question?”

Kris: “Not really…what does that mean?”

Kindle Support. “One moment…is there someone else there with you?”

Kris: “Um…yes.”

Kindle Support: “That person must have been looking at the Kindle at the same time you were. I see you recently purchased Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?!. The license, to which you agreed when you purchased the book, only allows it to be read by one person at a time. When your device’s retinal scan detected three eyes focused on the device at the same time, it would have displayed that message.”

Kris: “Retinal scan?”

Kindle Support: “Yes. That is a feature of your new Kindle. Your personal documents are protected without the use of an easily-forgotten password. The Kindle recognizes you through your eyes’ unique retinal pattern, and only then will it display the information.”

Kris: “How does it know I’m me?”

Kindle Support: “It scanned your eyes during set up. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Kris: “Let me see if I have this straight, first. When I go to read this book, my Kindle scans my eyes and knows it’s me, and then lets me read it? And when Jan came around to join me, it counted three eyes, and wouldn’t let us read it until Jan left?”

Kindle Support: “One moment…yes, that is correct.”

Kris: “What if I had a black eye, or something, and could only use one eye? Does that mean I couldn’t read it?”

Kindle Support: “One eye would be below the maximum limit for that book of two eyes. You could also read it with both eyes shut.”

Kris: “Riiiiiight.”

Kindle Support: “Is there anything else I can help you with, Kris?”

Kris: “Just a second…Jan, take a look at the book.”

Jan: “Nope, blank screen.”

Kris: “When I turn the Kindle all the way around, the screen keeps going blank…do you think there is a loose connection?”

Kindle Support: “There are no connections which could come loose. Stand up and hold the Kindle in front of you. Now turn around quickly while watching the screen. Did the device maintain an  image?”

Kris: “WoooWooWohhh! Done. It looked okay the whole time.”

Jan: “You looked ridiculous.”

Kindle Support: “That shows that it isn’t the motion. Is Jan registered to your account, Kris?”

Kris: “No…wait, we have to register people to the account, now?”

Kindle Support: “No, Kris, it’s up to you. If Jan had been registered, the Kindle would have displayed the information when Jan was the only one observing it. Someone who is not registered can not view information. This will keep your Kindle safe from theft, since it has no value if stolen.”

Kris: “What if two people on the account want to read the same book?”

Kindle Support: “That is no problem. They can each individually download the book  from your Amazon Secure Cloud to different devices which recognize their owners retinal patterns. Each device will allow the owner to view the book. “

Kris: “What if I want to sit with my kid and read a book?”

Kindle Support: “You would need to register both yourself and your child, and get a book with an allowed retina count of more than two. You can conveniently purchase them in multiples of two, in case your child has more than one eye.”

Kris: “Don’t most children have two eyes?”

Kindle Support: “We don’t judge what is an appropriate number of eyes per child. Kris, is there anything else I can help you with today, Kris?”

Kris: “I guess not. This eye thing just seems weird.”

Kindle Support: “We are proud to be able to help you. Have you heard about Amazon’s new Kindle EyeScan? Our newest Kindles know who you are, and protect your device from unauthorized use. Your secrets are safe with us. Our free EyeScan+ app can identify a person’s age and gender through retinal characteristics, so you can get customized recommendations and use our state of the art parental controls.”

Kris: “Isn’t that what we were just talking about…this eye thingie?”

Kindle Support: “Thank you for your continued support!”


This story was inspired by limitations people run into when trying to watch a video using the HDMI out on a Kindle Fire. Some apps refuse to show the video on a TV when a cable is plugged into the device, as a limitation of use. That got me thinking about ways that it could be done with books, and what that might mean. I do think eye movement recognition may come in the not too distant future on tables (so that you can select and click things without touching them), and I extended that idea here. The Kindle Support person is meant to represent the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence)…a robo-rep. In reality, I’ve found Kindle Support to be helpful and knowledgeable…it was just more fun to write this way. ;)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Beier Book Awards announced

January 29, 2013

Beier Book Awards announced

Note: this is a work of humor. There are no Beier Book awards, to my knowledge, and no connection to Ulli Beier, or anyone else named Beier, is intended.

Atherton, CA: The annual Beier Book Awards winners have just been revealed.

The awards, pronounced “Buy-her”, are solely intended to promote the works of authors who otherwise would never be bought by the average reader.

“Most people make the mistake of only purchasing books which they will enjoy,” said Justus Nobb, Director of the Selection Committee. “We feel that it is our duty, for the good of humanity, to advocate for those books which no one wishes to read. It is our hope that in doing so, authors who write odious and/or overly pretentious books, can enjoy the fruits of their labor as much as those who write accessible claptrap that anyone can understand and appreciate.”

This year’s winners:

  • Fiction: YR 2 S2PD 4 THS BK, by Wanda B. Young. In this contemporary take on the epistolary novel, 92 year old grande literateur Young composes a moving story of two immortal philosophers who communicate entirely by texting each other. In refusing the award, Young said: “I don’t need your meaningless trinket. No one should read my book who isn’t smart enough to have done so without your tiny approbation. Be gone!”
  • Nonfiction: Civil War Buttons of Central Louisiana, by Min Yu Tsieh. In this mind-numbing 1,487 page tome, Tsieh reproduces  daguerreotypes  and sketches of every type of button used in the US Civil War by soldiers fighting in the central part of Lousiana, with details of their manufacture and weaknesses and strengths. In explaining the length of the book (which necessitated  reproducing  some buttons through a $50,000 3D imaging program designed for this express, so that the front, back and edge could be shown on different pages), Tsieh explained that, “It was the same number of days the Civil War, or as I call it, ‘The Fasteners’ Conflict’, lasted.”
  • Children’s: My Parents Suck, by Sunshine Everett “Evry” Day. This depressing picture book reproduces children’s sketches made when they are angry at their patients. Caution: contains scenes of stick figure violence. This is a follow up to Day’s extremely unsuccessful volume, “Dogs Bite, Cats Scratch, Goldfish Die”
  • Design: A Pulverized Life, by BzzrrrCHANGCHANGCHANGbzzzrr.  In this unique (there is only one copy) work, the author had painstakingly written down every personal utterance since the age of five. The earliest writings were  in crayon, and then on eventually to other more sophisticated media. On BzzrrrCHANGCHANGCHANGbzzzrr’s 75th birthday, the papers were put into a food processor, and ground into an unrecognizable lump, which is on display in the author’s home. While having no commercial aspects would generally disqualify a book from the Beier, the merchandising lines of a perfume, rainboots, and golf balls were deemed acceptable substitutes

We would include links to purchase these books, but really, what would be the point?

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Bookstore cat industry struggles in 2012

January 14, 2013

Bookstore cat industry struggles in 2012

Algonquin, New York: the numbers are in from the NBCG (National Bookstore Cats Guild), and there was a 17% rise in unemployment for the literary mascots in 2012.

“When the store closed around me, what could I do? I slitted my eyes and swished my tail, but it didn’t make any difference,” said Dawn Kittyhotee, ten-year veteran of  recently shuttered “Musty Woodpulp Books” in Alexandria, Virginia. “I took a position (lying down, mostly) in a private home, but I miss ignoring intellectuals.

We interviewed Guild President Furry Bookend at a small milk bar (we called several times, but he didn’t answer until we put out food).

ILMK: “What would you say is the biggest contributor to the downturn in the number of bookstore cats?”

FB: “Well, it’s important to note that there are just as many bookstore cats are there used to be…we just aren’t all working in bookstores. Once you get the business under your fur, it stays with you. For example, many of us now sleep on our owners’ feet while they work the business from a computer.”

ILMK: “Has the internet had a negative impact on Guild members?”

FB: “Absolutely. Only twenty percent of Americans have petted a physical cat in the past week (down from 34% in 2010), whereas 97.9% have watched a cat video online. People say they prefer the feel of a real cat in their laps, but you can’t beat the convenience of instant delivery and behaviors-on-demand.”

ILMK: “How can the Guild compete with that?”

FB: “We’ve looked at a number of possibilities, although if we look at them too long, we tend to doze off. We are talking to Amazon about a virtual bookstore cat for their store. On a rotating basis, we’d appear through remote presence technology on search result pages. Customers could pet us using their pointing devices.”

ILMK: “You mean mice?”

FB: “We don’t call them that. It’s an offensive term. Can you imagine any human actually holding a rodent like that? Gross. We also are looking at working with the traditional publishers…I keep hearing there are a lot of fat cats there, but I’ve never actually encountered one. I think it might just be some kind of complimentary analogy, but I”m not sure.”

At this point, the interview ended. We tried asking additional questions, but President Bookend noticed the ceiling fan, stared at it wide-eyed for thirty seconds, and then ran out the door.

We will continue to monitor this story.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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