The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Remainders and literary evidence from the book sellers

Sick of this yet? I confess I may be a bit, but still, I find it interesting what kind of books get into the "bargain books" catalogs, of which I get a large number. Here, with some opinionated commentary, are a few notes from what I hope is the last of 2010's batch.
  • Atheism gets a big mention, I presume since most people who have already given up on God have read or written the books. From Richard Dawkins' mostly brilliant work on why religion is a Very Bad Thing (from which he leaves out, unfortunately, the compelling reasons why people have had to invent God for themselves,) we find the genuinely pathetic document described as follows: God's Problem: How the bible fails to answer our most important question -- why we suffer. Bart Ehrman. The author ... discusses his personal anguish upon discovering the bible's contradictory explanations for suffering and invites people of faith -- or no faith -- to confront their deepest questions about how God engages the world and each of us. Get the impression that Mr. Ehrman may have done some suffering himself lately?
  • Pimpology: the 48 laws of the game. Pimpin' Ken with K.Hunter. Color photos. I bet there are.
  • How to succeed with women. R. Louis and D. Copeland. Foolproof ways to a woman's heart ... oh, hell, you've heard all this before. Just read Pimpology and do the opposite.
  • Or read: Asshole: How I got rich and happy by not giving a damn about anyone and how you can too. Martin Kihn.
  • The complete idiot's guide to alchemy. Dennis William Hauck.
  • Aftermath: A guide to preparing for and surviving apocolypse 2012. Problem with this one is that, as I've noted elsewhere, the Maya dates probably don't translate to 2012 at all, and may be off by a positive or negative number. But why let that spoil a great idiocy? The world could still end in 2012, just not for this set of reasons.
  • How to make millions in real estate in three years starting with no cash. Tyler G. Hicks. And end up with no cash, too. Special fourth edition forward by B. Madoff.
  • Any number of books by Ann Coulter. Too many to bother typing.
  • And my personal high-value recommendation, for only $9.95, A Salute to Hee Haw: Collector's edition.
In the unlikely case that anyone cares, my personal reading lately has ranged far and wide (since that's about all I can do right now,) and has included a second look at The Arikara War: The First Plains Indian War, 1823 by William R. Nester. Since the "war" consisted of two inconclusive battles, the book is mostly about the before and after and causes; the Arikara were an unpleasant and treacherous bunch of plains Indians living along the lower Missouri River, just about the time that a bunch of unpleasant and treacherous fur trappers decided to push the boundaries of manifest destiny further west, in conflict with the Indians, the US government, the Hudson Bay Company, the English government, and each other. Surprisingly, bloodshed and military incompetence, on all sides, abounded. Great stuff, if you think the history of the west starts after the Civil War.

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