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Inflatable Toast!

I'm off to Copenhagen tomorrow, where, along with Gwyneth Jones, I'm one of the guests of honour at Fantasticon, the Danish national SF convention.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this Amazon.com tag: WTF? (I particularly like — in an admire-from-a-distance kind of way, please don't mistake this for actual must-have-'em desire — Chicken Poop Lip Balm, Inflatable Toast, black toilet paper, and the book "How to Increase your IQ by Eating Gifted Children".)

I feel this tag deserves a metaphor that embraces the invisible hand, the long tail, and melting clocks, but for once I'm fresh out of bon mots.

20 Comments

1:

Not a random sample of what Amazon sells, but a deep probe by extraterrestrials into the mysteries of human consciousness.

By the way, your system claimed that my submission of 25 August was under moderation, but it disappeared into the ether. I don't know if I reviewed it or not, so it might by the glitch you reported.

Best that I can reproduce it from vague memory:

When human civilization vanishes, there will still be rats, cocokroaches, coyotes, and insurance companies. Of course, the cockroaches and coyotes will need a "co"-pay.

Cloning trumps "Heather Has Two Mommies" -- that children's book written by Lesléa Newman with Diana Souza's illustrations, first published in 1989.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/26/AR2009082602095.html

2:

Do androids think "WTF" when they dream of Inflatable Party Sheep?

3:

I actually bought my friend an Inflatable Party Sheep when he went off to college. I inflated it, put it in a large box, and mailed it to his dorm. Apparently it was their hall's mascot that year. :)

4:

I tend to think the Archie McPhee/Accoutrements creations should be excluded because they're so trying to create WTF moments, but even ruling those out there's ample WTF-ery in that collection.

5:

JvP@1: Or pan dimensional beings testing that their computer to answer "what is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything" is working correctly"?

6:

Yikes. We need those...

7:

I found a really cool book in the WTF list - Forbidden LEGO, it's going on my christmas list:

http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-LEGO-Models-Parents-Against/dp/1593271379/ref=tag_stp_st_edpp_url

Check out the first video!

8:

JR@2,
They will in the Coen brothers re-make.

9:

The only re-make I wanna see would be completely faithful to the story and characters of PKD's original work, with particular emphasis on the sense of loss people feel once the animals are very rare or extinct.

10:

I remembered what the Amazon WTF tag reminded me of; indeed, there's even some overlap.

Real books that look like Photoshops (Some NSFW.)

The horror, the horror!

11:

You got a problem with someone carefully collecting dog hair so they can someday have it turned into wool?

http://home.comcast.net/~stefan_jones/bag_of_hair.jpg

(There's about three times as much in my collection as you see above. There'd be even more if I brushed my dog more often.)

12:

GRaham GReene the author was an extraterrestrial.

13:

Charlie,

I know you occasionally use the blog as direct marketing for you books, but puffing and out of print collection? Really!

14:

As you know, because of the deals with the Devil by Hubble, Einstein, and Hoyle, if the Mount Wilson Observatory burns, the universe stops expanding.

The deadly Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest, which has already burned 134 square miles, is closing in on Mount Wilson, where the observatories have been evacuated.

The mandatory evacuations came within 3 blocks of my home. I'm suffering from smoke inhalation from Wednesday through today (Monday 31 Aug 2009). JPL is closed because of the thick smoke.

Other science fiction authors were at risk; Astrid Bear reports that her mother Karen Anderson came close to but did not have to evacuate.

Two presenters at the (Saturday) 25th Annual Writers of the Future/Illustrators of the Future awards ceremony were no-show because of the fires.

15:

Jonathan @14. I live in SoCal and can see huge columns of smoke from my home in Riverside. Regarding the Station Fire in LA. Jerry Pournelle, in his blog, has mentioned that he is being affected by the smoke from the fire and had to cancel an appearance. He said that he may have to take in some SF writers that live higher on the hill in the La Canada and Altadena areas but this has probably abated as the fire has moved north. So far over 85,000 acres, 2 firefighter deaths when their vehicle went off a fire road and at least 12 homes have been destroyed so far. Mount Wilson has over 25 major TV and radio transmission towers, radio repeaters of all types for public and private entities. The temperature is very hot up to 107F/42C. Very Bad.

16:

The fire has now burned more than 105,000 acres, and is still threatening Mt Wilson. They're trying to set up good firebreaks by starting small backfires. Right now the fire is starting up the north side of the ridge.

Some people who were told two days ago to evacuate, and didn't, now want to be rescued. The firefighters are trying to figure out if the wannabe rescuees are even accessible; smoke and the fact that they're in a fairly deep canyon make it problematic.

One place to find information online is the LA County Fire Department: http://www.fire.lacounty.gov/

17:

P J Evans@16
Geez, how come people can just stay in danger zone until the last minute?

18:

P J @16, today's WashPost says it's been decided that it's too dangerous to rescue those folks in the ravine. I sure hope they were required to sign some kind of release when they refused to evacuate.

19:

Mount Wilson Observatory gets help from Mars
By Janette Williams, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/01/2009 06:34:30 PM PDT
http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_13248725

PASADENA - Ground crews took aggressive action Tuesday to protect Mount Wilson Observatory, fortifying fire breaks, lighting backfires near the historic 100-inch telescope and spraying fire retardant over the rugged terrain.

In the air, the Martin Mars flying tanker carrying 7,200 gallons of water was called in to drop its payload on the site, which houses the observatory and 30-plus communications towers.

Firefighters, also using water tenders on the ground, tried to beat back any threat from the unpredictable six-day Station fire. By Tuesday morning the blaze covered 112,000 acres. By afternoon it crept ever closer to the complex.

"Everything that's crossable, I'm crossing," said Sam Hale, whose grandfather, George Ellery Hale, founded the world-famous observatory in 1904....

20:

"This was like the Jabba the Hut fire," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. "It's menacing and big, but it definitely can't move that fast."

Despite significant progress in containing the Station fire, officials said this morning that they are still concerned about the massive blaze's fast-moving southeastern flank.

That edge of the fire is burning in the mountains above Altadena and Pasadena. Officials are trying to cut fire lines in the area, hoping to block the fire from moving farther east toward Sierra Madre and Monrovia. No evacuations have been ordered in those areas.

[Updated, 9 a.m.: Fire officials said they are considering evacuating Altadena residents who live north of Altadena Drive as the fire continues to move southeast.]

The Station fire grew to more than 140,000 acres overnight, but officials said they continued to make solid progress. Evacuation orders have been lifted in La Crescenta, La Cañada Flintridge and other foothill communities.

Firefighters have worked hard to save Mt. Wilson, home to a historic observatory as well as crucial TV and radio transmission towers. Officials said this morning that aggressive water and gel drops from aircraft helped prevent the mountain from taking a direct hit from the flames.

But Mt. Wilson is still in danger, and the fight there will continue. Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Mark Whaling said machines were used to crush much of the brush surrounding the area there and that more fire-resistant gel was used to protect structures on the peak.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on August 27, 2009 4:38 PM.

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