concept to publication

Category: offbeat

Odd book titles of 2009

odd book titles: crocheting adventures with hyperbolic planes

The Bookseller is back with another round of odd book titles. This year the six finalists for the Diagram Prize for odd book titles are the following:

  • Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter
  • Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich
  • Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes
  • Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots
  • The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • What Kind of Bean is This Chihuahua?

As I mentioned before in this context, as the translator of Frozen Coagulated Cultures in Wine, Cheese, and Sauerkraut Production, I fail to see what’s so funny about these titles.

Buried in Books

coffin bookshelves

Who says you can’t take it with you? Well, you might have to leave your books behind, but at least you no longer need to be separated from your bookshelves, thanks to William Warren’s “Shelves For Life.”

Oddest book title of the year

The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais has won The Bookseller’s Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year for 2008. News:Lite has the details:

Albums of the year

continuous passive motion

The Passion of Saint Rudolph

Above: The Passion of Saint Rudolph, 2008, colored pixels, by Thomas Christensen and an unnamed Palin family photographer.


Instead of doing my traditional seasons greetings this year, I decided to feature Saint Rudolph. Previously I had taken Nicholas as my subject, as shown below.

Special offer: preview the Museum of Folly

If you are at all interested in the current arts scene, I’m sure you have heard a lot about about the imminent opening of the Museum of Folly; probably you are growing tired of the endless media coverage. What I have for you today is something entirely better. has arranged for a special preview of the museum, for its readers only!

While only a few display cases have been installed at this point, selected areas of the museum are nonetheless ready for viewing. To be one of the first to visit the new facility, just click on the screen shot below. (For the special tour, you will enter through the front entrance, but later you can use the member’s shortcut to the new acquisitions galleries.)

The Museum of Follys about age


hobbit house

hobbit houseThis handsome structure was built by architect Peter Archer for a client who collects Tolkien.

According to, “‘I came back my client and said, “I’m not going to make this look like Hollywood,”‘ Archer recalled, choosing to focus instead on a finely-crafted structure embodying a sense of history and tradition.”

More photos and story here.

Seen on eBay

It must be the desk that ups the price.

writhing desk

This “writhing desk” recalls Harry Potter, or maybe Lewis Carroll:”The regular course was Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with; and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.”

My Sweet Lord

my sweet lordLooks like the Roger Smith Hotel in New York has caved in to demands from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights to remove the art piece My Sweet Lord by Cosimo Cavallaro. A six-foot-tall representation of Jesus on the cross made of chocolate, the piece has apparently offended the League more by its nudity than its calories. (Cavallaro, by the way, has also worked in the demanding medium of ham and cheese.)

All of which is just an excuse for the link below to Tom Waits singing “Chocolate Jesus.”

Swim, Swim, Swim!

swimming across the atlantic

Are you in shape for following step 12 in the instructions shown in the screen capture?

Via Google Blogoscoped. While at GB, check out Raymond Chandler’s 1953 mention of Google.

Invading Liechtenstein

On March 2 170 lost Swiss soldiers accidentally invaded neighboring Liechtenstein. But instead of claiming the principality for the Swiss empire, once they realized their mistake they simply marched back home. A spokesman for Liechtenstein said the soldiers had gone unnoticed, adding “It’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something.”

Could this be the beginning of a new Swiss imperialism intent on converting the whole world’s signage to Helvetica?

Too bad Peter Sellers isn’t around to make a movie version.

“The Dumbing Down of America”

That’s how the source titles this page. It’s said to be actual courtroom testimony, taken down by “court reporters who had the torment of staying calm and quiet while these exchanges were actually taking place.”

Some examples:

ATTORNEY : What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS : Gucci sweats and Reeboks.


ATTORNEY : Are you sexually active?
WITNESS : No, I just lie there.


ATTORNEY : So the date of conception of the baby was August 8th?
ATTORNEY : And what were you doing at that time?

Go here for more.

200+ U-Turns

Google Maps offers the following:


Click image for more info.

Green pigs that glow in the dark

Just in time for the year of the pig, Chinese scientists claim to have genetically modified pigs using DNA from fluorescent jellyfish. “The scientists from Taiwan University’s say that although the pigs glow, they are otherwise no different from any others.” Story and a small picture here.

Do you like green eggs and ham?

World’s Tallest Man Saves Pair of Dolphins

bao xishun
image via random good stuff

Bao xishun, at seven feet nine inches, is said to be the world’s tallest man. But that’s not the item. The item is that he was called in by a veterinarian to save a couple of dolphins that had swallowed some sort of plastic. Using his extremely long arms, Bao reached into the dolphins’ stomachs and retrieved the offending items.

UPDATE: Bao Xishun was married on 24 March 2007. I’ve posted a photo of the wedding here.

Note to Self

Will Self’s writing room. A 360 degree view in 71 photos by Phil Grey

will self's writing studio

Barbados Faces Invasion by Giant Snails

Barbados Faces Invasion by Giant Snails

“We saw snails riding on each other’s backs and moving in clusters,” said David Walrond, chairman of the local emergency response office that organized 60 volunteers for the hunt. “You’re just crunching the shells as you’re walking through.”

(via Exploding Aardvark)

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