Bill Maher vs. Jon Stewart – Who’s Funnier?

Okay, they have similar social leanings.  Their humor is topical and political.  They both have quasi talk/news shows on cable television. And they are both often quoted on various news programs across the dial.  The question must be asked.  Who is king of the satirical hill?

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Booktacts – The future of books

Booktacts - The book you can wear!

Booktacts - The book you can wear!

As an author and son of an ophthalmologist, I have been tinkering with a new invention in my basement that will revolutionize books, the booktacts. Basically, they are contacts fitted with wireless hyper radio wideband receivers that display text in ocular space. Yes, you read right, books you can wear. The booktacts can download any pdf or pcr file from any website. What’s more, you can control download functions and simple commands like highlighting and “send to printer” with a series of simple blink commands. I am coding them so they won’t download any Stephenie Meyer’s books because honestly, I am super jealous of her and really don’t want to give her access to another bestseller list.

In addition to being high tech, environmentally friendly, fabulously avant-garde readers, they are totally fashionable. They come in a variety of colors and can even be designed with team logos, obnoxious inspirational quotes, and slogans like “If you’re reading this, you’re way too close to my face.” I’m even working on mood booktacts. They change color depending on your mood while reading. Reading horror? They turn blood red. Reading a finance book? They turn money green. Reading erotica? They grow six inches.

I am not a scientist or a computer guy or an engineering-type person, and I don’t even have a basement, so the development stage has been really slow going, but I have tested a few prototypes on rats, and let’s just say, except for the blindness and brain damage, they work perfectly. I expect to start testing on humans as soon as I buy some duct tape and ether…. I mean as soon as my grant money comes in so I can pay a few test suckers…. subjects.

BTW – Tim O’Reilly claims to have come up with a revolutionary idea that will change books. You can read his article, Reinventing the Book in the Age of the Web, but it isn’t even close to being as cool as the Booktacts.

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Eating Jane Austen’s Brains!

Delicious Chic-Lit Brains!

"Delicious Chic-Lit Brains!"

So, what was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice missing? Zombies, of course. A book penned by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen), titled PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, takes everyone’s favorite classic chic lit, adds everyone’s favorite brain eaters, and delivers an instant literary phenomenon. Mind you, this is before the book is even released. The book… or the concept behind the book has taken the online community by storm. While I doubt any Jane Austen purists are flocking to their favorite online retailer to pre-order a copy, zombie zealots, drunken frat boys, and the literary segment of the Girls Gone Wild crowd are making a bee-line for their credit cards and giving out their plastic digits as fast as humanly possible to put in their order before the book has even hit the printers. The book is published by small publisher, Quirk Books in Philadelphia. In a climate where publishers are shutting down imprints and laying off employees, Quirk may have found a recession proof formula. Take a little known author with an outlandish, ghoulish idea, mix in a splash of internet savvy, stir in a bit of good luck, and wham! You have viral marketing magic. The book is currently number 87 on Amazon. Bigger publishers have come knocking on Quirk Books’ doors, insisting they won’t be able to handle the influx of orders, and Hollywood has even approached the publisher about possible film deals. What is Quirk doing? Smiling all the way to the bank.

My hat’s off to Grahame-Smith, and Quirk Books. I have no idea if the book is any good or not, and I’m certainly not claiming the book has no place on bookshelves. I write about monsters and undead skinless freaks. How could I be critical of a book that adds some teeth to Jane Austen? Part of me is now thinking that Romeo and Juliet could really use some werewolves. I admire the buzz building tactics that were put in place here. The publisher took the quirky and made it mainstream by using alternative marketing tools. It’s true that it really took off when a few of the “elite” media groups picked up the story, but still, the firestorm of hype was born through good old (or is that new) web 2.0 means.

Will I be buying a copy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES? Are you kidding me? It’s zombies and Jane Austen. I absolutely will be buying a copy. In fact, I love it without ever having read a word of it. I’m easily manipulated that way.

BTW – Zombies aren’t just for Jane Austen. They also go great with chicken. Author, Eric D. Knapp took the zombie concept to the barnyard and created a wonderful tale about zombie chickens in his book, Cluck: Murder Most Fowl. I have read this book, and can recommend it without reservation. I’m off now to give the Montague family their Lycan due.

Note on the plural of Brain: Technically Jane Austen only has one brain, but zombies prefer the plural of brain when they get really, really hungry. And they are always really, really hungry, so “Eating Jane Austen’s Brains!” is culturally sensitive to zombies. Now, don’t you feel bad for complaining?