Sunday, March 02, 2008

1 and a 2 and a 3

The ever-delightful Da Nator has tagged me with a meme about books.

The rules are:

1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Open it to page 123.
3. Find the first 5 sentences and write them down.
4. Then invite 5 friends to do the same.

Until yesterday, that would have been easy, but I put in a bit of time doing some home improvement yesterday, and as a result, my office space is as tidy as my downstairs area after a quick trim with the Wahl. As chance would have it, the closest book is one that I bought last weekend at the Blackpool Magic Convention. It's a joke book by Michael Close. In addition to being an excellent magician, Michael is also a hugely talented musician, and a great collector and teller of jokes.

The book in question is called That Reminds Me, and is subtitled Finding the Funny in a Serious World. However, it's not all jokes, and page 123 happens to be one of the pages where he introduces a section of the book by talking abut the friend or acquaintance that inspired, reminds him of or told him the jokes therein. This particular section is dedicated to Billy McComb, a very talented and very funny magician, who died just over two years ago. His loss is still felt very strongly within the magic world.

Here's what Michael writes:
Billy McComb was of the same generation as Jay Marshall, and he too achieved great success as a performer. He appeared on big stages, variety halls, and workingmen's clubs, and he starred on television in the United Kingdom. Unlike Jay, who retired from active performing to run his magic shop, Billy kept plugging away until just a few months before his death. He was regularly featured at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, and he was often the opening act for The Amazing Jonathan in Las Vegas. I could not imagine how an audience that had paid money to see Jonathan would react to seeing a frail-looking old man walking out on stage.
So there you have it. I'd love to urge you to go out and buy the book, because it's very funny, and has a highly amusing foreword by Penn Jillette. I don't think it's on sale to the general public, although you can buy it online.


And now I have to tag five people. That's going to be a challenge, because I spend much less time doing this bloggy thing these days, and consequently have far fewer prospective tagees to draw from. And one of them has already been tagged by someone else.

Tell you what, if you want to do this meme, consider yourself tagged - only do let me know so's I can go and have a varda when you're done.

6 comments:

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Oops... Sorry!

Qenny said...

That's okay, poppet. If I'd put my arse into gear quicker, you'd have been hit with this one twice.

Tickersoid said...

Let me see. To my left is, 'The Observer BooK of the Body'. 112pages only. To my right. Haynes manual for the VW Golf & Jetta. This isn't numbered in the conventional manner and so doesn't have a page 123. The only novels I read, I pass on so I don't actually have a book shelf.
Last book was that thing about the Eastern European strawbury pickers, the follow up book to, 'A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.'

Al said...

"Consider, however, the solution of Figure 1 [8].

SELECT name,janAmount = SUM(amount*δ[month=1]),
febAmount = SUM(amount*δ[month=2]),
...
decAmount = SUM(amount*δ[month=12]))
FROM bonus
GROUP BY name

This solution is presented in a symbolic form, and should be viewed as a template for the actual SQL query that can be obtained from it by substituting proper scalar expressions for the twelve δ-notations.

To understand the intent of this query, however, consider notation δ[month=1]. Given a month value of 1, this notation returns 1. Given any other month value, it returns 0."

From, Optimizing Transact-SQL Advanced Programming Techniques. A very boring book.

What a geek I am. Not really what you had in mind though... :-)

FirstNations said...

what the hey....i'll do it again.

ahem.

OH LORDY DEAR.

"FRUITS
'It was not a watermelon that Eve took,' observed Mark Twain. 'We know it because she repented." There is something about 'a piece of fruit'-no matter which - so tidy, shapely, self-contained and full of promise as to appeal to the larcenous instincts in all Eve's children.
Shown above, in addition to Twain's irresistible watermelon, are such staples of the world's diet as bananas and dates - and in more northerly climes, the pear; a papaya, whole and halved, next to a compote of kiwi. A spray of litchi and a Japanese persimmon contrast with the sweet-sour carambola, shown whole and in starry crossection."

The Joy Of Cooking, Rombauer-Becker,
1975 printing

hell, i'm going to leave it up too. i play close to the edge dammit.

Swazhini said...
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