Friday, February 26, 2010

Winning titles

As seen on "Some book names should just be shelved":

Here's the list of Diagram Prize winners since the award's inception.

1978: "Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice" (University of Tokyo Press)
1979: "The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution" (Transaction Press)
1980: "The Joy of Chickens" (Prentice Hall)
1981: "Last Chance at Love: Terminal Romances"
1982: "Population and Other Problems" (China National Publications)
1983: "The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling" (MIR)
1984: "The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History and Its Role in the World Today" (Constable)
1985: "Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts" (Westwood Publishing Co)
1986: "Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality" (Brunner/Mazel)
1987: No award
1988: "Versailles: The View From Sweden" (University of Chicago Press)
1989: "How to Sh*t in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art" (Ten Speed Press)
1990: "Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual" (Lace Publications)
1991: No award
1992: "How to Avoid Huge Ships" (Cornwell Maritime Press)
1993: "American Bottom Archaeology" (University of Illinois Press)
1994: "Highlights in the History of Concrete" (British Cement Association)
1995: "Reusing Old Graves" (Shaw & Son)
1996: "Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers" (Hellenic Philatelic Society)
1997: "The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition" (Mitchell Beazley)
1998: "Development in Dairy Cow Breeding and Management: and New Opportunities to Widen the Uses of Straw" (Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust)
1999: "Weeds in a Changing World" (British Crop Protection Council)
2000: "High Performance Stiffened Structures" (Professional Engineering Publishing)
2001: "Butterworths Corporate Manslaughter Service" (Butterworths)
2002: "Living With Crazy Buttocks" (Kaz Cooke – Penguin US/Australia)
2003: "The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories" (Kensington Publishing)
2004: "Bombproof Your Horse" (J A Allen)
2005: "People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It" (Gary Leon Hill – Red Wheel/Weiser Books)
2006: "The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification" (Harry N Abrams)
2007: "If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs" (Simon & Schuster US)
2008: "The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-miligram Containers of Fromage Frais" (Icon Group International)

Read more about The Bookseller's Diagram Prize. And don't forget to bomb-proof your horse.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Author responds without hyperbolic planes

Daina Taimina, author of "Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes," wrote in an e-mail that I'm "a little bit wrong ... that nobody reads those books," as apparently implied in "Some book names should just be shelved."

"I have quite a number of fans, especially if you count all those thousands who crochet coral reef around the world," she wrote, adding, "you can look inside my book on amazon or google to have an idea what it is about."

Which I should and I could, but I won't, because I'm trying to follow what The Bookseller's diarist, Horace Bent, advocates in the book title contest: “What the prize requires most is ignorance.”


But you can. Check our the book's Amazon page and read some reviews.

Taimina adds, "of course, I feel flattered and very happy indeed that the math book is nominated for such a popular prize! :-)"

Obviously, the answer here is: It's a math book?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Book titles and other aberrations

Here are some of the book titles I didn't include in "Some book names should just be shelved."

"Advances in Potato Chemistry and Technology"

"An Intellectual History of Cannibalism"

"Bacon: A Love Story"

"How YOU Are Like Shampoo: For Job Seekers"

"I Stopped Sucking My Thumb…Why Can't You Stop Drinking?"

"Is the Rectum a Grave?"

"The Quotable Douchebag"

"The Wild World of Girly Men and Masculine Women - And Why Americans Suffer from So Many Other Idiotic Syndromes!"

The Bookseller has the full list.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Play 'em off, 'mavens'!

Just as it was announced recently, social media "mavens" from the Hudson Valley came out of their basements today to meet one another and to chat about social media and basement decor. Many saw the faces of people they have been following on Twitter for the first time. It was pretty creepy. So everybody panicked and ran back to their basements. Good times.

As you can see from the video below, keyboard cat provided entertainment. The mavens know what that means (they also know they can't watch the video on their phones, so put it down).

Most are on Twitter. Some of their handles are:

@RicDragon, @McIntyreKJ, @jmcopenmic , @AmeriBag , @FauxClaud , @designicu, @sleepjunky, @UlsterMadness, @Loehmanns (?), @beahive , @bluehwyflaneur, @theasphere, @sDialogue, @Etela:, @digsart, @jenwdragon, @b2engt , @kpsourcerqueen, @tomhoffay (not a real Twitter account, Tom!), @ivanlajara (yours truly) and many others.

Who did I miss?

UPDATE: @Ingwaem, @uccomptroller and @mediaman1. I know there were more.

Also, I'm told by @jenwdragon that spaguetti cat
catered the event.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Foursquare questions you didn't ask answered

You might have noticed in "Social media here to stay (call the cops)" that there was a mention about Foursquare, but I never explained what it was. I've being doing a test run for the last three weeks. So here's what you need to know about this exciting app:

* What the heck is Foursquare?

It's a tool you can use on a smartphone. With it, you tell your friends where you are.

* Is that it?

Pretty much.

* Then, what's the point?

No point. You just tell people where you are and, if you choose, you broadcast it to the world. But Forsquare disagreees:

foursquare aims to encourage people to explore their neighborhoods and then reward people for doing so. We do this by combining our friend-finder and social city guide elements with game mechanics - our users earn points, win mayorships and unlock badges for trying new places and revisiting old favorites.
* Can't I just call my friends?

Yes. But you'd have to figure out how to use the phone in your smartphone. And who wants to actually talk to friends, anyway?

* What other uses does Foursquare have?

It fills the page at, a site that lists "recent empty homes" and "opportunities" and it's trying to show you that maybe, just maybe, it's not such a good idea to use Foursquare.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Social Media on Wednesday's Freeman

Note that I picked the best possible moment for the player to pick a flattering image.

UPDATE: The column has been published so you can ignore it properly. Called "LAJARA: Social media here to stay (call the cops)" it drops some names here and there (like my cat does with his poop in my house).

The droppings are:

* Paul Rakov, Ulster County Development Corp.
* Ric Dragon, of Dragon Search.
* K.J. McIntrye, of JMC Marketing Communications & PR.
* Tom Hoffay, Kingston alderman.

And you're welcome, mavens. As a prize, you win a free chance to clean cat poop from a tub and a basement.

Lincoln's got an ax to grind

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man who has written "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" will follow up with an equally absurd book.

Enter Seth Grahame-Smith's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," which arrived at our offices last week in the hopes of getting reviewed. It is the ultimate biography of the 16th president, which you may recall is best known for his ax and his vampire-killing abilities.

Alas, although we are going to start publishing book reviews very soon (the first one at the end of the month), we are only going to review books by local authors, authors who make local appearances, or books that profile our beautiful valley.

Here's the back cover of the book, available March 2 ($21.99):

KILLER UPDATE!: I'm told by Grand Central Publishing that the New York Times best-selling author is "from the Rhinebeck area." Thus, using the criteria above, I'm please to tell you that we'll be talking about vampires and presidents in the near future.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Facebook "like" FAIL!

You may wonder why there is a dude named Ivan Lajara who "likes" this.
I didn't (and I don't).

I was showing a certain city editor who shall remain nameless how weird it was that somebody "liked" such news.

I was using my phone. He clicked on it, smiled and gave me the phone back.

At any rate, "like" FAIL!

By the way, my whole point was going to be that Facebook should have a "dislike" button.

But maybe people do like these kinds of things. Check out the last comment.

Fail, indeed.

For more Facebook! Fail shenanigans, check out, your ultimate source for horrible Facebook snafus.

Like this:

Funny Facebook Fails

Oh, I forgot, the site is NSFW*

NSFW = Not safe for work.

Warning FAIL!

Monday, February 8, 2010

"No Reservations" in the Hudson Valley

Culinary Institute of America graduate Anthony Bourdain stopped by the Hudson Valley in an episode of "No Reservations" that airs tonight at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel.

Locally, he made stops at the Rondout Bay Marina in Kingston, Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz and his old alma matter in Hyde Park.

He's already posted photos.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snookie - the meme

Poughkeepsie native Nicole "Snookie" Polizzi, who grew up in Marlboro and who is one of the stars (?) of MTV's "Jersey Shore," was reportedly booed at Philadelphia's "Wing Bowl."

Worse, she has now become an Internet meme.

God help us all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The storm doesn't like you, again

As you might have read, the storm decided that it is not coming here to see you - again.

If I were you, I would start to get offended.

You can still follow her,
thanks to NASA, and fulfill your stalking tendencies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pete Seeger explains banjo auction termination

Farmiga "cuddling" when she found out about Oscar nod

From USA Today:

Up in the Air's supporting actress nominee Vera Farmiga heard her Oscar nomination news in the best way possible, surrounded by her husband and son at their New York home. "We got the news in bed, the three of us cuddling," says the actress.

Chuck Norris WIN

I forgot to include this meme in Internet teems with crazy, silly memes.

My sincere apologies to Chuck Norris. Let's hope he doesn't find me.

UPDATE: Too late. He found me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Report: Bowie, Iman eyeing Leibovitz's Rhinebeck House

The Daily News is reporting that part-time Woodstock residents David Bowie and Iman toured the Rhinebeck house of Vanity Fair photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose financial troubles have been widely reported.

From the News:
"A spy says David Bowie and wife, Iman, didn't blink at the $11 million price when they toured the place."

Sweet victory

The Culinary Institute of America's monthly recipe video series, "CIA Culinary Intelligence," (get it?) won the 2010 Tasty Award in the Best Food Program – Web category, the Hyde Park college announced this morning.

The nominated episode features CIA Chef Scott Swartz providing a step-by-step demo on the preparation of Eggs Benedict.


The CIA received the award at a Red Carpet Awards Show in San Francisco on Jan. 14.

For more information, visit

And just in time for the Super Bowl, this month's episode is about dips.