May 2007 Archives

One of my favorite neologisms is "tivodultery," coined earlier today, at my request, by my friend James. It describes the act of watching a TV program on your own when you normally watch it with your spouse.

The reason I needed James to come up with a word for this act is that I am being tempted to commit it.

I'm currently a week behind in Lost--I just got back from a week in Cannes. And tonight is the season finale. And my wife is in Helsinki on business and won't be back until Friday. And we've watched every episode of Lost except one together.

What makes it especially tricky is that, according to a rumor from a reliable source (WARNING: VERY VAGUELY PHRASED PREDICTIONS THAT WILL TELL YOU NOTHING BUT MAY TECHNICALLY BE A SPOILER), tonight's season finale has some huge, game-changing plot twists. Of course, they said that about the season one finale, and it turned out to be (WARNING: SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE IN CASE YOU ARE TWO YEARS BEHIND IN WATCHING THE SERIES) the shocking revelation that behind the hatch door... there was actually a hatch of some kind. So maybe tonight will be a washout.

But if it's not, then the next 48 hours are going to be very delicate for me. I'm thinking I may not be able to read any blogs or online news, lest I spy a headline like "LOST Shocker: They're All Dead Figments of Hurley's Imagination In An Alien Zoo! Plus Hurley Is Claire! Who Is Also Dead And Imaginary!" Or something like that.

Oh, tivodultery! Why must thou tempt me?

Good-bye, Tony

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A few hours ago, I watched Tony Blair announce that he'll be ending his decade as Prime Minister on June 27. (Or "27 June," as we like to call it here.)

Pundits seem to be zeroing in on the part of his speech dealing with the invasion of Iraq, but for me, the most striking moment was when he said six simple words: "This is the greatest nation on earth."

In an American political speech, such a declaration is pretty much mandatory. Somewhere in the US, there may be an elected official who has never declared that America is the greatest country on the planet, but I doubt it.

In England, though, it's much rarer. We Americans are comfortable selling ourselves, individually and collectively. But the trappings of patriotism that Americans love--giant flags, country-wide celebrations of national pride, boasts about our nation's greatness--seem to make the English a trifle embarrassed.

After a bit of Googling, I've been able to turn up just one instance of a modern British politician using the phrase: in 2002, Tory leader Ian Duncan Smith told his party conference, "For me, this is the greatest country on earth." And note the first two words of the quote, which qualify it as a subject personal preference, not an indisputable scientific fact.

If you read Blair's quote, you'll notice no such hedging. However, if you hear it, or watch the video, you'll notice a slightly defensive tone in the way he says it.

Help Me Sell Books

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Now that The Government Manual for New Pirates is shipping, I have a few requests for my friends. (And by "friends," I mean "anybody who is willing to help me sell books." If Mahmoud Ahmandinejad gives me a good review on Amazon.com, then by God, he counts as well.)

1. If you've read New PIrates and enjoyed it, write up a little review of it at its webpage on Amazon and/or the online retailer of your choice. This doesn't have to be long or detailed--just a few sentences so that anybody browsing the page will know that other folks have read and enjoyed the book.

2. While you're visiting the pirates Amazon page, take a minute and enter some "tags" for the book. "Tags" are just keywords that Amazon uses to help classify the book. Adding tags will help Amazon recommend The Government Manual for New Pirates to users who might like it.

To enter tags, scroll down to "Tag this product", or just hit "t" twice. Then, in the little box, enter a word or phrase you think is relevant to the book. "Pirates" would be a good one. Hit enter, and type in the next word or phrase. In addition to "pirates", here are some other tags you might enter:
funny
humor
pirate
Pirates of the Caribbean
gift

I admit--I don't know how much importance Amazon places on tags, so don't spend too much time doing this. But if you're willing to spend a minute or so, it might well be worthwhile.

Ten thousand thundering typhoons!

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The Government Manual for New Pirates is now shipping from Amazon, and I imagine that it will be in real-life bookstores at any moment.

In honor of this momentous occasion, Matthew and I are pleased to unveil The Official Website of the Pirate Government. Of particular utility is the Automatic Pirate Curse Generator, which will provide you with an entirely new, randomly generated curse every time you load the page.

A billion baroque basilisks on a musty marlinspike! Why are you still reading this when you should be clicking the link?

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