Monthly Archives: January 2006

Courtroom Quotations

A bit of levity for a Saturday morning:

* Lawyer: “Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?”
* Witness: “No.”
* Lawyer: “Did you check for blood pressure?”
* Witness: “No.”
* Lawyer: “Did you check for breathing?”
* Witness: “No.”
* Lawyer: “So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?”
* Witness: “No.”
* Lawyer: “How can you be so sure, Doctor?”
* Witness: “Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.”
* Lawyer: “But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?”
* Witness: “Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.”

More courtroom quotes at Things People Said: Courtroom Quotations

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Stupidity in action

I’ve never been a fan of the Conservative Party, and specifically not of Stephen Harper, but this latest news story just confirmed to me how idiotic some of their candidates are.

Apparently, Derek Zeisman a Conservative candidate in B. C. is under investigation for smuggling goods out of the US into Canada. Now, many of us have been guilty of refraining to declare a couple of bottles over the limit and, legally, it is smuggling. Getting caught in doing this would be bad enough for a politician, whose life is –and must be– under scrutiny. Mr. Zeisman, on the other hand, went for the grand gesture: he tried to smuggle a Mercedes and, wait for it, 112 containers of alcohol. And get this:

Zeisman is a cross-border trade specialist, and up until the time of the charges he was working as a trade commissioner for the federal government.

Now, I ask you, how stupid is that? Mr. Zeisman states that he has “had nothing to hide during this campaign and those charges which were not even criminal charges are unjustified.” Sure, Mr. Zeisman. That’s why you didn’t tell your party leader about it. That’s why Mr. Gouk, who is retiring and is ceding his seat to Mr. Zeisman, said nothing about it either. Mr. Harper has decided to “stand by their man”, but I wonder if he would have signed off on Zeisman’s candidacy if he’d been forthcoming with the charges.

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Team Player is out

My good friend and colleague’s new novel, Team Player is now availaible from Double Dragon publishing, as an ebook only for the moment.

Speaking of ebooks, there are some new ebook readers coming soon on the market.

Sony is coming up with a reader that uses e-ink (“e-ink forms text by electronically arranging thousands of tiny black and white capsules, creating an experience remarkably similar to reading a printed page” says Burt Helm, of Business Week Online) that’ll cost between $300 and $500 US, the price of an iPod, they say. As opposed to their Librié flop, Sony has teamed up with publishing giants such as HarperCollins who “plans to digitize the entire frontlist and backlist — up to 25,000 titles — and make them available at the Sony store as soon as HarperCollins negotiates royalty rights with authors. Random House, meanwhile, will also offer its entire front- and backlist for sale online — another 25,000 titles.”

iRex technology will be coming up soon (around April 2006) with the Iliad, also using e-ink.

Also using e-ink, Jinke will come out with the V2 with essentially the same features.

Business Week Online also adds:

Then in early ’07, another Philips spin-off, Polymer Vision, and a British startup called Plastic Logic plan to introduce readers that are even more booklike than Sony’s device.

The Polymer Vision reader will roll up like papyrus, while Plastic Logic’s reader will be about as flexible as a magazine.

With paper books sales on the sharp decline, major publishers have finally embraced the ebook technology in the same way music giants have had to accept MP3 technology and work with it.

The positive of these readers is that the screen is much larger than other reading devices, and e-ink makes the reading experience the same, if not better than reading a book, since you can now bookmark, search, highlight, as well as scribbling notes like the memo feature on a PDA, and listen to music. Because they’ll support pdf, html, txt files, the readers can be used for more than reading books.

The Sony Reader is not yet available, but will sell for $350US. If the two other companies were smart, they’d come in way under that for price. Nothing like a bit of competition.

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Your chuckle of the day

Things aren’t going too well as far as the publication of my book. It came out at the end of November and I still don’t have a copy in my hot little hands. amazon US indicated it would take over a month to send me a copy (since it has to cross the border, their excuse is increased security after 911. Yeah, right.) I guess if you’re living in the States, you can get Meter Made right away. Otherwise, you’re SOL so far.

So, I’ve decided to cheer myself up. I found these small ads from the UK that made me chuckle, so I’m presenting them to you.

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The Eternal Night

I’ve had the website The Eternal Night in my links page on my own website for more than a year, but I thought it merited a push here as well. The Eternal Night (meaning Steve and Lesley Mazey) do more for the promotion of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror) than anyone I know.

Many experts speculate that the release of the first Star Wars film in 1977 (damn, that was nearly 30 years ago) if not killed written sf, at least wounded it seriously. Science fiction is now equated by audiences (and potential readers) with special effects. Case in point: the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which on screen was short on story but loaded with s/fx. Even the latest fantasy film, The Narnia Chronicles: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, although faithful to its wonderful and solid story is one special effects after another. Science fiction and fantasy is now what magic companies such as Light and Magic can produce.

Yet, the writing of speculative fiction is far from dead. It is more vibrant than ever, often straddles genres, and continuously calls on us to take out and dust up our imagination, then give it an airing.

The Eternal Night helps with that, every week, most often every day. There are reviews of various authors –and not all of them well-known, thank the Lord, bibliographies of authors, archives of magazines, most of those out-of-print, stories, sample chapters, interviews, press releases, and chronicles such as books received or trip photos.

I’ve spent many an hour roaming through the site, learning about new authors, finding books that interest me. One fantastic feature in the bibliography section, for instance, is the linking of the author’s name to amazon in the UK, US and in Canada. You can also click on the author’s name and get to the same place. So you have no excuse not to buy a book you find interesting.

So visit this incredible site, find a couple of authors that attract you, and start reading. Reading SF if much more fun than watching it. Believe me. And if you don’t, believe Steve and Lesley.

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