My western sojourn is complete. The thing that impressed me most about Livermore, and its neighbor Pleasanton, CA, is that both towns’ main streets have shops with life-sized fiberglass horses out front. Something you don’t find here in Manhattan.

I also rediscovered that I am a terrible and impatient driver. However, I managed not to kill or even seriously wound any human, and I caused almost no property damage, so my time behind the wheel must be judged a success.

Since I have been gone, the links have piled up. Here are a few of them.

Alarm Crock “Simon Briscoe, morbid Brit, statistician and co-author of the new book ‘Panicology,’ which uses hard data to separate actual threats from perceived ones.” Sent in by XYLKT.

Thiner is better to combat global warming This report, emailed from Ari, concludes the exact opposite of what Dr Harrister, PhD proved in a scientific study, and says fat people burn more CO2 than do thin people. But the report clearly fails to consider that thin people “exercise” too much and burn way more O2 (and thus convert that O2 into CO2).

London Book Review has reviewed Breaking the Law of Averages. Money quote: “If there’s a criticism of the book it’s that it really could have done with a better proof-read – sometimes the typos really do get in the way. Hopefully future editions will clear this up.” Amen, brother; I hope so, too.

The Tree Museum I get about three to four press releases a day, all inviting me to post. Most of them are asinine, and I’m not saying this one isn’t, but it is, at least, bizarre. Tree Museum is a novel which “is a social thriller that follows a world completely transformed by an enigmatic and powerful totalitarian force known only as the Signmakers. In effort to transform humanity into a self-sufficient and environmentally stable civilization, the Signmakers ruthlessly and systematically eliminate anything and any person that they deem wasteful. The story follows a torn couple on their odyssey throughout the American southwest while the Signmakers transform the world around them.” If anybody reads this, please send me a review. Might compete with this book for worst all time sci fi novel.

Why two? This was the question we asked of gay marriage supporters. It has been answered. “First came traditional marriage. Then, gay marriage. Now, there’s a movement combining both—simultaneously. Abby Ellin visits the next frontier of nuptials: the ‘triad.’..’I want to walk down the street hand in hand in hand in hand and live together openly and proclaim our relationship,’ says Sasha Lessin [1 of 3]. ‘But also to have all those survivor and visitation rights and tax breaks and everything like that.'” Sent in by Anonymous.

Peddlar joins PhD program without a degree! “Despite failing his college entrance exam years ago, the 38-year-old street peddler and part-time bicycle taxi driver from Jinzhou, Liaoning province, followed his love and continued to study classic Chinese literature on his own.” His work was eventually recognized by a university and he was allowed entrance. Gives you hope that there is still some sense left in the world. Sent in by my Number One Son.

Could deadly swine flu be caused by climate change? “Has climate change and poor water sanitation played a role in the emergence of a previously unknown deadly swine super virus? It is too soon to tell and a lot more investigation will need to be conducted…but it might be a very frightening and conceivable reality. ” (ellipsis and emphasis in original). It might also mean that we are dealing with a dull-witted columnist. Sent in by Bob Thompson.


  1. DAV

    re: the street peddler in the PhD program.

    Is a degree really required for entrance into such a program? If not, should it be?

    I would think experience, which is a better teacher than any degree program, should count. I know of at least one individual who was admitted as a Comp. Sci. PhD candidate at Carnegie-Mellon without a prior degree.

  2. Scumop

    Could deadly swine flu be caused by the unhygenic?

    Because flies would be attracted to the gaping drooling mouths of half-wits who would blame anything and everything bad on global warming.

  3. costanza

    In the lab, do they still haves the “pick up a bicycle when you need it and drop it when you get there” policy? Personally, I found that to be pretty cool. And VERY Californian.

  4. Briggs


    They do! I noticed some bike envy by those not quick enough to snag one at lunchtime.

    Even stranger to me was the number of people without hats. Bright, desert sun and exposed pates. Nasty business.

  5. Matt, the problem with hats is what to do with them whilst surfing. Everything else dries off pretty evenly in the warm California sun, but hats just look like drowned kittens. So now you know. Only cat lovers wear hats in California. That’s about every 4 millionth person, by my count.

  6. Hi William,

    Publisher for The Tree Museum here. I know, I know. The idea sounds crazy, but seriously, it’s a fantastic read. Be happy to send you a copy.

    Thanks for the mention,

  7. Briggs


    I’ll take you up on that (I’ll send an email).


    Ocean? Water? I saw a drainage ditch with a bridge over it and a pool in the motel, but that was the closest I came to water.

  8. Hmmm. At first I thought you might have been sidetracked somehow to Livermore, Colorado, but then you mentioned a motel and they don’t have one. So maybe “climate change” went and dried up the drainage ditch. I’ll look next time I go see the pond.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *