Monday, May 07, 2012

A Hollow Victory

"He probably entered the bag alive, Wilcox said, reading her ruling to a court around the corner from the home of the world's most famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes." - from a CNN report British spy in bag was poisoned or suffocated, coroner rules, May 2012

With a keyboard click, Facebook users can now donate up to 100 body parts, which is a good thing. But why aren’t we worried about friending our organs in a public way for any nut to consider and digest? - from Fred Sepkowitz on "Facebook's Organ-Donor Option" in the Daily Beast, May 2012

My Zaarly Request
Where do fictional people live?

Not necessarily in fictional houses, that's for sure. Some fictional people actually have real addresses. Physical addresses. Addresses so real that you can locate them on Google maps.

I first encountered a real-life fictional person's residence last century when I came across a gawkle of tourists clamering to get into "Juliet's house" at Via Cappello, 23, 37121 Verona, Italy.

Of course Ms Capulet wasn't home, but the tourists were there, looking up at the balcony, a-wishing and a-hoping.

And then, last year, I walked past Jane Austen's house in Bath, England. There was a man covered in talcum powder standing outside. I hurried on. Tourist stuff. Only to be expected in provincial cities that are trying to assert themselves on the maps of modern travel.

The stuff of tourist literature and glossy pamphlets advertising packaged tours - one doesn't expect to read about pretend places the news, even if it's American-flavoured news. But there it was last week, in the middle of a CNN report on Gareth Williams,the British spy.
Bath, England
The coroner was described as reading her report to a court "around the corner from the ... home of Sherlock Holmes".

Ridiculous must be contagious - Katy Lee (AFP), writing about the same news item, reported that the same coroner concluded that the spy, whose naked body was found padlocked in a bag in his bathtub, was "probably unlawfully killed". Yeah, sure. ASIF there was any possibility that death by being padlocked in a bag in a bath could have happened by natural causes.

The silly season must have arrived early this year. A few days later I read something equally fantastic. Kent Sepkowitz - New York infectious-disease specialist; - wrote an article about the dangers of Facebook's recent organ donation initiative. "Facebook users can now donate up to 100 body parts", he warned. Adding, "why aren't we worried about friending our organs in a public way for any nut to consider and digest?"

He wasn't alone in his paranoia - I heard views similar to his voiced on CNN. "Friending" organs might result in ghouls going after  you to harvest them. Apparently no one could possibly know we had organs unless we posted them on Facebook. Heartless, liverless, pancreasless, we are all organ-less until we Facebook post ....

And what did the good doctor mean by "friending" organs? It is bad enough having a Facebook word entering into the English language, but at least use it correctly.

The week was drawing to a close. I'd decided not to read or even listen to the news - it was all too silly. Riding home on the Q60 bus, I was engrossed in novel. Instinctively I knew that the man sitting next to me was one of those "is that a Kindle?" people, about to interrupt my reading.

It turned out that his comment was even more ridiculous than I had anticipated.

"Is that Facebook?" he asked, pointing to my Kindle. No "Excuse me," or "I hate to interrupt..." but New York style sans any courtesy, a no-frills question.
Waiting for the Q60

Without looking up I replied with a "no" and continued reading.

"It's hard to know what's what," he babbled on, "I wrote a paper once about how people would stop reading with all this modern stuff and I was right ..." Ramble ramble. What a fool.

But I suppose I should be thankful for his idiocy, as it gave me a brilliant idea. An idea whose time has come. I am about to make a prototype and hence my Zaarly wanted ad above.

I am going to get a heap of hardback books and have them hollowed out. Hollowed out just enough to hid my Kindle in. Then I can carry it with me, camouflaged. I'll be able at last to read in peace.

A paper add-on to an e-book! The ease of reading with the added bonus of the "feel of paper" - a feel that is apparently so important to the non-reader bus people of this world - that it prevents them from buying Kindles. Those "I-love-the-feel-of-paper-in-the-morning people". In true American spitit I have perceived a need, and will meet it and make my fortune.

The paper e-book camouflage cover.

Now all I need is a name for it.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Steve Kenney said...

Hi Kate, good idea. You could have a range. A black ring binder, Business (Don't bother me I'm working) Model might carry a bit of weight in NY.

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