ITEM: The Jehovah’s Witnesses have developed a new strategy – they’ve started sending good looking young women round to knock on doors. It seems terribly ungrateful (but also agreeably debauched) to have impure thoughts about people who are only interested in saving my soul.
ITEM: Yesterday I turned the house upside down in search of something that had gone missing. I didn’t find it, but I did discover £3.50 in loose change, an unopened and now out of date box of condoms, enough receipts to wallpaper the spare room, four photographs of The Imaginary Girlfriend taken when she was as good looking in reality as she now is only in my imagination, yet another front door key (I now have four – why do I need four front door keys?), my blood donor book and badge, a letter that was dated 2005 and I thought I’d replied to (wondered why I’d never heard from the guy since, and guess now I know), any number of extremely rude birthday cards, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, I just bunged the last one in, but however you cut it, everything suggests that I am a man who likes his clutter. Oh yeah, and there was a stone with a strange pattern on it that I picked up on a beach and brought home with me for reasons that I now can’t bring to mind.
What’s the strangest thing any of you guys have found while looking for something else?
ITEM: Subject line of a recent spam email – ‘Penis Growth Sample’. They’re going to send me a foreskin clipping?
Ladies, purely as a matter of interest, do any of you ever get spam for bigger boobies?
ITEM: So far today two people have turned up at this blog after using the search engine term ‘peter tennant dog walker’. I’m flummoxed. Is it some neologism for a peculiar form of sexual activity?
ITEM: Let’s get serious for a moment. Over on his blog the redoubtable Stephen Theaker is writing about soliciting votes for awards and so is the equally redoubtable Juliet McKenna on her blog, though somewhat more comprehensively.
The worst case of ‘ballot stuffing’ I ever saw was in connection with that never reliable indicator of achievement the Preditors & Editors Awards. For those who don’t know – you cast your vote and an email is sent asking you to verify. One gentleman was boasting on a message board that he had voted for himself multiple times using the names of everyone in his e-address book, and sent a mass mailing out telling them to just click ‘Yes’ when they got asked to verify.
I thought he was a complete and utter arsehole. He didn’t win either.
ITEM: Mr Theaker is also writing about reviewing under a pseudonym, and as happens so often I find myself in total agreement with him. It’s not up to reviewers to arrogantly declare that conflict of interest isn’t a problem, and then use a pseudonym to avoid criticism from those who feel otherwise. Taking that argument to its logical conclusion we might as well allow authors to write the reviews of their own work, perhaps with reviews from friends and family to crank up the numbers, though of course everyone would need to use pseudonyms to prevent these outrageous accusations of personal bias.
Oh, wait a minute, Amazon and Goodreads have already got it covered.
Full disclosure – back in the early days of Zine/Zene I did review one of my own stories and considered it arguably the best in the magazine under discussion, but I didn’t use a pseudonym and conceded that ‘my judgement might be out to lunch’, or words to that effect.
Readers must be free to make up their own minds if a pinch of salt is required when considering a review, and the person who wrote the review shouldn’t remove the condiments from the table.