Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Areas of My Expertise...and Whatnot

The Areas of My Expertise

While waiting for my students to submit their completion forms, I took out from my knapsack this book (hardbound copy,Php20)which I blindly bought from Booksale yesterday. The author's introduction GOOD EVENING seemed a little bit whacky and surprisingly compelling. "I say "good evening," though of course I don't know what time it is where you are. This is one of the defining sorrows of books: that we cannot see each other. Of course it might have been different had my Publisher inserted the camera I designed to fit snugly in the spine of this book in order to spy on you. But this was determined to be "too expensive" and "too illegal," and so we are left once again to our imaginations (p.14)."

I actually enjoyed reading the charts and graphs of information, although most of which are fictional (as the author admitted). I suppressed my urge to laugh (since I was in the library) while dipping into the tables on Omens V. Portents or some sort of predictions observed, and when correlated, produce some of the more startling predictions for the coming year (including predictions for sailors). Since it is a satirical almanac, the book focuses on hobo names and descriptions of the 51 states comprising the USA. The 51st state, Hodgman says, is called "Hohoq (also known as Ar)" and "frequently moves across the continent by unknown means and seems to disappear altogether." He also says that Hohoq is home to the "Thunderbirds," giant eagles who shoot lightning from their eyes and transform into men. The state is described as having a complicated political history with the federal government, at one point being represented in the federal senate by an enormous shape-shifting raven (

I have been skimming through entertaining stuff from the book and I must say that it never failed me. This is not for people who dig reliable information, since "this book was not written with any special equipment besides the English language and a standard Sentence Machine."

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