austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

But should we meet, that would excite me

I have an Amazon.com sales rank! I haven't been watching Amazon and the sales of my co-authored textbook closely largely out of a desire not to receive any bad news, but Dad checks it a couple of times daily and is happy to keep me updated on the number of copies they have and the number of ``Used and new'' compies available. That a ``used'' copy might be up for sale, considering the book has been available for under three months now, disturbs me, since that would imply a person who bought it and was immediately repulsed by its contents, but ``used and new'' blurs over that distinction. In any case he's never seen fit to mention if I have a sales rank or anything, so my happening to check it today was new information. Up to this point I hadn't sold enough to merit ranking. But at the moment I'm writing this sentence, at least, I'm number 1,886,628. I've cracked the top two million!

This comes the same day that I saw a friend I knew back in the early 90s as one of the interviewees on a History Channel (or something in that block of channels featuring lots of long, heavily narrated blocks of exposition) show. We were always on reasonably friendly terms, even if the rest of us in the campus newspaper chided his pretentious writing. He did a lot of record reviews and opinion pieces on campus politics, which will bring the snob out of anyone. (I recall writing a parody of him for some reason with a line like ``an unencumbering je ne sais quoi overcoming a banal comme ci, comme ça with a delightful plume de ma tante sans the ennui'' -- everyone agreed I got his pacing right, although I think they just recognized, as anyone would, that he liked saying ``banal'' and ``ennui''. I remember him thinking Billy Bragg -- an office favorite -- too banal and putting a lot of musicians unpleasant to listen to on the office tape deck.) Still, it was nice to see he's alive, reasonably well, and in the past fifteen years has done much to advance his fake English accent.

As it's shaping up to be a coincidental kind of day: I just discovered that the Encyclopædia Britannica kid -- remember him? He had a report due on space? Then he got the new Encyclopædia Britannica? Yes, you do -- was Stan Freberg's son. And Freberg was the announcer. I had no idea. One of my other friends from that campus paper once went as the Encyclopædia Britannica Kid for Halloween one year. (He used an old yearbook -- we had a lot laying around after chasing the yearbook staff out of our office -- as an encyclopedia volume.)

Trivia: The original, 1768, edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica had three volumes: one for the letters A and B, and two for the letters C through Z. Source: Know-It-All, A J Jacobs.

Currently Reading: Eyewitness to the Civil War, Neil Kagan, Stephen G Hyslop.

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