Sunshine and showers

I'm somewhat overwhelmed by April Fools' Day jokes and spoofs – the online world and RSS subscriptions do give old traditions a new meaning in volume if nothing else -  I've filtered here a few of the ones that I've enjoyed the most.

Having read recently about the loneliness of (even celebrity) book-signing writers (this post is but one of many examples of the phenomenon, but is a very nice post), I was intrigued by the Big bad book blog's solution: seven tips to make your next in-store signing a success. The advice includes letting readers know the book is available on Amazon in advance, thus saving the hassle of inventory at the shop; hiring actors to queue; and using invisible ink.

In a publishing coup this week, Picador acquired the rights from Evelyn Waugh’s estate to publish a previously unknown novel, Perfect Tense, which the author wrote in the early 1930s. According to the publisher's blog: "Although nearing completion on it in 1933, Waugh was distracted by his travel writing and began A Handful of Dust instead, never to return to the project. All the more remarkably, any knowledge of it had eluded not only his biographers but also his estate, until it was discovered among his papers late last year while they were being documented at the University of Texas."  

Keen investigative journalist Brian Sibley reported at 0001 hours this morning that Disney is involved in marketing Viagra. (Warning, link goes to illustration!)

“While admittedly unusual, the case of dwarf tossing illuminates several themes central to the field of bioethics including the issues of human dignity, autonomy, and the protection of vulnerable people,” write Carlo Leget, Pascal Borry and Raymond De Vries in the latest edition of Bioethics. Read on at The Great Beyond, the blog of Nature's intrepid news reporters.

Nature Network, of course, is replete with the darn things. I'm sure I've missed a few, but try Twitter for peer review (beats the Guardian's feeble effort); are you SLOGging today?; what gives planets their red colour (long, long, ago, in a galaxy far, far away); and perhaps my favourite, journal surprises. A few more science-related gags are collected up at Questionable Authority. Yet another Twitter-related joke here, and John Battelle reports that Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp is buying the service for $750 million cash: what's with that Twitter?! Isn't anything else funny? Is it even funny, in fact?

Getting back to a more usual topic for these parts, Janet Rudolph has come up with the goods again with her post round-up April Fools' mysteries. Happy reading!

Famous literary hoaxes.

Sadly, not an April Fool.

Also not an April Fool, but happy:  "Palaeontology is like that. You know, nothing for thirty million years and then it all happens at once"

Also not an April Fool but shouldn't it be? Apply to be head of MI5.

3 thoughts on “Sunshine and showers

  1. The Evelyn Waugh story would have fooled me, had I only read the teaser paragraph. The University of Texas at Austin has wonderful documents, manuscripts, and archives at the Harry Ransom Center, including an extensive collection of James Joyce material.
    Several years ago, I had planned to drive up to the Ransom Center in Austin to look at the notes on the Oxen of the Sun chapter of Ulysses, in their Garland James Joyce Archive (63 volumes!). Never got around to it, unfortunately, and abandoned my planned essay on Joyce’s ideas about embryology. I’ve always dreamed about doing literary research, so perhaps I should get back to my little project. Not as straightforward as using PubMed, though.
    Anyway, it didn’t seem strange to me that Waugh’s papers would be documented at UT.

  2. I agree, Barn Owl, the Picador April Fool seems to me to have been written by someone with some literary credentials, unlike some of the other ones I read yesterday. Nice to see you over here! I hope you might write a blog post, at least, about Joyce and embryology one of these days, if you don’t manage to write a full essay.

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