Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Limerick Ode To Rick “Fed Up With My Book!” Perry

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

When a candidate tries to distance himself from, say, his doctoral thesis, or a book written a dozen years ago, this passes the straight-face test.

But when Rick Perry tries this with Fed Up! (a book published last fall) it’s hard not to laugh out loud.

Perry’s problem, of course, is that his book is packed with extreme positions, too radical even for his own Republican party. So Perry’s campaign would have us believe that Perry’s Social Security is unconstitutional position from last year is no longer operative. The same goes for his call to repeal the 16th amendment and replace income taxes with a national sales tax.

Limerick Ode To Rick “Fed Up With My Book!” Perry
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Dear Perry, that book you’d disclaim
Was written by you — you’re to blame.
And it’s new — ink’s not dry.
Yet you’re wondering why
We’re on to your radical game.

Sarah Palin Edict: Reality show contestants without talent must not compete … unless their last name is Palin.

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Once again, Sarah Palin shows she has no sense of shame or irony. In her new book America By Heart, the woman has the audacity to criticize American Idol singers as “talent-deprived” contestants who suffer from “the cult of self-esteem.” Now mind you, this is the very same woman whose talentless daughter Bristol has been making a spectacle of herself on Dancing With The Stars.

And that brings me to my latest limerick:

There’s a cult of no-talent, rants Palin.
How ironic’s her Idol show railin’!
With a daughter whose dancing
Is talentless prancing,
What’s next? Bristol’s Idol show wailin’?

(I have lots more Sarah Palin humor here.)

Kindle Swindle? (Updated)

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

After a tough day at work you climb into bed, reach for a paperback book, and find that your nightstand reading material is gone, replaced with a credit for the purchase price. After some digging you learn that paperback copies of the novel you’re in the middle of reading have been repossessed by your local bookshop.

Inconceivable, right? Credit or no credit, invading the privacy of your home and taking a book without your permission would surely constitute one or more crimes.

Now imagine the same scenario, but with an e-book instead of a paperback — an e-book you purchased for your Kindle. That’s exactly what Amazon did to 1984 and Animal Farm buyers.

Repossession via electronic invasion of privacy. If it isn’t a crime, it sure as hell ought to be.

Kindle Swindle? (3 Verse Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Have you noticed your e-book list dwindle?
You’re probably using a Kindle.
A book that you bought
Has turned into naught —
Replaced with a refund. No swindle?

Yet the seller invaded your house.
And did it by clicking a mouse.
Something’s there. Then it’s not.
(An Orwellian plot?)
You’re surely entitled to grouse.

The fact that your money’s returned.
Doesn’t mean that you haven’t been burned.
Your privacy rights
Are gone with those bytes.
This vendor deserves to be spurned.

Update: Some updated information from the New York Times:

An Amazon spokesman, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. “When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices, and refunded customers,” he said.

Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea. “We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances,” Mr. Herdener said.

Update 2: If you would like to read this political satire blog on your Kindle device, you can subscribe right here.

If you would like to read my other general humor blog on your Kindle reader you can subscribe right here.

And my limerick about firewalls, blogging and Kindles is here.

Laughing Matters

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Every so often, one of my essays ends up in a college textbook. It’s a delightful honor, of course. But I’m always just a bit freaked out by the thought of someone writing an essay analyzing one of my essays.

My latest textbook appearance is in Laughing Matters, a “comic rhetoric” textbook by Stanford University’s Marvin Diogenes. It’s a great book, and I’m really proud to have a humor column (actually a satirical music lesson contract between parents and child) included in the “forensic rhetoric” section, along with pieces by Chekhov, Benjamin Franklin, and Ian Frazier.

And happily, it’s NOT a what-not-to-do example.

John Mortimer (Barrister, Author, Rumpole Creator) Dies at 85

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

I was very saddened to read that Rumpole creator John Mortimer died. Not only am I a fan of his books, but I had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing, and profiling John Mortimer for British Heritage Magazine back in 1996 … not to mention sharing champagne with him while we chatted.

Needless to say, I sipped very slowly.

We spoke about everything from feminism and God to computers and murderers. Here are some excerpts from my Mortimer profile:

Judges, according to Mortimer, “take themselves too seriously,” while prisons are a “university of crime.” Mortimer speaks from experience; he earned considerable acclaim as a barrister, especially for his successful defenses in censorship cases. He also represented many divorce clients and accused murderers during his barrister years. According to Mortimer, he much preferred the murderers.

I asked Mortimer which was more difficult to write, comedy or tragedy. “Comedy,” he answered without hesitation. “It is very easy to make people cry, be sad, be miserable. Farce is an incredibly difficult genre. Comedy requires enormous imagination. There are quite a lot of great tragedies, and there aren’t many great comedies.”

Mortimer was equally emphatic about the relative difficulties of his two careers. “Writing is much, much harder than being a lawyer. If you’re a lawyer you can rattle on doing things other people can do. If you’re a writer, you’ve got to do something which nobody else can do. Except writing has less disastrous results. If you write a bad book, no one goes to prison, which is rather a relief.”

Mortimer appears to relish making comments that would tend to provoke a rise, or at least a laugh. Indeed, he laughs easily and often, a condition I found quite contagious. When asked if it’s possible for men and women to communicate without gender getting in the way, he said, laughing, “No. Thank God for it. Vive La Difference.” He added with another chuckle, “I think women don’t want to be sex objects, but I’d love to be a sex object. My own ambition is to be loved only for my body.”

Mortimer, like Rumpole, enjoys making fun of feminists. Yet I sensed that behind his flippant love-me-for-my-body remark was a man who, again like Rumpole, measures women when it matters on merit alone. I suggested that while many women enjoy being sex objects, they don’t want gender to interfere with their careers. “Absolutely,” Mortimer responded, “and so it shouldn’t.”

You can read my entire John Mortimer interview here.

(Cross-posted on my general Humor Blog.)

Fox on Bush

Monday, September 17th, 2007

In his new book, Revolution of Hope: The Life, Faith, and Dreams of a Mexican President, former Mexican President Vicente Fox had this to say about George W. Bush:

The cockiest guy I have ever met in my life.

I’m guessing he’s seen Bush in his “Mission Accomplished” gear. [tags]Mission Accomplished Humor, Vicente Fox, Mexico President, Political Memoirs, Cocky Bush, Revolution Of Hope[/tags]

Jenna Bush, Author? (Updated re Today Show Gig)

Friday, January 19th, 2007

In a move sure to aggravate unagented (and poorly agented) authors, Jenna Bush has scored a high-powered literary agent — Robert Barnett.  So, what’s the subject of Jenna’s masterpiece?  Barnett has been shopping her “young-adult book based on the former grade school teacher’s experiences with charity causes in Latin America” to New York publishers.  Oh, goody!  (Via PoliticalWire)

Jenna Bush, Author?
By Madeleine Begun Kane

A Bush twin (not Barb, but the other)
Is shopping a kid’s book. Oh, brother!
Can Jenna Bush write?
Do her verbal skills bite?
Let us hope she takes after her mother. 

Update 9/31/09: Incoherent quote of the day from Jenna Bush Hager, talking about her new gig as a Today Show correspondent:

It wasn’t something I’d always dreamed to do. But I think one of the most important things in life is to be open-minded and to be open-minded for change.

Let’s hope somebody else writes her scripts.

Entertaining Books: The Republican Playbook; Anonymous Lawyer

Friday, October 20th, 2006

I have two funny books to recommend today. Let’s start with The Republican Playbook, by the always entertaining Andy Borowitz. Somehow or another Borowitz got hold of Dubya’s personally annotated copy of the GOP Bible. (I’m betting pretzels were involved.) And, as Bush himself scribbles on the back cover:

Note to self: this book contains all our dirtiest tricks… If it ever gets out, we’re toast. Make sure it doesn’t fall out of pocket while on bike!

It’s a very amusing read!

And speaking of amusing reads, Anonymous Lawyer, by Jeremy Blachman, made me laugh out loud. You may already be familiar with Blachman’s blog of the same name.  Well the book is even better, a satirical look at law firm life from the viewpoint of a fictional hiring partner at a large law firm in a major city.  It reminded me why I don’t practice law anymore, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

[tags]Funny Books, Andy Borowitz, The Republican Playbook, Jeremy Blachman, Anonymous Lawyer, Books Reviews[/tags]

Bob Woodward, Born Again Journalist

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

Bob Woodward, Born Again Journalist
By Madeleine Begun Kane

State of Denial’s
Bob Woodward’s new book.
At long last he’s onto
Those devious crooks.

It neatly compiles
Much dirt on George Bush.
How nice that Bob Woodward’s
Stopped kissing Dub’s tush.

(My political poems are collected here.)
[tags]Bob Woodward, State of Denial, Journalism Humor, Media Bias, Mediocre Media, Woodward Bush Coverage[/tags]