Operation Empire

This is obviously my personal site but my online content arsenal is vast. It includes Greater Gotham: Going Global, a blog about being out and about in New York City and what happens when you turn Gotham Girl lose on the UK; Fabulous Foodie, where food and food culture are served up a la carte. Last but not least, there is Modern Parlance -- home to my hard-working writer alter ego and headquarters in my nefarious plan to take over the world. It is also home to my work blog - Personal Parlance, where I hold forth on publishing, books, social media, communication, indexing, writing, education and anything else content-wise that catches my eye. 

I had wanted to call the whole thing Operation Empire but several of my friends suggested that might put people off. Upon consideration I decided that a) they were right (so went with Modern Parlance) and b) to effectively take over the world, I would need fewer friends and more minions. Applications being accepted now.

Scribbles & Notes

Of course, the word-smithing started long before the plan for world domination. At one time or another, my personal writing projects have included:

Take 2 Movie Reviews which proved indirectly that I once had a social life where as TV Rants & Raves suggested perhaps that I didn't. (I take comfort in the fact that I haven't updated it lately - which suggests that things are looking up.)

The only thing my ongoing Bibliomania ever suggested was that I needed more shelves and the patience to wait for  paperbacks. Publishing Grunt's Bible came about because working with books isn't the thrill ride that reading or buying them is. 

There were pure flights of fancy like Staving off Ennui, the Server Sees the Sights; there were answers to hypothetical questions like "what should go in a toy hall of fame and then there were the snarkathons - first site website I ever did - Alias Smith & Jones Site and the Dark Shadows Snarkathon.

Much older material is kept in the Ephemera Archives - moved to the backburner but not completely forgotten. Who knows what'll end up catching my attention next...

And in the night...I dreamed of a world without authors. And it was good.

To die, to sleep perchance to email...ay, there's the rub. The authors also have email.

Why, oh why must I suffer these megalomaniacal strings and arrows? Better by far to suffer the ones of outrageous fortune. Oh, to take arms against the sea of troubles (read: authors) and by opposing end them.

And in the distance I see the outline of a thought, like a shadow on a hill. I fumble I stumble at last I get there and when I do the hill is gone. Not there at all. Then the alarm clock goes off, it's discordance jarring me from a nightmare where I stood, rooted to the ground unable to flee their damned requests for flyers, for ads, for reviews in the New York Times Book Review.

Wherefore art though a mid-level author. Cast off your manuscript and I'll no longer be in marketing. I'll take the high road and you take the low road and if all goes well, I'll be employed elsewhere before you notice.

-- the Book of Deborah, verses 9-21

Hear me O' author: thou shalt not lament that thine own manuscript hath not for the nonce entered copyediting, especially on days of fire and brimstone when mine own telephone worketh not.

    -- excerpt from the 10 reprimandments

And lo' the director said to the marketing staff "look and see that your budgets have been cut." And there was much gnashing of teeth

And the marketing managers told the authors and explained about the lack of plenty and the harsh realities therein. And there was much gnashing of teeth

And the author stable cried out in one voice "But without more money the books will sit silent and unheard, their message stilled." And there was much gnashing of teeth

And when in the end, the reviews came two years too late and tenure was denied, there was much gnashing of teeth

    -- from the Book of Fables (Hardcover only $69.96)

Wherefore art thine editors of yore? O wherefore art thou, editor who asketh questions before he promiseth authors the unattainable because he wanteth authors off his back and unto mine? Whence cometh thine emails that demand that I delivereth that which the editor hath promised? o woe is me, fixer of messes, straightener of mistakes, she who lieth to authors to compensate for misinformation.

    -- Epistle to the Editors (NP; not yet entered in Production, although book date promised 7/97).

And there came a time when the books were out of stock.

And the editor did that which is right in the eyes of the author and promised him his books overnight.

Wherefore the wrath of the author was on Inventory Control and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your own eyes. For 'lo the editor has had a reprint card on this title for four and twenty months and has ignored the pleas of the faithful in Inventory Control but now speaks with false tongue to the author.

Then they went to the Home Office and said "We need stock on this title" but there was none. Moreover they went to Australia and said "We need stock on this title" but there was none.

Then the editor rose early and set his assistant upon the faithful and Inventory Control took to the Warehouse and, behold, a copy of the book was found in returns. And the faithful brought the book to the Federal Express box as the messenger had already departed and the book was sent. And there was no rejoicing.

And on the second day the editor set his assistant upon the faithful with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of Holly, and asked for more books.

    -- Chronicles of the Warehouse II.4-.25

"A plague on all their classes" cried the lowly marketing staff when the exam copy requests returneth without payment.

And fie to he who thinks he can demandeth exam copies over the phone for he is a man that dwelleth not in the house of the chosen.

For what is an exam copy but a kindess bestowed upon them but the publishers. And what do the prophets tell us but that good things come to those who wait. And so we share the words of the prophet and starteth the process to maileth the book.

Wherefore then is this tantrum, these demands for overnight service. What is this vile spewing of spleen directed at those who would bestow such a gift. For a professor who speaketh with such blackness of heart is a professor who does not dwelleth in the house of the chosen -- and who will be scorned by customer service to his eternal regret.

 -- Examinations and Lamentations, verses 30-34

As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the editorial assistant when the exhibit shipment arrives and there are no featured books. Saying to the editor "the stock, it will be there" and doing nothing so that the books may follow.

Having turned their back and not their face but in the time of their trouble they will say to Inventory Control, Arise, and save us.

But where are these requests as you have made them? Let THEM arise if they can save thee in times of trouble. Where are these faxes, these e-mails, these telephone requests for stock? There are none. Where is the gratis order form? It is empty. For according to the law of VISTA there shall be no books removed from the shelves save for those that have been placed on the gratis order forms, yet you plead with me to send them so that thy butt may be saved.

Can a maid forget her ornaments or a bride her attire yet these books have been forgotten for days without number. Behold, I will plead with thee for thou sayest that you must have these books.

Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way when a gratis order form can be filled out without even leaving your desk?

Yea, thou shalt go forth from your desk, and thine hands upon thine head, for Inventory Control hath rejected thy confidences and thou shalt not prosper in the Marketing Department.

    -- Books of Vengeance chapter 2

Behold my wrath, lest you fall surprised when you are smitten by these five plagues which I shall visit on you:

1. Lo ye printers ignore thee not my call for 20 copies of mine own paperbacks. Should I have to order 18 more copies from Gratis Order Form, that evil database that punisheth me and forceth my computer to exit all open applications, on the next book I shall visit the plague of LOST BOOK COVERS on your house, so that thine printed sheets may LANGUISH in thine own warehouse whilst I parry over reordering covers.

2. Lo ye typesetters who ignore my plea for the return of manuscript within three weeks, hold thee not mine manuscript or I shall visit the plague of ZAPF DINGBATS on all books that you typeset so that they appear writ in hieroglyphics.

3. Hear o cover designers: whosoever misspells the title on thine own designs that i may relegate to you the plague of BLACK AND WHITE so that all covers henceforth be constrained thus.

4. Lo ye authors who produce a new manuscript with "just a few changes i discovered in doing further research" after the "finished" one hath already entered Production: I shall visit upon you the plague of SUSPENDED TENURE DECISION so that ye may be in limbo for the rest of thine career.

5. And finally: lo ye salespeople who calleth and "stoppeth by" to chat, fear me as ye shall be visited by the plague of MIDTOWN TRAFFIC on thy next sales call.

    --The Exodus from Production, plagues 1-5 of 500

Thus she spaketh harsh words against her industry.

"Whatsoever these things are true, whatsoever these things are unceasing, whatsoever these things are abominations in the eyes of the Lord your God, if there be a sentient being within the sound of my voice, think on these things. Due dates and deadlines may pass away, but my words shall not.

Yes, your children, and your children's children, shall hear them and extend their lunch hours and coffee breaks in their grief."

And the ground did shake and tremble, for her wrath was mighty. And the wanderers in other professions heard her words, and beseeched the Lord to attend them all in their hour of need (roughly, 9 to 5).

    -- The Book of Anna, 5:11-19

And there appeared a great wonder in the New York office. A book, clothed in a jiffy bag, arrived the day after it was ordered. And it was the correct book, and it was undamaged.

And there appeared another wonder in the New York office; and behold a new employee that has not fled from an institution nor that has meetings with old men in hotel rooms to discuss Faulkner nor that downloadeth pornography throughout the work day.

And all of the workers gathered 'round in awe to marvel at these wonders.

And I heard a loud voice saying on the seventh floor, Now is come 9am, get thee to thy desks and shackles and bow to honor the manuscripts.

And the earth opened up her mouth and swallowed them.

    -- from the Book of Fables (price increase to $74.95)

And lo and behold the new employee ordered the sacred "Sweet Potato: The Untapped Food Source" and never received it, as a reprint card was languishing on the desk of an editor, who was in the process of ordering Production to finish the book that lo was not yet entered in Production and demanding that Marketing find a way to get 200 unpublished books to a book signing in Albania that very day. and the new employee stood aloft her sacrosanct gray felt cubicle and shook her fist to the heavens: "O CURSE THEE, MASTER'S DEGREE!"...

    -- Guide to the Book of Fables (ITO)

And when she had ordered this book there was a silence in the New York office about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven marketing assistants which stood before her and said "call Inventory Control, they can get you the book".

And another marketing assistant came and stood at her desk and said asketh not for Holly as she will refuse you.

And another came and stood at her desk, having a gold telephone, and there was given unto her much incense that she should offer it with "the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne" and the book would arrive.

Woe to all as Holly answered the phone.

And the seven marketing assistants turned away their faces and the voice of Holly sounded and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the sixth floor: and the third part of the cubicles was burnt up and all of the new carpet was burnt up.

And I beheld, and heard a Production Controller flying through the midst of the seventh floor, saying with a loud voice "Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the sixth floor by reason of the other voices of Holly which are yet to sound."

    -- from the Book of Why We Always Ask Nina for Gratis Copies verses 1-20

What do I do when not working on this site, read a bit about the guilty party responsible for this site or the answers I gave to the 'about me' survey
Have a suggestion, comment, praise (in particular)? Drop me a note
Reproduction or use of any of this site for profit sternly frowned upon.
(c)1995-2015 Modern Parlance