Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook for Beginners

by Linda Sparks.
I have noticed hundreds of do-it-yourself books in my relentless book browsing, but this one truly stood out. Corsets are not exactly the first article of clothing you'd think of for hobbyists. The author in fact founded her own company (Farthingales) to supply corset-making materials. That's pretty amazing entrepreneurship! I wonder how big the corset-making market in the U.S.A. is. Another question the springs to mind is what advanced corset-building would look like.
Sparks, Linda. The Basics of Corset Building: A Handbook for Beginners. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0-312-53573-5.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Piggery Waste Management: Towards a Sustainable Future

by Euiso Choi.
I love this book cover. Its soft, pink, painted piggy reminds me of children's books about little piggies, like these:

The subject matter of Piggery Waste Management, admittedly, is rather different. More like this one:
Pig poop is important. As the publisher's blurb states, "Among animal wastes, piggery waste is the most troublesome." No kidding. Fortunately, you don't need to live near a river in China to dispose of your piggery waste. This book covers all the technological solutions available to aspiring piggery owners and waste-disposers, from "anaerobic digestion," mentioned in a previous post, to "advanced oxidation, adsorption and membrane technologies." That's swell!
Choi, Euiso. Piggery Waste Management: Towards a Sustainable Future. London: IWA Publishing, 2007. ISBN-13: 9781843391319.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sewing Machine Secrets: The Insider's Guide to Mastering Your Machine

by Nicole Vasbinder.
Secrets and lies! I like titles of instructional books that make the material somehow secret. A secret is not just something you don't know; it's something that someone else knows but keeps from you. It is arcane and potentially forbidden knowledge. The author assumes the role of an informer, an "insider" in this case, who shares with you something vaguely illicit and exciting.

With this book, I imagine a cabal of professional seamstresses, all sworn to secrecy. They meet in obscure sewing rooms and their sewing machines have been modified with illegal hardware, available only on the black arts-and-crafts market. These supercharged machines use hollow-tipped needles and go from 0 to 60 stitches a second with a press of the pedal. It takes some skill to master sewing machines like this... Not to mention the forbidden stitches they can produce. Do you dare read on?

Admittedly, Sewing Machine Secrets sounds a hell of a lot better than Sewing Machine Information. In all seriousness, though, props to Nicole Vasbinder, who runs her own studio and store, teaches classes, and has doubtless written a revealing book!
Vasbinder, Nicole. Sewing Machine Secrets: The Insider's Guide to Mastering Your Machine. Loveland, CO: Interweave, 2013. ISBN-13: 9781596686038.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Aerobic Granular Sludge

edited by Stephan Bathe, Merle de Kreuk, Belinda McSwain, and Norbert Schwarzenbeck.

It just rolls of the tongue: "aerobic granular sludge." Rolls off the tongue metaphorically, I mean. What is, pray tell, aerobic granular sludge? Wiki offers some help. It is basically sewage that is being broken down in "digesters" (like gigantic, nasty slow-cookers stewing with shit) by granules consisting of hungry microbes that use oxygen. Hence they are "aerobic," in contrast to the more popular "anaerobic granular sludge." Here's a picture of our friendly granules:

I quote from the blurb: "Laboratory studies and preliminary field test led to the conclusion that granular activated sludge can be readily established and profitably used in activated sludge plants, provided 'correct' process conditions are chosen. But what makes process conditions 'correct'? And what makes granules different from activated sludge flocs? Answers to these questions are offered in Aerobic Granular Sludge . . . Aerobic Granular Sludge provides up-to-date information about a rapidly emerging new technology of biological treatment."

Granular sludge, sludge plants, activated sludge flocs: If that doesn't sound like the perfect subject for an exciting panel of papers (note the book cover), I don't know what is.
Bathe, Stephan,  Merle de Kreuk, Belinda McSwain, and Norbert Schwarzenbeck, eds. Aerobic Granular Sludge. Water and Environmental Management Series. London: IWA Publishing, 2005. ISBN-13: 9781843395096.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-Century French Hermaphrodite

by Translated by Richard McDougall, with an introduction by Michel Foucault.

Foucault discovered these memoirs in his research for his famous History of Sexuality. These memoirs are a sad monument to the excessive rationalism and supposedly scientific categorization or human beings in the 19th century. Herculine Barbin was born in 1838 and raised as a girl, which she remained until the age of 22. She became a teacher at a girls' school and became involved with one of the other female teachers. Her hermaphroditism was eventually discovered, and the revelation resulted in a court ruling that led her to change her legal status to male. After that Herculine, now he, went to Paris as a man, ending miserably in suicide at the age of 30.

Apparently, during the Middle Ages, hermaphrodites were normally allowed to decide whether they were male or female once they reached adulthood. That was certainly an improvement over the ancient Roman position, which considered hermaphrodites an evil prodigy sent by the gods and usually drowned such children at sea.
Foucault, Michel. Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-Century French Hermaphrodite. Vintage, 1980. ISBN-13:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe: The Story of Blue Babe

by R. Dale Guthrie.

Blue Babe was a steppe bison, also called steppe wisent, that roamed the northern hemisphere during the Ice Ace. Steppe bison were big boys. According to Wikipedia, "The steppe wisent was over two metres tall, reaching 900 kg (1984 lbs) in weight. The tips of the horns were a meter apart, the horns themselves being over half a meter long." If you're wondering just how fricking big that is, consider this helpful illustration:

or this one:

They overlapped with our Ice Age ancestors, who presumably made enormous wisent burgers from them. Here's the Altamira Steppe Wisent painting, from Spain:

Too cool, huh?

Blue Babe was actually frozen and preserved until his mummified body was found in 1979 in an Alaskan gold mine. This book essentially describes everything that we could learn about Babe and the Ice Age from his body. I imagine it almost as a realistic version of the Pixar Ice Age films. Instead of fun adventure and adult-oriented wisecracking, the animals die and are devoured by lions. The End. Now turn off that damn TV!

Blue Babe
That's one dead steppe wisent.
Guthrie, R. Dale. Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe: The Story of Blue Babe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. ISBN-13: 978-0226311234.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

More Blood Sex & Scooby Snacks

by ian watson (sic).
I was won over by the lack of punctuation on the cover and, as far as I can see, throughout the book. I first interpreted the title as "Blood, Sex, and Scooby Snacks." That is certainly interesting enough, but it is wrong. There are only two terms here: one is "blood sex," and the other is Scooby Snacks. What is "blood sex," I wonder, and why would you need more of it? Well...

This book is in fact a highly amusing rant about abysmally bad movies, especially horror movies. Michael Bay of Transformers receives dishonorable mention. He's not to be confused with the far saner and socially valuable Michael Bay* who introduces the volume. Rather than make shitty movies, the latter Michael Bay works in fast food in Newark.
Watson, Ian. More Sex Blood & Scooby Snacks. N.p.: Amazon Digital Services, 2013. [This book is available as a Kindle edition and has no ISBN, apparently, which is a pity.]

Friday, March 07, 2014

Judo: History, Theory, Practice

by Vladimir Putin, Vasily Shestakov, and Alexy Levitsky.

I alluded to this book in my last post about Seagalogy, but I think President Putin, judoka extraordinaire and all-around badass, deserves a post in his own right. Putin is not just your everyday ice-cold KGB man who has risen to become de facto autocrat of modern, post-Soviet Russia; he also is an highly accomplished martial artist, who has even written a book about judo and filmed an instructional video, Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin. The video was released in 2008; perhaps he found time to film it between his term as Prime Minister of Russia and his second stint as President? I'm not sure whether his latest adventure in the Crimea satisfies the judo motto of "Maximum efficiency with minimal effort" (or does it?), but I hope it ends peacefully like a judo match.
Putin, Vladimir, Vasily Shestakov, and Alexy Levitsky. Judo: History, Theory, Practice. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2004. ISBN-13: 9781556434457.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal

by Vern. Yes, just Vern.
I recently read about Steven Seagal hanging out in Russia with Vladimir Putin, one of few men who could possibly kick his ass, and then I stumbled across this wonderful book. I think the author's blurb should speak for itself:
"Vern, the self-styled ‘outlaw film critic,’ is known to millions for his hilarious reviews on the Ain’t It Cool News website, and is described by Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro as 'equal parts Hell’s Angels and Pauline Kael... a national treasure!'

"Now, finally, Vern is ready to unleash his magnum opus: an in-depth study of the world's only aikido instructor turned movie star/director/writer/blues guitarist/energy drink inventor — the ass-kicking auteur Steven Seagal. From Above the Law to his Mountain Dew commercials, his entire career is covered in Vern’s inimitable style.

"As Vern himself puts it, Seagalogy is 'a book that will shake the very foundations of film criticism, break their wrists and then throw them through a window.'" There you have it.
Vern. Seagalogy. A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal. Updated and expanded edition. London: Titan, 2012. ISBN-13: 9780857687227.
Check out Vern's Seagalogy website, and the enlightened reviews of the 2008 or new 2012 edition. Did you know Steven Seagal put out a blues album called "Songs from the Crystal Cave"? For real: 4.4  out of 5 stars. You'd think it'd be higher than #96,517 in music on Amazon. Oh, and the reviews are great.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Jewish-Japanese Sex & Cook Book and How to Raise Wolves

by Jack Douglas.
You don't have to be a Japanese Jew interested in sex, cooking, and wolf-raising to appreciate this book, but it wouldn't hurt.
Douglas, Jack. The Jewish-Japanese Sex & Cook Book and How to Raise Wolves. New York: Putnam, 1972. ISBN-13: 9780399110436.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is Our English Bible Inspired?

by Dr. Samuel C. Gipp.
The answer is YES! YES! YES! The 1611 King James Version of the Bible is the currently reigning inspired word of god, supplanting all others. So if you didn't know already, or if you don't speak English, you'd better check out what God has to say in the latest authorized installment of His truth.

Here's the author's website, so you can check out his preaching schedule and hear the inspired man in person and not mediated by imperfect text, unless it happens to be inspired, too.
Gipp, Samuel C. Is Our English Bible Inspired? Miamitown, OH: DayStar, 2004. ISBN-13: 978890120436.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

500 ans d'impostures scientifiques: Sornettes, absurdités et autres erreurs (500 years of scientific hoaxes: Nonsense, absurdities, and other errors)

by Gerald Messadié.
I was reading up about this book and came across mention of the Cardiff Giant. An atheist and a Methodist get into an argument about Genesis 6:4, which states that giants once roamed the earth. The atheist decides to make a point and has a ten-foot-tall block of stone carved into the shape of a man and buries it on his cousin's farm. A year later he hires men to dig a well there: they discover a "petrified giant." Crowds swarm to see it - for a fee. Eventually, the atheist sells his interest in it for $23,000 (about $425,000 today, making a return of almost 1000% on his investment). The famous P. T. Barnum becomes interested, offers to buy the giant for $50,000, but is rejected. So he has his own fake giant made, and claims the first one is the fake. This was apparently what prompted the owner of the first fake giant to say, "A sucker is born every minute," in reference to Barnum's copy. Ultimately, the courts decided you couldn't sue someone (Barnum) for claiming a fake giant was a fake.

If you're interested in reading about scientific hoaxes and other such fakes, and you read French, there are ninety examples documented chronologically by the author. There's an interview with him on Youtube. Bonne lecture!
Messadié, Gerald. 500 ans d'impostures scientifiques: Sornettes, absurdités et autres erreurs. Paris: L'Archipel, 2013. ISBN-13: 9782809810295.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tube Domains and the Cauchy Problem

by S. G. Gindikin.
I couldn't resist a book called "Tube Domains," which sounds like something straight out of Star Trek. I actually looked them up along with the "Cauchy Problem," but I still have no earthly idea what they are. Advanced mathematics. That's about all I can say.
Gindikin, S. G. Tube Domains and the Cauchy Problem. Translations of Mathematical Monographs 111. Providence: American Mathematical Society, 1992. ISBN-13: 9780821845660.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Guide de Champignons (A Guide to Mushrooms)

by various.
From the French blurb: "Between picking mushrooms and tasting them, there is a whole world of discovery, painstaking investigation, and also surprises - not always pleasant - for the individual who is captivated by nature with its abundance of amazing flavors..."
Various. Guide des Champignons.Paris: Sélection du Reader's Digest, 2007.ISBN-13: 9782709819091.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Who's Who in Fluorescence 2009

edited by Chris D. Geddes.

This volume was the hardest hitting Who's Who in Fluorescence ever to appear, after which the series went into abeyance while the world recuperated. Who's Who in Fluorescence is the ultimate coffee-table book and one of the greatest non-fiction thrillers of modern times.
Geddes, Chris D., ed. Who's Who in Fluorescence 2009. New York: Springer, 2009. ISBN-13: 9781441901903.
Don't forget to check out past volumes beginning in 2003, and drop by the website!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bananas and Plantains (Second Edition)

by John C. Robinson and Victor Galán Saúco.

Do you know about bananas and plantains? Missed the first edition? I thought so.
Robinson, John C., and Victor Galán Saúco. Bananas and Plantains. Crop Production Science in Horticulture 19. Wallingford, UK: CABI, 2010. ISBN-13: 9781845936587.

Hair Restoration Surgery in Asians

by Damkerng Pathomvanich and Kenichiro Imagawa.

"Hair transplantation is in demand worldwide, but because Asian hair tends to be more sparse and coarse than Caucasian hair, transplantation procedures need to be adapted to Asian patients." Damn straight. I say Asian hair for everyone!
Pathomvanich, Damkerng, and Kenichiro Imagawa, eds. Hair Restoration Surgery in Asians. Tokyo: Springer, 2010. ISBN-13: 9784431996583