A midnight army at the dawn of the web

Leigh Alexander recalls her adventures working with porn spambots in the 1990s, and the strange mixture of nostalgia and disappointment that remains.

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Ricky Jay really hates the book 'Fooling Houdini'

Halfway through reading Alex Stone's memoir, Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind, I read Ricky Jay's blisteringly negative review of the book in the Wall Street Journal. Cleverly titled "Slight of Hand," Jay described Stone's book as "an ostensibly self-effacing memoir by an inept amateur conjurer."

I love Ricky Jay's magic, his books, his quarterly magazine, and his performances. Jay is a talented magician and a fascinating storytelling historian of magic, con artists, and sideshows. He's certainly a more talented magician and a more knowledgable historian that Stone. And Jay rightfully calls out several errors of fact that Stone made in Fooling Houdini.

But even so, I finished Stone's book because I was fascinated by his story.

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When I Was a Kid, funny memoir about growing up in Malaysia

Cheeming Boey is an animator, best-known for drawing on disposable coffee cups. His new book, When I Was a Kid (published by our friends at Last Gasp), is a revealing memoir of his childhood.

Told in a series of one- and two-page comic strips, Boey describes his life growing up in Malaysia: finding a condom in his parents' bedside drawers, "fishing" for his dogs by tying a biscuit to a string and dangling it off a stick while standing on his balcony, making a tiny matchstick kite with his dad, fighting with his sister in the backseat of the family car while his mother reaches back to try to pinch their legs to make them stop, learning how to use a plastic bag to catch spiders, crying until his mother retrieves his favorite (but worn-out) pillow from the trash where she'd tossed it, falling out of love with his He-Man doll when he gets his first computer, and and dozens of other funny and sometimes poignant slices of life.

The art is simple, but effective, and I finished the book hoping he'll do a sequel. Read a sample story below.

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Audiobook memoir of Disney Imagineering legend Rolly Crump: More Cute Stories

Jeff sez, "After the success of It's Kind Of A Cute Story, Disney Legend Rolly Crump's memoir, Bamboo Forest Publishing is proud to announce the release of More Cute Stories, Volume 1: Disneyland History (CD/MP3). This high-quality recording includes nearly fifty minutes of all new stories about Disneyland that weren't included in the book, told by Rolly himself. No one can tell a tale quite like Rolly, so we decided that having the man himself actually tell you these brand new stories was the best way to preserve them!"

I'm getting a review copy of this and I'm really excited; Crump is an amazing raconteur and was part of some of the critical moments in themepark history.

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Full Body Burden: Memoir about family secrets, government secrets, and the risks of industrial pollution

Image: A worker at Rocky Flats handles a piece of plutonium using gloves built into a sealed box. The plutonium was bound for the innards of a nuclear bomb.

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