National Spumoni Day contest, with an actual prize!

August 21 is National Spumoni Day. Did you know that? I seriously doubt it. But who cares? It's an entire day to celebrate Spumoni! If you don't know what Spumoni is, check out the Wikipedia page. Better yet, let me explain why you should care about Spumoni in the first place.

New site for new book

I know I've said this before, but I am getting closer to publishing my new book, "Corporate Ties." There was a bit of foundation work that I needed to construct, edit, tear apart, rebuild, pulverize, stack up, decimate and recompile. Well, the good news is that I'm getting closer to the end. How do I know this? There seems to be a light at the end of each paragraph now.

Wave goodbye to Google Wave

Google recently made a mildly surprising announcement (at least, to me) that the company is shutting down its online collaboration tool, Wave. Google does a lot of cool, neat and worthy stuff obviously, and I think Wave fits into this category. It's just that the actual marketing of it was rather peculiar.

Make new friends by renting them

The definition of "friend" has been watered down a bit with the advent of online social networking. It seems that now, your friend might be someone with whom you've never met, even someone with whom you've never communicated, with the exception of a simple button click on a website. This can be a good way to meet people, but it's a bit weird to call a person a friend when it's quite possible the individual on the other side could be an enemy, a fish or a hat.

Facebook privacy concerns? Well, it could be worse ...

By now, I'm sure that everyone and his or her dog (assuming said dog is on DogBook) has heard the hubbub relating to new Facebook privacy policies. I have to be honest: I haven't read every single story about it, primarily because I don't intentionally publish stuff online that should be private. In general, people rarely read terms and conditions before signing up for something online, but hopefully now, people will check out Facebook's privacy terms and decide whether or not they want to keep their account.

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Random News

Joke-telling not always easy on IM

IM tellin' takes a look at a bad joke gone .. er .. bad. It's important to note, however, that one great thing about chatting online is that you do have the capability to make up your own sound effects.

Ben: knock knock

Sean: I HAVE A DOORBELL

Ben: damnit

Ben: DING!

Sean: THAT SOUNDED MORE LIKE A MICROWAVE TIMER

Ben: damnit!!!!!!

Ben: DIIIIIING .... donnnnnng

Sean: haha

Bush, Kerry squeak past the tortoise

With the presidential election nearing faster than teenage girls swarming the New Kids on the Block, it's time to make a decision. But why bother going to the polls when there are so many more interesting things going on, like National Fig Week? That's why I've put together for you Ben's Grab Bag of Political Information.

'Get Real' book release tonight!

Fellow Baltimore writer Spencer Compton will be sharing commentary from his new book, "Get Real" at 7pm tonight (Oct. 26) at Red Emma's Bookstore and Coffee House.

BEA an interesting experience

My trip to New York during the first weekend in June was short, but overall, it was extremely productive.

I attended Book Expo America for a number of reasons, the top one being to find an agent for my new project, "Polos to Ties." I communicated with a number of agents, some beforehand on the BEA's social networking site. The biggest mistake I made was not attempting to schedule appointments with agents beforehand. But considering that I haven't completely finished the manuscript, maybe that wasn't such a big deal.

Thanks to Baltimore, no thanks to the rain

I just wanted to give a shout out to all of the people who stopped by the Inner Harbor Barnes & Noble in Baltimore on Sept. 1. The rain started Friday morning and didn't stop until sometime Saturday, producing more than 4 inches in the city. Instead of drowning, however, I sold a couple of books and met people from all over the country, and a few from distant lands.

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