Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Candy Canes and Inexpressibly Bad Jacket Design

Today we're having another flashback to December, but this one isn't because I'm lazy, it's because I'm not sure the topic on which I'm posting is quite done yet. Here's the thing: the Christmas before last, my aforementioned deranged friends and I tried out this cookie recipe that involved ruining a perfectly nice chocolate cookie with what essentially looked like candy cane puke. We quickly decided the mint topping was a bad idea and did not use the remainder of the the candy canes -- which then resurfaced this past Christmas much to everyone's surprise and general disinterest. No one wants a year-old candy cane.

Somehow, and I'm not sure how this happened, I left the room for five minutes and when I came back, I discovered that my dear friends had hidden the candy canes all over my apartment as a kind of fun Christmas prank, so that I would find them in the days/weeks/months to come. Reconstruction of the conversation that immediately followed:

Me: Ha ha ha ha! Oh, you're all too funny!
Friends: Ha ha ha ha! Aren't we though?


Me: Hey, does anyone remember how many there were?


Friends: Ha ha ha ha! You should blog about this!

There's really nothing to do but blog about it. I have found four so far.

This one took about four minutes to find:

This one about four hours:

This took a few weeks and was genuinely surprising:

Incidentally, yes, I do keep those books in a desk drawer. I'm all for sunlight but not when it will fade precious items. That copy of The Princess Bride, it will interest you to know, actually switches to RED TYPEFACE during the parts where William Goldman interrupts S. Morgenstern. Needless to say most paperback versions do not possess this excellent feature. While we're here, shall we have an interlude in which we look at Simon's Princess Bride memorabilia? Yes, I think we shall. Check out these super-awesome buttons that Adam picked up for me. (Adam gives me super-awesome things. The Guinness bread was also from Adam, although in the excitement I forgot to mention it at the time.)
My favorite part (excluding the buttons themselves), is the high-contrast picture of Westley and Buttercup on the packaging. Stylish! Unfortunately there is one button missing, but I have dutifully reconstructed it for you here:
I'm not sure why this one was left out. I think it shows her lovely teeth to great advantage.

I also have a rather adorable keychain, as well as a letter from the Harcourt Brace Jovanovich telling me how it would violate Westley and Buttercup's privacy if they sent me the reunion scene as directed by the author in the middle of chapter five, but it's getting late so I'm skipping those in favor of dwelling at length on the monstrosity below. This is a 1974 paperback edition of a book that bears the correct title and what can only be described as the incorrect cover illustration:
I'll give you a moment to recover.

I have examined this closely, but I can't figure out how it's supposed to relate to the book. I'm guessing it's some kind of dark-arts interpretation of the Zoo of Death. It's hard to see from the photo, but along with several tiny faces, some larger upside-down faces, a few skulls, a castle, and the naked lady, there are a number of snakes -- those snakes are my sole evidence for the Zoo of Death theory. And also that unmissable bird on the naked lady's head. Oh, and in case you missed him, the single identifiable character, of all the characters in the book, is the guy on the right with the rosary beads. That's got to be the "mawwaige" chap. Strangely, he is also mirrored in less detail on the left. Why him? Why not Noreena-with-no-hair or the stepmother, or for that matter the actual main characters? If you're going to ask that, you might as well also ask, why all the boobs? And that is a question no one can ever answer to anyone else's satisfaction.

Not only does the illustration not match the fairy-tale quality of the title (not to mention the story), it does not look like the kind of thing you'd find at a library booksale, where I saw it, and where I was urged by my sister to buy it on the grounds that you can never have too many copies of this book, especially one as bizarre as this. Needless to say, there is no cover credit.

Another amusing feature of this cover is the synopsis on the back:

Thank goodness they changed it to "Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles..." because I would not read the book described above. I conclude that the cover designer either (1) thought they had a sense of humor but were tragically mistaken, or (2) had a sense of humor that was ahead of its time. I can't tell whether the person who made it was incredibly earnest, or whether it is yet another brilliant fake-out.

Well. I've been saving that for ages, just waiting to spring it on you all, and I must say it's a big weight off my shoulders. It's been hard to bear the brunt of that poor marketing (or unrecognized genius) all alone.

Anyway. Back to the candy canes. This one was hiding on top of my bookcase in plain view...
...for three months.

There may be more. Maybe two. Maybe three. Or maybe none. I have no idea. I only have two rooms, so there can't be all that many. RIGHT, GUYS?


Ivan said...

Buttercup like you've never seen her before...

Anonymous said...

There are soooo many things one could comment on in this wonderfully polytopic post (that's like polysyllabic, since poly-anything lends an air of erudition) that I cannot even think about where to start - so I guess I won't :-)