How to Burn Books in the Digital Age

I have to be honest with you. I have burned a book. It’s something I can never live down and it haunts me.

I was somewhere in my early teens. Either middle school or high school. I was a big D&D nut and loved watching The Evil Dead series. I purchased a copy of the Necronomicon. Now I realize how harmless this book is, but at the time, it seemed stunning and real to me. As well as to my dad.

He freaked. He’d had a bad experience with a Tarot deck years ago. For him, it was round two. He couldn’t take the book being in my house. He convinced me to dispose of it. I wish I had said no. I should have. No book deserves this. It’s what people with small minds do to ideas.

I was young. I capitulated.

The barbecue fired up. The book thrown on. I couldn’t watch the whole process. I left.

It seems like people will be burning books forever. Or will they? Recently, there have been a rash of book burnings for Fifty Shades of Grey. Do I think this book is worthy of great literary merit? Hardly. Yet it certainly doesn’t deserve burning. These people bought the book. Thus more money flows to EL James.

It got me thinking. Would we still have these burnings in a decade or so? With the advent of ebooks, we might face a time when there are no print versions of a book to burn. What then? Will people burn their Kindles and Nooks? How silly would that be?

Perhaps they would all press the delete button at the same time. Yeah, cause that would send a message. How anti-climactic.

Maybe future book Nazis will create viruses to attack and delete books. A clever concept, though it might be beyond the scope of their intelligence. Also, deleting other people’s books is tantamount to setting arson to a bookstore.

We all know that there will still be print books in some form in the future. After all, people still print out photos despite the plethora of ways to use the digital pictures. It brings up the idea that a clever author might be able to circumvent the mad book burners if he or she knows the book will be controversial. Future authors could simply print their book only as an ebook.

Although a truly brilliant author would want the book to be burned. There’s no better publicity than setting a book aflame. If it weren’t for the repulsiveness of the act, it’s be a great publicity stunt.

This writer is curious as to how people will take out their wrath on future books. I’m certain they will find a way. Hate always does.

Tim Kane

How to Transform Your Household Chemicals into Super Assassin Poisons

Ok, when I was a kid, a friend and I would grab whatever household liquids we could find (usually from under the sink) and mix them together. We thought we were chemists. Yet the concoctions we brewed up smelled horrid. It’s dumb luck we didn’t create chlorine gas and kill ourselves. (We usually mixed outside.)

If you have an inkling to delve into chemistry, don’t start with the stuff in your sink, or garage, or plain anything  that’s not edible. You’re more likely to make yourself sick. That said, here are five nasty household poisons.

Most don’t think twice about the old coppertops, but these are filled with a chemical known as sodium hydroxide, better known as lye. What’s that, you say? Well, if you’ve ever seen Fight Club, you’ll know that its an extremely corrosive alkali used to create soap (traces remain to kill the bacteria in on your hands when you wash). So, a word to the wise, don’t crack open an energizer to see what’s inside.

Edward Norton receiving his lye burn in Fight Club

Dishwasher Soap and Fabric Softener
Both of these contain cationic detergents. This stuff, when swallowed, will cause vomiting, corrosive damage to the esophagus, convulsions, comas and possible death. After ten minutes, the body’s cells begin to absorb this chemical, which interferes with normal cell functions.

Window Cleaner
We all know not to clean our contact lenses with Windex, right? (Please say you said yes to that one.) But one of the ingredients in most window cleaners is isopropanol (a relative to ethyl alcohol).  Basically, this stuff evaporates quickly (for that streak free shine). However, it’s also poisonous if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. It depresses the nervous system leading to a coma. It’s like getting massively drunk, only this stuff will kill you.

This chemical is awesome for dissolving paint and irritating your skin. In fact, this stuff tastes so bad, few people would ever swallow it. However, breathing the fumes can cause dizziness, accelerated heartbeat and breathing, convulsions, and unconsciousness. Eventually, the chemical could shutdown your kidneys.

They smell nice, but often they contain methanol (another cousin to ethyl alcohol). This chemical is also found in paint thinners and solvents. When ingested, the body transforms methanol into formaldehyde (you know, the stuff they use to preserve dead bodies). So drinking it will actually pickle you. Literally. This stuff also causes permanent blindness along with a long list of symptoms ending in death.

The next time you yearn to play household chemist, try baking instead. At least then, when you mess up, you can eat the results.

Tim Kane