Did the Van Man Wear Ray Bans?

Ronald Jordan, known as the White Van Man, stole tens of thousands of Lonely Planet guides and hawked them on the street with help of a few shadowy vendors. But he’s now been caught. London police have described the case as “a flashback to Victorian London,” though when pressed on whether Jordan wore gaiters and a silk cravat, they were unable to offer clear answers. The internal affairs unit has unearthed several “large Thackeray and Dickens collections” behind police lockers. “The lads aren’t taking drugs,” said London Police spokesman Peter Thorin. “They were overworked and were getting bored with the tedious work. So they read a lot on their spare time and started seeing associations that didn’t exist.”

A Books-A-Million in Alabama has removed Playboy and Playgirl from its shelves. The decision came because Alabama has one of the toughest anti-obscenity laws on the books. Apparently, display of human genitalia, buttocks or female breasts “for entertainment purposes” is verboeten. I’m surprised that the bookstore didn’t counter this. It’s clear to me they were selling the magazines “for commercial purposes.”

If you’re wondering what happened to Freaky Friday author Mary Rodgers, she’s still around. (Yes, I read all those books when I was a lad too, including A Billion for Boris and Summer Switch.) She’s 73, and her 1959 musical Once Upon A Mattress is being staged for a comeback.

Big surprise of the day: McSweeney’s puts up something funny.

The Rise of the Creative Class author Richard Florida suggests that current economic trends may be discouraging vital creativity.

And The New York Times reports that Bonslav Pekic is staging a comeback from the grave. Purportedly one of the finest writers in the Serbian language, Northwestern University Press has announced that a translation How to Quiet a Vampire will be released in the spring.

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