1. Could “-57” and “without” constitute a double negative, meaning they’ve had accidents for the last 57 days and time travel need not apply?

  2. Wait…sorry…the sign says, ‘…without a time travel incident”, not ‘accident’. Never mind.

  3. Actually, could it still be a double negative? “-57 days without” could mean they’ve had time travel incidents for the last 57 days…right? I don’t know. I’m going to bed.

  4. No, negative numbers and “without” can not constitute a double negative. A negative number does not mean a day where something did not (fail to) occur; it means a quantity less than zero and the joke means exactly what it appears to mean and can not (reasonably) mean anything else; a time incident occurred 57 days in the future.

  5. In the world of book stores, ‘remainders’ are books that didn’t sell well so are put on a table with deep discounts.

    OR, it’s the name of the [former] band with Stephen King, Dave Barry, et al in it.

  6. I expect the remainders one is just a play on bookstores who have a lot new stock at full price and also a table or two of “remaindered” books at a tenth or quarter the original price. However, it doesn’t really work – original paintings, as presumably these are, are unique artistic works and are not published in the same way a book is. Remaindering essentially assumes a big pile of the same mass-produced stuff left over, not simply the reduction in price of a single unique object.

    Books are remaindered by the publishers, not by the individual bookstores. The publisher might have printed 10,000 copies and sold only 6,000 at full price through bookstores. If they are in good condition the bookstores can return their unsold stock to the publisher for credit. After a decent interval and assuming no more expectation of full-price sales, the publisher may then remainder those returns and their unsold warehouse stock – the remains of the print run – generally by selling them off to remainder merchants for a tiny fraction of their original sale price, in order to recover at least some of the cost of printing them and getting them out of the warehouse. The remainder merchants will then sell them to bookstores specialising in remainders. Or some process similar to that.

    But the joke is that art galleries work that way: art that doesn’t sell at full prices is put in a bin and sold off at 10% of the original price.

  7. @Tracy Remainders usually (always?) refers to unsold books which eventually make it into the retail stream as discount books.

    (I just did some research:) One thing allowing this to work is when the publisher can get a tax deduction when selling them wholesale to dealers at a reduced price.

  8. WRT Foxtrot, Hank Hill said it best: “You see, Peggy, that’s what you call a loaded question…
    …No matter how I answer, there’s a bullet in every chamber designed to blow my brains out.”

  9. Andréa: “Wait – did I sneeze? AND YOU HEARD ME???”

    Actually, you — ah — “tooted,” but zookeeper was polite enough to pretend it was a sneeze.

  10. re: “-57 days without a time travel incident” –
    So now that they know that in incident will occur in 57 days, are they still powerless to stop it, or are we looking at a potential paradox? But then, wouldn’t it be the total number of days from the start of the project and until the present — plus the 57 days between now and then? Or maybe they already have stopped it from occurring… in an alternate future, maybe…? Either way, it makes me wonder what the incident is / was / would or could be / will not be but could have been.

  11. I actually attended the final performance of the Rockbottom Remainders
    (Title: “It’s Past Our Bedtime”). Got the T-shirt, too. They put on a good show, and sound a lot better than you would expect. Of course the room full of librarians would have loved them even if they stank up the joint.

  12. Thanks for the answers on remainders. I’ve always seen them labeled as “clearance”, if anything, and have never worked in a bookstore. There was this one shop in college that did sell coverless paperbacks for a quarter. The owner explained he sent the ripped-off covers back to the wholesaler for books that didn’t sell at full price and was supposed to throw out the rest of the book.

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