Archive for October, 2009

Gov. Schwarzenegger, master of the literary two-fold meaning

October 28, 2009

Gov. Schwarzenegger has exposed his literati side to you, writing into his veto of a bill a subtle second message. This apparent homage to the poetic scheme Edgar Allen Poe used in writing love poems makes one question whether he is actually the ‘roided ex-Enron puppet we all thought he was. Wait, no it doesn’t. This is the crap fifth graders pull on their homework (I know–I was a fifth grader). But still, the funniest part is that he’s proud enough of it that he put it up on his web site. And here it is, that you may be groped by its magnificence:



Read the first letters of the columns. I bet Chuck Grassley starts writing entire bills like this.


Awesome Lego pop-up temple!

October 24, 2009

October 23, 2009

Shit yeah it is.


Journalism excellence

October 23, 2009

Cynical-C has the hawk eyes that caught this one. The Register Star has the journalistic instincts to pull it off. I has the privilege of bringing it to your attention. Read on.

NYT reports allegations of predatory book pricing

October 23, 2009

Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target have been having themselves a little pricing showdown on the top 10 (anticipated) books of the holidays. Wal-Mart offers insanely low prices on preorders, $10, then Amazon follows suit. So the price drops a little more, and Amazon follows…

Apparently indie booksellers aren’t such fans of corporations selling books for less than cost. I particularly liked one quote from the article:

“I don’t think it’s a good thing for books to be perceived to be low-value items,” said David Young, chief executive of Hachette Book Group, Mr. Patterson’s publisher. “A hell of a lot goes into the creation of a book or a career of a writer, and to have our top products savagely discounted is not good for the long-term health of our business.”

As of right now, Walmart’s front page offers preorders on “The Top 10 Books for Under $9 Each” with free shipping. Amazon’s front page has the books on it too. You have to go to Target’s book section to see its deal (that’s the first and last time I’m going to that little tranche of hell). I’m intrigued to find out if the DOJ laughs in the indies’ faces, and disgusted to know they don’t stand a chance regardless. And if anyone gives me Going Rogue, I know how much you spent, you cheap bastard!

Speaking of Palin, I want to read both the book ghost-authored by her, and the newly announced, Going Rouge: Sarah Palin An American Nightmare. They are both set for Nov. 17th, but I betcha Palin’s publisher tries something sneaky. My thought was a mash-up book, the likes of Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters, titled Going Rogue and Going Commando. This will have to do instead.

HP and DIY publishing

October 23, 2009

From USA Today:

Hewlett Packard announced two new alliances this week aimed at accelerating its efforts to branch into the publishing game. HP’s MagCloud service enables users to create slick magazines, and its BookPrep service enables printing and binding of current and out-of-print books.

Bulls and Bears, Hawks and Doves… all wrong

October 23, 2009

I’m not sure why I’m on this line of thought, but the bull/bear thing is overdone. Going out of one’s way to call oneself a “bull” or a “bear,” and people actually do this, is in effect going out of one’s way to say you will take whatever news is put before you and send out a skewed analysis. Asking a permabear for an opinion is like going to Office Depot and asking for a calculator that randomly computes too low most of the time. Yesterday, I was reading some old columns by market commentator/author Barry Ritholtz, creator of one of my favorite finance blogs, and I read this:

The terms bull and bear are anathemas to me. You can be long or short or mostly cash at various times — sometimes all at the same time. So why commit to dogma? The market does not require you to declare your party affiliation or sign up for a religion. “Are you now, or have you ever been, a bear?” is not a question on a new account form. If there’s a perceived advantage to being bearish, you should get bearish and vice versa.

Then, last night, I went home and was reading Dispatches, Michael Herr’s immensely quotable first-hand take on fighting in Vietnam:

Roof of Rex, ground zero, men who looked like they’d been suckled by wolves, they could die right there and their jaws would work for another half-hour. This is where they ask you, “Are you a Dove or a Hawk?” and “Would you rather fight them here or in Pasadena?” Maybe we could beat them in Pasadena, I’d think, but I wouldn’t say it, especially not here where they knew that they really weren’t fighting anybody anywhere anyway, it made them pretty touchy.

To me, it feels like if someone wants you to call yourself a Dove or a Hawk, by doing so you are taking on the demeanor of a “hawk.” I can be pacifist, and be anti-war–be  it anti-this war, anti-that war, or anti-any war–and not ever call myself a Dove. That’s a term only a Hawk could like. Of course, Johnny Cash said he was a Dove with Claws… I guess that suits him.

I guess my point is, an argument can be bullish, but calling yourself a bull or any other animal is selling yourself short.

October 14, 2009

ya rly

Almost through with a book a day for 365 days!?

October 12, 2009

A woman on the last couple of weeks of reading a book a day, every day, for a year!? The New York Times article itself is a fun read, and Nina Sankovitch has been reviewing each book the next morning on her blog.

Coincidently, Sankovitch’s write-up of Crow Planet by Lyanda Lynn Haupt leads me to believe she may have found a gem from within the glut of corvid literature I ranted about–one with a bad title nonetheless. The title makes me think of SNL’s Bear City, and bringing upon herself the pressure of living up to comparisons with such masterfully executed dramatic renditions of bear culture was not a wise choice on Haupt’s part, IMO. Read the review and the common themes seem to run deaper than title.

I could never do it, reading a book a day. This weekend I went up Mt St Helens, and the weekend before that I went to Portland, though I did get through a fair amount of (school) reading on the train. There are other things than books, and some of them are actually better. I know it’s a marathon goal, but how can you cut those types of things out of your life? And she read a 565 page novel in one day? I couldn’t do that if I wanted to. This birthday will probably be especially special for Nina Sankovitch.

Lui Bolin

October 12, 2009

A man who paints himself out of the scene.