Frozen.

If luck smiles on my schedule today, I hope to make it over to the Detroit Ice House. The managers of the project haven’t announced its location yet, so I won’t, either. But I know. It’s difficult to keep an abandoned house that has been carefully covered with ice much of a secret. They’ve surrounded the place with police tape, so the snow doesn’t get disturbed before the official project photographs are taken. Or so I’m told. It’s close enough for a quick lunchtime hop, and by then the temperature should be high enough that things should be a little drippy. High pressure promises preservative temperatures until the big reveal.

There are enough of these guerrilla art projects going on around here — a previous cadre of hipsters painted abandoned houses, from roof to foundation, including windows, in shades of safety orange and green — that I wonder if we’re on the tipping point of becoming a playground for this sort of thing. I once wrote that only in Detroit could a bartender become a real-estate developer, but now it’s even easier. In “The Farmer and the Philosopher,” the short film we saw the other night, Toby Barlow remarks that Detroit is a pretty big canvas. True dat. But I share Jim Griffioen’s oft-stated concern that poverty porn is not, in the end, a good thing, and attaching a food drive and other do-gooding to a project, while certainly worthy, can’t make it entirely right.

But I’ll reserve judgment until I see it. One of the very few conservative critiques of art I agree with is the idea that art shouldn’t have to come with a big explanation text, that when an artist has to post a signboard telling the viewer what he was after and whose blood the red paint signifies, the work has already failed. The Ice House may or may not “reference the contemporary urban conditions in the city and beyond,” as its blog states, but I do look forward to seeing it.

Which is a very long-winded way of saying, “I know what I like,” so there it is.

On Saturday, I’ll check out the Belle Isle Ice Tree, which makes no claims about urban conditions, other than, “Cold enough for you?”

I need to get out of the house, anyway. I’ve reached the stage of winter where feeling bad is a loop: I feel bad, so I skip workouts/eat too much/don’t get outdoors enough, which leads to more of the same. I should change my name to Ursa and just hibernate the season away, but then, who would dig up stuff to show you every day? Like…

Oh, the things you miss when you don’t watch Fox News. Bill O’Reilly had Jon Stewart on? And Stewart said Fox has “taken reasonable concerns about this president …and turned it into a full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao”? I’d have paid to see that.

You’ve seen the generic TV report and the generic blog post. Here’s the generic Oscar-nominations story. If everyone is hip to this, why do these things keep getting done? (Thanks, Vince.)

I hate it when a story emerges that requires me to suddenly read a million words to get up to speed, and several hundred of the words involve morons whining that they should have to pay for something and why can’t they just steal it the way they did in the good ol’ days, but that seems to be what the Amazon/MacMillan fight last weekend seems to be. For those of you who weren’t tuned in, it involves a price war over e-books that broke out in the wake of the iPad announcement. Amazon is using cheap e-books to sell Kindles, and MacMillan is trying to hold the line on selling its inventory at a loss, for obvious reasons. Here’s Virginia Postrel at the Atlantic with something of an overview. Here’s John Scalzi on Amazon’s screwup. And here’s Scalzi again, being funny, on the many, many stupid things people are saying in the wake of last week’s events, including (in so many words), “it’s not like writing a book is that hard” and “I won’t pay for anything I can steal with impunity.” (I’m thinking this is maybe the only thing you need to read about this.)

May I add one more thing? All those people saying, “E-books are great, because then the last barrier standing between the dedicated amateur and his vast readership will fall to pieces” are invited to sign on as slush pile readers any any publisher within driving distance. And please, in keeping with your views about the real work of publishing, work for no pay. Report at the end of one week. Yes.

Oh, and while we’re at it? I read this thing in Slate about YouTube’s penny-ante rental proposal to help little-seen independent films get a little more-seen, offering feature-length films online for $3.99, and I see that the comments have already started:

“The beginning of the end,” wrote one user in comments; “i thought the purpose of youtube was to watch videos for free.” Another wrote that “Youtube is seriously [sic] selling out,” apparently unaware that YouTube, in fact, already sold out to Google in 2006 for $1.6 billion.

Only in a world where people think nothing of paying $4 for a cup of coffee could they balk at the idea of paying a penny less to watch a movie.

OK, now I’m inspired. I’m going to get dressed, floss the spinach out of my teeth — healthy breakfast, step one to improving one’s perspective on winter — and off to the Ice House! You enjoy Thursday.

Posted at 9:59 am in Detroit life, Movies, Popculch |
 

45 responses to “Frozen.”

  1. alex said on February 4, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Speaking of condemned house art projects…

    The mother of one of my best friends was an art teacher at Chicago’s Nettlehorst Elementary School back in the late ’60s/early ’70s. She lived near the school, right on the lakefront north of Belmont Harbor, in a rented greystone that was being razed to put up one of those ticky-tacky apartment buildings known as a “four plus one.”

    She made her condemned house into a schoolwide art project and it was featured in the news. Gradeschoolers came in and painted it up all psychedelic. Imagine anyone trying something like this in these litigious times.

  2. beb said on February 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Adopting my cranky old man persona once again, I confess when I toured the Heidleburg Project some years ago all I could see was a bunch of junk that needed throwing away. I must be a Philistine because I didn’t see the art there.

    I haven’t read heavily about the Amazon MacMillan dust-up, either. I was surprised to hear that Amazon wanted $10 as the minimum price of a etext for their Kindle. I’ll wait for the paperback before I pay $10 for a license to read a book on an electronic device. As Amazon has already shown with “1984” you’re not buying a book, but merely the license to read one. As for the specifics of the conflict I suspect it was just like the dust-up between Apple’s iPod store and the record companies who wanted a bigger slice of the profits. It has nothing to do with authors or artists. They will not see any more from the e-file pie, just their publisher, who no longer has to make a physical product to sell in order to make money.

  3. crinoidgirl said on February 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    In the latest of my continuing series of non sequiturs, a truly bizarre campaign commercial from Carly Fiorino’s camp:

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/02/04/demon_sheep

    And I thought I was the only person that thought the Heidelberg project was crap. Thank you, Beb.

  4. Julie Robinson said on February 4, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I’m with Beb. Frugal living is a lifestyle here, so we use the library. And $104 million for Walking Man 1? http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2010975415_artrecord04.html

  5. Peter said on February 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Crinoidgirl – Holy @#%#!!!! I peed in my pants when I saw the rear shot of the fake sheep! This CAN’T be real!

  6. coozledad said on February 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    What gets me about that ad is its blend of Monty Python visual cues married to the the irony-free Republican worldview. That opening speech is pure mock heroic, absent the mock. We’re supposed to come away from those lines thinking the Civitan Club built America and now one of them’s deserted and printing money for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    In his spare time, he’s dressing up like a guy rushing the TKEs with a lambchop mask and laser pointers taped to his eyes. The implication here, if we can assume there is subtext, is that this guy doesn’t see it so much as ritual hazing, but a unique opportunity to exercise his real sexual proclivities; maybe it’s more of a Republican “At Swim Two Birds” than Finnegans Wake.

  7. crinoidgirl said on February 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Yeah, c’dad. I particularly like the sheep toppling off its pedestal. Very Monty Pythonish.

  8. Dexter said on February 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    The EYES !! S C A R Y , OOOOOOH ! The bit was at least watchable until the wolf appeared. I knew it was coming but I hee-hawed right here anyway. The worst ending to a commercial ever!

  9. Rana said on February 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    That commercial is a hoot – it’s hard picturing the mindset that would generate such a thing.

    Is anyone else reminded of that newscast in which a bear siting was re-created with a plywood cutout of a bear shape?

  10. beb said on February 4, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Nancy wrote: “Only in a world where peo­ple think noth­ing of pay­ing $4 for a cup of cof­fee could they balk at the idea of pay­ing a penny less to watch a movie”

    The thing is that people grew up watching free TV. Sure there were ads which technically paid for the programing but we were never required as part of any terms of service agreement required to watch commercials. So we expect TV to be free. The same is true for music. We grew up listen to music for free on the radio so we expect music coming from the magical box on our desk to be free as well.

    People don’t go to theaters expecting to see a free movie. That’s because there have never been free movies in theaters. We expect to pay for stuff there. But when the product comes to us from something that resembles a television the conditioned response is that thi hsould be for free.

    Oh, adding to what I see above. $10 for a e-book. That’s outrageous because there’s essentially no cost to creating or distributing the kindle file. I could see $2 – one for the author and one for the distributor, but $10, no.

    Apparently YouTube and Flickr have been banned by my employer and at home we have only dial-up. I’ll have to take people’s word that this is truely weird. “Purity” as mentioned on Salon is new Republican code word for anti-tax, anti-regulation, birther/tea-bagger non-sense. Since sheeps, lambs actually, are associated with purity I suppose the message her is that Fiori is the pure candidate and her opponent is a wolf in sheeps clothing.

    Just remember who took an icon namebrand (HP) and drove it into the ground (CF).

  11. nancy said on February 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Man, beb, you’re a hard case. Two bucks? One for the author and one for the distributor? Do you have any idea what sort of numbers a typical non-bestselling book in hardcover puts up? Not a failure, just one that doesn’t make the lists, somewhere south of Stephen King and Tom Clancy? Well under 10,000 copies is typical, and that’s for something that was well-promoted, well-written and well-reviewed. You’re saying an author should devote anywhere from at least half a year to maybe several for five grand?

    If you can’t find anything decent to read in a few more years, don’t blame the writers. They’ll be too busy waiting tables.

    I’m also told the publishing business model is a lot like college athletics, in that one or two blockbuster books can carry the rest of the house. Just as Big 10 football makes Big 10 field hockey possible, James Patterson makes literary fiction possible. I read literary fiction for the most part, so I guess I owe him respect. But I honestly shudder at an upended publishing industry being crowed over by people who don’t even read.

  12. MichaelG said on February 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    We have two big time corporate women running for Statewide office here in California. Carly Fiorina, former HP honcho is running for Barbara Boxer’s senate seat and Meg Whitman, erstwhile E-Bay Boss, is running for governor. Both are conservative Republicans, both offer further proof that prowess in the corporate boardroom is not an indicator of political potential. Whitman, in particular, is running an odd campaign. Her plan to solve California’s fiscal crisis has three points: Fire 30% of State employees, create new jobs and lower taxes. No matter that the points are total fantasy, they resonate with pissed off voters. She appears only on radio and occasional TV commercials, won’t do interviews or talk shows and refuses to debate her primary opponent. In short, she does nothing but repeat her mantra over and over in paid ads while hoping to be anointed governor from above. The other day she was busted trying to bribe her primary opponent into quitting the race thereby giving her a free pass to the general election. The fur still hasn’t settled from that one. It is being bruited about that she has spent $30 mil of her own money on the campaign so far. It’s interesting times when Jerry Brown is the sanest looking candidate on the block.

  13. Connie said on February 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    While in London two years ago my daughter visited the Absolute Vodka Ice Bar. Building and furniture and even the glasses in which drinks are served are made of ice. A fur is draped across the ice seat before you are seated, and fur coats, hats, gloves, are provided to customers. She said it was the most expensive single drink ever, but fun for the experience. http://www.belowzerolondon.com/absolut-icebar-london/

  14. MichaelG said on February 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Don’t forget that when “buying” a Kindle E-Book from Amazon that you are only buying the opportunity to look at the book on your reader for a limited period of time. The period runs from when you make your purchase to when Amazon decides it will cut you off. They can erase it from your Kindle at will. They can see how often you access it and when. You can’t copy it, print it or loan it or sell it to another party. There are other strings attached as well. It will be a long time before I pay good money for something like that. I’m sticking with the library and used book stores.

  15. Sue said on February 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    MichaelG (and everyone else, I guess): have you noticed that the bar for what citizens are willing to tolerate in exchange for their taxes has plunged? Last year in WI many municipalities and the State stopped or really reduced the number of cuttings along the edge of roads and the middle areas. No more plantings, nothing but overgrowth in a lot of spots. Even five years ago that would have brought howls about lowered property values and quality of living. Now, it seems like a race to the bottom, so a 30% cut in state employees would make sense to someone who’s decided that there is no correlation between taxes, services and impact on a community’s value in the form of schools and upkeep. I guess if you can’t sell your house anyway why be concerned about what your community can offer to a potential buyer?

  16. coozledad said on February 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Michael G: This is what frightens me about Whitman, and the whole aristocracy of assholes and perps the GOP fields for office: They simply don’t know how to behave in public. I’ve been looking at the photographs of Meg’s smirking racist progeny and wondering how long it’ll be before the party showers them up and launders their records so we can have us another country club sociopath wiping his shoes on the White House furniture.
    http://gawker.com/5428493/why-did-meg-whitmans-son-get-suspended-from-princeton
    and
    http://gawker.com/5429465/it-gets-worse-meg-whitmans-sons-racism-and-entitlement-were-stuff-of-legend

  17. Dexter said on February 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Connie, I have heard of vodka bottles encased in a block of ice at Sammy’s Roumanian in NYC,
    http://static4.px.yelp.com/bphoto/ehXl0U_lzGaKTeI_SDwQ2w/m
    but an entire bar scene made out of ice? whoa!

  18. jcburns said on February 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    My open browser tabs this afternoon include Cindy McCain campaigns for gay rights, Waffle House goes Romantic for Valentines Day, A cogent explanation of why the iPad is a game changer, and these retweets: newspaper headline: “Man arrested for fleeing and alluding, retail fraud” and British Woman Marries MacBook Pro. Phew. And because I’m special, I got to talk to Nancy today on the phone! Good day so far.

  19. MichaelG said on February 4, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Whitman is trying to avoid the public and the media and their nasty propensity to ask questions. She wants to run for gov and then run the State from her aerie. She wants to be queen. Her talking points, if that’s what we can call them, show her to be indisputably either totally uninformed about how things work or a lying sack of shit.

  20. beb said on February 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Nancy: “You’re say­ing an author should devote any­where from at least half a year to maybe sev­eral for five grand”

    My understanding is that most do. Maybe $2 is low, but what part of the $10 for a kindle edition does the author get? Certainly not $5. Typical royalties for paperbacks (the last I heard) was 8% of cover, cover being $8, or 64 cents. For Hardcovers royalties are higher (12%?) for a $25 book that’s $3 bit hard cover books don’t sell in number as well as paperbacks. Most author’s don’t earn out their advance, which range from $5-10,000 for a non-“Name” new author. I’m not opposed to authors making money from their books, I’m just saying most of them won’t.

    But also my point is that $10 for a Kindle book, which is a license to read a book, not to own a copy of the book. Is high and will keep people from buying eBooks when a cheaper paperback is available. The price of an eBook should reflect the costs of producing it. Since it costs nothing to produce, the price should be pure royalty to the author.

  21. nancy said on February 4, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Actually, most don’t. At least not the good ones. If your proposal is promising, you’ll get an advance, based on the idea that a good book requires work, and the advance is (in part) to help support you until you’re finished. Lots and lots and lots of books don’t earn back their advance, and — this is the part that slays me — the model is set up to account for this. One of the things I admire about publishers is the willing of at least some of them to launch promising money-losers into the world, on the chance the writer will develop and find an audience. As long as they keep a few “Eat, Pray, Love”s in their stable, they can carry the worthy but underappreciated artists.

    Books aren’t cans of soup. They’re part of the culture and also part of our accumulated knowledge. That’s a hard thing to put a price tag on. Used bookstores, paperbacks, libraries are all fine things for the budget-minded shopper, but I don’t want to see a world where anyone who wants to be a serious writer has to have a day job in a university.

  22. nancy said on February 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    It’s true that we have a wrangle before we know what e-books are worth to the market. But publishers aren’t just money-grubbing middlemen — they find the writers, nurture the writers, edit the writers and market their books. While e-editions don’t carry paper and ink costs, there are bandwidth and server-farm costs, and while it would be nice if you could own your copy outright, experience has taught us what happens to digital information left unprotected. I don’t blame publishers for trying to protect their copyright.

    I really really really wish the internet hadn’t grown up around the value of Free, Always Free. I’d pay for a great deal of what I now get free. And at least we’d know what most of it is worth.

  23. Calliope said on February 4, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Beb, ebooks cost nearly as much to produce as a paper book. The physical costs of a paper book, printing, paper, binding etc, are actually a very small part of the cost of the book. As low as 10-15%.

    Editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, designers, typesetters, and marketing and advertising all cost money.

    I suggest Tobias Bucknell’s excellent article for more information on the real costs of a book, ebook or physical.

    http://www.sfwa.org/2010/01/why-my-books-are-no-longer-available-on-amazon-com/

  24. MichaelG said on February 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    In my post at #14 I brought up the question of just what you actually get when you “buy” an E-book. Before I think about how much I want to pay for something like that, I want to see some serious thought on the part of all parties about just exactly what an E-book is. I wouldn’t give you a plugged nickel for the Amazon model. There are lots of small publishers and purveyors all over the net offering E-books in Adobe and in many other formats with many different strings attached from $3.95 up. I don’t know if these would be readable on Kindle, I suspect not, but I’ll bet you will be able to read them on your IPad. Like VHS and BETA, there will eventually be a single basic format. I’d like to see something analogous to today’s actual book book. I can loan it, resell it, burn it because it was written by a commie or whatever else I want to do. I hate the Kindle model. Talk about corporate totalitarianism. Amazon makes Bill Gates look like Mother Teresa.

  25. Dexter said on February 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I thought I’d go off topic…I was shocked to read there are 87,000 glassing attacks in England each year…that’s a beer glass upside-the-head…also, a puzzler…these new shatterproofs “keep beer colder longer”. Huh? I always heard Brits prefer beer at room temperature.
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BRITAIN_PINT_GLASS?SITE=INKEN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

  26. Hexdecimal said on February 4, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    NANCE WROTE:”I really really really wish the inter­net hadn’t grown up around the value of Free, Always Free. I’d pay for a great deal of what I now get free. And at least we’d know what most of it is worth.”

    /start soapbox/
    It might be time to remember that the Internet (Internet’s?) very being was predicated on the “Free exchange of information and ideas”.

    I’m of the camp that believe that information, regardless of it’s form, wants to be free. And once it hits the net it somehow, almost always, finds that it is free.
    \end soapbox\

  27. coozledad said on February 4, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Nancy: I wonder if you couldn’t use something like JSTOR as a temporary firewall for published creative work? I guess there are probably ways to hack that, too.

  28. brian stouder said on February 4, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    It might be time to remem­ber that the Inter­net (Internet’s?) very being was pred­i­cated on the “Free exchange of infor­ma­tion and ideas”.

    I believe the Defense Department was a key part of the birth of the ‘net; or in any case, researchers and so on. So that it was more like “the free exchange of ideas amongst a select group”

    I’m of the camp that believe that infor­ma­tion, regard­less of it’s form, wants to be free. And once it hits the net it some­how, almost always, finds that it is free.

    Indiscriminate ‘Information’ has always – I suppose – been free for the learning, and sharing. In the days of cave-people, the best place to reliably find water or whether this or that plant or animal was edible could freely be learned, or not (and woe unto the unlucky adventurers who guessed wrong); and in any case, would only matter to people in a particular locality.

    But very specifically, if one individual or group learns (or invents) something, they are not now (nor were they ever) required to ‘set that information free’, regardless what the information wanted(!).

    And indeed – if “information wants to be free”, MISinformation always wants to taint all that free information even MORESO! – so that it becomes worthwhile to reward some tribe that is willing to actively labor to provide relably TRUE information!

    And by the by – I’m old enough to remember when the question (regarding cable tv) was – why should I pay a monthly bill, and still see commericals?

    And now, we see that NBC may simply go off the ‘free’ airwaves, and become a fee-based cable ‘content provider’….so ‘free information’ ain’t free afterall (at least on TV), eh?

  29. Hexdecimal said on February 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    cdad – It would not matter even if the the firewall wasn’t hacked. Once a book, a song, or a movie is made electronic and put anywhere near the internet it is almost free (and free as in beer). All it takes is one person who buys it and then puts it on a server and it now totally free – in the wild for all to share. The Geni can’t be put back into the bottle. You can sue, but look at the music industry. The RIAA is making money suing but the industry itself is losing millions.

    I question why anyone thinks the Internet is a good place to sell their digital goods. It works well for the selling of shoes and t-shirts and such, even hard bound and paperback books. Those are tangible hold in your hand products. They are hard to duplicate with out machinery and hard to move to market with out an infrastructure. But digitized information begs to be free and will almost always archive that freedom.

  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    ARPAnet. Billions of “how to fight and survive a nuclear exchange” dollars went into it, even though it wouldn’t survive the first EMP pop (but would let you transfer data that would help you reconfigure your fissile material shaping for maximum yield). And other than exchanging long uncompiled code files between our DEC PDP’s, we used it to play “Empire” and “Telengard” in MMUDs, but with a limited account of memory — 50kb in my first account at Purdue, I believe.

    The “free free free” exchange of insight, wisdom, and creative content on the interwebs was one brief shining moment that ran from about 1989 to the beginning of Times Select and the WSJ paywall, say 12-15 years. It was an incredible florescence of coolness, but an unsustainable burst of public domain stuff like Gutenberg that will always be out there, and blogs that, like the poor, will always be with us, and of other content that’s going to have to have a market economy wrapped around it to keep it from all just dripping onto the floor.

  31. Hexdecimal said on February 4, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Brian – You’re right in all you wrote, although using the cable TV comparison is a bit skewed when comparing it to the internet. We don’t have access to producing content and sharing it via the TV like we do on the internet.

    Better minds than mine have been discussing this issue for over 10 years that I’m aware of, and their conclusion is basically what I wrote above- don’t expect to make more than 1 sale of electronic data because after that it will distributed to others for free. Go over to Slashdot.org – their discussion board is full of this type of conversation.

    JTMMO – I played those MUD’s too at IPFW and got lost in them more than once – it took 2 hours to get out of a room once. Fustrating but fun

  32. coozledad said on February 4, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Hexidecimal: Thanks for explaining it to me. I always fall into the trap of thinking there’s a technical solution.

  33. moe99 said on February 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Here’s the Carly Fiorina ad with a better soundtrack:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2wgHwYC-ZE&feature=related

  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Amazing how many hours we could spend on prose that was merely preparing us to find Tom Clancy novels riveting literary extravaganzas — “Take two steps west. Take another two steps north. Take the key from the table. Go two steps south. Go two steps east. Drink from the bottle on the bench, then put the key in the door. Fight the kobold in the next room.”

    Ah, good times, good times. Then we went to the student union with our box of percentile & eight-sided dice, and played pencil and paper D&D until our accounts reset and we had a new 50kb of memory to use.

    I didn’t date much in college.

  35. coozledad said on February 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Moe: Just think of all the promotional dollars Pink Floyd could have saved if they’d just waited for other folks to sync their stuff up.

  36. beb said on February 4, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Nancy wrote: “I don’t want to see a world where any­one who wants to be a seri­ous writer has to have a day job in a university.”

    For poets that’s pretty much the situation as it stands. But that’s because most people don’t read poems anymore. I’m not sure but that won’t become the norm for serious writers in the future. There are a shocking number of people, my sister, alas, is one, who appears to have never read a book she wasn’t required to. The issue isn’t, really, whether people are stealing book off the internet for free, but that people aren’t reading like they used to. We may be the last literate generation.

    Nancy wrote: “If you can’t find any­thing decent to read in a few more years, don’t blame the writ­ers. They’ll be too busy wait­ing tables.”

    A couple years back I had an interesting conversation with a woman about romance fiction. Apparently there is a large on-line market in amateur romance fiction. Some authors I was told actually had large following so much so that tradition paper book publishers had made it a rule that they would not at any manuscripts from someone who had published on-line. Since I don’t read romance fiction or explore on-line fiction I don’t know how much of this is true. But it has the scent of credibility because I’d seen stuff like this in SF fandom 15-20 years ago. There are a lot of people who want to be writers. So they start by writing fan fiction. Some many, in time, actually go on to be a book published author. As long as they are people who enjoy reading stories there will be people writing stories.

    But I’ve riding my hobby horse long enough. Hey, everybody, Boingboing,com is all upset because Miley Cyrus’s younger sister is appearing in some scandalous children’s lingerie photos. Child Porn! Child Porn! OMGTHECHILDREN!

  37. Deborah said on February 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    A lot of architects teach at universities to help round things out. It’s partly economic and partly for networking purposes. A lot of the designers I work with teach on the side. I lecture from time to time and have taught a semester or two but I am not a born teacher on a large scale, I’m much better one on one. It’s a sad state of affairs but it is reality. The value of writing and creative arts has been on the decline. Sigh.

  38. brian stouder said on February 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Well, tonight ol’ Rachel made me laugh and guffaw not once, but twice – with little asides about the political sheep ad.

    And aside from that, we learned on her show that the woman who runs the New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase was helped (in part) to re-open her famous establishment after hurricane Katrina by ‘folks from Fort Wayne, Indiana’.

    Who dat, indeed!

    edit: well – a quiet realization (not to say epiphany) for me, regarding aging, is that a sort of prideful intransigence begins to take hold. If the whole damned world insists on transforming printed pages into electronic Kindling, STILL I’ll never, ever own or use one.

    I insist that my books have pages and dust and maybe the odd note or author’s inscription or long-lost coupon or event program (used as a bookmark) within them. And I want foot notes and end notes and marginalia; and even if I hate the font or the pagination, it must be THE font or pagination that the publisher committed to.

    And no damned book of mine will ever depend on a battery

  39. nancy said on February 4, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Who dat would probably be Lisa Williams and her friend…name escapes me. Lisa catered our wedding and is the exec chef at Joseph Decuis. As well as good friends with Dooky.

  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Brian — unless you’re reading it under the blankets by flashlight. I really, really had to know what happened to Aramis on the road back from Calais. When my mom realized I was reading “The Three Musketeers,” she was ridiculously pleased . . . it was years before it occurred to me what she had assumed she’d find me reading by the light of my Scout D-cell at 11:30 pm. It wasn’t that she was such a Dumas fan, apparently.

  41. Rana said on February 4, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I’m of mixed minds about the whole “free information on the internet” issue. On the one hand, as a writer (or “producer of content” as they seem to like to call us creative folks these days) it would be nice to get paid for my work – though as someone who tends to write creative nonfiction, which is a rare and unprofitable beast, it’s not like I could ever make a living at it. On the other, coming out of a background of academia, it’s not impossible that there are other benefits to be accrued from freely sharing one’s work. I’m thinking of scholarly publishing in particular, a nifty set-up in which intelligent, trained professionals engage in hours of research and analysis to produce works that are offered to journals for free and for which they get nothing except credit for having achieved the milestone of publication…. except that, in the old system, such efforts did earn those professionals nice things like tenure and lifetime employment, and the respect of one’s peers.

    I find myself wondering if there are analogies in those bloggers who find ways of turning their blogs into books, or even movies – there is clearly a market for those things, despite the content being available for free on the internet (heck, hit rates are what the author can use to demonstrate that there’s a market for the book!). So I don’t know if it’s books vs. internet copies, free content vs. paid content, so much as some people can make a living writing free stuff, and some (most) people can’t. Given that a generation or two before, that equation was some people can make a living with published books, and most people don’t manage that, I’m not sure that anything’s really changed, except audiences’ greater access to the mediocre and uninspired stuff that in previous decades would have manifested in hand-bound, hand-typed junk taking up space in random people’s attics.

  42. Dexter said on February 5, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Congressional Quarterly on Coats “testing the waters” before formally declaring a run at Evan Bayh.
    http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000003289470

  43. Denice B. said on February 5, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Saw a clip of Jon Stewart on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’. He told Bill that he is “The voice of reason on Fox. Which is kind of like being the skinniest kid at ‘Fat Camp’.” Up yours, Fox!

  44. beb said on February 5, 2010 at 8:10 am

    There is an article somewhere out on the Internet which describes how a band could sell a million albums and still end up broke. A lot of what I’ve been arguing here has been influenced by that article. There are two key points in the article. One is that the Record Company charges back all sorts of expensives to the band – the advance, the producer’s fees, cost of making the video, advertising, etc. The other point is that the band’s portion of the $16 or so you pay for that album is a buck, or so. The way it’s set up the Record Company makes a lot of money selling records, the band not so much.

    When I heard that Amazon was trying to keep a $10 floor on ebooks the first thought that popped into my head was “how much of that goes to the author?” If hard cover royalties run 12-14% and paperback royalties run 6-8%, then ebook sales probably run 4-6%. Which means that for ebook sale the author is getting less than a dollar in royalties. When I suggested that ebooks should be priced at $2, with a dollar going straight to the author, I was actually proposing a RAISE for the author. I do want to see authors make a decent living from their work. Some of my best friends are authors. I wasn’t trying to make athors live in poverty, I was trying to say that most of them already do.

  45. Becks Davis said on February 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I’m jealous that you’ve found the location of the Ice House, I’ve been trying for weeks to find out that secret. I’m not sure how I feel about the project, though.

    Thanks for the link to my post on the Belle Isle Ice Tree and enjoy your visit on Saturday. I posted some new pictures of the tree from this week on Detroit Moxie: http://www.detroitmoxie.com/home/2010/2/5/the-belle-isle-ice-tree-is-blue.html

    He’s looking quite pretty in blue.