intellectual workers

An article on teleread.com about publishers and price-fixing of ebooks recently provoked many comments; mostly from ‘writers’ who missed the point entirely. The article itself was fairly silly – it proposes that the antitrust issue is irrelevant, partly because there is no monopoly (which is debatable, certainly) and in part because government regulation is b-a-d (a typical conservative approach, which conveniently ignores all the b-a-d stuff that happens when there is no regulation, e.g. global financial collapses and disastrous oil spills, to name a couple of recent examples). The issue is purely one of economics and public policy – are monopolistic practices acceptable or should government intervene?

This has nothing at all to do with writers, writing, literature or authorship. Books, including ebooks, are products, the authors of which are analogous to assembly line workers in any industry. They contribute their piece and are paid according to what they can manage to get from the corporations they work for. Intellectual laborers historically suffer from their vanity and self-importance. They even attack each other for grammatical errors and typos in comments, rendering themselves even more irrelevant in this debate. I won’t even get into the fields of literature in which these laborers toil. This is also not relevant, even if it is amusing.

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Cryomatic

Nothing funny about a blind guy crossing the street and smacking into a parked car, but come on, the guy was jaywalking! wtf?

ongoing series of people who assume we are jewish. old lady coming out of mcdonald’s looks at my smiling son, looks back at me, grins and says, “what a face! what a schmazzer!” i googled it but came up with nothing. wtf part deux?

the boy was introduced to baseball cards at his first day of summer camp today. on the way home he says, “Albert Pujols [poo-jowels]. Do we like him?”

Sometimes a boy just needs his dad to be his dad, like picking him up early on his first day at a new place, taking him out to a playground, and just hanging out while he tries to absorb all the new and strange experiences.

The Very Latest in Oops

We are watching This Week and one of the adults in the room mentions that Senator Mitch McConnell looks like a vagina. From the other room, the small child pipes up, “who does?”, and comes running into the room to see, and when he sees him, he says, “oh yeah, he does”

Talking with the Sun

You meet someone, start a conversation. Partway through, you begin to realize that this person has some really, really weird ideas (they believe, for example, that the sun is a sentient being), ideas they are passionate about, but which are utterly ridiculous to you. You don’t want to be rude. What are you going to do? You wish the conversation had not begun, but you cannot go back in time even just a few minutes in order to keep your mouth shut, or look the other way. Too late now. You’re thinking about that as they go on and tell you all about their notions. You mutter something passable, pleasant enough but non-committal, nod your head a time or two. Later you will realize the things you said did not amount to anything, that often in these cases the person with the odd ideas is only interested in himself, and like a mirror you’re just another face to bounce ideas off. You smile. You think that in the universe life is probably the rule, not the exception, that there are living things on every rock throughout the billion galaxies. You think that some of your own ideas make this guy’s seem like small potatoes. You’re proud of yourself now, aren’t you? You’re thinking you have turned the tables, and that the other guy will soon be wishing he had never started talking to you either.

Pecking Order

Since daylight savings time arrived (early), I spend most of my evenings at the local playground with my five-year old and an assorted cast of neighborhood kids. Tonight there was Maya (7) and her brother Peter (9), JJ (6) and his brother Thaddeus (12), Trevor (11) and Dominic (13). Trevor was throwing sand at the littlest kids, making Maya cry first, and then JJ. At that point I said to him (from my vantage point atop the skateboard ramp, towering above the rest), “don’t you think that’s enough of making little kids cry? It’s really not that much fun.” So, he stopped. Peter (his compadre) gave me the evil eye and said to Trevor, “you’d better get on that bike and not look back”, so Trevor took off, and Peter shortly after as well. Dominic, the oldest of the kids, looked at me as if he was thinking “damn, I should have done that”. Thaddeus was probably embarrassed about not helping out his little brother. In any case, the little ones, my son and I took off racing across the field and back. Later I wondered if Trevor was really afraid of me. It’s just that as the sole adult authority figure there, all sorts of other stuff comes into play. Kids and adults – it’s a complicated thing.

Me and Big Mouth

parenting. sheesh

we went to a kid birthday party and there were lots of parents with kids of various ages (0-6 mostly), so i thought this one couple was cool and seemed to have a sense of humor and i made a joke about how a couple i know once declared most emphatically “we are not juice people” (stupid me, i thought this was funny in a soylent green sort of way) and this other couple took offense and replied that they were not juice people either and continued on to lecture me all about the dangers of juice …

new blogging category: me and big mouth