Since the sleeping schedule has gone all to hell, it seems as good a time as any to point to numerous things. (I forgot what happens when my mind remains active without a break for seventeen hours. Must remember to do stupid things so that I can sleep in the future.)
The Los Angeles Timeschecks in with Howard Junker and Zyzzyva, as Junker has just retired. There doesn’t appear to be a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in Mr. Junker’s hand, but perhaps some unknown moment of spare time involving Photoshop and, well, let’s face it, PBR might remedy this. [UPDATE: To be clear on this, Junker is retiring at the end of next year.]
And speaking of Millhauser, I’m wondering if there’s a specific name for that optical illusion in which two lower-case ells appear to converge into one when you’re looking at them in a small font. I’m convinced this is why I can never trust myself when I type “Philip Roth.” I always think there might be another ell, when there isn’t. Because if you stare long enough at two ells, they merge into one!
If Obama wishes to preach hope, I certainly hope he has a solution for this retail bloodletting. Chelsea Green has managed to anger Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers because it intends to distribute Robert Kuttner’s Obama’s Challenge at the Democratic National Convention. There’s just one problem. With the book comes coupons that can be redeemed at Amazon’s BookSurge, which is their POD offering. Independent booksellers revolted and canceled orders, feeling that Chelsea Green’s move was a slap in the face. Chelsea Green president Margo Baldwin responded, blaming this favoritism on the importance of the election season. (Gee, I wonder if I can tell my landlord that I can’t pay the rent next month because I believe that this year’s Mets season is particularly important. Think he’d be sympathetic?) Anyway, instead of offering an alternative that might assist these indie bookstores, Baldwin writes that Chelsea Green “could not have survived and thrived without the innovations that Amazon brought to the book marketplace.” Amazon may be important for a small press to survive, but the people who run indie bookstores are often passionate readers. It’s the people behind the counter who have some say in where your book is positioned. There’s little doubt in my mind that POD will become a retail reality at some point. But with so many POD options out there and the atmosphere uncertain, it seems to me extremely foolish to alienate the support you have operating in the present like this.
Am I the only person who really doesn’t give two shits about Michael Phelps? You know, world events, economy in the shitter, U.S. presidential election, Georgia, rising gas and food prices, et al.