Friday, June 15, 2007

Midstream of Consciousness

I started this post under the title "Is Blogging Dead?" This is mostly a commentary on myself, and how I have not kept up, though I have an essay working which can be posted here AND the Finishing School, so that is winwin/net-net/hocus-pocus.

But I changed topic in a few minutes when I decided to see what my blogroll members are up to, and was delighted, and flattered, that over at the Lemonade Stade, Violet is getting her own readership hooked on Bookmooch.

This is me linking to her linking to me.
JCWK would say, "It's so Meta." I just think it's ar-sum.

And they'll tell 2 friends... and none of us will get any of the Mooch Money, but that's OK. It's not about the money....

So this moment of internet connection between 2 people who have never met, over an obsession with books, has inspired a couple of updates.

1) I added a new label for the Booklovers, so you can get caught up on all the various book hoarder spots that have been highlighted here. BookMooch is the one most like Netflix, but my fave is really Bookcrossings because it truly isn't about the money. Keep 'em coming, readers!

2) Some recommended summer reads. You'll notice that my Nightstand list (left) has shrunk, partly because it is summer, and partly because Kavalier and Clay is the size of a dictionary, but mostly because I spend most waking hours working on something stupid. But.... I do have some new discoveries that I will pass along. You are invited and encouraged to comment with more suggestions.

What is the What - I was assigned this the other night at RFB, and was blown away. I am a Dave Eggers fan, though I admit it usually takes some commitment. If you couldn't get through Staggering Genius, 2 tips (skip the intro, this instead). I came home and ordered it for people. Now that's book compulsion.

Kavalier & Clay (linked left) - I am enjoying this a lot, though I am not sure it is for everyone. It helps if you have a 50's comic books section in your brain, and if you like a dense kind of near-Faulkner style. Yes to both for me. If you read these 2, plus Maus and Maus II, that could fill your summer nicely (though not exactly uplifting).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - 35 days to release - let me just say - full disclosure -- that I do not care for 5 minutes about Harry Potter. But if you are already in this camp, this is a big summer for you. So enjoy it. And I'll tell you what - this boxed set arrangement could almost convince me. Damn, that is handsome.

I just invented this. Let's make t-shirts.

It's Harry and Beatrix Potter.
That's more of a Mary joke, isn't it?

And now I forgot what I was talking about.
3) a Plug for Check this Out bookclub. If you have been considering a book club, but just can't commit to friendships with people you might have to see in the grocery... (or, whatever, you travel, you're a shut-in, you work nights... ) you might enjoy this discussion board with titles worth discussing. Tell them the mill girls sent you.

And get to the beach, would you? You look like a pasty new Englander. Oh wait, that's me again.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hoard no More!

That's hoard. I don't care what you do on your own time.
The Readership that likes to participate adds to our list of places you can share your books. Jay sends us

Who are they? A guy named John, who is celebrating his book addiction through the free exchange of crap on the Web. Yaaaay.... web crap!

Compulso-Meter: 4 big bars of soap!

Book Mooch is a list-based system (squirm...writhe...) where you list what you want to give away, and search for what you want to possess, like Napster.
Lots of stats; ditto charts. Mostly numbers, and all trending "up," which lost my interest after a moment. But, dig this: you can quickly flash to this page when the boss walks by.

Search feature - I searched for "Bridges of Madison County," a book no one should keep. 7 people would like to give it away.
Fasco-Meter - a little high. There is a point system (so many points for books out, so many for books in) that seems a little overly wonky.

The account creation page takes itself too seriously. Protection, sure, but am I in danger of someone logging in as me and giving away my books without my authorization? Can you tell I have no spouse?

Presence of The Man - Book Mooch is in bed with Amazon. Not that that's a bad thing. You just might want to know, in case you still believe in the wild wild web. These might not be real "people."

Other stuff going on:
Book Mooch is in Second Life! And they give away t-shirts there.

Where's the love?
BookMooch does encourage charitable giving, including books to prisons, which you recall we have had some trouble with.

If you truly have time on your hands -- so much so that you could be on the professional Scrabble circuit -- I challenge you to combine this group with the book crossing people.

"The Center of Everything" was just released last month at The Purple Shamrock. Go get it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

By the numbers

# of hours I spent working Saturday while wtching the Sox/Yankees game - 4

# of spots aired in that time about how great my Company is - 6

Here's our Carrie at the loom. It's like a laptop, only louder. And without streaming audio.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Marketing to the Disengaged

Here in the commonwealth, we have recently legislated health insurance - that is, everyone must have health insurance. (Remember when you played the Game of Life and everyone had to stop and get married?) We are also the state that legislates that everyone must have a specific type of car insurance, and of course no one can smoke. So we are used to this.

Perfectly simple right?

Understand that this law does not mean everyone is granted health insurance, but that everyone has to purchase it. And no one has really figured out how to enforce that, though we do know the penalties:

Individuals who cannot show proof of health insurance coverage by Dec. 31, 2007, will lose their personal income tax exemption when filing their 2007 income taxes. The 2006 personal exemption is $3,850 for an individual, which translates into a tax savings of approximately $204 for an individual (5.3 percent of $3,850). In 2008, failure to meet the requirement will result in a fine for each month the individual does not have coverage. The fine will equal 50 percent of the least costly, available insurance premium that meets the standard for creditable coverage.

They have also figured out how to get the message to the largest group of uninsured Bay Staters, 18-30 year old men: we are going to hammer tem to death during televised Sox games. (Not using the video above.)

The most frequent spot is a montage of Joe Bag-0-Donuts just like yerself, Sully, who think insurance is wicked cool, yo. One guy with his arm in a sling shrugs painfully and says, "Yeh, I got it." He should meet my friend Andy, famous for slicing off a piece of his hand with a plane, and stitching it up on the way to the hospital. Then he got married and had children, and I think his wife enforced some different plans.

The other ads, as anyone who watches baseball regularly can tell you, are ads for penile pharmaceuticals. It pees too much, or not enough, or it's too flaccid, or it's too erect, but whatever damn lot of trouble yours is giving you, you can take a pill for it.

So it seems to me that these ads should end with a spoken and on-screen message; "You must have health insurance to purchase Penirex. You could not afford it otherwise."

When Mike Piazza leans down to the camera, he should say, "I couldn't have had Viagra without a visit to my doctor. And I couldn't have visited a doctor without my health insurance."

You may be wondering, as I did, what about the Christian Scientists? They have much clout in this region, and they did not sit around waiting to be recognized. Because get this: Christian Scientists do have health insurance, and they wanted to make sure it was recognized by the Commonwealth as legitimate health care, and had the phrase "health care" put in place of "medical care" in official language of the new laws.

The Christian Science plan pays 90% of expenses for healers and non-pharmaceutical nursing care, such as changing bandages. And it counts. And because the law is about "health coverage," other alternative methods will also qualify. And if you still have a religious objection, you can opt-out, but get your letter to the governor by the first of July.

In closing, I would like to ask anyone to explain to me why the word "flaccid" has 2 Cs in it.