Archive for January 5, 2008

Video Vitamins For Our Souls

January 5, 2008

Using Firefox? Run over and grab Video DownloadHelper so these can be saved. They can disappear without warning. You’ll want, and eventually need, them.

The first are the words of the late and great Paddy Chayefsky. He wrote this thirty-two years ago. His words are immortal. He died twenty seven years ago. He is missed.

The second contains a typo and has a wee ad (a single title card) at the end, but I still love it.

I don’t believe in quitting. No matter what.

Just What Kind Of Blog Is This, Cane?

January 5, 2008

It’s simple: It’s my blog.

It’s an unfortunate fact of American life that our national, collective curiosity has shriveled to a thin band. And within this hideous mental wasteland populated by sad and cruel distortions of past fertility, people demand homogeneity of content: Give me the same as last time, only newer. Just as an addict seeks a specific drug.

“Wait,” I can hear someone saying, “I just read a post here about the Sony Reader. Now why is the next post about a possible global depression?!!? What does that have to do with the Sony Reader, dammit?!”

The common denominator is me.

Because this is my blog.

It’s not a tech blog. It’s not a political blog. It’s not a geek blog. It’s not … a single-subject blog. It’s a blog about what I find interesting. About things you might — perhaps only eventually, and then maybe too late — find interesting too.

I’ve seen the posts that brought in readers at my old blog. I’m determined to stay away from those topics here. I want a non-tech, non-niche readership. I want people who have wider interests. I’m not looking to appeal to people looking for information about the next toy (and given the amount of redundant tech people buy, that’s what it’s mostly become — toys, not tools).

When I do write about tech — in fact, when I write about anything — it’s because it’s a genuine and authentic interest of mine. (I’ve ripped into tech sites before. My stance hasn’t changed on that point.)

There are too many sites designed to goose people into buying goods or points of view. The first type accept payola (be it in the form of free goods, free trips, or exclusive information). The second type are run by frighteningly-inhuman maniacs who focus on the world through a prescription-lens-of-ideas with the psychotic certainty that “their” point of view — which is actually nothing more than what someone else convinced them to accept — is correct for everyone.

Oh, I have my point of view too. But it hasn’t been dictated to me by someone else. I’m the only one, if it comes to that, to blame for it.

I think we have dire times ahead. An appalling amount of greed has infected practically every cell of this society. We’ve deconstructed and destroyed just about everything that used to make this country work. (Having seen this country in the pre-Beatles 1960s, I can’t imagine what all those who came after that point imagine a society is like having experienced nothing except the downhill slope since that time. Check out the old black-and-white movies, kids. People really were the way they’re portrayed in those quaint scripts!) We’ve also turned into the kind of people who, in an earlier time in this nation, would have been thought of as nearly certifiably insane.

That last sentence is not an exaggeration, either. I’ve noticed something eerie that’s developed just within the last few years. A pervasive paranoia has settled upon this nation. It began before 9/11 too, so it’s something endogenous, not exogenous. People will no longer comfortably accept someone walking anywhere behind them on a deserted sidewalk, even during high noon on a blue sky sunny day. They turn around and look behind in broadcasted apprehension, as if some threat had chillingly whispered into their ear. FDR’s admonition, which knitted together a truly desperate people, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” seems to have been replaced with, “I’m scared, but I don’t know of what!”

So, yes, in between posts about other subjects, you will find the salt of the Collapse Of All Things (C.O.A.T.), in some granularity. Because that’s what’s ahead. Krypton is doomed.

But before we all reach that tripwire and fall over it, life must continue. So as bizarre as it will indeed seem, I will have posts that veer into outright distractivity. I don’t want to live in a bunker awaiting the end. No one does. There must be still be time for fun, beauty, and bright shiny things.

Now you know what kind of blog this is.

In The Future, Will The Obese Eat?

January 5, 2008

Forget oil, the new global crisis is food

A new crisis is emerging, a global food catastrophe that will reach further and be more crippling than anything the world has ever seen. The credit crunch and the reverberations of soaring oil prices around the world will pale in comparison to what is about to transpire, Donald Coxe, global portfolio strategist at BMO Financial Group said at the Empire Club’s 14th annual investment outlook in Toronto on Thursday.

“It’s not a matter of if, but when,” he warned investors. “It’s going to hit this year hard.”


So you’re on the breadline after the Collapse Of All Things, waiting for your daily survival ration. The one bit of food that you can get, in an amount that barely keeps you from fainting so you can have the strength to stand on line again tomorrow. And in front of you is someone who weighs over three hundred pounds complaining about how slow the line is and how s/he is starving and going on about Big Macs and whining about how little food is offered and how it’s not tasty and why don’t they give out any cookies?

This is your future.

Photo: “White Angel Breadline
By Dorothea Lange, San Francisco, California, 1933
National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Social Security Administration
Copyright the Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California, City of Oakland, Gift of Paul S. Taylor. (47-GA-90-497)

Wil Wheaton Drives A Nail Into My Future Coffin

January 5, 2008

With just five deadly words:

Though my kids are grown

Wesley Crusher has grown children?


Who’s Flogging Their Work Online?

January 5, 2008

In my prior post about the Sony Reader, I made the point that the Internet is the largest self-publishing effort in all of human history (let me not be blithely anthrocentric and close off the possibility of those damned Pleidians or whoever). I pointed to a Teleread post about an author publishing on Amazon for Kindle suckers users.

Today, Warren Ellis mentioned someone who’s putting his new novel on the Net.

Here’s your chance to actually contribute to this blog. Post a Comment with a link to any novels, works of non-fiction (that are, or are intended to be, book-length), and video series you know of being published exclusively on the Internetwerkmachinen.

I’m excluding bands from this. I’ve got music covered on my own.

There are already a few Internet-only online video micro-series I’ll be mentioning in the future.

Some guidelines:

1) It must be free (although it can be a few chapters that tease a print or e book people must then pay for in the future, upon completion).

2) It must be published by the creator him/herself (no shilling of global conglomerate sites that dole out a few free chapters) .

2) It must have appeared, or is appearing, on the Net first.

I’m especially interested in writers who:

1) Have only appeared in e form (Internet or ebook).

2) Have decided, or were forced, to leave print publishing for e.

I’ll collect the best ones for future posts.

Now give.