Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Dad's Duty Dept. For some reason my new daughter doesn't like to go right back to the crib after her nightly feeding. This necessitates her dad rocking her for several minutes until she is into a deep sleep before depositing her for the rest of the night.

What to do when dad is pooped? He props himself up, semi-reclined, on the couch with sundry pillows and lets his daughter snooze away on his chest as he catches up on his sleep. You'd be surprised how many hours you can pass in this state of comfort (especially when it's a nice couch).

Friday, July 25, 2003

For the record: my second child born today (and second daughter): Seven pounds, three ounces. Her older sister, a two-year-old, saw her just seconds after birth (we were peeking through the curtain) and said "She's a mess! She needs a bath!"

Thursday, July 24, 2003

What's Apple up to? Dennis Sellers has some thoughts:

"Although the music store and iPods may be a way to entice more people to the Mac platform, there may be an even more important piece in the puzzle... Analyst Charles Wolf of Needham & Co. estimates that once Apple has the Windows version of iTunes in place, the store could capture 20 percent of the pay-per-download market. This could translate to $600 million in annual revenue and $50 million to $60 million in operating income, nearly equal to Apple's $65 million in profit for the 2002 fiscal year, Zeiler notes. And that's not even counting the increased iPod sales that should be generated."

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

5th Wave Dept. One of the other convenient features of a 19-inch Dell Trinitron monitor—drying off your socks after you've been caught in a torrential downpour.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

One of the unexpected pleasures of being an author is occasionally finding out that what you write actually inspires people. Just last week I received a copy of British film star Christopher Lee's new DVD, The Making of a Legend (the first volume of a planned series of DVDS) recounting the veteran film actor's experiences in the movie business.

As I scrolled through the end credits I saw my name under the Special Thanks banner. I emailed Mr. Lee's webmaster and producer, Juan Aneiros, who is also his son-in-law, to thank him for the listing. He wrote back that he and Mr. Lee decided to produce the new series on their own after reading my QuickTime book, a copy of which I had sent him with my compliments last December.

Makes my day.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Although the Boston Globe's on-going campaign to discredit President Bush on a daily basis may delude and satisfy the papers' owners in New York as well as the liberal establishment in Greater Boston academia, the anti-Bush vapors coming out of Morrissey Boulevard are befitting the old M. Doyle dump site on which the Globe sits.

The best illustration so far this week of the newspapers's apparent Get-Bush policy was Robert Kuttner's Op Ed piece yesterday: "The Press Gives Bush A Free Ride On His Lies" which was laughable per se. The column by Kuttner, a regular columnist on the Op Ed pages, consumed 40 per cent of the page.

Opposite it on the Editorial page, there was the usual Wasserman cartoon jabbing Bush as well as the lead editorial and a couple of long letters critical of the President. Wasserman's ridicule of the Bush was followed up today with another effort, accompanied by the lead editorial on Bush's alleged delusions about North Korea.

One could go on and on with example after example from the Globe's "news" pages of the campaign to destroy Bush and how obvious and real it is. In a period of increasing media competition for the public's attention, the last thing the Globe needs is an erosion of confidence in its daily offerings.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

One of the drawbacks of going with a print-on-demand publisher is that you can't sell your novels at a competitive rate. A trade paperback from Tor goes for $8.95 or $12.95. But your novel from just about any POD outfit will start at $15.95. That's just the cost of production.

That's about five dollars more than the average bookstore browser is willing to shell out for an unknown author.

But then, I see things like this.

Go figure.

Monday, July 14, 2003

New York Press columnist Russ Smith has given former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle, who now writes a weekly piece for the N. Y. Daily News, as rough a going-over as this veteran newspaperman has seen in decades.

Smith virtually accuses Barnicle of plagiarism for lifting segments of a piece Jimmy Breslin wrote for Newsday on April 29, in his New York Daily News column on May 21. Smith's comparison of much of what Barnicle had to say with Breslin's observations concluded:

"Perhaps this isn't outright theft. But it comes close. Closer than Barnicle who seems like the tourist he is in that column, possibly knowing that it was a Romanian driving that livery car. Then again, that was another area of trouble for this washed-up hack in Boston: he invented anecdotes for his Globe columns.

Barnicle's latest column in yesterday's Daily News, relies heavily on E-mail he says he received from two U.S. Army soldiers in Iraq recently. The extensive comments the two men allegedly made to the columnist, don't sound like the real thing. There's something Barniclese about them!"

Monday, July 07, 2003

The big story and head: Access problems dog convention center on the front page of today's (July 7) Boston Globe describe just the tip of the iceberg regarding the obstacles facing the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center scheduled to open on the South Boston waterfront next June.

More and more the center is beginning to look like a white elephant, a convention structure that shouldn't be constructed. Insiders report that there is not that much interest by national corporations and other groups in contracting to use the facility with which Mayor Menino hopes to enhance his image, in future years.

The Back Bay with the Hynes Auditorium and all of its other attractions, not the least of which is the Red Sox during the spring and summer months, is more attractive to them.
It will be interesting to see if any of the money-hungry lawyers who are smacking their lips at the prospects of suing Burger King, McDonald's and other fast food chains for contributing to the ill health (obesity) of Americans, also target a great musician like the late Fred Waring in their attempt to pick the pockets of these companies.

For several years Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians were featured on a half-hour, national radio show sponsored by the American Meat Institute which opened and closed with a harmonious salute to Beef:

Good health, good joy, good songs abound
whenever we gather to eat,
and all the family's sitting around,
and on the table Meat...and on the table Meat.

David Berlinki's response to critics of his April Commentary article "A Scientific Scandal" is online. Unfortunately, the original article isn't, but you can still be entertained and enlightened about the ongoing debate about Darwin's limitations. Richard Dawkins, who does have some explaining to do, sadly does not put in an appearance.

Myself, I accept Darwin's theory as far as it goes, but am increasingly bewildered by the defensiveness and hostility of scientists to interesting and what seem to me perfectly reasonable challenges to the theory.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

John Derbyshire at NRO provides a priceless example of what happens when Windows users decide they want to add an inexpensive video card to their PC so that they can make their own movies on the desktop....

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Joseph Epstein in a timely piece on the nature of Envy:

"A self-poisoning of the mind, envy is usually less about what one lacks than about what other people have. A strong element of the begrudging resides in envy, thus making the envious, as Immanuel Kant remarked in The Metaphysics of Morals, 'intent on the destruction of the happiness of others.' "

I must confess, as a writer, what I more often than not find myself envying is not so much other writers' success as I do their luck.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Lately it seems that the commentary on just about every sports event that is televised features an excessive use of the word "incredible" in the description of what is taking place on the field or in the arena of play. Baseball announcers are especially guilty, thanks to the availability of televised replays which many of them use over and over to pad their broadcasts.

Several years ago the late Ray Fitzgerald, probably the best sports columnist the Boston Globe ever had—and the newspaper has had numerous—penned an entire column decrying the misuse of the word.

"I'll tell you what would be incredible," Fitzgerald wrote, "if a baserunner trying to steal second base turned into a swan on the way—that would be incredible."