Archive for October, 2007

Miracle Republishing

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Publishing is a tough biz. You shell out a mint for a run and in a wink of an eye the book is remaindered for nickels and dimes. There is another way. You own the rights to the content (which few read anyway). Make a few minor changes to the cover design tailored to broadening its market, voila your project has a second life. With the right changes, a very profitable one.

Take Schumacher’s book “Small is Beautiful”. The point is not that it did okay targeting the niche audience who are interested in “saving the planet”. Why loose out on the incomparably larger audience of avid readers who couldn’t care less if we went to hell in a handcart?

Just take a look at the example below and you’ll agree there’s no way the republished work won’t sell rings around the original.

No Stinking Lattes

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

From Ocean City in the Sinepuxent to Marina Del Rey in the Ballona Creek, an iron curtain of corporate uniformity has descended across the Continent. Wouldn’t it be a relief in this kudzu like proliferation of sameness to see a business like the following.

Above and Beyond the PAC Rats

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

“Edwards and the Vision Thing” was about an issue that would put Edwards above and beyond Mrs. Nafta and the rest of the PAC rats. Saving New Orleans and universal healthcare are obviously issues that Edwards should make a strong stand about, but so will all the other candidates. They will make a pass at the energy crisis, but compromised by their support of the status quo, they will offer up ridiculously underfunded and ineffectual solutions.

The Clinton administration set aside a little over a billion dollars for its “Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles”. To put this completely inadequate effort in perspective, the cost of the current travesty in Iraq is approaching 500 billion dollars. That says everything about the priorities of the status quo and the politicians wedded to it and terrified of being called “liberal big spenders”

Of course Edwards will be called a “Big Spender”. Parents pay for their child’s college education. It’s a lot of money. Are they big spenders? No, because it helps set up their child for life. Well this would help set up America for generations to come.

Where’s he going to get the money?, he will be asked. The same place the Republicans get it when they decide to have a war or do one of their bailouts. Come to think of it, after GW stole the last election, maybe the American middle class should have incorporated, declared bankruptcy and got bailed out.

The coming scramble for diminishing resources will involve us in one Iraq after another, unless we break the stranglehold of the status quo. Edwards should bring together the people who have the expertise to create an alternative and the entrepeneurs who will develop it. There are a lot of top notch scientists who would be thrilled not to have to make their living designing new bombs, but rather discovering the next generation of alternative energy.

What this Intellectual Western Front Needs is a Sacred Cow Open Pit B-B-Q

Friday, October 19th, 2007

True independent thought seems to be dead. All sides, left, right and everything outside and in between are hunkered down in their private enclaves, passing their cherished notions among themselves until the sacred cows grow fat on the rich feed of ingroup political correctness. Despite apparent animosities and some long distance sniping, it’s clear everyone finds this static landscape of immobilized certainties quite soothing. I guess it’s the reassurance that no one is going to stray far enough from their entrenched notions to be a problem.

So in the interests of bringing maneuver to this Western Front of an intellectual landscape and just plain fun I thought I’d load up the virtual concession wagon with basting sauce and take on some of these sacred cows from time to time. I’ve designed a neon for the occasion.

Edwards and the Vision Thing

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Don’t get me wrong, Edwards’ fairness in America is a fine vision. It’s not that I don’t like the “Two Americas” phrase. I used it myself in a screenplay I wrote in 1995. It’s just fairness will never get anybody elected. I know, what about Jimmy Carter? That was in the stars, an extraordinary conjunction of Vietnam and Watergate. And Edwards has fine position papers, they’re just too abstract and timid. What’s required is a bold vision, something that will inspire, put him above and beyond Mrs. Nafta and company.

Kennedy committed the country to going to the moon in ten years. Edwards should commit America to a new Manhattan project, a NASA for the 21st century, a scientific breakthrough in the creation of energy that will make America truly self sufficient in 15 years.

Self sufficiency, now there’s an American virtue. It sure beats scavenging around the Mideast. Not that scavenging doesn’t have its place in history. Great ideas are few and slow in coming and human needs and desires relentlessly proceed and the gap is filled by two endlessly recycled strategies, stealing and gettingĀ  it cheaper.

What ever happened to American ingenuity? It certainly can come up with a better idea than either an oil grabfest with the Europeans and China or having our workers compete with Sri Lankans. Edwards should put forth that better idea, a consortium, public and private to discover a new form of energy. The status quo parties should be allowed in so they don’t lobby the idea to death.

It’ll cost a fortune. But so does the current foreign escapade which yields nothingĀ  This puts America in the world vanguard for a century. And talk about fairness, in Kennedy’s language this would definitely be the great tide that would raise all boats.

Save the Electoral College: The Soundbites and the Fury Part 1

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Primaries are approaching. That endless spectacle where the wise and the honest are separated from the electable. Of course you can be wise and honest as long as it’s plain as day you’re unelectable…. otherwise you’ll be shot. How the wise and honest accomplish this feat is one of the mysteries of body language. But accomplish it they do and you’re convinced you’d never see them across the desk at a used car lot. Since a substantial part of the Presidential job description is being able to lie with a straight face, they’re off the hook.

Along with the coming soundbites and fury are the inevitable calls for the elimination of the electoral college. Antiquated, undemocratic, a pointless formality. So, I might point out, is Congress, but as of yet I hear no cries for its abolishment. All of the electoral college’s “faults” would be piffle were it not for its real shortcoming, dullness. The fact is the only other college around without a football team is the College of Cardinals and they have pomp, pageantry and that puff of smoke.

Despite all this I think the electoral college worth saving. Almost all the artifacts handed down by the Founding Fathers have lately disappeared. The Bill of Rights is gone. The Constitution is gone. Well, not exactly gone, its language just simplified to read, “All powers not vested in the corporations are too insubstantial to be worth comment in this document.”

So the electoral college is our last artifact, and in the name of Madison, Jefferson and the heroic paper boy who delivered the Federalist Papers, I say keep it. It’s PR just needs a little sprucing, that’s all. Start with a mascot. Something warm and fuzzy. How about a Panda? The electoral college Pandas. Better already. Now all we need is a football team. A great coach would help. Maybe Charlie Weis will be available after this year.