Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Paperbacks R.I.P.?

According to Sandra Scoppettone's recent blog there will be no more mass market paperbacks published after 2007 or thereabouts. Everything will be hardcover or trade paperback.

I sure hope this is a wild rumor. It's hard for me to fathom a world without paperbacks as we know and love them. Granted, they're mighty expensive these days, but they're cheaper than tpbs or hcs, as we aficionados call them.

Do publishers really think people will spend two- to four times the cost of a pb for a book by a newcomer or non-bestselling author? Or are mass market pbs unprofitable these days, forcing this change? Beats me.

It would seem to me that if the major publishers did discontinue paperbacks there would be a huge void left and some enterprising newcomers would rush in to fill it. After all, paperbacks started in order to serve a need (cheap books for the common man/woman) and that need still exists despite the deplorable dearth of new readers spewed from the hallowed halls of modern learning.

I won't even go into the issues of shelf space and convenience that can only be satisfied by paperbacks. I'll just say that if there are no more new paperbacks to read I'll finally have an excuse to read all the old ones I've been stashing away for the past 20+ years.

Friday, March 25, 2005

High Society

I trust everyone's familiar with the case of Mary Kay Letourneau, the Washington school teacher who had an affair with an ugly, obnoxious 13-year-old student. Mary served a 7-year jail term and is now preparing to marry the kid she had the affair (and 2 children) with.
All that's strange enough, or creepy enough if you will, but what really floors me is that the happy couple is signed up at the bridal registry at Macy's.
Am I missing something? I always thought that bridal registries were meant for people on the mid- to upper levels of society, not pitiable freaks and felons. And should one wish to purchase a wedding present for them, what would be appropriate? Supp-Hose for her and Dr. Suess for him? The whole thing is alternately funny and sad.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Still Crazy After All These Weeks

Last weekend I took my girls to Oro Valley, Arizona, to visit my mother and two sisters. I'd bought my mother a computer for her birthday (Feb. 24) and decided that if I didn't go down there, install it, and show her how to use it it would linger in the boxes a long time. So we took a pre-dawn redeye to Phoenix, rented a car, and drove to Oro Valley. Our first order of business was to get a computer desk, and after driving a while found a place that sold them. It should be noted that everything in that area is scattered all over the desert and there's nothing in between but scrub, mesquite, sand, and cactus.
Naturally, the job of assembling the desk fell to me, but I was lucky in that the instructions were clear and my mother had a good power screwdriver. By evening the desk and computer were up and running (okay, the desk didn't run, but you get the idea). Since AOL had a free connection built in I signed her up with them. If you know me, you know I hate AOL, but this was just to get connected so we could sign up with her full-time server, Peoplepc. We canceled AOL later.
My mother has had virtually no dealings with computers before so the training had to start at the lowest level. Now that she's had it a week she's getting more confident.
While I was in Arizona I hooked up with my cousin Glenn, who by coincidence was visiting a friend in Tucson. I haven't seen him since 1988, and not for a long time before that. It seems we shared a number of interests, including guitars and model kits, and he brought me a box full of WWII figures and accessories. I spread them out today and found 50 WWII Marx Germans, 66 WWII Marx GIs, and 30 Tim-Mee Vietnam GIs.
Of course it was nice to visit with the family, whom I haven't seen in ages, and they enjoyed seeing how the girls had grown. My brother-in-law rode his motorcycle over and gave the kids a ride. They both loved it so I have to hope they don't become a couple of tattooed Harley chicks this summer.
There wasn't much time to go places and do things (there would have been more if people could get out of the door in under two hours), but we hit a mall on Saturday. The women went clothes shopping so Glenn and I looked for places of greater interest. I found a Waldenbooks that had a western section, of all things, and bought a Gorman/Greenberg-edited collection called TEXAS RANGERS, and three Randisis. I also found THE LONDON BLITZ MURDERS, by Max Allan Collins, in the mystery section.
I'd bought round trip tickets but when I went to America West for the return journey I discovered I'd been book on United, or, as they so hiply call themselves now, TED. Gag me with a spoon.
At least the planes were roomy (we had a stop in San Francisco). The one we flew in on the way down must have been built for midgets.
Arizona was hitting around 80 degrees every day, which didn't bother the natives but was too warm for me. I was able to switch on the fans in my mothers house, but all the public places seemed to think there was some law against air conditioning. Places like the mall and the furniture store were stifling.
Oh yeah, speaking of the mall there was a store called Puppies. I like to look at pups so I went in for a browse. In one cage they had a black and brown Chihuahua that was almost fully grown. The price? $1700.00! That's two to three times what they're worth, Grand Champions excepted, and this was no champ.

On a more recent note, I see that Robert Blake beat the rap for killing his wife. My reaction is GOOD! Not only did I think there was no evidence to show he did it, I have to agree with John Wayne that some folks just need killing. Bonnie was one of them.