Sunday, October 26, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEPHANIE


Nineteen years ago I beheld for the first time the tiny bundle of beauty who is my daughter Stephanie. Today she's a young woman of sensitivity, intelligence, and compassion who is trying to find her place in our complex world.

I've cherished your every moment, my little one, and always will.
This photo was taken when she was five.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Arrow Falls

Lost another $1000. Thanks, Wall Street scum. UP THE REVOLUTION!

Hypermodern Cap'n

A few days ago I was making one of my semi-regular trips to Amazon to see if they still listed my first book, LOVE, DEATH AND THE TOYMAN. Mainly I like to look at their secondary market, the other dealers who attach themselves to Amazon like pilot fish on a shark to vend the same item, sometimes at a large discount, sometimes at greatly increased prices. I've seen my book go for as little as 47 cents for an ex-library copy to $50 for a new one. But the one I saw the other day really floored me. Just $500. Yes, friends, just five hundred dollars for an unsigned copy. If that doesn't say hypermodern I don't know what does.
What's more, a few days later the listing was gone. Shazam! Either it was relisted for a lower price or--and I can't believe this--some damn fool paid the five century notes.
Which brings up a subject that puzzles me. I've seen this book listed for a lot more than the retail price ($118 was the old ceiling) from dealers who, I think, never even owned a copy. They take an order, drop ship it from a distributor's warehouse, and never invest a cent in a product from which they hope to reap an obscene profit. There's something wrong with that. If they're going to sell a book they at least ought to buy it from the distributor and have it on hand. Maybe then they'd set a realistic price on it. When I check Amazon for a book I always check the used listings and get the one that's both cheapest and in the best shape for the money. If I want it new I'll pay retail, but not retail times two, or five, or fifty. Are there really suckers out there who patronize these hogs? I hope not.

Random Thoughts

Several months ago I got my annual statement for my Thrift Savings Plan, a deal we civil service types get from Uncle Sam (we put in X-amount, they add to it). Three days ago I looked at it on line to see how I was faring in the current economy. I was down $2,000. A few hours ago I checked again. Down another $1000. At this rate I should have nothing come Columbus Day, which will leave me on the horns of a dilemma. Should I track down a former Fannie Pack exec and blow his brains out, or just find a high bulding to jump from?

I saw the Veep candidates' debate earlier. Afterwards I checked with a couple of TV stations to see what they had to say about it. As usual, the liberals swore Biden won and the Conservatives gave the nod to Palin. In fact, one station's text-in votes gave Palin the win 88% to 12%. Another station said Biden won 56% to 33%, with others calling or texting in to say they didn't know. Why anyone would call to profess ignorance is beyond me, but they did. Personally, I think both debaters did well, but I expected Biden to do what he did, while Palin exceeded expectations. So I give her the marginal victory.

Toyman 2 has completed the editing process and is now in the capable hands of whoever gets it next. It was funny to reread it. It was as if someone else wrote the book and I was seeing it for the first time. It's no Connelly, as one fellow was kind enough to note regarding my first one, but in some places I impressed myself. Too bad I don't review for KKKirkus.

It looks like the Cubs are going to choke but the Phillies will get to the next round of the playoffs. I'm not a big Phillies fan, but one of their pitchers, Jamie Moyer, was a Mariner for years and I'd like to see him go to the World Series. He deserves it; he's a good guy and a good pitcher. He still has The Moyer Foundation in the Northwest, which helps children, and I expect he'll move back here when his playing days are over. Seattle was crazy to trade him even if he didn't have a good year in 2007. His record in Philadelphia shows what a difference some run support makes in a pitcher's performance.