November 17, 2010
This morning someone tweeted that they were giving a prize of a fine art print for the person who became their 1,000th follower. This kind of thing — a free dinner for the 10,000th follower of a restaurant, etc etc — has become extraordinarily common; and not just online. Our local competing cable/broadband companies offer free computers to those who switch from one to the other.
None of these people or companies offer prizes for, say, the longest-lasting follower or client. Loyalty goes completely unrecognized and only novelty in the form of new sales is rewarded.
This is teaching our new generation that loyalty is of no value, that more profit can be had by flitting from one thing to another rather than by developing a long term relationship. How can this be good for society in general?
[image by Jaguaro]
November 16, 2010
I first knew my long-time on-line friend Judy Clem as an excellent poet. It was only later that I discovered her photography skills. She posts a good range of both sets of works on her blog at Broken Shells. Well worth the visit!
November 15, 2010
“City Abstract No. 15” — the roof of the Hotel Vancouver.
November 15, 2010
Last night (here in Vancouver, and Monday afternoon in Japan), the sumo world was stunned when Japanese ever-hopeful Kisenosato defeated Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho in the last bout of day two of the Kyusho basho.
Kisenosato’s victory was stunning because it stopped Hakuho after 63 consecutive wins, tied with the second-longest run in sumo history. It was widely anticipated that Hakuho would reach 69 victories — equaling the all-time record — later this week.
The next question is whether Hakuho, the sole yokozuna or Grand Champion, can recover from this disappointment; or will he become vulnerable to others, such as the ozekis Baruto and Kotooshu, who would like to take this basho’s title. We’ll see.
November 12, 2010
As reported by the New York Times:
The delicate, decorative 16-inch vase started at a not-inconsequential $800,000, but after a half-hour of unexpectedly spirited bidding, the gavel fell at $69.5 million. It was the highest price ever paid at auction for a Chinese antiquity. Adding in the 20 percent buyer’s premium levied by the auction house and Britain’s value-added tax, the total came to $85.9 million.
Auction insiders said the buyer was from mainland China and bid by telephone.
Of the sellers, the auction house, Bainbridge’s, said only that they were a brother and sister who had found the vase “in a dusty attic” when they were clearing out the family home in west London, near Heathrow Airport, after their parents died. The other Chinese knickknacks they found sold for as little as $65.
November 12, 2010
The major Canadian literary prize, the Giller, has been won this year by Johanna Skibsrud’s “The Sentimentalists”. This book is published by a small boutique outfit called Gaspereau Press and is available only in a small edition typical of small presses (they specialize in runs of between 400 and 4,000 copies). The Giller would generally add tens of thousands to sales and a number of larger publishers have offered to print a large run. Gaspereau however has so far refused all offers, dismissing Random House et al. as people he wouldn’t want to do business with, and strongly defending tiny quality print runs.
That is one part of an interesting story. The other came in an interview that the publisher at Gaspereau had on CBC Radio this morning where it was noted that Gaspereau has made an e-Book version of “The Sentimentalists” available to anyone online. The publisher dismissed that as merely “the text,” comparing it slightingly with the “book” and being condescending to those who would be content merely “to consume the text” rather than hold the book in their hands.
I understand where he is coming from but I am sure he simply does not see how that diminishes the author, who in this scheme of things merely wrote “the text”, and puts the publisher/binder in the position of artistic genius above them. The book is mightier than the text. Hmmm, I don’t think so.
I’m not interested in reading rubbish no matter how beautifully the physical object is crafted; and I would be happy to read DeLillo and Dos Passos and Richard Brautigan on scrap pieces of paper rather than not read them at all.