Longreads wants you to become a member. What do you get? The thing I like best is exclusives: advances on stories before publication. Also I like it when some weirdo I don't know recommends a bunch of stories that maybe I haven't seen before. I do like that! Anyway I gave them thirty whole dollars for a year's membership. That's right, for just $2.50 a year you can keep some starving words from being homeless, won't you give today.
No seriously, which demons did you confront via social media this weekend? Meghan McCain, for one, was busy. My only beef here, I guess, is that when you want to get into it with someone, you actually have to call them. The whole "call me" thing just doesn't work. (via)
Mike Shatzkin, a "widely-acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry" (his bio), counsels that Brightline, Barry Diller and Scott Rudin's new ebook publishing company with the fun and talented Frances Coady, "would appear to be poised to compete with major publishers for major books." And: "Diller and Rudin, with their Hollywood roots, certainly have access to many of the great story-creators and storytellers." True, but they have two bad choices there in order to compete: explain the finances behind ebooks to authors who are used to being overpaid—"Hey, you get 50%! Of something between zero and infinity dollars!"—or, overpay those authors up front, and [...]
This is how it should be more often. One of the great things about rap music is how quickly it can take a piece of pop culture and interpolate it into hip-hop. The ease with which a hit song (in this case, Fun's "Tonight") can be sampled, looped up, and rhymed over, it's why rap is the most immediate—and sure, lots of times ephemeral and disposable—vehicle for artistic commentary on the times we live in. This was how 50 Cent rose to prominence ten years ago, a steady stream of roughed-up music, quickly made, often using pop songs or other rap songs that were on the [...]
"I have never in my life encountered such a thing. I've heard of fish die-offs and other strange natural phenomenon, but I've never experienced one before. It was very strange, but very fun." —Cedar Rapids nature lover Stephen Gwin has been doing a good thing in helping to rescue surviving grebes from among the thousands of dead ones scattered around the Walmart parking lot that a flock of the migratory waterfowl mistook for a much softer landing pad, like a lake, and slammed themselves into. But "fun" is a strange word to read in this instance.
While the lawsuit apparently filed today by the parent company of Nikki Finke's Deadline against the parent company of the Hollywood Reporter is largely about "misappropriating wholesale content" from Deadline, the fun begins when you see they accused the Reporter of straight up stealing code from their site TVLine. (The copyright infringement on the code seems pretty cut and dry. [PDF]) BUT THEN there's also a section on how the Reporter tried to "lure away" Deadline's employee, Ms. Finke, with a decent salary and a "ONE MILLION DOLLAR MALIBU HOME." Then there are like a thousand examples of stories that Deadline posted first and then the [...]
So many books. So little time. Every day just brings more! Here's a handy guide to help you choose which new books today you should buy. All of these books are available at your local independent bookseller, including fine establishments like McNally Jackson! Or anywhere else you might care to buy books! Let's begin….
Pamela Erens' latest is a tale of two misfits at a fancy boarding school in 1979. The "heiress apparent" to James Salter, goes a blurb! This [...]
4th #millionqueries: far future scifi. begins with rhetorical question (and protag. waking up.) Pass.
— Jennifer Udden (@suddenlyjen) January 23, 2013
10th #millionqueries: literary fiction, story of abuse, obv personal subject but writing doesn't draw me in, nice pass.
— Jennifer Udden (@suddenlyjen) January 23, 2013
Watching Jennifer Udden, a literary agent at Donald Maass, live-tweet her slush pile reading today may upset and offend some people. But it's fascinating AND educational! No seriously, take some notes.
Digg relaunches on Wednesday. Are you ready?
Today's the day that Thunderclap releases its first mass tweet into the wild. Late this morning, almost 2000 people are going to simultaneously Tweet a message from Matt Taibbi. If you don't know of it, Thunderclap is like Kickstarter for mass tweets: if enough people sign on to a message, it goes live. (This particular tweet now counts its total reach at "3,793,447 people.") I have mixed feelings about this project! It's sort of genius? And yet I also dislike shilling and intrusiveness on Twitter. (And FYI, we "signed on" to this tweet as an experiment, because we wanted to see what would happen. In other disclaimer news, [...]
"Republicans have refused Democrats' call for taxes on the wealthy. The president responded by ending the meeting." —Haha, gangsta! Oh wait: "But as he left, Obama added: 'I’ll see you tomorrow.'" Or? Perhaps this account? "When Obama was concluding the meeting, giving the closing remarks and talking about returning to the White House for a Thursday meeting, Cantor interrupted him and raised for the third time doing the possibility of a short-term extension." You know, when you make manipulative mischaracterizations, they're supposed to make you look better, not worse.
Tonight! Unless you're going to The Hairpin's drink session tonight in New York, then you must be in Los Angeles, because no one lives anywhere else, and so good news!
• 7:00p.m.: Matthew Gallaway reads at Book Soup, plus a Q&A with Natasha Vargas-Cooper, 8818 Sunset, West Hollywood.
GREAT NEWS AMERICA. We might get a Jeb Bush candidacy yet! The news is a-flurry with Jeb Bush news, though actual flurries have canceled his flight to D.C. today so he will not be Making News at the Cato Kaelin Institute tonight, with his pronouncements about the future of our race wars.
Question: What does this mean? "I’m not saying yes, I’m just not saying no. I’ve accomplished some things in my life that allow me now to — to have that kind of discretion, to be able to think about it."
Answer: He made lots [...]
There is an "aesthetic problem" in San Francisco, right now. Men, naked, outside, in the Castro! "Most people just don't think older men look good naked," says a newspaper reporter on KQED's public nudity program, Forum. Also, it's so cold sometimes. Mark Twain has a famous quote about being naked in the Castro, because it's so chilly. And county supervisor Scott Wiener (come on) has proposed a new law that would make most people have to wear clothes outside, most of the time.
I finally read the Olbermann filing against his former employer, Current TV, because it's Friday and I needed a laugh. (PDF.) It's pretty dramatic and overly aggrieved and not that damning, but then all he's claiming is that contracts were breached; it's not like anyone punched him. On the plus side, at least Olbermann is represented by real lawyers—Patricia Glaser (who did well for Conan!) and litigator Jill Basinger. Among Olbermann's complaints: Olbermann was treated as if he was hired to be a puppet! Not literally, I guess, or this would be a much better read.
The Wirecutter is a new website designed to do one thing: to tell you what the best particular product in a category is at any given moment. It is a project of Brian Lam, late of Gizmodo. Do you want to buy a TV? Great: here are the three TVs we endorse right now. Here's what Brian has to say about the site; here's the best way to use it.
What it is not is a "gadget blog." There's really plenty of those, and they're great! They cover every rollout, every product, every bit of rumor and whatnot in the tech world. The rest [...]
We presume it'll be "mildly expensive" (not like NetJets expensive!) but starting today, the Standard Hotel plane is available for public bookings! It's an eight-seater Cessna water plane, and they're doing a 300-mile range. In case you're aboard and scared of dying, reasonably, the airplane's stall speed is 106 km/h, so keep one eye on your coke and another on the pilot's dials and you'll be fine.