Thursday, February 25, 2010

Solving health care

I would imagine we could quickly solve the health care problems in this country if only one thing were done.
Take away the health care insurance provided to our genius elected officials (congress, the senate) and for good measure take away health insurance for all who get their insurance at the expense of tax payers.
These prima donnas need to have all their perks removed and told to work for the salaries we pay them. If they don't like it, they can quit and get a job at one of the special interest groups they seem to care more about than the people who elected them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toyota vs congress

The hearings before congress are an example of why I despise our so called elected representatives.
They, much like the press, are ever on the look out to present themselves as people of the highest moral standards.
While I recognize Toyota has some serious problems they need to fix, I am not shocked to learn they or any auto manufacture has some mechanical problems.
The only time I was surprised during this whole fiasco was the first report about a driver who called 911 when his car suddenly accelerated. Wow, I thought, how stupid can you be?
This reaction was the result of something that happened to me in the early 70's. The car I was driving suddenly accelerated. My first and only reaction was to put the car in neutral. The car slowed with the engine racing. I pulled over onto the shoulder and turned the engine off.
The problem was the accelerator spring coming off. I reattached the spring and drove safely on my way.
Of course, things like this should never happen but things like this point out what I have always maintained. There are far to many drivers who don't know anything about a car except how to start the engine and point the car in the direction they hope to go. They use their breaks far too often. There should never be any reason to touch the breaks while driving, except to turn off the road you are on or to stop the car. Approaching a sharp turn in the road? Take foot off the pedal and let the car slow itself, then step on the accelerator in the turn. Driving in bad weather (snow and rain)? Slow down! Going downhill on a slippery road? Let the car slow down. If that is not enough, slip into a lower gear before you start going downhill. Do not, DO NOT, use the breaks!
Back to our elected representatives.
The economy is a mess. Health care is a mess. Do they care? Why should they when they get paid to sit around and talk, and don't worry about health care because they have health insurance we pay for.
Fire them and tell them to get a job at Wal Mart. Take away their free health insurance and won't they start to fix health care.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is Mel Gibson a coward?

The question is a bit unfair, I grant, but I bring it up because Gibson seems perfectly at home with explicit violence in his films but has problems with sex, explicit or otherwise.
No where is this more obvious than in his movie, "The Passion of Christ."
Gibson loads up on the blood and gore of ancient crucifixions but avoids the inconvenient truth of those condemned to being crucified had insult added to injury by being crucified totally nude.
While many would find the idea of a nude Jesus being crucified offensive, shouldn't it give us pause to stop and think where our priorities are? Shouldn't we find the idea of Jesus being crucified the true cause for offense, rather than going into a twitter over him being nude?
And if you think about it, doesn't it make theological sense for Jesus being crucified totally nude?The reason why I say this is because Jesus is often mentioned in theological writings as the new Adam.
Before Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he and Eve lived nude. The geniuses they were, caused them to run and find some fig leaves to hide their shame of being human. On the other hand, Jesus was not ashamed of being human. Isn't it fitting that he would die as naked as the day he was born?

Monday, February 15, 2010

An elephant in the room

New York politics is about as dirty and as useless as you can get.
On the local public radio news today from North Country Public Radio, there was one more of the never ending stories about Governor David Paterson and smear rumors over him, and isn't it time for Paterson to say he won't run for Governor in November to clear the field for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to be the Democratic nominee.
What tweaked my ears was a reference to Cuomo as "The elephant in the room."
I had to laugh because to be politically accurate if not so politically correct, the statement should have been "The donkey (or if you prefer, the jackass) in the room."
The problems Paterson is having are all about him not kissing up to the thousands of special interest groups that want some other interest group to shoulder the needed cuts in funding to save NY from bankruptcy.
Everyone is saying, "Not in my backyard."
If I have any problem with Paterson, it is that his cuts don't go far enough. I say cut, slash and burn until there is a zero deficit. Cut salaries on everyone and anyone making more than $100,000 at taxpayer expense to $100,000.
Oh, you can't get good help unless you pay for it? If that were true, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in. Roads and bridges would be perfect. Every kid in NYS would be graduating from high school and college with A's.
Also, when it comes to our great legislators, they should not be allowed to have any income other that what they get paid to be our legislators.

Publishing, POD, self-publishing and the Big Boys

One learns slowly or thinks one learns.
Let me go out on a limb here and state some ideas, things I think I have learned since first using Lulu to publish three books.
The first book I published with Lulu was a vampire book called "The Dancing Valkyrie." The second book was an outdoor guide book to trails called "Adirondack Hikes in Hamilton County." The third book was a continuation of the first vampire book and is called "The Vampire Valkyrie."
During this time, in addition to being the one and only reporter for a local weekly, "The Hamilton County Express, I have done book reviews for Allbooks Review and have hosted an almost weekly BlogTalkRadio show I call "The Adirondack Book House."
As a result of doing book reviews and talking with close to 100 authors on my cyber radio show, I feel safe in saying there are many good books out there by people who have used POD publishers and small presses. From my own publishing experience and from what I have learned from other, I think it is also safe to say the chances of making a living are very small when using POD and small press publishers and the reason is simple: marketing.
Marketing costs money and when you go the POD or small press route, the marketing time and expense is mostly if not totally the responsibility of the author. This creates two problems. One, marketing takes time away from working on the next book. Two, the cost of marketing often exceeds the profit made from the books that might be sold from the marketing effort.
Surprise, surprise - there seems to be almost as many people trying to make money by offering marketing services to POD and small press authors as there are POD and small press authors. I exaggerate but you get my point.
For all the above reasons and in spite of the fact that some POD and small press authors do find economic success, the traditional big house publishers and their authors will continue to dominate. It's all about money and CONTACTS.
For all the above reasons and the simple fact I do have a long standing personal friend who is a literary agent and is the owner of a well respected agency in New York, I have decided, based upon her encouragement, to copy and paste my first two vampire books into one document and copy and paste what I have written to date on my third vampire book into one document (which I have done) and am now in the process of editing all I have written to date, then working to the conclusion of the three books into one book.
This is a daunting task because what I now have is over 220,000 words and 996 double space pages to edit and add to. Agents and traditional publishers still want double space print on one side submissions for review.
Now to look at the money.
Let's say for the sake of argument, I manage to edit and finish the three books into one book with 1,000 double spaced pages. Let's say my agent friend finds a traditional publisher who accepts the book and agrees to publish with a $5,000 advance on royalties. This same agent would then try to sell publishing rights in other countries and would also try to sell movie rights. You never know but they do try. Agents do try because they make their money by taking a percentage of what they earn for you. Let's say for argument sake she takes 10%, meaning I get $4,500 and she gets $500.
But let's say she isn't successful and I then look to Lulu. The 1,000 double space becomes 500 pages. Using Lulu formula, if I take a $2 royalty for every book sold by Amazon or whoever, my book would list at $28. For me to make $4,500 using Lulu, I would need to sell 2,250 books through Amazon or whoever. I would be happy, as I am sure you would be too, but I think the odds are against it. And remember, this dreamed of $4,500 profit is gross before deducting whatever I might decide to spend on marketing! And remember, I haven't given a money value to time spent marketing!
So as things now stand, I am going forward with the attempt to have my agent friend find a publisher who will publish and pay an advance. Of course, I do hope/dream she will not only find a publisher but negotiate a larger advance. If that doesn't happen, there still is Lulu but I do not see Lulu as the road to quiting my reporter job and turning all my time and effort to my next novel.