Monday, December 06, 2004

Last thoughts on the "Queen of Sky" and Warholism

I think this will probably be my last entry on the "Queen of Sky" (who's self-proclaimed title I'm finally writing correctly), as I'm finding her and her "adventures" more pitiful than entertaining.

The QoS, with lawyer, was on a Today Show segment a few weeks back, during the period I was off blogging. Although she was obviously terrified, as opposed to her defiant print interviews and blog postings, she came across as a somewhat clueless young woman who just wanted her job back. She reiterated her claim that she had started her blog in reaction to the death of her mother, but then, when asked about the pictures that prompted her termination from Delta, responded that she had posted them in reaction to the death of her grandmother, leaving Matt Lauer, and presumably most of the audience, bemused and trying to figure out the connection. In explanation on her site, the QoS writes, "My blog is therapy to me, and the photos are part of that therapy... It been a stressful year (even more so now), and my blog lets me let off steam and have fun. "

The opportunity for more "fun" increases for QoS on a daily basis, unfortunately. Although I didn't note it for what I hope were obvious reasons, I googled QoS real name +Texas after she went public, and got back both her address and telephone on the first page of results. As anyone, except apparently Ms. Simonetti, could have anticipated, I wasn't the only one who thought of that, and her blog is now alternately filled with pleading and threatening entries about the phone calls she's receiving from various crazies. A fast review of her postings also reveals that she's being threatened with a defamation of character suit by another blogger and also is being accused of various unsavory things in her "Guestbook."

As I've said before, the `Net is a very nice place in the same way that the Amazon Basin is a very nice place. The fact that it may be beautiful and even entertaining doesn't mean that you can't get eaten alive. I suspect QoS is about 14 minutes and 55 seconds into her Warholian moment. I hope she survives it.

Early thoughts on the Dylan interview...

...mostly random notes, nothing cohesive at this point...

I mentioned to Peg while we were watching that Dylan looked very nervous, as he repeatedly twirled a pen between his fingers, but "nervous" is the wrong term. "Uncomfortable" better describes it, and "reactive." "Reactive" in the sense that I got the impression that most of the questions Bradley asked aren't questions that Dylan spends any time thinking about and he answered only because they were asked.

In the so-called "Rome Interview" conducted with a group of European journalists in July 2001, a very engaged Dylan spends a significant part of the interview talking about the "sound" he's trying to create -- a subject which you can tell the musician is very interested in. The same sense of engagement comes through loud and clear in Volume One of "Chronicles" when Dylan writes about the New Orleans sessions that produced, "Oh Mercy."

The dichotomy between the media/public-created "Dylan" and the musician who goes on stage every night and thinks about the music he's creating becomes more stark with each public statement, and I find I like and identify with the musician more and more.

Other things: It'll be interesting, and nice to see, if the complete out-takes from the reported 90 minute interview ever surface. I'm guessing it must have been a frustrating interview for Bradley and producers, as from a "sound bite" perspective, only Dylan's statement that he couldn't now write something like "It's Alright, Ma..." at the beginning and his closing remark about "holding up his end of the bargain" were the only two provocative segments. You can almost see the 60 Minutes teasers being born: "Big Bubba of Rebellion Sez He Doesn't Have Right Stuff Anymore!" and "Song and Dance Man Admits Bargain with `Chief Commander!'"

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Fan Frustration: Trying to take the Nickel Tour

No, this doesn't have anything to do with the Freudian joke below. For well over a year I've periodically tried to purchase, "Disneyland the Nickel Tour", a massive collection of the complete set of postcards issued by the theme park, plus a history of Disneyland from opening to present day. To date I've been unsuccessful, though I just tried Amazon yet again.

If you follow the link to Amazon, you'll note that the book's availability is listed as "1 to 2 months", the first hint of weirdness. You'll also note that used editions of the book are going for several hundred dollars from various sellers, far above what I want to pay, while Amazon lists a new edition (from January, 2000) at half-price, $47.25 -- a price that I can justify paying for a book as yet unseen.

You'll also note that there's a review of the book from January 2004, which would be indicative, Watson, that the book is available. But, noooo. I tried buying "The Nickel Tour" again early this year, only to receive an auto-response from Amazon after a few weeks that they had been unable to contact the publisher and were canceling the order, which is also what I expect to happen this time around, too. I put a comment in the Amazon "review" section noting the book's unavailability... and the comment, which had to go through Amazon editorial review, was never published.

We pause for the Twilight Zone theme music.

Sometime in the summer, I got het up about "The Nickel Tour" once again after reading another glowing review and this time went to the effort of tracking down the publisher, "Camphor Tree." Go and check their site out, if you like. I'll wait.

Nice, if a little sparse, site, huh? If you click on "The Nickel Tour" link, you'll see you can purchase the book directly from them for $75, plus $7 s&h. Yikes! But what the hey, Fred's got the bit between his teeth at this point, and $82 is still better than $200 - 300. If worse gets to worse, I can always re-sell it on eBay, right?

Peg, if she's reading this, LoL at this point. :-)

If you're following along interactively with this saga, you can try purchasing "The Nickel Tour", or, for that matter, any book offered by Camphor Tree and this is what I bet you'll see, as the message hasn't changed in six months...

This supplier's CCNow store is currently unavailable. To our client: please log into your account and read an important message from CCNow.

I engage in idle speculation at this point and mention that I suspect that the "important message" is CCNow advising Camphor Tree that their account is long expired.

OOOOkay. What's left for Fred, who by this time had gone into his full rico-ga research mode and is determined to track down the Camphor boys (or girls, as the case may be). Well, there's an email address, and predictably, there's no response to the message I send in the summer. They're in Santa Clarita, CA, and a little research uncovers their snailmail address (predictably, a P.O. Box) and a phone number...

... which I call and reach an answering machine, or at least did when I tried this summer. And I leave a message. And (here comes that word again) predictably receive zero response. Zilch. Nothingness. The Big Nada.

That was this summer, and thus stymied (a word that always reminds me of one of the characters on "The Little Rascals"), I went on to other passions, which, as Peg can tell you, occur on the average of one a minute.

So, I'm blogging around this a.m. and go to the Disney Blog, where the author notes that this is one of his "favorite books", suggests it as a great gift idea, and even provides a link to Amazon. I go retrace the path I took in the summer, nothing has changed at Camphor Tree, but I click on the Amazon "buy" button, `cause what the heck, maybe the book is really now available, and go back to the Disney Blog and put a comment in the entry summarizing my tale of woe...

... and first I think it's been deleted ("Twilight Zone" music again) by the blogger, Mr. Frost, but what he's done is created a new entry with this remark at the same time I've been typing this entry...

Update: Looks like Amazon is out of stock on this item. I'll try to find out if there is a supply of these books out there anywhere. The untimely death of David Mumford, one half of the authorship and part owner of Camphor Tree Publishing, has made these books quite scarce. It might be a question of market demand. I think the minimum run for small presses is 10,000. They might just feel that's not warranted right now.

... and there we are. In the big scheme of things, the death of the co-author/publisher is a little more important, of course, and explains the unresponsiveness, and I'm sorry for the many Bad Things I've been thinking about Camphor Tree...

...but I sure wish I could find "The Nickel Tour."

Freudian Joke

that made me LoL, startling Bear this morning as he lay beside the laptop.

Courtesy of Scott McCloud, who notes on his blog that he first heard it on "Prairie Home Companion." I can't resist, btw. For $20, Scott, how do you spell the name of that game show again? :-)

My Neighbor's Wife

A noirish blend of poetry, graphics, and music that will haunt you for hours.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Your child's umbilical cord as a permanent memory. Call me old-fashioned, but baby shoes are good enough for me. (via BoingBoing)