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Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 5:46 am
Clipping Service Source:
turns down Cleveland Arts Prize....
From Friday's "Cleveland Plain Dealer":
Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 6:28 am
Steve Barber Source:
Just completed a pretty cool trip down Memory Lane. I've uploaded the list of magazines being cleared from the garage (comics and books to be listed later).
Found some interesting bits among the pile:
Harlan Ellison was a contributing editor to UnEarth Magazine.
He also published a story entitled A CASE OF PTOMAINE in Space Travel Magazine.
The copy of Other Worlds Magazine featuring Richard Shaver's initial Lemuria story, I REMEMBER LEMURIA.
A Hannes Bok cover on Marvel SF.
And a number of John Jakes' SF stories before he became a historical novelist.
The list of items is not to be found on my site's masthead, you'll have to go directly to the page at the ungainly
(cut and paste)
We went to a charity auction last night. Cris was extremely apprehensive about my insistance on purchasing a seven-foot tall bright green and yellow windmill/weathervane for our yard's Whimsy Garden. Someone else clearly wanted it more than I, upping my third bid by 50%.
I came home with a fake-iron propane fire pit. She got herself a beautiful mother-of-pearl necklace.
I really wanted the windmill.
Cleveland Arts Prize article
Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 7:13 am
Tony Isabella Source:
The article appeared in Saturday's Plain Dealer:
http://www.cleveland.com/arts/index.ssf ... ost_4.html
The PeeDee's website is as bad as the paper itself.
How much - if any - of the paper do you want me to send you for your files?
Much love to you and Susan.
Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 7:59 am
Name: Sara Slaymaker
Steve, I did know Harlan didn't use email - I thought maybe Susan did. No matter.
The letter is on its way.
Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 7:59 am
Name: Alex Krislov
Tony is being kind. The website for the Cleveland Plain Dealer is even worse than the paper, which is now so slim, it might as well be reproduced by mimeo. There's more substance in a Ruth Wallis song than a typical copy of the PD.
That said, if you want another copy of the paper, Harlan, I can send mine, too. I'll hang onto it for now.
Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 10:58 am
John Furia, 1929-2009: http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/ ... 1900.story
Newspapers all over the world are being pushed out of operation thanks to the diversity of the new media, so it should be no surprise that a lot of lower-class publications are now cheaply produced. Kindle2 is about the only thing that's being touted as a savior of the newspaper industry. Whether that's true or not has yet to be seen, obviously.
But a lot of publications are gonna go down. That's for sure.
TO KEITH CRAMER
Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 4:28 pm
Name: Brian Siano
About that edition of "Mefisto in Onyx" that you had trouble extracting? Try this. Remove the book, but the next time you replace it, place a silk ribbon underneath it running from side to side, with at least an inch's worth free on each end. This way, you can pull the two ends of the ribbon and lift the book out with less difficulty. Red and black seem to be appropriate colors to use.
To Harlan, re my question: Message received. Understood, and understandable. Check. Gotchya. Loud'n'clear.
AND BOBBY MAKES THREE
Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 6:20 pm
Name: Bob Ingersoll
The Cleveland PLAIN DEALER is barely worth reading one time, let alone three; however, I, too, set aise the entirety of today's PD for your records. I will send it to you if you require a third copy.
Missed Your Call
Posted: Sun May 10, 2009 4:12 am
Name: Tony Isabella
I took Sainted Wife Barb to Columbus to see our son yesterday, so I missed your call. We'll be visiting my mother and hers today. I'll return your call on Monday.
But, just to ease your mind...
No, I'm not ashamed of you.
Cleveland is a zombie that doesn't realize it's dead.
The only reasons I ever go there are to see my parents, to see you, and to go to the very occasional Indians game with my kids.
Your situation is like the punch line to a joke. I mean, really, they wanted you to *pay* to come to Cleveland?
There are times when I'd pay not to have to go to Cleveland.
Love you and Susan madly and always.
The Cleveland Thing
Posted: Sun May 10, 2009 5:52 am
Name: Adam-Troy Castro
I got together with a bunch of friends and said, "You know what? You know what we need to shake things up around here? A major event! Why don't we put on an award ceremony to honor some random famous guy who used to live in this neighborhood, and get the guy to come to the party?"
They said, "What a great idea! Only we don't know any famous people who used to live in this neighborhood. This place is the Chelm of our entire region. People on our block, if they get their picture in the newspaper, it's usually because some cop is helping them into the back of a squad car. But you're saying we got a famous guy? Mazel Tov!"
And I said, "I mean the folk singer, Aloysious Grobotnik."
Of my six friends, four said, "I've never heard of the guy."
One said, "I only listen to Latvian sheepherding madrigals."
Another said, "I might have to forego the ceremony if you invite him, because I was at the head of the pitchfork-wielding mob that chased him to the old windmill."
I said, "Look, he's not as famous as David Hasselhoff, who drove through in 1984, but he's got a following, people care about him, and he's from the neighborhood. Or at least was, sixty years ago, when he was hiding out from that false espionage charge. Before he cleared his name, made some money, and got the hell out."
"But if we DO get him, do we have to, you know, pretend that we actually respect him? Because we don't wanna give him the impression we're actually interested. He's just an excuse to sell banquet tickets."
"Don't worry. We'll make it clear to him that we don't want anything but his face on the poster and that if he speaks for more than thirty seconds we'll have the band play him off."
"Won't he find that a little insulting?"
"Hell, no! We're HONORING him, aren't we?"
"Okay. Whatever. If you can get him, we have a guest of honor. Just save money on the invite so we can splurge on the chopped liver."
So I contacted Grobotnik, somehow getting a phone connection to the little Tahitian grass hut where he's been been working on his operetta THIRTEEN WAYS TO SMOKE A BANANA. And he was thrilled to find out that his old neighborhood wanted to honor him but got all huffy when we mentioned that he had to spring for his own airfare to and from the ceremony, a journey which would have only required three or four separate connections and a final leg aboard a biplane where his passage would have been in a burlap sack being towed from the tail assembly.
Nor was he happy about having to pay for his lodging while here, since the only available room was in a wedge-shaped room under the fire stairs, which cannot be locked since he'd have to share his accomodations with the ice machine for that entire floor.
Nor was he happy that we wouldn't even provide his overalls on the two days we had enlisted him to help paint our undersecretary's house.
He was especially upset when I told him that the award banquet was a buffet and that since we couldn't afford servers he would have to stand behind the bowls doling out swedish meatballs with a ladle. This, I told him, would be part of the honor, and he demurred even though I had not yet told him about volunteering to clean up afterward.
Lord alone knows what kind of snitty attitude he would have pulled if I had told him about earning money for the high school glee club by sitting in a dunk tank above the pool of baked beans.
So we all called the local newspaper, which is now printed on a 3 by 5 index card because that's all the ad revenue will pay for, and which because of space considerations has to summarize all the daily news into a single headline which is usually some variation of THINGS AROUND HERE SUCK. (Which is pretty accurate and concise, but, you know, still.)
And I gallantly told them that this really famous person Grobotnik was a total ego monster who wanted to be catered to and couldn't be bothered to help out his old neighborhood and who should have dropped everything in his life to fly out and see us, because who the hell is he, anyway, nobody on the award committee even knows who he is.
And of course now I'm stuck trying to find another famous person to honor, one who fulfills the triple requirements of being from our region at some point in the distant past, being sufficiently desperate for attention that he'll pay out of his own pocket for the privilege, and not caring that we honestly don't give a crap what he's famous for as long as he sits behind the dais and behaves himself and his grateful for the pat on the head.
Does anybody out there know if Joe Franklin still alive?
My only word on the new STAR TREK, which I saw yesterday: it's incredibly bad science fiction and has logical flaws up the wazoo but it nailed the characters and I loved that aspect of it, and overall had a good time, but now the movie-watching aspect of my life can look forward to some releases I'm actually looking to, like Scorcese's version of SHUTTER ISLAND, and Tarantino's INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, and Peter Jackson's THE LOVELY BONES, and the inevitability that there are great movies still set to be released that we haven't even heard of yet.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you who have or have had uteri (or have emerged from same). I'm curious as to whether that leaves anybody out.
Posted: Sun May 10, 2009 8:30 am
Name: Steve Barber
ATC - Coffee through the nostrils. Who needs caffeine?
Went to a party of the Writers' Bloc last night. Read one of my old short stories aloud. WHY WE KILLED THE BEE GIRL, from 1994. Didn't suck. (The story OR the reading.)
As Harlan knows, the no-longer-just-writers' group tends to start the evening with a question regarding creativity and goes from there. (He called me once during a party and offered his own input on the question of that evening.)
Last night's question: "When you're creating art, is it successful if the 'target' audience -- the people you WANT to affect with the artistic creation -- doesn't understand or like it? Is it an artistic failure if you don't reach the people you want to reach with your work?"
I tend to shrug and move on, assuming to myself that I am missing something in the work that others are seeing (or vice versa). But if they didn't "get" it or just don't care enough to be moved, then, to me, it failed.
Posted: Sun May 10, 2009 8:46 am
Name: Alan Coil
Harlan limited to 3 minutes of speaking? Why, would he do with the second lungful of air?
Posted: Sun May 10, 2009 9:45 am
From Steve Barber: "When you're creating art, is it successful if the 'target' audience -- the people you WANT to affect with the artistic creation -- doesn't understand or like it? Is it an artistic failure if you don't reach the people you want to reach with your work?" I tend to shrug and move on, assuming to myself that I am missing something in the work that others are seeing (or vice versa). But if they didn't "get" it or just don't care enough to be moved, then, to me, it failed.
If the target audience didn't get it or it didn't move them, that does not necessarily mean that the work itself is a failure... it could fail on several fronts, even because of the genre itself. The genre could be too obscure, too detailed or even too simplistic (and you're trying to complicate it), and so on. Also, when you focus in on a specific group, you're automatically cutting down on the work's exposure--the masses that might read it fall by the wayside because it's not in their interest to tap into whatever genre you're exploring. Which means you're dealing with only (or pretty much only) a small group of "experts" in their "field." Or know-it-alls, if you want to be rude.
So therein enters the inclusion/exclusion factor and subdivisions of human behavior: are you an ousider trying to get in to their realm, or are you an insider that's not fully accepted for your efforts, or are you an insider trying to be king of the world with what you've produced? An innocent work of art, one that you do simply because you like it, can be taken many different ways by those you are presenting it to.
Now we factor in human diversity: education level, experience with that field and related fields, personal standards and tastes, etc. Maybe these people haven't done their research on the genre/topic and know too little, or maybe they've done too much and have a backlog of details to support their views. Or, to hearken back to an earlier post here on the Pavilion, maybe you write something humorous about audits and people take it seriously--lack of a sense of humor reflects a lack of a scope of thinking.
Me? I write something because I see a particular angle in the storyline and I look for the basic idea to ring true (can't remember where I read it the quote--some film magazine back in college--but director David Lynch described a working idea as one that "rings" and a lousy one as one that "thuds"). I don't chalk it up as a failure unless it doesn't work for me. Screw the rest of the world. There are too many other factors affecting readership to take it all personally.
Once you throw something out to the public, it's open for interpretation, misinterpretation, and unfair judgments. (What, do I still sound bitter?) If it IS universally accepted? Hey, congratulations! But it's still miraculous to have anything achieve mass acceptance.
Posted: Sun May 10, 2009 11:34 am
Name: Michael Rapoport
Semi-Writer, it isn't "the diversity of new media" that's left newspapers in such a dire state. There are three basic, interrelated reasons for newspapers' plight, and they have little to do with the quality of the journalism they're producing compared with new media, and everything to do with business mishaps and bad business decisions.
One: Newspapers made a tragic mistake when they bought into the Internet's "information wants to be free" ethos and gave away their content online rather than charging for it. That not only deprived them of a source of revenue and let aggregators like Google scoop it up, not only drove readers away from the print paper (why pay when you can get the same stuff online for free?), but it also encouraged people to think of news as something that has no intrinsic value.
Two: Newspapers' business model, which relied heavily on attracting display and classified advertising, collapsed under the weight of Internet competition - not editorial competition, mind you, but competition from sites like Craisgslist, which has essentially destroyed the classified-ad market that newspapers could once count on as a cash cow to fund their news-gathering operations.
Three: When confronted with tighter economic times and the financial crunch caused by factors One and Two, by and large the people who own newspapers - the publishers and other bean-counters, not the editors - shortsightedly chose to cut their expenses to the bone. Rather than accept smaller profit margins, or invest in their product to improve its appeal at a time when that desperately needed to happen, they laid off reporters and editors, slashed other costs and scaled back the scope of their coverage.
I don't know anything about the specific situation of the Cleveland Plain Dealer - but if it really is a bad paper with a bad website, I'd wager these economic factors are a big part of the reason why.
I am a journalist, as I've said here before, a columnist for a major financial-news wire service. I got my start in newspapers, though my work today is read primarily online, via subscription to our service. So I suppose you could say I've got a foot in both camps. But my sympathies are squarely with the beleaguered newspaper - and if we lose it, as it appears is the danger, we are going to lose a critical element of what makes our society function.
I know that sounds like I'm getting on my high horse, but there have been recent studies that show when and where newspaper journalism goes away, political accountability and participation goes down - malefactors know there's no watchdog to keep an eye on them, and the average citizen doesn't have enough information to make an informed decision. In one study - which I mention here as an example only because I happen to have read about it yesterday and so I have the information at hand - researchers at Princeton University reportedly found that after one of the big daily papers in Cincinnati shut down in 2007, the number of people voting in local elections declined, as did the number of candidates challenging incumbent officeholders.
When I say "newspapers" are vital to democracy, by the way, I don't mean the paper-and-ink product per se - whether it's desirable or not, that part of our culture is on the way out. I'm talking about an organization that reports the news as comprehensively as newspapers do and acts as a check on government's excesses. THAT desperately needs to survive in some form; the question is what the form should be, and how to make it financially viable.
And don't tell me the Internet will magically pick up the slack. While there are websites out there producing quality original journalism - Talking Points Memo comes to mind - most of the "news" you see from websites not affiliated with mainstream-media organizations isn't really news at all. It's links, pilfering and commentary that piggyback on reporting that someone else, typically with a newspaper, has spent time, money and effort to do.
Internet sites aren't going to maintain correspondents in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. By and large, Internet sites aren't going to send reporters to the town-council and school-board meetings in thousands of communities across the country. For the most part, Internet sites aren't going to spend months, and lots of money, on investigative projects that uncover official wrongdoing. Only newspapers are doing that, pretty much. (To be sure, newspapers themselves are doing less and less of it, which is also part of their problem.)
I don't know what the answer is to the news business's plight - a lot of people a lot smarter than me are trying to come up with one, and so far nothing's worked. But something had better work, and soon. Because as much as people online like to crow about the impending death of the mainstream media, they aren't going to like what the world looks like without the mainstream media.
Literary ID Help Please
Posted: Sun May 10, 2009 1:15 pm
Name: Bob Homeyer
There was a novel reviewed in the NY Times Review of Books about 3-4 years ago whose title and author escape me; however I recall the basic plot. In this novel, humanity was split into three classes -- those who are living, those who are dead but are still remembered by the living (and occupy some sort of limbo world), and those who are fully dead and unremembered. I vaguely recall the plot involved one of the three populations was quickly decreasing (the remembered dead), and the story explored the reasons this was happening.
The review said it was a fine idea that wasn't well-executed. I set it aside mentally, remembered it recently, and with all due respect to NYTROB, I'd like to make up my own mind. Does this ring a bell for any of you?