02 February 2009

Happy Ground Hog Day!

It is warm, but not unseasonably so, and bright, although not cloudless, here in Denver on this midwinter's day. I suspect that the ground hog will see his shadow and scuttle right back in today.

My annual encounter with football yesterday, Superbowl 43, was more remarkable than most. The kid's were rooting for Arizona and disappointed, but once triumph became less certain, they hedged their bets by starting rousing cheers for the "Arizona Steelers" and "Pittsburgh Cardinals." Suitable cheers for a game that went down to the wire, with vertiginous twists and turns. This was one of those rare years where the game itself completely outshines the associated glitter. The commercials were heavy on NBC programming (there must have been half a dozen distinct ads for the NBC series Heroes), and light on products. Hometown hero John Elway, managed to insinuate himself in both the opening ceremonies and the ads. "The Boss" like so many of his musical peers, was decidedly past his prime in his halftime show performance, which fit squarely in the 401(k) tour genre. But, nobody got naked, so I'm sure the FCC will be pleased.

I finished some of my light reading over the weekend.

One, Duainfey, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, was a truly dreadful mix of Regency romance, and Laurell K. Hamilton's sexualized fairy fantasy, topped off with heap poorly written and unexpected rape scenes, and long boring episodes. It also suffered from being an arbitrarily cut off first half of single book sold in two volumes. Why did anyone agree to publish it? Apparently, the couple has written good fantasy novels before, but this effort has not kept up with their standards. Fortunately, this was a library new release item, so I didn't waste any money on it.

The other, Boy Meets Girl, by Meg Cabot (best known for her Young Adult oriented Princess Diaries books, which my daughter loves), which I read via an e-book download from the Denver Public Library, was a delightful chick lit novel that provided a light counterbalance to some of my other reading. It was all the better, personally, for echoing the life of some of my extended family member's lives while they lived in New York City. Notably, almost the entire story (released in 2004) is told via e-mails, instant messaging, scribbled notes, newspaper clippings, event programs, journal entries, recorded transcripts, security office reports and other scraps of written word with which we document our lives, which kept the story fresh and immediate.

Finally, almost miraculously, the Rocky Mountain News appeared on my front step again this morning. It has outlived its death warrant, but appears to be a dead man walking nonetheless.


Michael Malak said...

You get your news in print and your novels online? Isn't that backwards?

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

There are lots of reasons to get a newspaper in print, while getting novels online.

1. Newspapers are a much more convenient way to get and compare coupons and grocery store fliers. Novels have no parts you need to keep or give to someone else.

2. Newspapers have lots of stories and large newsprint sheets are superior to a computer screen to scanning lots of stories in a random access fashion. Novels typically have only a single story which you usually read purely sequentially.

3. Newspapers on computer often don't obviously link photos and charts that related stories to a main story. Novels rarely have materials you have to jump between to enjoy the novel.

4. It is much faster to read a large number of comics in print than online. I read webcomics, but it takes much longer per comic to do so. Once downloaded, in contrast, a novel is just as fast to read on a computer as it is in print.

5. Newspaper is useful as shelf/counter/table liner for messy children's projects. Novels are ill suited for this task.

6. Newspapers come in bags useful for disposing of leavings of neighborhood dogs on our lawn. Novels don't.

7. Acquiring the current hard copy newspaper is something you can do at home without getting out of your pajamas. Going to a bookstore or library can only be accomplished by driving somewhere and getting out of your pajamas before doing so.

8. Newspapers and ebooks never generate late fees and don't have to be returned (ebooks simply expire). Novels from the library generate late fees if not returned.

9. Newspaper photos look better in hard copy than on my low end computer screen. The novels I get from the library rarely have illustrations other than simple black and white line drawings, so the image quality doesn't matter.

10. Reading newspapers only online contributes to the financial distress of a resource I use a great deal by reducing subscription revenue and reducing paid subscription counts for advertising purposes. Novels from the library generate the same revenue for the author and publishers in hard copy and eBook form.