American Culture

Nota Bene #26 Part 2 of 2

Got hot links if you want ’em!

In his New York Times column, “Bits, Bands and Books,” Paul Krugman compares publishing to music, in which downloading has forced musicians to make their money touring and selling ancillary products: “Indeed, if e-books become the norm, the publishing industry as we know it may wither away. Books may end up serving mainly as promotional material for authors’ other activities, such as live readings with paid admission. Well, if it was good enough for Charles Dickens, I guess it’s good enough for me.” Paying good money to hear authors read in the digital age? Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.

In a Washington Post article, “Heavy Internet Users Targeted,” Cecilia Kang writes: “Roger Entner, a senior vice president at Nielsen IAG, said about 5 to 10 percent of peer-to-peer users — those who directly exchange files with other users — gobble up about 50 percent of all Internet bandwidth. Time Warner Cable is trying a different approach with a test that will charge customers more for larger volumes of data and faster Internet access.” But, Entner said: “Flat rate and unlimited service is an endgame move. When you go to that kind of rate structure, you can’t go back.” How do they do this in other countries

In a Wired article, “15th Anniversary: The Brian Eno Evolution,” Steven Leckart quotes the groundbreaking musician who pioneered ambient music: “I’ve noticed two things: If you make something that is the right slowness, people are very happy to slow themselves down to meet it. And if you accompany that with music which is the right quietness, people are happy to quiet themselves down to listen to it. I dispute the assumption that everyone’s attention span is getting shorter: I find people are begging for experiences that are longer and slower, less ‘dramatic’ and more sensual.”

In an Esquire article, “You’d Make a Good President,” the usually fatuous Chuck Klosterman finally has a good idea. He comments on a British program for the 2012 London Olympics called “Sporting Giants,” which rounds up tall people, regardless of experience, to compete in sports, like rowing and volleyball, that benefit from height: “So, what if we changed the way we hired people? What if instead of having people attempt to select and pursue careers, employers advertised for blind characteristics? What if they analyzed the nature of specialized jobs, figured out which qualities were most central to success, and then recruited people who possessed those specific abilities?”

In a Boston Herald article, “David Tyree’s job may be in danger,” Vinny DiTrani writes of the Superbowl hero, who faces stiff competition for his job: “Yes, as bizarre as it may appear, the man who arguably made the best play in Super Bowl history could be scuffling to make the team this summer — if his knee allows him to scuffle at all. Imagine the furor if the Giants announce they have cut one of their biggest heroes from their incredible championship run.”

How good is basketball coach Phil Jackson, winner of nine championship? Sure he’s coached some of the greatest players in the game such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryan. But, as Steve Aschburner writes in “Shadowboxing with a ghost” at Sports, “In seven-plus seasons with Jackson, Jordan won six times. He went 0-7 without him. With Pippen, it was six in nine and 0-8. Shaq won three titles in five seasons with Jackson vs. one in 11 years without him. Bryant? He went 0-3 before Jackson got to L.A. and 0-1 without him in 2005, but has three in seven seasons with him, aiming for four in eight.”

In “Answering the Call,” an article in the US Naval Institute magazine Proceedings, the great pitcher Bob Feller writes: “I once told a newspaper reporter that the bombing attack we lived through on the Alabama had been the most exciting 13 hours of my life. After that, I said, the pinstriped perils of Yankee Stadium seemed trivial.” (NB: The rest of the article is pretty corny.)

What parent coaching kids hasn’t experienced this? Roger Armstrong, a commenter to Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback Mailbag” on Sports Illustrated, writes: “I coach 12-year-old girls softball. How do you get them to stop daydreaming out in centerfield? I have five girls I rotate in the outfield and four of them are daydreamers. During practice yesterday I asked one girl to stop chasing butterflies, her reply was. ‘It isn’t a butterfly, it is a dragonfly.'” King’s response: “There’s a great difference between 9- and 10-year-olds and older girls, at least from what I’ve found. The young kids are exceedingly coachable.”

Red State uber-crackers Jackie and Dunlap on former press secretary Scott McClellan’s new book, “What Happened”: “A lot of animosity between McClellan and Rove. In their minds there’s room for only one pasty, white, doughy know-it-all in the White House.”

From a Google group: “Have any other listmembers noticed that American Westerns (books and movies) seem to be talking about people suffering from PTSD? . . . There was this phenomenon of Civil War veterans with no prospects in their home towns going west. . . . The James Gang came out of Quantrill’s raiders. A lot of the acting out that we see on Westerns seems to be people with PTSD (though people at the time called it ‘Soldier’s Heart’). And when did Westerns really become popular? After the two World Wars when the US was flooded with people with PTSD they couldn’t talk about.”