Saturday, February 18

Tragic, But Oddly Gripping -

Christopher Fowler's reaction to
the latest book deal news for Foxy Knoxy . . .

He writes an open letter to the publisher, HarperCollins. His fans have come up with a title for the prospective project he has in mind.

They are calling it: Murder Most Fowler.

I am intrigued by the casual mention of "Ann Summers and B&Q" and feel compelled to go look them up and research them.

I believe that Amanda Knox has come to inhabit a dimension which may be somehow related to the World of Reality TV.

:: Fowler's Open Letter ::


Friday, February 17

Finding Formulas That Work - (5#) -

Librarian Nancy Pearl's effort to republish a handful of out-of-print titles via Amazon has provoked hostility among some book people. This has become a very complicated issue.

# "White, wealthy and pretty: a murder made for media. Yeardley Love's death is a perfect crime to capture America's imagination, writes Paul Farhi."

# Penguin Books imprint Dutton is relaunching their Guilt Edged Mysteries series in Summer 2012 as a digital imprint dedicated to discovering and publishing original crime short stories and novellas as eBooks.

"Dutton Guilt Edged Mysteries is looking for original works of modern crime and detective fiction between ten thousand and fifty thousand words that have a fresh voice and capture the noir spirit in an exciting, imaginative way. Is that your story? Please submit!"


Oxygen Depleted Discussions -

Although I often enjoy skimming the Meme-orandum group of websites, too often this business deteriorates into a shopworn echo chamber of squawking parrots. I tend to become more acutely aware of this problem when I have already been following an issue myself.

A good illustration of this problem is the recent book deal between HarperCollins and the Perugia study abroad Seattle student. Mediagazer uses the same sources over and over again until they exhaust all the oxygen in the room. What is left is stale air.

Mediagazer lists its main source as Julie Bosman at Media Decoder, which is deceptive and misleading. Media Decoder is just a blog at the NY Times. After a brief synopsis comes "Discussion," but there is no discussion.

None of those listed contribute anything new to the public discourse. There's no new commentary or analysis. Just the same parrots squawking the same stale information over and over again.

This makes for a very comfortable circle jerk for those inside the echo chamber of Mediagazer, but, by now, this group of parrots has used up all the oxygen in the room and their repetitions are just tiresome noise.

What does this mean for the rest of us? It means that it is important to get your news from a variety of sources and that the sources we depend on shouldn't always be the same sources.

At this point, Epistemologists are probably laughing up their sleeves, because it is becoming easier and easier every week to spoof the news.

Easier than ever to report stuff which cannot be verified, which is pure confabulation, which is concocted and then endlessly repeated until it becomes almost an Urban Myth.

The American Media has been very busy lately creating its own form of Reality TV in which avatars are being used simply for their entertainment value.

The obligatory cautionary note:

Don't believe everything you read.


Thursday, February 16

SoFlo Noir:
Pull Over To Hell -

In April 2010, a Police Officer pulled over a driver on the Palmetto Expressway who was carrying $131,000 in cash from gambling winnings. The cop, John Villar Jr, stole the money.

According to prosecutors, Villar and his cousin had conspired with the alleged bookie from a gambling operation to ambush the winner of a couple of big bets.

On Thursday, Villar accepted a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to numerous charges including strong-arm robbery and aggravated assault with a firearm in connection with the incident. He is expected to serve about three years behind bars. He had been an eight-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

The victim of the rip-off, Victor Duarte, was able to quickly find a Florida Highway Patrol trooper to aid him in the recovery of his money.

:: NBC Local 6 :: - - - :: CBS Local 4 ::


Knox: The Write Stuff - (3#) -

Rupert Murdoch's SkyNews reports that
Amanda Knox has signed a $4 million book
deal with Murdoch-owned Harper Collins
Publishing Co, which also published
OJ Simpson's story If I Did It.

Harper's Jonathan Burnham did not immediately
release the name of Knox's writing "collaborator."

Both HarperCollins and SkyNews are owned by News Corp. The company's chairman and chief executive is Rupert Murdoch.

It's Not Always Sunny in Philly - (6#) -

Self-taught Bronx puppeteer . . .
establishing Castle Hill Puppeteers to train younger generation in the art. Nilda Garces, a vivacious 74-year-old grandmother, started working with marionettes as a hobby, but it gradually became a way of life for her.

:: Puppet Lady :: Feature Story
By Tanyanika Samuels at the NYDN

# Who controls your news? Buzz Bissinger writes an Op-Ed piece expressing his concerns about who will tell Philadelphia's story.

# From the same wonderful folks who've brought us
Neon Tommy, now comes Intersections, a Hyper Local online for South LA.

# In these tough times, it's comforting to know
 that Private Eye, a satirical magazine, is thriving.


Strolling Down Cyber Avenue (5#) -

Revisit the Nostalgic
Days of Yesteryear . . .

with Leisure Suit Larry Laffer as he wanders around the city of Lost Wages on a Friday evening looking to score in the Dept of Love, dropping into Lefty's Bar, the Quiki Mart, the Casino, the Disco, and other assorted dives.

:: Leisure Suit Larry :: Thanks
for the mammaries by Lucy Orr
Retro Computer Game from 1987.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
Stay Connected! Due to problems in countries
such as Bahrain and Syria, Telecomix has issued
a reminder about their Dialup Assistance Center.

Who is tracking this issue?
Marcin de Kaminski in Sweden
@dekaminski on Twitter.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
The recent Internet crackdown in Iran
continues, but Tor users are all back online.

Iranians are still experiencing at least
a partial Internet blockage, according
to Elizabeth Flock at WaPo.

Iranian MP denounces
Internet service disruptions.


Wednesday, February 15

Enchanted Places - (3#) -

"What is it about this bizarre haunt underneath the Phoenix Theatre that makes people lose their wits? Why do we even go there? ... Entry is random... The place may be empty or packed to the gills... Things go missing and magically reappear in the Phoenix... "

:: Christopher Fowler
shares one of his special :: spots ::

*  *  *  *  *
:: Anna Raccoon discovers a new
version of an outrageous Tabloid online ::


Tuesday, February 14

Knox: If She Did It - (3#) -

Italian prosecutors filed an 111-page appeal today to the highest criminal court in Italy to reinstate Amanda Knox's original conviction for the killing of the Anglo-Indian Erasmus exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia.

This development will throw more clouds over Knox's hopes to exploit her exciting Perugia Slasher Story by shaping her experiences there into a book.

No book doctor or ghost writer has been identified yet. Without this kind of expert assistance, the prospects of such a book's success would be substantially diminished.

*  *  *  *  *
:: Nick Squires :: - - - :: AGI ::

:: Andrea Vogt ::


Monday, February 13

Knox Shops Her Book (3#) -

The Perugia Slasher Story is back . . .

because a private auction has been held for a book of "memoirs" by Amanda Knox. They waited until the fuss died down, then arranged for the auction on the QT to fly in under the radar in order to avoid adverse comments.

I've lost track already,
what is this version of the story - Scream 5?

The publishing companies who claim to be interested are foreign-owned, but pretend to be American, because they know that most Americans are normally too doped up to discern the difference.

So, who stole Vampire Girl's life?

Amanda Knox claims that she is going to reveal the truth in her book. That version should suffice for those who still believe in the Easter Bunny. As yet undisclosed: who is going to be the ghost writer or book doctor?

According to reports, her agent
is demanding a seven-figure advance.

What a gigantic waste of money!

*  *  *  *  *
:: Rosa Prince :: - - - :: Matthew Flamm ::

:: Julie Bosman, NYT :: - caveat paywall quota!


Sunday, February 12

TV Sludge (3#) -

I turned on the TV News this morning, but there was no news, if you define news as information about current events in the world around us. Instead, there was just a lot of pageantry about singer Whitney Houston who has just died.

Lately, the TV News has lost any connection to news whatsoever. Or it just has a rather tenuous connection at best.

But it's not like we went from zero to sixty last week, during which the TV News Hole was already being filled with promotions of merchandise for the upcoming Valentine holiday. I used to look forward to holidays, though not anymore. Holidays now seem like just a sleazy opportunity to hawk more cr*p and shove it down our throats.

Rachel Dodes outlines a new phenomenon, for those intent on wasting what free time they still have left: the after show. This is mostly on Cable TV, which has endless time to fill and has made it one of their specialty skills to waste as much of your time as possible.

Our local time waster on Cable TV may be Real Housewives of Miami, which reportedly didn't have many fans, but is being renewed anyway. Go figure.

"So what does it take to remain a Miami Housewife? The absence of dignity... and diva behavior with the street cred... to back it up."