Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Like Rebecca I have been out walking. Also gardening-- it is good for the souls. There will be pictures below. Meanwhile, the usual miscellany..

Patrick links to this Telegraph story about the use of pigeons to pay kidnap ransoms in Iraq. "One family attached $10,000 in $100 notes to the legs of five homing pigeons, which they found in a cage left on their doorstep." Pigeon keeping is more popular in the Middle Est than almost anywhere-- breeds include several I have, including black (Msawad) dewlaps, which I saw in turkey.

They even put jewelry on them; here is one with earrings Sir Terence Clark photographed in Syria last year.

He also has several posts on the endless idiocies of PETA-- more in a bit.

Larissa is back, with photos from Paris. I particularly like the one she calls (in comments) "I have nothing to wear"....

Like cooking with guts and such? We at Casa Q do. Here is a contest for the best offal recipe. I don't know if we have anything original, and we already have the prize-- but we may enter anyway. Grilled sweetbreads with Argentine hot sauce!

Readers: do you think I could make money with this blog? My financial needs are more modest than Anarchangel's.

Hate Big Oil? How about Big Oil plus Big China Government? (see Peculiar for more China re Tibet.)

The inimitable curmudgeon John Derbyshire has been kind to Q and company recently. Peculiar explains one essay here. And in his March Diary (second page), he comments on a forthcoming book we will be saying more about here soon. It is a good one.

"We Give Our Hearts to Dogs to Tear. That's the title of a book due out in April from Transaction Publishers. You can pre-order it from Amazon, and if you ever loved and lost a pooch, I recommend you do so.

"The author is Alston Chase, one of the more interesting and reflective writers about nature and the wilderness, one of the few who doesn't come at these topics from a position of Goreite "give-a-ton-of-your-money to-us-wise-leaders-and-stop-doing-all-the-things-you-like-and-then-we'll-fix-the-problem" leftism. He is a friend of Stephen Bodio, of whom I would say the same; and Stephen is a friend of mine, so I guess Alston and I are grand-friends. I hope so, anyway, because I really like his book. (Though with one quibble: I think he gets Kurt Gödel wrong.)

"Among the delights of the book are the snippets of poetry and prose Alston has used as chapter epigraphs. I did not know this one, for example, from Ogden Nash.

Ten years ago she split the air
To seize what she could spy;
Tonight she bumps against a chair,
Betrayed by milky eye.
She seems to pant, Time up, time up!
My little dog must die,
And lie in dust with Hector's pup;
So, presently, must I."


Heather said...

Stephen, the whole Ogden Nash poem is much better than just that last stanza:

My little pup ten years ago
was arrogant and spry,
Her backbone was a bended bow
for arrows in her eye.
Her step was proud, her bark was loud,
her nose was in the sky,
But she was ten years younger then,
And so, by God, was I.

Small birds on stilts along the beach
Rose up with piping cry.
And as they rose beyond her reach
I thought to see her fly.
If natural law refused her wings,
That law she would defy,
for she could do unheard of things,
And so, at times could I.

Ten years ago she split the air
to seize what she could spy;
Tonight she bumps against a chair,
betrayed by milky eye!
She seems to pant,
Time up, time up!
My little dog must die,
And lie in dust with Hector's pup;
So, presently must I.

Right up there with Robinson Jeffers' "The Housedog's Grave" for a real poetic sense of our two species' lives and deaths together.

Steve Bodio said...

Lovely poem-- reminds me of Housman. I'll post the Jeffers later.

dr. hypercube said...

Regarding the make money? question - short answer: yes. Long answer - I think it's complicated. People are figuring out how to do it (produce - write, film, play music - in a web-enabled way), but the solutions so far are pretty particular to individual cases. Some random thoughts (more will come along if I ever get my post on it finished):
- connection to the artist is important. Folks want to feel that link.
- niche/uniqueness/customization is another key.
You're in excellent shape on both counts - the magic trick is turning that into $$. I don't think hiding stuff behind a paywall is a good model - tip jars, subscription (in the old sense of prepaying for a project), limited run books all may work. You may want to touch base w/ Lord Whimsy - he has quite a few irons in the fire, but I get the sense that his web presence feeds some of his other projects...

P.S. - also Adam Greenfield (http://speedbird.wordpress.com/) - he's self-publishing - after an unhappy 1st go w/ a main line tech publisher - he asked for deposits to get the thing going and is - afaik - well on his way. I would instantly paypal over $10 or $20 bucks for a copy of 'Bodio on X' - for those less trufannish, you could sweeten the deal w/ signatures or bookplates or whatever for pre-payers. Wow - quite the PS!

dr. hypercube said...

Clarification - the $10 or $20 referred to above is deposit/earnest money. Don't have a clue as to what the market would bear for a final price - it'd be patially contingent on the quality/coolness of the end product (duh)...

Matt Mullenix said...

Doc H: I think you're right on with something Steve could and (as he knows I've told him) should do, self publish. But not necessarily for the larger market. Tailored reprints of his own work with some original material added to update---but more importantly, to make unique and add appeal.

Steve could gather a heap of of his best writing on falconry into one pub. He could do the same with any of his many passions and areas of expertise, fracturing them into even smaller wedges that will fit little niches.

Doc you'd pay 10-20 for Bodio on X. But how much would you pay for Bodio on X, in hardcover, with a personalized introduction to you?

dr. hypercube said...

Matt - can't resist repeating my theme. Short answer - heck of a lot more than $10 or $20. Long answer - couldn't agree with you more - the internet allows width (meme of the week occupies a million people for 1 minute each) and, more importantly here, wicked depth. The opportunities for personalization - intros, omakase chapter selection for those poor souls who don't want to read _everything_ - you've clearly thought this through more than I have, but yes - what you said.

I also emailed this to Steve - wanted to post it here for your reaction:
"Your taste in books and your book reviews? Killer. Leverage it to reduce the amount of money you spend on books - assuming you aren't up to your neck in review copies now. Set up an Amazon wish list of books you'd like to read and put a sidebar widget on Querencia with a bit of explanation. Readers of the blog can buy you books from the list (I think if you set it up correctly you'd get a tiny commission on the sale), you read, post review to Q with a thank-you link to the sponsor (and maybe allow your review to be cross posted on the sponsor's blog). Part of what seems to be successful on the web is trying quite a few different small things and seeing what develops..." That goes for all the Q folk - I trust all of your opinions.

Steve - let me know if you don't see my email (I had a server burp this PM and am naturally paranoid). I hope I'm not sounding like some kind of know it all - I don't think that anyone has the answers - I'm just tossing stuff out. It's worth every penny you paid for it!