Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Books, Movies & Embryos

From Lefty Levine:


The swells gather in Palm Beach for a fundraiser.
(Left to right) Renata Moulavi, The Donald, and Joanne Gabay. Not pictured: Jim Born.


Osama bin Laden? Bernie Madoff. No, it's the extraordinarily fertile Nadya Suleman. In an exclusive, Naked Scribblers have obtained a snapshot of the little darlings, right after their bath.

Ms. Suleman told NBC she does not receive welfare. I suppose it depends on your definition, but she currently collects $490 a month in food stamps, and three of her first half-dozen children get federal S.S.I. disability payments. It's estimated that hospital costs will be from $1.5 to $3 million before the new litter can be discharged. Somewhere in Southern California is a doctor who should be stripped of his license...or made to pay the costs of raising the kids. And somewhere there is a mental hospital for the mother.


In two weeks, Amazon launches the Kindle 2.0, its portable reader for books, newspapers, magazines, and Jim Born's supermarket lists. Ten bucks to download a book. Amazon reports that it sold 500,000 Kindles in 2008, way more than expected. (I own a Sony Reader; the Kindle is better). It's the wave of the future, folks, and it will rescue reading...especially with young people. Prediction: when the price, currently $359, gets down to the $100 range, Amazon will be selling millions each year.

More good news. According to the National Endowment for the arts, the number of people reading fiction is up for the first time in 25 years. So why are publishers going broke? What do you think, I'm an expert on business? I bought Lehman Brothers stock last summer.


Oscar Time. I've seen the five movies nominated for best picture and quite a few more. One question: why the heck is "Gran Torino" not nominated? And why doesn't Clint Eastwood have a best actor nomination? Is Hollywood too politically correct to reward a film that features (at least initially) a bigoted protagonist? It's a beautiful, bittersweet movie. The word "bittersweet," by the way, is used three times as a touchstone, thematic device.

Make my Day,


  1. The front page of the LA Times today reveals the name and background of the doctor who used IVF to produce those 8 babies and it's not a pretty site. Check out www.latimes.com the "Octuplet doctor's record dubious."

  2. THIS JUST IN: Jim Born denies he is the sperm donor, refuses DNA test.

  3. Paul, according to an article I read somewhere (memory thing, can't remember where) that although people are reading more, they are also buying more used books - from people like you and me who are culling their book collections, selling them on the internet to make money to buy more ... books. The internet is now the Charing Cross Road of the 21st century. Of course there are the people who can't wait to buy the latest novels (and God bless 'em, every last one of 'em), but while the reading of books is increasing, so is the propensity to find a cheaper way to do it. Which is why we need our libraries as well.

    Actually, I lie when I say people like you and me, because if you're like me you can't bear to part with a book. I can barely find a place to work in my office for the books everywhere. I am, in fact, a lending library to my friends.

    And here's another thing that has always been in practice, but is now more prevalent - the "buy to share" scheme. I was at a book signing last year when five women came along, each bought one book in the series and then they were going to read the books in turn and pass them on to the next person. This enabled them to buy the books of far more authors - which they then donated to the local library.

    And I've been eyeing up that Kindle for a while, but I dunno - I like turning real paper pages, Luddite that I am.

  4. Note to Ms. Suleman:
    Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom."
    Thomas Jefferson
    Note to the Oscars:
    "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom."
    Thomas Jefferson
    Note to investors of Knidle or Lehman Brothers:
    "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom."
    Thomas Jefferson

  5. Jacqueline,

    I love the Charing Cross Road reference. You're so British!

    A study shows that Kindle users buy 2.7 times the number of books they did pre-device.

  6. I think the 'doctor' should be slapped upside the head about a hundred times with a length (lump) of 3 by 2" wood. Along with the mother... Having children is one thing if you're prepared to raise them well, but having that many and expecting everyone else to pay for them, along with minor celebrity is just gross.

    I LOVE the bookstores on Charing Cross Road in London. We might just get time to visit it in May. :-)

    Jim's supermarket lists are publishable?? Wow. I wonder if there is a Pulitzer for that kind of thing...


  7. I agree the Doctor should shoulder some responsibility.

    Mr. Trump does not like to be seen near me because I have more hair.


  8. OK Paul - it's all your fault. I went on to Amazon today and saw the new Kindle and thought ... well why not? I have just divested myself of some $359 or whatever it costs. I'd better sell a lot of books, eh? And with the new BOSE noise-canceling headphones my husband bought me for Christmas, I should be well set (he thought they would be a good idea with a book tour coming up and all the flying that goes with it).

  9. I'm truly stunned about the Kindle purchase, Our J. Did you get the super deluxe new model?

  10. We will expect Jacqueline to report back with her Tales of Kindle. I believe this one talks to you, also. Not exactly books on tape, but a device that turns the digital words into a digital voice. Way to go, Jackie. Think of all the trees you saved. (I use those Bose headphones with my IPod).

  11. I may send the Kindle back the moment I get it (and I have ordered the new one). You weren't the only one to give me the idea of buying one, Paul - I picked up my husband from the airport today, and he was telling me about a guy sitting next to him who was using a Kindle. He commented that, being a writer, I should find out about them, because so many readers were using them and it would be a good idea to learn more about the "reader experience." Frankly, I think he'll just wait for mine to collect dust and then snaffle the thing. The attractive thing about a Kindle for me is that you can use it in the car and it will read the book to you - I spend a small fortune on audiobooks because I drive back and forth to northern California once a month or so, Sometimes it's a really long audio book (I don't buy abridged) so I have to wait until the next journey before I dip into that particular book again - it would be nice to be able to flick over to "read" mode to finish a story when I'm out of the car. So, we'll see how it goes. I will still be a book buyer though - I cannot walk into a bookstore and not buy a book or two!

  12. THIS JUST IN: Jim Born denies he is the sperm donor, refuses DNA test.

    free movies

  13. I have had my Kindle since last spring. I love it. And yes, I find I am buying more books. Partly because it is just so darn easy and partly because I don't have to fit them on my already over stuffed bookshelves. .... Mo