Saturday, February 27, 2021


Cryptocurrency is fantasy money.
Yes, I know that all money is fantasy money. 
But money is based on a belief system and that's why we put pictures of our national heroes on the money. So we have an image to believe in. And that's why we put 'In God We Trust' on our US currency. Because God is one of the earliest superheroes.
So when I say that it's fantasy money. I mean that it's like trading Picassos. Regular people don't buy and sell Picassos. Nobody goes to the store with a Picasso to buy a loaf of bread: "Go ahead and slice off $4 worth of Picasso. But not the nose."
Currency is used to pay debts: corporate debt, personal debt, and national debt.  

It's fantasy money because its value fluctuates wildly based on the whims of collectors. And you cannot have a national currency that behaves that way. 
If I pay my workers every Friday and then my currency fluctuates 200% over the weekend before they cash their checks, either I'm going out of business or my workers will starve. I need a stable currency. That's why if you invest in cryptocurrencies because you think you will get rich, then that currency can never be a standard for paying off debt. 
You need something stable that we can use to pay bills. And then you can pay those bills and we all know that the money we used has basically the same value across all of those payments. Otherwise people will hoard that currency or they will dump that currency. Because no one knows what it's going to do from one minute to the next. 
And then your fantasy world collapses.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

What's Goin' On (with that song)? - "Behind Closed Doors" by Charlie Rich.

I don't have any idea why this song plays out the way it does. Is the singer married to the woman in this song? Are they witches or spies or other folks who need to protect their secrets? The entire song seems to be based on some "nudge nudge wink wink" innuendo that completely eludes me.

According to Wikipedia, "Behind Closed Doors" was a number one song for Charlie Rich. And I'm trying to understand why.

The song opens with lyrics about how the singer is proud of his "baby" because she never hangs all over him in a crowd.

I guess that's something. Not having a woman act all mushy, and making sure she behaves herself like she's a pet, like a well-trained dog.

But then the singer goes on, "people like to talk, Lord, how they love to talk."

WTF? What are people saying? Again, is this a couple? Are they a secret couple? Are they siblings? Is this "baby" literally the singer's own child? I. DO. NOT. KNOW.

If this couple is married, what are people talking about? "Oh, look at that man and woman and how she has her hair all done up so that she can let it down later when they get BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. We bet she's gonna make him glad he's a man. In some way we can't fathom yet."

Is that something people say?

So let's assume this is a married couple. And there is no incest involved. And she is not literally a baby. Does the singer assume that no one knows what sex is? Is that why he sings, "no one knows what goes on behind closed doors"?

Has he asked his buddies what they think he does with his baby behind closed doors? Because I'm sure they have a good guess. And it rhymes with 'trucking.'

So the only thing I can imagine about the intent of the singer is that he wants us to know that his woman is a prim and proper lady in public and a dirty filthy whore in the bedroom. And that when she lets her hair hang down, she straps on a giant dildo and pounds the singer up his back door until he cries like a baby, when they get BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

Because if people knew about that ass-reaming, I'm pretty sure there would be talk. And some cancelled church picnic invitations.

p.s. Diana Ross has covered this song and swapped the gender roles so that she was letting her hair down for her man whore. Stan Ridgway covered it, too. Although I think Stan Ridgway was hit by a car and was suffering brain trauma and wasn't aware he was recording it.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

What's Goin' On (with that song)? - "The Boys Are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy.

I love the song, "The Boys Are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy. But What's Goin' On (with that song)?

It starts, "Guess who just got back today, Them wild eyed boys .."

Who is telling the story? From right off, you know there's something different about the narrator because (s)he's not one of the Boys.

You can assume that because the singer is male, that the narrator/subject is also male. And I guess we can lock that in as a fact. But the narrator could also be female without any lyrics changes, if a woman wanted to sing the song.

Either way, the narrator has to be someone from the Town. And this could change the focus of the song because if it's a woman: maybe she's been intimate with one or more of the Boys because of when she sings, "If that chick don't want to know, forget her"? 

"Don't want to know" what? What it's like to sleep with one or more of the Boys? Maybe. That fits the lyrics even when we thing the narrator is male.

You could look up the inspiration for the song and learn that it might be about some local gang who comes to town after being elsewhere. Were they in jail? Dunno. But the real key to the song is that the narrator is NOT a member of the Boys.

And when you understand that, you can see how this is a sad, pathetic dude. Listen to his one close encounter with the band where "that chick that used to dance a lot" "slapped Johnny's face."

How does the narrator know the band? Is his job to "Spread the word around"? Is his job to put money in the "jukebox in the corner blasting out my favourite song"?

I don't know the answers. But whenever I hear this song, I both love it as a rock song, but I also feel sad for this poor loser of a guy, who lives his life for that one time each year when he gets to pretend he's one of the Boys.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Library Gig in the year 2026

I have library degree, but I don't have a full-time job. I don't have health care, but I have a library gig in a library where I perform research services and provide technology assistance via requests made through the LybÜ jobs app.

I work as an independent contractor for LybÜ, the library research company that became dominant when most public libraries became privatized.

I don't have a base salary, but I get paid for monitoring my app while I'm in the library. And for pinging the various "interactivity" points around the building, basically the stacks and tables, where people might need assistance. I make nothing for answering the phone, but I get paid for completing the tasks related to the call. And I have a minimum number of interactions I need to provide to keep my employment active (not get fired). But once I reach my minimum, I can adjust my "value" fees to accommodate the high demand for services.

For example, if my base service requires that I assist 50 times at the printers, once that is met, I can ignore anyone who needs help with printing until they "add value" to the request. So if it's near closing and someone has to print their airline or concert tickets and they send the request through the app, if I'm the only librarian working, I can demand pretty much any extra fee. I can ask $10 or $15 or even $25 for just printing a single document.

If the clock is ticking and someone needs something badly enough, I can rake in the added fees. And since I negotiate these on my own, I get to keep 60 percent and LybÜ gets the rest.

So the goal is to find the people with the greatest need, the most money and the least technical knowledge. I make an extra $30 a week downloading ebooks for little old ladies. I get a ton of money for editing resumes (depending on the job they hope to get), and from proofing school essays (from the parents).

I hear the older librarians talk about the time when they worked a 40 hour week and got 2 or 3 or 4 weeks of vacation per year and had medical and dental insurance and good job security. But I don't believe a word of it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How Writing Got Ruined: Dystopian Fiction in the Age of Trump

The reality of Donald Trump as President of The United States of America has spoiled (destroyed?) how authors create their dystopian villains. The writer's imagination, however nimble, can't hope to keep up with the variety and volume of Trump shenanigans.

So, after eliminating his scandals, his tweets, his slavering approbations given to dictators, the only plausible scenario for a writer of dystopian novels using a Trump-like character as the villainous tyrant is this:

Since, as I said, there are no other options for this type of character, and so some author must be arriving at this same conclusion, and I don't wish to tread on any toes, I'll refer to the dystopian leader as "President Turnip."

A billionaire runs on an anti-Turnip campaign, promising to seize President Turnip's assets and put him in prison. On the eve of the election, as Turnip realizes he will lose, he evades capture by disguising himself as a woman (and not a "10" as his looks are harshly criticized by witnesses). And frankly, everyone was glad to see him go.

But as he alienated every world leader with his attacks and insults, no country will have him. In the only move that makes sense to him, Turnip converts to Islam and joins ISIS in its fight against America.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Joker Story (I don't think I've seen)

A school bus filled with children is stopped on a deserted highway, surrounded by law enforcement vehicles parked at a safe distance. Assorted law enforcement personnel are positioned behind the vehicles and aiming their weapons at the bus.

The sound of laughter comes from the bus as a child's BACKPACK is tossed from the doorway. As the backpack hits the ground, several mobile phones tumble out.

JOKER's voice: How many times do we need to remind you that school is for learning, kids. Not sexting with your teachers.

The Joker emerges from the bus with his hands raised above his head. He wears an orange jumpsuit with words and decorations written in marker on the clothing.

A mobile PHONE is duct taped to his chest and "CALL ME 212-555-5309" is written on his back.

A police sniper has Joker in her sights. Her partner sees the phone number.

PARTNER Take the shot.

SNIPER I can't. He's surrendering.

PARTNER He's the Joker. He's always pulling something. He could have a bomb on the bus. He could call a number and, boom, the whole thing could go up.

SNIPER His hands are up.

PARTNER I could call that number on his back and when he goes for the phone, you could shoot him and say he was going for a weapon.

SNIPER I won't take the shot.

PARTNER I'm calling it. If you won't take the shot, one of these other guys will.

(He takes his phone and dials)


JOKER Beep! I'm so sorry I can't come to the phone now. As my hands are empty, I had to let the machine pick up.

the end.

** The Joker is property of somebody.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How Fifty Shades of Grey made it into our library.

It's been a while so I'll probably need to confirm some history with the internets, but the first I'd heard of Shades I'll call it, was when a library patron called to request that we get a copy for her/him (don't remember whether it was a him or her).

I did a quick compooter search and did not see any reference to the book. At all. I saw some fanfic references and comments, but I did not find any published novel with that title. (As you read this post, you'll learn that there existed a website and a print-on-demand book; not sure if I found the site and ignored it or just never saw it. I wasn't keeping notes, not even mental ones.)

Then about a week later, maybe more or less, a request came for an inter-library loan for Shades and I answered how we were unable to get it because it wasn't currently available to us.

I think I remember a coworker asking if I'd heard of Shades because she'd just received a request for it and I commented that there is no book we can buy: "this is some online porn that everyone suddenly thinks is a book." (Again, a book had existed for several months as print-on-demand. So there was a book. Being print-on-demand just means there aren't copies in stores for anyone to pick up and pay for, even libraries.)

How were so many people learning about this book in December 2011? I want whoever was in charge of that marketing campaign to work for the library.

The library often gets requests for self-published books. These are books we won't (except in rare instances) buy for the collection. The reasoning for this is often the high cost and low demand. There are also purchasing issues because those books aren't available from our usual vendor. So getting those books means arranging a one-time payment with a small press or even an individual person then paying for shipping and separate processing, all things that our usual vendors provide because of the high volume of our orders. FYI, many libraries have procedures for accepting self-published books if there is some perceived demand. Before Shades was published, public demand for self-published books at our library was uncommon and so we had no real plan to purchase them. It was very very rare that we did.

When the third or fourth request came in and I checked online for it, suddenly there was a book for sale on Amazon. I think it was $40. And it looked like it was from a vanity press and I think the publisher was in Australia (this was the same print-on-demand title mentioned before). But it was Amazon and that made it available. So at this point there was a book. But it wasn't from a vendor where we had any relationship with and it was $40. The odds the library would be able to get it was still at a realistic 1,000 to 1.

But the book beat those odds. Because we learned we had thousands of patrons who wanted to read it.

We were able to order a few copies even though we have no formal purchasing agreement with Amazon. Mainly because of the outrageous demand for it. People requested it at every branch. I have an email that shows how many requests we had before the book was ever published in the USA as a paperback. As soon as we were able to order from Amazon and added the information in our catalog that the book was on order, we had over 1,000 library card holders request a hold for it.

I wish I could go back to the end of 2011 to see the progress of the online demand for it: I mean, was it popular on Facebook or just through people emailing each other about it? I don't know. But it seemed like it was only a few months between that first request and the arrival of the juggernaut.

According to "The Lost History of Fifty Shades of Grey"
"This erotica bestseller began as a work of Twilight fan fiction called Master of the Universe, earning a massive fan fiction following years before the book deal. Most traces of this fan fiction history have been removed from the Internet."
Now if you remember that Shades was originally posted as Twilight fan fiction, and that the Twilight series had just been a super-massive publishing monster, then the number of people reading the original posting of Shades on the internet could have been in the tens or hundreds of thousands or readers. Given the explosive demand for Shades while it was originally only available as that $40 paper edition on Amazon, the readership of Twilight fanfic must have been tremendous.

I remember having those thoughts when I was researching the book online. How the hell do people find out about this stuff?

But another issue goes back to the people who requested the book before it was even a mass published book for sale. Who are these people? The knee-jerk people who call the library and request something that doesn't exist (as I said before, it existed. I'm making this statement as if I'm remembering from February 2012). Because they were calling in 2011. If you know about the history of Shades, then you know it lived online in 2010, so that whole year could have produced that fan base. So what may have seemed as sudden and knee-jerk behavior to me could just have been a year's worth of sexual frustration.

I see from the Adweek article (previous link) Shades was available from The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House back in June 2011, and this would have been at least 5 months before I'd gotten my first request for it. So call me a bad librarian for now knowing about this book in December 2011. But as it wasn't showing in the holdings of any library that I could see and that it wasn't even on Amazon at that time, it was invisible to me. Maybe if I'd been a fan of Twilight, I'd have known.

By March 2012, the monster was here. And we had lots of copies. If you have any memory of Shades from 2010 or 2011 or even pre-March 2012, maybe you can share what your library did in those early months before the storm. Or even how you decided to buy or not buy it for your library. Any story is worth preserving.

So remember that when you're getting turned on by the BDSM shenanigans between Christian and Anastasia, you're really looking at the relationship between a 200-year-old vampire and the 16-year-old girl he wants to sleep with.