in a perfect world of yancies: Things That Look Nice

10 February 2009

Things That Look Nice

how do we look?
Got out some nice clothes & hit the Seattle Symphony back in January.

Emily was awesome enough to get us tickets to the Russian Evening. Borodin, Shostakovich (my fav!), and a piece by Tchaikovsky that totally stole the show because of the awesome guest cellist.

I would've been happier if he'd worn a jacket (and tucked in his shirt!), but he sure could play that cello.

I also love the way this parking spot near campus looks lately:
parking space, improved

One last thing:
I like the way newspapers look (though I liked them better before they were cut down to the size of postcards to "save money" (yeah, so how's that working out?)).

And I like the work they do, like in this bit of dirt-digging that got noticed by Stephen Colbert (he's, like, famous! basic cable!):

Good work, Seattle P-I. We'll miss you when you're gone!

Gone? Looks that way. There's a meeting at city hall this month, and everyone from Time magazine to a dude from Slate writing in the Times has ideas and worries to share about the state and fate of my beloved papers.

I like the subsidy idea, but it would be terrible if that meant no more endorsements or other political commentary. The iTunes model seems cool, but it would be awfully difficult to get it to work for text like it has for music. Private endowments? Sure, what the hell, I guess--works for those British papers--though it does seem odd to me that something as obviously valuable as newspaper journalism can't be made profitable . . .

Funny fact (without citations! yay Internets!): more people than ever are reading newspapers, even as subscriptions, advertisers, and moneys are dwindling . . .

In any case, and alas, it's not looking good for newspapers.

[update 21:19]
Funny: just noticed that Walter Isaacson, who wrote that Time piece, was on the Daily Show last night, throwing out (and fielding) more thoughts on the matter:

Have the aggregators pay? Seems like a good idea, Jon Stewart. Though of course there are problems: Apple had to get a critical mass of record companies on board for iTunes to work--could newspapers team up in a similar way? Let's hope so!


  1. Love the symphony photo!

    Love Borodin's Polovetsian Dances; didn't look like they performed any of it, though.

    What did you think of Josh Quittner's article on e-readers (in the same issue of Time magazine)?


  2. I hadn't seen that Quittner piece--thanks for mentioning it.

    Interesting stuff, and I should probably withhold judgment until I've actually played with (read with) a Kindle, but one line left me thinking that e-readers just aren't the only way this thing can and/or will get answered:

    Quittner writes that the goal for these devices is to "deliver that content for a small fee on devices that can surpass the pleasures of reading on paper."

    Supplement? Okay. Sub for in special situations? (Like when you want to ride a bus & read, but you're reading an 1,100 page novel . . .) Okay.

    But surpass?

    I just don't see that happening. Maybe I'm being small-minded, but turning pages, writing in margins, flipping around in search of some particular bit--I don't want to say that paper is the perfect technology, but I personally cannot imagine any way for those pleasures to be surpassed.

  3. Let's not forget the unique scent of an old book - can you get THAT with a Kindle? And why is the silly thing named after firewood anyway?


  4. OMG! Are you kidding me!?!?! I just had to do some Kindle research - I've been a little curious about them...pricing, mostly. Do you know how many books you can buy for the cost of a kindle??? WOW. I'd rather have the books


  5. Good question about the name!

    I have to say, though, that I've only heard good things about them, and if the price came down just a couple hundred dollars, I'd almost certainly want to get one. But I agree--right now that price is just ridiculous.

    But if you want something in the way of balance, reader, I can point you to some crazy expensive academic books (crazy expensive because they'll only sell a couple hundred copies, I guess) . . . So depending on what you're reading, that thing might only get you three or four books :)

    (My recent approach to this situation: offer to review the books--then they're free! But speaking of, I'd better go--the review I'm working on now is already 3 weeks late!)