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Week of 23 May 2011

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Monday, 23 May 2011
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09:24 - I attended a professional sporting event yesterday, for the first time in about 35 years. Well, not counting the time Barbara and I went to a satellite tennis event at Wake Forest University to watch Michael Chang back before he turned pro. Barbara's law firm maintains a suite at the Winston-Salem Dash stadium, and yesterday they kindly opened the suite to staff members in Barbara's group. She wanted me to meet some of her co-workers, so I bit the bullet and went along.

The Winston-Salem Dash are a Class A club, three levels below major league, so I wasn't expecting much. The Dash starting pitcher surprised me, if the speed gun was accurate. His fastball was consistently showing in the lower to mid-90's, peaking at 95 MPH. If true, that's definitely a major-league fastball. The two consistently-fastest major league pitches were Bob Feller and Nolan Ryan, both of whom threw fastballs that routinely exceeded 100 MPH. I suspect the speed gun was accurate, because despite being well-placed I had difficulty tracking the ball on its way to the plate. The guy also threw a lot of strikes and didn't walk many batters, so I suspect he'll be moving up to AA or better before long.

I spent most of my time in the air-conditioned suite rather than out on the balcony. There was a buffet, so I also spent a lot of time eating.

Barnes & Noble introduces its new Nook(s) tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see how Amazon responds. I'm hoping Amazon will ship a firmware update that enables EPUB on the Kindle, as rumor has it that they intend to do. I'm not sure why they'd do that. In effect, they'd be opening the Kindle to ebooks purchased at B&N and other vendors, which seems counterproductive from Amazon's point of view. Perhaps Amazon is taking a long-term view. As fast as ereaders are selling now, the elephant in the room is incompatible formats. People want to be able to purchase an ebook and read it on any device. I know many couples where he owns a Kindle and she a Nook, or vice versa.

Of course, ultimately the answer is to stop putting DRM on ebooks, which many indie authors have already done. Many indie authors are smart enough to realize that DRM isn't their friend. Many are also realizing that, far from a bad thing, being "pirated" is actually a Very Good Thing. As Joe Konrath keeps saying, "Please pirate my books." In fact, he used to have them freely downloadable on his site. He had to stop doing that because Amazon price-matches, and once Amazon found his site they'd discount all his books to $0.00.

13:28 - I've given up reading Fred Reed after reading his most recent column, which has nice things to say about Jared Taylor's most recent book. I won't link to that book because I'll do nothing to help Mr. Taylor, who is a white separatist of the worst kind. Worst, because he's not what one expects of a radical racist. He's not a barely-literate tattooed neo-Nazi, nor an inbred hick from the Deep South. Mr. Taylor is well-spoken and presents a credible front. It's not until one listens to what he's actually saying that one realizes just how hateful he is.

If Mr. Taylor had his way, we'd return to the days Barbara remembers from her youth, when we had separate bathrooms and drinking fountains. I wouldn't be able to chat with Kim and Jasmine while walking the dog, because Kim and Jasmine wouldn't be allowed to live in this neighborhood. (In fact, the restrictive covenants for our home, which was built in 1968, include prohibitions on reselling it to a black person, a restriction that courts later voided.) Mr. Taylor would love to return to the Bad Olde Days, which he considers the Good Olde Days, when all of us decent white people didn't have to worry about uppity niggers. There are times that I wish I did believe in hell, because Mr. Taylor and people like him belong there.

And speaking of unspeakable people, I see that LZ Granderson has written a devastating reply to that so-called evolutionary psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa, whose "research" establishes that black women are physically unattractive. Many others, primarily on SciBlogs, have ripped apart Kanazawa's pseudo-science and exposed his innumeracy, but Granderson replies on a personal level. Granderson, incidentally, is worth reading. I was surprised to learn that Granderson is a sports writer, but despite that he writes very well on current events.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011
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08:45 - Kobo announced its new Kobo eReader Touch Edition yesterday, obviously intending to steal the thunder of B&N's Nook announcement today. I suspect B&N executives and marketing droids didn't get much sleep last night, figuring out how to respond. I suspect the new Nook may be introduced at a lower price today than B&N assumed it would be until yesterday, unless B&N had a lot of promotional materials printed with the original price on them. Even if they did, B&N may have no choice but to change the retail price of their new Nook. The $129 touch-screen Kobo is a pretty impressive competitor.

Meanwhile, everyone is waiting for the 900-pound (409.1 kilo) gorilla to announce its new Kindle(s). Also, rumor has it that Amazon will announce epub support for the new Kindle(s) and presumably for the Kindle 3 as well. I'm not sure why they'd do that--it gives away their lock-in--unless Amazon is thinking ahead. The elephant in the room is format incompatibility. I know many mixed marriages: he has a Kindle and she a Nook, or vice versa. They'd both like to be able to read the other's books, and epub support on Kindle would enable that, albeit unidirectionally. Which may be the point: why buy anything but a Kindle, which allows you to read any format? You can be sure that Amazon won't open its .azw format to other ereaders, so Amazon would become the only source for universal ereaders.

In that sense, epub support on Kindle may be a very bad thing for readers and authors. It's in both our interest to have robust competition in ereaders and ebook vendors. The last thing either of us wants is Amazon gaining a monopoly position in either category, let alone both. If that happens, readers will pay more for ereaders and the books to read on them, and authors will find that Amazon decreases royalties significantly. As the only game in town, it'll have the clout to do both.

09:28 - I keep seeing articles like this one, about companies, universities, and other institutions making amends for their slave-owning pasts. None of this makes any sense to me. There is no one alive today who does not have both slave owners and slaves among his direct ancestors. Slavery was commonplace for most of human history. Now, it's certainly true that people of African heritage are more likely to have slaves as recent ancestors, but the converse is also true. They're also more likely to have slave owners and slave traders as recent ancestors. American slavers didn't sail to Africa and catch their own slaves. They bought them from African slave traders, who in turn bought them from African chieftains who enslaved and sold their own people.

The sins of the father are not visited upon the son. I'm sure that my many-times great Viking grandfathers held and traded slaves, not to mention raping and pillaging their way across most of Europe, but I'm no more responsible for their actions than they are for mine. Nor are the current university officials at Brown and elsewhere responsible for what someone's several-times-great grandfather did 150 years ago or more. Calls for accountability are unsupportable. The people who did these things are long in their graves.

13:31 - I just looked at the specs page for the new B&N Nook, and I have to say that I'm underwhelmed. It's Wi-Fi only, which is fine, but the only competitive advantage I can see relative to the Kindle 3 is that the new Nook has a touch screen. I'm not even sure I'd want one of those. The Kindle buttons work fine, and keep the screen from getting smudged. And the new Nook is priced identically to the Kindle 3 Wi-Fi at $139.

My first impression of the new Nook is that it's too little, too late, and too costly. At $99--better yet, $89--it would have sold a ton and forced Amazon's hand. At $139, it goes head-on against the $139 Kindle 3 Wi-Fi, assuming that Amazon doesn't cut the price of that ereader. We'll have to see what Amazon comes up with when it announces its new Kindle(s). My guess is that it'll be a color Kindle with better specs than the color Nook, and at the same price. But Amazon may do a refresh on the mono Kindle as well, perhaps adding touch. And if Amazon does add epub support for the new Kindle(s) and the Kindle 3, Nook is in trouble. Who'd want an epub-only Nook when they could get a Kindle that reads every important format?

Barbara doesn't have her own ereader yet. When she is ready to buy one, I suspect it'll be a no-brainer to go with a Kindle. The new Kobo looks like a nice unit, but it's only $10 cheaper than the Kindle 3 and for all practical purposes limits one to the Kobo bookstore. (Yes, you can use epubs from B&N or elsewhere on the Kobo, but doing so requires a conversion step with Adobe software to register the book to the Kobo. I suspect few people will want that hassle.) So, we have a problematic new Kobo and an underwhelming new Nook, neither of which is likely to make major inroads against Amazon and their Kindles. And that's a shame, because it's important that Amazon and Kindle have real competition.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011
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08:11 - We were under a tornado watch until 10:00 p.m. last night, with tornado warnings in the county just west of us. Fortunately, the evening passed with only rain and thunder, and the storms did minimal damage. We do have tornadoes relatively often around here, but they're generally small F0 or F1 ones, unlike the F3, F4, and F5 monsters that have devastated the plains states recently.

We did have two up-close-and-personal encounters with tornadoes back in 1989. In the first case, we were at a friend's house one Saturday night in late May. She's British, and had no experience of tornadoes. As we listened to the storm gathering strength, we convinced her that it was time to head for the basement. As the storm howled through, we kept hearing loud crashes. When it was all over and we went outside to see the damage, we realized that the loud crashes had been caused by large trees being ripped out of the ground and falling on the houses around us.

A couple weeks later, on 5 June, we were at home, with thunderstorms booming as we watched the TV weather. The wind was howling, and the TV announced that a tornado was on the ground on Witherow Road. We live on Witherow Road, which is only three blocks long. We headed for the basement, and listened to the wind howling and more loud crashes. After it had passed, we found that it had ripped out one of the columns that supports the pediment over our front porch and dropped the column through the front window. It had also ripped off part of our roof. Fortunately, there were no injuries and only minor property damage. Several men from the neighborhood helped me get a tarp secured on the roof to keep out the rain.


Thursday, 26 May 2011
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08:39 - The Catholic Church has released its "report" on child rape by its priests. As expected, it's a complete whitewash.

The report goes to great lengths to argue that the incidence of "pedophile priests" is much smaller than usually assumed. I have never liked the term "pedophile" in this context, because few people understand its actual meaning. I prefer "child rapist", which is both accurate and descriptive. Most people use the word "pedophile" to refer to someone whose primary sexual interest is in people who are below the age of consent, which of course varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. By this definition, a man who is attracted to a 15-year-old girl may be considered a pedophile, which is absurd.

In fact, a pedophile is someone who is sexually attracted to prepubescent children, usually of either sex. There is no such thing, incidentally, as a "heterosexual pedophile" or a "homosexual pedophile". Heterosexuals are normal people who are attracted to late adolescents and adults of the opposite sex*. Homosexuals are normal people who are attracted to late adolescents and adults of their own sex. Pedophiles are perverts who are attracted to prepubescent children, period. To refer to a pedophile with the qualifier of either heterosexual or homosexual is an insult to heterosexuals and homosexuals, respectively.

In that respect, this report is technically correct in categorizing as pedophiles only priests who had sex with prepubescent children. Well, not incorrect anyway. Both the DSM and this report use arbitrary ages rather than puberty to determine whether or not pedophilia applies. The DSM arbitrarily sets the cut-off at age 13, by which age many children have entered puberty. The Catholic report arbitrarily sets the cut-off age at 10, by which age relatively few children have entered puberty. Priests whose primary sexual interest is in early adolescents, say ages 11 to 13, are technically hebephiles rather than pedophiles, but most people would consider that splitting hairs. But by using the lower cut-off age, this report is able to claim a dramatically reduced incidence of pedophilia among priests, only 22% versus about 73% using the DSM definition. Apparently, most priests prefer to rape young adolescents, those in the age 11 to 13 bracket. That's okay, then, or at least so the authors of this report apparently believe.

* Yes, it's common for adults, men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, to be sexually attracted to mid- to late adolescents. If you find some 14- to 19-year-old teenagers sexually attractive, you are technically an ephebophile. Of course, there is really no such disorder. Another description for an ephebophile is "perfectly normal". A couple million years of human evolution have seen to that.


Friday, 27 May 2011
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11:17 - As if traditional publishers needed more bad news, it looks as if the Big Six is about to become the Big Seven. Amazon has dived in feet-first with several new imprints, including Thomas & Mercer for mysteries and thrillers. They've already signed some pretty impressive names, including NYT bestseller Barry Eisler, Joe Konrath, and Blake Crouch. I know where all of those guys stand on traditional publishing contracts and royalty rates, so it seems likely that Amazon is using a much more author-friendly contract and paying much higher royalty rates.

The Big Six have no choice but to respond in kind, and none of them can afford to do so, not by a country mile. If things proceed as I believe they will, in a year or two, Amazon will be the Big One. If a couple of the former Big Six survive that long, which is unlikely, they'll be the Two Dwarfs. Of course, there are many factors at play here. Borders is bankrupt, and may well be in liquidation before the end of this year. B&N is on the ropes financially, and probably won't be crazy about carrying Amazon imprints anyway. The surviving indie bookstores almost without exception hate and despise Amazon, and many will refuse to carry books published by Amazon. Still, as Amazon continues building its author stable, print booksellers won't really have a choice.

I have no problem with brick-and-mortar bookstores and traditional publishers going belly-up. They're simply inefficient in economic terms, and the free market will be the death of them sooner rather than later. But I do have a problem with Amazon establishing a de facto monopoly on ebooks. That's good for neither readers nor authors. That's why I'm cheering for B&N to spin off B&N.com and let their physical bookstores die a natural death. The Nook and ebooks are the only important part of B&N, and they need to be saved to make sure Amazon has some heavy-weight competition.

Actually, now that I think about it, I may end up buying one of the new Nooks for Barbara instead of a Kindle. And I can buy ebooks from the B&N store rather than Amazon. It's easy enough to strip the DRM and convert from Nook to Kindle format, and even that second step may not be needed if Amazon adds epub support to the Kindle 3 and new Kindle(s).

13:28 - Someone pointed out that I keep referring to the Big Six, but I haven't defined the term and they can't find it in Wikipedia. The Big Six are the six large NYC-based trade (as opposed to academic, educational, science, etc.) publishers, and include, alphabetically, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster. Each of those has several imprints, usually one or more for each genre (mystery, SF, romance, etc.) and sometimes for sub-genres. For example, Macmillan's imprints include St. Martin’s Press (commercial fiction) and Tor (SF/fantasy).


Saturday, 28 May 2011
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09:23 - I suggested to Barbara yesterday that we consider replacing the standard toilet in the hall bathroom with a squatter, and teach Colin to use it. His record the last few days has been almost perfect: he urinated only once or twice outdoors each day, and did the other 20 times a day indoors. And it's not that I'm ignoring signals from him. I take him out at least 25 to 30 times from the time Barbara leaves in the morning until she gets home in the afternoon. Colin is perfectly capable of holding it overnight, so the obvious conclusion is that he's intentionally holding it while he's outside so that he can come back in and urinate indoors, where he apparently believes he's supposed to. Being a smart Border Collie pup, he's apparently decided that since Barbara and I use the indoor bathrooms, so should he.

Duncan spoiled us. He pretty much house-trained himself in the first couple of days. He had a few accidents over the next few weeks, but he was pretty well house-trained in a week or less. Malcolm was the opposite. It took several weeks to get him even nominally house-trained, and he still had accidents, albeit infrequently, until he was almost two years old. I was hoping that Colin would be like Duncan, but I fear he's more like Malcolm. Fortunately, we have hardwood and ceramic tile floors. We sure are using a lot of old towels, though, and we're mopping up accidents literally 20 times a day. We keep a bucket and the mop in the hall bathroom, and we've gone through more Lysol concentrate in the last few weeks than in literally the preceding decade.

Despite this, Colin is turning into a good dog. He's starting to look a bit more like a dog than a puppy, and he's quite gentle when he's not fanging one of us. He's also taught himself to be a first-rate watch puppy. For the first week or so, he never barked. Now he keeps an eye on things, and barks when he spots something worth barking at. His judgment is surprisingly good. He seldom barks at people walking their dogs down the street, and he's even learned to ignore the mailman and UPS guy, other than to wag his tail and whine. He barks when he spots someone he doesn't recognize, particularly if they come into our yard.

The other day, Barbara went out to dinner with her friend Marcie, who picked her up and dropped her off after dinner. When Barbara got home, she came in the front door. Colin was up on the sofa with me, and started barking. When Barbara came out of the foyer into the den, he started growling at her until he recognized her. I think Colin is ready for some advanced training. The first thing I want to teach him is that Mormon missionaries and Jehovah's Witnesses are edible, as is anyone else who comes to our door carrying a bible.


Sunday, 29 May 2011
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10:28 - Our neighbor's daughter and granddaughter have been down from Pennsylvania visiting for the weekend. I'd met the daughter, Terri, several times over the years, but I don't remember meeting the granddaughter, Maura, before. The four of them were out in the front yard Friday, cleaning up branches from the windstorm, when Colin and I went out. Terri had their 18-month-old pup, Bella, out with them, so of course Colin had to pull over to say hello. All of them made a big fuss over Colin, including Bella, who tried to mount Colin.

Barbara asked me later how old Maura was, and the best I could tell her was that Maura is "woman-shaped". I really had no clue. She could have been 14 or 20. So when Barbara and I were out with Colin yesterday and saw Naomi, we asked her how old her granddaughter is. Turns out, Maura is 19, although Naomi says she looks younger, and has just finished her first year at Penn. Barbara had Colin out this morning and found out that Maura is majoring in forensics.

I hope she's actually majoring in a hard science and taking some forensics classes along the way. One of the problems that forensics organizations have found in hiring people out of college with forensics degrees is that they have an insufficient grounding in science. They've typically taken a range of science courses, but all or nearly all at the first- and second-year level. That gives them a broad but very shallow understanding of the sciences, which has contributed to problems with their subsequent work.

It's better for a student who wants to go into forensics to focus on one science, be it chemistry or biology or physics or geology or whatever. Forensics organizations do hire a lot of BS graduates, but they generally prefer to hire someone with a BS in a specific science rather than a BS in general forensics. If she's aiming for a job as a forensic scientist (as opposed to technician) Maura would be better off and more employable if she majors in, say, biology, and takes a lot of forensics electives.

Ideally, once she has the BS, she should go on to get a masters in a sub-discipline. As, say, an MS forensic botanist or an MS analytical chemist, she'd probably find it considerably easier to get a job as a forensic scientist. Interestingly, Ph.D. forensic scientists are relatively rare. A large crime lab may have some Ph.D.s on staff, but often most of the scientists, including department heads and even laboratory heads, have masters rather than doctorates. Apparently, someone with an MS is just as credible testifying in court as someone with a Ph.D.

Gary thinks I'm a bit too pessimistic about the future of the Big Six. I don't think so.

From: Gary Mugford
  To: Robert Bruce Thompson
  Date: Fri May 27 16:28:40 2011
Re: The evolution/de-evolution of the Big Six


While I believe the descent of the Big Six is going to occur slower than your prognostications, I'm not sure it'll be much longer. Certainly, the Big Six are going to be a shadow of themselves within four years and completely evolved into something else in twice that time.

What they WILL become is service providers, probably on flat fees, rather than as participators in profit via a royalty system. The fact is, that some, a very few, of the writers-to-be in the new Amazon world order, will be able to bring sufficient attention to themselves to be the new Joe Konrath or Amanda Hocking. Besides writing good books, these two (amongst a few others) were able to successfully promote their book(s) and themselves to the point of financial success. It goes without saying that they also had good editing and professionally produced artwork on their covers. Editing, Artwork and Promotion are areas the Big Six knows.

The best they can do is to package those services to new writers who, while capable of producing good work, can't or won't (for time reasons) take on the other tasks that take the book from the equivalent of a well-written journal to a commercially viable book. As Hocking said, basically, the work of servicing the books she's written was a major reason to accept the book deal. She wanted to write and not do that arduous 'other' job. So, this will be where the service packagers from the Big Six will come in. They will have to add the fourth arm of the service requirements, Formatting, for the various outlets. And they will keep an On-Demand presence for printed versions (limited signed series in most cases). And their Promotional folk will have to learn the art of promoting via the internet rather than in-store displays.

BUT, if they don't find a way to continue to monetize their services that do outlast the death of the traditional publisher, they will wither and die. I just can't see the folks who would otherwise go down with the ship allowing that to happen to themselves. Editors are really quite valuable. Any actually-published author will tell you that. And the better mousetrap inventor better not keep it to one's self if he or she ever expects to make a profit. They won't beat a path to the door, afterall. The pressman, the vice-presidential tier dining at the better clubs and drinking tea with their pinkie finger stuck out, the salesman who hasn't kept up with the new technology? No, THEY won't survive any better than the buggy-whip manufacturers did a century ago.

A WHOLE lot of prime NY real estate is about to come available as the Big Six finds their way to virtual presences in many, many places, rather than operate wholesale out of the Big Apple.

*Gary M. Mugford*
Brampton, Ontario Canada
Mug Shots Blog: http://mugfordmugshots.blogspot.com
(Updated Semi-Regularly)

It's extremely unlikely that the Big Six will morph into service providers.

In the first place, their cost structures are much too high. I remember reading that one of them is paying rent of more than $10,000,000 per month for its New York offices. All of those rentals are on long-term contracts. The only way out of them is bankruptcy. The other five are in similar straits. And rent is actually just a fraction of their overhead. They also have long-term contracts with printing/binding companies with huge guaranteed minimums. Again, bankrupty is the only way out. Then there are the huge salaries paid to executives, few of whom have much to do with the actual nuts and bolts of getting books into print and distributed.

In the second place, much of the actual work is contracted out to freelancers. In the olden days, the Big Six actually did all or nearly all of the editing, proofing, layout, cover design, and so on in-house. Nowadays, they contract out most or all of that. The same with marketing, to the extent they actually do any marketing to speak of. And all of that work is charged at a large multiple of what it actually costs to do.

For example, a NY house might expense a run-of-the-mill cover design at $5,000 to $15,000, but that includes overhead. The actual out-of-pocket cost to them, what they actually pay the cover designer, might typically be $125 to $500. And those freelance cover designers the Big Six uses are more than happy to contract with individuals. If I write a novel, the cover will cost me $125 to $500. Why would I contract with a "service provider" that'll bill that out to me at $5,000 to $15,000? The same is true for all the nuts-and-bolts functions needed to get a book finished: copy and line editing, proof reading, interior design, and so on. If I contract out for all of these services individually, they might in total cost me $1,000 to $1,500 per title. Why would I pay a New York publisher $15,000 to $25,000 or more for those same services? There are already several companies that offer soup-to-nuts services for authors, and they do it for a small fraction of the cost that the Big Six would have to charge just to stay in business.

The same is true for authors who want their books in physical print. Various companies, including CreateSpace and Lightning Source, provide turnkey services for print books. They do everything, including order fulfillment, and they do it at little or no upfront cost to the author, and without any rights grab. There are simply no author-services market niches in which the Big Six can compete.

As to Hocking, she hasn't given up self-pubishing. She's merely signed a contract for four books. I believe she did it to get her books into chain and indie bookstores, with the intention of exposing more people to her work. She took a big financial hit--only a $2 million advance for four books that might have earned her several times that much if she'd self-pubbed them--but I think she's treating that as a marketing/advertising cost. There's no way that Amanda has changed sides permanently. She's taking advantage of traditional publishing and bookstores while they're still there to be taken advantage of. I'm sure her ultimate goal is to continue self-pubbing.

If her real concern was simply to free up her time to write more, she could have accomplished that simply by hiring a personal assistant. A competent one might cost her, say, $100,000 per year. That's maybe a few day's worth of her royalties currently, and considerably less than that as her sales continue to grow. That assistant can hire attorneys, accountants, and whoever else Amanda needs to take care of the administrative details. If I were Amanda, I'd also separately hire a good accountant to audit things regularly and generally keep an eye on the assistant.

14:56 - Most dogs don't like to have their claws trimmed, and it turns out that Colin is no exception. His claws, like his baby fangs, are needle sharp, and he's clawed Barbara and me many times, without intending to hurt us. Barbara has special claw clippers, but the first time we trimmed Colin's claws he struggled constantly.

So, this time, I had a cunning plan. I figured I'd fire up the Dremel Moto-Tool and use a grinding wheel to take the points off his claws. At 30,000 to 35,000 rpm, just touching the tips of the claws with the spinning wheel would have taken the points off them instantly. So, we tried it. Colin liked the Dremel Moto-Tool even less than he liked the claw clippers. Oh, well. It might have worked.

I just added the lowest-rated video I've ever added to our Netflix queue. Ordinarily, I look for videos rated near or above four stars. This one was rated 2.2 stars by Netflix users and 5.2/10 on IMDB (which is truly terrible). However, in reading various reviews, I saw that there was little middle ground. Some viewers rated the film four or five stars. They talked about the quality of the script, the acting, and so on. Most viewers rated the film one star, and talked about how gruesome the film was or how they had to stop watching it after the first few minutes. Apparently, the director didn't shy away from showing lots of blood and guts, graphic rapes, and so on, presumably in an attempt to show just how evil the Nazis really were. This may in fact be a bad film, or it may be an excellent film that's simply too hard for most people to watch.

Barbara has no interest in seeing this one, so I'll try it while she's at dinner with a friend or something. It's available on disc now and streaming as of 11 June.


Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All Rights Reserved.