Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sorry About That Chief!

Don Adams has passed away.

The closest I could say I've been to the man was on a day my mom came home from Hollywood Park Race Track

- We take this moment to divert your attention to this Advert - Check out Hollywood Park Memorabilia here! -

Sorry for the interruption. I have to make a buck here and there for buying shoes and milk for the baby...

OK! Mom came home from Hollywood Park. She tells me that Don Adams was at a table near her. In the 'super star section' reserved for heavy bettors. She was invited to this section by a friend that made bets like Don Adams was doing on this particular day. Both her friend and Don Adams were tearing up tickets with disgusted looks.

Meanwhile Mom was just betting the way anyone should. - Sample of WINNING BETTOR'S THINKING - Hmmm. Forge Up in the 5th race - Hmmm. When I was in the fourth (which sounds sort of like Forge) or fifth grade (fifth race) I remember learning that Excelsior meant "Ever upward" that should place the horse in first because up is on top - And Aimed 4 First Hmmmm... Aimed... Amy... I remember Amy in fourth grade got second place in the spelling bee
- That must be place. -

Here boy!

Back in the 60's in L.A. from whence this story comes The term 'boy' had no evil nor racial connotations to it. The boy answering was not upset with the term. We don't even know his ethnicity. He was only the quickest runner waiting nearby in hopes of a tip. Upon his receipt of the $6.00 and the bidding slip I'm certain his hopes faded but he fulfilled his duties. Others in the area in which mom sat placed bids with hundred dollar bills. Both she and they would receive their wagering ticket prior to the gate opening. All wager tickets would have the race number and the horse's number stamped on it. All would have different values attached. That is prior to the race.


Only until after the third horse crossed the wire and the judges affirmed that not too much hanky panky went on would it be decided which slips of paper increased in value. The others would become worthless.

My mom came home with more money than she had left with. She had gathered from the torn tickets she had seen on the ground around the tables about her that her method of betting had worked this time. She doubted it's efficacy for the next. Chance can take directions as can a bird in flight. That is the main point I had learned from her tale.

Her mention that Don Adams had been there is the closest I have ever personally come to the man. I will say that impersonally, through his legacy of film, he has left us all closer than a table away.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Used Books are a 2 Billion Dollar Industry

Buddy of mine has an Internet Auction Site Blog. Lot of news items for those who like to purchase stuff online. In fact it motivated him to start the site you can see advertised on my right hand column. Thanks to the Bidreaper for the heads up on this story from 28Sept2005 WWW.Boston.Com

Used Books are a 2 Billion Dollar Industry - Highlights from the article are:

- Quote (italics are mine) -

...a landmark study released Wednesday confirms what publishers, authors and booksellers have believed -- and feared -- since the rise of the Internet: Used books have become a modern powerhouse, driven by high prices for new works and by the convenience of finding any title, new or old, without leaving your home.

According to the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), used book sales topped $2.2 billion in 2004, an 11 percent increase over 2003. Much of that growth can be credited to the Internet. While used sales at traditional stores rose a modest 4.6 percent, they jumped 33 percent online, to just over $600 million.

"I think consumers are increasingly starting to notice that they can get used books in good condition, in a timely manner," says Jeff Hayes, a director at InfoTrends, a market research firm that served as the principal analyst for the BISG study.

More than 111 million used books were purchased last year, representing about one out of every 12 overall book purchases. By the end of the decade, the percentage is expected to rise to one out of 11, a troubling trend when sales for new works are essentially flat; authors and publishers receive no royalties from used buys.

"Obviously, these are not statistics to warm the heart of publishers," says Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg.

The BISG, a nonprofit organization supported by publishers, booksellers and others in the industry, reports that price is the greatest appeal for choosing used books over new ones. While hardcovers often cost $25 and higher, used books purchased in 2004 averaged $8.12 -- except for text books, which averaged $42.31.
The BISG study raises other questions, such as how publishers can respond to the used market. Jane Friedman CEO of HarperCollins rejects the idea of lowering prices, but acknowledges that she has no specific solution. "It's something we've looked at for a long time," she says.

The study also does not resolve a fundamental dispute over used books: Are they hurting the market for new books, as many publishers and authors believe? Or, as retailers say, do they simply enable customers to acquire books they otherwise wouldn't have purchased?

"But there may be an upside, because a consumer might buy a used book by a certain author, and like it enough to buy the author's next book. So at this point, the impact is hard to quantify."

prying1 sez: Thanks again to Bidreaper and especially for the story!

- Raising prices to make up for lost profits will only lead to more lost profits. These outfits like the one Jane Friedman runs ought to jump on the bandwagon instead of watching the parade go by. - Is HarperCollins any relation to Tom Collins? Might think so from her quote...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Why Spotty Cell Phone Reception! sends out a newsletter with highlighted news articles. - Subscribe here for free. - This is from one email I received in my mailbox that I though I would share.

Cell Phone Woes: Here's Why They Don't Work

Wonder why cell phone reception can be so bad in the U.S.?

Don't blame technology - it's a matter of economics, several experts maintain.

"Carriers would rather spend money on ads starring Catherine Zeta-Jones than on improving infrastructure," Christopher Null, editor in chief of Mobile, told the publication Wired.

"Instead of expanding into areas where coverage is spotty, companies are increasingly taking the cheap way out by leasing equipment and tower space from other companies.

"The result is that, eventually, your service will sound pretty much the same no matter which carrier you subscribe to."

Consumer advocate Morgan Jindrich, director of, has a similar view.

He said there's no economic incentive for carriers to improve service once they have a customer locked into a long service contract.

"So consumers have to be smart and take advantage of the trial periods that companies offer," he told Wired.

"You generally have 15 days from the time you sign up to make sure your phone's reception is OK in the areas you need it."

prying1 sez: Perhaps complaining to the phone companies about the wasted money going to airhead stars might help. Seems that a simple ad blitz showing towers going up would be cheaper and more effective.