Monthly Archives: October 2009

To CNN

I just sent this email comment to CNN.com and wanted to share it with you:

Those trying hard to become a celebrity (instead of having genuine talent and becoming a celebrity because of it) have no place on your site. Jon and Kate and Balloon Boy and Speidi and the Kardashians are not newsworthy. All they want is fame and you are giving it to them. Please respect the second letter of your name. You are the Cable News Network. Please cover real news … important news. You are turning into People Magazine. And it’s not a good thing.

Agree? Disagree? Add a comment!

Why Kindle?

Books, newspapers, magazines, cassette tapes, CDs, video tapes, and DVDs were great in their day. But their day is rapidly ending. Why?

In the (good) old days, a creative person would work hard to create something, then would have to depend on a distributor (book publisher, record label, movie studio) to have their content distributed to readers/listeners/watchers/customers. How many wonderful somethings never saw the light of day because of a publisher didn’t have the vision to recognize something good. That model is slowly, but surely, dying.

Computers and the Internet are allowing people who create content — writers, musicians, video/movie producers — to distribute it without the hassles of physical form or inventory. Where publishers used to have the power, now the “creators” have the power.

Remember LPs? Eight-track tapes? Cassette tapes? Not that long ago, they were replaced by CDs. Now CDs are being replaced by iPods and the like. Why inventory thousands of CDs and spend time trying to find one to play when you can go to your smaller-than-a-pack-of-cigarette iPod and find it in a few seconds? Sure there will still be people who prefer an LP to a digitized song — just like there will still be people who prefer to read a book on paper rather than on an e-reader — but they will be a very small audience, who will pay a premium for a physical copy.

kindle

There are a number of good e-readers on the market. The Sony Readers and Kindles are just the top two right now. The prices are dropping. The Sony is down to around $186 and the Kindle just dropped to $259. They will drop further, especially if the upcoming Apple iTablet turns out, as rumored, to be a super-sized iPhone that pushes digital books as a major function, with Barnes & Noble as their publishing partner.

My Kindle version of the new Dan Brown book cost $9.99. The hard copy costs $16.17 hardcover on Amazon. Sure, you might be able to sell your hard copy for $6.18 after you read it — so you can match the digital price — but selling a used book can take time. And how much is your time worth?

Books were cool. Kindles are cooler. Hold one in your hand and you’ll understand. Type too small? Pressing one button makes it bigger. Press it again for even bigger. Have tired eyes? The Kindle will read you most books in a pleasant (computer) voice. Love the New York Times? For $13.99 a month, you’ll get it delivered to your Kindle every morning; and you don’t have to tip the paper boy every Christmas. Can’t live without The New Yorker? The Kindle version is $2.99 a month. Including cartoons.

Like it or not, the Kindle is the future of reading … and publishing. And for writers, it’s a good thing.

“Franky Fly’s Away From Home” Now Available for the Kindle

For a while now, I’ve published excerpts of my children’s book Franky Fly’s Away From Home on this site.

Now the whole darn thing is available for the Kindle. Just navigate over to www.amazon.com and search for Tom Greensmith or Franky Fly. It’s only 99 cents, which averages out to only a tenth of a cent per word. What a deal!

franky-fly-cover-revised

If you enjoy it — as I’m sure you will — please write a brief review! If you don’t have a Kindle but know someone who does, why not suggest they buy it.

Franky thanks you. I thank you.

Tom’s Sourdough English Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup

“Fed” sourdough starter

4 cups

Unbleached all-purpose flour (or bread flour)

¼ cup

Gluten

1 ¾ cups

Milk, lukewarm

1 ¼ tsp

Salt

2 Tbls

Sugar

¾ tsp

Sour Salt (Citric Acid)

3 Tbls

Butter

1

Large egg, lightly beaten

2 tsp

Yeast

Cornmeal

Directions:

Put yeast in yeast dispenser of bread machine.

Combine all other ingredients in bread machine container.

Press “Menu” until selection is Pizza 45-minute cycle.

After cycle is complete, transfer the dough to a cornmeal-sprinkled surface and roll it out until it’s about ½ inch thick; cut out circles with a 3-inch cutter (or upside-down glass); re-roll and cut out the leftover dough; you should have about 16 muffins

Place the circles on a lightly-greased cookie pan; cover with damp cloth and let rest for 20 minutes

Preheat a large frying pan or griddle to medium (adjust up or down depending on your stove); sprinkle pan with cornmeal – do not grease

Cook for 7 ½minutes, then carefully flip circles over and cook for an additional 7 ½ minutes

Adjust heat and timing up or down as necessary to yield nicely-browned muffins (they rise as they cook)

Cool on rack

If muffins are too sour, reduce Sour Salt to ½ teaspoon

If you prefer regular English Muffins, eliminate the sourdough starter and Sour Salt