Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One wrinkle in a perfect seam

First, I'd like to thank all of you who took time out of your busy mornings to call me and wish me happy birthday this morning. It's all right that you forgot there are things called time zones that mean what was mid morning for you was barely past dawn for me. It's the thought that counts.

I'd also like to thank all of you who called to sing "Happy Birthday" to me. Your efforts, if not your vocal skills, are much appreciated. And to everyone who emailed, posted and otherwise offered birthday greetings, thank you all. You've made this a very special and memorable day and I appreciate all of you. Even my mother remembered my birthday; usually she only remembers my brother's birthday. Must be something about having a penis that makes it easier.

On another more somber note, it seems that the Authors Guild has decided to sue Amazon over the Kindle 2's new function: text to voice. I read about the flack over this new feature and how it affected the copyrights of audio books, but I never though it would get to this point. The Authors Guild didn't kick up nearly as much of a fuss when Amazon decided to disable the buttons for all books not published by their own in-house POD publisher and that was something they should have fought. Instead, the AG left it to POD publishers to stand their ground. It's nice to know that when it doesn't count the AG is willing to go to the mat to sue over a function that is no different than computers with functions that change text to audio for vision and other handicapped people so they can hear the text they cannot read. By suing Amazon over the Kindle 2 they are, if they win the suit, setting a precedent that will affect millions of handicapped people and people who read books aloud to their children, families and other people. What's next, suing Starbucks because you're so clumsy you dropped your hot latte in your lap while you were driving?

What amazes me the most is that this is obviously more about money and less about copyright infringement. Did they think intelligent people wouldn't notice or that the dollar signs would affect people's ability to see clearly? Probably. After all, in a world of entitlements and earmarks, it is, after all, all about the money.

It is a beautiful world and today many of my friends and family (and quite a few strangers) reminded me of how beautiful a world it is, so it's a bit difficult to be brought back to the hard earth with such a bone crunching stop, but into every life a little fly is bound to end up in the ointment if you leave the lid off long enough -- or some mouse will decided that your stash of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate is just what they need to round out their evening meal after stealing the bait out of the trap. No one said life would be easy -- or even make sense most of the time -- but it's a terminal disease that sometimes offers glimpses of breathtaking beauty and awe inspiring wonder that makes the journey mostly worthwhile if you ignore the idiots blocking the view.

That is all. Disperse.

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