Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at www.twitter.com/brianhickey Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/people/brianhickey/. Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court: divorcecourting.blogspot.com.

04 July 2009

Weekend Reading Roundup (10 Days A.MJ.D. Edition)

Thing to get off my chest: Hated that Andy Roddick lost to the Swiss Miss. (Second best match in history to the one that came 364 days earlier.) Loathed the fact that the line-call machines have been exposed as having a questionable eye.
Just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success" this weekend. Pretty good read. Succeeds in explaning how some people are able to thrive in their fields of choice and non-choice. Took me about four nights. Not really a beach read, more of a rainy-day passer.
Side note: U Penn's Erling Boe gets a shout-out for discovering that, if I have this right, a culture's ability to thrive mathematically can be discerned by merely delving into how deeply its youth jumps into filling out a questionairre prior to educational testing. Which, oddly, isn't something that scientific journals haven't been banging down his door to publish.
I mention all of this because, well, I don't know why. But the next thing I read by Gladwell this weekend was even more impressive: His dismantling of the theory that Wired editor Chris Anderson based his book, "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" (Hyperion; $26.99) upon.
His advice is pithy, his tone uncompromising, and his subject matter perfectly timed for a moment when old-line content providers are desperate for answers. That said, it is not entirely clear what distinction is being marked between "paying people to get other people to write" and paying people to write. If you can afford to pay someone to get other people to write, why can’t you pay people to write?
It would be nice to know, as well, just how a business goes about reorganizing itself around getting people to work for "non-monetary rewards." Does he mean that the New York Times should be staffed by volunteers, like Meals on Wheels?

Well, that can't help book sales.
Neither can the admission that I actually, for once, agree with John Yoo on a single issue, though not with every element that he used to explain his stance. Nor would I write as efficiently if, during my Dry Era, the bars started a'closin like they are on Brit Island.(Good thing I don't have a book to sell, yet. So when I do, please forget that I agreed with John Yoo about anything.)

From the Et Cetera Files:
-- Vinnie Fumo, thief, dirtbag and the queen of Philadelphia corruption who will be thrown out of the mansion he used our money to steal out from under a bunch of poor nuns, tries to get a new trial. Well, that's one way to attempt to avoid an inevitable death behind bars. Part of me says, "Federal government, grant him his wish so that, this time, the dizzy spell to set up a medicial dispensation won't be a performance." The other part says, "Screw that. Vinnie Fumo is no better than a piss-stained carpet, two-month-old upper decker, or All-Star of the prison-rape welcome wagon." The latter wins the debate.
-- Lady Liberty's crown reopens to all comers.
-- Omar from Bahlmer spreads his acting wings, even after taking a bullet from a preteen to tha dome.
Q. How did you get the scar on your face?
A. In a barroom brawl on my 25th birthday. Imagine that. I was in Queens. Wrong place, wrong time. One too many drinks. And something was said that normally I would let go, but because I had the liquor courage in me, and I decided to entertain this idea that I could be a tough guy.

-- RIP, Shannon Newell, 19, of Westmont. If you had an hour, I could explain just how many young folks my hometown has lost to car accidents.
-- Wayne Strege calls MADD out for hypocrisy; guy who almost died at the hands of a (probably) drunk driver (me) agrees with him. (Second to last letter that comes on the heels of another mad MADD critic.)
-- A nice profile of Mike Monichetti by Amy Rosenberg in the Inky. Monichetti's shop, I used to stop by and grab a bunch of the foods of the sea when I had visitors down in T.I. Those weren't exactly the cooking days.
-- Um, yo Men's Health, exactly how did your "research" lead you to rank Philly as the 85th out of 100 America's Top Sports Town? Um, like, seriously, did your motto change to "We just don't care" when you ranked Anchorage in the Top 10? In their defense, at least they shouted out Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Punk Rock Flea Market. But still.
-- And, finally, O.C. native Gay Talese explains his aversion to writing about nautissues before he writes about nautissues.

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