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Current Topic: Recreation

U.S. Chess Federation Moves to Tennessee
Topic: Recreation 11:45 am EDT, Jul 16, 2003

The U.S. Chess Federation picked the Cumberland Plateau city over 29 others, including Atlanta, Dallas, Indianapolis, Lexington, Ky; Louisville, Ky.; Newark, N.J; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis, Salt Lake City; and San Francisco.

We're all culture-fied here in Tennessee!

U.S. Chess Federation Moves to Tennessee

Why does Manga succeed where US comics fail?
Topic: Recreation 11:35 am EST, Feb  7, 2003

I hate posting /. stuff to here, because I don't want memestreams to become just another slash, but this was a link from there that I found interesting. One funny thing...

Japanese Manga consumers purchase thick, black and white, cheap digests to read on a long train commute and dispose of them when they're done. American comic consumers purchase expensive, thin, full-color pamphlets to read on the toilet and then save them in boxes forever.

Ok, so who's been spying on me?

Anyway, I think the most important thing to note here is that the US comics industry was in the position that the current Japanese Manga industry is in today - but for the US it was 50 years ago. In 1954, Dr. Fredric Wertham published a book and went before Congress to talk about the ill effects of comics on America's youth. At that point, single issues of some comics exceeded the million copies per month mark. That's more than the New York Times has ever had its circulation. Then Congress threatened the industry - either regulate yourself, or we'll regulate you. Half the publishers closed their doors on the comic book industry. Even though this happened, though, the 50s changed America's culture to one of sitting on our asses in front of the tv, so while one could say the decrease would have happened, anyway - just as the Japanese are facing a decline due to video games - it did have a heyday of its own.

The article/interview also makes a good point in that Manga is a disposable media while here in the states comics are mainly a collectible media. Many of us consumers have been discussing the fact that comics are falling further and further into the niche of collectors only and that there is rarely a mainstream product that comes along to attract new consumers. I don't think the answer is in creating disposable media, but in exposing others to the great stories available in comics. The article agrees and mentions the need to lower prices and achieving an economy of scale, but doesn't point out the geographic advantage that Japan has - it's much smaller. Distribution adds an incredible amount to the price of comics here in the US, especially since the industry has switched to common carriers (UPS, FedEx). Until a few years ago, Diamond Distributors ran trucks across the US, but it's just so friggin' huge that it cost too much - even more than having 100 lbs. of comic books shipped via UPS to you each week.

Anyway, I could go on about this forever. Many of you who know me IRL can attest to my total comic book geekiness.

Post Script: OK, I'm going to post this information as a followup since at dinner I got some looks of "your numbers are beer induced hypotheticals." In reality, my numbers really are way off... they're low.

From The Comic Book In America, by Mike Benton, published by Taylor Press, First Printing.

p. 41: By 1946, comic-book reading was an established habit - some might say an addicti... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

Why does Manga succeed where US comics fail?

Future Sound of London - The Isness
Topic: Recreation 8:23 am EST, Jan 29, 2003

After a six year hiatus, Cobain and Dougans have emerged with a new sound and spiritual awareness. The Isness is a modern-day exploration in psych-rock, complete with sitars and mellotrons. Elements of the old FSOL sound are sporadic and noticeable, however this album is quite a diversion from their previous endeavors.

If you don't have a subscription to emusic, you can get a 14 day/50 download trial for free. There are several reasons why you might like emusic, though:

1. They distribute unaltered MP3 format files, legally, with royalties paid to the artists who supply them.
2. They support open source by actually having download clients available for linux/*nix as well as Windows, Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.
3. They don't carry current Billboard Chart hits. I think that resonates with most memestreams users. They do, however, have a good 80's one-hit-wonder library, and I'm all about that.


Future Sound of London - The Isness

Pictures from Hong Kong and Macau
Topic: Recreation 5:48 pm EST, Dec 11, 2002

For those interested, I have my pictures online from my trip to Hong Kong in early December of 2002. My favorite is from the tour of Macau while in the Kun Iam Temple, a 700 year old Buddhist temple. Look for all of the incense smoke and you've found it.

Pictures from Hong Kong and Macau

Farscape to End
Topic: Recreation 11:05 am EDT, Sep  9, 2002

Well, unfortunately it looks like Sci-Fi is going to have to axe Farscape, which I consider to be the best science fiction show on television. It's simply costing too much money to make each episode and there isn't enough audience to sustain it with ad revenue. Of course, it would help if they'd re-run the episodes instead of only showing them once... At least all of the shows will end up on DVD.

Farscape to End

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