Positively Peevish

Lest anyone assume I woke-up this morning  wearing my Grouchy Pants or have overindulged on a breakfast of Cranky Flakes, allow me to clarify that I am actually quite jolly and chipper as is most often the case in the AM hours–before the real world comes along to slap me in the face and wring-the-merry from my smiley face.

Nevertheless, there are those things that gnaw and grate.  Drive-by moments that come along to poke and  irritate, despite all good intentions. That rub against the conscience–sometimes in the background, other times in the forefront–but always there somewhere, ready to jump and churn at the first not so gentle nudge.

It started this morning with a Styrofoam coffee cup on my neighbors lawn. I spied it from my kitchen window.  A startling, heinously deposited object of stark, non-bio degradable  ugliness discarded on Mr. R’s hard-earned and carefully tended square of sod heaven.  The sight of which launched me directly into Peeve #1:

Littering boobs who seem to think trash cans were designed as unnecessary ornamentation.  Honestly, but I despise litter in all of its hideous forms. No excuses or attempts at rationalization accepted. It’s disgusting.

It is in fact the aforementioned despicable crime that leads me directly into this companion peeve to #1, which is Peeve #2:

Pet owners who walk their dogs (purposely steered their pooches beyond the bounds of their own neighborhood) with the deliberate intent of “Poop and Run.”  No doubt you’ve seen them, bag-less dog walkers who pick-up speed should they spy a previously unobserved witness to their dastardly deeds.

Of course thoughts of pooping naturally lead me to considerations of eating, thus Peeve #3:

Foods with healthy sounding names that are anything but healthy.  For example Nutri-Grain, or the uber appealing Nature Valley.  A wise choice for those in pursuit of  good health?  ACK!!!!  NO! NO! Lies, all lies!  Both contain Fructose (HIGH Fructose in some cases.)  Fructose, as many of you know, is the REIGNING DEVIL of bad horrifying  ingredients. To quote Dr. Mercola of #1 Natural Health Website, “Fructose is the NUMBER ONE source of calories in the US.  An ingredient that is found in virtually all processed foods cannot be considered “moderate.” Even most infant formulas contain the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, which helps explain how six-month old babies can be obese.”  I realize that not everyone cares to be known as the Food Nazi, as my own wiseacre family has titled moi, but Jeezaloo, how about food manufactures ease-up on the blatant trickery toward consumers who really do care to improve their diets and chose wisely. If it says NATURE or NUTRI on the label it should be a rule that, yeah,  it really is. (BTW, a good rule to keep in mind when scanning the ingredient panel–beware the “toses,” they’re all stinkers. Aka, Fructose, Maltose, Sucrotose, etc.)

Needless to say, such talk of devious deception leads me straight into  Peeve#4:

People who lecture against talking Religion and Politics and then do so themselves. You know the type. They make a grandiose point of their peacekeeping rule of excluding those potentially one thousand percent quarenteed heat producing topics from all social conversation, but then proceed to poke sharpened and poisonous barbs into aforementioned gentle and purposely civil conversation.  I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us have very strong opinions of Religion & Politics, thus there are generally no allowances for slip-in, snide references, or drop and run deliveries (see Peeve #2) of said topics.

Okay,okay, simmer down, I hear ya. Enough of the cyber whining– I get it.  Still, I know you have plenty of peeves yourself.  I can hear them knocking around in your head, so  here’s your chance to pass them along (and maybe even get a soothing touch of sympathy). Large, small, or passionately festering, the floor is now open. Let er rip  😀

Me, Myself, and Amazon

Better Keep That to Yourself  They’re those taboo topics we know well enough to keep carefully removed from conversation if we harbor any intent of keeping things polite.  You know what I’m referring to, those subjects that incite the variety of passion likely to turn explosive homicidal dare anyone light the fuse. Yep, that’s right, Religion and Politics.  And, oh yeah, now there’s Amazon.

Word on the Street  Lately it seems they are popping up like dandelions on a lush lawn; magazine articles, blog posts, FB, Twitter, tales and opinions of impending collision.  Amazon against the Publishing Universe.  Depending on the source, Amazon is either under attack, or, ON the attack?

It’s War … Really?  Regardless of where any of us might hang on the chain–writer, agent, editor, publisher– we either have strong feelings regarding all this hoopla, or are currently developing them, because it’s a pretty big pot of stew that’s simmering to a boil.  And there’s every reason to believe that at some point, we’ll need to pick up our pages and take sides.

Amazon vs Traditional Publishers  Amazon has leveled the field and it’s exciting, yet worrisome — thrilling, yet spooky.  It’s Amazon vs the Big Six, and I’m not yet clear as to whether I should be buying ringside tickets or covering my eyes to protect them from the flying shrapnel of  Brick and Mortar bookstores being blown out of the future and into the distant past.

Proceed with Caution  I readily admit to being relatively cautious paranoid when it comes to change, and the native New Yorker inherent in my psyche makes me wary of anything that looks TOO GOOD.  I have been naive a clueless sucker a few times too many, so I’ve learned to proceed with baby steps, regardless of how delightfully wonderful the package might appear. Sure it might look and smell good, but that’s no guarantee it will taste good once you finally take a bite. The point being, that for many of us, Amazon has been the oasis in an otherwise harsh publishing desert–and yet, is it really?

A Courtship of Sorts  From the perspective of the part of me that is an “I LOVE AMAZON” book buyer, I’m sort’ve interested in the drama, but not as much as I love buying books at discounts with the potential of free shipping.  Yet on the flip side, is the author me with a book listed on Amazon, all of which means that I’m hanging on the edge of my seat, watching these two massive locomotives hurtling toward … well, toward something.  And regardless what happens, I’m pretty certain that someone’s getting hurt.

People have asked my opinion, and I do have one. But it’s an opinion that continues to waver  just enough to keep me from cementing it in place.  And not because my reasoning is especially deep or thoughtful.  In fact it might be something you’d hear on any Kindergarten playground, because the truth, quite frankly, is that my loyalties currently reside with the one who’s played nicest and been fairest from the time I first showed up on the playground.  Which is to say that Amazon has been kind to me. Very kind. Far more welcoming and supportive than the Indies, bookstore chains, or Big Six publishers.  And I take that personally.  It’s impossible not to. They not only invited me to the party, they even sent a limo to pick me up.

Deep, heavy-hitting,  thought provoking assessment? Nah, not really. But I can’t help myself.  When it comes to matters of the heart, I respond to care and feeding  just like any other zoo animal. Feed me, pat me on the head, offer me a cold drink on a hot day, and it’s pretty much certain I’m not about to bite in return.

Nevertheless, My Eyes are Open, and I Have an Ear Against the Door  Being appreciative doesn’t mean I don’t keep a watchful eye, read up on the latest, and stay awake to avoid potential injury. Good today, doesn’t guarantee good tomorrow. I’m optimistic, but not necessarily foolish a flaming idiot.

EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT  And for you, on the chance you missed any of these provocative posts, I pass along links, links, wonderful informative links, gathered here for your dining-on-Amazon pleasure. Read, enjoy, keep a heads up, on the chance you find yourself trapped in the crossfire.

Kristen Lamb has two recent posts well worth checking out: Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts and Bracing for Impact — The Future of Big Publishing in the New Paradigm

Sarah Lacy: Confessions of a Publisher: “We’re in Amazon’s Sights and They’re Going to Kill Us”

Julie Bosman, The New York Times: Worried Publishers put Hopes on Barnes & Noble

From Joe Konrath; Amazon Will Destroy You 

And you? Are you worried? Do you care? Much ado about nothing? Or are your thoughts leaning toward “Battle Stations Ready …?”