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Monday, 06 February 2017


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Mike, you said that you will send the PDF of the new edition of your book to your Patreon supporters, but what about people like me who have been supporting you through Paypal? I've been making a regular monthly payment for quite a number of years. I didn't switch to Patreon because it didn't seem necessary.

[Oh, definitely. And anyone else who has mailed contributions of donations. --Mike]

Don't forget, though, that the worst drivers are 16–21 year olds, and the second-worst drivers are people in the last five years of their lives.

Given that some of those 16-21 year olds will die in car accidents, there is some overlap between the two categories.

The moment I remember most during the game is third quarter, Johnny on my lap, the McCullough Tiki Lounge Basement. After the half, you could realistically see them coming out, scoring first, and quickly getting back in the game. But that didn't happen - the third continued the same as the first two.They were down by 25 but just finally scored a touchdown, then missed the extra point.
I'm sitting with Greg McCullough and our kids and we are trying to keep the hope alive for the kids, and ourselves. We are stretching hard to verbalize the fantastical events that would need to take place for them to win this game. OK guys, they're down by 19. They need to score two touchdowns, converting the two-pointer after each. Before or after those, they also need to get one field goal. Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever - there is a chance that could happen!
Then another piece of the equation sneaks back into our suspension of reality. While they do all of this, Atlanta can not score a single point. We are pondering this scenario after watching the Falcons completely dismantle the Patriots from the first minute. They have been marching up and down the field, gaining yards on the ground and in the air at will. It may not be impossible, but it's as close to impossible that anything in sports ever could be.
And then...........all of that and more..........just happened!

[I'm definitely jealous of Patriots fans. Except for the fact that nothing can ever top it, it must have been magic to watch. --Mike]

In fact the worst (or unluckiest - which as far as the statistics are concerned is likely to be the same thing) drivers in every age group have a chance of appearing in the "people in the last five years of their lives " category...

Will it be an option for folks who aren't Patreon supporters to buy a copy of the revised book?

[Ahh...no, I don't think I could get that far. Lulu has changed so much I'd have to relearn it all, and I just don't have time to figure out how to offer a book on Amazon when it will only sell a few copies. I will have to figure that out when I get the new collection finished, though, so maybe I will add the older book at that time. If I can. I'm not good at those things...just typesetting the book is a chore I'm barely competent to do. I have zero training as a graphic designer and it's harder than it looks. --Mike]

And you, Mike, need to stop mixing up 'Britain' and 'UK'. Two different things.

Re: Re: America.

Also not wishing to scold, but I strongly disagree. Using the term "American" to designate only people from the US is rightly considered culturally arrogant and even a bit chauvinist by many other Americans, including Canadians and Latin Americans. Who decided that we in the US get to monopolize the name of two whole continents of nations?

In Mexico, for instance, the terms "Norteamericanos" and "Estadounidenses"--people from the States--are commonly used to describe those Americans who are not from South or Central America. When you visit Mexico, people definitely pay attention to who is being polite and respectful in their usage of "American."

[That's the meme, all right.

"Culturally arrogant and a bit chauvinist"? Not a bit of it. It's simply common usage in English and arose because it would be very awkward to say "United Statesian" or "United Statesman."

You might be right about Spanish and Portuguese; I don't know. --Mike]

The Americas, also collectively called America,[4][5][6] encompass the totality of the continents of North America and South America.[7][8][9]


[As a reader for 55 years, a writer for 45, and an editor for 23, I can guarantee you no competent writer of English would ever use "America" for "The Americas" without inviting confusion. --Mike]

Just a hint. It's Tom (as in Terrific), NOT Tim.

"They sell books and vinyl records (but not film)."

They should start selling prints. (Oops. Does that make Mike an alt.Center for Anachronistic Media?)

P.S. the Patriots had their *biggest ever* Superbowl win yesterday, so, logically, their easiest. I mean, how hard can it be to beat an opponent who has bullet holes in both feet?

Baltimore has Normals that sells used books and LP's. A wonderful place to spend a half day or more and a wad of cash. And True Vine sells LP's. In Manhattan NYC, Downtown Music Gallery is a big seller of LP's.

But what about folks who want to buy a PDF of the revised book? No Amazon and no LuLu then, I'd think.

Funny you should mention board games since they've been enjoying quite a renaissance these past few years. Like many other forms of "analogs" they are cool again.


Before Patriots fans descend upon TOP HDQ like a malevolent horde you need to change the typo in paragraph four from Tim to Tom.

re analog, film, and writing:

I recently came across a piece I'd missed when it came out years ago: Sarah Coleman's essay on Magnum Photo's master darkroom printer Pablo Inirio, featuring his notated working prints of iconic Magnum images. Made me itch to shoot film and print again, and reminds me how far I was from mastery even when I was printing regularly (or, how clumsy and lazy a printer I was!).


Found via PetaPixel's follow-up the next year, which shows the finished prints alongside the notated ones.


I assume everyone knows about PetaPixel, but Coleman's blog, The Literate Lens, is new to me, and a happy find. I appreciate the quality and eclecticism that prevails on TOP, so it was exciting and heartening to find another blog regularly publishing thoughtful, knowledgeable, well-crafted pieces about photography and photographers. Nowhere near as active as TOP, but apparently active.

Thanks Comcast! Because of scheduling issues, I DVRd the game and we started watching an hour behind real time. Thanks to Comcast they ended the recording at the time that they thought it should end, 2:28 to go in the game. At the exact end of the miracle catch by the Patriots. The TV then immediately switched to the post-game show and all was revealed to us!


The one thing I have learned as a long time Patriot fan (born in MA and now live in VT) is you always watch to the end. It was great theater, with an ending that had it been a movie or book, would have been panned for being over the top with the pretty boy hero not only winning but getting his revenge on the evil dictator.

So our daughter is a teenager now and no longer requires animal shaped waffles. We are planning to buy a new waffle maker and wonder which will taste better--square or round?

[Round of course. It's difficult to get the batter to go into the square corners of a square wafflemaker, and they cook less evenly as a result. --Mike]

The sketch show "Little Britain" did a good skit on Barbara Cartland's approach to writing books. Don't know if it's easily viewable again.

Old Spanish proverb: "How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward."

Re:Re: america.

I loved that link that explained the mess that is GB/UK/England/.... It's a real mess isn't it? That's what comes of having a messy but fascinating history. As a result of Brexit and a possible second Scottish independence referendum it could get even worse.

P.S. Interesting that the Miata (MX5 over here) is seen as a middle aged bearded man's car in the USA. Over here they have a somewhat undeserved reputation as being a lady's car.

I don't like us hogging the term American in the Americas. We are obnoxious enough already. Not that I have a ready solution. I remember having a discission about what it means to be American in my American literature class. Many of my students were immigrants. It became clear that to many of them an American was a white person. And if you think about it, everyone else gets a hyphen.

re. Analog and Film:
When I sold my darkroom (gladly, I might add) I kept the film developing tools--tanks and reels and thermometers--because I still had a room with no light and a kitchen sink.

My Rollie, Leica and Nikon sit on a shelf in my office gathering dust. The film tools languish in the remains of the darkroom (now a storage space for our daughter's things as she has moved back home some years ago). Will I ever shoot film again? Not too likely. There's something about the immediacy of the digital image that draws me (I stopped painting in favor of photography because it was faster) and I never liked working in the darkroom. I'm so much more productive (when I work) than I was using silver materials. And it's pretty cost effective: I can soft proof and adjust on a calibrated display without spending sheet after sheet of paper.

Yes, I like the look of scanned film but really: I was turning out some black and white work on a printer at school--pigmented ink jet prints on baryta coated paper--when a colleague came by and complimented my "silver" prints until i reminded him where we were.

It's just another way of working and, really, what ends up on the paper is most important.

Sorry to disagree with your definition of American. America was the name give for the new world which was subsequently sub divided into two continents; north and south.
You are a citizen of the United States of America (check your passport) which is located on the North American Continent. Mexican and Canadian citizens also live on the North American Continent which also makes them Americans; much like Italians and Germans are European or people of Zimbabwe and Egyptians being African.

[No, living on the North American continent makes them North Americans.

The whole idea is an invented issue. It's contriving offense from nothing.



Re writer's energy:

Q: What are you doing today?

A: Nuthin'.

Q: But didn't you do 'nuthin'' yesterday?

A: Yes, but I didn't get it finished.

Know the feeling all too well. What am I doing today? Messing around making stupid comments on TOP! What should I be doing? Finishing the rewrite of a client's website.

In respect of the worst drivers being those in the last 5 years of their lives. As you say, difficult to put a starting point on that, easier to mark the end.

BUT how much of that statement is self-fulfilling? Like "I searched everywhere for that boondoggle, I finally found it in the last place you'd look." Well, of course it was in the last place, because when you found it you stopped looking.

Likewise, how many old drivers die in car crashes? In fact, every driver regardless of age killed in a car crash (with a few exceptions where they were crashed into by others on the wrong side of the road or whatever) could be said to be the worst driver in the the last five years of their lives. Definitely in the last five minutes.

I speak as a 75-year-old-petrol-head-as-a-lad-and-even-motorcyclist-imiddle-age who has noticed the tunnel vision and tunnel thinking getting intrusive (the old eyes and old brain don't dart about like they used to) so has stopped driving for the protection of others (and out of sheer boredom with spending hours behind the wheel on choked roads).

Cheers, Geoff

I agree that the Super Bowl was interesting, but should the critical moment in any championship game depend on the winning of a coin flip?

"And it took me 27 minutes to craft this response to your comment."
That's one of the main reasons we read your blog - because you care about what you write. Another reason is that you make fewer spelling and grammatical errors than other photobloggers. (Is that a word?)
But I did have to smile at the "Tim Brady" part.
As for K.T's blog, well his pictures are good.

Mike, don't try to say that Canada isn't a country in the Americas. It seems undeniable. Your distinction then is tough to enforce seeing as America is a synonym for the Americas.
You're referring to the country known as the USA. The use of "America" as slang for that is indeed confusing.

Do you mean we have to stop referring to the USA and Canada as "the colonies" now?

(Sigh) I hate the modern world. Everything changes so fast. : )

I agree, naps are VERY important.

I enjoy a bad (good) pun more than most. Unfortunately, dyslexia upon first reading "Angus Dei" causes delayed enjoyment.

Mike, Amazon has a publish-on-demand company called Createspace that makes it easy to self-publish. We have 6 books for the tech society we work with through them now, another coming momentarily. Look it up or contact me for details.

For the book, just analysis why you do not like it now would be a very good read.

BTW, you are wrong about America. There is indeed Canada of America as America meant the totality of North and South America - well said by the little god of Wiki:


Just ordered the old one, btw.

Writing is exhausting.

I envy those who can turn a beautiful phrase to order, but I have to tease each one out of its armoured shell with painstaking care so as not to kill it in the process.

I can only write one thing at a time. Otherwise I have to hold so many things in short-term memory that my brain goes into thermal shock.

I almost never like what I write the first time around. Editing is possibly the most painful and confidence sapping process conceived by humankind, but also entirely necessary.

I have been known to redraft summaries and introductions more than 50 times. I hate trying to explain a 500 page book in 5 pages or less, particularly when I realise I can't.

Yep, writing is a time killer.

Okay, how many citizens of Canada or Mexico, when asked their nationality, refer to themselves as Americans?

Shhh! I'm trying to have one (a nap) :).

Your comment about British folks using "America" for "North America" reminded me of an encounter in Brighton several years ago.

I went into a used clothing shop, said hello, and, as usual, the fellow behind the counter asked if I was American. These were the days of the Iraq war and Freedom Fries so I was quick to say "no, Canadian". To which he replied "well, then you are American as Canada is part of North America". I got the immediate impression that he had adopted pseudo-pedantry rather than admit his understandable but mistaken assumption that I was from the US.

I gamely tried on a jacket. The salesman said it suited me (it didn't). As he and I spoke a bit longer, I realized I was dealing with a complete weirdo so I left.

When I reported my encounter to a British friend, he told the proprietor (and sole salesman) of the shop was the inspiration for the Suit You Tailors on the BBC's The Fast Show. This sketch seems relevant (a bit NSFW):


as an 80 yr old Cowboys fan, I was a Patriot hater. Lately, I am coming around to accepting the fact that they are really really good, and it is not an accident- the coach and his staff, but equally important, the owner are all responsible.
Now if only someone would buy Jerry Jones out--

ps. I particularly like the fact that they don't have any thugs playing for them.

Re:Re: America:
We are Canadian. A friend in Oregon has started to refer to herself and to her fellow inhabitants of the U.S.A as U.S.ers.

As one who does not own a Television I thought I would try the computer hookup for the SuperBowl game.
Would play and then stop, play and stop. Near the end of the first half I turned on the radio and found out the HalfTime show was over and the second half starting.
Re-booted the computer and started on the second half as the online broadcast had none of the halftime stuff and went right into the second half. Watched as it did the play a bit and stop for 15 seconds to a couple minutes. Finally near the end of the third quarter I did another re-boot - only to get the last minute of the 4th quarter and the Patriots scoring a TD to force the game into overtime. Then watched as the Patriots marched downfield and won. But, NO Forth Quarter at all! Missed all of it but that last minute.
This computer broadcasting has a long way to go.

I think our friends across the ponds and up and down the Western Hemisphere are on point. "America" is not the USA. So, hows about renaming the USA, the "Divisive State of N. America," DSNA for short.

Mike, with all due respect, I believe you should pause and rethink your approach to the use of "American" to identify US citizens. The fact that this is common usage in the US doesn't make it right. Lots of word usage has evolved (and should evolve) when its inherent biases are challenged.

I assure you that for decades, many people outside the US have found the monopolization of the term "American" to be symptomatic of US arrogance in the hemisphere. Many of us inside the US, too. It's not an invented issue, and it didn't arise yesterday.

p.s. "The US" is just as easy to say or write as "America." And "US resident (or citizen, or national)" is only one syllable longer than "American." No more onerous than "Argentinian" or "Venezuelan."

Regarding "American". You call us "British" but most us over here are English and call ourselves such. It stings a bit every time Americans do that because we know you reserve "English" for the language you speak. As I'm sure you know, in this context American and British were just adjectives describing a people about to engage in the third, or was it fourth, English Civil War.
But does it really matter as long as we know who we are. What about Rome, Leghorn, Flushing, Florence, Vienna and so on - all cities that have their own names in English which is different from their native name, sometimes wildly so.

I don't watch American Football.

[Others do. --Mike]

Re: America.
Don't forget that Mexico is officially 'Estados Unidos Mexicanos.' Nor that Latin Americas routinely refer to 'Nuestra America' meaning all of the Americas, north, central and south.

Re America: You are right about who is an American, namely those from the United States. I won't belabor the point. But I will take issue with the now-common idea that Mexicans (or people from any other country who move to the U.S.) become "Mexican-Americans" (or Italian-Americans, or Iranian-Americans, etc.). My father used to say, "there is no such thing as a hyphenated American. We are all Americans." It wasn't until I was much older that I came to realize how important that idea is. Unfortunately it seems like that hyphen is becoming another way to divide us.

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