Friday, November 17, 2017

5 Things on a Friday: Writing Update & Other News

Happy Friday, folks!  Let’s get it on!

"Come fill your glasses, fellows, and stand up in a row..."

Ancient Lamborghini on
young person's wall.
The researchers found that inequality tended to gradually increase as societies transitioned from hunting and gathering to farming, supporting long-held hypotheses about how agriculture intensified social hierarchies. About 2500 years after the first appearance of domesticated plants in each region, average inequality in both the Old World and the New World hovered around a Gini coefficient of about 0.35. This figure stayed more or less steady in North America and Mesoamerica. But in the Middle East, China, Europe, and Egypt, inequality kept climbing over time, topping out at an average Gini coefficient of about 0.6, roughly 6000 years after the start of agriculture at Pompeii in ancient Rome and Kahun in ancient Egypt…
The authors propose that domestic animals may explain the difference between the New World and the Old World: Whereas North American and Mesoamerican societies depended on human labor, Old World societies had oxen and cattle to plow fields and horses to carry goods and people. Livestock were an investment in future enterprises, allowing people to cultivate more land and stockpile food surpluses, as well as build trade caravans and armies to control huge territories. “Think about how people get rich in modern societies. They find clever ways to tie their current wealth into their future income,” Kohler says. Because land and livestock could be passed to future generations, certain families got even richer over time.
The modern world has a Gini coefficient of around .8 in North America, which is staggering when you think about it.  We’re doing worse than the ancient Egyptians who built pyramids to their kings using human labor!  And yet, given the premise above and the efficiency with which current elites pass their wealth to future generations, it makes undeniable sense.
The Oscar-winning movie — starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio — will play in 87 theaters equipped with Dolby Cinema for an exclusive one-week run, beginning Dec. 1.
Speaking of inequality…
Gotta find a way to take my kids to this.  They’ll both flip for it.
“Justice League” settles into a groove once it finds its gang. As Bat-Bruce moodily pushes and prods and Wonder-Diana smiles and smirks, the newbies jockey for position. The Flash gets most of the best jokes, and Mr. Miller makes most of them work, largely in the role of in-house fanboy with a touch of the Cowardly Lion. It’s golly-gee stuff, but it’s also human and Mr. Miller keeps you hooked, as does Mr. Momoa (“Game of Thrones”), who supplely shifts between gravitas and comedy. When Aquaman chugs a bottle of booze before plunging into an angry sea, the movie hits the comic-book sweet spot between deadly seriousness and self-amused levity…
My favorite version of the Justice League.
Anybody already seen this?  Or going tonight, maybe?
4. Writing Update: #SBRLLR & Crunch Fitness
Army’s football season is coming to an end, and for as much as I’ve enjoyed it, I confess that I am also very much looking forward to a change of subject as well.  We’ve got a lot of new readers, and that’s good, but it’s been wall-to-wall college football around here all the time, and that is not the plan.  This blog is certainly not meant to be about just West Point or Army Football.
Swim, Bike, Run, Live, Love, Repeat: A Story of Swimming, Family, and Belonging is my memoir about my family and my swimming/triathlon career.  I’ve been working on it for about 18 months, and I am finally about ready to roll it out.  After much personal indecision, I’ve decided to just roll it out as a blog project, much the way that I originally intended to roll out the Sneakatara stories.  
I’m conflicted because the chapters are built as discrete chunks of story, but they’re much too long to do as single posts.  However, you guys seem to take my writing a little better in chunks rather than in huge slabs or as downloadable Kindle projects.  If there is interest, I’ll put together a Kindle version of the book for those that really want it, but failing actual requests, it’s gonna be here in ~1200 word slices.  By way of comparison, my goal for “5 Things on a Friday” is also about 1200 words/post.  The blog generates enough ad revenue that publishing either way is close to a push financially1, but blog publishing is way easier to manage, and here we are.
#SBRLLR is going to start next week, the by week after the North Texas game, and will continue on Tuesdays throughout the offseason.  I’ve no idea how long it’s going to run, but as of this writing, that is my plan.
My other new project is a little social media thing with Stratford’s Crunch Fitness franchise.  You people are fat and lazy, and you need to go to the gym.  Also: when I get the chance to make this little hobby benefit me, I hope you all understand that I generally try to take advantage.  Nevertheless, I also hope that the Crunch project is at least occasionally entertaining as well.
The Crunch Fitness stuff will probably go on Thursdays, but it won’t necessarily be every week.  The first post went up yesterday.  The trickiest part is actually getting in there when my wife is there, so that we can get some pictures to go with the words.
Monken asked me if I think Army is worthy of a vote. I was an Associated Press poll voter from 2008-11. “I think you are right on the edge,” I told him.

Let’s talk about this again after Saturday’s game.
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That’s all, folks!  Enjoy the weekend.

1. The proposed Kindle version would run $.99, of which I’d net about 30%.  But the vast majority of you won’t bother with the Kindle version, and that's fine (even though you could easily read it on your phone), meaning that for the most part, this story just won’t get read.

I hate that.
By comparison, the daily blog posts get as many as 300 readers/post, and “popular” posts do even better.  Sometimes much better.  The difference, I think, is that they require less commitment.  Regardless, the larger audience scale generally makes up for lost income over time.  When you factor in the reality that the book will generate something like 40 blog posts…  I mean, I’m not positive that blog publishing will make more money, but it certainly could.
Anyway, it’s obviously not about the money, but I’m still trying to make the best business decisions that I can.

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