Brands, eh?

Serruya previously blamed any instances of overlap on a ghostwriter she said she had hired from freelance services marketplace Fiverr. In an interview with the AP, she denied copying Roberts’ work, and said she had not been notified about the lawsuit, but added that she “could not guarantee” that the ghostwriters she used had not copied anything.

“My books are big. In a book of 120,000 words it’s difficult to know how many supposedly came from a work of Nora Roberts,” said Serruya, who claimed she was using software to analyse her books.

The quality of what you get off Fivver isn’t going to be high. But then it’s the brand – a la Katie Price novels, Naomi Campbell ones – that sells, isn’t it?

I may have mentioned this before

Back of my mind there was a writer at Rolling Stone. Foreign Affairs Desk before PJ O’Rourke. Maybe several peeps before PJ.

Same gonzo journalism. The writer was I think Oz. Used to have a paperback of the columns, decades back. One piece particularly recall was about Papua New Guinea. Started with a Kennedy(?) or a Rockefeller (more likely) being eaten by headhunters or something.

I occasionally try to find that collection of pieces but am rather limited by not being able to recall the blokes name.

Anyone got any idea?

Update – I wrote to Rolling Stone asking them. The editor’s inbox is full….

Super, well done to Robert.

Okker Chic, Michael Thomas, that’s the one.

Is it just me?

Whenever we find these sorts of stories I do have to wonder:

Researchers believe a famed Polish general who fought in the American Revolutionary war may have been a woman or possibly intersex.

A new Smithsonian Channel documentary examines the history of Casimir Pulaski, a Polish cavalryman who became a protege of George Washington.

Was Sir Pterry reading these things from some historical wormhole that only he knew about? Predicting them as a result? Or was he simply vastly widely read and thus knew about these varied surmises before the rest of us?

For those who don’t get the point, Monstrous Regiment is very fun indeed.

Your task today

Is to approach your nearest large newsagent. Sorta Smith’s size one. Who stocks the pocket novels by The Peoples’ Friend. Good clean wholesome love stories. Mills and Boon without the booze or sex.

Jenny Worstall’s “Love and Lies” went on sale today as part of the series. You don’t actually have to buy a copy, although Smith’s does sell them at 50% off if you buy any magazine as well. Hint, hint…..

Sis will be proud of you of course.

And I can confirm that “Jenny Worstall’s novel sold out in her home town on day of issue” and it wasn’t even me nor other family that bought them all. We’re actually one short of the order we need for a proud Mother to hand out to relatives….

Not sold online! Only, as far as I can make out, in Smith’s or other similar large newsagents…..

This was mentioned in comments some time ago – military expert help needed

So, a sniper rifle that’s fully silenced. In he comments a story was mentioned about an SAS (?) bloke who’d used one in Iraq (?) to explode the head of a bomb making trainer. His recruits rather melted away.

Near entirely silent, subsonic bullet, sound of the action itself only apparently.

So, what’s the rifle called?

To elaborate a bit. In the story, as I recall it, range was only 400 metres. That fits i with what I want my character to have to do….

There’s an intense strangeness to this argument

The American Dream is that idea that in a free society you can indeed get ahead. Starting from near whatever point you can, by dint of work, application and that modicum of luck necessary in any human life gain a proper foothold on the economic ladder. Can, in fact, move up to the sort of riches and security which were nothing but a dream to earlier generations – and to distressingly large numbers of people out there in other countries.

So, here we’ve got a woman writing an acclaimed book telling us how hard this all is. How she worked as a maid and this proves the American Dream doesn’t work. Except, of course, having an acclaimed book published when one has been working as a hard pressed maid is a proof of that very American Dream, isn’t it?

I like this argument, it’s excellent

Why are we so obsessed with young, successful people like Sally Rooney?
Ammar Kalia
The author’s achievements are considerable – but it’s her talent that matters, not her age

Great. So, now we can reject all arguments that simply come from young people, can’t we? All that about being the inheritors so therefore their voice must be heard etc, rubbish, for it’s only talent that matters.

Good, glad that’s sorted.

About Gulag Archipelago

Just a little observation.

When published in paperback it was in three volumes. The full one that is.

That first volume is really easy to find second hand. Used (some time ago to be sure) to clog up second hand and tat bookshops.

The second volume was harder to find, quite rare in fact.

The third volume, not sure I’ve even seen it on Amazon.

I assume that sales rather dropped off for the later volumes….

Basically, David Graeber has just invented the B Ark

Sean Illing
Give me some examples of bullshit jobs.

David Graeber
Corporate lawyers. Most corporate lawyers secretly believe that if there were no longer any corporate lawyers, the world would probably be a better place. The same is true of public relations consultants, telemarketers, brand managers, and countless administrative specialists who are paid to sit around, answer phones, and pretend to be useful.

A lot of bullshit jobs are just manufactured middle-management positions with no real utility in the world, but they exist anyway in order to justify the careers of the people performing them. But if they went away tomorrow, it would make no difference at all.

And that’s how you know a job is bullshit: If we suddenly eliminated teachers or garbage collectors or construction workers or law enforcement or whatever, it would really matter. We’d notice the absence. But if bullshit jobs go away, we’re no worse off.

And we could add anthropology professors to the list….

Fun bit

So, watching an old “Endeavour” (ie, “Young Morse Meets Oxford”) over the weekend and a little bit.

“Sgt Vimes of Cable St” taught Inspetor Thursday something or other about how to be a vicious copper but a just one.

Rather a nice Sir Pterry reference I thought….


Authors laid the blame for the decline at the feet of publishers, with the Society of Authors chief executive Nicola Solomon estimating that authors were paid just 3% of publishers’ turnover in 2016, based on their profits.

A reasonable guess is that the farmer receives, for his labour, less than 3% of the price of a loaf of bread. And?

This is a pity about Dan Davies

That’s the City type who used to write for The Guardian, Crooked Timber, Dan Davies. Not someone I like nor agree with – I have more than just a suspicion that the feeling is entirely mutual – but there has always been an enviable verve to his writing. Sure, some of the stylistic tricks* can become overdone but there’s none of us not guilty of that.

There there’s this extract from his book.

All that life and joy seems to have gone from the style. Might be the way The Guardian has extracted, might be the editor ironing it out for the book buying public. But a pity all the same.

**Footnotes to footnotes***
*** As with Gibbon, that’s where all the jokes are****.
**** Or the dirty bits at least.*****
***** In Latin