View 745 Monday, October 8, 2012
Things have been a bit hectic here, and I’ve fallen well behind. Today was eaten by locusts, including taking Sable to the vet: she went Thursday last week. She’s been favoring her right front leg. We start out for a walk and she begins limping. Wednesday, the first day, this was alarming but we thought perhaps she had picked up a splinter or something, although we couldn’t find anything. Then last Thursday after a half block we brought her back home and fortunately the vet could see her later that morning.
He couldn’t find anything, and said, as you’d expect, that it was either a sprain or developing arthritis, and the only real way to find out was to wait and see. Of course being a Husky she has been driving us mad with her insistence that we go for walks. Today we did two blocks and it doesn’t look as if she’s limping, and probably not favoring that leg although that’s a bit hard to tell. So today after her show walk she got another examination, and as expected, we found nothing. But clearly things aren’t getting worse, and the decision was to wait two weeks and see if there is any reason to do xrays and other such stuff; by then it will have gone away or it won’t. For those who wonder why we’re paying so much attention to this, a couple of years ago she had a hind leg problem that started with favoring the leg end ended with the kind of operation that basketball players get. That is completely fixed, and she has no problems with that leg, and except for this latest thing she’s in very good shape for a ten year old dog, and at 55 pounds she’s just about her optimum weight. And like most Huskies she’s – well, active. Very.
And of course last Thursday I got my nose chopped on with the Mohs procedure. Today they tell me that everything is fine but they need to chop some more next Wednesday. They didn’t get it all. Apparently this is fairly common, and I can see why, since they don’t want to slice out too much. Not to worry, everyone says.
All of which has been distracting, and I haven’t got much done, and fell behind with administrivia leaving even less time for reflection on current events.
CBS 60 Minutes last night had the disturbing story of a singer named Sixto “Sugar Man” Rodriguez whose career began about the same time as that of Bob Dylan. Rodrigues was from Detroit and was ‘discovered’ by a Motown official, who arranged for the release of two albums by Rodriguez. Neither was a success and he disappeared from view for forty years. In South Africa, though, he became a huge favorite, selling more than half a million records, and becoming ‘the conscience of a generation’ among a certain segment of the population (young whites of British origin, mostly).
The disturbing thing is that Rodriguez didn’t know this. The rumor went around in South Africa that he was dead. He wasn’t. He lived in obscurity in Detroit as the city deteriorated, making a living as a handyman and sometimes performer in local venues.
There’s considerably more to the story, but the appalling fact is that Motown must have collected money from the sales in South Africa – but Rodriguez didn’t get a dime of it. If he’d got even a penny a sale from half a million records that would have been $5,000, not much, but something; but in fact he never even knew he was selling in South Africa.
If you ever wonder why recording artists tend to hate their publishers, think on that.
Authors have justified concerns about book publishers, but I don’t think of many publishing stories like that one. There was a time when publishers pretended that there was little profit in paperback sales, and the hardbound publisher insisted on taking half of the paperback royalties if a book got a paperback sale; and for a long time paperback royalties were tiny, and to this day royalty statements can be very creative; but I don’t know of any cases in which an author was a breakaway best-seller and not only got nothing for it but wasn’t even told he was selling.
There are authors of the ‘information wants to be free” school who say that there shouldn’t be intellectual property rights, and authors ought to look at the performing arts and the record industry as their model for publishing. Fortunately things haven’t worked that way in print rights, and t he electronics rights market has developed in a different way – Amazon has made backlists valuable again. Perhaps they can be so for song writers as well.
I have a new Kindle Fire HD but I haven’t had a chance to get it set up yet; the day keeps being devoured by other stuff. And I sure have a pile of interesting mail. I’m dancing as fast as I can…
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.