A Century of Snapshots

Here are 9 developments of interest to fans:

(1) The original Batmobile sold for $4.6 million over the weekend, quashing all doubters:

Others pointed out, though, that many imitation Batmobiles had been built over the years, a good number of them virtually indistinguishable from the original. That raised the question of whether collectors would be willing to pay a huge sum for this Batmobile simply because it was the first.

Rick Champagne, who owns a logistics company in Tempe, Ariz., was very willing. He identified himself as the buyer in an interview with Speed TV immediately after the sale, and his name was confirmed by a representative for Barrett-Jackson.

He told Speed that the car would go in his living room.

(2) Libraries remain important for a variety of reasons according to “Library Services in the Digital Age,” a report by the Pew ResearchCenter’s Internet & American Life Project:

Based on “a survey of 2,252 Americans ages 16 and above” conducted between October 15 and November 10 of last year, the Pew report assures us that, even in the digital age, libraries continue to serve a variety of functions, with nearly 60% of respondents having had some kind of interaction with a library in the last 12 months, and 91% saying that “public libraries are important to their communities.”

As for the way these numbers break down, the vast majority of patrons (73%) still visit libraries to browse the shelves and borrow print books. In contrast, only 26% use library computers or WiFi connections to go online.

That’s not to say that digital services are insignificant; 77% of those surveyed by Pew said it was “very important” for libraries to provide free access to computers and the Internet, numbers that go up considerably in black (92%) and Latino (86%) communities.

(3) Here’s a nostalgic collection of photos of Robert Bloch at Wisconsin in History.

(4) A Kickstarter fundraiser is collecting donations to restore Paramount’s duplicate Enterprise D bridge and “make it a Fully Interactive, Simulator available for Display, Parties, Movie Showings, Fundraising, Charities like HABITAT FOR HUMANITY and MAKE A WISH, Fan Films, as well as newly created interactive education ‘Missions’ so entire classrooms of students can steer the Enterprise to other planets, galaxies and more!”

(5) Some people have a gift. David Levine stars in a 15-minute YouTube video of his story "Letter to the Editor"

He’s Dr. Talon, Evil Genius and implacable foe of Ultimate Man (“who is, by the way, an illegal immigrant!”). The story is part of John Joseph Adams’s forthcoming anthology The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination due out on February 19, and available for pre-order in hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, and audio formats.

And don’t forget to visit David’s new website.

(6) If there are a few issues of Omni you never got around to reading, like maybe all of them, note that the entire run of the magazine is posted at the Internet Archive. (Via Giant Freakin Robot.)

(7) We demand the spotlight and also the power to remain invisible. Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post comments on this human paradox:

There is a difference between privacy and obscurity. No one wants obscurity. This is why we complain to Wikipedia about their unfair treatment of us. “But there’s no article on you at all,” Wikipedia says. “Precisely!” we bellow. Obscurity is easy enough to cultivate. People do not care to see pictures of us or our trip to Guam, no matter how vigorously we share them. We are not seen, even when we want to be. They stay off our lawn because of their total and wondrous indifference to our lives. But we want both: we want people to know who we are and care about us and the wonderful things we do and exciting contributions we make to charities, but not trample through our lawns and ruin our parties. That is what we mean by privacy: the ability to be seen only when we want to be seen, at the angles that flatter. That is why privacy is much rarer than obscurity.

(8) Ed Green is not the star of this video project.


But he’s in there. Don’t blink.

(9) John Scalzi apparently has no plans to start writing in 19th-century Russian or starve in a garret just to please critics of his literary prowess:

Occasionally I’ve had people gripe that my books are explicitly commercial, which they don’t like, and that’s fine. But I’ve also had people gripe that I’m a sell out because of that aspect of the books. Those people I look at like they’ve turned into a farting fungus. Dudes: I intentionally write approachable books designed to sell in large numbers, constructed to make that goal as easy to achieve as possible. That’s not selling out, that’s the actual plan.

[Thanks for these links goes out to David Klaus, Andrew Porter and John King Tarpinian.]

9 thoughts on “A Century of Snapshots

  1. And the film and TV rights are the end game. This is a business, not a hobby and people who tilt their noses disapprovingly simply do not understand the paradigm. “Great literature” is an accident and every work now deemed such was a commercial best-seller in its day, or it would not have survived.

  2. There are exceptions. Moby Dick didn’t sell well in its first edition, and it was years before Lord of the Rings caught on. In fact, as I recall, the publishers of LotR didn’t think it would do well, but felt as it was their duty to publish a piece of undoubted literature for its own sake.

  3. I haven’t bothered to see if there are Wiki entries for myself, though I can ego surf and see a few items. And recall that a few have vanished over time, as websites are not forever. Not being obscure does take work, though the the USA people feel appearing on TV somehow makes you famous and worth following. Being obscure and not being on the Jersey Shore means you need to to work a bit harder. Maybe more substance is needed..

  4. The official selling price of the Batmobile is actually $4.2 milliion. The extra $420,000 was buyer and seller fees (not just a “sales commission” as CNN says).

    I saw that live– the other half of the household is a car fan, so the TV was tuned to the Speed TV coverage of Barrett-Jackson pretty much all last week– and the best part was hearing one of the commentators apologize for having complained the last few days that they were paying way too much attention to the Batmobile, which he felt wasn’t going to be one of the really big sales. Never underestimate the power of fandom!

  5. Now there’s a game show idea! “Wheels of Fortune!” — the live auction of expensive celebrity cars.

    “To-*day* on Wheels of Fortune, we bring yooooooouu — in bay number 1) From Tim Burton’s award winning films, the Caped Crusader’s own BATMOBILE! in bay number 2) straight from the London War Museum, the favourite conveyance of the leader of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler’s favourite Mercedes-Benz 1938 convertible! And finally, (in hushed tones), from one of the most tragic events in American history, the specially constructed 1961 Lincoln driven in Dallas on a fateful day in 1963, yes, the Presidential limosine that the beloved President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in. AND NOW, who’ll put up the starting bid? Do I hear $200,000? ”

    Guess which one wold go for the highest price? Do I see a bat signal in the audience?

  6. Speed TV’s Barrett-Jackson coverage actually takes a page from “The Price is Right”: they select a few particularly interesting cars per day and challenge viewers to guess what the final selling price will be. Points are awarded for how close you get without going over the final bid. There are prizes for each day’s winner and the overall winner.

    (The Batmobile was not one of their selections for this game, as they only pick cars that have no reserve.)

  7. Thank’s for that point of reference, Michael, though most wouldn’t know my name from the fake “pro” letters I wrote for Rune (Harlan Ellison apologises for LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS, offers t shirts to contrubturers), because I was not credited directly. Oh well.

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