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More numbers.

So I sold a copy of the new book through Amazon a couple-few days ago, for eighteen dollars. —I made forty-three cents.

Publishing is hard, y’all.

Despite recent movements advocating pushback against Amazon, most people in the United States maintain a favorable view of Jeff Bezos’ “everything store.” Peter Hildick-Smith, president of book audience research firm Codex, says that this includes most people who frequent independent shops; just over three-quarters of that cohort also use Amazon, at an average of five times a month, according to a 2019 survey. Even among bibliophiles, Hildick-Smith says, “It’s not as if everybody’s saying, ‘Gosh, I really don’t like Amazon. I don’t shop there’.” The result? “A very skewed market.”

When I first started putting this thing out in books (as opposed to words, or ’zines), I went with CreateSpace, because it was there, and because you could give them a PDF and some money and a couple days later you’d have a book-shaped stack of paper, neatly bound—

The author, with two of his books.

—which was a neat-enough trick, even if the paper’s a whit too glossy, and the cover a touch too stiff, to feel quite right in the hand, and every now and then you get a copy with sixty some-odd pages of the Petrisin Guide to Taking CLEP Exams stuck in the middle.

But even then, CreateSpace was being bound ever more tightly to Amazon, and now it’s been utterly subsumed, it’s gone; it’s nothing but Kindle, all the way down. —And if Hildick-SmithThe Amazon edition. had a hard time finding bibliophiles who don’t like Amazon, well, he didn’t talk to very many booksellers, or librarians.

If you spend eighteen dollars to buy the old CreateSpace Amazon paperback edition of “Wake up…”, published by and distributed by and pretty much only sold by Amazon, well, Amazon pays me four dollars. I can buy an author’s copy for six dollars and eighty cents, so we’ll take that as their basic cost to print; eighteen minus four minus six point eight leaves seven dollars and twenty cents for Jeff Bezos’ pocket.

The numbers for the new, Supersticery Press edition shake out a bit differently: published by me, printed by IngramSpark, distributed by Ingram, available to be sold by just about anyone who buys books wholesale from Ingram.The Supersticery edition. The wholesale price is forty-five percent of the list price, or seven dollars and sixty-five cents. It costs seven dollars and four cents to print a copy; IngramSpark then credits my account with sixty-one cents. Profit!

But there’s fifty-five percent of the list price left over: nine dollars and thirty-five cents. And that goes to whomever sells the book. Me, for instance, if you buy it direct. Your local bookstore, which you can do through IndieBound, assuming your local bookstore participates—even if they don’t have it on the shelf when you order. —Or, y’know, Jeff Bezos, I suppose. If you wanted.

Or if you buy a copy through Bookshop.org—which you can do with the click of a mouse or a tap on the screen—ten percent of the list price, or a dollar seventy, goes into a pool that every six months gets divvied out to bookstores in the American Booksellers Association; another dollar seventy goes to whomever gave you the link to Bookshop (like me, if you buy through this). (If it’s an ABA bookstore that gives you the link, they get twenty-five percent, not ten: four dollars and twenty-five cents.) —And you’ll notice you’re not paying full price, which is another thing a retailer can do with that fifty-five percent.

(Of course, there’s still anywhere from two dollars and four cents to four dollars fifty-nine cents going into Bookshop.org’s pockets, but they have expenses, and it’s okay, they’re a B-corp, and also capitalism.)

I’ll probably keep the Amazon editions around; I’m mildly amused by the mild confusion, and anyway to shut them off I’d have to figure out which website I’m supposed to log into now and what my password was or is or ought to be, and who has the time. —What’s also amusing to me, with Amazon, is of course they carry the new editions, of all three books (they carry everything Ingram distributes, because why not), but: you wouldn’t know it from search results, or looking at my Amazon author page. You can only find the Amazon editions for the paperbacks of the first two, but! Amazon makes more money off the editions that aren’t theirs: two dollars and fifteen cents more, per copy.

Well, anyway. I chuckled. Mordantly, but.

Grimly rarebit—

sadly and but lovely relevant. [via]

Farm team.

Aw, hey, Trump and Barr needn’t‘ve worried; Portland’s finest can bring it all on their own!

Portland police smash window, slash tires of woman’s Prius during protest dustup.

Go. Move. Shift.

Photo by by Benjamin Brink.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Portland, the city substantially cut back on camp sweeps to allow people experiencing homelessness to shelter in place. With sweeps on pause, camps have popped up in unusual places, and some have grown.

Over at Street Roots, a photo gallery, of some of the things people can do when they have to do for themselves. —Meanwhile, in LA:

On July 31, the Friday night that California became the first state to surpass 500,000 Coronavirus cases, members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) threw a party.

And of course it was crowded and indoors and without masks, because these are cops, but what on earth is the connection, you might well ask?

The gathering also comes just ahead of what UCLA Law Professor Emeritus Gary Blasi calls a “tsunami of evictions,” which, in Los Angeles, will be carried out by the Sheriff’s Department. The California Judicial Council recently advised that the temporary emergency rules preventing pandemic evictions could expire as soon as August 14.

Some residents don’t have to wait for “UD Day”—the resumption of evictions—to have their shelter disrupted by LASD. In response to the reports of the “LASD party,” LA Postmates Girl tweeted: “Conveniently, a massive homeless encampment that had been in front of #Sassafras for months (started when COVID hit) was just cleared up YESTERDAY.”

KNOCK.LA spoke with an unhoused resident who’d been displaced by the sweep.

“I used to stay right in the bar, I never got any notice, they woke me up at 7 a.m., and told me that I had 15 minutes to get out of there or they were gonna bulldoze my whole place, my whole structure,” the resident said. “They did it, they bulldozed the whole thing. And now they’re having a party.”

He continued: “The only encampments they destroyed were a few of them across the street, mine, and my neighbors right next door. And then one block up, they’re fine. They didn’t touch that at all. It’s crazy. And that bar’s been abandoned, and nobody’s been there at all for two months. All of a sudden now tonight they’re having a party, the day after they kicked me out. They were like, ‘yeah, they need this open now.’”

ACAB. Abolish prisons. Defund all cops. Policing delenda est.

Ineluctable.

On Friday, the federal moratorium on evictions in properties with federally backed mortgages and for tenants who receive government-assisted housing expired. The Urban Institute estimated that provision covered nearly 30% of the country’s rental units.

[…]

By one estimate, some 40 million Americans could be evicted during the public health crisis.

Annie Nova

Facing evictions.

While the majority of Americans continue to stretch paychecks and unemployment aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, Jeff Bezos added a whopping $13 billion to his net worth in just a single day.

[…]

With many Americans trapped at home amid the global pandemic, Amazon has seen a surge in usage. Government-mandated business shut downs as well as the fear of spreading and catching coronavirus have prompted many citizens to turn to online shopping more than ever.

Jessica Schadebeck

Go, find an envelope. Scribble on the back of it. The population of the City of Seattle stands at 744,949, as of 2018. Let’s make the math easier: call it 750,000.

Average household size in Seattle is in the neighborhood of 2.12 persons per: 353,774. Again, in the interest of ease, and spotting the house, let’s call it 355,000 households.

Percentage of households renting in Seattle: 54%, or 191,700; let’s say 192,000.

Percentage of renters in the State of Washington uncertain about making rent in the pandemic, and facing eviction: 28%, per the map above. If we apply it to our estimate of Seattle’s rental households, 53,760—oh, hell. Let’s spot the house again. 55,000.

Average monthly rent in Seattle, as of June 2020: $2,200.

$2,200 times 55,000 equals $121,000,000, to keep the entire City of Seattle safe from eviction for one month.

Thirteen billion dollars, divided by one hundred twenty-one million dollars, equals one hundred seven months of rent for those facing possible eviction in the City of Seattle.

One day’s market fluctuation for one Jeff Bezos equals nine life-changing years for over a hundred thousand people.

We’ve raised over $300,000 within 21 days and frankly, this is too much money to reasonably spend. No single organization needs this much money to make a difference.

Beans

Every billionaire in this country is a failure of policy.

Every billionaire in this world is an affront to God.

Our crisis is a brand.

MARIA BARTIROMO
Secretary, we were just going through the situation in Portland. I want to get to the other major cities of our country and the violence happening there, but why can’t—before we finish on Portland, why can’t you just arrest the leadership in Portland because of their ignoring what’s really happening on the ground?

CHAD WOLF
Well we absolutely are doing that. So we’re working with the FBI there in Portland, the US Attorney’s office there in Portland to address the leaders that are organizing this and then going after them. We’re also making arrests every night. We made more than seven or eight arrests last night and we’ll continue to do that, we’ll continue to hold these criminals accountable. If the city government won’t, the federal government will hold these folks accountable.

Leave aside for just a moment the head-spinning question of whether Chad Wolf ever got it through his five o’clock Michael Bay former-lobbyist shadow that the Fox News anchor meant arresting the Mayor, and the City Council, and not the good folks running Riot Ribs—isn’t it astonishing just how many constitutional crises we can be teetering on the brink of, these days? And never manage to tumble over?

ACAB. Feds GTFO. Defund the police. DHS delenda est.

Messrs. Underhill.

Knowing as you must of my interest in all things psychoceramic, and my professional investment in one small corner of the field, and knowing as you might of the longstanding similarities between stories of alien abductions, and stories of fairy kidnaps (previously commented upon by among others Jacques Vallée, who was played by François Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), well: you can then imagine the thrill that passed through me when I learned that the zelyonye chelovechki, or “Little Green Men”—unidentified alien soldiers in green camo who first popped up all over Ukraine during the 2014 annexation of Crimea—were also known to those invaded as vezhlivye lyudi: the “Polite People.”

Lownsdale Chapman Square.

ANGLE - CHAD WOLF ON THE STEPS OF THE LOBBY

CLOSE UP to the front row. CAMERA FOLLOWS.

WILLIAMS
It is oh-dark-thirty.

He closes up the plywood over the front doors.

ANGLE - TWO LITTLE GREEN MEN IN CAMO

LGM 1 nods toward WOLF

LGM 1
(sotto voce)
So who is that?

WOLF
Lemme' have your attention for a moment.

ANGLE - WOLF ON THE STEPS OF THE LOBBY

WOLF (CONT’D)
’Cause you're talking about, what you're talking about, bitching about that bust you shot, some son of a bitch don't want to do what he's told... somebody don't want to respect you, some broad you think you got a chance with, so on, let's talk about something important.
(to WILLIAMS)
Are they all here?

WILLIAMS
All but the FBI.

WOLF
(checks watch)
Well, I'm going anyway. Let's talk about something important.

LGM 2 gets up, walks to a rack of rifles and flash-bangs and grenades. He starts to take a grenade.

WOLF (CONT'D)
Put. That tear gas. Down. Tear gas is for closers only, you think I'm fuckin' with you, I am not fuckin' with you: I'm here from DC, I'm here from Trump and Barr... and I'm here on a mission of mercy...
(he checks notes)
You're with BORTAC? You call yourself a cop, you son of a bitch...

ANGLE - LGM 1

LGM 1 gets up, starts for the plywood over the front doors.

LGM 1
I don't gave to listen to this shit.

WOLF
You certainly don't, pal, ’cause the good news is: you’re fired.
(pause)
The bad news is you got, all of you've got just one week to regain your jobs. Starting with tonight. Starting with tonight's riot... Oh: have I got your attention now? Good. ’Cause we’re having a little contest. And the fellow with the highest body count wins first place. First prize is a brand new Silverado. You wanna' see second prize?

He reaches into his briefcase, takes out a cheap contraption of camo webbing and pouches.

WOLF (CONT'D)
Second prize is a tactical diaper bag. Third prize is you're fired. You get the picture, are you laughing now? You got violent anarchists coming at that door, seventy-two minutes, Trump and Barr paid good money, get their names, to bust them. You can't bust the anarchists you're given, you can't bust shit, you are shit... hit the bricks, pal, and beat it ’cause you're going out.

LGM 2
The intel's weak.

Pause.

WOLF
The intel's weak! The fuckin' intel is weak? You're weak. I been in this business fifteen years.

LGM 1
What's your name?

WOLF
Fuck you, that's my name. You know why, Mister? ’Cause you drove an unmarked van to get here tonight, I flew a Sikorsky S-76. That's my name, and your name is you're wanting, and you can't play in the man's game, you can't bust them, then go home and tell whoever the fuck your troubles. Because One Thing Counts in This Life: Get Them to Kneel on the Sidewalk Before You. You hear me, you pieces of shit...? I know your war stories. I know the bullshit excuses that are your lives. What do you know...? What do you know...

He starts to write graffiti on the marble wall of the lobby.

ANGLE - THE LOBBY WALL

writes huge in chalk: "A.B.C."

WOLF (O.S.)
A.B.C.
A. Always
B. Be
C. Cruel, Always Be Cruel

ANGLE - WOLF ON THE STEPS OF THE LOBBY

WOLF (CONT'D)
Always Be Cruel.
(writes)
A.I.D.A.
Attention, Intimidation, Detonation, Arrest.
Attention: Do I have your attention!
Intimidation: Are you intimidated? I know you are, because it's fuck-or-walk: you bust or you hit the bricks.
Detonation: Are you ready to blow shit up for Christ?
and Arrest?
A.I.D.A. Get out there, you got the anarchists coming in. You think they came in to get out of the pandemic? A guy don't link arms on the line ’lest he wants to get busted: They're sitting out there, waiting to give you their dignity... You gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

The first duty.

Past his sell-by Acting Secretary Chad Wolf
addresses our Vezhlivye Lyudi.

Some additional context.

For years, the Portland Police and the Department of Homeland Security have worked with fascist and far-right organizers to coordinate their demonstrations and facilitate their violence against anti-racist and anti-fascist counter-protesters as well as the general public. In June 2018, DHS worked directly with Gibson to plan a rally in downtown Portland during which fascists were permitted to attack counter-demonstrators with impunity. In early 2019, texts between far-right leader Joey Gibson and members of the Portland Police Bureau came to light, revealing that the police were feeding Gibson information, letting him know when his colleagues that were on probation needed to lay low, and informed him in advance about anti-fascist events and activities. Police faced no consequences for this.

a joint statement by It’s Going Down and Crimethinc.

Some further context:

Before federal officers started dragging people into unmarked vans, PPB was pulling civilians out of their cars if they drove too close to the protests.

Tuck Woodstock

And but also:

Promised Land.

OH NOES THE STATUES

Standing figures of a pioneer family, circa 1843. The parents stand to the back and their son stands between them in front. The father is bearded and wearing a long-sleeve shirt, trousers with suspenders and mid-calf boots. He points with his proper right hand and his proper left arm is around his wife, who wears a long prairie dress shawl, and apron. Her hair is in a bun, and she holds a doll to her chest in her proper left hand. The boy wears trousers with suspenders and his shirt sleeves are rolled up. He holds a Bible in his proper right hand, against his proper right leg. A wagon wheel and leaning rifle stand behind the father figure.

In conclusion: ACAB. Abolish prisons. Defund the police. ICE delenda est.

Always already again, again.

So that’s the choice we face, my fellow Americans: between freedom and opportunity or socialism and decline. And I have no doubt, as all of us do all that we can, even in these challenging times between now and November 3rd, we’ll see our way through. We’ll be there for our neighbors and friends, we will heal our land, and then we will win a great victory for freedom and our very way of life. And with President Donald Trump in the White House for four more years, we’ll make America great again, again.”

Again, again.

Sapir-Whorffery.

A thread about the civil suit brought in the Southern District of New York by the Bronx Defenders, the Legal Aid Society, the Brooklyn Defender Service, the Queens Defenders, the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and the New York County Defender Service against the Office of Court Administration and Chief Administrative Judge of the Unified Court System Lawrence K. Marks, regarding ill-conceived efforts to proceed with in-person court appearances during a raging (and accelerating) pandemic (a subject, you must understand, that I take somewhat personally), anyway, this Twitter thread rather rapidly dissolves as random people leap in to shout BUT OUR KID’S or But let’s send kids to school, which is just barely topic-adjacent, if you squint in the right and most generous light, but even so it’s so much static, record-scratch catchphrases shouted at random (pro? or con?) because maybe they just might stick to the protein coating of the thread, much like the more obvious ejaculates of yore: BUT HER EMAILS; nevertheless, she persisted; ah, well, nevertheless. —I never much liked the Darmok episode of Star Trek, but I gotta admit: if you want Shaka, when the walls fell, welp: this is how you get Shaka, when the walls fell. —Or Ascians. I bet we end up Ascians.

Speaking of self-publishing—

—as we were:

Trilogy!

I’ve finally managed to secure test printings of paperbacks from a print-on-demand shop that isn’t wholly owned by the largest and hungriest and most endangering river-system in the world, and holy cats, they are beautiful? They sit in the hand just right and the paper, the paper has this rough-hewn pulpy feel like a mass-market paperback you picked up from a spinner rack instead of that glossy slick you get from so many self-published books like too many (wonderfully, eminently playable) small-press RPGs. —It only took me 22 business days, plus shipping, to do it, since apparently what with the raging pandemic and all there’s been something of an impact on our ability to order and print and place books on demand, but hey.

So! You can certainly order them through me, which would make me ineffably happy, but your local library, or an independent bookstore, might also appreciate the nod, and anyway, them? Being plugged into the way things are? Might move it all along a little faster, because, what takes me, the publisher, 22 business days to deliver, the river insists would only take 11 to 17.

A perspective of privilege.

Donald Trump, Jr., says he’s assembled some pages from his anti-Biden Burn Book into a tome that he’ll self-publish to “send a shot across the bow” of traditional publishing, and oh, honey, let me stop you right there. —When I say I’m self-publishing to send a shot across the bow of traditional publishing, everybody laughs, because the shot’s at most a limp spit-wad that can’t even make it from the back row of the classroom, much less across any multinational bows, but when you say you’re self-publishing, Junior, everybody laughs, because your shot across the bow is apparently so appallingly self-evidently spectacularly self-owningly shitty that the world-famous influence suck-ups of Regnery Publishing can’t even be bothered to launder a bribe through bookclub-to-landfill purchases. —You’ll still make a gasping fortune, you failson fuck, enough that would more than better the lives of dozens of others so much better than ever you could be, but hey: we’ll still be able to laugh at you, long after you toddle your fortuneless way to that bourne from which no traveler returns.

Meanwhile.

“My family and colleagues told me that when I have kids, I’ll think about the separations differently, but I don’t think so. DHS sent me to the border to see the separations for myself, to try to make me more compassionate, but it didn’t work.”

“It didn’t work? I will never forget what I saw. —Seriously. Are you a white nationalist?”

“No, but I believe if you come to America, you should assimilate. Why do we need to have ‘Little Havana’?”

Katie Miller, press secretary to Republican Vice President Mike Pence, in conversation with NBC News reporter Jacob Soboroff

As a rule of thumb, anyone so glib and presumptuous as to brush off as “ugliness and bigotry” the enduring political and moral legacy of William F. Buckley Jr. has, for that reason alone, no business involving himself in Republican affairs.

Matthew Scully, proudly stood athwart what he thinks to be history

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains—

“In this formulation of society, what matters is what generates a ‘culture’ that leaves ‘us [writers] room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes.’ A little dabble of transphobia to get the blood flowing, as it were. A letter more attuned to material reality might observe that, for most people, there is little, if any, ‘room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes’ in modern society. Most Americans are an unexpected medical bill or car crash away from bankruptcy. Black people, in particular, need not even actually engage in any ‘experimentation, risk taking, or mistakes’ for their lives to be ruined, or taken from them. What was Tamir Rice’s mistake? Breonna Taylor’s? But the ability of non-writers to make mistakes without being ground to dust by the economy and the state is not ‘the lifeblood of a liberal society.’ People are not the lifeblood of the letter’s ideal society. No, it is J.K. Rowling’s tweets that are the lifeblood of society. Not, you know, actual lives or actual blood.” —Julius the Intern

Things fall apart.

“The US’s decline started with little things,” is how they tease the article, which, I mean, “little things,” but hey, it’s Bloomberg, they’re trying, so you’re reading your way down the list, empty construction sites, okay, capricious hospital bills, sure, and, uh—

Bloomberg’s Opinion.

—I mean, I know the rich are different from you an’ me, but do they really want to go and flaunt it in the dek like that?

Six percent! Mothering fuck.

Anyway. —Any decline in the United States isn’t starting, it’s accelerating, signed by things that are anything but little—and the heights from which we’re falling were only ever notional for just about most everybody. The City was only ever Shining thanks to the efforts of folks who were never allowed to live in it, and the Hill it’s built on’s a rotten foundation, prone to subsidence with the slightest shock. Forget Bloomberg; Tressie McMillan Cottom has much more pertinent things to say about the pandemic, and the always already cracks it’s made impossible to ignore.