Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Seinfeld is a jerk

So I tuned into David Letterman on Monday night because former Yankees manager Joe Torre was a scheduled guest. As an added bonus, Jerry Seinfeld was also on the show. Wow, I thought, this is great! I've been a fan of Seinfeld since the beginning. Since before the beginning—when he was just a stand-up comedian on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Seinfeld was there to promote his new animated movie, Bee Movie, about a Seinfeld-esque bee who leaves the hive and has adventure in the human world.

At one point during the interview, I was surprised that the subject of Jerry's wife's alleged plagiarism came up. Jessica Seinfeld has a cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, just published by HarperCollins, that gives recipes on how to slip healthy food into your childrens diets by mashing up veggies and such and putting them into other foods that a child is more inclined to eat, like a brownie. The problem is that The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals, a very similar book by an author named Missy Chase Lapine is already in print, published by Running Press in April 2007. At one point Lapine even submitted the book to HarperCollins, who rejected it. So when Jessica Seinfeld's book hit the shelves with a big splashy promotion budget and an appearance on Oprah, Lapine cried foul. Or more accurately, plagiarism. Which is understandable.

But on Letterman, Seinfeld explained the situation by repeatedly calling Lapine (who he didn't mention by name) a "wacko." He said "So this woman says, `I sense this could be my wacko moment.' So she comes out ... and she accuses my wife. She says, `You stole my mushed-up carrots. You can't put mushed-up carrots in a casserole. I put mushed-up carrots in a casserole. It's vegetable plagiarism.'" He even compared her to the "wackos" who have stalked David Letterman. It was actually uncomfortable to watch.

What an asshole. I realize he was going for the easy laughs, and that most people watching probably weren't aware of the specifics of the case. So they took him at his word. But fuck shit, if I submitted a book that was rejected, and then Seinfeld's wife published a very similar one with the same publisher that had rejected mine—I'd definitely point it out too. Unfortunately, that's how publishing works. People steal ideas, and yes, people also come up with the same ideas independently. But it doesn't make you a "wacko" if you want the situation looked into.

Lapine didn't deserve to be attacked so viscously on such a public platform. Isn't it enough that her idea was (allegedly) stolen by a celebrity's wife? That her book will never match the sales of someone who had the good sense to dump her husband right after the honeymoon to marry Jerry Seinfeld? Does she deserve to be labeled a "wacko"? I don't think so.

"It was painful to be called names on national TV," Lapine said, "when I am just a mom who wrote a cookbook to help parents get their kids to eat well."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

How many days till spring training?

Well, the Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs once again. I was at the game. It wasn't a fun game to watch because they were never really in it. Down 4-0 after just two innings against Cleveland's number four starter, you'd think the Yanks would bang their way right back into the game, pound away until they grabbed the lead. That's what they did in the second half of the season when they turned their year around after a dreadful 21-29 start and a 42-43 all-star break record. They were on a roll, reinvigorated with the influx of new young homegrown players like Cano, Melky, Joba, Hughes, Duncan, Kennedy.

But the Yankees just can't score in the post season anymore. And it's not the old cliche of "good pitching beats good hitting" because, in the Yanks' case, bad pitching also beats good hitting. The attack of the gnats in Game 2 didn't help, either. So it's another season lost, and another year where Yankee fans have to watch the Red Sox steamroll their way through the post season without us there to stop them.

Changes are coming soon to the Yankees. A lot of players are free agents, including Mariano, Posada, and soon-to-be MVP ARod, if he opts out of his contract. Plus Joe Torre has probably managed his last game in NY. But the future is still promising. The kids are here already and they're the real thing. Cano is 25 and had 97 RBI. Melky (23) took the CF job away from Damon. Hughes is 21 and was 5-3, and will be in the rotation next year. Joba is also 21 and will be a starter next year. With Wang and Pettitte (if he exercises his option) heading up the rotation, that's a damn strong first 4. Mussina will hang around as the fifth starter since he is still under contract.

But who will manage? Despite a rumor about Tony LaRussa, the two obvious choices still are Don Mattingly and Joe Girardi. I'd like to see Girardi since he has managerial experience. Or maybe John Tuturro can reprise his role as Billy Martin from Bronx Is Burning and bring home the pennant once again.

It's gonna be a long off-season.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sony blowing a good chance?

So, Sony announced today that they have a new version of the Sony Reader. They launched the original version a year or two ago, didn't know how to market it, and it didn't sell very well. Now they are back with an updated version, hoping to catch lightning by having the first real reader out there to capture the digital market in its infancy. Great idea. I'm all for a digital revolution. Oh, I'll always love to hold a real book in my hands, feel the pages, smell the pulp, stare at the cover art. But that will only be on special occasions, for the books that I know I want to have in my collection, on my shelves, a part of my apartment's decor. The rest I can keep as digital files, to read whenever, wherever, bring along while on vacation, say, or to just have less stuff cluttering my living space.

But Sony isn't letting me be part of the digital revolution.

Why not? Because the Reader isn't compatible with Apple computers. And I'm a Mac user. Only if you have a PC can you use the Reader. Has the wildly successful iPod taught Sony nothing? They are blowing a great chance to take over a new market. Will the Reader go the way of the Betamax tape if Apple decides to do their own version of the Reader and completely obliterate any other competition?

We'll see.


This was the email I was going to shoot off to Sony, before I realized that they have no email contact information anywhere on their site. Hmmm, I wonder why?

It's good to see a company leading the way in the digital book revolution, but when is the Reader going to be available in a Mac version? Surely the success of the iPod has taught you something. Mac users are forward thinkers, creative people, and by not having an Apple version, you are losing many potential customers. Maybe you are waiting for Apple to put out their version of the Reader so they can steal your customers?