bookmark_borderAmazon Ranking, – wherefore art thou brains? Thou hast filled them with shit and verily I say unto you, thou hast really fucked up. Again.

Here’s the short story: has a thing called “ranking” that is based on the number of sales. So the higher a book is on that sale, the more likely the books is to show up on various related pages. The lower a book’s sale ranking, the less likely it will show up anywhere, including searches. Sounds reasonable in some realities. The problem now is that has decided to de-rank a bunch of books that they consider “adult”. Again, sounds reasonable in some realities.

However, and this is a big however, their concept of “adult” is very narrow. Almost all GLBTQ books have been de-ranked. Not just the erotica, but romance and non-fiction. Playboy’s books are still up there as are Kuschiel’s Dart (and related books). Why are they not considered “Adult” and have their rankings removed?

I could go on but I won’t. Instead, read more from these fine folks:

Okazu: Amazon De-ranks “Adult” Books
In Protest of Amazon’s new “adult” policy (an online petition site; the information is in the small, scrollable window at the top and you can click the “view whole petition” link on the left)
Mark Probst – Amazon Follies
Booksquare’s “Open Letter to Amazon Regarding Recent Policy Changes”
Kelley Eskridge – Tell Amazon They Are Wrong

And the Smart Bitches have gotten in on it, too. As someone else said, “Heaven help Amazon now!”. With their post “Amazon Rank”, they’ve come up with the perfect solution. A non-violent, non-name calling, mature method based on proven results: a Google bomb. A Google bomb is when folks across the great Internet use similar words that all link to the same thing. This worked well a while back when some of us had trouble from a nasty pseudo-agent. Every time her name was mentioned, a link was used to point to an article proving her lack of ethics. This meant that any search for her name resulted in the article being in the top five or so of the search results. The idea was to warn any newbie writer to stay away from her.

The Smart Bitches have created a new definition to go into the Internet lexicons: Amazon Rank. The idea is that whenever someone uses the term Amazon Rank, they link back to the page they created that has the definition. Try it now. Go to Google and type in Amazon Rank. What pops up first? Other search engines don’t react as quickly to this kind of trend. But they will.

Here is a screenshot of a Harry Potter book set:

Now here is my book:

So, bad example to use mine anyway since it never got very far up the rankings. Here is Lee Lynch’s “The Swashbuckler”. A classic that has been around a long time so it should have a decent rank, right?

Funny thing is, other books that somehow got rankings outside the Lesbian/Gay bits still have rankings showing. Here’s Brenda Adcock’s “The Sea Hawk”.

I was about to make a big purchase from Amazon. I was going to get two music CDs, several books, and an iTouch. The shopping cart total sits at about $600. Not now. There are other places to shop from. Depending on how they handle this, I may never shop there again. If my queer book isn’t good enough to be in the rankings, then my queer money isn’t good enough to line their pockets.

bookmark_borderDTV and FCC

Alphabet soup, anyone?

The FCC chairman has spoken against delaying the switch from analog to digital television signals. Wonder if it is because those who have paid the FCC roughly $19 billion are complaining in his ear?

FCC chairman: DTV delay could cause confusion


LAS VEGAS (AP) – Postponing the turnoff of analog TV broadcasts beyond the scheduled date, Feb. 17, could confuse consumers, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission warned Saturday.

Oh, you mean more confused than we already are?

“There are options they can do without having to delay to get coupons flowing immediately,” Martin said. Congress could give the program additional funding, or eliminate the 90-day expiration deadline on the coupons, he said.

And how would that help? Really, how would it help?

“I’m concerned about a delay in the sense that if you can solve that issue other ways, a delay has actually the potential to confuse consumers,” said Martin, a Republican. “All of our messaging has been about Feb. 17 – not just ours – the industry’s.”

The Feb. 17 date has been widely advertised by local TV stations.


Democratic FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, speaking at a panel discussion at the show, said he understood the call for a delay.

“This program has been badly mismanaged. It’s not ready for prime time,” he said. “There are so many elements of the preparation that have not been undertaken … We don’t have program in place in the field to help people who need assistance in their homes. The phone banks are inadequately prepared.”

The “show” they mention in the article is the International Consumer Electronics Show. How awful to have to be in Las Vegas, right Mr. Martin? We consumers are wondering, though, just whose money did you put down on the blackjack table?

bookmark_borderAnalog to Digital

I have long thought that the switch from analog to digital television signals was a mistake. Somebody is making money from this. Why else do it? And that group making the money is the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) which has made roughly $19 billion (yes, billion) from the sale of the wireless frequencies analog television occupies. The FCC has been auctioning off spectrum slots/sections. A local example is what happened to a rock station here in Asheville a few years ago. WZLS had the rights, allotted by the FCC, to a radio frequency. However, the FCC later auctioned that frequency and WZLS and its friends didn’t have the funds to keep it. After a lengthy legal battle, the station was forced off the air. What this means is that only those groups or individuals with the funds can be assured of frequency allotments. Public radio has also suffered as high income church groups buy up their frequencies and push them off the air. (we all know Satan is heavily involved in the public radio segment, right?)

Then came the news that the coupon program (the gov’t offered coupons to help the purchase of converter boxes for people who use antennas) has run out of money. They were allowed only $1.34 billion to go toward those coupons. (19 – 1.34 = 17.66) The FCC has given grants toward educating the public (roughly 10 million in-house for their call center and 8.4 million for 12 groups such as the AARP). So subtract 18.4 million from the 17.66 billion (no clue how to do this myself) and you can see that there’s still nearly 17 billion US dollars available….somewhere.

Source for data: Coupon woes are only part of digital TV concerns

bookmark_borderAirport Security

An article over at WiredNews has me thinking.Let me explain. If you’re caught at airport security with a bomb or a gun, the screeners aren’t just going to take it away from you. They’re going to call the police, and you’re going to be stuck for a few hours answering a lot of awkward questions. You may be arrested, and you’ll almost certainly miss your flight. At best, you’re going to have a very unpleasant day.

Airport Pasta-Sauce Interdiction Considered Harmful

Airport security found a jar of pasta sauce in my luggage last month. It was a 6-ounce jar, above the limit; the official confiscated it, because allowing it on the airplane with me would have been too dangerous. And to demonstrate how dangerous he really thought that jar was, he blithely tossed it in a nearby bin of similar liquid bottles and sent me on my way.


This is why articles about how screeners don’t catch every — or even a majority — of guns and bombs that go through the checkpoints don’t bother me. The screeners don’t have to be perfect; they just have to be good enough. No terrorist is going to base his plot on getting a gun through airport security if there’s decent chance of getting caught, because the consequences of getting caught are too great.

Contrast that with a terrorist plot that requires a 12-ounce bottle of liquid. There’s no evidence that the London liquid bombers actually had a workable plot, but assume for the moment they did. If some copycat terrorists try to bring their liquid bomb through airport security and the screeners catch them — like they caught me with my bottle of pasta sauce — the terrorists can simply try again. They can try again and again. They can keep trying until they succeed. Because there are no consequences to trying and failing, the screeners have to be 100 percent effective. Even if they slip up one in a hundred times, the plot can succeed.

(link to full article)

What the author of the article is missing is something my brother and I thought of last year when we all flew to Orlando. They flew there from Philly, I came from Charlotte. We met in the Orlando airport. At that point, we’d all already gone through security checkpoints. We’d all been cleared and have the legal amount of allowable liquids.

What Kev and I thought of was this: including the kids, there were 5 of us, each with potentially 3-9oz of liquid. That’s a total of 15-45oz of liquid. All beyond the security check point. All from two different airports standing around in a 3rd airport. What’s to keep someone from collecting the liquids from the others and getting in a plane with enough to do whatever it is they can do with it?

Or are we missing something in this liquid terrorist hoopla? Do they swipe the quart bags for explosives like they do my dangerous CPAP machine and the laptops?

bookmark_borderBigfoot Update

From MyWay News:

Researcher says bigfoot just a rubber gorilla suit
Aug 19, 8:01 PM (ET)

ATLANTA (AP) – Turns out Bigfoot was just a rubber suit. Two researchers on a quest to prove the existence of Bigfoot say that the carcass encased in a block of ice – handed over to them for an undisclosed sum by two men who claimed to have found it – was slowly thawed out, and discovered to be a rubber gorilla outfit.

The revelation comes just days after a much ballyhooed news conference was held in California to proclaim that the remains of the creature found in the North Georgia mountains was the legendary man-ape.

Steve Kulls, executive director of and host of Squatchdetective Radio, says in a posting on a Web site run by Bigfoot researcher Tom Biscardi that as the “evidence” was thawed, the claim began to unravel as a giant hoax.

First, the hair sample was burned and “melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair,” Kulls said in the posting.

The thawing process was sped up and the exposed head was found to be “unusually hollow in one small section.” An hour of thawing later and the feet were exposed – and they were found to be made of rubber.

Snort. Of course it was a hoax.

The end of the article is the best, in my opinion:

On Tuesday, Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner said he has not spoken to Whitton but processed paperwork to fire him.

“Once he perpetrated a fraud, that goes into his credibility and integrity,” Turner said. “He has violated the duty of a police officer.”


bookmark_borderGuess Who Came to Dinner?

Mary Cheney and girlfriend dine at White House

A diverse crowd showed up for Wednesday night’s lavish White House dinner honoring newlyweds Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

First daughter Jenna Bush brought her boyfriend, and Mary Cheney brought her girlfriend.

Now, bet that was the topic of conversation before, during and after. 😀