Sunday, January 08, 2006

Whoops, I Did It Again!

Well, I checked in with Dr. Idi Amin, my dentist, at the end of the week, and I am recovering. I've weened myself off painkillers, except for Vitamin A, Advil, when my jaw send me my 2AM wake-up call. With the new laptop up and running, I've pretty much stopped hemoraging cash. I've started working on the first SG audio podcast, and along with the techies at The Outdoor Channel, we're working on downloadable video podcasts of our shows.

The only thing missing is the entire contents of the Michael B. Firearms Contingency Fund, in essense the money I use to buy guns. Sigh...

Then, as if by hand of the occult, a letter arrived last week, from some Authors' Registry organization in Europe. I figured they wanted me to give them some money to list me as a Famous Author, but I opened the envelope anyway. A check fell out. A check for almost $1000. I read the reems of paperwork that came with the check and discovered that numerous universities in England and Europe use my book, White Boy Singing the Blues, as a "tool" for understanding American culture. White Boys, incidentally, has been called by an actually credible library journal as "one of the best books ever written on rock and roll and culture." It's taught in numerous universities (I actually took a test on White Boys in a University of Colorado class...and failed) and has been the subject of numerous Masters amd PhD theses...I've read a few...it's really creepy..."If we exterpolate Mr. Bane's concepts to the society at large"...etc. etc. In a small corner of the academic world, I am bizarrely enough "respected."

So, of course, my publisher took the book out of print. They hired another one of those rocket scientist sensible shoes/plaid skirt/cream sweaters university graduates, who sent me a note that read, "We are taking your book out of print so we can republish important music journalism from Nick Tosches and Peter Guralnick." Wow! She must be BIG FUN on a date! "You're nice, but you don't have nearly the sex appeal of my Fah-ther!"

What's funny, of course, is that both Nick and Peter and very old and very good friends of mine, and, yes, they are brilliant music journalists. Then again, White Boys has been lsted as, "one of the five best books ever written on rock," ironically along with books from Peter and Nick.

But until I get the book republished by the publishing company I own, Flying Dragon, White Boys is out of print.

Which is how I came to make a grand without working. The Euro universities copy pages of White Boys and distribute them to their students hungry for the "Real America." Each time they copy a page, they apparently chip a few pennies to me. When it gets to be about $1500, the copyright group that keeps tabs on such things takes out a big chunk for taking care of such things and sends me the rest.

My Sweetie said, "Get yourself something nice and try to forget Idi Amin," but I'm too conservative for that. Half the money went to replentishing my flagging savings.

The other half...

A few months ago I stopped by my favorite local gunstore, and the owner says, "Hey, I put something aside for you!"

With much ado he goes to the safe and produces a really nice short-barreled Ruger Flat-Top .357 with a wonderful set of stag grips. The gun is maybe NRA Good to Excellent, a beautiful example of late 1950s Ruger. You know I love old Rugers...

"I knew you'd want it," he says. "You don't often see Flat-Tops this nice, especially with stag grips."

He had five-and-a-half on it — high, but not a bad price for a really good Flat-Top. I suspect the days of $150 Flat-Tops/3-Screws are behind us.

I had been compiling this list of guns I "needed" for the shows — a bunch of Scandium, a SIG 220, etc. "Yet Another Old Ruger" was not on that list.

I passed, and he was shocked. "I never thought I'd see the day when you'd walk away from that good a Flat-Top," he said.

So yesterday I made a call. Do you, I ask, still have the Flat-Top with the stags? Surprisingly, he said yes he did. Seems that the 50th Anniversary Blackhawk Flat-Tops and the smaller Colt-like Vaqueros have been hot items, flying out the door, and the unintended consequence is the price of "standard" Blackhawks and Vaqueros has plummeted. So he's moving a lot of Rugers, but the old Flat-Top just sat propped up in the corner of the case while the money went to the new Flat-Tops or the cheaper NM Blackhawks and Vaqueros.

"$495 on layaway?" I asked.

"At least I know it's going to a good home," he said. "Sold."

There's a certain humor in thinking of all those Euro equivalent of pennies that went into the Flat-Top. HEY ALL YOU LITTLE WEINERS ACROSS THE POND...I TOOK YOUR MONEY AND BOUGHT A GUN! STUDY HARD!

9 comments:

Tim Burke said...

Michael-
Take some of the money and spring for AppleCare.
Take the advil before you go to bed whether you need it or not.
Glad you're feeling better.

Michael Bane said...

Thanks, Dr. Tim!

Already there on AppleCare for both my office 20-inch iMac (a great computer BTW) and the new laptop. I'd never heard of an iBook going south, so I skimped a bit and paid for it.

Buying a gun always makes me feel better!

mb

PS: See you at SHOT!

Anonymous said...

Still a few used copies of "White Boys..." in the Amazon used bookseller pipeline.

Are the prior SG season shows going to be available for video podcast download? The rest of the world is still eagerly waiting for a way to get SG episodes.

- rsr

Michael Bane said...

I'm a little disappointed in how that's worked out.

I'm told that COWBOYS and SG DVDs are now available from The Outdoor Channel for $59 per 13-show season. I'd lobbied for 3-show bundles for $9.95.

I should have WHITE BOYS back in print, with a better cover, by the beginning os second quarter. I'm also working on my rewrite of TRAIL SAFE and a version of OVER THE EDGE with a new intro.

mb

Anonymous said...

For some of us older and newer to computer people could you explain a bit about what a Podcast is and what I'll need to be able to view it?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

MB wrote:

I'm told that COWBOYS and SG DVDs are now available from The Outdoor Channel for $59 per 13-show season.

\\

Alas, they don't yet appear in The Outdoor Channel - General Store (books and videos section). Just to be sure, I checked all the other General Store sections- not hiding there either {sniff}.

Stealth merchandising :-(

I'll try looking again in a week.

- RSR

Michael Bane said...

Briefly, an audio podcast is sort of "personal radio," a regular audio show that will automatically download to your computer through a service like iTunes. Audio podcasts are usually free...mine certainoy would be. Essentially, you would "subscribe" to the podcast, and every time there was a new one it would download to your computer or MP3 player like an iPod.

A video podcast is the same thing, but with video. The video would be incoded in MPEG4, a format that compresses the huge video files, so you could watch it on your computer or on your video player (like a Video iPod). Ideally, I would like for you to be able to download an MPEG4 version of our shows to be available immediately after they stop airing. MPG4 doesn't allow you to get great images on a large screen teevee, but it looks great in a small window on a computer or on a Video iPod.

I plan to do "behind the scenes" video podcasts, which would be free (for example, my whole 2 hour interview with Jeff Cooper). You would have to pay a small amount, $2-5, for the download of one of the shows.

mb

Anonymous said...

Thnaks for the explanation I'd love to have that Cooper interview.
THis will work on a P.C. Right?

Michael Bane said...

roger that