Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for March 2013

Easter Parade

easter5

The Easter Parade is an event in which a few bold and creative people wear Easter costumes, and a much larger number of people gawk at them.

Nevertheless, when Charles Murray implied, in his quiz from the book Coming Apart, that bobos don’t participate in parades, he was clearly wrong about that. In addition to this parade, there’s the Halloween Parade and the Mermaid Parade.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Bobos, Photography

Susan Patton’s letter to the Daily Princetonian

It seems to be missing from the Daily Princetonian website, but you can read the entire letter at the Daily Mail.

Princeton graduate Maureen O’Connor’s (born in 1985 so maybe class of 2007?) reaction at New York Magazine is one of vile hatred. I think that Susan Patton probably has pretty good advice, and maybe in 30 years, Maureen will realize that.

Meanwhile, I have to wonder about some of Maureen’s assertions, such as “Some of the dumbest and most intellectually incurious people I’ve known were in my class at Princeton.” Is Maureen living in some kind of bubble? None of the dumbest people I know went to an Ivy League school, but I get to interact with a lot of regular people. Maybe if everyone you know graduated from Ivy League colleges, then it may seem that some of the dumbest people you know were at Princeton.

* * *

It should be pointed out again that the highest bobo value is self-actualization though one’s career, and that Patton violated a Princetonian taboo about publicly exclaiming how superior they are; it’s a secret they are supposed to just keep among themselves.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 31, 2013 at 12:13 am

Wedding photography in the NY Times

There were two articles in the NY Times last week about wedding photography. For Photographers, Competition Gets Fierce and Vying for a Shot of the Wedding.

Once upon a time wedding photography provided a decent middle class income for men who weren’t especially skilled or artistic, but who possessed the necessary equipment and know-how. The business model that became standard was that the price for shooting the wedding would be low-balled, and they’d make it up by selling overpriced albums and prints, which brides would be forced to buy because the contract stipulated that the photographer retained all rights to the photos as well as the negatives (remember negatives?). A big payday would come to the photographer when, post-wedding, some bride bought an unexpectedly large number of prints at a high markup.

While that business model always rubbed consumers the wrong way, it has gotten even worse in the digital era in which many bride or grooms are used to dealing with digital files and printing themselves, and thus there’s an even greater desire to own the original. And when one can easily make a 100% accurate copy of a digital file, the photographer’s argument about keeping the negative “safe” obviously doesn’t fly anymore.

So anyway, the wedding photography market, like most other markets, is bifurcating. There are high-end wedding photographers who charge lots of money shooting weddings of wealthy people, and I suspect at this end of the market business is better than it ever was.

But there is little demand for more middle-of-the-road wedding photographers. If you can’t get the rich-people weddings, you are probably doomed to being a “shoot and burn” photographer, meaning you charge often less than $1000 to do a wedding, and then burn the photos onto a DVD. No fancy wedding album and no money from selling prints at jacked up prices.

As I previously wrote, wedding photographers today are a lot more likely to be women. More women are happy to make a few extra thousand dollars a year working at a job that involves weddings and can be done on weekends when they have someone else to watch their kids.

Because digital photography is easier to self-learn than film photography, there are lower barriers to entry, and lower barriers to entry always means less profit for everyone making a profit.

* * *

The other wedding article is about how at some weddings, guests are encourages to share their own wedding photos using apps or websites. But on the other hand, at some wedding they are requesting guest to “unplug” so that they can watch the ceremony without taking photos with their smartphones.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 29, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Photography

Lawrence Auster, 1949-2013

Lawrence Auster, author the blog View from the Right, died today.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

iPad review

It has been pointed out that I never reviewed the iPad.

Well, it’s a great device and has a fabulous LCD screen. It’s great for reading books; the screen is a lot nicer than my several-years-old Sony e-reader. It’s great for reading the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal using their apps, if you are willing to pay a subscription. It’s great for reading blog comments because there’s a great WordPress app. It’s great for viewing photos. It’s only just good for watching movies and TV because most shows are in 16:9 format and the iPad is 4:3, and because it gets heavy holding it, and it’s very shiny so the headphone wire reflects off the glass. But the quality of the LCD is great, great color accuracy and very little sensitivity to viewing angle.

The iPad is too heavy to carry around though, and you couldn’t read it while standing up on a subway. Maybe there’s a case to be made for the iPad mini, which I don’t own.

I haven’t found any great games to play on the iPad. Clash of Clans got boring and pointless. Maybe I’m just too old to enjoy games.

The iPad only plays mp4 videos. You have to buy (or find a free) app if you want to watch stuff in AVI format, and even then it still might not work if it has a certain audio codec which Apple doesn’t allow. Come on Apple, why doesn’t it have native support for other formats?

The iPad has the same built-in camera as the iPod Touch. Neither camera is as good as the camera in the iPhone 5. I can’t imagine actually using a huge iPad to take pictures. I think the camera is just unnecessarily adding to the manufacturing cost.

I like iOS devices a LOT better than Android devices. Android, frankly, sucks.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Technology

Rich Chinese woman buys $6.5 million condo in Manhattan

Peter from Long Island advised me of this story. The rich Chinese woman claims it was for her 2-year-old daughter, just in case she attends college at Columbia.

What’s also interesting is the quote from the real estate broker, who apparently only deals with the super-high-end Manhattan condo market. He says that 25% of his clients are Chinese. This confirms what some commenters have been telling me, that these super-luxury condo buildings in Manhattan are primarily for foreigners.

Where do rich Americans live then? Pre-war co-ops?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 28, 2013 at 11:11 am

Posted in New York City

Grouping students by ability: probably won’t happen very often

There’s an article at the Atlantic hinting that grouping students by ability may be making a comeback (hat tip Gucci Little Piggy), but I doubt very much that this will make much of a comeback. Grouping students by ability is inherently racist. Therefore, the only way to ensure your children are in a class with other students of good ability and behavior is to be wealthy enough so you can afford to send them to a quality private school.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 28, 2013 at 9:45 am

Posted in Education

6.5% inflation

At Lenny’s (a chain of takeout sandwich shops) the least expensive sandwich, which cost $7.50 last week, costs $7.99 this week.

How much does a sandwich cost in flyover country?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Only stupid tourists pay full price

In the news today, greedy class-action lawyers are suing the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its deceptive “recommended” admission fee:

If you still feel guilty about not paying the full price, consider that the museum receives annual grants from the city without paying taxes or rent, has a $2.5 billion investment portfolio, and uses admissions to cover only 11 percent of its operating costs. Six in ten Met tourists don’t pay the full $25, but as the AP reporting reveals, many of the people who don’t pay are locals who know they don’t have to, while it’s the unwitting out-of-towners who get yoked into chucking up the full price. Third-party websites don’t say the fee is recommended.

I actually agree with the spirit of the lawsuit, they are pretty sneaky about making it appear to tourists that you have to pay $25. The idea that you could just pay a penny seems too good to be true. But it’s really true. (Because paying a penny feels too cheap, I always pay a dollar.)

However, it annoys me that some greedy class-action lawyers are going to make a lot of money if they win the lawsuit, but the terms of the settlement won’t benefit any actual duped tourists.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Law

Journalists who report crime become victims of crime

This is an amusing story from the NY Times from earlier this month:

OAKLAND, Calif. — In recent months, journalists covering crime and other stories here have themselves become victims of crime, robbed of expensive cameras, sometimes at gunpoint.

Laura Oda, the chief photographer for The Oakland Tribune, has been robbed of her photographer equipment while on assignment twice since last August in Oakland.

In less than a year, every major television news station in the Bay Area has been a victim, some more than once. One experienced newspaper photographer has lost five cameras.

In the most brazen episode, a group of men punched a KPIX-TV cameraman last November while he was filming at midday in front of an Oakland high school. The robbers fled with his camera while it was still recording.

Apparently, Oakland is some kind of bad neighborhood.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Underclass

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