July 20, 2010

Cromwell Dixon on History Detectives

It was fun to watch the History Detectives piece on Cromwell Dixon. They didn't use any of my graphics, but then my expectations were low, even though they had requested a graphics release form from the publisher.

Even Martin Kidston, the main Dixon biographer scarcely got more than 45 seconds of airtime... and no image of his book cover. I thought it a bit odd that the History Detectives didn't just get on Facebook, where they could quickly get in touch with the actual living relatives of Cromwell Dixon. Instead they seemed to take a more circuitous route of discovery. Perhaps one might speculate that for the astute History Detective, the instant connection of Facebook might make it all too easy... and they were in need of a challenge.

But I was interested to see this spike of the website stats this morning! I quite agree with the premise of the program that Cromwell Dixon is one of America's forgotten pioneers of aviation. Still, the wisdom of the chain stores to decide to not allow this book on their shelves seems a wise one.. who is to question corporate wisdom? I'm sure the corporate book buyers decided that today's modern child has no interest in dusty old things like bicycles flying up a mile over Columbus Ohio!

My favorite parts were the photos of Cromwell, many of which I'd never seen. The one picture in particular seems to capture the spirit of Dixon's innate mechanical genius and determination.

Imagine... a boy of 14 who built his own flying bicycle!

I think they have an app for that now, so today's kids don't have to leave the couch and get up to that sort of mischief.


July 12, 2010

Summer Morning & Fruitopia

Summer morning... the most beautiful phrase in the english language. William James erroneously said that 'summer afternoon' was the most beautiful phrase, but he probably didn't get up at with the sun.

Yes, it's that time of year again... Fruitopia.

After all the ballyhoo about the iPad taking over everything to do with the printed page... I find it to be reassuring as a professional book maker to read this article which is drawn from conclusions of a study of half a million readers.

The implications of the findings are that students using real books do significantly better in school than students using e-books. Long live real paper and real artists. (40% better).

"It’s not the physical presence of the books that produces the biggest impact, she suggested. It’s the change in the way the students see themselves as they build a home library. They see themselves as readers, as members of a different group."

July 1, 2010

Theoretical pastimes...

With the endless days of rain and gloom here in Seattle, I've decided to think up a new summertime sport to match the climate. There is a limit as to how long one can stay cooped up inside, after all.

This pastime might be known as 'lawn rolling'. Lawn rolling consists of heading bravely out into inclement weather for a good roll in the rain soaked grass.

The technique is really very simple. One simply stretches out, with arms held down by one's side and begins to roll. Don't ask me how it's done... it's easier to just do it than explain how.

Variants on lawn rolling might include cross country rolling, uphill rolling, downhill rolling, obstacle course rolling, tall grass rolling, long distance rolling... etc.

Eventually it might even become an olympic sport. There could be speed rolling, the 50 yard roll and even marathon rolling.

Since it's so hard to find anything that's dry and warm around here, we ought to simply embrace wetness and cold! The one rule is that it must always be raining and grey.

I spent the other day out in the rain scrubbing down the porch and stairs. I guess that gave me the idea for the whole idea.
Embrace the wetness... get out in it and roll!