Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Huge Success Story

Harry Potter is about to hit the bookstores and quickly jump into readers’ hands at 12:01 Saturday, July 21st. This 7th and last book in J.K. Rowling’s series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has already accumulated pre-orders of 2 million books, well above the previous record of the 6th Potter book.

The book has been Number One on Amazon for many days over the last six months or more. A few times it may have been bumped from first place for a short-lived book. According to the July 9 issue of Publishers Weekly, the book has had the highest number of Amazon pre-orders in history, one million books! The 12 million first printing is expected to fly off shelves, and although I haven’t heard, I would guess it may be into a second printing or will be before long.

The Harry Potter Series of the six prior books have sold 27.7 million books in the U.S. alone, and 22.5 copies in the UK. In addition it has been translated into more than 63 languages, with German and Japanese editions doing especially well, resulting in worldwide copies of the series so far, reaching 325 million copies. You can imagine how that figure will jump as the new publication is translated in coming months.

As we know, there are always people out there who will try and ruin things for others. Her UK publisher Bloomsbury is taking immediate legal action as a result of leaks and breaking of the on-sale legal agreements, with information of the book popping up on the Internet. Scholastic, her U.S. publisher, issued a statement asking fans to "please not spoil the book for the rest of we Harry Potter fans who are eagerly awaiting the final installment of the Harry Potter series and to help ‘preserve the fun and excitement for fans everywhere’."

Rowling has posted this message on her website as of July 18:

"We are almost there! As launch night looms, let’s all, please ignore the misinformation popping up on the web and in the press on the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’d like to ask everyone who calls themselves a Potter fan to help preserve the secrecy of the plot for all those who are looking forward to reading the book at the same time on publication day. In a very short time you will know EVERYTHING!"

I’ve been happy for J.K. Rowling’s success as a writer, and it has turned out to be quite an incredible success. She is richer than the Queen of England and the # 2 richest in the entertainer category, just behind Oprah. J.K. Rowling is the highest earning novelist in literary history and it is well deserved.

From the first I heard of her Harry Potter book, I have been intrigued how the story came to her during a four hour train ride. Not just the idea for a book, but the plot for a series of seven books! And the "dream" came to her when she was down-and-out as a struggling, single mother. A beautiful success story!

It’s so ironic and, I suppose, satisfying to me that the books have been such a world-wide success after the outcry from some religious groups and others who wanted the books banned. It is a good example how those outcries were based on fear, and control, instead of looking at Harry Potter and gang as a magical and fictional fantasy story of good, enjoyable (and harmless) entertainment enjoyed by children and adults, alike.

Google presently lists 4,780,000 references to the title Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That shows how powerful words are.

As Lord Byron said years ago: "Words are things; and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions think."

~ Linda

Next Food Network Star Coming Up.

The Next Food Network Star competition is down to the final two on Sunday night. I’ve enjoyed the show this year as much as I did last season’s.

I had been cheering for contestant Paul McCullough, a self-taught chef and successful caterer from Los Angeles. I was very disappointed when he was eliminated as I thought he had the best personality and stage presence and would have been enjoyable to watch on a cooking show.

Jag, the contestant who was chosen one of the final two, the other being Rory Schepisi, was not a favorite at all. Although he seemed to be a very good cook, his personality appeared somewhat unpredictable. I doubt he would have been the best choice for a show. And as it turned out he left the show when it was discovered he had fudged on personal information he had given the Food Network. It’s too bad, but I imagine he will have other opportunities in his career.

Amy Finley, the third in line, was brought back and the final vote is now between Rory and Amy. Although Amy has done well, and seems fairly good in front of the camera, the theme of her cooking appears to be more gourmet and French than I am interested in. Rory’s cooking theme is more every day, down to earth, and I believe I would prefer to watch her show. And because she was chosen as finalist, I think she deserves to win. We’ll see what happens Sunday after the viewer vote is counted. (I fooled around and didn’t get my vote for Rory).

My favorite Food Network Show is Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa. I enjoy her quiet style and manner. I also like Paula Deen. Paula is forever humorous and never boring. Next would be Rachel Ray, Michael Chiarello, Bobby Flay, and Emeril Lagasse. I also like Iron Chef. I’m far from a gourmet cook, and I don’t cook seafood, so often the dishes prepared are not what I’m interested in cooking, or eating, for that matter.

I am also watching Bravo’s Top Chef again. I like the judges, and the challenge’s are really challenges! Amazing how they come through on some of those challenges.

These two reality shows are the kind I like. (Also American Idol and Dancing With the Stars). I’ve been watching American Inventor again this season. This weekend, Home and Garden TV’s Design Star’s new season begins, so I will be catching that one, also.

It seems my TV throughout the day is most always on Food Network or Home and Garden if not on the cable news, MSNBC or CNN. I do get a lot of reruns though, even on the news channels.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Michael Moore Blitzes Blitzer, CNN, the Media, and Dr. Gupta's Comments

Michael Moore’s appearance on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and last night on Larry King with Dr. Gupta is exactly why I have respect for Moore and his work. He is brilliant and has passion for what is right.
See interviews at Michael Moore's website:

I look forward to seeing Sicko soon, and I plan to buy it on DVD. It’s people such as Michael Moore who have a platform at their toe-tips to climb upon with passion and address the slanted (or lack of) news, the corruption, special interests (oil, pharmaceutical, insurance, automakers, etc.) and inadequacies we have in this country (and elsewhere). I have been on my tiny platform blogging about the lack of responsibility of the news media, the "art" of distraction of the administration and media, and everyone I know is so fed up with what the media presents repeatedly day in and day out. Paris Hilton being the most recent example. People have nonchalantly accepted for too long.

It occurred to me a long time ago, in the hot August summer of 1962, during the Watts Riot that the TV stations were giving slanted news, in that case, the local Los Angeles TV stations. I also had a mother-in-law during those early years who believed every word she read in the newspaper without question, even though it would be brought to her attention by those in the know that the article was not factual. But she would dismiss that and say the "paper said...." Makes me again wonder how many people either ignore any news, or only listen to sound bites, and never investigate stories on their own. I suppose polls that show 18 % of people, even now, believe that Saddam Hussein is the one who caused and carried out 9-11, tells us how some people don’t look for answers, and buy into all the slanted news or actions of their administration without question or further fact checking, or maybe just don’t give a darn what is happening to their country.

We deserve universal medical care in this country. Hillary tried very hard to get it going but was shot down a few years ago. I never dreamed I would be anxious to turn sixty five so I could have Medicare. For the last four years I have been paying $15,100 a year for my group medical insurance premiums, and a couple of my medications were not even covered. In three weeks I get Medicare coverage. With AARP supplemental and Part D RX, it will now cost me less than $2000 a year. I have had medical insurance since I was 18 years old, and always refused to have an HMO, and when I moved back to CA and learned what my premiums would be I tried to get Blue Cross and was turned down. I was without insurance for a month and was in a panic. I know you know well the medical insurance situation and cost of drugs. It is shameful the drug companies spend billions on advertising and will not lower drug prices, and that the insurance companies control our lives, the amount of medical care we receive, and when we receive it. And some think their doctors are Gods, and do not question treatment, refuse treatment, or demand second opinions.

I admire those such as Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, Elizabeth Edwards, Anderson Cooper, Keith Olbermann, Lou Dobbs, Gen. Wesley Clark, Jimmy Carter, Angelina Jolie, Bono, Madonna, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jon Bon Jovi, Bill Gates; Melissa Etheridge, Oprah, and a few others who speak out boldly about world wide issues and hopefully give people something to think about. I may not always agree with each of them on all issues, but I like what they stand for:

Boldly Speaking Out.
Positive Action for the Benefit of Others.
Are Visionary Thinkers.
Do Charitable Work.
Challenge the Apparent Wrongs.
Have Humanitarian and Spiritual Values.
Use their Platform for Positive Outcomes.
Passion for What They Believe In.

Those are reasons they have my respect and admiration. I mention John Edwards’ wife here because she confronted (with calmness and respect) Ann Coulter about the hateful and outrageous comments that Coulter repeatedly writes in her books and says on TV appearances. And I blame the media for giving Coulter the platform to spread hate and falsehoods.

Elizabeth Edwards is a classy, intelligent, compassionate, and sincere woman, and I would love to see her as First Lady.

For some people in this country, it has taken four years to think, to pay attention, and come to the conclusion the Iraq war was wrong. There are still about 23% who do not believe the war has gone badly. (Apparently G. W. Bush is one of the 23 % as he just stated, we will "win this fight in Iraq.")

It’s too bad we couldn’t have a country where there was equality and respect for every person, and where political affiliation was out of the picture and our government representatives did not have self-interest, special interest, as their motivating factor, and corruption, greed, and power were absent. A world like that is only a figment of our imagination, I guess. But we can dream....of that kind of world for our grandchildren, if only they pay attention and keep their eyes open, they may move a little closer to that fantasy, that now seems so lost to us.