clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, January 11, 2015

No Sugar Added? Where's the Fun in That?

AT left, a photo entitled: Portion Schokolade im Café Tomaselli, Salzburg  as found in wikicommons as taken by Andreas Praefcke.

Mr. Praefcke, if you see this use know I am standing and applauding. Wonderful work, and so say all of us!

Mr. Praefcke's work has a whole narrative.

Not only is the subject present - an elegant hot chocolate presented in the right mix of workaday utility and refined contemplation - but we have the newspaper, the table, and at the very edge we have a taste of the room in which the repast is hosted.

All we're missing is the weary international spy about to meet his fifteenth useless contact this month who will have nothing to add about silent sleeper cells being activated in the latest wave of terror alarm.

The French are going to be made to look foolish in the press. They already are being made to look foolish if you read the NYT. They ended some surveillance and got burned when Bad Things Happen. [ Apologies Harry Dolan, wherever you are. Buy Harry's book. Plug. Plug. See? The blog is almost like watching Letterman. In a good way.].

Most intelligence work is horribly routine and dull. A great deal of the work is done in the back office coordinating disperate facts into confirmations and contradictions. Sometimes, the conclusions one can draw are ambiguous. Sometimes, these conclusions are unambiguous but incorrect.

It's a bloody mess to an accountant because there isn't a good alignment of evidence.

The goal of good fieldwork isn't to develop a network of confidential informants that, say, the DEA might use. The goal is to gain access to individuals who will provide primary source evidence about facts of interest to the state.

It's like writing a dissertation for a doctorate in history.

Your adviser reading your chapters is really going to want primary sources. A re-harsh of previously reported material is not as meaningful as conclusions drawn from information provided by primary sources: individuals and artifacts present at the events you study.

That's a bit harder than it looks in spookland. Sometimes, finding the individuals that can provide what you want is hard. Sometimes it is hard because your source doesn't know who that next-level contact might be.

The French had a problem in acquiring and assimilating intelligence. They got burned. At least no one knocked down their World Trade Center Towers this week. There's that.

Anyway, hot chocolate.

I'm drinking "no sugar added" hot chocolate because I'm trying to reduce sugar intake. I don't have any real medical need to do so (Well, I'm American which means I'm the size of two normal Europeans. There's that.) I just think eating twenty-five pounds or whatever of sugar in a customary American diet is excessive. I don't even eat a customary diet. I eat much better than that and I'm still addicted to the stuff.

Cookies. Those are a real downfall. I love cookies. I love cookies with tea, cookies with coffee, cookies with breathing in and out.

So, I'm eliminating the fringe areas of sugar I don't need.

I'm drinking "no sugar added" hot chocolate. It's a substitute food product.

Is it kissing your sister? No.

It's more like kissing your dog.

Better to skip substitute foods than try the "amended" products.

What about the writing? I read an e-book (it's doing okay in sales) written by a friend's boyfriend's cousin's son. You know the deal. "Would you read Johnny's book? I'd mean a lot for him to hear how you love it."


Chapter one contained the infamous self-description while shaving scene in the opening. Oh, and the self-description was festooned with more florid language than carts blocking the way by the free seafood sample section of a Costco. [ overwriting intentional. -ed.]

It got worse from there.

I could see the fingerprint of why the effort enjoys some success: the story moves along and the plot is interesting if vaguely reminiscent of a recent hit science fiction series. Hmm. Odd coincidence.

The work didn't survive its query process and is now loose on the world in direct e-pub. It's doing well in sales.

The writing is appallingly poor. It's a bit like no sugar added text: looks like writing, smells a bit like writing, tastes of poor preparation and revision.

I love that there is a direct to consumer market that is thriving today. There's a pretty good fast food industry, too.

Let's make sure our self-pub doesn't begin to take on the characteristics of McFood.


It's so disappointing to read no sugar added writing substitute product.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I always had a feeling that I wouldn't have been able to sit still during surveillance. I've actually, believe it or not, written surveillance into 2 cozies...not sure how I managed that. I turned them into picnics for the sleuths both times. :)

I'm just trying to pick the choice at the store with the least amount of sugar. It's tedious. I figured out which yogurt to get, working on cereals and juices.

jack welling said...

Tedious. Good word for the diet monitor duties.

I love picnics! So much better when the detective can answer "Oh, nice day for it and I'm watching that murderer over there with his mistress. They think they're clever. Want a grape?"

Foxhound makes the picnic a challenge in my house. We have lost a perfectly good ham sandwich that way.