mar 2015 / greg goebel / public domain / follow "gvgoebel" on twitter

* This weblog provides an "online notebook" to provide comments on current events, interesting items I run across, and the occasional musing. It promotes no particular ideology. Remarks may be left on the site comment board; all sensible feedback is welcome.

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* ANOTHER MONTH: Billionaire Warren Buffett, now in his mid-80s and going strong, told FORTUNE magazine that he attributes his get-up-and-go to his unorthodox diet: "I'm one-quarter Coca-Cola." He typically drinks three Cokes during the day, and two at night; he prefers regular Coke at work, and Cherry Coke at home. He typically munches on Utz-brand potato sticks along with his Cokes. He even says he drinks a Coke for breakfast, adding that on that particular morning, he also had chocolate chip ice cream.

At that age and with that kind of clout, one does pretty much what one likes, within the bounds of the law. Worries about long term health? Buffett doesn't have a long term. According to Buffett: "I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old. Itís the safest course I can take."

I thought I had a sweet tooth, but that blows my doors off. I like Pepsi instead of Coke -- Pepsi is clearly sweeter than Coke, preferable to the real sugar junkie -- but I only have one after I get up, not liking coffee to get my day started, giving me enough of a boost to work out before eating breakfast. I was up to two cans of fizzy drinks a day for a time, but then cut it without any real difficulty to one on the great majority of days. Given that Buffett clearly has a sweet tooth, it's maybe a bit strange that he prefers Coke, but the fact that he owns $16 billion USD in Coke stock might have something to do with it. Maybe he gets an unlimited free supply? Dang, now I've got an itch to buy a can of potato sticks, can't recall having them since I was a kid.

I've been going around a bit with my sister-in-law, who has got on the "sugar is toxic" kick. I suggest to her that reducing consumption of sweets is a good idea, but thinking that sugar is a poison, or worrying about fructose versus sucrose, is mucking around in the noise level of health science -- there's a lot of that going around, and indeed I heard the "sugar is toxic" message back in the 1970s from a popular book by Adelle Davis, the number-one food quack of the era. I don't push the point, my sister-in-law is more into flattery than confrontation, and I have to agree that her overall policy on sugar is wiser than not.

Incidentally, Adelle Davis believed that people who drank a quart of milk a day wouldn't get cancer, and so she drank a quart of milk a day. Do I need to say how she died? No.

* My little project to make pocket money by selling ebooks on Amazon.com is moving along nicely; I have 14 titles now and am selling at an average rate of about one ebook a day, at an average royalty of about $2 USD per sale. I was thinking it would take me longer to meet that target. The longer-range target is two a day. I'm not expecting more, that supplying all the pocket money I honestly need. If I make more, great, I'll put it in savings; if not, I won't be disappointed.

It's a funny sort of business, like having a crafts hobby and selling product at local fairs. I got to thinking that if I sold one of a specific title every day, it would be a "best-seller" as far as I'm concerned -- but that would be only about $730 USD a year, invisibly negligible by publishing standards. Even if I could average ten sales overall a day, that would be about $7,300 USD total a year, a great return as far as I'm concerned, but still negligible in the big picture. That might be a sales ranking on the Kindle store of about 100,000, maybe 50,000 at best. I'm getting a satisfying piece of a very big pie.

I alternate between pounding out aircraft ebooks and ebooks on other topics. It turns out the aircraft ebooks account for the predominance of sales, but I'm still staying with the alternation, seeing advantages in having a broader "footprint" in "Amazon space", obtaining attention from a wider range of readers by diversifying. Oddly, my biography of David Hume has been selling better than I could have expected; I do think it's a fun little book, but how many people have heard of Hume? My JFK ASSASSINATION ebook is not moving at all, but that was expected, and in a way gratifying: nobody sane is upset about the Kennedy assassination any more. "Get over it, people."

I suspect that the more titles I have, the more I will sell of each title, simply because the quantity draws more attention to my work in general. Amazon, after all, does little to specifically promote my writings, having no reason to, simply allowing them to be listed and found on a search. Good enough -- the more and wider-ranging the search targets, the more my works come up on searches.

In any case, I'll have everything I can translated to ebooks soon enough, no great reason to rush out the aircraft ebooks for the short run. I haven't got much in the way of reviews yet, but I'm patient, and looking forward to them. I'll get useful feedback, which is hard to come by -- though some reviews will of course be trolling. That's okay, then I get to snub them, which I enjoy doing. The fact that people have to buy the ebook works against trolling, since even the most determined are unlikely to want to pay me anything so they can do it. If they do buy it, well OK, they can troll all day for all I care, since I've got their money, and I can still snub them.

* In other tricks to bring in a buck, I've been draining my penny and nickel stashes during my weekly supermarket visit by buying a pastry or suchlike at the automated checkout, factoring the outlay into my slush fund. Getting rid of pennies and nickels is a nuisance for all concerned, and that approach keeps the nuisance factor mostly to myself. One time I pulled this trick, and the nickels jammed in the coin feed. The clerk helped me out; I told him: "I'm just trying to get rid of these coins."

He replied: "Oh yeah, people do that all the time." I had to laugh, being given another lesson, if any were really needed, not to overestimate my own uniqueness: The odds of me being one in a million are a million to one. I'm just another upright monkey, and I don't have a problem with that. Indeed, I find it humorous, and I couldn't get along without humor.

* Thanks to five readers for their donations to support the websites last month. It is very much appreciated. I'm getting a certain larger number of smaller donations, and I think it's because I set up stand-alone versions of my longer Vectorsite documents in downloadable zipfiles, requesting but not requiring a donation from readers if they take one of the downloads. I didn't think it would work very well, but stats show I'm getting a fair number of downloads each month.