Where The NYC Literati Went To Party

Authors Michael Chabon, Gay Talese, Zadie Smith and Scott Turow recently partied at the annual New Yorker Festival at the Top of the Standard.

They rubbed shoulders with rockers Sting and Imagine Dragons. For their next masterpiece, they could have gotten inspiration by the visiting the private booth occupied by “Orange Is the New Black” creator Jenji Kohan and her writer husband Christopher Noxon.

Or may be talking to comedians Mindy Kaling and Nick Kroll, actress Molly Ringwald, It girl Tavi Gevinson or David Remnick would keep their creative juices flowing.

In good social media style, DJ Louie tweeted: “I’m DJing the New Yorker Party at the Standard and am doing everything in my power not to ask Malcolm Gladwell to take a selfie with me.”

The party went on until 3:30 a.m. The most interesting statement was made by Mindy Kaling who happily admitted that she likes on-screen love scenes. She said “I love it. I think it’s anthropologically interesting to watch on-screen love scenes how people kiss.” She sent on pointing out that she often “uses tongue.” This might be infringing on the Screen Actors Guild rules.

Sting took the opportunity to inform the masses that he enjoyed working on his musical “The Last Ship.” He also announced: “I want to get back to my other life, and get paid extravagant amounts of money for very little work.” Whatever.
The rich will stay rich, and the famous will keep on struggling for their top spot in the (social) media. (Just ask any of the Kardashians)

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Dutch Cable Companies Must Keep on Paying Royalties to Dutch Screenwriters

001screenwriterThe district court of Amsterdam has ruled that Dutch cable companies must pay royalties to Dutch screenwriters. This also applies for online viewing sites such as NPO.

In October 2012, three Dutch cable companies (UPC, Ziggo and Delta) had stopped paying royalties to LIRA, the Dutch writers guilt. The cable companies argued that since they already paid to TV networks and film producers, they already paid for the royalties.

The court rejected this defense, since screenwriters are members of and represented by LIRA that can claim royalties on behalf of her members. Almost all screenwriters are members of LIRA (Stichting Literaire Rechten Auteurs).

The ruling is a major victory for writers. A recent research conducted by the Network of Screenwriters (professional organization of screenwriters) among writers of youth drama shows that half of those writers could not survive without those royalty payments.

Franky Ribbens serves on the Board of Directors of the Network of Screenwriters. He writes highly popular TV shows such as Hollandse Hoop and Penoza.

Ribbens stated: “This ruling marks an important victory for filmmakers. They will finally be able to share in the substantial profits of billions of Euros that companies such as UPC and Ziggo generate with the distribution of their films and TV series. Although the royalty payments will only be a fraction of the total turnover of those companies, for many writers it is an indispensable source of income to survive.”

(Image courtesy of WFI)

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Useful List of Texting Abbreviations and Acronyms

young_woman_texting_186637Unless you have been living under a rock, you have come across abbreviations and acronyms such as LOL, OMG, THX, and WTF. They are routinely used in SMS messages, blogs, chats, e-mails, Tweets, etc. Below is a list of the most common ones.

ADAD – Another Day Another Dollar
AFK – Away From Keyboard
ASAP – As Soon As Possible
ASL – Age, Sex, Location
AWC – After Awhile Crocodile
B2B – Business to Business
B2C – Business to Consumers/Customers
BCNU – Be Seeing You
BF – Boyfriend
BFF – Best Female Friend; Best Friends Forever
BMG – Be My Guest
BOY – Beginning Of Year
BOL – Burst Out Laughing
BRB – Be Right Back
Bro – Brother, friend
BTDT – Been There, Done That
BTW – By The Way
‘coz – because
Cray – Crazy
CU – See You
CYA – Cover Your @$$
DB8 – Debate
DIY – Do It Yourself
EOR – End Of Rant
F2F – Face To Face
FIFO – Flying In. Flying Out
FCOL – For Crying Out Loud
FYI – For Your Information
GF – Girlfriend
GR8 – Great
GTG – Get Together; Got To Go
H8 – Hate
HHIS – Hanging Head In Shame
IDK – I Don’t Know
IMHO – In My Humble Opinion
IMO – In My Opinion
ICYMI – In Case You Missed It
KHYF (Know how you feel)
KUTGW – Keep Up The Good Work
L8R – Later
LOL – Laughing Out Loud
LMAO – Laugh My @$$ Off
NP – No Problem
OMG – Oh My God
OOO – One On One; Out Of Office
RBTL – Read Between The Lines)
RIP – Rest In Peace
PLS – Please
TNC – Tongue In Cheek
RIMJS – Really I’M Just Saying
ROFL – Rolling On the Floor Laughing
SMH – Shaking My Head
SPOX – Spokesperson
STFU – Shut The F* Up
THX – Thanks
Txtng – Texting
TTYL -Talk To You Later
TY – Thank You
/W – With
W8 – Wait
WADI – What A Dumb Idea
W/E – Whatever
WTF – What The F*
WTH – What The Hell
WWA – Where We At
XOXO – Hugs and Kisses
YOLO – You Only Live Once

Please, don’t text and drive!

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Amazing Poem by 18-year-old Nienke Woltmeijer for National Rememberance Day

Nienke WoltmeijerShe is only 18 years old, but she penned an amazing poem. Every year, the Dutch government organizes a poetry contest. Youngsters between 14 till 19 are invited to write a poem for National Remembrance Day which takes place on May 4.

There were 260 entries in total. The winner of the 2014 competition is Nienke Woltmeijer with her powerful poem about a tree. Chairman of the jury Anne Vegter explained: “The jury was especially impressed with the amazing image that the poem evokes. A tree that has witnessed it all. Nienke also impressed with her presentation.”

Woltmeijer will read her poem in public on the Damrak in Amsterdam on the 4th of May.

Following is Nienke Woltmeijer’s original poem in Dutch with my TipTopTranslator’s English  translation:

poem

Woltmeijer: “The old trees at Westerbork or in the garden of the Anne Frank Museum are tangible reminders of the past. Each time I see those trees, I wonder what they have seen over time that we as the younger generation heard about, but never witnessed. That is what I want to communicate.”

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Decoding The Voynich Mystery – Are We Getting Close?

voynich-manuscript-finding-proper-nounsIn September 2012 and April 2013, I wrote about the Voynich mystery.

The Voynich Manuscript was created during the 15th century and is still an intriguing unsolved mystery. It is written in an unknown language that not even military cryptographers were able to decipher. It also contains beautiful illustrations and descriptions of events and flora unknown to man.

It seems that finally at least a small part of the code has been cracked. Stephen Bax, Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Bedfordshire, claims to have deciphered part of the manuscript using linguistic analysis.

Professor Bax is an expert in mediaeval manuscripts and familiar with Semitic languages such as Arabic. This helped him to analyze text letter by letter. Up till now, he was able to decipher 14 letters and 10 words.

He identified one of those words as the term for Taurus, alongside a picture of seven stars which seem to be the Pleiades. He also found the word KANTAIRON alongside a picture of the plant Centaury as well as a number of other plants.

Professor Bax explained: “The manuscript has a lot of illustrations of stars and plants. I was able to identify some of these, with their names, by looking at mediaeval herbal manuscripts in Arabic and other languages, and I then made a start on a decoding, with some exciting results.”

To learn more, watch the following video.

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The Controversial Use of the Coffin of Famous Dutch Author Harry Mulisch in a Notary Ad

mulischNationale Notaris (National Notary) is an organization of 60 notaries throughout the Netherlands.

The organization wanted an ad campaign for promoting last wills and testaments. It hired ad agency DKTD that came up with the slogan: “Ready to go? Try out the free last will scan of nationalenotaris.nl

The ad needed a strong visual. DKTD approached photographer Merlin Daleman and asked him for permission to use a photo of a funeral featuring six pallbearers with top hats carrying a coffin at the Zorgvliet cemetery. It was the funeral of Harry Mulish, a famous Dutch author whose works include The Assault. The film version of that novel won a Golden Globe and Academy Award.

Daleman said that he told the ad agency “you know that’s Harry Mulisch, correct?” He assumed that it was a national campaign sponsored by the Dutch government to advise people to take care of their affairs during their lifetime. Once he saw the photo featured in the ad, he wondered. “I didn’t expect that, but since they bought the photo from me, they are entitled to use it once as they please.”

The CEO, Albert van der Wijk, loved the ad and ordered 5,000 posters were printed. There are 1,500 posters distributed in 12 cities. The ad also features prominently on the homepage of the nationalenotaris.nl website.

Family members of the late author were shocked when they saw the poster in Amsterdam. They were not informed by the ad agency.

Danny Tournier, owner of DKTD, claims that he himself was not aware that the photo was of the famous Dutch author’s funeral. “It is quite likely mentioned somewhere in the paperwork, but it did not surface at the crucial moment.”

Mr, Van der Wijk also stated that he was not aware that the photo was taken at the funeral of the author who passed away in 2010. “I just thought that it was a beautiful image. I was surprised that the family had not been informed.”

Nationale Notaris contacted the family and wants to see how the organization can adapt the ad campaign if family members so desire. Removing and destroying all the posters would be a major financial setback for the organization.

DKDT also reached out to the family and contacted Frieda Mulisch, the author’s daughter.  According to Tournier: “Frieda and I understand each other. She understands that we chose this photo, but that there was somewhere along the line miscommunication.”

It will be interesting to see what the Mulisch family will decide…

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Will Book Clubs Be A New Marketing Venue For Authors?

book_open_pagesBook clubs could become a great way for authors to promote their books. Jean Hanff Korelitz, a novelist herself, started “Book the Writer”. A book club can book a writer for an appearance for the sum of $750. From this amount, the author gets $400 while “Book the Writer” keeps $350.

Authors such as Kurt Andersen, A. M. Homes, Zoë Heller, Michael Cunningham and Amy Sohn are happy to be booked. They appear in person at those book club meetings to discuss their works with their fans. The attending club members can ask the writer in person about writing processes, characters, plot lines, etc.

It’s a new way of marketing for writers. They directly interact with their target audience. It’s a great way to build word-of-mouth for their books, especially since opportunities for book signings in bookstores and book tours are declining.

“Book the Writer” is currently mainly active in New York, the center of the publishing industry. According to the founder, she based the concept on the author hosting she did when she lived in Princeton, N.J. She provides the service to book clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Publishers also use book clubs to reach their customers. Little, Brown and Company let its authors attend book club meetings via Skype at no charge. The publisher also sends complimentary copies of upcoming novels to about 75 book clubs throughout the country.

It will be interesting to see if “Book the Writer” will be successful and spread to other cities.

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