Last night I found that a book on my "must have" list appeared on eBay. It's Andy Soltis' "Stonewall/Colle/London", which is about a series of strategies I play a lot during the opening moves in chess. It's one of the Chess Digest books. Chess Digest was a Dallas publishing house run by the late Ken Smith, a master who actually got an opening re-named after him, the Smith-Morra Gambit. Mr. Smith wore a huge magicians' hat and published cheap chapbooks on chess back when everyone else was publishing expensive hardcovers. I think that every kid in the 1960s and 1970s learned how to play cool openings from little 3 dollar Chess Digest chapbook. They had a kind of "done in a garage" ambience that I found and find very appealing.
Mr. Smith died some years ago, and his family put Chess Digest up for sale. By this time, it had grown to hundreds of titles and actually bound paperbacks in trade fashion. I had thought of getting a company together to make a bid, but I am very much a lawyer rather than a publisher so I did not. When I saw it sold to a company up north, I was disappointed, though, as it would have been fun to own Chess Digest.
Now, though, a kind fellow I know in Orange County, Ed Labate, has the Chess Digest franchise, so something must have changed. He's eBaying those books in a big way. I've bought a few, and bid on a few more. I love chess books. My next goal is to publish really obscure tracts really cheaply on really odd opening strategies, and sell them on eBay.
I relented and posted a "blatant self promotion" message post over at the soundclick.com message boards. I think it's fun to participate in these interactive things when, as with me, fame or money is not really an object. One can just be honest--"it's not very good, but I have a lot of fun", and make connections with similar souls with the exhibitionist form of humility.
I went wild though--perhaps wild enough to be featured in a late night infomercial for Gurdonark Gone Wild. I paid the sum of five US dollars for banner advertising on soundclick. My reason was pretty simple. I wanted to see if it works. It's been fun getting a lot of listens so far, but if 5 dollars got me a lot of new listeners, I'm all for it. But it's kind of an expensive form of vanity--heck, five dollars could buy five pocket combs or a hundred+ pieces of Bazooka chewing gum.
Today I have a busy day, and then go pick up one or more of my sister's children to have a little quality time with them. Perhaps fishing, the zoo, the natatorium, an IMAX. The world is full of possibility.