Sunday, July 28, 2013


A Jeanne Mackin arrangement, photo by Stephen Poleskie
  an essay by

Jeanne Mackin

Wherever chiaroscuro enters, colour must lose some of its brilliancy. There is no shade in a rainbow, nor in an opal, nor in a piece of mother-of-pearl – John Ruskin

LIGHT CAN BE SLOWED DOWN, can be made to reconsider its own path, its own desire for velocity. When light passes through glass, moving from thin air to that other more substantial material, it slows and makes a slight detour we call refraction. Refraction is matter’s way of saying: “Let’s rethink this.” Shine light through a diamond and it slows its speed by almost half because of the density of the crystal. If you lived inside a diamond, you would be twenty-five when your peers were fifty; you would live twice as long, and twice as slowly.

That Thanksgiving Day it was warm, and humid, so after dinner we went outside, full of a strange energy. In the western sky over the new-growth forest, we saw a triple rainbow. A double happens once in a while, but there were three in the sky that day after the storm, one inside the other, and we looked at them, knowing we would never see such a thing again, no matter how long we lived. The rarity of it locked us into silence; we grappled with the event the way medieval star gazers must have contended with comets or halos around the moon, with wonder and fear as well. Wonder and fear refract our direction, bend it into new paths. The wonder takes hold of us and says “I have caught you. The fear says “I am going to change you whether you wish it or not. From now on, up will be down, and inside will be outside.” But wonder cannot last. Colors fade, especially in a rainbow.

After matter emerged from chaos, the first miracle was the creation of light, and with light came time. With time, came shadows. When the triple rainbow began to fade, we came to ourselves, the way sleepers awake, slowly and with confusion. We went back indoors carrying new desires with us and I wished I had seen the triple rainbow when I was a child, not a grown up. I think somehow things would have been different. I cleared the table of our dirtied dishes and glasses and the vase of yellow garden mums.

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JEANNE MACKIN is the author of several novels and has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in journals and periodicals including American Letters and Commentary and SNReview. She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and is an award-winning journalist. She teaches creative writing in the MFA Program at Goddard College in Vermont.

“Chiaroscuro” is an excerpt from a text to accompany photographs by artist Steve Poleskie. The text and photo exhibit, titled “Light and Shadow” was shown at Bright Hill Literary Center in Treadwell, New York, in June 2011.


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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Apple Leads Price Conspiracy

Judge Rules Apple Led Price Conspiracy, “Seizing the Moment” As Publishers Looked to Defy Amazon

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has ruled against Apple in the Justice Department’s ebook price-fixing case, saying the tech company coordinated a scheme involving five major publishers that were looking for a way to challenge Amazon’s ebook pricing strategy. In a decision issued July 10, Cote said:

“The plaintiffs have shown that the publisher defendants conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, and that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy. Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the spring of 2010.”

Apple released a statement saying it plans to appeal the decision.

“Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. We’ve done nothing wrong.”

Cote also called for a trial on damages, noting that the conspiracy caused ebook prices to rise, resulting in some consumers paying more, buying a title other than the one they wanted or forgoing a purchase altogether.

The publishers named as defendants settled with the Justice Department long before the case went to court.During trial testimony publishing executives denied that they colluded and Apple officials said they didn’t know whether publishers were communicating amongst themselves on pricing. In her decision, Cote rejects those claims.

“Apple and the Publisher Defendants shared one overarching interest — that there be no price competition at the retail level.”

Cote goes on to say that:

“Apple seized the moment and brilliantly played its hand. Taking advantage of the Publisher Defendants’ fear of and frustration over Amazon’s pricing, as well as the tight window of opportunity created by the impending launch of the iPad on January 27 (the “Lauch”), Apple garnered the signatures it needed to introduce the iBookstore at the Launch. It provided the Publisher Defendants with the vision, the format, the timetable, and the coordination they needed to raise e-book prices.”

Information for this story was supplied by The Authors Guild, 31 E. 32nd Street, 7th floor. NY NY 10016.

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