A few items from the web that caught my eye, in case you missed them.
A hit in the US, the psychotherapy drama has quality acting from Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest and a great script. So why are UK networks afraid to commit to the couch? Clare Birchall examines the reasons why The Treatment won't be appearing in UK TV screens on The Guardian TV and Radio blog. Pity, as it sounds a good show. Maybe it will eventually be available on DVD. There's a comment to the post that made me laugh, by someone who could try reading a book or getting out more: "As usual, UK networks underestimate the audience's desire for intelligent, quality drama. We watch stuff like Holby City or Casualty because that's mostly what's on in the evening, but it doesn't mean we love it."
If you like Improbable Research, you'll know what to expect if you check out these armed bird photos (not babes with guns). I'm nost sure if this is more silliness or welcome sanity: Scott Adams's negative Christmas (or birthday): "rather than giving gifts, you can force a family member or friend to discard one item that he or she already owns. The selected item might be a hideous shirt that you consider an abomination, or that pair of bedroom slippers that are an insult to all footwear. The idea is that the unrecipient should be better off without the item you ungift."
As is well-known, more than 90 per cent of blogs last for less than three months, many of them only ever featuring one post - a bit like the diaries I started on 1 January when a child. The New York Times recently ran a feature on this statistic, which I idly read thinking it might contain some new insight on this old (internet timescale) chestnut. It didn't - people stop blogging because nobody reads their blogs, because they don't make any money at it, because their readers get too intrusive, because they get no comments, or for other predictable reasons. You might like to read one or two of the case-histories, though, which are mildly amusing, particularly the poor mystery author who was surprised to discover that nobody read her rants against the Bush administration.
Finally, a couple of useful posts for writers. Random Jottings reviews A Seriously Useful Author's Guide to Marketing and Publicising books by Mary Cavanaugh, which sounds pretty good, in particular this excerpt provided by Elaine (the reviewer): "A bookblogger is an independent person who takes it upon themselves, for no financial reward whatsoever, to post online articles about books they have currently read, mostly on a daily basis......their reading output is amazing.....as well as being devoted and fanatical readers, they also review books. The biggest breaks of my literary career were made by Book Bloggers and without them I would have got very meagre coverage in any sphere". Hear hear! And Jane Smith of How Publishing Really Works provides a very useful round-up of writers' forums, with a great set of comments providing feedback about these sites. Best comment (selected by Jane): "the major benefit in using writers' workshops is in the critiques you write on other people's work, not in the ones you receive.".