Unless there's an abandoned chicken bone at stake, Buster has never been one for much straining at the leash. But where he used to not mind being thus tethered, I'm finding that he, at sixteen or so (we'll never know for sure), seems to welcome the security. He now blinks and stumbles in the morning sun, for example, and walks with more confidence when he's leashed. He trusts me and he likes being with me.
Why the dog story? Because I'm experimenting with my new Kindle, where Amazon.com is very much at the other end of the leash. The stuff I thought I wouldn't like--the design, the digital ink and lack of a backlight--is in fact fine, although all the plastic-button-pushing is noisy and feels very last century. What's bugging me instead is the feeling of an ever-present tether to Amazon.com, a master I neither like nor completely trust. I don't like browsing the Amazon site, and I don't trust the company's effect on the American character. Amazon is all over the Kindle. The Kindle is designed to get you to visit and spend more money at Amazon, pushing you to the same high-volume bestsellers that the main website does. (Kindle Store selections seem split among popular titles, copyright-free classics and scary e-book originals, the same mix which has long been available from such sites as ereader.com.) And with the Kindle so pricey in the first place ($399), I guess I might resent throwing yet more money at Amazon for the privilege of using it.
But I'll take it with me to Chicago (don't forget, Sutherland Lecture Friday night) and see if it has the potential to become habit-forming. If not--well, I've kept the packaging.