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Links & observations from Steve Bogart

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27 July 1999

Why build a house and then walk away from it? Why get on the train to Chicago if you don't want to go?
-- Garrison Keillor (as Mr. Blue) in his latest Salon column

Now...This: Stupid, Stupid Movie Studio!

The fundamental question Universal should ask itself is: Do the economics of producing and providing movie trailers only make sense if their web site's ad banners get loaded?

The Edward Tufte seminar I attended was extraordinary. I learned a great deal, and now I have some great books. If you work in the field of professional web design, or if you often make presentations which involve statistics, I highly recommend spending the bucks to see him.

Near as I can tell (NAICT?), his company Graphics Press doesn't have a web site, which surprises me. I'll give him some extra free advertising by giving his schedule:

Chicago August 16-18
Hartford September 20-21
Stamford September 28-30
Arlington November 8-11
Palo Alto December 6-7
San Francisco December 8-9

To contact Graphics Press, call 203-272-9187 during Eastern time zone business hours (9-5).

Jon Katz is getting his priorities a little out of whack:

  • Ticket Booth Tyranny (Part Two) [Slashdot]
    How to strike back against the petty harassment of kids trying to see movies like "South Park?," and the usurping of decisions that should be theirs and their parents?

    Observe Take A Geek Kid To A Restricted Movie Day this Labor Day. Find a smart 13-year-old who wants to see something off-limits and take him to a movie, or, once during that long weekend, go to a nearby movie theater and help kids trying to get in.

Surely there are more important causes to make a stand for than this. Surely there are better things one could do with one's Labor Day.

Some commenters were especially insightful:

  • Ticket Booth Tyranny - Top-rated comments [Slashdot]
    What about the non-consenting parents? That's the issue at hand here. Everyone has to suffer because no one wants to parent anymore. ... Sure. Take a geek kid to a movie. But make sure the parents decide they should see it. And make sure they understand what they saw. Some 13 year olds can handle it. Some cannot. It happens that way. I wish it didn't, but it does. And I couldn't morally be in that position to say.

If you're interested in starting a weblog of your own and don't want to commit lots of bucks for your own domain and don't want to come up with the infrastructure yourself, you can try out the form fairly painlessly at It's pretty nice.

Cool interview of Steve Martin by Carrie Fisher:
  • It Wasn't in the Script [CalendarLive, seen on Windowseat]
    ...the biggest challenge in physical comedy, most importantly, is not to become too stupid, but for it to be clever, because otherwise you're just falling down. I was talking to Frank Oz about this. He said, "We can't just have the ladder whack somebody. We've got to have the ladder whack somebody because of X, Y and Z having been set up, and it's inevitable the ladder is whacking us."

    But remember, I didn't write [Bowfinger] with Eddie Murphy in mind; it was Brian's idea to give the role to Eddie. He asked if I would be interested in Eddie Murphy, and I was, of course. I had to rewrite a whole character arc with Eddie in mind.
If you're not quite sure why Fisher leads off the article claiming she slept with Martin, see the very bottom of the piece.
A cautionary tale about how we can automate too much:
  • Big Brother Online? [Fortune, seen on Scripting News]
    Several weeks after [signing up for a free subscription to Fit Pregnancy magazine], she had a miscarriage. She and her husband were deeply upset since it wasn't the first pregnancy they'd lost. ... So imagine their horror when six months later, samples of Similac baby formula started showing up unannounced in the mail. Or when Parenting Magazine called her at home hawking a magazine subscription. "Congratulations, we understand you're expecting in July..."

    If all this weren't enough, she can't seem to get off a Pregnancy Today newsletter list that dumps pregnancy tips and heartwarming success stories from proud new mothers into her e-mail box every week.
There should be some human intervention (or else much smarter automation) in any process like this which deals with such sensitive and unpredictable situations.
And yes, indian red has been renamed chestnut.:
  • Crayola replaces 'indian red' with 'chestnut' [CNN, seen on Windowseat]
    The color indian red, which Crayola said was based on a reddish-brown pigment commonly found near India, was dropped because teachers complained students thought it described the skin color of American Indians.
Finally, an incisive piece by Jon Carroll about, among other things, the JFK Jr. tragedy:
  • Death By Drowning [SF Gate, seen on (yet again!) Windowseat]
    I have no opinions about John F. Kennedy as a human being. I did not know him. I felt no twinge of anything when I heard about his plane, except for the vague universal sadness I feel every morning when I read the obituary page.

    We all have real lives. We have mothers and sisters and sons and friends and teachers. We have people in pain around us, people who need us, people who will one day not be around anymore. And yet Americans seem to spend their time fretting about the tragedies and triumphs of some semi-imaginary set of demigods.

...and I'm *spent*.

I've spent way too much time on writing today. Gotta do some revenue-generating work!

Don't expect an update until Friday.

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