Nemo Revue

AP– ‘Finding Nemo’ to Become Stage Musical

Musical numbers , her boss and I predict:

1. An Anemone For Me (And You) – Coral, Marlin
2. Barracuda, Howa Could Ya’? (Marlin’s Lament) – Marlin
3. Latchkey Fish – Nemo
4. Send in The Clowns – Nemo, Marlin
5. The Joke – Marlin
6. Gone Fishin’ (‘Cause I’m a Dentist) – P. Sherman
7. Hello, Dorey! – Dorey, Marlin
8. Shit! A Shark! – Marlin, Dorey, Bruce
9. The Joke (reprise) – Marlin, Dorey, Bruce, Chum, Anchor
10. Shit! A Shark! (reprise) – Marlin, Dorey, Bruce, Chum, Anchor
11. The Tank Rap – Nemo, Gill, Bubbles, Deb, Peach, Bloat, Gurgle
12. There’s a Light (Over On The Angler Fish’s Head) – Marlin, Dorey
13. Dammit, Dorey! (I Love You) – Marlin, Dorey, Moonfish
14. Grrr, Filter Fish – Nemo and the Tank Fish
15. Why Can’t A Fish Take Prozac? – Marlin, Crush
16. Whale, Whaddaya Know? (It’s a Whale!) – Dorey
17. Seagull Shuffle – Nigel, Dorey, Marlin
18. Get Down, Swim Down, and Boogie – Nemo, Marlin
19. The Joke (reprise) – Marlin & Company
20. Leaving Well Enough Alone (Pixar’s Lament) – Audience

Book Log – Polysyllabic Spree

Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

This “book” barely qualifies as such; At 150 5×6″ pages (including index and ads for The Believer), I would probably label it a thick magazine.

But, oh, what a thick magazine.

Essentially a reprint of his book log-esque articles from The Believer magazine, it is aptly summed up by the pseudo-subtitle on the cover: “A hilarious and true account of one man’s struggle with the monthly tide of the books he’s bought and the books he’s been meaning to read.”

Virtually every page of this book had a quote I wanted to steal and tack onto my signature line. I am not one to think I would like to hang out with an author just by reading his stuff… Douglas Adams seemed like he would be a bit standoffish, Douglas Coupland is a bit overphilosophical… but if you skipped over his obsessions with European Football and music, I would hang out with Nick Hornby. My answer to the what-famous-people-would-you-like-to-have-dinner-with would be him and Sarah Vowell.

Consider this paragraph from March 2004:

One of the reasons I wanted to write this column, I think, is because I assumed that the cultural highlight of my month would arrive in book form, and that’s true, for probably eleven months of the year. Books are, let’s face it, better than everything else. If we played Cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go fifteen rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. “The Magic Flute” v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. “The Last Supper” v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on points. See? I mean, I don’t know how scientific this is, but it feels like the novels are walking it. You might get the occassional exception– “Blonde on Blonde” might mash up The Old Curiousity Shop, say, and I wouldn’t give much for Pale Fire’s chances against Citizen Kane. And every now and again you’d get a shock, because that happens in sport, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I’m still backing literature twenty-nine times out of thirty.

And then, the following month:

Last month I was banging on about how books were better than anything– how just about any decent book you picked would beat up anything else, any film or painting or piece of music you cared to match it up with. Anyway, like most theories advanced in this column, it turned out to be utter rubbish. I read four really good books this month, but even so, my cultural highlights of the last four weeks were not literary. I went to a couple of terrific exhibitions at the Royal Academy (and that’s a hole in my argument right there– one book might beat up one painting, but what chance has one book, or even four books, got against the collected works of Guston and Vuillard?); I saw Jose Antonio Reyes score his first goal for Arsenal against Chelsea, a thirty-yard screamer, right in the top corner; and someone sent me a superlative Springstein bootleg, a ’75 show at the Main Point in Bryn Mawr with strings, and a cover of “I Want You,” and I don’t know what else. […more babbling about Springstein and Arsenal…] So there we are, then. Books: pretty good, but not as good as other stuff, like goals, or bootlegs.

So, you see… a really cool guy, but you really have to catch him on the right month if you want to have lunch with him.

Goodbye, Paper

Slate reviews Sony’s Reader, which uses e-Ink technology.

Essentially, you’re paying for the screen. The 6-inch display, which is made using E Ink technology, looks surprisingly like paper. It’s very sharp, doesn’t flicker, and can be viewed from any angle, even in bright sunlight. It’s supposed to be easier on the eyes than an LCD, and it definitely was on mine. Because E Ink is “image-stable,” it takes no power to keep an image displayed once it’s on-screen—that means the Reader only eats up battery life when you turn pages. You’re supposed to get 7,500 page turns on a single charge.

E Ink has a lot of potential for low-power applications and, I imagine, signage—since it can be read at every angle. But it also has significant drawbacks relative to LCD screens. We expect our electronics displays to dazzle, but the Reader’s is dull, and its palette is Etch A Sketch gray. There are also problems with “ghosting,” and since it has no backlight, you need a clip-on light to read in bed. Unfortunately, the slightly reflective screen tends to bounce the beam into your eyes. The biggest problem with E Ink is that it has a very slow refresh rate—around a second to turn a page. Though that doesn’t sound like much, it’s quite a pregnant pause: Clicking through the Reader’s menus is tedious, and page turns quickly become a bore.

Disappointing, but I’m not an early adopter anyway. Hopefully, they’ll work out the kinks in Version 2.0.

Is there anything Marijuana can’t do?

Marijuana as military tactical shield.

One soldier told him later: “Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I’d say ‘That damn marijuana’.”

Brilliant. I think we can make an argument that the War on Drugs is effectively undermining our national security, since we’ve not taken full advantage of this plant as a covert defensive material.

Infra Ed

In the catagory of Learning Something New Every Day, I had no idea that so many reasonably solid objects were like clear glass to Infrared signals.

Right through a manilla folder! Right through!


Book Log – It’s Earnings That Count

It’s Earnings That Count by Hewitt Heiserman, Jr.

Hewitt is a regular on the Fool discussion boards, and many people have written highly of his book.

I think there’s some good stuff in it, but it is by all accounts a book written for the novice. He poses a good way of rewriting an income statement into “defensive” and “enterprising” incomes (terms borrowed from Benjamin Graham) to give you insight into the quality of their earnings (how durable are they?).

He also offers a good 5-minute (though I wager more like 10-15) test to see if a company is worth investigating further. I’m going to bring that to our investment club… it could help us generate more ideas with less effort.

The last few chapters are of little utility… he poses some general philosophy for better investing and personal finance, much of which is naive or simplistic. “How can you save more money a month? Consider moving to a different part of the country where things cost less!” Um… okay.

Also, he does a short bit on valuation that is just a pile of hooey. In his defense, it’s similar to the pile of hooey that Tom Gardner of the Fool uses. And I guess it’s better than nothing, but I don’t trust valuation methods that depend on constant P/E rates.

About a Man

There comes a point in life, it seems to me, where you have to decide whether you’re a Person of Letters or merely someone who loves books, and I’m beginning to see that the book lovers have more fun. Persons of Letters have to read things like Candide or they’re a few letters short of the whole alphabet; book lovers, meanwhile, can read whatever they fancy.
-Nick Hornby, Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt via excerpt on

The Insidious Bean

I have never been a coffee drinker.

On occasion, when I lived in New Orleans, I would have a Cafe Au Lait at that famous beignet store in the Quarter, because That’s What You Do. That’s it, though.

When I was in Paris, I greatly offended my French coworkers by ordering Coke instead of coffee at lunch. I didn’t have the heart to tell them it’s what I had for breakfast as well. When I was going to Chicago, I once ate at some snooty, high-end, jacket-required restaurant1 where the waiter actually snorted when I ordered a Coke, and said, “I’ll surprise you.”

So, after many years of being a social pariah for not taking part in the worship of the bean, it’s somewhat disturbing to find that I’ve been having a cup or two a day since last Tuesday. Last Friday morning, I chatted with my mother over coffee, which is the sort of thing adults do.

It started when my waitress at the hotel in El Paso put a cup in front of me without asking whether I wanted it or not. I drank it, because no other drinks were offered, and I noticed later in the day that I hadn’t had the urge for my morning Coke.

It smells nice, though it doesn’t taste particularly good nor particularly bad. It lacks the complication of tea, with it’s stirring and seeping and teabag/tea leaf disposal. In contrast, there’s always a pot brewing here at work, for free. It still contains that nasty caffeine and tooth staining color that Coke carries, but it lacks sugar (at least mine does), so I’m one step ahead of the game there.

Look at me. Dressing in khakis and drinking coffee. Hopefully, we’ll never invent time travel so my 13 year old self won’t have to find out what a loser I’ve become.

1 Biggs was the name of the place. The only reason I was there was that my then-girlfriend’s father was a doctor. He had saved (or rather, extended for a while longer than expected) the life of some bigwig who lived in Chicago, and out of gratitude gave the GF a gift certificate to this way-too-expensive restaurant. Among the many gaffes I made was wearing tennis shoes and pants with a hole in the knee. At least they were my best pants and shoes, but that only works on a relative level and I couldn’t find a way to explain that to our waiter. At the end of the evening, we handed him the gift certificate and he smiled as if that explained it all.