Scripting News for 4/3/2006

New header graphic clipped from a picture of a thunderstorm forming over the Atlantic Ocean, at Crescent Beach, FL. 

Baseball season is in full swing, and I’m a BART ride away from both Bay Area stadia. Riding to JFK in a cab on Sunday, it turned out my cabbie, who lived in Queens, was a Yankees fan. The most hated team in baseball. I was deeply offended and asked him to stop the cab immediately so I could get out, in protest. He refused. How typical. I asked if he was a Republican, and he actually took offense. I said well geez which is worse, being a Yankee fan in Queens or being a Republican in NYC. He laughed. I said I wasn’t joking. 

Rex Hammock notes that the NY Times is staying with the white on orange XML icon. Same here, I never thought the solution to having too many icons was to invent a new one. Note that Yahoo hasn’t budged either. Microsoft isn’t the Lord Master God of RSS, it seems, thankfully. 🙂 

12/28/05: “One way to do something, no matter how flawed that way is, is better than two, no matter how much better the second way is.” 

BTW, I had a friendly and productive lunch today with John Markoff, tech reporter at the Times.  

Tom Morris started an OPML Editor wishlist site. 

I’m not very excited about the redesign of the NY Times home page because it ignores most that has been learned about reading news on a computer screen, and instead models the front page of the print pub. Not a good use of the screen, it ignores the fact that they can produce a new document for each user every time they visit. The print publication was limited by having one layout that had to work all day for every reader, and it had to fit in a fixed piece of real estate. The screen can be (vertically) infinite. I’d be happy to make another bet with Martin that eventually the home page of the Times is going to be a configurable River of News. I’d bet the first MSM news org to make the switch will not be the Times, that’ll happen in 2008; the Times will do it in 2011. 

Jeff Jarvis tells the flip side of the story, about the editorial side of the Times. It’s at times like this that I think Jeff and I should team up and create an alternate NY Times, outside the Times organization (using their syndicated content, mixed with blogs and other MSM pubs), and then sell it back to them. It would save us all a bunch of time, and who knows, it might prevent a war, or whatever. 🙂 

Okay both the Sopranos and the West Wing sucked this week. And they used Leo’s death in a totally stupid way. Damn. Maybe next week they’ll tell us who won. Maybe they’re being kind to us, they figure no matter what they do the series finale is going to be one of the most watched shows ever so they might as well make it suck so we won’t miss it too much after it’s over. And what they had Donna and Josh do just made me nervous and feel as burned out as they must feel. I just want to know if Santos won, and then let’s put the baby to bed. And don’t get me started about the Sopranos. It seems it couldn’t be crappier, but the previews of next week’s show look even worse. 

The Reform Club: “This is New Jersey, with marks to be extorted and wiseguys to be whacked.” 

Ed Cone liked last night’s Sopranos, and says I didn’t explain why I didn’t like it. We’re going into more detail in today’s comments, but basically I didn’t like it because it made no sense. And I agreed with the Reform Club appraisal, above. .  


16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by lee on April 3, 2006 at 7:05 am

    that’s the second time someone told me they thought the soprano’s episode was crap. I thought it was ok. maybe people just don’t like to see Pauly cry?


  2. I don’t care if he cries, but I did mind that he betrayed Tony over something as stupid as what he betrayed him over. Made absolutely no sense. Paulie is like Luca Brazzi, the last guy you’d think to go around the Don. And how is the kid going to explain his broken knees? Did they ever think of that?

    The cool thing about the Sopranos is that they sort-of get you thinking like a mobster. I say sort-of, because mobsters don’t actually go to see psychiatrists, and work out their issues with their mothers. It all depends on a very thin suspension of disbelief, which they were challenging up till this episode, this was the one where they lost me. This is the same show where they ruthlessly whacked Adrianna last time around? Give me a fucking break. That was Sopranos. This is bullshit.


  3. Yeah, but you had to laugh at the “I just found Jimmy Hoffa.” line from the surgeon.


  4. Actually Matt, I thought it was disrespectful. It didn’t make sense that the doctor didn’t get whacked for that.


  5. Right. These shows make me wonder if people actually talk like that.
    Well, I know people who actually talk like Tony and gang. I mean the doctors and the woman.


  6. Posted by Amyloo on April 3, 2006 at 10:12 am

    Missed The West Wing. What did Josh and Donna do?

    On The Sopranos, I thought it was interesting that Tom Van Dyke pointed out the writing team’s resume because they’re replacing Mitch Burgess (with whom I used to work — at a PR agency!) and Robin Green who were writer/producers for Northern Exposure, too.

    I did notice the dialog was a little too sophisticated in a couple instances, but as for the story, I don’t think it goes anywhere Chase doesn’t want it to go.

    I didn’t think the episode was great, but it didn’t bother me. I guess I trust that they’ll come through with the payoff and this is just the setup.


  7. I love the Sopranos, and I’m disturbed that I love it. These are bad people, plain and simple.

    If Tony questions things, I’m okay with it; he’s done it before and still managed to live down to his principles. If he turns into a New Age spiritualist, they’re going to lose me.

    As much as I didn’t like the idea of Tony being a vegetable, I kind of expected him to be mentally hobbled somehow, maybe staying in the coma and living out that Finnerty storyline. And I thought maybe we would see the ruthlessness of the mob come into full view as all the other scumbags fought it out for control.

    I have not given up on the show yet. And for the record, I did like last night’s episode. This discussion does have me wondering, though, how far they’re going to take it.

    As for Boston Legal…IMHO the only thing that has changed is the writers have brought the soul of the show into sharper focus – that being the relationship between Denny and Alan. That’s all the show every offered that I was intersted in, and now it seems to me the writers have realized it. Hurrah.

    Let’s face it: we’re all tuning in to hear Captain Kirk and the Alan Shore think out loud for us about what we’re dealing with in real life. That’s all. Magnum PI and the Arnie are just bonuses.



  8. Apparently I should start using spellcheck on my comments. And proofreading them. Sorry.


  9. “It didn’t make sense that the doctor didn’t get whacked for that.”

    Tony was under anesthized, obviously he couldn’t hear.

    “…he betrayed Tony over something as stupid as what he betrayed him over. Made absolutely no sense.”

    He attacked that kid because he was jealous that he had a Mother that loved him, and because in the end he cost Pauly a lot of money. It makes perfect sense to me. I was surprised that he wasn’t killed.


  10. Doesn’t MyTimes seem like it’ll be a big step forward? Don’t you think it’ll get lots of people reading blogs and other RSS-enabled sites who wouldn’t have otherwise?


  11. Pauly’s attacking of the kid also supports the story of Pauly not being as loyal as we think he is. Add his look that Carmella caught (and she made a comment to Tony). Recall last season when Tony found his horse painting in Pauly’s apartment.


  12. “He attacked that kid because he was jealous that he had a Mother that loved him, and because in the end he cost Pauly a lot of money. It makes perfect sense to me. I was surprised that he wasn’t killed.”

    Exactly. The $4000/month that Paulie is demanding from the kid is the amount that Paulie pays to keep his “mother” in the nursing home.

    Paulie is a penny-pinching, coupon-clipping monstrous bully. It made perfect sense (to me) to see him go behind his damaged & less-confident Skip’s back. He’s a dinosaur (how many times were dinosaurs referenced in the episode?). The two previous episodes showed that, without Tony, the Boys cannot get their act together. Paulie’s actions just underlined that.

    “And how is the kid going to explain his broken knees?” He’s already had his drivers beaten — won’t everyone assume it’s the same perpetrators?

    I’m a late convert to the Sopranos — I mainlined Season 5 in the weeks before the premiere. I love the direction of the new season.


  13. Posted by heavyboots on April 3, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    With regards to the NY Times, personally, I’m not fond of it either particularly compared to the customized news page you can create at google or yahoo, but the Intarweb newbies may like it, particularly if they are newbies who have read the Times in print for years. Actually, might it even be possible that they used only current NYTimes readers as their focus group and the print-only crowd skewed the results toward a “printed” look?


  14. Posted by filchyboy on April 3, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    I suspect the only reason he wasn’t killed is because Pauly registered Tony’s promise to his mom.


  15. “One way to do something, no matter how flawed that way is, is better than two, no matter how much better the second way is.” In technology this may be true. In nature, it is diversity that rules, as in human cultures.


  16. Perhaps it’s because I’m not from New York, but are you actually serious about the Yankee cab driver? You actually wanted to get out of the cab? Don’t you think that seems a little harsh and petty? Maybe you’re being sarcastic and I’m missing it, but you did say you weren’t joking.

    Even in Toronto here were there are die-hard Maple Leafs fans I wouldn’t think of wanting to get out of a cab if I found out the driver was an Ottawa Sentaors or Montreal Canadiens fan.


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