news clippings

This does feel more Ballardian than Dickian

Apropos of some of the comments to my last post, I note the following from today’s New York Times:

China, it can be safely said, has a complicated relationship with “Avatar.” Last week it was reported that the 2-D version of the science-fiction epic, directed by James Cameron, was being pulled from many Chinese theaters; now a mountain there is being renamed for a peak seen in the film. In a ceremony on Monday, the Southern Sky Column in Zhangjiajie City, in China’s Hunan province, was formally renamed the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain… Travel companies have already begun offering tours that emphasize the region’s resemblance to Pandora, the lush alien moon depicted in the film. On its site, the municipal government wrote: “Pandora is far but Zhangjiajie is near. Welcome to Zhangjiajie to see ‘Avatar’s’ Hallelujah Mountains and discover the real world of Pandora.”

This does feel more Ballardian than Dickian Read More »

“Move over, Lucy. And kiss the missing link goodbye.”

“Move over, Lucy. And kiss the missing link goodbye.” Read More »

Saving the newspaper industry, one bottle at a time

Expanding on its strategy to raise extra cash by selling granite drink coasters etched with crossword puzzles, the New York Times is starting a wine club for subscribers:

The new venture, called The New York Times Wine Club, will offer members a selection of wines at two price levels, $90 or $180 per six-bottle shipment, and customers can choose to have wine delivered every one, two or three months.

The club, an unusual brand extension for the paper, is one of several such ventures the company is considering, said Thomas K. Carley, the senior vice president of strategic planning for the Times Company.

“The Times is looking at a lot of different ideas for engaging our audience,” he said, “to make statements about what are our strengths, what are the ways that we can delve further into our audience and bring them products and services that basically enhance the bond with The New York Times.”

They’re not the only paper doing it, either. Our copy of this morning’s Times contained a full-color ad insert for the Wall Street Journal wine club ($189.99 value for just $69.99! — “includes full tasting notes on each wine and a FREE binder to keep them in”).

If only the Seattle P-I had thought to try this.

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Here’s hoping I look this good in 2077

Via Andrew Sullivan, this is the face of Walter Breuning, born Sept. 21, 1896, currently the oldest man in the world:

Pretty spry-looking for 112.

Although Breuning is the oldest living man, he’s not the oldest living person. That honor goes, for the moment, to 115-year-old Gertrude Baines:

And as long as we’re on the subject, the fifth-oldest person in the world, Neva Morris, will be turning 114 a week from tomorrow. Happy birthday, Neva.

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Somehow I don’t think this will save them from bankruptcy

Flipping through the New York Times this morning, I saw an ad for a set of granite NYT crossword-puzzle drink coasters that you can get from the Times online store: “You won’t find this gift anywhere else but The New York Times Store. The four coasters are made of solid granite and are laser-etched with a puzzle edited by Will Shortz. The 4″ x 4″ coasters display a blank crossword puzzle, across clues, down clues and a finished puzzle. Coasters have padding underneath to prevent scratching. In stock and ready to ship!” Price: $54.99

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“Stradavari of stones” is dead at 57

Yesterday’s Times had an interesting obituary for Antonio Bianco, one of the world’s foremost diamond cutters:

For more than 30 years he worked in blissful anonymity in New York’s diamond district, cutting some of the largest, rarest and most valuable stones of his time — stones important enough to have their own names. The diamonds Mr. Bianco cut are owned by some of the world’s most prominent collectors, among them Hollywood film stars and crowned heads of state…

Most master cutters pass their entire careers handling diamonds no bigger than 20 to 50 carats — more or less the size of a quarter. For most cutters, a 100-carat stone is beyond contemplation.

Over his career, Mr. Bianco cut about half a dozen diamonds of 100 carats or more… Among them were the diamonds known as the “Dream” and the “Golden Star, ” both cushion-cut vivid yellow stones, and the “Flame,” a pear-shaped white diamond nearly the size of a man’s nose.

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