The Gutnick Case, and Film Quiz Fun

Posted in Film, Miscellaneous on December 19th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

A recent judgement by the High Court of Australia may not bode well for bloggers, who are rapidly growing accustomed to expressing whatever they feel in their blogs. Joseph Gutnick, an Australian mining magnate, was the subject of an article published in the Oct 28, 2000 Barron’s Online (and in the print equivalent journal, dated Oct 30 2000). Having considered the article defamatory, he sued in Australian court for damages.

The question was, would the fact that the publication of the article originated outside of Australia (on a server in New Jersey) prevent the lawsuit from proceeding, since the story was downloaded in Australia? The Court said no, and ruled that a lawsuit could be filed in Australia against Dow Jones & Co, who own Barron’s. Dow Jones appealed, and the appeal was dismissed. Opinions in favour of the judgement and against are appearing in increasing numbers. The growing concern is what some consider an impending threat to what the Internet provides for millions: a platform for free speech and expression. Some are saying the judgement could be critical, because it opens anyone who expresses an opinion of someone or something in another country to be subject to that country’s libel laws.

Someone likes the name of this blog.

FilmWise is a nifty site that poses movie quizzes, including Invisibles, wherein they digitally remove the bodies of actors from scenes, leaving only their clothing. You try to guess from which movie each scene is. Here’s the latest quiz. Good luck.

Up in Smoke, Cashing In?, and Rebuilding Lower Manhattan

Posted in Library, Miscellaneous, NYC on December 19th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

A library specializing in the history of artificial intelligence, whose collection was built over a 20 year period by one librarian in particular, together with 150 work stations and equipment worth over 500,000 was destroyed by fire in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Dec 14th. Ouch! As a fellow librarian, I empathize with how hard it must be to come to terms with such a loss.

In Florida, a manufacturer is producing a set of trading cards which feature portraits of victims of the Sept 11 attacks. He apparently has the approval of the families of each victim shown on the individual cards, which will sell for $2.50US each. Families will receive 8% royalties. The manufacturer denies he is cashing in on tragedy, but rather, is “providing a service to these families.” Do you agree? I don’t – I think it’s really difficult to justify this. I might be more amenable if all the profits went to charity after costs, but that isn’t possible when a for-profit enterprise is behind such a product.

Today in NYC, another seven new plans for the rebuilding of the WTC site were unveiled. My first reactions are not that positive, but I believe I need to study the designs further. The design from Richard Meier and Partners appears as an enormous hash mark from a distance, for example. You can see them here, and vote for your choice. Clicking on each entry opens another window with different views of the proposed sites, and each graphic within the new window moves while you are looking at it, a nice touch. (Warning: pop-up windows)

Breathing Bad Air, Awards and the Hollywood Stock Exchange

Posted in Film on December 17th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

First of all, it’s Tuesday evening, I’ve returned from working out, and am inhaling toxic fumes in my house. Workers were here earlier today, ripped out my kitchen window, cleaned out the rotting wood and whatever else they found, reinstalled it with new window goop stuff, and the fumes are stomach turning. Thank God it’s “warm” out, all my windows are open and the overhead fan in the kitchen is rocking. But my stomach hurts.

It’s the beginning of the movie awards season. The New York Film Critics Circle named Far From Heaven Best Picture, Daniel Day-Lewis Best Actor for Gangs of New York, and Diane Lane Best Actress for Unfaithful (now that’s a surprise!). Far From Heaven won 5 awards. The winners of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards included About Schmidt for Best Picture, Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of NY) and Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt) for Best Actor (a tie), and Julianne Moore Best Actress for her work in Far From Heaven and The Hours. The Boston Society of Film Critics Awards are never predictable. Best Picture went to The Pianist, a Holocaust film and a comeback of sorts for Roman Polanski (note: official site is in French), Best Actor to Adrien Brody for The Pianist, and Best Actress to Maggie Gyllenhaal for Secretary. The information above comes from the brilliant page of Alex Fung, the Film Awards Archivist Supremo!

But wait, there’s more! From Anne comes this: The Hollywood Stock Exchange! YES! But what is it? “Buy shares of your favorite actors and their new movies and watch their values rise or fall based on their success. Stocks soar with a blockbuster opening at the box office and plummet with a bomb no one went to see.” You begin with $2,000,000 “Hollywood Dollars”. It sounds like a blast, I’m joining today!

This Blogging Life

Posted in Miscellaneous, Mixed Bag Special, Pop Culture on December 17th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

Geoff and I are planning a short article for Feliciter on blogging. We will not break new ground necessarily, but will report on the current state of the art, and how it is being used now in the library world, and what applications or uses might be forthcoming. We had our first coffee meeting today, and hope to have an outline in the next day or two. I am near the end of Rebecca Blood’s book, which is a joy to read: straightforward, lucid, clear and obvious, presented in a crisp writing style that holds my attention.

I receive the Sunday NYTimes, and in this week’s Magazine is their 2nd Annual Year in Ideas. It is fascinating, and I’m kicking myself for not keeping last year’s issue. Check out genetically modified saliva, the crying baby translator, and the self-cleaning dinner table, to name a few. Rebecca also mentions this issue.

From Milk and Cookies comes the Stewardess Uniform Collection. This may seem odd to some, but students of fashion would find a site like this quite useful.

I finished a workout after work, ran errands, and returned home to load a new #15 b&w cartridge in my HP 812C, only to have it fail. Frustrated, I returned to Staples and swapped it, and when I arrived home and installed it, the same thing happened. I was incredulous. I surfed HP web pages, eventually found schematics for the model, and while staring at the cartridge casing noticed a small piece of metal was missing, the contact for the cartridge to connect to the printer. Argh! The part is probably worth 12c, so tomorrow I’ll bring it in for repairs which will probably total $50…

Google View

Posted in Pop Culture on December 15th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

One of the fun aspects of blogging is checking out someone else’s blog and discovering new information. From Geoff ‘s site I found the 2002 Year-End Google Zeitgeist, a review of “search patterns, trends and surprises.” An examination of the various charts suggests that pop culture rules the search engine domains, and a pop culture of the very young. I was surprised to see that the top athlete, the athlete with the mosts searches, was someone I’d not heard of, David Beckham, a British soccer player.

Keith has an interesting take on dealing with unreasonable people.

Random Thoughts

Posted in Film, Miscellaneous, Mixed Bag Special, Random Thoughts on December 14th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

Last night I attended a party at a colleague’s house, and had a great time. The gang spilled out onto Whyte Avenue at midnight, with some of us ending up at The Commercial Hotel (blues bar), where I watched a blues band from Chicago mop up the floor with some great tunes. The lead guitarist was amazing, getting tones from his Stratocaster of which I can only dream. I made it into bed at 2:00 am, and couldn’t really get moving until 1:00 pm this afternoon – no hangover, mind you, it’s called “getting old(er)”.

I saw Star Trek Nemesis this afternoon, and agree with a number of critics who are calling it the best Trek film since The Wrath of Khan. The film features great performances from Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner and the newcomer, Tom Hardy. The film is dark and brooding, and a lot of fun. I suspended my disbelief and had a good time.

Recently I learned that the ATF, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, discovered my web site, and through a contact, asked me to remove certain references from it. Out of respect for this person, I made the necessary (very minor) changes. No, the integrity of my site is fine, and there was nothing bad, illegal, suspicious, etc., of note. At issue was a reference to someone I know who works for them, and they asked if I would remove the reference for this person’s protection. I did so, despite the fact that I live outside of their jurisdiction (duh). End of story.

Another website of fascination: soulbath.

I am finished my Christmas shopping, which wasn’t much to begin with, a handful of gifts for children, mostly. What’s left are my Christmas cards, which I make from cardstock and a chosen photo. The cards are ready to be personalized, what’s left to add is my annual letter. This year it will be shorter than usual, because I have this blog now.

There has been much talk in the news about taking religion and Christ out of Christmas, as in past years. To me, it’s tiresome. “We” are so worried in this era about offending anyone or being politically incorrect. Enough, already: Christmas is a Christian celebration and tradition. I’ll say “Merry Christmas”, and if that offends you, my apologies. So far, no one has ever been angry with me or corrected me for saying so. There’s even a commercial out in which they sing, “On the first day of giving, my true love gave to me…” Ridiculous and offensive from the get go.

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