There’s a scene in an excellent but little known movie called Blue In the Face†, where a hustler played by Michael J. Fox (!!!) asks another character “How much would I have to pay you to get you to eat a bowl of dog shit right now?” Which leads me to:
Person A to Person B: “See that piece of shit? If you eat it I’ll give you 100 million yuan.”
Person B eats the shit.
But Person A doesn’t want to give him 100 million yuan. He says to Person B: “How about I eat shit too? Then we’ll be even.”
Person B agrees.
Person A eats some shit. “Now we’re even,” he says.
They have just increased GDP by 200 million yuan.‡
I'm a big fan of GDP - it's the best game in town - but this is a good illustration of what can go wrong with GDP.
The practical concern is how much of reported GDP in a place like China is actually transactions like this. Certainly the Chinese are building things like high-rises that no one wants only to tear them down again shortly thereafter.
† The backstory with Blue In the Face is that the cast of Smoke had such a good time filming it that they decided to do another movie right then and there. I recommend both.
‡ For those inclined to think that GDP hasn't changed here, in principle, in-kind transfers like this do count as part of GDP. What’s key here is that the market value of eating the shit has been established. But, in-kind transfers are not measured well. So theoretically, this would be part of GDP, but for practical purposes it would probably be missed.
It’s about 2 gay guys of the same chronological age, but of different cultural ages, going to see a Judy Garland tribute show, and trying to figure out if she still (or should) have a special place in the hearts of gays.
I weep for my people.
I’m only half-kidding. I have this theory that because of the holocaust that was the AIDS epidemic and its annihilation of the previous generation of gay men, the faith of our fathers risks extinction. Today, Judyism, like Yiddish, is little more than a vague cultural memory.
Not for me. But then I grew up in a bubble of fabulousness …
Almost 8 years ago I started digitizing the content on VHS tapes. I’ve been “done” for ages, but there are straggler tapes around the house.
One set of stragglers contained various Looney Tunes recorded off the air when the kids were little. I like almost all cartoons, but I wanted to make sure we bought copies of these when we went to digital because they had good memories.
So, I faithfully invested in the Looney Tunes Golden Collections when they came out.
The thing is, when they started coming out several years ago, it was devilishly hard to figure out what I had, and what I didn’t have. There were 60 or so shorts on each DVD set, and over a thousand Looney Tunes to draw from (probably half of which were “good ones” that were frequently shown on TV.
Anyway, I spent hours one Christmas vacation just putting together a searchable database of the shorts we had on DVD, because this sort of thing just didn’t exist on the internet.
And … that handful of tapes sat around, mostly unplayed, because I knew there was stuff on there we couldn’t buy yet.
Flash forward to the present. Wikipedia now has a fairly detailed filmography of all the Looney Tunes. This is searchable by production year, main character, title and director. Even better, it is also searchable by whether the short is available on a digital collection. And, of course, there are Wikipedia pages devoted to each of those collections too.
The bottom line is that my patience paid off. I was now able to identify that those straggler tapes contain 9 Looney Tunes that are not available for purchase yet.
And, here’s a benefit of “illegal” copying that is a positive externality for Warner Bros because of the internet. I was fairly committed to not buying any more Looney Tunes sets. But, now I am because I know what I’ve seen and what I don’t have. This is information that just wasn’t available before.
The analogy I draw is to radio stations in the 1970’s. Listeners would hear good music, but often be unable to identify it and buy it because DJ’s weren’t always very good about making that clear, and the record companies didn’t get that they weren’t making enough information available to consumers. The internet is proof that people wanted that information, and the record companies were clueless.
FYI: Curious about what I’m waiting for? Remember these shorts:
A squirrel tries to crack a coconut that looks like a face …
A St. Bernard rescues Yosemite Sam by mixing a martini for himself …
Pepe le Pew in Algiers …
Elmer Fudd pulls a Rip Van Winkle and wakes up in 2000 …
Two short Texans wildcatters with a really long limo strike a gusher of carrots …
Bugs, a genie, and a magic carpet ride …
Sylvester tries to teach his son the right way to catch a bluebird …
Daffy faces a bulldog while trying to get adopted by a millionaire
Wile E. Coyote uses giant-fly-paper to catch the Roadrunner, and instead captures a giant fly.
Yes, the cinematography was good. Yes, Natalie Portman was very good. And yes, I like all 5 stars: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder.
Even so, holy crap is this film overrated. We weren’t more than 10 minutes into it before one of us asked if we should turn it off.
The plot is one-dimensional: obsessed artist becomes more obsessed. The portrayal is scattershot: volatile, clipped, scenes that leave the viewer guessing what is real and what is not. But it isn’t clear why I should care? It isn’t because the protagonist is appealing. It isn’t because the story line is attractive. And am I really supposed to think the show won’t go on?
I like Natalie Portman a lot. But, let’s face it: she got a Best Actress because 1) she’s deserved one for a while, 2) she learned to dance for the role, 3) the role is about a crazy person, 4) she takes her clothes off, and 5) she simulates orgasm.
I haven’t paid attention, but I sure hope South Park, Family Guy, or The Simpsons has done a parody of this.
Of course, it has all the big names, plus those actors you always had a soft spot for, like Charles Napier for me, plus lots of people I’d forgotten about, like Susannah York, and lots whose faces I recognized but whose names I never knew, like William Campbell and John Wood.
The cops didn’t do this on their own; they were asked to look into this:
Utah Highway Patrol officers issued the citation against Brewvies in early September after a complaint was filed with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Yes, the violation is an exploitation of a law intended for another purpose:
The law is generally used to regulate strip clubs, which aren't permitted to have nude dancers — g-strings and pasties are required to be worn — if they serve liquor. The law is applied only to businesses with liquor licenses, so it wouldn't apply to alcohol-free theaters.
I wonder if this got called in by the owners of other movie theaters or restaurants: it is legal, and quite common in Utah, for restaurants that serve liquor to offer dinner packages that include movie tickets.
The fine issued by the state liquor board Thursday is the first for Brewvies, which only allows people 21 years and older to attend their movies and serves food and liquor to patrons. But under state law, many PG-13 and R-rated movies could net the theater a fine because of prohibitions on showing a film with sex acts, full-frontal nudity or even the "caressing" of breasts or buttocks.
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