Sunday, June 18, 2006


Once upon a time I planned to do a Sunday column that dissected the column in the New York Times magazine called The Ethicist and came up with the errors in logic that the Ethicist employed. Sadly, the New York Times set up a discussion board related to the column. As such, it seemed as if it might be . . . unethical to bitch about the advice in that column here instead of there. Plus, I don't want to give a hack like that guy space on my blog.

Instead, my weekly installation of what was in today's New York Times follows. First, there was an article about fan fiction taken to an extreme by Trekkies. Apparently people are creating, writing, acting in, and filming their own episodes based on Star Trek. One of them uses a a $6,000 digital camera to film the actors, a few of which actually have some acting training. Obviously a $6,000 digital camera and a few actors who are trained makes it very likely that the production quality for these endeavors is higher than the original show. Really beautiful pages (whether you take them ironically, or drank the Trekkie Kool-Aid) can be seen here, here, here, here, and here.

Next on the hit parade, the Times reported about an exciting new tool developers are using to sell houses. Apparently in SoCal they are hiring actors to portray families living in model homes. You walk in the door, and there is a nice family made up of a Daddy, a Mommy, a Boy Child, and a Girl Child. That way you can envision yourself having the joy in the house that they have. I have seen enough shows on cable (Sell this House!) to know that you need to furnish the house and take pictures of yourself off the walls to sell a house, but this is nuts. The best part is when they talked to the actor who plays Daddy. Or should I say Daady, since his name is Jaason Simmons. See, I was reading this article thinking the same thoughts I have when they have musicians in my building's lobby for the holidays. Sure, the gigs may pay pretty well, but they must deaden the soul of people who really love their craft. Apprently I am wrong. Jaason Simmons says that the experience is great. "There's not much live interactive theater in L.A. You can stretch as an actor." Stretch? Yes, Mr. Richards, your table is ready. I don't know much about acting, but if this is a stretch you might want to shoot for a higher end waiter job.

Daniel Altman has a column in the business section about immigration and the effect of immigrants. Interesting stuff. It turns out that the children of immigrants "complete more years of education than their native-born counterparts of similar socioeconomic backgrounds." Immigrants and their children also maintain very low unemployment levels. The second generation is more likely to be in a management or professional position than are their parents. There are some negatives too, in that even with the fact that the kids get decent jobs, etc. they lag behind native born Americans. It is also not clear that today's immigrants have as many opportunities as did the Poles and Italians at the turn of the previous century. Very interesting. The best part was the professor who said "you could argue that the only immigrants you'd want in the United States were those 'whose children are going to get Ph.D.'s' and would therefore be economically productive."

Finally, technically this is from Saturday, but the beginning of the end is upon us. Wikipedia has ended its "anyone can edit" system with regard to a number of specific entries. They apparently tend to be the sorts of entries that all sorts of jack-asses want to perpetrate jackassery on (Islam, George Bush, Emo, PlayStation 3 etc.) That's not the beginning of the end though. The article also says that Wikipedia is the third most popular "news and information" page, after Yahoo! and CNN. Good grief. I like Wikipedia just fine, but folks, for all of the information sources out there, this is number three?

And that's what was in today's paper.


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