Some hobbyists are train spotters and plane spotters. I am a yacht-spotter. What triggered this column was seeing Lady Sandals, a mega-yacht at Penn's Landing on the Delaware River. I Googled Lady Sandals—135' and once owned by Nicolas Cage. Google supplied dozens of interior and exterior photographs of the ship. At that same pier, I spotted McFarland, a massive dredger operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. I chatted with a member of the crew and was invited aboard for a tour the next day.
I’ve written a number of times that one way to deal harshly with unfriendly media is to deny access: Issue no press credentials. Force them to stand with their noses to the window pane and regurgitate the same AP or Reuters stories that all the other cheapskate newspapers and magazines use. That the Obama campaign has denied access to The New Yorker is delicious. I have 104 days to make up my mind, and I’m still not sure about Barack Obama or John McCain. Will this be yet another presidential election where I go into a voting booth holding my nose and pulling the
For some reason, we don’t get Fox Movies on DIRECTV, so I have never seen the “Fox Legacy” series. But when I read about Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman Tom Rothman making a name for himself as host of that series—acquiring a cult following and a ton of fan mail, including a note from Steven Spielberg—I chuckled to myself. In a world of simply terrible presenters and speechmakers, it’s a delight to come across someone that is really good. The Myth of PowerPoint The 10th issue of this e-zine, back in July 2005, was titled, “Power Corrupts, PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely”—a quote by Edward Tufte,
I’ve earned my living as a writer much of my life, just as my father and uncle had before me. I wrote some novels and business books, but it was junk mail that paid the bills. As a non-union writer, I follow the Writers Guild of America’s strike against the motion picture and television industries with fascination. Imagine! An unheralded collection of faceless individuals—whose behind-the-scenes creativity is the engine responsible for generating billions of dollars in revenues—has brought the entire industry to its knees. This column is about the Writers Guild Strike and the Mexican standoff that has become so expensive that no
In the mid-1950s, when I was attending Columbia College, I worked nights and weekends as a page at NBC in New York. In those days, television was black-and-white and always live. After squeezing fat tourists into thin seats, we pages were free to watch the show—from the back of the studio audience, the stage door or the control room. During those three years, I must have seen, in person, every major and minor star in the NBC galaxy, as well as those from other networks and Hollywood, since we also were assigned to work the Academy Awards and the Emmys. I was able to
Magazine blow-ins—the little subscription cards that fall out of magazines—are very efficient in bringing in new subscribers. The reason is obvious. If a non-subscriber reads an article in a magazine and wishes to subscribe, the means to do so is at hand. All you do is fill in the postage-paid card and drop it in the mail. The magazine starts arriving, and you pay the bill. Blow-ins (and bind-ins) work. They are responsible for an average of 12 percent of new magazine subscriptions at a cost per order of $5 to $10—peanuts compared to a direct mail shot. Blow-ins also irritate people. Back in 1987, New