Thursday, January 10, 2008


Updates from David Letterman: He continues to mention the WGA strike every show. One night they played a fake ad from AMPTP explaining their side of the disagreement: It showed a graphic of two whole pennies plus a penny cut in half, saying "The Writers Guild of America is demanding we pay them two and a half cents of every dollar we make. We ask you: How can we cut a penny in half? It's an outrageous request." Another night, at the top of the show Dave was announced as "Stooge for the WGA!" He and Paul regularly make comments about how their material shows what can be produced by WRITERS -- usually after a joke or bit has bombed.

Two nights ago, Dave resurrected a stunt he's done before, tormenting the businesses around the Ed Sullivan Theater. This time his target was again the Jamba Juice across the street, which has a wide expanse of plate glass windows revealing the interior to a camera nearby. They sent in a WGA striker from the picket line, who stood in the front window and waves his sign. After a few seconds, they sent in three more strikers. Then six strikers -- at which point Dave said the Jamba Juice employee dialing the phone in the background was probably calling the cops. Then another five strikers, then all they had left, another dozen. By this time the Jamba Juice was crammed with strikers. Nevertheless, as is always the case with this stunt, no passersby paid any notice whatsoever, and one guy in a suit threaded his way into the place to the counter without acting like anything was out of the ordinary.

Next, Dave sent in somebody dressed as Spiderman. Then Moses. And the last to join them was somebody in a bear costume. Never once drawing a second glance from anywhere. I find this irresistibly funny.

Last night during his monologue, Dave mentioned that Dubya had gone to Israel, adding "It's always risky when they let him leave his comfort zone. He made a speech today in which he said 'Ich bin ein Jewish guy.'"

I am paying new notice to the late night format, monologues and shtick after watching the second installment of the PBS series on Pioneers of Television, this one about late night talk shows. They covered Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson, with entirely too much blather from Jay Leno but some interesting comments from Arsenio and Dick Cavett. They'd filmed an interview with Merv Griffin before he died, and he was nice to see the old queen again. The only really new nuggets for me was the fact that the late night concept was dreamed up by Pat Weaver, who was Sigourney Weaver's father, and she had some interesting things to say about how her father refused to underestimate the intelligence of the average viewer, aiming instead for real conversation and commentary.

(Thanks for Shadocat for sending me this cartoon.)

I always appreciate it when I get an e-mail that says "Do you really need to print this out? If not, save a tree". (Pam I., this means you, I recall.) Well, Tamara Krinsky at Change the Margins has an even Greener idea that I want us all to adopt and pass on: Her suggestion is that we change the default margins on all our documents to .75 inches instead of the 1.25 inches that Windows sets it at.

Currently her campaign has three goals:

1. Convince Microsoft to change the default margin settings in Microsoft Word to .75 on all sides. The more convenient it is for people to change their habits, the better chance there is that they will actually do so.

2. Persuade five corporations to officially sanction narrower margins for all company documents. In this way, people will get used to seeing documents with this formatting as the standard, as opposed to the exception. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure.

3. Challenge five universities to adopt narrower margin settings as the standard for their students and faculty, and include this information in their course guidelines.
She's focusing initially on Coca-Cola, Toyota, Continental Airlines and S.C. Johnson, so if you have a good contact at one of those corporations, go to her website and get in touch with her. Her website also has a petition you can sign urging Microsoft to change their defaults before the software leaves their factory.

Here are the stats from her website about paper consumption:

In prehistoric times, 60% of the earth's surface was covered by forests - today that amount has been reduced by 30% and is still shrinking.

-It takes 17 pulpwood market-sized trees and 390 gallons of oil to make a ton of paper

-That ton of paper, when disposed of, takes up nearly 8 cubic feet of public landfill space.

-That public landfill is approximately 36% waste paper products.

-Each one million pages of paper not printed saves 85 pulp trees.

-Each person in an office on average uses 2.5 pounds of paper each week. In the U.S., a ton = 2000 pounds, so that means every 2 years and 70 days, each person in an office on average uses a ton of paper. Now re-read the stats above and see how those numbers hit you. Suddenly, a ton doesn't seem like such an abstract number.

-Americans discard 4 million tons of office paper every year -- enough to build a 12 foot high wall of paper from New York to California.


OK, so until we can get Microsoft to change the default margins in Word, here's how to do it on your own. It should take no more than twenty seconds and just a few clicks of the mouse. I suggest setting your margins to .75", which will save an immense amount of paper over the long haul, but still leaves you with a little bit of space on the sides. For those of you on the metric system, I'd recommend setting your margins to 2 centimeters, which is just over .75".

On your WORD screen, go to FILE, then PAGE SET UP.
Click on the MARGINS tab, and fill in your desired settings. Then click on the DEFAULT button (it's on the bottom of the Margins tab). You'll be offered "Do you want to change the default settings for the page set up? This change will affect all new documents based on the normal template." Click YES.

On your WORD screen, go to FORMAT, then DOCUMENT.
Once on DOCUMENT, click on MARGINS and you'll be able to fill in the settings for your margins.

I've a great article to recommend, by Courtney E. Martin in her book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body. Posted at Utne Reader, her essay Love Your Fat Self points out:

"Sizeism remains the only truly socially acceptable form of discrimination on the planet. We see living in a fat body as an insurmountable disability. Nearly a decade ago, the feminist therapist Mary Pipher wrote that 'fat is the leprosy of the 1990s.' Today fat is the death penalty of the 21st century. Skinny girls, counting their carrot sticks for lunch, can’t imagine being lovable at that size, applying for a job at that size, even living at that size. When I asked 14-year-old Manhattanites how their lives would be different if they were fat, they were struck silent. After a few moments, one responded, 'I would be dead.'"

It's a great read, complete with an image gallery. Love your body and lead the way.

And, lastly, here's a link to a FABULOUS Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon posted at Angry Black Woman blog, the definitive answer to essentialists who claim there's a biological explanation for why blacks score lower on some IQ tests than whites. Pass it on...

(Another classic from the mind of little gator)


letsdance said...

Thank you for gently taking our hands and leading us into important information, Maggie. I truly appreciate you.

kat said...

I've been wanting to check out "perfect girls." It's supposed to be quite good.

Trouble is, it's so much harder (in my twisted and conditioned brain) to just accept myself than it is to live on fruits and vegetables, go to the gym, and work on losing 10lbs.
I know, that's ridiculous, right? I know that, I know that I'm not "fat" just slightly bigger than I used to be, and besides, there's nothing wrong with fat.

I know this on an intellectual level. I do. The emotional/whatever level seems to be stronger right now, though....

god, I hate conditioning!!!!

shadocat said...

Glad you liked the 'toon Mags! Thank God for Dave, eh?