01 August 2007

Three subjects

1. Tom Snyder, best known as the star of the Tomorrow Show between 1973 and 1982, passed away, due to leukemia, at age 71, this weekend.

I'll miss him. I'll miss my memories of late nights/early mornings in my dorm at college, staying up to see what guest Tom had, enjoying his laugh. I'll miss Dan Ackroyd's take on Snyder's mannerisms and ... again ... that laugh.

Do I regret his passing because he was a talented guy or just because I regret my own aging? It hardly matters. May the road to heaven rise up to meet him now, and may the wind at his back never be his own.

2. Last week, I described the cartoon caption contest in The New Yorker, and especially one uncaptioned cartoon. It involved a monkey and a typewriter. A scientist is looking at a piece of paper and saying ...

Here are the three finalists. Not in the right order (or with exactly the right words either, because I'm doing this from memory), but, roughly speaking, here they are:

* Bad news, another rejection letter.
* Why don't you re-write it from a third-monkey point of view?
* We'll run this past our infinite number of editors.

It seems to me that the first of those is something of a cheat. There aren't any visual clues (like a ripped-open envelope) that the page is a letter from an outside source. The clues suggest that its a page that just came from the monkey's labors. The second and third of the above answers both work from that premise. And they're both funnier.

I like the infinite number of editors line. What about you folks?

3. The Bancroft family and, accordingly, the board of Dow Jones, the business-news publishing company responsible for the Wall Street Journal, Barrons' and the famous Dow Jones stock indexes, have agreed to sell the company to Fox and Rupert Murdoch.

As with Tom Snyder, I regret the passing. I wish the old WSJ the best of afterlife fates for a newspaper. But, really, consolidation is inevitable and there is no real point wailing or gnashing one's teeth.

The recent demise of the Weekly World News, though ... now THAT was a tragedy. Where will supermarketr shoppers get their Elvis-sightings fix now???

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.