EXTREME WEATHER

My friend Bryan Norcross’s Hurricane Almanac 2006: The Essential Guide to Storms Past, Present, and Future comes out tomorrow. For less than ten bucks, you can buy it today. After you read it, give it to your kids – what an engaging way to learn about science. Bryan, as some of you know, is CBS News’ hurricane guru. NBC made a movie of his extraordinary performance during Hurricane Andrew.

EXTREME DEFICITS

The lead headline in yesterday’s New York Times: Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit. But even though it now looks as of the deficit may be reported as $300 billion this year versus $318 billion last year, neither number reflects the true deficit, because neither includes the $200 billion or so we are borrowing from Social Security.

(It’s confusing, but not that confusing: if your take-home pay were $950 a week, plus your daughter gave you her $50 in babysitting money each week to put into a college fund, so you had $1,000 coming in each week . . . and you spent $1,000 each week, including that $50 she had entrusted you to set aside . . . would your budget be in balance? What if you were embezzling the extra $50 from the Church collection plate, planning to pay it back when you could? Still in balance? What if you were taking it out of your elderly parents’ retirement fund without their fully understanding what you were up to.

The two differences are that, first, it’s not $50 a week we’re talking about, it’s $200 billion a year. And, second, even with that $200 billion, we’re still falling $300 billion short.

Not that we need to balance the budget every year. Over the long-term, it would be fine if the accumulated national debt just grew slower than, or at least not faster than, our economy as a whole. Unfortunately, under Reagan, Bush and Bush, that’s not been what’s happening:

‘The long-term outlook is such a deep well of sorrow that I can’t get much happiness out of this year,’ said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and a former White House economist under President Bush.

That quote comes well along in the story. But it may be more telling than the headline.

SUPERMAN SUCKS

Okay, Kevin Spacey makes a great villain. And the Superman music, borrowed from the ‘originals,’ is terrific. The rest of the movie . . . well, there is an awful lot of him flying underneath impossibly heavy falling objects just in time to toss them out of harm’s way. Not to mention all the savior and resurrection imagery. (And hey! Look at this! In what may have been a nod to the Da Vinci Code, it turns out Superman did have a child with Lois Lane.) But overall, at least for those of us who grew up with all this stuff in black and white TV and then with Christopher Reeve, this sequel was a disappointment. Which is amazing, because it looks as though it should be so good. If you go expecting Batman Begins, which did click, skip it.

The movie you want to see is The Devil Wears Prada. Yes, it is a chick flick, and yes, I continue to compile recipes for Cooking Like a Guy™.  (Grape Sorbet: identical to Frozen Grapes, with a little fib I supply to enhance the experience.)  I am tough.  My calluses have calluses.  But Meryl Streep will get yet another Oscar nomination for this, and the only reason she might not win is that she’s won so many already.

And then, of course, there is THE movie.  Which climbed from #13 to #12 this week, handily outgrossing both The Da Vinci Code and Jennifer Aniston’s The Breakup (both of which opened about the same time) on a per screen basis, with $2,065 on each of its 562 screens, versus $1,383 and $1,394, respectively, on their 1,012 and 1,180 screens.

Kenneth Nolan (who does not suffer boredom gladly):  “I went to the movie worried it might be hard to sit through. I could not have been more wrong.  It is completely compelling.”


If they made a movie about YOUR HOUSE, would you go see it?  Well, they have.


Tomorrow: One More Movie (and a word about Bjorn Lomborg)

 

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