FAT CHANCE

Tim Sweeney: ‘You picked a poor example of a fat chance yesterday. The Astros have a legitimate shot at the National League Pennant. Texas has enough to apologize for nowadays, so don’t dump on our Astros!’

Aaron Long: ‘Notice that ‘fat chance’ is without exception said sarcastically. Consider how such phrases as, ‘Brilliant!’ or ‘Nice move, genius!’ mean their opposite if said with the right inflection.’

John Seiffer: ‘And why do ‘slow up’ and ‘slow down’ mean the same thing? I guess it’s amazing we can understand each other at all!’

REAL SOON NOW

Walter Willis: ‘[The ‘Real Soon Now’ phenomenon Dan Nachbar described yesterday] isn’t self deception. Most innovators only know their special branch of technology. They don’t study innovation in general because they are not innovators, they are chemists or solid state physicists or whatever. I have studied innovation in great detail and depth so I know why things take longer and cost more. It is because every piece of technology out there is supported by dozens of pieces of enabling technology that have accumulated over the years as the problems were solved, one by one by one. A specialist doesn’t really have any reason to know this. Learning is a long and hard process. It’s also why I have literally hundreds of inventions and haven’t developed any of them . . . because it is a lifetime to make not just the one invention, easy enough, but the dozen other inventions to make the one invention work. To use an analogy that you would be familiar with, if you had just the idea of an engine that drove a car, and the understanding that would enable you to make a two-stroke or otto or diesel cycle engine, would you understand the need for a differential, or a pneumatic tire, or a windshield wiper, or a head light, or an electric starter, or a lead acid battery specialized for peak output, or a distributor, or a radiator, or a transaxle, or a rolldown mechanism for a window, or a safety glass windshield, or a transmission, or … It’s like that for every piece of technology out there. Can you imagine thinking up an automobile and understanding why tires have not merely carbon particles added to the rubber, but bias cut fiber reinforcement, and why?’

☞ I know the woman who invented the Scrunchie, and I don’t think it was even three years between brainstorm and bonanza. But I see your point. Yet Dan is right, too, I think. Faced with a massive project, there is the natural tendency to tell ourselves ‘it won’t be long now.’

FAHRENHEIT 9/11

John Ryan, Beaumont, TX: ‘Usually around here when you attend a documentary there may be one or two other people in the theater. Not today. The afternoon screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 was three-quarters full. And at the end of the movie, people stood up and applauded! Amazing, as this is right in the heart of Bush Country.’

☞ It’s huge. Here’s another example, from a wire service story:

Irvine, CA – In the heart of conservative Orange County, a Regal Cinema theater was initially not even going to show the film, but under pressure from the community is now offering 12 showings a day.

The organizer of the Irvine opening, Mitchell Goldstone, wrote to tell me ‘it was the highest grossing event in the theater’s history. I just talked with Regal Entertainment Group management and they actually used the word ‘pandemonium’ to describe what is occurring in front of the theater right now. ‘There are enormous lines of people waiting to buy tickets’ in front of the Irvine Regal University Town Center theater right now – at about 2:00PM (Saturday).’

So think of it this way: if there’s ANY issue you kind of prefer the Democrats on – perhaps ‘the environment’ or ‘separation of church and state’ or the ‘stem cell research’ that could save your spouse or child from some devastating disease (an issue on which Nancy Reagan, among others, agrees with our side) – go see Fahrenheit 9/11.

You may leave the theater more convinced than ever that Bush / Cheney / Ashcroft are the men for you. OK. At least you’ll know you’ve withstood a test of your faith in their competence and good judgment and come through it unshaken.

Or you may leave the theater less sure. But that’s OK, too. As Lord John Maynard Keynes is alleged to have remarked – ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’

 

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