Wednesday, April 06, 2005

first look | The Adventures Of Shark Boy And Lava Girl In 3-D


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JoVlo visits the set of Aronofsky's new film.


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US literary giant Saul Bellow dies at 89


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The Area Code Map. I don't think I can figure out the logic behind this map. Are these assigned randomly?


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The assignment of area codes may seem random or even malevolent to you, John, but this merely reflects your troubled inner being. Actually it's pretty sensible. The North American Numbering Plan, of which the area codes are a part, was worked out in the late 1940s to ensure standardized numbering nationwide, helping to make direct-dial long distance possible. (Prior to that time you had to go through an operator.)

On the rotary-dial phones then in use, dialing a nine took a lot longer than dialing a one, which tied up expensive switching equipment. So AT&T assigned "low dial pull" numbers to the markets with the most telephones and thus presumably the highest number of incoming long-distance calls. New York got 212, Chicago 312, LA 213, Detroit 313, Dallas 214, and so on.

Some area codes aren't so easy to explain. Boston got 617 while comparatively rural western Massachusetts got 413; Washington, D.C., got 202. (Zero, remember, has the highest dial-pull of all.) Whether these anomalies represented some smoldering vendetta against the eastern seaboard we may never know; the people responsible have long since retired.

The issue of dial pulls became academic with the introduction of Touch-Tone phones in the early 1960s. Since then the guiding principle behind the assignment of new area codes has been to make the new number as different as possible from the adjacent old ones in order to avoid confusion. That's why the split of New York's 212 produced 718, LA's 213 begat 818, and Chicago's 312 was joined by 708. The drawback of this approach is that when you do make a mistake it's a lulu, giving you San Francisco, for example, when you were trying to dial Milwaukee. But the phone company will readily delete such goofs from your bill.

As far as Ma Bell was concerned, the real problem with assigning area codes was that it began running out of numbers to assign. Originally the switching system required that the middle digit in each code be a one or a zero, which meant there were only 152 numbers available. By the early 1990s, all but a handful of these had been spoken for. To get around this limitation, phone companies around the country began implementing "Dial-1" service, which required you to dial 1 at the start of any direct-dial long-distance call. This permitted the use of additional digits in the middle position, giving us a total of 792 potential codes. Just in time, what with the proliferation of area codes required by the growing use of cell phones, faxes, and modems. Phone company geniuses used to think 792 codes would hold us forevermore; now, who knows?

 

Weekly World News: "DWARF SLAYS BIGFOOT!"
It's David and Goliath all over again!


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Movie-maker Tim Burton "blew millions" on his new film - training squirrels to crack nuts. (This article reads like satire, but is from The Sun, and appears to want us to take it seriously.


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Pope John Paul II is being reborn in a Colombian comic book as a superhero battling evil with an anti-Devil cape and special chastity pants.


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Google Wants Your Homemade Porn Videos


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POETSMART. "The only place to go for all your poet-training needs"


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This is very cool! A Parade of Homes exhibition from 1956, compared to the same homes today.


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Blogger Goose said...

Scroll down to "The Shamrock" house. Isn't that the house from the Brady Bunch?

 

They're back! Jay and Silent ... er ... Paris???? She's the new Silent Bob? She's everywhere!!!


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Warren Beatty, the 68-year-old actor and director, will likely join a lineup of liberal all-stars who will 'group blog' on a Web site to be launched next month by columnist Arianna Huffington.


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Grace Jones denies being booter from the European train. Get this! Best celebrity lie ever. She says that rather than being ejected from the train in Ashford, she decided to get off there instead of going to London!


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Best Sin City review yet.


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Two new featurettes from Fever Pitch, the love and baseball movie with Fallon and Barrymore.


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The trailer for Happily Ever After
  • Yvan Attal’s new film depicts three buddies, two married, one single, and their various relationships. Vincent (Attal) and Georges (Alain Chabat) are the married ones, each with a five-year-old child. Both men are beginning to chafe at the “bonds” they imagine to be constraining their lives. It doesn’t make things any easier that the other member of the triumvirate, Fred (Alain Cohen), is a bachelor with an endless row of women lined up to share his bed. Ironically, while envied by his pals, Fred ultimately desires what they have: a committed relationship with one partner. It is subsequently revealed that Vincent is seeing another woman and keeping the affair a secret from his friends and from his wife, Gabrielle (Charlotte Gainsbourg). But Gabrielle, unbeknownst to Vincent, is already aware of her husband’s affair and is just hoping that things will all work out – until, that is, she encounters an attractive stranger in the aisles of a music store.


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A new clip from The Year of the Yao, the documentary about 7'6" Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets.


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The trailer for Down & Derby - a comedy about the Pinewood Derby, featuring Mr. Myagi


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The trailer for The Ninth Day, the new film from Volker Schloedorff (The Tin Drum)
  • "Abbe Kremer is released from a living hell in the Dachau concentration camp and sent home to Luxembourg. Upon his arrival, he soon learns that this is not a reprieve or a pardon of his crime - voicing opposition to the Nazis' racial laws - but that he has nine days to convince the bishop of Luxembourg to work with the Nazi occupiers. Gestapo Untersturmfuehrer Gebhardt is under pressure from his superior to have the Abbe succeed in creating a rift between the Luxembourg church and the Vatican - or be transferred to duty in the death camps in the East. Gebhardt, a former Catholic seminarian, uses theological arguments to bring the Abbe around but when they don't work he resorts to more draconian measures. The Abbe is torn between his conscience and his horror of returning to Dachau..."


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Tired of those boring brown and white pets? "The Pet Esthe Vivid Color system is able to generate limitless color shades by changing the combination ratio of seven Vivid Colors and four Medium Colors.The finished dyeing colors of this color chart represent dyeing 100% white hair. They may vary according to the kind of pet, the thickness of hair, color-shade,etc. When dyeing, please follow directions after test dyeing part of your pet's hair. Please read the directions carefully before applying dye."


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This week's movies: Melinda and Melinda - 52% positive reviews. The general thought is that Woody has finally found, in Will Ferrell, the right young guy to play the "Woody Allen role".


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This week's movies (NY and LA only) Kung Fu Hustle - 88% positive reviews. The critics loved this wacky matrial arts comedy.


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This week's movies: Sahara - 67% good reviews. (Based on only six reviews.)


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This week's films: Fever Pitch - 36% positive reviews. It's hard to say what the negative reviews mean here, because the critics don't like the Farrellys. Dumb and Dumber, now considered a comedy classic, got only 52% positive reviews. It should be noted that some top critics, like Owen Gleiberman and Richard Roeper, liked this movie about love and baseball


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This week's theater count. Fever Pitch and Sahara are the only wide releases. Kung Fu Hustle opens in NY and LA only. Melinda and Melinda expands to 300 screens. Smile opens on 50 screens in California.


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Dannii Minogue says she can't make female friends because she's just too damned beautiful, and those biatches get jealous.


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The Daily Show's Produce Pete returns from a fourteen month hiatus to talk cabbage.


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The Daily Show concludes that Pope John Paul was clearly superior to Leos I, II, V, VII, and Piuses III-X.


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The Daily Show's Stephen Colbert summarizes the choosing of a new pope. It involves both a church and a steeple.


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Retiring Pacers star Reggie Miller talks to Jon Stewart about his relationship wuth Knicks fans.


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Jon Stewart asks: "How many times does our government need to tell us they're incompetent before we believe them?"


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A trailer for DARKON, a feature-length documentary about a certain type of obsessive war gamers. Very cool editing - and a fascinating topic.


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Singer and actress Grace Jones removed from Eurostar train. Let's hope this is not a literal quote: "Jones, 56, who was born in Jamaica but spent much of her career based in the United States, was thrown off the train from Paris to London."


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