Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday morning odds and ends

Don't Pet the Panda: A panda in Beijing bit his third tourist in two years, after a man jumped in the panda's pen to retrieve his son's toy. Despite their obvious cuteness, pandas have large molars and strong jaws and will attack if provoked.

— President-elect Barack Obama has asked Congress to push back the switch to digital television, citing problems with the converter coupon program (for one, it's out of money). If you use an antenna for your TV and already have a converter box, I would suggest hooking it up. If you don't, well, you might get a reprieve. From Obama's letter (via The Washington Post):

"Millions of consumers could now be forced to spend their own money to navigate this federally mandated transition," the letter says. "This economic climate is not the right time to ask consumers to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay for the miscalculation by the federal government. "

Big Budget Bust? A study out of New Mexico says that film incentive programs don't pay off. From

"It would be easy to conclude that New Mexico's program of tax incentives for film and TV producers has been a big success. The state is hosting roughly 10 times as much film production as it did a decade ago. Albuquerque is now home to some of the largest soundstages in the world, and Sony Pictures Imageworks plans to move its special-effects operations to a new location there.

But a look at the numbers suggests that all this new activity has come at considerable cost. During the past fiscal year, according to a recent study, New Mexico granted $38.2 million in tax rebates for TV and movie production, but in return saw only enough increase in economic activity to generate $5.5 million in public revenue. 'For every one dollar in rebate,' the study concluded, 'the state only received 14.44 cents in return.'"

Not a very good rate of return. And the story notes that all but 10 states have created film-incentive programs over the last 5 years.

— And just for fun: The NYTimes says the mustache is back. I don't necessarily believe them (or maybe I don't want to) but that's what they say:

"It, like the beard, enjoyed its most widespread popularity between 1850 and 1900; John Wilkes Booth, it must be conceded, had a beaut. But today, the mustache cannot shake its ties to the sexy-yet-buffoonish machismo of the mid-1970s, epitomized by Burt Reynolds, Sam Elliott and the Village People, ’stache sporters all."

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I would concur on the 'stache :)