- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Celebrity factor

“Why the L.A. Times is doomed: The following teaser appears, not on the front page, but at the bottom of the first page of the B section in [Sunday’s] Los Angeles Times.

” ‘Lindsay Lohan arrested The actress, 20, is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after hitting a curb and shrubbery in Beverly Hills. B3.’

“P.S.: By the time L.A. residents got up to get the Sunday paper, the Lohan story had already led Drudge and been replaced by a fresher bit of news. Meanwhile, the New York Post featured an inch-and-a-half headline, plus picture, on its tabloid front page:

” ‘LINDSAY DRUG SHOCK Stash found after DUI bust.’

“That’s the New York Post of the same day as the LAT, even though the story happened in L.A. and the Post is produced in New York. … The Post account is also juicier.”

— Mickey Kaus, writing on “Failing the Lohan Test,” Sunday in Slate.com

Inflation regime

“In March prices rose by more than 50 percent as Zimbabwe entered … hyperinflation. That was followed, on April 26, by a 98 percent official devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar. Miners, farmers, tour operators, non-governmental organizations, embassies and Zimbabweans living abroad can now purchase 15,000 Zimbabwean dollars with a U.S. dollar. For others the official rate remains at 250 per U.S. dollar. …

“The economic destruction caused by a decade of the world’s highest inflation rate — and now hyperinflation — is palpable. The nation’s economy is starting to implode, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is insolvent and Zimbabweans are streaming into South Africa in search of work. This will end, as do all hyperinflations, with a regime change: either a new monetary system, a new political setup, or both.”

— Steve H. Hanke, writing on “Hyperinflation,” in the June 4 issue of Forbes

Tedium at sea

“It’s become the stuff of legend that Johnny Depp, hired to play this pirate captain in the first [‘Pirates of the Caribbean’] film, developed a character so eye-catching that he stole the show from its lovely and much-younger leads, Orlando Bloom (playing Will Turner) and Keira Knightley (as Elizabeth Swann). The original Jack Sparrow was bold and daring and had plenty of pirate in him, but in the sequels he’s been diminishing into a mere rascal. We’re reminded too often that Captain Jack’s highest concern is saving his own skin, which suggests unbecoming cowardice. All that flouncing, preening, wobbling and grimacing work fine in contrast with stereotypical piratey-ness, they’re great as pepper on a steak. But the steak itself is disappearing, and the character sometimes verges on tedious. …

“In the first film, the pirates were sexy bad guys; now they’re gentle people with seaweed in their hair. If by the next film they’re marching in protest outside Wal-Mart headquarters, it may be earnest, but it won’t be much fun.”

— Frederica Mathewes-Green, writing on “Time to Walk the Plank?” Friday in NationalReview.com

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