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I want a Kindle.

This actually is something of a turnaround for me. When I read in the papers that Amazon would be introducing a new e-book reader, I have to admit that I wasn't immediately enthralled. While it seems obvious that an e-book reader is inevitable in a society that has so embraced the iPod, I sort of like the old fashioned kind of book. You know, with paper and a nice thick cover.

But after reading the stories about the new Kindle, and seeing interviews with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, I am now certifiably intrigued. (It also in interesting to note that Amazon’s total inventory of Kindles was sold out the first day. But they’re getting more…)

Think about it. The Kindle can wirelessly download books, newspapers, magazines and Internet content. When you are searching for books using the Kindle, you will be linked to your Amazon buying history and “wish lists.” It has a keyboard to annotate the content. The books cost a maximum of $9.99. Ideally, there will be no such thing as out-of-print or out-of-stock books, because they all will be available digitally. Aging readers can increase the font size. And books won’t take up any space at all, yet will be completely available. Wow.

Now, there are some downsides, I grant you. The price, for one – the Kindle costs $399 at the moment. There’s also the history of e-book readers; it hasn’t been pretty, with numerous versions on the market but none really catching on. (There are just 100,000 e-book readers being used in North America, which is a pittance compared to 110 million iPods.)

But I’m intrigued by one observation made to the Wall Street Journal, which could define any success that the Kindle is able to achieve. Other e-book readers were built by technicians, the expert said. The Kindle looks like it was built by readers.

That’s about as big an endorsement as a product like this could be given.

And it made me think that by resisting the Kindle’s charms, I was breaking “Fart’s Law.” You know, the law that says that “the likelihood of an innovation succeeding usually is in direct proportion to the number of old farts who say that it will never work.”

The iPod has changed how we acquire and listen to music. The Kindle could change how we acquire and read print publications of all kinds. The question is not whether such a concept will work, but what will be the next transformational product concept? What industry will it revolutionize? And how can we all prepare ourselves to embrace rather than resist these changes?

Like the iPod, the Kindle strikes me not so much as a product, but as an instrument of revolution.

I’m intrigued. I want one.

I never thought that I would say this about a film starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, but “Lions For Lambs” is a really dreadful movie. Directed by Redford and also starring Tom Cruise, “Lions For Lambs” supposedly is about how government, the media and the educational system have all gotten so complacent that they have stopped giving the public the kind of information it needs to make intelligent decisions. It is all framed around the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has three parallel threads. One concerns Streep, as a journalist, interviewing Tom Cruise as a conservative senator about the next strategy being used to win the war. The second has Redford, as a college professor, trying to get a lazy student to engage with his surroundings. And the third – and most effective of the three - follows two of Redford’s former students after they have enlisted in the armed forces and find themselves fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan.

The problem is that the concept doesn’t really work, the ideas aren’t well expressed, and the scenarios – except for some heart-stopping battle footage – simply aren’t convincing. And here is another sentence that I never thought I’d write: Streep is completely unconvincing as the journalist, giving maybe the only bad performance that she’s ever given. (Though I’m not sure it is her fault. I actually think she only has an idea to play, not a character… and even she cannot pull that off.)

There’s an admonition out of “old Hollywood” that variously has been attributed to Samuel Goldwyn, Jack Warner and Sam Cohn: “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.” While I don't really agree with that – I can think of plenty of so-called “message movies” that were terrific – “Lions For Lambs” makes the case that Goldwyn or Warner or Cohn were right.

Avoid it.

When I was at the new Hannaford store in Dover, New Hampshire, I picked up a bottle of 2005 Running With Scissors merlot, which was the store’s “wine of the month” feature. (Hannaford was selling it for $9.99 a bottle.) And it was wonderful…smooth and supple over the tongue, and an immediate favorite of Mrs. Content Guy’s. (The problem is that I may have to drive back to New Hampshire to get more…which is fine by my daughter, who wants to go with me to check out the “Cooking Show To Go” products that I was raving about.)

Another wonderful wine that we used last night to celebrate Mrs. Content Guy’s birthday (I’m not allowed to tell you which one) is the Francis Ford Coppola 2006 Captain’s Reserve Pinot Noir, which has a kind of smoothness that the vineyard’s website describes as “silky,” and that was really, really good…though a lot pricier ($38.00) and available, best I can tell, only through the winemaker’s website. But worth it.

That’s it for now…see you Monday.

KC's View: