business news in context, analysis with attitude

One of the things about my job is that I spend a lot of time reading newspapers - mostly online - and scanning the headlines. And there have been a few that I’ve seen lately that simply speak for themselves, or make me want to give the headline writers a bit of applause. Let me tell you about three of them:

PETA Closes Go Daddy Account After CEO Shoots Elephant

Now there’s a headline that speaks volumes, though I have to admit that it says something about PETA that with all the outrageous advertising that Go Daddy does - much of it criticized as exploiting women - it is a dead elephant that offends PETA.

Here’s another one:

Boeing Says It Didn’t Expect Cracks in 737s So Soon


And, my favorite:

Maryland Man Superglued to Walmart Toilet

Seth Godin’s new book, a short and pithy little tome called “Poke The Box,” is more than worth the amount of time it will take to read it.

His premise is simple, but elegant and relevant - that the most important part of any project, any innovation, is the starting of it. Action - whether it leads to success or failure or some combination of the two - prevents us from being stuck in a rut.

“Poking the box” is Godin’s metaphor for curiosity put into action, as in, What would happen if we tried this?

Check it out.

I loved Source Code, the new science fiction movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright, and directed by Duncan Jones. The premise is something of a puzzle box - after a terrorist attack on a commuter train in Chicago, a military man (Gyllenhaal) is inserted into the body of a man on that train during the last eight minutes of his life - his mission is to find out who did the bombing, so that future attacks can be prevented.

The science may be hooey, but it doesn’t matter. The film presents it so quickly, so matter-of-factly, that it creates in the audience willing suspension of disbelief. We’re willing to travel with Gyllenhaal as he goes back into the man’s body, again and again, trying to accomplish his mission, and begins to form an emotional attachment to the man’s girlfriend, and starts to define his mission differently. Not only does he want to identify the bomber, but he wants to save the woman’s life - even though he is told that he cannot change history.

Time-travel paradox movies are a favorite of mine, and Source Code is terrific - fast-paced, exciting, romantic, persuasive and engaging. And Gyllenhaal - who was so good a few months ago in Love And Other Drugs - is becoming a favorite, a kind of younger George Clooney with enormous star appeal.

See it.

I have three wines for you this week:

• 2009 Francis Coppola Director’s Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, which has a just a touch more body than the average Pinot, and is all the better for it.

• 2008 Line Shack Chardonnay, a slightly tangy wine that is perfect with spicy seafood.

And then, there was the 2007 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, which I’ve been saving for a special occasion. Good friends were in town visiting this week, so it seemed like the right time to break it out ... and it was creamy and luscious and just wonderful. Expensive, but worth every penny. (It is, for movie fans, a Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that was featured in the terrific movie, Bottle Shock.)

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

KC's View: