Quote of the week

“I don’t believe the American people want us to focus on our job security. They want us to focus on their job security. I don’t think they want more gridlock. I don’t think they want more partisanship. I don’t think they want more obstruction. I’m a big believer not just in the value of a loyal opposition but in its necessity.”

— President Obama, from today’s televised debate with Republicans.

Quote of the week

“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things … and no good thing ever dies.”

–Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), from “The Shawshank Redemption”

Avatar: An awe-inspiring WOW

James Cameron’s new film, “Avatar,” opens tomorrow. The production budget was estimated to top $230 million. The New York Times gave it a big thumbs up.

Mr. Cameron lays out the fundamentals of the narrative efficiently, grabbing you at once with one eye-popping detail after another and on occasion almost losing you with some of the comically broad dialogue.

He’s a masterly storyteller…Mr. Cameron has said that he started thinking about the alien universe that became Pandora and its galactic environs in “Avatar” back in the 1970s. He wrote a treatment in 1996, but the technologies he needed to turn his ideas into images didn’t exist until recently.

Few films return us to the lost world of our first cinematic experiences, to that magical moment when movies really were bigger than life (instead of iPhone size), if only because we were children. Movies rarely carry us away, few even try. They entertain and instruct and sometimes enlighten. Some attempt to overwhelm us, but their efforts are usually a matter of volume. What’s often missing is awe, something Mr. Cameron has, after an absence from Hollywood, returned to the screen with a vengeance. He hasn’t changed cinema, but with blue people and pink blooms he has confirmed its wonder.

From The New York Times.

Quote of the week

“All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sharpest recession rally

S&P500

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich offers his opinion of  the rally here.

From The Big Picture blog.

Quote of the week

“Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it. Is it all that it can be? No. But when history calls, history calls. And I happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress to take every opportunity to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time.”

Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine, on her Finance Committee vote supporting the health care bill

Everyone gets paid on commission

Just read this post on Seth Godin’s blog and thought it was worth putting here in its entirety:

The Washington Post recently laid off a columnist because his blog posts didn’t get enough web traffic.

Of course, in the old days, the newspaper had no real way to tell which columns got read and which ones didn’t. So journalists were lulled into the sense that it didn’t really matter. The Times quotes Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU,  “It’s an unusual public rationale for serious newspaper people, that’s for sure.”

Wrong tense. It’s not going to be unusual for long.

In fact, in a digital world where everything can be measured, we all work on commission. And why not? If you do great work and it works, you should get rewarded. And if you don’t, it’s hard to see why a rational organization would keep you on.

You don’t have to like the coming era of hyper-measurement, but that doesn’t mean it’s not here.