Observations From The Pulp Tower

-- Two questions: Is this really a newspaper story? And how could it possibly have taken two bylines?

-- The opening installment of the Sun-Sentinel's series on foreclosures contains a startling fact:

In 2006, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 42 percent of mortgages originated in Broward were subprime, according to thousands of home loan transactions the South Florida Sun-Sentinel examined using data supplied by lenders under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

That's just scary. With real estate prices only having started their drop, the Pulp's tea leaves say that most of those homes are going to foreclose. Credit John Maines, the Sun-Sentinel's numbers guru and one of the best journos in South Florida, for the figure. As for the overall series, good topic and good info, but it seems rushed. There's no storytelling in it (so far) that makes you feel the crisis or understand it in a more meaningful way. It reads like glorified daily stories. What could have been absolutely excellent is just solid. Not blaming the reporters, Paul Owers and Georgia East, here. A good editor should have just gotten more.

-- It's about time the Oscars had a truly worthy best picture in No Country For Old Men, but the Academy couldn't miss this time. I believe 2007 was the best year for filmdom since ... I don't know, the 70s anyway. There were at least two other pictures that were historically top-notch (There Will Be Blood and Michael Clayton). Last night's run-down of winners reminded me of how lame a lot of movies on that list really are. The years 1994 to 1998 were particularly unworthy: Forrest Gump. Braveheart. The English Patient. Titanic. Shakespeare In Love.

Pwew. More recently you have Chicago, Crash, Gladiator, and A Beautiful Mind. I'm not saying they are all absolute shit, just that they don't stand up as credible winners. Hope '07 was a sign of good things to come.

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