Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

February 21st, 2003:

Explosion on Staten Island

There’s been a big explosion at an oil storage facility on Staten Island, my hometown. One person is confirmed dead so far, one is missing, and one is in critical condition.

This facility is about as far away as you can get from where I grew up and still be on Staten Island. I’m pretty sure there’s no housing around there, but it is close to a major highway and the Outerbridge Crossing, which means it’s also close to Woodbridge, New Jersey. Indeed, the blast was strongly felt across the Arthur Kill in Woodbridge.

So far, no indications that it was an act of terrorism. Let’s hope it was just a terrible accident.

UPDATE: It’s been officially ruled an accident. And in the map of Staten Island that they show in this article, my old neighborhood would be a bit north/northeast of the N in Staten.

And speaking of commerials…

I want to take this opportunity to plug the Political State Report, a collaborative effort to monitor political news and events around the country by contributors in each state. There’s always something interesting there, stuff you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Check it out.

I should note, by the way, the the PSR is always looking for contributors. I seem to be the only person from Texas to post there, and as obviously wonderful and insightful as I am, that’s only one perspective from an awfully big state. A few other states could use some new voices as well, so if you have any interest, drop me a note. Prior blogging experience is not a requirement.

A lawsuit we can all get behind

A Chicago teacher has filed a class action lawsuit against Loews Cineplex for all those damn ads they now show before the movie:

[The lawsuit] claims the theater circuit’s policy of playing pre-film product commercials amounts to a deceptive business practice because the ads begin at the time advertised as the start of a feature movie.

The legal action reflects the reaction of many moviegoers jarred by the increasing prominence of onscreen advertising in theaters industrywide. In fact, the succession of such pre-movie ads now often lasts up to 10 minutes or longer in many venues.

The story notes a solution that’s in place in certain European countries that I for one would find to be perfectly acceptable:

[N]ewspaper listings and box office signage stipulate both movie times and times for pre-show ads and trailers.

Admit it – if you knew that the ads started at 1:30 and the movie started at 1:40, would you be in any rush to get there by 1:30?

I should note that I don’t consider movie trailers to be advertising. Trailers are fine, since after all they’re sometimes better than the feature film. Hell, I went to see Wing Commander in 1999 solely for the purpose of seeing the Phantom Menace trailer. (If I’d had half a brain, I’d have left after the trailer, too.) Making me sit through six or eight commercials beforehand, though, is just torture.