They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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Grand Rant Number One

In the middle of a particular rant about some absurdity or bad behavior, I often tell my students, "But Dr. Phil has no strong opinions on the matter." It's good for a laugh. But I am rather opinionated at times, as much as I delight in playing devil's advocate and try to see the same issue from multiple POV's, no matter what my feelings might be.

However, there are a couple of topics which I have complained about for a long time and they haven't yet spilled into this blog. I guess that changes here...

The Number One Question...

Suppose a friend calls up and says that they are going blow through town next week and thought they'd like to stop by for dinner. What do you suppose might be the number one question you'd like answered? I'm sure different people have different priorities, but frankly, one question which will come up soon enough is, "What day are you going to be here?"

Sensible, logical enough. If you are going to cook dinner or go out, you'll need to know when.

Answering the question with "I'm coming on the 29th" is truthful, but you know, often it causes you to either scramble for a calendar or ask the next question, "What day of the week is that?"

What Day of the Week IS It?

Such a simple thing. Our busy working schedules are all planned out based on the day of the week -- especially in academia, where a class might meet at Noon on MTRF. In WMU's parlance, that's Monday Tuesday thuRsday Friday. So if someone wanted to meet me for lunch at noon, it'd have to be on a Wednesday. Right?

When I heard many many months ago that the third/sixth Star Wars movie would open on May 19th 2005, I was surprised to see that this was a THURSDAY. After all, most movies open on Fridays in the U.S., and some blockblusters open on Wednesdays. Just like new DVD releases come out on Tuesdays. That's almost "expected" and yet here we have a big film opening on a Thursday. WTF?

When Marketing People Lie

In the case of Star Wars Episode III, there probably was some logic. Movie attendance has been down in general the last two or three years. Plus after huge advance ticket lines for Episode I, getting 12:01am tickets for Episode II wasn't a huge problem. Would people be tired of all this hype by Episode III? What if sales didn't hit the mark of being bigger and badder than everything else?

I can just imagine a meeting where someone said, "You know, if we open on a Thursday, then we'll have an extra day to pad the numbers for the opening weekend, but we won't be able to be compared to the mid-week openings of the previous installments." "Brilliant!"

But NO ONE Tells You The Day of the Week

None of the pre-opening movie posters said it was Thursday. In fact, take a look through the advertising for many of the plays and concerts and other events. I cannot tell you how skewed the ratio of ads/articles is towards not giving the days of the week. How should I know if I can go to a Moody Blues concert? My availability depends on my schedule! As do dentist appointments, whether I can pick up/drop off my wife at the Amtrak station/airport, or make it home in time to go out to a play, dinner or baseball game.

And it happens so damned often I cannot believe that it doesn't irk anyone else.

Back in the old days, there were those questions they told cub reporters they had to answer to make a good newspaper article: Who-What-Where-When-How... But they're no better than anyone else regarding placing full date and day information in articles or the little info boxes so prevalent in arts and events coverage.

Here's A Hint, Boys

Make my day -- don't make me go track down a calendar. Give me complete information. Month Day Date Year, in any order which is useful.

And if you want to avoid international confusion, skip the 6-4-2005 or 6.4.2005 dates. One would tend to be in June, the other in April, given the usual sorts of dating conventions. But not "always". (And you're going to be kind of safe figuring out the month with 5-31-2005 and 31.5.2005, unless you've invented your own neo-Mayan epic/epoch calendar system -- grin.)

Okay, I get it -- Easter comes on a Sunday, but the rules for which Sunday are complicated and it isn't easy to know now, in June 2005, when I've got no 2006 calendars or schedules floating around, to figure out the date of Easter 2006, but that's clearly another rant for another time (grin).

Dr. Phil
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