Talking Points

Hel-loooo, Bartley
Is the story line for Charlie’s Angels really as flimsy as the critics would lead you to believe? On November 3, the Wall Street Journal sniffed that “what passes for a plot,” where an evil dot-commer uses a global-positioning system to track down Charlie through his mobile phone, “is really just random borrowings from Bond and Mission: Impossible.” A week later, Sprint’s plan to add GPS devices to cell phones caused the Journal to gravely note that “privacy advocates warn there are too many risks that the data could wind up in the wrong hands.” Or, as one of the Angels puts it, “you can imagine how dangerous it would be if this got into the wrong hands.”

First Arthur “the Scud Stud” Kent, then Maria “the Money Honey” Bartiromo: Now the latest reporter-cum-fantasy object is CNN’s Bill Hemmer, who’s been planted in front of the capitol in Tallahassee, looking boyish and winsome, since the day after the vote. If you lose your concentration every time he says “hand count,” he’s available. “He is single, I know that,” says a CNN spokeswoman.

Really Fuzzy Math
Could science have an answer for the election mess? “In physics, when we do an experiment, you just don’t give the answer – you also give the margin of error associated with the answer. And if the margin of error is too large, you don’t believe the result at all,” declares Columbia University’s Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe. “The results are arithmetically meaningless.” What would the physicist do? “Keep voting until the margin separating Gore and Bush is greater than some agreed-upon amount,” he says. But only if we get the agreed-upon result.

Hello (and Good-bye) Kitty
Having redesigned her face to look like a jungle cat’s, Jocelyne Wildenstein decided to launch her own line of animal-print scarves ($150 to $295). “I designed this collection for women who don’t want to look like everyone else,” she explains in the press kit, which includes a scarf printed with a tiger’s head. But don’t look for one in your stocking, because
Jocelyne suspended the project at the last minute. Says her publicist, “She has some personal things to take care of, I guess.”

The Drudge Retort
Last year, the New York Times referred to gossipeur Matt Drudge as “the Internet scandalmonger who … led America to its groaning board feast upon sex and mendacity.” But now the Times hopes Drudge can lead America to something nobler: A big yellow ad on his site that reads keeping the connected well connected plugs the Times’ tech coverage. A spokeswoman for New York Times Digital explains that it usually buys a package of media sites for ads, adding, “We don’t really decide which sites they go to.” Drudge, busy scandalmongering, couldn’t be reached at deadline.

The Most Trusted Baby-Talk in America
Many of the the biggest-name reporters in America have been camped at the Four Seasons Hotel’s bar in Austin for the past ten days, waiting for news to dribble out of the Governor’s Mansion. And boredom has been a significant problem: Dick Cheney bought a copy of USA Today late one night, precipitating a giggly hourlong analysis. So it’s a good thing Walter Cronkite, the Ghost of Campaigns Past, is there to put it all in perspective. One night, he was hanging out with Andy Rooney when the Financial Times’ Richard Wolffe stopped by with his nine-week-old daughter. Asked Cronkite, over the infant, “Does she know she’s living through remarkable times?”

Talking Points