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Front of the Book

 
 

 
LegoLand birthday

 

LegoLand Turns 10

 carlsbad, Calif On 20 March LegoLandcelebrated its 10th birthday. The occasion did not go unnoticed. For one thing, there was a 10-foot-tall, 5 -foot-wide, birthday cake it was a "wow, look at this!" cake, rather than a "May I have another slice, please" cake. This is largely due to the fact the cake is made up of 100,000 Lego bricks. Decorating the cake are replicas of some of the park’s must-see attractions. (These include a pirate ship that "sails," a dinosaur with turning head, and illuminated candles.)

The cake will be on display throughout the summer. And on Saturdays, instead of candles, there will be birthday fireworks. The park is using this birthday occasion to debut its new “4-D” movie Bob the Builder and the Roller Coaster. (Think of it as toddler fave Bob the Builder meets LegoLand.) What is 4-D, you ask? We are told it is “3-D computer generated animation with special effects such as wind and mist.


Swimming With Dolphins


Magazine industry veteran Don Nicholas, CEO of magazine subscription etailer bluedolphin.com, is anything but blue. Nicholas cheerfully noted that an estimated $1 billion in subscriptions have now been sold online, including solicitations by publishers, other authorized agents of all sizes and fly-by-nighters.

Online magazine shopping may never replace the experience of newsstand browsing, but readers who know what they want are enjoying the convenience of ordering online—in their pajamas and without messy blowout cards!

So far, bluedolphin.com has approximately 450,000 customers. The average subscription is $20, and the site sells 10,000 to 12,000 subs a week. Orders are routed directly to the publishers, who generally get about 15 percent of the sub price. “I have a very simple philosophy,” says Nicholas, “I like the lowest level of guaranteed remit, and I think the publication should be sold everywhere at the same price.”

Not all publishers agree. Nor are they likely to be entirely thrilled with one of the features that Nicholas likes best. It’s called magtracker, and it is one of those online manage-your-own-account services. It includes a way of automatically canceling a subscription (you should pardon the expression) at will. (Cancellation rates are in the 15 percent to 20 percent range, Nicholas says). On the plus side, of course, magtracker potentially frees the publisher from mailing, remailing and re-remailing renewal notices.

And that puts another glint in Nicholas’ eye. Why not, he wonders, enable magazine readers to access magtracker, no matter where or how they got their subscriptions? Think of the customer service. Think of the publisher savings. Why not, indeed?


 Calculated Design

Pierre Cardin's bold signature scrawled across electronic items signals the debut of Pierre Cardin Electronique, Inc. What can one say about a line of designer-label calculators? Perhaps a simple sacre bleu!

The celebrated designer's foray Into technofashion is impressive, as he deftly walks the tightrope between trendy and trend-setting with travel clock radios, cassette recorders, calculators portable radios, a language translator and an executive-traveler worldwide voltage-converter kit.

Quartz-controlled clocks for the home and the road are available in analog (as in big hand and little hand) and digital formats. One cassette recorder has a built-in calculator. Two radios (an AM/FM portable and a stereo AM/FM clock radio) are billed as the thinnest of their ilk. The prices range from $25 for calculators and radios to $175 for tape recorders — and textures and tones from suede to gold and silver.


 

Living in the Then and Now

Margaret W Nelson, a photographer who lives in Boxford, Mass., noticed that old fuzzy pictures of the town would show up on calendars and in other strange places. She wanted to see the originals. As a result of getting her wish granted, Nelson navigates a time machine that takes her back and forth between today and the turn of the 20th century.

The creator of many of the old images was Arthur Wilmarth, who worked with glass-plate negatives. Nelson, who is trying to learn more about Wilmarth, doubts that he was a professional photographer.

"He's got a marvelous sense of humor," said Margaret Nelson. "As I've been printing his pictures, I've discovered   that he's in a lot of them. He's seen in his underwear, his dress-up clothes, and in his sporting clothes. He has a bulb in his hands and a little tube that runs down his leg or behind his chair or something to the camera. In my estimation, anybody who can pose in his underpants on an Oriental rug with a straight face has got to be a good guy."

It seems that Wilmarth stored his negatives in the attic. In recent years, his house was purchased by a farmer who was not sure just what he was going to do with that stuff in the attic. Margaret Nelson happened to get into a conversation with the farmer's cousin and thus learned about the source of those old images that were eluding her. She could not meet with the farmer immediately.

"It happened to be farming season," said Margaret Nelson, "and so I had to wait until February to make an appointment with him."

The archive's accidental owner gave Nelson permission to make prints from the glass plates. There were exhibitions of the newly printed pictures at the Boxford Village Library and the West Boxford Library.

"I really think the images are beautiful," said Nelson. "I never thought I'd want to print somebody else's pictures. That sounds boring; but they're quite lovely. For example, there's one of a farmer in overalls sowing seed in the field. There are big black clouds behind him and the old farmhouse where both the photographer and later the farmer who owns the negatives lives. It's really a dramatic scene, and it's made me feel closer to what's gone before."

Perhaps this feeling of propinquity finds its way into Margaret Nelson's own pictures.

"I've taken pictures for five years or more of things that go on in town," said Nelson. "I don't mean to sound as if I'm some official town photographer. I just photograph everything and anything that interest me-particularly people. I also do free-lance work for a newspaper."

Nelson confessed to being an outsider. Originally from Alabama, she's only lived in Boxford for about 20 years. Her appreciation of the town's history and traditions has been enhanced by her work with Wilmarth's pictures. At the same time her "alien" status helps her to freshly view scenes that the true Boxford folk might take for granted.

And so Margaret Nelson goes back and forth in time.

"We are pretty much interested," said Nelson, "in what we are and what we used to be."


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