Friday, April 21, 2006

News / Comment: The best summary of Thomas's History and appeal

The Hindu Business Line : Carry on, Thomas: "The cheeky little tank engine and his affable engine friends have turned 60 this year. " This is the kind of article that makes a blog like this worthwhile (if indeed it can be argued that a blog like this is worthwhile).

It's a great summary and has some details (not sourced) that I'd never seen before like:

Critics also accused him (Audry) of "mid-20th-century masculinist attitudes" in showing male engines hauling dim, gabby female carriages. A 1991 report on gender-equality by education officers in the West Midlands stated that, while the male engines had adventures, Annie and Clarabel, two of the carriages, were merely shunted about. To keep young children from "heroic, macho male stereotypes", his tales were even banned from 85 nursery and primary schools. "They (carriages) are towed, pulled and `looked after'," carped a 1983 report, "They cry and sob when things go wrong ... True to the demands placed upon women in the 1950s, the gendered coaches pick up the emotional and unpaid labour of servicing capitalism."

Another great line: "Awdry had earlier renamed the Fat Controller as Sir Topham Hatt to placate well-girthed Americans offended by the word "Fat"."

And another: In 2003, a senior psychology lecturer from Exeter even went to the extent of inferring that up to 15 adults-an-hour suffer narcolepsy while reading these books to their offspring.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Comment: Come Ride the Rails with Thomas OVERSOLD

'Thomas' cancellation leaves fan derailed: "'Thomas' cancellation leaves fan derailed"

I can't imagine that this kind of thing can happen. Apparently a lady bought tickets to "A Day Out with Thomas" and then later was told by the railroad that they'd oversold the trip. I find this rather disgusting. It's one thing, though not a good thing, for airlines to do this garbage... A certain percentage or their passengers don't show and are offered some sort of refund or other ticket. They oversold a non-refundable train ride. Someone knew there are 400 tickets to be sold, we've sold 400, but hey... Let's keep selling. Hopefully it was an honest mistake, but that's incredibly disappointing to buy tickets, promise your child something and then have to take that back. I hope the railroad compensates her in some way, though it doesn't sound like they did / will. Historic Railroads are fighting for survival as it is, without the dark cloud of disappointing the few people out there enthusiastic about visiting.

Monday, April 03, 2006

News: Thomas download for your phone

Another gadget to hook the kids

Here's a pretty nice article from a dad talking about the Thomas the Tank Engine story downloadable to cell phones from Sprint. I don't really have a strong opinion about this. (I'm open to your comments) I will say Thomas was a lot more fun before the overcomercialization. But overcomercialization is relative... I think I though he was overcomercialized 10 years ago and we've come a long way from there. Maybe I'm just more used to it now.