A “budget” is newspaper talk for a list of what’s being prepared for the upcoming issue. Editors can see what other people are working on, decide which stories get the more prominent placement, and so on.
Evidently, the budget has been a casualty in the Los Angeles Times‘s effort to save money — along with eliminating sections, decimating staff, raising prices, and so on.
Just when you thought the Internet provided every possible information service, along comes Runpee.com.
The website lists current movies in theaters, and suggests points in the action during which you could quickly run to the restroom without missing anything substantial.
For example, let’s say you’re watching “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and feeling the need. Runpee (which almost sounds like the name of a character in the movie) suggests that you hold on until minute 33, at which point “Dumbledore says, ‘Off to bed, pip-pip.’ ”
Or, the site suggests, you could wait until 1 hour and 47 minutes, when “Harry invites Professor Slughorn to go and see Hagrid with him…”
Same paper; same issue; “Calendar” section; lengthy Associated Press story:
New York — The mid-movie dash to the restroom can turn us into calculating Usain Bolt wannabes: Ah, this looks like a lull — time to dash.
When we return to our seats, we pray the answer to “What did I miss?” isn’t “Darth Vader is really Luke’s father” or “the girlfriend is really a guy.”
The website RunPee.com can help with such anxious guesswork.
The site provides recommended opportunities to race to the restroom. It tells you when the action or romance wanes, and gives you a cue (“Baby O.J. is taken from Bruno”) for your exit.
The site tells you how long you’ve got and even summarizes what you missed. Since early July, RunPee.com is available as an iPhone app too.
Launched last August, RunPee took off earlier this summer. It’s been one of the season’s runaway hits — a clever idea that has spawned a lot of word-of-mouth from moviegoers.
“Helping your bladder enjoy going to the movies as much as you do,” the site boasts.
It was created by Dan Florio, a 42-year-old Flash developer who got the idea during the three-hour-plus “King Kong” remake in 2005…
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that someone at the paper would know what’s in it before it went to press; especially since all the stories are laid out in that “budget” thing.
I’d speculated, above, that the budget was a recent casualty. Sadly, though, duplication of stories, even in the same issue, is a Times tradition. Enough so that if someone in Editorial would actually pay attention to what was going into the paper, over the years they might save enough money to hire a copy editor or two.