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This is my end-of-year off-topic holiday post, traditional before a break or a holiday. Breakfast Bytes will be on hiatus until January 4. Let's hope 2021 is better than 2020, although for EDA, semiconductor, and electronics in general, 2020 was actually a good year.
I've been in marketing in one way or another for about the last twenty years, having been in engineering and engineering management before that. One phrase you hear a lot is "if you build it, they will come", meaning that people will not know they need a technology until you create it. In fact, this is terrible advice, and I would guess this attitude has killed more startups in EDA than anything else. The idea that if you create a clever technical solution, especially if it is not easy, then there is a market for it and so you will succeed. That's about as likely in reality as...well, building a baseball diamond in a cornfield.
But today is the last day before a break, and so I'm going off-topic. I'm not going to write about marketing, but phrases that everyone knows that never actually appeared in the source work that they are supposed to occur in. You probably already know that Captain Kirk never said "Beam me up, Scotty" in the original Star Trek series, for example. But the disembodied voice in Field of Dreams never said "if you build it, they will come" but rather "if you build it, he will come". That would not really work as a marketing slogan, plus it is a bit too cryptic about who "he" might be. And by the way, the baseball field Universal created for the movie still exists in Iowa today. People come from all over the world to see it, thus making the "if you build it, they will come" message true.
Shakespeare has a couple of lines that are used regularly but are not quite right. In the graveyard scene, Hamlet holds up a skull and says "Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well". But actually, he doesn't say that. He says "Alas poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio". Hamlet is talking to his friend Horatio, and using his name. A bit like "Watson" in the phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson". Which, yup, never occurs in any of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Scholars seem to think that the "I knew him well" misquotation is because often the following lines are cut. Hamlet is famously long, so rarely performed in full. However, I recommend experiencing the full thing once, which you can do with Kenneth Branaugh's 1997 movie version (called Hamlet, obviously). The era is moved to the 19th century, but it follows the complete original text and runs for 242 minutes, just over four hours. It used to be on two VHS tapes when I watched it, but I assumed you can stream it from somewhere these days.
Another Shakesperean phrase that people use is "Lead on, MacDuff", meaning that someone should go ahead and you'll be behind them, or perhaps simply that it is time to go. But actually, Macbeth's last lines in the play are actually "Lay on, MacDuff" and a few more words. This means something more like "give it your best effort"—Macbeth is challenging MacDuff. The reason that they are the last lines Macbeth speaks is that he then attacks MacDuff, who kills him.
There are lots more of these. For example, the phrase "follow the white rabbit" appears in the Matrix. But it never appears in either Alice in Wonderland nor Alice Through the Looking Glass. And since we are into being correct about things that everyone knows that are wrong, the titles were actually Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.
While on girls and queens, the queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves actually says "Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all", not "mirror, mirror" as everyone "quotes" it.
Another phrase borrowed by a movie is "Play It Again, Sam", the title of a 1972 Woody Allen movie that riffs off Casablanca (and, incidentally, one of the few "Woody Allen" movies that he did not direct himself). But Casablanca doesn't actually feature the phrase "Play it again, Sam". What Ilsa actually says is "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'". However, the other famous quote "Here's looking at you, kid" does appear in the movie. But the "I'm shocked" quote by Captain Renault is usually garbled. The actual quote is "I'm shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here" (just before a croupier hands him his winnings).
However, it is not only old movie quotes that everyone is sure they heard but didn't. "Luke, I am your father" is probably the most famous quote from the entire Star Wars series. But Darth Vader never said it in The Empire Strikes Back. He actually said "No, I am your father", which makes little sense out of context (like Horatio in Hamlet's quote where we came in) so it has been embellished to make sense when standing alone.
I live in San Jose these days, but I lived in San Francisco for over a decade. The most famous cop from San Francisco has to be Clint Eastwood's Harry Callahan. But he never says "Do you feel lucky, punk?". He actually says: "...you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?"
Not a misquote, but something that is amusing to anyone who knows San Francisco reasonably well, is the famous car-chase from Bullitt. It is actually nine different segments that don't join up, spread all over the city. Someone put the whole thing into Google Maps. It starts in Bernal Heights, in the South of the city (not to be confused with South San Francisco, which is a separate city completely). Moves to Potrero Hill to the east, goes through other neighborhoods before ending in Brisbane, seven miles south of the city but after having crossed the Golden Gate Bridge going north. Oh, and six hubcaps fall off Steve McQueen's car.
While on cars, if you've ever seen The Graduate (you should) and you live in the Bay Area, you'll notice that at the end, Dustin Hoffman drives to the East Bay on the top of the Bay Bridge. But the top of the Bay Bridge is in the opposite direction, going from Oakland into San Francisco. Obviously, if they drove on the correct lower level, it would be impossible to film, so they just switched it. I saw the movie years ago before I lived in the US, so I never noticed. But once you live in San Francisco, it looks really odd to watch. It is sometimes listed as a "goof" as if the creators of the movie had no idea it was the wrong direction, but obviously, the whole thing had to be meticulously planned (for a start, they had to close the bridge to film it).
And, not exactly a misquote, but Pachebel's Canon, beloved of weddings everywhere these days, is not actually a canon, it is a passacaglia.
As I said in the introduction to this post, Breakfast Bytes is off until January 4. Have a wonderful break and I'll be back in 2021.
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