H. Ross Perot used to claim that when people talked about NAFTA, he heard a giant sucking sound--that of jobs being funneled out of this country. Lately, I've been hearing a giant sucking sound around the office when people talk about color ink. For the past couple of weeks, glitches down the production line have slurped the color right off some of our pages.

Most appalling from an editorial standpoint was when a color-coded map rolled off the press in several barely differentiated shades of gray. We reprinted it last week and it turned out fine, but color got sucked out of a different section of the paper: "Gift Wrap," the advertising supplement.

Consequently, the person who wrote the highly entertaining text (when's the last time you could say that about advertorial copy?) didn't get proper credit; her byline was supposed to be in color, as was a whole paragraph of type, but it came out a very faint gray.

The author was Renée Downing, who is also filling in for film critic James DiGiovanna while he takes a few weeks to finish his dissertation. In the mid 1990s I hired Renée to take over as film critic during the last glory days of the Arizona Daily Star. She's kept a low profile since she quit the Star a couple of years ago, but I've seduced her back into the profession with the sleazy offer of a few movie- and book-review gigs. (She now sometimes addresses me as "Mr. Svengali, Sir.")

Now, if we could just be sure that the only colorful thing about the Weekly weren't the writing...

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