December 29, 2015

The Gaping Maw

Around this time of year, the songs and the spirit of the season encourage us to strive towards peace on earth and goodwill towards all who we share this planet with - the exception of course being turkeys. It comes with a massive degree of irony then that Christmas often brings out the worst in us. In malls, on the roads and on the streets, folks are stressed and fuses are short.

It all seems to begin with the so-called Black Friday sales. People in the US lose their shit as they step on each other's throats to save fifty bucks on a TV, and this is now creeping into Canada, although the antics here are tame by comparison.

Some people on this planet have to walk thirty
miles to get clean drinking water.  
Earlier this month my wife and I were on vacation at a Caribbean resort. As an all inclusive you can eat and drink as much as you desire and a lot of people take that designation quite literally. It appears that some feel short-changed if they don't take advantage of every possible thing offered, even if they normally wouldn't. At the breakfast buffet I saw folks gorging on chicken fajitas, which of course is the first type of food that comes to my mind at 8 in the morning. And everyday around 11 you'd see people walking around drinking some kind of rum concoction in giant coconuts, which apparently were prepared on the beach each morning. What was interesting was the sheer despair on the faces of people who missed out on getting their very own coconuts because the guy on the beach only had a limited amount. Several people were genuinely upset, with their sense of calm only returning when they finally got one the next day. (aka..give baby the tit)

The other day I saw someone put out a giant bowl of food for a dog, which the dog greedily hoovered in about nineteen seconds. Perhaps I'm over reacting, but this reminded me of the human condition. Whether it's global warming or world war 3, it's no secret that if we don't all slow the hell down and show a little discipline with our unquenchable consumption of all things, we may very well exit this planet sooner rather than later. Don't want to be a Debbie Downer (cuz I am not one) but i'm just sayin' is all...just slow down a bit & ease off on the maniacal quest to consume everything, immediately...I'm guessing you might a slightly longer life.. 

December 15, 2015

Radio Killed The Video Star

I find it fascinating just how wrong not only people can be, but an entire industry.

MTV smugly declared itself the new bad ass in town circa 1982 when it launched in the US with The Buggles' one hit wonder, Video Killed The Radio Star.  It suggested of course that video would crush radio's proverbial head and push out it's eyes with it's thumbs, sort of like that scene with the Mountain in Game of Thrones. 

MTV nowadays is just horrifyingly bad reality tv, and the once hip and thriving MuchMusic in Canada has been reduced to two aging technicians who punch things into a computer for an unending sequence of videos on a few linear channels watched by absolutely nobody, mostly still in operation so Bell won't lose their broadcast license.

On the other hand, terrestrial radio seems, in some ways anyway, stronger than ever. I've personally never subscribed to satellite services like Sirius, but I imagine some do as it's still alive. Spotify and other streaming audio services are ok, and I do have a subscription to the latter only because it came as part of my package with Rogers. I listen sometimes, but what it doesn't have is the live, local content, and radio personalities that help bring the music or the news to life so to speak. Don't get me wrong, I find inane morning show banter difficult to listen to, but there's still something immediate about good 'ol fashioned radio.

Bill Johnson, president of NBC
The conventional television model born in the 1950's is obviously dead. Newsrooms and local tv stations have been gutted and that trend will continue. Large North American TV networks and distribution channels have become bloated with their monopolies over the decades, resulting in unwatchable programming. Top shelf content is being produced and broadcast on network and distribution alternatives. With the advent of technology and consumer demand for choice, cable and satellite based companies operating only with the old models are simply a relic of the past.

It's frightening then just how wrong the so called best minds can be about any particular industry. Although urban legend states that it was Bill Gates who is on record for the quote below, the zillionaire nerd never actually said it. It was apparently uttered by some other computer executive in the 80's about the future of computers, so it's an interesting lesson nonetheless:

"640K ought to be enough for anyone"