Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amusing Ourselves to Death...

One look at the headlines news sums up the future of the United States. No crystal ball, tarot cards, or stanzas from dead men are required. Just the headlines, indiscriminately culled from my home page, Google News today…

US pay cut for bailed-out bosses
Paps Smash Into Jackson Kids Caravan
Google’s new music service: Speculation deepens
Sailing Away with Balloon Boy
This Weeks 10 Best iPhone Apps
Michelle Obama Hula-Hooping our way to health

I thought that this might be a bit harsh on the US side, based upon one moment in time. Therefore, I decided to go back three hours later, and update the headlines…

The Mistake in Michael Jackson's Will
'Balloon boy' parents heard crying in 911 call
Report: Ex-Colleague of 'Balloon Boy' Father Says Incident Was Not An Accident
Google croons a tune with song sales
Microsoft, Google Seal Twitter Search Deals
Microsoft hoping that Hollywood touch makes Windows 7 a hit
Breaking News - Madoff's workplace was rife with cocaine, sex

Again, these were the Google headlines, not TMZ. The United States of America is amusing itself to death. The interesting thing is, we are almost at the point where pretending it isn't is pointless. My next post will outline the only possible way the US can climb out of it’s current descent into the abyss. And it will challenge everything you believe in.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: The green gambit...

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson made an appearance on ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ some years ago. ‘Late Night’ was broadcasting from a New York hotel room that evening, and Hunter was nestled on a couch next to Carly Simon. Doc was fidgeting with his jacket and shirtsleeves, while Dave was trying to ask questions. Letterman, half-annoyingly confronted the good doctor “Hunter, what on earth are you doing!” Thompson looked up, took a sip of his Chivas, and stated “Well, you’ve got the hot lights in front of me and the cold air blowing in the window behind. I am not sure which will prevail.”

The above and four seasons experienced growing up in Chicago comprise my knowledge on climate change. I haven’t seen the Gore movie, followed Leonardo’s (the little guy) call to arms or sent checks to Greenpeace. I am pretty much like the rest of the overworked zombies that make-up the world’s workforce. We spend most of our day preparing for, getting to, sloshing through paperwork and people, and go back to our nests. We are bombarded the rest of the time with sensory over-load. Therefore, when something of substance is placed before us, we look to the talking heads of the world to explain it and tell us what to do.

Historically, the good have taken on the bad and prevented the ugly. World War II is the best example of that. Polio was confronted and it is a bit early yet, but a vaccine for HIV looks promising. These were threats to humanity that were deemed unacceptable. They were confronted head on, our collective focus sure. Our world would be afforded more time to smooth the imperfections that drive us onward.

With the new millennium came the wake-up call to confront something they called ‘Global Warming’. The ominous tone signaled impending disaster if the world did not change its energy habits. It seems reasonable to think that even for overworked zombies, we could have responded all-for-one, one-for-all. After all, this time nobody would have to take up arms. Nobody would be killed and bombs would not be dropped.


Yet, a strange thing has occurred. Skeptics who believe climate change is a myth have calmed the winds of change. The plans had been drawn, and the world was listening. The momentum appears to have been sidelined in favor of reviving a war on shadows, and replenishing squandered riches. Will we wait and try to catch the prevailing wind?




-Today, Thursday, 15 October, 2009 is Blog Action Day. A concept that finds bloggers around the world posting about the topic at hand, climate change. To read more posts check out www.blogactionday.org

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Out of Print...

The newspaper industry may be the last sign of an era that is phasing out. Papers are ubiquitous. They occupy a place on every corner of every major city in the world, and in the hearts of their citizens. This will soon end. Taking its place is an industry with little use for paper, ink, or cigar chomping reporters. The new information industry will provide updates before the ink on newsprint has had the time to dry.

Time-honored institutions that carry monikers like Daily, Globe, Herald, Tribune, and Times, cannot compete with the electronic devices that time sensitive youth have come to rely upon for their information. They have neither the patience for nor the understanding of attaching sentimentality to their information.

The names Royko, Landers, Bradlee, Bombeck, Jarrett, Payne, Fuller and Lovejoy – will their snarling, inquisitive, straight shot, humorous, and courageous styles of journalism live on? Will the Billy Goat be shuttered in favor of an Internet cafĂ©? Will the sacred, crown jewel of the industry – investigative integrity - be passed along to the next era of media? The ‘State of the Union’ could very well depend on it.

No longer will colorful rows of metal boxes line the streets. No longer will the old-timers emerge from the dark to deliver magazines, papers, and tomorrows Racing Form to anonymous drivers lurching into pockets for change. No longer will they disappear back into their cavernous shacks to stare distantly into the past until another vehicle approaches. In the future, zero dark thirty in America will find the nighthawks scampering to find a trace of the past. A refuge from the cleanly swept memories of ‘open all night’.

I believe it when they say this new age of information is vastly superior to the eras of the past. Much like when Gutenberg revealed what his new invention was capable of. I am sure they will replace silly putty and copy Dick Tracy’s Sunday strip in some electronic way that brings wonder to the eyes of a child. Or cover the bottom of a birdcage with yesterday’s newsprint, and the kitchen floor when Dad brings home a new puppy. Or spending Sunday morning nestled in a cozy bed with the various sections of the paper strewn about the covers - the crossword puzzle half-finished. Yes, they will all be replaced somehow, I just can’t figure out by what.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thoughts for an upcoming holiday...

Troll the waters of any cable TV, filler content, the uglier the better, sledgehammer of the month 'television news journalist', and you'll find President Barack Obama's head firmly situated on the chopping block. Never mind that he has done little more than save the economy, stock market, auto industry, soon to be health care industry and beyond that, with some leftover mojo, maybe, just maybe - Afghanistan.

November is coming and one of our oldest and most sacred holidays requires millions of farmers to sharpen the axes. The gobblers haven't done anything wrong and neither has Obama, but the fact remains that millions need to be fed, and as much as we love Grandma's gravy, political blood is much tastier when football alone will not take the edge off of the realities of national recovery.

We are an impatient society. We have been given much. It came from back breaking labor of our grandparents, and theirs as well. Their patience and sacrifice have allowed millions to taste the fruits of education and the promise that comes with it. The results have enabled us to move further ahead, and faster than any other time in our brief history.

Now that we are on the brink of unbelievable breakthroughs in medicine, technology, and global partnership, are we willing to trample the gains and spirits of our ancestors in a rush to misjudgement? Consider the story of the Fox and the grapes. Factor this in, Americans are being intimidated, and frightened by the same big, bad, bully who picked on you at school, he was and still is seeking attention.

It's funny, but as Americans accept the holiday time off from work, prepare their feasts and fill their plates high, increasing numbers will dig in before giving thanks for the blessings that have filled their tables. And this year, will we forget the dire predicament this nation was in one year ago, with many whispering 'end of America', and those same television news journalist's shouting 'utter collapse'. Will the man who held the nation together be remembered on the this sacred day? Our day of Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Copying is stealing...

Something caught my eye the other day. A blurb regarding 'copying, music & theft' as if they were gateway drugs, with the big house in one's near future. 'Copying is stealing'. No it isn't.

Millions have made a career from copying. Your parents and grandparents PAID to see people copy. Every rock 'n' roll band in the world copied structure, chords and vocal styling from delta blues musicians. Most died penniless . Keith Richards smirks and crows "Aw, everyone steals from each other, that's music". His reps over at Polydor have a different take on that. Jagger copied Tina Turners moves, gestures and strut. Rich Little copied every famous personality of the past millennium. I copied my friends albums, they copied mine, ad infinitum.

Most of this would be a mute point save for the fact that music lovers around the globe have been accused, prosecuted, jailed, and had their parents jailed and fined in the name of 'justice'. Lives have been altered because a kid was doing what his friends do. As all this occurred, fraud and theft on the largest scale ever seen bankrupted or destroyed everything from your new mortgage, to the kids college fund to your grandparents retirement funds. Consider that facts and figures were provided to the SEC and NOTHING was done. Perhaps, the feds were preoccupied over at your local ISP, serving warrants.

So where does it all end? Thank god we have progressed to the point (almost) that will finally see the physical ownership/storage of music come to an end. Technology will dictate that every bit of data be ubiquitous. More readily available than your own autograph.

BTW, they won't confiscate your old vinyl. You'll get to keep it. After all, they have bigger fish to fry, right?

Monday, August 3, 2009

It was the Warriors...er, the Record Companies who did it...

The following is a reprint of a recent Slashdot post I made in response to a debate on the music industry. I have shamlessly done so due to a lack of focus on this blog. I apologize and will be more attentive in the future.

'Record Companies' are gone, along with 'records'. The magazines are history as well. Expect to see them disappear soon. 'Radio' will evaporate as well. As for promotion, that has already been moved from the old labels to the new kings -> concert promoters. Doubt it? Check and see who has signed to Live Nation recently.

Bands will be less inclined to care about record sales, than say the proceeds from tours and merch. Why? There are twice as many people in the world than when the Eagles recorded on vinyl. The gate and licensing will be all that matters. You'll merely have to fill the seats and bags of t-shirts et al. to rake in the $$$. Oh, and the bands dearly care about the money. Make no mistake about that. Ask U2 (moralists one and all), who has one company who has to pay the other (both owned by U2), to keep more of the loot.

This debate has lacked the element of distinguishing the phases of 'recorded music'. Wax cylinders, vinyl, tape, digital files stored on a disc. Each era has brought us closer to the day when music is no longer physically owned, stored on shelves, and fought over. This is why we have taken the technology to this level. Many other things that have traditionally been purchased in a store will no longer be practical to place in boxes and attics. Accept the new era, you have driven it!

BTW, artists have been getting duped by everyone (including themselves), not just the record companies over the years. It's not so much WHO makes the $$$. If that was the case, musicians would go to school before starting bands, and learn read contracts as well as music. Case in point, Grand Funk Railroad, one of the biggest bands of the late sixties. They fired their manager three weeks before his contract ran out. A clause in the contract stated he kept all the music rights if he was fired. There are many similar stories.

Pholks, we are in a new era. Wake up. You want the outlaw 'X', fine, crank up the generators and join the UFO misfit broadcasting in the desert.

Friday, July 31, 2009

In Memory of Mom (Tuesday, 28 July, 2009 at 1:05 PM)

In 1966, standing on the lawn at 116 Forest in Park Forest, Illinois, my Mother told her children of her new job at Illinois Bell Telephone, and while it didn't pay alot, we would make it together. Mom had brought us to this town as a single parent. She wanted us to have the opportunity to be raised in a diverse and progressive environment. Mom had many struggles over the years, but her hopes and dreams for her children were fulfilled before she passed. The many lives Mom touched with love, concern and care will honor her each and every time they treat others the same way.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Original Giants

When I think of Yahoo, it is definitely as a throwback to my early days of internet navigation. Yahoo, AOL, Tripod, Geocities. All OG’s (Original Giants) from the dawn of the marketisation of the internet. These were the planned communities built to house the virtual baby boom. The anti-business geeks who ditched college, and wowed VC’s were serving notice: Business as you know it is dead.

Office buildings became playground lofts. The shelves of Toys ‘R’ Us were emptied. Children wept as wave after wave trampled through the parking lots and returned to the idea factories. Air hockey tables, and Nerf cannons became staples in the boardrooms. Seasoned CEO’s and Ivy League players sat patiently awaiting interviews with the generation Wired offspring of Wozniak, Jobs and Gates. They would play the on-screen persona's of the Wizards of Slashdot, working the controls from their parents basements.

It all came to a halt in the early days of the new millennium. The revolution was not over, it had merely been the victim of buffer overflow. When the system came back online, the OG’s were still seeing population growth. But the game was about to change.

New media was being introduced now that most everyone had access to broadband. Video, music and news were not only available, the content was being provided by the users. No longer did creative people dream of going to the big city to make it. Stardom was attainable from the home. The middleman was being eliminated. And so was the need for pre-planned communities.

The place to be was MySpace and YouTube. Google became much more than a search engine. Their free line of software, incredible Earth application and blog hosting has changed the virtual world for good. The blog quickly sent the print media running for their lives. MySpace is the place to go to hear new music and interact directly with the bands. YouTube was the place to see videos. Now, it’s the place to put your video. In the future, it will be live feeds. It will range from routine everyday life to watching a sporting event from the perspective of a participant.

The road to ‘killer apps’ is a myth. It is a path carved by undeterred dreams in a jungle of false prophets and corporate quicksand. Brush, thick with old systems must be cleared to make room for relevant applications. The OG’s lost their edge when their bellies became full and the siestas lingered. This led to arrogance and ultimately, irrelevance. The merry meeting room pranksters still haven’t noticed that the fragging has begun. They are still under the assumption that they are operating in god mode.

Yahoo reported a 78% drop in profits. They also plan to cut 5% of their workforce.* I would not be surprised to learn that a Yahoo or AOL rebuffed offers of a Twitter or Facebook type integration at some point in time (much like the storied IBM brush off of Microsoft). AOL is hanging on by the grace of their merger with Time Warner. Their platform is crumbling and population dwindling. The netizens have dared to venture outside the walls and have been rewarded with imaginative, and spontaneous content.

The important trend developing in the online content arena is that nothing will last for very long, much less forever. MySpace is being abandoned for Facebook . It will survive as a music destination until someone does it better. The wait will not be long. The next 'big' thing in online music will be live captures of bands writing, rehearsing and recording material. The release of material will be instant and it will not be physically purchased for bookshelves. It will always be available, no need to purchase stored media. As for Facebook, it is in decline as well. The last remaining users of Facebook will be the late arrivals. They too will move on when they read about it’s demise in People magazine.

Ebay, a true innovator has chosen to abandon it’s roots, charm and usefulness by turning itself into a haven for counterfeiters and cheap novelties. The founder started it as a way for his girlfriend to trade pez dispensors. The auctions were a great platform. As a former Powerseller, I had a blast making quite a bit of money selling my personal collection of oddball items, vinyl LP’s and books. Those who won the auctions were thrilled to be using their expensive computer for more than charting tax returns. It was the participation factor. The items could be found cheaper elsewhere.

Craigslist is taking heat now that the criminal element is abusing it. Before Craigslist, they abused the newspapers with their deceptive adverts to contact victims. Unfortunately, this element will always be with us. And they will use any means available to ply their trade. Craigslist remains one of the most important community service tools ever. The potential for good far outweighs the negative. The the needs of the many must continue to be met.

And then there is Microsoft. So desperate are they, the notion of acquiring Yahoo! has been put into play. It is a useless effort to transport itself to the present by catching up on the good ol’ information superhighway. And if search was really their game, how was it that the ‘best and the brightest’ evaded the massive Redmond radar to begin with? The problem is MS has been trying to get out of the ditch for some time. The tow truck never arrived and Bill has moved on to philanthropy. Firefox, Chrome and other browsers are now sharing space with IE on desktops worldwide. If you are going to do search, bring something new to it.

The last upstart to ‘bring it’ to Google was called Cuil. Former Google employees started it. They talked a good game, but could not produce. Their searches were slow and when results finally arrived, they were for the most part incomplete and inaccurate. The search business model has been around for decades. An example is the free weekly ‘Chicago Reader’. It was a mainstay because young grad’s arriving in the city to start their careers loved its resources and advertising. People were offered free access to information and then given contacts to interact with. A Google-Craigslist hybrid. My brother coined the term, “feels free” and it applies. But with all of our complexities, we humans will settle for that. After all, we rationalize issues every day to accept the world we live in.





* WSJ Apr. 22, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Religulous

I don't intend to use this forum to do regular film reviews. However, I do think that an exceptional release on DVD merits attention. The subject matter is controversial, but then again, when has that ever stopped me? OK. I still think it is a must see.

Religulous
(1h 41m/2008/Color)

When ‘Politically Incorrect’ ran on ABC late nights, I always marveled at Bill Maher’s courage to say exactly what he was thinking. Often, he expounded on the trouble, confusion and detriments of organized religion. Now, years after the show ended, Maher is back. This time he takes on everyone and everything with the exception of Buddha.

The give and take between Maher and the ‘experts’ on their particular bents moves this documentary into the masterpiece realm. Some favorites of mine were a device inventor’s rationalization for bypassing Sabbath law, brilliant use of Mormon produced media, and a segment filmed in London’s ‘Speaker’s Corner’. Also noteworthy is a hilarious interview in Amsterdam that borders on the recent Letterman/Phoenix bit.

Maher is a master of making his point through simple logic. He doesn’t argue or get frustrated as was apt to happen on P.I. He has learned, and to be fair, has ample time here to let the subjects talk themselves out of any real chance to be taken serious. For his part, Maher states that he just doesn’t know. But whoa unto those who do!

Any documentary on religion is going to be controversial. There are endless schools of thought and most carry ‘serious business’ tags along with them. Credit then, Maher and his team for literally going to the ends of the earth and providing a much-appreciated lighter side to the subject matter.

Finally, Maher concludes with commentary on the 'end times'. You get the sense that throughout the show, he has been amused, frustrated, and above all patient. Here at last, Bill Maher delivers a sermon of his own. And it is nothing short of mind-blowing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Barack Obama: Where Did Everyone Go?!

During the Presidential campaign, Barack Obama's words created an inspiring vision of wonderful possibilities. He spoke of what could be, what needed to be, and how it would become reality. We heard the specifics, we felt the sincerity. The response was overwhelmingly affirmative at the voting booths. The anticipation brought about a massive gathering in a Chicago park.

Some forty years earlier, in the same park, the city and it's Mayor put on a display of brutality for the emerging network television media. The images rivaled the nightly horrors being broadcast from Vietnam. But as the old spiritual goes, " the times they are a changin' ". This time, the Mayor, son of the former, presided over a peaceful celebration of the man who embodies much of the ideals beaten down in that park. And the whole world was watching.

Here we are, fifty days into President Obama's term and evidence of his vision for America is everywhere. His promises are being fulfilled at a rapid pace. He began reforms at home by beefing up ethics rules at the White House. His stem cell policy (now law), a major campaign commitment allows science to advance and provide the best possible environment for medical breakthroughs.

Guantanamo Bay prison on the island of Cuba is phasing out, with definite dates in place. As outlined in the campaign, almost twenty billion dollars will be included in the stimulus plan to convert medical records to electronic formats. Similar stimulus funds are in place for the nation's infrastructural repairs, as promised. Envoys are busy around the globe, working on issues such as Israel and Palestine.

That is why it truly pains me to express that which I feel must be said. I am referring to public service and the people who have actually decided to defy the call to arms. With the country in the midst of what I described in an earlier column as World War III, and with the President walking point, I find desertion to be inexcusable.

But that's exactly what is happening with some of the people who have been called to serve along side of the President. Annette Nazareth, the potential chief deputy to Tim Geithner and a former senior staffer and commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission, has decided she has better things to do.

Caroline Atkinson, also withdrew from consideration, leaving Mr. Geithner with the task of spending his time looking for people willing to serve in this battle, as opposed to leading it. U.S. cyber security chief Rod Beckstrom has fled as well. This in a time of unparrelled danger in cyber warfare directed at his country.

Dr Sanjay Gupta, who agreed in principle to become Surgeon General, took himself out of the running, saying: "It really came down to a sense of timing more than anything else. You know, I have two daughters. Our third daughter is now imminent." Now that's an interesting statement. The President said he sought office because of his daughter's.

There are 1,200 government jobs that require Senate confirmation. 360 are policy jobs. Less than 100 of those jobs have been filled so far.* Is money and comfort a reason to turn the other way when your country needs you? Were the words of John Kennedy merely poetry to be enjoyed from the safety of your home? It is time to stand up and be counted. Do what you can. Volunteer, write it down in a blog. Make some noise. Whatever you do, don't quit.

"Success is not final...failure is not fatal...it is the courage to continue that counts".
- Winston Churchill






* White House Transition Project

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Barack Obama: A Little Help Over There...

John Podesta (Center for American Progress), Barack Obama's advisor has been showing up on various television shows recently. He was on Larry King Live the other night with T. Boone Pickens (80's corporate takeover baron).

Picken's gave a spiel worthy of his old stockholder speech days. He spoke on the utter necessity of kicking our national addiction to oil (which he pumped into our veins for decades) and switch to natural gas (an energy source he WANTS to pump into our veins). Pickens was also one of Bush's (43) most ardent supporters.

Podesta, the former pit bull-in-chief for Bill Clinton, agreed with everything Pickens pitched. The whole thing smacks of another odd couple bi-partisan effort to bamboozle the American public in some undetermined manner (so far). Why so cynical you ask? OK, when a left-leaning Washington power monger and a staunch Republican oil monger start dating on national television, somebody should be concerned. The only exception I'm prepared to make are the cute seniors James Carvel and Mary Matalin.

I am surprised that then President-elect Obama signed off on Podesta coordinating the transition. I applaud his cherry picking of Clinton's old team. They accomplished much given the circumstances. But in this case, it was a mistake. When several of his cabinet picks were tanked for various reasons (mainly tax evasion), I wonder if Podesta's vetting team were introduced to his well documented alter ego - Skippy.

While appearing on Charlie Rose yesterday, Skippy seemed to trivialize the tax evasion debacle, bemoaning the loss of Tom Daschle and all he would have meant to health care reform. Rose, as usual, backed away from a valid point and capitulated to his guest. It was one of those exchanges that appeared to lobby on behalf of elected officials receiving immunity for the sake of the nation. It was also a great way to limbo under the fact that Podesta was not functioning at the high level he demands of others *.

Whatever happened to BioWillie? Now that's one act I'd like to see on the road (again).






* Washington Post - Tuesday, November 25, 2008; Page C01

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Barack Obama: Wall Street Grades The President?

Breaking News - Sources have confirmed and it can now be revealed:

Wall Street has given the Obama Administration's stimulus plan an 'F'

This news is excellent. I mean it. I live in Los Angeles and all too often "breaking news' means it has started raining or the Beckham's have arrived at LAX. But I'm going to take it easy on the networks. After all, I think the KCAL 9 weather girl is my second cousin...now if I can just find Jackie's phone number...

Oh, yes, the issue at hand, that report card. For awhile I had been concerned that 'The Street' might have something good to say about the President's stimulus plan. Consider these grades issued by Wall Street in recent years:

Bernard Madoff AAA+
Countrywide Home Loans AAA-
Enron A+

As you can see, adding Barack Obama's name to this list just wouldn't have made any sense. But I defer to Groucho: "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." All I have to say is - You bet your life...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's The End Of The World As We Know It...

There seems to be something strange going on. It's not everyday life with it's eyebrow raising observations. It's beyond the senses. * It's late night with Peter Falk and a cup of coffee "I can't see you, but I know you're there".

It's not just the street preachers, or the Mormons busy stacking away boxes of mason jars. It's everyone else. They're running around exclaiming "2012, that's it, it's all over". I've overheard at least ten conversations in the past month extolling the virtues of the Mayan calendar. A dozen more involving Nostradamus.

And while I know that there have been some 'changes' as of late, I don't believe the end is near. At least where the world is concerned. I think the rational explanation for the hysteria is based in denial. The United States is shifting from it's role as world's pacesetter. It's headed into the garage for a major overhaul.

When it rolls out it will indeed be a more perfect union. Wiser for it's age. Tempered by the fact it was made tougher by that which would not be allowed to kill it: greed, dishonesty and inequality. A country that is sustained by it's only true heritage of strength: it's immigrants.

I see a bright future ahead, forged by humbled leaders. Representatives of countries that will refocus attention on a cause overridden by egos and fear...working together for a better world. Would that be strange?





* From the film "Wings of Desire".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Better Living Through Chemistry?

It came to me tonight, as I was watching the CBS, NBC, & ABC evening newscasts. Call it an epiphany. It is subtle in nature and it grows. It festers and it swirls around the collective psyche of a nation. Others visit here, are exposed and become carriers. They spread this vile and nightmarish contaminant upon return to their homelands. I am referring to the pharmaceutical companies, their commercials and the ultimate pursuit of world domination.

They have taken over the television networks. I mention the nightly newscasts, because they have allocated almost all of the available advertisement time to them. Like you, perhaps, I wouldn't have noticed this because of the way the commercials are constructed. They lull you into a dreamlike state with their filtered lenses and movie like production. When you awaken, the last few utterances of the warning concludes "..seek medical assistance immediately". You've been exposed to a triple dose of the tiny purple people eaters. Your subconscious has endured three full length advertisements.

It used to be called subliminal seduction in advertising. Books have been written about it. The topic was all the rage in the late seventies. Then in the dawn of the Reagan era, it disappeared. Health topics in general faded and were replaced with the only topic allowed, Money. But the new methods are just as effective. It's quite logical. The fact of the matter is, the evening news is so utterly negative and disgusting, that when the commercials come, the viewer responds overwhelmingly to any offer of comfort.

By the end of the newscast, you have been programmed to consult your doctor. Not the one who used to come into the office smiling and carrying a stethoscope. They no longer exist. They've been replaced by prescription pad toting clones. You get seven minutes of their time, but only after you've navigated past the throng of pharmaceutical reps pacing around in black fuck-me pumps with their rolling luggage carts. The sight is enough to bring a tear to the eye of a schoolyard dope peddler.

Like some twisted horror film where the protagonist wises up just before his demise, I noticed. Everything became clear. I would hone and trust my instincts. Balance would return. It was time to get up and make some noise. Then, my tongue swelled, throat closed and I couldn't regain my breath. I started to panic, but then I remembered. These were only side effects. And while possible, rarely does death occur.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Economy: Capitalism Tanks, Wall Street & Pigeon Shit...

The entire industry that created this financial mayhem should be dragged into Central Park and put into a different type of stocks. Those in the limos, the movers, the shakers and the pension breakers. All need to be put on public display. Let it snow, rain or just plain pigeon-shit over them. This is how the healing begins in America. When we feel we have gotten our money's worth, transition the lot of 'em to ' Gitmo' (the VACANCY sign is warming up).

Ok, now that I've vented (and feel better), let's see where we stand:

That Tim Geithner needs to explain his plan to the very mob that pulled off the crime is preposterous. He should have held the press conference the night before, instead of the President. Bring the plan to the nation, not the creeps who still have the hammer in their hands, standing amidst the broken pieces of the national piggy bank. Let the men and women of this country who are funding the plan be the focus of Mr. Geithner's attention. These are the people who, in the end, had better be impressed.

America isn't going to solve the world's problems this time. Not alone, nor should we. Everyone was waiting for Mr. Geithner to come down off the mountain, toss the tablets at Bernard Madoff, and lead us to prosperity. It didn't happen, so stop expecting speeches to work miracles.

The truth is, this economic battle is the real World War III. Imagine that. All the scenarios the Pentagon has planned for, and WW III turns out to be a war they cannot fight. Smart bonds, instead of Smart bombs. It's not about Wall Street, or pleasing tired old men in suits. It's about Main Street, and the world-wide effort to restore balance.

A word about who's to blame. The financial industry is not alone in this. They needed victims and we eagerly volunteered. We were taught that absolute power corrupts, and then subjugated those that taught us to an existence as impoverished caretakers of the blackboard jungles. Our parents and their parents sacrificed to make a better life for their children. It was their last gasp before being trampled by their offspring in a bull-rush to hedonism. *Everything, all the time. It costs. The inheritance was spent, the credit - finally cut off.

A direct plea...

Mr. President, you have assembled a fine team. The world, once again, looks to America for leadership. They want a partnership in common cause that will put substance back into the term 'Allies'. There will be some gnashed teeth, crushed egos and hurried handshakes, but pride will indeed goeth, before the fall. As with many of history's toughest challenges, a great period of advantage can result. A break in the tumultuous tendencies of mankind. An opportunity to restore a frail planet, eliminate hunger and disease. Any one of those alone is worth the effort, and belief can make it so. That is your greatest tool, Sir. An honest to god ability to inspire.





* from 'Life In The Fast Lane' by The Eagles.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Pssst, Good Senator"

I've been watching the debates over the stimulus package recently. With all of the posturing and tough talk, I decided to change the television channel and watch something lighter. I came across a program with a man standing inside a fenced lot filled with all variety of dogs. Everything from pit bulls to poodles. They ran around the lot engaging in territorial pissing, rear end sniffing, and a bit of false bravado. Yet, they were generally getting along. No fighting, no blood. The interesting thing was that the man seemed to have total control over all of them. It turns out that he is known as the 'Dog Whisperer', and uses amazing methods to obtain these results. They didn't mention how much he charges, but maybe, just maybe, we could slide a little extra into the stimulus package and send him to Washington.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Barack Obama: BO Knows...

The political posts I make on this blog, are my way of reacting to current events. I am from Chicago and we have a long tradition of talking and walking politics. In other words, we express strong opinions, and then get out there and make things happen. This is how I know that Barack Obama is going to succeed. His adopted hometown taught him that there is no quicker exit from the political stage than to let things grind to a halt. In Chicago, he observed the sinners and saints, and is wiser for it. He knows the former make the things work, the latter, their existence possible. He will balance the two forces in this country and keep it moving.

And I am...griffinfinity (with much respect to Len O' Connor)....