Monthly Archives: March 2008

Inspection- Of Monopoly, Mike’s Mistake and Parents vs. the State

So much has happened since I started this edition of Inspection that I felt compelled to comment on three topics…

Monopoly

I have been a Sirius Satellite Radio customer for several years now. I’m somewhat, somewhat not, satisfied with the service. Some of the decisions of their programmers make regular commercial radio programmers look smart. Imagine this: you’re handed an opportunity to do everything FM was supposed to do like…

1. Play odd cuts from known acts.

2. Play new and struggling acts.

3. Have exotic programming, like real DJs allowed to play music as if it isn’t grown on some top 40 chart tree…

4. …or fantasy talk radio like one host in Atlanta during the 90s. He would address national issues through role playing with his audience.

While Sirius has at least tried, XM would have none of that. I remember their CEO disparaging their competition once saying that they would make sure their programming was as mainstream and non-offensive as possible. “Just like FM only without the commercials,” is a quote I remember from the interview.

Goodie. Don’t we have enough of that already? I swear these guys think the only reason consumers would pay for what advertising provides them for free is a lack of commercials. Actually, I find creative commercials can be quite entertaining. I can even imagine a “commercial channel” where they play really whacked out ads. Instead XM offers what is already pitiful, weak, programming non-stop. Sometimes it’s a little like being locked in a room for eternity with Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I’ve Got Love in My Tummy, locked on repeat.

Sirius is a tad better. They don’t provide a channel with funny commercials, but they do have the Gay channel: Out Q, Howard Stern… as much as I don’t care for his style it is unique… but they also interrupt channels for sports all the time… (I pay them to screw me out of streams I’ve paid for, essentially.) … and take some of their most popular channels, like The Bridge which featured singer-songwriters, and turn it into a 24 hour Bruce Springsteen stream; just to give one example out of far too many. Even if I could understand that nasal drone of his, or liked his songs, I’d still wonder why they insist on pirating their own popular channel for the sake of the few who might be interested in being able listen to that damn drone 24/7. But the programming trend at Sirius is headed in the opposite direction with the Elvis stream: another non-favorite of mine, the Rolling Stones stream and the soon to be released Minnie Riperton stream where all they do is play that hideous high note over, and over, and over…

(Yes, I am kidding: kind of.)

But when it comes to their regular channels they simply mimic XM. If you expect to hear some odd cut from your favorite group: forget it. It’s not even great top 40. I’m amazed that when they play Chicago, for instance, it seems their collection is limited to two or three hits. Forget hearing whole album sides, or comparing different versions of the same songs by different artists, or playing several songs of the same theme or feel right after each other: some of the many things my audiences loved when I was in radio, but anal program directors hated. Satellite radio, XM or Sirius, is mostly wasting a wonderful opportunity for being inventive, creative and getting listeners actually excited about radio again. FM kind of did that to AM, which is why, until Limbaugh, AM was like a lingering, terminal cancer patient. Of course Limbaugh simply gave us all another kind of cancer, but that discussion is probably best saved for another edition of Inspection entitled: “An Ego Bigger and More Lethal Than All the Depleted Uranium in Iraq.”
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Now the Justice Department has decided it’s OK for them to merge. Here is their argument…

“Although the two companies operate the only satellite radio firms in the US market, the Justice Department said there is ‘a lack of competition between the parties in important segments, even without the merger, and that consumers may still choose ‘alternative services.'”

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DamSpot’s Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a President named Bill Clinton. President Clinton had a Vice-President named Al Gore.

Al was kind of a shy guy. Never spoke much, or did anything. He was just waiting around for Bill to get impeached so that he could become the worlds biggest under-achiever.

This made President Clinton sad, so he and his staff would play with the thermostat in Als office during the summer and winter. During these times, the Presidents staff would walk back and forth, wiping their brows with hankies and mumbling about something called global warming.

Pretty soon, Al started noticing that a lot of the staffers were wearing shorts in the winter and began to formulate an idea. He figured that if it were hot enough in January to wear shorts, then there must really be a problem with the sky.

So Al rushed into the Senate chambers and cried The Sky is Warming, The Sky is Warming!

Most of the Senators were shocked to even find out that Al could talk, let alone cry out in concern.

So, the Senators, wondering where they were going to blow their budget that year, gave a whole bunch of money to Al to go out and find out why the sky was warming.

Al, being the prudent man he was, decided that flying all over the big sky to find the causes, would warm them further, so he went back and sat behind his desk, as he always did.

But, this was a New Al Gore. He was charged with a chance to make a name for himself, perhaps even help the world.

Al picked up his telephone, and called the CIA and told them to divert their spy satellites over the Polar Regions to see if the polar bears had enough ice to walk on.

About this time, he got a call from Europe. At last, they said, our glaciers that have been here 6 billion years (or 6 thousand years depending on your theory of evolution) are melting.

Big Al sprung into action. The first thing he did was write a book about how Man-Bear-Pig was a threat (whoops. That was an adventure on South Park)

At any rate he wrote about how the heat from cars, cows and trees was causing the glaciers to melt, despite the fact that they were melting at the correct rate for glaciers that old.

In his book, he also failed to point out that Iceland was also having the coldest winter in their written history, which unfortunately, only goes back as far as the Vikings.

As a matter of fact. And Im not completely sure of this; the only thing he may have gotten right was his name, on the book.

Hmmmm, Global Warming. Record snows in Arkansas and California this year. Lost half the Florida Orange crop due to intense frost.

This past winter Yuma, Arizona still experienced 80 degrees during the day and the low 50s at night.

It actually snowed something other than body ash in Baghdad this winter.

Poor Al. And to think it all started because Bill Clinton fooled with the thermostats.

THE END

The Tattlesnake Throw Them All Under the Bus Edition

This, That and Other Scat

— “Throw under the bus” Isn’t it time to throw this exhausted Mediocracy line under the bus and back over it a few times for good measure?

— The country’s deeply in the debt and borrowing money to keep afloat, our economy’s ‘under the bus,’ and our military is near the breaking point, yet I didn’t hear McCain asked even one question regarding how he intends to pay for his endless war in Iraq, nor how he plans to find fresh bodies to sacrifice to his vague idea of victory over there.

— Will Tonya Harding object to her tactics of ‘knee-capping’ Nancy Kerrigan being compared to Hillary Clinton’s going negative against Obama? I can hear Tonya now, “I’m voting for that McCainey guy I don’t truck with them pinko liberal commies like Clinton.” (Side note: Will Hillary be appearing on “Celebrity Boxing” in a few years?)

— Speaking of Hillary, what could she be thinking by proposing to alleviate the housing crisis by dragging in Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan to fix it? Rubin is the ultimate Wall Street insider and rinky-dink deals by his Big Money cronies caused the crisis in the first place while Greenspan’s fetid policies as Fed chief set the stage for the economic disaster we’re wallowing in now. Would a President Hillary invite McCain and Cheney in to help her during a Middle East crisis?

— Hey, Jimmy Jeff Carville want to talk about traitors? How about a Democratic Party presidential candidate who praises Republican John McCain over her Dem rival?

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Easter Greetings

“Easter is a special time. The Holy Holiday celebrates the third day after Jesus is crucified and then buried in a tomb with a large boulder in front of it. The story goes that Mary Magdelene is by the gravesite when a great light bursts forth, the earth shakes, and the boulder that is in front of the tomb rolls aside and the miracle of Jesus rising from the grave looks out through the beaming light and because of that light, he sees his shadow and thus there are six more weeks of winter.”
— From Phil Proctor’s Planet Proctor 2008-08

Enjoy the day, no matter what you believe or don’t believe.

Inspection- What Did Bill Actually Say and What to Do About It

I think, no matter which side you are on, you’re tired of the atmosphere surrounding the two Democratic candidates. Barack supporters blame the Clintons, Clinton supporters blame over zealous Barack supporters and… well, I did forget that the Republican side to this equation is probably enjoying it about as much as a fox terrorizing a henhouse while finding ways to make sure the hens are blaming each other.

Was there a veiled accusation in that paragraph? Damn, straight there was.

I know.

I know.

I’m annoying the hell out of my host at least on one site I write for because I refuse to bow to the Clinton’s are spawn of Satan meme’. My own admission that, even if the two could ever be on the same ticket, O’Bama should probably head the ticket earns me no points. No, I must be a believer. I must hate.

Sorry.

For a moment let’s put down our lightsabers: and accusations regarding who is using the dark side of the force…. (Frankly, I’ve always liked both light and dark meat: depending on how it’s cooked, but I’ll save that for my gourmet edition of Inspection.) I’ll do a simple expose here to explain at least a little of my reluctance to totally turn to one side or the other. I’m sure you’ve heard the most recent ravings of Bill Clinton where he declared Barack didn’t really love his country, or wasn’t patriotic enough.

Or have you?

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