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Heard on *Local Phone Monopoly* Customer Service Call

Now I do like my *Local Phone Monopoly* company, but I have had occasion to call them any number of times when FIOS (oops!) just wasn’t working as advertised.

So I would dutifully dial the customer service number and while waiting for a real person to answer the other end, a very chipper female voice informed me that “if you are having trouble connecting to the internet with FIOS and you don’t want to stay on the phone, you can reach us at…..”

But wait! I’m having trouble connecting to the internet, how can I connect to

I can see the automated clerk getting a nervous tic trying to answer that question: “Please try again, that was not a valid response. To get to the Main menu, press star….”

Lack of Olympic sporting events

I guess Friday didn’t have enough sporting events going on for NBC as they started their taped 3-hour coverage segment with a mushy 15 minute tribute to the 1996 women’s gymnastic team. Really?

Add to this that, NBC crammed what felt like 20-25 minutes of advertising into each hour and you find that there was only about 95 minutes of viewable sporting news coming out of the Olympics on Friday. How about showing events in which USA is not expected to win gold? Wouldn’t that be interesting?

No? Hmmmm …

New use for TV

Yes, I an an inveterate complainer about television (because it could be so much more, so much more). And I rail against the media a lot because they have strayed so far from just giving us the facts and letting us do the thinking (there’s a concept). But recently I was finally able to put television to good use.

Every couple of years we get introduced to a wacky bird. Ten plus years ago it was a cardinal, seven years ago it was a sparrow, now it’s a robin. The sparrow found an outdoor light it liked on the porch and decided to build its nest there. We found the nest a little too late. Once the nest was built and the eggs laid down, we were screwed. Bird poop everywhere and for several years after that the mom or the kids would always come back to the same light and build a new nest (in the interim we would attempt to remove every trace of the nest), drop off a couple of eggs, hatch them, poop all over and then take off. Yeah, nice knowing you too.

The cardinal as well as this new robin found their adversary in their reflection in the window. The cardinal was actually very entertaining because it was my office window right behind my desk and the cardinal was bright, bright red. I love the color red, especially a flitting-about bright red on a summer’s day against all the vegetation green. It always brings a smile to my face and so did the cardinal for about three to four years. He always came back, attacked his image in the same window, the same pane. Blunted knock, knock, knock against the window. He never beat his adversary, the adversary never left. The two of them just entertained.

Now we come to this year’s robin. He found his opponent in the door off the deck, which was unusual but again entertaining, for about a week. Then I happened to go out on the deck and see all the bird crap all over the furniture and on the door jam.

So I did the man thing: attempt to outwit the bird. I moved all the furniture away from the door so at least the bird now couldn’t come to rest on the furniture, see its reflection and go on the beak-butting attack. In theory it worked. The bird though flew a little farther down and came to rest on the railing, happened to look around and, lo and behold, saw a foe in the side window and attacked. Now there’s bird crap all over the railing and elsewhere. I outwitted myself in other words.

But I was not about to be bested. It happens that the room with the door and window is the family room which has a TV in it. My thinking now was that maybe the light of the television would interfere with my crapping robin’s reflection enough to discourage its behavior. I didn’t need sound, I figured, just image.

Son of a gun, don’t you know it worked.

Children’s shows (bright lights) seem to work best. I knew there had to be some good in television, I just wasn’t looking hard enough.

Finally!! Truth in Advertising! :)

There’s a radio commercial bouncing around on the airwaves with a woman talking to her dishwasher (yes, I know, it happens every day). She wants a new kitchen, the dishwasher is pleading with her not to throw him away. They are in agreement that the dishwasher has done everything asked of it, is still dependable, still a quality machine, ……


The woman rejoins that “Today, appearance is everything.”

Doesn’t that just about sum it all up? Appearance is everything. Quality is out the window, despite the fact that this dishwasher works and works well, looks are everything. So why should a manufacturer care about how the product works? Appearance is everything. And so thus we have skin care creams that will wipe your wrinkles away in 14 days …….. no, wait! 1 week …….. no, wait! overnight …….. no, wait! 90 seconds! Wipe those wrinkles away in 90 seconds! Go from being 60 to 25 in 90 seconds! Appearance is everything and upgrading (no worries, friend! We can give you instant credit, no money down!) hinges on instant gratification (or the promise thereof).

Regrettably, this is about as truthful an ad as I’ve heard in a long time. It’s this unsustainable thinking that got us where we are today (everyone a millionaire and no one rich). We need to rethink the basics.

If America took over FIFA … (A tongue in cheek thought)

Was watching World Cup the other day and had this crazy thought: what if America took over the very successful World Cup (because Americans -of course- do things better :))

  1. This once-every-4-years thing would have to go! I mean, really! If people like World Cup so much, we should have one every year!
  2. What’s with 90 minutes of play? Two halves of 45 minutes? That’s crazy, it’s so … unorthodox. There should be 2 halves of 30 minutes each. Make it an hour game so that it’s neater and easier to do the math. I mean what is this, the metric system of time-keeping? Just because the rest of the world doesn’t understand inches, yards, miles we have to conform to 45 minute halves?
  3. But better, make it 4 quarters of 15 minutes each. That way we can put more commercials in there and have more replay time.
  4. Wait a second, there’s really not enough time allotted for commercials. We need in-game stoppages so that we can break for more commercials and make more money.
  5. Making 11 guys run around for an hour (or 90 minutes). That’s so unfair. There should be more substitutions. Every time a team takes possession of the ball, there should be an allowable stoppage so that teams can change their make up for offense and defense (and allow more commercials).
  6. We need more scoring! The people love and want more scoring. So goals should count as 6 points; penalty kicks should count as 3 points just because they are so easy. And if you hit a penalty kick that goes in after hitting the posts or crossbar, you get an extra point. That should get rid of ties.
  7. Wait! We need bigger guys. Fans are more impressed with big bulky human beings. We should reduce the amount of running around have have more set plays like goal kicks and free kicks so that we can substitute in and out bigger bulkier guys to push each other around. Maybe a Sumo wrestler as a goalie.
  8. We need less constant action and more time for replays and analysis and commercials.
  9. Note to self and TV executive: So far so good, but sStill need more commercial time, need some more stoppages through out the game.

Wait a second, this is sounding like American gridiron. 🙂 !!!

Why World Cup TV Ratings Are So Strong

Time Magazine today as an article on its website with the above title. Typically blogicle-type reporting: start with some facts, skip over some fundamental facts (that don’t help the argument one is trying to build) and attribute the premise to a stretch-thought.

In this case the premise is that World Cup TV ratings in America are strong because:

Continue reading Why World Cup TV Ratings Are So Strong