Monthly Archives: August 2008

Not What You Think

I bet you people think I’m going to be posting about Sarah Palin today. I’ve decided to hold off on my comments until I study up on her a little bit. My first impressions leave me pretty excited, but more on that later.

What I want to talk about is the music industry. Note: if you want to get to the “meat” of this post quickly, scroll down to the last few paragraphs.

If you’re an iPhone user, chances are that you’ve already heard about (and downloaded) Pandora Radio. You long-time Last.fm users like myself probably weren’t quite as amazed by it, but it was a nifty little app, and I kept it on my iPhone alongside Last.fm’s app, just because I like a little variety in my geeky little life.

Here’s what Pandora did: suppose you like Willie Nelson and wanted to listen to his music, but you also wanted to listen to other artists that have either a similar sound or at least something in common with Willie (I’m resisting the urge to call him Willie the Doobie Fiend). So you type in “Willie Nelson” into Pandora Radio, and a Willie Nelson song comes up. The next song might be George Jones. The next might be Merle Haggard, and so on.

But say you liked all three guys, but for some RIDICULOUS reason you didn’t like the song “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” If the song ever started, you could either click a thumbs-up button that meant you liked it, so please play it again, or you could click a thumbs-down button that removed it from your playlist forever. Last.fm works on a similar system.

Pandora and Last.fm have become such runaway hits that it has become clear that regular radio, and even satellite radio, is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Talk Radio < Podcasts

Music Radio < Internet Radio + Digital Music

The reason these new mediums are so popular is not just because it’s “cool” to have an iPod, iPhone, or other digital music player. It’s because these devices give us a level of control over what we’re listening to. Music is becoming personalized, as well as talk radio shows.

Rush Limbaugh (die-hard Apple user) was one of the first major radio shows that I know of to offer downloadable podcasts of his shows. Unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to Rush 24/7 to download them while the vast majority of podcasts are free.

So instead of carrying around dozens of CDs in a massive case, I carry thousands of songs in a device that fits in my pocket, makes calls, organizes my calendar and contacts, surfs the web, accesses web radio, syncs with my Evernote data, and generally makes my life a lot more manageable.

So what’s the problem? The RIAA (AKA “Satan”) is doubling the price of streaming media royalty fees (while traditional radio’s remain static), rendering Pandora Radio unprofitable. This is not so that recording artists can make more money; this is so Pandora is forced to shut down. They’re going to have to close their doors soon, and it’s the fault of an army of suits who DON’T understand the digital music revolution, DON’T care about music fans, and DON’T have a clue that the world is changing rapidly and moving past them without looking back.

Napster, the iPod, iTunes Store, and Internet radio were only the first steps in this process. The entire media industry is changing. With faster Internet speeds looming in the not-so-distant-future and people demanding an even greater level of accessibility, convenience, and personalization over their media, the RIAA seems destined to shoot itself in the face.

Also, Kid Rock is a moron. If the record industry begins to demand that people buy entire albums online instead of selecting songs à la carte if they so please, then people are going to be even more up in arms.

That is my rant for the day. I’ve got to get back to work.

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Harrison’s Trumpet

This happened in the office earlier today. And I was wondering why brother-in-law didn’t want me leaving the church before he got back…

The Alliens

Three siblings, three kids, and a romp around Shreveport/Bossier results in the following…

Thanks so much, guys!

A New Olympic Event

I’m not sure what is being said here, but the (very) end had me cracking up.

Oh, and I have two new photography blog posts that HAVE to go up by tonight. I’ve delayed for so long. My apologies go out to the Alliens and Christina Howard.

Toby Keith: Dixie Chick 2.0?

In case you don’t live in the South, have never lived in the South, and/or really don’t have much of an idea of what goes on down here, allow me to inform you that country music kinda/sorta has a massive fan base in this region of the country.

Sure, people all around the country enjoy country music (*cough*), this is pretty much country music central. And if you talk about “modern country music,” AKA stinky poop, you have to start talking about Toby Keith (big stinky poop).

Now, I’m no country music fan (I actually prefer OOOOLD-style country music); I’m more of an acoustic guitar kind of guy. However, I do realize that a lot of country music fans around here are flag-waving (not always American flags, if you know what I mean), gun-toting, Republican card-carrying rough-and-tumble types.

Therefore, when a “country” star like Toby Keith comes along and voices support for Barack Obama, the most liberal active member of the United States Senate who is running for President (I included that just in case you’ve been busy inhaling helium for the past few years), it’s bound to raise a few very bushy and tobacco-singed eyebrows down South.

Anyone remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks? They were like, “Oh, BLEEPITY BLEEP George Bush! America, BOO! Europe, hooray! Bleep-bleepity! Yarrrr!”

Then country music stations literally held massive public gatherings were people tossed their Dixie Chick CDs into a pile and had them crushed by steamrollers.

Then the Dixie Chicks were like, “We’re not country anymore. We’re pop. Listen to our pop songs!”

And then this horrible odor came from them. And it stunk. It still stinks. I smell it with my nose.

So is Toby Keith going to be Dixie Chicked for his public support of Barack Obama? We already knew he smoked pot with Willie and all that dandy stuff, but how are conservatives, especially those hard-right country fans, going to respond to Keith’s little decision?

My guess: no one will care. Sure, the guy sells records galore, but I think most people are aware that he’s more steam than substance. Anyone who releases an album called “Shock’n Y’all” can’t be that influential, right?

…right?

My Wish

From BreitBart: Puerto Rican Man Stands Up at Wake

Stand Up

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – A Puerto Rican man has been granted his wish to remain standing—even in death. A funeral home used a special embalming treatment to keep the corpse of 24-year-old Angel Pantoja Medina standing upright for his three-day wake.

Dressed in a Yankees baseball cap and sunglasses, Pantoja was mourned by relatives while propped upright in his mother’s living room.

His brother Carlos told the El Nuevo Dia newspaper the victim had long said he wanted to be upright for his own wake: “He wanted to be happy, standing.”

The owner of the Marin Funeral Home, Damaris Marin, told The Associated Press the mother asked him to fulfill her dead son’s last wish.

Pantoja was found dead Friday underneath a bridge in San Juan and buried Monday. Police are investigating.

This story brought back some memories from the days I worked at Hill Crest Funeral Home.

Once we buried a man in his LSU jersey. His friends all wore purple and gold to the funeral. Another time I had to roll down a man’s socks in one-inch increments and roll up his sleeves three times a piece.

Honestly, I’d like to be buried at sea. I’m not even joking. I’d like my (inexpensive) coffin to be pushed off of a boat into the Pacific Ocean about 50 miles east of Avalon. I want my Bible, a picture of me and Shari, and a copy of my “works” that really only a few people know about buried with me. I do not want to be standing at my wake.

Anyone else want to voice any special requests?

Free Association

I’ve been on a free association kick lately. Not familiar with free association? Here’s a quick run-down from Wikipedia:

In free-association, patients are asked to continually relate anything which comes into their minds, regardless of how superficially unimportant or potentially embarrassing the memory threatens to be. This technique assumes that all memories are arranged in a single associative network, and that sooner or later the subject will stumble across the crucial memory.

In other words, you say exactly what comes to your mind…just as it arrives. Don’t filter it. Just…BLAHGAHDAHBAH! Let it out. Now, naturally our minds don’t think in gibberish, so don’t start speaking out something that sounds Swahilian and try to pass it off as free association. It should go something like this…

The lamb-chop broken with the fly on the wall’s black hearted son caviar with polka-dot raindrops eating gummy worms until OH NO the car is backing through processed meat with lots of lavender bohemian did you see the car on that light’s smoke stack with candle-lit frankfurters my head hurts because Johnny won’t quit pounding on it with boo boo sauce canker sores and tear drops lit up by flaming globes cantillated with sickening boring floundering preachers of japanese water fowl didn’t hear you can’t get mad at me broken glass Foo Fighters shredded with garlic powder’s nose hairs.

Sigmund Freud is the crazy that devised this so-called psychological technique. Let’s see him decipher that rubbish that I typed up while sitting uncomfortably on my couch.

Happy Mechanic’s Day to all of you out there. Much love from the Swamp Land!

P.S. I’m looking at you.

Looking

(Very) Pointless Hilarity

Brought to my attention by my friends from Metairie, Louisiana…Japanese Binocular Soccer.

Madden

When some people think about football, they think about their favorite team. For me, it’s the Dallas Cowboys.

When others think about football, they think about college football. Here in Louisiana, we’re all about LSU. There’s so much tradition in college football…

The Michigan Wolverines classic striped helmets. The Texas Longhorns “hook ’em Horns” salute (known as the devil horns in other circles). And of course, the effeminate and incessantly overrated USC Trojans.

But for my generation, you can’t talk about football without talking about the legendary Madden series. Yes, John Madden is its namesake, but I’m not talking about the big mumbler. I’m talking about the video game: MADDEN FOOTBALL.

Madden

I could elaborate, but this article by IGN does a much better job of it. You might even find out that John Madden himself is probalby responsible for making sure the series didn’t begin as a flop. Hope you enjoy, video game fans.

For the rest of you who don’t care, here’s a funny monkey…

Monkey

You Guys Aren’t Going to Believe This…

Well…I was at the doctor again. For the first 20 years of my life, I was almost never sick. I didn’t even throw up until I was 18, and now I’m falling apart. Appendectomy, migraines, removal of a benign tumor, back spasms…

Now, add abdominal strain and cartilage damage to the list.

How could this have happened during a seemingly normal week? Here’s a quick (and eventually funny) story for you:

Our building operations guy was sick Monday, and I was the only younger, “able-bodied” man at the church. So I am asked to set up the multi-purpose room for a funeral reception. No problem! As one of the heavy, wooden, 12-foot-long tables starts falling down towards me, I catch it in a really awkward manner with the right side of my body, with my right arm and hand taking the vast majority of the weight. It hurt, but I didn’t think it was a big deal, and it didn’t really bother me until yesterday (Thursday).

I couldn’t even sleep last night. No matter which way I turned, I had this lasting pain underneath the right side of my rib cage. It. hurt non-stop. Being a clumsy guy, I’m used to pain…but this was aggravating on a whole new level. It even hurt to breathe.

So the doctor asked me what I had done to cause this. I told him about Monday’s little incident, and he assumed that the pain had begun that night. When I explained that the pain had not become severe until Thursday, he got this puzzled look on his face and asked, “Well, have you been working out with your arms or something?”

“Well, no…but I have been playing this iPhone game a lot…”

I pulled out my iPhone from my pocked and showed him this game called MotionX Poker, where you have to shake the iPhone like you’re shaking dice. I’ve played it while I was driving, while I was reading, while I was walking…and had somehow accumulated over 500 rolls in the course of three days…

“Yep, that’s definitely it,” the doc told me. “That little game is what aggravated your injury to this extent.

Shocked!

The moral of the story: MotionX Poker, the little addictive iPhone game, can put you in a serious world of hurt!

Now I just have to figure out the appropriate time to take these muscle relaxers…