Friday, June 29, 2007

Fuel, Fools, and Food Films: It's Friday!

No Immigration Reform for this congress…two thirds of the Senate voted against limiting debate on the issue, which essentially pulled the plug on life support that had been tentative at best. What is the message this sends to the rest of the world? Come on over, we can’t stop you, really…

Russia is laying claim to the North Pole…along with mineral rights to the vast region at the top of the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin says a large chunk of Russian’s continental shelf, known as the Lomonosov Ridge, extends beneath nearly a third of the north polar region, so they get dibs.

Does that mean the UK belongs France and Spain because they’re really connected beneath the English Channel?

Maybe the US should just lay claim to Cuba, since the island is an obvious extension of the Florida Keys (or similarly specious arguments could be made to that effect). That would solve President Bush's vexation over how to handle Fidel Castro: You've been repo'd!

It’s day #2 for gasoline rationing lines in Iran. Gas stations in Tehran look more like Apple Computer stores the night before iPhones go on sale, clogged with drivers trying to buy gasoline at 34-cents a gallon. Iran imports 40% of its gasoline at $2.00 a gallon. Iranians are now limited to buying only 26-gallons of gasoline a month.

If President Mahmoud I’m-an-Idiot would spend a little more money on improving Iran’s refining capacity and not as much on enriching uranium for nuclear warheads, this problem could be resolved…

Speaking of Apple Stores—today’s the Day. It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for Steve Job’s controversial new telecommunicator—ATT/Cingular stores all over the country are even closing early this afternoon in preparation for the new phones’ debut at 6pm local time.

After the dust has settled from the Fed’s decision to hold firm on interest rates, and the iPhone’s have been sold and tucked away into the pockets of their new owners, the BIG question this weekend will not be paper or plastic, boxers or briefs, Mary Ann or Ginger…but Bruce Willis vs a pixilated mouse. Die Hard-IV goes head to head with Ratatouille…and most analysts are betting the mouse will get most of the cheese this weekend.

Fox's "Live Free or Die Hard" earned only $9.1 million Wednesday on its first day of national release…a far cry from the record-setting $40.2-million snared by Spider Man-2 in 2004.
In the spirit of fair play and equality, just go see ‘em both.

Puttering Around Big-D

Who’d’ve thunk it?
Playing golf indoors is a big deal, and businesses offering year-round, climate controlled access to greens and driving ranges stand to excel, particularly in regions where the weather doesn’t always cooperate.

Dallas has had string of days like that, with an endless onslaught of rain and thunderstorms that have swollen the Trinity River from a verdant greenbelt to an angry torrent of muddy water through the Metroplex.

I thought I was crossing the Mississippi River Delta instead of the Trinity River as I traversed the southern approach to Dallas on I-45.

We originated The Moneyman Report with Daniel Frishberg from Texas Indoor Golf in Grapevine, Texas yesterday. Timm Matthews was also on hand to provide color commentary to Daniel's colorful commentary.

It was literally over the river and through the woods for many of us—two busloads of folks traveled over from Ft. Worth. Okay, that’s not exactly an overland expedition, but a chartered coach is a nice alternative to having to fight cross-Metro traffic.

This was a first: simulcast video of the conversations. Now you know why some of us truthfully disclose we “have a face for Radio.”

Special kudos to Ed Moyer, our on-site producer, who worked in tandem with Drew Hubenak at the Mother-ship in Houston to get the broadcast on the air…

Texas Indoor Golf Czar Mark Zwartynski says the indoor putter parlours are a tech geek’s dream as well as good cyber therapy for weather-challenged duffers.

A combination of electronic sensors and strategically arrayed microphones in each driving booth create a sophisticated, sonar-like network that senses swing technique, driver positioning and pitch, and velocity and direction of golf balls lofted into screens at the backs of the booths.

When those balls whap into the screens, it’s like a big gun going off. Army Ranger vet, Vince Rowe, was having flashbacks, and resisting the urge to drop into the nearest foxhole each time a ball blasted into a the back of the booths.

Dallas Morning News journalist, Angela Shah, was also scoping out the scene. She’s doing research on a piece she’s writing about the BizRadio Network phenomenon.

Not to put her on the spot, but watch for her byline soon with some indepth reporting on how we do that voodoo that we do.

Most shocking line of the night came from one of the perky Glenlivet hostesses, who strolled past our broadcast position and asked, “do you want an 18-year old?” She was talking about an adult beverage, not an adulterous teenager.
I passed on both.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Made in America

Do you trust me?
A new, global survey suggests more and more people trust Americans less and less, although we still are liked by a majority of 45,000 people polled by the people at Pew.

The Pew Global Attitudes Project finds "Anti-Americanism since 2002 has deepened, but it hasn't really widened," and Uncle Sam’s image “has worsened among [our] European allies and is very, very bad in the Muslim world. But there is still a favorable view of the United States in many African countries, as well as in 'New Europe' and the Far East."
Thank goodness.
For a minute, there I didn’t think they liked us anymore.
The Pew people canvassed 47 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Among other things, they found concern about global warming has increased dramatically in the last five years, and most of the blame is heaped upon the United States and, to a much more limited degree, China."

Well fine.
Wonder what the world opinion would be if we just packed our stuff and went home?

Let the Taliban run unfettered…allow Al Qaida to commit its atrocities with impunity. Let the North Koreans lob their chintzy missiles anywhere they want, and let the Arabs and the Jews nuke themselves back to the Stone Age.

I guess Americanism ain’t what it used to be, if you’re into public beheadings, female mutilations, ignorant populations, and living your life based on the whims of some old wheezer in a cave somewhere, reading tea leaves and puffing opium. Yeah, living in the USA must not be quite as attractive as driving through check points and dodging IED’s in your neighborhood.

What’s the point of this Pew Survey?
Oh, you ugly, mean, conniving, interfering Americans—why don’t you just leave the rest of the world the hell alone?

Careful what you ask for.
We did a story this week about a family that went a year without anything that was made in China. Wonder how that experiment would work out, were the tables turned…let’s let the rest of the world go a day without anything Made in America

You can’t have it both ways.
You can’t have a democracy without trouncing the dictators and despots.

You can’t create an economy and encourage commerce when armed thugs are running around shooting people they don’t like, blowing up cars and busses, and hiding in mosques.

Sure the US has warts and flaws…but there is a benefit that’s being overlooked in this Pew poll.
One of the true measures of the wealth of a nation is found not in its GDP or performance of its stock markets, but in the amount of money its citizens are willing to give away.

Sure, the economic metrics of gross output have a direct correlation to the ability of people to make donations to charitiable and philanthropic causes, but philanthropy’s scope transcends ability, captures opportunity, and reflects the level of responsibility we feel to take on financial obligations above and beyond the norm.

Yes, I’m tooting our horn, so if you’re reading this from outside the US, please indulge me or a moment. According to numbers massaged recently by the Giving USA Foundation, American’s give a much larger percentage of their disposable income than other “charitable” nations. And it doesn’t take a 9/11 event or a natural disaster, like a hurricane, to open the purse strings.
Last year $300-billion were donated to charitable causes, surpassing the record amounts donated in 2005 in the wake of twin disasters, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Coincidentally, we had a decent stock market last year.
I often wonder which drives which?

It’s no accident that much of the world’s innovation and cutting edge research happens in America. We put our money where our mouths—and our hearts—are. The Charities Aid Foundation noted in November 2006 that We-the-People chipped-in twice as much as the next most generous nation—at 1.7% of our GDP.
The second place honors went to the country that devoted 0.73% of GDP to charitable concerns: England. France racked up a third place finish at .14%.

Some other interesting factoids emerged from the study: More individuals than organizations or corporations give money to charitable causes, and 65% of those come from households earning under $100,000.

This reveals something about the American culture and character that is often lost when we’re being bashed by loudmouths like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, being threatened by punks like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, or being painted by polls that tend to gleefully report the demise of American global influence.

We believe that the best way to help ourselves is to help others.
Success is most often achieved when you help someone else achieve their goals. Preferably with limbs and heads intact.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Aqualungs and CPAP's

My bride and I are entering that phase of our lives when it takes a little longer to do things. Get dressed, read directions, etc.
It happens.

I know that drives some people crazy, a phenomenon that's inversely proportionate to the differences in age. The younger you are, the more likely you will be frustrated by someone the older they get.
Can’t be avoided—that’s just life.

There are reading glasses scattered all over our house, especially around the telephones. And we’re both now sleeping with CPAP’s—Continuous Positive Air Pumps--those amazing little boxes that prevent snoring and guard against sleep apnea.
Our kids call us the bionic parents.

We look like Mr. and Mrs. Hannibal Lecter with our CPAP masks on, side by side in bed.
Our bedroom now resembles that pod scene in the movie, The Island—that’s the one in which Ewan MacGregor and Scarlett Johansen discover they’re really clones of owners who paid to have them grown as living providers of spare anatomical parts.

MacGregor and Johansen are much more attractive than Mr. and Mrs. Lecter.
I doubt they need CPAP's...yet.

The clones were incubated in giant warehouses, nourished through feeding tubes connected to giant Ziplock-like bags holding the developing bodies of the clones until they were matured. The tubes hung down from the ceiling, providing nutrients and oxygen.

We’re not quite that intricate at our house, yet, but the CPAP tubes are strung from the blower boxes on the floors, up and over the headboard of the bed.
At night it sounds like a Darth Vader convention in there, tiny, whirring motors pumping air through the tubing, and our inhalations and exhalations marked by subtle changes in the pitch of the hissing through the tubes and masks.

Don't laugh.
You could be next.
Actually, since being diagnosed with sleep apnea a few years ago, and being prescribed a CPAP, I've never slept better.
So what if it looks weird?
The lights are off at night.

You know things are taking off when the toy manufacturers get in on the game.
Check out Sleep Apnea Barbie.
I rest my case.

Kudos to the medical supply company that provides replacement parts for these things. My mask died last week, and I was using a spare that did not fit well. My nose looked like I’d been spending time hanging out with the Crash Test Dummy family, testing airbags.

Russell and Scott at MedTech in Houston know what customer service is all about. I called them on Monday. Scott delivered to my house Tuesday afternoon the exact mask that I needed, and it’s better than the old one.

No more facial creases, no more bruised noses.
One simple tube running around to the side.

Like Lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt.
Or Aquaman.
Given this is air mixed with water vapor, perhaps Aqualung is more appropriate.

“Sitting on a park bench…” dah duh dun-dun-dunnn-dut. Sorry, that riff is probably going to run through my head the rest of the day.
“Oh, Aqualung…”

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Saw 'em Off & Flush 'em

That “Saw ‘em Off” anti-Longhorn logo copyright dispute has been settled…and all it took was a little hair and a couple of flared nostrils. And $25,000 to make the lawsuit go away.

Aggie Outfitters in College Station was being sued by the University of Texas System for infringement of its burnt orange longhorn head, sans horns…shortly after the Aggies beat the Horns in their annual gridiron clash.


A two-story tall billboard selling high tech toilet seats is going up in Manhattan next week. The campaign is to advertise Toto’s Washlet -- a gadget that is poised to “clean-up” in the personal hygiene sphere…and eliminate the need for TP, too.

At nearly $1,000 apiece, here's a toilet seat the Pentagon will love.

The outdoor art for the product features a line-up of bare bottoms with smiley faces drawn across the cheeks…
So many punchlines…so little time…

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Land of Camel Milk and Honey

If KKR closes on TXU they might take it national.
Are you ready for a National Electricity Company?
Where's Ready Kilowatt?

Hugo Chavez is warning his country that our country is going to invade to take control of his oil fields. This man is scary. He’s spent $3-billion on Russian-made Kalashnikov rifles, helicopters and fighter jets.

I don’t know which is more disconcerting: That Chavez would spend this much money to feed his psychoses…or that Russia would sell the stuff. Ironic thing about Russia—they’re the most opportunistic capitalists around, for a bunch of former communists.

The next import from the Middle East: Camel Milk, which contains five times more vitamin C than cow's milk; is rich in enzymes with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties; and is effective in treating a variety of ailments including tuberculosis, peptic ulcers, psoriasis and diabetes.
Maybe Joe Camel can get a make over.
Or a girlfriend.

The one thing camel milk lacks is fat; only 2% fat, compared with 4.5% in cow's milk. And if you're not yet convinved, even the lactose-intolerant can drink it, even though Camel milk contains about as much lactose as cow's milk.

Sounds Camelicious.
One-hump, or two?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Customer Service, Part Deaux

The customer is always right, even when he’s wrong.
We’ve all heard that.
Have probably preached it to our customer service reps at least once, too.

There is a prevailing trend away from that mentality, as companies operate more “lean and mean,” and I suppose figure they can make up in volume what they lose here and there from a few occasional dissatisfied customers.

There has also been a different attitude about customer service emerge as more entrepreneurial immigrants begin to filter into the business matrix. I’m not picking on foreigners, either. There’s just a difference in the way other cultures perceive trade and commerce, and the ways of jawboning for deals are conducted very differently.

Earlier this week I mentioned frustration with Massage Envy.
Some of you wrote back to either commiserate or to tell me to get a grip and look on the bright side.
Both points well taken.
However, there is a “rest of the story” you should know.

The manager of the Massage Envy never did call me back. All of his staff and assistant managers were terrific, however. Problem was, he wouldn’t call THEM back, either.

So I visited the location where I’d first purchased the gift of a year’s worth of massages for my bride. Nothing like a disgruntled consumer walking in the front door to grab your attention.

On duty was Assistant Manager Jessica Connors, who one day (hopefully sooner than later) will make an excellent store manager for the company.

She was kind, gracious, understanding, and more than a little perplexed that it was taking so long to reach a satisfactory conclusion to the problem. She issued a gift certificate for a complimentary session to replace the session the Manager had penalized my bride for her missed appointment.

Sometimes the customer is right, even when things are wrong.
Sometimes all you have to do is stop and listen to what’s being said.
Sometimes you have to show up in person to get satisfaction.

Jessica Connors “gets it” because at the end of the day, if a customer walks away unhappy, everyone loses.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Math Per Gallon

Automobile manufacturers are being given their marching orders by Congress’ new energy bill, requiring cars, trucks and SUV’s to get 35mpg by the year 2020.

The car makers have had the technology to do this for a while—they’ve just not had enough incentive to apply it. I just wonder what it will take to achieve Congress’ goals: technology or fuzzy math in how the vehicles are measured and rated.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Customer Service: Raves and Pans

I am going to “out” a couple of companies with which I’ve recently had dealings, and share with you a few notes about how they do business.

We started Father’s Day weekend with a flooding of our home by a Maytag washing machine that lost its mind and forgot to turn off the water after filling the drum. The result was two-inches of water in our kitchen, and extensive water damage to all of the carpeting in the front half of the house.

Basically, all of the carpeting except for the bedrooms was ruined, plus the cabinetry in the kitchen was damaged. The kitchen island must be replaced, along with all of the kickboards and baseboards. All of the baseboards in the front of the house will be either replaced or repainted.

We’re shopping for a new washing machine.
It won’t be a Maytag.

Praises to the Claims Team at Nationwide Insurance, which carries our home owner’s coverage. The adjuster called me within minutes of notifying the company, and the water removal team was at hour home within four hours of the call.
That's pretty cracker-jack service.
I'm impressed.

David Baker at SouthPro Restoration Services brought Roberto and Julio, armed with a suction machine to remove the water, and a half dozen blowers and de-humidifiers. They drilled holes in the ruined kick boards of the cabinets to allow the air to circulate, and efficiently removed the ruined carpeting and soaked padding.
They moved the furniture, too.
The whole job took about 4-hours, but when they left, the water was gone, the slab was drying, and we had the market cornered on white-noise generation. Our den now sounds like the inside of a wind tunnel, but it’s dry. This weekend the contractors come out to begin the process of replacing what was ruined.

By Wednesday, my Bride’s nerves were shot, however.
Living in a wind tunnel is great if you’re a crash test dummy or the latest Boeing aircraft scale model. Not too swift for people and small animals, so we’ve been cloistered in the back of the house.
(I know, I know, there’s people in worse conditions in New Orleans even as I write this, and I shouldn’t whine. I’m not whining. That’s not the point.)
She was stressed, and so she booked a massage at Massage Envy.

Last Fall, I bought her a year’s worth of massages for our anniversary.
Once a month, she could go in and be pampered in ways Calgon never dreamed of taking someone away.
She loved the gift.

Cashing in has been somewhat counter-productive.
Going for a massage should be a treat, not an ordeal that induces more stress.
Someone should mention this to Massage Envy.

Each time she’s called for an appointment, they’ve told her she has fewer sessions than were purchased. We’re tired of arguing with Massage Envy over what was bought vs what they show remains to be used.
And they’re a little snippy about it.
Not good customer service.

Yesterday, she called to book a session for 1pm.
Shortly after that, the insurance adjuster showed up at the house.
Sorry, but getting the repairs on the house moving along trumps getting an oily rubdown.
She called to cancel, and Massage Envy wanted to charge her for the session anyway.

I recognize such rules are in place to discourage people from booking sessions and then dropping them for a nail appointment somewhere else. This was different. The folks at the local parlour were not understanding that the INSURANCE ADJUSTER was sitting in front of the house to survey the damage to our FLOODED HOME, and insisted on charging her for a missed session that she’d booked only an hour earlier.

That must be a good racket.
1.) Get people to sign up for your service.
2.) Charge them for the service anyway when life’s little calamities intervene.

I wonder if this is a strategy to sell more massages?
There is a philosophy that presumes people buy when they reach a threshold of pain.
In a warped world, the practice of inducing more stress would then be followed by increased bookings of stress-relieving sessions at Massage Envy.

Not on my watch.
Not with my Bride.
Not again at Massage Envy.
They just rubbed me the wrong way.

Tech-less Thursday

"He who lives by the computer, dies by the computer."
I don’t know who said it…maybe no one.

If no one did, I say it.

(4:45am: BizRadioNetwork Broadcasting Complex & Deli)
We’re flying on VFR (Visual Flight Rules) this morning—no internet, no e-mail, no instant message.
Call it Connectile Dysfunction.

If you need to get a message to us, you’re going to have to use that archaic method of calling us up on the phone at 877-777-77-13…or dropping a note off at the front door and poking it through the mail slot.

We’ll actually open the door for food. Comfort-food this morning, please; we’re having digital withdrawals.

I can’t tell you what market futures are doing right now, because I can’t see them. I presume the DAX is up and running…unless, of course, they’re tied in some bizarre way to our network, which has regrettably, spectacularly, failed this morning.

Yesterday the Dow took a 146-point dump on Wall Street…ending the day at 13,489. Who knows—maybe our server was doing day trading on the side, sustained a loss, and is in shock this morning. No, that wouldn’t be it. The server, were the server to trade independently from its assigned task of keeping our internet running, the server would trade the NASDAQ, most likely.

NASDA lost 26-points, closing at 2599…
The S&P 500 lost nearly 21-points to close at 1512.

I think there’s collusion between our computer network and United Airlines’ computer system, which grounded flights for 2-hours yesterday. United says things should be back to normal today.
Lucky them.

I hope our technician isn’t on a United flight.
If you can read this, we got it fixed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

By the Numbers

If the stock market is reflective of a strong economy, and that's what all the analysts are telling us--the economy is holding up well--then how do you explain the counterveiling mood among 7 in 10 Americans that the economy sucks, stuff costs more to buy, and if you had to find a new, good job, you couldn't?

The folks at the Gallup Poll are reinforcing the cliche that the rich are getting richer , while most Americans aren't feeling the love from a shared growth in our economy. Despite low unemployment and soaring stocks, Gallup says only one in three Americans rate the economy today as either excellent or good, while the percentage saying the economy is getting better fell from 28% to 23% in one month.

This 70%-negative rating is up 10 points since April. Also, just in the past month, there has been a significant five-point drop, from 28% to 23%, in the percentage saying conditions are getting better.What’s the most pressing financial problem most families face today? Healthcare costs, lack of money or low wages, and oil and gas prices…

"Healthcare costs are mentioned by 16% of Americans while 13% say low wages and 11% say oil and gas prices," say the Gallupers, "these percentages are virtually unchanged from last month."

Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg has dropped a bombshell on the Republican Party by disavowing his membership, thus clearing the path for an independent run for the White House next year…
Hmmm…another three-way horse race in November ’08.
Who’s the spoiler?

Sen. Hillary Clinton is such a jokester... spoofing the final episode of "The Sopranos" in a video telling supporters the winner of the anthem search for her 2008 presidential campaign.
Survey said: Celine Dion's "You and I."

Only the Clinton announcement video doesn’t quite tell you everything…which is typical of the Senator from New York. It's really a pitch for campaign donations, and then routes you to another site for the winning theme.

Celine Dion's song was a write-in, but got the most of the more than 200,000 votes cast, beating out "I'm a Believer" by Smash Mouth, "Beautiful Day" by U2 and Shania Twain's "Rock This Country!"
My money was on Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them.”

Voting on a campaign theme song…a little like keeping up with your Radio listening habits for some survey: Who has the time? And what’s even more troubling, the results are generated by people who don’t have anything better to do.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

X-Boxes and X-Factors

The computers are back up and running on the International Space StationShuttle Atlantis is scheduled to un-dock and begin its return to earth for Thursday’s landing.

I know how those guys must’ve felt.
Happens to us all the time.
No confirmation from NASA that the next Shuttle mission might include extra, updated computers for the ISS…in the form of X-Boxes.

The Senate is going to use a Clay Pigeon to revive the failed immigration reform legislation…by splitting up complex legislation into individual components, and then calling for individual votes on each element, lawmakers hope to pass changes in the law. Dick Cheney’s trigger finger is already twitching…

Don’t look for any break in the Middle East…10,000 more troops have launched a fresh offensive in Iraq…and 300 new recruits of Al Qaida have been dispatched as suicide bombers, seeking targets of opportunity in the West.
Iran, meanwhile, is promising to use oil as a weapon, should tensions escalate with the US over its nuclear ambitions. Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili predicts oil prices north of $100 as a result.

I've long believed the solution to those troubles could be achieved economically.
By creating a demand for nuclear fuel, thus diminishing demand for oil, a balance might be achieved, while creating cheaper methods of power generation.

Iran says that's all they're doing with their nuclear program, but they've still got to prove that to the rest of the world, especially the US. News last week that Iran was supplying arms to insurgents in Iraq did not bolster their credibility.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Subsidizing America

I’ve been mulling over an idea for a book lately.
It’s premise would be rooted in the idea of subsidies that have been used to prop up various areas of the US economy over the years, and would question whether they have been good for the country in the long run.

A contemporary example would be milk subsidies, and how their existence allowed dairy operators in America to exist in an artificial economic environment. Fast-forward to this decade, in which the government is subsidizing the implementation of ethanol fuel as a substitute for 100% gasoline.

I recently noticed a label on a gasoline pump recently, touting the fuel as being “enriched” by 10% ethanol. I laughed out loud at the audacity of the marketing gambit: The fuel was in fact being diluted by grain alcohol by 10%, not enriched.

What is happening as ethanol is being foisted on the American consumer, corn is being grown more as an energy crop instead of a food crop, and the government is only staving off the inevitable by promoting gasohol usage?

If you think this is far fetched—look at Toyota Motor Company, which is heavily subsidized by the Japanese government. Could that automaker have surpassed GM without such unfair advantages as cheap labor and cheap financing by Tokyo?

In the long run, are subsidies for favored sectors really a good thing, or are they only applying rose-colored glasses to bigger problems that must be confronted eventually?

The price of milk has eventually come to reflect the real costs of producing the commodity…Toyota’s exponential growth has come at the expense of declining quality in its products…and America’s addiction to cheap gasoline must come to grips with the fact eventually, we’re going to have to either run our transportation machines on something other than fossil fuels, or quarantine the use of gasoline, diesel and oil exclusively for transportation, and require electricity generation by alternative methods like nuclear, solar and wind.

Are subsidies for stopgap measures delaying the emergence of alternative, real technologies, by dulling the pain neccessary to cause the American public to realize these changes must come. Are economic subsidies really only economic analgesics?

Is our national reluctance to accept the inevitable, and instead supplant flawed solutions funded by subsidies, really symptomatic of a larger national problem of putting off until tomorrow what we should be dealing with today?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Skip to My Liu

I have to share something somewhat humorous with you from behind the scenes here at The BizRadio Network Broadcasting Complex & Deli.

As you may recall, we lease our studio space and transmitter time from another company. When Buddy Cantu and the Band and I arrive in the mornings, there is other, foreign-language programming on the air.
I have no idea what they’re saying.

This morning, however, I knew something was amiss…the sound of a record skipping is unmistakable in any language.

There was something eerily entertaining about this—if you’re into obsessive-compulsive issues…the same thing, over, and over, and over, with an odd rhythm pattern…

I knew it might catch on, however, when I heard some of the BizRadio Network Chorus trying to learn the lyrics and get the syncopation down…clever bunch.

During the show this morning, one of our more astute, multi-lingual listeners, Len, called and translated the audio clip for us. It's from a commercial--I believe in Vietnamese--in which a parent is telling a child to "open up the present."

Open up the present (skritch) [click]
Open up the present (skritch) [click]
Open up the present (skritch) [click]

Reminds me of the time I wrapped a Christmas gift for my bride...a box within a box within a box. You get the idea.

We've been married forever (28-years in December).
We're both like a couple of teenagers, though--and she especially cannot tolerate the anticipation that builds in the weeks ahead of Christmas and our anniversary each year.

You can see this coming, can't you?
That mysteriously wrapped gift from me under the tree...
It has a muffled rattle.
The balance of the package is slightly off...
...and she can't stand not knowing what's inside.

So, unbeknownst to me, she opens the gift.
Ribbon preserved, paper and tape carefully cut and unfolded...
...and discovers ANOTHER wrapped box inside.

The process is repeated five times.

Open up the present (skritch) [click]
Open up the present (skritch) [click]
Open up the present (skritch) [click]
Open up the present (skritch) [click]
Open up the present (skritch) [click]

The funniest moment came on Christmas Day, when she excitedly opened the gift (again.)
Could've won an Academy Award for the performance.
She then meekly confessed to having peeked ahead of time.
I just laughed...knowing how much work she went through to open all the boxes, and then re-wrapped them meticulously to cover her tracks.

Next year I'm just getting her a gift card.

Low-brow Fashion

Please help me understand a social/fashion phenomenon I see more and more: What is up with pants that hang down?

I see people walking around wearing pants with a 28-inch inseam who have legs that are at least 40-inches long. Obviously, the pant waste is hitting somewhere in mid-thigh.

I see guys walking around (barely) with these things hanging low—and they always have one hand in a pocket. Back in the day, if you saw a guy walking around all the time with a hand in one pocket you sort of gave him a wide berth. Something odd was going on in there, and you really didn’t want to know what.

Today it’s different—but I don’t know what it is.
Walking around with baggy pants seems to be the rage, but I wouldn’t want to be wearing them if I was in a hurry to get somewhere. That wasteband riding on your thigh can be mighty constrictive to your stride.

In fact, there was a story not too long ago about some thieves who were caught by police in a footrace when the baggy pants the bad guys were wearing kept falling down and tangling up their legs while they tried to run away.

In DelCambre, Louisianna this week, the City Council just passed a law against low riding pantaloons…with a penalty of six months in the hoosegow and a $500 fine if your pants ride so low that everyone can see what brand underwear your sporting--or if you’re going commando under there.

$500 is a pretty stiff pop.
Just think of how many pairs of pants you could buy for that much money…which would fit properly.