As I know I’m the one everyone turns to for on topic news reporting, I thought I’d give some opinions on what’s currently happening. Okay, no one reads me, so I’m ranting to the wind, but it’s my blog, so I’m going to do it anyway.
1. Obama Takes Credit for Lame Duck Victories. Um, okay. It seems that our current president seems to think that he has done great things by using the lame duck Congress to get a lot of legislation pushed forward before the end of the year. A couple of thoughts: First, Obama didn’t really do anything. The lame duck members of Congress did. So it was really them that succeeded in doing what they did. Second, while it’s wonderful that a lot of gridlocked legislation got pushed through (DADT, Bush Tax Cuts, START treaty, Adoption of Stickman as Ambassador to Iceland [okay, the last one didn’t happen, but it really should have]), when the new year starts up, we’re back to where we were before, except now we’re going to have a lot of pissed off Republicans who still think they have some kind of mandate to provide gridlock to the presidential agenda. Basically, the Democrats rammed through a whole bunch of legislation that required them to use their majority that is going to disappear at the start of the new year. That can’t lead to positive relations in Congress for the next year. Expect a lot of political partisanship to get much worse in the very near future, all of it blamed on the lame duck stuff. Lesson: You really don’t get a free ride when the odds are stacked against you for the future. Even the Bush Tax Cuts, which the Republicans are all happy about being passed, are going to be seen as Obama’s lame duck stuff that will cause immediately cause Republicans to blame Obama and the Democrats for anything that comes out negative, even as Republicans use the money to fuel their own desires.
2. Rahm Emanuel is Cleared to Run for Emperor of Chicago. Or Mayor, or whatever it is he’s running for. Basically, an Obama Administration guy is running on that name connection alone, even though everyone who had anything to do with Obama was thrown out of office during the last election. Supposedly, this might work in Chicago, which is Obama’s former backyard. But how does this affect the rest of us? It doesn’t. It means absolutely nothing to us. For all I know, he’s probably going to lose because he’s not actually Obama. The people of Chicago aren’t voting for Obama; they’re voting for some guy who once worked for Obama. He has to run on that. No one outside of people who might gain from any connections to this guy really cares in any way, shape or form. So, everytime I see an article about this, which is practically every day even though I don’t subscribe to any papers that have anything to do with Chicago, I want to claw out my eyes with a rusty spork. Please make him and his personal desire to be god of Chicago go away. Please, even if it’s just for the children.
3. Steven Spielberg is not going to advise Democrats on how to win over the voters. Thank God. It’s not that I don’t like Steven Spieldberg. His movies are great. But they’re movies. And as we learned from World War II, when a movie director like Kapra is making movies for the country, they’re not movies; they’re propaganda. Having a famous filmmaker try to change the perception of Americans about the Democrat Party is a disaster just waiting to happen. What’s wrong with the Democrats right now is that they’re constantly running on a platform of being for the people when they’ve been so out of touch of what the people want and need that they need education, not propaganda. But they’re not going to get that education because they don’t seem to realize what’s wrong. People are pissed at the Democrats right now because they came in with a plan to give the people what they wanted and then and went and did things that politicians have been doing for decades (filling their own pockets). We saw Rangel and Conyers and all sorts of shenanigans that benefited none of the people, but only the people in power. THAT is what they need to fix, and trying to get a famous movie director to advise them to change their public image is never going to work because it’s not their public image that needs fixing. It’s their actions they conduct in the name of the public interest. But I doubt they’re going to figure that out because the people who advise them are the same people who have been advising them while they were holding $1000 a plate fund-raisers to get elected.
4. Facebook is a networking program, not a lifestyle. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg was voted as Time’s person of the year. I really don’t care. He’s a rich, elitist, misogynist who happened to be at the right place at the right time to steal the right idea at the right time. Ever since then, he’s been trying to become important, but he heralded the creation of a platform for people to find their old friends and keep touch with their current friends in ways bordering on stalking, but only if the victim was sending texts to her stalker to announce where she’d be going next. Yes, I have a Facebook account. But it’s not my only means of oxygen or survival. It’s an interesting tool. And that’s it. For me, the person of the year would have been Julian whatever his name is who was running Wikileaks. That person really made an impact last year. Facebook didn’t. Neither did that rich billionaire, irrelevant sack of shit owner of Facebook either. It’s almost as if Time went out of their way to create the easiest winner of the award, realizing that if they chose the guy who should have got it, the government would have actually shut down Time Magazine as a threat to the country. I honestly don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to realize that this had to have been part of their discussion the night before they made their decision.
5. 2010 Kindle Sales will reach 8 billion. So what? Oh wait, I mean 8 million. Whatever. I mean, it’s kind of cool that Kindle will sell that many, but as expected, this kind of announcement fails to mention what’s really important: How many books are being sold, and how many are available? You see, it’s one thing to sell a bunch of devices, like Barnes & Noble is doing with the Nook Color, but when they don’t tell you how much information is available for the device, it’s really doing a disservice to the buying public. An example: I bought a Color Nook from B&N, and I’ve been nothing but pissed about my purchase ever since. I bought it, expecting the market to be represented in books, magazines and newspapers, but so far the selection has been abysmal at best. I have yet to see a justification for the color device because the magazine selection for the device is horrid. I have yet to see any new magazines sign up, other than really crappy ones that I would never flip through at the bookstore for free. When they start getting the marketplace to respond to their product, I’ll be happy. And don’t get me started on prices. The price for practically every book I’ve seen with the Nook has been either exactly the same price as the Kindle or much higher. Computer books are ridiculous in that they’re sometimes more expensive for the Nook version than they would be if I bought it in a physical copy. Not a good sign if they’re trying to capture a market. Or even tap into one.
This is the same problem, I have with the Kindle. The prices for books just don’t seem to justify the device itself. When books are $9.99, it might be worth it, but there’s a mindgame being played here that they don’t want to own up to. A lot of these books are now out in paperback and available from some retailers for much cheaper than $9.99. Yet, the price for these books doesn’t go down. They remain at $9.99 or recently, $12.99, which seems to be some bizarre sweet spot the book companies think they can get. In other words, they’re making the market reliant on the hardbook, brand new price model when most people haven’t even really been reliant on that model in the real bookstore of the past. I bought a few books that were “discounted” at the $7.00 range, and I realized while buying them that I could probably get these books for less than $5.00 because they’ve been out in paperback forever. Kindle is trying to take the Apple approach of “people are suckers who will pay anything for something digital, and if we capture that market, they’ll always pay us full price”. Kindle started out well with their price model, but then they caved in against the book publishers, and that bit of working together has managed to screw the average customer who is now faced with paying stupid prices or going back to the old model of waiting for physical books to go down in price. Without even trying, the e-reader market is doing a good job of killing its own future marketplace.
6. The iPad. The hype over this product has completely overwhelmed me. Not enough to buy one, but enough to cause me to wonder if people really are that daft. I mean, it’s not like the technology was really all that new. We’ve had tablets on the market for a few years now, but they never sold because people didn’t see a need for them. And then Steve Jobs announced the iPad during his yearly announcement meeting, and suddenly everyone had to have one. I’ve looked at it, and almost even bought one, because I’m a stupid Internet geek who buys stupid things like the Nook Color. But I waited a day and then realized I didn’t want OR NEED one. It didn’t do anything I couldn’t already do with devices I already had. I mean, it’s got a bookstore so I can read e-books. They’re more expensive than any other store, because it’s Apple, and I already have a Kindle and an Amazon Nook. Not worth it. It does some word processing. So does my laptop. Much better, too. It looks like a Star Trek datapad. That’s cool. But that’s about as useful as it gets. It doesn’t actually do anything my iPhone doesn’t do. It’s just that my iPhone is smaller.
7. Which brings me to my iPhone. I bought an iPhone when they were first released. And it rocked. Back then, I had a crappy cell phone that was not very smart, and the move to a phone that did everything was great. But it’s been some years since I first bought that phone, and the marketplace has finally caught up to it. You see, there are some things that the iPhone won’t do, mainly because of Apple and because of AT&T. I have been getting a lot of phone calls from telemarketers lately, including one that calls me every day. I can’t block their calls because AT&T won’t let me do it without paying for a special service that does just that. Apple won’t let me get an App to block calls because for some reason Apple just doesn’t seem to think that’s a good App. So I’m left having to be innovative and work around my phone in order to get my phone to do what I want it to do. So a few days ago, I bought an Android phone that lets me do all of the things an Apple phone won’t let me do. And I’ve been really happy with it since. I had to move to Sprint PCS instead, and well, it’s working out like a first date with a supermodel who only orders off the children’s menu to watch her weight. Apple managed to push itself out of my market when I used to say nothing but wonderful things about them and their phone.
8. The Spiderman Musical. Now, as much as I love a train wreck like everyone else, I’ve kind of hit my saturation point with this story. Okay, they tried to make a musical that was too innovative to actually be done successfully. Fix it or move on. It doesn’t really matter to me.
9. Sony launched a model to compete with iTunes. Yeah, good luck on that one. You’re a day too late with a model that’s not innovative. Sprechen Blockbuster versus Netflix?
10. South Korea is trying to rile up North Korea with live fire exercises. Um, poking a tiger is not always the best way to entertain the kids. But what do I know?
That’s all for now. Have fun and avoid eating the yellow snow. Just cause it looks like lemon flavoring doesn’t mean it’s going to work out that way.