Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sifting the Rubble

I have some free time this morning. The kitchen manager called me a few minutes ago to tell me not to bother to come in as he already had five people in his kitchen. It would have been six, but the new "friends & family" guy that the owners hired didn't bother to show up on his first day. In any case, I'm on my own until noon-ish, so I thought I would sort through the dozens of open tabs I have in Firefox and inflict them on my five regular readers.

To lead off, we have one from the I Guess You Have To Be Known For Something Even If It Is Massive Suckage category. Referring, of course, to the most ineptly run football team in the history of the NFL. The last Superbowl appearance by the Detroit Lions was... oh wait; Detroit has never played in a Superbowl, hasn't won a championship since 1957, and has only been in the playoffs nine times in a half-century. But never fear, say the Fords; "His [Lions coach Rod Marinelli's] future has not been announced, but team owner William Clay Ford has decided the leaders of the front office, Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand, will be back in some capacity." Lets see; in my lifetime, there has been a brigade of players and coaches with solid to stellar careers before and after playing/coaching in Detroit. Now I know basically nothing about football, but I can recognize a management problem from a mile away. Instead of firing yet-another coach, maybe the Ford family should fire themselves and all their croneys working "in some capacity." Or not. Every organization needs a buffoon, and given the kind of people they elect as mayor, why not Detroit? Paint the Lion's jet to look like a giant clown-car and you're all set.

Next we have one from the Are People Really So Stupid That It Has To Be Said category: don't take health advice from celebrities. I would also add, don't take political advice, scientific advice, economic advice, child-raising advice, fashion advice, or lip/breast/butt augmentation advice from celebrities. In fact, I'll make it easy: don't take advice from celebrities. On anything. Ever. Not even on how to become a celebrity, because most of them had nothing to do with it. They are celebrities due to a combination of family connections, luck and hard work by other people, and haven't a clue as to how it all happened. (I make an exception to this diatribe for Abigail Breslin, the cutest girl to stand in front of a camera since Shirley Temple.)

And one from the combination Holy Crap How Can People Who End Up Running Multinational Corporations Be So Fracking Stupid and the Ten Years Late To The Party file, we have the music industry deciding that maybe there is something to this so-called internet thing after all. Of course, they still don't get it. I've said it many times before. The music industry can have more money than God in four simple steps:

Drop all forms of DRM. It doesn't work. It can never work unless you prevent people from hearing music. If I can hear it, I can copy it. Period. Just accept that this is so, and live with it.

Fire all the lawyers at the RIAA. Suing college kids and grandparents isn't really making you any friends. It just makes everyone more determined to get music for free. Anyone that takes the time to punch the holes necessary in their firewall to make Limewire or Bittorrent work probably doesn't have the money to buy what they are downloading anyway, so the pathetic attempts to stop them will not result in higher sales. Use the money saved to do the next two steps.

Cut prices to $.25 for individual tracks and $2 or $3 for an album. And given that there is no size restriction on a digital album, that price should include no fewer than 15 tracks plus hi-res jpeg's of any artwork, band member photos, etc., and hi-def video of live performances, promotional videos, interviews, music videos, whatever. Set up a $10-per-month subscription service that allows unlimited downloads of anything more than a year old, some limited-but-still-generous downloading of current music, and access to the new stuff a week before the "official" release.

Empty the vault. Drag out all those recordings that are currently disintegrating and digitize them. Sell for $.05 a track, or unlimited downloading for subscribers. Even the federal government has figured out that keeping history locked in a vault doesn't accomplish much.

And that's it. More money than God. The music industry could make this recession their best financial performance ever. They won't.

And last but not least, we have the obligatory Holy Crap He's Still Beating That Same Patch Of Dirt That Used To Be Grass That Used To Have A Dead Horse On It category: 2008 will be remembered as the year that man-made global warming was conclusively refuted.

OK. I'm done for now.

[Updated to add: I officially nominate HCHSBTSPODTUTBGTUTHADHOI as the longest and most obscure internet acronym ever.]

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