Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Simply Observations

Ferguson: I'm sitting and lounging three thousand miles away, viewing the minute-by-minute video clips of action in town, and observing the character/charm of the Ferguson mess.  Based on comments around the decision....it's safe to say that the kid (Brown) probably wasn't in full control of himself that day, did something pretty stupid, and is six feet under the ground because of his inability to grasp the situation.  The burning of the town?  Tomorrow....the sun will rise, and owners will assess what to do with their insurance money....which I believe....most will retreat and leave the area....to restart somewhere else.  The burnt buildings will stay, and reinforce the character/charm of Ferguson upon all who pass through it.  In effect, the Grand Jury episode doesn't really end this....it just moves it along to another stage.

Secretary of Defense Hagel:  The remaining issue I see.....who the heck would replace the guy?  Two years left on this administration.....various hot-topic issues remaining.....a difficult White House staff (beyond the President).....and a new Senate in January.  The four-star possibilities?  None, zero.  Someone suggested a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, but he says he has no interest.  So, it'll be a group of three-star possibilities and someone without any issues for Republicans to quiz in January.  As for Hagel?  I think he'll end up writing a book in 2015, and publish by spring of 2016.....talking about the White House staff as being more of a stumbling block than the President himself.

Bama Beer:  Alabama Biz Journal did a fine article over beer production in Bama.  With rules finally relaxed.....small-time brewing is now fine with the locals and progressing each year.  Birmingham is actually getting one positive comment (against a hundred negative ones).....with small-craft type operations now showing some sustainability and profits.  What the state needs....is one big brew competition and proclaim the King of beer for Bama.

Monday, 24 November 2014

New Car Smell (NCS)

The President delivered a speech yesterday in Henderson, NV.  Like a majority of his speeches over the past two years....it didn't really say much or present some massive appeal.  But he had this one thought.....that people now wanted a "new car smell" when 2016 rolls around.....meaning a different type President.  The hint here....was Hillary Clinton.

I sat and pondered over the expression of "new car smell".  At some point when I was a kid....maybe six or seven....my dad took me to the local Ford dealer in Florence, Alabama as part of the process to deal them down on a particular car he was interested in buying.  The original thought when I sat in the 'dream car' for the first time....was that it had a smell.  It was a pleasant plastic-like smell.  I remarked about this and my dad introduced me to the word "new car smell" (NCS, as I will call it).

NCS, when sniffed.....smells new and exciting.  The truth is, if you had stepped into a brand-new 1976 American Motors Pacer.....made out of Kenosha, WI.....it had NCS and you felt empowered.  Two thousand miles later, the NCS was gone and you found certain things lacking in the Pacer.

The 1971 Ford Pinto had NCS.....and bad fuel tanks.

The old Chevrolet Chevette had great NCS upon delivery, and sixty-thousand miles later....was a piece of crap.

Is NCS oversold?  I've noticed over the past decade a new gimmick sold around Wal-Mart.....NCS spray.  It's a nifty scent that makes you think your six-year old Ford pick-up is just as nice as it was on day one.....with enough spray.  Some guys with a twenty-two year old GMC will spray a whole can of the stuff into the truck....hoping to get that one last good feeling out of the vehicle before they dump it.

I've noticed that NCS is available now for home fragrance options.  You could probably turn your bathroom into a nifty new Ford vehicle....if you could just talk your wife into allowing you to position a NCS device near the toilet.

Would NCS work in politics?  Frankly, no.

We'd basically need NCS, dynamic anti-lock legislative brakes, Republican-grip tires, Democrat-blue-dog fog lights, anti-theft protection working twenty-four hours a day, and less show-room antics (Sunday chatty shows) by the "salesmen".  No, NCS just won't be enough.

I worked around with a guy while living in DC.....who by his late fifties....had come to admit that he'd never owned a new car.  I questioned him about this fact.  He rattled off at least twenty-five different cars....one of which he only had for six weeks.  All were used.  Most were three to six years old when bought, and were used for two years.  He had this philosophy.....to only buy vehicles that were 'broke-in' (as he put it) and had less than fifty thousand miles.  Once they hit one-hundred thousand miles, he traded them in.  I commented to him that he'd missed the NCS moment, and his response was that the scent rated near one-hundred on his list of things about a car that mattered.  To add insult to NCS....he even rated AM/FM radio options on a car at number ninety-nine.  I should add.....he was a building maintenance guy and typically drove more than eighty miles a day on average.

I don't know the crowd that hangs around the President, or the type of talk that occurs at the water-cooler at the White House.  Maybe this past week.....two or three guys got to talking about buying a new car, and someone simply said NCS in the middle of a conversation, and the President picked up on the comment.....thinking it applied to the President's office as well.  I'm humble enough to think it simply occurred like that, and simply got worked into a President's speech.

So, if you do feel you need a NCS moment with a new President....just note....it's roughly 2.1 years away and you might want to think long and hard over whether you want a Republican NCS scent, or a Democratic NCS scent.  For some of you.....it matters.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Watched a Larry King Interview

I sat and watched RT (Russia Today) yesterday.  Over an entire week, I might catch fifteen minutes of the network's news analysis.  It's slanted to some degree, I admit.

Yesterday, they ran a interview piece with Larry King (yeah, he's still around), with Chuck Todd (the new guy over Meet the Press).

It was like watching two guys at a bar.....half-sober, half-drunk....discussing their love and appreciation over President Obama.  Larry kept pushing Chuck along, to explain why the public has screwed up and lost favor with the President.  Both admitted in a thousand-odd words that they are just amazed at the graceful and intellectual nature of the President.  Both would hit at the right point.....how race was a factor and they felt it was unfair how the President was treated.

After fifteen minutes, I flipped to another channel.

Network news media.....even at RT....has become some comical feature to simply fill in empty space.  You can feature an interview with two washed up 1970s TV actors, a feel-good piece over some Bronx folks growing tomatoes on their roof, some witty English literature guy talking over George Canning's contributions, four women talking over Grandmaisms, or two washed-up TV interview guys talking their fascination of President Obama......it's just NOT news.  We've reached the point where we just fill in empty space with second-rate, third-rate, and fourth-rate stuff that marginalizes our perception of the world, and actual events.

CNN woke up in the late 1990s to realize that Larry King wasn't pulling in the big numbers anymore.  But the flip side was that there wasn't any real candidate to fill his shoes.  By 2009....a fair number of Larry's audience had moved on.  And in 2010.....Larry finally retired....to watch Piers Morgan flounder around for about a year.

I suspect after a while.....Larry's interview talents were recognized as sometimes hitting the mark, but mostly just the same stuff you'd see out of some barber in Tulsa asking his customer what they felt about the NCAA bowl picks this year, or if it might rain tomorrow.

As for Chuck Todd?  I got the impression after fifteen minutes of his interview that he's mostly slanted, but does his best to fake you out and make you believe that he's capable of being some plain vanilla journalist.  He does a marginal job, and if he's still there at Meet the Press by the end of 2016.....it'll surprise me.


Simple Observations

Ferguson, Missouri: I noticed the FBI admitted that they have a hundred agents about to arrive, and another hundred on a second wave.  You'd sit and think they will be there as part of the security and arrest apparatus as the Grand Jury moment occurs....but no.  They are there to help create a "intelligence center" where leadership will sit and monitor the ruckus about to be started.....explaining trends and chaos to the locals and to the DC crowd.  I won't say it's a wasted deal, but about six hours into the mess....the locals will consider the FBI's wisdom or advice to be mostly useless.

Computers: The Wall Street Journal wrote up an excellent article on automation.....making us dumb.  In a way, I agree.  If you look at a mechanic today.....he isn't the same guy you went to in 1988.  Today, he plugs in a module to your car, and notes four failing items which need replacement.  Before anything is messed up, it's corrected.  In 1988, you drove the car until one single item broke, and caused some malfunction.  Your gifted mechanic spent three hours testing various theories before he finally settled on one single item as the culprit of your issue.  Today's mechanic?  He doesn't have the skill to find such an issue.....without the computer module.

Bill Cosby: Ten women have now come forward to tell their rape story over the comedian.  If it had stuck to one.....it might have been dismissed.  You can't dismiss ten separate stories.  As many positive things as he might say over his career.....it's basically wiped out at this point.  All of this makes you ask the question.....when women up and disappear after having been at a bar for an evening.....did they get some sort of pill by a guy?

Coffee: Some smart guys have sat down and developed a zero-gravity coffee machine, which naturally the only place requiring such a machine is the International Space Station.  Up until this point, you had a pouch with freeze-dried coffee.....added heated water....and that was it for on the station.  Now, you could sit there and talk up the number of hours involved in such a project and no pay-back for whoever designed this.  But it shows.....man is capable of inventing just about anything.