Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Music Industry Needs to Hear this

Drudge has this splash:

FLASH: APPLE FACES A REBELLION OVER ITUNES... Universal Music Group, the world's biggest music corporation, notified Apple that it will not renew its annual contract to sell music through iTunes... Developing...

I ask you, is there any industry more self-destructive right now than the music industry?

I finally have a system I like with iTunes. I've actually bought some tunes that I normally wouldn't have bought. Now, Universal wants to pull out. Maybe they want their own distribution service, I don't know. So, instead of having something that works, now these assclowns expect me to go to a different place for each recording company.

I know these guys claim that their biggest problem is file sharing. This is what I think is there biggest problem -- the music they are putting out right now is absolute shit. I noticed this when I walked through the CD aisles at a store last week. I remember when I could walk through a CD aisle and have to decide between 5 or 6 that I really wanted. Now, I can't find a single one. As for those tunes I bought, it was older stuff.

I hate today's rock -- most of these guys sound like they had their testosterone surgically removed. John Mayer? Coldplay? Give me a break. I think the last relatively new act that actually impressed me was Rammstein. Yeah, I know -- they aren't exactly new, anymore.

It almost seems as though these record companies want to make it hard for me to purchase a song that I like. I guess that's why shaking down college kids and their parents is their new profit center.

All I know is that this music customer who has probably bought over 1000 CDs in his life has this message for Universal and the rest of them -- how about making your music suck less? Cashing out!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Couple of Clarification

Since I always seem to catch some recurring themes anytime I post something like "The real reason medical costs are so high", I want to put a couple of points on record:

1. I am well aware that nobody is going to volunteer to die in order to keep medical costs down. In terms of using drugs to artificially increase the lifespan, we've let that genie out of the bottle and it is not going back in. So, why did I post that material in the first place? Because it is the real reason medical costs are so high and all of the other side issues we attack when discussing medical costs are just noise. If a society chooses the "keep the heart beating at all costs" way of doing business, so be it. This just happens to be a side effect of living that philosophy. I'm saying that our society has chosen this path and because it has, there is no call for you to bitch about medical costs because you have brought that monster upon yourselves.

2. Yes, I have seen the Star Trek TNG episode about the society that puts everybody to death when they reach a certain age. Do I favor something like that? No; I would never advocate something as inflexible as that. Obviously, the timetable for somebody to provide valuable contributions to society is not constant. As this is a core philosophical question, there aren't easy answers. Me, I just like the idea of bringing the question in the open and getting it discussed.

Of course, you folks can continue the status quo; call me a "death merchant" and a "Nazi eugenist" for even bringing it up and go back to bitching about high medical costs. Suits me just fine -- it's not like you bastards are paying my bills or anything. Cashing out!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Blackjack Fun Fact

Before I get to the fun fact, I wanted to mention that Seanbaby Saturday is pretty much done. At this point, I would pretty much be repeating his same material over and over. I like the idea of regular features and if I can come up with an idea (or if you have ideas), I'll be more than happy to look into it.

One thing about being in the military is that people love stories about basic training. I'd love to sit here and tell you that I was the model troop and never got yelled at but that would be lying to you in a most heinous fashion. One of the more amusing times was when I messed up a move during marching. In a way, I kind of got hosed because I wasn't around when they taught the move. I was doing something specific for my future job when my flight learned that step. Of course, that didn't help my case when the TI saw me screw up. After getting barked at for a couple of minutes he said "I want you to go to those bleachers and tell them what a dipshit you are". So, being the obedient lad I am, I marched directly to those bleachers and started talking to them:

"I'm sorry, Mr. Bleachers. I screwed up in marching and I promise never to do it again. I'll do my best to make you proud, Mr. Bleachers. Don't be mad at me."

Knowing that story, do I make a lot more sense to you? I'm betting that I do. Cashing out!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Supply and Demand -- what a concept

Record gas prices have put a dent in our driving habits. The growth in miles driven in the USA, a mostly steep climb for 25 years, has flattened in the past year as gas prices spiked, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Federal Highway Administration data.

As it should. That is how supply and demand works. When prices rise on any product, eventually, demand falls. Once demand falls, prices eventually fall along with it. The degree to which price effects demand is called "elasticity". The more essential a product is, the less its demand is effected by price swings. There is your economics lesson for the day. If you can understand this concept than you can probably pass most undergraduate Econ courses.

The point here is that the system works. Remember this next time you hear people screaming about "price controls" and "profit taxes". If you artificially lower the price of a product to be lower than its market value, it disappears and you will quickly run out of supply. The reverse is true if you artificially raise the price to be higher than its market value -- you will end up with a glut. So, the moral here is don't screw with the supply and demand curves.

It is good for you to know this. Truth is, a lot of people want you to be dumb on these subjects because your ignorance suits their political purposes. Kind of like my capital gains spiel from a day ago -- if you know the truth, then people like Pelosi can't get away with calling a capital gains tax cut a "tax cut for the rich".

Don't worry about the mouthbreathers around you. Just smile and feel that burst of wind through your nostrils and realize that you truly get it. Cashing out!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Strike three

NEW YORK - Washington's new baseball team shut down business and promotional operations indefinitely Wednesday as its move to the nation's capital teetered on the brink of collapse.

The decision by major league baseball followed the District of Columbia Council's decision Tuesday night to require private financing for at least half the cost of building a new stadium. The September agreement to move the Montreal Expos (news) to Washington called for a ballpark fully financed by government money.

I suppose Malkin can go do her little happy-dance, now. Honestly, I really don't have a dog in this fight. It doesn't impact my life one way or the other if DC gets a baseball team. I also realize that my views on this issue aren't exactly rational, and I generally consider myself a rational person. Yes, public funded sports stadiums aren't the greatest way to expend tax revenue. Yes, many of the economic benefits are a substitution effect. I know this. I'm an MBA -- these aren't difficult concepts for me to understand. Yet, I can't bring myself to side with the traditional "conservative" folks on this issue. Is this merely because I'm a sports fan? Partially, but not completely. I think I can best sum up my answer with the following statement:

I can't get with people who take such glee in killing football and baseball.

I'm bothered by people who look at these sports as "just another activity". In other words, equating figure skating with football. For the sake of my argument, I'm going to just talk about football. Football is so ingrained in American culture that to me, pissing on it is a form of pissing on America. I realize that the sports-stadium opponents don't see themselves as pissing on America. I'm sure they see it as stopping some form of corporate welfare. To them, Sunday afternoon isn't an American institution -- nor is Monday night. But, I truly can't imagine an America without the NFL -- I don't think I want to. I don't want to lose the memories of me as a kid trying to collect all of the little football helmets from the gumball machine, hoping the Seahawks one would finally come up. When the game wasn't on, I'd play with that Super Jock field-goal kicker dude. You know -- the one where you pound on his head to make him kick the ball. I don't think an army of chiropractors could have saved Super Jock by the time I got done with him.

This of course led to the numerous backyard games with the Nerf with catchy titles like "smear the queer". Yes, 1978 was well before the PC era. Eventually, you work your way to high school. I actually played a couple years in high school, and then realized my beanpole frame wasn't well suited to the game, except to kick the ball between the goal posts. I did have one "hero" moment -- kicked a game winning extra point in a game. Naturally, the girls knocked themselves over to go out with me, right? In my dreams, yes -- reality was a much different story.

Nothing beat a high school game -- the marching band, the cheerleaders, sitting down with a dog and Coke, etc...You had the high school games on Friday, college on Saturday, and the NFL on Sunday. As they often say here in California, "good times".

Is there a point to this other than to relate my life story? Yes, and my point is this -- this is America. No, this is not just "my America" -- this is America. A very large portion of the male population in this country grew up in this America. The character of America that you see today starts with those backyard football games, and baseball games, and pickup basketball games. What about the troops? You know, those guys in uniform that you plaster bumper stickers all over your SUVs to show support for. Where do you think those guys were made? You think they were made at figure skating practice? No, they weren't. They were made on those ballfields, those sandlots, and those courts. Pat Tillman may be the obvious example, but he was not the only one. There are many more less famous who shared the same loves as him, and like him, paid the ultimate price. As somebody who knows, take it from me -- no troop ever got up at 3AM to watch a triple toe-loop. Monday Night Football is a different story.

I'm not suggesting that opponents of taxpayer-funded stadiums are un-American. I pointed out myself many legitimate reasons for opposing them. But, don't you dare piss on football or baseball or even basketball in my presence. Certain athletes and owners are fair game, but the sports themselves are not. Don't be like that utter tool Chris Van Dyk in Washington who called his group opposing the Seahawk Stadium "Citizens for More Important Things". Oh, and when asked what those more important things were, he couldn't name a single one. Oppose a baseball or football team coming to your locale if it is against your principles, but do me one favor -- don't be so goddamn happy about killing it. Cashing out!