Friday, March 26, 2010

March Madness NOT confined to college basketball....

....but since it's important, let's start there today.  I didn't fill out an NCAA men's basketball championship bracket this year, and just as well, as most I've heard of are a complete shambles by now.  Kentucky's holding up its end of things nicely, what with an unglamorous victory over the feisty Big Red of Cornell late last night,  but Syracuse stumbled and lost last evening, and Kansas bit the dust over the weekend.  Should be interesting the rest of the way, if only because it's less easy to predict.

But the word "madness" has to apply to some of the more appalling acts that have been committed by those who cite love of country and such as the reason that they're breaking out windows at congressional offices, cutting gas lines at the homes of the brothers of legislators, and leaving quasi-obscene or threatening phone messages at congressmen's offices.  For the life of me, I don't understand what motivates anyone to do such things as the result of the passage of any legislation.  There's a way to respond to disagreeable legislation, no matter your political leanings, you know.  It's called an "election" and for the House of Representatives, they have one every two years where every member has to be reelected.  My personal opinion is that if ever there was a time for people to speak their minds through their ballots, we're fast approaching it.

And Sarah Palin was reported to be stumping for and with Sen. John McCain as he works toward reelection in his home state of Arizona.  If that doesn't relate to my "madness" theme, I don't know what does.

And there's a billboard in the middle part of Kentucky on I-65 that simply states, in huge letters, "HELL IS REAL."  Coincidentally, it's across the road from signage advertising an adult book store.  There's a fight about whether or not the billboard can be allowed under federal and state laws, and there's approximately $42 million in federal highway funds hanging in the balance.  Hmm....

And Lexington is again being plagued by a "peeping Tom" in the downtown area.  Saw something on the local news about this.  Solution?  How about closing your curtains or blinds, instead of advertising to a would-be voyeur that you're open for business?

But enough madness.

Nice story coming out of Shelby County, Kentucky, wherein a live-in nanny saved the life of the child for whom she was responsible, taking him out of a house while it was burning to the ground.  This, while being burned badly on her feet, legs and hands.  Bravo, young lady.

Guess I'll close before I get REALLY mad!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daylight savings blues

Are you kind of out of sync today?  Feeling a little out of sorts?  You're not alone.

There are numerous studies and articles I found online that indicate that there's a very real effect on the human body's rhythms and cycles, and the simple act of changing one's clocks and watches doesn't begin to cover the havoc we place on ourselves in the "spring forward, fall back" exchange we do twice yearly.

Anyway.....

Nice to see that the NCAA tournament selection committee has continued its love affair with Duke and Coach K by giving them the easiest route to the Final Four among all of the regional top seeds, and by providing Kentucky the acknowledged hardest row to hoe.  Those who feel I am being a Kentucky loyalist should check around online to see what the "experts" are saying about each regional draw, and I believe you'll find a consensus that Kentucky has it potentially tough.  But as a fan and an longtime observer of high-quality college basketball, Kentucky may well have the horses to progress to the national semi-finals and beyond.  If you are an Kentucky fan you have to agree that yesterday's game was a real thriller, and Kentucky was very lucky to have escaped with a victory.  But they did, so onward we all go.

I'm traveling for business tomorrow but for only the second time in the past year I'm traveling on an airline other than my usual personal preference.  Why?  I was able to get direct flights to and from Charlotte for a comparable price, thus making my two-day business trip into a day trip, which is always preferable.  And since I'll be flying on a regional jet there's no hope of an upgrade, so my status on my preferred airline is meaningless.  And I'm not bringing any luggage, either.  So let's hope I don't regret that particular decision.

Finally, if you enjoy the occasional business book that gets you revved up about your work (and, boy, who doesn't?), there's a new book out by my favorite business author, Tom Peters.  I'll be picking up this new book pretty soon and will report back, in case you're interested.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Profound apologies!

Good day, readers.....

In the last couple of days I have become aware of a problem with my blog, which is hosted through Google's Blogger portal.  For some reason I decided to visit my own blog, which I seldom do, and found that I was being randomly redirected to a number of sites in sequence.  Obviously, I found this very annoying, but I believe I've found the problem.

Some time ago I got curious about the number of users who visit this space, and added a "gadget" that counts hits.  From what I gather, that counter was loaded with malware than then caused viewers to be involuntarily redirected to useless search engines and other sites.

I removed the counter gadget this morning and I believe that all is now working.  If you're an occasional or frequent visitor and have had problems but are no longer experiencing these difficulties, please let me know with a comment that all is as it should be!

Sorry to be so oblivious to a problem!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Oscars

Did you watch the Oscars last night? I only watched bits and pieces of it, but for once it looked as though the broadcast itself had a little bit of a pace to it that isn't usually the case. Speeches were brief but heartfelt, and there weren't as many tribute pieces as usual. On the subject of tributes, one of the nicer ones was in recognition of those movie people who passed away during the last year (actors, writers, directors, behind-the-scenes people, journalists, reviewers, etc.). It was the usual video montage but instead of a piece of recorded music James Taylor performed the Beatles' "In My Life," which I found a nice touch.

I didn't have any particular favorites this year, having only seen one of the ten (TEN!) best picture nominees---I, like most of the Western Hemisphere, saw "Avatar" twice, and while I liked it and recognize its importance in advancing the process of moviemaking did not imagine it would win best picture, and it didn't. That honor, as well as best director, was won by a small movie called "The Hurt Locker," which is about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. Not exactly the most uplifting of subjects.

As part of my after-the-fact due dilligence I've rented "District 9" for an upcoming business trip, so we'll see if it deserved nomination.

But back to the nominees. While I don't personally like him, you have to give it to James Cameron ("I'm the king of the world!" he proclaimed after "Titanic" won a thousand Oscars back in the late 90's). Who else would have the audacity to make a movie like "Titanic" that won everything, bet the ranch on "Avatar," and have his vision justified by all of these box office records it's breaking. Pretty amazing for a movie about ten-foot-tall blue people from another galaxy.

My final movie comment is something I saw online last night. If you look at the number of tickets sold, and not the dollar value of them, the all time box office champ is still "Gone with the Wind," with way over two million tickets sold. Think they could make that movie now?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic withdrawal

With the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics last night, our house will now be in a brief period of loss for the next couple of nights. I always find the Olympics to be an interesting experience as a television viewer, as the magnitude of the event causes even casual sports fans to root for (or against) individual and team competitors in such relatively obscure sports as the Nordic combined (ski-jumping and cross-country skiiing), short track speed skating and bobsleigh racing (not bobsled, as we all call it). Even got my wife to watch some hockey this time around, as it helped that Team USA was playing for a gold medal yesterday.

But that's always been the mystique of the Olympics....getting people to become emotionally invested in sports and athletes about whom they would not normally give a passing thought. I credit ABC, and particularly a production executive named Roone Arledge with figuring out how to do that. ABC had already cornered the television sports market on uncommon sporting events with their Wide World of Sports program, so it was only natural that they would do likewise with the Olympic Games. "Up close and personal, the ABC way" was their Olympic motto back in the '60's and '70's, until NBC bought the rights to all Olympic Games for what seems to be twenty years.

And as a former broadcaster with friends involved in sports broadcasting I'm always interested to see and hear some folks that I might not have seen and heard since, well, the last Olympics. There are always a couple.....

But it's over, so I suppose that it's back to HGTV for the Smith household. Imagine what our Nielsen ratings book would look like......

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