Black Friday Blues

Did you go out and shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the day known as Black Friday? Did you find bargains, or did you end up feeling used, suckered by the ad-men that dreamed this non-holiday up? Did you save money or end up feeling like you opened your wallet at the door and let them have their way with it?

To listen to the TV commercials and newspaper ads, you’d think it was your God-given duty to shop ’til you drop on this day that opens the Christmas shopping season. Continue Reading…

Then, why did you watch them?

I was reading a blog on music, the Twang Nation site, which had an article Hating on the CMAs which pretty much says what I’ve always said about “Country Music.”

I like country music, but what most people call country music isn’t, so I usually don’t admit to liking it.

After again watching the Country Music Association Award ceremony last week I was again left with the feeling that I had sat through an hours-long infomercial. I mean is Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney really the rightful heirs of Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash? Of course they’re not.

But they are the heirs of a a finely tuned trade organization whose job it is to perpetuate brand and maximize profits. Nothing to do with crafting great and memorable work. Swift and Chesney are not Lynn and Cash, they follow in the gilded footsteps of Shania and Garth.

I’ll say it right out, mainstream pop-country is crap. It’s not crap because it sells zillions of units, but because to hit numbers that high the product typically is as brain dead boring. Innovation is risky and costly. Mediocrity and homogeneous product maximizes profit by drafting on an already proven brand.

The best part was at the bottom of the post, where the Related Posts gives links to five similar articles that pretty much say the same thing. Maybe people are waking up and realizing that what they’re being sold isn’t music, it’s a manufactured product with little art or life in it.

What I Love about Quicktime?

quicktimeI just downloaded and am installing Apple’s Quicktime player on this computer. The free version, of course. I hate to do it, but sooner or later you run into some web site that needs it to play a file, usually a video clip.

Here’s a list of things I love about Quicktime:

1. I already have at least two better players on the computer. Apple, though, in it’s wisdom, keeps making some proprietary format and won’t let any other players work with it. Windows Media Player, arguably a clunkier and worse player than Quicktime, is already on every Windows computer and I always install a lighter and more versatile player. My favorite choice being VLC Media Player.

2. It offers to put a shortcut on my desktop. How considerate. At least it’s an option. I don’t need it. For one thing, it would never be my choice, if I had one. For another, the only time I use it is when I absolutely need to and just letting the file association load it is fine. No need to clutter the desktop.

3. It wants to now restart my system. No thanks, it might be weeks before I need to use it. I’ll reboot sometime in the interim.

4. It offers to send me emails about God-knows-what and to install some other program I don’t want. Toolbars. Updaters. I don’t care. Should I be thankful that it gives me the option to decline them?

It’s just another Apple annoyance. The Mac-heads are sitting there, so smug, saying “Look I made a video!” Well, why didn’t you save it in a format that everyone can use? Why must I have to use another piece of crap software to do the same thing I already have programs for?

Oh and don’t even get me started on iTunes…. I absolutely refuse to even use that piece of junk or go down that road. I don’t even want to have the free stuff they offer.

They have a name for it now…

The GrinchChristmas Creep. No, it’s not a nickname for the Grinch.

I’ve complained about it here before, how stores start advertising and selling Christmas merchandise earlier and earlier each year. But now it has a name: Christmas Creep.

The Consumerist, the Consumers Guide blog, has a whole section devoted to it.

This year, it seems to be even worse than before, as if retailers are desperate to make up for the bad economy in one big Christmas buying frenzy. We started noticing signs of it before Halloween this year. By now, nearly Thanksgiving, the TV commercials are already at a fever pitch…

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