November 2008



It’s that time of year
Friends, family, and turkey
And Turku for All

That’s right friends, it’s Thanksgiving time. It’s time for the annual publishing of the Turku book from when I was student teaching at Troy High School. These were Thanksgiving haiku written by the Social Studies Department (I was The Apprentice). Share with your loved ones. I’m sure they will enjoy our brilliance. Download the PDF.

Looking at the cable bill last night made me think about the premium movie channels. It’s no secret that HBO is hurting for viewers right now. No more Sex and the City and The Sopranos created a void in HBO’s television programming. The TV shows that have taken their place, while they have a following, just don’t score as high in the ratings. There are several TV shows that I watch on premium networks, such as Dexter, True Blood, Entourage, and Californication. The problem is, in this economy, people are going to start cutting premiums out of their lives to save money. If they do cancel the service but enjoy the TV show, there is more incentive to pirate it or stream it from websites that host not-so-legal files. Here is my proposition to the premium networks: Stream the programs for free.

The major networks are streaming their content for free already. I know, I know, you don’t pay for the major networks, you do for HBO or Showtime. Let’s look at it in a different way. If HBO and Showtime started streaming their premium programs (shows, not movies) for free, but with limited commercial interruptions (just like the networks do on their respective sites), they could be reaching out to millions of more people and see additional revenue in new advertising. This is something they don’t see on their channels, as they do not show advertising. My theory is that most people don’t subscribe to a channel for one TV show. They also enjoy the other benefits the channel has to offer (other shows, new movies, sporting events, documentaries). If that channel starts streaming television shows I doubt you’d see people drop their subscription, and if you do, the amount that would would be far less than the amount you would gain by advertisements on the stream. I also think it could help them pick up subscribers. If people become interested enough in the shows to look at what else the channel has to offer, they could become new paying customers. I think it would be a smart move for the premium networks to look into this. Streaming content is not going away.

I hate bumper stickers. I love bumper stickers. What? I’m not making sense? Well, let me explain. I hate bumper stickers because they are ugly, stupid, and tacky. I really don’t care that your kid is an honor roll student. I really don’t care about your political views. Or that Jesus Saves. Stickers that try to be funny or snarky are just as bad. “If you can read this, you’re riding my ass. Back off!” If I can read it, I’m riding your ass because you’re driving like a moron and need to go back to driving school. “I see stupid people.” Oh, so do I. I’m looking at them driving a car with a stupid bumper sticker right now. What might be even worse than bumper stickers are window stickers. Fear this! stickers kill me. The only thing I fear is you procreating. Or how about the ever popular Calvin peeing on . I’ve got an idea. Quick, someone make a Calvin peeing on Calvin peeing on things sticker. I’d buy thousands and carry them around with me and stick them on every car I see with the Calvin sticker. Confederate flags are another pet peeve. Quit lying to yourself. The flag is not a symbol of states rights. In fact, the people who claim that are usually the ones that want the federal government controlling our lives even more (unless it has to do with their guns). The flag is a symbol of the enslaving of an entire race. If you want to symbolize states rights, create a new one.

I love bumper stickers because when I’m driving and see the wonderful pieces of tackiness, I can automatically, with 99.9% accuracy, tell that you are, in fact, a complete moron that I don’t want to waste any part of my life on. It’s basically an early warning system for morons and douche bags. So, in that respect, I am thankful. Every once in a while, bumper stickers are ok. If you’re a high school teenager with a crappy car and you plaster the back of it with your favorite bands, it’s ok. You’re making lemonade out of lemons. I also enjoy seeing an old VW Beetle rocking the “It’s a Jeep thing and you wouldn’t understand” bumper sticker. That’s funny. I might want to hang out with that guy. But probably not. I also sometimes enjoy political stickers. I only enjoy them if they are rocking the sticker of the opponent of my guy and my guy won. When I see people still rocking the McCain/Caribou Barbie sticker I let out a little chuckle. Your guy lost. My guy won.

I guess bumper stickers are a necessary evil. They tell me who the dumb people are without me actually going through the time and pain of talking to them to figure it out myself. I hate bumper stickers, yet I love them.

Albert Pujols has won the National League Most Valuable Player Award… for the second time in his illustrious career. From StL Today:

Increasingly perceived as a transcendent player, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols overcame his team’s fourth-place finish and a Bunyanesque second half by Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard to earn election as the 2008 National League Most Valuable Player.

Pujols, who also won the award in 2005, becomes the first Dominican-born player to earn multiple MVP titles.

Pujols, 28, amassed 37 home runs and 116 RBI in a season hampered by a strained calf that forced him to the disabled list and a nerve condition that caused him to undergo surgery last month.

Universally perceived as an overachieving team in transition, the Cardinals stayed in contention for more than five months while drafting behind El Hombre’s daunting consistency.

Pujols had finished second three times in balloting during his eight-year career — twice to Barry Bonds and once to Howard in 2006. Just as Pujols won this time without reaching the postseason, Howard won previously by keeping the Phillies in contention. Though denied a second Gold Glove Award earlier this month, Pujols is recognized as one of the best defenders at his position in the game. He also led the NL in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (1.114) and reached 100 walks for the first time in his career.

Howard mashed 48 home runs with 146 RBI but was doubtless hurt by a .251 batting average and 199 strikeouts. No NL MVP has ever hit below .267.

Pujols’ margin of victory was more decisive than expected, perhaps suggesting a growing appreciation for a player long consigned to Bonds’ shadow and perhaps penalized for never leading his league in home runs or RBI. Still, Pujols has hit .334 and averaged 40 home runs and 122 RBI during his career.

The new lineup for the merged SiriusXM satellite radio service came out today. You can view changes here. Two of the stations I listen to, in fact, the two I listen to 90% of the time, have changed. Ethel changed to AltNation. I’m sure the music will be more or less the same. It is still an Alternative station, just with a new name.

The biggest disappointment is with The Rhyme. The Rhyme was an Old School hip hop station. It played classic joints from the 80s and 90s, had great shows with Afrika Bambaataa, and great Progressive hip hop music and discussions. They have done away with it and merged it with Sirius’ Hip Hop Nation, which plays “Some Old Skool Rap.” Which means the rest is going to be new crap, which I can’t stand. If it’s not old school or progressive, I will most likely not listen. The good thing about satellite when it launched was the variety of music that could be featured on the stations. The sad thing is, for at least the rap stations, they sound just like a Clear Channel or Channel One stations across the country. The crap at the top of the charts, over and over and over.

I’ve also noticed that the quality of the online stream seems to be lower than usual and it keeps cutting out. The merger isn’t starting out on a good note, in my opinion. One of my favorite channels is gone and the service is sub-par. XM might have just lost a subscriber.