Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Corporate America

I think Corporate America is a strange place. No, not the economically obsessive, drive to succeed part of Corporate America, (though that is all quite odd as well...); no I mean the part of Corporate America that responds thusly to emails from consumers.

Subject: RE: Not so Cran-tastic...
Date: August 28, 2007 4:22:28 PM EDT

Thanks for the observation, I will forward this on to our advertising
department for review.

-----Original Message-----
From: James Olson []
Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2007 7:04 PM
To: Sonic PR
Subject: Not so Cran-tastic...

Dear Friends:

We love the goofy ad where two people are sitting in a car, and the
man is going on about his cran-mother, cran-t, cran-versations, etc.

The last seconds of the ad show a beautiful, dew-kissed cranberry
dropping off a branch and into one of the cranberry drinks.

One little problem...cranberries don't grown on trees, they grow
close to the ground in bogs. In the fall, the bogs are flooded and
the ripe cranberries are paddled and then float to the top.

Just an observation, not really a complaint!

Jim Olson
Boston, MA


Now, admittedly, I was being goofy in even sending the email in the first place; I am sure that Sonic, Inc. neither knows or cares that cranberries grow in bogs and not on trees. But two things strike me as odd. First, that nooned checked this in the first place, and that noone caught this small but important error. And second, that I may have just cost Sonic a whole lot of money while they pull the ad, re-tool the last couple of seconds of it, and then re-release it as part of their advertisement campaign. I appreciate that someone at Sonic even took the time to respond to me, but even that is odd, and, in Corporate America, cost money somewhere.

All of this would have been unnecessary if someone at Sonic had known that cranberries grow on the ground.

Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bad Parenting

"Kid Nation", a new 'reality' show on CBS caught my attention several weeks ago. Several dozen children, apparently unsupervised in a New Mexico ghost town are given the challenge to create a society and survive. I am no fan of reality shows, I think they're quite boring and base, actually. Adults certainly have the right to participate in these shows, I think they have the ability to determine for themselves whether or not the risk is acceptable...participants do suffer significant privation for many of these shows, and are often injured.

Children are another matter entirely. I ran across this article in todays' New York Times about what happened during taping of the show, that appears to violate several laws and endangered the children. Stunning. Shocking. Horrifying, really.

After reading provisions in the Contract that these parents apparently willingly signed with CBS, I have come to the conclusion that these parents should be immediately investigated by state authorities to determine whether or not they are fit to be parents at all. Even more ludicrous is that a second series of "Kid Nation" is already being filmed. Willingly endangering your children in this way to further some fantasy a parent might have about fame and fortune is just dreadful. Pageant parents, like the one mentioned in the article are apparently the worst, but I have had enough experience with 'stage mothers' to know the type.

Living vicariously through your children is natural, we all do it; imposing your fantasies of fame and fortune by deliberately endangering your children is not natural, and, I hope, is found to be criminal. How toweringly stupid these parents must be to even consider that this was a good idea after reading through such a strict legal contract simply amazes me.

/rant, it is time for bed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't Believe Everything You See...

I don't know whether or not to think this is just the coolest thing I've seen, or to be really afraid. Watch the whole video.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beyond Belief, Again.

So, remember how President Bush has been telling us that we all had to wait for General Petraeus' report on the troop surge until September? Turns out the White House is going to write the report, not the General.

Let me guess, the troop surge is going to be a success, and we are winning in Iraq.

Given the lack of outrage, I am beginning to really believe that America has the President it deserves.

Lies and more lies.

The Conn 642

In a moment of supreme stupidity when I was in college and had absolutely no money, I bought this lovely old Conn 642 home 'theater' organ. It was lovely, in good condition, and I wanted it. It weighed a ton (actually, 440 lbs...). Friends dreaded helping me move.

I loved this instrument. I kept it for nearly ten years, and unfortunately had to sell it when I moved to Boston. I've since found out that the person I sold it to has also sold it, so I've lost track of where it has gone. I miss having it in the house. Someday, I'll own another instrument like this for my home. I'm not a very good organist, I just like to have fun.

"Five-Foot-Two, Eyes of Blue" and "Ebb Tide", played in my best Jesse Crawford and George Wright imitation.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I am truly speechless...

Why isn't anyone from this Administration under indictment?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gee Dad, It's A Wurlitzer

Once, in cities and towns all over America, you could pay your nickel and spend all afternoon or evening sitting in the dark of a movie theater. Before the advent of 'talkies', music was provided by live musicians. Sometimes, on a piano, or a small orchestra, but in some theaters, you would first feel the floor vibrate, hear the slight whoosh of air as the bellows filled, and then the theater would be filled with the sound of a Mighty organ, like you've never heard in church. A 'unit orchestra', really, the variety of pipe sounds, augmented by bells and traps and whistles and sometimes even a real piano played by pneumatic fingers would provide the sound-track to the films. The organist would sit so that he or she could see the screen, and play along with the movie. Before the movie, however, and sometimes between films if it was a double-play matinee, organists would entertain their audiences by playing arrangements of the popular songs of the day.

The popularity of these instruments peaked in the early thirties, and by the time WWII had started, the long, slow, sad decline of many of these fabulous movie palaces was well underway. The wrecking ball took many of them down...I knew an organist in Minneapolis who had been the house organist for nearly 40 years at the Radio City on Nicollet Ave, and was there the day the theater was destroyed by wreckers in under an hour...she was never quite the same after she saw the ball land directly in the middle of her cherished console, crushing it to splinters.

Fortunately, in a few places, these instruments have been saved and lovingly restored. In others, the instruments were removed from their original homes and installed in homes, churches, new theaters, or even in some cases restaurants.

The American Theater Organ Society keeps a list of instruments and is the national organisation dedicated to the preservation and playing of these amazing instruments. I've been lucky enough to play a few of these instruments...two in private homes here in Massachusetts, one in a theater in Springfield, MA, and one in the beautifully restored Ohio Theater right in downtown Columbus, OH. It is always an honour and delight to sit at one of these magnificent instruments and eke out a simple tune. Did you know that Carl Stalling (of Warner Bros. cartoon fame) was first a theater organist? Listen to his arrangements for various can hear it in the way he stitches together the soundtracks for his can almost watch them without the dialogue.

Here's a clip of one of today's best theater organists; Jelani Eddington. He plays in a very traditional style, reminiscent of a great theater organist of an earlier generation, George Wright. Enjoy. I have a clip somewhere of me playing a home theater organ, a Conn 642 I once owned, I'll post it if I ever find it.

Oh, my.

I will never be able to afford a bespoke tailored suit, but a boy can dream, can't he?

Mr. Mahon's descriptions and informational posts are fascinating, even if I could never possibly be able to buy one of his suits. And he's right, you can spot one a mile off.

English Cut Bespoke Savile Row Suits

Feel a Draft?

I will personally drive young people to the Canadian border.

I will encourage whatever church I belong to , or serve, to become a Sanctuary church.

The war in Iraq is illegal, immoral, and needs to end now. Democrats in charge of Congress should be working harder to shut it down, now. Military activities in Afghanistan should probably continue, for the time being, but in the same limited capacity as currently occurring.