Friday, March 18, 2005

Not Dead Yet

I'm having to deal with some real-life stuff right now, which is why I haven't posted much this week. More real life at least through the weekend. (Although Saturday is all good stuff!) I'm also struggling with minor depression, which never helps.

Fear not. Be back shortly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Thursday Night Weirdness

Can someone tell me what's going on over at Thursday Night Fever? I was reading that post this afternoon and there were two or three comments asking what was up with the new logo (robot with an on/off switch in a "provocative" location) and some other changes, like the Memphis blogroll disappearing. I looked in again just a while ago, and all those comments are gone. Very odd.

Is there some kind of overhaul in progress or have evil Communists taken over and begun disappearing stuff down the memory hole?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

1860's Texting

Karen over at Dark Bilious Vapors passes along a great list of IM abbreviations of common Civil War phrases. Iawap:)
Happy Blog-birthday

It was two years ago today that AlphaPatriot began blogging. Stop by and leave your well wishes. I've had the pleasure of meeting him in real life and he's a nice guy, always friendly. And he's a damn good blogger, on my daily rounds.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Memphis v. Birmingham

Jamey has a couple of great posts looking at the Birmingham television market and comparing it to Memphis. Some good lessons for Memphis there. Part One is here and Part Two is here.

I'm from Alabama and lived in Birmingham'n'beans for five wonderful years. I can't remember, and don't want to recall, some of those years but that's another story! Memphis is my home, but Birmingham is still where my heart is. I used to live in the "UAB student ghetto" nestled up against Red Mountain, just west of Five Points. In fact, I lived in the literal shadow of the Vulcan. I could walk out my front door, look over my left shoulder and there he loomed. Reassuring in its own odd way.

Birmingham and Memphis have a lot in common. When I moved here in 1988, B'ham had had a black mayor for several years in Richard Arrington. It struck me as strange the way Memphis got all worked up about Herenton's election, as though no Southern city had done such a thing. I've since learned its the provinciality of the press.

Birmingham has its red-headed stepchild relationship with Atlanta up the road. Had B'ham not been such a racist bastion, it would have gotten the huge international airport that became Hartsfield. It had the better, more desirable location.

They had, while I was there, the same massive suburban migration. In B'ham's case, it was to the south, over the mountain, past a lot of smaller bedroom communities, into the Riverchase area of Shelby County. A lot of money and traffic were flowing south.

It also has the same small-town / big-city dynamic that is poisoning Memphis. The city blew up during the steel mill years, only to face terrible economic decline when steel went overseas. While there was a lot of talk of "world class" city development, what happened was a strengthening of communities and neighborhoods. While the downtown got an influx of redevelopment, their entertainment district (Five Points) was further out than Beale is to Memphis' downtown. It helped to spread out revitalisation, which helped everyone.

Birmingham and Memphis are both states' largest cities and both were transportation hubs -- river, rail and road for us; rail and road for B'ham.

There are a lot of lessons Memphis could learn from Birmingham. It's always surprised me how the paper looks to St. Louis and Nashville instead, or even New Orleans. Of course, as goes the paper so goes the television news media. Too bad.
Project Vote Smart

Mark over at The Conservative Zone has a link up to Project Vote Smart. It can benefit you, too! Head on over and take a look.

Make sure to read around on Mark's blog while you're there. He's a real life friend, as well as a blog-buddy. Mark lives with mental illness, as you'll see, and is very upfront on his blog about his troubles. With the TennCare situation in flux, he struggles with his conservative principles and his personal reality.

He doesn't blog as much about Epic: Armageddon though. He introduced me to this table-top wargame hobby (using 6mm figures) and I really like it. I just wish I had the money to build an army. Ah well.... One day, my Black Sun Legions will leave a swath of terror and victory across the galaxy!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

There He Is

An academic from McGill University in Canada has a proposal to help end the illegal download of songs:
Pearlman proposes putting all recorded music on a robust search engine -- Google would be an ideal choice, but even iTunes might work -- and charging an insignificant fee of, say, five cents a song. In addition, a 1 per cent sales tax would be placed on Internet services and new computers -- two industries that many argue have profited enormously from rampant file-sharing, but haven't had to compensate artists.

The assumption is that if songs cost only 5 cents, people would download exponentially more music. Daniel Levitin, a McGill professor also associated with the project, said that a simple computer program, such as those already in use on Internet retail sites, could track people's purchases and help them to dig through what would become a massive repository of music on the Web.

The extra windfall for musicians and those who own the publishing rights to the songs could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, or more, Pearlman said his study predicts.
There are numerous hurdles and obstacles to this idea, too many to get into. Likely enough to sabotage the proposal, although it has merit. The Big 4 record companies, their distributors and the entertainment industry are too wedded to the old business model. Read the article.

But what really caught my eye was that this proposal comes from Sandy Pearlman, former co-conspirator with the Blue Oyster Cult back in their heyday. Albums like Tyranny and Mutation, Secret Treaties and On Your Feet or On Your Knees bear his stamp. I still listen to them.

Little known fact: they are the band for whom the phrase "heavy metal" was coined, by writer / reviewer / lyricist Richard Meltzer.
Set Up, Knock Down

Right Wing News has a short'n'sweet look at the front running possibilities for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination. Condi Rice has already taken herself out today.

So who does this leave? Is someone from the pool of Republican governors laying groundwork? I've heard Mitt Romney of Massachusetts is, and maybe one of the Carolina governors, though I can't recall which one as I'm writing this. Even Mike Huckabee of Arkansas has fans.

I've also heard former Virginia Senator George Allen's name mentioned. Any other ideas?

UPDATE Monday Morning: Mick has an exhaustive look at the possibilities. I can't believe I forgot Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. Or is that a sign of just how obscure he is? It's also a sign, as Mick notes, of the extremely short and selfish coat-tails of President Bush.

A commenter there also mentions Newt Gingrich, who was making public noises about a run a couple of months ago. What became of that?