The dollars & cents of music & sports, and a little bit of rare personal satisfaction. Just three things that have been on my mind of late.
1) After reading another (misguided IMO) musical artist rant about Spotify, something crossed my mind in a way I’d never really considered before. There’s roughly 24 million satellite radio subscribers today. The programming packages run between $150-$200 a year, or the equivalent of 15-20 full albums on iTunes. Assuming that relatively new cost comes from a consumer’s personal “entertainment” budget (literally or figuratively), I wonder how much very direct impact the growth of satellite radio has had on album sales. There’s still plenty of Catch-22 here, the majority of artists I’ve paid to see or bought product from/by in the past few years has been influenced significantly by my exposure to them on SiriusXM, but I think there has to be some negative impact on album sales from the fairly new expense that satellite radio represents. They’re effectively competing for the same dollar.
2) Came across an interesting stat about how both the Yankees and Dodgers annual payroll is bigger than the combined payrolls of the Tigers, Pirates and Rays (all currently division leaders). That’s interesting but it led me to another stat I found even more mind-boggling. The Yankees currently have about $83 million dollars in salary this year sitting on the disabled list. Throw in the just-returned Derek Jeter and it’s a nice even $100m too hurt to play. That would be 15th — right in the middle — in MLB payroll. It’s also basically the same amount they’re paying their active roster. Effectively, the Yankees are paying for two normal baseball teams.
3) I saw a line from a book that suggested “We find ourselves only by looking to what we’re not.” That bit might help me articulate my other thought for this entry, paraphrased to “We find our place by seeing where it isn’t”. I’m not entirely sure that there’s any location on Earth that I’d really be a perfect fit for — and Athens/Berkeley-on-the-Oconee certainly isn’t it — but I’m actually feeling quite grateful that I’ve figured out some of the places where I fit even less as relatively quickly as I did. I’ve come to the conclusion that locations — cities, towns, maybe even down to neighborhoods — have a “genetic” personality of their own, strong enough that it wields heavy influence on the personalities of the inhabitants. That’s fine I suppose, but it can be a living hell for those that don’t mesh with that identity. Short of a remote private island somewhere I may never truly find what seems like “my place” or “where I belong” … but I’m relieved that I do seem to at least be getting closer as the years go by.
Classic television, fortune cookies and remembrance of a great figure from my childhood. Just three things rattling around my head … complete with the little “bloop” sound that Pong used to make.
1) I see where NBC is going to reboot the classic Ironside crime drama. Late night re-runs helped me see every episode of this one years ago and it still ranks among my all-time favorites. That started me thinking about what other classic cop shows might actually work if re-booted today. Not necessarily my favorites but simply which ones might fit best in a modern setting. I’m thinking Baretta, maybe The Streets of San Francisco.
2) Maybe it’s just me and my dining luck but I swear the quality of the messages in fortune cookies just keeps falling. I think over half the ones I’ve gotten in the past few months have had technical errors of some sort. Missing words, garbled messages, misprints, Engrish, no fortune at all, two fortunes in one cookie, you name I think I’ve seen it. I think I’ve got a new concept for them though: Magic 8-Ball messages. Can’t you see it? Open up the cookie, eagerly turn to read the pearl of mystic wisdom on the little slip and find … Try Again Later
3) It was thirteen years ago this weekend that a major part of my childhood passed away. Gordon Solie was aptly known as “The Dean of Professional Wrestling Announcers” and was to the squared circle what Vin Scully is to baseball: a national treasure. There was magic whenever he was behind the microphone, no matter the situation nor the characters, he had a gift of making what you were watching feel important. It’s easy to attribute this to being “a gift”, just a natural born talent, but that would be selling the amount of thought and effort that he put into his craft tragically short. I ran across an interview from 1998 that goes into more detail about his philosophy on doing his job than I recall seeing before, would that we all understood our jobs as well as he did. There was never anyone better than Gordon Solie, a combination of magic and intelligence and hard work.
A baby, a bum and blueberries. Three things on my mind that I can discuss in public.
1) Congratulations to Kate & William on the birth of their son. The amount of angst that event seems to be causing some folks mystifies me … and I’m renowned for my grumpiness. Two decent enough seeming sorts had a baby that they can likely afford to support in a decent fashion. What’s not to love? Beats debating Egyptian politics (there ain’t no good guys), Detroit’s economic woes (a mess decades in the making) or the latest celebrity trial (pick one, there’s not a shortage).
2) Ryan Braun suspended by Major League Baseball for using performance enhancing drugs and then lying about it. Now there’s a shock. Not that he did it but that he finally got suspended for it. What’s not surprising is to hear the tone deaf comments from the players union head “It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field.” Umm … maybe good for fans in Milwaukee where the team tried to build around this two-bit fraud. The rest of the world would be better off if we never about this jackass again.
3) Did you see where blueberries have surpassed peaches as Georgia’s number one cash crop? That actually happened nearly a decade ago, I guess it just took a while for people to actually notice or something. Here’s why this now concerns me … could it really be that far down the road that the growers take on a celebrity spokesperson, ala the California Raisins? I don’t think my nerves are up to seeing Honey Blue-Boo in a little berry costume.
Let’s see what’s rolling around in my head, shall we? A one anna two anna …
1) The controversy that a certain magazine finds itself embroiled in might surprise some people, but it’s not a shock for those who’ve watched as the Rock & Roll Hall of Shame regularly embarrasses itself by inducting non-rock performers while ignoring some of the greatest artists and bands to ever grace a stage. You see, Jann Wenner is both the publisher of said rag of magazine AND widely considered the driving force behind making the Rock hall a consistent comedy of errors. A lot of us have known this guy was a clueless twit for quite a while now.
2) I’m running out of words, phrases and euphemisms to describe heavy rain. “Frog-strangler”, gully washer”, “good weather for ducks”, “downpour”, “monsoon”, “raining buckets” … I think I’ve used them all in the last few weeks. Have I missed some good ones? Feel free to share your favorites ’cause I don’t think there’s going to be a shortage of chances for me to use them any time soon.
3) If I had known just how frequently and severely being a grownup was going to suck, I think I probably would have actually lived a good bit harder in my youth than I actually did. Not exactly a happy thought, but after traipsing my balding self up the driveway in a steady rain to once again put the ol’ curbside container out for the garbageman I think it’s a pretty reasonable reaction.
A relatively light look at three things that have crossed my mind in the last 24 hours. And yet somehow I figure at least one of them will still inspire controversy. Such is life.
1) You know who I like seeing? My regular Walmart greeters. I get as irritated as anybody with some of the crap that goes along with a WM shopping experience but I genuinely enjoy my quick chit chat with several of the ones that I see often enough to recognize. Good thing too, since I probably see them more often than anyone outside my household.
2) I like Freddie Freeman, probably one of my two favorite current Braves. I think his season-to-date is well deserving of All-Star recognition. But Yasiel Puig would have been more interesting to me. As would Evan Gattis.
3) I think Resale Royalty is one of the best of all my wife’s TV shows. Most of the television I watch is of the “room surfing” variety — a few minutes here & a few minutes there — so maybe I just haven’t noticed the flaws in it yet but I appreciate the straightforward way they tell the people selling items that “hey, here’s what we’re going to try to sell it for, we’ll pay you 50% of that amount”. It seems like an honest look at how the resale market works and doesn’t apologize for the fact that the business isn’t some sort of public service, they need to make a profit too.
I like that.