Thursday, August 31, 2006

Only the Lonely

Wishing a happy rainy Thursday to my fellow bloggers and bloggerettes.

Tell me bunky have you ever felt like you're whispering down a well? Day after lonely day you pour out your soul into your blog and day after lonely day nobody ever comments, nobody ever writes - not even to correct your grammar.

I once felt like you.

But not anymore. Not since I added Statcounter

Turns out that lots of people hit my blog - maybe not as many as the high profile bloggers like what's his name - but enough to feed my supersized ego. Now, I'll grant you many of the hits aren't really hits at all - your blog might show up in some poor slob's Google search (Statcounter tells you how people found you). Most people don't read these - you can tell because Statcounter reports that they spent ZERO seconds on your blog - but some do. Something I found particularly interesting was how many people searched for "sports analogies". I once wrote a tongue-in-cheek "Sports Analogy" (which incidently shows up as the 4th entry in a Google search). I can only imagine how pissed off these searchers must be when they click on this only to find out it's not what they expected. Sorry y'all.

Anyway, instead of feeling lonely, add Statcounter to your blog and bask in the attention. The world will love you. Gotta go. But remember, if you read this stuff, I'll know.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Cult of the Record Bar

For a number of years during the late 1970s and early 1980s I was a member of the Cult of Record Bar. If you were a member too, you know what I mean. Most people thought of Record Bar as a business engaged in selling records and tapes and a varied assortment of music-related items like Discwasher Record Cleaners, rock star Tees, and even phonograph needles (which came with a nice little incentive for anyone who sold one) but in reality, Record Bar was a cult. Once you were a member, you were a member for life. Right now there are people in their 40s and 50s who are leading seemingly normal lives, but hidden undeneath a (theoretical) mantle of respectability is a Record Bar employee. Many still have the blue jillion albums they collected (stamped "Promotional, Not For Sale) somewhere - unless they joined the eBay Cult later in life.

So why after twenty-five odd years has this come up? Why am I thinking about the Record Bar again? Let me tell you.
In the course of moving to a new house I was forced to sort through the junk that's been sitting undisturbed in my attic for the past two decades and came across a program from the 1981 Record Bar Convention: "Record Bar Goes to Summer Camp." (excerpt at left)

There were the faces of my fellow RB managers and the Durham office people including the Bergman clan. 1981 was before Barrie went nutsoid and came under the spell of Ron Cruickshank (who remembers him?) and before the disasterous (as it turned out) merger with Licorice Pizza. This was a time before we all lost our innocence; when all that mattered was the next shipment of new releases and before compact discs changed the face of music forever.

We were just learning how to bend album jackets to create 3 dimensional in-store displays - ah those chain-wide display contests with cool prizes like "London Calling" silk tour jackets. And who could forget the Purple Rain promotion of 1984? (pictured below)

This was also the time when summer meant RB Conventions at Hilton Head (the less said about them in print the better for all involved).

Actually, I still hear from some of my RB cronies but had to miss the Record Bar reunion that Barrie put together a couple of years ago. So for all the RB cult members that read this, ROCK ON! (if your physician still permits it).

BTW, what ever happened to Andy Woody?

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Black Hole of Rebates

Last night my son who has only a nodding familiarity with deadlines came home and announced that our cellphone contract had expired the day before so it was time to upgrade his cellphone. After dinner we made our way over to the Verizon Store on Wendover where the object of his desire, the new LG Chocolate, was the first thing we saw as we walked through the door. The Verizon store is a very busy place so we had to wait our turn as other customers got new phones, changed their cellphone plans and bought Bluetooth devices so that they could have that ultra-cool android look that's so popular these days.

The Chocolate is not cheap by any measure but if you renew your plan for another two years it's affordable. Plus, it comes with a $50 rebate. "It has a $50 rebate, dad, they're practically giving it away!" So after signing up and forking over some cash we left the store with my son in "new cellphone heaven".

Knowing my own tendency to procrastinate until rebate offers expire, I made it the first order of business this morning to get the thing in the mail. Rebate offers are full of pitfalls designed to trip up the unwary (and thereby void the offer) so I paid careful attention to the instructions, filling in the information in capital letters and enclosing all the necessary paperwork. However, as I was about to address the envelope I saw the dreaded address: Young America, MN.

Young America, MN is a suburb of Minneapolis whose sole industry as far as I can tell is rebates. There, hundreds and perhaps thousands, of young Minnesotans spend their days poring over rebate requests looking for ways to reject them and, if failing that, consign them to the local landfill "I'm sorry, we never received that request." The economics are simple and I wished I had thought of it. Rather than actually pay expensive rebates, the companies involved pay Young America a fraction of the cost to "lose" the rebate slip. The companies are freed of any responsibility and we rebatees can only fume at the oddly named town "Young America." After all, all we have is some Post Office Box, not even a name (unless there is someone there actually named "$50 rebate Offer.")

But like they say" You pays your money and you takes your chances." And then wait 4 to 6 weeks before you finally realize you aint getting any rebate.

I'm out. Gotta find a mail box. (with a David Bowie song stuck in my head. Isn't that odd?)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

and now for something completely different

Well, it's about time! We're less than a month away from the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy; gas prices continue to soar; air travel is scary again; sectarian violence in Iraq is on the rise and the cease fire in Lebannon hangs by a thread, so what a relief that JonBenet is back in the news. Thank God we can move all that other stuff to page two and concentrate on the really important stuff: did that baby-faced John Mark Karr really kill JonBenet? He says he did but really didn't mean to - darn those fragile six-year olds!

Finally there's something in the news we can all get interested in and you don't have to remember which is Hamas and which is Hezbollah or try to explain the difference between Sunnis and Shi'ia to our confused co-workers (see, it all goes back to the succession of the Prophet and...hey, how about that JonBenet?) Plus we can all feel guilty about doubting those poor Ramseys even though Patsy will never know how sorry we truly are (but we're pretty sure she's smiling down from heaven.)

No doubt the race is on in the network newsrooms to be the first to air an hour-long special on the capture of Mr. Karr complete with a minute-by-minute rehash of the crime. I can't wait! And we still have the trial to look forward to - heck, we could be steeped in all things "JonBenet" for months to come.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Where did I go?

Wow, you skedadle out of the "G" for a couple of months and suddenly, everything is changed. Not only do the wags at greensboro101 not seem to know me anymore but they went so far as to remove the link to my previous brilliant postings! As Madelyn Kahn (or was it Jar Jar Binks?) might say: "how wude". Well anyway, I'm back and ready to slay the various dragons that keep rearing their scaly heads over our fair city and deflating the overly pompous self-important types that make this nation's greatest source of alternative energy by-products.

I kid because I love.

So what is harshing Greensboro's zeitgeist buzz today? Nothing? Everybody is happy? Whew, what a relief. Greensboro is just as I left it.

So why am I annoyed that Vernon Jordon still exists on MY plane of reality? Why do his minions keep calling my house and leaving cryptic messages on my answering machine? Is there anyone with even the most tenuous hold on sanity actually planning on voting for him or is his campaign some sick joke devised by Dave Chapelle?

I gotta go. More later (if my blog isn't summarily deleted)

Hate Kids? You'll LOVE Chemnitz

So what's wrong with the Europeans that they aren't having children anymore? According to an article in the BBC Online the entire EU (with the exception of good old Ireland, of course) has seen a major decline in birthrates with Germany leading the pack. The article did not take into account the fact that Germany hosted the World Cup this year and it's certainly possible that people were distracted and just forgot to have sex. This was particularly true in the former East German town of Chemnitz which has it's claim to fame "the lowest birth rate in the world"!

Oh yeah it's easy for us in the States to blame the European men's penchant for carrying purses and wearing what used to be referred to as "pedal pushers"for the drop in the birth rate but the terrible truth is that if it wasn't for those immigrants that the Minutemen are trying so desperately to keep on their side of the border, the U.S. would also have a negative population growth.

Most of my generation is waiting impatiently for our children to "get around" to marrying and reproducing but there are just too many distractions for Gen X and Gen Y so we may be in for a long wait.