Super Bowl!

Did you notice that you’re not hearing on the news or reading any articles about how expensive Super Bowl ads are this year? It’s not because it won’t be a good game. I assume it will. I don’t follow football religiously, but the teams in the Super Bowl are both 14-2. It’s mostly because large advertisers are getting smarter about where to allocate their marketing dollars (hint: if you’re reading this, you’re looking at where advertisers want to put their dollars).

Take, for example, Pepsi. Yeah, they’re the ones who seem to have bought up oodles of commercials in every Super Bowl I can remember. This year they made news when they decided not to purchase any Super Bowl advertising, instead opting to spend it online. Pepsi! They of the endless ad budget! Could it be that the people in the super-large corporations are getting hip – truly hip – to spending more online? Seems so.

Think about it. You can buy time on the Super Bowl for a jillion dollars and get broad reach – all ages, colors and sexes watch the thing. The demographic is HUGE – age 9 to 90. But if you’re really going after a large, specific demographic, wouldn’t you want to spend it at Facebook, where they can carve out a target user of very specific age, sex, religion, politics and general interest? For less money? Of course! Yeah, it’s more complicated than that, but really it’s not. It’s just smart.

The other Super Bowl issue this year is this ad they’re gonna run that is anti-abortion. It seems Tim Tebow, some college football quarterback, almost wasn’t Tim Tebow. His mother had complications during the pregnancy and the doctors actually advised her to have an abortion. She decided against the doctor’s advice and spilled out a Heisman Trophy winner. Interesting story. But it seems that CBS, the network running the Super Bowl, is getting a LOT of pressure not to run the ad. Really? Come on.

I am pro-choice. Always have been and probably always will be. But I’m not afraid at all that a pro-life Super Bowl ad is going to polarize America or anything. It’s a frickin’ TV ad, people! Nobody is stamping a law into place. Think about how many Super Bowl ads you can even remember in your lifetime. Three? Five?

I wonder what songs The Who will sing at halftime? Would be great if they did something like “Substitute,”  “I’m A Boy” and “The Seeker.” But they won’t. They’ll do the songs that have been sadly stamped into your head for the last 40 years on your classic rock radio station…..blah.


Quick and Easy

Time to take a spin around the world of the utterly ridiculous (these are all very quick reads):

That’s all for today. Dismissed.


It’s A Media World

I keep hearing about Apple’s intentions to craft a version of ITunes that sits on a browser instead of it being an application that sits on your desktop. What this means, for those of you that have no idea what I just typed, is that you’d be able to use your ITunes and listen to your music on any computer (and probably your smartphone), instead of just on the computer where you have ITunes. This, of course, is very interesting.

For those of you that commute to jobs, for example, you wouldn’t need to bring your Ipod anymore, because your music would be sitting on a URL at your office. I would imagine Apple would possibly cut deals with the auto companies so you could access all your music through your car dashboard as well. For those of us that travel for work a lot, it would be great! I’d love to just open my laptop in my hotel room, go to my URL and have my whole library sitting there for me.

But beyond that, as a 38 year old guy, I’m not sure what the other benefits are. Am I missing something? I probably am. I’m not married to ITunes by any stretch, I’m simply married to whatever will work most seamlessly for me and right now, that’s ITunes. But eventually I’ll try Mog and perhaps get myself a Sonos S5 (check that out!) and experiment with what I can do at home. Because home is where I really dig in on the media side of things.

Then I keep thinking about the Kindle as well. I know I talked about it recently but I keep feeling like I can’t nail down the true reason why I holding off.  Shortly after my post in December, though, John Battelle totally nailed it with his post about the Kindle. I mean, check out this passage, where Battelle finally clarifies, with great accuracy, what I was trying to say:

It was clear to me that the Kindle breaks just about every one of the unwritten mores of how we, over hundreds of years, have honored books socially….And as a writer and lover of books, this makes the Kindle nothing more than a glorified Netbook – without the Net.

A few examples:

– You can’t share a Kindle book with anyone else. That’s just nuts. The sharing of a book is perhaps one of the most intimate and important intellectual acts between humans, ever. I’m not stuck on whether or not that sharing is physical. I’m stuck on the inability to share. It’s a crime.

– You can’t declare to anyone (including, importantly, reminding yourself) that you’ve read this book – an obstacle I’ll call “the library problem.” I love being surrounded by books I’ve read, and I love the fact that people who come to my office or my home library can see the books I’ve read. Yeah, part of it has to do with status. And does digital mean that status is going away? I don’t think so.

– You lose the serendipity of reading in public (and judging, as well as being judged for what is read in public)…..A Kindle suffers from a kind of social blindness – no one knows what you’re reading, unless they ask. Something important is lost when no one knows what you’re reading on the subway, the airplane, or the park bench. The opening salvos of countless relationships will no doubt be lost (though I suppose any number of romances have been kindled by the exuberant declaration of one’s love for the Kindle…).

That part about “the opening salvos of countless relationships” – that hits home, man! If everyone had a Kindle, you’d never be able to, say, engage someone on an airplane about a book. That seems patently wrong to me. It’s a word without sociology and I don’t think I can deal with that. The full Battelle post is here and it’s really worth a read. I would so LOVE to have a device to read newspapers and magazines on, but I don’t think I can do books.


Childhood: For Hire

As a kid, I spent a lot of time in my room, in relative solitude. I’ve always just liked it that way and I still do today. One of the biggest adjustments for me when the twins were born was less of that. I was never a loner as a kid, but I always loved time spent by myself, so I could lose myself in something, be it building a model car, listening to vinyl records, sorting hockey cards or especially reading books. Oh, how I loved to read books. My earliest memories of book reading were the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery books. I think that must have been around 3rd or 4th grade.

By 7th and 8th grade, I was ALL OVER the Spenser:For Hire books, written by Robert Parker. I had all of them and it took me to another world. The best part about it was that I didn’t start reading them until there were about 10-12 of them on the market, so I had a string of Spenser to books to read – it was like there was always a new one! And when I got caught up, I looked forward to the new releases as much as I looked forward to new albums coming out. Spenser, the funny, tough, clever, but soft-in-the-middle detective. There was the psychiatrist Susan, his beautiful muse and girlfriend. The banter between the two was always fun – they made a legendary couple, arguably one of the best in books. Of course, Hawk, the mysterious tough guy who always had a knack for showing up just when you needed him. It was such fun reading at that age. I remember being so excited when the TV show came out and then so disappointed when I saw it, because the books drew the picture way better than the show did.

It was probably around 9th grade that I moved off of those and onto other books, but that stretch of book-reading was one of my favorite times growing up and set me on a path to almost always having a book or two to read. It continues to this day. So thanks, Robert Parker, you have a very special place in my upbringing and my heart. May you rest in peace, but your legacy is sealed for me and I would imagine many others.



This is where I prefer to be sometimes

I don’t do good with tragedies. Or death. I guess not many people do. Oh, I want to be informed, I want to know what’s going on, so I do read the main stories, but I can’t go much deeper. Mostly because I can’t bear to hear about people who’ve lost their entire families, their parents, spouses or their children. That’s why I prefer not to watch the 24-hr coverage on CNN or the hour-long specials on the networks. Last night on ABC they ran an hour-long update and I had to (figuratively) watch with my hands over my eyes. I just can’t take it all in one fell swoop, so I had to switch around from time-to-time and find something else that was more frivolous and distracting. You know, cooking shows. College hockey games that I didn’t care about. Or play Skee-Ball on my IPhone. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I simply can’t overload myself with…..heaviness. Maybe part of me is pretending it’s just another dumb scripted show on TV. I want a director over there to yell “that’s a wrap!” and everyone will go home, have dinner and go to bed. But I know that’s not the case. How I wish.

Sometimes I have these daydreams that deceased people who I was close to didn’t really die. That they just faked their death and went away for a while to be by themselves. I think about how cruel a joke that would be, but in the end I’d be totally OK with it. The ABC thing was sort of ridiculous at times. They had a survival expert on the show who gave tips on how to survive longer if you’re trapped. He suggested that you stay calm and drink your own urine if you have to. Really? All well and fine, I suppose. Then they had a family on via satellite in Oregon who were supposed to adopt some children over there. The anchors let the family talk about it for a while until ABC unveiled a Skype video connection of a doctor over there in Haiti, holding the safe children. The woman burst into tears. The man got wide-eyed. Why didn’t ABC just tell the family up front that the kids were ok? Because it’s good TV? What the hell?

Whatever. None of it will help those people in Haiti right now. Donate if you can.