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Recently there was a news story reporting the results of a study that said children preferred food that was "from McDonald's" over the same food presented to them without the McDonald's packaging.

The study is trying to prove that preschoolers are seeing too much advertising and are influenced more by such ads. while sure, McDonald's does do a lot of work targeting their brand to children, I have to say that this is not all McDonald's fault.

For one, the news report doesn't say that the kids necessarily could pick out the McDonald's packaging, or what made the packaging distinctly Mcdonald's so they could tell the branding over any other brand. Did they really see the golden arches logo as being what they recalled was from McDonald's, or was the packaging just more distinctive than that of the generic food?

The story said they were exposed to McDonald's packaging and "unbranded", but colorful packaging. Had they used packaging from Burger King or Wendy's, would the kids have made different choices? It's hard to tell if it's just that the kids liked the packaging of McDonald's more, or did they really understand the brand?

My real culprit is not McDonald's itself, but the children's parents. Television can only do so much to reenforce a brand, and sure, Mcdonald's has been using Ronald and McDonaldland commercials for years, and used Happy Meals to get children excited about a vist, but think about this, it's parents who often use a trip to McDonalds as a reward. Parents use it as a threat as well. If the child doesn't behave, they won't get a Happy Meal. With McDonalds food having so much power in a young person's life, how could a kid not get a certain feeling that McDonald's must be better?

I know when i was a kid it was a big deal to go to McDonalds. Still, when I was a kid I never lived in a city where there was a McDonald's within 30 miles. I remember when my dad said we were going to move to Conroe Texas in 1978 I was so excited becuase Conroe had a McDonalds, and it was one with a play yard. I was instantly sold on the town, even though our current home, Nacogdoches, had a Burger Chef, and dairy Queen and at last, a Burger king that just moved in. Still, we would drive to Lufkin to go to McDonalds about once a month, so then my parents did make it special.

Now that there's one on seemingly every block, it's not so special anymore.

The whole study seems to be connected to trying to cut child obesity by cutting off the source. I'd say it's kind of wrong-headed. If parents would make better choices, their kids might too. I'm a good example, as my parents didn't really create good eating habits for me, I grew up with a poor diet for the rest of my life. Still, some people think if they can cut children's exposure to commercials, they won't want to eat McDonald's food, or have that sugary cereal. The fact is, you deny a kid something, and he'll eventually hear about it from some friends with more liberal parents, he's still going to try to get it somehow.

I'll be interested to see how the cereal makers do as they voluntarily take commercials off the air for cereals that have more sugar, or other unhealty attributes. While we loved the antics of Lucky, the Trix rabbit and Tony the Tiger, kids today will be enjoying ads for Cheerios, Mini Wheats and Kix. (I'll admit I'd be happy to see more ads with the Kashii bear, myself) I think if Saturday Morning Cartoons aren't dead now, they will be soon.

I just don't see how this revelation is a big deal. McDonald's adds healthier items to their menu, but people really don't care, they go there for a burger, and the children see this. If anything it could be good. If a child sees the apple bites, or carrots or milk and would rather eat those because it has a McDonald's wrapper, then bring it on. if McDoanld's can make that cool with kids over burgers and fries, then let them do it.

Most families don't have the time to prepare healthy food, and lower income families struggle to provide it. McDonald's is at least trying. they haven't been adding one pound burgers and enormous egg sandwiches to their menu, even when it might sell well for them. They know they are under scrutiny and have tried to do well under pressure.

I personally get sick of these nanny state developments where they try to take away something from everyone because they can't abide by letting people make a decision. I say bring on Capt'n Crunch and make a parent have to tell the kid no and buy them Wheaties. I try to keep my McDonald's intake low, and I think parents should make that decision too.

Personally I find these types of research studies a waste of time, especially when they are so pointed against one product or one company. I'd like to see this same study broadened to include other brands and to have a real test of wether the McDonald's brand really is that strong, or just better than the generic brand X. Plenty of studies have been made showing many people prefer branded merchandise.

Oh, and one last thing about McDonald's advertising. Did the Hamburglar actually make anyone go out and steal hamburgers?
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Set Phasers to Random

✔As the trivia lovin' guy I am, I am watching VH1's World Series of Pop Culture. One of these days I need to get a team going and try out. Still, I'm watching the episodes a few days late, and the commercials give away which teams have won. Grr.

✔The first cars I drove were my parents. There was my mom's crap-brown Buick Century station wagon which I drove my friends to prom in, and my dad's at one time light metallic blue Buick Skylark. I say one time because the blue paint came off in the first year - all on it's own..We called it the Rustmobile. For much of it's life the Rustmobile was covered with grey primer. It was never painted again.

I hoped my dad would buy me a car, but that didn't happen until my second year of college. I remember finding a well-kept Fiat that I was hoping to convince my dad I needed when I was a high-school junior. MY dad took it for a spin before telling me unless I could come up with the $5,000.00 and insurance, I wasn't getting a convertible.

I've still wanted a convertible ever since.

✔I saw a story today about taking your dog to work day. I'd love to do that. I think Joey would enjoy running around the ranch.

✔I see there's a meme going around for people to name the song that was number one on the day you were born. Mine's The Doors Light My Fire. Not sure what that says about me.

✔I'm on the elliptical machine tonight and the guy who must watch Fox News while working out comes in, and changes one of the TV's to Fox to watch the O'Reiley Factor. He actually yells at people if they try to change the channel. I was happily reading a sex scene in Michael Tolliver Lives tonight, listening to an NPR podcast hoping he'd see the word "cocksucker" or something. If he did, he said nothing. He knows I don't like O'Reiley because I laugh at the "serious" issues as I read them on the closed captioning.

Tonight they were covering an explosion in New York City, and although they kept posting that it was not terror related, they kept covering it and talking about what a terrorist attack would be like if this was one. It seemed like an unimportant story, but they kept trying to play it up and play the scare tactics.

Of course, there's the reports that our administration's actions in Iraq have made the Al-Queda organization stronger. Scare tactic or sad reality?

✔Lastly, So I don't win the training job, and what am I doing at my team meeting tomorrow? I'm training the team on a new rollout of the imaging and workflow program. The new person still hasn't been announced, and we couldn't wait on the rollout. At least my boss thinks I can do this and is willing to give me some opportunities.
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Here's a poorly written story about Bears. It's a story from June 19th on Canada.com called "Where the Bears Don't Fear To Tread." Probably the worst headline in years.

At first I thought about making some cheap shot about the paper that ran the story, but the more that I think about it, it’s not the paper’s fault. Any newspaper in North America could run the story, just as it was written, and as the writer, Robert Fulford, suggests, many heterosexuals don’t know what “Bear” means, how would an editor not know that the story was a pile of crap? Therefore, I must say that the fault of the reporting falls squarely on the reporter.

First, let’s look at how he starts his story. He focuses in on one person, and suddenly that one person becomes the image of the bear community. I’d have not one problem with this, if who he chose was an average bear on the street. It’s certainly not hard to find someone in Toronto who could be a fine model for the story.

Instead, he chooses Andrew Sullivan. Truthfully, I like Andrew and read his blog. I tend to agree with much of what he says, though not all. He has, through the years shined a small spotlight on the bear community, including the well known 2003 essay that the article’s author uses for his story. Unfortunately that essay is from the perspective of an outsider looking into the world of bears. While Andrew may be getting more comfortable with being bear-ish as he ages, I don’t think he’s actually decided to be Bear-Identified.

As I was telling Chris last night, there’s a trend of older gay men who think they’ll just slide into the bear community as their youth fades away. The problem is, they don’t understand bears at all. They just have trouble with the ageism of their own clique that has now turned them out. Most of the true bears and cubs that I’ve known seem to understand that they were never going to fit into the twink world and bears seemed to be the more accepting, Average Joe kind of place. More often than not, it isn’t a choice to “go bear.” One is or isn’t.


Another person the author decides to spotlight is Esera Tuaolo, the out former football player. While the bears might love to look at him, again, here’s a guy who doesn’t identify with the bears.

Part of the trouble is that the bear community (and I’m sorry, I never know whether to capitalize that or not) doesn’t have any celebrities. Sure, those of us in the communities can choose people that every bear should know, say, Jack Radcliffe, but he’s not identifiable to the outside world, and even worse, a mainstream newspaper doesn’t want to interview someone who’s known because he’s a porn star. Most of the famous people we look to, say James Gandolfini or Kevin Smith shares some bearish qualities but aren’t bears and really can’t contribute to the story.

Let’s face it; while there are many different definitions of a “bear” within our community, the main thing differentiating us from being a group of average joe type men is the fact that we love cock. Of course, you can’t exactly say that in a news story. I could go on about the fact that just using the word “gay” in a story already brings up problems, because we are defined by the sex we choose to pursue. It often makes for some difficult decisions for both writer and publisher when you have to identify a group this way, so often they look for the trivial or the scandalous ways to show differences between gays and straights rather than by their relationships. This is generally done by showing off the drag queens and leathermen, the visible side of cock-chugging, I suppose.

So what do you do with a community who doesn’t always go to those extremes? Sure, the bear community has it’s shares of the queens and the leather daddies, but the job is to highlight the guy who looks like all of those straight guys out there. As most mainstream stories of bears go, they always end up with the conclusion that bears “are just like any regular guy, but with a difference. Here’s the big irony - Hee hee - they like guys like them!”

There’s one reason, and one reason only that the writer of this piece chose to mention Andrew Sullivan and Esera Tuaolo. The author got his hands on the Spring Issue of A Bear’s Life Magazine. Suddenly he thinks he’s gotten the bible on all things bear.

I like A Bear’s Life, but there’s certainly problems with the magazine’s contents and choices. It’s fluffy and silly and it’s doing just what any other magazine is trying to do, get the most readers it can, and lure advertisers. In this, Steve and Mike have done something remarkable – sell a magazine to the community that doesn’t have porn. Seeing where the porn magazines have failed and folded (except for the more widely focused 100% Beef), it’s surprising that a Bear’s Life is working at all.

A Bear’s Life is a spin on what would have been called a women’s magazine. There’s dating columns and decorating tips and travelogues, but on the whole it isn’t a issues driven work, nor does it want to be. Heck, the magazine, except for some medical tips, seems to overlook sex altogether. While I think it’s a good way to show the growth of the bear movement, and to give some insight, it’s certainly not representative of the group as a whole.

This is the biggest problem of this article. The whole article is based on the two biggest names he saw in the magazine, likely picked up off the shelf at a Border’s Bookstore, and he went to get a quote or two from them. Well, Esra is only quoted from the article, so that’s one then. Then he goes on to speak to Steve, the editor of A Bear’s life, looking for the eternally hard to pin down question, “What is a Bear?” Start your Bears Mailing list jokes now.

The real problem of the article isn’t the definition of a bear, or, in the long run who he chooses to focus on, but the lazy journalism. The reference to the Bear Books and the “history” could have been culled from wikipedia. He does acknowledge the website we got the information from (www.bearhistory.com) and the site’s owner, but it doesn’t seem like he ever contacted Mr. Wright. Unless a lot was left on the features desk floor, he only interviewed two people for the story, and didn’t question much of what he saw in the one magazine he picked up.

Even if you only have one reference point, couldn’t you have done more legwork? The magazine has more than 15 writers in it. Could you not get other perspectives from them? Just because they are not names (sorry Larry Flick), doesn’t mean they can’t give a quote or represent our community. Too often journalists stick to reporting celebrity and not news, and this story is just the same.

Far too often journalist write stories about press conferences, about scheduled media events and – the worst kind of journalism, period - just reprint press releases as news. While this seems to appeal to my lazy side, it’s one of the things that made me shy away from news reporting. No one’s actually asking questions or trying to search beyond the surface. This story is a great example of this.

Why couldn’t the author go out to a Bear Night. Or find if the Toronto Bears had a Bear coffee? Why not make the story local instead of trying to find national figures in a group that seems to eschew them.

How can you write about a group made of everyday men and expect to find celebrity? The whole point of being average is being out of the spotlight, but still, here’s the mirror, looking for a name to represent us. He gets closer by interviewing Steve, but that was more for the author to understand what he was reading in the magazine, not to find one of those average joes.

I’d like to see this author really spend some time on this story. It would be good if he found not only the drag queens and leathermen but also the artists, the teachers, the customer service agents, the decorators, the construction workers, the diversity of the bear community. I’d like to see the history represented as something more than just finding a few references to the word “bear” used in a gay subtext from books and articles from long, long ago. What about the bear clubs, and the bars and the websites that did their job of helping like people find each other and then find a sense of community? This isn’t spoken of in this article; it’s the search for North America’s biggest name that happens to be gay and has a beard (sometimes).

If Andrew Sullivan wants to join us, then that’s fine. It is, and hopefully will be a big tent in the future. If bearish guys want to say that they aren’t a bear, or call themselves post-bear, I’m cool with that too, but what I don’t need is some guy stating that the bear community was made credible because Sullivan wrote about it. That’s the same as saying that the bear community is now credible because the Canadian National Post did a puff piece on it.

As always, the bear community is both simple and terribly difficult to define, and maybe I’m asking far too much from someone who was working on a pride Month puff piece for a features page. I’m also defensive about the image of bears, and want to see better depictions, but what really makes me hate the job Fulford does here is that I can see how little work he put into it when it’s not difficult to get bears to talk about bears. Unfortunately it’s just another sign of lazy, sloppy reporting.

In the long run, the story isn’t as important as say, reporting the Iraq war, but we’ve seen the media do a pretty lousy job on that, too. For now, let’s just say if you can’t take the time to get the real story, don’t write it. It’s not like we need the publicity. We’re just Average Joes here.
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Saturday was the runoff for Dallas City Mayor. The race had made news nationally as one candidates, former city councilman Ed Oakley is openly gay. I'm sure that each campaign will say that it didn't factor in the race, but when you had African American preachers telling their congregations not to vote for the Democratic-aligned Oakley because he's gay, and you have other right-wing groups making calls to citizens stating that Mr. Oakley will push the homosexual agenda (and therefore you need to vote for Tom Leppert and family values) you know it is an issue.

Chris and I did our duty this afternoon. There was a short line, even though turnout was considered high. Less than 20% of citizens voted, so you have to think that there was a lot of money spent with very little payoff when 80% of people didn't even respond to it.

Tom Leppert won 58% of the vote, so it was a pretty solid victory. The map, as usual in Dallas showed a very big divide between the more affluent north side of the city and the poorer south. Mr. Leppert ran as a business man trying to bring in new ideas after a long time mayor has decided to step down. You could say that he was pretty Republican. Mr. Oakley touted his long time service on city council.

Had Mr. Oakley won, he would have been the first openly gay mayor of a top 20 city in the US. There's gay mayors in Paris and Berlin, but the US has lagged behind in electing gays to higher offices.

One of the bigger things that bothered me about Mr. Leppert was the wonderful phrase "I'm going to run government like a business." Years ago I'd be all for that, but these days i know better. Those who think government can be run that way tend to find that they can't run government at all. It's a completely different animal. You just can't fire your city council, or an elected department head, or often, a civil servant when things go wrong. You also can't make a change without going through layer after layer of bureaucracy. You can't make shareholders happy by cutting costs. It's a naive position.

Sure, I voted for Mr. Oakley because he's one of us - I didn't even know he was gay when the regular election had come up. at that time he was one of 10 candidates running. Once it got down to two, the choice for me was pretty clear. Dallas isn't a city in trouble, and doesn't need many changes except for trying to develop it's south side, but an insider would do that better, one that had the ear of the south side rather than a newcomer that's going to represent the businesses of the north side. I don't think in the long run it really mattered what Mr. Oakley's orientation was, but it was a nice little additional connection.

I'm pretty sure that Dallas as a whole isn't ready to have a gay mayor. It's a surprisingly closer thing than I would have thought, but still, Dallas is still safely led by a heterosexual. A recent story in Time touting the "lavender" nature of Dallas - such as having a lesbian sheriff and a large gay population- seemed to draw more concern here than favor at how open Dallas could be.

Dallas might be more liberal than it was...but not that liberal. It's still a part of Texas. It's still Bush country (thought not as much as Utah), but the cities are diversifying, and both Dallas and Houston have had women and African American mayors. Perhaps the gay mayor will be right around the corner.
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❄ Other people in the DFW area have been talking about snowflurries today. I haven't seen any here, so I must be in the warm part of town. Still, there's predictions of more as we drop below freezing tonight. I doubt any will stick, but it is still strange. I'm guessing that this is going to put a big damper on the Easter Pet Parade in Lee Park tomorrow, which sucks. We always see some great folks and their pets out there. Last year temps were in the 90's!

❆ About a month ago I saw a story stating that gas prices shouldn't go to $3.00 a gallon this year (in Texas). At that time prices had risen to $2.25. Now the price is 2.75. I'm going to guess that we'll hit $3.00 right after April 15th. *sigh*

❅ So I've been catching up with episodes of 24 this weekend. It's the first season that I've watched this show as I've seen a few people rave about it. I have one question: Has the show always been this bad, or is this season just terrible?

It's not necessarily the acting, but it's just the writing that seems awful. They have an interesting scenario, a suitcase nuke goes off, and not only do we see how we try to get those responsible, but we also see leader's response to it. The problem is, they throw away characters all the time. Someone shows up for an hour or two and then they disappear, having little impact on the plot arch of the show. Then there's the need to give the series regulars something to do, so they look for moles and have office romances and suspect each other of drinking on the job, none of which is interesting or does anything to move the story forward.

I wonder if the writers are also writers of videogames, as there is a similarity of plot devices where you go from one situation to another on a path to the finish. There's several small bosses that must be defeated (or as Jack Bauer does, interrogate them) until you finally get to the big boss.

There's also a lot of M. Night Shamalan "Ohh! What a twist!" moments that aren't as big a reveals as they seem to think.

I'll watch the rest of the season just to see what craziness they pull out to show that it's not the Muslims or the Russians or even the Cheney-like vice president. It's probably Jack's Dad who was seen in two episodes early on and promptly forgotten. After it's over, it's getting deleted off the Tivo.

❄Otherwise, Chris and I were at the local mall last weekend and it was a little dead. We walked by center court and there was the Easter bunny sitting there waiting for children to come up and get photos. At this mall he's a overly large brown furry with a nice waistcoat and tie. He was sitting on a park bench and the area was decorated like it was New York's Central Park. Why this was, I have no clue.

We're looking at the rather-lonely bunny from the second level, and Chris asks me if i found the bunny a little creepy. I said no and asked him what he meant.

He says, "Well you have a guy in a bunny suit waiting on a park bench for kids to come and sit on his lap."

Yeah, when you put it like that, yeah, it's creepy.
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I've decided to make my announcement today.

I, Michael Edwards have decided that it's time, and I am running for President of the United States.

It's been a long time coming, and there's been several long nights discussing this with my partner who has been very supportive and currently has no known medical problems. We both agree that the time is right, and that I'm in it to win it. I say, let the conversation begin.

I decided to make my announcement here, on LiveJournal as I believe that the demographics are the best, and it's a very open and accepting community on which to start the long road to the White House. I also wanted to open the campaign up here, to show my commitment to open, honest communication and the ability to make communication easy and quickly available, with an edit function, if one should be necessary. A "straight talk" express one might say.

As for positions, I have several well polled policy takes that I'm currently working on a backstory for. At this point I'm for Gays in the Military, against the Iraq war but for the overall ridding the world of terror-ism. I'm for healthcare and the search for finding money to pay for it. I'm for less government run more efficiently, but I have the smarts to know that it won't happen in any of our lifetimes. We'll just have to do the best we can. I'm pro worker, but not necessarily anti-business. I think taxes are a necessary evil as well all have a social contract to fulfill, but yet our tax system needs to be overhauled - including retirement spending. I'm also pro-marriage when it suits people, as long as those people, despite gender, are of age of consent - I know that no other candidate has stated a gender-blind policy towards marriage, so that's what differentiates me from them.

That being said, their are many nay-sayers that say a gay man can't get elected in 2008. I tell them to look at a recent Gallup poll that clearly shows that people would vote for a homosexual candidate before voting for an atheist. Sure, there's a lot of room to work on there, but with the choices including a woman, an African-American (or mixed-race American depending on how you see it), a Mormon, an Latino (with the last name of Richardson, go fig), several oldsters and divorcées, I clearly stand out as a different candidate from this field. I'll just have to keep low on the whole agnostic thing, and show the american public that I don't catch on fire if I go into a church.

Although I have had a lot of support from the whigs, I've decided to run for the lead of the Bull Moose Party ticket. I think it's the most compatible party for my views and a great party, historically. Any party that would have Teddy Roosevelt as their candidate is a good party to me. Some might also say that it's the easier road as the Republican and Democratic Parties already have more than 24 candidates running, or thinking of running combined. There's is a very crowded field, while I think the Bull Moose party just has an imaginary character running against me for the nomination at this time. I hear that although he might show well at the primaries, he's bound to be a no-show at the convention where the nomination is actually handed out.

The problem of running on a third party ticket of course is the lack of media attention, so I will have to work on setting some buzz on YouTube and all. I was a little late with getting my message out there, and my idea for throwing Mentos into bottles of Diet Coke was stolen before I could get my video up there. Really, I was only going to do that to attract attention as I spoke about my policies and thoughts for a better, brighter future. I was thinking about the slogan, "For Habeus Corpus, and less corpses." What, too intellectual?

Unfortunately I missed some sort of campaign funding deadline yesterday, and I've waisted time not having the speeches and benefit dinners which would have funded my campaign. In that realm though, I'm announcing two fundraising initiatives. First, there's the take Michael out to dinner initiative. Not only would you be helping my campaign, and getting a delicious meal, you'd also be gaining access and face time with the potentially next President of the US. It's a big boon for you, my supporter, and the more high-priced the meal, the more you'll get my gratitude. the second fund-raising initiative is the PayPal link that I'll be putting up on this journal soon. I say give, and give often, please.

So to sum up, today is the first step in an exciting new direction for the country. Not only could we see the first candidate to say that he's slept with a man (well, besides Hillary, of course), but someone who could truly bring change to the White House. I'm ready to take the journey with you, and ready to feel the throbbing pulse of Americans just like you. I hope I can count on your support, and that on today of all days, that you will believe that I can be your President.

Thank You.

I'm Michael Edwards, and I approve of this message.
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We Sincerely Regret The Error

Some of the best Errors and Corrections by the news media this year.

A favorite:
From the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia:

A correction in this column Thursday about a June 14 Taste section recipe for French coconut pie incorrectly suggested that the recipe called for a pint of vodka. The accompanying recipe for homemade vanilla extract uses the vodka. The pie recipe then calls for one tablespoon of extract. Here’s the corrected recipe for vanilla extract, adapted from Lacy Smith’s "Sugar Daddy’s Treats”: Drop one vanilla bean in a one-pint bottle of vodka, and six months later, you have vanilla extract.
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A Wall Street journal article on Blackberry Usage states that there’s several families who’s lives are interuppted by Blackberry usage. I’m sure this would also apply to other SmartPhones, such as the Trio that feature both email and text messaging, as well as games.

The story states that parents are often off messaging and typing and the kids can’t get their attention. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they weren’t bad parents before the smartphone. Still, the money quote:

Emma Colonna wishes her parents would behave, at least when they're out in public. The ninth-grade student in Port Washington, N.Y., says she has caught her parents typing emails on their Treos during her eighth-grade awards ceremony, at dinner and in darkened movie theaters. "During my dance recital, I'm 99% sure they were emailing except while I was on stage," she says. "I think that's kind of rude."


Also today was a shot from the other side. Parents are very concerned about their kids text messaging habits. These little wunderkinden are texting up a storm, sometimes sending 100 messages a day, and carrying on multiple conversations. Sadly, I’m much more like their parents, barely capable of packing out a message in 30 minutes on my Motorola phone.

Personally, I’m not a fan of text messaging, not because it’s annoying, but that it’s so dammed difficult. One of the few reasons that I would like to have the same Treo phone that Chris has, as it has a tiny, but full keyboard. I never learned to type, officially, but at least the QWERTY layout is familiar.

I actually could use a new phone. My little Motorola is starting to die in calls (well, it actually always did that, but now it’s the battery, not the Cingular network, which loves to drop my calls around the 8 minute mark, consistently). The phone has also reboots when you try to use the car charger, or when you close the phone too fast.

Of course, the phone isn’t two years old yet, so I wouldn’t get a special rate yet. Still, I want one with a better camera than my blurry phone, you know, for LJ pics.

One problem Cingular has, at least in our area, is that most of the phones are junk. I’d like one with the little flip-out keyboard, where text-messaging would be pleasant, even with my fat fingers trying to hit 3-4 keys on each punch. I think Verizon has this, but not Cingular. They would like me to buy an expensive smartphone.

Smartphones are big and bulky. I don’t need something like that when I don’t even talk on the phone that much. I don’t even come close to using my minutes each month. Thought it would be nice to get email, why should I get all the spam I get each day on my phone? The one thing I’d like about a smart phone is to have something where I can play Tetris type games like Chris does, often when we’re at a restaurant.

Of course, I’m trying to keep my phone going long enough to see if Apple really does release an iPhone. If it’s decent, I’d likely buy it. Of course, until it’s actually out on shelves, it’s vaporware.

So, back to the stories above. Both of these stories are just another lamentation that we no longer interact with people. It’s poppycock, of course, now we just interact with people in different ways, and in much greater distances. When I was a kid, I wouldn’t even think that I would be friends with someone in the next county, let alone the next state. Now it’s easy. Perhaps easier than actually talking to our neighbor.

Communications technology is a bit of a crutch. It’s easier to hide behind a text message, or lie in an IM. You certainly don’t have to show your real feelings over the phone. Shyness for many people seems to vanish when their IM or use a chat client. There’s so many different ways of communication now, whether broadcasting, podcasting and blogging to several, to the targeted text messages.

Somehow, the idea of getting to know our neighbors or even those we’re near too becomes so much more difficult. It’s interesting how there were visions of the future where people would nest and never go out, just watching TV in their homes. That vision is somewhat true, except that the media is becoming more mobile. Now we’re still immersed in our own world, but that world now can go with us with our iPods and Zunes and car televisions and wireless internet at Starbucks.

Suddenly, distance is not an object when contacting someone, so our relationships have changed – quickly. Now there’s always somewhere to go when you find out that the local crowd has gone to pot, or you find that you just can’t talk to someone in person. This, is why we need the EHarmonies and Match.coms of the world, because the actual meeting, meeting someone blindly, in person is too scary to do. A few years ago, one would hope that they would bump into someone and fall in love, but now we can screen them online before ever meeting. It seems easier, with less risk.

Of course, grabbing the Blackberry allows you to create the interaction on your terms, on your time, a revolution begun with voicemail. We seem to be getting further and further away from actually having to interact with people when it’s inconvenient for us.

Still, maybe I should just buy the Tetris game for my phone and tune everyone out.

4-Play News

Dec. 2nd, 2006 12:29 pm
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Here's an actual television news teaser from the "Arctic Blast" coverage. "A cat trapped in an icy tree. The dramatic rescue, tonight at ten." Why the anchorman wasn't laughing his head off, I'll never know.

For the last couple of days there have been reporters near freeway overpasses all over the metroplex reporting if there is, or is not ice on the bridge. Like a NASCAR fan, what they're really wanting to see is a crash.

Still, the cat didn't get as much coverage as the lady who's car slid off the road and into a full apartment complex retention pond. That included helicopter coverage.

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