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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A tale told by an idiot

When I'm not working, or doing alla the crap I gotta do only to prepare
for working more, I podcast. Or I listen to podcasts. Lately anyway --
that's my latest perseveration.

I listen to some absurd number of podcasts. Some of them truly and
profoundly suck, to the extent that they create new definitions for the
word "suckiness." The good ones, the ones from which I love hearing new
content, are far beyond anything I could achieve in my wildest dreams.

And (most) every time I hear them, I enjoy the content, and I wonder how
the hell I could consider myself part of that community. Most of them get
some of their content from other sources than themselves. Well, okay,
then they're brilliant at selecting content. And I wonder what the hell
I'm doing here.

I doubt I'm going to quit any time soon, because I truly love what I'm
doing. I'm rather obviously not brilliant in any category of podcasting,
except, perhaps, sincerity. As George Burns put it, the secret of being a
great actor is sincerity, once you figure out how to fake that, the rest
you've got in the bag.

But what I've done so far hasn't been enough. Like Linus from "Peanuts,"
I've created the world's most sincere pumpkin patch. I should be able to
do more and better. And I've pretty well exhausted myself as a topic.

So now I'm faced with the decision, now that I've exhausted the one topic
upon which I'm an expert, me, what do I select as a topic, out of the
category of All of the Rest of the Universe?

Don't wanna do politics, been done better by some ridiculous number of
people. Religion, ditto. Sex, been done thousands of different ways,
from thousands of different perspectives.

Not that I'll refrain from bringing up those topics when I have something
to say.

So, what's next?

--
Grizzly <grizzly at grizzly.podzone.org>
Podcast:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>
Blog:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysblog>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

With the Mystic Smile

I had an idea I considered using for the Podcast, but I thought better of
it. Still, it's kinda clever, and I hate to waste it.

What would happen if I did a parody of the old Nat King Cole song, "Mona
Lisa," but you changed it to "Condalisa?" As in, "Condalisa, Condalisa
men have named you..." Depending on your political tendencies, such a
parody could be -quite- elaborate.

Some lines are, well, kinda obvious for the theme: "...They just lie
there, and they die there..."

But I decided not to do it. After all, it's probably a violation of the
Patriot Act. Or would it count as protected political speech? Anyway,
I've decided to keep the podcast away (for the moment) from political
themes. The Blog, of course, has gone down political paths in the past,
and it will in the future. But this, well, I think I'll let slide.
Anybody wants to comment with a (clean) version, I'd like to see it.

Besides, I'm just not a political guy. And I don't like the idea of
hurting someone's feelings. And it's probably not her fault.

On the other hand, "George of the Jungle" certainly seems to suggest some
opportunities for parody, doncha think?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blocking Blogs from the military

What fresh hell is this?

The U.S. military leadership in Iraq has decided that no military
personnel in Iraq are allowed to blog about their experiences there. My,
isn't -that- a clever move.

We have the government claiming that the Our Boys in Iraq (later amended
by their staffs to "our Military Professionals") are all in support of the
government's handling of the whole quagm... er... situation. Except, of
course, now these military professionals are no longer allowed to tell
their fellow American citizens how much they love their experiences in
Iraq, how proud they are of the precise and intelligent decisions made by
their Glorious Leaders.

This must be an administrative oversite. Perhaps some minor staffer typed
"not" rather than "unequivically" before "allowed" in a memo somewhere
along the line. I can't imagine why our Glorious Leaders would want to
deny these American citizens the opportunity to inform their fellow
citizens of their joy and pride. After all, Senator McCaine said on TV
that we civilians are misinformed about the great successes our military
folk have achieved in Iraq.

And I'm sure the troups on the ground are better informed about these
glorious victories. Isn't that the new military standard, that the
leaders on the ground are the best judges of what needs to be done? Since
this is not, according to our President, a quagmire, it follows that we
are not repeating the same mistakes we made in the -last- quagmire.
Although this -isn't- a quagmire. So we most assuredly aren't making the
same mistakes.

"The horror! The horror!" Sorry, gotta turn the VCR down.

If the truth is that this is a wonderful success, shouldn't we want the
folks who see this great success telling us that? Like, for example, the
folks in my old Air Guard unit, who were required to turn around and go
back for another term? Unlike the President, I saw the members of my
Guard unit on a regular basis, so maybe he feels differently than some of
us.

Why the secrecy? What do you know, and how soon are you going to be
denying that you knew it?

Gotta love the Gummint. It's not just a good idea, it's The Law.

--
Grizzly <grizzly at grizzly.podzone.org>
Podcast:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>
Blog:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysblog>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Crazy like a Fox

So, okay, I've got good news and bad news -- for me, not for you,
probably.

My podcast has grown significantly. And stopped growing. I don't have
any experience to say what's reasonable for growth, but it seems to have
stopped completely.

Granted, my podcast has a larger audience than most of those of the US
population -- since most of the US population doesn't have podcasts. And
those who do listen do seem to like it -- which is good, though I dunno
why they'd listen if they hated it. Camp appreciation, maybe?

It seems that some who appreciate the podcast don't want to admit to their
friends that they listen. The reasons I've been given are good reasons.
But that leaves the whole podcast thing kinda going nowhere, growth-wise.
I don't mind speaking to a small group, but I'd been kinda hoping I was
saying something more than just a few people might want to listen to, and
for more than one reason. Doesn't seem so, though.

Yes, I know, there are vast numbers of podcasts, and vast numbers of
blogs. I'm beginning to think, though, that to get the size of audience
the Big Shows have, I essentially have to sound more like them. Or
utterly change my content to something either more publically accessible,
or more politically controversial.

Since I talk a bit in each show about Asperger Syndrome, and since most of
the public isn't on the Spectrum, my content isn't (apparently)
intelligible to the publc. So I have to stop even mentioning the
Syndrome.

The political part is easy. I don't actually have to be right about
anything. In fact, if I am deeply and profoundly and vehemently and, even
better, profanely wrong, more people will listen. If I interview people
who are also profanely vehement about being wrong, in large numbers over a
long people time, success is pretty much given.

If I make a sufficient effort to be wrong, I could have my own network on
Cable. To be fair, that might be too much to expect, but I'd have to be a
bit unbalanced to try. Apparently, though, this is not difficult.


My young female friend has repeatedly told me I need to do more
controversial stuff. Other young females have told me I should also be on
MySpace. If I do both, perhaps my podcast will become a Giant of the
Media Industry. And apparently, sigificant numbers of young women will
like my show. Hmmm... Maybe this isn't such a bad idea?

Anyway, I'm kinda stymied here. I don't have anything earthshaking to say
that I actually feel like making part of the show. But I suppose I shall
have to anyway. Listening to my show is a dirty little secret, the sort
of thing that is perfectly fine in the privacy of your own home between
consenting adults.

Any ideas on how to change that?

--
Grizzly <grizzly at grizzly.podzone.org>
Podcast:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysgrowls>
Blog:
<http://feeds.feedburner.com/grizzlysblog>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Not-so-great Expectations

I wanna rant about something, and this looked like a good spot.

Sometimes our expectations about our behavior, and that of folks we love,
can be really dumb. Lemme give a couple of examples. Sure they're from
(US) TV shows, but I think we get many expectations from TV shows and
movies, and TV and movie writers draw their stories from our assumptions,
and occasionally, incidentally, from reality.

For example, the other day I saw an episode of "Scrubs." J.T. moves back
in with Turk and Carla after an extended absence. He jokingly comments
that they couldn't stand even a week alone while he was gone. And Carla
replies, "Yeah, we're in trouble," and walks away.

Huh? In trouble?

The assumption is that a married couple is always entirely comfortable all
by themselves, and are never more comfortable in a group. But that's just
dumb, for a couple of reasons. Many individuals are more comfortable
interacting with others in a group than one-on-one. What, they get
married, they magically become entirely different people? Of course not,
and just because the preacher just witnesses their vows, rather than
casting a magic spell to make them different people, that doesn't mean
they're in trouble. They're still the people they were, and each is still
the person the other loved enough to marry.

Humans are tribal. For tens of thousands of years, people have developed
their relationships while surrounded by the tribe, and their kids, and
their tribe's kids. We're still human. Deal with it.

Another assumption from another TV show, although it shows up in TV and
movies all the time. A show I clicked through on B.E.T; might have been
called "Girlfriends," but not one I watch all the time so I'm not sure. A
lady gets frustrated when her boyfriend doesn't propose, so she proposes
to him. He just kinda gives her a look, of astonishment, confusion, I
don't know what. Anyway, he doesn't say a word.

And she gets all embarassed and apologizes for saying anything and walks
away, and he still doesn't say anything.

The assumption here that bugs me is about proposals. When someone
proposes to you, you have only two valid responses: explosive enthusiasm,
screaming "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and a-kissin' and a-huggin' and whatnot; or
"Hell no, what the hell were you thinking? Go away, I never want to speak
to you again." Dumb. And you see this in romantic-comedy movies all the
time, too. ("Jerry Maguire" being an exception, of sorts, I suppose.
NOTE TO SELF: Gotta learn sign language.)

Marriage is about (hypothetically) spending the rest of your life with
someone. "It is not an arrangement to be entered into lightly." I mean,
you walk onto a used-car lot, the salesperson says, "Will you buy this
car?" And your only possible responses are "Yes! Yes! Yes!" or "Hell no,
I'd never buy a used car in this dump." Huh?

You might keep a used car for a few years, but even so, you ask questions
and expect answers. You discuss, compare, contrast and cogitate. You
give it thought, and if you're smart, you say, "Thank you very much" and
go away for a day or three to think about it. And that's just a car.
What, a lifetime should be an impulse buy?

How many divorces and breakups happen because real life doesn't match the
movies or, worse yet, the soap operas? "We just don't communicate." "You
don't excite me anymore." WTF? "We're in trouble." Sure, you're in
trouble -- and the trouble is you've forgotten you're in a relationship
with a real person, not a character in a sitcom.

I grew up in the Sixties, and I think it's sad so many folks still
evaluate their relationships based on movies from back then. Hey, they're
fiction! Rock Hudson and Doris Day? More recent indications are that the
late Rock Hudson would be unlikely to consider Doris Day his type.
Apparently Rock Hudson was a much better actor than I thought at the time.

You think it's a good idea to get relationship advice from last-century
movie writers?

Granted, I'm probably not the best resource on this stuff, either. I
haven't had a long-term relationship turn out well, and that may never
happen, and oh, well, it sucks to be me, huh? But I think it's a shame
that people who do have good relationships bail because it isn't perfect.

Even on TV. Because people see it on TV, and seem to think it must be
true, because they can't say it on TV if it's not true, right?

People aren't perfect. If life were easy, everyone would do it.

And that's all I have to say about that.

So, what do you think I can get on eBay for a slightly-used soapbox?