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Monday, May 31, 2010

Take time to remember this day…

Today is Memorial Day. There are many to remember. Let us pay homage to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice; honor those who have lived through the tumult of war and keep in our hearts those who remain unknown but whose valor is marked by the haunting tone of taps.

The video below, presented by lovemyhayley's YouTube Channel and prepared through OneTrueMedia, is a beautiful tribute for this day and features “Requiem for a Soldier” (the theme From Band of Brothers) music composed by Michael Kamen, originally introduced with lyrics by Amici Forever and now sung by Katherine Jenkins.

The lyrics are incredibly moving.

“You never lived to see
What you gave to me
One shining dream of hope and love
Life and liberty
With a host of brave unknown soldiers
For your company you will live forever
Here in our memory

In fields of sacrifice
Heroes paid the price
Young men who died for old men's wars
Gone to paradise
We are all one great band of brothers
And one day you'll see we can live together
When all the world is free

I wish you'd lived to see
All you gave to me
Your shining dream of hope and love
Life and liberty
We are all one great band of brothers
And one day you'll see - we can live together
When all the world is free”

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Big Spill: Day 40

At the time of this posting, it remains to be seen if the “Big Spill,” (now 40 disastrous days and counting) is actually being contained 5,000 feet under the sea in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana’s (now) ecologically fragile coastline.

After yesterday’s site visit by President Obama, and BP’s efforts at attempting to plug up the environmental nightmare using everything from a cache of 2.5 million gallons of drilling mud as a “top kill” and adding a “junk shot” mixture of golf balls and shredded rubber tires, it’s hard to say if success is in the cards based on the images from a live feed provided by PBS “Newshour.”

My understanding is - if you see “muddy brown” that’s a good sign; ” if you see “white” it’s gas and it’s not a good sign, and if you see a spewing black column it’s a big problem.

Maybe we will all have an answer sometime later this weekend. I hope it works.

Friday, May 28, 2010

News Anchor 1 – Field Reporter 0

Here’s a case of contentious news reporting.

It seems to be more than a sign of the times in the news business – frayed nerves, wondering where the next story will be aggregated from, or who is plagiarizing your work. Even worse, will the news company you write for be sold, go chapter 11, or simply demand more employee concessions?

It’s not news anymore as giants like the Tribune Company struggle with the possibility of a long and protracted legal battle with their creditors, and the New York Times is in the midst of developing a “paywall” for its online news site.

The video footage below, which was captured by the YouTube channel (a site where “News FAILS Because Journalism Isn’t Dying Fast Enough”) speaks volumes, but maybe, just maybe it’s more an empathetic reaction of a reporter who witnessed a landlord tenant dispute in these hard times?

However, I would have expected this type of sideshow on FOX.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Viral Videos: The World Delivered to You

According to the U.S. and World Population Clock, as of May 27, 2010, at 20 hours and 15 minutes UTC, also known as Universal Time Coordinated - formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and Zulu Time (Z), the estimated world population figures reached well over 6 billion human inhabitants (6,823,606,120).

On December 31, 2009, Internet World Stats reported “Internet Users Data” to be 1,802,330,457, which upon their reflection is about 26.6 percent of the world population hooked up to and using computers.

Where are all these statistics headed? Read on.

On January 4, 2010, a young fellow, Jamie Bell (aka DispleasedEskimo - that’s his YouTube moniker) posted a video, which was actually a final piece he had created for an Advanced Subsidiary art class in the United Kingdom. (The grade level would be equivalent to 12 here in the United States.)

I consider myself to be a fairly average individual with very mainstream tastes, and over the years, I have had an uncanny ability to pick hits in music and the arts, always using my middle-of-the-road instincts. Well, when I ran across Bell’s video several months ago I was absolutely tickled by what he had created and thought to myself – this is going to go viral – and it did!

As of today, he’s had 2,431,978 hits, which tallies up to 17,006 online visitors per day.

Statistically speaking, if I were an advertiser, I would want to be buying space on his page.

In creating his video Bell used “flipbook” style drawings and gobbled up "50 jotter books in the process, illustrating them by utilizing only “biro pens” (ballpoints) - the entire animation was approximately “something like 2100 pages long,” he says.

According to Bell, the entire video with drawings represented roughly three weeks of “on and off” work.

His video incorporates the music of Jacques Offenbach, sound effects from Team Fortress 2, and a Christmas carol. It is a clever portrayal of “A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything” in three minutes and 12 seconds.

The video has become so popular it spawned an enterprising t-shirt site that will help keep young Bell in Ramen noodles during the new school term.

Bell’s teacher thought his work was pretty nifty too – he received “full marks” (equivalent to 4.0) – Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To dwell in possibilities…

Poetry - I’ve always been very fond of the art form - marveling at the fact that ordinary words, when put together ‘just so’ create extraordinary images that not only capture the minds eye but touch the soul – almost like taking vinegar and turning it into champagne – a rather mystical reverse process more or less.

Poetry is a very personal thing; you glean meaning on a singular level, much like when you view a painting or sculpture – poetry speaks only your language, it touches only your heart.

Although I am fond of many poems, over the years I have consistently been drawn to a handful of poets who reach out to me through time and space sharing their wisdom, their vision of the world and a glimpse of their soul through their immortal voice.

e.e. cummings (or if you prefer) E.E. Cummings and Emily Dickinson are two of my favorite poets – Cummings because he reinvented poetry with his avant- garde style that included breaking most linguistic rules and the coinage of new words, and Emily Dickinson… just because.

Dickinson’s voice (IMHO) resonates and has a rare ability to move backwards and forwards bridging generational gaps as well as educational and income levels. Case in point, take a look at the embedded video below, produced by Limey Films, Inc. for Poets House, the national poetry library and literature center based in Manhattan.

Filmed in May 2009, during the final construction phase of Poets House new headquarters, actor Bill Murray read poetry to the men responsible for building the magnificent new repository, and what was captured on the faces of the workers was very telling. Pay particular attention to the construction worker’s eyes when Murray reads Dickinson’s “I dwell in Possibility-- A fairer House than Prose,” and when he introduces each worker after the reading.

I’m sure Emily would have been very pleased that her words instilled the gift of pride that was so clearly visible.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday, Monday

“Monday Monday, can't trust that day,
Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be
Oh Monday Monday, how you could leave and not take me.”

Who hasn’t heard the lyrics to the above song “Monday, Monday” written by American singer/songwriter/guitarist “Papa John” (John Edmund Andrew Phillips) of the legendary music group The Mamas and the Papas?

That soul-searching single went on to chart a number one spot on Billboard’s Top 100 and subsequently garnered the iconic pop/folk/rock ensemble a Grammy in 1967 for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.

Over the years, “Monday, Monday" has been covered by a variety of entertainers from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass to the 5th Dimension to name a few.

Phillips certainly did capture the angst that most folks feel on Monday mornings; the start of a workweek; another daily commute and untold obstacles that pop up littering the day, oftentimes carrying over until Tuesday and beyond.

“Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin' all of the time”

Just in case your e-mail box has been beset with more tasks than you are able to accomplish today, my advice – TAKE A BRAIN BREAK and enjoy the very short video below that is part of a creative YouTube channel offered by sawith65.

It was sent to me by a friend this morning and made me smile. I hope it makes your day less of a "Monday, Monday".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Social Network Controversy: Part 3 – the Humor of it All

In Parts 1 and 2 of this post we explored the benefits and the pitfalls of social networking, along with methods to correct (at least on Facebook) privacy blunders that might cause potential problems for your online image.

A very recent study published by Nielsen (the American marketing and research behemoth) that tracks marketplace dynamics along with consumer attitudes for a variety of media enterprises, which includes television, radio, books, music, videos and web sites, has come out with some interesting statistics for the “Top U.S. Web Sites and Brands for April 2010,” and guesses what? - Ranking # 3 for the “Top 10 Web Brands (U.S. Home and Work)” was Facebook, which lagged only behind Google and Yahoo but ratcheted up over 122 million visitors, who each spent and average of six hours, 43 minutes and 22 seconds of time per week with their social networking. Those figures were a reflection of a 3.8% downward trend. Could that portend marketplace unrest with privacy and security issues? Time will tell.

However, to end this post series on a funny note – I’ll leave the final words to the folks who produce entertainment, and hold a mirror up to our society reflecting the craze of social networking.

WARNING: If you are not a fan of South Park, the adult cartoon that oftentimes goes over the top in portraying current affairs, do not watch the first video below, even though the clip is far more tame than the usual fare that they produce.

The second clip also carries a WARNING – if you are offended by the use of certain slang words such as, %@&*, *(%# and #^*$ you probably will not appreciate the humor in David Ippolito, the Guitar Man of Central Park’s newly debuted song, “Facebook is a Stupid Idiot” (subtitled "What the $*&@ is Farmville!?") which was performed at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater in New York City.

IMHO, I think both clips are way to laugh at the entire social networking dilemma and maybe, as Victor Borge once said, “ Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” Now, isn’t that what social networking is all about?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Social Network Controversy: Part 2 – The GIGO Principle

In the first installment of this series we took an overall look at social networking and media in the marketplace as it stands today – blossoming at a vigorous rate and bringing with it socialization benefits as well as potential downsides in reference to the dissemination of personal information in the public arena.

Specifically, new concerns have been posed as to the gathering and selling of your personal information by “data mining companies.”

Eye opening to say the least for many of us, but not to panic, there are options that can level the playing field.

The first thing we all have to understand is this: The GIGO Principle (also known as “Garbage in/Garbage out”) – remember this – whatever you feed into your computer and post on a social network or media site is controllable by only one person – YOU!

You have the option to not post sensitive information, inflammatory comments, and unflattering or compromising photographs with your identity attached – that is your choice, however some sites make it difficult to determine whether your personal information is essential versus non-essential. When in doubt don’t post or share.

Information that you offer up on sites such as Facebook can be controlled, but you need some basic information to get you through all the confusing options.

The video below, produced by SophosLabs (a computer security company) probably best explains how to navigate and make informed choices about privacy and security settings… at least on Facebook, which has taken the bulk of heat on this issue since making extensive changes to their site.

There is also another option for securing your Facebook privacy, but it has taken the form of a revolt that throws out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. Scheduled to take place on Monday, May 31, 2010 is Quit Facebook Day, and it is rapidly garnering followers.

Know your options, check them out and make the choices and changes you prefer, and be sure to come back for the third and final installment in this series, a humorous look at the lighter side of social networking.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Social Network Controversy: Part 1 - The Overall Marketplace

Social networking is no longer a passing fad, it's a serious communication tool
(rather addictive and somewhat time-consuming in nature) that provides a relatively easy (one-size-fits-all) means of staying in touch with each of your friends, most of your relatives, some of your acquaintances, many of your business associates, all of your fans, and even a smattering of strangers who share your common interests.

On Facebook alone, approximately “60 million individual status updates” are posted daily by users of the service.

If you think that’s a huge number, try swallowing this: “If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest in the world.”

Those figures are part of some rather staggering statistics about social networking and media, which were gathered from the video below that is based on the book Socialnomics written by Erik Qualman. Take a look for yourself.

In the past several days, quite a bit of controversy has been brewing over social networking sites, in particular Facebook and some ongoing privacy concerns.

It’s no secret that admissions departments in colleges and universities gather information about applicants from online social networking sites, and it’s been currently estimated in this competitive job market that 95 percent of all HR departments visit social network pages to round out a more complete profile from a job-seeking applicant.

Now comes some new information to add to the mix.

Investigative journalist, Charles Feldman for KNX 1070 (CBS Newsradio - Los Angles/Orange County/ Southern California) has raised some serious concerns regarding the use of personal information (about you) gleaned by trolling “data mining companies,” who ultimately sell your personal statistics and opinions and market that information to others as a “proprietary product.”

In Feldman’s four part series, “ Think Before You Friend!” which includes some additional raw audio footage, he takes listeners on an “Orwellian” adventure exposing how banks, lending institutions, real estate agents and even potential landlords are using information about you that they find online through social networks.

You can listen to Feldman’s excellent eye-opening report by following this link.

Now, does anyone care to hide under a rock?

Stay tuned, there are actions you can implement to take charge of your online image.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The iPad Challenge: Part Deux

On Friday, April 28, 2010, just four days after I posted The iPad Challenge:Cat, Dog or Man? Apple’s nifty little device made its way into the hands of its one-millionth customer, and as of yesterday, 3G and Wi-Fi pre-orders began for international markets with the first round of shipping to begin on May 28 to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom - with more international markets to follow in July.

In the Cat, Dog or Man challenge, you were asked to determine who would best benefit from using Apple’s iPad based on the viral videos that were being circulated around the Internet.

According to your comments, it appears the ‘Cat’ won paws down, with pianist Lang Lang coming in a close second.

However, since the last post, two more contenders have entered the competition and they might just alter your opinions.

Our first competitor is a toddler who is barely 2.5 years of age. According to her father and the Telstar Logistics’ YouTube account where the video appears, he shares the following information: “A fascinating UI experiment. My daughter likes playing with my iPhone, but this was her very first encounter with an iPad. As you'll see, she took right to it... although she too wonders why it doesn't have a camera!"

Our second contender, 99 year-old Virginia Campbell was filmed at the Mary Woods Retirement Community in Oregon. Virginia is the widow of former Lake Oswego Mayor C. Herald Cambell, and this was her very first encounter with the unit, plus she’s never owned a computer or even a Kindle, and to top it off Virginia suffers from glaucoma.

Time to cast your votes – this one’s a real tough choice.



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother’s Day: Taking Time to Remember

In May 1907, Anna M. Jarvis, while attending a memorial service for her mother, vowed to create a day to honor and remember the most significant woman in our lives, and so today we celebrate Mother's Day.

Actually, over the years, I have come to realize this holiday as a celebration for all women – whose love, kindness, understanding, talents and friendship have nurtured and enriched our lives.

American author and essayist, Washington Irving probably summed up the term “mother” best when he said, “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts."