Friday, December 24, 2010

MTV and Bravo

Both channels used to be great.

MTV was the first channel to devote itself to music videos. I suppose it's not their fault that videos were quick to become a stunted art form after a short burst of creativity. Most of them were dim bands mouthing the words, even early on. Still, the music is gone now. It should be somewhere, even if music people are less visually creative than most.

Bravo was the ultimate highbrow movie channel. They only showed classics and important films, leaving the garbage to other channels. Now, they've sunk lower than everyone, except MTV.

Both feature trashy programs.

How did people in artificial situations with cameras end up being called, "Reality TV?"

Trash, trash, trash.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

American Liability Laws

Americans don't swim or dive as well as they used to. This is due to our liability laws. Good luck finding a pool with a diving board, or even a deep end. Also, swimming is best learned when you're young.

When I was a kid, swimming was no problem. My family never had a pool, but friends did, and so did friends of friends.

This meant that I could go swimming, whether those who owned the pool were home or not. If a group of us was found in the pool, the owners would come out briefly and say, "Have a good time, kids," before going back inside.

My generation cannot pass the favor on to younger people. Today, a homeowner cannot be nice. Pools have to be secured. Anyone in them must be supervised at all times.

Such idiotic safety measures will only increase the number of drownings.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I have never owned a Harley or any other motorcycle. By all accounts, their quality has gone up over the years. So, why are they on the list?

Because, I have wanted a motorcycle since I was a kid. I have rented scooters in the past, and I have always liked smaller machinery. If I ever buy anything, I would like it to be American. I find Harley frustrating.

The only thing Harley ever made that I wanted was the Buell Blast. It was a 500cc single. That's bigger than I would want, but it's small enough.

They could make an American scooter equivalent by making a modern version of The Silent Grey Fellow. They could do a lot of things, but they're stuck somehow. They're not quite frozen in time or frozen in amber, but they definitely aren't going anywhere.

Right now, Harley-Davidson has 3 major problems.

1. Overcommitment to one engine. Just as GM clings to the small-block Chevy, Harley clings to the big 45 degree V-twin. Both are great motors, but not everyone wants one.

2. "Bigger is Better" mindset. For a while, they were running a promotion guaranteeing a good trade-in deal for those moving up from a Sporster. While the Sportster is the smallest Harley, it's still too big for a lot of people. For some, it's the right size. Nobody at Harley has a clue about that.

3. There is nothing for beginners. I saw some imported scooters in front of a Harley dealership in Thousand Oaks, but I suspect they're the modern counterparts to the small machines they once sold from Aeromacchi: Junk not to be taken seriously. Afterthoughts. They need a solid product range. Right now, a beginner has to start on a motorcycle made by someone else.

I hope they read this.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gibson and Fender

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

Both are in a situation similar to Levi's. After decades of substandard products, they still don't understand why what they made years ago commands a higher price than what is made today.

It's hard to say which of their current product lines are worse. Is it the garbage they make in China? Or, is it their nostalgiac copies of famous instruments, often complete with scuff marks and cigarette burns?

It costs money to make the best sounding instruments. That's why Gibson and Fender settle for making the best looking.