Sunday, August 30, 2009

“It’s In The Hole!” Make It Stop!

My husband loves to golf and loves to watch golf. On Saturdays and Sundays I lose all control over the TV remote when golf is airing.

But I swear that if I hear some spectator at a golf tournament say “It’s in the hole” one more time, I won’t be responsible for my own actions.

“It’s in the hole” has taken the place of yelling “You Da Man!” which seemed to go out of style very quickly. But “It’s in the hole” is much much worse. It seems that someone, on every hole, with every shot, must yell that the ball is going to be in the hole, even if golfer is hitting the ball from the tee on a par five.

And depending on the golfer, the number of people yelling, “It’s in the hole” is directly proportionate to the popularity of the golfer or his standing on the leader board. For example, when Tiger Woods hits the ball, many people will yell “It’s in the hole” but when someone like Ben Curtis is putting and he’s nowhere near the lead in the tournament, he’s lucky if his wife yells “It’s in the hole.”

For the number of times the ball actually goes into the hole after someone yells out that it is in the hole, you’d think that people would come to the conclusion that just saying “It’s in the hole” doesn’t mean it will actually GET in the hole.

I suspect that there are some people out there who are recording the tournament on their DVR and want to come home and hear themselves yelling “It’s in the hole” so they can feel important. I blame the movie Caddyshack.

My wish is that the PGA would make a ruling for any televised PGA sanctioned golf tournament that if anyone yells “It’s in the hole,” that person should be immediately ejected from the golf course, and then as further punishment be forced to watch Kevin Costner in “Tin Cup” 10 times in a row, the latter being the far worse punishment.

And while I was writing this, I heard “It’s in the hole” at least 30 times. These people seriously need to get a life.

Bill Murray Caddyshack “It’s In The Hole!”

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fox News: Toxic Waste or Free Speech?

I was happy when I heard the news that advertisers were pulling their ads from Fox News’ Glenn Beck show. I am all for free speech, but I am also for people accepting the consequences of it.

Beck had referred to President Obama as a racist, with “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” How Beck arrived at his revelation I have no idea. But based on what I have seen of the public face of Barack Obama, Beck’s conclusion seems skewed in the wrong direction. Based on the public outcry regarding Beck’s comments, including Fox News themselves distancing themselves from Beck’s statements, it seems clear that Glenn Beck crossed the line. According to the New York Times, “That day, Fox News appeared to distance itself quickly from Mr. Beck’s remark that Mr. Obama was a racist, telling the TVNewser blog that Mr. Beck had “expressed a personal opinion, which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel."

I actually tune in to Fox News on the weekends every now and then, mostly in the morning on Sunday and on Saturday for their business shows. I watch only to see what the extreme right is saying. My husband used to like the business shows, but we find that we now record them on the DVR and watch them later so we can fast forward through all the political whining which frequently has nothing to do with the business climate. We can now watch about 2 hours of the show in about 20 minutes, and it’s getting to the point we will likely not watch at all. Why? Because Fox has reached the point of overkill on its right winged slant. When I get my news, I also like to get more than a singular opinion. (I actually prefer the news relatively opinion free, as how the broadcast networks handle it.) Remember when Fox used to call themselves “Fair and Balanced?” I haven’t heard that tag line in ages, likely because the media made a joke out of it, as historically Fox has been far from fair and balanced.

While Fox seemed to distance themselves from Glenn Beck, the network’s penchant for extreme commentary supporting the extreme conservative right has created what I see as a “toxic” news environment filled with talking heads who try to yell the loudest and say the most controversial things against moderates and liberals. My opinion is that it doesn’t matter to Fox if their comments are really factual, they just want the shock value so they can attract more eyeballs to their channel. In the case of Glenn Beck, he doesn’t seem to be able to support his accusations, and advertisers are not willing to put their reputations on the line for such unsubstantiated commentary. This may be the only thing that can teach Fox News that free speech does indeed have a price, and that Fox may need to dial down the vitriol if they want to keep making money. People may watch to see what wild comment comes out of one of the mouths of their talking heads, but if advertisers aren’t there to pay for all that overhead, Fox News will be hurting in the wallet and the nasty talking heads may eventually disappear.

My conclusion is that Fox News is toxic waste disguised as free speech. And like most toxic waste, it will eventually need to be buried far far underground where it can't hurt anyone. Fox is more than welcome to continue to allow their talking heads to have a free reign with their mouths, and I hope advertising continue to speak right back to them by pulling their adversities dollars.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Twitter: Pointless Babble? I Say No.

Back in February, I wrote that I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to join the Twitter party, or watch from the sidelines I decided to join the party soon after those comments, and I have a two Twitter accounts. My family and friends have still stayed off the Twitter bandwagon, however. I use Twitter to keep people up to date on my blogs, and I have to admit that I find it a quick, easy way to keep up on what other people are doing. (The real time search is also great.)

A recent study by Pear Analytics says that 40% of the tweets are “pointless babble.” I ask – is this really a problem? I thought the whole point of Twitter was quick and brief communication, not about high quality content. While I don’t tell people what I am doing every minute of the day, I have to say that I enjoy some of the “pointless babble” that goes on out there, some of which actually put an interesting spin on the mundane. Sometimes I will just look at some of my followers and whom they follow, and delve into their tweets just to get a snapshot of what is going on in the world. Some of it is silly, but a lot that may appear to be pointless babble really may make sense if you look at the person’s tweets over a period of time.

The full breakdown of categories measured by Pear Analytics are as follows, in case you are interested:

Total News 3.69%
Total Spam 3.75%
Total Self Promotion 5.85%
Total Pointless Babble 40.55%
Total Conversational 37.55
Total Pass Along Value 8.70

My only complaint about Twitter is that they certainly seem to have capacity issues, downtime issues, and security issues. But content issues – I have no problem at all with pointless babble. It's a lot like how my own mind works!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We Need Health Care Reform – Not Angry Mobs

It seems every day there are more news reports of angry mobs at some senator’s town hall meeting. While I am all for free speech, I am for free, rational speech, not free, angry and ignorant speech.

This country is in dire need of health care reform. There are many poor American citizens that can barely afford to feed their families and pay for a roof over their heads, much less get medical care. Too many people are denied medical coverage because of pre-existing conditions. And for those people who are employed and/or who are paying for their medical insurance, the costs have been rocketing upward each year, with no real improvements in the type of coverage they are receiving.

The Obama health care plan is not about socializing medicine, as the angry mobs want people to believe. It is not about making euthanasia easier for the elderly, or denying the elderly care, as the angry mobs want you to believe. It is not about taking away your choice for coverage and for doctors as the angry mobs want you to believe.

This is about providing a health care option for those people that don’t already have coverage. It’s about helping to reduce medical costs and encouraging people to live healthier lives to prevent their illnesses. It’s about getting rid of loopholes that, for example, allow insurance companies to deny covering any illness that is considered “pre-existing.” It's about encouraging competition between insurance companies to help lower costs.

The government doesn’t want to take over the entire health care system. Yet these angry mobs are intent on trying to make people believe that the government wants to control whether people get health care, what kind of care they get, or even if people live or die. These mobs are trying to prey on peoples’ fears. Don’t buy into it.

I am not saying the plan is perfect, and I do have concerns about funding. But I would rather do my homework and research the issues, and ask my questions or voice my concerns rationally. My opinion is that rational questions often get rational answers. The angry mob mentality gets one nowhere.

Information about the Obama/Biden Health Care Plan can be found here.

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