Articulate the Obvious

"I am not happy" -- a banal statement in some cases; such as when situated at the end of a CostCo cashier's lineup. But also a powerful statement for a person who has acted happy for many years, and suspects that, in fact, they are not.

I believe it is important to articulate the obvious. I think it's very powerful to share one's ideas with another, notional person. Articulation is likely a level of thinking that differs from real "thought" ... the latter being like intuition. Maybe this post should be titled, "Articulate your intuition."

Regardless, telling someone, or writing down statements like, "i hate this country's weather," "I am very good at sports, " and, "everyone is racist, to some degree,"are, in my opinion, very different from holding such thoughts in your brain. Intuit, articulate, actualize ... perhaps that's the path from the rational to the empirical.

Cool ad copy for VW

Pricing a VW Passat on, saw:

"look half your age and twice your portfolio."

Hydro One latest exec to quit after overspending.

It's a funny comment on human nature. This guy's been the top dog at Hydro One for four years; he earned $1.6 million last year. Stands to reason he could expect another few million in the years to come.

But, he may have also spent $45,000 on his secretary's credit card, possibly using her card to avoid detection, as his own corporate card would have been scrutinized. Now, he's out of a job.

It's such an odd comment on human nature. Imagine if you sat at a roulette wheel, and you realized that 99 per cent of the spots were black, but normal odds were offered. You bet and you win. You bet again and you win. You continue winning millions of dollars. Then, you order champaign for the dealer and charge it to some poor schleb's room. Then you get caught and can never bet again.

Iraq in a nutshell

"Dude, there's a hornet's nest in your living room."
"We know. It sucks, but we live with it."
"That's crazy, let me smash it for you... Holy Shit! I am outta here!"

By greedonever

Public Washrooms need fix'n

Two things kill me about public washrooms: the insanely long lines that form outside of women's washrooms, and the utter silence that is ambient in nearly all washrooms.

For the latter, this is disconcerting. I have heard people pat-pat on their blackberry behind a stall's doors. I have heard of people who answer their cell phone. I have also heard other sounds ... sounds which, while universal, I don't want to hear; or to have others hear.

The following public places use music to help offset awkwardness: elevators, taxis, airplanes during boarding, doctor's offices, dentists offices, waiting lounges, tunnels that connect two subway stations (live music, no less), hotel lobbies, movie theatres before a screening, etc.

Washrooms, on the other hand, are made of a material so hard it can echo the crash of tossed dandruff. Doesn't it seem time to throw a little white noise, or Luscious Jackson ... even Jermaine Jackson ... or anything in there to muffle the fluffles?

As for the lines outside women's washrooms, this no doubt was a source of pride for men in the year 2400 BC when drinks at the Coliseum were 2 crowns a piece and people were usually hammered by the third mauling of a Christian, but I'm not sure I feel the same pride today. I wouldn't feel proud if a boy couldn't pee because no one had thought to install a 2-foot-tall urinal. People do think of that, because it's ergonomic (in the original meaning). Why, then can washrooms not be designed for equal rate of use, not equal square footage. If 10 men and 7 women can use a washroom in 10 minutes, and human physiology could take 5 million years to adapt to this, why not just move the wall a bit so it's roughly equal. It's not about empowerment, it's just dumb the other way around.

Ryan 'rounder?

I first heard of Ryan Air in 1999. The buzz was that you could fly most places in Western Europe for a pound, plus taxes, if you booked far enough in advance. I didn't think it would take off (ha). Apparently it has .

So I wonder, since it is possible to take seven flights in seven days for about seven dollars (okay, maybe $100 total), will people begin to make a sport out of flying around Europe for no other purpose than to fly? It's not like the flights offer much hospitality, but then neither does much listed in Lonely Planet books, and they seem to be selling okay.

Airport enthusiasts, flying enthusiasts and people who check things off their "TTD before I die" list are likely candidates to spend a week-off flying to Russia, Greece, Germany, Spain, Russia (again), Paris and home.

When I carved a big circle with my euro-rail pass in 1999, I learned I could save money on a bed by taking slow, all-night trains and finding fold-down chairs. A half-full Ryanair red eye to Moscow might be the equivalent.

So, will the popularization of the Ryan 'rounder come true? I'll bet you a buck it will.

Why satellite radio will beat iTunes, IMHO

Regardless of whether Napster was itself illegal, it was only popular because no alternative existed which had the blessing of music "owners." Today, the iTunes store is a very popular web-tool that essentially gives users what Napster did, but with the blessing of the music "owners."

Some people who use iTunes own fewer than 1000 songs. In my opinion, in a library of 1000 songs, about 200 are truly enjoyable. However, a typical core library of 200 songs begins to lose its "freshness" after about three months of rotation. Adding songs to that list through iTunes costs $1 a song, so even being very careful and adding only "core" songs, it will cost $198 to gain another three months of "freshness," or $66 per month. Some people will pay this, and enjoy picking the songs. Many will find the cost -- and agony (watch someone sweat over a large, unfamiliar menu) of making 66 individual choices per month -- prohibitive.

Satellite radio (or Internet radio, TV radio, or other digital audio), on the other hand, can be thought of as someone with a library of 250,000 songs, including every new one. The key advantage, however, is in the feedback. If a satellite radio station can be "trained" to know your musical tastes, then it can not only deliver old songs that you are likely to enjoy, but predict which new songs you will also like. In fact, if it can narrow your tastes well enough, you may even be able to receive just a core of 200 good songs, out of a selection of 250,000 possible songs, and this core will automatically update with newly released songs every day, completely updating before any song becomes stale.

In the case of portable music, an iPod is comparable in price to a satellite receiver (it is likely cheaper, but has a shorter life). However, satellite radio costs close to $15 per month, while 66 new songs per month on iTunes costs $65. Furthermore, for the average consumer, no decision-making is required.

Despite my love of iTunes, I think that, within a decade, music-as-content will be stored on central servers and streamed to users, rather than "owned" by individuals.