Back To The Open Mic

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Just got back from the Revue open mic. I haven’t done one of these for a few months at least. I played two new songs. Both challenging. I played Blackbird, and damned near pulled it off without a hitch! I cut it short because I started to get unsure where I was going. The next song was and old gem from the mid 70’s called Charlie, by Split Enz. That was a last minute add. The song i was going to play, I realized, I simply was not ready to perform. In retrospect, I should have played a song I knew better, because Charlie is still too new also. But I hadn’t prepared anything else, so I went with it. I need to get more consistent and learn to finish out the songs with more confidence.

By request, I did get to play Paul Simon’s “Slip Sliding Away” with the very talented Jorge Apsay. He showed me the chords right before he went on. I played it OK. Still have a hard time getting the G chord where you play a G and use the pinky to fret the high G and index finger on the B string first fret. But it wasn’t my guitar work he was after. He wanted my harmonies, which I was more than happy to provide. The funny thing is, I had planned on learning this song when I went to Washington so I could play it with my brother. Ended up I just didn’t have the time to do so.

Oh well, next time i go up there, i’ll be able to play it.

Media FAIL… The Daily Beast Going Bust?

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Looks like the Harmon family is divesting interest in NewsWeeks Daily Beast online blog.

Barry Diller launched The Daily Beast under the auspices of former New Yorker and Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown in October 2008. The presence of Brown, coupled with an emphasis on political coverage that dovetailed with the election of U.S. President Barack Obama one month later, allowed The Daily Beast to immediately establish a brand and build an audience.

But advertising sales never caught up with the buzz, and media reports have estimated losses at The Daily Beast at around $10 million annually.

Diller and Harman decided to merge their titles in November 2010 — the rationale was to leverage the combined audiences to cross-sell advertising at both publications and subscriptions for Newsweek. The Daily Beast is a free, ad-supported site.

So far, however, the combined venture is still losing money, according to Diller, though he has said this year’s loss will be substantially less than last year’s. He did not give a figure and Brown has called reports of $30 million in losses last year “excessive.”

Here is the deal. The Daily Beast is predominately liberal. It was created with the expectations that the Obama friendly slant would guarantee a growth audience for years to come. It did have a great launch -“Sorry, Dad, I’m voting for Obama.” – And they lured into the fold the one blogger who has perhaps the biggest man-crush on Obama that could ever exist… Meep. Meep…. and more Meeps.

Ah… The folly of expectations! Just like The Nobel Peace Prize committee awarding President Obama that most honored prize even though he had only been in office for not even six months, because the President was surely going to do something to encourage World Peace and was certainly going to craft policy to make his “vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons“, a reality that has yet in any way to materialize (Bush’s fault I’m sure). And no, assassinating US citizens and killing people with drones and giving the OK to fly spy drones over your own citizens does not help the cause for peace….

Oops. I side-barred.

Anyway, the media strategy at the Daily Beast was destined to fail because left a huge chunk of the reading audience alienated from the get-go… Yes, that would be Conservatives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for the placement of far right commentators by any means, but you don’t want to cater to the far left either. I mean, it’s not like Air America was also a success, and they were only a little more to the left than The Daily Beast has consistently been. You figure that lesson would have been learned.

I can hear someone saying now… “Well, what about FOX News or National Review Online? They cater to one side of the political fence and have been very successful!”.

Two points here. The Daily Beast seems to have been built on the assumption that Obama would be a hugely successful President. At this point, that certainly looks like a silly assumption. Live by the Obama sword, die by the Obama sword (sorry again Nobel Committee, probably a bad idiom to use for this President). More important in this case IS the examination of FOX News and National Review Online. Why FOX has worked so well, that many liberal detractors seem to ignore, is that before FOX, there was almost nothing out there in the cable news industry that catered to the right wing audience. Murdoch and friends had a completely untapped audience waiting for someone to come along and snatch up that demographic segment.

National Review Online?

They had a very successful branding, and they started small. This is often the most important aspect of starting a business that both Air America and apparently The Daily Beast completely ignored. They both started big, huge in AA’s case, which didn’t leave them any room for segment growth. Both FOX and NRO were able to grow to fit their audience, not the other way around. I also suspect that a great many in the business / advertising world have over-estimated the effectiveness of online advertising (yes facebook, I’m looking your way) and have set themselves up for a rude awakening when that bubble bursts. But them, I’ve always thought the price for advertising was always overvalued in many aspects of media, so this may be a bias on my part clouding my judgement.

Is this a sign that daily Beast is going under? I can’t say. There is still time to save the product. But they have to get much smarter and much more accommodating to other political point of views if they are going to survive. Oh, and get rid of Tina Brown. She doesn’t exactly have a great track record for the last several years.

PS. To Yahoo writer Peter Lauria – Thank you and Yahoo for including the fact that you used to work for the Daily Beast so that we can know there might be some bias in this report (why did you leave I wonder). But… BUT… Andrew Sullivan did not exactly scoop the story about Anderson Cooper being gay. You can’t scoop something when the whole world pretty much knows it anyway.

Wow! I’m being awfully snarky tonight.

Changing Course, Blog Style.

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As you may have suspected based on my vacation photos, I’ve been on vacation. I was in Gig Harbor Washington visiting my family. And also going places and doing stuff.

What kind of stuff?

Just, um, stuff.

Ha! Keeping my turkeys in suspense.

But seriously, I’m about to go on a bike ride and don’t have time to write about it now. And I don’t feel compelled to write about it. I’m going to concentrate on other things. Things that I couldn’t do while I was out of town. That was a chance to take a break and come back to start anew…. On things that got put aside for the last few months. As my guitaring has steadily improved, I’m about ready to make a second attempt to record my first solo album. I also have a new business idea hatched a month ago that I’ve had no time to pursue, partially because I was concentrating on getting things done to make the trip to Washington possible. This means there will probably be even less blogging than there has been lately. Of course, every time I write that, some incredible bloggy event happens in the world.

I have to prepare for the morning ride to wherever it is we’re riding to. They mate won’t tell me where that is. He is mean! I’ll post an update sometime today.

See you in a while.

Things You Don’t See In Fresno.

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The Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Political Fun…. Is Romney Being Bainboated?

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Though I’m on vacation and have had little time to Digg into the news (the topic of the death of will be a subject of my next post), I have noticed the hub-bub concerning Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital from 1999 – 2002, during the period where he spent most of his time successfully fixing the broken Salt Lake Ciry Olympics.

SEC / business law “experts” such as Andrew Sullivan are calling for the SEC to launch an investigation into this period because Romney says, though he was still payed as and listed as Bain CEO, he was not involved in day to day activities. Sullivan and others are twisting themselves in knots trying to make this a crime, with the stated logic being ” you’re either CEO, or you’re not”….

Really? You really think business rules and laws are that simple? Romney’s arrangements with the board of Bain were declared in the SEC filings at the time. And it’s not as if it was some secret where Romney was or what he was doing. Plus, let’s put this in context. This all went down during the turn of the century, when the SEC was already pretty uptight due to corporate shenanigans that occurred during the Dot-Com boom and bust of the late 1990’s.

But I know, I  know, it’s politics, and there is little room for logic and common sense during the silly season. The Romney / Bain arrangement seems to have been unusual, but, seeing that Romney’s activities were about as transparent as you can get in the business world, this line of attack certainly seems odd, and maybe a bit desperate.  It is like the fringe Kerry-haters from the 2004 campaign. There was not much in the way of positives to parade in support of Bush, so they took the one thing that could have been a positive for Kerry, and turned it into a negative. And a few of the things that were thrown at Kerry did turn out to have some validity, but much of it was just throwing stuff on the wall and see what sticks.

Now, with the bad economy, the Obama administration doesn’t have a heck of a lot of positives to campaign on. He has made moves to separate himself from his opponent on some social issues, for which I am grateful, because this election was looking to be the blandest in my memory. At least now there is some specific, tangible differences between the two. These new lines of attacks are probably the only weapon the Obamaites have left in their arsenal. With Romneys weakness as an attractive option to the current President, this “Bainboating ” approach will probably succeed.

PS. I’m writing this on the go from my phone, so there are no links I can feature at the moment. Also, if there is any sloppiness…. Sorry bout that.

PPS.  I’m not a Romney supporter; I just find this fun. They should change the name of  the political cycle to the “political recycle”!

Life… As A Passenger

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Yesterday was such a hard day at work. Everything went wrong in some quirky twisted way…. I just got fed up and told my boss I quit!


Of course, I am my boss and I pretty much quit every day. Such is  life when you run a sole proprietor business. My boss is a jerk, a cheap tightwad who never gives raises, and my employee is a lazy good fer nothing! And lately I’ve had little time or inclination to do much in the way of blogging. Life bas been insanely busy.

But that is all behind me now.  I’m taking a break and rolling down the tracks. When I get there to the place I’m heading, I’ll post some pictures, and maybe I’ll stop being so cryptic.


Then again…….


PS. I do have plenty of pictures to go with my adventure, but I’ve yet to download the proper so that makes it easy to post those directly from my phone. I’ll get to it.