Angry people: airline seats, nudies in the Cloud, tobaccoless CVS

The Puritanical “outrage” over nude pictures in the Cloud left me shaking my head.

disk_discs_compact_It’s 4:40 a.m., and if I were an independently wealthy/retired, there are any number of recent topics I might write about. But I’m not. So some scattershot thoughts before they go totally cold.

Reclining seats on planes

I’ve long hated airline travel; it’s a flying bus. The recent spate of fights over someone trying to recline his/her seat, and was inhibited by the person behind, have gotten so bad that three flights were diverted in ten days. This is inevitable, given the fact that the space between seats is getting smaller as the passengers, collectively, are getting larger. Of course, this totally screws up not only the lives of the passengers on those flights but those on connecting flights as well.

Mark Evanier reminded me that airline passengers’ occasional schmuckiness is not just a recent occurrence.

Physical music

Part of the reason I’m strapped for time, actually, is that I switched around three pieces of furniture that hold my CDs. One extremely heavy piece moved, two others replaced, which meant reorganizing almost every disc I own. I am reminded that Jaquandor recently noted that he hadn’t purchased a physical CD in four years, and Alan David Doane said the other day that he listened to an album all the way through for the first time in a long time. Whereas I, obviously an old person, listen to albums, all the way through, all the time, and purchased, or was given, maybe two dozen CDs in the past four years. Yes, I know they may deteriorate over time. Did I mention my vinyl collection?

The moving of these CDs actually made me nostalgic. When I was a new blogger eight or so years ago, Lefty Brown and some of his online cohorts (Greg Burgas and Mike Sterling and Eddie Mitchell and Gordon Dymowski, among others) put together a mixed CD exchange; those discs now have their own section in the new furniture.

There’s some comedy routine that ends with “no one understands the Cloud.” And while technically untrue, I sometimes feel that way. I’ve never been all that comfortable having my music there, and good thing; the stuff I used to have on Amazon seems to have disappeared.

Nude photos in The Cloud

And speaking of the Cloud, intellectual property lawyer/drummer Paul Rapp explains the misrepresentations about pix of Jennifer Lawrence, et al being accessed. I discovered amazingly heated conversations about this topic.

My feeling is that the hackers were – I already used schmucks this post – twerps. Others criticized the (mostly) actresses who stored the pictures and fall into a couple of subcategories: those who thought it was not safe to rely on the Cloud to keep nude photos, and those who wanted to slut-shame those who HAD nude photos of themselves. I sort of understand the former – though this should have known better talk irritated me. But the Puritanical “outrage” left me shaking my head.

As usual, Dustbury has an interesting take on the issue.

CVS bans tobacco

A month earlier than previously announced, the pharmacy CVS decided to ban the sales of cigarettes. The reaction by some baffled me “I don’t smoke, but I think it’s ridiculous. We can’t legislate everything.” Well, no, it’s not being legislated, it’s a business decision, which, in the short term will cost the company millions of dollars in sales.

The major complaint is that they aren’t banning cookies and chips and candy, which can also be bad for you. Sure, but in moderation, it won’t give one diabetes and heart disease, while cigarettes can kill even second-hand smokers. Much of the thread seem to scream about a loss of “freedom”, as though Walgreens and the corner store and thousands of other venues have begun banning them as well.

Gillibrand redux

I’ve mentioned the less-than-tasteful comments made by members of the US Congress toward Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). There are shrill calls saying she should be naming names. I don’t. 1) She’s made her point and 2) she still has to work with these guys, and even if they weren’t always using Senate decorum doesn’t mean that she should abandon same.
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Evanier pretty much nailed my feelings about Joan Rivers. Before she got nasty and spent too much time doing whatever schtick she did with her daughter, she was quite funny. The term pioneer is applicable.

I am a collector, part 2

My rationale for owning that much music involves the notion that I should PLAY that music, and I do have an arcane methodology of listening to at least most of my CDs once a year.

In addition to the previously stated items:

Buttons: by which I mean those types of buttons that politicians give out. Some of them are from political races; I think the first is for a guy named Bill Burns, who was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Binghamton, NY, my hometown, in 1969. A lot are from various events, such as an anti-nuke rally in June 1982. Some have no political agenda at all, such as series of buttons of famous cartoonists.

I’ve been collecting for a long time, but not in any organized fashion. One button I had in high school was “Kiss Me, I’m Germ Free.” My friend Jon took a liking to it, so I lent it to him, but I never got it back.  He decided to wear it on the seat of his pants, some teacher reported him to the principal, and the principal confiscated it; bummer.

Books: I was reading somewhere that people like to judge people by the types of books they see in their living rooms when they visit. If that is indeed the case, then we might be judged as largely illiterate, for there are only about a dozen books on the first floor of our house.

However, in the office on the second floor, there are built-in bookshelves that take up about half the wall space, and they are filled with tomes. To my left and right are my wife’s books teaching guides and classic literature. In front of me as I write this are my reference books for film, music, television, sports, plus my Marvel Masterworks and other comics-related items. Behind me are texts on religion, history, biography; a lot of my Beatles-related books are there. In the attic, more Beatles, TV, and comic book stuff, in bookshelves, not in boxes; this is why the lengthy repair of the attic was so frustrating – lack of access to some of my books.

I’m actually loath to consider my books a “collection,” though I suppose others might think so. I was watching CBS Sunday Morning last month, and I saw that Doris Kearns Goodwin has hundreds of books about Presidents. My ex-girlfriend Susan had several thousands of books, at least for a time. Now THOSE are collections.

Music: as I’ve noted, I started collecting records, i.e., LPs, since about 1966, maybe 1965. When I stopped collecting them in 1989 – last purchase was some Ray Charles album – I had about 1,200 of them. Since then, though, the number has grown as people, switching over to compact discs, dumped their collections on me. I dare say the collection has doubled, with a relatively small number being duplicates.

For a brief time, I was collecting cassette tapes, but I discovered soon that they wore out too quickly. Still, there is music that I only have in that form. BTW, I NEVER owned an 8-track player, so I avoided those altogether.

I got my first CDs in 1987, and I probably still get a half dozen CDs each year, for my birthday and Christmas at least. My CDs number more than 1,500 because I started putting them in new furniture my wife wanted me to get – it wasn’t MY idea – but they didn’t fit. Some of them are on the Amazon Cloud, which doesn’t FEEL like a collection at all.

My rationale for owning that much music involves the notion that I should PLAY that music, and I do have an arcane methodology of listening to at least most of my CDs once a year. I’m sure I’ve even described the process in this blog, though I know not where, but if you REALLY want to know, you can Ask Roger Anything later this month.

A is for Acronym plurals

“The argument that acronyms should have no different plural form (for example, ‘If D can stand for disc, it can also stand for discs’) is in general disregarded because of the practicality in distinguishing singulars and plurals.”

Jaquandor, that fine Buffalo blogger, wrote about the acronym FUBAR, and how a writer had used it as FUBARed. FUBAR, in case you don’t know, means Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition, where F really represents some OTHER word.

“Here’s my thing: Isn’t FUBAR already past-tense? Can something really be FUBARed, when the -ed suffix has already been used in the F part of the FUBAR acronym? Seems to me that FUBAR covers all bases, in terms of tense.”

And I replied: “As fussy as I can be, the absence of the -ed SOUNDS wrong… As I think more on this, I HAVE heard FUBAR NOT as a past tense. ‘You really know how to FUBAR.” So the -ed isn’t always already present anyway, in my experience.”

This inevitably got me thinking about how an acronym, “an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word,” is made plural. From the Wikipedia: “it has become common among many writers to inflect acronyms as ordinary words, using simple s, without an apostrophe, for the plural. In this case, compact discs becomes CDs…

“The argument that acronyms should have no different plural form (for example, ‘If D can stand for disc, it can also stand for discs’) is in general disregarded because of the practicality in distinguishing singulars and plurals.”

Further: “A particularly rich source of options arises when the plural of an acronym would normally be indicated in a word other than the final word if spelled out in full. A classic example is Member of Parliament, which in plural is Members of Parliament. It is possible then to abbreviate this as M’s P… This usage is less common than forms with s at the end, such as MPs, and may appear dated or pedantic. In common usage, therefore, weapons of mass destruction becomes WMDs, prisoners of war becomes POWs, and runs batted in becomes RBIs — generally, if the abbreviation ends with a tensed back vowel syllable. The plural of RBI is ‘RBIs’ because acronyms become bona fide words as language evolves, and as with other words attract a plural suffix at the end to be made plural, even if the first word is the main noun in the spelled-out form. ” A call to make multiple runs batted in as RBI I think is just silly.

Some acronyms, BTW, have become lower-case words. FUBAR’s linguistic cousin, snafu – Situation Normal, All Fouled Up – easily takes the s as a plural.

For me, in dealing with acronyms, clarity is the key, not propriety. Which, incidentally, is why FUBARed doesn’t both me either.


ABC Wednesday – Round 13

M is for Musical Format

LP sales are only a fraction of CD or download sales.

When I was a teenager buying music, the LP, the long-playing album played at 33 revolutions per minute, was the dominant recording format in the United States and elsewhere. Then the CD, the shiny disc, was introduced in the 1980s, and by the end of that decade, the compact disc had supplanted the LP as the dominant musical form. CD sales peaked in 2000 with 942.5 million units sold in the US but have begun a steady decline in the 21st century, losing out to digital sales.

It has been predicted that digital music sales will surpass CDs in 2012, although even digital sales in the US were flat in 2010, possibly because of economic unease.

But here’s the odd phenomenon: since 2007, vinyl sales have been on the rise. It’s nowhere near the LP’s heyday, but in an era where physical manifestations of music are on the wane, it’s a peculiar trend.

Top Selling Vinyl Albums Of 2008
1 – Radiohead – In Rainbows – 25,800
2 – The Beatles – Abbey Road – 16,500
3 – Guns N Roses – Chinese Democracy – 13,600
4 – B-52s – Funplex – 12,800
5 – Portishead – Third – 12,300
6 – Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane over the Sea – 10,200
7 – Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon – 10,200
8 – Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes – 9,600
9 – Metallica – Death Magnetic – 9,400
10 – Radiohead – OK Computer – 9,300

Top Selling Vinyl Albums Of 2009
1 – The Beatles – Abbey Road – 34,800
2 – Michael Jackson – Thriller – 29,800
3 – Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion – 14,000
4 – Wilco – Wilco – 13,200
5 – Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes – 12,700
6 – Pearl Jam – Backspacer – 12,500
7 – Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest – 11,600
8 – Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction – 11,500
9 – Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey… – 11,500
10 -Radiohead – In Rainbows – 11,400

Top Selling Vinyl Albums Of 2010
1 – The Beatles, Abbey Road -35,000
2 – Arcade Fire, The Suburbs -18,800
3 – The Black Keys, Brothers -18,400
4 – Vampire Weekend, Contra -15,000
5 – Michael Jackson, Thriller -14,200
6 – The National, High Violet -13,600
7 – Beach House, Teen Dream -13,000
8 – Jimi Hendrix Experience, Valleys of Neptune -11,400
9 – Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon -10,600
10 – The xx, The xx -10,200

Again, LP sales are only a fraction of CD or download sales. Still it’s a growing trend when many believe the music industry is experiencing a slow painful death.

ABC Wednesday – Round 8

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