Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Verizon Fios Removes Univision. Univision Hints it's the "R" word?


To my amigos outside of the TV business, this is a standard bearer dispute between two large multi-billion dollar media companies. It is happening more and more because as viewership and ad revenue plummet, broadcasters depend more and more on the "retransmission" revenue stream from cable & satellite companies like Verizon, Direct TV, Spectrum, etc.

Disputes like these happen so often these days, most consumers don't even pay attention until it actually affects them. This is business and it's ugly yes, but it's not racist, it's just a stupid, shortsighted and probably greedy business move.

Univision's old owners and management team, (which is today shedding viewers to Telemundo, the internet, etc,) did more to hurt the "diversity" of voices in the early to mid-2000s by insisting U.S. Latinos only spoke, understood and watched Spanish Language TV despite a plethora of research to the contrary.

This dishonest stance prevented or I should say delayed, Latino talent and TV shows getting on mainstream, "general market" TV by years and did way more damage to "diverse voices" than this little dispute with Verizon, a blip on the radar, will ever do.

Fast forward to today and there are more minority and diverse voices on TV than ever before (not to mention OTT - Over the Top and the internet). There are so many voices on TV, internet, OTT, etc. period, that you can barely hear what anyone is saying unless your initials happen to be DJT and you have your finger on the button, then people do seem to pay attention to your every word.

Imagine playing tennis on an ever-expanding but still crowded tennis court with 1,000 other tennis players. That's the content universe today and sadly not much play is getting elevated.

Networks are DESPERATE for attention because ATTENTION = REVENUE.

All that said, I understand how easy it is to think people are treating others differently solely because of "who" they are.

In this environment of 24/7 racism, sexism, and any other "ism" that gets people wound up on CNN and other channels, these terms have basically become TV genres in and of themselves.

Again, this is mostly a symptom of large media companies worth billions, freaking out because they are losing viewers (and hence revenue) and will do anything to try to shock people into watching, including screaming racism and further slicing and dicing the viewing public in any way they can to garner their dwindling share of that divided market.  It's a race to the bottom with no winners, least of all viewers.

Doesn't mean racism doesn't exist, of course, it does. Doesn't mean it's not terrible, of course, it is.  it just means this particular instance is about one color and one color only - GREEN baby GREEN. So don't get your colors all mixed up. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

60 Minutes Brave Expose on Big Pharma

QUESTION: Why is TV called a medium?

ANSWER: Because when it's well done, it's rare.

Old joke but very proud of 60 Minutes tonight who went up against a huge ad category (Big Pharma), when they broadcasted an expose on Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn sponsoring and congress passing a bill that helped Pharma Companies avoid DEA enforcement and ensure the flow of opioids continue to feed an increasingly addicted nation (many in her home state of TN) resulting in over 200K deaths.


Money of course. So sad how politicians continue to $ell u$ out at every turn. But very brave of 60 Min. to eschew Pharma ads (I counted $0 this week) in order to expose this travesty. Could not have been an easy choice. We need more journalism like this. Thank goodness (and our founding fathers) for the 1st amendment.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Grey - My Favorite Color

WHY IS GREY MY FAVORITE COLOR? That REALLY strong opinion you espouse... could it be the seeds were planted by a foreign government bent on sowing discord here in the US?

That would mean we're being manipulated to argue and be divided politically, among friends, families, etc. by agents of foreign governments (with sadly, probably some help at home as well). Throw in the small % of people who run corporations that own most of the major national media & technology within the USA and you have a recipe for manipulation not seen since the days that most of the populace was illiterate and uneducated and ruled by Monarchs.

What to do?

Respect others' opinions.

If you consider yourself a "conservative", maybe read a "liberal" newspaper like the NY Times or watch a liberal TV show on MSNBC sometime.

If a "liberal" watch Fox News or read the NY Post and see the other side. If a "moderate" do both WITH AN OPEN MIND.

 STOP being railroaded into thinking a certain way just because you live in a certain geography or were “brought up” a certain way.

There's a reason they say you can't imprison the mind. Borders in the brain are self-imposed.

Think for yourself. Humans are imperfect but from Bangkok to Baghdad to Boston, most are good-hearted folks. Give your fellow human a break. Life is grey, it is not black and white. Which is why, grey is my favorite color.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Humans... We Suck.

Gotta say it... Roger Ailes' Fox News legacy from 1996 lives on in the Summer 2017 DC shooting. 

Dividing people to gain money, power, market share, career advancement, etc. has consequences... and we, the ever pliable and naive public are paying the price. 

Turning against our neighbors, fellow citizens and fellow human beings on demand and on command. 

Cuba has a similar problem in miniature. Only there, neighbors turn against neighbors and spy for the government for an extra bag of rice for the month. At least they have hunger as an excuse. 

Encouraging the dehumanization of others is dangerous. And media is powerful... especially in the early to mid-2000s when Mr. Ailes' grand experiment began to bear fruit and shape public discourse so powerfully. 

This didn't happen suddenly or in a void. Actions, positive, negative and in between... ripple through time... decades and centuries after we leave the earthly realm. 

May your ripples be lovely & kind ... not brutish & selfish. 

No. I have not been drinking. Much. 

Crazy Horse Prophecy Comes True

Mother Nature got you down? Yeah, she seems kind of angry.
Well, here is something uplifting. In 2016 we visited the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota, located in the poorest county in the USA where the avg. male life expectancy is 48. Let that sink in.
The famous Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief Crazy Horse predicted that the 7th generation would lead a resurgent comeback for his people. They are here and It is now happening with Lakota youth at the Red Cloud School (where 95% of graduates are accepted into college) leading the way.
Here is a link to a short, but inspiring photo essay. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Welcome to Florida.. Now Give Me Your Money!!!!

I recently had a 60 cent cashless only toll turn into a $15.60 bill because of Thrifty Car Rental and the State of Florida's super sneaky and shady "Gotcha!" toll system which allows Miami Airport Rental Car Companies like Thrifty to charge $15 a day in "toll admin fees" after the fact. I was there less than 24 hours, hardly went anywhere, used GPS to avoid toll roads, but no matter... If they play you just right, the fees they "earn" from tolls from unsuspecting visitors is actually more than the car rental itself. How much $ does this contribute to the rental car co's bottom lines? How many people go to the energy and trouble to fight a $15 charge, no matter how ridiculous?
New York State was recently outed for charging out of state EZ pass holders the cash fare, punishing them because they were from out of state, even though they had an EZ Pass.
This dishonest behavior and complicity by our government appointed authorities reminds me of another example. This one in Mexico, a third world country with a transparently corrupt government and correspondingly inept tourism authority where they advertise rental cars as low as $6 a day without conveniently mentioning insurance at $100 a day or more is REQUIRED by law. No insurance, no car. You find that out at the rental car counter, usually in the middle of nowhere. GOTCHA!
Travelers should not be treated as cargo or human ATMs. Governments and Companies that treat them as such, risk backlash (i.e. the airline industry's latest PR fiascos since they were allowed to merge) and worse. I think much of the rage we are seeing these days is a result of a series of small but more and more frequent injustices taking it's toll (no pun intended) on a seemingly helpless public.
Since the New York & Florida Dept. Of Transportations, Dept of Tourisms & partner rental car companies don't respect their visitors, maybe there are just too many folks visiting the state of Florida and New York spending too much $ and taxing their overcrowded highway system, thus they treat visitors like an ATM instead of with respect. Perhaps travelers should consider going to other nearby destinations. I hear the beaches in South Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas are kind of cool....and that the Catskills are overrated.
Here is a great article on Florida's "Gotcha" toll System.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day USA

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY USA: - I'm thankful for the unfettered opportunity to present our truthful travel and world experiences directly to our audience, free of government (or corporate) censorship, interference or fear of reprisal.
This simple but powerful right is still not enjoyed by too many in the world. May we always remember it, and not take it for granted and/or abuse it by presenting exaggerated, inflated, misleading or manipulated information to support a pre-judged position for the sake of money, power or influence.
May we always recognize, that each of us, by our very nature of being human, see things through a prism of beliefs and attitudes already embedded by our unique education, experiences, upbringing and exposure to information.
May we always seek to continue to evolve and grow based on new information and knowledge that travel brings and understand that we are all "works in progress" and deserve each other's honest but respectful dialogue, regardless of whether we agree with someone at any given moment in time.
May I judge less and love more and understand that life is a short but powerful gift that should not be squandered.
Travel safe (but not TOO safe) out there and Happy Independence Day everyone!