Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shameful Sameness Celebrated by Cable TV Programmers

Laying low, feeling ill. Too much travel, think I'll stay in and see what's on. Broadcast TV is in reruns. What's on cable?

My TV choices tonight:

- Baggage Battles - Travel Channel,
- Auction Wars/Shipping Wars - Discovery
- Border Wars - National Geographic
 - Pawnshop All Stars - History Channel

hmmm.. how about this "Cheap, non imaginative, derivative of a derivative, copycat cable tv programming wars" ? 

Or "I think I'll disconnect my cable TV because it's all the same old garbage" wars?

Would that work?

Here is what Apple's CEO Tim Cook had to say about the herd mentality:

"I've never thought going with the herd was a particularly good strategy. At best you'll be middle of the pack" 

Apple is not a perfect company but they damned sure are successful... and original. Maybe they'll shake up the TV business in 2013. 

Something's gotta give. All these non reality "reality" shows look and sound exactly the same. I swear there must be one big production company doing all this stuff. Probably barely eeeking out a living as "work for hire" too. 

But hey, middle of the pack is something. I guess. 

Think I'll watch netflix. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

An Alternative to Christmas Consumption

Ever get fed up when the day after Halloween you begin seeing holiday decorations displayed at retailers? Or Xmas themed TV commercials being aired (Macy's Department Store did this in mid-October one year)? Even holiday music blaring on the radio?

I do. I think to myself, it's November 1st? Must the bombardment into submission begin already?

Having spent a few holidays abroad, I can tell you with some sense of confidence that this is a uniquely American and recent "tradition". One I hope the rest of the world does not replicated.

In fact, it is not your imagination, it is indeed getting worse every year. As the 4th quarter and the Holiday season becomes more and more important to retailers, expect to see more and more stores like Wal-Mart did this year, opening up on Thanksgiving. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, it's all just going to get worse, until consumers push back and it gets better.

I've always loved Christmas and the good will and traditions and family time. I've spent a couple of Decembers in South America. As far as I know, there is not a single gift exchanged and if there is, it's so low key that you don't notice any throngs ever frantically shopping for gifts.

What you will see is lots festivities filled with incredible lights, food, drinking, dancing and a general feeling of cheerfulness and happiness....the entire month of December and even into the first of January. But not a moment before.

None of that "the holidays can be so stressful" stuff in South America. 

I've decided that my gift giving will now be relegated only to family and that my family would receive charitable gifts given to someone in need in a developing country in their name.

I tried it a couple of years ago and it was a huge hit. My mother loved the brood of chickens I gave her (or more specifically to the family in Haiti, in her name) and I'm going to keep doing it.

If you'd like to give it a try, do it, see what you think. I predict you'll be back for even more next holiday season. It's truly fulfilling.

Here are a just few suggestions:

- Save The Children 

- Unicef 

- Heifer Project International 

Happy Holidays!