Sunday, August 31, 2003

I'm at Hershey Park to see Kiss. Aerosmith are also on the bill, but let's be clear: no one's wearing Aerosmith face paint. Kiss tees outnumber Aerosmith by about 2:1. Some generic metal band is doing warmup right now. I have no idea who they are, and I'm dead positive I'll never hear them again. They know their audience, tho. They dedicated "Spirit of America" to all the troops, big applause. Post script: I think it's Saliva. Shake your hair some more, guys.

It's the oldest rock crowd I've ever seen. The average age is about 40, and many brought the kids. Maybe it's just the locale, but there are a lot of mullets here. I even saw Jimmy Doheney (that's a flattop with the back down to the waist. Ugh.) One pleasant surprise was seeing some kids wearing the makeup. I even saw a pair of 40ish couples in full Kiss makeup, which is straight out of a Family Guy Episode.

Fun fact: floor seats for this extravaganza cost $90. There's gonna have to be some rethinkinq of the seating. For $90, I want a little elbow (and ass) room. We're packed in like rats. Furthermore, When I look at this crowd, "starved to perfection" isn't a phrase that leaps to mind. "Extra cheese" & "Supersize it", however...

Someone from hearitlive.com is hawking cds, but no one (me included) is sure who they are, and no one can hear him over the music. If this is that service that promises a cd of the concert you just saw, I'm down, but it's not worth fighting the crowd over to ask. Gotta advertise, quys. Postscript: That's not the name, and I can't remember what it was. Also, they were only selling Saliva cds. Doh.

Gene Simmons is the only man in the world who can get a stadium full of people to cheer for him drooling.

Pre-show, we hung at Hershey Park to ride roller coasters. I really don't like the things. I tried the once already at Great America, but I was willing to give it another shot. The verdict is in: I don't like 'em. I gave it a fair try and it's a no.

Road Tunes: Devo "Duty Now", Kiss "Destroyer", Brian Setzer Orchestra "The Dirty Boogie"

Friday we rolled out to Lancaster, PA. We visited Gary's school, and it was underlined one more time: Gary went to a good school. I didn't. Put it this way: Franklin and Marshall College booked Spike Lee for a free lecture. Oregon State tried to get General Lee, without success.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

In Transit: Minneapolis to Baltimore
No meal on this flight, after all, it's only 2 hours. However, for only $10 you can by a sandwich and salad from TGI Fridays. Hold me back.

Baltimore Trip Part 1
Somewhere over Utah.

Travel is about efficiency and courtesy, both elevated to the nth degree. The meals are identical, packaged to reduce both motion and liquids. Bananas, not oranges, to reduce mess. The trips up and down the aisle are timed and choreographed. We time our bathroom runs to reduce congestion and seat-climbing.

All passenger actions are magnified by proximity. A little BO becomes a huge problem when you sit inches away from it for 3 hours. You brush arms w/the person next to you and pretend you don't. The gregarious friendliness of the group sitting behind you would be easily ignored in a restaraunt. On a plane at 6:45 am, it's intolerable. And a tuneful whistle becomes the ultimate sin. One's personal space is constantly violated, so we inslate ourselves w/earplugs & headphones. Video headsets will be hot sellers for airlines in the next decade. When we get true VR, look out.

Children violate all the social rules on airplanes. They bore easily and crave action. Trapped and unhappy, noise is their only relief. I feel for them, but I still make a point of wearing earplugs when I fly.

Road tunes: regrettably none. I travel light.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Let's start simple. Al Franken vs Bill O'Reilly and Fox News. I'm not gonna take sides, after all, the case has already been quite literally laughed out of court. I'm just gonna walk through the math.

1) Al Franken writes a humerous book on the myth of the liberal media. It zooms to #469 on Amazon's Best Sellers List.
2) Fox News sues Al and his publisher claiming they own the phrase "Fair and Balanced".
3) Fox's case is dismissed.
4) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and
Balanced Look at the Right
goes to #1 on Amazon.com.

My question is how Fox could have thought this was a good idea. They must have blown at least $10,000 on legal fees, and gave Al easily $100,000 worth of publicity. Now Al's got a great story to tell on his book tour, and his book has everyone's attention. Instead of doing interviews on "Book Beat" on Cupertino Public Access, he'll be on Jay Leno. Plus, Fox have underscored Al's original point.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said it best:

"Parody is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment and the keystone of parody is imitation. It is ironic that a media company, which should be seeking to protect the First Amendment, is seeking to undermine it by claiming a monopoly on the phrase, 'Fair and Balanced.'"

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