Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goin' To Da U.P. Hey!

Deciding "Weather" or Not to Move?

It's always freaked me a bit when I hear about the disastrous weather that seems to be occurring with increased frequency around the country. It has seemed, though, that despite record snowfall on occasion, Wisconsin has been spared the horribly debilitating kind of weather that has been afflicting others: wildfires, tornadoes, scorching heat and, of course, flooding and hurricanes.
I'd always heard that with the advent of global warming, the weather extremes would be more, well, extreme, and focus mainly on the middle sections of countries. Now, it would appear that there is some definitive evidence that certain places around the country ARE safer from billion-dollar losses caused by weather.
A report just released by the National climatic Data Center, the authors of the map atop this page, indicates that there are definitely some danger areas as far as catastrophic weather, but there are also some parts of the country where one might sleep a little better knowing that chances of a disaster are slim.
States were categorized by the number of billion-dollar natural disasters that occurred over a 30-year period. For the record, the last year counted was 2009. As a result of the study, it would appear that Hawaii and Alaska might be the safest places to live as far as horrible natural disasters are concerned! Each noted between one and three such disasters since 1980...somewhat surprising since volcanoes and a gazillion-below-zero weather mark these places as possible disaster areas, as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, it is obvious that the South, the Southeast and parts of the Northeast were definite areas to avoid: Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina being especially prone to expensive natural disasters (averaging roughly one billion-dollar loss every year for 30 years), while the upper Midwest (Michigan)and isolated Eastern states like Maine and Vermont experienced fewer disasters (4-6 events over the last 30 years)...though Vermont will definitely rise in the ranks for the next poll!
Why some and not others? Apparently, the amount of damage depends on two factors:
1. Without a "dynamic environment " to support severe weather, there are fewer incidents.
2. In the safest places, there is, apparently, less to damage; therefore, there is less loss and less expense.

What does that mean for me? Well, Wisconsin is in the 7-9 events category: safe, but not as safe as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Maybe it's time to move, hey?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Would Gloria Say?

Equal Opportunity for a Concussion?

Recently, it was noted that the United States ranked 19th in the world as far as the so-called "gender gap" was concerned, getting a high ranking for education but not so hot scores in other areas. Women in this country have had the right to vote for almost a hundred years, and women have been granted "equal" opportunity to compete in athletics since the 1972 Title IX ruling that made it a criminal offense to deny women such opportunities. Despite these gains, I am certain there are many professional women who know the reality of the "glass ceiling" and bemoan the fact that even in the political arena, there are far more rich, white men than there are of any other racial or gender demographic. But at least they have football.
Green Bay is one of many places that lives and breathes the sport...a place where church services and school schedules are arranged around those important playing dates on the calendar. Water cooler discussions would hardly be noted if it were not for dissecting every minute detail of the team. For example, in today's local paper six of the top eight most-read/shared stories involved the Green Bay Packers...and, that's not unusual. But I am a bit nonplussed by the sudden need to have the Lingerie League's Green Bay Chill as an entertainment option.
That's not to diminish the possibility that women could play such a game. I am certain they can, but the allure is sexual, not athletic, as evidenced by the publicity photos displayed on the newspaper's website. I'm not sure I can agree with that. Brandy Chastain can tear off her jersey in a mad celebration of a World Cup goal...and show an athlete dressed to compete (far more modestly, I might add, than what we see here). Put pads and a helmet on these players and let them bang heads like their male counterparts...fine....but to be titillated by the thought of women shoving each other around in skimpy outfits just is not what I think we need for entertainment; nor do I think it furthers the cause of women closing any type of gender gap we have in this country.
But maybe I'm old-fashioned or heard too much from Steinhem in her day.
Whatever the case, I will not be taking in any of the Chill's games at any time in the near future.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Not Just the Weather

I think Bill Gates should intervene. He seems to be one of the few really wealthy people interested in committing to a better America. He and his wife are well-known philanthropists...sure, they can afford to be, but so can many others who simply insist on doubling the size of their mansions in La Jolla or wherever while refusing to do something positive for America. We need a new news outlet...both radio and television.
By "new," what I mean is "unbiased and focused on the good things that matter." We currently have none of that. We are burdened with newspapers and magazines whose publishers and/or owners have a distinct agenda (e.g. Murdoch, as one of many) and the money to force their ideas on a mostly unsuspecting population who thinks the information is true simply because it comes heralded as "unbiased" when it is nothing of the sort. While National Public Radio might be seen in that light at times, it has a definite "for" and "against" point of view, as evidenced by the way Republicans tried to cut its funding recently.
Bill Gates could give us something like the BBC: unfunded by special interests with the sole purpose of providing the unadulterated news and allowing us to make our own decisions about what to make of events around the world...the unvarnished truth based on fact.
That's what we need. What do we get?
News items that contain accounts of
Cloris Leachman saying she was "DTF" to the cast of Jersey Shore on an awards program yesterday.
Political news indicating that this year's recall election campaign was the "Nastiest in history."
Beyonce's "baby bump."
Six of the top seven stories concern the local football team.
Bill, help us out here. Inquiring minds DO want to know...without inanities and distortions.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bomb Shelter Extra

It was somewhat troubling to hear a noted radio "personality" describe Hurricane Irene as "...a gift from God" since I'm not so sure all the folks along the path of the storm felt especially gifted. It seems that the point the speaker was making had to do with the tenet of the Mormon religion that applies to self-reliance in that church members are encouraged to depend only upon themselves (and, supposedly, God) when the time comes that food becomes a critical shortage.
This calls into mind the era of the Cold War during which people in this country (and, I suspect, in Russia as well) were building fallout shelters in preparation for the soon-to-be-destroyed end of the world resulting from nuclear confrontation between the super powers. Rations were being stockpiled, and movies were even being made which showed how neighbor would deny neighbors space in a family shelter suited for only a select few. Scary stuff.
I think people finally threw away all the crackers and other foodstuffs guaranteed to last forever (Twinkies, for example) with foolish grins on their faces as they realized that nobody really wanted to blow up the world: it was just an early version of the World Series of Poker. This is why I cannot get too worked up about supposed crazy megalomaniacs (are there sane ones?) having nuclear power. Their joy at having destroyed the godless would last only as long as it took them to realize that they, too, would either be destroyed or have nothing nor anyone to gloat over once total destruction is assured.
Now, however, we have come full circle and are being reminded by the doomsdayers that it's time to start building up our supplies of food again (like those people along the East Coast wish they had). In accordance with what I've read about the Mormon doctrine, we should gather a three-month supply of food that includes
300 pounds of wheat, white rice, corn and other grains and
60 pounds of dry beans and other legumes.
This should be enough for a family of four for three months of isolation.
So as not to appear too naive, I would presume there would also be a requirement for water since without it, the other things would be useless.
It doesn't take a movie like Avatar to convince me that the final battle will NOT be over food but over water. Living near the Great Lakes either gives me a great advantage or puts me in great danger of attack.
The end will not be pretty, but , hopefully, it will be quick!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Do We Call This Progress?

On this, Women's Equality Day which every August 26th, celebrates the 40th anniversary of the passage of the voting rights amendment that gave women the right to vote in this country, perhaps it's time to see how far we've come in narrowing the gender least according to the World Economic Forum which posted the Global Gender Gap Index recently.
The research was based on four major indicators of equality:

1. Economic participation and opportunity

2. Educational opportunity

3. Health and survival

4. Political empowerment

The United States finished 19th among the 134 countries judged, finishing very high in some categories while not so high in others (as one might expect). Also, ass one might expect, the countries in which the gap was the greatest between men and women were fundamentally Islamic countries. But, back to the U.S.

America tied for first (with 21 other countries) in the category of educational attainment.
However, it fell to 38th in the category of health and survival (eek!) and 40th in political empowerment.
since the article I read on CNN News did not publish the entire study, those are the only facts to be gleaned about a gender gap in this country.
If you ladies are thinking, "Well, where should I go to enhance my opportunities?" I will list the top ten countries and let you decide (chauvinists need not apply!)

10. Switzerland
9. The Philippines
8. Lesotho (huh?)
7. Denmark
6. Ireland
5. New Zealand
4. Sweden
3. Finland
2. Norway
1. Iceland

Why all the Scandinavian-type countries so near the top? No idea...though most of them have a more or less socialist government system.
Bon Voyage, Ladies!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Outdone Yet Again

Try as I might, there is no way I can top any of this today; it's only right that I share it instead of rambling on about some inanity! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A "Free" Lunch? Not So Much

With the economy faltering badly for most of the world, it's no wonder that more and more complaints are being lodged against the freeloaders in this country: those on welfare or those accepting unemployment checks. Those who's complexion gets a bit more ruby-like between the ears and the shoulders complain that they have to pay for everybody else who doesn't have the desire to get off their behinds and get a job. Those who are simply taking the taxpayers for a free ride should be held accountable!
While it is undoubtedly true that there is abuse in both systems, it is also true that there are people out there who desperately need the aid that our society provides...but it's not free. I can guarantee this, having been at one time a recipient of both unemployment benefits and food stamps. Seeing what other people had and opportunities with which they were presented was extremely difficult during those dark days. Knowing that I could not effectively care for my family without assistance was embarrassingly humbling...and I vowed that if I ever were to escape that vicious circle of "you are overqualified for this job" rejections and the hopelessness they engendered (making actually trying to get a job even harder), I would never again complain about having to support "freeloaders."
I can only imagine the hopelessness of someone laid off at 50 or unemployable due to a lack of education and/or addiction or mental health issues which cannot be overcome...brutal depression and anxiety has to give way eventually to despair.
Now, imagine you have to live in this condition your whole adult life! I could not do it. It was only through the steadfast belief and support of those around me that I was able to get out of that situation...not sure I could have done it by myself.
And now that I am somewhat secure despite the economic and governmental downturn, I refuse to let anyone rail on and on about how social programs amount to a "free lunch." The price for those people is a high one.
Yes, I know that some people abuse the system to great advantage...but I'm willing to "go to the bank" for those who are thinking desperate thoughts right now.
Because I've had those thoughts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Never Thought I'd...

The fashion of the time is to look ahead to all the things we'd hoped to accomplish but have yet to do so. Whenever anyone mentions "bucket list" to me, I get the willies. To plan the rest of one's life in anticipation of dying seems to be an approach that is more than a bit morbid. It is almost like a grocery list: get everything the first time so you don't have to make another trip. Checking items off the "list" seems to be almost more important than the activities themselves. Of course, maybe I'm just odd, but instead of looking toward the bright light at the end of the tunnel, I prefer to look at each day in amazement that my life has included so many things that I never thought would ever happen to me: some good, some bad, but each experience has made me the person I am and contributed significantly to what I will take with me when I draw my last earthly breath.
So, in no particular order, here is my list of things that have occurred that I would never have thought possible:

I would never have believed a woman could put up with me for 40 years and counting...yet, she's still here, and I think we are more in love now than ever.

I would never have believed that the two things I liked the most as a teen would end up being my life's work in many ways: sports and music have taken me everywhere from a college scholarship to a teaching/coaching/tutoring career and 20 years on the radio.

As a dedicated baseball fan, I cannot believe I ever worked for the Green Bay Packers (yes, that is in the past tense).

It is still hard to believe that I survived an aneurysm...or that the tenacity of a local doctor would prove to be the critical element in finding the anomaly. In my experience, there has never been another one like Dr. Mark Weisse.

I would never have thought to travel so widely, and I owe it to various exchanges students/teachers and the travels of my own children who introduced me to wonderful places throughout the world.

I never believed I would actually be 60. As Mickey Mantle once said, 'If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."

I never, ever dreamed I would run the Boston Marathon.

I would not have thought I would complete almost a thousand entries in a blog.

I would have never, ever thought I would care about a social network OR start a Twitter account.

I never thought I would live to see the day that political parties cared so much more about their electability than the people whom they might serve.

And so it goes...

Monday, August 22, 2011

All I Need Now Is A Stick

Bobby Flay material?

I'm not claiming to be the next Colonel Sanders...far from it; however, every now and then, I come upon something in the kitchen (mostly by accident) that I think merits attention. I've always wanted to mix favorite foods just to see if I still liked them in combination: thus, I can never eat ice cream alone. It must be mixed with a variety of things I find degenerating in the fridge...just in case it would taste good. Frankly, I've yet to try anything in combination with ice cream that DIDN'T taste good, but that's almost a given for me.
I'm not talking about the garden variety "peanut butter-and-pickle" food. I mean things that one might put together by accident (or on purpose) and prepare them in an experimental way. As a result, if left to my own devices, dinner would be something one might poke with a fork and say, "Uh, what's in this." Suffice it to say that the result would be a melange of MY favorite foods.
As watched a banana slowly turn spotted-to-brown today (it was a slow day), I decided to see how I could use it to my benefit...although every time I eat a banana, I get a constriction in my throat that may or may not be related to some kind of allergy. I just hate to waste
I disguised the banana with my favorite combination: peanut butter, marshmallows and vanilla wafers. While this is not too unusual an combination, I think my preparation method is a bit off the beaten track. Most people would make a pudding and layer the items (marshmallows excluded) with meringue atop the mixture. I mad sandwiches of the items, baked them in a cooling over until the marshmallow was melty, and I am happy with the result.
When slightly warm, the vanilla wafers are soft, having absorbed the peanut butter-banana-marshmallow combination. After refrigeration, the wafers were again my surprise.
At one bite per "sandwich," these are great. Now, if I can only find a way to get these on a stick, I will be ready to present them at state fairs all over the country!
I said it was a slow day!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Diet Tip

I was eating in a Vietnamese restaurant tonight, and it hit me: the perfect diet tip for Americans. It has nothing to do with what one eats, but it IS about utensils. I was diligently trying to eat a rice dish...frustrated by the minute amounts I was getting as a result of using chopsticks, and the "aha" moment hit me.
Th is no way I could eat a lot in less than an hour or so because there would be only a small amount every time I got the utensils to my mouth. As a result, I ate a lot less than I would have otherwise, and it took me a long time to do so! It only figures that if everyone we to use chopsticks for every meal, there would be very little eaten, and no one would have time to eat very much...result? A thin population! Imagine trying to eat mashed potatoes and gravy or ice fact, even trying to eat steak would be complicated: no knife!
I can imagine folks trying to stab a chunk of steak or twirling the stick around and around in an attempt to eat spaghetti.
You have to admit: it's a perfect solution. I feel thinner already.

The Taa of Sotheary

Understanding myself and the random thoughts that sift through it is complicated at times; trying to understand a two-year old is totally mystifying. My position as "Taa" (grandfather) opens up a whole new vista of confusion. Learning to speak and understand two languages would be impossible for me so I can imagine. The complication for our granddaughter. While she seems to be able to smoothly transition, it's definitely a challenge for me to communicate with her. Yaa Carol is much more intuitive than I am...which makes it much easier and lowers the frustration level a bit. Still, it would be fascinating to hear what she thinks she knits her brow and issues one-syllable commands to everyone around her. At this moment, she is screaming for me to give up the iPad so she can use least that much is quite clear to me.
I'm out!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Looking Backwards Through the Rearview Mirror

Somehow, it never occurred to me as a youngster that there would be moments that were neither exciting or terrifying throughout life...that there would be moments that were more bittersweet. The passage of time eventually places such events in the positive or negative outlook, but at the time, such things encourage a kind of uncertainty that is not pleasant.
Retirement is such an event: the minute one walks out the door for the last time in a place he or she has spent a great deal of energy and effort, a sense of regret sets in. Of course, by then, the door is locked securely behind, and the only way to move is forward. Driving away, one looks in the rearview mirror and senses the passage of something important, and the fear involved in a new opportunity.
As a result, I totally understand all those people who retire only to return very quickly to the safety of a life they have known: a life that insures a degree of comfort based on certainty. Face it: relationships are like that in that they begin and end eventually, either in figurative or permanent separation. Careers end and change begins: not necessarily a pleasant thought, but it can be an exciting one.
Be sure you want to leave before pushing the proverbial door handle for the last time. There is seldom an opportunity to retreat to the safety of a former life, but the challenges ahead can be stimulating.
Hopefully, I can heed my own advice in the coming yet another part of my life recedes in the rearview mirror, surrounded by the "traffic" of new challenges.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It Had To Happen Sooner Or Later

This was an obvious next step

Remember when Coke introduced the "new" Coke and what a disaster it was? Brands are always tinkering with what was a good thing originally in an attempt to make it even better (Coke with lime?). Generally, like sequels or prequels in books and movies, anything after the original just doesn't seem to work out as well as the initial effort. We see it everywhere in the entertainment industry: spinoff after spinoff until originality is lost forever. I think that's why teenager's music is sparked by rebellion: they're tired of hearing the same stuff reworked. At last, though, a "new" version that's worth the time and effort that it took to bring it to the table.
Oreo cookies are an American icon. I believe it's no joke when the commercials call Oreos "Milk's favorite cookie." I'm sure the delectable treat has blogs devoted to such things as how to eat it properly or make it last longer or just HOW soggy with milk it has to be before one gives in and slurps it down. Most people I know don't simply take a bite, chew it up, and move on...nor do they simply dunk a cookie for a few seconds, bite, and repeat. Most folks I know unscrew the cookie part from the creme filling; at that point, some scrape the filling off with a fork...some scrape it off with their teeth and actually eat it; the purpose, of course, is to get to the cookie part (separated from the filling). As such, Nabisco has finally crafter the perfect cookie. Their first effort merely doubled the amount of creme filling: wrong move. We did not want more sugar-infused, whipped lard. We wanted more cookie! Finally, we have just that with the introduction today of the "Triple Double Oreo." This long-awaited reinvention contains three chocolate cookies with two thin layers of creme filling: one vanilla, and one chocolate. I suspect that the filling's only purpose is to hold the three cookies in place...only to be scraped off in order to get to the cookie part.
Acceptable job, Nabisco. Next, give me a bag of cookies with NO filling: I'll put two together with nothing between them and have the perfect cookie.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's All Too Confusing...To Me

Really? This Is Sexy?

Some things about life are really inexplicable as far as I can tell. Seriously, when I have too much time on my hands, things tend to prey on my mind, and singing the theme song to Gilligan's Island doesn't help like it does when I can't get a song out of my head.
Walking along on a tour of Lambeau Field today, having heard the same information hundreds of times this summer, my mind wandered off and left me ambling along waiting for someone to ask a question to give me something stimulating to do. (We always have 2 guides in case of bathroom stops or overloaded elevators, etc.) As I held open the doors heading outside using the automatic door openers, it struck me again: people SEE that I have automatically opened the doors and continue to have the doors why do they automatically put their hand on the door to keep it from closing on them? Even when I manually hold a door open, I notice people put out their hand and hold the door...just in case! What? Am I going to suddenly slam it in their faces just as they approach the doorway? This is just one of the seemingly random puzzles that I tried to figure out today. In no real order, here are some other thoughts that occupied the far corners of my brain today:

Kobe Bryant was named in an assault case recently by a young man who said that Bryant grabbed his hand and sprained his wrist by jerking the young man's cell phone out of his hand...during a church service! Really? Kobe...shouldn't you be doing something else IN CHURCH? WTF? (Bryant's defense was that he "thought" the guy was taking his church?

Why has "Back To School" become the anti-Christmas? Both have weeks, if not months of anticipation in the media and shopping centers. Both are built up like the next great thing, but there are decidedly different audiences here: one (parents) will be happy, and the other (students) faces the upcoming year with something like anguish. Of course, the post-Christmas blues might be something akin to that uneasy feeling as well. Naturally, the reverse happens during most school year breaks.

What's up with the dorky fedora hats everyone seems to be wearing? I've never understood fashion, but it just seems like everyone thinks he/she is in a boy band this year. This is almost as odd to me a fashion trend as women who wrap scarves around their necks when it's not cold outside..,.maybe I've missed the reason for these items...after all, I'm more of an old school guy.

Finally, Don Johnson might have started the trend years and years ago with his character in Miami Vice, but lately, it seems like no well-dressed man even thinks to go out in style AFTER shaving! In fact, that five o'clock shadow thing has appeared in fashion magazines on almost every male model...and I am nonplussed. Every female I've ever dated has complained about being scratched by an unkempt face...all preferring the baby-soft skin of a recently-shaved date. Again, maybe it's a sign I've aged, but I STILL don't know any woman who would prefer me unshaven.
Of course, there is the ever so slight possibility that it's really ME they object to, and shaving (or not) is not part of the issue.
Fortunately, I have fiver hours of walking on tours tomorrow to cipher this through.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Soothing the Savage Breast?

Something From Blue Oyster Cult, Perhaps?

My dentist plays 80's rock every time I visit. I presume he plays it all the time. I know his assistants have heard the tunes so much that they are humming along to snatches of catchy 80's rock while jabbing me with various sharp objects. I guess trying to remember the title of the song or the performing group gives me something to think about other than the incredible nerve damage being done by "a little poke" here and there. If it makes them more comfortable, it's OK with me...after all, I can SEE what they're doing, and I can definitely FEEL if something goes wrong. The operating room staffed by surgeons is another story.
After six knee operations, an aneurysm surgery, a tonsillectomy, and a couple of colonoscopies, I feel confident in my ability to discuss the operating least to the point at which I get to about 95 in my "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" backwards counting while awaiting the heavenly unconsciousness of the anesthesia. It appears, I'm missing quite the musical show, according to a report lately published in Surgical Endoscopy. It would appear that the operating room is never the quiet, focused place I had always hoped it would be when the surgeon goes exploring my innards. Most favor music while working as a way to relax both the surgeon and the staff, boost morale (mine?), or relieve the monotony of repetitive procedures...hey, there's NOTHING ordinary about MY operation! It's not like my nose will light up and a beep will sound if the cutter gets it wrong!
At any rate, the article cites multiple studies that indicate classical music provides far more benefits than hard rock or metal music; you think? In addition to the benefits for the conscious in the room, patients have also been proven to be more relaxed during surgery (as if being unconscious wasn't relaxed enough!), they require less anesthesia, and recover more quickly! A win/win!
Of course, doctors get to choose what they listen to, but the next time I go into the surgical arena, I am specifically going to request that the doctor NOT play selections like "Don't Fear the Reaper," or "Cuts Like a Knife."
Weird Al's "Like a Surgeon" might be fun, though...until I get to the number 95.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Stop Monkeying Around With This Country!

Movie Scene or Infuriated, Unemployed Citizen?

Seriously, at this point in history, I believe I am as frustrated/angry as I have ever been with the folks entrusted with our country. While I generally stick to matters more mundane than the life-and-death struggles of our system, I just can't let this one go. When almost 80% of Americans polled used words like "ridiculous" and "stupid" and "spoiled brats" to describe our elected officials, I know something is wrong.
When the DJI drops 500 points in one day, it's a sign that I'm not the only one losing confidence in the direction we're taking...and I'm laying the blame on everyone: no specific party or philosophical point of view, no matter how unfathomably idiotic I find any of them, all get the "naughty" finger from me.
Elected to increase jobs? Hasn't happened...and what's worse, they are all pointing fingers at OTHER people! Hey! I elected YOU to handle PROMISED!
OK, OK, call me naive if you want to, but I would think the good of the country would outweigh ANY self-serving political agenda...not so much.
We're headed for another showdown in 2012 (following all the recall elections here), and I dread even turning on the TV or opening a newspaper. There will be more mud flying around than monkey feces at the zoo, each person distancing himself from the faults of "the other party." That is, if we're still solvent by then.
I almost think Caesar (pictured) could do a better job than our current officials on any level.
It's disheartening to be so dispirited.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

"Ladies and Gentlemen...Rock and Roll."

At the time, I didn't really notice especially. I mean, I had a job, a semi-large family and could still actually run: too much to do. However, when MTV finally launched following the words of John Lack, one of the creators, the social fabric of America (and probably the world) was forever altered. August 1st, 1981 marked the beginning of what was to be a music revolution. Long before iTunes, MP3 players and Napster, the evolution of popular culture began with a simple video of The Buggles' song, Video Killed the Radio Star. Who knew? Who suspected?
It's somewhat sad to see that 31 years later, music videos have all but disappeared from the MTV scene. Of course, YouTube has had a lot to do with it, making accessibility to music videos instantaneous in the same way that has made access to all things sports available 24/7 and has done the same for news. In my opinion, this evolution has also made us terribly impatient: if something takes more than a nanosecond to load on our computer, we get furious...just my take on it.
MTV undoubtedly brought us some amazing "firsts," though, you'll have to admit.
Remember waiting anxiously for the Thriller video in December of 1983? And remember thinking that Michael Jackson was the most talented guy on the planet as a result? I mean, who else could demand time for a 14-minute video and get it?
Beavis and Butthead predated South Park (now in its 15th season) by only a couple of years and changed adolescent guys' inexorably. How many people do you remember trying to emulate that laugh or speaking like Cornholio? I had a large number of students who never missed an episode between 1993-1998; and those (now adult) guys will be gratified to know that B & B will be back this October! Get out the underwear to put over your head!
Perhaps the most famous of reality shows premiered in 1992 when The Real World hit MTV...and continues to this day, leading us inevitably to Jackass, 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom, and, of course, Jersey Shore which introduced us to things like "hair bump" and better-looking abs.
Naturally, there are detractors who long for the days of simple music videos, but that demographic is probably at least 30 years old by now, and that group has no affiliation with popular culture as it now exists.
They might say that reality television killed the video star, but they'd be wrong...I can watch any video I want any time on YouTube.
Of course, I now need an iPad to take it with me wherever I go. Laptops? Ha! Dinosaurs.
Feeling older...
Check out The Buggles' video (on YouTube, of course):