Sunday, November 29, 2009

stl radio is a-changin' (again)

So if you haven't heard in the last month, there have been major things going on in St. Louis radio. First I'll start with the obvious. Assuming you live in the StL area and you regularly surf the dial (like me, although I usually leave it on talk radio), you have noticed that 2 stations are playing Christmas/holiday music. It has been that way since November 1. 100.3 (once known as The Beat) and KEZK 102.5 have been playing that stuff 24/7. It is unlistenable to some, especially this early in the holiday season. To me, I think the more appropriate time to start playing Christmas music is right after Thanksgiving. I did hear that 100.3 did three days of playing non-stop Halloween and scary music before switching to glide.

This leaves all the people (including myself) who are hungry for radio jobs questioning: so what's next for 100.3? Will it becoming a new kind of black-oriented station? Or a new format? How about another randomizer format? Whatever it is, I hope they are looking for some great airstaff. Time to start pumping out resumes again.

And speaking of airstaff, after 7 years of being at Emmis, JC Corcoran gets shown the door. He (along with KSHE mainstay) John Ulett did the K-hits morning show during the week. This was reportedly his 25th year in St.L radio. What a good way to celebrate, huh? A lot of people were wondering why this all happened, and apparently according to the Post-Dispatch, Corcoran was a victim of new technology. I'm not really sure what it is, but apparently in the last few years Arbitron ratings (the way they have been doing them and recording results) has changed. Now, people can do 'diaries' (similar to blogs?) and the ratings system keeps track at what their most listened-to shows are. A lot of syndicated morning shows made the list, and only a couple local did. JC Corcoran's was ranked very low. This left Emmis with no choice but to can him, despite of the great sponsors and awards the show has got.

Katy Kruze will no longer be heard on Emmis stations either. This comes quite as a shock as I remember working with her while an Emmis intern. She was an icon, and its safe to say she was the most dominant and active female person at Emmis. It seems like just a couple weeks ago when I heard her show 'Katy's 80s' on KSHE. Another guy, 'Carl the Intern' is no longer there either.

So, that's my update. I really wish they'd bring back the long defunct site:

grazin' on the sidewalks

Everyone have a good Thanksgiving? Mine was decent, as I got to spend it with my Grandma Young and cousins who I never see. So it was good to catch up with them, although a bit awkward since they're too good to show up at family functions. But it was good to eat my grandma's rolls and noodles for the first time in a long, long time. I had to work later that night, since my employer decided to stay open on Thanksgiving. Did it pay off? Not on our part. We were so over on labor and low on sales, throughout the day. In fact, I swung by about 3 in the afternoon and there was like four employees sitting at the counter. So, maybe this experiment failed.

As I got to work at 9:45 that night, I was a bit surprised to see at least ten people standing right in front of Target. At Kohls, there were already several cars parked. I just thought to myself, is this going to be a long night? And it was. Dining room wasn't that busy, but I had a feeling drive-thru was going to be slammed with pre-shoppers. I must have sold at least more hot chocolate and hot tea more than the last five years combined. No joke. It was mostly picky people who were so crabby more than ever (was it the cold?) but I knew that these people were just straight-up losers. I know it sounds harsh, but I just don't see how anyone can sit in the cold for more than five hours just to save $50 or $100 on anything. It can be benefitting. This guy at work told me that one of his friends sold his place in line for $300. That gave me a good idea for next year lol. I know what I would do with $300!

The hottest spots to be at 3 in the morning were Old Navy (which was the first to open), Kohls (4am), Best Buy, Target and Walmart (all open at 5am). I watched how Targets line rapidly expanded. By 4am they were lined up past Sears Hardware. In other words, there was probably more than 120 people in line. I just kept thinking, what a bunch of sheep. By 6am, the restaurant I work at was getting packed as shoppers were already coming in. It was probably our busiest day of the year, as servers reported at least $175 in tips that day. I later went to Best Buy after work (7am) and I was able to get a Sony BluRay player (for $120) which came with Beetlejuice. I also got three more BluRays, and I got the Full House: Complete Series on DVD box set for an amazing low price. So I did my part on shopping.

Sorry if I offended those who regularly get in line on Black Friday, but it just makes me wonder how much of a follower a person can be. Okay, follower is not the word, but an obsessed bargain hunter. I love bargains, but I just can't believe people go out of their way for things that go down in value. I love buying electronics, but I prefer to choose carefully because I know something better will replace what I buy. Like this laptop that I bought a year ago, it may be useless in two years.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

tis' the season for some great Christmas/holiday tunes

NOTE: I first published this on 12/1/2006 on my Myspace blog. I decided to repost this for my eHow/Blogger readers. Checkitout.

Alright, one of my favorite times of the year-Christmas! What I like most about it (I don't even care about the presents anymore...) is the spirit, the love, and the music. Hell, I even like the food!

Every year, I pull out all the great Christmas music we all grew up with. I usually make CDs for my workplace bc now I have this reputation as the dj there. Which I don't mind, of course. As much as I hate to say this, but holiday music sounds a lot better from dead people, or people who are now deceased. Bing Crosby. Karen Carpenter. Nat King Cole. John Lennon. There are also a few exceptions on the deceased one. There are tunes that we love to hear each year that we expect to get sick of, but for some reason we never do and we look forward to hearing them after Thanksgiving. So I came up with my personal Top 25 of my favorite holiday tunes. I'm positive that most of you are familiar with all of these versions. These are not ranked in any order.

1. "A Holly Jolly Christmas"-Burl Ives

2. "Merry Xmas (War Is Over)"-John Lennon & the kids. This is a song you can't touch. I've heard this redone by a few and any revision to this song sucks.

3. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"-Nat King Cole. There are actually 4 different versions of this song put out, but I like the earliest of all of them.

4. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"-Andy Williams

5. "Sleigh Ride"-TLC, this is one of the hipper versions of this song, and they add a verse on this one.

6. "Little Saint Nick"-Beach Boys

7. "Christmas Wrapping"-Waitresses. One of the few great 80s New Wave holiday songs

8. "Feliz Navidad"-Jose Feliciano

9. "Jingle Bell Rock"-Bobby Helms. How can you not like this song (or version)? Hall & Oates actually did a great version as well.

10. "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"-Brenda Lee. Another song that we never get sick of. It's the classicness of this song.

11. "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"- Elmo and Patsy. Another classic.

12. "Wonderful Christmastime"-Paul McCartney. Sounds like it was written in two minutes, but hey you gotta admit its PAUL MCCARTNEY! The music sounds good, too.

13. "Do They Know It's Christmas"-Band Aid. The song that sparked the charity revolution. All Brits united as one. I don't recommend the updated 2004 version of this song.

14. "My Favorite Things"-Diana Ross & the Supremes

15. "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You"-Billy Squier. An unlikely Holiday classic, but it's actually better to hear when you're in a bar-type atmosphere.

16. "White Christmas"-Bing Crosby. Of course.

17. "The Chipmunk Song"-Chipmunks

18. "Baby It's Cold Outside"-Royal Crown Revue. I've heard many great pairings for this song, but this one stands out mostly.

19. "Blue Christmas"-Elvis Presley

20. "Winter Wonderland"-Eurythmics

21. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"-?

22. "Christmas at Ground Zero"-Weird Al Yankovic. I'm a huge Weird Al fan, and so it's likely I would include this Phil Spector parody on this list.

23. "Jingle Bell Rock"-Wayne Newton. Wait, what's a goofball like him doing on this list, you ask? This version of JBR comes to a close second. Give it a listen.

24. "Little Drummer Boy"-Dandy Warhols. A modern song, but for some reason no other version of this song turns me on.

25. "The Hanukkah Song"-Adam Sandler. Okay, so I'm not Jewish or anything. But worth putting on here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The power of power


The Declaration of Independence: 1 page long

The Constitution: 4 pages long

The Emancipation Proclamation: 5 pages long

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: 8 pages long

19th Amendment to the Constitution: 1 page

Social Security Act of 1935: 64 pages long

Nancy Pelosi's House version of health-care bill: nearly 2,000 pages

Harry Reid's Senate version of health-care bill: 2,074 pages

The Communist Manifesto: scouds of pages in 15 volumes

Okay, so I hope by now I'm making my point. I agree with CNN's Jack Cafferty that the Health care bill from Congress is not about health care, its more about power. Sure, I think most hospitals need to be straightened out. I'm not even sure if there's anything about that in the bill(s). Maybe on page 120? or something. I don't know. The more details, the more power. That's just the way I see it.

Blu-Ray blues

It's almost been a year since I purchased my first ever laptop. I remember waking up suddenly on Black Friday (because of my odd sleep schedule) and I went to Best Buy and stood in the cold line for an hour. I didn't have anything in mind to buy, just hoping to get a good deal, here and there. When BB associates were passing out flyers for laptops under $800, I decided to take advantage of this deal and boy did I! I wasn't all that happy about the Blu-Ray player that came with the Sony Vaio, but as long as the same drive played DVDs and CDs, all is well.

In the last 12 months, I've vastly developed my Blu-Ray collection. While in the process, I have been getting rid of my DVDs, little by little. I'm even going as far as donating most to my local library in Glen Carbon. I still have all of my TV seasons, while I don't see much of a future for them on BluRay. I still have 'the very few' favorite movies on DVD, such as 'Almost Famous' and 'Titanic' (in a big collector's edition). I've now got over 30 movies on Blu-Ray. To many, that doesn't sound like enough. Or to those who don't own a Blu-Ray player or PS3, that's too many. I used to have a little over 50 DVDs, combined with movies, music videos, TV seasons and SNL compilations.

For the first few months I've had my laptop, I've been debating with myself and other people about the future of movie formats. For DVD lovers, this is going to be bad news. For anyone who's 'in' with the next wave, Blu-Rays are looking like the next thing. Especially with the HD revolution. The main reason I got rid of most of my DVDs is because, one, I didn't find the time to watch most of the movies. Two, they were taking up too much shelf space. Three, I hated the way most of them looked on the shelf. What I mean is DVD packaging differs big-time on most titles. Some DVDs are not in their usual cases. I'm sure I explained this pretty well. What I like about Blu-Ray is the packaging is mostly the same with the 'blue case stripe' on the top and bottom. And they're all the same size, with a few exceptions.

I'm not entirely positive that Blu-Ray is the upcoming hot trend for movie or video-buying. Two years ago, I quit buying DVDs because movies were easy to download illegally off the web and I remember having a conversation with one of my professors at SIUE about the digital future. He said that '10 years from now...everything will be on hard-drive. There will be no such thing as taking them off the shelf'. A friend of mine even told me that there was a discussion and debate in his IC class about us watching movies by simply plugging in a flash-drive. According to wikipedia, Ghostbusters became the first movie available on a flash drive (last year). I don't know if any other movies have followed. I've gotten maybe 15 movies from the web (yeah, I'll admit it) but I can't say they're in the best condition. I'm also very supportive to Hollywood, as I want them to keep making good movies. So I'll go out and buy if I want the best quality and sound of movies.

The only negative thing about Blu-Ray is the cost. Yeah I know, some catalog titles are cheap. That is true. But if a new movie comes out, it can be priced from $25 or higher. The only other thing is that not all films are released on Blu-Ray. Most film/entertainment companies are doing their part by putting their classic titles on the still-new format. I've even gotten a kick out of the Digibook style, where classics like 'Dr. Strangelove' and 'shawshank Redemption' have been packaged like a book. I've gotten titles as cheap for $5, most notably the movie 'Waiting' (a future cult-classic, btw!). And now, some TV seasons are now being released on BluRay. All four (or 5?) seasons of Weeds are available on BluRay. Fox is even going to put out the Simpsons' 20th season (most recent) on Blu-Ray, while skipping ahead on the slow-running DVD series. So there's lots to look forward to.

If you're a Blu-Ray fan like me, I suggest you go to There's plenty to look around. Lists of Blu-Ray releases (current, new and upcoming) and they keep an eye out what's coming ahead. They even have professional reviews on almost every Blu-Ray movie (or whatever) to come out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

nice place to live? Okay!

I've been wanting to write this blog the last 2 months and I've finally got down to it. Back in September, Money Magazine rated the town I live in, Glen Carbon, Illinois, one of the 'Top 100 Best Places to Live in America'. It was ranked #93. Sure, it was low, but it beat out tens of thousands of villages, towns and cities, so I'm still patting it on the back :).

I have been thinking about why it made the list. I'm not arguing, but I kind of wonder what makes the village perfect, in a way. Actually not perfect, even though we have a couple bad areas. Sources say we are the fastest growing Metro East community in the outside St. Louis area. That's a huge compliment, if you compare us with Waterloo, St. Clair and Madison county towns. And with Edwardsville just next door, its a perfect team. Edwardsville itself is growing, in huge part because of SIUE and we've turned ourselves into Fairview Heights. If only we don't go the same road as Fairview, meaning turning ourselves into a ghetto area despite having numerous places to shop. I remember the population of Glen Carbon being only 5,200 and now its tripled its size in the last few years.

There are a number of reasons that I believe have helped contribute our reputation.
--One, we are open to religion. I'm not religious, but I think its a good thing to help spiritualize the community. In most areas as you're entering Glen Carbon, you'll find signs that say 'Glen Carbon welcomes you....attend the church of your choice'. There are lots of churches in GC.
--Two, we are very senior-friendly. When I was interning at the city of Florissant a couple years back, the StL suburb was very reputable in having dozens of activities available to people of all ages, buit mostly seniors. You always gotta make them feel welcome everywhere you go. GC has a lot of retirement homes and centers plus they do their part in preserving GC's rich heritage, which I'll get into at the end.
--Three, education. Glen Carbon is part of Edwardsville's District 7, which is a huge plus. Under the leadership of Dr. Ed Hightower, the district has vastly expanded, with several schools in all the small parts. Like him or not, he continues to make education a huge priority in central Madison County. District 7 has been named one of the top 100 school districts in 2 publications. We have 2 middle schools and an enormous high school (opened in '97). If socialized schools aren't for you, there's several private schools in the area to serve people as well.
--Four, we offer several things to do during the day. We have several parks and did I trails? Glen Carbon takes claims as one of the first few towns to adapt bike trails from old railroads. Miner's Park is always a great getaway for kids, as well as the parks behind City Hall and the old Fire Station. Several jogging and bike trails are paved around GC and Edwardsville. They always say that a place without parks or outdoor 'hangout' areas, its a bad area.

Again, I'm not saying Glen Carbon is perfect. We've been through our share of struggles. Remember all the TIFs? And not a lot of people are comfortable with the growth. We also almost got a Super Walmart. But thanks to a lot of voices against it, the company decided not to put it there. We will be the only place in Madison County that doesn't have a Super Wally. (Granite City and Godfrey will soon get one, while Wood River, Highland and Collinsville have one) Glen Carbon is trying to look old-fashioned, which is alright by most means. History always comes into play. Whenever people tell me there is no difference between Edwardsville and Glen Carbon, I always bring up the mining history of Glen Carbon that helped develop the village. Edwardsville itself has a rich history, being the home of three past Illinois governors, including its namesake, Ninian Edwards.

So here's to Glen Carbon!

new documentary ideas

I've been wanting to get a great HD camcorder for a while, and unfortunately I haven't really saved up for one. I still don't know which is the best out there, and I know that every year they change, feature-wise, so it doesn't matter on timing.

For a while now, I've been wanting to do a follow-up to my short project that I did 2 1/2 years ago for school. Not necessarily a sequel, but a more updated short documentary on the still-growing online social networking trend. As most of us know, so much has changed since the Spring of '07, and its almost 2010. Here's a look:

-Facebook has definitely expanded bigtime. Their experiment from being a college/h.s. student only site to an all ages site has paid off well. I even know an 80-year old lady that regularly uses FB.

-Myspace. I've already pointed out several times in this blog that there is a slow poison that's turning people away from this site, which was once known as 'the granddaddy of them all'

-Twitter. Unfortunately not everyone I know personally uses Twitter, but its good to keep tabs with people's microblogs, depending on who you follow. It has also given way to the new saying, "50 years ago, people did what they could to find the news. Today, the news finds YOU'. As of now, there is a celebrity trend on Twitter. Some of you may disagree with me on this one.

-Going back to Facebook, there have been numerous changes, besides the audience. When I did the short doc in early '07, there were no 'applications' and not many people were comfortable with the 'news feed'. There were no fan pages back then, or Farmtown, or Mafia Wars. There were even no 'Friend Suggestions' or 'People You May Know' links. There were even no 'Like' or hell, even no status comments back then either. Perhaps in early 2010 we'll finally see a 'dislike' button? Maybe. It would be fun to point out so many of these changes.

-Youtube. While its not really a socialnet site, people have been utilizing it to promote themselves bigtime.

Next year, or when I hopefully get my camcorder, I would like to do another short documentary project just for fun. This will be in the same format as my previous one. I want there to be a mixture of interviews, debates, and of course, what people would consider it, my deadpan style of humor. This is just a thought for now, and I hope this will help me regain my confidence in video editing and making.