Monday, February 17, 2014

The End of Cable TV? (1965)

In 1965 the world's foremost authority on everything to do with television, TV Guide, turned to the experts to find out, "What Ever Happened to Pay-TV?" The answers were sobering for people in the mid-1960s who had been looking forward to the promise and variety that cable television offered.
   "You're probably wondering whatever happened to pay-TV. Where is it? Why hasn't the bright promise materialized? For years, you've been conditioned to beleve that 'feevee,' or 'tollvision,' or 'pay-see,' as it's called variously by its friends and enemies, will one day offer surcrease -- to hipper, more discerning minds -- from the banality of much prime-time TV programming: concerts instead of cowboys, ballet instead of bathos, opera instead of soap opera.
   "Well, so far it hasn't worked out that way, and a lot of experts are beginning to believe that it never will."
Dr. Joseph Smith of the Oxtoby-Smith market research firm pronounced dismally, "I don't see any hope of any pay-TV system ever working."

A few companies, like Zenith and RKO, had seen the potential. John F. Pinto, vice president of the RKO General Phonevision Co., was optimistic. For three years RKO had been offering pay-TV services to 5000 subscribers in Hartford, Connecticut, and insisted, "If we gave the Hartford experiment the full push, we could put it in the black in three or four years."

TV Guide pointed out, though, that the facts could not be ignored.  Two of the three pay-TV experiments in the U. S. and Canada had gone bust, and it wasn't looking good for RKO.  They'd already spent ten million dollars, and would need 20,000 subscribers just to break even.  Zenith was fighting FCC regulations that was keeping them from selling their "unscrambling device" from coast to coast.

The 3 networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS felt threatened and fought hard against pay-TV in Washington. One of the networks called in the Oxtoby-Smith research firm for reassurance.  Dr. Joseph Smith, the impartial researcher, who, by the way, helped design the NBC Peacock, reassured them that Americans would not be willing to spend the $65 a year it was costing to bring arts and culture into their home to replace the Hayseed shows of the day, like The Beverly Hillbillies and Gomer Pyle.  Oxtoby-Smith estimated that cable companies would have to charge as much as $175 a year per household just to survive.

Zenith Radio President Joseph S. Wright called that idea preposterous.  He said they would be happy to get $2 a week per household, but that they could get by charging $1.25.  "The economy and convenience of subscription TV is of greatest importance to middle- and lower- income families who can least afford the higher prices of entertainment."

TV Guide found the most fascinating revelation of the market research to be the fact that people were far more likely to spend money on pay-TV for movies and sports than they would be for culture and educational programming.  The motion picture industry already knew this and was fighting alongside the TV networks in a regulation battle to limit choices for consumers so as to preserve their monopolies over entertainment.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Enticing the Troops

This commercial from Mexico reminds everyone what the men and women of the Mexican military are gearing up to protect:

The Ukranian Army has a novel approach for enticing young men to serve their country:

Building on that theme, the Russian military takes a higher, more sophisticated road:

Young Chinese men and women are offered an exciting alternative to making our iPhones under harsh conditions:

In the Royal New Zealand Navy, young recruits are there to help the Lord defend their country:

In India, a young person can make everyone proud by joining the Air Force:

and members of the Romanian armed forces can also hold their heads up high:

In Slovenia it's business as usual. V vsaki slu┼żbi means "In every job..."

while in Taiwan, you flat-out get to be a Transformer:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


This blog post won't score me any Brownie points with Prof. Ulichne (or most people) but there's an important religious issue that nobody is talking about and somebody needs to bring it up.

This statue that was supposedly found by a fisherman in Gaza

should strike the fear of God into the heart of every Jew, Christian, or Muslim that sees it.

By Biblical definition, it is absolutely, 100% a pagan idol of another diety.  I won't even tell you the diety's name.  You'll have to read the article to find out.

Different religions have different ideas about what angers the Lord.  In the church I grew up in, drinking caffeine made God mad. Lots of churches told me that caffeine was okay, but God gets mad if we drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.  I never read any of that in the Bible, but one thing I've read enough times that I can say with absolute certainty is that idolatry angers the Lord.

See for yourself.  Scroll down this page to get a general idea about how the God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims feels about statues of other dieties, and what the consequences can be for displaying said statues for the adoration of others.

This item is now in the hands of Hamas authorities.  According to archeology official in Gaza,
"It is a precious treasure, an important archaeological discovery," said (Ahmed) Bursh. Once the statue was released by police, his ministry plans to repair it and put it on show in Gaza.  "International institutions have also contacted us and have offered to help with the repair process," he said, adding that a museum in Geneva and the Louvre in Paris wanted to rent it.
 If you're an atheist or your religious beliefs are not Abrahamic, this is no doubt an incredible archeological find that should be celebrated by lovers of antiquity everywhere.  But if your religious beliefs stem from Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, this is not just an artifact... it is in every way an idol.  Prayers are always needed for the Holy Land, and anywhere else this abomination might happen to turn up.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Back from the (Brain) Dead

My uncle Al's brother remembers hearing the doctor tell his wife that he was "brain dead" and should be removed from life support.  It was enough to give him the strength to open his eyes and blink them.

Many people who doubt that "brain dead is dead" will point to the case of Zack Dunlap, who also remembers hearing doctors declare him brain dead.
Are these simply two isolated miracles, or could it be that doctors routinely declare people "brain dead" for the sake of harvesting organs when there's a chance that a recovery could occur?

I posed the question to the professors at Google University and came up with many more such "miracles":

Officer David Salgado

Rae Kupferschmidt, 65

Ross Smith, age 37,

Alexis Salaz, age 2

Kate Allatt 

Steven Thorpe

Cole Hicks

Isla Traquair's mum

Kitt52's Cousin

Frank England

Ann's Dad

Colleen S. Burns

Ruby Lambert

Sam Scmid, 21

Scott Maloney

36-year old woman in Kuwait

Jeff Markin

Carina Melchier, 19

Katlielou80's dad

Perhaps you can see what I'm getting at.  I'm not saying we should end organ transplants and force people to live on machines that otherwise wouldn't want that.  What I am saying is that patients and parents deserve the choice of when life support is discontinued.  In the United States, we are only given the option of discontinuing treatment.  A family that wants to hold out hope is given enough time to gather the family for one last goodbye once "brain death" has been determined (unless they get the courts involved).  The government has decided what "dead" means, and a lot of times it doesn't really mean dead.

You can find many more stories such as these and learn some scary things about the Organ Harvesting industry at Organ Facts

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Getting Your Site to Display Properly on Facebook

Facebook has special tags that you can add to the HTML of your website that will let you control how it looks when somebody shares your site on Facebook.  These are called "Open Graph" tags.  If you don't have Open Graph tags, Facebook will just pull a random picture from your website, or let you choose between several on your page (not always the one you want).

Here are some Open Graph Meta Tags you can use to make sure your site gets displayed properly.  Add these somewhere between HEAD and /HEAD section of your page's HTML code:

Click to enlarge.  Sorry you can't copy and paste... it wouldn't let me add the code to the blog post.

***NOTE***  Your image has to be at least 200x200 pixels or Facebook won't pick it up and will revert to a default image from your page.

Add these to your Meta Tags and then type your link into your status update box, and see if it displays properly.  Facebook will cache everything, which means if you change those OG tags above, it won't recognize it.

If you need Facebook to update your site's Open Graph information, go to this link and type in your URL:

It will update their info and you can keep doing that until you've got it just like you want it.