56

Posted in Observations on June 28th 2009 by Randy Reichardt

.: It is my 56th birthday today. I was born at 01h06 CDT on 28 June 1953. It has been a nice day, pleasant and sunny, and I have received numerous birthday wishes from friends via my Facebook site. With the end of June comes the halfway point of the 4-month summer break. I plan to be in town for most of the remainder of it, with the glaring exception of a 10-day trip to NYC in late July, ostensibly to see 4 Steely Dan shows, but also to hang out with friends as well.

Birthdays are special days, a time to consider and review one’s life, and to give thanks for what matters.  To me this means a loving and supportive family, amazing friends, a great job and work environment, and the good fortune to be living in a great city in the perhaps the best country in the world.  I am generally healthy, which is also a blessing.  So to all who read this small blog, my thanks for your interest and where appropriate, your friendship and support.

With much love,

Randy

Various

Posted in Blogging, Music, Observations, Research on April 15th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Recently I joined Foster Parents Plan, and information on my sponsored child arrived in the mail last week. Her name is Welalo, she lives in a village called Lama Tessi, in Togo, and is in third grade primary school. She lives with her sister and mother, in a small brick house with a straw roof.

Her village has no electricity, and her home has no plumbing. In lieu of a washroom, her family must use and open field or public area for their needs. Welalo’s family gets their water from a open well approximately one kilometer from their home. To cook their food, they use an open fire, fueled with wood, and their house is lit with kerosene lamps. Despite the foregoing, the documentation sent to me indicates that the familes in Welalo’s community live a rich cultural life, telling and listening to stories, talking with friends, and listening to the radio.

Needless to say, as I sit in front of my Dell computer, with lights on, drinking cold water from the fridge after eating a satisfying meal of meatloaf with fresh vegetables and bread, reading about how Welalo lives puts my life in a perspective I hadn’t considered before reading about her and her village. I really, really don’t know how good I have it, living in Canada.

:: I mentioned previously that my friend in Winnipeg, Tony, began a blog a couple weeks ago. Tony is in the midst of difficult times, and he is showing great courage in detailing this on his site, something I’m not sure I could do myself. I have avoided writing about Certain Things on this weblog since its inception, issues too painful for me to write about publicly. Tony is choosing to do so, and I applaud him for his effort, as I believe it can’t be the easiest thing to do. However, writing can be cathartic, and whether or not one chooses to do it publicly, shouldn’t change that. I’ll leave it there. When a friend is in pain, one shares that pain with them – I wish him and Claire well, at all times.

:: The Harvard/UNC study on downloading, mentioned earlier, is in the news. One of the authors, Koleman Strumpf, an economics professor at UNC, thought the paper, The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis, written with Felix Oberholzer of the Harvard Business School, would be of interest to a handful of academics, and nothing more. Instead, its release, in draft form, has touched off a flurry of responses and uproar, most of it coming from the music industry. The RIAA released a six-page response (which, despite my best searching efforts, I cannot locate on their web site anywhere), saying that “The results are inconsistent with virtually every other study”, and asking “”If illegal downloading is not the cause of the precipitous decline in sales of recordings, what is?” Well, duh. Where does one begin? From newsobserver.com:

There could be many causes for the decline, Strumpf said. The economy is weaker. More entertainment choices might be drawing consumer dollars. Radio consolidation has reduced variety.

He says the industry’s response amounts to, ” ‘We have 20 studies, they have one.’ If 20 or 100 or 1,000 people say the sun revolves around the earth, it doesn’t make it so.”

Two years ago, Strumpf and Oberholzer-Gee set out to research the matter. Strumpf’s interest was piqued by the Napster trial, where the recording industry alleged copyright violations that led to the demise of the pioneering Web site in 2001. In the testimony, experts argued that music downloads had to be the cause of slumping sales.

Strumpf read the studies they cited. They were horrible, he said.

“I was like, ‘Boy, this is pretty amazing,’ ” said Strumpf, a Philadelphia native. “Nobody has done a serious study.”

Translation: Strumpf and Oberholzer read the industry-sponsored studies, and realized that they were a collective crock of shyte, most likely scientifically unsound. Strumpf also notes that his paper is not complete, and the reason it was released was so that the two researchers could get feedback, which is happening in spades. Of course, one other reason that sales have dropped is that so much of what the Big Labels release these days is CRAP!

:: This small, unassuming blog posting, about a tag with washing instructions in French and English, has generated at least 354 comments, and 86 trackbacks.

Small Mercies

Posted in Observations on January 21st 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: What has brightened my days in the dark of winter:

    – discovering fresh blueberries at Costco last week, and buying two packages;
    – receiving kind support from a friend regarding my writing;
    – knowing how fortunate I am that at 50 to still have my parents around, and that they are the most amazing parents, too;
    – the recent resurgence of the Montreal Canadiens, and enjoying it quietly (very few of my friends are sports fans, really…);
    Heavy G taking time from his insanely busy scheduled to stop by and help with a minor house repair;
    – finishing the final draft of another blog article with the same Mr Heavy G;
    – making a professor’s day simply by telling her that a new online resource she requested is now available;
    – the gentle reminders of how blessed I am with amazing friends and colleagues

And With These Words, You Found My Site?

Posted in Observations on December 29th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’m checking statistics for my site, and decided to see what phrases people are searching that brings them to my site. Here are a few gems:

    laugh it up fuzzball – someone searching for Harrison Ford?
    cibc sucks – who doesn’t know?
    sore shoulder blade – that would be mine, lately
    sk8ter shoes – Avril helped me buy them
    krispy kreme edmonton – soon, I hope
    why cows hate winter – because it’s cold?
    my eye hurts – stop sticking needles in it
    animal testicles – no comment
    the worst version of o holy night – it’s bad, real bad
    posh spice saskatchewan – wasn’t aware she’d moved there
    funny ebay beanie babies – aren’t they all?
    reichardt duck farm – for all your California duck needs
    gratuitous umlaut – one too many dots
    jimmy mackenzie is hot – could be, but he does nothing for me
    winter in google – google is a place, now?
    its coming sshhh – walk on your tippy toes
    amanda bynes email adress phone – how’d they know she’s my roommate?
    teh passion-mel gibson – is that the sequel to The Passion?
    shampooed in ketchup – fetish revealed!
    my car spun – sorry to hear that
    distended stomach worms – watch for their new album, out in January
    day bing cosby died – Bing Cosby? Did Bill and Bing have a kid?
    lyrics of shout shout let it all out – these are the things I can do without
    sack of wet mice – “He’s about as sharp as a…”
    beanie baby ex-wife – beanie baby divorces are the worst
    bank of montreal sucks – I sense a theme here
    frustrated pissed off screaming – try Zoloft or Prozac
    ass wipe greeting cards – new Hallmark division?
    the boobs of jennifer lopes – can’t anyone spell anymore?
    bill o reilly door mat – I’ll take one
    self-cleaning dinner table – I’ll take one
    the pain the pain – Dr Smith is in the house
    rocky and bullwinkle in edmonton – they put on a great show!
    the actress of the ord of the rings – “Ord of the Rings”? Can’t anyone spell anymore?
    randy randy randy randy randy randy lyrics – what?
    stainless steel testicles – must belong to Ah-nold
    where can i find information on my eye and why it hurts? – I told you, take out the needles
    randy librarian alberta – i’m right here
    free funny christmas vidios – spelling, please!
    the matrix blows jon stewart – I hope he’s ok

The internet is a weird, wacky, wonderful place.

Should I Be Concerned?

Posted in Observations on November 11th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Hmm. I was on this for some time between 1998 and 2002, and now Health Canada has decided to pull it from the market. Some people are unhappy with the product, like this guy, for example. The USA won’t follow suit.

Too Much … Information

Posted in Music, Observations, Research on November 10th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Jenny, my favorite NYC blogger, reflects on modern music as she turns 23, and then celebrates three days later when she sees her all-time fave band, Duran Duran, perform in Atlantic City. Her musical observations are worth the read.

:: How Much Information? 2003:

    How much new information is created each year? Newly created information is stored in four physical media print, film, magnetic and optical and seen or heard in four information flows through electronic channels telephone, radio and TV, and the Internet. This study of information storage and flows analyzes the year 2002 in order to estimate the annual size of the stock of new information recorded in storage media, and heard or seen each year in information flows. Where reliable data was available we have compared the 2002 findings to those of our 2000 study (which used 1999 data) in order to describe a few trends in the growth rate of information.

:: Congrats to Jena and Colin, because they love CKUA, and now CKUA loves them too.

:: I would like to use this space to give thanks for the gift of good friends, i.e., people who care about you.

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