Sunday, September 25, 2011

E is for...Evolution

I recently saw the shot-over-the-shoulder documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times”. Just as I had predicted, it was about the New York Times.

The movie itself is a mash of storylines over the span of 2010. It’s interesting to watch journalists – whose jobs are brutally deglamorized by stacks upon stacks of paper, sweaty brows and panicked hairstyles – scurry around speaking to each other in measured and concise language. But director Andrew Rossi scrambles the breaking of significant stories - like Wikileaks, and the collapse of Sam Zell and the Tribune Company - to the point of confusion. However, the underlying story remains the same throughout; everything is changing and the evolution of news is scary for the New York Times, but let them list the reasons of why you still need them.

In an age when newspapers are desperately trying to stay relevant/profitable/alive, the Times carries a reputation better suited for the onslaught of digital media than most other papers.

But does this mean they are home free? Do they avoid the demise that so many other newspapers have met because they are one of the biggest and best? Absolutely not.

The state of newspaper advertising alone looks about as promising as my golden retriever performing open-heart surgery on me, or to be fair, me performing open-heart surgery on my golden retriever. Either way, not good. People don’t read the paper to decide what kind of car/proctologist/hockey helmet/exterminator/loafers/5-iron/lawn mower they’re going to buy. Instead, they use a thing called a website. Goodnight, newspaper ads. May you and your BLOWOUT SALES rest in peace.

Yes, I think there will always be a place for news printed on paper. And by always, I am referring to my lifetime. If my children’s children don’t have something to line their budgie cages with, well then boo-hoo. They can buy the Budgie App for $2.99, or something.

But what I do think will survive is investigative journalism. Its largest threat is information reported by people like bloggers, vloggers, Twitter, and that guy that updates his Facebook statuses way too much. Yes, they have the potential to transmit information quickly, but proper and dependable news will always rely on trained, on-the-scene journalism. If I could only get my hands around the neck of a blogger…

It’s beginning to sound a little repetitive for my liking, but the fact remains that Twitter, or something like it, has the potential of being the main artery for news. That’s if it isn’t already.

Each day, business editors of newspapers are forced to print more and more obituaries for their own profession’s funeral, as their co-workers put their belongings in a cardboard box and take the elevator to the main floor. Interviewees in “Page 1” repeat - tirelessly - something to the tune of: “The New York Times going out of business just isn’t an option.”

But actually it is.

The New York Times is like Kobe Bryant: used to the feeling of being top dog, but in their old age have been forced to change. As Kobe’s gotten older, he’s improved his skills in the low-post because his first step and quickness on the perimeter won’t be around forever. Similarly, the Times is forced to diversify its platforms as people consume their news in new ways. They have hundreds of blogs. They have a daily news video report. But competing with the speed and freedom of the Internet is tough. Sure, the Times has a website. But they charge a small, more-than-fair amount of money for it, and thus people do not subscribe. If they don’t charge you for it, then they’re eating pizza pops in their parents’ basement.

I would suggest this movie to anybody that plans on being alive for the next twenty years, because that’s who it should be speaking to. But then again, I heard Lion King 3D is pretty good too.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

D is for...Dirty

There's a good chance you don't care about the sport of boxing.

But even if you aren't a fan, I encourage you to read this post. Not because I think my writing deserves your attention, but rather because I am a casual fan at most, and I think the drama surrounding Floyd Mayweather - boxing's loud-mouthed main attraction – extends beyond just boxing fans. Lots of people don't like boxing, but everybody likes a little drama. And right now, the story lines surrounding Mayweather are thick with it. In an effort to keep it short and sweet, I’ll keep it to 2 main points.

1. Why is a post about boxing filed under D for Dirty?

Because like him or not, that’s what Floyd Mayweather’s career has been; he’s a bad dude. Mayweather beat Victor Ortiz on Saturday night for the Welterweight belt, and his record now sits at 42 wins, 0 losses.  0 losses. 0 losses. 0 losses! Mayweather hasn't lost a fight in his entire career. That's dirty. Ortiz was just a guy who was lucky enough to share a ring with him for an evening. To put it into perspective, Mayweather earned a guaranteed $20 million for last night’s fight before he even stepped into the ring. Not a bad night at the office by any means, but his amount could double to $40 million depending on pay-per-view/television ratings! That's dirty. That’s how much better Floyd Mayweather is. People wanna watch him, but there isn’t anyone around that can really contend with him (well actually there is, but that will be point #2). Oh and what did Ortiz make? He earned $2.5 million. Period. Sorry pal, people didn’t order the pay-per-view to see you. But hey, here’s 1/16 of your opponent’s potential earnings for being a punching bag all night.
As you may know, or can see here, it was a pretty controversial finish:

I hope you watched it to the end so that you caught the argument between Mayweather and Larry Merchant! “I wish I was 50 years younger so I could kick your ass!” That was wild.

Ortiz definitely broke the rules with his best bighorn sheep impression, no doubt, but he lost his point and the fight went on. The problem was with the ref, who unclearly/doesn’t wave the boxers back in, at which point Mayweather just goes back into fight mode.  Had he stopped after he threw the left hook, at least the fight could have ended with a more legitimate finish. But Ortiz looks to the ref as if to say “he hit me!” and Floyd Money puts him in his jammies and sends him to bed. Dirty? Perhaps. That's what my comments section is for, I'd like to hear your opinion. Either way, bummer for Ortiz. He should be keeping his hands up, he knows that. But also, he shouldn’t expect some kind of shining sportsmanship from Floyd Mayweather, either. He is one loud, angry, defensive dude, who will protect his undefeated record at all costs. Speaking of his legacy that brings me to…

2. The Mayweather-Pacquiao thing
Mayweather fights less than once a year because he would rather rest on his laurels and preserve his undefeated record, along with the argument that he is the best boxer ever. Whatever, kinda lame, but that’s his call and there aren’t any good boxers in his weight class anyway. But Manny Pacqiao, the delightful little man that you may recognizefrom that HP commercial on TV, says he’ll do it. He’s way, way, way smaller than Mayweather, but he’s a pretty courageous little dude.

Mayweather? He says no dice. Why? Nobody is really sure.

Why is he scared of a little man from the Philippines who is 2 weight-classes smaller than him, and would be considered one of the biggest fights of the century? Why doesn’t Mayweather want to put on a fight that would be predicted to bring in 50 million dollars for each fighter?

Maybe because Pac-man is a beast, and Mayweather is legitimately scared of losing to him. Or maybe it's because you would have to be crazy not to like Manny Pacqiao, and the entire world would be in his corner. Or maybe because it has the potential to be the finest underdog story of all time. Or maybe it’s because he realizes how much he sacrifices if he were to lose the fight. I think it’s the latter, but I also think that it’s Mayweather’s prerogative.

So instead, both fighters will continue to fight heel after heel and dominate their weight class. In the meantime, cross your fingers for the Mayweather/Pacqiao fight. It would be something to remember, and I say that as someone who follows boxing about as much as you do.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

C is for...#CreComm

I'm 3 weeks in to the Creative Communications program at Red River College, and so far so great.
I don't wanna pump anyone's tires too much, but the professors (or are they teachers? Not enough beards or leather elbow patches for me to consider them profs), the courses, my classmates, and even the water fountains, are sweet. So sweet. Like, I-have-found-my-calling sweet.

For example, I am sitting in class right now crushing Twitter. Because I HAVE to.

As far as I'm concerned, Twitter and CreComm share a lot in common. They both have unlimited uses, and both will hopefully help my professional career one day. Oh, and both are good for some pretty funny fart jokes.

I used to think Twitter was lame, but I got over that. It's here to stay. Instant information from over 100 million people? Yes please. And for all those ludites that refuse to catch on to new technology, I think of a wise old quote from a good, drunk friend of mine.

"You're either in, or in the way"


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

B is for...Bales

I'm from Brandon, Manitoba. I'm not ashamed to say that.

Every year I move back to the big city of Winnipeg to go to school, and every year upon introduction at least one person says the same thing: "Ohhh, you're from BRANdon?!"

Country boy. Hick. Hillbilly. I've heard 'em all. This year somebody calls me 'Brandon boy' (You know who you are). Real original stuff. But to be honest, I can't remember the last time I was on a tractor. I don't know how a thresher works, and I've never even driven a combine. I don't have any horses, and I've only once stuck my hand up a cow's...nevermind.

I get it; Brandon isn't very big. And it's a farming town. It's more Aviators than Wayfarers. Bootcut, not skinny jeans. In Brandon, you're gonna hear more Bon Jovi than you are Florence and the Machine.

Regardless, I've grown up with much respect for the farmers. And after watching this video, I hope you can realize the bravery, hard work, and integrity that it takes to be part of the farming community.


Thursday, September 08, 2011

A is for...Alphabetical

So...I have a blog.
As a requirement for my new Creative Communications course at Red River College, I have been kicked, punched, harassed, beaten, full nelson-ed, wet willied and overall threatened into starting a new blog. Think of it like the "DIDI MAU!" Russian roulette scene from The Deer Hunter, but instead of an angry Vietnamese soldier handing me a gun it's a pretty cool professor asking me nicely to start writing about myself.
But I hate writing about myself, and I think you would too.
So instead, I'm going to write about other things; sports, music, comedy, television, Youtube, yadda yadda yadda. Each post will be in alphabetical order, thus why this week started with A for Alphabetical.
If you like my stuff, tell me. Leave comments. Gimme feedback.
If you don't like my stuff, well, you can get the hell off my front lawn.