Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vanity Fair Magazine Print Edition Is Real Thin (Media News)

Vanity Fair is this blogger's favorite print magazine to buy at San Francisco International Airport when traveling. "VF," for all of it's faults, does a great job of presenting a certain way of the good life. While it could be more diverse in it's presentation of what that means, Vanity Fair is always an enjoyable read. The problem today is it's shrinking. Check out my video:

Yep. Vanity Fair's January 2011 print mag edition is a full 50 percent smaller in thickness than past issues. VF fans are used to seeing a thick, heavy, magazine, as was the case as recently as the December 2010 mag.

The one with Cher on the cover, wearing fishnets.

Or the April 2010 issue where Michael Douglas announced the new Wall Street movie, and the David Letterman sex scandal was detailed in all of its glory.

Those issues, two of countless many VF's I own, are all damn thick, heavy magazines.

Then, there's Johnny Depp, or the VF issue with Depp on the cover. There's only two words for it: shockingly small.

Curious, a little cyber walking revealed that Conde Nast, the company that owns Vanity Fair and other publications, embarked on an initiative to have its properties think in a more "business like" way. After losing $1 billion in ad revenue in 2009, it's no surprise to lean Conde Nast has some problems, but then, as it's CEO Chuck Townsend pointed out, so does its competition.

Its print competition.

Much was made of Chuck Townsend announcing how well Conde Nast was doing compared with Hearst Corporation and TIME media properties, but that's print. Magazine ad revenue as a whole barely recovered from the recession, and newspapers are just plain taking on water. Print's seen better days and before the Internet World.

The question is what's the future for Vanity Fair?

I can't see VF lasting as a monthly. Quarterly, yes. Monthly, no. Moreover, it's future is in television and multimedia. And it's got to up its audience grab from Oscar-related content.  Why in heck it doesn't emphasize video and video-blogging is beyond me, but the old heads there better wisen up before it's too late. The VF brand can survive, but it's got to grow out of its print-oriented mentality.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Falcons Forget Short Pass; Drew Brees and Saints Don't

Lost in all of the stuff about how Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver Roddy White's Twitter Tweets fueled the New Orleans Saints to their 17 to 14 victory over the Dirty Birds tonight at The Georgia Dome, was one fact: when it mattered most, Matt Ryan and the Falcons forgot the short game.

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton showed once again why he's the NFL's best play caller not name Peyton Manning, Andy Reid, or Bill O’Brien of the Patroits. With just over 8 minutes on the clock he and Quarterback Drew Brees directed a 13 play, 90 yard drive that featured six straight passes. The last pass was a touchdown to rookie Tight End Jimmy Graham that Head Coach Mike Smith and the Falcons should have seen coming: the pass to the big tight end lined up all alone over the small cornerback, where the Saints throw a quick look-in pass within five yards of the goal line. Something they did in Super Bowl 44 against the Colts.

All of Brees passes were of the short variety.

By contrast, when the Falcons got the ball with a whopping 3 minutes left, and needing only to get into field goal range, they got greedy. The first play was a broken-field run by Matt Ryan for about 20 yard, then the drive stalled and they went three-and-out, as Ryan tried to throw down field to score, rather than short to work the clock and move the chains.

If that series were replayed and the Falcons Smith said "OK, Zennie. Let's see what you can do," I'd have used Ryan's legs on a planned bootleg to open the series, worked a set of short passes off play action to Falcons Running Back Michael Turner, then called the roll-out pass to the left to Roddy White. Work short. Work the ball.

That's what the Saints did, and in a series so devastatingly perfect, Bill Walsh was smiling down from Heaven.

Saints at Falcons: The Georgia Dome Experience

As you're watching the New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons Monday Night Football game at The Georgia Dome, it's a good time to point out one thing: The Georgia Dome's an excellent place to watch a football game.

This blogger's watching the contest in Suburban Atlanta, but elected not to go to the game because of the ice patched streets. But the last Falcons home game, against the Green Bay Packers, I did attend and what an incredible experience. Here's the video:

As the video shows, the seats for my long time friend Keith Johnson and I were excellent and provided a great place to watch the Falcons win 20 to 17. (thanks to his wife for giving Keith his hall pass!) Section 129, row 33, seats 7 and 8. That's the north end zone corner.

What's great about watching football at the Georgia Dome is it's a theater for the game. Everything, from the seats to the structure, to the roof itself, focuses on the field of play. Of the seven Super Bowl's I've attended, the Georgia Dome was the second best stadium host to the game, with the best one being Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

A New Falcons Stadium?

Reports have it that Falcons owner Arthur Blank wants a new stadium so the team can move out of the 18-year-old Georgia Dome. The Georgia Dome itself should be that new stadium. It needs wider club level corridors, meeting rooms and second level "terrace club zones" to fill in the vast amounts of empty space between the curtain walls and the stadium seat structure, a large central entrance atrium, more and upgraded luxury boxes, and all-new giant screens.

Blank reportedly wants an outdoor stadium, but given his desire to gain more overall revenue, that's not a good idea. A dome stadium's ability to host more events means more money than a comparable outdoor stadium.

Keep the Georgia Dome. It's a winner. Like the Falcons.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010: Atlanta (Snow!), San Francisco, and Justin Bieber

Wow. As long as it took Christmas 2010 to get here - 2010 seemed like two years instead of one year, considering all that has happened - it's almost over.

Hard to believe.

Here, in the vlog above, are some of the great times this blogger had with friends and family in Atlanta and in San Francisco.

A lot of food and drink was consumed by all.

And to end the Christmas day, it's started snowing here in Atlanta.  It's a rare happening here.  So much so that many churches are closed for Sunday.  And for churches to close in the South, you know conditions have to be bad.  

Temperatures have dropped from 55 degrees on Wednesday to below 20 as this is written: a 35 degree drop in just three days.

It makes me think twice about going to the Saints - Falcons Monday Night Football game at The Georgia Dome.  The comfort of the big screen is suddenly more desirable than the dome.

Not that I'm complaining about the snow.  What would Christmas be without it?

Well.  OK.  It would be a Christmas without snow.

Remember to take time to call friends and family this weekend. And remember that Christmas is the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, who eventually died in sacrifice for all of us.

And on that note, here's Justin Bieber wishing you a Merry Christmas:

Christmas snow in Atlanta Georgia

Friday, December 24, 2010

Atlanta Symphony and Chorus - And The Glory Of The Lord

NORAD Santa Tracker - Christmas Eve Santa Tracking

This year, 2010, once again this blogger is following (kinda) the Santa Tracker, but while tree trimming, wine drinking, and talking, and listening to Nat and Frank (Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra).

 But here's my NORAD Santa Tracker Video, because I just had to!

This business of going to the NORAD website to track Santa Claus' trip around the World is rather cool, but I'm in the middle of watching It's A Wonderful Life, so I decided to embed the tracker right here in my blog:

As of 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST, Santa Claus is , well, he's moving really fast! (If the embed doesn't work in your browser, click on the NORAD link.)

Merry Christmas!

Santa Baby 99ers Christmas Unemployment Song

Presenting the Santa Baby 99ers Christmas Unemployment Song, or The Santa Baby 99ers Song, on Christmas Eve.

Donalee King (in photo from Zennie62.com), who goes by Paladinette, at Zennie62.com, created this variation of the classic Christmas Song Santa Baby.

King, a blogger who also has her own blog called Jobless Unite,  is one of the so-called "99ers," those who's unemployment benefits have ran out after the 99-week limit, and seek an extension of benefits, or better yet, a job.

In seeking both, the San Diego resident has become a tireless advocate for the jobless. Her work on this song landed her notice by the LA Times.

The video is below, followed by the lyrics, which are graphic but worth reading and singing...if you dare!

(In fact, if you're in Oakland, California, print out the lyrics, take them down to The Alley at 3325 Grand Avenue, present them to Rod Dibble at the piano, and ask he would accompany you in song. Santa Baby is a song he knows how to play.)

Lyrics to video song Santa Baby - 99ers Style 2010

Congress Baby, the 99ers need a tier 5......to survive
I know you’re HEARTLESS P@#*s But....so what?
My children need some dinner tonight!

The car got repo’d and the rent is awfully late...but wait
You only care for the rich that’s a B*@#H
there’s millions of us dying out here

We can’t afford a Christmas tree
While you’re all buying Cartier at Tiffany
You bailed out banks Greece and Haiti too
I think it’s time the 99ers heard from you

Obama baby, just help the 99ers please
and... don’t tease
Been a really tough year
Out here
I Hope Your change is comin’ tonight

Obama honey, you sold 99ers flat out
no doubt
and now it’s snowing out,
My stomach’s growling
I need some food and shelter tonight

Sherrod honey, Schumer and that Stabenow too
Were through we all trusted you
but senate baby your lies have left us hurtn’ out here

We’re not rich - guess we don’t count
The dirty little secret you won’t talk about
There’ll be no jobs again next Year
It’s time you kicked your senate’s butts into high gear

Congress baby just pretend to care for us poor
once more - come on it’s just a check - so what the heck?
there’s millions of us dying out here!

That’s right I’d rather work than fight
Hurry Congress there’s 99ers dying TONIGHT

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Festivus 2010: No Mediaite Festivus? What Gives?

Festivus, that annual celebration for the rest of us, is upon us, once again. But in 2010 Festivus just don't feel like, well, Festivus.

The idea was first introduced in Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld's long-running television comedy, as an alternative to what some perceive as the commericialization of Christmas.

But this time, Festivus doesn't feel like Festivus, and maybe that's because the idea was started by a long-cancelled TV show, rather than a religious event?

At any rate, I know Festivus isn't as huge this year, because Mediaite's not mentioning it at all. Last year, the online media watchdog publication had a Mediaite Festivus of the top 50 media influencers in 2009, and that I talked about in my vlog here:

This year, zip.  Nada.

And while Festivus is a Google Trend, some of the blogs and articles don't seem to be focused on it in the title heading.  Festivus is more the day that, say, an NFL football game is being played.

I think AOL's David Knowles got it right when he observed that Festivus lived on, although Seinfeld reruns were "dated."  I think Festivus is headed in the same direction.  But there's still Christmas, and always will be.

Now, for this blogger, Christmas is about giving, not necessarily buying. It's also a celebration of the time of Christ's birth.

That's forgotten.

An aside.

For some reason there are people who just want to be mean. They want to be mean 24 and 7, and so they hate Christmas. Can't stand it. Those people are sad sacks. There's nothing wrong with being nice to people and giving to them in honor of the birth of Christ, and because it's just a plain nice thing to do.

As I said to someone who explained the common rationale for not celebrating Christmas, in other words, it's commericialized, "Christmas is something you do with society. Why does it have to be about you?"

Don't be selfish. Get into the sprit. Give of yourself.

Happy Festivus and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cam Newton for The Heisman Trophy

Suburban Atlanta - This blog post is complicated because the motivation for writing it was because, first, of my good friend Oakland Tribune Sports Columnist Monte Poole's passive agressive Heisman Trophy take. Second, my current proximity to Cam Newton's College Park residence, just outside Atlanta, Georgia.  Third, seeing Newton and Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck (who Poole picked for the Heisman) play, and finally Southern Culture and the fact that I can't sleep.  Blogging should knock me out.

Cam Newton is quite simply the best quarterback talent I've ever seen and should be the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner.

The main difference between Newton and Luck, is that for all of his accomplishments, Luck is a product of an offensive system formed by Cardinal Offensive Coordinator David Shaw, who gets little credit for his work. Cam's success has little to do with a particular offensive scheme, but his god-like talent. Consider this is Newton's first year in Auburn's system, and his third system in three years, where Luck has played in the same system for the three year span.

We've seen Cam do things, like score six touchdowns in the SEC Championship, that even the most rabid college football fans only dream of.  And all in his first year in a new system with new players and at a new school.  That's wild.

Cam's only problem is he's in an area of the country known for scams. To one from the San Francisco Bay Area (I go back and forth to help my Mom, who's here) it seems an inordinate number of people have their hands out, selling this or that. Robocalls are rampant. Newton's only hell has been growing up black, male, and physically gifted in football-crazed, dollar-sign-driven Georgia.

Frankly, I find the young man impressive. He handled himself extremely well when being questioned by CBS Sideline Reporter Tracy Wolfson.  He never broke his winning smile, and came off quite charming.  He certainly passed the Mom test, as mine was sold on his presentation at the SEC Championship.

What Cam knew or did not know, does not matter. Spend a little time down here and you don't have to be a genius to know that someone made Cam the focus of their sell / scam efforts. That's not Cam Newton's fault, yet it's being held against him.

Look, let's be honest with each other.  What we're tired of is yet another example of the African American male student who's great on the sports field, but has questions about his character off of it.  The Reggie Bush Heisman give-back has left a bad taste in the mouths of many.   But Cam Newton is not Reggie Bush.   Cam's not the smart, militant, chip-on-shoulder guy that Mr. Bush can be at times.  Cam Newton is an innocent kid with King Kong talent.   And like Kong, Newton can't help how society responds to him.

The question is, did Cam do well on and off the field this year in Auburn?  Yes.  He did.  And what Newton did on the field was jaw-dropping amazing.

Cam Newton for The Heisman.