Thursday, December 31, 2009

Product Placement

(C) 2009 Stan Spire

In case you're not familiar with the term:

Product placement is a sneaky form of advertising. A product -- such as a can of soda with a distinctive logo -- is surreptitiously placed in a scene during a TeeVee show or Movee. Instead of directly selling the product with a loud, annoying ad, the zombie viewer subconsciously picks up the cue: "Joe Hollywood is drinking a Coke so that soda must be cool and I can be cool, too, if I drink a Coke."

Product placement can pop up anywhere, even in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. "One nation, under God..."

There's been a uproar lately that a NENYland public school will no longer require its students to recite the Pledge at the beginning of each day. Your typical NENYlander is pissed off at this but the school responds that it is just following a Supreme Court decision.

Today on a Plattsburgh radio station there was a guest editorial by a retired military robot who said that if students don't want to recite the Pledge they should move to a Third World Country. He said non-recitation showed disrespect to all brave soldiers, especially those awarded Purple Hearts.

The commentator made sure to mention his rank when he retired from active duty and that he was a veteran, three times. Such credentials mean that he's absolutely right, of course.

I've never served but I can still pull rank on that commentator as an plain old American citizen. When he was serving his country, he was defending the right for someone like me to be an atheist. Originally "under God" wasn't in the Pledge; it was added during the Red Scare 1950s. Those liars who say this country was founded as a Christian nation pushed to get their product version of a god in the ritualistic loyalty oath.

Two inserted words -- "under God" -- caused the Supreme Court to decide that students didn't have to be forced to repeat them.

There is one way around this for a public school. Leave a pause after "under" during the Pledge and each student can insert whatever he wants: God, Allah, Satan, No One, Amos 'N Andy, etc. Don't forget the "public" in public school: students come in all shapes and colors from various backgrounds. They're not clones or robots; they're individuals.

Take a look at this statement:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."

That statement ain't from the Communist Manifesto.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Public Begging System Self-Destructs

(C) 2009 Stan Spire

Enough already, PBS!

Some should tell them about the law of diminishing returns. More pledge drives doesn't mean more money being donated. After a while people get turned off by the almost constant begathons. As soon as I see someone pleading for money for public television, I tune out.

One time a PBS station here in NENYland was really laying on the guilt trip, saying that employees would have to be let go unless the money came in. This claim appeared in a newspaper article.

The next day, according to someone who worked at the station, the general manager was going around to everyone and saying not to worry, no one was going to lose their job.

That's the BS in PBS.

Maybe public television is really hurting for money this time around. Fuck 'em. Let the rich elite pay for it, those wealthy stockholders reaping in big dividends while ordinary people are being thrown out of work to jive up the company's stock value.

New York Times Offers Titanic Deal

(C) 2009 Stan Spire

Check it out. The New York Times is hawking stuff to rake in some bucks to stay afloat during the economic slump. Take a look at this one:

Now you can own a fully assembled "Large R.M.S. Titanic Large Wooden Model" -- either 32 or 40 inches long -- with "amazing details" that include "handcrafted wood lifeboats." I wonder if one of those lifeboats includes a tiny replica of The New York Times Company chairman, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.

You could fill up your bathtub with frigid water and send Junior afloat in his little lifeboat, a victim of a financial iceberg.

That's cold, huh?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Boys and Their Toys

© 2009 Stan Spire

Yesterday evening a woman from Iceland was supposed to appear before a federal judge here in Plattsburgh. She had been detained at the border by federal agents. Whoever was watching her – immigration officials or U.S. marshals – fell for the old “I have to go to the bathroom” bit. Instead of powdering her nose, she took a powder.

So local law enforcement went into action. Downtown Plattsburgh was cordoned off. She wasn't going to get away. Of course, if someone had been doing their job and had some smarts, her escape wouldn't have happened.

I found out about this later. The first indication I had that something was going on was when a helicopter kept flying over my place, again and again, chop-chop-chop. All I want is some peace and quite but that solitude kept getting chopped up.

When I went out for a walk, the helicopter was still flying around, shining a searchlight into the backyards of various homes.

OK, I can see this stuff happening when an armed and loaded terrorist is on the loose, getting ready to set off some bombs. But when law enforcement officials sent out an alert about the escapee, they stated that they believed the woman was “not dangerous.” She ended up being caught outside the city limits after a couple of alert citizens spotted her and called the state police. The cordon and the helicopter search were useless.

Once again a lot of fuel was burned by the Homeland Security helicopter. If the border has to be constantly protected from terrorists, then why does the HS copter have enough time to aid the local police? It's not the first time this has happened.

It seems the HS copter needs to find some action to justify its existence. Hell, why not sent it out to locate a lost puppy or kitty cat?

This reminds me of an incident from years ago. Law-enforcement officers were given some new toys to play with, paramilitary uniforms and weapons. The black-clad officers were scouring Plattsburgh for a fugitive. A citizen would look out the window and see a fully-armed body-armored stranger running by his house. There was an uproar because citizens were terrorized by the overreaction. They didn't know what the paramilitary types were doing.

But give the boys some shiny new toys – uniforms, weapons, helicopters – and they have to play.

Fun financed by your taxes. And while they play with their toys, basic and practical law enforcement become secondary – and second-rate.

That's how a woman could escape with the old bathroom ploy.

Orange Easter Bunny and the Second Coming

© 2009 Stan Spire

Ever read something so wacky that the term “LSD flashback” pops in your head?

I don't think conservative Baptist preacher Rev. R.W. Fry, D.D. dropped acid during his younger years. It's just that you read one of his weekly columns and your head does a metaphysical spin.

Each Friday Rev. Fry runs an ad in the Plattsburgh daily (news)paper that features a short essay in which he tries to tie in an unusual news event with scripture. Sometimes the connection is really contorted.

In his latest commentary he talks about an incident in Oregon last Easter involving the driver of a Mercedes who hit a woman and left the scene. The victim was six feet tall; she was dressed as an orange rabbit, her vehicle a pedicab. According to Fry, the pedicab was lit up with “deflectors” [sic] and a flashing red light. There was no reason for the Mercedes driver not to see the victim, even though that was the excuse he gave to the judge..

Then Fry writes: “This sort of reminds me in a rather peculiar kind of way what we read in Matthew 25:13 – 'Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.'”

So this must be that Jesus is coming back as a six foot tall orange rabbit on a pedicab.

Signs and wonders, indeed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When Will Alessandra Stanley Be Shitcanned?

© 2009 Stan Spire

If the New York Times is the Newspaper of Record, then why does it keep employing a screw up like Alessandra Stanley who has added erroneous information to the record?

Google her name and you'll soon find all the mistakes she's made over the years. Apparently an editor has to babysit her so she gets the facts right. Why should someone so sloppy keep her position when there are more qualified and dedicated people out of work who could do a better job half-asleep?

What will happen the next time she gets her facts wrong? A raise and a promotion?

They Want To Help You

© 2009 Stan Spire

The news team at the local TeeVee station are saints. 24/7 they run a spot about “Project Economy,” a special feature of the newscast that helps you in these troubling financial times.

Let's face it: those meat puppet newsreaders ain't philanthropists. The only economic project they care about is sucking you in to watch their program and keep the ratings up. Up ratings mean that they can keep their jobs.

Journalists as social workers? Hah! Why don't they pawn themselves off as superheroes? I can see it now: The Justice Journalism League of America.

Shocking Headline

© 2009 Stan Spire

“Newspaper circulation falling fast”

I'm sitting there, just stunned by the headline. According to the AP article: “The decline in newspaper circulation is accelerating.” How can this be?, I asked myself.

Then I put the newspaper back on the rack and read another free one at the public library.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

“News” Value

© 2009 Stan Spire

I put the word “news” in quotes for a reason.

Alarmists say that without the “news” – particularly “news”papers – our democracy will suffer.

Bullshit. Putting aside the fact that we don’t live in a democracy, the “news” has been exposing crime and corruption and lies and all sorts of sins forever – and in the end all that changes is that a new cast of perpetrators arrive on the scene while some of the old ones just skate free.

“News” is a relative term. What is “news” to you – information of value – might be meaningless to me. For example, take the sports section – please.

The only time a person cares about “news” is when it provides information on something that might intrude – or does intrude – his comfort zone. His taxes going up? That hits home. Some banana republic going through a violent revolution? So what? As long as it doesn’t affect the price of bananas at the supermarket – big yawn.

Most people can’t be bothered with “news.” Celebrity gossip and sports info – that beats out the “news” most of the time. “News” makes people uncomfortable. So why will someone now pay for it online when it just gets him upset and invades his comfort zone? That’s negative value.

Too many people like to be ignorant. They want simple answers, not complex stories. Look at how the yahoos have been going on about “death panels” and other nonsense during the health care “discussion.” They don’t want nuance in reporting. They don’t want even to see the word “nuance.” That means they have to use a dictionary to figure out what that word means and that hurts their pointy little heads.

Numbers Game

© 2009 Stan Spire

Item #1: Full page ad in the Monday, Sept. 21, 2009 edition of the Jerkwater Journal, the Plattsburgh’s daily newspaper. Another propaganda piece by the NAA, the Newspaper Association of America.


Below the proclamation some people stand in a neat row, each reading the dead trees format.

While acknowledging that “the newspaper business has faced unprecedented challenges” in the last two years, the ad states the newspaper media (print and digital) is still a strong presence and will emerge after the “current environment” as a stronger multi-platform source of information.

Then there’s a breakdown by column with numbers and percentages, e.g., 104 million adults read a newspaper every day, more than the sports idiots who watch the Super Bowl. OK, but how broad is that survey: just the US, or North America, or the Western Hemisphere or just the world? No data is provided on when, where and how that magic 104 was determined.

After talking about percentages of how old reads what or people who say they would buy something seen in the paper, the NAA ad declares: “This is not a portrait of a dying industry…”

Item #2: Article in the New York Times, same date (Sept. 21), page B3. Headline: “Newspapers Have Not Hit Bottom, Analysts Say.”

This article mentions “The drop in combined print and digital ad revenue last year, 16.6 percent… was the worse since the Depression.” But such a decline, states reporter Richard Perez-Pena, is “rosy” compared to 2009 so far: first quarter saw a drop of 28.3 percent, followed by 29 percent in the second quarter.

The source for these figures cited by the NYT? The NAA, of course.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Keeping Eyeballs Around Longer

© Stan Spire 2009

As mentioned in my post, “Acronyms Make Me Acrimonious,” I hate reading a blog post with all sorts of abbreviations that aren’t spelled out. This means I have to leave the page, Google the acronyms and find out what the author is referring to.

No, I don’t mean everyday simple stuff like AP or OMG. If I’m reading a journalistic blog, then most likely AP refers to the Associated Press. If I’m perusing a “scoop” about a vapid celebrity, a story that is trying to get me excited about some semi-talented rectal polyp, then OMG! means that a desperate hack wrote it.

Over at, Ken Doctor gets it right. In a post entitled
“Advance Partnership Signals Greater Microsoft/Newspaper Connection,” (Aug. 16, 2009), he explains that BT means behavioral targeting and SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing. Just a few extra words save me the hassle of clicking away to Google to figure out what he’s talking about.

I tried to politely point this out to another journalistic blogger and he basically said to go away. Fine. I deleted the feed to his blog from my RSS list.

The other way to handle the acronym situation is to link the term within the post to another site that explains what it means. Me, I’m not that much into linking. I want people to stay here at this blog, not go off and get distracted or lost.

Since Ken Doctor does things the right way, I have no problem providing a link to his blog. But I’ll put it below so you can click on it after you finish reading this deathless work of genius. Better yet, just make a note of the URL and keep reading the rest of my blog until your mind is satiated with my vast wisdom and knowledge.

Maybe this Ken Doctor guy ain’t that great, after all.

-- NOTES for the anal-retentive:

RSS: Real Simple Syndication

URL: Uniform Resource Locater

OMG: On My God!

FU: You sucker.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Great Advertising Scam

Advertising is a scam. It’s not as effective as the advertising industry would want you to believe.

Take CPM or clicks per thousand. (Note: Some ad person wanted to be esoteric and he used M – as in the Roman numeral for thousand – for this abbreviation).

In the past a company or store would just throw an ad in the local newspaper and maybe a couple of people would mention seeing it. With the Internet the success of an ad can be tracked by how many people click on it. From what I’ve read, most newspaper websites see low CPM’s.

But what do most newspapers hope will be their salvation on the Internet? Advertising. But if an advertiser can track how many people bother reading his ad by the number of hits and those hits are pitiful, why should be continue advertising with a poor-performing newspaper website?

And thanks to search engines, a company can promote itself with its own site. Why bother with the hard-to-navigate local newspaper website when eyeballs can go directly to you?

I’ve trained myself to ignore online ads. And like any ad, if the pitch is really annoying, I won’t buy that product or service. Advertising has driven me away instead of luring me in. Advertising can be anti-advertising.

Most advertising agencies and newspaper ad departments must be secretly aware how much they suck. Between being ineffective and even driving customers away, who needs them?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Acronyms Make Me Acrimonious

© Stan Spire 2009

API. What’s that?

I’m reading an online article that doesn’t spell out the term. Time to Google. Is it Associated Press International? Nope, not in the context of the article. Academic Performance Index? American Petroleum Institute? Academic Programs International? No, they don’t fit. Auntie Pollyanna’s Indigestion? Wait, here we go: Application Programming Interface. Now I can read up about it.

Another online article. SEO. Has something to do with search engines but what does the O mean? Google reveals it means Search Engine Optimization (or Optimizer).

OK, a minor point. But shouldn’t acronyms be spelled out in every article or post, especially if there a few ways they can be formed? The full name or title doesn’t take up that much room, does it?

Over at Common Sense Journalism Doug Fisher has an article about The SEC's new media (and new-media) rules. So what SEC is he talking about? Obviously not the Securities and Exchange Commission, unless it’s gotten into sports.

At least SEC wasn’t too bad Googling. If I was on the ball, I should’ve clicked on the link to the news article in the post and found out it stood for Southeastern Conference, but I read over the link the first time while searching for SEC to be spelled out. Then again, why should I click to get a bit of info that should be in the post? I’m not familiar with the SEC abbreviation because I’m not into professional sports tribalism.

I’m getting severe strain in my index finger with this plethora of unneeded clicking. And that makes me grumpier.

What does the AP Stylebook say about this? And for that matter, the API Stylebook? (Which API do I mean? You can figure it out…)

Stan Spire, HLMWR

FINAL SHOT: In the same post Doug Fischer writes about a DVD called “The Paper” that deals with a college student getting in trouble for doing a sports story on her own without proper clearance from SID’s office. The Doug mentions something about being in deference to SID.

OK, who’s this SID guy? He deserves deference because he spells in first name all in caps?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sour? How About Bitter? Depressed? Suicidal?

© Stan Spire 2009

Plattsburgh’s local daily rag, the Jerkwater Journal, has revived what I call “Freak Out,” a feature that allows people to make anonymous comments without the fear of their name being associated with the term “ASSHOLE!”

Take this little intellectual gem entitled “Sour:”

For you people in retail (especially the mall) with the sour faces, do you think we like looking at that? If one person smiled and a couple people saw that, then one would surely smile at someone else and it would catch. If you are not happy with your job, find another one. Leave your problems at home, and enjoy that you are having another day on Earth. Think of the people with cancer, leukemia and other diseases that would give anything to be in your place.

Obviously this idiot has never worked retail, especially at the mall. I give this rectal polyp one month of suffering as a lowly mall clerk before it would realize how fucking stupid this comment is.

Salespeople and clerks are caught between rude customers and rude managers. I speak from experience. You get low pay for stress from both sides. Why smile when you’re in pain?

Not happy with your job, as this ass-hat states? Of course, there are so many good jobs here in NENYland. In fact, the job market has improved due to the recession. Now there are 200, not 100, lined up to get a dream job like dishwashing or cleaning toilets.

Leave your problems at home? Hell, how can you when your job is the problem? Barely making ends meet, bills piling up, while the Elite who own the mall rake in big bucks and live in luxury?

As for people with physical diseases, I would like to see the dickhead commenter behind “Sour” put up with the cancer that eats at the soul, working in an environment of greed and Sell! Sell! Sell! “Sour” wouldn’t last one week during the Xmas rush.

Sure, smile because you’ve lived through another miserable day on Earth making corporate pigs even fatter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Advertorial Adversity

© Stan Spire 2009

See that full page spread on Monday in Plattsburgh’s daily (news)paper, the Podunk Times, headlined Safety & Crime Prevention? It featured shots of recent arrestees doing the perp walk, young handcuffed losers escorted by law-enforcement officers. Must make their relatives and friends in the trailer parks feel so proud to see them featured in the paper.

To make some profit off this “public service” page, the paper rounded up some advertisers. Check out all the ads. Not one of them is from a doughnut shop. How can this be?

The top local Law Dogs offer all sorts of bold-print advice in the advertorial. While reading it I felt like standing up, saluting, and saying “Yes, sir!”

BE A WITNESS NOT A VICTIM. ALWAYS lock your doors. IMMEDIATELY report any suspicious activity, vehicles or persons to the police.

Back in the old days Dunkin Donuts used to be the gathering place for all branches of the law. A city cop car parked next to a state police car parked next to a sheriff’s department car. You don’t see that anymore. Looked too suspicious. Maybe a concerned citizen called the police about it.

Here’s my favorite piece of advice in the ad:

DO NOT allow any strangers into your home.

I know I don’t – including strangers wearing uniforms or flashing fancy badges.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parade Of Irks

© 2009 Stan Spire

It’s easy for me to get irked while reading Parade magazine, the Sunday magazine supplement to the Plattsburgh Daily Fishwrap.

Take the July 26, 2009 edition. Please. Loaded with irks.

Some young star is on the cover, looking all so virginal and innocent. She looks familiar. Oh, ya, it’s Vanessa Hudgens. I didn’t recognize her with her clothes on.

She starred in something called High School Musical which must suck, simply because it’s a stupid musical. Anyway, I never heard of her until a nude snapshot ended up all over the Web. It was meant only for her boyfriend at the time but – surprise! – everyone around the world can stare at it.

Since High School Musical is some sort of Walt Disney – Mickey Mouse production, Vanessa took a hit from that nude snap. After all, WD doesn’t want to be associated with VD. According to Parade ragazine, she “apologized gracefully,” said she learned a lesson, and so “the whole thing blew over.” Sure. Just like those disgusting nude shots of that pop psycho phony, Dr. Laura.

The whole Parade blather about Vanessa is supposed to re-instate her clean high school sweetheart image. Maybe Disney can kick in the money for a plastic surgeon to completely re-virginize her.

Then some hack writer in the same issue talks about his good life after being fired. Lee Child – who’s he? – worked for a TeeVee company, putting in all sorts of long hours because he was building a future with the company.

Lee mentions that his father found a job he liked, stayed with it his whole life. Company loyalty means a great payoff in the end. It’s the American dream. What worked for the father should work for the son.

Of course, Lee got blindsided by reality when someone else bought out the company and shitcanned him to max the profits. To quote this idiot’s sob story:

“I felt betrayed by my own naiveté. The modern world had snuck up on me, and I hadn’t seen it coming. The rules had changed, and I hadn’t seen it coming.”

Bullshit. People have been exploited and fired long before Lee Child showed up. Apparently his father was lucky to stay with the same company, but that stuff usually only happens on 1950s family sitcoms like “Leave It To Beaver” and “Father Knows Best.”

Now Lee is a best-selling writer, he found a new career, a positive uplifting ending to his story that Parade readers lap up like tranquilized lemmings.

At least he’s honest to say not everyone can become a successful writer. He sums it up this way:

“I’m not suggesting that you become a novelist. In fact, I prefer you didn’t—I don’t need the competition.”

Ha, ha.

Screw you, Lee.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Black Belt Patriotism = Traumatic Head Injury Syndrome

© 2009 Stan Spire

Besides commie hippie college professors, another one of my irks is one-note actors trying to convert America into an Xtian theocracy, the yin to the yang of radical Islamism.

Maybe I’m overstating Chuck Norris’s POV but after reading his book, “Black Belt Patriotism,” the impression is that the USA was founded as an Xtian nation (Wrong!) and to save ourselves there should be no separation between Jesus and State.

Chuck has simple explanations for simple minds about complex problems. Take school shootings like Columbine. The reason why kids are killing other kids and teachers? “The bottom line,” declares Chuck-o on pages 113 - 114, “is that if we teach our children they are nothing more than glorified apes, then we shouldn’t be surprised if they behave like animals.”

Time to bring the Bible back into the classroom. That will stop sociopathic kids with weapons and bombs from trashing the place.

“Black Belt Patriotism” provides a few yuks to a cynical atheist such as yours truly, especially when Chuck looks only on the up side of someone, glossing over that person’s down side.

On pages 81 – 82 Up Chuck talks about visiting Republican political strategist Lee Atwater before he died, kissing him on the forehead. Atwater was a dirty trickster that supposedly converted to Xtainity after he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

No, I don’t find the way he died funny. But what is amusing is a detail revealed during a Public BS TeeVee program about Atwater’s life. Someone questioned whether Atwater was a true convert. An Xtain gave Atwater a Bible to read. That Bible was still sealed in the plastic wrapper after Atwater went to his just reward.

But Up Chuck can’t be bothered with details. On page 115 he repeats the story that one of the kids at the Columbine High School shooting professed her belief in God before one of the psychos pulled the trigger on her. Her death was tragic, but, sorry, that didn’t happen. From what one researcher has found, the victim was hiding under a table and didn’t have a chance to say anything before she was killed. There was another girl who did say she believed in God but she lived; apparently the psycho confronting her got bored or distracted and let her live.

And to gloss over problems with the contention that the USA was founded as a Xtian nation, Chucky refers to Benjamin Franklin as “a presumed deist” (on page 75 for you chapter-and-verse types). Deists ain’t Xtains, even if Chucky Cheese calls them “The Founding Creationists” on page 95.

Chuck-o used to star in movies and on TeeVee, showing off his main talent, martial arts. After reading his book, I think too many of his karate chops to someone else’s head backfired.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mainstream Media Can Provide Another Vital Service (And Make Some $)

© Stan Spire 2009

If you’re the boss, what’s the best way to fire someone – I mean, if your employees are nothing more than expendable parts in the money-making machine?

One way is to email them. Or tell them to stay home Sunday evening and wait for a phone call to let them know whether or not they still have a job the next day.

Minimize personal contact. In fact, no contact at all. Tell the shittcanned to stop by the office at an appointed time and clear out their desk. Make sure a security guard escorts them out the building.

This has happened to many employees during the Dubya Depression, even professional journalists and other media types. But now there’s a new wrinkle in getting out the bad news.

The employees of a New Hampshire newspaper, the Eagle Times, were blindsided when they suddenly learned that their paper was shutting down and they were out in the cold.

In an interview with a Burlington, VT TeeVee station, WCAX, a longtime Eagle Times reader was quoted on how he learned the news: “We heard it last night on the 11 o'clock news. It really surprised me and it is such short notice."

Hey, why not? The media have always been bringers of bad news. Now for a fee mainstream media types could provide a new service for insensitive companies, notifying unsuspecting workers that they’re no longer needed, hit the freakin’ road, pal. Just check out the 11 PM TeeVee news to find out if you still have a job. Call the feature “Job Watch.” Tell the now extraneous employees what time to come in grab their personal belongings. Remind them a big beefy security guard will keep an eye on them.

That way the CEO shitcanning his employees in such a questionable manner won’t have to worry about the shit being kicked out of his can.

To Thank A Skank

© Stan Spire 2009

Pimply tattooed sleazoid babe stands there, just holding the leash, her dog curled up while taking a dump on the grass, right in plain sight. No sign of a pooper scooper or plastic bags. Just leave it behind for some poor sucker to step into it.

I’m grateful. This gives me an insight to many people sucking up the air in this region.

The NENYland philosophy: Crap on it. Let someone else deal with it.

Jeff Jarvis Gets A Grammar Lesson (Tsk, tsk)

© 2009 Stan Spire

Over at a CUNY (City University of New York) J prof named Jeff Jarvis disseminates his opinions regarding the state of modern journalism and media.

What irks me about some college professors is that they preach but don’t practice. One recent item by Jarvis entitled It ain’t over bugged me. No, not because he used the word “ain’t” in his title/headline. It was something else. Thus this comment:

- - -

Stan Spire says:

July 11, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Take a look at your first sentence: “…since it’s 2000 high…”

“It’s” is a contraction of “it is” or “it has.” “Its” is the spelling for the possessive pronoun.

See .

Obviously you are one of those commie hippie college professors responsible for lowering both English usage and moral standards.

- - -

Of course, even a smartass like me can make a mistake, so I had to add this comment:

Stan Spire says:

July 11, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Correction: Make that your first paragraph, third sentence.

My journalism education trained me “good.”

- - -

The second post proves that even a lowly un-famous blogger like yours truly does go back and proofread his material one more time.

Anyway, your typical J prof would’ve marked off a bunch of points if one of his students made the it’s/its mistake in an article.

So far no response from the prof. Maybe he’s been busy with a commie party meeting or some hippie drug orgy. But that doesn’t change the fact.

Remember: when using the possessive pronoun, it’s its.

Or the remnants of moral fiber that still hold society together will be torn apart forever.

And then I’ll say: “Ain’t that a freakin’ shame.”

Monday, June 29, 2009


(C) Stan Spire 2009

Blogspot makes cartoons too small. Fight back. Click on image and activate digital Viagra.

Nutts - Right And Left

(C) 2009 Stan Spire

Cartoon too small? Click on it, Numbnut.

Nutts 2 U

(C) 2009 Stan Spire

Cartoon too small? Click on it for easier reading, Binky.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Brings Out The Assholes

© 2009 Stan Spire

I leave a large bag on a table at a coffeehouse and walk over to talk to a friend at another table. It’s obvious with that bag there that someone is still using the table.

Then some dolt comes in off the street, shoves aside my bag to set up his chess set. I return to what had been my table and say, “Excuse me, I hope I don’t bother if I move my stuff out of your way.”

Dolt replies: “No, that won’t bother me.”

When the weather gets warm, the assholes come out of hibernation.

Later I’m walking down the sidewalk, keeping to my half. Six assholes approach me in a group, not bothering to bunch up a bit so that I could walk on at least half one-fourth of the fucking sidewalk. It’s like: “We own the sidewalk. Get out of the way!”

And then there’s the assholes that racing down the sidewalk on their bikes, especially from behind. You don’t hear them until they rip by you within a few inches. No cops around, of course. They’re too busy with the twofer sale at the donut shop.

Time for all assholes to go into hibernation once again – permanently.

BBC-- You suck!!

© 2009 Stan Spire

When I watch the BBC TeeVee news on the local Public BS station, I don’t want the same crap you get from the typical American network “news.” I want to know about the important things in the world like what’s happening with the Dead End Wars (Iraq & Afghanistan, AKA Vietnam II & Vietnam III).

I don’t want fluff, especially entertainment “news.” So what do I get the other day? Twenty minutes straight of the BBC speculating whether or not Michael Jackson, the King Of Crap, was dead. The same shots shown over and over again outside the hospital where it’s been rumored – NOT confirmed – that he had been delivered by a meat wagon.

Is he dead? Let’s talk this to person who knows jackshit about Jackson. “I heard he died but I hope he didn’t, but I can’t confirm it, oh my…”

On and on this fucking crap went. I left the TeeVee on in the background like a radio while I did other things, waiting for some NEWS to come on. After twenty minutes of NOTHING I shut off the TeeVee. What did it was some twit girl on the phone with the BBC saying we all should light a candle for poor Michael, he might be dead, but I hope he isn’t…

Meanwhile soldiers are wounded, dying, in the Dead End Wars while the BBC goes on with prattle about some overrated androgynous mutant.

Moon walk to hell, BBC.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Stan Spire Situation

© Stan Spire 2009

My philosophy: If you can’t join them, beat them.

In a previous post, “The Stan Spire Story,” I briefly explained what lead me here to this blog. But the main reason why I’m using this as an outlet is because no one in the mainstream media – either fiction or non-fiction concerns – thought my stuff was worthy. I failed to break the mainstream barrier.

Now I’m in the position to criticize the problems I see with corporate entertainment and news (or anything else that irks me). Sour grapes? Read my stuff and you can decide if I’m on or off target.

I mentioned in “The Stan Spire Story” that I used to have over 300 followers via email subscriptions. Now I’m reduced to a fraction of that with hits at this blog.

Putting aside my ego, I mulled over what caused the drastic drop and this one point reared its ugly little head:

Maybe the mystery surrounding me is too intimidating. It scares people away!

Ergo the last couple of posts about whom (or what) I am.

After all, it’s all about having a My Space personality, isn’t it? (Even if it’s a fake one.)

A few more details:

I’m at the bottom end of the economic scale. Not starving but not making a ton of money either. No car or home. Just treading water.

I’m someone who played the employment game and got screwed over repeatedly. Underpaid, overworked – the usual. My work history is divided between underemployment and unemployment. At this point I’m been forced to take early retirement; limited income.

I don’t expect anything to be handed to me. When it is, it’s usually pain and bullshit.

Besides the lowly status of no job, I live alone. Don’t get me going about the social scene here in Pits-burgh, NY. As for family – I have a vague recollection of what that term means.


What do you think?

The Stan Spire Story

© Stan Spire 2009

What’s my story?

The germ: a one-page double-sided zine called “Anti-Press.” A satirical reaction to the local daily (news)paper. Published anonymously. The Plattsburgh daily paper never printed signed editorials, so why couldn’t I hide behind anonymity? I even used the editorial “we.”

Distribution was a problem. A restaurant owner told me “No more.” He had employees of the Plattsburgh paper as customers and didn’t want to offend them. Later his spineless weasel wrote a column for the paper. Just a coincidence, eh?

After two print issues I was going to give up. I took the material I had and published them online in newsgroups, just to get it out there.

Then Morbus of came along. He liked my stuff and offered to publish it at his site. “Anti-Press” became “Anti-Press Ezine” (APE for short). At one point I had over 300 email subscribers.

An online magazine wanted to interview me about my ezine and online publishing. But the reporter told me that her editor wouldn’t accept “Anti-Press” as a name; I needed a more legit appellation.

Some anagrammatic magic and “Anti-Press” became “Stan Spire.” By this time I had dropped the editorial “we.” Too confusing. Some readers thought I had a staff working for me.

Morbus decided to take his site in a different direction. So I moved on to blogging: Anti-Express Express (to keep the APE abbreviation). Then I got tired of the APE business and wanted to focus more on myself as an individual character. Ergo, this blog.

“Character” is the key word. Besides personality, it also refers to persona. My online role. Alter ego, if you will.

As Stan Spire I can say what I want without the self-censoring forced upon me by public contact in meat space. And while some details in my posts might be a little vague, the essential truth is still there.

So here I am, like it or not.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nutts To Mutts!

© Stan Spire 2009

Plattsburgh’s leading (news)paper, The Daily Fishwrap, is still publishing the braindead comic strip Mutts. Check out my cartoon series, Nutts, featuring my characters Leftie and Rightie. Compare my effort to Mutts. The answer is obvious: my cartoon should be in the paper instead of Mutts. Why? Because it’s funnier (which ain’t saying much for it).

If the display is too small, then click on each one for a larger view.

And if your mother is a saint, just tell her it’s about two talking walnuts.

The Bright Side

© Stan Spire 2009

It’s one of those stupid memories – a trivial incident – that for some reason never fades away even after many years pass.

One sunny day I’m with some co-workers during lunchtime. We’re walking from a restaurant when I start to cross the street to the other side shaded by buildings. One co-worker objects, makes everyone to follow him.

He looks at me and says: “I want to stay on the sunny side of the street.” There was an extra meaning in his words. He didn’t like certain aspects of my personality that came through from working at the same shithole job.

I never dwelt on the negative. But I never ignored it either.

The other day an item in the newspaper triggered that stupid memory. The critical co-worker’s name was in the public record section. He was around the same age as me according to the obit.

That says a lot for walking on the sunny side of the street all the time.

Don’t forget to use sunblock lotion, pal.

Career Minded

© Stan Spire 2009

“You’re almost thirty years old and you don’t have a career yet?”

It was easy for the woman to pass judgment on me for circumstances beyond my control. She had a career; her husband had a career; what was wrong with me?

Time passes. Irony raises its ugly head.

Her husband is busted, ends up going off to prison.

Apparently he had a second career.

Career criminal.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ass Kicking Excellence

© Stan Spire 2009

“Excellence. We pride ourselves on our standards of excellence. But we don’t maintain excellence: we increase excellence to higher standards. We have excellent excellence.”

When I hear some official spokesman go on about his institution’s “excellence,” I know it ain’t to be found, especially within the New York State college system.

No matter where you go, the biggest or the tiniest, each college brags of its excellence. Every program, every degree, every employee, every student oozes excellence.

The local college, Plattsburgh University, always has some flak going on about PU’s so-called excellence. If that’s the case, then why does PU have a hard time getting its teaching program accredited?

And if PU four-year degrees are so great, why is it so hard for too many students to find decent jobs? After all, an excellent degree means that a graduate is recession-proof, he can be hired at any time.

There’s a journalism program at PU that is flooding the world with more graduates in a shrinking job market. Newspapers are cutting back, even folding. Well, it can be argued, at least these graduates have been trained in proper communication, how to relate on a professional level to others. Such a skill is important in any job.

Take a look at the last issue of the PU student newspaper, Cardinal Pointless (May 1, 2009). There’s an article entitled “Near-campus profs not bothered by PSUC students” (available online here). It about professors who don’t live in the student slum area in the center city; they don’t put up with the problems there, noise, destruction, theft, piss in your flowerpot, whatever.

A PU journalism professor is quoted. He used to live in New York City and from that experience he has learned how not to “radiate fear.” So Plattsburgh college students don’t bother him.

And to make a fine point – using such elegant journalistic language – he states:

“I can handle myself, if someone wants to come up and pick a fight I can kick them in the ass.”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Desperate Car Dealers

© Stan Spire 2009

TeeVee ad:

“The sale was so big, the time was so short. So we extended our superduper sale…”

Bullshit. The economy is going down the toilet and no one can afford a new car. You extended your event hoping to move some American-made junk.

Newspaper ad (Daily News - Sat., April 25):

The photo shows a beautiful woman sitting in a car, blowing a sultry kiss at the reader. The text proclaims: “ENGINE STIMULATING PACKAGE.” “Rev Up The Economy.” “Priced to put the pedal to the medal!”

Selling cars or Viagra?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bicycle Stolen; World To End

© Stan Spire 2009

Every Friday the Plattsburgh daily (news)paper, the BCL (Bird Cage Liner), has a section devoted to religion. This includes a small advertorial by a local pastor, Reverend Fry (or Fried, as I prefer). He takes a news item about an incident – usually a crime – and ties it in with Biblical verse.

Yesterday he talked about a woman in her eighties who kept a bicycle since he was 17. It was a classic old bike, big fenders and a metal basket. She took it out one day in her Maine hometown and peddled over to visit a friend in a nursing home.

But during her visit the 66-year old bike was stolen. The police are still looking for the thief.

So how does this tie in with Biblical prophecy? Reverend Fried quotes Timothy 3:1-2: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous…”

So the police better find that bike or Armageddon is on the way.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Glossy Garbage

© Stan Spire 2009

Got another one in the mail today. The alumni magazine from the college that bestowed upon me an invaluable degree, the key to a good life.

I have so many fond memories of my alma mater, Mistake By The Lake. Alcohol abuse, for one. College is the perfect environment for that hobby. And how can I forget my backstabbing roommate who helped improve my chances for dating success.

What I treasure about the alumni magazine is all the success stories, how a Mistake By The Lake degree made the difference. But you never see the unsuccess stories.

My four-year degree was so worthwhile. It assured that I had a steady career, made plenty of money, and was never unemployed or forced to take a minimum wage job. My degree was so worthwhile that I had to default on my student loan.

An unsuccess story that will never appear in the MBTL alumni magazine. After all, the college has to sell the dream, not reality.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Blonde Bobblehead TeeVee Nooz

© Stan Spire 2009

Bobblehead dolls. They have a spring connecting the head to the body. Just tap the head and watch it bounce up and down and all around.

Hair salon blondes. Unlike natural blondes, these women have been given their somewhat golden hair by man, not God.

Tonight I’m watching the local TeeVee nooz out of the state of Buy Vermont, the Fox network affiliate. I notice that all three weekend anchorpersons – news, sports and weather – are young blondes, apparently of the hair salon type. These chicks are so happy and upbeat; their heads are apparently spring-loaded, bouncing up and down while delivering the nooz.

The weather blonde spells her name “Kerrin,” as opposed to “Karen.” I haven’t figured out whether her parents were either semi-illiterate hippies or pretentious yuppies.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Special Treatment

© Stan Spire 2009

In yesterday’s edition of the local daily (news)Paper (Wed. 4/8/09) a reader shared her horrible experience at the Plattsburgh hospital in Letters to the Editor. She was staying at the hospital, fast asleep in her room, when she was awakened by another patient urinating on her.

Usually a rebuttal to such a critical letter doesn’t appear until days, maybe weeks, later. But right after that reader’s letter there was a reply from hospital officials, giving their side of the story.

Obviously the newspaper contacted the hospital about the pissing incident letter and allowed it to get a reply into print on the same day. Now why would the hospital get special treatment, its response placed immediately after the patient’s complaint? Could it be all the advertising it takes out in the Paper, big half-page or full page displays?

Naw. That’s just a coincidence.

One Statement, Two Lies

© Stan Spire 2009

“The death of newspapers is a threat to our democracy.”

Lie #1: You don’t live in a democracy. The next time you recite the Pledge of Allegiance, pay attention to what you’re pledging allegiance to. It ain’t to the United States of America and the Democracy for which it stands. Americans never had a democracy. If they did, a president would be chosen by the popular vote, not metaphysical Electoral College mathematics. Our system of government is more like a plutocracy or even a kleptocracy.

Lie #2: Newspapers have been doing such a great job lately of protecting our “democracy.” How about Bush-Cheney operative Judith Miller, a “reporter” at the New York Times, who was more than happy to repeat jingoistic BS to promote a war in Iraq. White House to Judy: “There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” Judy in the NYT: “Iraq has WMDs.” A White House Official on TeeVee (“Meet The Press”): “It was reported in the New York Times that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” The American public: “Iraq has WMDs targeted at us! We have to invade!” And let’s not forget how financial MSM “reporters” were to so close to their Wall Street sources, too close to warn readers about a depression on the way.

The real threat to “democracy:” bizgov ends up controlling the Internet so that independent voices are suppressed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Twilight Zone Rush Limbaugh

© Stan Spire 2009

Yesterday (Tues. 4/7/09) a rare event occurred: I was glad I had tuned in Rush Limbaugh’s radio program.

A caller identified himself as a military veteran who belonged to the Republican Party and had voted for John McCain in the last presidential election. This vet was upset that Rush supported torture of all U.S. enemies, unlike McCain. The caller said that anyone who supported torture was like the Nazis who faced charges during the Nuremberg trials after the end of World War II.

The caller pointed out that Rush never served in the military (a key point overlooked by many of his pro-war followers). If we torture our enemies, they would do the same to our soldiers. There were others ways to get information from a prisoner without resorting to torture, said the caller, who added that some prisoners have been killed by U.S. soldiers during recent conflicts.

On a roll the caller stated that Rush was a brainwashed Nazi like Sean Hannity and the rest. He blamed Rush for the Republicans losing the White House, adding that Rush wasn’t really a Republican.

Now here comes the Twilight Zone moment. Pissed off, Rush shot back by saying the caller – a vet who voted for McCain – wasn’t a true Republican.

In Limbaughland, black is white and up is down…

It was great that the angry caller got through. Usually the only ones who get by the phone screener are fawning shitto – oops, I mean ditto – heads.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Curate Your Ass, MSM

© Stan Spire 2009

The buzzword is “curation.” Professional media editors can save their jobs by curating, choosing and aggregating links to spots outside their corporate sites, deeming what is the best stuff on the Web.

Here we go. The mainstream media is so desperate to maintain its middleman position that it wants you to depend upon it as an arbitrator of what is worthy and unworthy. Look how it jumped on the blog bandwagon, hoping to cash in. MSM has confused form with function. Just because professional news organizations shovel the same old crap into a blog format doesn’t automatically mean that it’s better.

This curation garbage is another way to reinstate the gatekeepers. As Steve Rosenbaum explains in his post, “Can ‘Curation’ Save Media?” (link below), a “trusted content curator” will select “contextually relevant material” that is “brand safe” for advertisers. Of course, it’s all about the $, nothing else. Rosenbaum observes “curation shifts the balance of power back to brand and publications.”

If the New York Times doesn’t link to an independent blogger’s site, does that mean his work is invalid? Readers decide if his blog is shit or candy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan to be fucking “brand safe” any time soon.

Curation is another variation on the top-down vertical model. The elitists in their lofty media towers will still decide what is newsworthy. If you’re an independent voice not in line with corporate America, good luck with getting noticed.

Editors and publishers. I’ve put up with these gatekeepers too long. Now I can bypass them, go directly to an audience. I’ve never been impressed with those in power who have no creative talent, who don’t know how to write. Like I say, those who can’t do, teach, and if they can’t do that, they edit or publish.

I don’t need a hack editor to get his fingerprints on my work, “fixing it,” and then if it succeeds, he takes credit, but if it fails, it’s my fault. (At the same time, I could use a proofreader or copyeditor, someone with real skills.)

So screw the vertical top-down model. Let’s keep our horizontal peer-to-peer freedom. Don’t depend upon the MSM for linkage. You have the tools to curate on your own: bookmarks, Google Reader, Bloglines, etc.

Let the MSM dinosaurs go extinct.

* * *

Here’s what I “curated:”

Editors as Curators: What’s Taking So Long?
By Mark Potts

Can ‘Curation’ Save Media? By Steven Rosenbaum

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mutts Unplugged

© Stan Spire 2009

The Plattsburgh Daily (news)Paper (PDP) dropped “For Better Or Worse” –- a somewhat entertaining comic strip –- and replaced it with “Mutts” – an anti-entertaining one by Patrick McDonnell.

Complaints have blazed in to the PDP. Most readers want “For Better Or Worse” reinstated; they think “Mutts” is unfunny.

“Unfunny” doesn’t even begin to describe this alleged “comic” strip. I’ve haven’t seen anything so braindead since “Nancy” by Ernie Bushmiller.

I’ve taken a couple of “Mutts” strips –- March 2nd and 3rd – and with some image-editing wizardry have made them halfway funny. I only needed two panels, not three. If you think my unplugged versions are sub-juvenile, then go here [ ] and compare with the originals. If you don’t think my versions are more entertaining, then you’re braindead.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Twitterized News

© Stan Spire 2009

Over at there’s an April Fools post about the Guardian newspaper in the UK converting its entire operation to the Twitter format, 140 character maximum per post.

Actually I think Paul Gillin has hit on something. After all how many politicians try to oversimplify a problem with a clever soundbite for TeeVee and radio? Most readers and viewers only scan headlines anyway; they’re too busy with their day-to-day struggles to delve deep into issues.

Don’t forget how Dubya handled news when he was president. When he was asked what newspapers he read, he replied his staff filtered the information for him: he didn’t need to read any papers.

Of course this meant completely unbiased info got to Dubya. He probably could barely handle 140-character-limited bits like “We can win in Iraq with less troops; they’ll greet us as liberators” or “Don’t worry; there’s only a few dead-enders left; send in more troops.”

For someone with limited vision like Dubya and his followers, maybe Twitterized news would expand their sphincter-view of the world, waking them up. “Civil war has broken out in Iraq after we invaded. We destabilized the region. Military action won’t work.”

Then again, maybe for such news to have an impact it would have to be scrawled with big, bright crayon colors.

Rush Limbaugh’s Life Story

© Stan Spire

Today on his radio program Rush Limbaugh took a phone call from a college student –- a young Conservative –- who said that there was a lot of hatred being expressed on campus towards Conservatives.

This was the impetus for Rush to talk about his days as a “kid,” how he tried college for a year but dropped out after he was forced to take ballroom dancing as a PE requirement. Unlike those dirty hippie protesters with their tie-dye shirts, Rush wanted to be part of the Establishment but he had to achieve that in his own individual, rebellious way.

His story was so moving and riveting.

I farted and hit the shower.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moral Scold Rush Limbaugh

© Stan Spire 2009

Yesterday on his radio program Rush Limbaugh was upset that some women were taking pole-dancing lessons as a form of exercise, not as a way to earn money. And he was also chastising women who lost their jobs on Wall Street during this Dubya Depression for finding work as strippers.

He stated women were naturally innocent but men could corrupt some of them.

June 2006. Returning from a trip to the Dominican Republic, Limbaugh was detained at the Palm Beach International Airport for having prescription drug not in his name in his luggage. The drug was Viagra.

As a Conservative, Limbaugh is against pre-marital sex. At the time he was detained at the airport, he was single. The divorce from his third wife was finalized in December 2004.

Doper Scold Rush Limbaugh

© Stan Spire 2009

Last week on his radio program Rush Limbaugh ridiculed people who smoke marijuana. He said about half the questions sent in to President Obama during an online town hall meeting pertained to legalizing pot.

If Obama succeeds with his economic plans, claimed Limbaugh, then capitalism will be ruined and there will be no chance for anyone to get ahead in this country. He commented that maybe that’s what the Liberals wanted, people out of work, stuck at home, doing a doobie.

October 2003. The National Inquirer revealed that Limbaugh was being investigated for illegally obtaining the prescription painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone. After other news outlets picked up the story, Limbaugh admitted on his radio program that he was addicted to painkillers and he was entering rehab.

He was in trouble for “doctor shopping,” feeding his addiction from getting prescriptions from different doctors. As a Conservative, Limbaugh had attacked the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). The ACLU, due to the issue of a patient’s right to privacy, supported Limbaugh in his fight against the authorities, arguing that the prosecutor had illegally seized Limbaugh’s medical records, a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Need HDTeeVee

© Stan Spire 2009


I’m watching my small TeeVee set one morning with its analog screen and digital converter box to pick stations OTA (On The Air). There’s some sort of doctors program on, this day devoted to women’s issues.

The distaff doctors are discussing yeast infection. There’s a dynamic animated segment showing how yeast multiplies and spreads.

I’m not getting the full effect!, I suddenly realize. If I had a high definition TeeVee with a cable hookup, I could completely appreciate the details of yeast infection while eating breakfast.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Public BS: Bag Your Begging!

© Stan Spire 2009

Put a sock in it, PBS-TeeVee. Two Public BS stations – one here in NENYland and one across the lake in the state now known at Buy Vermont – are driving away viewers with almost constant begging for money.

Ever hear of the law of diminishing returns? Do you think you can extract more $ out of people? OK, you have to raise money to keep in operation but after a while your relentless begathons just turn off people. 2 AM and I tune in to find you still pleading for bucks.

Especially when you interrupt the usual programming to put on for the nth time the doo-wop special. That music is dead and you’ll be dead, too, if you piss off viewers by pre-empting programs they like to follow every week.

Anyway, why do we need two Public BS stations in this area? Most of the time they show the same programs.

Good Job! Here’s Your Reward

© Stan Spire 2009

Today (3/15/09) the Plattsburgh Daily (news)Paper ran an editorial reassuring the reader that everything was financially hunky-dory with its operation.

This was a follow-up to an article that appeared the day before that announced all employees at the Paper would have to take a five day unpaid leave next quarter. The editorial repeated the same theme that was in the article: We’re doing OK here in the Plattsburgh area, but we belong a corporation with “disparate properties” that perform disparately and we’re helping out.

Loosely translated: Other papers owned by our corporate masters are doing bad and to help them out we’re sharing the pain, despite doing our job and remaining profitable.

So are any of the corporate greedpigs at the top taking any cuts? Are they sharing in the pain? Or are they still riding around in their limos and private planes?

That’s the evil of corporations: they go on buying sprees – in this case newspapers – and local control is taken away. If the Plattsburgh Paper didn’t belong to a corp, it would be plugging along, making a decent profit, and no one would be screwed out of five paid days.

A corporation can be a vampiric octopus, its tentacles getting into local businesses, sucking away as much $ as possible. And if things go south, the business has to close – oh well, the greedpigs made some profit before the trough went empty.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Corporate Overlords Screw Peon Employees

© Stan Spire 2009

So who pays when big government or big business screws up? The average joe or jane.

Some corporations went on a buying spree, paying top dollar for newspapers all over the country. Sure, they ended up with heavy debt loads, but hey – the economy will just keep on growing and the newspapers will generate the needed $.


The ironical part is that some papers in smaller communities are doing OK, still generating profits. But those profits ain’t high enough to help pare down the corporations’ heavy debt.

So the corporate masters squeeze more money out of each operation. Trimming down the width of the paper, publishing fewer pages each day. Another trend is putting employees on unpaid furloughs.

It was announced today (3/14/09) in the Plattsburgh (news)Paper that next quarter its employees will have to take a five days off, no pay.

In the article the publisher says the Plattsburgh Paper has maintained a strong advertising and circulation base. But the paper is a part of a large group and so it’s doing its part to help out.

Large group = greedy corporation.

So even thought the local paper has already been doing its part to maintain profits, it still has to suffer for the sake of the fat overlords at the top of the food chain.

I wonder how many employees stuck with unpaid furloughs are going to be influenced – or just outright pressured - to keep working off the books for the sake of the greedy corporation. Or maybe the whip will put to their backs to get more done on the days they are paid.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Boycott Vermont

© 2009 Stan Spire

On the upside of lousy DeeTeeVee reception: less exposure to annoying ads repeated ad nauseam.

Like WCAX-TeeVee across the lake in Burlington and its insufferable Buy Vermont spots. Some yahoo going on how it’s important to support his local business. Vermonters should only support Vermonters.

Well, screw you. Why don’t you secede from the US and become completely provincial?

I’m so sick of this Buy Only Vermont irk being on 24/7 that I’m making a list of stuff I ain’t going to purchase, from Green Mountain Coffee to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to Vermont maple syrup. Keep your crap in your own state and just buy it among yourselves. After all, you don’t need New York or any other state as part of your market.

While you’re at it, Vermont, why don’t you just inbreed among yourselves? Until the flatlanders showed up to diversify the gene pool, you were on the way to becoming a tribe of sap-sucking troglodytes.

The Future Of Television: NO SIGNAL

© 2009 Stan Spire

DTV: the big rip off.

Around this region analog broadcasts have been phased out for the digital format. Before this crap hit the air circulation propeller there were all sorts of TeeVee spots pushing the change.

“Did you ever notice,” proclaimed one spot, “how most things are better with digital?”

The spot proclaimed that digital was the future of television. But not to worry: you can still receive TeeVee signals over the air free of charge if you buy a digital converter box for your old-style analog set.

So I got a box and hooked it up. Now my reception is worse than ever. Sure, there are times when I can pick up all the channels. But just now every station is missing, the all-too-familiar NO SIGNAL message floating across my black screen.

The TeeVee spot didn’t lie: most things are better with digital. But not broadcast television.

With the digital switchover stations moved from the lower channels (VHF, 2-13) to higher frequencies (UHF band). The trouble with UHF reception is that it doesn’t penetrate and cover as well as VHF. Even then I had good reception with the analog UHF broadcasts. In fact those stations came in better than the low numbers. As for digital UHF – to use the technical term, it sucks moose.

To compete with cable and satellite TeeVee, local broadcasters can split their signal into separate channels. For example the Vermont Public BS station is on 33.1, 33.2, 33.3, and 33.4. But when you split the signal into sub-channels, each one is weaker than a stand-alone main channel. Falling rain or snow can affect reception. Also, there’s the digital drop off: around 40 miles away from the transmitter the signal dies out.

Before the local stations switched to digital, one of them showed a map of this area, NENYland and Vermont. Areas indicated in orange meant that reception problems would probably occur. There was plenty of orange.

With all the mountains and hills in this region, many people are having trouble picking up the digital signal. Some are being forced to get cable or satellite hook-ups.

An outdoor antenna would probably improve my reception but no go, my landlord won’t allow it. And with my limited budget, I don’t want to spend more money for “free” TeeVee. And cable is a rip off for what they charge.

The great guvbiz thinkers had planned on the economy staying robust during the changeover, expecting more people would get cable or satellite. With the present depression, forget it.

Once the switch is complete, big government and big business will benefit. The guv will auction off the VHF frequencies to biz and everyone involved will make lots of money.

While I watch NO SIGNAL float across my black screen.

What the hell – it’s only TeeVee.

It’ll be interesting to see how this screw-over affects the ratings. I hope the numbers go right down the crapper.

Some are saying that they’re glad there’s still radio. Well, surprise, high definition digital radio is being proposed, complete with inferior reception.

Wait and see how the guvbiz conspiracy screws the pooch on that one.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Homeland Insecurity

© 2009 Stan Spire

Item in the news: a NENYland resident is in legal trouble, facing charges in the murder of a nude dancer across the border in Canada.

Adam Morris, who was also busted for child porn, admitted in court here in the US that he hid the dancer’s body in a gravel pit near his home. Basically, he pled guilty to evidence tampering. He faces extradition to Canada to stand trial for murder.

So after the big push with Homeland Security, how did this suspect get the corpse across the border? What about all this talk of training screeners to detect terrorists and others hiding something by judging their facial expressions? Instead of the pseudo-psychological voodoo training, how about popping open a trunk now and then to look inside?

In the Plattsburgh (news)Paper article it was mentioned: “Morris, who appeared in a two-piece, orange, county-issued outfit, with chains around his middle and handcuffs…”

This is what passes for high society coverage here in NENYland; the latest fashion trends among its noble citizens.

Provide Free Content; Screw A Reporter

© 2009 Stan Spire

Originally when I launched this endeavor it was the Anti-Press Ezine (APE for short). I had an email subscription list with a lot of readers, but my host went on to other things and so here I am with this blog.

I got tired of the Anti-Press bit, especially with using the editorial “we” that made me sound too important or just suffering from multiple personality. So I decided to have a new identity for easier “branding.” Thus I became Stan Spire. (If you’re good at anagrams, you’ll see how I can up with that name.)

Anti-Press started as being a counterpoint to the local press, the daily Plattsburgh (news)Paper. Then it expanded to be “anti” about lots of stuff, the media and anything else that irked me.

It’s been claimed that bloggers like me are responsible for the crisis in the newspaper industry. Newspapers are folding, young readers aren’t replacing older ones –- blah, blah, blah, sob story. Of course, no one ever gets to the heart of the matter: that most newspapers suck.

But that fact is ignored. Instead, the unwashed masses are told bloggers are killing newspapers because we provide free content. We don’t charge. We’re not greedy for-profit corporations.

So when a reporter is kicked to the curb, blame it on the bloggers.

Take a good look at your local newspaper. Is it like the daily here in Plattsburgh? Are you finding more free content being published, letters, opinion pieces, photos, from the readers? The Plattsburgh (news)Paper now features a full page of photos taken by “citizen journalists,” images of class field trips, awards ceremonies, whatever. Not great photojournalism but hey – it’s free!

The Plattsburgh Paper used to run a feature called “Speak Out.” Readers could phone in and rant about anything. But someone had to go through all the messages and try to decipher the semi-coherent diatribes from the hillbillies. That was too costly.

So “Freak Out” – I mean, “Speak Out” – has returned after years of a well-deserved slumber. Thanks to email the stake was pulled out of SO and it lives again. This time the unpaid filler can be inexpensively harvested: just copy and paste the rant onto the page.

And there’ are also special requests for readers to participate, like “Write A Letter To President Obama.” That fills up space.

After a while enough suckers – I mean, citizen journalists – will be producing a good share of the paper. And with enough “news” material surrounding the ads, why bother having so many reporters and photographers? They cost money. They can be disagreeable, unlike some untrained sap so happy to see his name in print, proud that his anonymous comment or uncredited pic got in da paper.

When it comes to all the free content putting professional journalists out in the cold, don’t blame the bloggers.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

NENYland Criminal Genius: Meth Lab Scientist

© 2009 Stan Spire

Here in the northeastern corner of New York State – NENYland (nee-nee-land) – criminals with the highest IQ’s amaze the public with their daring exploits.

Take the recent bust of a local meth lab. Usually such operations are hidden in way out in the countryside, lost in the wilderness.

Apparently one enterprising criminal decided to save on travel costs; he set up his lab inside an apartment complex in Plattsburgh. Why live in the middle of nowhere when he could take advantage of city life? Also, most of his customer base would be in the city area.

But this genius got busted. Did a friend rat him out? Or did undercover officers get the goods on him?

No. A minor detail tripped him up.

Neighbors noticed this detail and called the police.

One reason why meth labs normally operate in the sparsely populated sticks: no one around to complain about the powerful smell during the manufacturing process.

A minor detail, like I said.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hail, Great Leader! Mop Faster!

© 2008 Stan Spire

A photo in the local (news)paper: two visiting students from China mopping a floor in a building owned by a community service organization, free of charge.

What was the occasion? These students and others were participating in “Leadership Day,” a special program sponsored by local colleges to give leadership skills and experience that the students could take back to their country.

So what does mopping floors as an unpaid volunteer have to do with leading others? Maybe someone got “leader” mixed up with “coolie.” With the economy being so bad, you gotta make do with what you’ve got. Calling janitor work a “leadership skill” fits the bill – a bill of goods, that is.

After all the years I worked as a janitor, I should be qualified to be US president. (But I’m probably disqualified because I was paid minimum wage.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Grapes of Wreath

© 2009 Stan Spire

How sad. They removed the Xmas wreaths from the lampposts in downtown Plattsburgh.

About every other lamppost had been adorned with a green wreath with tiny white lights. You would think that with the city whining about its dire budget shortfall, it would’ve saved some time and money by not putting them up. A gas-guzzling utility truck with a cherry picker had to go from each designated lamppost to affix and later take down each wreath.

But to make money you have to spend money. The wreaths were a great success, drawing crowds away from the mall. People came downtown to walk around and greatly admire each wreath. They oohed and aahed. (Except the French Canadians: they went “ooh-la-la.”)

And while they were downtown, the crowds would spend money at many outstanding establishments in the area, such as the used bookstore and the bars and the coffeehouse and the bars and – well, the bars.

Unfortunately problems ensued. During the daytime wreathophiles couldn’t find a place to park. They kept driving in circles, waiting for a spot to open up. And since they were used to the free unlimited parking at the mall, they were shocked to find parking tickets on their vehicles after two short hours.

At nighttime when the wreaths were in their nocturnal glory, parents with their children had to explain why a shabbily dressed man reeking of alcohol was staggering around, shouting obscenities. They told their innocent young ones that the man had a “medical problem.”

But the crowds did generate some money, especially from the parking tickets.

And isn't that what the holiday$ are all about?