Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gold Medal Singers: The results are in

My prize to the best country in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics goes to: Sweden! With 5 gold medals, all five of them sang their anthem in the gold medal presentation.

Here is the summary in this web page.

The full analysis is seen in this web page.

Friday, February 26, 2010

HD TV Over the Air

I am opposed to Cable TV on a number of levels (maybe another post...). But with the advent of over-the-air digital TV in my area, it makes even less sense to buy cable.

1. Over the Air HD channels are Numerous and Free!

In our home in the Chicago suburbs, we can get the following stations in High Definition:
  • Channel 2 (CBS)
  • Channel 5 (NBC)
  • Channel 7 (ABC)
  • Channel 7.2 (Local)
  • Channel 9 (WGN)
  • Channel 11 (PBS)
  • Channel 20 (PBS)
  • Channel 32 (Fox)
  • Channel 38 (Ion TV)
  • Channel 44 (Telemundo)
  • Channel 50 (UPN)
  • Channel 56 (PBS, Indiana)
You have to pay extra for HD programming on cable, of course.

2. There are some pretty decent free TV channels now.

We get 54 channels now! Of course, none of them are The Golf Channel, or CNN, or Discovery. But there are some good ones out there, like 5.3 is Universal Sports; 11.3 is The Create Channel; and we get ME-TV and ME-Too (and ME-too has Star Trek TOS and TNG).

3. Digital TV is cool.

The digital TV signal really is excellent. The picture quality is fantastic, and you get meta-data on all the channels (what is on, with a description; what is on next, out to 24 hours from now; what is on the other channels).

There is a down-side: If the signal is weak, you see nothing, not even static. But you rarely notice it because the signal is so good!

Conclusion: Cable TV Sucks

If you have Cable, get rid of it--save money and watch better TV.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Canadians Know How To Sing!

Special praise to the Gold Medalists for the Ice Dancing, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, for doing a great job of singing O Canada! last night.

For my complete list of singers, criers and idiots (e.g., people who don't sing their national anthem), see my web site, here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sing the Damn Anthem!

For goodness sake, if you win the gold medal at the Olympics, sing your damn national anthem!

I am making a complete list on my web site, here.

Cool people (who sing their anthem) include:
Amy Williams of England, who sang a rousing edition of God Save The Queen, Frenchman Jason Lamy-Chappuis, and most of the Canadians--who could help but sing with the great audiences in Vancouver!

Idiots (who don't sing) include:
Basically all the Americans (except for Seth Wescott). But you gotta hand it to Shaun White, who gave a rousing air-guitar solo at the end of The Star Spangled Banner.


In case you forgot the Star Spangled Banner, you can get the words here. And you folks who put the words on the screen for all the idiots to read, the last punctuation of the first verse is a question mark.

Radio Knobs

Switzerland is an ordered country: everyone (pretty much) obeys the rule because, well, rules are RULES! The US is also a rules-based country, but our attitude is a little different: "Rules are mostly made to be broken".

One aspect of this I have written about before: That the Swiss public transportation system has no turnstiles. Mostly, people buy a ticket before boarding a train. And if they don't they face, and often receive, a really big fine. Whereas, in the US, the engineering prowess that goes into the design of some turnstiles systems is impressive. It is assumed that most people will obey the rules in Switzerland, but in the US it is assumed that most people will break the rules if they feel like they will not be caught.

Another factet of this difference is in the respective Auto Shows. I loved attending the Geneva Auto Show--the density of Super Cars was impressive! The Chicago auto show, which concludes today, was, uh, not so great.

But the real difference between the Geneva and the Chicago Auto Show is radio knobs: Geneva has then, but Chicago does not.

Virtually every car I sat in yesterday had its radio knobs (and its gear shifter knob, if it was a manual transmission) removed. I am guessing that the auto manufacturer had removed them, but it is also possible that the guests had removed them, one by one.



Folks in Switzerland would never even think of trying to steal a knob! And it kinda makes sense: why would you even WANT a radio know from a Scion Whatchamacallit 1.6L sedan? I know the answer: because we Americans are often drawn to breaking rules when we know we probably won't be caught.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Welcome

I have decided to move my personal observations blog from my personal web site to here. It is free, and I don't need to worry about backups and upgrades and stuff like that.