November 2008 issue

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessed Traditions...

Some things are universal about holidays like this. And with Thanksgiving, it's always about the meal (and maybe about the football games afterward.)

There is the presentation of the bird at the table. So what if it's in a cardboard tub... it's good eats! And the side dishes are also favorites. If it's Big Macs and pizza instead of yams and stuffing, it's still a celebration. Everyone looks forward to the annual toast to happiness... be it a well aged wine or an icy can of Bud.

The point is that, at this time of year, we can all find something to be grateful for if we just take the time to look. Maybe we find it in the past, or maybe we find it by looking to the future. But in truth, we should all be able to find something in the here-and-now for which we can give thanks. Even if it's simply that we saw a flower, felt a sunbeam, or heard a song.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Be well!!


Rushing Things!

It seems to get worse every year. Maybe it's retail's panic at the prospect of flagging holiday sales, but don't the stores appear to be pushing the start of the Christmas season earlier and earlier each year? I remember, as a kid, that you would never see a hint of Christmas before December. Certainly not before Thanksgiving!

Then we started to see an occasional wreath or garland in stores around mid-November. Soon they began putting out Christmas items right after Halloween. This year, I saw several stores setting up Christmas displays during their Labor Day sales!

And it's not just the local stores. Haven't you noticed an occasional Christmas commercial on a network already? I've even heard one or two Christmas carols in October. It feels so wrong.

Just because Halloween and Thanksgiving aren't big revenue-boosters for shopping centers doesn't mean they aren't still valid holidays.

Please, Mr Retailer... Don't turn Christmas into another Valentine's Day; existing only as a prop for the sale of cards and gifts.

It means a whole lot more than that!!

Audio Life After ISDN

For years the recording industry has been relying on the telephone company's ISDN service for a means of exchanging real-time, CD-quality audio between distant studios. ISDN stands for "Integrated Services Digital Network", and was originally used mostly as a high speed connection to the internet for large businesses.

The bad news is that phone companies are starting to phase out their support for ISDN because it is no longer needed for speedy internet connections.

This leaves studios and voice talent, like me, wondering how we're going to continue to do business together over long distances.

The good news is that a company called "Source Elements" set out to develop software and a website that would, essentially, replace telephone based ISDN service with internet based computer connections. Their early releases of "Source Connect" were fairly "buggy", but the latest free upgrade (version 3.0) has impressed me greatly!

Don Miller, at Airborne Audio in Kansas City, produced a demo spot with me a few days ago. I did the VO at home in NC while Don recorded me using "Source Connect" in Kansas, just like an ISDN session. Check it out! No quality issues, and the connection stayed as solid as a rock through the whole session.

Changing Times

The election is over, and we have a new President-elect of the United States. Barack Obama won a decisive victory over John McCain and marked a turning point in our nation's history. Regardless of your political beliefs, the simple fact is that things are going to change. And they'll be big changes! We can only hope that the changes will be to the betterment of us all.

What I find most remarkable about this election is not that a black man became President, but that the campaign never became about skin color, and focused only on who was the better person for the job! In this regard, both candidates are to be commended. I can only hope the average citizen can take that example and build upon it for our future.

I'm proud of John McCain in gracious defeat, and I'm proud of Barack Obama in victory. It's been a long time since I felt so grateful to live in this country. The coming changes will be painful. They have to be. Our problems are simply too huge. But if we trust in those we've chosen to take charge, perhaps we will put it all behind us, sooner rather than later.

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