Jane Cries A River For The Impoverished Music Industry

I watched an awards show. Finally. In it’s entirety.

The 2015 Grammy Awards.

2015-grammy-awards

Don’t get me wrong. I used to be an awards show junkie. I never missed. Even the shows announcing the nominees. I loved the entertainment industry. As a music major in college, I thought I would be a part of it one day.

But then, life happened. And kids. I discovered a whole new vocation I never thought in a million years I would enjoy so much. Motherhood. It’s been a blast. And the reason entertainment is my weakest category in Trivia Crack.

All in all, I felt it was a bit lack luster. Madonna tried to be shocking. Yawn. A legend crooned with a much, much, much younger up and comer. Creepy. Rock bands that should have retired long ago tried to show they still had it. Uh-uh.

Then, the Grammy’s put domestic violence and human trafficking into the forefront. Brooke Axtell, a survivor, spoke out against abuse against women. She gave a moving speech and Katy Perry followed up with a beautiful rendition of “By The Grace Of God.”

I thought, good for them. They should pick a cause every year to support.

And then, (you knew there was going to be an “and then” didn’t you?) ……..

And then………

Recording Academy president, Neil Portnow, used his time on stage to promote Creators Alliance, a new lobby group to represent those poor, under-appreciated and under-compensated music artists in Washington.

Wha………?

Oh, you mean like Steven Tyler, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Jennifer Hudson?

Yep. Those artists.

And I couldn’t help but remember when Metallica made (pardon my language but there really is no other word) asses of themselves in 2000, crying about Napster.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a poster child for plagiarism. I’m a rule follower from way back. I had a neighbor tease me once because I still use iTunes to buy my music. So sue me. I think stealing is wrong. Whether it’s milk, money or music. But when it comes to musicians, raking in millions from their craft, and they want to cry about the other thousands they may have lost? I have one thing to say. Take care of it privately. Quietly. Get your lawyers on it. Use your considerable wealth and position and power without telling me all about it.

Neil Portnow wanted to use his platform to gain support and inform the fans. Inform the fans? Seriously? He wanted to wag his bejeweled finger and remind Johnny that downloading songs for free is wrong and robs artists of fair compensation? Johnny doesn’t already know that? And fair compensation? Nobody is downloading some no-name artists music for free. And if they are, I can tell you the “no-name artist” is thrilled that someone is even listening to them.

I sat there. Trying to judge the reaction of the audience. The cameras panned the crowd and showed a few bobbing heads of agreement but there wasn’t some wild outpouring of support (Thank God.) I honestly don’t know how the audience felt. But if they agreed, it seems they had the common sense to keep their (greedy) feelings private.

I agree that people should be rewarded for their work. I agree that sharing music online without compensating the artist (and producers and writers and etc.) is stealing. I wouldn’t have stolen an album from a record store back in the day. I shouldn’t steal a song of the internet waves now. But talking to me, sweet little Jane, sitting in her living room on the weathered coach she can’t afford to replace, telling me that if this rampant internet stealing continues we’re going to have a world without music because artists won’t be able to make a living in the music industry anymore? Bullshit. (Oops. Excuse me again. But this topic pisses me off.)

Cry me a river. You want to talk about professions that aren’t fairly compensated for their craft? The ones who truly struggle to make a living? How about teachers? Police officers and firemen? Or social workers? Create a lobby group for them.

The Verge headline this morning said it best: Grammy Millionaires Unite To Lobby Washington For Better Pay.

Earlier in the evening, I mused how wonderful art would be if artists pursued their craft for the pure joy of creating it. Not for money. Not for glory. Not for fame. Real, true artists sharing their gifts.

Find me a gifted, talented, true artist that is also poverty-stricken and suffering and I’ll be happy to get behind your cause. But until then, Mr. Portnow, keep your wagging finger and your millions to yourselves.

 

 

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Lovely Spam, Wonderful Spam!

I am not perfect. By any stretch of the imagination. I love run-on sentences. I love incomplete sentences. I rely on spell-check. Heavily. Not because I can’t spell but because I’m horribly lazy.

And speaking of lazy, I don’t edit my posts very well. Or sometimes at all. I know. I’m a terrible blogger. But I own it. And I have my excuses. (And they truly are excuses.)

I’m not like many of you out there. I’m not waiting to be discovered. I’m not jonesing for a book deal. I’m just a gal, full of ideas bouncing around in her head that need to be unleashed once in a while. So, I write a post. I scan it for any glaring errors and then I hit “Publish” and walk away. Well, click away.

Imagine my amusement when I received this comment regarding my blog:

(Identifying factors have been deleted to protect the well-meaning spammer.)

“certainly like your web site however you need to test the spelling on quite a
few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling
issues and I in findingg it vedry troublesome to tell the truth however I’ll definitely come again again”

"Spam, spam, spam, spam. Lovely spam, wonderful spam." - Monty Python

“Spam, spam, spam, spam. Lovely spam, wonderful spam.” – Monty Python

Ahhh, the irony of spam comments.

I love spam.

Spamm all ways amuzes me.

 

 

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Filed under Because It Amuses

“Hello. I’m Calling From Microsoft. And I’m Calling To Help You With Your Computer.”

I just received another one of “those” calls.

Yes. I know it’s not really Microsoft calling about some virus in my computer. I know this because I’m just a teeny bit tech savvy and a tiny bit jaded after my half century on this planet.

But I play along anyway. It’s entertaining. I have a little time on my hands. And it keeps him on the phone for a bit longer, preventing him from scamming someone else.

“I’m calling from Microsoft because we have been alerted that your computer is infected with a malicious virus.”

“Oh, God. No! This is the second time this year!”

“Well, I’m calling to help you fix the problem.”

“Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You don’t know how grateful I am.”

“It’s all right ma’am. We’re going to fix this. Ma’am? Are you near you computer?”

“Yes! Please help me. Just tell me what to do!”

We have a bit of back and forth as I pretend to open my computer. Turn on my computer. Oops. The battery is low. I have to plug it in. Now, where’s that cord?

‘So explain to me how this happened…”

He gives some explanation of which I understand about every 3 words. Not because I’m hard of hearing but because his accent is so thick. Meanwhile, I’m looking up his phone number through a reverse-phone-look-up site. He’s calling from China. His accent sounds like he’s from somewhere else. And his name is Zach Martin. From Miami, Floor-eee-DUH. (Emphasis on the DUH.)

Yeah.

Right.

We talk a little more as I ask him questions, making sure he’s legit. He plays along and gives me some phony company name, the Floor-eee-DUH address and phone number. I pretend to believe him.

“Okay. It’s up and running. What do I do?”

But as he tries to get me to press keys, I interrupt him from time to time.

“How could this happen?” and “I’m so careful!” and “What is this world coming to?!?!?”

I then pretend to cry. Sniffles, at first. But then I begin to boo-hoo. His voice softens.

“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” I sob, “I-I-I-I’m so careful. Oh, the humanity!”

“Let me get my manager.”

A man with a slightly more decipherable accent gets on the line.

“Ma’am? Are you okay?”

I sniffle and snuffle, trying to suppress any laughter. I’m running out of material. I blow my nose, stalling, trying to figure out what to do next.

“No!” I shout into phone. “I’m not okay. My computer has been hacked by evil bastards who have nothing better to do than to prey on innocent people. I’m a good person. I volunteer. I look out for my neighbors. I eat right and exercise. I take my vitamins. I open doors for old ladies. Why would someone DO THIS TO ME?!?”

“I understand ma’am. It can be scary. But we’re here to help you.”

“I know you are. And I’m so very grateful. You are so kind. But I just can’t help but think of the horrible, hateful jerks who prey on the innocent. If they would just apply their considerable skills to doing good in the world just imagine what could be accomplished. Teach children programming skills. Help companies keep online information safe. Keep spam out of my inbox. Heck. Even cure cancer or solve world hunger. Do you think that could happen? Get the evil hackers to cure cancer?”

Silence.

Oops.

They know I’m onto them.

Busted.

Click.

Ah, well. Hopefully, I kept them on the phone long enough to save another less-in-the-know soul from falling for their shenanigans.

 

 

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Thank You, Colonel Harry Shoup, For Keeping Santa’s Magic Alive!

In 1955, Colonel Harry Shoup received a phone call at work. A six-year old boy began reciting his Christmas list. Colonel Shoup wasn’t amused. But when a second call from another child asking to speak to Santa Claus came into the Continental Air Defense Command office (CONAD) he was determined to get to the bottom of it. Evidently, Sears Roebuck & Co. printed an ad with a phone number that allowed children to speak with Santa. The newspaper printed the wrong phone number. When Colonel Shoup realized this, he instructed his staff to take all calls from children and give them the location of Santa Claus. And when the United States and Canada combined their air defense units (North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD) a couple years later, “the tradition continued.” 

Since 1955, volunteers man the phones on Christmas Eve to field calls requesting information on the whereabouts of Santa Claus. Santa tracking went worldwide in 1997 when it was introduced to the web. According to Wikipedia over 500 volunteers field a half a million calls, over 12,500 emails and the website receives over 1 billion hits. 

A simple misprint in a newspaper started a phenomenon. And Colonel Shoup, just another of Santa’s helpers, kept the magic alive. It’s been said that one of his staff drew a little sleigh on a large glass map of the world that they had in the office. When Col. Shoup noticed it he called the local radio station and said, “We have a UFO coming across Canada. It looks like a sleigh.” The radio station played along and reported the news.

On March 14, 2009 Colonel Shoup died. But he left behind a way to transport us all into the magic of Christmas. What a beautiful gift he gave to us in the form of a simple phone call. I remember turning on the television as a child to watch for news of where Santa had been and where he was headed. When my oldest was a child I logged onto the internet and showed her Santa’s trail. Now, I’m sharing that with my sons and with you – all because of one man’s belief in the magic of Santa Claus.

It’s Christmas Eve where I live. Santa has already begun his journey around the world and will be arriving to our house soon! Click here to follow Santa as he travels to our homes.

Merry Christmas, my dear blog friends! I hope this post finds you happy, healthy, and surrounded by those you love. And may Santa bring you everything you’ve asked for!

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Filed under children, Holiday

Revenge Of The 14-Year-Old Burrito

True story.

Dear Husband: “Honey, I don’t feel so good.”

Jane: “What do you think it is? Do you think you’re coming down with #1son’s cold?”

Dear Husband: “No, I think it might be the burrito I had on my way to work this morning.”

foodexpire2

(Check out the Sell By date)

(Now, note today’s date.)

Jane: “Hmmmm, ya think?”

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Filed under All In A Day's Work, Edibles, Lessons Learned

Since When Is A “B” Not Enough?

And not just a “B” but an 88.5.

For a 10 year old.

Are you kidding me?

Don’t get me wrong. I love this college-prep elementary school. I’m glad they have high standards. I’m glad they’re pushing my son to reach his full potential.

But when is enough, enough?

Or, more specifically, since when is a “B” not enough?

My son is bright. And imaginative. And active. (You can see where this is going, can ‘t you?) Some teachers love his exuberance, his joie de vivre. And he thrives in their classrooms. Other teachers? Not so much. They just don’t get him.

Not to be redundant but,  did I tell you he is bright? This isn’t just a delusional mom. I have perfect standardized test scores to back me up. As a result, he gets bored. Easily. But emotionally, he is right there with his peers. So, in the 5th grade, he stays. I’ve put my foot down and no one will convince me otherwise.

I received an email today asking for a conference. “He isn’t in trouble, by any means, I just don’t think he’s working up to his full potential.”

notebook-and-pencill-2

I scan the grade sheet. The detailed rubric of his progress in this one class. Writing Class. A 93. An 88. Another 88. And an 85. For an average of 88.5.

So what’s the problem?

I don’t want my kid to be lazy. I want him to always give 110%. But he hates (gasp) to write. He doesn’t like to write fiction. He doesn’t like to write non-fiction. He won’t even like to write his own autobiography. Apparently, I didn’t pass down the writing gene to him. And that’s okay with me. Because….

He loves math. And science. And engineering. And taking things apart. And putting them back together. And Greek mythology. And history. And reading. He loves, loves, loves to read.

So, the writing will come. Someday. For right now, an 88.5 in his least favorite class, and his lowest grade in all subjects, is fine with me. In fact, a high B in a class he doesn’t enjoy is pretty impressive in my book. And because he is bright, I know he will glean from writing class what he needs and apply it when he needs to apply it.

C’mon. He has an 88 in writing mechanics. At age 10.

I’m not worried.

 

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Filed under Observations, Soapbox

Break-Up Text Goes Viral. And I Just Don’t Get Why.

www.theycallmejane.wordpress.com

Newsflash!

A break-up text goes viral!

So, naturally, I clicked on it. I love the internet, if nothing to be entertained.

I read viral text and I was amused, as I thought I would be, but I was also curious as to why in the world such a sensible, reasonable text went viral.

You see, I’ve succumbed to the digital age. I no longer think that a text break-up is so unusual or wrong. Especially for a 7-week relationship. So, no. When I read the text, I wasn’t surprised. I was even a little disappointed. It wasn’t so entertaining that it should have gone viral.

What surprised me the most, however, was the response of others.

Item #1 – “You refuse to update your relationship status on Facebook” 

Jane = After 7 weeks of hot and heavy you-know-what, I’d expect that two people would be considered “an item” worthy of a status change. If you’re still “looking for men” after 7-weeks with the same guy? Well, than maybe you’re just not that into him.

Others = Apparently, keeping your relationship status private is a common thing. Lots of nosy moms and sisters out there, I guess.

Item #2 – “You won’t include me in things like the wedding this weekend. I should have been the one to escort you.”

Jane = Again, after 7-weeks of courtship, this is not an unreasonable assumption.

Others = Disagreed. With me. 7 weeks is too soon for a wedding date. (Oops.)

Item #3 – “You are rude to my cat and that makes me uncomfortable.”

Jane = I’m more of a dog person, but if you were rude to my dog? I’d say that’s definitely an indication of your true character.

Others = Found this item especially amusing. The ex-girlfriend’s response? She’s apparently allergic to cats. And he didn’t know this after 7-weeks? C’mon.

Item #4 – “You do not share your time equally and by now your boyfriend should be taking priority.” 

Jane = I’m going to assume that by “equally” you mean between boyfriend and other friends. And if my assumption is correct, than you go, boy!

Others = See him as needy.

Item #5 – “Your swearing if very unladylike.”

Jane = Calling her out on her potty mouth? A man with standards. I like it.

Others = Added their own expletives to the comments.

And finally….

Item #6 – “You won’t disclose how many sexual partners you have had which makes me think it is upwards of 3 and anything more than that is unacceptable.”

Jane = Again, a man with standards. Which, as long as he holds himself to the same, is quite admirable.

Others = Feel this is narrow-minded. And it might be. But he is choosing a life partner and if this is important to him (which I’m teaching my children that sexual relationships are precious and special and should only be shared with a life-long partner) than good for him. It’s his prerogative.

In response to the break-up text that the now-ex-girlfriend allowed to go viral because she shared it with a friend she says,“He was 30, had a job, a car and a house. Certainly not what I normally manage to attract, so I thought I was onto something…”

Yep. I’d say you were onto something. Someone with a moral compass. Self-worth. Self-respect.

And the fact that he is “certainly not what (you) normally manage to attract” tells me you could take a lesson from this guy.

Clearly.

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Filed under Because It Amuses