In the first news item — also related to this site’s Radio page — I am sad to announce that I discovered the demise of the great online station, Hit Parade Radio. From the one small news report I was able to find about this, it seems that the station, also used as a syndicated service, lost its major financial backing and thus had to pull the plug. While I am not big at all on these syndicated services that churn out the same programming all over the United States of America, this was a really good one as it had competent, live disk jockeys and an extremely wide oldies playlist. In a world where so may great hits even of the 1970’s are being left behind and Michael Jackson is considered appropriate to play on oldies stations — especially those promoting themselves as being “family friendly” — syndicated service or not, Hit Parade Radio was badly needed. Even though it was only around for a very short time, it will be sorely missed as what was probably the last big outlet that had not forgotten that there was a lot of great rock & roll made in the 1950’s and that one doesn’t have to be “old” to appreciate oldies.
In other news related to my Radio page, I am finally about to resume the second (and final) go-through of streaming US and Canadian radio stations to add in those I missed due to originally not realizing that there were some corrupted files on my computer preventing me from getting certain streams (thus making me believe that they were dead and passing over those potentially good stations). This project will probably run between now and Thanksgiving, so keep an eye out for new additions. This second go-through will also make sure that all of my links will be Linux-friendly because…
During the time that I was away from California, I finally started getting to my experiments with some of the latest distributions of the Linux operating system. I have actually wanted to get my hands dirty with Linux for many, many years but always put it off as being too much of a hassle or getting me too far away from the many people I know that need help with Windows. However, over the past year or so, I had continued to read about how one distribution in particular, Ubuntu, was extremely user-friendly. To make a very long story as short as possible, I ended up finding a different distribution that I liked much better and should be usable by even the most “lay” of laymen. It is called Linux Mint and, much to my surprise, it is now the fourth most popular operating system in the world behind Windows, Mac OS, and Ubuntu. I highly recommend it especially for those that have older systems that seem to be running at least a little tired if not downright slow on Windows. There is not anything one can do on Windows that cannot be done in Linux Mint…well, except waiting forever for the system to boot, taking memory-hogging patches every week, and pissing away more money that Bill Gates does not need. Once people get over the perception that Linux is only for geeks and something free cannot be as good or actually better than something sold for far too much money, I can’t see how anybody would not fall in love with Linux Mint, Ubuntu, or any of the other new plethora of Linux distributions that work quite well right off the bat without having to learn any computer-speak.
Now that I am back in California after being suckered in by a job offer that never actually materialized, I am probably pretty much stuck here. To be honest, I’m not all that disappointed. I gave it my best shot in Oregon, Washington, and especially Colorado and, as I have always said even in my most frustrated moments with the Golden State, there are a lot of advantages to being here even in the worst of times. I was not overall impressed with the scene in Oregon and I can definitely say without reservation that I now have Colorado completely out of my system (thanks mostly to the explosion of poor driving there that makes Californians in comparison look like the smartest and most courteous people on the roads). I still like Washington a lot, especially the Olympia area, even though I would not be happy having to schlep over to an Indian reservation every time I want a carton of cigarettes or some hard liquor to avoid that state’s insane taxes on those “sinful” items.
On the employment front, things are just as bad in California as ever if not worse as so many people have become “99’ers” — those that have used up all 99 weeks of their unemployment insurance benefits. I am getting painfully close to being a 99’er myself although I at least have what appears to be a solid fall-back position…which leads me to the fact that, while I am currently back in the Inland Empire again and will probably remain through the holiday season, I very well might end up elsewhere in the state in early 2011. I will cover that story when it actually develops.
Where it will all lead, I cannot say. I am certainly dismayed by this year’s election process in every state I have been in this year and have no hope that either the Democrats or Republicans will get things moving along again. I also have no confidence that the people of this country will be ready any time soon to finally reject this broken, corrupt, unfair, and downright rigged process and start electing people not affiliated in any way with our major parties. I still love the strategy and “horse race” part of our political process as I am endlessly fascinated by those that do it right and continually entertained by the majority that do it so badly. However, I have so much frustration with the latest fad in American politics, the so-called “Tea Party” movement — probably the greatest political lie in this country since Bill Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” — that I am about to finally take George Carlin‘s advice to just remove myself from the process and stop voting. That will be hard for me to do as I still think this country is eminently salvageable and I have only failed to vote once since I turned 18 (and that was a puny election for only one school board position in Ontario, California and I just plain forgot about it). Still, now that I am back in a failing state where the only two people we could get on the ballot to save it are the retreaded and still nutty Jerry Brown and the clueless corporate whore, Meg Whitman…well, I don’t see how I could be blamed for not wanting to bother filling out a ballot even to cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate.
Finally for now, for anybody reading this elsewhere whether it be in the United States or elsewhere, check out this report from our esteemed weekly CBS news program, 60 Minutes. If you believe that Californians have such a high unemployment rate simply because they are lazy, untrained, or cannot make a decent resume, this should set the record straight. The story can be read or the piece can be seen in full with the included video.