Monday, July 09, 2007

In the process of moving hosts

Hey all... I'm in the process of moving hosts for all my podcasts and this blog. While I don't have the feed running properly yet, you can access my posts over at

Once I get the feed resolved, I'll post here and there...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blog Tag - 8 Things About Me

My good friend Karen (aka Mrs. B) tagged me for the latest round of blog tag called "8 Things About Me." A pretty simple concept: Write 8 things about you and pass it on for others to do the same. So, in the same vein as Karen, let I'm going to try to write 8 things you may not know about me.
  1. I’ve sung with the Cincinnati Symphony as a part of a nationally selected male chorus
  2. I played violin for 12 years. This included time amped-up in a couple jazz combos, as well as a few months in the student run pep band in college (before I picked up percussion).
  3. I'm a worship leader at our church, often leading people in singing from behind a pair of congas.
  4. I spent 4 1/2 years as a meteorologist in broadcast television, although more than half of it was spent behind the scenes as a "weather producer".
  5. I'm the chef of the house. My wife is allergic to soy, so that means I make a lot of things from scratch.
  6. I married my first girlfriend. I had a lot of friends that were girls, but always got the "you're too good of a friend" thing if I mentioned something more.
  7. The furthest "out of the country" I've been is Montreal.
  8. I'm a Green Bay Packers shareholder.

People I tag:
Lynette Young
Jay Moonah
Rich Palmer

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Contact solution recalls plead for greater awareness

For those of you that have known me for a while, you know that my mother-in-law, Paige Reichardt, lost an eye to an aggressive, painful, but relatively rare eye infection last year called Acanthamoeba keratitis. It’s essentially an amoeba, relatively common in water and soil, that enters the eye through a corneal abrasion and attacks the eye. It’s incredibly painful and many that suffer from it go through multiple corneal transplants. Since the time my mother-in-law contracted the infection, she has been on a crusade to inform people about the dangers of water-borne eye infections such as acathamoeba. She was even flown out to Washington with Prevent Blindness America to meet with lawmakers to urge them for more prominent warning labels for contact lenses and solution and additional research into eye infections such as acanthamoeba.

The last time we got a chance to visit home, she got news of, and had the surgery to remove her infected eye. Despite the loss, it was a HUGE relief for her, as the months of excruciating pain were too much to handle. The infection had also spread to the back of the eye, and had the potential to travel up the optic nerve into her brain and kill her. On my trip to visit family at the end of May this year, we got some more great news. The contact solution she and many of the people she has been in contact with that have the disease was recalled. This was another thing she was working on with the CDC, and weekly meetings about it with the Illinois CDC had been happening for months. If you use AMO Complete contact solution PLEASE throw it out, and choose another brand (not Bausch and Lomb Renu).

After all the talks, the determined there was a link between this solution and the incidents of acathamoeba. However, the statistics of the disease that are being quoted in news articles are from 1986, saying 1 or 2 in one million people contract it. Contact lens usage hadn’t really taken off at that point. Some stats that my mother-in-law have include 65 cases in Chicago alone in the last 2-3 years, and even one doctor in Atlanta that has treated 24 cases himself in recent years. That’s not even 2 cities! Obviously the problem is much more widespread than what these old statistics would suggest.

Do you know how to properly care for your lenses, or know what should and shouldn’t be done?

Part of my mother-in-law’s quest has revealed that very little education is happening about proper use and care for contact lenses. With doctors out of the equation thanks to folks like 1-800-Contacts, very few people understand how to use their contacts. Some things not to do include:

Wearing your contacts

  1. Do not wear your contacts in the pool or shower.
  2. Do not wear your contacts overnight. While some lenses are now being marketed as “safe for overnight wear’ there are still serious threats for a corneal abrasion, that can allow infections into the eye.
  3. If you eyes are irritated or uncomfortable, DO NOT WEAR your contacts.

Care for your lenses

  1. DO NOT use water to store your lenses.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water before handling your lenses
  3. DO NOT use the same contact solution over and over. Use fresh solution to store your lenses in.
  4. Rise your lens case with solution and allow to air dry between uses.
  5. Replace your lens case every 3 months.
  6. “No Rub” solutions are ok, but still do not clean your lenses even close to as well as a simple rub for a few seconds with solution will do. This act alone will kill over 85% of the possible things that could lead to an infection.

Lens Solution

AMO Complete and Bausch and Lomb Renu have both been recalled (although Renu has been relaunched). These solutions appear to be great as many people find them comfortable to use. However, they are comfortable to use because they are very weak. They are not strong enough to kill many things that can cause an infection. Both have been linked to acathamoeba and to other eye infections. Doctors are now taking a serious look at solutions, and will often ask you specifically what solution you use upon a visit to the office. As a side note: a few days before the CDC advisory, AMO made public it’s intention to purchase Bausch and Lomb. Isn’t that just ironic?

So, if you use contacts, as I do, please do what you can to care for your eyes. You only have two of them. While some eye infections are rare, they DO happen. If it happens to you, it doesn’t matter if it’s a rare disease or not.


Recall of AMO Complete
Paige Reichardt's interview with ABC News
Paige's trip to Washington
Prevent Blindness America
Support forum for those with acanthamoeba keratitis

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Advertising needs to change

I just found out about this video from Paul Colligan's blog and simply HAD to share it. It deals with how advertising MUST change to continue to be relevant to their customers. I still can't believe it's from Microsoft, but it's great to see that they GET IT.

I've been talking about how valuable a personal recommendation is in advertising, especially when putting into the perspective of podcasting. Let's face it, would you be more willing to respond to a highly produced advertisement for a product, or the personal recommendation of the product from someone who's opinion you respect? The later of course... and hence, the incredible value that companies wanting to advertise in podcasting have. Social networking is the fabric of the culture today, and tapping into these relationships are were the real value is to advertisers.

I have had offers for advertising in my podcast, but for products I have no prior knowledge of, not to mention their relevancy to my listeners. I will not allow adversting in my podcasts that is not relevant or I can not personally recommend or have a passion about. It's not only unfair to my listeners, but to the company paying me to advertise.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Indie Music on the Launch Pad #2

New news that hints that the RIAA may seek performance royalties from terrestrial radio stations has my brain thinking. I'm usually dangerous when I think, and often times talk out of my posterior, so we'll see how this goes. A big question that has been frolicking about my brain stem lately is:

What IS the RIAA up to anyway?

What is "hurting" the music industry right now?

There has been a lot of moving and shaking going on in the music industry over the last few years. Music sales have dropped off dramatically among the major labels. Most major label artists now make more money on tour than from CD sales. In the past, a tour was simply a mechanism to sell more music. This has organizations like the RIAA struggling to keep the revenue stream going. The major labels would now rather develop their own sexy, homogenized artists that they can promote extensively. Instead of seeking out good talent, they are going for the "sure thing" to help them make some money.

However, music sales are up as a whole (and continue to grow) with the advent of online music sales (such as Apple iTunes) and MP3 players. So if sales are up, why are the labels struggling? They claim that piracy is destroying their business. Does piracy exist? Absolutely. Unfortunately, there is a growing population that believes that music, television, movies, and all forms of media should be FREE. While piracy is out there, I don't believe that piracy is making as big of an impact as they would believe. It becomes a convenient scapegoat for what is really happening to the industry, independent music.

The independent music scene is becoming a major driving force in the industry. Online music sites, MySpace, podcasting, and the like are dramatically leveling the playing field of music promotion. No longer do musicians need to pay the radio conglomerates for the CHANCE to have their music promoted. Musicians can now do this themselves on the internet through all forms of new media. Suddenly, the major labels have lost their virtual monopoly on music promotion, and independent music is making severe dents in the pockets of the major labels.

Internet radio waves

The biggest controversy in the music world right now centers around the dramatic rise in licensing rates that the RIAA wants to charge internet radio stations. The price increase is retroactive to 2006 and has the very real potential to put many internet radio stations out of business. Everyone is screaming about the new rates and how it will kill off hurt internet radio. While the retroactive rates alone could put many out of business, those that emerge from that chaos will need to adapt to the new rates. In a post I made a few months back, I saw this as a huge plus for independent music. To compensate for increased royalties, internet radio will look much more seriously at independent music. Can't pay the RIAA? How about low cost independent and small label music?

Unfortunately, very few saw through the smoke-screen that the new royalty rates created. A part of this bill included the ability for SoundExchange (a part of the RIAA) to collect compulsory royalties on all music played over the internet. What this essentially means is that the RIAA will now have the right to collect royalties from independent music, even if they are not a part of the RIAA. What's more, SoundExchange does not need to contact the artists that they collected money on their behalf, and musicians can't even GET the money unless they become a member of the RIAA. If the money goes unclaimed for 3 years, SoundExchange gets to keep it. So what we have here are the major labels (who make up the RIAA) getting some of that pie back that independent music took away. Suddenly, the idea of internet radio stations switching to indie music to get around the royalty increase is now voided.

While it remains to be seen just how far SoundExchange will take their new royalty template, I'm deeply concerned that one of the mechanisms that will fall under this new license umbrella is podcasting (which is becoming a huge launch pad for many independent artists). The license set forth by the Podsafe Music Network, IODA Promonet, and others would seem to cover podcasters from these royalties. Unfortunately, the wording suggests otherwise. This "exception clause" may need to be filed on a per-artist or even per-song basis directly with SoundExchange. The wording is so vague, these compulsory licenses could be taken to nearly ANY site the streams music over the internet, including sites like MySpace or places that sell music. Suddenly, faced with new license fees, independent music starts to loose it's primary promotion mechanism, the internet. Independent musicians will need to make a concerted effort to file an exception to SoundExchange if they want to maintain their promotion through the internet medium.

More moves by the RIAA

News today, relayed by Steve from the Wicked Good Podcast, suggests that the RIAA may be looking to take those same performance royalty rates to terrestrial radio. While I don't know of any specific legislation that is pending, the idea of identical pricing and compulsory royalties being shoved through terrestrial radio is very real. I believe that the battle at the internet radio level was just precedence-setting for their push to get more money out of terrestrial radio (where the real performance royalty money is). Much larger audiences with very poor ways to measure actual listeners. Maintaining the compulsory royalty clause in this case will simply cut back the tendency for stations to step into the independent music scene, or at least slow its progress.

Only time will tell what is going to happen to the music industry as a whole in the next few years. The music industry is changing, and will likely look very different 5-10 years from now. I'm just thankful that I have discovered the wealth of independent music out there, and I'm thankful that I can promote some incredible music and musicians. I'm not sure what the future holds, but I'm still going to do my best to promote what's out there. I guess to be truthful... I'd gladly pay royalties to people like Matthew Ebel, Kevin Reeves, Geoff Smith and others because I believe in their music. I just wish I had the finances to do more...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Man Made Global Warming?

As a meteorologist, it’s amazing the amount of questions I’ve got in the last few weeks from friends, colleagues, and others about where I stand on the whole man made global warming debate. The more people ask me, the more I want to do a blog post summarizing many of my thoughts on the debate. I’ve hinted in previous posts about the fact that there has been a gross bastadarization of the facts to the point where people believe the lie. Matthew Ebel and I discussed this effect a few weeks ago as to what he called “The Furry Effect.” While I don’t know where he got the name, the premise is simple: Get enough people to present a lie as the truth, and it BECOMES the truth in the minds of the culture. Man made global warming certainly fits this mold.

I viewed a video today on Google Videos that is probably the most solid assembly of the actual facts about how the manmade global warming theory came to be, how it has become engrained in the minds of the culture, and what the actual facts are. As a result, it’s given me the motivation to actually do this post.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the facts:
  1. MYTH: Carbon Dioxide causes global warming. The main driving force in man made global warming is carbon dioxide emissions. One of the main evidence given by those that believe in man made global warming is the correlation between global temperature rises and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (taken from Antarctic ice cores). YES, there is a strong correlation between CO2 and global temperature. The unfortunately, supporters of man made global warming fail to accurately look at the data. In actuality, a rise in temperature actually PRECEDES a rise in carbon dioxide by a few hundred years. As a result, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is an EFFECT of global warming, NOT A CAUSE.
  2. MYTH: Climate change would be a catastrophic event that would create more violent storms, create massive droughts, and eventually make earth uninhabitable. The truth of the matter is that climate change is a natural part of the earth and sun’s cycles. It has always been going on, and will continue no matter what we do. The atmosphere has been warmer in the past as it is right now. The Vikings had dairy farms on Greenland! With regards to violent weather, warmer weather globally would result in a smaller global temperature contract, and thus, LESS active weather.
  3. MYTH: Every scientist agrees in man made global warming. This statement, which has been coming out more and more in the last several months is what is driving scientists to stand up and say, “Wait a minute… NO!” I believe. Let’s face it… whether man made global warming is true or not, the benefit of curbing pollution into the atmosphere is a GOOD THING. I think the debate has been stifled in large part do to this fact.
Here is probably one of the most well done productions I’ve ever seen that explains the farce of global warming. There is one section that claims the global warming debate is keeping third world countries from developing that I hadn’t thought of before. While I certainly don’t believe it’s as big of a reason for the lack of development in places such as Africa as the video hints at, it’s an interesting aspect to the debate.

Apparently Google has removed the video in the past (likely that Furry Effect living out), so hopefully you will have the opportunity to watch it if or before it gets removed again. Take the time to watch it. It's over an hour, but VERY good.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Blog Tag - 7 Top Songs

So, I was reviewing some of the posts my friends made via Twitter (micro-blog where people send "what I'm doing now" messages) on Sunday night, and come across one made by my friend, Chris Penn. Chris, likely one of the most intelligent people in all of podcasting, tagged me for blog tag. In this case, pick 7 songs that you like. Since the original poster is 7 year old Aidan Hatch, I figured I'd keep that in mind. Also, following Chris' lead, I'll choose 7 podsafe songs from a wide range of generes. I have a feeling this is going to be harder than it looks, and I KNOW I'll leave some out.
  1. "Restless for the Sun" - Jimmie Bratcher (An ABSOLUTELY beautiful song from one of my favorite blues artists)
  2. "Better Life" - Common Ground (A great band from Texas with a 70s rock feel)
  3. "Lonely Boy" - Black Lab (AWESOME alt rock band with deep, poignant lyrics about love lost)
  4. "Goodbye Southern Skies" - David McMillin (One of the finest male singer songwriter voices I've heard in a while.)
  5. "Shine" - Kevin Reeves (Another incredible voice, but with bit more edge and rock. Here, Kevin pleads to find his place to "shine" in the world. This, and his album It's About Time are one of my favorites)
  6. "Not For Me" - Laura Clapp (Another beautiful, raw song that leaves you craving for more at the end. Close you eyes and just let this one soak into your soul. Plus, it's Laura's Birthday today!)
  7. "Drive Away" - Matthew Ebel - (I CAN NOT leave Matthew out of this list. Matthew is likely my favorite podsafe artist. This fun, "driving with the top down" track is one of the most played in podcasting).
Others I had to leave off this list of 7, but deserve mentions include Karmyn Tyler (7 isn't enough!), Geoff Smith, Jeremy Rowe, Uncle Seth, Take 6, Tenth Hour Calling, Now is Now, New Leaf, and others. Man, so many great songs, artists, and bands. . . I can't decide! Those that doubt the quality of independent music need to take a serious second look. There certainly is a mountain of mediocre stuff out there, but a ton of great music too.

People in this chain of blog tag: Aidan Hatch, Chris Brogan, Chris Penn. Rules: Include these as well as a link to this post when you tag the next people.

People I tag: Lynette Young, Karmyn Tyler, Steve Webb, Michael W. Moss, and new daddy-to -be Jay Moonah