Thoughts On A Sunday

We're cleaning up after yet another bout of snow. While we didn't receive as much as had originally been forecast, there was still enough that needed to be moved. The winds certainly haven't helped, between the blowing snow and wind chill, making it more of a chore to snowblow and shovel out the driveway. But that's winter for you.


David Starr question whether the record labels shot themselves in the foot when they pushed hard for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which in turn has killed off Top 40 radio. What they forgot was that air-play drives sales, but since radio stations don't have to pay for copyright royalties for any songs prior to 1973, a lot of stations have switched over to “Oldies” format.

So much for driving sales of new music.


Here's a two-fer from Mister Starr, in this case dealing with the F-35, the long overdue and over budget Joint Strike Fighter.

It doesn't help that the Air Force wants to kill off the A-10 Warthog, the most effective ground support aircraft ever built, stating the cost of continuing A-10 operations is seriously delaying deployment of the F-35. But as anyone familiar with both programs know, this is an outright lie as the cost of keeping the A-10 flying and fighting is a small fraction of the cost of flying the F-35.

The Air Force has been trying to kill the A-10 for decades, mainly because it isn't “sexy”, meaning it's ugly compared to the F-15 and F-16. But the ground troops love it, knowing that when they have air cover by the Warthogs the bad guys are going to die in large numbers when they do their job. They are also very tough and very hard to shoot down. Ground fire that would swat an F-15, F-16, or F-35 out of the sky is shrugged off by the A-10 and allows it to complete its mission.

If the Air Force really wants to get rid of the A-10, then perhaps they can give it to the Army and/or the Marines, despite the so-called Key West agreement that only the Air Force would have attack aircraft like the A-10.


This isn't the first time I've written about our dying shopping malls and I doubt it will be the last. But they are dying for a number of reasons, with one of them being the explosion of on-line shopping. Major 'anchor' chains like JC Penney and Sears are closing stores across the country, stores that helped drive foot traffic in the malls.

One of our malls in the state capitol has been slowly dying, never having achieved full occupancy since it first opened and present occupancy lower than an its peak. Even the food court is at less than 50% occupancy, not a healthy sign by any means.

That doesn't mean all shopping malls are doomed, but that is dependent upon their location, with urban malls like the one in downtown Boston doing just fine because the foot traffic is huge, it has more than one of its own subway stations, and it provides isolation from the weather even as it lets you traverse a couple of city blocks.

It will be interesting to see how many malls will close their doors and be converted to some other purpose having nothing to do with retail.


Yet another assault by the DRMA is on, believe it or not, tractors. The days of 'fix it yourself' by farmers on their $100,000+ tractors is gone, with the electronic control systems locked down, making it very difficult for them to look for or bypass problems.

Not that the lockdown has stopped them, with access to so-called 'gray market' computers, interface connectors, and software that allows them work on their tractors themselves.


BeezleBub and I have been watching (and recording) the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary show. Lots of great memories as SNL has been a favorite show of ours on and off for years.


The bitter cold temperatures and high winds have kept us from dealing with the snow out on our driveway. It seems that five minutes after the snow has been cleared it's like it's never been touched. So we made the decision to tackle the job tomorrow morning after the winds have died down.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it's bitterly cold, the winds are howlong, and where we may be in line for yet another snow storm.