Thursday, February 26, 2009

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action

Review your life

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action."

-- James Levin

Take a few minutes today to reflect on what has happened recently and to put the last week in perspective. What made an impact on you this last week? What do you want to set as a goal for next week?

Reflection helps us step back from the details of our lives and see the bigger picture with fresh eyes. It's worth a few moments of your time. Review your week and come up with at least one conclusion, insight or learning and write it in your journal.

“Just because we increase the speed of information doesn't mean we can increase the speed of decisions. Pondering, reflecting and ruminating are undervalued skills in our culture.”

-- Dale Dauten

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ticketmaster settles U.S. suit

Ticketmaster settles U.S. suit
Ticket company still faces possible Canadian class-action suit and hearing in U.S. Congress
February 24, 2009

The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ticketmaster has agreed to change its online sales process after it directed people seeking Bruce Springsteen tickets to a subsidiary that charged up to 50 times the face value.

Ticketmaster reached a settlement with New Jersey, but the changes apply to all its sales nationwide, state Attorney General Anne Milgram said Monday.

The settlement comes as Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. faces scrutiny for a proposed merger with the concert promotion giant Live Nation Inc. The merger will be the subject of congressional hearings Tuesday in Washington.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has said he thinks the merger would violate antitrust rules by giving Ticketmaster a near-monopoly on the concert ticket market. Schumer said Monday that he welcomed the New Jersey settlement.

"While we are pleased Ticketmaster has acknowledged its mistake ... giving Ticketmaster near total control over the distribution of concert tickets here in New York and across the country is a recipe for disaster," he said.

In announcing the merger earlier this month, Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller sought to dispel the notion that the deal would lead to higher ticket prices. The companies say that a combined company could better withstand the recession, sell more tickets and improve service to fans.

The problems at the heart of New Jersey's settlement happened when tickets for Springsteen's May 21 and May 23 concerts at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. went on sale Feb. 2. Some ticket buyers were redirected from the main Ticketmaster site to TicketsNow, a subsidiary that allows people who have tickets to sell them at marked-up prices.

Milgram said at the time that redirecting them might have violated the state's consumer fraud act. Springsteen said on his website that he and the E Street Band were "furious" about what happened.

Ticketmaster blamed a software glitch. The company said the ``voluntary agreement" with the attorney general formalizes changes it had already implemented.

In the settlement, Ticketmaster did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to pay the state $350,000 (dollar figures U.S.), Milgram said. The company will also compensate ticket holders who complained and change how it handles secondary sales, she said.

Milgram says she plans to further investigate the resale market – largely dominated by ticket brokers who buy in bulk and resell at higher prices.

"What is critical is that consumers understand what is happening on any Internet site during a sale of tickets," Milgram said. "The (Ticketmaster) website suggested that consumers could continue their search on TicketsNow, making it seem there was no difference in the two markets when, in fact, of course there is."

Milgram said her office received about 2,200 complaints from people unable to buy Springsteen tickets for a face-value price of $65 or $95. They were instead directed to TicketsNow, where tickets retailed for $200 to $5,000 apiece.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he was studying Monday's settlement but would continue an independent investigation into Ticketmaster sales of Springsteen tickets in Connecticut.

Also, a Canadian man sued Ticketmaster earlier this month for redirecting him to TicketsNow when he went to buy tickets to a Smashing Pumpkins concert in November. The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, says the company is violating provincial anti-scalping laws by selling tickets above face value.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

From rock star to rock bottom for J.D. Fortune

He thought he'd won gig of a lifetime with INXS
J.D.'s misfortune shows post-TV reality can be grim
February 22, 2009


At this time just three years ago, J.D. Fortune was a month into the wildest ride of his life: a worldwide concert tour serving as frontman for Australian rock 'n' roll legends INXS.

The 18-month tour, which included two sold-out gigs at Massey Hall in February 2006, was a smash, in some locales drawing crowds as large as 80,000 people. The band's first release with Mississauga-born Fortune replacing the late Michael Hutchence on the mike, 2005's Switch, had given the aging band its most vital commercial presence since the multi-platinum heyday of such monster records as 1987's Kick and 1990's X, in no small part due to a radio-storming first single, "Pretty Vegas," written by Fortune.

"I feel a great deal of responsibility to this band," he said at the time. "And that comes in the form of leadership, it comes in the form of creativity and it comes in the form of just taking care of myself physically and mentally and spiritually, and finding a harmony that's gonna last the next 18 months."

It appeared as though the Idol-esque "reality" TV series Rock Star: INXS had delivered the dream it had promised: instant rock stardom, on a global level. A few days ago, though, Fortune, 35, was ringing up old friends at Sony Music Canada on a borrowed cellphone, despairing that he had nowhere to stay that night and venting at the label because he'd been dumped from its roster and had bankrupted himself making a solo album that no one wanted to release. So much for harmony.

Why? Because despite its members' claims at the time of Fortune's Rock Star win in late 2005 that he was a permanent hire, INXS dumped its new singer off at the Hong Kong airport when the clock ran out on its 18-month Switch tour. Handshakes all around and a "thank you" and that was it, according to Fortune. The band didn't even bother to announce the firing.

Neither did Fortune, until last week when he brought his story – in desperation, one suspects – to Entertainment Tonight Canada in an interview that was quickly picked up around the globe. Suddenly, the headline "INXS singer homeless and living in his car" was everywhere.

News of his exit from INXS caught even the band's long-time spokesperson Chrissy Camp by surprise. It might also soon force INXS to announce that INXS itself – which had already burned through two other singers, Terence Trent D'Arby and Jon Stevens, before Fortune came along – is completely over.

"The members are scattered all around the globe at the moment," she told Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph on Thursday. "But I have tracked one of them down and he's told me they will be putting out a statement about their future in the next couple of weeks."

INXS otherwise kept silent all week long with its side of the story, as have the band's various record labels around the planet, leading to much online speculation that Fortune, who has conceded a major cocaine problem played a part in his ouster from the band, might be exaggerating the cruelness of his fate. Fortune has also largely held his tongue since ET Canada.

The Star's interview requests were relayed directly to Fortune by a friend, but he has thus far kept mum.

Fellow Torontonian Lukas Rossi suffered a similar fate when his inaugural tour with Rock Star: Supernova, the second "real band" created by the TV show of the same name, wrapped up. The only difference in his story, he says, was that his all-star bandmates Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted and Gilby Clarke "didn't drop me off in Asia somewhere." And, having been there, he believes Fortune is in dire straits.

"The deals on those shows aren't great. He's definitely not set for life," says Rossi from the California home he extended to Fortune as a crash pad on his blog this week. "I wouldn't be surprised if the security guards on his tour got paid more than him. ... But you take what you can get, you know?"

Rossi had his own bout with substance-abuse issues during his Supernova tenure and says one shouldn't underestimate how easy it is to get sucked into the lifestyle when "everything is just handed to you." Simply booting a problem member from the band isn't really the way to deal with it, though, he says, especially since INXS watched Hutchence's own drug problems degrade to the point where the singer hanged himself in 1997.

"Those guys have been around. They've been through the drugs and everything and, I guess, they saw it in J.D. and they didn't want something horrible like that to happen again," Rossi says. "I feel bad for the kid. He went around the world and played to 20,000 people a night. And that's just gone."

The reality of the situation, unfortunately, is that reality-TV shows aren't a guarantor of a performer's success once the vested viewer interest of voting a favourite singer on or off the series dies away.

Canadian Idol hasn't exactly proven a hit factory, either, offering little but fast fadeouts for the likes of Ryan Malcolm and Melissa O'Neil. Most people can't even recall last season's winner, Theo Tams.

The real proof of whether J.D. Fortune can hang on to his rock-star status or will revert back to being the anonymous Jason Dean Bennison will come when his solo album, rather cleverly titled The Death of a Motivational Speaker, is finally released. Somewhere.

"The only thing that can actually save someone from that disaster is actually having talent," says Rossi. "If you don't have talent, you get 12 months on tour and some airtime. But that doesn't mean sh--."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

TV Images Of The Fifties and Sixties

This is exactly what we looked at in these years and oh life was so sweet back then. Note the price of the TV guide in the 50's and 60's.
As it was at the beginning

1960 Philco Predicta UG-4744

1966 1961 1967

The Beverly Hillbillies 1962 Howdy and Buffalo Bob 1955

Leave It To Beaver 1959 Father Knows Best 1955 The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet 1954

1968 1954 1953

Captain Kangaroo 1955 All In The Family 1972 Maverick 1959

WKRP In Cincinnati 1978 The Lone Ranger 1949

1950 Zenith G2355 1954 RCA 17S351 1953 Admiral Color C1617A

Haverhill Gazette TV Guide Monday, May 1, 1961

The Ed Sullivan Show 1967 The Addams Family 1965

The Red Skelton Show 1951 Gunsmoke 1970 The Mod Squad 1968

Bonanza 1960 Rawhide 1959

1954 1955 1965

Dark Shadows 1966

Dr. Kildare 1961 The Man From Uncle 1965 Ironside 1967 Peyton Place 1964 The Mickey Mouse Club 1959

The Andy Griffith Show 1963 1966 The Honeymooners 1955

The Dick Van Dyke Show 1961 Seahunt 1958

1967 1959 1970

The Twilight Zone 1960 Lassie 1958

Gilligan's Island 1966

Wanted: Dead or Alive 1958 Zorro 1957

The Rifleman 1958 I Love Lucy 1951

Mr. Ed 1961 Charlies Angels 1976

TV Test Patterns 1960

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