Thursday, October 19, 2006


Last night I watched a special on PBS--Bill Moyers on America--about the Internet. This is what I gleaned from the program. I had no idea that we in the United States are dropping like a rock in the global Tech World! The telephone companies collected billions of dollars in the 90s promising to get us connected into the fast lane on the Internet highway (fiber optics) and so far have done absolutely nothing. Cable companies are using copper wire cables that are currently on the ancient list. Their excuses are that it would be too expensive to replace all the exisiting cables and install fiber optics--but they have made promises, collected money, and done nothing. "Took the money and ran." And they have tried to stop the few towns who have decided to build their own fiber optic networks for telephone and cable television. (I think the example they had was in Lafayette, Tennessee? Check with Can even watch the entire show from the website and get the information first hand instead of second hand from an old lady in Fargo--hehe!) The telephone and cable companies sued the town, delaying construction, and costing the town a lot of money--but some, like Lafayette, have finally been able to proceed. And they are going to be way ahead of the rest of us!

The telephone and cable companies are lobbying to get laws passed that will enable them to give the good fast new service to companies that can pay additional high fees to get it. There would be a fast lane and a slow lane--and only the people with the money would get the fast lane. That would push the smaller businesses out and make it difficult for anybody to access smaller websites--even blogs like this one, etc. The Internet's level playing field would not exist anymore in the United States. We wouldn't have the home start ups happening again like Yahoo, Google, and EBay in our future---but other countries with equal fiber optic access, everyone there will have that democratic opportunity (like Japan).

They explained that the difference is not like the difference between dial-up speed and broadband speed. It would be the difference between a download that would take 85 years (current dial-up) vs. 45 seconds (fiber optic)!! They said that we have not had this level of problem in the United States since the days of the robber barons and monopolies of the 1900s. The government broke up the monopolies/favoritism back then to assure equality. The telephone and cable companies are trying to push this legislation through congress before we are made fully aware of it--the program mentioned that we should be worried about the next session, but I missed when that was? Obviously I don't follow politics closely.

Maybe many of you already know all about this, but it was all news to me! It was an eye-opening experience for me! All the little people who dream of starting up an Internet company or putting their small company on the Internet--those dreams would be crushed! You'd have to move to Japan or Lafayette or one of the other countries that are eons ahead of us. Makes you wonder if maybe there's more to why these big corporations have been making the move to outsource to these other countries in recent years than we might have ever imagined? Maybe there's a premptive Internet access reason for them to move those calling centers??

That's my rant for today.

On a lighter note--watched the Louis Anderson:Live at The Guthrie (1989) last night:

Comedian Louie Anderson serves up hilarious commentary about his oddball family and wacky childhood memories in this hourlong stand-up performance. Anderson's gut-busting jokes take aim at his redneck father, gabby mother, whiny younger brother and life's little absurdities, keeping the audience in stitches throughout the show. Comedy Central named the portly funnyman one of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time.

Many of us from Minnesota were able to watch this special on PBS. I didn't realize that the special was a deal struck between Louis and local Twin Cities PBS. The special was only shown on PBS in the Twin Cities for their funding promotions, but Loius retained the rights to sell it to cable. He sold it to ShowTime--and after that HBO did two of their own HBO specials with him.

Louis is a Minnesota boy and I love his type of humor. I learned the previous information from listening to the commentary he made for the DVD. This was his favorite performance--before the fame came. He said he was 34 years old and didn't know how to dress. I laughed and laughed watching it!

Then I watched an independent film made by brothers called The Puffy Chair:

When Josh (Mark Duplass, whose brother Jay directs) finds the perfect birthday present for his father, he decides to deliver it in person. But with his high-maintenance girlfriend Emily (Kathryn Aselton) and granola brother Rhett (Rhett Wilkins) along for the ride, Josh's simple road trip turns into a much bigger journey than anyone anticipated. This indie romantic dramedy was an audience favorite at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Definitely an odd, yet entertaining little film. They had a raw documentary style--trying to be ultra realistic, I guess. Slow moving, younger actors, often roaming camera work, and the humor came across better for me than the seriousness they tried to portray. I watched some of the extras--deleted scenes, promotional videos, shorts they had also made, etc. I wonder what they will accomplish in time??

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