Wednesday, March 04, 2009

No More Scenic 3-D Reels

Mattel subsidiary Fisher Price, the current owner of View-Master, has announced it will no longer make the reels of scenic locations. Such is the passing of yet another piece of Americana. View-Master seemed almost magic when I was a kid, and I had one of the bakelite-constructed models. Later they switched to plastic, and various owners, including Sawyers, GAF, and Tyco, have made variations, such as View-Master projectors and Talking View-Master. Yet the original viewer is still what one thinks of when the name View-Master is mentioned. I also remember the Henry Fonda commercials for the "GAF View-Master".

So, for now, Fisher Price will continue to market reels with Dora the Explorer and other childrens' characters, but no more eye-popping views of the Giant Sequoyas or the Grand Canyon that brought these distant places to life for several generations of kids. I imagine it won't be long before the franchise closes up shop for good, or is sold off yet again. It is hard to compete for mindshare of today's kids, with their X-Boxes, iPods, and cell phones.

Will He Really Go on March 23?

The Denver Post reports today that former Qwest CEO and convicted felon, Joseph P. Nacchio, has been ordered to surrender himself to authorities at the Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania to begin serving his 6-year sentence. This criminal cost many people their life savings and their jobs, while causing a major disruption to the Colorado economy. Yet, Joe never saw fit to move to Colorado, even while running Qwest and US West into the ground. Hopefully he doesn't have a fatal heart attack like Enron criminal Ken Lay, and actually serves his time and forfeits his millions.

Joe, you had better get used to using that toilet in the middle of your cell. Oh, it probably isn't as cozy as the potty in your bathroom in your New Jersey mansion, but who knows? Maybe you'll make a new friend or two. And remember, don't take the top bunk.

Steele vs. Limbaugh and Paul Harvey

Too bad. GOP Chair Michael Steele leveled criticism at the character that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann calls "Comedian Rush Limbaugh", criticism that is well deserved. Steele mentioning that Limbaugh does not run the Republican Party called his rhetoric "incendiary" and "ugly". Absolutely true. Then when the porcine one fires back at Steele over the radio, Steele caves and apologizes. Why?

Steele has shown he is the weak leader of a failed party. He has let a radio blowhard, bully him into a corner, making Rush the de-facto leader of the wacky faction of the GOP (Is there any other faction these days?). It is unfortunate, as I had hopes that Steele would be able to help return the GOP to the center. It appears he has sold his soul to the nutty fringe.


On another note, it would be remiss not to mention the death last week of an iconic voice that has informed and entertained for decades. Paul Harvey's news and commentary, along with his vignettes on The Rest of the Story, have been a fixture on ABC radio for a long time. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native who started out at KVOO (now KFAQ), and went to Chicago to hit it big in broadcasting , had an unmistakable delivery that made you know immediately that he was on the air.

And what a contrast...Paul Harvey, the consummate conservative and his congenial demeanor, versus todays radio hatemongers. He was a gentleman and a perfect example of what radio should be.

Good day!