My new place has a great view of the Lansdowne Road stadium – the grandstand, not the field – and there’s another big match on there today: Ireland vs. USA at Rugby. The crowds are gathering and littering the streets profusely, as they were last week, when people were giving out Fisherman’s Friends. I wish I’d known about that but, by the time I went past, there remained only thousands of little packets littering the streets in all directions, and the turbine-powered street-sweepers were deafening everyone in earshot. People!
So, today is just a chillout day, engaged in what you might call Multi-Slacking, i.e. doing multiple unproductive things at the same time. (Not to be confused with what Dilbert author Scott Adams calls “multi-shirking”, which is the failure to do many important things, all at the same time.) One is writing this blog, which is verging on the productive (in my humble opinion), but I’ve also been cooking fresh ravioli, and half-watching an American Chopper marathon on the Discovery Channel.
I’m a little ambivalent about the whole concept: it’s interesting to see these bikes being built, the way the whole can be much more than the some of its parts, but I was surprised to see how much Orange County Chopppers don’t do on the bikes. They buy in all the major components from specialist suppliers, often using them stock, and farm out the paint work. Then again, it is a commercial business, with paying customers, and they can’t take the time to get as skilled in those areas as the specialists are. They have become a major player in the local economy, cash filtering through them, from the rich clients down to parts suppliers, engine specialists, and pizza restaurants.
After the first series, however, the Teutul family have become celebrities, soap-ing up the inevitable arguments, and even get to build a bike for Jay Leno to be unveiled on The Tonight Show. It’s only a matter of time before they get tired of having cameras in their faces, as the Osbournes finally are – they announced, this week, that they are calling a halt to their “UnReality TV” show.
In-between episodes, we have commercials, of course. I’ve often felt that advertisers who spend lots of money on commercials are doing so because they can afford to, they are making huge profits. There are cases when advertisers need to take a risk to attract a market, but when I see saturation of the airwaves by a few big names, it’s clear that they are not competing with each other on price. I’ve moaned about advertisers, before, but the Discovery Channel seems to attact a different class of advertiser. Nickelodeon has its toy ads, MTV and similar channels are currently clogged with ringtone commercials, but DC is full of ads for financial services. Want a loan, but have a poor financial record? They will give you the money, but they will get their pound of flesh in return, in the form of high interest rates, or a foreclosure on your house. (If you’re not a homeowner, i.e. with substantial collateral, you needn’t apply.)