Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rage Machine Podcast: "The 'B' Word"

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This week, our hero is all hopped up on coffee and a comestible combo which is either a new delicacy or the ingredients for some form of explosive. Other items on the menu (you see what I did there?) include a pop culture apology, NASA's recycled wee, whither British toerags, how to correctly introduce The Archies' "Sugar Sugar" and dazzlingly amusing quip about the role of republicans in the Obama whitehouse.

Also: why "that b-word Murdoch" is the smartest man in media, what could be the kick-off to removing all emotional adjectives from journalism and Tudor's Biscuit World. Mmmm!!

more? and there's plenty more infotainment - including one Sony Award Winner and a man who is about to enter radio's Hall Of Fame - at Keep in touch at the usual address ( and via The Book Of Face:

Thursday, November 06, 2008


You'll've heard all the "hilarious" quips by now, regarding CNN's so-called holographic technology. "Help me Obiwan Keblitzer", "beam me up" and so on and so forth.

Yeah, I didn't laugh either.

There has been much news handed to this oddball piece of technology since it debuted on CNN's widely watched election night coverage - or, as perhaps it should be renamed, "O"lection Night - and as a news junkie and techie geek, I feel like I should be all over this new and exciting technology, prodding it accidentally with inappropriate extremities. Maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy, but I can't see exactly what this technology is for, other than do say "wooo! Look what WE can do!"

Don't get me wrong, it's somewhat impressive that an object in CSO is panned around at the same speed as the background. God knows what the directors of 1970s Dr Who episodes could have done with it. The question is what, exactly, its role is on a news channel. Look, I grew up in the 70s and 80s, when pretty much all tv was cheap as chips and made out of cardboard and balsa wood. Back in those days, it was impressive enough that the newsreader could talk to someone in a far away broom cupboard and they had proper sound and vision, not just a phoned-in report over a hastily assembled map of the region with a picture of the reporter holding a phone and looking serious hastily pasted in at the side. But it worked. What else do you need? Why does it need to appear that the interview subject is in the same room as Wolf Blitzer, particularly when they make such a fuss about them being so far away?

This, from CNN:

The technology involved placing a subject in the middle of a bright-green circular room inside a large tent at Obama's Grant Park victory celebration.

The subject was then filmed with 35 high-definition video cameras, barely larger than average point-and-shoot cameras, which ringed the wall of the circular room. The video cameras were 6 inches apart and at eye level, 220 degrees around the subject.

Did you catch that? THIRTY FIVE high definition cameras circling a reporter inside a big green circus tent, just so she can make lame-ass Star Wars references. I know I'm a big looney lefty socialist who wants to tell everyone what to do with their own riches and all, but all the time and money spent on this, not to mention the thirty five individual HD cameras, could it not have been better spent... oh, I dunno... gathering news? And anyway - said he, putting on his tv producer's hat - the reporter appearing to be in the CNN studio sort of belies the reason for her being where news is happening. TV news, by its very nature, has to be visual. Would it not have made more sense for her to do her report from inside the crowd? Or in front of the stage?

"This just in to the CNN newsroom, a huge fire in the downtown Los Angeles area which threatens to destroy five of the buildings that are already ablaze, and several others beside it. Our own reporter Jessica Yellin is on the scene."

"That's right, Wolf, and I've just popped into my big-ass green tent to tell you all about it."

Spike Nesmith Rage Machine Podcast: "Lazy Election Clipshow!"

Download this episode, see? Yeah. Right click here. I'm Little Podcaster, see? Yeah.
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Road To The Whitehouse! The 270 Challenge! Race For Pennsylvania Avenue! And other phrases!

Call it what you like, this is a cheap, cheerful and - yes - lazy clipshow from Rageys past. You'll hear the immediate aftermath of New Hampshire where Obama lost, but McCain won. You'll hear the results of West Virginia's vote with radio legend Paul Wheeler! And you'll gasp as Hillary finally drops out of the race.

This show originally aired on November 5th via the magic of Radio Six International. Visit for more details.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

World War Four

Albert Einstein once famously said that he didn't know what weapons would be used to fight World War Three. "But World War Four will be fought with sticks and stones".

It's almost midnight, and I sit here with an incredibly hot laptop on my lap, three beers in, with one more call to get out of the way before I can go to bed, three to four hours before I expected to.

It's been an astonishing election with an outcome that has cumulated in a moment in American history that will live forever - and rightly so. Perhaps it's the wrong time to criticise, the guy hasn't even formally accepted the presidency yet, but what was supposed to be a campaign that rose above the mire of the last two and was supposed to be different, eventually sank to the same, shameful depths that his stop-at-nothing competitor was indulging in and became just like all the others.

One could easily argue that, culturally, and in terms of making history that sorely needed to be made, the ends have justified the means. Make no mistake, this is big. Really, really big. But where does that leave us for the next election? What dirty tricks will be used next time? How much lower can negative advertising sink? How much farther can 529s go in their slanderous quest for victory? What else can be said? Or inferred? Or done, in the name of pure victory?

I already know what weapons were used to win the 2008 election. My fear is that I don't know what will be used to fight 2012's.

Spike's Election Prediction - post yours below!

Here's how I think it's going to shake down tonight:

And bear in mind that this is a best-case scenario. I still have a fear that McCain is going to win by hook or by crook, but this is the way I see a likely Obama victory. We're going to be up late, that's for sure, and there's going to be at least one lawsuit, but I'm going to go ahead and give McCain PA and OH and FL, because at the end of the day, I think a mixture of racism, old people and "b-b-but he's a muslim socialist, my pastor told me so" will win over the hearts and minds of the electorate. VA will swing Obama, but it's not going to be as secure as they hope. It'll be close. NC won't go Obama - although it will be close, and SC certainly won't. They just won't. Obama's not white enough. SC will go to McCain quickly. At least one state will be called for one candidate and then later recalled to swing, then reassigned to the other. I'm not sure which one, but I feel it in my Mystic Meg bones that it's going to happen.

As you can see, not the massive Obama landslide that everyone seems to be predicting. Why, oh great one, I hear you cry? What Dow Chemical calls "the people element". The beauty of math is that it's not swayed. There's a right answer and a wrong answer. But math is emotionless, and it doesn't take random variables into consideration. So the polling data isn't necessarily wrong, it just doesn't take into consideration variables that can't be realistically predicted. Rain, for example; rain might not keep Mr Smith from voting, but Mr Jones might not want to get wet. Wait times; Mr Jones might not mind waiting three hours in line to vote, but Mr Smith might have a bad back. The severity of party affiliation; Mr Smith might feel so strongly for his candidate that he'd go out and vote no matter what, Mr Jones might see that his candidate is on a pretty good track and feels that he doesn't *need* the extra vote to win. For example, if a McCain supporter in Nevada, whose polls close later than those on the east coast, might see that McCain has taken "the big three" - Ohio, PA and Florida - and then decide not to go out and vote, assuming that with those three under his belt, he's a shoe-in.

And that's not counting the dreaded "Bradley Effect" that could easily muddy the waters of polls. I mean, South Carolina still flies the confederate flag - is it *really* in play between a black man and white "war hero"?

So my official prediction is that the first network will call the presidency for Obama at around 3:30 Wednesday morning, but there will be one controversial state that will be contested for one reason or another - probably OH or PA - and that will delay the actual result a few hours. After a recount, McCain will "do the honourable thing" and concede, in prime time, tomorrow night.

What's your prediction? Post it below. A laurel, and hardy handshake from the south to the person who gets it rightest before midnight tonight.*

*while supplies last