Daily post: 2nd December, 2013

Quote of the day :

Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears
~ Unknown


Pic of the day :

Thought I’d dig up a winter themed picture, so here’s a blackbird, resting atop a heavily frosted bush.

Blackbird on frosty branches


Tube of the day :

Not one of my favourites by the composer, but it is peaceful and fits in with the ‘on this day’ theme of the page so I’ll drop a little culture on you with Brahms Symphony No. 3 in F major


On this day…

Born today :

  • Racing driver, John Cobb
  • Bass player, Rick Savage (Def Leppard)
  • Singer, Britney Spears
  • Actress, Lucy Liu
  • Fashion designer, Gianni Versace
  • Tennis player, Monica Seles
  • Engineer, Peter Carl Goldmark (Colour TV and LP records)
  • Sci-fi and horror Author, Brian Lumley
  • Author, Ann Patchett

Also on this day in history

1804 saw Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned emperor of France in Paris.

In the world of music, in 1883, Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 3 in F major premiered, the performance given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Trending at this moment:

On twitter, the obsession of the minute is Xfactor and, as ever, the whole celebrity scene. To my mind, they come in two flavours, the prima donnas – and the professional ones. You might think they are not mutually exclusive, well no, there’s a distinct and absolute difference. The professionals, whether actors, musicians, sports people or something else have a spark that sets them apart, they do it because of passion, drive, love of their field of expertise. Crowds and cheering are all very nice, money, yes I’ll take all that too, thank you, but at the end of the day, when the fans, fickle as they are, look elsewhere, when all of a sudden the star is replaced by a younger, fitter, more talented version of themselves, they’ll still be there. Wembly might be replaced with coaching the village under-11’s football team, the Royal Opera House replaced in later years with a pantomime part appearance, but, and this is the big thing, they will still give it their best.

The others, the ones that crave attention like a drug, no. The minute the adulations stop they either disappear, turning their back on it because if they can’t have it all, they don’t want any of it – or they become z-listers, doing anything they can to get their fix in the public eye, whether on the "I’m a celebrity" shows on busses, in jungles eating bugs or hosting meals and trying to appear grand. Yet, for these, you can generally look and think, umm, never heard of you. Why are you a ‘celebrity’?

I watched about a minute of one such show and it ‘starred’ a coach load of ‘famous’ people, yet all I saw were random faces, elbowing each other to be the one in the camera. It’s like a horror scene, you can’t help looking. She’s famous because – she went out with a footballer, once, years ago. He’s famous because he had a walk-in part a year ago in some show that was mothballed for a lousy rating. The back row are ‘famous’ because they got booted out of Big Brother in their first week on the show. Enough!

Or maybe I’m an old grump!

Meanwhile, copying something I saw on Twitter, :
Thanks to Justin I was crying in class because of #changeme And now I’m on the floor screaming because of this

Crying, on the floor, screaming, over a video clip of a song? Really? Just no! I don’t think the teenage girls, which I assume this is, were even that bad during the height of Beatlemania in the 60’s

The other trend sweeping the boards, at least reasonable in my opinion, is the #cybermonday bargains. But even then, like the week or two of #blackfriday before it, I’m a tad jaded. Don’t get me wrong, I saw a number of tempting offers myself, but looking at the bigger picture, fights and muggings in stores over bargains aside, it wasn’t quite what it seemed. Essentially, it’s a marketing bandwagon to boost flagging sales and/or get rid of old stock in a hurry. As I said, I saw a number of genuine discounts but – there’s always a but, eh – they were offers that pop up from time to time anyway. They weren’t one-in-a-year or once-in-a-lifetime bargains. Even watching, as I did, all the sales from the chain store, from Amazon, so forth, it was the same pattern repeated over and over again. One or two amazing offers, usually ‘in-store’ only to drag you in and hopefully get you spend happy on other, considerably less discounted items.

Take, for instance, Asda’s offer of the Samsung Galaxy S3 (Mini) for £99. Great price, decent phone. But – there’s that but again – it’s an old phone. Albeit at a higher price, it was replaced by the S4 range and, in just a few months, that itself will be end-of-lined by the new S5 range in spring. Plus, as an eye-opener, you have to ask yourself this – was the offer you saw, perhaps even added to your credit card, a loss leader, sold below far cost – or was it still at a slim profit. In which case you are getting a glimpse of the markups for many items. Something for you to mull over this Christmas, and next January when the heating bills and card statements come in…

Just to make the point, here’s a quote from PC Pro:

Amazon is offering a range of Christmas deals, rather than dedicated Cyber Monday discounts. The headline deal is £30 off the new 7in Kindle Fire HDX, bringing the 16GB model to £170. It’s worth doing a price comparison between retailers, since the same device is £160 from PC World’s pre-Christmas sale.

Read more: PC Pro : Cyber Monday 2013

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