Saturday, December 31, 2005

Will Podcasting Destroy Radio?

I think it's possible that the podcasting phenomenon might damage or destroy the radio business. Radio will still exist, but in a crippled state.

When you think about it, radio is pretty crippled right now. It is in the last throes (thank you, Dick Cheney!) of a slow demise. The massive consolidation that has happened with Clear Channel, Cumulus and Infinity scooping up so many radio stations across the country and homogenizing them to the point of absurdity.

George Carlin put it best, when he said ---

  • "Please. Save me from people who've been told what to like and then like it. In my opinion, if you're over six years of age, and you're still getting your music from the radio, something is desperately wrong with you. I can only hope that somehow MP3 players and file sharing will destroy FM radio the way they're destroying record companies. Then, even though the air will probably never be safe to breathe again, maybe it will be safer to listen to."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

What is a Squidoo?

I've started a "Squidoo," a new type of Web page. Please visit my site and add your own, with your own expertise.

My Squidoo, of course, is the "Buyer's Guide to Holistic Healthcare."

Very Vegan

A great local vegan chef has started a blog - and he's giving out recipes! Check it out.

The Podcasting Advertising Model

Adam Curry gave us a sneak peak at the ideas that are being kicked around to change advertising in the same way he's reinvented radio.

Here are the highlights:
    Advertisers audition to be on a particular podcast. They "bid" to show that they are the most relevant, and willing to pay the most.
  • Not use the the CPM (cost per thousand) model used today by legacy radio stations.

  • User-created ads that the company pays for. For instance, a person who uses Apple laptops and loves them, creates an ad for Apple, the podcasters play this ad, and Apple pays each time it is used (assuming it approves of the content, of course).

  • The podcasters work more closely with the creative staff of ad agencies, rather than staying outside the process.

  • The relationship between the podcast and its highly-focused audiences is extremely valuable, and advertisers should pay for the level of focus as well as the number of listeners.

  • Anyone is able to advertise, big companies and small, on whatever podcasts make sense (are relevant), and pass the audition, of course. :-)

  • Podcasters and audiences decide which ads are most relevant, a process that slowly weed out the annoying ads, annoying because they don't fit the audience.

I think this is a great start. What innovative ideas! Keep it up, Adam. I'm ready to see what you're going to create.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Dream Journaling

I've begun journaling my dreams again. I've filled several books over the years, but I hadn't done it since the late 1990s.

I'm hoping that it leads me to some insights into my life. I'm also starting meditating. I guess it's the time for resolutions. Who'd a thought?

This is yet another result of reading the Edgar Cayce book. I'm up to the dream chapter.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Simplest Remedy for Insomnia

I have the feeling that a medical practitioner should prescribe things in order from the safest, cheapest effective remedy FIRST, then move on to the more expensive, more dangerous remedies later if the first ones don't work.

For instance, with insomnia, there is a great remedy that everyone should try first. It's free and requires no training, and is perfectly safe.

Read to them. Read a book to them while they are trying to fall asleep.

It's like when you were a kid and your mom read to you. Remember how comforting that was?

This is what I began doing for my wife, who had a habit of thinking too much just as she was trying to fall asleep. My reading, in a quiet, monotone voice, helped her to quell her thoughts and just listen to the story (or article or whatever) and it works every time.

The qualifications are that the person reading must have patience to keep reading until the sleeper gets to sleep. This might take 5 minutes or it might take an hour. But it will eventually work.

It doesn't matter what you read. I often read non-fiction books (like the Edgar Cayce book I mentioned), as well as fiction. The only factor is it can't be something that is antagonistic to her - like something that is too boring (financial reports, etc.).

That's my tip for today. Isn't it ironic that I'm writing this post at midnight? I just read my beautiful wife to sleep and now I can't sleep!

Oh well.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Edgar Cayce

I've been reading an old, old Edgar Cayce biography lately called "Edgar Cayce - Sleeping Prophet."

It's really good. I had known something about him, but not to this level of detail.

Edgar Cayce was born in Kentucky, USA. He grew up in a fairly poor family. Quite early in his life, he found out that he had a tremendous amount of knowledge that he could tap into by going into a trance-like sleep.

Soon, he became known as a "seer," and people from all over the country came to him for readings. His accuracy rate, especially for health problems, was very high. Also, all his readings were documented in extensive detail and are available today on the Web (available mostly for free).

Edgar Cayce is an interesting figure. I do not doubt that he was able to help people by diagnosing illnesses and prescribing cures. It seems he was tapping into the "universal knowledge" in his trances, which he says is available to us all.

Alternative for Toothpaste

I've been fretting about fluoride lately. We do what we can to take it out of our drinking water (yecch!) but I've still been using toothpaste with fluoride (Crest, Aquafresh, etc.).

Fluoride is a toxin, and my opinion is that it does not help tooth health, in fact, it may cause some damage to teeth.

Finally, I think I have an answer. A friend of mine sells this stuff called "Miracle 2." It is a bunch of products (yes, multi-level marketing) that are meant for cleaning your house and also to replace some bathroom products.

For toothpaste, you mix a couple of the things together and you get a nice toothpaste. I haven't done the exact math, but I think it's cheaper than toothpaste.

The nice thing is Miracle 2 is completely free of fluoride or other toxins. It's called a "neutralizer." It's meant to neutralize your system, to bring the pH level to normal if it's too acidic (most of us) or too akaline (rare).

So far, the taste is fine and it foams up very nicely. And it helps my breath. It is not minty or flavored with anything, but my teeth feel very clean afterward.

Here is my friend Steve's Website. Click on Products and then your country and then "New Customer. You won't have to enter any personal information to see the product list, it's just weird how the product list comes up.

You can buy the stuff online or just e-mail Steve.

NOTE: I do not make any money from you purchasing Miracle 2 products. I am not in the network for Miracle 2, and will benefit in no way from your transactions.

Hey, Hey - Look at Me! Businessweek Links to Holistic Economy

Big day for the Holistic Economy blog! Businessweek blogger Toddi Gutner, linked to my post about teaching your kids about financial responsibility.

I'm really happy that she decided to do that. Yes, it was just a post where I was quoting The Week magazine (one of my favs), and not one of my own overstuffed opinions, but still it was nice to get the traffic from such a prestigious source.

Plus, Toddi is hot! What man doesn't like a link from a beautiful woman? :-)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Good Business Makes Bad Radio

Radio stations, especially as they've consolidated, have put a lot of science into the programming of their content.

"We need to focus on a specific demographic!"

"We must focus on the most appealing content for that demographic!"

This is excellent, excellent business advice. In fact, I try to impress the importance of focus on my students as often as possible.

However, with a radio station, this causes significant harm. Every radio station is trying to appeal to a specific demographic and trying to ONLY play the content that fits in the top level of being appealing to that demographic.

And the best demographic (apparently) for a radio station is the teenage girl demographic.

I'm guessing that because the majority of radio stations focus on this demographic because their music choices seem to be pointed that way.

As a business decision, it's flawless.

However, as a policy for a radio station, it's awful.

I can't stand listening to any radio stations in our area. They repeat songs endlessly, their DJs are reduced to innane chatter (Morning Zoo, anyone?), and the content is generally so bad I wait hopefully for a commercial break.

So, it seems that good business makes for bad radio.

As always happens, a better alternative to radio has appeared. It's called podcasting.

Podcasting provides a laser-sharp demographic focus, an opportunity for advertisers, and content that is useful, newsworthy and enjoyable.

Plus, all podcasting content can be "time shifted," meaning that you can listen to it whenever you want.

The equipment you need to listen to a podcast in your car is an iPod and a car iPod adapter.

What are you waiting for? Start listening to podcasts instead of the radio. Find specific programs on holistic health, renewable energy, German shepherds or whatever your passion. Or start your own podcast. It's easy enough that anyone can do it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Peak Oil

World Watch magazine sent me a promotional copy of their bi-monthly paper publication. The January/February 2006 issue is devoted to the idea of "peak oil."

Peak oil is the term for the fact that the rate of extraction of oil is increasing more slowly each year, and that sometime between 2008 and 2020, the rate of oil production will begin decreasing, perhaps quite rapidly.

This sounds okay, until you begin to think that it will take us significant time to ramp up alternative energy sources to replace oil as production declines. If it declines too rapidly, we won't be ready. Government sources say that we need at least one decade lead-time to prepare for such a decline.

You know by now that I'm a big fan of renewable energy sources, like solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen fuel cells, biodiesel and cold fusion. And the biggest source of "new energy" is our own conservation, which we can ramp up very quickly.

So, I'm not that worried (like the poor folks at World Watch!). However, I'd really like to see us beat a faster path towards renewable energy, and dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Politically, environmentally, budgetarily - it all makes sense.

Do we need the Bush Administration on board for this? It would be nice, but that will never happen. Yes, if the federal government declared a "Second Apollo Project" to reduce our dependence on foreign oil down to Zero, that would instantly energize the country and it would happen, much sooner than 2010 (I think).

However, innovation in everything comes from the private sector, never from the government. Even if George W. Bush never declares renewable energy a priority, and even if he is replaced by some idiot like Bill Frist who "stays the course" and stays cozy with Big Oil, we can do everything that we need in the private sector.

Help from the government would be nice, but leave it to us in the private sector. We'll make it so.

P.S. I am 100% behind the Apollo Alliance, I don't mean to belittle their efforts. Please get involved with their worthy effort if you can.

Friday, December 09, 2005


"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."

Mark Twain

How To Help Your Kids Learn About Finances

The Week magazine had a good feature on how to help your children best learn about finances.

First, give them a head start by encouraging entrepreneurialism. Get them to start a business. My small contribution to this (I don't have kids) is to ask kids "What type of business do you think you'll start?" rather than "Why type of job do you think you'll get?"

Second, tell them (and show them) not to carry credit card balances. Ever. Lead by example.

Third, get them investing early. Teach them about IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEPs, etc.

Fourth, use a Qualified Personal Residence Trust to pass your house on to your children.

When Faith Itself is a Problem

A study published in the Journal of Religion and Society was done to prove or disprove the concept that "a religious society is a moral society."

Apparently, the opposite is true. Gregory S. Paul ranked 18 prosperous democracies according to their religious fervency, then correlated the results with quantifiable societal health factors.

The results were startling. The U.S., which is by far the most fervent advanced nation in the world, has the most social problems. We have the highest rates of abortion, murder, divorce and teen pregnancy. And the more religious the U.S. state (i.e. "red state") the more these problems exist.

The correlation is fairly clear in this study. But what does it mean?

Multi-Modality Clinics

"Many times the best (and most enduring) form of healing is not achieved with a single modality but with a combination of many approaches.

In the future, prototype holistic-healing centers will evolve a multidimensional approach to therapy which will utilize physical treatments, including spinal manipulation and proper nutrition; the use of various subtle energetic therapies; and psychotherapy to help the individual deal with maladaptive strategies that have been inappropriately used for copying with stress."

Richard Gerber, MD
Vibrational Medicine (Bear and Company, 2001)

I've Seen the Future of Bit Comedy

Recently, I found two video clips of comedy sketches. The difference between the two hit me square between the eyes.

One was incredibly funny, and one was not.

The first was something that was originally e-mailed to me as a video clip. Then, last week, I found it using Google's new video search engine.

It starts out as a DUI (driving while impaired) stop by the police. At first, you think this is a bit of "reality TV" but it quickly deteriorates into something else.

Click here to view the first video.

The second video was a sketch from Saturday Night Live that features a Steve Jobs look-alike talking about the new-new iPod mp3 player.

Click here to view the second video.

My impression was that the first was incredibly funny, well done and just a super piece of comedy. The second was a tired, ordinary piece of pablum from SNL that didn't make me laugh even once.

What happens from here? Do we all get our comedy from e-mailed videos, and none of it from TV old, tired shows? Probably not.

However, I think these amazing comedians who are producing bits like the DUI sketch are going to be taking over part of the comedy mindshare of all of us, and I encourage them and look forward to the results.