End of the Copper Line

I am concerned about the abolishment of reliable, mechanical, communication when it comes to “plain old telephone service” — POTS — and the future of voice and data communication.

Hurricane Sandy has shoved forward the end of the copper telephone line.  Big communication companies have decided it is in their best interest to push people onto cellular networks instead of rebuilding what was lost:  Traditional “communication by wireline” that has been a staple of everyday communication in the USA for almost a hundred years.

The changing landscape has Verizon, AT&T and other phone companies itching to rid themselves of the cost of maintaining their vast copper-wire networks and instead offer wireless and fiber-optic lines like FiOS and U-verse, even though the new services often fail during a blackout.

“The vision I have is we are going into the copper plant areas and every place we have FiOS, we are going to kill the copper,” Lowell C. McAdam, Verizon’s chairman and chief executive, said last year. Robert W. Quinn Jr., AT&T’s senior vice president for federal regulatory issues, said the death of the old network was inevitable. “We’re scavenging for replacement parts to be able to fix the stuff when it breaks,” he said at an industry conference in Maryland last week. “That’s why it’s going to happen.”

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Honoring the Game: Pay as You Go or Pay as They Want?

It’s no secret that many major league baseball teams — even the Yankees! — are having a hard time selling season ticket packages this year, and one must begin to wonder if the economics of baseball, and major league sport in general, are forever changing for the betterment of the impulse buyer and to the detriment of the dedicated fan that these teams covet, and often, overcharge.

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Overcoming a Cruel Aesthetic

Sometimes, there is no place lower to go than the depths of a tasteless, public, aesthetic parading itself on the paving stones of public discourse as an ingenious iteration of inspiration — when the idea is really nothing more than visual vomit.  Today, I introduce you do the “Cloud Towers” — where Art-Meets-9/11-Terrorism-In-The-Sky in Seoul, South Korea:

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Remembering September 11 Through Comics

As a child, the Sunday newspaper was my favorite because the comic section was much bigger, and every comic was in full color. Artists were free to tell stories that could not be told in a confined four panel layout. Some comics, like the one panel comic The Lockhorns remained one panel — but there were three different one panel comics instead of one and it was still beautifully colorful. This was before newspaper comics were posted online and put into full color, as is the case with Doonesbury and others.

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No PATH Photos for You!

The other day, I was riding the PATH Train from New Jersey to Manhattan and the Conductor — he’s the guy who manages opening and closing the doors and making announcements while the Engineers “drives” the train — came up to an Asian couple and demanded the woman delete the photograph of the train she took right before boarding. The woman was confused and embarrassed, but she followed the order and the Conductor watched her remove the photograph from her cellphone.  If she’d been using a traditional film camera, would the Conductor have confiscated her entire film roll?  The woman’s boyfriend took a more aggressive perch, and said, “There are no signs prohibiting taking pictures.”

The Conductor brusquely retorted, “There are signs everywhere.  Look for them.”  Then the Conductor left the car.  A few minutes passed and the Conductor came running back into our car to retrieve the train keys he’d left dangling in the control panel switchbox so he could bawl out the woman.  I thought to myself, “Which is a greater threat to the people riding a PATH train?  A tourist taking a photograph, or a Conductor who leaves his keys behind for the taking?”

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Mariano Rivera Ends His Career with a Bang… in his Whimpering Knee

Yesterday, in Kansas City, the greatest baseball reliever of all time — Mariano Rivera — ended his season, and likely his career, by blowing out his knee trying to shag a routine fly ball during batting practice.  His ACL is torn and his meniscus is damaged.

At 42 — and threatening this year to finally call it quits at the age that matches his soon-to-be-forever-retired uniform number — it is hard to imagine Mariano making a future final pitching appearance in a Yankees uniform simply because the ravages of tides and the inequities of time only weakens us every year.  None of us meeting middle age ever get any stronger, or more durable, as we begin that slow and lonesome decline down the hill in our return to the grave.

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Why the Yankees Lost Cliff Lee

Who didn’t see the non-signing of Cliff Lee by the Yankees coming a mile away?  All the signs were there — namely in dead silence from Lee — yet few people ever expected the notion that the Yankees could ever be out-bid by another team. However, what the faithful failed to understand, is the Yankees were — but are now no longer — about so much more than just money.

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