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Archive for January 15th, 2009

cycle_movieOne thing I’ve noticed over the last year is the popularity of electronic devices targeted toward the geriatric-age bracket.

Now I’m all for helping out Grandma, but does she really need a Bluetooth diabetes monitor? Isn’t there enough on her plate with the upcoming digital channel transition and now we want to burden her with wireless medication, too!

And since we’re chatting about products and a subject I’m fond of — motorcycle “gizmo’s” — these days either mounted on or embedded in the dash is cruise control, GPS, XM Satellite, Alarms, remote starters, radar detectors, iPod music, intercom radio, video camera, CB radio, Bluetooth headsets and heated hand grips.  I’ve even seen a number of “pimptastic” motorcycles with a mini-home theater/video system!  It’s easy to imagine the future and the day of web-enabled motorcycles is just around the corner.   Being able to interact with the internet, get email or stream video content at the push of a button – all from your motorcycle dash.  It seems that all we’re missing is parking sonar!

In 2006 about 250M wireless phone subscribers in the US sent nearly 158 Billion text messages (Source: HERE).  I’m sure some of the those originated from a motorcycle.  And since 2001 the average age of motorcycle owners has increased from 40 to 47 (Source: JD Power).    So, if the average guy buying a motorcycle is getting older and if you follow the logic that implies age effects attentiveness and response times then a logical debate is older motorcycle drivers don’t need any more “bright and shiny” objects on the motorcycle to distract them, right?

Believe me when I say that I struggled to bite my tongue on this, but does anyone see these electronic devices as potential cause of accidents?  Motorcycle driver inattention due to text messaging seems obvious enough, but government legislation may not stop there.  What about those “entertainment” type devices that are behind or on the handlebars?  Many legislators believe that ANYTHING which can distract you from motorcycle driving is considered hazardous and they want to ban use and protect you…independent of reasonable people not engaging in such behavior.  And here you thought after market exhaust pipes with the EPA stamp was your biggest concern.

As the industry continues to struggle to attract and qualify younger first-time motorcycle buyers the future for “older” motorcyclists may be more about eating popcorn at garage parties and watching a movie.

Photo courtesy of Retro Thing.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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steely-dan-albumIt will change my family’s life….that’s what several of the “contestants” stated after winning a ticket to Hollywood the last couple of nights on “American Idol.”  

I’m sure we’ve all had our share of musical aspirations or dreams.  Mine is to backed up Tim Reynolds and jam with Dave Mathews or Steely Dan and if all went well I’d make a lot of money!  However, in an era where Malcom Gladwell reports that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be any good I don’t see those artists showing up at my house this week.  Meanwhile musicians complain that today everybody plays.  You’re competing with amateurs employing GarageBand and posting material on MySpace, yet on the “idol” somebody’s going to win.  

How much money can a person truly make?  It’s an industry where most people have no idea what the number one album is?  “American Idol” is a television show.  First and foremost.  It’s bigger than any contestant.  I think it’s glorified karaoke.  Yet, I find it fascinating to watch because it perpetuates the myth that there’s a singular filter, a gate, which if you can pass through, solves all of your problems and you’re a star.

So thousands turn to the “Idol” and plead their case.  Typically it goes something like…I’m beautiful, I can sing like Beyonce, this is America, I get a chance for stardom, right?  I want my chance!  That’s what everybody is jockeying for on the “Idol.”  Please, use me, make me the next big whatever.  This is just the opposite of classic rock and the sound that still fills arenas.  Classic rock (Pink Floyd, The Ramones, Led Zeppelin) was about doing it your own way, giving the man the middle finger.  But now Simon Cowell gives us the middle finger and the businessman is the star.  You’ve got to hand it to Simon, at least he’s honest.

“Idol” is not reality.  It’s entertainment and fake like so many other things America TV specializes in.  Rather than show us the nitty-gritty of the music industry, they pull heartstrings, try to make you laugh, you had a good time, right?  The hoards of people who line up to play the producer’s game of a contestant on the “Idol” think they deliver the hope that people still care.  They don’t, because winners on the show become 4th tier celebrities that most people just don’t give a rip about.  These soon to be newly-minted “idols” enter a world where train-wrecks are posted all over the internet, almost instantly, and are then forgotten.

They should take a lesson from Harley-Davidson.  If you want to last, you’ve got to build slowly.  You’ve got to be selling something beyond your desire to be rich and famous.  You’ve got to get fans on your own merits.  And, you’ve got to be satisfied with who you are, because today, even if you’re on the cover of “Time”, you may still have to work 9-5.  Being famous is easy.  Making people care is much harder.

If you put being rich and famous first, you’ve got nothing that makes you attractive or makes you desirable.  And we need more.  A pretty face is not enough even if it’s in a bikini – Simon! 

I hope you didn’t ruin your laptop keyboard by spitting up your morning coffee.

Photo courtesy Steely Dan.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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