Relocation I - Welcome to my new office. We're getting tugged back in, albeit very gently and with humanity. Here's the problem. We moved to this new space, which turns out to be pretty nice, before the pandemic. The building is smaller than our old digs, which either says something about what Congress thinks of the FCC or what they think of their employees' need for room to spread out. Turns out I really don't need that much room. Happy in my new, smaller office. Everybody is dealing with some shrinkage and we're all coping well, without therapy. Better than MTV sans gong, but MTV had been easing into gonglessness as their programming slips into oblivion.
Here's the bigger problem. I have no doubt that we signed a long-term lease for this space at a time pre-Covid when people actually appeared in the office. The open secret is that we don't need it. Would be better off with office hoteling in a much smaller bulding. Sign up beforehand if you need an office for the day. We could have gotten by with a much smaller facility, much cheaper rent, and maybe been able to boost compensation. This is heresy, but sometimes it feels good to shake things up.
I used to be fanatically devoted to the art-rock band Genesis. Not so much anymore. Lost interest after Peter Gabriel's seismic departure. Plumeted after Steve Hackett moved on, leaving the three hangers-on Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, and Tony Banks. Only Tony Banks was worth a damn. That's my opinion, anyway. The opinion that matters here.
Genesis put out a great album in 1973 called "Selling England by the Pound". Never understood the name. I do now. Somebody is trying to sell my teen memories in a cruel drive-by.
The MTV gong sold for more than $15,000. More than a pound.
Some of us remember MTV back in the day when they routinely broadcast music videos 24/7. The glory days. My friends and I used to spend hours on the couch soaking up the images and tunes. It was a WNT (Whole New Thing). WNTs have a way of getting old sans grace. Not disgracefully, just in ways that forsake their tectonic early days. The early days of MTV were full of novelty, great music, really fun times. But there's no denying that MTV glided tragically into a new lineup of the usual CATV crap. Today it's an Adam Sandler marathon. Adam Sandler's pretty cool, but I'd prefer a music video marathon. That is if I could get music videos from the '80s. So maybe the MTV thing is just me looking back on my past through rose-colored glasses. I do find that I don't look forward to change as much as I did when I was 18. Case in point - the arrival of MTV is not something that I would welcome today in the curmudgeonly state I find myself in. I've become a human MTV.
Relocation II - I think I've mentioned in a previous post that I'm a recent transplant from my home in DC to the Virginia exurbs. You know. The place where they ban books in school libraries - the exact place where you don't want to be restricting eager young minds from maturing by consuming new ideas. Remember Reading is Fundamental? Not in Spotsylvania.
I live in Fredericksburg, which really is a city, even if it is a small one. It's right next door to Spotsylvania but you wouldn't know it. People are open-minded and there's lots to do. If you get bored, there's an Amtrak station right in the middle of town that will carry you right to DC or Baltimore or Philadelphis or New York. The line doesn't end in NY, but my interest does. So, even though my DC memories sometimes ring like a gong summoning me back, I've come to enjoy my new home. The DC releality is fading away. I haven't been so narcisitic as to even consider an auction, which would fetch considerably less than that useless MTV gong did.
Sort of a City
Which leads me back to this post's main thread . I can't recall the purpose of the MTV gong. I searched high and low on Google and all I could find were references to its sad demise at the hands of some auction barker. I've learned that Tina Turner famously rang the MTV bell with her foot, but I can't find out why she rang the bell. Was it a bizarre desire to go head over heels on TV? Tina played some wild characters, including Auntie Entity in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdown. She kicked ass in that movie, but she didn't kick any gongs. Or maybe she did and I just don't remember. More evidence of my slippage.
My anxiety again leads me to search for analogies to ease my jittery mind. I've got two. Both speak to the jangled nerves that accompanies change.
Sad to say, I can't even remember what they used that gong for. I remember The Gong Show from the '70s, though. Chuck Barris or other contestants used to swing at that gong with vigor when confronted with a particularly egregious act.
The Gong Show had a character I'll never forget. Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, played by Gene Patton, would strut out at random intervals and shuffle around the stage to “Jumpin' at the Woodside.” I don't recall the melody, but Gene is etched in my brain. His act was simple but hilarious - interrupting the show suddenly with his underplayed, proud sashay. Best compared to the mummery that haunts Philadelphia every New Years Day. But Mummers are all running at three times the legal limit. Maybe Gene was too.
Chuck Winding Up
Last time I filled your brain with apprehensive lines about the injectino of artificial intelligence into every corner of our existence. Turns out I'm not the only one who's nervous. Sam Altman, the guy who sold OpenAI to Microsoft for $1 billion and is widely considered to be one of the fathers of artificial intelligence, is thinking that maybe he should have worn a condom. The New York Times reports that he "believed A.G.I. would bring the world prosperity and wealth like no one had ever seen. He also worried that the technologies his company was building could cause serious harm — spreading disinformation, undercutting the job market. Or even destroying the world as we know it." Kind of like Dr. Frankenstein. So I'm not a luddite after all!