The next move in the SOPA debate, Packer proud, just deserts, who should own Nell the dog, and your daily Ricky.
Our top story today is that the weather is perfectly normal. This is usually the coldest week of the winter. Our fascination with normalcy reminds me of an editor's suggested headline when someone urged a news organization cover more good news: "No plane crashes at airport today."
Over the last few months or so the top weather story was the weather wasn't normal. Now the chatter is that it is. What can we conclude from this? If you're in the business of talking about the weather, you're living the good life.
Here's a little survey you might recognize:
The last time that survey appeared on these sacred pages, it was hot, humid, and normal. Go ahead and answer and we'll compare results. No peeking.
It was a Kodak moment today when the company filed for bankruptcy and there's a pretty good chance few people get the pun. It wasn't always that way, of course. Probably millions of homes have shoeboxes full of unsorted pictures, all taken with Kodak film and printed on Kodak paper.
The writing has been on the digital wall for years; it's hard to believe there was anyone still working at the company who didn't know they were on the good ship Titanic.
Nonetheless, its history alone documents the way the country once was, the same way its products preserved how our families once were. In the '20s, for example, the company started the Eastman Savings and Loan Association to help employees finance home purchases.
A look at some of the historic Kodak commercials not only tells the tale of the company, but how much a commercial product can influence the culture and lives we lead.
Take the '50s, for example, when Kodak offered "easy payment terms" on a camera that cost $29.95 ($230 in today's dollars). .
The '60s brought the concept of cartridge-loading film, which eliminated the need to manually load film through reels and sprockets. And it ended the era of fumbling for a flash bulb for every shot.
In 1975, Kodak engineer Steven Sasson invents the world's first digital camera. It recorded black-and-white images at .01 megapixels.
In the '70s, this jingle became so popular, it later became a pop radio hit:
In the '80s, however, popular music migrated from the radio to the commercials:
And, being the '80s, throwing cameras away became acceptable when Kodak introduced the Fling Camera.
By the 1990s, Kodak was trying to keep up with technology by getting into other businesses. It bought a pharmaceutical business. And it manufactured batteries.
It tried a digital makeover in 1994:
But by the mid-'90s, Kodak had a ton of debt, and began selling off its assets. It sold its office products division and non-imaging health divisions. In '99, the digital printer business was sold to a German firm.
Late in the '90s, the company joined with America Online to deliver processed film via your computer.
By the new millennium, the company was still embracing the idea that your pictures would be printed on paper:
But in 2004, Kodak was dropped from the Dow 30, it shed thousands of jobs, and its digital camera line was sold.
In 2010, it sued Apple, claiming the smartphone technology belonged to it.
In recent years, Kodak tried to be hip, the same way any person in decline tries to be hip. Embarrassingly.
Last year, the company tried to raise money by selling about ,100 digital-imaging patents. But a judge delayed decisions on the patents, and Kodak's shares dropped below $1. The stench of economic death was in the air.
The companies digital and printing technologies, which last year accounted for 75 percent of its revenue, may be one of the few specialties left if and when Kodak emerges from bankruptcy.(5 Comments)
It's over, then.
Gary Eichten has hosted his last Midday call-in program, this one with guest Gov. Mark Dayton.
At the beginning of the Midday program, the governor presented Eichten with a proclamation, naming tomorrow Gary Eichten Day in Minnesota. "Holy cow!" Eichten said. "I'm deeply honored, but I'm a little worried we're going to have a blizzard." And that was that. Eichten went to his first question, and ran the governor right to one o'clock.
WHEREAS Minnesota Public Radio program host and producer, Gary Eichten has shared his talents with Minnesota for over forty-five years, serving in many capacities: news director, special events producer, and station manager, and
WHEREAS Gary graduated from Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and began his career at Minnesota Public Radio as a student announcer at KSJR, Minnesota's first public radio station, in 1967, and
WHEREAS For the past twenty years, Gary has served as the host of "Midday." He is known for his election coverage, hosting MPR's election night broadcasts since 1976, GOP and DFL State Convention broadcasts since 1984, and political debates since 1992. Beginning in 1998, Gary has been on stage at the Fitzgerald Theatre to host the traditional "final debate" in statewide elections, and
WHEREAS Gary has received numerous awards throughout his illustrious career, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting award for best local news programs and the prestigious Graven Award in 2011 for contribution to excellence in the journalism profession. He also assisted in the development of two Peabody award-winning documentaries, and in 2007, was inducted into the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and
WHEREAS Gary's guiding principle has always been that for the American democracy to work, the people must be informed -- there is nothing more precious to a citizen than truth; and
WHEREAS Gary always saw himself as a proxy and advocate for his listeners, and never as an entertainer, pundit, or sage. Over the past forty-five years, Minnesotans have come to trust Gary and view him as one of the state's most diligent and fair-minded journalists. He is a broadcasting legend and the sound of his voice on radio nearly every day will be sorely missed
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARK DAYTON, Governor of the great State of Minnesota , offer heartfelt congratulations to Gary Eichten on his forty-five wonderful years at Minnesota Public Radio and wish him luck in retirement by proclaiming Friday, January 20, 2012 as
GARY EICHTEN DAY
in the State of Minnesota
There are lots of people with lots of awards who throw just one more up on the shelf, but -- and stop me if you've heard this before -- Eichten isn't that type of person.
There was no danger, of course, that Gary would get a big head about a day in his honor, but sometimes you just can't take the chance. "So that's why we don't have light rail out to Woodbury," I said to him. "How much did that cost?"
Minutes later, he was sitting in the daily 1:15 news meeting, where we go over what stories are coming up and what's going to be on the radio.
"A lot of you don't have the luxury of what I've experienced in the last few months and certainly in the last few days," he said. "But what we do really matters to people. The news is a big part of their lives. And I can remember when we'd call people up and say 'Minnesota Public Radio,' and they'd say 'Who?' We make a difference," he said.
At the end of our working days, don't we all dream of knowing that we mattered and made a difference? Thanks to the audience he treated with the respect it deserved, Eichten is living the dream, and things are as they should be.
So maybe it wasn't entirely coincidental that before starting his regular gig today, two of the songs he picked for The Current's Theft of the Dial series were about dreams.(4 Comments)