Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pure bullsh*t

Bottled water is big business.

Walk down the beverage aisle and you'll find a water for every taste. You can buy water that's smart, water that's flavored, municipal water that's been purified using reverse osmosis, even water from places as far away as France and Fiji. Each brand is pure bunk designed to separate a fool from his money.

How do I know this? I did a few projects for Pepsi on the Aquafina brand.

But now there's a brand that elevates the art of aqueous bullshit to a whole new level. Llanllyr Source claims to come from "beneath certified organic fields in west Wales in the UK."

It must be fantastic. Look at the stunning packaging. Read the fabulous story on their website. Ooooo, they have a recyclable can! (Hey, wait a minute, aren't all cans recyclable?)

I can just see the sheep smugly loading this overpriced H2O into the back of their Prii blissfully thinking they are doing their part to help the environment.

As for me. I'll continue to fill my glass with the tap water that comes all the way from Lake Michigan. You can almost taste the lake trout in every glass.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The magic of discovery

I grew up listening to the radio. WABX in Detroit to be precise, a station that broke new ground when music was breaking new ground in the late '60s and early '70s.

An underground station run by music fanatics, WABX introduced me to the music of artists like Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Doors and other bands that had no place on top 40 radio. As a kid who's musical exposure was pretty much limited to the Beatles and other mainstream artists, this was a revelation.

So here's my question. In the era of iTunes and Spotify, how do I happen upon new music? Sure, iTunes 'recommends' artists to me using algorithms to generate suggestions based on what I've already bought. And there are 15 million tracks on Spotify that I can stream to my computer or smartphone. Both are great services that I use. But they're both missing something for me.

The magic of discovery.

That moment when you're listening to the radio and something so new, so powerful comes through the speakers that time stands still. I can still remember where I was when I first heard the Hendrix version of Watchtower. Just thinking about the power harp on J. Geils Band bluesy Whammer Jammer sends chills down my spine.

When I discovered these tunes, they became mine, something I could share with others. They became a part of who I was and helped make me who I am. And even though my discovery came through the radio thanks to a forward thinking program director, it was still my discovery. It wasn't recommended to me by a friend. It wasn't spoon fed to me through a promotional campaign. And that's why these songs and so many others stick with me through all the years.

There's great power in discovery. Whether it's a song, a restaurant, a secluded vacation spot, or a product. That's why, while I'm using iTunes and Spotify, I still listen to both internet and terrestrial radio stations that do their own programming. Hoping to find that next great discovery.