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McAdams On: Quantum Logic

WHATEVER, N.M.: Let’s think out of the box for a minute, shall we? No, of course not! Because who sits in a cube-shaped, cardboard receptacle to think? Did you ever hear of anything so ridiculous? Me, neither. So why do we chirp that phrase like parrots? Let’s do stop.

And another thing. If engineers are so smart, why did a couple hundred of them travel to sunny Southern California this week and spend the entire time in refrigerated conference rooms? Couldn’t the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers just as easily meet on the beach? Or maybe rent Larry Ellison’s sailboat? What is it with dark, frigid conference rooms?

And what’s all this talk about automation? Is not there a jobs crisis in the United States? Maybe it’s time to de-automate. TV operations across the country are adopting file-based workflows, or rather, a bunch of people working on a computer network passing files to and fro. TV facilities operators are all kerfuffled over having to handle more file formats that Carter’s got pills. So bring back the Betacam sneaker net already. Talk about your out-of-the-box.

Then we have the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, legislation enacted by Congress outlawing loud commercials. I happen to like loud commercials. How else am I supposed to wake up and go get another beer? Did anyone ever think of that? Now I’ll just have to wait for neighbor’s barking varmint to rouse me, probably in the middle of a dramatic moment in the program and there I’ll be, without a beer. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to publish CALM rules any minute. I propose a Class Action lawsuit against them. Suing is much less bothersome than occupying something.

Like TV Everywhere, for example, the authentication scheme allowing people to watch their subscription TV service anywhere. Apparently, having TV on gas pumps, in grocery stores, planes, trains, automobiles, buses, airport terminals, restaurants, phones, wristwatches, tablets, t-shirts and the Intertube is not sufficient. We’ll soon see upcharges for dining, shopping and generally existing in “TV-Free Zones®, a division of McAdamsCorp. LLC.” These will be quiet, luxurious places for the elite to meet, and markedly different from those non-patented, lower-case, TV-free zones defined by roving bands of hoodlums with no authentication who watch TV at home--on television sets! Washington will deny their existence, but they will be out there. Waiting. For appointment TV.

These are the people who will survive the Big One because they will see the nationwide Emergency Alert System bulletin while the rest of us are trying to out-inane one another on Twitter. That is, if the nationwide presidential EAS works. It will be tested officially for the first time Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If there is an actual emergency on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, then we can all just tweet down the tubes together. I recommend having beer handy just in case. It doubles as food in times of crisis, or when you just don’t feel like going to the store.

You might, instead, feel like staying home and guarding your air space. I don’t remember giving anyone explicit permission to transmit radio frequency signals around my head. The FCC, invented by another Act of Congress back when dirt was young and fetching, is supposed to manage that which is not occupied by solids within U.S. borders. “Manage” has evolved into “sell to the highest bidder,” unless there are no bidders, then we’ll just slap a great big new fee on spectrum licenses.

This seems a bit willy-nilly. I say it’s high time for citizens to take back the spectrum. I now claim the rights to all airspace directly over my head. TV broadcasting, since you let me watch for free, you can use my airspace for free in exchange for 10 minutes per hour of advertising for, and editorial coverage of, McAdamsCorp. LLC. All others will be charged $53 monthly (plus taxes and fees) for 450 talk-only minutes and 45 cents a minute thereafter, $5 for 250 texts and 10 cents per thereafter, plus $2 per Mb of data, or $500 monthly for unlimited voice, text and data, with a two-year contract for a McAdamsCorp. LLC.-provided device costing $625 after a contrived discount. Service plan pricing may change at any time without notice. Advertised data speeds, quality of service and actual functionality are optimal and not in any way guaranteed.

And this concludes today’s episode of thinking and the inherent dangers therein. Don’t say you couldn’t see it coming.
~ Deborah D. McAdams