The Rude Awakening

If you live in New York City – move on. You will feel no pity for me. I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood on a cul de sac. This is where the deer and the antelope play (minus the antelope).

If I want, and the weather cooperates, I can sleep with the windows open and know it will be mostly quiet. There is a fire station not far from here. If they use their siren, I’ve only heard it a few times over 15 years.

This morning at 8:30 AM the quiet was shattered as my neighbor’s alarm went off. These are neighbors we don’t talk with (though I’m sure this was an accident and nothing nefarious).

OK – 8:30 AM doesn’t seem early, but you’re not living your life on Hawaiian time. I am! Last night I went to sleep at 4:00 AM.

The idea of a home alarm is to scare a burglar and attract attention. This morning it scared my neighbor’s parents (who I assume were visiting) and attracted the fire department.

I wasn’t there and certainly can’t ask, but I’m guessing the moment the alarm went off, it lookd like that Expedia commercial where a young woman sends her parents on a vacation to a hotel where they’re sprayed with water in the bathroom and fall off chairs in the sitting room as the theme to the Jetsons plays!

In any event, my neighbor’s folks were powerless as all of this transpired.

It’s happened at my house, so I’m not going to rant on about disturbing the neighbors. People who live in alarmed homes shouldn’t throw stones.

This does bring up something curious about alarms. Have you ever driven by a home and found a sticker proclaiming the alarm on a window or maybe even a sign planted in the front yard&#185?


Why would you want to post a sign that says, “Hey, there’s an alarm here. Make sure you cut all the wires before you throw a rock in my window.”

Aren’t you safer without a sign? I know it’s less advertising for the alarm company, but they’re not my concern. Without a sign, that loud shrieking noise would be a burglar’s surprise.

I’ve always wanted to reverse the LEDs on my alarm panel so it looks like it’s off when it’s on and vice versa. Maybe I already have! Keep ’em guessing – on their toes.

Meanwhile, it never even entered my mind that the neighbor’s house might have been burglarized. That is the least likely reason for an alarm to go off here.

I was back asleep by 8:45.

&#185 – This is especially true in Southern California where alarm signs sprout in enough front lawns to considered a native species.

Barry Diller And Michael Eisner

I’m watching Michael Eisner, former Disney CEO, interview Barry Diller. This is one of those things you stumble on with digital cable. It’s on a channel high enough (106) that oxygen masks should pop out of the overhead.

When I originally posted this I went on without explaining who Diller is. I have second thoughts about his notoriety outside ‘the business.’

From Wikipedia: Barry Diller was raised in Beverly Hills and began his career in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency. He was hired by ABC in 1966 and was soon placed in charge of negotiating broadcast rights to feature films. He was promoted to vice president in charge of feature films and program development in 1969. In this position, Diller created the ABC Movie of the Week, pioneering the concept of the made-for-television movie through a regular series of 90-minute films produced exclusively for television.

Diller served for ten years as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures Corporation starting in 1972. With Diller at the helm, the studio produced hit television programs such as Laverne & Shirley (1976), Taxi (1978), and Cheers (1982) and films ranging from Saturday Night Fever (1977), and Grease (1978) to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and its sequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) to Terms of Endearment (1983) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984).

From October 1984 to April 1992, he held the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox, Inc, parent company of Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox. Diller quit 20th Century-Fox in 1992 and purchased a $25 million stake in QVC teleshopping network. Diller resigned from QVC in 1995.

Diller is currently the Chairman of Expedia and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp, an interactive commerce conglomerate and the parent of companies including Home Shopping Network, Ticketmaster, and Citysearch. In 2005, IAC/InterActiveCorp acquired Ask Jeeves, marking a strategic move into the Internet search category.

In 2001, Diller married fashion designer and longtime friend Diane von Furstenberg

Eisner is subbing for Charley Rose. This rerun of a rerun is on Connecticut Public Television’s tertiary channel!

Diller is a guy I had only heard about (and, years ago when we bought stock in QVC) invested in. He’s not just a genius, he’s an amazing genius… though from what I’d always heard, maybe ‘evil genius’ is a better characterization.

Look at him and you see the physical polish that comes with money. His suit, tie and watch are impeccably stylish and reek of money. When you listen to him, you hear words from a man much younger than he.

It is obvious, when it comes to technology and where the mass dissemination of programming is going, Diller gets it. He is about 63. The promise of technology’s future has moved beyond all but a few 63 year olds.

It is a shame for Eisner, who is undoubtedly bright, that he’s sharing a stage with Diller. Anyone would seem dimmer in comparison.

If you see this interview coming in yet another rerun of a rerun of a rerun, make sure you catch it, if only to further scope out Barry Diller. This is another of those moments when, after the fact, I realize how little I know and how much more I have to learn.