Loose Lips: Really? This video will woo Google?

March 19, 2010 

A husky voice speaking over the top of a montage of random images of Merced is the city's latest effort in its competition for Google's faster-than-light Internet project.

Only this YouTube video produced by the city of Merced isn't exactly free of kinks.

When the current version was shown to the City Council on Monday, it was a little rough around the edges -- and some on the council said as much.

Council member Mary-Michal Rawling said she liked the video but it should have more shots of UC Merced instead of the odd plates of food or local bars.

While the video mentioned the UC, it took place as an image of the Partisan was on the screen. UC Merced students may drink there, but whether the university wants to be identified with a bar in the city's bid for Google is another thing.

The ill-timed montage was just the first issue with the video. The voice-over by Neal Barlow was, to Lips' tender ears, trying. Besides using "desire" as the verb par excellence, the video's script sounds like it was written by a computer geek.

Oh, it was. Merced's IT guy, Dave Truax, was the author.

City spokesman Mike Conway says a new version will be released on Monday.

If you "desire" to see the video, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LwEpRd1NmM

County and broadband

Meanwhile, the county is sending mixed messages when it comes to high-speed Internet. At the Board of Supervisors last meeting they not only passed a resolution in support of Google's Internet project but, curiously, also sent a letter in support of another such project: the Central Valley Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure Plan.

Looks like they're hedging their bets.

Tweeting for cash

It turns out the city and county are not alone in their ill-conceived online efforts.

A local business owner whose ego is as big as a Brooklyn pizza pie, Marshall Bishop (owner of Bishop's on the Square) has been busy on Twitter trolling for investors for his new pizza venture on Main Street.

And who might this entrepreneurial impresario be asking for cash? Why, a local guy who made it in the big time. Bishop has been chatting it up with none other than Atwater's Bernard Berrian, a receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.

"I would like to borrow 30 minutes of your time to run the idea by u, if u like great, if u don't, no worries -- maybe u can help me...," wrote Bishop about his new restaurant, after he had tweeted that he wanted to bring Merced a "few more big city options." He then tweeted to Berrian all he needs for his pizza parlor/sports bar is "$50 to $100k, that's all."

While Berrian hasn't committed yet, said Bishop: "I have been going back and forth with him. He likes the idea, but at the same time he is just a little uneasy with the economy."

Lips wishes Bishop well. He shouldn't have to do too much convincing since Bishop's is already the "best upscale night spot in valley."