Quittin’ Time

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3671RMj

YouTube: https://bit.ly/2Y6HWss

It’s track #30.

I was listening to podcasts looking for answers, trying to understand what is going on in this nation of ours, where we’re headed, but despite all the speaking I was hearing nothing, at least nothing I did not know. I started with the WaPo’s “Big Idea,” but the new host had my mind a’ driftin’, I couldn’t stay focused. And the NYT’s “Daily” was too much opinion and not enough fact. I didn’t need to be brought up to speed, I needed to be jetted into the stratosphere, beyond the micro into the macro, from yesterday to tomorrow, and it wasn’t quite working. But the moon was out and a flashlight was unnecessary, and climbing up the Backbone Trail had me sweating and the expenditure of energy made what was coming into my ears less important, but on the way down…

I jettisoned the podcasts for Morgan Wallen.

Music is in a strange spot. Lucas Shaw of Bloomberg told his friends the most played act last year on Spotify was Bad Bunny, they had no idea who that was and when they ultimately listened they said the music sucked, and they’re only thirty! As for the other night’s extravaganza…has-beens and no statements. J.Lo is pure entertainment and she can’t sing, it’s how she looks, Lady Gaga hasn’t had a hit for years, other than that movie stuff, and Katy Perry looks like she’ll never have a hit again, how did our mainstream entertainment become that of our parents, accepted by all but loved by only the mindless?

As for new music…it’s all about your vertical, your niche, can you not reach everybody and give up trying to do so? As for the listener, no one can be up on everything, it’s hard to focus, it’s hard to feel that direct hit. And then I heard “Livin’ the Dream.”

That’s the funny thing about a hit, you hear it immediately. I’d been through at least a dozen Morgan Wallen songs, many of which were good, but “Livin’ the Dream” demanded my attention, my focus, whereas before my mind was wandering to the music, now all other thoughts were excised.

And one can say that the story of making it is an old one, but really it’s about the sound of “Livin’ the Dream”…it’s got the darkness of the sixties, of Del Shannon, the Beau Brummels, music that’s more personal, eerie.

But then I heard “Quittin’ Time,” and it made me think Wallen was the new Springsteen, but it was better than anything the Boss had cut in years, “Quittin’ Time” had the feel of “My Hometown,” but a bit less poignant, yet it was a slice of life all the same…

And like with “Livin’ the Dream” the sound is what hooks you, but in this case the lyrics are key.

“Quittin’ Time” sounds like what the guy sitting in the corner of the roadhouse is picking on his guitar, whether people are paying attention or not. “Quittin’ Time” is heartfelt without being maudlin, it’s down but there’s hope. It’s what music does best.

“Puttin’ in that overtime and comin’ up with nothin’

Sure as hell ain’t for lack of tryin’

There’s no use wastin’ time in fightin’ for somethin’

When you see that white flag a flyin’

Can you hear that whistle blow?”

With the title “Quittin’ Time” and the line about the whistle blowing, never mind the overtime, your mind thinks of the factory, at least those that still exist, blue collar jobs, too often boring and now underpaid, where you put in your time like in a prison and then get out and try to drown away the depression.

“There’s all day thinkin’ time

And all night drinkin’ time

And time to sing or time to find if

Rhyme has a reason

Time to pack it in and stay down

Pack it up and walk away now

And give it one more day or call it a season

I can tell by the tears not in your eyes

It’s quittin’ time”

It’s a sentence, you can’t even cry, and then…

“There’s somethin’ to be said for sayin’ what needs sayin’

A suitcase says it all to me

Before the credits roll just know I always loved you

So we wrote that famous final scene

Where you turn and walk out on me”

Wait a second, this isn’t about a job at all, this is about the end of a relationship. How do you know when it’s time to go? There are people who leave, what’s hard for them is to stay. And then there are those who once they commit can’t get out, and then those who wait for the other person to make a move.

Now Jackson Browne laid this down right in “Late for the Sky.”

“All the words had all been spoken

And somehow the feeling still wasn’t right

And still we continued on through the night

Tracing our steps from the beginning

Until they vanished into the air

Trying to understand how our lives had led us there”

We’ve all been there. Other than those who married their first loves. That night when you lay in bed and talk it out for hours and realize when conversation stops, it’s over.

“Awake again I can’t pretend

And I know I’m alone and close to the end

Of the feeling we’ve known”

I know no better words about this feeling, but Jackson doesn’t write this kind of music anymore. And he’s into a band sound, which is less intimate, and he’s been in a committed relationship for years, maybe you have to be in the throes of turmoil to write this stuff.

“There’s somethin’ to be said for sayin’ what needs sayin’

A suitcase says it all to me

Before the credits roll just know I always loved you

So we wrote that famous final scene

Where you turn and walk out on me”

She’s in charge. This is the opposite of hip-hop, pop lyrics. The man is not always in control, he doesn’t always make all the decisions. And when Morgan sings about the suitcase…you can see it by the door, maybe you’ve experienced it yourself, you come home to your shared abode and something is different, stuff is missing, you know a change has come.

And the movie metaphor works well, the credits and the final scene, with her leaving him.

“Every start has an end

Every first has a last

Every now has a then

Every future has a past

And sometimes you want it back”

It’s guys who can’t let go, who can’t get over the breakup, they may not talk about it, but they feel it.

Now I doubt you’ll ever hear “Quittin’ Time” on terrestrial radio, I’m not sure there’s a format for it. Sure, country radio could pick it up, but right now it’s mostly still focused on trucks and beer, good times, broad stroke laments, not intimacy that’s not a paint by number picture dream, everybody’s a pretender.

But it’s songs like “Quittin’ Time” that make people music fans, forever, hungry for one more hit of what’s contained therein, the essence. We play our records to death and then we want more, where do we look? First and foremost to those who made what hooked us, but too often success hobbles them, too often we have to wait for years, at least Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous” has thirty tracks, it takes a very long time to digest.

And it comes down to the song. And how it’s played and produced. It’s an elixir, it can be created in an instant…actually, the less thinking and the more channeling the better it is, the more you build the track from the ground up, from disparate elements provided by different people, the further you get from the magic.

Now Morgan Wallen had a hand in writing “Livin’ the Dream,” but not “Quittin’ Time,” that was composed by Eric Church, Luke Laird and Josh Thompson, all of whom are over forty. Experience counts, music is not inherently a young person’s game. Now Eric Church is a country music titan, rejected by rockers because of his below the Mason-Dixon line vocal. To make it in rock… Just like the Brits sing like Americans, you can’t have an accent in rock, to the point where rockers ignore Church, to their ultimate detriment, listen to his live album “Caught in the Act”…it’s as powerful as any classic rock live twofer, the energy is palpable, and the tracks are loaded with hooks.

And Church may be country, but his ethos is different. Kind of like Steely Dan used to be rock, but nobody else sounded like them. Well, not quite like that, but the point is Church is not part of the Nashville factory, and he doesn’t trade in clichés, he speaks from his heart, his own.

And Morgan Wallen sings this song like he’s lived it, even if he didn’t write it. Delivery counts. If you sing the song like you’re reading from the now nonexistent phone book you’re missing the point, and the song. You’ve got to add emotion, you’ve got to know when to melisma and not, but too often in today’s overloaded world we focus on the extreme, if you’re not outrageous, you don’t get notice.

And “Quittin’ Time” is not outrageous, it’s intimate, it’s personal, it’s human, it’s life.

And most people won’t hear it. But those who are exposed might become attached, like me.

And walking down the trail all I could think was I couldn’t wait until the pandemic was over, so I could go see Morgan Wallen. In advance I’d play the album over and over until I knew it by heart. And I’d sing along with the multitudes during the loud numbers, but when he played “Quittin’ Time,” he has to play it, that’s what a fan believes, I’d have my head in the air, staring blankly into space, as I marinated in the sound, with a warmth pouring through my body. It can be fun to see the oldsters, but there’s nothing like finding a new fave, wanting to see them in concert, having that desire, for that experience, wanting and needing to connect.

Tesla/Volkswagen

“How Volkswagen’s $50 Billion Plan to Beat Tesla Short-Circuited – Faulty software set back a bid by the world’s largest car maker for electric-vehicle dominance”: https://on.wsj.com/395tffN

Will Tesla win in the end?

Everybody said it wouldn’t, and most people still believe that the stock is overvalued, but the truth is making an electric car is much more difficult than it appears.

Volkswagen represents the bleeding edge of major company electric car development. Early mover BMW has pulled back. As for the American companies…they’re so busy getting the public to purchase overpriced, bad-handling SUVs that one wonders if they’ll ever be able to succeed on the electric tip. GM and Ford say they’re trying…

But not like Volkswagen.

After Dieselgate, VW decided to turn itself around, to redo its entire roadmap and focus on electric. And they failed.

Disruption is still happening. Twenty years later. As for those arguing about the changes wrought, trying to bring back the past via legislation, I point you to Tim Ingham’s recent article in “Music Business Worldwide”: 

“The Harsh Reality About the Music Business, and a Pantomime Led By Clueless Self-Regarders”: https://bit.ly/2LMLAW6

Ingham is angry, and it has improved his usually dry writing. Tim is sick and tired of every musician believing they’re entitled to make a living from streaming music. Disinformation rules. Kinda like yesterday’s story about Gary Numan saying he was only paid 37 pounds for a million streams. Were they self-selected streams or were they radio? Were they ad-supported? Was it for songwriting/publishing or recording?

The musicians are ignorant. Seemingly the bigger career you’ve got, the less you understand the modern music business, especially streaming. As for re-education… It really doesn’t matter, the ship has sailed. But they’re having hearings in the U.K., and Ingham addresses these. But most interesting is his figures after taking participation of the labels and Spotify, et al, out of the equation… There’s just not enough money for everybody to make a living on streaming music, just like there was never enough money for everybody to make a living in the physical era. I keep saying this, thank god someone else is. It’s kinda like the disinformation that has people still believing that Trump won the election, and I get e-mail every day saying that… The story that streaming is the devil echoes in its own impenetrable chamber and it’s a sexy story that riles people up more than the truth…that making a living in music is hard, and ultimately for the very few.

As for user-centric payments… The only study so far says that small artists get paid even less, but we can try it, fine with me, but don’t expect to get rich!

So it turns out making cars the old way is very different from making them the new. The old way, perfected over a hundred plus years, is to focus on mechanics, manufacturing, but in electrics the key is software, which can be updated over the air as your car sits in its garage.

De rigueur with Tesla, non-functioning with VW.

Yes, VW has sold electric cars that need to be brought to the dealership to be updated. These cars are stripped down, because the company just couldn’t get the software straight. They had various teams working on it, and merging it all together…nearly impossible!

As for the mental state of the employees:

“The biggest challenge, said Mr. Hilgenberg, isn’t the technology, it is the mind-set of the people – their reluctance to embrace radical change until circumstances force them to. ‘In the middle of success it’s not easy to understand why you need to change now,’ he says.”

Sound familiar? This is exactly what the dearly departed Clayton Christensen warned of two decades ago. And the question becomes will Tesla gain so big an advantage that it can never be outpaced?

Everyone said the big boys would triumph once they got in the game, they’d kill Tesla. It hasn’t happened, and the Model S has been in the marketplace since 2012, it’s not like the signs weren’t obvious.

Kinda like in the music business…

Napster got traction in 1999 and the labels ignored it, they were too busy banking the profits of overpriced CDs. Then they thought they could kill file-trading with legislation. Then they tried to compete with clunky, copyright-protected systems. And ultimately, the industry ceded distribution to third parties. First Apple, which ended up being behind the ball itself, it was superseded by Spotify, and it’s Spotify that killed piracy, with its ad-supported tier, created by a young man with no history in the music business. Is Tesla Spotify?

Spotify’s value keeps going up. As for the labels, the company went public and Warner sold all its stock, and Sony half, meanwhile the value of the doubled has doubled, talk about not believing in your own business…

As for the major labels themselves, anyone who predicted their doom forgot to realize that they owned the history of recorded music, their catalogs, which they’ve used to extract huge advances from streaming companies, and which represent a huge portion of their revenues, never mind having essentially no costs…no marketing, no manufacturing.

So, all the news today is about an Apple Car. Belief is that manufacturing will be outsourced, today the word is it will be Kia. Apple has factories in Asia make their computers and phones, could they do this with automobiles? Or do you need to make the whole thing? WE DON’T KNOW YET!

But back to the labels… All the action in the past few years has been outside their purview, the latest being TikTok. Can you say “Old Town Road”?

Now the truth is in order to insure their market share, major labels overpay for hits. If you can generate one, they dangle huge sums in front of you. Sometimes it pays to take the money and run. But if the deal is not so rich, are you better off being independent, especially since the marketing tools are at your fingertips? Furthermore, the majors’ market share is padded by the distribution of indies, their true share of revenue has actually gone down, their piece of the pie is less. And, the labels are more savvy, but they’re not very nimble…now that music is a gold mine once again, with revenue rising, expect third parties to enter the sphere, especially as most tech investments become moon shots, very few being successful.

So people have been making fun of Elon Musk for years, now he’s the world’s richest man. Remind you of anyone? Steve Jobs! Who was an exile and then came back to turn Apple, the laughingstock of computer manufacturers, especially after the introduction of Windows 95, into the most valuable company in the world!

In other words… If you’re looking for the future, don’t ask people working at the big companies. Also, the media gets it wrong time and again, if for no other reason that those on the beat are uneducated in the minutiae of the sphere. If you want to know what is going on in the niche, you’re going to end up reading relatively obscure online writers, there’s a deep expert in every category, but they don’t play the big media game, if they even care.

Which brings me back to MSN… Don’t you remember? MSN was gonna kill AOL!

But AOL was smart, at the peak of its valuation, it merged with Time Warner. Steve Case was right, he employed his leverage to move the company’s ball down the field.

Ultimately, both MSN and AOL failed. Because it turned out that portals were just an intermediate step, and that high speed access would become a commodity business sold by the cable companies and telcos and that all the money would be in search and its advertising, and Google’s sale of advertising all over the web.

As for Facebook…it conspired with Google re advertising. That’s the latest lawsuit if you’re paying attention. But the deal happened while regulators, elected officials and even big media were not paying attention.

As for Facebook, Zuckerberg saw the future. He pivoted to mobile. And he purchased WhatsApp and Instagram. As for WhatsApp, anybody who’d traveled outside the U.S. was aware of its dominance, but most Americans don’t leave its borders, and too often those who do are old and not tech-savvy.

It all happened in plain sight. Just like with Tesla. And Volkswagen.

Used to be cars were sold on how they look. Tesla realized this, and hired a hotshot designer, but the truth is that’s not what is selling Teslas, it’s their software, which most people just can’t see. Teslas just work. Kind of like Macs, but not quite. So far, no one has been able to equal Tesla’s battery efficiency… This is another rule of tech, never rest on your laurels, keep innovating or you will be left behind. Sure, patents are important, but the key is to look forward, not back.

Who knows, maybe the traditional automobile manufacturers will ultimately catch up with Tesla, but right now they’re years behind. No company ever truly competed with the iPod, and then Apple morphed it into the iPhone. A separate device to play music? That seems so quaint! As for Android…it dominates in handset sales, but profits are low and it turns out everybody with a dollar, who is willing to spend, is on iOS, its App Store kills Google Play, and its much more secure. But, Google made Android free. Is someone going to make electric car software free? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Once again, the paradigm is repeated over and over again. In one industry after another, it’s just a matter of time. Don’t lament the loss of the new, look to solutions in the future. Read yesterday’s “New York Times:

“Three News Hubs, 24-Hour Coverage: The Times’s Global Relay – From New York to Hong Kong/Seoul to London, journalists can collaborate around the clock to report on a breaking story.”: https://nyti.ms/2Mfn7Ix

News never sleeps, just like rust. There is no downtime anymore. If a story happens anywhere on the globe at any time the “New York Times” has people on the case, they have bureaus in 30 countries. How is the local newspaper supposed to compete? IT CAN’T!

 

Turns out the revenue online doesn’t come from ads, but subscriptions. And the only way to compete locally is to flip the script, forget about national and international news and go hyperlocal, in both stories and ads. The reason Fox News focuses on opinion and gets its facts from the “New York Times” is they don’t have a concomitant footprint around the world, nowhere close!

The big get bigger… Online, every store, every song is right next door, you can’t compete on price, and if you’re not the best, if you’re not dominant, you’re probably an also-ran.

How do you switch a manufacturing company into a software one? It turns out it’s very difficult. Furthermore, it’s been proven that usually software succeeds, has fewer flaws, IF FEWER PEOPLE ARE WRITING IT! Yes, you just can’t throw more programmers into the fray, it just doesn’t work.

Now VW hired a guy from BMW to pull all its software together. The aforementioned Dirk Hilgenberg was frustrated with BMW, pulling back its reins on electric, focusing on profits as opposed to the future.

And Hilgenberg created a new group at VW, known as the Artemis project, to pull it all together. Turns out that a huge chunk of VW’s electric car software was written by third parties, and it never worked together. Does this remind you of Boeing?

Forget the 737 MAX, Boeing’s got much deeper problems. It employed the Japanese system, with outsourcing and just-in-time, but it turned out third parties were not reliable, and in airplanes, reliability is key.

So maybe Elon Musk was right, unless you’re responsible for everything, doing everything in-house, you just can’t deliver a quality, working product. Volkswagen could not. Can Apple? Good question…

You must be willing to throw away the past to succeed in the future, you must not try to prop up failed efforts, you must be willing to write them off. Zuckerberg did this with mobile software… Facebook spent two years developing a mobile app based on HTML5. But it was a piece of crap! So Zuckerberg canned it and started from scratch, writing a native app for the iPhone. Meanwhile, Facebook did both of these before most established companies even had a high functioning mobile app, never mind porting their business to it. Can you imagine the state of Facebook without mobile? DEAD!

So we’re decades on, and old companies are still being toppled. And then there’s the inane book business, run by invested in the past oldsters, who do all their business on computers but then physically print the final product. How dumb can that be? Isn’t that like making vinyl records, a niche business? More and more people read everything digitally. But, the publishers were aided by an ignorant government that forced Amazon to change its sales structure despite the case being about Apple’s iBooks. In order to protect the public, the government ended up INCREASING the price of e-books. Proving, once again, that if you’re depending on the government to understand technological change, you’re sorely mistaken. So now an e-book can even cost more than a physical book. Thank god this ship has sailed in the music business, digital dominates and it’s the on demand streaming platform that generates all the revenue, that keeps on growing, that has created a recording revenue renaissance!

What did Bob Dylan say?  To lead or get out of the way? We don’t need more managers, we need more innovators! It turns out those who think outside the box, who cannot make it in the company structure, create the future and change the world. Most MBAs can read a spreadsheet, they just don’t know how to build a company, or run those that exist, keeping them alive by disrupting them constantly!

Beware of buying an expensive gasoline-powered car in the future. Turns out they’re going to crater in value just like those 35mm Canons and Nikons. Electric has already won the future. If you don’t know this, you’re the opposite of a seer. Don’t get too comfortable where you are, because change is constantly coming. And the future has positives and negatives, but many more of the former. Sure, there are no more vent windows in cars, but they all come with air conditioning. And digital music does not skip. And electric cars pollute less.

But you’re probably not a leader. The fascinating thing about the Volkswagen story is the leaders were clueless too!

Michael Des Barres-This Week’s Podcast

A descendant of royalty, Michael Des Barres has had more record deals than seemingly anybody, from Silverhead to Detective to Chequered Past to solo, as well as acting in “MacGyver” and scores more movies and television shows. Recently a documentary of his life was released, “Michael Des Barres: Who Do You Want Me To Be?” We cover the film and so much more!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/michael-des-barres/id1316200737?i=1000506044831

https://www.stitcher.com/show/the-bob-lefsetz-podcast

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9ff4fb19-54d4-41ae-ae7a-8a6f8d3dafa8/The-Bob-Lefsetz-Podcast

Biden’s Speech

https://bit.ly/2LQAAXB

Can we go back to our regular lives now?

The first inauguration I remember watching was back in 1961, with President Kennedy. We were in a cold war. The Russians were beating us in space. America was being tested. It was a battle between the old and the new. And the new had won.

In more ways than one. Kennedy refused to wear a hat, killing that business overnight. But he also looked to the future. It was bright, but it had challenges. And we all had to work together to make our country better.

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

That ethos started to evaporate in the seventies, and it was excised from the fabric of our nation in the eighties, when greed became good and income inequality began to accelerate. We forgot about people, souls, and focused on wealth accumulation, believing if we did not get ours, someone else would take it.

“Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

Britain exits the E.U. The U.S. exits one international organization after another. As if we can make it alone. We’re intertwined, not only economically, but as human beings inhabiting a planet in peril, where religious wars kill innocent people and those without purchase become radicalized. It is not the sixties any longer.

I watched JFK’s inauguration because it was a snow day. But it rarely snows anymore. Sure, it’s good that we have Zoom, that we can connect in spite of the weather, but winters are shorter, and our entire ecosystem is screwed-up. Try living in the west, water is precious, and oftentimes just a trickle. But maybe you live elsewhere…where hurricanes are rampant and fracking might cause an earthquake. Progress is always a balance. But the move to electric automobiles will be a great boon to this planet, for they are much more efficient than those powered by internal combustion, which dispenses so much of its energy as useless heat.

So now it’s 2021.

If you lived through the nineties, the economy was raging, the budget was balanced, but many were left behind. And in the twenty first century, technology supercharged our economy and our lifestyles, we thought our problems were over. But hatred knows no limits. And unless you lift your brother up, he’s going to be left behind.

So for forty years one side labeled government bad, taxes bad, to the point where our roads are peppered with potholes. As for a hands-off business policy, these advocates are now raging against giant tech companies, like Twitter and Facebook and Google, that have more power than the government itself. We live in a society, there must be limits.

Yes, America is challenged.

But instead of crying in our beer, pointing fingers, we must have hope.

We’re not going to get it with music, where if you make it you might be shot to death, where the dollar supersedes the message. Music has squandered its power.

As for celebrities… The internet brought them down to earth. Turns out they’re no better than the rest of us. And people tell them that every damn day online. America is a hating country, just rise above, you’ll see.

So, how strange is it that the only leader we have today is a politician?

Politicians have a bad name. Watergate killed the reputation of lawyers, and lying and cheating and duplicity killed the reputation of politicians. We’ve got no one to believe in anymore. And I certainly did not expect to believe in Joe Biden.

Maybe it’s because Biden has lived long enough to see it all, to remember what America once was. That’s how far we’ve gotten from the garden, the youth never lived through the golden era, they’ve got no idea what it was like. Not that the past was all shiny, but depression did not rule the nation’s minds, people still knew the American Dream existed. Now, it does not. You can say it does, but statistics tell us otherwise, your chances of upward mobility are better in Canada and Europe. We’ve got no facts in the U.S. anymore, just opinions. How are we going to get out of this mess?

Through leadership.

A coach does not play to lose. A coach observes the rules and then does his best to win. But this has not been the ethos of the ruling party. The fabric of our nation, its very rules, have been called into question. And chaos has been sown. Victory has eluded our hands to the point where it’s no longer even visible.

So, we’ve got a septuagenarian leader, who was given up for good, seen as aged toast, come back to lead our way out of the darkness. He wasn’t my guy, but I voted for him, knowing that when we come together, good things can happen, there’s no upside to a protest vote, 2016 taught us that.

And this septuagenarian leader, labeled as senile by his detractors, came to the pulpit today and delivered a speech hitting all the points. We’re used to speakers avoiding the hard topics. Like race, like climate, like the division in our nation. But Biden touched upon them all.

Was Biden as good a speaker as JFK? No way.

But speaking is not as important as action. And unlike his predecessor, Biden is hitting the ground running, he’s prepared, to tackle our national health crisis know as Covid-19, never mind our economic and ecological issues.

That’s how far we’ve sunk. If you’re a wonk, if you’re educated, if you’re prepared, you’re seen as a loser. Even worse, there are the privileged people who spew endless falsehoods, obscuring the path. But that’s America, where there’s no longer any truth.

It’s been pretty depressing.

And it’s depressing that Biden had to speak to very few, because of fear of disruption.

But it comes down to the man on camera, in a close-up, the words.

We live in a world where we can reach everyone, but very few are paying attention. But if you’ve got something to say, something worth paying attention to, it continues to exist online, that’s one definite improvement from the sixties, if you miss it, you can still see it, and you should see Joe Biden’s speech.

Now I can’t remember the last inauguration I watched, maybe not since JFK. I was in school. Or I was in the hinterlands. Or I was frustrated with the victor. And to tell you the truth, I didn’t get up and watch Biden either. I didn’t need to hear platitudes and false hope in a country where I believe I count less and less. But as the afternoon wore on, checking the news, reading the stories, I decided to tune in.

Usually, the highlight is the swearing in.

But in this case it was the speech itself.

Biden’s predecessor tried his best to pour water on the parade. Insisting that taxes would go up, not mentioning that under his reign, taxes went down for all those who had money, never mind the fact that many people don’t pay income taxes at all, because they just don’t make enough money. Oh, they pay sales taxes, gas taxes, payroll taxes, all kinds of taxes, and they oftentimes can’t make it on their wages.

But this predecessor is now in the rearview mirror. It’s only now that media is transitioning to a younger, more tech-savvy worker base that knows today to get your message across you’ve got to make news every day, but it’s only news if you have a pulpit, a position of power, which the old guy no longer has. He can do his best to spew his untruths, but he’s been banned by so many social media platforms that his words will have a limited spread. So attention will fade and the lazy man will play golf, rant to his friends and fade away. Come on, how many entertainers and athletes continue to be in the news after their careers peak? Almost none of them. So, in an era where it’s tough to get attention to begin with, we tend to forget the past and plow under its instigators.

You should watch Biden’s speech because…

It’s written in English. Delivered in English. There’s no base vernacular. I’ve got no problem with dirty words, but even I know there’s a time and a place. There has to be some respect for our institutions, otherwise they’re not worth saving. But democracy and the United States are worth it.

That was the focus of Biden’s speech. Democracy. How it triumphed.

And it wasn’t an easy fight and it wasn’t even a fair fight. One side didn’t even respect the rules. And it’s hard to have a game when this occurs. But somehow, the glue held, we held elections and those who won have been seated.

So now we look forward.

Blind optimism is worthless. Because unless you can see your failures, you’re hobbled by them, and everybody fails. You have to know when to give up, when to pivot, progress is hard, and it’s never in a straight line. But if you’re prepared and willing to do the work, great things can be achieved, especially when the people, the country, are behind you.

Despite hogwash to the contrary, Biden does not want to ruin the country, we’re not going to socialism overnight, as a matter of fact if he succeeds, it will be good for everybody, most definitely those who’ve been protesting. And nothing breeds contentment like success. Victory pulls people along, not only the true believers, but the questioning, those not paying attention in the first place.

We elected these officials. The tail cannot wag the dog. They need to do what is right, they must not base every decision on whether they’ll be popular or not…don’t they teach this in elementary school?

So, we’re at the beginning of a great reset. Just in time. Biden is just the leader, but in his case he’s got a full roster on his team and it is prepared. Will there be hiccups, will there be failures? Of course, there’s no advancement without them.

So breathe a sigh of relief. We’ve got an experienced pilot at the helm. Hopefully we’ll be able to stop thinking about the plane crashing, about America going off the rails, because our leader and his crew will be paying attention, doing the right thing.

Or you could say no. You could be a hater. Since it’s not you, since you didn’t win, no one else can. You can try and tear everybody down to achieve…exactly what? What is the goal, further chaos, for the sake of chaos? How does that work?

This is who we’ve got. Criticize him when he makes mistakes. But don’t get in his way when he’s trying to fix things. Once again, America must be a can-do nation, not a can-not.

Sometimes you have to get to the brink to appreciate what you might lose, to inspire people to work hard and do the right thing. Possibly the last four years will be a giant wake-up call, to restore the luster of our nation, and its worldwide respect. To help our allies and challenge our enemies.

Today Biden grabbed the reins, he’s kicking the horse, he’s getting it moving, the race has begun.

And the race for victory is for you and me.

That’s what they call society.

That’s what they call the United States of America.