This Year’s Lessons

Stuff happens to interrupt your plans.

The more you look into the future, the more you’ll be interrupted by the present. Screw be here now, screw mindfulness, just know that life is about unexpected interruptions, and the older you get the more they relate to health. While you’re thinking about achievement, nature is throwing a wrench into the works. You can try to stay on track, but recovery is a more useful skill than the ability to plan.

The older you get the less possessions mean to you.

When you’re a kid you need the latest toy, the newest cereal, you’re all about accumulation. Get older and not only is your stuff an impediment, suddenly it doesn’t get you high like it used to. You treasure experiences, if you can remember them. And now this is impacting the younger generation, with so much of our lives being virtual. Kids are the first to give up cars, they don’t need their license. They’re willing to live in shoeboxes in cities, in order to have community, maybe child is truly father to the man.

People believe the news they want to.

The right wing has turned the “New York Times” into a joke. The establishment is up for grabs. Bedrock is a fictitious place for Fred and Barney, we live in a Tower of Babel world, not only do we listen to different music, watch different TV shows and pray in different houses of worship, we don’t even agree on the same facts. This is not about fake news, this is about a schism in society, which no one is willing to address as they’re busy pointing fingers at each other.


History is prologue.

Why did the Democrats believe they could defeat Donald Trump when no Republican could come close to doing so?


The divide is not between the ethnic groups and the whites, but between those who live in the metropolis and those who live in the country. Read this story by Eduardo Porter:

“Where Were Trump’s Votes? Where the Jobs Weren’t”

Oh, that’s right, it’s in the “Times,” so it must be untrue.

The truth is the “New York Times” runs this country. It sets the agenda for the Republicans. It’s the only news outlet with boots on the ground everywhere. The “Wall Street Journal,” the right wing paper of record, cut so many reporters that its paper resembles a pamphlet, it’s not quite as irrelevant as the “Los Angeles Times,” but it’s moving in that direction. Remember Tech 101, the outlet that doubles down, despite being excoriated all the while, wins in the end. The “Times” just has to stay the course. I have not forgiven it for missing the election. It’s too rooted in old school journalism. But like Amazon, it dominates. Come on, what would they have to talk about on Fox News if it weren’t for the “New York Times”?


Music is niche. And movies too. There’s nothing we’ve all got to see. The purveyors have been so busy chasing bucks that they’ve given up on appealing to everyone. But the truth is society is dependent upon universality. The last time we had that in music was with Adele’s “21.” But “25” just wasn’t good enough. As for refusing to be on Spotify… Ain’t that a modern musician, bucks are primary, cultural impact is secondary. How did we get here, where who you are and what you have to say is secondary to how much money you make?


Incentive is being squashed by the billionaires.

The best and the brightest don’t want to work in fields with a ceiling, they all go into finance and tech, to our society’s detriment. You work sixty hours a week and you make a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Your compatriot works as hard and makes ten to twenty million. You feel like a chump.

As for those pooh-poohing the wealthy, that’s fine, but stop poor-mouthing. If you’re wearing your downtrodden economic status as a badge of honor, you’ve missed the memo. Everyone’s on their own in America. It’s a greased pole, it’s hard to get ahead, and that needs to be fixed, but just because you’re poor you’re not better than the rich. Why does everybody need to feel superior to everybody else? The truth is we’re all in it together, we’re all dependent upon each other. It’s just that you can’t go anywhere or buy anything without someone saying “it must be nice.” Hell, I got an e-mail from someone who said they couldn’t afford $200 for a phone upgrade. To quote Bob Dylan, they want to drag me down into the hole they’re in. But I’d rather try to climb the ladder, however difficult that might be. Put me down, think you’re better than me, but the joke is on you. He not moving forward is being left behind.


The educated abhor the rich and the poor abhor the elite and no one’s got any idea what the other thinks.


Protocol is everything. How dare Bob Dylan not acknowledge his Nobel. Remember when it was a badge of honor to question institutions? What happened to that precept?


There’s always a vocal minority that can’t accept progress.

If I write about streaming services my inbox fills up with missives saying Spotify is gonna kill music. Last I checked, the internet allowed everybody to play, supposedly Napster was gonna kill music, but now the problem is there’s too much of it!


Ticketing is becoming even more opaque.

Even talent agencies are in the ticketing business. No one respects the customer, art is secondary to commerce, the artists have been neutered and the businessmen have won. Remember when you signed a deal and delivered your LP and the label had to release it, no matter what it sounded like? Those days are done, because the investment in marketing is just too large, and the suits know better. Why do we live in a society where the suits always know better?


Nobody in power sees the cliff ahead.

The NFL could not see ratings tanking and Hillary Clinton could not see the public embracing Trump (never mind Bernie). As the seer once said, “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.”


You don’t admit fault, you double-down.

This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s a badge of honor to admit your mistakes, to say you were wrong. But the truth is the naysayers are so busy playing GOTCHA! that you must fight back and repel them at every turn, something the Democrats have not learned. The Republicans define the debate, the Democrats play catch-up. Is this any way to run a country?


Looks rule.

If Ivanka Trump were ugly would everybody be singing her praises?


Your biggest enemy is you. Just ask Roger Ailes and Kanye West. You may think everybody’s out to get you, but the truth is you’ll be brought down by your own doings.


The big get bigger and no one does anything about it.

Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google run tech. The goal is sell your company to one of the four. But since the companies are so venerated, since techies are the new rock stars and can do no wrong, no one is raising their finger and saying “Wait a minute here…”

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