Destination Ski Resorts In The West

People e-mail me asking where they should book their ski vacation. So I’m putting down my thoughts. If you are not a skier, you can just ignore this. Then again, I advise all to ski (or snowboard), because of the inherent freedom involved. You’re out in the mountains sliding at the limit of your ability and you’ll get a zing and only that zing, because if you think about anything else, you fall. Skiing was hip in the sixties and seventies, now it’s a mature sport. However, if you haven’t skied this century, come back. The equipment is much easier to use.

Also, if you are considering going on a vacation ski trip, it’s best to buy a pass. Usually break even is only five days. Find out if your desired resort is on either the Epic or Ikon passes and purchase accordingly. But do it SOON, because the deadlines are almost here. Trust me, you’ll save A LOT of money. Also, you’ll never have to debate whether to go out on an iffy day. Since you have the pass, you can make just a few runs, hang out in the lodge and not be worried about getting your money’s worth.

UTAH

I put Utah first because it’s got the most guaranteed snow.

In Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons, and that caveat is very important.

ALTA

It’s old school. A handful of lodges and no nightlife. Alta is for skiers, and only skiers, no snowboarders allowed. Alta has the best powder snow IN THE WORLD!

You see Alta is located at the end of Little Cottonwood Canyon. So, storms come across the Great Salt Lake, the moisture is removed and then the clouds get caught in the canyon and it dumps and dumps and dumps. Sometimes four or five inches an hour. If powder is your thing, Alta is the place to go, unless you go to…

SNOWBIRD

Now there’s a joint pass, so you can ski both, but really the resorts have different vibes. If you’re old school, go to Alta, if you’re new school, go to Snowbird.

Snowbird, with its brutalist architecture, is much newer than Alta. There’s a bit more nightlife, but not much. But at Snowbird, which is just down the canyon from Alta, there is no hiking involved. That’s the dirty little secret of Alta, to get to the best stuff you have to traverse and oftentimes hike. Snowbird is easier that way. However, there’s almost no easy skiing at Snowbird, so unless you’re at least a high intermediate, really an expert, you belong at Alta.

SOLITUDE/BRIGHTON

Solitude and Brighton are in Big Cottonwood Canyon, over the ridge, just north of Little Cottonwood Canyon. At this point most people would say Big Cottonwood gets the same snow as Little Cottonwood, but it used to be debated heavily.

Brighton is really a day resort, with few steeps. Solitude has more steeps, and there is some overnight lodging, but really, locals like Brighton and if you’re going to go to Solitude you probably don’t even need to read this, it’s your desired place.

PARK CITY/DEER VALLEY

Park City is the largest ski resort in the U.S., but to access all that terrain you’ve got to do a hell of a lot of traversing. The snow at Park City is plentiful and good, but both Park City and Deer Valley get hundreds of inches less than the resorts in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. First and foremost, their altitude is lower. Also, there is no canyon, the clouds don’t get trapped.

There are no snowboarders at Deer Valley, but there is first class infrastructure and the best food of any ski resort in the States, really. And I’ll never forget the buffet lunch at the Stein Eriksen Lodge. The ski area is kind of weird, in that you go up and go down and most runs are not that long and there is no difficult skiing involved, but it is a fun place.

But both Park City and Deer Valley are adjacent to the town of Park City, which existed before the ski resorts, which has many restaurants and shops and nightlife and… If that’s what you’re looking for, maybe Park City/Deer Valley is your place. After all, the lure of Park City and Deer Valley is that they’re so close to the Salt Lake City airport, and the road essentially never closes. Yes, you can go to Alta or Snowbird and the road can close for four days because of avalanche danger. Which is why you want to stay up in the canyon, sometimes the road is closed and there is skiing available. But if you want to stay in Salt Lake and sample, there are days you might not be able to make it to Alta and Snowbird. The canyon doesn’t close every day, but it happens a number of times during the winter.

SNOWBASIN

An amazing ski area owned by Sun Valley. An incredible amount of fun, but NO LODGING! And it’s a bit north. Don’t put it first on your list, but it’s worth a trip after you’ve been to Utah a few times. There is marble in the bathrooms, the food is excellent, and so is the lift system. However, the altitude is lower than the aforementioned canyons and there’s not a lot of seriously difficult skiing unless you hike, and even if you do, it’s not long.

IDAHO

SUN VALLEY

Sun Valley was the first western destination ski resort, but unless you go there, you don’t really understand it.

First and foremost, Sun Valley doesn’t get much snow. Which is why you want to go there late in the season, February or March. However, because of this Sun Valley has an incredible snowmaking system. So there is always skiing.

There is the town of Ketchum, but in reality Sun Valley is a haven of wealthy home owners. There used to be business districts in Elkhorn and Warm Springs, but those evaporated.

Now if it sounds like I’m trashing Sun Valley, I’m not. Because in truth, Sun Valley is the best ski mountain in America…BECAUSE THERE ARE NO FLAT SPOTS! Yes, 3000′ of vertical, no place to rest unless you stop. And Sun Valley is not ultra-steep, but it’s steeper than most ski areas. Dollar Mountain across the way is good for beginners and park rats, but if you’re not that good a skier, maybe you should wait to go to Sun Valley. There’s nothing like Sun Valley, but don’t make it your first trip, and beware of the amount of snow.

MONTANA

It’s cold and oftentimes the altitude is not that high.

BIG SKY

Being modernized, but still not in the league of most other resorts.

Big Sky is widespread, and some of the altitude is too low, however, Big Sky has an amazing amount of truly serious skiing. Stuff that might scare you, that is truly experts only. Having said that, Big Sky is the rockiest ski resort I’ve ever been too. You’ll trash your skis. Then again, the new Montana tuning machines can work wonders. Go to Big Sky after you’ve been most every other place.

WHITEFISH

Used to be called “Big Mountain,” now is being modernized. Altitude is not high, but being this far north snow is good. They’re making a bid for the big leagues, but put Whitefish down the list unless you’ve been to a bunch of other places. There is a town, but it’s not adjacent to the ski area, you need a car.

WYOMING

JACKSON HOLE

Big mountain skiing. The only ski area in the States that resembles skiing in Europe. However, beware, the base altitude is 6,000′, which is two thousand, sometimes even three thousand, less than in Colorado. Meaning when it starts to get warm, it can be slushy. However, the vertical drop is insane. It’s 4,139 feet, I’ve never forgotten it. There are steeps galore. In truth Big Sky has stuff that rivals Jackson, but there are fewer cliffs. Everybody has got to go to Jackson once. They’ve been on a consistent run of good snow years, but historically it can be thin in the early season. As for nightlife, there is some in Teton Village, and Jackson is a short drive away… But make no mistake, this is not Aspen or Vail, people who go to Jackson Hole are skiers.

NEW MEXICO

TAOS

Super steep, super high and oftentimes the snow is thin. This is an expert’s paradise. Once again, don’t put it at the top of your list, but if it’s later in the season and there’s snow, you might want to go. And don’t confuse the Ski Valley with the town. There is an access road between the two, you can drive down for the night, but you won’t want to.

CALIFORNIA

All the hype is about Tahoe, but the cognoscenti know it’s really about Mammoth. BECAUSE OF THE ALTITUDE!

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN

Mammoth is at 8,000′, like the Colorado ski areas. Therefore it essentially never rains. Mammoth is a mediocre destination resort, there is a town, but it’s not homey and it’s not lift-adjacent, but…THE SKIING IS WORLD CLASS! There are steeps at Mammoth that will pucker your…

California snow is different from that at the rest of the resorts listed. Not only is it heavy and wet, it’s very intermittent. It’ll snow 60″, and then not snow for weeks. But it snows so much at Mammoth that you can always ski to Memorial Day, oftentimes July 4th, and I’ve done it. May is my favorite time of year at Mammoth.

TAHOE

It’s almost two thousand feet lower in altitude than Mammoth. Therefore, you can get rain. However, you can sometimes get a bit more snow than Mammoth.

SQUALLYWOOD/PALISADES TAHOE

Yes, there is incredibly challenging terrain at what used to be called Squaw Valley. But there is also the San Francisco weekend crowd.

You know if you need to go to Squaw. It’s about big mountain skiers. They’re either here or at Jackson Hole.

And now there’s a gondola over the ridge to Alpine Meadows…

Alpine Meadows is mellower, more family oriented.

NORTHSTAR

For families. Unlike Palisades Tahoe, it’s below treeline. If you have young kids, it’s a good place.

HEAVENLY

It’s not Squaw/Alpine/Palisades Tahoe, but it is big and there is plenty of skiing, but plenty of traversing too. However, Heavenly is right by the city, there’s even a gondola from downtown. So if you like to gamble…

KIRKWOOD

Not right on the lake, and also as high as Mammoth, but there is no infrastructure, you drive there every day. But there are serious steeps and…

Really, Tahoe can be iffy, especially these past few years, when snow has been light. Don’t put Tahoe first. And don’t put Mammoth first either. However, you know if you have to go to either, you don’t need me to advise you.

COLORADO

This is the big kahuna, Colorado gets the most press. Does it deserve it?

Well, the snow is not quite as good as it is in Little Cottonwood Canyon. You’re likely to have lighter powder in Sun Valley than in Colorado. However, there’s tons of infrastructure and LONG RUNS, longer than any other state on this list. And they can be fun. And all the altitudes are high and…

KEYSTONE

Originally built by Ralston Purina, it’s now part of Vail.

Keystone is close to Denver, so it gets more crowded than what is west.

The layout is weird. There’s a front face, and then two peaks behind it.

But the dirty little secret is, like Sun Valley, Keystone just doesn’t get that much snow. One-third less than its compatriots in Colorado. Family-oriented. I would not put at the top of your list.

BRECKENRIDGE

Vies with Vail for the most visitations a year.

Now there is a town of Breckenridge. That existed before the ski area. There is one street with more than Park City, and unlike the main street in Park City, it’s not on a hill, it’s flat.

The skiing…

Well, you can take a gondola up from the town…

Here’s the story with Breckenridge. It’s known for being windy, and it’s also cold and it’s more wide than tall, but…

Each peak has a different character, there’s a ton of interesting skiing. And now there is the Imperial Express, the U.S.’s highest lift, peaking at just under 13,000′. Yes, the views are incredible, but so is the skiing. The top of Breck, except right under the Imperial Express, is serious. There’s great stuff sans hiking, and even better stuff if you do hike, not that you have to hike that far.

People love Breck because it’s relatively close to Denver, you only have to go over one pass. And there’s the town… You really can’t go wrong with Breck.

COPPER MOUNTAIN

Gets little mention and little respect, but Copper is AMAZING! The runs are long, there’s tons of terrain for every ability, and the bowls in the back rival the top of Mammoth, and then there’s Three Bears…

The only problem with Copper is that there’s not much infrastructure at the base. Oh, there are hotels, but it’s not like Breck. Although if you have a car, it’s just a hop to Frisco. But you probably don’t want to have a car.

I can wax rhapsodic about Copper. Ski there once and you will too!

VAIL

#1. But also the ski area with the most blowback. Stay away, that’s fine with me.

What you have to know about Vail is it’s got the best infrastructure of any ski area in the U.S. All the lifts are high speed, ALL OF THEM! (Well, except for a couple of short beginner chairs.) Getting around Vail is incredibly easy, and far from complicated.

Also, Vail is all connected, you can go from one end to another without taking off your skis.

And then there are the bowls. Yes, cut your tea cup in half and stick it in the mountain. Actually, there is a Tea Cup Bowl!

There are seven bowls and they span a five mile ridge.

And behind them, there is Blue Sky Basin. Which is an area with more trees, a more natural feel.

What is the downside of Vail? It’s not steep, there is truly no expert terrain. Oh, there are a couple of short cliffs, but the difficulty of Vail is not in the league of Snowbird, not even Sun Valley. So if you’re an intermediate, Vail is paradise. Also, since Vail is so vast, powder lasts longer than it does in Little Cottonwood Canyon. You can get powder all day, but ultimately you’ll be in the trees. And you’re lucky if you get two completely untracked runs. But true skiers know the best powder days are storm days.

And there is a village right adjacent to the ski lifts. It’s purpose built, it’s ersatz, but there are a ton of restaurants and shops and some nightlife, but not in the league of Aspen.

Once again, forget the pictures, if you know Vail you essentially never have to stand in line. And the pics you see are of powder days. Yes, on a powder day people line up at the gondola hours in advance of opening, but there is another gondola in Lionshead and a chair on Golden Peak that also provide access. And if you ski down the original bowls, Sun Down and Sun Up, which you’ve also seen in the pics, they’ve put in a new high speed lift this season to alleviate the wait. But, if you’re there on a fresh powder day… I start with the frontside, because everybody goes to the back. And then I go to Tea Cup or China Bowl, and eventually Blue Sky Basin. Those who don’t know the map are those who stand in line. As for the line at Chair 4 when you get off Gondola One… Well, now the lift is a sixpack, and the line moves much faster, but the trick is to ski down to Chair 10, which never ever has a line, which will take you up to Northwoods and deposits you right at the bottom of 14, which will take you to the back.

Is Vail my favorite ski area? No. But it’s where we’re located, and it’s where I’ve skied most. And Vail comes with a ton of advantages, like all those high speed lifts and the Bowls and…there is truly only one Vail. (One more thing. Vail is closer to Denver than Aspen, assuming you’re driving. But the Vail airport in Eagle is a half hour away from the ski area. But Eagle is lower and closes a lot less for weather than the Aspen airport, which is right in town.)

BEAVER CREEK

Right next door to Vail. Beaver Creek is the anti-Vail. Even though Beaver Creek skier Peter Tempkins always talks about the snootiness of Vail, the truth is Beaver Creek is more upscale. That’s not just my opinion, you’ll see it in all the literature.

Beaver Creek has no bowls, but it has more serious skiing than Vail. The bump runs on Grouse Mountain are iconic. And they hold the World Cup on the Birds of Prey, which is only scary steep at the very top, the part known as “The Brink.”

There’s a ton of skiing at Beaver Creek. Some at a lower altitude, so there’s an issue of amount and slush, and the village is upscale and you can also stay in Bachelor Gulch, but there is no nightlife…

Beaver Creek is for families and locals. It’s not Vail, but it’s something.

ASPEN

The original. It used to be everybody’s first stop. And if it’s not your first, it should be your second.

First there’s the town, the best ski town in America. Having said that, it’s no longer the seventies. There are too many upscale shops and too many frou-frou bogus ultra-rich people, but if you want restaurants and nightlife, this is the place. But just like in Vail, MAKE RESERVATIONS

There are four ski areas in Aspen, let me delineate them for you.

AJAX

This is what all the locals call the mountain that rises right out of town. People say it’s not that big, that unlike Sun Valley the runs don’t go straight downhill without flat spots, but one thing is for sure, the runs at Ajax have CHARACTER!

Sun Valley and Ajax are my two favorite mountains in America.

But there are caveats…

There is absolutely no easy skiing on Ajax, if you are a beginner, do not go there.

Some of the most difficult skiing is at the bottom, and a lot of snow is needed to cover the rocks and the steeps.

Ajax, now called Aspen Mountain by the Ski Company, does not have the steeps of Snowbird, Palisades Tahoe, Jackson Hole or Big Sky, but believe me, it’s plenty steep. An amazing ski area.

SNOWMASS

Ersatz Vail.

If you’re staying in Snowmass, you’re almost a half an hour away from the action. If you want to go to Aspen for the full experience, do not stay in Snowmass.

The ski area is vast, but most of the runs have no character.

I’m not complaining, I love the Coney Glade area, but all the hype about Snowmass… I don’t get it. Skiing is skiing, but…

There used to be no steeps, now there’s Hanging Valley, but the runs are not long.

The Big Burn is overrated. It’s cool, but it’s pretty flat.

There’s a ton of skiing at Snowmass, it’s just if you want this skiing experience, go to Vail.

ASPEN HIGHLANDS

Ah, the old days. When it was independent and the only area in Aspen with a full-time pass. It was the locals’ heaven.

Aspen Highlands is a weird ski area. It’s built on a ridge, it’s very long, but very narrow.

And despite its reputation, there is tons of intermediate skiing, but even more difficult skiing, REALLY DIFFICULT SKIING, at Aspen Highlands.

Used to be the most difficult run was Moment of Truth, but then…

They opened up and built a lift over in what is now called Deep Temerity. Yes, it used to be considered too steep to ski.

And yes, you can hike up to the Bowl. But it’s not for punters, the altitude is extremely high and it’s not a walk in the park.

BUTTERMILK/TIEHACK

The teaching mountain, the beginner’s area, although you can say the same thing about Snowmass.

But Buttermilk is much less crowded.

The secret of Buttermilk is the Tiehack side, the “expert” side. It’s really intermediate, and in the old days the lift was interminable, but now with the high speed… Tiehack is a lot of fun.

So, if you go to Aspen, you want to ski Ajax, Snowmass and Highlands. They’re all on the same pass. Buttermilk/Tiehack is only for beginners or those who’ve been to the other mountains and want another experience.

The downside of Aspen is it is not convenient. Even if you’re in town, only a couple of hotels are so close that you want to walk to the lifts.

And there’s a great bus system, that will take you to the other resorts, but it is not Vail, which is light years more convenient. But, Aspen is real in a way that Vail is not.

And a car is convenient, but parking can be hell.

TELLURIDE

The most screwed-up lift system extant. You have to take multiple chairs to get where you want to go.

The front side is mega-steep, like Sun Valley, but at points even steeper. It’s amazing. As for all those extreme areas… You’ve got to hike to them, and you’re probably not gonna.

But Telluride has the town, which is like Aspen back in the seventies, it’s too far off the beaten path to be inundated with chain stores.

And, if you stay in Mountain Village over the ridge, where the easy skiing is located, there’s an all day, almost all night, gondola that will take you into town, it’s really convenient.

But having said all this… Like Keystone, Telluride does not get as much snow as the rest of the Colorado resorts. You don’t want to go there early in the season, steep runs need a lot of snow.

Telluride is not the first place you should ski in Colorado, but you should make a trip.

CRESTED BUTTE

Also doesn’t get that much snow. More than Keystone, but in the 200 inch range, as opposed to Vail’s 350″.

Crested Butte’s rep has been built on its expert terrain, which is truly expert. It’s not just rawly steep, like Big Sky…there are trees and cliffs… You know if you have to go ski the North Face at Crested Butte, it’s a bucket list item for truly expert skiers.

And the village of Crested Butte that is adjacent to the ski area is not the town of Crested Butte, miles down the road, where the action is…

Crested Butte is not the first place you want to go.

STEAMBOAT

It’s over a thousand feet lower than Vail, and two thousand less than the Summit County resorts of Keystone, Breckenridge and Copper, so sometimes in the spring you get rain at the bottom, but…

For some reason Steamboat usually gets more snow than all of the above ski areas. It’s a big mountain, and they’re improving the infrastructure, but don’t forget, the town is miles away.

THE WILD CARD

WHISTLER/BLACKCOMB

Two incredible mountains with extremely low altitudes and variable weather. 

Whistler is almost 6,000′ lower than Vail!

Which means… It can rain at the bottom, and there are issues of snow at the bottom…

If you hit Whistler/Blackcomb when it’s right, it’ll blow your mind. But I’ve been there four times, and it was only right once. Two times it rained. One time the entire four days I was there except for a few hours one night.

Don’t get drawn into the Whistler/Blackcomb hype. Best to go in January or February when the temperatures are low and there’s more snow. Or, like Mammoth, very late in the season.

The hype is about glacier at the top of Blackcomb, which is very cool, however it’s the bowls at the top of Whistler that’ll blow your mind. I thought Harmony Bowl was a breakthrough, but then they added Symphony. The maps don’t do these bowls justice, they’re gigantic.

There’s tons of skiing at Whistler/Blackcomb, but there can be rain and fog too.

Yes, you don’t have to acclimatize to the altitude, but do you want to take the weather risk?

THE REST OF CANADA

Unless you’re Canadian, hit the U.S. resorts first.

CONCLUSION

Assuming there is snow everywhere, which is not always the case, but this year has started out strong, if you’re looking for it all, skiing, restaurants, night life…

1. Go to Park City/Deer Valley or Colorado. The plus of Park City/Deer Valley is accessibility, the closeness to the Salt Lake airport. And if you go, do not stay at the Canyons end of the Park City ski area, you want to be in town. And if you want to go luxe, and you’re not a snowboarder, Deer Valley is great, but you’ve got to get a ride into town. Park City and Deer Valley are right next to each other, but they are not connected.

2. Colorado…

Really, start with Aspen or Vail. If you’re young and hip, want to challenge yourself with terrain, and are not bothered by some inconveniences, go to Aspen. It’s four and a half hours from Denver, there are no day skiers…it’s the experience you’ve read about and want.

But if you’re more into convenience, if you want to be on the same mountain as the rest of your family and friends so you can meet up for lunch or a few runs, go to Vail. And, if you want bowls, Vail is the only place you can get them.

3. Colorado-2

Steamboat or Breckenridge. But Steamboat is harder to get to if you drive, you’ve got to go over Rabbit Ears Pass.

4. Colorado-3

If you want luxe, if you want to be pampered, if you don’t want to be overrun by the hoi polloi, then go to Beaver Creek.

5. Colorado -4

If you’re a skier first and foremost, and don’t really care about the apres-ski world… You’ll be happy at Copper, believe me.

6. Colorado-5

Go to Telluride before Crested Butte, but don’t make either of them your first trip.

7. Colorado-6

Keystone… If you favor convenience, if you’ve got a family…

THE REST

Jackson Hole is a bucket list item. There’s much more easy skiing than there used to be, but really, to get the most out of Jackson, you want to be an expert. You won’t be disappointed.

But if you’re that hard core of a skier, go to Alta and Snowbird before Jackson Hole. The snow is better, if for no other reason than the altitude… It’s a different experience, but really, go to Alta and Snowbird first.

And if your goal is to challenge yourself and you’ve hit the above areas, then go to Big Sky. Actually, Big Sky’s population draws from the midwest first and foremost, Minnesotans drive there.

Sun Valley… Never make it your first choice. When you’re ready for something different, if you love groomers… At some point, everybody has to go to Sun Valley, it’s just a matter of when.

I’d go to Whistler/Blackcomb before Mammoth, but I wouldn’t make either my first trip. Honestly, Mammoth is a suburb of L.A., and you’ll feel it, so unless you’re going for the skiing…

Tahoe… When there is snow you can put it close to the top of the list, but the issue is snow. Most trips are booked long in advance, but if you can wait until the last minute…

Of course there are many more specifics. Like Corbet’s Couloir at Jackson Hole, you can’t truly call yourself an expert until you’ve dropped in successfully.

And Mary Jane at Winter Park has legendary bumps, but really it’s Denver’s local area, kind of like Mammoth, but a lot closer to the city.

And everybody wants to say they’ve skied Vail’s bowls and Blue Sky Basin, and you’ll want to say this too. Aspen is cooler, but the only truly legendary runs are the Bowl, which you have to hike to, and the Burn, which is good, but not as great as they say it is.

Snow is everything. Without it you’ve got no ski vacation.

If you’re taking non-skiers along, you must be somewhere where there is a town, like Aspen, Vail and possibly Telluride, maybe Park City.

Don’t be esoteric, don’t try to game the system, start with Aspen or Vail, unless you’re a truly expert skier, then you can start with Alta/Snowbird.

Neil Young On The Zach Sang Show

“Neil Young Talks World Record, Harvest 50th Anniversary, Elon Musk, Joni Mitchell & Climate Change”: https://bit.ly/3XpRPii

You’ve got to listen to this.

I’d never even heard of this guy Zach Sang before today, but this interview was referenced in my Twitter feed.

I know, I should delete my account. But you’ve got to realize, I’m a writer, I’m at home, this is my socialization. I’m not in the halls at school, not in the office… Actually, over the weekend I had to watch the SiriusXM sexual harassment video, and during the hour and twenty minutes it took me to do so I realized I could never work in an office. Oh, I could work in an office, I’m not afraid of adhering to the rules, it’s just that I’m not good at playing the game. You know, the ass-kissing, the politics. And I can’t see being a cog in the machine, makes no sense to me. I’ve got to BELIEVE in my work.

Have you been reading the latest take on Elon Musk? How this is how he always does it, comes in, cleans house and then makes everybody work 24/7? Why can’t people just give up, why do they have to believe in him, he’s just human. But my point here is when Tesla hit crunch time, when the company was on the ropes, when they had to push out the Model 3, everybody was on a mission, they were willing to work around the clock, they were going to change the world. And they did, the rest of the auto industry followed in Tesla’s footsteps, whether Tesla itself sustains or not. But do the employees truly believe in the mission of Twitter? What exactly IS the mission of Twitter?

And actually, Neil Young talks about Musk, calls him a genius, but then takes a swipe at him re Tesla, saying Musk just glommed on to an already existing enterprise and…

So I saw this tweet that took me to a video and Neil Young was saying…don’t work unless there’s an inspiration.

Actually, I found the clip, on TikTok, the one that got me to listen to the entire interview, watch it here: https://bit.ly/3Vo0XCb

And it’s not a big investment, it’s only fourteen seconds, but it’s the best thing I’ve heard about creativity this year!

You know when you do something great. And if you don’t, you never have. And it always happens as a result of a lightning bolt, you’re energized and have to do it right then, or you lose it. Sitting down to write with nothing to say…that’s never great. Ginning it up from nothing doesn’t really work. I’m talking about greatness, the peak. This is far different from writing camps, Nashville writing sessions. 

And maybe we’ve lost the concept of the artistic genius, with it being all about money and image and…

Neil Young talks about that too. How he always wants to move on to the next thing. And sometimes he does good stuff, and sometimes bad, but he doesn’t care what anybody thinks.

That’s very hard to do. But you kinda believe it.

But Neil does undercut his inspiration point a bit by saying he wrote the songs for “Mirror Ball,” his collaboration with Pearl Jam, in his hotel room the night before. Then again, I must admit, some of the greatest stuff comes when you’re up against the wall. You know you have to produce, you’ve got to quit agonizing and lay it down.

And it turns out this guy Zach Sang was on Nickelodeon… I looked him up earlier today, but I’ve forgotten the rest of his resumé. And Zach is starstruck, overexcited and at times overwhelmed, but he asks the questions nobody else does.

And Neil Young is so RELAXED!

These musicians have been interviewed for decades, they get the same questions, and these interrogators are so busy getting their own points across that the artist just lays back, disconnects, just spews some stuff, waiting until the whole thing ends.

But Neil knows this guy is wet behind the ears, out of his depth, and therefore he’s not on guard, not worried about gotchas, like I said, he’s RELAXED, and it’s palpable. It’s like he came to your house and sat on the couch and you talked and it was off the record.

So Zach asks Neil about the new record, whereupon Neil says it’s a long story, AND THEN HE TELLS THE LONG STORY! But he’s waxing rhapsodic, he’s in the groove, he’s almost detached, in his element, and that’s what makes it so great, you get INSIGHT!

I mean Neil is talking about the albums he never finished. Talking about all the stuff he normally doesn’t, he’s not on full tilt promote. He’s being nice to Zach, Neil is anything but prickly.

Not that I agree with everything Neil says. But we’ve all got our predilections.

But I have never ever heard Neil Young like this before. And you haven’t either, unless you’re a friend of his. 

Once again, all I can say is LISTEN!

P.S. Speaking of abandoning Twitter, you should see what Jack White had to say: https://bit.ly/3i92yNV I mean Jack is famous for standing up for vinyl, but I don’t remember him going on record like this. Kudos!

P.P.S. It’s amazing to me how the reporters for the “New York Times” end up at the “Washington Post.” First it was Taylor Lorenz, the social media reporter, and now it’s Shira Ovide, the tech reporter. And I follow Shira on Twitter, and that’s where I learned she switched teams, and I also learned she had a new newsletter, and I checked it out based on the headline, which is:

“There will never be anything like Twitter again – The principle of social media as a “town square” is dead.”: https://wapo.st/3EUESWv

The mainstream media is starting to catch on, that we no longer live in one cohesive monoculture. There are a zillion verticals, and in many cases they do not cross. And part of this is the luxury of not having to endure that which is not appealing. I’m talking about art here… When was the last time you listened to an entire song you didn’t want to? NEVER! Meanwhile, the “Post” and the rest of the old guard continue to foist the corporate hype on us, but mostly it falls on deaf ears, because we just don’t care. But the oldsters don’t know what else to do. They don’t want to admit the appeal of their projects is limited and they certainly don’t know how to reach the target audience. Hell, the movie business doesn’t even know who its audience is! It thinks traditional advertising and hype will reach them when in truth the studios need the viewers’ e-mail addresses, so when there’s something interesting they can reach out and touch them. That new “Black Panther” movie “Wakanda Forever” opened this past weekend and I only heard about it via the reporting of the weekend grosses. I don’t want to see that picture. I don’t want to waste time on superheroes. I know that it’s a triumph for Black actors, and that’s great, but that does not mean I want to watch it, AND IT’S THE BIGGEST MOVIE OUT THERE! I rest my case.

Farewell Yellow Brick Road

Spotify playlist: https://spoti.fi/3En9fUa

1

This was not your father’s stadium show.

Wait a minute, I am that father! At least the age of said fathers, I have no kids.

Stadium shows were a new thing. They were a creation of demand. Just that many people wanted to go to the show, to see an act that not only touched their souls, but impacted the culture. The music was everything, not only for you, but everybody. Everybody knew the show was happening, it was all over the radio, in the news. It was not a victory lap, it was the zeitgeist.

Fifty years later it’s not even the same stadiums. The circles of yore have been torn down, replaced by unique ballparks. Food is very near gourmet. Just going to the park is an experience, irrelevant of the game. And the stadium show you go to might appeal to you, but not necessarily everybody else. There may have been mania over Taylor Swift tickets, but most people have no interest in going. Whereas when the Stones were playing… They were young, they were still dangerous, they were the other, and we considered ourselves the other too. The acts represented more than the music, a viewpoint, a philosophy…

And conventional wisdom was there would be no more stadium shows after the classic acts faded away. This has proven to be untrue. There are now more stadium shows than ever. Amalgamations of old rockers. What is the experience?

Well, one thing is for sure, you’ll have no problem getting a ticket. This is the dirty little secret of the Taylor Swift on-sale. I mean how many people really want to sit in the last row of the upper deck? And even if they’re willing to pay, it’s not much. So the truth is many people who purchased Taylor Swift tickets went for the entire allotment, caught up in the mania, believing they’ll be able to flip them for more than face value. I doubt it. The example here is Miley Cyrus. She went on the road while she was still on “Hannah Montana” and parents went insane, they just could not get tickets, they were up in arms, there had to be an investigation… Which never happened, but to solve the problem, the next time around Miley went paperless. And the gigs didn’t immediately sell out. Yes, everybody had been caught up in the mania. And although the scalpers don’t want paperless, it’s really the audience that is against it, because then they can’t scalp their own tickets. The truth hurts.

As for the truth, M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold; weighed in on the kerfuffle:

“Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows Offers Insight On Ticketmaster Pricing Controversy”: https://bit.ly/3GznkR0

It’s refreshing to see an artist speak the truth, as opposed to obfuscating, as opposed to staying silent. And would Taylor Swift have put all these tickets on sale on the same day if she didn’t want to set a record she could publicize? Springsteen taught us you do the on-sales market by market, but then there could be no hype.

But they did hype the fact that “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” was the first album to enter the chart at number one and go gold in its very first week. That’s only 500,000 albums, almost all vinyl, some cassette, and there were no shenanigans. That’s when big acts sold tonnage, they didn’t need to pump up the numbers, the truth itself was just overwhelming.

But as big as “Captain Fantastic” was, it was not head and shoulders above the competition. The summer of ’75 featured the Eagles’ true breakthrough, “One of These Nights,” and the first Fleetwood Mac album with Stevie and Lindsey, and Jefferson Starship’s “Red Octopus,” Marty Balin may be forgotten today, but that summer “Miracles” was ubiquitous in a way no track is today. And there was James Taylor’s comeback “Gorilla.”  And Wings’ “Venus and Mars.” And breakthroughs like Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver.”

It was a different era.

And last night at Dodger Stadium that era was celebrated.

2

Elton John never left the hit parade. He was one of those artists with AM hits who didn’t sacrifice his credibility. He never released a stiff. And he released more music than just about anybody else. And when he played Dodger Stadium in that baseball uniform back in 1975… It wasn’t so much that he could sell out the building, but a celebration of his place in the culture.

And now he’s part of the firmament.

And soon he will be gone. Not only him, but his contemporaries. Those still able to ply the boards.

And make no mistake, last night was a celebration. It was a completely different show from those in the arenas before Covid. Elton was playing to everybody, including those in the rafters. And the way this was done was via video and first class sound reinforcement, which were absent back in the day, as they say. It was a party.

But that’s not what reached me.

“Bennie and the Jets” was the opener.

Actually, it was that naked piano figure that was the opener. Usually acts hit you in the face right off, to make you stand up and pay attention. But “Bennie” is all about the groove. It doesn’t get your feet moving, it gets your head knocking, your body goes Gumby, “Bennie” goes straight to the heart. You can’t resist. And “Bennie” couldn’t be resisted last night.

The follow-up was “Philadelphia Freedom,” one of my personal favorites. It’s got the chunka-chunka guitar that Elton says is a nod to the Philly sound, but I always heard it as Tom Johnston’s riffs in the Doobie Brothers, but in any event it’s a one listen hit. About a team competing in World Team Tennis. There was a tennis boom, everybody played, now you can walk right on a court, if it hasn’t been converted to pickle ball. Billie Jean King. Jimmy Connors. They were international icons. Quick, name the #1 tennis players today. Of course, tennis aficionados can, but everybody else can’t and doesn’t care. But they cared back in ’75.

And unlike the country acts, everybody playing rock today, there was only one guitarist, Davey Johnstone, laying down riffs with an edge, because Elton was definitely considered a rock act, pop was anathema. You had to be more than a pretty face, who you were was part of the music. And Elton got bit by the tennis bug like the rest of us. Back in the days when participation was more important than watching.

“Philadelphia Freedom” has been appended to the digital version of “Captain Fantastic,” but back in ’75 it was a single, and a single only. Like the Beatles, Elton had so many hits he could afford to leave them off his albums, which people would buy anyway.

But “Border Song” was on the very first Elton album, even though we ultimately learned that “Empty Sky” preceded it. And Elton told a long story about an ailing Aretha Franklin showing up to sing it, a commitment is a commitment, and I liked hearing it, but I would have preferred “Sixty Years On” or “The King Must Die,” but Elton ultimately did play the third track on that initial LP, the one that reached me first, “Take Me to the Pilot,” people don’t even make records with that energy these days.

Then earlier than we expected it (although I did have the set list) came the number that Cameron Crowe made iconic in “Almost Famous,” I’m speaking of none other than “Tiny Dancer.”

“Blue jean lady

L.A. lady

Seamstress for the band”

She was a real person, Maxine Feibelman, Bernie Taupin’s first wife. He was infatuated, he wrote the lyrics from his heart, back when just being part of the touring entourage was enough, you’d sell your soul to be a part of the rock and roll circus, the people on the bus, on the plane, were gods. Nobody was cooking up an app, trying to become a techie, the goal was just to get closer to the music, and this is what Maxine managed to do.

And I think it was during “Tiny Dancer” that our faux Apple Watches came alive. That’s what they looked like, that was their shape. They handed them out at the door and they were triggered by some unknown power and they lit up all by themselves, it was very cool, reminded me of back in the day when you had to trump your contemporaries with your production.

“Tiny Dancer” is an optimistic song, from back when California was still a dream, when the coast was where people were free, the goal was to get there, and everybody in the stadium knew what Elton was singing about.

Next came “Have Mercy on the Criminal,” from “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player,” which Elton labeled a “throwaway” back in the aforementioned day.

“Don’t Shoot Me” is one of my favorite Elton LPs. The hits are the opening cut “Daniel,” which I liked but never loved, and “Crocodile Rock,” which hearkened back to what had come before, which I first heard on the radio, which I positively adored. But neither of these cuts is why I love “Don’t Shoot Me.” The two tracks I play most, that I play all the time, are “Teacher I Need You” and “Elderberry Wine,” neither of which were hit singles, nor was “Have Mercy on the Criminal,” and I loved that Elton played it. But back when albums were albums you knew every track on an LP and the song about having a crush on a teacher, it just made me smile, and the crushing piano of “Elderberry Wine” would infect anybody, never mind that emphatic Elton vocal.

And then came “Rocket Man.”

3

Elton was cold, at least that was the perception. You see as iconic as “Tiny Dancer” is today, it was not a hit. “Levon” got a bit more airplay, made it all the way to #24, whereas “Tiny Dancer” peaked at #41, and in truth unless you’re in the top ten, maybe fifteen, it’s almost like your record doesn’t exist. And sure, it was only six months later, but people didn’t expect Elton to come back with a barnbuster, a track that battled Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” for most airplay honors.

I’m speaking, of course, of “Rocket Man.”

Now my favorite track on “Honky Chateau” was and still is “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.” And one can argue that “Honky Chateau” was not as consistent as what preceded and followed it, but it had that pocket closure of the gatefold cover and…Elton was at the peak once again.

Now the world has completely changed, it’s no longer about the record, but the live performance, whereas it used to be exactly the opposite. There was only one version, maybe there was an authorized live take later, usually on a double-live album that served as a greatest hits package, a compendium of what once was as opposed to a pushing of the envelope, and we know every lick on those records.

That’s why record companies were godhead, unlike today. You needed one to make and distribute a record, at least if you wanted a chance of breaking through commercially. And there was plenty of money to get it right, because nothing scales like music. Yes, cut a hit record and you can stay at home and get paid, you can be dead and your relatives can still get paid. And artists had wrested all the power from the labels, which frequently had no say at all. The act got a budget, contractually, which they frequently exceeded, and oftentimes the first time the label heard the album was when it was done. And then those albums were advertised with singles on the radio while fans rushed out to buy them the first week unheard and there was a mania unlike anything today.

If you had told me “Rocket Man” was going to be the highlight of last night’s show, I never would have believed you. The lyrics are dated. And it’s great, but still, there are more iconic numbers. Yet, when Elton started to play and sing he lifted us up like a Saturn V rocket.

The show changed, this is when it became cerebral.

Shows are not what they used to be. Today you leave your brain behind as you shoot selfies, hang with your buddies. But it used to be different. You were in your own personal bubble, taken away by the music emanating from the stage, it was a positively personal experience.

I bought the first Elton John album without hearing it first. The rock press hooked me, I had to check it out. I did hear “Your Song” over the radio of my friend’s mother’s Chevy during Thanksgiving weekend, but when I dropped the needle on the album when it finally arrived at school from the Record Club of America…

It was cold. It got dark early. The weather was miserable. November in Vermont, before the snow starts to fall.

And Middlebury College is a grind. And I’d been told all through high school…WAIT UNTIL YOU GET TO COLLEGE! So I took it seriously. Which meant I studied all the time, we all did, and my respite came in the afternoon after classes ended, and then just before dinner, and when the day was done, I cranked up my music. This was before it was portable, a decade before the Walkman, and if you were an aficionado you wore headphones to hear the nuances, and you laid in bed and listened in the dark, not only did the music demand respect, you wanted to go down the rabbit hole, you wanted to be taken away.

“She packed my bags last night pre-flight”

There’s not a boomer alive who does not know this line. We were on the same page, because of the radio, because of the culture, you could not escape “Rocket Man.”

So last night I’m surveying the assembled multitude, trying to get a handle on it, what it all meant. Why did everybody come, what were they expecting, what was going through Elton’s head?

One thing’s for sure, he’s never retiring, he just enjoys it too much. Improvising on the piano, working the audience, you’d think after all these shows he’d be going through the motions, but nothing could be further from the truth.

But Elton is 75. He broke through over 50 years ago. He’s lived a charmed life, but he earned it. And Elton is one of our few stars who is a fan himself. He still buys the records, he befriends the newbies, he tries to save those who’ve gone down the wrong path… Nobody else does this. Elton is not reclusive, he’s our most accessible superstar, even if most never meet him, but he’s part of the scuttlebutt, he’s busy living life, and watching the video screens last night it was hard not to be envious, I mean WHAT A LIFE!

But once Elton was young and hungry. Actually, he was hungry for quite a while. And now… He’s an elder statesman?

No, this is not Sinatra, Elton is not our parents’ star. We didn’t go to the show for nostalgia, Elton meant more to us than that. We lived through all those hits. Which were supplemented by stage flamboyance. This guy who made serious music knew no limits live, with not only his glasses but his boots, his feathers, his outfits…he could do all this and still the music sustained, because it was just that powerful.

And he’s not that guy anymore. None of us are. We’re on a downhill slide, wondering if we should whip out our ice axe to self-arrest or go with the flow. Elton kept hiking up his pants. We’re no longer skinny, we can no longer wear pants sans a belt.

“I miss the Earth so much I miss my wife”

Loneliness. The records were an antidote to that. We listened and felt connected, and most of the time we listened alone. They rode shotgun, they kept us company, they got us through our deepest, darkest moments.

Now on wax, “Rocket Man” has an extended outro, but it’s not that long a number, longer than the usual single, but ultimately only 4:41.

Last night it was much longer.

The previous songs had hewed closely to the records, in length anyway, Elton was keeping himself entertained throwing in a few flourishes. But “Rocket Man”…it went on so long that you let go.

Suddenly I was the only person there. I was jetted back to that dorm room at Middlebury College. I was reminded of how much this music meant to me, how it was everything, how I built my life around it.

And I was surrounded by others who’d chosen the same path, but I still felt unique, we’re all individuals, fully understandable only to ourselves. And when the music sets your mind free, you’re reminded of this, your life flows through your brain, you remember what once was and you make connections, you gain understanding

That’s one of the reasons you go to the show, to be surprised.

And “Rocket Man” surprised me last night, it made the whole concert worth it, I got that zing, which is what it’s all about. In truth it’s all we’re looking for, the rest is disposable, it’s just that it’s hard to find. And when you do…

4

I could talk about how good the band was. I could deliver more details, but they’d never convey the feeling, really only the music can convey the feeling.

“Who’ll walk me down to church when I’m sixty years of age

When the ragged dog they gave me has been ten years in the grave”

You took to one side first. Yes, albums had two sides, and you got stuck on one and when you knew it by heart, you flipped the vinyl for the other.

The first side of “Elton John” was not only the one with “Take Me to the Pilot,” but “Your Song” too. The second side was more inscrutable. But it’s the second side I play today.

“You’ve hung up your great coat and you’ve laid down your gun

You know the war you fought in wasn’t too much fun”

“Sixty Years On” opened side two. You had to slow down to get it. Which I first did lying on my bed, stoned, listening on headphones as to not disturb my roommate. The combination of Gus Dudgeon’s production and Paul Buckmaster’s strings…”Elton John” sounds like it was cut in a cathedral.

“I’ve no wish to be living sixty years on”

Right now it’s 52, Elton’s got eight years to go. He’ll do it until he can’t. He could die tomorrow, or live to 100. But at some point he’ll be gone, and all that will remain is the records, which will affect others the same way they affected me.

“And Magdalena plays the organ

Plays it just for you

Your choral lamp that burns so low

When you are passing through”

We’re tired. We’re worn out. We’re reflective. We may think seventy is the new fifty, forty, but inside we know we’re old, that we’re never going to win this war of attrition, that we’ll ultimately pass and we’ll fade away and not radiate. It’s hard to believe, hard to accept, but at some point in your sixties you do. You let go of the handlebars, you fly, it’s all personal, where you went to school, what you own, what others think no longer matters, it’s just you, alone, with the music.

5

“No man’s a jester playing Shakespeare”

Never underestimate’s Elton’s voice. We’re not looking for excellence, we’re not looking for a standard, we’re looking for character, uniqueness, and Elton’s voice was high, yet powerful, he had the music in him, and a great example of this is when you drop the needle on “The King Must Die,” the closing track on the first American album, “Elton John.”

“And sooner or later

Everybody’s kingdom must end”

Nothing is forever, fight it all you want, you’ll lose.

“And I’m so afraid your courtiers

Cannot be called best friends”

If you have one true friend, who you can truly trust, you’re lucky. You can have all the money in the world, be famous, and be unable to trust anybody, everybody wants something from you, your cash, access, and there are so many looking to topple you and take your place, staying atop the throne is hard, very hard.

“Caesar’s had your troubles

Widows had to cry”

It’s inevitable, no one is left unscathed, no one here gets out alive.

“Some men are better staying sailors

Take my word and go”

You can keep your head down, refuse to risk, be safe, but you’ll be shut out of the rewards.

Or you can be like Elton John, push all your chips in, stay the course with no safety net, never taking your eye off the prize.

But the reign ends.

That was what I was reminded of last night. You can’t fight the hands of time. Not only does your body change, so does the audience. We’re all just here for a short while. Not only Elton, but me. Didn’t matter who I knew, I was alone last night. That’s the way it is when the music is really great.

“When the juggler’s act is danced upon

The crown that you once wore”

You’re gonna fall, no one wins forever. We’re seeing this with Elon Musk right now. His minions, his blind followers, don’t want to accept this, because they’re afraid of a new king, where that will leave them, they refuse to have hope in themselves, they want to place the burden on someone else, but underneath the image we’re all human, and fallible.

Michael Jackson called himself “The King of Pop,” he needed the anointment, a phony title which most of us derided, just the word “pop” made us wince, our music was so much more than that, anything but disposable, we were convinced it was forever.

But Elton John had more hits over a longer period of time than Michael Jackson. Not that it’s a competition, but this is just to point out that Elton is a titan. And nothing he did last night impacted that assessment. To tell you the truth, it was just another show, he’d already made his bones, proved his worth. It’s just that we don’t want to believe it’s over. Because if it is…so are we.

So it won’t be long before the king is dead, and no matter how much publicity they get, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I mean Aretha’s dead? How can that BE! She’s not going to blow our minds, unexpectedly, take us way beyond the limits like she did that night at the Kennedy Center Honors?

The music won’t pay your bills, put a roof over your head, get you a significant other. The music is more akin to a coach, teaching us lessons, encouraging us to perform better, as our best selves.

Ultimately, the music detaches from the performer. Journey is a good example. The audience owns those songs, it doesn’t matter who is on stage.

Elton’s seen it. Done it. And so have I, and so have you. If for no other reason than we’re running out of rope, we can see the end of the runway.  We are who we are. Take a good look around, you may not be here ever again.

Elton John will never be in Dodger Stadium again. That’s done.

If you’re waiting for him to come through your town, don’t, he won’t.

And you won’t see the likes of him again. We never did get a new Beatles. These iconic acts are sui generis. They don’t write by committee, and they’re not afraid of failing, because only when you hang it way out there, push the limits, do you have a chance of creating lasting art that embeds itself in the culture, in the universe.

The artists are not your friend.

But the music is.

Doesn’t matter how the performer acts, those records will never change. They’re my king.

Long live the king.

The Bitch Is Back

“Elon Musk Reinstates Trump’s Twitter Account – Mr. Musk, who had run a poll on Twitter about whether to bring back the former president to the service, said, ‘The people have spoken.'”: https://nyti.ms/3Gu1A9e

That was then and this is now. Donald Trump was a disrupter. He said the unsayable. He broke norms. He rallied people who were sick of stuffed-shirts who believed they were above them, who had forgotten about them, especially when it came to globalization.

Now let’s not get hung up in reality, in truth. Turned out once in office Trump was the corporate shill the Republicans truly are, lowering taxes on the rich and…

But this is not about truth, it was never about truth. It’s about emotion, having something to live for, ATTENTION!

I mean what is there to live for anymore? You’ll never be rich, unless you win the lottery. Everybody in entertainment and sports is a whore, sold out to the highest bidder, just like the naming rights of the arenas and stadiums they play in. In order to move forward in life, you need hope. And let’s be clear, this is not what Hillary Clinton was delivering, in essence she was promising more of the same. Furthermore, she was anything but believable, we still don’t know who the real Hillary is.

But we damn sure know who Donald Trump is. A not-so-bright guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth who will do anything for attention, who never admits he’s wrong, who believes that Roy Cohn wrote the moral handbook.

“I can see by your eyes you must be lying

When you think I don’t have a clue

Baby, you’re crazy

If you think that you can fool me

Because I’ve seen that movie too”

Or should I have quoted Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”?

Yes, Elton John’s “I’ve Seen That Movie Too” was on “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” not “Caribou,” but it applies here just as much as “The Bitch Is Back.”

“I’m a bitch, I’m a bitch, oh, the bitch is back

Stone cold sober as a matter of fact

I can bitch, I can bitch, ’cause I’m better than you

It’s the way that I move, the things that I do”

That’s right, Trump doesn’t drink. And from day one he’s thought he’s better than the rest of us. That was what “The Apprentice” was all about: I’m rich, I’m omniscient and I have the power to hire and fire, you report to ME!

Yes, Donald Trump felt justified when he was five. And he skated until he became president, because with the office comes attention, and it turned out that Trump was a lying, cheating, scumbag. How dare I talk about the Donald this way! But that’s just the point, this is exactly how Trump talks!

And the media couldn’t get enough of it.

Back in 2016, we believed that facts still mattered, that significant swaths of the public were not completely looney-tunes. This was before QAnon not only gained huge traction, but back when Democrats laughed when told people believed Hillary was running a child-sex ring out of a pizza parlor.

No one is laughing anymore, neither Democrats nor Republicans. It’s a fight for the soul of our country, it’s a fight for democracy, it’s a fight for an ABORTION, and Trump is on the losing side of all these issues, which is why the Republicans got creamed in this year’s elections. Turns out most American citizens are frightened, turns out they’d rather live in a land of enforced laws that apply to everyone, they’re scared of creeping autocracy, and they know if elections are not sacred, you’ve got no democracy.

And now Trump pulls out the same playbook.

Homies might be buying it, but not Rupert Murdoch. Rupert has put out the word to his papers and his TV news channels, Trump is toast, bury him. The “New York Times” did not put this lift of the ban at the top of its homepage. Everybody’s seen this movie and they’re not going to fall for the deception again, they don’t want to relive the plot.

So you’ve got Elon Musk. Part of a triumvirate, along with Kanye West and Trump, who are attention whores, who need to be in the headlines every damn day. Usually while they destroy their careers. People tire of the story and it goes on long enough for reporters to uncover the truth and the old saw remains, if you’re rich, SHUT UP! Because as Balzac said, “behind every great fortune there is a crime.” And this is true. You don’t want the spotlight upon you.

So Trump comes back to Twitter, he will, no matter what he’s said in the past. And I don’t care about the follower count, boosted by bots, who is going to see what he posts?

Elon’s Twitter saga has revealed the truth to everybody, that most people are not on Twitter, it’s really just the media intelligentsia who are addicted to it. And this same media reported everything Trump said before his ban. They justified this by saying he was president. They used false equivalencies when Trump was lying outright, they’d get a quote from the other side saying that Trump was speaking the truth. And there was infrastructure, like Fox News, defending  Trump, spewing disinformation 24/7. But Fox has gotten in trouble for this, the voting machine lawsuits are nothing to laugh at. Turns out supporting Trump is bad for business, they want to downplay the Donald if they say anything about him at all.

And one thing about America’s corporations, they guard their image, their business, very closely. They’re fearful their companies will turn into Tesla, a great product that more and more people won’t buy based on the image of the man who runs it, Elon Musk. Meaning, when Trump comes back, even if he never comes back, advertisers will continue to stay away from Twitter. Who wants to be attached to this stink? It’s too big a risk. Furthermore, the guy running the operation is off his rocker.

Taking a vote? On a site that he wanted to weasel out of buying because of the plethora of bots? A Twitter vote is about as accurate as a political poll, as in NOT VERY! It’s a self-selecting group that replies, it is not an accurate sampling of the public, and to make decisions based on this information is a route to hell. Yes, the right wing media and the polls said there was going to be a red wave, but Michael Moore knew there would not be one because he actually went out and touched America, which is anathema to those in D.C. and the news. Oh, they pay lip service, but they’d rather hang with their insider buddies, and they all pay fealty to the rich.

But it turns out Trump is not that rich!

So what are you getting with Trump?

Well, there are diehard fans of perennially last place sports teams. But their dedication and vocal cries don’t mean the team wins. I get it, those on the right hate the left. But do they need Trump to lead the charge? What’s so special about Trump? A know-nothing who shoots from the hip, doesn’t think the law applies to him, and wants to stay in power forever, just like Xi, never mind Putin.

So what is Musk gaining by allowing Trump back on? He gets the kudos of the bros, the right wing fanatics, those who think he can do no wrong, who believe you have a right to say whatever you want whenever you want wherever you want.

But that’s not what free speech is.

But rather than get into a discussion of free speech, as a practical matter Musk is throwing in with a gang, many of whom are uninformed and uneducated, he’s making Twitter positively toxic, who wants to be involved? Once again, not advertisers! At least not those with deep pockets who make these sites run.

By allowing Trump back on Elon is inherently marginalizing Twitter.

And we love to watch the movie, just like with Charlie Sheen. But the movie ultimately ends. It’s a train-wreck. Truth outs, the actor/politician/business person crashes, and the public moves on. So Elon takes Twitter to bankruptcy, and even if he doesn’t, it ends up a second class platform. There ends up being nothing to report. The show is over. People have seen it, they move on.

Come on, the most interesting thing about Twitter is not the content, but Musk’s shenanigans. As for those who think his moves are genius, Charlie Sheen even went on the road where people paid to see him, how many people would pay now? Never mind Charlie losing his big paying TV gig and fading into obscurity.

And people are rooting for Musk to lose. They’re loving his decimation of Twitter. Finally, this guy is gonna get his comeuppance!

Allowing Trump back on is not going to solve his problems, it’s only going to create new ones!

So Trump can tweet away, but we know almost all of what he says is worthless. Hell, if even Fox News wouldn’t broadcast all of his announcement speech, what are the odds all these reporters are going to give air to what he claims on Twitter? VERY LOW!

This is a sideshow. You may tell me 1/6 had no effect on people’s thinking, but you’re completely wrong. And they’re not coming out of the woodwork to claim fraud in elections. Turns out 1/6 was a blip on the radar screen, in terms of its effect on the trustworthiness of elections. That ship has sailed. Yes, as a result of 1/6, heinous voter repression laws were passed, but it turns out the public wants to believe in elections, which is why Trump supported Big Lie secretary of state candidates lost.

Elon Musk is so self-centered, so deep in his bubble, that he doesn’t even know he’s losing, he keeps thinking he’s winning when the truth is just the opposite. So Musk says Trump can come back. It’s news today, but not tomorrow, just like Trump’s ultimate bloviations on the short message site. People love the crash, not the content. It’s hubris on parade, both Elon and the Donald, and that’s one procession most people don’t care to see. Twitter is becoming more of a backwater each and every day. And who pays attention to that? Very few! Allowing Trump back on Twitter is akin to Arista saying it will put out a new Milli Vanilli record. The announcement will be everywhere, but the music will be nowhere.

I rest my case.