It never occurred to me to consider the time I was wasting on @Twitter.
I suppose the medium is like eating peanuts. You think it's just a handful but soon realize you’ve consumed an 18 oz. can. That’s not the problem. That you are still hungry for more is.
One day a message popped up on my feed: “your account is locked due to suspicious activity.” I thought, what the hell is so suspicious? I thought those nerdy Twitterati took offense at my libertarian messages, somewhat convincingly, of the totalitarian state that Michigan had become under its commissar, Gretchen Whitmer:
But I thought who in San Franciso gives a hoot about Michigan? …
This kind of job comes with an unusual description,
“Must love birds and priceless jewels. Former British Warrant Officers only. Sailors and women are eligible. The staff housing may need work as it is built in the 13th century.”
As an Anglophile and former Englishman (lived in Twickenham in 2nd grade), I have always been fascinated by the “Yeoman Warders” of the Tower of London, better known as “Beefeaters” due to their addiction to Bovril or beef broth.
An Italian came up with the pseudonym Beefeater.
Cosimo III de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, frequented the Court in 1669 and referred to the Yeomen of the Guard’s regimen, “A huge ration of beef is given to them daily at the court, so they might be called Beef-eaters.” …
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” — William Shakespeare, King Henry IV
Ask anyone who has worked closely with Sumner Redstone and they’ll say they knew they would eventually be fired, just not precisely when. It seems like Redstone shuffled chief executives the way people discard old tires. The distinguished club that worked for Redstone includes CEOs of Viacom and CBS who oversaw Paramount Studios, CBS Network, MTV, SKG Dreamworks, Comedy Central, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
On the plus side, he paid well.
The problem is that Sumner Rothstein was a genius, a fact he was never shy about admitting. By genius, I don’t mean it in the sense of “you should meet my brother in law — he’s a genius.” Redstone had an IQ over 160. The reason I know that is he told me so. If you doubt the Redstone myth, look at the resume. He graduated Boston Latin School a year early, the most prestigious public preparatory high school in the United States, and landed first in his class. Naturally. He went to Harvard, where he graduated at age nineteen. Then the Encryption Corps, where he worked on complicated Japanese cipher codes. Then Harvard Law School. …
“When we respond to information without a filter, it turns us into screaming monsters or slavish consumers.”
Warren Buffett is a technophobe (not actually), yet he uses a noise-canceling device every day. It is a news filter called quality information or QI for short. It also happens to be a more reliable predictor of sound decision making than its better-known cousin, IQ.
While some of us react automatically to a social media post by joining the nearest protest or demonizing someone on Twitter, Buffett analyzes the facts first. He routes information through trusted intelligence networks to find out what is fake and what is verifiable. …
Robert Zimmerman had the qualities we usually find in great innovators — curiosity, vision, instinct, and most importantly, guts. What else could have motivated him to leave Hibbing, Minnesota, and turn up as a 21-year-old folk music singer named Bob Dylan in New York City’s Greenwich Village? He did it for the reason pitchers throw changeups — to break the rhythm. His dream was inspired by the music he listened to while hanging around downstairs cafes, and the moment he heard this new sound, he wanted to be part of it.
“You’re born, you know, the wrong name, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. …
America was not conceived in racism. America’s Founders thought slavery was a violation of divine and natural law that needed to be placed on the road to extinction. The compromises in the U.S. Constitution with slavery were put there to ensure the creation of a new system of government powerful enough to eradicate slavery when circumstances permitted. …
“They also serve who only stand and wait.”
In 1652, when John Milton wrote Sonnet 19, he lamented the blindness that was distracting him from his goal. He ends the poem with “They also serve who only stand and wait,” a line used more often than “I’ll have what she’s having.” But Milton isn’t ordering a drink, he’s making the point that with steady patience we can surmount our most pernicious enemies.
In a time of rogue and random rage, Milton offers guidance. As vandals tear down historical symbols that inflicted unthinkable distress to some, the country recedes into fearful anxiety because society has not been given the chance to ponder the issue as a community. A wake-up call should not be followed by torching the bed. There are better ways to get attention. …
James Joyce’s literary experiment, Finnegan’s Wake, gave the world a surreal composition that confounded most but fascinated all who opened a page (any page will do). It intrigued Herbert George Wells (or H.G. as he is better known). Still, after reflection, he felt the need to express his disappointment to Joyce without righteousness or disregard for Joyce’s talent (it appears Joyce was hoping for an endorsement from the great author).
Wells was no literary slouch. He was a best-selling author, social critic, scientist, futurist, who foretold the coming of aircraft, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television, and a primitive concept of the internet. Wells also wrote history, satire, biography, and was the father of science fiction (along with Frenchman Jules Verne) and wrote The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Doctor Moreau. …
From Erma About Her Dad:
When I was a kid, a father was like the light in a refrigerator. Every house had one, but nobody knew what either of them did once the door was shut.
My dad left the house every morning and always seemed glad to see everyone at night.
He opened the jar of pickles when nobody else could.
He was the only one in the house who wasn’t afraid to go to the basement by himself.
He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it.
He took a lot of pictures, but was never in them. …
The pilot season for new TV shows begins in January. I have a blockbuster in mind, a drama with a Kafkaesque ending: NBC exploits women and African Americans and then sends a 25-year-old Gen Z journalist to troll a conservative publication called the Federalist, co-starring Google.
Here’s the script.