Friday, April 28, 2017


Why am I so disappointed that ex-President Obama has entered the "star" speaking circuit at $400,000 a pop?  And, that his first gig is with a Wall Street firm?  Some say:  "We're only mad when the black guy or the woman (Hillary) want to cash in."  And that makes some sense, but doesn't make me feel any better.

Maybe the disappointment comes from an overblown estimate of him (and us) in the first place:  decent, well meaning, determined to prove that our better instincts of fairness and inclusion can reach all the way to the top.  Could his inner dialogue now be:  "They disrespected me at every turn, so now I'll take from them the only thing that matters to them -- amassing the big bucks."

I suspect that Obama is smarter than that.  He knows that the $800,000 (so far) and what Michele can add is just a token.  Small change to the big boys.  And, I suspect that this decent man knows he was a token too.  He'll make his bank deposits as he watches his accomplishments "blowin' in the wind."

Sunday, April 16, 2017

No is Not Enough

I saw a video of Naomi Klein on Facebook.  She was talking about "brand jamming."  She referred to a book she wrote years ago, No Logo, where she explains that if a brand is designed to convey a certain image or message, the alternative message can be just a powerful.  For example, Nike was damaged so severely by sweat shop images that it had to change its policies. ( I know you're thinking right now that United Airlines inflicted the brand jamming directly upon itself.)

Turning her attention to Trump, she says he is an ideal candidate for brand-jamming because brand means everything to him.  She has a lot of ideas on how to make the Trump name toxic wherever it appears.

Naomi Klein's brand is super intelligent creative thinker who can lead us to some innovative actions. At a time when the brands of diversity, empathy, and community have been jammed almost to oblivion, she is worth listening to.

Her new book is No is Not Enough.

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Spartacus Moment

Here is my fantasy about the recent incident aboard the United Airlines plane.  When the doctor (a.k.a. everyman) was singled out for removal against his will and against all notion of a rational universe, all of the other passengers, perhaps led at first by one brave soul, would have unbuckled their seat belts, rose as one and declared: "I am Spartacus!"

What if the "security" people had said: "Hey United, that's your problem.  Sorry, not our job."

These fantasies have a tendency to go on and on, don't they?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Billionaires Forever

The billionaires on Wall Street and Silicon Valley are at it again.  Remember when I wrote a few weeks ago about how, looking for safety,  they are turning abandoned missile silos into luxury bunkers? And are buying up property in remote areas of New Zealand?

Now, according to a flurry of articles in the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, they are employing A.I. and other possibilities, to attack death as if it were a company ripe for a hostile takeover.

"I want to live to 150!  200!  Forever!"  Sounds like how they squeal about quarterly profits.

Even Vanity Fair is addressing this hot topic in an article about Elon Musk.  Of course, this mag is delighted to include a shot of his knockout gorgeous mother.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

We'll Always Have. . .

As I was channel surfing a few week ago I came across CASABLANCA and I stayed right through to the "beginning of a beautiful friendship."  So much has been heaped upon this film that it's remarkable how it bears the weight and remains its beloved self.

Maybe I'm being too sentimental about the stars and the story:  the best character actors ever surrounding the iconic Bogart and Bergman; fleeing refugees released to freedom; underground resistance; cynicism conquered.

And maybe that's because it feels so immediate.  Rick calls out from the archives: "Someday you'll understand."  And here we are all over again.