Yom Tov. Kol Nidre is coming tonight. It is a powerful and wonderful experience. I was reading the fine print this morning about Kol Nidre. If you make a promise with a clear understanding of what that promise entails, then you are not released. But if you make a promise in a moment of panic, then you are released. For instance, you're on a ship in a violent storm and you fear for your life. You make a vow that, if you survive the storm, you will give all your money to charity. That promise was made under duress and your are released..... So my girl friend said, what if you are making love and you make a promise in the heat of passion? Such a good question I told her. The scholars love question like this, they would argue about it for days and days.
The New Media Tyrants. You guys are all too old-fashioned, you hate Wal-Mart, Monsanto and Mitt Romney. That is like yesterday's bad news. Your foes are dinosaurs. They don't actually run things anymore.....My enemies are Mark Zuckerberg and Ariana Huffington and whoever runs Apple and Google and Amazon. How can you trust people with that much power? I don't trust them. I fear them and I resist them. And they all love to see you tilting against the Old Guard. Your smart phone owns you -- wake up!
Facebook. Facebook is about relationships and emotional well being or the lack thereof. That is the dominant note. You can easily find strong political statements on Facebook, but it is rare to find any back and forth, any debate, or any argument.
If your friend posts a certain political comment, would you feel free to comment underneath taking an opposite view? No, at least I don't ever do that.
In my experiment, which was going against the grain on Facebook, I made statements and welcomed disagreement, but after a couple of months of trying this, I still felt that I was drowning in a pool of cute kittens and cotton candy.
Even worse, I have been putting effort into posts that were interesting and entertaining to other people, that in doing so I was making money for Mark Zuckerberg and making no money for myself --- this is the horror of the Internet age.
Facebook is the descendent of the lifestyle section, what had been once called the women's section of the newspaper -- weddings, recipes, advice columns, entertainment -- what they call "soft news" -- nothing wrong with that.
I was good at soft news when I worked as a journalist, and I got paid for it. In the print model, the publisher made ninety percent of the money and the reporters got the other ten percent -- but we had all the fun, so it was OK.
In the Internet model, Mark Zuckerberg and Ariana Huffington make 100% of the money and we get nothing.
That's not good.
I would love to post cute photos of kittens on Facebook -- if I got paid for it.
I don't have a solution.
Except my Frog Hospital newsletter does generate income, $400 so far this year from subscriptions at $25 each. The income is sufficient to keep me from getting too cranky. I send it out on Google's gmail. Google makes money and so do I -- I can live with that. But I am unable to monetize Facebook.
Tattoos. Young people get tattoos because they give a sense of permanence and security. You can't lose it, it can't be stolen. If you lose faith in the strength of all social institutions -- church, family, govt., business and so forth, then you get a tattoo. You can lose your job, your house, your girl friend, and all your money, but you can keep your ink --- I believe this is the subconscious motive.
Jimmy & Hitch. No story this week. As we left off last issue, Jimmy & Hitch were sleeping under a tree in the Fishtown Woods. Joy Helen was climbing the small hill above Fishtown when she spotted Atclew motoring up to Fishtown in his barge. Big trouble coming. Stay tuned.
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