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PJMcK

Profile Information

Name: Paul McKibbins
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York City
Home country: USA
Current location: Catskill Mountains
Member since: Mon Jun 5, 2006, 05:16 PM
Number of posts: 17,878

About Me

Lifelong Democrat

Journal Archives

Jared is a coward

He now claims his expression during the President’s phone call was a joke.

Oh, yeah, Jared? Then why did you blurt it out and then hang up? Your behavior was immature and akin to Howard Stern’s fans yelling, “Bobba buey!”

The stunt was childish and cowardly. If he wanted to express his frustrations, he had the President of the United States on the phone! He could have acted like an adult and had a (brief) conversation with the President. Instead, he blurted out a schoolyard taunt then figuratively ran away. Now he hides behind the idea that it was a joke. He doesn’t even have the conviction of thought to acknowledge his own political views. His attempts at damage control are amateurish and ineffective.

It was vulgar, stupid and cowardly. Not a great example for his family. Let me add that he probably ruined what could have been an awesome memory for his kids.

What an idiot.

Lots of ways

Trump has reduced the number of "friends" that I have. I cannot bear to be with anyone who supports that criminal. It's a deal-breaker for me. I'm finished with a good number of golf buddies and music acquaintances. Why bother with people I just cannot respect?

The pandemic forced my wife and me to retreat to our house in the Catskills. The house was never intended for full-time living but we've adapted and improved it. We've made good use of our time in the mountains. Some of these projects took quite a bit of work and some professional assistance but, in the end, the house is much improved. It's much quieter than in NYC. Colder, too. I suspect we've increased the net worth of our property so that's a side bonus.

Work hasn't changed much but I've been working remotely since before it was called that. My business is kind of free-wheeling and if I have internet and cellphone service, my clients don't really care where I am as long as I'm on top of their businesses. My little music cabin here in the woods is delightful and it's the most beautiful office I've ever had. Bonus: In spite of the pandemic, we've had a couple of really good years.

Silly things have become touchstones. Going to the dump twice a week, picking up the mail each day or so (I got a post office box), food shopping (there are many farms nearby and the fresh food is incredible!), taking a daily walk, chopping wood for the fireplaces and many other "mundane" chores have become important little moments in our lives.

Meals have become even more important moments of each day. We plan dinner while eating breakfast. We've tried a bunch of new recipes. Thankfully, we haven't gained the "Covid-19" poundage that many folks have but we continue to eat well. Tonight we're having escargots and boeuf Bourguignon.

I miss our previously active social life. I miss working with musicians and dancers in various studios around New York. I miss the theater and concerts; even though they've returned, the risks are too high for us. Although restaurants are doable, they're just another risk that we don't really need to take, (a colleague of mine just contracted the virus from eating in a restaurant).

We really miss traveling. We were scheduled for a 3-week trip to the Netherlands and Belgium just as the pandemic exploded. Those plans will probably never be fulfilled. To feed our wanderlust, we bought a small cruising sailboat and we can travel relatively safely in our floating mobile home. There are plenty of adventures to be found on the Eastern seaboard.

Will life ever return to our old normal? Who knows? A big aspect of life is being able to adapt when things changes. These past 4-5 years have forced all of us to face forces that are beyond our control. If one cannot deal with these powerful forces of change, one is plagued with what Alvin Toffler referred to as Future Shock. The most powerful symptom of this condition is an inability to adapt to changing circumstances. These people deny reality, dig in their heals and refuse to acknowledge the challenges in front of them. Sound familiar?

Don't forget the labels

During the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the record companies were bought by conglomerates that imposed strict corporate structures onto businesses that had been relatively free-wheeling. The labels had been able to use profits from their hit artists to develop stables of new talent to give opportunities for lots of different artists. That became a conflict once quarterly profits became the dominant goal over artistic diversity.

It all pretty much ended once superstar artists were given monstrous advances and/or signing bonuses. When Janet Jackson received $100 million, her label had nothing left to develop up-and-coming performers and writers. This structural change affected companies in different ways but fundamentally, it meant that the labels had to justify every dollar they spent. This is a big reason why niche areas have become neglected, (i.e., theatrical cast recordings, jazz, classical, etc.).

Here's another problem. Singers were convinced by their lawyers and agents that if they wrote their own songs, they could increase their profitability with larger royalties. Songwriting is a serious and difficult craft and art and not everyone can do it well. Look at the popular songs of the last 40 years and pick 10 that have become standards. It's difficult to do! Very few songs today get cover recordings and generally, the song is concretely cemented to the singer.

Thankfully, technology has come to the aid of new talent. With the advent of home and computer recording technologies as well as outlets on the internet, artists can build their careers without the major labels shepherding them into their cookie-cutter regimes. These artists are thus able to reach out to audiences and (hopefully) make some money to continue their ambitions.
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