Privatizing Education: Don’t turn my kid’s education into another profit center.

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Hey let’s privatize our education system, says pundit X! What’s the matter with that?

The problem is that we live in a country founded on the principle that all men are created equal and as an extension of that, we include children, who are NOT responsible for their own family’s financial abilities. We should NOT punish children for their parent’s foibles. Let me re-phrase that, do you want to be the guy who walks into the school and tells all those children that their school is being sold and left to rot because their parent’s and their neighborhood “no longer make financial sense in the free market?”

You can call it socialism if you want, but I BELIEVE ALL CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO A FREE EDUCATION THROUGH THE 12TH GRADE and I thought this was something we as a society established a long time ago. If left up to the private sector, eventually, where it doesn’t make financial sense, education would cease to exist. We are talking about places like downtown Detroit, Dayton, Columbus, rural WV and South Eastern Ohio. In these places, without STATE MANDATED freely available and supported education, there would be NO SCHOOLING available to those children. Would you want to live there? In your little fairy land we would have entire swaths of the country with no educational systems at all. Just like we have entire neighborhoods now without adequate grocery stores, fresh food, gas stations or even basic amenities that your free market says it “should” supply.

The real problem is profit and greed. You see it’s easier to make money in large chunks with high margin items and it’s easier to supply services to people who have plenty of money to pay for those margins. Making money a little at a time from poor people is difficult, if not impossible. So you don’t see many new businesses popping up in those places I just mentioned. It doesn’t make financial sense to go there and it never will. We don’t mandate that grocery stores move there because we don’t think that access to good fresh food and groceries is a right afforded to all people equally. And that’s fine. But what we DO NOT do is let innocent children, and yes I think children are in fact innocent and by that I mean NOT responsible for who’s birth canal they happened to be pushed through, be deprived of the right to read and do math because they don’t make financial sense. DO NOT EQUATE EDUCATION WITH MAKING MONEY. Education is NOT a business it never has been and never will be. Privatizing education is a bad idea. More profit will not equal better grades EVER.

Pundit X’s fictional fairy land does not exist. Ayn Rand is fiction and all of her theories are too. The world she created is no more real than J. M. Barrie’s Never Never Land. It never has existed and never will. What would you think if I advocated for legislation to banish all alarm clocks and alligators? As REAL as all of Rand books sound, Randian free markets are FICTION. They are not real. Alan Greenspan was wrong. Social Darwinism is bad for the country and bad for education. We are not animals, subject to death and dismemberment by those that are bigger than us. Competition does not work in many places and education is one of them.

Educating children IS and ALWAYS will be about cooperating, sharing, being kind and generous and serving the public, and GASP, not making money! DEAL WITH IT.

YOU WILL NOT turn my kid’s education into another profit center.

How social media and the internet are changing the way pop music sounds.

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If you haven’t read it yet, go read Taylor Swift’s op-ed in the WSJ.

While not a riveting novella or groundbreaking piece of original research, it is an interesting read, with interesting insights and at least a glimmer of optimism, something we could use more of right now. In it Ms. Swift says “In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around.”

That reminded me of a theory I’ve been kicking around for a while now  — that pop music actually sounds different because of social media and the internet— the Ho Hey singalong chorus is taking over.

It’s simple. Now more than ever “likes” and “fans” and “followers” drive revenue directly.More clicks and more eyeballs means more money. The two are directly related. It even manifests itself into real estate transactions down to the level that the fortune 500 companies (mostly franchises) grading of real estate to determine how many eyeballs dry by a given site on a given day as do websites etc. Traffic = sales = revenue, it’s very simple. More traffic = more money, virtually and in reality, going both ways.

No secret there right? So what does that have to do with the actual content of a song?

Just listen to some popoular songs and you will hear the musical manifestation of artists trying to mimic “likes” and “followers” in song form.

Every time you turn on the radio there is a chorus of 10 or 20 people singing along with the artist during the chorus. The chorus has an actual chorus singing in it <– see what I did there? Yes that is where the chrous gets it’s name, it’s supposed to be singable by a chorus, I get it.

So go listen to songs like:

Ho Hey  – The Lumineers

Demons – Imagine Dragons

Pompeii – Bastile

I will Wait – Mumford and Sons

Happy – Pharell Williams

A light that never comes – Linkin Park and Steve Aoki

American Kids – Kenny Chesney  (even country gets in the act see also every Brad Paisley album recently released)

These songs all follow s similar formula. A guy alone with his contemplative self thinking about stuff and then BAM – instant group of followers all singing in agreement. The songwriter just hit the like button a million times. Sounds like Kickstarter, Twitter or facebook or – (fill in the blank technology company)

It’s the the musical equivalent of a million “likes”. It’s like saying, this artist got a whole army to sing along with him. Many people like them. They must be successful, therefore they make a lot of money. Therefore they must be valuable and I shall like them as well.

I’m not saying I agree with the tactic, or if it even works but I am saying that the ongoings of society may actually be driving the aesthetic decisions of musical artists even if they are sub-rosa or even just coincidental.

No different than the roaring 20s and jazz. The 60s and rock and roll. Or the 70s – coke and disco. The 90s grunge —all the music reflects the times.

Todya’s music is built to make you feel like, a lot of other people like it.

It’s social music…

…with a built in feeling of all your friends agreeing with you and singing along right there in the chorus.

The music industry has rediscovered the value of a singable chorus, that can actually be sung by a chorus. <– sorry did it again :-)

It also helps that mega music festivals are also a thing, with huge flocks of folks flooding the doors and singing along in real life. Yeah real life, so there’s that too.

So there you have it – social media is actually changing the way music sounds.

I’ll leave you with parting words from one of my musical heroes, Dave Grohl who said, “Don’t bore us, give us the chorus.” And I couldn’t agree more.

 

Before the Flood – 0 for 5 on the PM

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We hit the Pere Marquette flies only section on Saturday and apparently so did every other fisherman north of the Mason Dixon Line. Most of the snow was gone, there were steelhead in the river and the forecast was good. Consequently, the people were out in full force. We were fishing with Steve Martinez from peremarquetteguide.com and stayed right on the flies only section at the Red Moose Lodge. Steve is as professional, personable, and amazing as a fly fishing guide can get and the Red Moose Lodge is clean, convenient, affordable and no hassle.

We hit the water late, 11:00 am to bat cleanup and try an avoid the crowd by letting the unwashed masses go ahead of us. As it turns out, most of the other smart folks had the same idea — crowd not avoided. So we leap frogged boats most of the day.

The good news is, there were still plenty of fish in the river. Right off the bat we had a couple good follows from decent browns and one small resident rainbow to hand. So there’s that.

By the end of the day when we hit the honey hole the fish were there in plenty of numbers. Our spirits were only slightly dampened by the rain that moved in.

My wife hooked up first on the indie rig. It spit the hook. That was her first taste of Steelhead and she looked pretty stoked, and soaked.

I jumped out of the boat and waded thigh deep to position myself for the swing on the 11′ switch rod. Then I hooked up to a nice male who boiled and tail-walked a couple times before spitting the hook. I hooked up another nice fish on the swing a few minutes later who alligator rolled me into a real mess before making like Houdini and escaping. The river was up. The current was strong, and the pull was perfectly intoxicating. My wife hooked up another and it promptly ran into some fallen timber and broke her off.

It was 45 degrees, raining consistently and shooting cloud to ground lightning every few minutes or so. Signs were pointing towards heading in, and eventually we did.

By the time we got to the ramp it really started pounding the big rain drop you usually see int he tropics. When the boat was just hitting the trailer, the quarter inch hail started pummeling us. By the next morning over three inches of rain fell. Flood warnings were issued, and we hit the road for home.

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Catching up

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M ike Schmidt on the Salmon River swinging flies and rocking a full SmithFly get up. Hook it up.

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated over here.

I’ve been so busy over at SmithFly this thing has taken a back seat, and it may just get retired here soon in favor of a blog on SmithFly.net.

In Jan, Feb and March, I logged 16,000 miles on the road and visited 16 states showing off our SmithFly gear. I met a TON of great people and sold a ton of stuff. It’s been an awesome, start to the new year! New year, hell it’s April, Q1 is toast – but it was a dandy.

We’ve added two great new dealers to the network the Deleware River Club and MyFlies.com. We have more deals in the works. So things are really growing quickly.

We have a BIG deal in the works that could give SmithFly a huge boost of exposure and we are really stoked about that, stay tuned.

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A great shot from the talented Russ Schnitzer of me at the Denver Fly Fishing show standing in the booth in front of our new retro wordmark.

 

Sometimes your home water surprises you with a late breaking curve ball.

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Sometimes your Home Water surprises you with a late breaking curve ball.

Last weekend I snuck away for the quintessential October evening of fishing. Everything was just right.

The Great Miami River was low and clear, a rarity I cherish. The air was cool and dry. The sun was setting. The breeze was moving enough to rustle the drying yellow leaves but not blowing enough to warrant a wind breaker. It was one of those days.

The fishing was understandably slow due to the low and gin clear conditions. The water was also unseasonably cool which  made the smallmouth a little more hesitant. So I wasn’t expecting to knock anything out of the park, a nice single into right field would be fine.

I waded to some known sections and felt not a nibble.

I noticed that one particular pool, one usually fairly difficult to access because of swift currents and wading obstacles, was fishable.

Some teenagers had just finished wading through it in blue jeans. There were four of them, two guys and two girls. The one couple waded through piggy back style, the guy acting as horse. The other couple waded separately. The young girl opting for the ankle deep riffle below the bridge run. Her blue jeans darkened in the water and she sreiked and giggle as she slowly made her way across. When they re-united onshore there was some hugging and horse play under the bridge. Then they left and headed for home, across the bridge.

As they were watching me cast and walking back across the bridge a fish hit my little black wooly bugger. They watched as I hand lined it in and pointed at me from the bridge. No doubt saying something along the lines of , “oh look he got one.”

It was an average fish. I snapped a couple photos and let it slip back into the current seam.

I fished on to no avail but plenty of enjoyment at just being there on an October evening, enjoying the weather.

I got home transferred the pics from my camera over to my computer and  was shocked! That was not an average SMALLMOUTH! It was a Largemouth, from a spot that shouldn’t have ANY Largemouth in it. Fast current cold water temps — not what you would think of as typical Largemouth territory, but there it was, a beautiful little Largemouth.

It was the perfect  late breaking curve ball that I hit into right field for a single on an October afternoon.

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