Zooming in Different Worlds

By Lloyd Graff

I feel like I am living in several different worlds. 

During the day I am a business guy, trying to put together the diverse strings of commerce around the country and the world, culminating in a buy and a sell with a margin of profit for my company built into it. The outside world keeps telling me that there isn’t anything but scraps to be had, but I am finding a lot of opportunities when I contact the smart small and medium-sized business owners who are sniffing for opportunity at the moment. It really is quite refreshing to connect with these aggressively optimistic folk who ignore the gloom of the TV and radio blabs. I feed on their energy and they seem to enjoy mine.

As the late dusk sinks in, I turn on the news shows, which at the moment are immersed in pictures of broken windows, strewn Nikes, and stray flat screen TV boxes thought to symbolize the moment. It is demoralizing and scary journalism with no depth of understanding, just an abject play for ratings and a rising fear quotient. It affects me, even though I know it is a transient flicker of pain in 2020. The race riots have replaced COVID-19 this week as the story of the moment.

COVID is a lingering story of government mismanagement framed by the paranoid thirst of the press. It is an extremely costly one, but the threads of fear have a vibrancy for me in the death numbers of older, sicker people which comprise 80% of the dead.

Then I check stock prices and oil prices before I go to bed. Stocks are near their record highs. The NASDAQ, which has younger firms, is 3% below its all-time high. If I am looking for an indicator of optimism in America and investors from around the world, this is where I look for it.

I also take my assortment of medicines at night, which include a statin for cholesterol, a refined fish oil for all around cardiovascular health, and a Bystolic, which is an amazing beta blocker that controls high blood pressure. The negativists who see the world in decline don’t understand that people like me would never be alive at 75 after a heart attack 12 years ago. Folks living in the good old days of 1962 never would have recovered from blocked arteries like mine and their kids might well be in Iron Lungs with polio. 

We are likely to have a COVID-19 vaccine that actually works by the end of the year.  We now have a useful treatment for the illness, which will be augmented shortly. 

Not to be ignored is the rapid adoption of Zoom to connect people. My wife Risa uses it every day. I get to see my grandkids more often than I ever did before. Some young entrepreneurs infiltrated the market with a better product and took a dominant position in person to person TV while the giants, Google, Microsoft, and Cisco, slept. Now they are hopelessly behind.

The SpaceX Dragon 2

Before I go to sleep at night, I like to imagine the possibility of Zoom connecting the world with American astronauts zooming up to the International Space Station in Elon Musk’s rocket taxi. Yet the image of a brick smashing a Macy’s window plunders my calm. 

It’s June 2020. My life is good except when the noise of the day interrupts my joy of being alive.

Question: Do you still listen to the news?

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8 thoughts on “Zooming in Different Worlds

  1. Davina

    I avoid the doom and gloom of mainstream media. I’m aware of the current events, I just have chosen not to dwell on them. I’m going to live my life, without fear.

  2. Dan Ewing

    Of course I still watch the mainstream media. Where else can I relive the 60’s with Space exploration on one channel, protests and chaos on the next, and a completely different perspective on another.
    Of course 2020 will go down as one of the worst years in history, but we’ve been there before and survived.
    Take your pick, but it’s all there live and in color. Decide for yourself what is valid or important but just don’t stick your head in the ground and pretend it’s not all happening.

  3. DRB

    Ha yes. The all fake news media. Bought and paid for by the far left trying to control the outcome of this government any way the can. Minions for the progressive socialist.

  4. Jim

    I much prefer to READ the news than to watch it, listen to it, or, God forbid, get it from social media. Most newspapers and news magazines have a long history of doing excellent reporting based on sound research. Besides, the inherent time delay involved in print media allows time for more facets of the story to come to light than the “right now” of broadcast media. Papers typically do followup stories as new information comes to light. The broadcasters hardly ever bother unless the new news has as much flash as the original story. Broadcast simply does not have time to tell the full story, and their money comes from entertainment, not news. I am fortunate to have been a daily subscriber to the Omaha World Herald for 50 years, and have found them to be relentless in seeking truth. Even in their opinion pages and letters from subscribers they typically strike an equal balance from both sides of a subject. Lloyd, my best advice for you maintain your mental heath is to turn off the damned TV when the news comes on and to subscribe to a good quality newspaper.

  5. Lee Swanson

    I find it hard to watch the cable outlets or the broadcast networks for news. There is so much out right lying going on, that it’s hard to trust anything they say. My most peaceful times are when I can just take my walks in the country with my dog after a day at work, with no noise but the wind. Our media is so one sided and corrupt, that they have no integrity what so ever. Pretty sad actually.

  6. Seth Emerson

    The TV News conundrum goes back a long way. TV News reporting used to be a way of paying back the public for the right to use the public bandwidth for commercial purposes. (Public Service) The news divisions were budgeted as a “cost of doing business”, not as a profit center, and they were virtually un-molested by the network brass. There were station ownership regulations based on limits in any particular media markets. There was something called the “Fairness Doctrine”, which required, to a point, alternative viewpoints – when issues were addressed. The Networks cared about viewership of the News Broadcasts, but more for bragging rights, than the high dollar sponsorship. As the cost of providing regular evening programming kept rising (think “Cheers” or “Friends” salaries), the networks went looking for low cost programming where they could control the costs, and still sell high-dollar ads. Once CNN got involved, the Networks responded in a couple of ways. They gutted their costly news gathering organizations – both world-wide and nation-wide – And they expanded their low-cost studio-based news programming, advertising the ratings to bring in higher-dollar sponsorship, to cover their other costs. Now, can you grab those ratings with methodical, in-depth, reporting of serious issues? Well, no. At least not to the majority of current US TV viewers, it seems. “If it bleeds, it leads!” And “Stay tuned, this new thing could kill you!” are the mantras of both local and national commercial news. I still read a daily newspaper – daily – and, when I can, watch the PBS news hour. It has more in-depth coverage on each subject. Yeah it might lean a bit liberal in its questioning. But I can recognize it when it happens. I don’t need to watch Fox News because many of my friends (from both extremes) message me in outrage over what they see on there. I tend to reserve my outrage for mis-use of the air-waves based on broad ownership of stations. (Yeah, I am talking about Sinclair Broadcasting! That will scare you, look it up.)

  7. Lloyd Graff

    Probably my biggest disappointment is NPR. I go back 40 years to Bob Edwards and Robert Siegel, and Susan Stamberg all of whom were down the middle news people. Over time many outstanding journalists have graced public radio, but in the last few years It has become blatantly left wing and hateful. I have tried to complain in letters and calls and everything is ignored, so now I ignore them. Local news is still OK, but national is just appalling now.
    The Chicago Tribune has lost its way also and without an interesting sports page now, I largely ignore it.
    The Wall Street Journal is still a superb news source, but their New York centric coverage of Covid 19 has distorted this crucial area.
    The New York Times is no longer even worthy of mention. It is so distorted it might as well be the Trump Hatred Gazette.

    1. Seth Emerson

      Lloyd – It is possible that all those news sources have moved left. . . . OR . . .


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