Friday Four

Friday, August 21, 2015

1. My two-year old son just about cracks me up any time he is displeased with me these days. He furrows his brow, starts shouting, and, after pointing at me, waves his finger back and forth at me. I try my best to keep a straight face.

I call it, "the finger of shame."

2. Remember the outcry a few years ago when Mitt Romney brought up the idea of defunding PBS? Well, apparently Sesame Street is voting with its feet for the idea:

[N]ow Sesame Street has decided to wean itself off government subsidies, striking a deal with HBO to breathe new life into the 40-something-year-old program. In fact, HBO plans to produce nearly twice as many episodes and a new spinoff series that will run on its cable channel and its streaming platforms. [format edits]
This is despite the fact that we continue throwing about half a billion dollars at PBS each year. So, on top of our pockets being picked to support PBS, the money isn't even being used very effectively.

3. Tenured professor Matt Might, in "HOWTO: Get Tenure," writes clearly and powerfully about how hardship, a commitment to excellence, and love led to an incredible string of successes and, yes, led to his being granted academic tenure. I excerpt the reply to his post from the student whose question -- doubtless prompted by some common, very cynical advice -- he answered:
Thank you for answering the question in a non-sanctimonious tone and for not implying that I'm somehow in the wrong for wanting a healthy child.

Your success is amazing and seemingly well-deserved, and your answer has given me a new and valuable perspective. I am grateful to you for that.
Whatever career goals you might have, today's conventional wisdom is that your choice is to pursue those goals to the near-exclusion of anything else you might care about -- or fail. I thank Matt Might for showing us that this isn't the case. His story and his tribute to his wife are inspirational.

4. From a recent column in which John Stossel praised entrepreneurial "rule breakers:"
One of this year's Rule Breaker Award recipients is Alex Esposito, whose Free Ride shuttle service offers exactly that -- free rides in New York State, Florida, San Diego and elsewhere, made possible by the low operating cost of Esposito's little electric buses and by local businesses advertising on the vehicles.

I assumed offering free rides would not be a sustainable business, but I guess I just think in conventional terms. Apparently, the opportunity to advertise makes all sorts of neat services profitable -- including TV, of course.
Stossel also tells an incredible story about a Brazilian CEO who even did away with a mountain of rules I'm not sure I would have ever touched.

-- CAV

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