Saturday, December 31, 2011

Things I Learned (Again) in 2011

Posted By on Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 8:44 AM

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The novelist Philip Roth was right. Old age is not a battle, it’s a massacre. Caring for aging parents or visiting a nursing home will convince you.

Parenting never ends. Especially when employer-provided health insurance is scarce.

Teaching in public schools has gotten harder because of all the attention. A lot of the help isn’t helping.

Millions of human roaches are trying to hack your computer, email, and online information every minute. The question is not if but when one of them will succeed.

Don’t divulge any more personal information to anyone than you have to.

Good Mexican restaurants are plentiful and cheap in Memphis.

People with mechanical, carpentry, or house-painting skills will be fine in the new economy.

College liberal arts degrees are overpriced if the measure is landing a job in a lasting career.

If you eat real food you lose weight. Even if you only do it two or three days a week. Shop the perimeter of the grocery stores.

A package of 100 cable channels is worse than ten channels. If only we could pay only for the channels we want. The cable creed is “Do not let customers do this.”

If you insist on lending a book to someone “that you simply must read” you should not expect to get it back.

There is no celebrity too old, over the hill, obnoxious or dead that someone doesn’t believe that what America needs is a book about them. See the new releases at the library and the rekindling of “the enduring mystery of the death of Natalie Wood” in 1981.

Hit overheads hard. Don’t short-arm them or let them drop.

The preservationists were right about the CVS drug store on Union and the compromisers, including me, were wrong.

College football is indestructible. Scandals, soaring salaries, the glut of bowl games, coaching changes, 1-11 seasons, no playoffs, tiny crowds, nothing can kill it.

Patagonia shoes are also indestructible, but in a good way, and really comfortable.

Online bill payments with automatic renewal are an overcharge waiting to happen. A customer service call to Bangalore is a threat to your domestic tranquility, sanity, and the structural integrity of your calling devices.

Those who have been saying illegitimacy is our biggest social problem, most recently outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, are right.

Bike riders have their own brand of road rage.

Really good neighborhoods get better in hard times. So do good schools because there is a flight to stability and quality.

Mega-churches may be the most important social glue in Greater Memphis.

Privacy will be The Next Big Thing because there are so many intrusions on it, from the Internet to airport pat-downs.

Learning is not the same as retaining.

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