Getting to the Point | The Exkalibur Newsletter | May 12, 2017

This week, we’ll start Getting to the Point by identifying the elephant that isn’t in the room and asking the timeless question, For Whom the Bell Tolls, in our Around the Web segment. There, you’ll also learn the hidden benefit of being rich and how soon to expect aliens to visit your neighborhood.

Facebook and Google now dominate more than 90% of the digital ad space, heralding a duopoly of unprecedented strength that will forever change the world of advertising. When you visit the Business Brief, you’ll also learn about how to think ~~outside~~ without a box, why the garbage will keep piling up and see how many bad decisions you can make in a day.

In the entertainment world, you will find a adrenaline-filled movie set as a political thriller entered around Beltway lobbyists. You’ll also read about a mind-stressing TV series and the latest book in the “memory man” series from David Baldacci. 

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I Woke Up Still Not Dead Again Today

Listen to this comical song from Willie Nelson, who dedicated it on his recent 84th birthday.

There are days when we all feel like this, aren’t there?

I woke up still not dead again today

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On several occasions, we’ve talked about the Resistance … that ineffable force that gets in the way of what we’re trying to do. The Resistance offers any number of excuses we can choose from for failing to get things done, and works tirelessly to throw us off our chosen path.

In There’s Only One Reason You Keep Making the Same Mistakes. Repeatedly, I describe the common thread among all of the mistakes we make that allows the Resistance to creep into our lives and do everything possible to stake out a permanent residence.

We need a mindset that recognizes the Resistance is lurking about, trying desperately to scuttle our plans … and avoid our first temptation to lay the blame somewhere other than at our own feet.

If you stay strong and focus on this single theme, you’ll Become a More Effective Leader and be a Leader Worth Following.

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I’ve Been Rich. I’ve Been Poor. But I’d Rather Be Rich

Rich Americans live up to 15 years longer than poor peers, studies find.

Another Sign of the Apocalypse?

Since 1884, Ringling Bros. has been bringing the circus to town. But the curtain finally comes down in a few weeks on the Greatest Show on Earth.

Their big top seated 12,000 people and it was a fun and unique experience I remember well when the circus came to town. Alas, when the elephants left the room in May, 2016, following pressure for animal rights activists, ticket sales fell like a rock and signaled the end.

Ask NOT For Whom the Bell Tolls. It Tolls for Thee.

Also closing is the Whitechapel Bell Co, the oldest company in England.

After over 600 years, with bells installed in Big Ben and Westminster Abbey in London, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., and the iron from its grandfather bell used in the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the age of the bells is coming to an end.

We no longer required the toll of the bells to herald a coming event, to serve as a warning for impending disaster or for other notifications. Smartphones and the Internet serve that purpose now.

Hello? Earth to Aliens. Come In, Please

Did you know that 56% of Americans believe there is intelligent life on other planets … and at least 19% think they will have contact with them during their lifetime.

I’m not sure about in my lifetime, but considering the unfathomable size of the universe, it stands to reason we ain’t the only folks around.

You guys can come out now.

Drugged Driving Surpasses Drunk Driving Among Crash Victims

“Driving while on drugs was associated with more deaths in 2015 than driving with alcohol in one’s system, a new report found.”

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Facebook and Google Own 90%+ of the Digital Ad Market

The digital ad market in the U.S. grew 20% last year to $72.5 billion, and almost 90% of that growth was accounted for by two firms—Google and Facebook.

However, Pivotal Research said that, if anything, they understate the actual dominance of the duopoly. Analyst Brian Wieser argued that they accounted for 99% of all of last year’s growth.

How About Thinking Outside Without a Box?

Here are 4 suggestions you can use right now to get started thinking without a box.

Garbage In. Garbage Out. Garbage Everywhere?

We’ve got a growing garbage problem which promises to get worse as the recycling industry struggles:

  • Average market value of a ton of mixed recyclable material has dropped from $180 in 2011 to <$80 at the end of 2015.
  • Low oil prices make it cheaper to make new plastic bottles.
  • Print newspaper decline results in lower demand for reclaimed paper fiber.
  • … and the list goes on ….

See If You Can Get Through The Day By Making As Many Bad Decisions As Possible

Take this quiz and see if you’re really capable of making a full day of bad decisions.

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American Gods is Pushing the Envelope

I love Ian McShane, and with all the hype, I had to watch Episode 1 of the new series on the STARZ channel, American Gods.

Anybody care to tell me what the hell is going on here?

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Miss Sloane REALLY is a Piece of Work

During my recent travels, I had a chance to watch Miss Sloane, a political tour-de-force that puts Jessica Chastain front and center in the starring role.

“In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. But when taking on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds winning may come at too high a price.”

“Miss Sloane sits squarely on the shoulder’s of Jessica Chastain’s performance – and she responds with awards-worthy work that single-handedly elevates the film.”

It got many good reviews and ratings, but its poor box office performance was reportedly celebrated by the NRA, who Miss Sloane takes on with great fanfare.

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The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby got off the post last Saturday. It’s the oldest sporting event in America, and most stunning to me is the 147 acres at Churchill Downs, the Louisville, KY home of the Derby, large enough to hold 110 football fields.

At one time, the three most popular sports in America were baseball, boxing and horse racing. Each sport has had a steady erosion of interest. For horse racing, the beginning of the end started with state lotteries. American horse racing isn’t dead – but it’s getting awfully close

The fact is, life changes, and what was highly popular in 1950 is not as popular now- 66 years later.

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The Fix by David Baldacci (Amos Decker Series #3)

Amos Decker is an interesting character. He’s a former professional football player who was violently hit on his first play resulting in severe injuries and changes to his brain. Using his newly acquired mental abilities (Synesthesia and Hyperthymesia, which gives him total memory recall), he becomes first a police officer and later an extraordinary detective who – because of his life-changing injury – remembers everything, including painful things he would give anything to forget.

In this 3rd book in the series, Amos Decker witnesses a murder just outside FBI headquarters. A man shoots a woman execution-style on a crowded sidewalk, then turns the gun on himself. Decker and his team can find absolutely no connection between the shooter–a family man with a successful consulting business–and his victim, a schoolteacher. Nor is there a hint of any possible motive for the attack.

A very unique character indeed. As I always, I suggest you start with the first book in the series, Memory Man.

David Baldacci published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 33 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide.

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