Monopolies are no bueno. Parker Brothers taught us this a long time ago with the board game.
We all know that by the end of a game of Monopoly – once all the power has been consolidated in the winners hands – Mom and Dad aren’t talking, Uncle Jim is no longer welcome at the house, and the kids are rolling around on the ground scratching each others eyes out.
It never fails, consolidation of Boardwalk and Park Place in the hands of the thimble leads to decisions made for the benefit of the few and a mass unrest for those on the losing end. And the board game is a decent corollary for the real world.
Yet, some how the masses tend to miss the formation of real monopolies…or more likely, fooled into missing the real monopolies.
Check out the below “Illusion of Choice” infographic.
6 major companies dictate about 90% of the media we have access to.
In less than 30 years the number of companies providing our media has dropped from 50 to just 6.
The six companies consisting of GE, New-corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS.
57,000 page tax return and paid the big donut on $14 billion in profits.
The Illusion of Choice
So, this leads me to my main point. Blogging is more important than ever. Mass media may be monopolized and homogenized, but the interwebs is wide open.
Turn off the TV, stop reading mainstream media, and open your eyes to the rich information on the intertubes.
I’m a blogger, so I’ll admit I’m a bit biased, but I am amazed at the quality and quantity of independent media at our finger tips. Far more than we can keep up with, but choose your interests and pursue with vigor.
Let The Man have the monopolized media. The people have each other.
Quick tip: Between work and home, I currently follow 316 blogs. Crazy, right? How do I keep up? It’s pretty easy…and fun because it’s information I’m into.
Get a Google Reader account – this allows you to consolidate all of your blogs in one spot. With the magic of RSS feeds, there’s no need to go out and look for new posts
Setup an IGoogle page with Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, weather, a surf report – anything you look at on a regular basis – and make this your homepage. Every time you get on your computer, you’ll see new blog posts that you dig.
Don’t get caught up in reading every post. Scan headlines, and only dig into posts that catch your attention.
To take it to the mobile level, you can get apps for your smart phones and tablets that give you the ability to check your Google Reader – I use “MobileRSS” for my IPhone and “Feedler” for my IPad.
As an example, here’s a look at my IGoogle homepage…
“There’s something sacred about reading a blog post on someone else’s site. It’s like visiting a friend’s house for a quick meal ’round the breakfast table. It’s personal — you’re in their space, and the environment is uniquely suited for idea exchange and uninterrupted conversation. In many ways, we should be treating our blogs like our breakfast tables. Be welcoming & gracious when you host, and kind & respectful when visiting.” – Trent Walton (Gracias SwissMiss)
A breakfast table. A fantastic way to describe a blog. Relaxed. But open. A great environment for sharing ideas. But also an opportunity to practice our manners.
Welcome to the Dude’s breakfast table. Happy to have you.
I had no idea who this Trent Walton dude was before reading this quote; so as we all do these days, I hit Google. Turns out he is pretty rad. I don’t know much beyond he’s a web designer who lives in Texas and digs farming, but he has a blog, and the most recent post that I read sold me immediately.
“Into the Woods” is a great short story with a strong lesson at the end. Explore new paths. be daring. Embrace the play of childhood. Very Dude-like.
Looking forward to visiting your breakfast table Trent.
Here’s a tip o’ the hat to a new blog resource here on the Dude; Zen Habits.
This dude Leo Babauta has built a blog empire in a short few years. 240,000 subscribed followers! Dang!
He’s done an amazing job of leveraging the power of a blog to build himself a nice writing career. Yes, blogging is now a career path…if you can do it right. And Leo has.
If you haven’t checked out ZenHabits.net, it’s worth a visit. I snag some good info from there from time to time. More originals than curration, and as the name indicates the topics tend to be focused on life skills built on simplicity – a Zen-like mentality.
The blog is groovy, but what I find most amazing about Leo is that he has six kids. Yes, 6 kids! That’s a full-time job in itself.
So when I saw his recent post “The Way of the Peaceful Parent,” I was immediately intrigued. I like to think the Dude’s parenting philosophies fit nicely into the peaceful parenting mold, but I needed to see what a dude with 6 kids had to say about it.
And I was not disappointed. Leo made some great points. So I figured I’d cherry-pick some of the steps on the Peaceful Parent path that fit nicely into the Dude’s world. Here’s a good start to a loose definition of the Dude’s Way of the Peaceful Parent – courtesy of Zen Habits…with some added commentary from the Dude. 🙂
Greet your child each morning with a smile, a hug, and a loving Good Morning!
Dude: Not always easy if you don’t consider yourself a “morning person” – whatever that means – but this is a MUST. We all deserve to get our day off on the right foot.
Read to them often. It’s a wonderful way to bond, to educate, to explore imaginary worlds.
Dude: It’s easy to find reasons not to. We’re all busy. But the end result is awesome. Quiet hugs while we build imagination and precious reading habits. Well worth the effort.
Build forts with them. Play hide and seek. Shoot each other with Nerf dart guns. Have tea together. Squeeze lemons and make lemonade. Play, often, as play is the essence of childhood.
Dude: I’d take this a step further. Play is the essence of life, not just childhood. We all need to play. Free the kiddos, and ourselves, for as much play as possible.
When your child asks for your attention, grant it.
Dude: Definitely. Kids need our attention. Parent’s attention will build confidence and develop a strong loving bond. Lavish the kids with attention. At some point, they will stop looking for attention, and hearts will break.
Model the behavior you want your child to learn. Be calm, smile, be kind, go outdoors and be active.
Dude: Heck yeah. The kids will become what they see everyday. And parents are what they see. Be the person you want your kids to be. Easier said than done, but a must. “Be calm, smile, be kind, go outdoors and be active.” Perfect.
Remember that your child is a gift. She won’t be a child for long, and so your time with her is fleeting. Every moment you can spend with her is a miracle, and you should savor it. Enjoy it to the fullest, and be grateful for that moment.
Let your child share your interests. Bake cookies together. Sew together. Exercise together. Read together. Work on a website together. Write a blog together.
Dude: Little helpers are awesome, and we’re building skills along the way.
Patiently teach your child the boundaries of behavior. There should be boundaries — what’s acceptable and what’s not. [H]ave patience, but set the boundaries. Within those boundaries, allow lots of freedom.
Dude: Modeling behavior is a great way to instill boundaries naturally, but inevitably, there are times when we will need to say “no.” Set boundaries and keep moving.
Sing and dance together.
Dude: Life is short. Have fun. And make sure the kids are having fun.
Take every opportunity to teach kindness and love. It’s the best lesson.
Kiss your child goodnight. And give thanks for another amazing day with your beautiful, unique, crazy child.
Dude: Amen. Start the day with a kiss and an “I love you,” and end it the same way. The world may seem crazy, but we are amazingly lucky to be where we are and have the gifts that we have. Have gratitude.
As I’v mentioned, the Dude is a big fan of blogging…in case you couldn’t tell by the blog that I update on a regular basis. I’m all for supporting a good blog.
I’ve recently noticed a trend in blogging for a blog to pick a very narrow topic and then get readers to add content. It’s a great way to create user generated content around a highly focused idea. I love it. I haven’t thought of a great idea for one yet, but here’s a fantastic example: Draw Happy.
The author was particularly interested in what makes us happy…great topic! In an effort to gather some happiness research, she asked people to draw what makes them happy, and the blog is the chronicle of these drawings.
Sweet idea, right?
Here’s how the “About” section explains it:
“In asking people, locals and tourists alike, what made them happy, I realized that one of the most universal and clearest ways to record their responses was to ask them to draw what made them happy. Drawing is one of the earliest skills we learn; its basic elements are comprehensible to people of all ages, cultures and nations.”
Do you remember the Public Service Announcements from the 80’s?! They were awesome!
Instead of a commercial for some sort of toy we didn’t need, our favorite cartoons (which if watched now are totally hilarious in their own right – Snorks?!) were sometimes randomly broken up by amazingly awesome announcements that the public must absolutely be aware of. Messages like cheese is a great snack, turn pot handles in on the stove, and my all-time favorite, school lunch is good.
The entire 80’s scene is priceless. Cheesy cheesiness played out to bad music.
I still find myself “hankering for a hunk-a. Slab-a slice-a, chunk-a.” And singing “Pizza! Spaghetti! Burgers!” from time to time. Oh, Chow Daddy.
Who woulda thunk PSA’s would have such a lasting effect? Where did they go? I miss you awesome PSA’s.
This PSA won’t carry that same 80’s super radness, but it must be shared.
Are you aware the blog is dieing? The blog, as a category of writing/communication, has entered its death spiral. And Facebook and Twitter are to blame (don’t forget to follow those links to my pages – wink, wink).
Yeah, not really. Blogs probably aren’t dead. But I did read a story on Newser today – I look for my news in no more than two paragraphs – that said the number of new blogs is on the decline due to new technologies/websites like Facebook and Twitter.
I don’t think we’re headed towards the death of the blog, but I do think great blogs need support. I love blogs as a form of communication. Blogs give the ability of mass communication to everyone. They give power to the little guy. And that’s a good thing.
I learn much more from the blogs I follow than I ever have from the depressing news that pours from our tv’s. And the ideas I’m reading about our topics I’m deeply interested in. Good blogs are worth supporting.
So, as my public service announcement, I would like to introduce you to two new blogs that were born last night. I didn’t ask for permission from these blogs, but I figure there are times in life when you need to head out on the ledge and take a chance…so I guess I’ll give a little push onto the ledge.
Wikipedia: A playoff beard is the practice of a National Hockey League player not shaving one’s beard during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The player stops shaving when his team enters the playoffs and does not shave until his team is eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup.
NHL hockey players seem like a good model to follow; especially for a father figure…no? And, Mrs. Dude is a believer in the power of facial hair.
We are 38 weeks today. Playoffs started last week when we hit full term at 37 weeks, and thus, the “baby beard” also began last week. Mine is more of a modified “chin strap” than a full beard. I rocked the full beard during the winter (i.e. my “winter beard”), so I’m going with the summer chin strap modification to keep my head in the game and my facial hair fresh; as any great dad would do.
Pregnancy confirmed – check
Baby growth on pace – check
Baby boy! – check
Name picked – check (Little Dude…named after Dad!)
New floors for Little Dude’s room – check
Baby classes – check
Crib – check
Baby shower – check
Mrs. Dude’s belly stretched beyond what seems humanly possible – check
Mrs. Dude completely uncomfortable – check
A pillow tower carefully crafted in the bed to create enough comfort for limited sleep between trips to the bathroom – check