4.25.2023 – can miss, ride the wave

you can miss the wave,
ride or be crushed by the wave …
a matter of tide

Not another seaside inspired haiku.


I was picking my way through the pieces of the FOX News coverage and in the story, The Tragedy of Fox News (NYT 4/25/2023) by Bret Stephens, I loved this paragraph where Mr. Stephens wrote:

“All this makes Fox’s business challenge approximately the same as for the surfers at the Portuguese beach at Nazaré: miss the wave, ride the wave or be crushed by the wave. For Fox, riding the wave will no longer come easy: Angry populism is a force that can only be stoked, never assuaged.

Not that I cared that much about FOX but I loved the line, miss the wave, ride the wave or be crushed by the wave and having moved to the Atlantic Coast, I am much more aware of how waves are influenced by the tide that comes in and out two times day since time began.

Talk about a new tide sweeps clean, the beaches here are power washed twice a day leaving behind an untouched canvas for thoughts, ideas and beach chairs.

And I was reminded of my brush with Rupert Murdoch.

I got my start in Web Work when I was hired to be the ‘Corporate Librarian’ at Zondervan Publishing House in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Zondervan was known, then and now, as the publisher of the New International Version of the Holy Bible or NIV.

Through the office of Corporate Librarian, I kinda of ran wild over Zondervan.

They had no real plan for the position and I had no real plan of what to do.

I was included in Human Resources and had easy access to the Vice President of HR and once hired, I kept pestering the VP as to what they wanted me to do as Corporate Librarian.

Out of frustration with my pestering that VP looked at me and said, “Mike, your role is to foster reading throughout the company.”

I went back to my office and puzzled about this for a day.

What did it mean?

Foster reading throughout the company.

Then I thought, what doesn’t it mean!

And I drove a truck a through it!

After that, anything I did, I justified by saying, I am fostering reading throughout the company.

And it worked, oh boy let me tell you.

I got away with murder.

I had a room for the corporate library.

I had no furniture.

I knew the Cascade Township Library, where I had been working, was being refurbished and I offered them a deal that they could come to Zondervan and select as many books as they wanted in exchanged for their old library tables.

When Zondervan folks asked how I made the deal, I said I was just fostering reading throughout the company.

Also as Corporate Liberian, I did research for anyone who had a question about anything or fact checked any fact that needed checking.

To do this, I needed access to that new World Wide Web.

It was little known at the time and even to this day, that Zondervan is owned by Harper Collins in New York.

Harper Collins is owned by News Corp.

That’s right.

The feller who runs Fox News and owns Bart Simpson also publishes the NIV Bible.

And at the time I was at Zondervan, News Corp. also had an online service provider.

This company was known as Delphi and it was Rupert Murdoch’s big plan to be THE (read out loud as THEE) Internet Service Provider to the world.

If you worked for Zondervan and needed to be online, you got a Delphi Account.

I would get to my desk, turn on my computer, connect my modem and DIAL INTO the Delphi Network and after some sqawks and squeals and I would be online.

I was online so much that when it came time to create a Zondervan Website, the committee in charge decided that I should be a part of that team.

After the first meeting I had with the team, I found that all the other team members would be very happy if I took over the web effort and they would not have to worry about this latest ‘fad’.

It wasn’t so much that I took over as that they asked for a volunteer to be webmaster and I raised my hand to ask, “What did you say?”

Now 30 later, I am a webmaster dinosaur.

One of those people with 30 years experience in web design but no college degree in HTML.

There was no HTML when I was in college.

I have to say there is a certain je ne sais quoi to the quality of one’s web coding when one learned to code and create websites when 20k was the considered HUGE for an online image.

But back to Mr. Murdoch.

As I said, Mr. Murdoch had visions of Delphi being the largest internet service provider in the world.

Ol’ Rupert was going to ‘OWN’ the World Wide Web.

According to legend, Rupert came into work and asked for the Delphi balance sheet and then asked when could he expect his number of users to match, then pass, AOL.

Back then there were still people who dared to tell Rupert about reality land.

And someone told Rupert that not only would Delphi never pass, let alone catch AOL, Delphi was not even playing in the same league as AOL.

Rupert listened to this report, looked at the balance sheet and then said, “Shut it down.”

In 2 weeks Delphi ceased to exist.

And I got Microsoft Internet Explorer added to my computer for the first time.

Miss the wave, ride the wave or be crushed by the wave.

It is just a matter of tide.

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