Bob Schwartz

Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck - Time OutJazz legend Dave Brubeck is dead at the age of 91.

There is going to be a lot written, but with musicians, the best way to remember or learn is to listen. There’s plenty of Brubeck on YouTube and elsewhere. Here’s Take Five, from the Time Out album.

Right now, the VEVO Hot This Week includes a Justin Bieber song (100,701,925 views), P!nk (27,490,445) and Lana Del Rey (14,931,653). These are talented musicians, and even with the added attention that comes with passing, Brubeck is unlikely to hit numbers like that.

Take Five, one of the most recognizable jazz recordings ever, was written by Dave Brubeck Quartet saxophonist Paul Desmond and recorded in 1959. It’s still hypnotically appealing and head-noddlingly cool today. Time will tell which of the Bieber, P!nk or Del Rey records are listened to, let alone remembered, in 53 years.

In the meantime…

Dadadadada dada da da, dada da da…

Citizens United Lives: Money Will Still Buy Elections

Thomas Nast
In the aftermath of the election, a certain joyous complacency has set in regarding Citizens United and the impact of Big Money on the electoral process. A derisive attitude of “epic fail” has attached to Sheldon Adelson, Karl Rove and all the others who seemingly wasted their billions (or other people’s billions) on influencing the results. Some have wondered out loud about how much real good those billions would have done for a country and world in need.

In fact, the money was merely mismanaged, channeled into outdated and ineffective strategies, and thereby wasted. But that will not last. There are plenty of talented operatives and strategists out there, even now working on better ways to address electoral problems using modern means. Yes, they are outnumbered by old school consultants relying on some combination of charm, reputation and useless technique, but like the blind squirrels, even Big Money will find the acorns sometimes.

And when the billionaires do find the operatives working on the cutting edge of 21st century electoral influence, what many feared would happen in the 2012 election—but didn’t—will eventually happen. Elections will be bought, even on behalf of those candidates who appear to some as unqualified and even clownish.

It’s time to stop laughing at Karl Rove’s misfortunes and start doubling up on the efforts to neutralize the impact of Citizens United. Proposals are out there, ranging from enhanced disclosure to a constitutional amendment. Whatever the approach, pursue it now. It’s the only way to avoid the Wednesday morning in November we didn’t have, the one where we wake up shaking our heads and asking: How in the world did that happen?

I Did Not Know That

Rabindranath Tagore
The Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “If you shut the door to all errors, truth will be shut out.”

There is a corollary: If you think you know it all, truth will be shut out.

Smart people are busy people. They gather knowledge for a lot of reasons—to help complete projects they are working on, to help solve puzzles that perplex them, or sometimes, simply because they are curious and interested in people and the world. But busyness demands a sort of instant knowledge filtering, where information is quickly classified as something not helpful or, frequently, something already known.

That last one is a funny thing. It may seem that what you hear or read is knowledge you already have, and easy to dismiss. But maybe there’s a small spin, a tiny different take, a detail that sheds surprising light on something you thought you knew. No matter how smart you are—or think you are—it can happen.

That’s why, as far as practical, one of the more enlightening ways to go about is ignorant, assuming you know little or nothing. Of course you know things, some very complex things, and that helps you get through your days and your life. You want to build on your knowledge base, and with limited time, you can’t spend it hearing about what you already know.

And yet…that person or thought you are tuning out, because it is something you think you already know, something you can’t waste your valuable time hearing, might be just the thing to advance your work, to solve that puzzle. Think about it. All you had to believe and say is this: I did not know that.