Jan 4, 2021

Not-as-Crappy New Year!

Some real stuff coming our way

By Ed Goldman
I wish you and yours a Not-as-Crappy New Year! Yes, 2020 is gone! Like the embarrassing acne of youth, Gallagher performances and the devastating flatulence of Rudolph William Louis Giuliani, some effects will linger but the worst may be over.

What are some of the uplifting developments awaiting us?

√ True story: Elon Musk, who made the name Tesla more famous than Tesla did, thinks an MBA may not be worth the 92-pound parchment it’s printed on. In a Zoom talk in which he looked like Jerry Mathers as The Beaver after a few hard nights with his pals Whitey and Larry, Musk pretty much dissed MBA holders as lacking the creative cojones to launch a space ship (as Musk has) and watch it explode on landing (as Musk’s did last month).

Leave It To Elon

The good news is that Elon has left the building:  After not getting his way to keep his Fremont plant running during a state pandemic shutdown, he’s decamped from California to Texas, a place where he can drive for days on end and still not leave his ego.

√  True story: Oil companies are thinking the waste from slaughterhouses may provide an entire new source of energy. Telling you this as you nurse your hangovers from last night makes me feel just offal.

√  True story: These same oil companies think the oily runoff from fast foods may also offer money-saving alternative-energy sources. It’s one of those times you may prefer to have been born with a greasy spoon rather than a silver one. 

√  True story: Forecasters always predict it will be hot in Sacramento. But this time they’re predicting it’ll start in January, they don’t mean the climate and they’re not weathercasters. It’s all about the real estate market.

According to realtor.com, as reported by Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee, “The Sacramento metropolitan area will be the hottest home-selling market in the country in 2021.” The story says that the boom’s “expected to be fueled by a continued migration of residents from the higher-priced Bay Area to the capital city region, where house prices are more moderate.” 

Besides the prices, one of the factors in the equation is that people working remotely in the Bay Area are starting to see they can be just as remote in Sacramento but pay far less for the home in which they’ll be doing so.

For readers of this column in states other than California, please remember that even though Sacramento home prices are lower than those in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, your own state’s home prices are still likely lower than those in Sacramento (with the probable exception of our Manhattan subscribers). For example, if your company is based in San Jose—the second hottest home-sales market featured in the article—rest assured you can be just as remote in a much less expensive, probably larger home in, say, Traverse City, Michigan, which sells itself as “a four-season playground for anyone who loves the Great Outdoors.”

√ True story: Last month, what one might call the shot heard ‘round the world was administered to a Caucasian British lady who’s 90 years old. If she were to represent the start of a trend, I could understand some grousing about it, even though I hold no particular animosity toward elderly white Englishwomen. But why didn’t that very first injection go to a nurse; a doctor; a grocer; a bus driver; an in-the-classroom teacher; Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver (we need them, America)?  

√  True story: Movie studios are going to start streaming their major new releases to your video devices on the same day they’re exhibited in whatever theaters are still operating. You’ll be faced with a serious choice: 

  1. Do you want to go to the theater and watch movies: 
  • in the newly installed sleep-inducing recliners last occupied by who-knows-whom;
  • with deafening sound you can’t turn down;
  • preceded by 30 minutes of coming attractions;   
  • while snacking on a $30 box of popcorn soaked in recycled butterfat; and
  • seated in the proximity of strangers who may have COVID-19, jock itch or echolalia? The latter is a condition that, as you might guess from its name, causes people to repeat and kind of lip-sync along with whoever’s talking. With whoever’s talking. With— 
  1. Or would you rather stay home and watch movies:
  • while luxuriating in the recliner your family knows only you’re allowed to sit in;  
  • on a comparatively large screen;
  • and be able to control the sound;
  • while snacking on whatever you want at a fraction of the cost; 
  • seated next to people you love whose health histories are known to you? 
Added benefits: (a) By pausing the film, you can go to the bathroom whenever you feel an attack of Rudolph William Louis Giuliani syndrome coming on; and (b) If someone talks during the film, you can tell him or her to shut up without fear he or she may be heavily armed. I’m not guaranteeing the evening won’t end in recriminations or the threat of divorce but at least you won’t get jock itch.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).