Well, Looks Like Musk is Taking Over Twitter
In my last blog in which I recounted my experience of being “limited” by Twitter, and Twitter not being able to explain why, I suggested maybe the possibility of Elon Musk taking over Twitter wouldn’t be such a bad thing. At the time, I didn’t really think it would happen. Twitter’s Board was resisting the takeover and had, in fact, issued a shareholder rights plan, AKA a poison pill, to try to avert Musk’s purchase of any greater stake in the company.
Then, suddenly, it was announced that they had accepted Musk’s offer of $44 billion. Reading between the lines (i.e., looking at multiple online sources), it appears that the Board looked at potential options for selling Twitter and none came anywhere near Musk’s offer, and so they decided to take it. Why? Because more than 76% of Twitter stock is owned by “institutional investors” who wanted a payday on their investment. After approximately 10 years of Twitter failing to earn a profit, those investors apparently pushed to accept Musk’s offer. So, in another case of corporate greed (it is rampant in the U.S.), without any consideration of Twitter’s more than 200 million users or the employees who have given the Twitter culture a 4.2 (out of 5) rating on Glassdoor, they agreed to sell to Musk who has made no secret of the fact that he intends to take the company private, close the San Francisco headquarters, fire the board (or pay them $0) and tighten up spending.
When the board announced acceptance of Musk’s offer, a good portion of the Twitterverse lost their minds. Some said Musk intended to make everyone pay to use Twitter in order to remove ads. Some said he bought Twitter because he’s a Trumper, and he intends to reinstate Trump and make Twitter primarily a stage for Trump. Some said that Twitter will now become a maelstrom of misinformation. Many of these people predict the downfall and entire destruction of Twitter.
There’s no two ways about it: Elon Musk is seven different flavors of wackadoodle. I mean, he:
- Named one of his eight (EIGHT!) children X Æ A-XII
- Accused a rescuer of the soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand of being a “pedo guy” and allegedly hired a private detective to dig up dirt on the rescuer because the man said Musk’s idea of a submarine rescue wouldn’t work
- Illegally threatened workers trying to unionize
- Ran afoul of the FTC by tweeting that he had funding (not true) to take Tesla private
- Added a fart noise feature to Teslas
- Has tweeted multiple times about farts and farting
- Sold flamethrowers to raise funds for one of his companies and promoted those sales through a tweet about the zombie apocalypse
- Smoked pot on camera on a Joe Rogan podcast
- Sent a Tesla roadster into space
Wacky as he is, he loves Twitter. Consequently, it is highly unlikely that he’s going to do anything that would out and out destroy it. IMHO, he will reinstate Trump, not necessarily because he’s a Trumper, but because he is a staunch advocate for freedom of speech. Furthermore, Musk has publicly stated that he doesn’t agree with the tactics of either extreme rightwingers or leftwingers, and has said he’s not much interested in politics.
Musk has given mixed messages about whether he will move Twitter to a completely subscription model. In one announcement, he seemed to indicate he would promote the Twitter Blue subscription that already exists, and would give those subscribers: the verified blue check mark currently provided only to celebrity accounts; features not available to non-subscribing users; and an ad-free experience. In another conversation he mused that a subscription model would allow Twitter to not be so influenced by corporations. Reportedly, he told banks that he might charge companies for embedding or quote tweeting posts by verified users. It’s hard to say at this time whether he’ll go to a totally subscription model, but I doubt it. Like I said, he clearly loves Twitter, and I don’t think he wants the exodus that such an act would trigger.
He’s definitely talked about laying off employees and changing corporate culture. I think that probably Twitter employees — particularly executives — are right to view the Musk takeover with trepidation. Unfortunately, that’s always the case when a company is sold.
Another fact the Twitterverse folks running around with their hair on fire should consider: Musk hasn’t yet fully proven he has the funds to complete the purchase. He’s cashed in 5% ($8.5 billion) of his Tesla stock and secured almost $26 billion in loans. He still needs about $10 billion more in cash, but it’s not clear at this point where that cash will come from. He may be the world’s richest man, but much of his fortune is tied up in his companies.
So, everybody needs to cool their jets and unbunch their panties — for now.
In other news:
Publication of my short story “Miss Luna’s Visit,” which was pushed back from April 1 to May 1 is apparently pushed back to an unspecified date. <sigh> Patience is a virtue.
Another short story has been picked up for a July release! More on that later.
Book Review: The Life and Times of Angie Bardot by Angela Bardot
In “The Life and Times of Angie Bardot,” the author shares her journey after finding out shortly before a major milestone birthday (The Big Six O) that her husband of 36 years is cheating on her. She tells it in first person – almost a stream of consciousness flow at times – and so the reader is intimately privy not only to the events of Angie’s life for the next few years, but also to her emotions and the changing ways in which she views those events and herself.
This is not a formulaic get-back-at-the-ex-by-living-your-best-life-and-find-your-true-love story. I mean, Angie does sort of start out with that intention, but real life and some questionable choices (some made me literally laugh out loud, and others made me cringe for Angie) take it somewhere much more authentic, if, at times, just a touch overly self-indulgent.
Angie’s escapades prove that age ain’t nothin’ but a number and that it’s never too late to pursue what makes you feel fulfilled. I thoroughly recommend this book!
Short Story: False Friend
Lena was loading the dishwasher when her phone vibrated against the granite countertop. She glanced at the display and saw it was her friend Laurie calling, so she picked up the phone and swiped to take the call.
“Hey, Laurie, what’s up?” she said.
Laurie answered solemnly, “Hi, Lena. Are you at home?”
Instantly, Lena was on alert. “What’s wrong?”
Laurie said in the same tone, “I guess you haven’t heard.”
“Haven’t heard what? What’s going on?”
“Brett’s been in an accident. They’re not sure he’s going to make it. If he does, he may be paralyzed.”
Lena’s heart skipped a beat, and all thought was knocked out of her head. For the space of about five seconds, she was physically stunned.
“Are you there?” she heard Laurie ask.
“Yeah,” she replied.
Laurie said quickly, “I just thought you would want to know.”
“No, no, I appreciate you calling to tell me. What happened?”
Laurie told her that Brett was on the interstate the night before when a semi-truck blew a tire and lost control. The semi slammed into his pickup, sending it into the median where it flipped and continued flipping into oncoming traffic. Luckily, no further collisions occurred. There was one person riding with Brett who was also in critical condition.
“Tamara?” Lena asked in a small voice.
“No. I haven’t heard yet who it was,” Laurie replied.
“Okay, thanks for letting me know. Would you please keep me updated on how he is?”
“Sure, honey. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine – just momentarily shocked. Really, I’m fine. Thanks for calling. I’ll talk with ya later.”
“Okay, honey. ‘Bye.”
Lena was fine, but after she thought more about Brett, she reeled from the fact that she had little emotion about his possible death. She felt nothing more about his potential death than she would feel about a casual acquaintance’s death. Brett was not a casual acquaintance.
Less than eight years earlier, Lena had been sure that he was ‘The One.’ That illusion was shattered when Brett’s ex-girlfriend Cassie sent her photos via Facebook Messenger with the accompanying message, “Payback’s a Biatch!” The pics were of Brett out dancing with Lena’s best friend, Tamara. Lena had been visiting family back east at the time and had gotten the message while playing cards. She’d finished the game at hand and then excused herself to go to bed. Once alone, she’d immediately dialed Brett’s number. He didn’t pick up. So, she’d dialed Tamara’s number.
“Hey, girl!” Tamara’d greeted her. Lena could hear music and a partying crowd in the background.
She had worked hard to keep her voice even. “Hey, have you seen Brett out and about tonight? He’s not answering his phone.”
Tamara had immediately replied, “No, no I haven’t seen him. He’s probably home asleep.”
Her voice dripping sarcasm, Lena said, “Home asleep? Then why do I have pictures of him with his hands all over your ass?”
The line immediately went dead. For the rest of the weekend, they both ignored Lena’s calls and texts. By the time she had gotten home Sunday evening, Brett had left all of her belongings from his apartment in her living room, along with her dog, Barry, who he had been supposed to be taking care of. He left her house key on the coffee table without a note. By then, both Brett and Tamara had blocked her calls and had blocked her on all social media.
She’d tried to convince herself to just accept that she’d been dumped without Brett ever saying a word and to accept that her best friend threw her away without so much as an “I didn’t mean for it to happen.” She’d decided at that point not to humiliate herself by further attempting to confront them for an explanation. She’d lost her resolve one night at 2:00 AM and had driven to Tamara’s apartment and banged on the door.
Brett had opened it. Somehow she hadn’t expected that. Her mouth had dropped open as she looked up into his hard brown eyes. “For fuck’s sake, Lena,“ he’d whisper-shouted at her. “Are we going to have to take out a restraining order? It’s the fucking middle of the fucking night.”
She’d started crying, tears silently running down her face. He’d rolled his eyes. Then Tamara had stepped under his arm. When she’d seen it was Lena, she too had rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, God.”
The sight of Tamara leaning up against Brett wearing his t-shirt as a nightgown had loosened Lena’s tongue. She’d looked Tamara in the eye and asked, “Why, T? How could you?”
Tamara had rolled her eyes again. She’d said coldly, “No answer I give is gonna make anything any different. It is what it is, and you need to stop embarrassing yourself.”
Brett had followed that up with, “I’m gonna shut the door now. If you knock again we’re calling the cops.”
Tamara had stepped away without even looking at Lena, and Brett had shut the door quietly in her face.
She’d not spoken to either of them after that. Laurie’s husband Rob remained friends with Brett. And for the first year after Brett dumped her, Lena had put her friend in an untenable position by pumping her for information on Brett and Tamara’s lives. Part of what Laurie imparted to her was that Brett and Tamara painted her to all their mutual friends as being a psycho. Lena had been instantly furious, and exclaimed to Laurie (who already knew the whole story), “That’s a lie! I went to Tamara’s apartment one time – I wasn’t a psycho like. . .Cassie…”
As she finished the sentence her ire evaporated as realization dawned on her that Brett was running the same game on her that he’d apparently run on Cassie. That night she’d sent a note to Cassie on Messenger apologizing for her part in painting her as a psycho when she and Brett had first gotten together. Cassie had responded by blocking her. Lena hadn’t expected anything different – they’d never been friends. She just had felt compelled to apologize.
When Laurie told her Brett and Tamara were getting married, Lena had cried for two days – not over Brett, but because she and Tamara had always said they’d be each other’s maids of honor. On the day of their wedding, Lena had sent a prayer up that her former friend would be happy and had vowed not to give either of them any more of her thoughts.
That was six years ago, and she’d mostly kept that vow. She thought about how Tamara must feel as her husband clung to life. She also thought about his mother , a sweet woman Lena had liked very much. She could only imagine his mother’s torment. She sent up a prayer for Brett’s recovery and for comfort for his mother and her former friend.
Two weeks later, at lunch, Laurie told Lena that Brett had regained consciousness, and doctors expected him to recover. They’d even told the family that he’d regain limited use of his legs.
Lena was legitimately happy at the news. “That’s great news. Tamara and his family must be over the moon!”
Laurie’s face took on a strange look. Then she said, “I didn’t tell you this. It turned out that the other person in Brett’s truck was a woman he was having an affair with.”
Lena shrugged. “I can’t say I’m surprised.”
Laurie nodded and replied, “Yeah, I guess not. Well, when it looked like Brett might never wake up, Tamara said the other woman didn’t matter. Put on a big show of grief, saying all that mattered was that he lived.”
Lena asked, “And when he woke up?”
“When the doctor said he would recover, she walked out of the hospital. Turns out she’d already cleaned out the house and the bank accounts. Apparently, she’d only been hanging around in the hope of money from a GoFundMe account his sister had set up.”
“Wow,” Lena said, stunned. “I don’t even know what to say. I accepted a long time ago that they’re not the people I thought they were, but to pretend to be grief-stricken to get a little more money…Wow.”
Their conversation turned to other subjects, and Lena didn’t give Brett or Tamara another thought. Their struggles had no place in her life.
A few days later, she was at Costco when she heard a familiar voice behind her say, “Lena?”
She turned to find Tamara standing there.
The women looked at each for a moment, and then Lena said, “Tamara.”
“How are you?” Tamara asked.
“Fine, thanks. I’ve got to get home, so…” Lena turned away.
“Okay,” Tamara said, and Lena walked off.
That evening as Lena was preparing for bed, the doorbell rang. She turned on the porch light and looked through the sidelight. Tamara stood there looking nervous.
“Oh, my God,” Lena said to herself, but she opened the door.
Immediately, Tamara said, “I’m sorry for just showing up, but after running into you today—”
“What do you want?” Lena interjected.
Tamara’s words came out in a rush. “I want us to be friends again. I’m sorry about what happened. But you have to understand – Brett is so manipulative. He had me all turned around. He made me —”
Lena rolled her eyes. “You do not have to tell me how manipulative he is.”
Tamara chuckled quietly. “No, I guess not. But, he made me feel like I was the most important person in the world, and I didn’t want to lose that. I’m sorry that—”
“You’re sorry that you didn’t have the decency to stay away from your best friend’s boyfriend? You’re sorry that you told everyone I was a psycho? You’re sorry that you threw me away like trash after eight years of friendship?”
“You don’t understand!” Tamara exclaimed. “He had me all turned around. He told me that you looked down on me, that you made fun of me!”
Again, Lena rolled her eyes. She could not believe that this woman, who she had once called her bestie, did not see how her actions – not Brett’s – had forever severed their friendship. “You’d known me for eight years and him for, what, two? But, instead of coming to me and telling me what was going on, you snuck around, until I found out, and then you cut me dead.”
“And, I’m sorry. But, he—”
Lena didn’t wait for Tamara to again blame her decisions and her cold treatment of Lena on Brett. She interrupted her with. “But he dumped you for another woman – go figure. Then, after you cleaned him out while he’s in the hospital, you don’t have a whole lotta friends left, so you thought you’d see if I hated him enough to give you a pass on what you did to me.”
Tamara snapped, “I have plenty of friends. I was trying to reach out to you to do the right thing.”
Lena smiled disingenuously and said in a tone filled with insincerity, “Oh, okay. Well, now you’ve done that. So, thank you so very much! Thanks for stopping by!”
With that, she started to close the door, but Tamara grabbed it and stopped her.
“So, that’s the way it’s gonna be? Why are you being like this?”
Immediately, Lena shot back, “It is what it is, and if you’re not able to see why, me spelling it out for you won’t make you ever get it either.”
She shut the door.