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Sounds of Silence Increasingly Rare

If silence was golden, you couldn’t raise a dime. — Mose Allison That line from one of my favorite blues singers, now gone, came to mind the other day while filling up my car. As soon as I swiped my credit card and punched in the billing zip code, a small video screen built into the pump lit up. The Gasoline Pump Celebrity News began broadcasting, with a young woman seated in a television studio breathlessly telling me what famous star was getting a divorce, or getting married, or possibly both. One can’t even buy gasoline with a screen shouting at you. If it’s not celebrity “news,”...

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