Everything That You Need To Know In Life Can Be Learned Through Game of Thrones

Since everyone dies on Game of Thrones and Game of Thrones is based heavily on real life, we decided we should learn something from the characters and attempt to avoid their grisly fates. And yes, we recognize that we’re not going to get hacked to death by vengeful swords or poisoned at our wedding. We’re talking more about the lessons hiding below the surface. Stuff that you might not recognize is bad until you’ve seen children get murdered for the exact same behavior. Watching Game of Thrones as a cautionary tale changes some of the scenes for us, and we have to say, we learned a lot about how to better enjoy, and extend, our lives. Here are 12 life lessons from Game of Thrones.

[youtube id=”Gw_Ej0HkPCs” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Keep Your Dog on a Regular Feeding Schedule

The whole point of pet ownership falls apart if all you do is neglect your canine companion. This is a creature that depends on you for food and shelter and offers you companionship and protection. Plus, especially domesticated, dogs are creatures of habit and will act out in increasingly significant ways if their routines are disrupted. You only have yourself to blame if you establish 6 o’clock as feeding time, then ignore them for a week because you’re too forgetful, busy, or, worse, straight up abusing them. If, at 7:30 you come home to a living room that looks more like Germany in 1945, that’s all on you, man.

It’s also easy to forget that while domestication might be written into DNA, dogs are more than willing to switch back to wild animal mode. And in wild animal mode, your body looks like a decent sized meal.

[youtube id=”IzukIA7qU9Y” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Talk Shit, Get Hit

If you’re going to be running your mouth like an impudent little shit, you’re going to have to deal with some physical consequences. Eventually you’ll push the wrong buttons and someone will haul off and punch you and it’ll be because you didn’t know when to shut your stupid mouth. What’s more, you’re not going to have anyone on your side when it happens. Run it long and annoying enough and you getting a good jab to the teeth is going to be met with open celebration. People have been waiting a long time to see you get some comeuppance, so when it finally comes around, expect the guy who does it to score instant points with the crowd.

[youtube id=”Y31RoHC15pM” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Make Friends with the Weird Guy

Everyone has someone at work or school or in the family who’s a little weirder than the rest of the group. We’re not talking high level weirdness here either, so don’t think we’re telling you to make friends with the guy who routinely names raindrops as they hit his face or cooks on the underside of pans. The level of weird we’re talking is working theater metaphors into everything he says or only buys one type of pants but a whole bunch of pairs at the same time. Those are off-putting things to do, but not so off-putting that we can’t get to know the guy behind them.

If you put the time in to get to know the guy, chances are you only stand to benefit. In our own personal, anecdotal experience, we’ve made friends with the maintenance staff of assorted work places and where other people try and avoid being around them while also waiting weeks for their work orders to be filled, we have engaging conversations with them and never wait longer than a few hours.

And rereading that last paragraph, we realize we’re making this sound like you should get to know people who can get things done for you. We’re not. We’re saying this is how human decency works. If you can make someone feel a little more welcome, that kind of positive energy can only make your workplace more pleasant. Don’t go out to a bar looking for an electrician because your house’s wiring needs some work. Make friends with an electrician because he’s human person and needs friends and then also maybe can help you with the wiring when the time comes and if he wants to.

[youtube id=”UxjygL-aZGQ” width=”600″ height=”350″]

If You’re Going to Do Something, Stop Talking About It and Do It

We all have that one friend who’s spent more time talking about their life goals than actually accomplishing anything. They might have been working on the same manuscript or screenplay for years or have a home renovation they never get around to or they’ve been stuck in the same job for ten years and talk about quitting all the time. And to be fair to them, we’ve all been that person at one point or another, with aspirations that spend more time in the planning stages than actual execution. Whatever it is, everyone can agree that anything after a handful of conversations gets exhausting.

Don’t get us wrong, we get the hesitation to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. You might trip and fail, which is like being rejected by your own talents and hurts far more than any sort of external rejection. But if you spend too long talking about stuff, your friends are going to get more and more annoyed until they eventually lash out and do something drastic.

So if you want to start a screenplay, take a class and fire up Celtx. If you’re planning a home reno, call up that contractor and start planning demo day. If you’ve spent the whole night talking about how badly you want to fight the guy at the end of the bar, you’d best start it, because you won’t like it if word reaches him and he gets the jump on you.

[youtube id=”FvILT4w8mOM” width=”600″ height=”350″]

You Cannot Take the Toughest Guy at the Party and He Will Come Looking for You if You Try

A lot of things instill false confidence and being surrounded by your friends is probably the easiest one. Their mere presence goads you into doing things you wouldn’t have done if you were in a different group or by yourself. One thing that’s bolstered as often as not is someone’s belief in their personal fighting abilities. In large groups, especially those whose ratio heavily favors men, people think they can fight anything, including, but not limited to people their size, teenagers, small dogs, medium-sized horses, female UFC fighters, male UFC fighters, brick and mortar walls, and the guy at the party who’s clearly the unholy spawn of Brock Lesnar and an ent.

Stick with that last one, because there’s an important difference between you and him. Both of you have the same level of confidence, but his was earned. He’s fought a dozen people like you, probably that same day. If you start something, he’ll finish it. If you start something and he doesn’t get to finish it, you’ve now turned what was a fun little get together into a full on manhunt. You’ve not only guaranteed you’ll get your ass handed to you in six separate chunks, but you ruined everyone else’s good time.

By the way, those friends who gave you all that confidence aren’t going to back you up. Hell, they’ll be the ones to sell you out. They all knew the guy was part mountain troll, which is why as soon as the fight started, they all remembered they came to the party with other people or had a midnight dentist appointment or that there was a deck outside they wanted to check out.

[youtube id=”B6XLX5bcZHo” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Sibling Rivalries are Usually Only Fun for One of You

Antagonizing a brother or sister is a time-honored tradition and a dynamic that’s built into the relationship. You don’t get to be siblings if you’re not messing with each other at least a little. Some razzing here and there is healthy, helps build character, and prepares you all for impending, more mean spirited bullying. Plus it can end up making you even closer to your siblings years down the road.

But sometimes it gets out of hand and one of you ends up being the one who’s obviously far better at antagonism, creating an imbalance in the relationship and fostering actual ill will. This is the situation we’d recommend you avoid. The only possible outcome is a huge wedge being driven between siblings, where one thinks everything is in good fun (or worse, is knowingly bullying the other) and the other allows animosity to fester below the surface before finally exploding on the other.

Your siblings are the family members you should be closest to, so turning one of them into an enemy automatically makes them more dangerous than some random nemesis. You’ve inadvertently created someone who knows exactly how to destroy your very essence. At that point, your only chance at survival is being adopted by another family and trying to build relationships that need you intact as much as your sibling wants you obliterated.

[youtube id=”Akl6OK2HUNA” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Keep Your Sense of Entitlement in Check (Better Yet, Don’t Have One)

Entitlement might be the least attractive personality trait. You’re immediately an exhausting person to deal with, make it easy to dismiss a specific age group, and generally ruin everyone’s good time. Maybe the worst part is, of the people we’ve seen flagrantly brandishing their entitlement, most are completely oblivious to their greatest fault. These aren’t people who think to look inward when things go wrong. Entitlement has taught them they are the greatest thing to happen to their immediate vicinity and everyone within that vicinity owes them a great debt of gratitude.

They’re wrong, obviously, because no one is owed anything. Everyone should have to work for what they have and none of us should be expect anything at birth. And if we should, then the expected thing should begin and end with a healthy family life. Every baby is entitled to loving parents and some of them don’t even get that, so no, graduating high school isn’t a large enough accomplishment to justify a new BMW.

There’s so much disdain for the entitled that retribution is pretty much guaranteed. You don’t get to go through life demanding unreasonable things from everyone and get off without some punishment. That punishment might not come right away, or even within your lifetime, but your victims are patient and are going to hold a healthy grudge, so know that it’s coming and it’s going to incorporate some irony.

[youtube id=”7St9TtLzoLk” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Make Sure You’re the One Who Knows Yourself Best

A common and increasingly annoying trope in storytelling is the classic line of “I know you better than you know yourself.” There are variations, but that’s the general gist, whether it’s in a villain’s monologue, a best friend’s “heartrending” soliloquy, or a parent’s gentle lecture. At this point it’s a shortcut to familiarity and we’re not ones to approve of shortcuts in storytelling.

The most obvious solution is to not let it be right. There’s a lot of strength in having a solid sense of self knowledge. You won’t bend to peer pressure quickly, and if you do, it’s not a sign of weakness. Few things can be used to insult you, because you’ve already come to terms with them, if you’re not already totally comfortable with whatever shortcomings you may have. Things will also generally go your way, because while a lot of people talk about how much time they’ve spent alone “getting to know themselves on a deeper level,” not many people understand the claim they’re making. Introspection is a modern fad rather than a genuine philosophical pursuit, so there are a lot of people walking around out there with glass cannons for self esteem.

That’s why this scene wouldn’t have worked with anyone but Tyrion and Jon Snow. Tyrion’s had years to come to terms with his short stature and while it’s still a raw nerve for him, an insult rarely causes him to act rashly. If anything, someone dropping one of the same six insults clarifies his motivation and allows him to act more rationally. Jon Snow using the same process creates a leader and swordsman of the highest quality. Also, props to Tyrion for not using the classic “know you better than you” line. There are assumptions he can make about Jon and be right, but he also recognizes he doesn’t know him on a personal level. That says just as much about Tyrion as it does about Jon.

[youtube id=”EL2tQ12lYz-c” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Clarify Exactly What It Is You’re Buying or Selling

One of the easiest ways to get burned on a transaction is to not properly communicate what you’re looking for. History is littered with big groups of people getting screwed out of ancestral lands, crucial resources, food, shelter, economic opportunity, life, and a dozen other things because one side went in with the full intention to be complete dicks. Shrink those down to everyday human sizes and regular people are constantly getting shafted by corporations and governments, mostly because they didn’t fully understand what they were signing.

The easiest practical application of this lesson is somehow buddying up to an attorney. Whether that’s marrying one, putting one of your kids through law school, or just trolling some upscale happy hours for some legalese speakers, you need to get close to someone who actually understand what’s happening in all those contracts. If you’re about to buy a house but not the land underneath it, that’s something you need to know. If you’re trading a brick of solid gold for an authentic Shelby Cobra, make sure you’re not about to get what Hot Wheels authentically built as a Cobra. If you’re selling an army of slaves and getting a legendary fire breathing lizard, you need to speak lizard to make that work.

[youtube id=”vGN73ufuc4U” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Grudges Don’t Mean You Can’t Still Be Decent

Holding a grudge, whether it’s personal, for a family member, a group decision, or otherwise, isn’t a completely unhealthy practice. If you have a grudge against someone, a reasonable grudge that is, it’s a protective measure. You’ve probably been put through some sort of suffering by them, so you’re putting up guards against that sort of thing happening again. Totally cool.

What that doesn’t mean is you’re permitted to be an unforgivable dick to that person. Everyone’s still a person and should be afforded a base level of respect. Don’t go out of your way to sabotage that person’s life. If anything, and if you can stand it, you should try to make their life somewhat easier. A grudge against someone doesn’t mean you can’t help them in their time of need, whether that’s a ride home after a night out, some light tech support, a bit of home maintenance, or some small favor.

Chances are, if you do anything like that for the person, that will become the avenue for healing whatever damage there is in the relationship. The initial personal offense could end up creating one of the better friendships you’ll build, all because you rose above instead of being a petty jackass. Bigger things that your perceived slight have been forgiven, so there’s no reason you can’t try too.

[youtube id=”1Bavt5_sOQA” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Don’t Try and Force Your Friends to Be Friends with Your Other Friends (NSFW)

It’s completely normal to have separate groups of friends you hang out with. Most people have a wide variety of interests and it’s extraordinarily rare that you’d find someone whose interests totally overlap with yours. Naturally, you have to find different people to hang out with depending on what you want to do. If you like UFC, you’re probably not going to go to a match with your League of Legends clan. You go with your friends who like UFC.

But, because we’re all fallible humans who also enjoy efficiency, sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking the two groups would mix well. Maybe your League of Legends clan would like to watch some UFC and the group you go camping with would find multiplayer gaming quite enjoyable. Inevitably, once you mix them, you’ll see how wrong you were. Sure, some people genuinely enjoy themselves and make an easy, one time conversion to the other group, but ultimately, you’re stretched too thin trying to entertain two groups of friends with you as their only real common ground.

[youtube id=”sszQJVIDWjE” width=”600″ height=”350″]

If You Have a Part in Any Type of Service, Practice Beforehand

We can’t think of any major life stages or accomplishments that aren’t accompanied by some kind of service. You can generally expect weddings, birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, funerals, divorces, adoptions, and housewarmings to have some kind of ceremony attached to them, and those are all just the ones we can think of. For everyone’s sake, if you’re part of the ceremony, put a little time into your part, whatever it is. If you’re someone’s best man, at least have some index cards with you. If you ever find yourself lucky enough to be carrying the Olympic torch, jog a bit in the month leading up. If you’re eulogizing someone, it’s totally fine to cry during it, just make sure you’re crying during a rehearsed speech.

There’s nothing wrong with improvising bits of something, but there’s everything wrong with completely winging it. Most ceremonies require cohesion and flow to maintain their desired atmosphere and nothing kills the mood quicker than someone who obviously wasn’t prepared for their job. Suddenly, the wedding becomes about how the best man hasn’t had a complete thought in his life and everyone at the funeral can’t stop thinking that maybe this priest hasn’t actually read the Bible.

The 10 Best New Things on Netflix This Month

At first glance, it looks like May is going to be a great month for Netflix subscribers. We’re getting new seasons of both House of Cards and Master of None, some excellent sci-fi and fight movies, some educational documentaries, etc. But when we look at what’s leaving, we can’t help but wince: The Jurassic Park trilogy, Invincible, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Seasons 1-5), Graceland (Seasons 1-3), Bob’s Burgers Season 2, and quite a few others. So it’s going to hurt, but let’s look on the bright side.  May is still offering us far more good than bad. Here are the 10 best things coming to Netflix in May.

Sense8 Season 2

May 5

If you’re into action, drama, and sci-fi, Sense8 is going to be one of those shows that blows your mind. The show revolves around the lives of eight random strangers from all over the world who suddenly become emotionally and psychologically linked. These eight people can lend each other certain skills and powers, and if it sounds like a bit of a mind fuck, it’s because it is. Importantly, the show finds interesting and unique ways of addressing different real-world issues like gender, politics, race, and identity—which we definitely appreciate.

The Mars Generation

May 5

If you’ve paid attention to the news at all over the last few years, you’ve noticed that America—once the world’s largest pioneer of space exploration—has dialed back quite a bit on its plans to live among the stars. Not a great way to honor the legacy of the Moon Landings, but maybe we can make up for it. The Mars Generation is a Netflix Original documentary about a group of kids who are training and studying to ensure that this generation will be the first one to put footprints in Martian soil. Look for interviews by esteemed scientists and space travel pioneers like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Elon Musk, as well as the kids with their hearts and eyes focused on what’s out there (and more).

Mindhorn

May 12

A serial killer is on the loose and the only man that may be able to stop him is… A washed up actor from a forgotten 1980’s detective crime drama? Yup. The film’s writing and humor is distinctly British (as is its cast), and it’s great to see a new way of dealing with the nostalgia people have for the 1980s.  Tint those glasses rose as deeply as you’d like, 80s entertainment was cheesy as hell.

Master of None Season 2

May 12

The second season of the acclaimed Netflix Original series Master of None debuts May 12, and we’d be willing to bet Season 2 is going to be a whole new type of adventure. What makes Master of None so good is that it’s always funny, but adds to that incredible honesty and relatability. It accomplishes something a lot of “funny shows” tend to miss out on—purposeful authenticity. From the trailer, it looks like Alan Yang (Ansari) somehow winds up in Italy/Europe, rides a scooter, meets a ton of new women he probably won’t date, etc. For that and whatever else he gets up to, we can’t wait.

Inglourious Basterds

May 22

We’re gonna be doing one thing and one thing only, and that’s killin’ Nazis! Ugh, we love this WWII action comedy from Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs). The film stars Brad Pitt (in a role eerily similar to the one he’ll be playing in War Machine) as Lieutenant Aldo Raine, a member of the First Special Service Force tasked with putting together a team of Jewish-born American soldiers to go kick Nazi ass. It’s hysterical, crude, and particularly gory. And unless you like Nazis, you’ll likely love this film.

Southpaw

May 24

We love a good fight movie, and when it’s brilliantly written and stars an all-star cast? More please. Southpaw, written by none other than Kurt Sutter and starring Jake Gyllanhaal, Forest Whitaker, and Rachel McAdams, follows the rise, fall, and redemption of Billy “The Great” Hope (Gyllanhaal), a prized boxer whose life is destroyed after his wild antics and hot head result in the murder of his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams). Billy hits rock bottom and loses his fancy house, as well as custody of his daughter. Billy seeks out the help of trainer Titus “Tick” Wills (Whitaker), who eventually reluctantly agrees to train him for a fight against Miguel—the very man responsible for the death of his wife. It’s a tad on the overly dramatic side, but definitely worth the watch.

Bloodline Season 3

May 26

The only real way to describe Bloodline is: “A complete and utterly mind bending cluster fuck.” It truly is one of those shows you watch, gripping your couch the whole time and yelling, “Oh holy shit!” over and over and over again. We could write paragraphs on the show’s twisted and all-over-the-map plot line, but there just isn’t time. Instead, imagine the hands-down worst family you’ve ever seen, complete with psychotic behavior, murder, and all the other fun stuff bad families are made of. Few would argue that Season 2 was anywhere near as good as Season 1, but we’re optimistic that Season 3, which debuts May 26 and will be the show’s final season, will once again bring the heat.

War Machine

May 26

As years-long subscribers, we’ve been blown away by how much of a media giant Netflix has managed to establish itself as over the last couple years. And if anyone was in doubt of that status, try this. You know you’ve made it when Brad Pitt is starring in one of your original movies.

War Machine stars Pitt as four-star General Glen McMahon, a decorated leader tasked with bringing the war in Afghanistan to an end after eight long and trying years. The film is a brilliant satire/parody that explores the relationship between war and politics, and how the media influence the lives of the world’s shot callers. Pitt isn’t the only name to look out for, either. Notable additions include Topher Grace (no, really), John Magaro, Anthony Michael Hall, and the one and only Alan Ruck. We’re betting this one’s going to be a winner.

Doctor Strange

May 30

The Box Office smash (more than $677 million!) Doctor Strange also makes its way to Netflix in May. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Vincent Strange, a disgraced former surgeon-turned powerful sorcerer who must protect the world from Kaecilius, an evil sorcerer hellbent on destroying everything. Critics and comic book nerds alike praised the film, and we have to agree—if you haven’t yet, check this one out.

House of Cards Season 5

May 30

Another “Oh holy shit, what’s even happening right now?” kind of Netflix Original series,  House of Cards debuts its fifth season May 30 and boy, if you thought our actual political sphere was in total chaos, wait until you see this shit. It’s a lot to get into, but the show follows the political career of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), from his time as South Carolina Congressman to his rise to President of the United States. Season 4 ended in tumult with the Islamic Caliphate (yeah, we know), which appears to have led to a full-on world war (yeah, we know). We’re excited to see where Season 5 ends up, especially knowing the show’s history of going everywhere viewers never thought possible.

YouTube Now Provides Live TV

Cable cutters just got another option for ditching their old service providers in the form of YouTube TV. It’s a service from the video sharing site that allows you to watch live programming on more than 50 channels, though currently only for customers in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Limiting it to those cities must be some kind of a beta, and to make sure this is something people even want. And honestly, we’re not sure people would. It provides pretty much the same service as cable at a price point that isn’t particularly competitive, especially when you factor in bundle-cancelling price hikes on the service provider’s part. Watching DVRed programming on any of your devices is nice, but it’s also not revolutionary, considering the (what feels like) hundreds of streaming options. Don’t get us wrong, it’s great to have options, we’re just not exactly chomping at the bit to switch to YouTube for our TV binges. It’s important to remember that change does not beget innovation, and everyone should be skeptical of any product that’s swearing anything resembling “Finally, live TV made for us.”

[youtube id=”qediav063xQ” width=”600″ height=”350″]

The First Teaser Trailer for “IT”

Plenty of people developed a deep seated and lifelong fear of clowns after their first viewing of IT, in the same way most people born between 1960 and 1970 won’t go in the ocean anymore. And apparently coulrophobia is one of those cultural touchstones, because an IT remake is on its way to theaters this September. We got our first real look at footage from the movie in the form of the teaser trailer and we have to say, yup, stay the fuck away from us, every clown ever. The few glimpses we got of Pennywise are terrifying and the main kids look to have the acting chops necessary to carry this movie. If nothing else, this may signify a return to the suspense genre, with theaters full of frightened couples holding hands so hard their bones fuse.

[youtube id=”FnCdOQsX5kc” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Thirsty Thursday: A Show About the Life of Jack Daniel Is Coming to TV

As you’d expect from a man whose career began just before the Civil War, Jack Daniel’s early life has all the makings of a great story. That’s why we’re surprised it took nearly 150 years for someone to write a biography about the guy, then another decade and change for television to think about putting out a show. WGN America and Aaron Paul’s production company, Lucid Road Productions, have started work on Blood and Whiskey, a drama about the life of Jack Daniel. Presumably, the show will follow Daniel as he is orphaned at 15 and discovers distilling, works as a moonshiner for 10 years, then founds his famous distillery in an attempt to go legitimate. We’re going to assume a lot of the series will focus on Daniel’s time as a moonshiner, since that’s where most of the action was, but with Andrew Colville of Mad Men fame penning the script, you can bet the corporate plot lines are going to be meaty as well. Marketing those square bottles won’t be easy.

Retroblox Combines Every Classic Game Console

The Retroblox modular retro game console is an excellent idea, even if their slogan “Unleash Your Nostalgia” comes off a little pandering. First is their on board optical disc drive that can directly play your PS1 and Sega CD games, among others. Its modular support comes in for older cartridge games. Players can insert their cartridge and copy their game to a digital format, giving you the choice to play either directly from the cartridge or from your digital game files. The modules also allow for controllers from old consoles to be used with Retroblox, so if that Genesis controller felt great in your hands, pull it out of storage and plug it in. Finally, the console features full 1080p resolution, so there won’t be any of the blur or fuzz you may have found with earlier attempts to hook old consoles up to modern TVs. More features are going to be announced in the coming months, leading up to the launch of it April 2017 crowdfunding campaign. We’ll make sure you’re in the loop.

NASA Picked the Best Designs for Future Homes on Mars

Climate change. Antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Paul Ryan dabbing. We may be looking to leave this planet sooner rather than later. Since Mars is the most plausible destination, NASA held a competition for design teams to come up with potential homes on the Red Planet. The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, which was part of a the larger Centennial Challenges Program, received some rather unique entries, with the winner being the Mars Ice House, a design from Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office in New York. The inflatable dome lined with ice is designed to protect humans from cosmic and solar radiation while allowing them to move around inside without a spacesuit.

Print Newspapers Are In Terminal Decline

No one is surprised to learn that the newspaper industry is in structural decline. But the latest revenue numbers tell a scary story, with print ad revenue falling steeply even amid a healthy overall economic situation. This means things will get much, much worse when the next recession hits, and many newspapers could be forced out of business altogether.

Advertising is a cyclical business. Revenue tends to go up during economic booms and then decline during recessions. So when newspapers ad revenues plunged in 2008 and 2009, many in the industry hoped this would prove a temporary setback and that they’d regain some of the lost ground once the economy recovered.

Instead, over the past six years the opposite has happened: Newspaper advertising revenues have continued to deteriorate even as the economy booms. The latest numbers from a number of major newspapers tell a grim story.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal announced that it was consolidating some sectionsof the newspaper to cope with dwindling ad sales. The transition to a slimmer paper will be aided by a round of buyouts the Journal announced last month.

And the situation is even grimmer at smaller papers. For example, the Ithaca Journal in upstate New York announced today that it was laying off two editorial staffers, leaving a paper that once employed an editorial staff of more than 20 people with just two full-time reporters.

Newspapers are in terminal decline

Newspaper revenues are being dragged inexorably downward by two major forces. One is demographics. Older Americans are newspapers’ most loyal readers, while people born after 1980 largely don’t subscribe to newspapers. So each year, a few million newspaper readers die and are not replaced by new readers.

At the same time, an increasingly competitive ad market is making it harder and harder for newspapers to charge premium rates. In the 1990s, many cities had only one major newspaper, and that newspaper was often the best way for local businesses to reach customers. So newspapers could charge premium rates for ads.

In 2015, print media accounted for 4 percent of people’s time but captured 16 percent of the ad revenue. In contrast, mobile devices captured a quarter of people’s time but only about one-eighth of ad spending.

This situation can’t last. Over time, advertisers will realize that they can get more bang for their buck by advertising on new media platforms. And so newspaper ad revenue is likely to decline even more rapidly than its audience does.

Big newspapers are thriving online. Smaller ones are struggling.

Of course, the people who run newspapers have known that this challenge was coming for a decade or more, and virtually all of them know that a transition to the internet is essential for their long-term survival. Virtually all daily newspapers are now trying to make their websites into viable businesses that can thrive in a post-print world.

This has been a lot easier for the best-known newspapers — especially the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. These three papers had nationally known brands even before the internet came along. As a result, the internet has dramatically expanded these papers’ audiences.

In the early 1990s, the Washington Post was a daily local newspaper that happened to serve the nation’s capital. People across the country knew about the paper thanks to its work on Watergate and other high-profile scoops, but hardly anyone outside of the Washington metropolitan area read it on a daily basis. Today, by contrast, the Washington Post is a national media organization whose stories are read by people from coast to coast. Vastly more people read at least one Washington Post article on a typical day today than did so 20 years ago.

The internet has been even kinder to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Their reputation as the papers of record for general news and business news, respectively, has induced hundreds of thousands of people to become paying subscribers to the papers’ websites. The New York Times now has 1.3 million digital-only subscribers — and of course, the Times doesn’t have to pay someone to drop a bundle of newsprint on these customers’ doorsteps every morning.

But to a large extent, these famous papers’ gain has been smaller papers’ loss. People in Cleveland and Dallas and San Diego have not only stopped subscribing to their local newspapers but in many cases are reading the websites of national news organizations instead of the website of their local paper. These newspapers still play an important role covering local news, but that on its own isn’t a big enough draw to cover the costs of newspapers that traditionally employed hundreds of people.

So these smaller newspapers have gone through round after round of layoffs, with no end in sight. And the danger here is that daily print newspapers have high overhead, which means there may be a threshold of subscribers below which it doesn’t make sense to distribute the paper at all.

It’s impossible to say exactly when this will happen, of course, and it will happen at different times in different places. But the fact that the newspaper industry is continuing to see sharp declines in good economic times means that newspapers are likely to suffer catastrophic declines next time there’s a major economic downturn.

Advertising is a cyclical business; newspapers traditionally lose ad revenue during recessions and regain ground during recoveries. The last recession was unusually severe, and the current recovery hasn’t provided the bounce back newspapers were hoping for. So the next downturn is likely to be at least as bad as the last one — possibly so bad that a lot of newspapers won’t survive.

Tampa Bay Times Buys Tampa Tribune

The Tampa Bay Times said Tuesday it had bought the Tampa Tribune, folding in its longtime rival to form the fifth largest Sunday newspaper in the U.S. based on print sales, the companies said.

Financial terms of the sale weren’t disclosed.

In 2012, Tampa Media Group, a company formed by private-equity firm Revolution Capital Group, bought the newspaper for $9.5 million from Media General Inc., which operates a chain of local television states in the southeast.

The sale to the Tampa Bay Times, announced Tuesday afternoon, is the latest consolidation move in a fast-shrinking media market, that has been saddled by falling revenues.

“The continued competition between the two newspapers was threatening to both,” Tampa Bay Times Chief Executive Paul Tash said in a news release. “There are few cities that can sustain more than one daily newspaper, and the Tampa Bay region is not among them.”

The Tampa Bay Times has an average Monday through Friday circulation of 227,000 and sells 368,000 copies on Sunday, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The Tribune had circulation of 153,000 on weekdays and 234,000 on Sunday.

The Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper and previously known as the St. Petersburg Times, said it would continue to run both papers’ websites: tampabay.com and TBO.com. Subscribers of the Tribune will begin receiving the Times starting May 4.

The 131-year-old Times, owned by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, has a storied journalism history, including 12 Pulitzer Prizes, one of the most prestigious journalism awards in the U.S.

This year, the Times received two Pulitzers for local and investigative reporting, the latter shared with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for a joint probe into the violence and neglect at Florida mental hospitals.