One of my great regrets in life was that I never had a formal college education. I was too poor on the one hand, and too confused on the other. A lot of people I know who have good college educations tend to belittle the years they put into getting a degree, but for someone like me who never had the benefit of a discipline of ordered learning, those sentiments are not appreciated.
And so, over the years, I have tended to overcompensate for that lack of a disciplined education by reading. And I have read a lot. Not as much as some mutant intellects I have encountered, but more than most. The problem is that I have read widely and with absolutely no focus. I am familiar with a broad range of concepts and know a tremendous amount of superficial facts, but have detailed knowledge of few subjects.
Thus, my regret at having had no formal post-high school education.
I do have that Associate's degree that I earned by taking a class here and a class there at a local community college. But there it ended. Lack of funds and the responsibilities of a family stopped it there. Even that small accomplishment took me many years.
Because of the way that I tend to study (scattershot reading), the Internet has been a shiny toy for me. 'Ooo! Look! There! Yow! What's that?! Amazing! I didn't know that! Wow!' A sad and slapstick learning process that leads me to have just enough knowledge about things to piss people off and earn a reputation as a "know-it-all" (aka "smartass").
Recently I was looking at my newsfeeds. I consume a lot of news, but none of it domestic. (I find the various news sources in the USA to be stunted and laughable propaganda.) At one point recently I was perusing a little over 100 English-language news sites every day. Even I had to admit that this was pretty damned outrageous. I wouldn't actually read each of them every day, but I would skim them all and look for articles that interested me. Finally, I decided that 103 news sites was too much. So I pared them down...to sixty-one. Yeah...that's still wild.
I think I need to shift back a few gears on the old Internet. It long ago became a pretty radical time-sink for me. It has helped me in some ways, but has proven to be a barrier in others.
Stepping back for an objective look is in order.