Your Feet are Blocking My View

feetIt always struck me as more of a female thing, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, just seemed that women would take pictures of themselves on the beach and they’d be showing off their toes—I never blamed them, I’m sure a pedicure is expensive.  I’d want to show it off too. But no, I was wrong, it’s men too, taking pictures of the view they’re looking at, the vista, and they can’t get their feet out of the way!

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My 2015 Confusing Resolutions

2015This blog started out in a different place. I walked out of the grocery store yesterday to find three shopping carts, all at the point where they can’t go any further because of their wheels stopping, left in such a way to block the exit. For the walk back to my apartment I had the title “Ending Stupid” going through my head. People have to stop behaving like idiots, that’s the way the world will really change. That should be the World’s New Year’s Resolution.

Which of course, I’m right. 😉  But what I’ve decided has really got to change is me. Because all my thoughts and frustrations about the way I believe these people are being insensitive, rude, obnoxious and doing nothing about raising the level of care, concern and courtesy in our society, which again, I’m right, is still doing more damage to me than it is to anyone. All it does is curl me up in more of a negative ball of friction, disappointment and anger.

I’m a big fan of cognitive behavioral therapy and in particular rational emotive behavioral therapy (http://rebt.org) and one of its tenets is that it’s not the things that come at us that bother us but what we think of them. So my New Year’s resolution is to master the art of REBT. Instead of getting mad at these “cart pushers” that aren’t even there, I’m going to push one out of the way so the next person isn’t inconvenienced, until the person from the store tasked with retrieving them does their job.

When a person who is walking one of those little rat dogs on a retractable leash but fails to reel it in so that I have to stop or walk out of the dog’s way, I’m going to take the two seconds to step around because it’s much better than the greater number of my blood pressure possibly rising to.

When I see a misleading or idiotic headline on a website I’m going to write something positive or funny to counteract the misinformation and negativity in our society’s eyes and ears instead of letting it upset me.

I’m only able to change my world. And everyone does not have to act the way I want them to, that’s just not the way things work. So I have to learn to change my thinking. In a way this is a resolution that I’m continuing because I was very inspired (and wrote about here) by Amy Poehler making a comment about how our eyes and ears are hearing too much garbage and we need to hear better things. It’s made me re-work blogs that started out angry and turning them (hopefully) into something funny or meaningful. I’m going to try and do that faster in my one life and in my own head so that I don’t waste any precious time, thought or energy on something that I can’t change and is only hurting me. I want more positive and happy thoughts outweighing the negative this year. And I’m gonna do it, I CAN AND I WILL.

At least until i become king and can have little foot soldiers running around with little devices to give these cart pushers and dog owners a little zap to get them to re-think.

 

Being Funny in an Unfunny World

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It’s been hard to write a comedy blog the last couple of weeks. I just keep seeing so many terrible, terrible stories in the news. Senseless shootings and global warming and just… everything. I keep thinking of one of Steve Martin’s old routines where he talked about putting a slice of bologna into each of his shoes so he’d feel funny before he went on stage.

But I don’t think I could take the smell of bologna anymore, although I do long for a time where I loved bologna and white bread and maybe that’s why I keep singing the Oscar Mayer song “My Bologna has a first name…” It would just be great to be a kid and not look at the news and not care about anything else other than when I was going to get ice cream again.

Only that’s the problem. This is happening to kids. There’s kids in school who have to grieve for their friends. It’s tougher as we get older and relatives pass away, but these kids have lost the kid they had lunch with yesterday. That’s messed up.

What are we doing? Where do we have to start to get people not to lose their mind. I think we have to start young. Always seemed a shame to me that so much is expected of kids at a younger age in school. I think maybe they need more play time, or naps, and not so much computer time.

Or maybe we just need to send them to school with bologna in their shoes.

Auto-Correct is Making America Stoopid

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We’ve all seen the funny texts where auto-correct has changed someone’s word and it was sent before they could catch it. I’ve laughed. It’s happened to me. But in the last week I’ve seen several things that are leading me to believe that we need to start catching this now. All we need, America, is another strike against us that affects our employability.

Take for instance an individual that I had a business correspondence with just today. They told me that they didn’t want to “waste their time” but it came out as “waist.” Ok, funny ha ha honest mistake. But the thing is, it was business. And he or she did not bother to proof-read and they didn’t get corrected. We’re becoming a bunch of lazy slobs that expect to be spell-checked.

Back when I was in high school we didn’t have personal computers (that’s what a PC is for anyone under the age of thirty) and calculators weren’t aloud in school. No, this is not about how we had it more difficult and had to walk to school in the snow and how you kids blah blah blah blah blah. We just weren’t allowed to use calculators on tests because they wanted us to use our heads. And as ridiculous as it seemed at the time to me, and they did end up changing the rules, I’m glad. I like being aware!

I didn’t get it because I was actually good at math and I am still the guy that gets handed the restaurant check to figure out who owes how much and how much tip. I don’t know why they do it because my math is flawed in that situation because I always want to tip on hotness of the waitress and want them to tell her instead of my asking her out. What can I say, I still have the nerd shy kid in me.

I can also spell and am fairly good at grammar, although my critiques in writing groups are a bloody mess of corrections in the battlefield that is tenses for me. So I may not be sympathetic enough here, but I do also think I have a point. Just like calculator and later laptops and later iPads in the math classroom, auto-correct and spell check on everything has left us bereft of another basic skill that’s going to land more and more jobs in the outsourced inbox.

Now I can’t speak about other countries, maybe it’s happening there too, but it’s rampant here. Take a classic case of how many people use “ur” in their text messages and emails. That has just multiplied in exponential numbers the people that were already screwing up Your and You’re.

So fellow bloggers and followers that are obviously reading and using the Internet to read this, let’s start with us. I’ve made a vow to do a better job of proof-reading my blogs. For you bloggers, in case you didn’t know, there’s a little Preview button next to the Save Draft. Use it, your blog opens in another window and you can see it as it appears to all your peeps.

And all of you fine people I’m lucky enough to count as followers,  type out “are you home.” It will increase your hand-eye coordination and may burn off a couple of more calories—we really do need to do more about this obesity thing.

But one movement at a time! Join Me. Ashton Kutcher says that smart is sexy and he’s got to be right—he’s tall. Like I said, I like being aware. And that’s what using your head does. The more you pay attention to the simplest of things the more you’ll pay attention to the big beautiful things. Let’s get America smarter!

The Battle of the Brains

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It’s midnight, I want to go to sleep, but I also want to file my blog. I am a man of two minds, not only in this dilemma but the one that’s going on between the two hemispheres in the control of my functions: Left Brain vs. Right Brain.

I’ve found that my current personal and professional goals do battle in my noodle on a regular basis. There is the part of me that wants to be a full time writer and there’s the part of me that likes food and must still continue to do web design. And even though the second can be creative as well, the mathematical part necessary to code a web site puts it often more heavily into the left hemisphere and that side wants to dominate and tell the flaky artistic part to go get a burrito.

So I find myself here, laptop poised, fingers lightly on the a, s, d, f,j k, l and ; keys ready to type and I can’t get the brain to switch over. I slam the heel of my hand against the side of my skull trying to force the synapses to fire that way the way you might try to make water come out your ear. Nothing.

I watch a comedy clip of my favorite stand-up of the moment Louis CK. Nothing.

I wish to run nude and free through the unlimited universe of thought, imagination and creativity but there’s something unfinished on one of my website projects and the stubborn part of me that doesn’t like loose ends still has his pocket protector on.

The Battle of my Brains, or more appropriately, the sides of my brain, are like the battle waged every day in high school cafeterias, the cool kids versus the nerds. Each thinks they are better, each is a little jealous of the other’s capabilities, and neither wants to sit together. And the funny part is they need each other. Like the jock needs the nerd to copy off on test day, I need the left brain to manage websites and social media in order to increase my blogging audience. And like the geek needs the artist to introduce him to the art of talking to girls or at least procure beer so it won’t matter, I need the writer to help with all of the design parts and to keep me inspired on a day to day basis.

So why can’t they all just get along? Why is it that the logical side won’t make room for the creative side and vice-versa? Why do they have to have their “me” time? I suppose it’s like having twins, they both want more attention and will scream louder in an attempt to get it. But just like parents that can be exhausted by all the work until they see the twins dressed up for some special occasion, I should just be thankful that I’ve been blessed with both and keep doing my work.

Thanks for listening.

 

 

 

 

The Real Breakfast

There is currently a commercial playing for a restaurant serving a new dish, Cinnamon Swirl Brioche French Toast.  I don’t want to say the name of the establishment for fear of getting “words” from their legal department, but if I was playing charades the clue would be kangaroo.

It doesn’t really matter what the restaurant is or what the food is because this is about my trying to understand why people do things. It’s the topic I’m most fascinated by—how people think. And that’s one of the primo benefits of blogging–sharing my thoughts and seeing what others think.

In the commercial there are three couples pictured in a pristine restaurant enjoying this new dish and commenting on it. An entire blog could be devoted to the absurdity of this sugar coated, calorie stuffed breakfast dish that is contributing to the obesity of our society and the eventual catastrophic effects on our healthcare system but the simple fact that the overwhelming majority of the population doesn’t want to take responsibility and recognition of the effects of said food item on their physical and mental health makes it both funny and sad and therefore temporarily excuses the corporate chains. Phew. Let me catch my breath.

Ok, again, I’m teetering on getting too far away from my original intention. In this commercial there are three couples, a thirty-something couple consisting of a white dude and an asian woman, who look to me to represent the modern cool couple of mixed race, judging from his t-shirt he probably works in tech, and judging from her beauty, class and dress she’s corporate. But yeah, they would eat there.

Then there’s the African-american couple, very clean, very nice and intelligent, and sitting next to each other, not across, obviously in love. And yes, they would eat there, on their date night, without their kids.

And lastly there’s the slightly younger, can’t quite tell if they represent the hipsters or just slightly younger version of the first geek couple, but they both have glasses, a little bit unkempt hair and thrift store dress. And hell no, they would not eat there!

Unless it were four am and they were either drunk and thought french toast would still be good or they thought it would be “ironic.” I don’t think that any of the couples pictured would go there, only the actors portraying them because they really don’t have the disposable income because this is the only national spot they got this year and the residuals run out quick. Plus actors are by definition terrible with their money, so it’s already been spent.

I’m not dissing the place, I’ve gone there, will go there or similar again, but I want to know why they make commercials like this? Do they think those kinds of couples are going to watch and want to go?  Do they think the people that really love to go there but haven’t been for a while will want to go there because now cooler, more attractive people will be there? Do they think that the American public is that dumb, and in fact, is the American public that dumb? BECAUSE RESTAURANTS LIKE THIS ARE NOT FILLED WITH HAPPY, SMILING, ATTRACTIVE AND CLEAN PEOPLE.  Really, neither are expensive restaurants.

And it’s not just them. It’s the friendly staff at the superstore that I’ve never seen. It’s the polite, attractive and courteous patrons at the pharmacy I’ve never seen. And my favorite, it’s the people that eat too much fast food, drink too much beer, and take too many anti-depressants with too many side effects yet they’re ecstatic, living the perfect life, and in the case of the beer ads, getting all the really hot girls.

Having studied the history of magic as a performing art, I know that it’s time when the public gets too smart and the illusions have to get better. Come on folks, let’s all up our game.