Saturday, December 31, 2011

The UK vs U of L "Dream Game" Drinking Game

Every year the University of Kentucky Wildcats and the University of Louisville Cardinals face off in a battle of overpaid coaches with egos that barely fit inside of their overpriced arenas.   And every year, obnoxious fans do battle in a war to establish who can be the biggest jerks that year.    In honor of today's U of L / UK ("of" left out because spellin' is hard) sporting contest, let us raise a toast to this drinking game.   Rules are simple.  Take a drink every time one of the following occurs on-screen, at the game, at your viewing party, or on your Facebook page.

POINT VALUE 1 DRINK


  • Someone in the room, on the TV, or on Facebook yells "Go (Cats/Cards)"
  • Someone yells or posts on Facebook "guess the refs are pulling for (Louisville/Kentucky)" or its equivalent
  • The announcers use the phrase "intense rivalry"
  • Someone says or posts "These announcers suck."  
  • Someone says "let 'em play ref."  

POINT VALUE 2 DRINKS

  • A fan yells "GO BIG BLUE" into the camera.   (Add 10 drinks if he's shirtless and an extra 5 if his BMI is in the 40s.  Subtract 10 and grab your car keys if that person is in the room with you)   
  • Someone yells "that was some great acting" or "flop job" when there is a foul.   (Add 10 drinks if someone is offended by the phrase "flop job")   
  • Someone that you don't see playing on the court uses the word "we" when referring to the team he's cheering for.   (Add one drink if person never attended college.  Add 10 if the person never attended elementary school.)   
  • The words "Co-Rupt Arena" or "Yuck Center" are uttered  
  • A cheerleader looks at the camera and yells in a thin, reedy voice "Go (Cats/Cards)"  (Note:  If cheerleader is shirtless, you're watching the wrong channel.)  
  • Someone does the cheer where they spell out the name of the team.    (Add 10 drinks if they spell C A T S or C A R D S wrong)  
  • Either school's Pep Band plays "I Can't Turn You Loose
  • Karen Sypher is mentioned by someone in the room or on Facebook  (Give 10 drinks to Rick Pitino if Karen is spotted in the stands)
  • John Calipari's vacated seasons are mentioned by someone in the room or on Facebook (don't worry about giving Calipari drinks, he did nothing wrong ;)   )   
  • Someone says "ever notice that the last 2 minutes of the game take 30 minutes to play?"   
  • Someone says "Rick Pitino looks horrible."    (Add 10 drinks if that person is John Calipari)
  • Someone posts a nasty picture mocking the other team on Facebook.   (Add 10 if that picture contains a picture of you shirtless). 

POINT VALUE 10 DRINKS 

  • Announcers mention Rick Pitino's 15 seconds of shame
  • Announcers mention John Calipari's vacated seasons  
  • The relationship between Pitino and Calipari is discussed on air (add 100 if they discuss Calipari and Pitino having an affair with each other that led to vacated seasons)  
  • Someone yells "Go Big Red"   (Add 50 if they're actually drinking Big Red)  
  • Someone is following the game but says "I don't really care who wins." 
WINNING THE GAME

If you're a fan of either team and you drink so much that you pass out, the rest of us win.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Joe Bodolai in more than 140 characters

I am a self described SNL junkie.  As my wife can attest, right after she says "why do you keep watching that crap?", I usually watch every minute of every episode of the season.   In college, some 15 years after SNL hit the airwaves, my friends and I, who all were studying TV or film, envisioned becoming great successes as writers and/or performers on the show.      

Of course, real life, limited talent, and the fact that your mental ambition didn't match your heart intervened, and I simply became a big fan and SNL trivia buff.    Now I watched it with a critical eye and thought about how I could improve the show, mocking bad sketches, bad writing, and bad performing as only those who do not do the work can do.  

I still needed an outlet to be funny (or at least my attempts at humor) and so social media seemed perfect.   I tried to occasionally update my facebook status with a funny observation, silly joke, or political statement.    As my friends can attest, that got old.  

So I moved to Twitter, the place for snark, and started posting random jokes, political humor, and other nonsense.     A bit of luck while playing hashtag games saw me getting followed by others with a following, and eventually getting retweets from people with connections to the humor business.   Seeing my tweet retweeted by Kelly Carlin (daughter of comedy legend George Carlin), Lizz Winstead (creator of the Daily Show), or various other writers and standups who were in the business and actually WERE funny was an incredible kick in the pants.  

One of the people who was most enthusiastic in his support was a guy named Joe Bodolai.   He first contacted me asking me if I'd ever heard of Sarah Hyland (not the one from Modern Family and I'm guessing she gets tired of people adding that caveat), a comedian from my area that he featured on his You Tube Channel.   We traded tweets back and forth about his visit to the area, her comedy, and comedy in general.   I finally did some Googling and came back with information that Joe worked with numerous comedians in Canada, and (OMG!) worked on SNL for a season WHEN EDDIE MURPHY WAS THERE.     

Of course, I didn't ask him about this.   I wasn't sure of the etiquette.  Maybe he'd had a bad experience there.   Maybe he didn't get much on the air.  Was it right to say "what did you write?"   Instead we just traded and laughed at each other's jokes.     He never stopped telling me I was funny.

Since this was a Twitter friendship, it tended to exist in fits and spurts, depending on who saw what on any given day.    I hadn't seen much from Joe recently.    I didn't give it much thought.   People come and go on social networks based on what's occupying their mind or the novelty wearing off.   Then, last night I did something I rarely do.   I went to Huffington Post, a website I used to frequent until they started promoting quack cures and bullshit medicine.   There, like a beacon, was a picture of Joe Bodolai from his twitter feed, saying that he'd committed suicide in a most horrible of ways.  It's a cliche, but I was completely numb.  

I read his twitter feed.  There were the goodbyes I missed.  I went to his blog that I kept meaning to read.   There was his suicide note. 

I had no idea.   

I don't know what was going through Joe's head, but it seems obvious this was in his head for awhile and his friends and colleagues spoke of a sadness that would not go away.   In a culture that values youth and what you've did last week over talent and experience,  I guess Joe felt worthless or angry.   Funny and creative people tend not to get over the injustices in this world.   They may turn them into laughs, but the sadness and anger can live on inside.  

It's sad that I can no longer tell him that he was worth something to me, and the many who came to know him 140 characters at a time.  Rest in peace, Joe.  If there is an afterlife, I hope it's full of everything you couldn't find in this one.   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Daughter's Letter to Santa


Dear Santa,

Merry Christmas.  I haven't opened my Christmas presents yet, but thank you anyway.  Happy (early) New Year. Say Merry Christmas to Mrs.Claus, the elves (especially Clementine) , and to the reindeer for me.I hope you like our snowmen cookies, and I sure hope the cats haven't taken a bite. I would love to get to eat that many cookies in one night!

Something I really want this year is for the dog at Feeders Supply to get adopted. He deserves it. Also , if possible I wish he could get his leg fixed. I wish I could have that dog because he is so sweet but we have 3 cats 1 of who is meowing right now. I hope he gets adopted by a good family who gives him wonderful care. I would be so happy if he was adopted by Christmas but as long as he's adopted it doesn't matter. As long as he's not stuck in a shelter cage. But I'm sure they take very good care of him and he doesn't get sick.

Again, Merry Christmas and Happy (early) New year. I can't believe it's my 10th Christmas!!:) Thank you again for all the presents and have a wonderful year. I'll write to you next year! Bye!

Love,
Maddie      
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Donald Trump -- "Reality" Star


Donald Trump's name became known to most of us in the 80s.    His flashy lifestyle, outspoken personality and his books introduced us to the idea that success was great, and Donald Trump was its ambassador.

When I was in high school and college, Trump's name seemed to be popping up everywhere.  He owned a USFL Team.   His name was on big buildings.   He even had an airline.   

Then he faded from view.    

Enter The Apprentice.   I have to admit that I loved the IDEA of the Apprentice.    A reality competition in which teams of people compete in business tasks to find the ultimate best businessperson.   

Of course, like Trump Shuttle, the USFL and who knows how many businesses, it didn't take long for Trump (or more likely his producers with Trump's blessing) to completely screw it up.     

The Apprentice turned into nothing special.  It was simply Survivor with a business setting.    Instead of trying to do something different, like showing how cooperation, teamwork, and creativity could help people win in life, it became a show where conflict was encouraged in the worst ways.  And those who made noble efforts and failed were looked upon with more contempt than those who sabotaged the efforts in the first place.  But worst of all, it gave the ever arrogant Trump a second 15 minutes of fame.   

When I watch Trump now, I see a man who appears nothing like a business tycoon and everything like a Paris Hilton or Kardashian.   When he talks his voice and his words show a man with a limited vocabulary and a thought process that doesn't ever seem to kick out of first gear.    Even looking at his surroundings in recent news reports, he seems like an idiot version of Charles Foster Kane, living among relics of his past, including enough fake gold stuff to stock an Egyptian souvenir shop.    Trump's reality doesn't match reality's reality, which states that he's a master huckster, but not much of a businessman, with failed business ventures and a tendency for his arrogance to outshine what is best for a company in the first place.   Touting Trump as a model of a fine businessman is like asking Survivor's Richard Hatch to give tax advice.   

The problem for me is that Trump's reality has entered the world that I do care about, namely real news and politics.    In the sad mess that is our news today, Trump's given minutes of precious airtime that could be spent on something more important (like Chia Pets) to spout off on everything from his idiotic belief that Obama is foreign born to his ironic complaints that he feels Obama is arrogant and has no reason to be.  He's been allowed to promote his "debate" and voice his attacks at any candidate who doesn't bow down and kiss his gold plated ring.   But most of all he's just been allowed to show his humorless, hairless sour visage on my television screens and add nothing to the national debate.    I wish he'd just go away. 

Of course, the irony that  I just wrote several hundred words about the guy doesn't escape me.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

F___ Newt -- To The Tune of F You by Cee Lo

CHORUS 
I see him flying cross country
Dissing poor peo-ple and i'm like,
F___ Newt
Oo, oo, ooo
Because the change in our pockets 
just isn't enough
for
Fat Newt
That tub of goo
I said, if we were richer, then he'd be with us
Ha, now ain't that some shit? (ain't that some shit?)
Surprised there's not pain in his chest
with his manly breasts.
F___ Newt 
Oo, oo, ooo

Yeah i'm sorry, we can't afford a Ferrari,
But that don't mean we don't vote or care 
If this were the 1700s we'd feather and tar ye
And not just for your many affairs

I pity the fool that falls in love with you
(oh shit she's a gold digger)
Well
(just thought you should know pig)
Ooooooh
I've got some news for you
Yeah go run and tell your Koch boyfriends

(chorus)

You complain about how the country borrows,
But you're part of the reason we're nearly broke
You shop at Tiffany's, then piss on the poor
But even Jesus thinks you're a joke  

I picture the fool that casts a vote for you
(oh shit he's a dumb idiot)
Well
(oh shit he's a dumb idiot)
Ooooooh
I've got some news for you
We really hate yo ass right now
(chorus)

Now baby, baby, baby, why d'you wanna wanna hurt me so bad?

(so bad, so bad, so bad)
I tried to tell my mamma but she told me
"this is one for your dad"
(your dad, your dad, your dad)
Uh! Whhhy? Uh! Whhhy? Uh!
Whhhy lady? Oh! I love you oh!
I still love you. Oooh!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Joe Paterno is a Great Man?


In the wake of the Penn State scandal we keep hearing the following from players and supporters, including other coaching legends like Mike Krzyzewski.   

“Joe Paterno is a great man.”  

No, he wasn’t.   

Joe Paterno was a great college coach.   History has shown us that being a great college coach and being a great man are often incompatable.  

Bobby Knight was a great coach.  He also was incapable of answering a reporter’s question without a profanity, joked about rape, tossed chairs during a game, and acted like a complete jackass on numerous occasions.   

Rick Pitino is a great coach.  He’s also a guy who apparently was well known for getting drunk and cheating on his wife.  His defense?   He was really upset over his brother in law (NOTE: HIS WIFE’S BROTHER!) dying in 9/11.   Stay classy, Rick.   

John Calipari is a great coach.   How great?  Let’s look at his wikipedia entry:

Calipari is the former head coach of the University of Memphis, the University of Massachusetts and the NBA's New Jersey Nets. He is one of only two coaches to direct three different colleges to a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, though two of those seasons have been officially vacated by the NCAA. Calipari is the only head coach to have a Final Four appearance vacated at more than one school, though Calipari himself was not personally indicted by the NCAA while coaching UMass or Memphis.  Calipari has taken one school officially to the Final Four, that being Kentucky in 2011.

Get that?  John is so awesome that he’s had TWO incredible seasons while coaching at TWO DIFFERENT schools erased because of violations of NCAA rules.   I’m sure he knew nothing of his school’s violations.  After all, he was only the COACH!  As a reward for having those two erased seasons, the University of Kentucky figured the third time would be a charm and is currently paying him close to $5 million a season.   

The reality is that these men are not hired to be great men, they are hired to win.   Great men are ones who do the right thing for the right reason.   Great men believe that doing the right thing is more important than doing what is easy, or offers the path of least resistance.   

It’s important to remember that Joe Paterno’s involvement in this scandal was not about an NCAA violation like money getting paid to a player, or Joe Paterno visiting a potential recruit when he wasn’t supposed to.   It was about arguably the most powerful men at Penn State, including their “legendary” coach doing next to nothing about a Penn State representative preying on young boys.     Given that these are educated people in the 21st century, there is absolutely NO excuse for not doing more to make sure that this person was out of the program and brought to justice.    

Joe Paterno is not a great man.  He did what he had to do to protect a college football program and himself.  He made whatever mental excuse he needed to make to excuse Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of the trust of young men.   Given Sandusky’s recent interviews and the numerous reports coming out, it seems impossible to believe that Paterno and his staff didn’t at least have a feeling about him even before an actual incident was witnessed.    But Paterno put Penn State and his own career over the safety of young kids.   That’s not the mark of a great man.   That’s the mark of a weak and selfish man.   That’s the mark of a man who deserves to have his “legendary” status tarnished.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm Looking Through You....



I wrote on Twitter earlier that I wished that I could let the love of those who are kind get to me as deeply as the slights of those who apparently don't.    What brought it on was the very strange (to me, anyway) experience of having several people stare through me as though I didn't exist.

The first person is a coworker that I don't know.  This person seems personable enough to people who are his peer.   He leads meetings, talks and jokes with people, and has spoken in groups of people that I've been in without a problem.   But whenever he walks anywhere near me (even in the long hallways of the building I work in) his head and gaze shift somewhere opposite.  I found out he treats others this way, so it's actually become an amusing game to try to make him look my way.

Then today I was at an event for my daughter's school.   A parent who I have known for a few years (I'll call her Judy) was there.   Judy refused to make eye contact with me or say a word whenever I saw her, even when I spoke their name and said "hello" as we almost ran into each other while we were both working on cleaning up. I don't know Judy that well, but we've worked together PTA enough to at least be civil.     In fact, last year Judy had just started a new venture with a company and was very enthusiastic in sharing it with the people in the PTA.  When I started to talk about knowing a friend with experience in the same exact thing and offered to connect Judy with my friend, she got snippy and said that what my friend did was completely different that wasn't the same (or as good, apparently) as what Judy was entering into.   There seemed to be a resentment of me that I never quite understood.   Tonight just made it clear that what I thought might be my imagination apparently had some basis in fact.

The truth here is that I shouldn't give a rat's ass.   I know I've done nothing wrong and either these people are simply socially awkward (although I thought I was the king of socially awkward), or simply just a-holes.   I know I need to man up, but there is something that is soul sucking about having people not even acknowledge that you exist when they're right in front of you.   It's a strange type of invalidation that somehow hurts worse than people blowing you off or criticizing you. At least those people make it clear they see you as something worthy of speaking to.   And when you're relatively shy, it just reinforces the feeling that you're somehow below others and incapable of making contact.

I'll be over it tomorrow, but tonight it just made me feel for a bit like I didn't exist and I didn't matter.   Neither is true, but it still impacted me.  


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reassessing Childhood

I wonder how many of my fellow parents view their children through their own childhood.  Does every moment of brilliance remind you of one of your own?   Do their successes take you back to yours?   Do their failures bring back the crushing failures in your own adolescence?  

And how many of us reassess our own childhood because of what our children go through.

Watching my daughter struggling with shyness, it brought to mind my own incredible social awkwardness, which seemed to start around 8 or 9, and continued until today.  

As I've mentioned before, I was a "gifted" child.   When you're little, everyone's learning so much new stuff that the idea of a smarter kid or dumber kid really doesn't enter your mind.  You all play with each other, hate each other for five minutes, then go right back to playing with each other.  

But as everyone starts to catch on, we start to realize our differences.   The kid who makes you laugh becomes the fat kid who dresses kind of funny.  The girl that you shared your lunch with is now the girl who is so much smarter than you.    The guy that was so much fun to play cops and robbers with is going to special classes because he's not bright.  

It was around that time that I started to feel alone.  I could tell a joke and make people laugh, but I didn't have the first idea about how to dress right, carry on a conversation where I actually sounded interesting, or talk to any girl I considered attractive with anything more than an adolescent urge to be funny, or worse a stony silence and my eyes averted away from her gaze.  

I always felt like I was smart enough to be with anyone, but I'd be damned if anyone found anything I could be into interesting.  How far would a joke take me?  What happened if I had to carry on a conversation beyond that? 

I spent my entire grade school career with one date, prom.  I rarely went out, and when I did, it was usually with a group of people that would wind up pairing off and leave me watching TV or sitting quietly observing them and desperately wondering what the hell I could do to fit in and then taking a perverse pride in not.  

At 40, I still don't fit in.   I could say being on the fringes was fun, but then I also wonder what would happen if I'd have just spoken up a little more, been a little more bold, or just given up worrying about what others think and done my own thing, would I have been happier?  Would I have been more social now?  Better prepared for life?  More able to carry on a conversation that I didn't feel awkward about?

We all just want our children to be happy.  And I won't say I was unhappy as a kid.   I just want to make sure that my daughter does her level best not to have any questions or doubts when she's my age.


And like every parent before me, I'm sure I'll screw that up. 







Monday, October 10, 2011

Why Kindle Fire Will Succeed -- How it Could Fail

REASONS WHY KINDLE FIRE WILL SUCCEED
  1. PRICE -- I keep hearing that the Kindle Fire will not steal people away from Apple, and I think for the most part that is correct.   People who love Apple products or who have a previous investment in iPhones, iPods, or iPads are not going to necessarily find a lot to love here.   Many of the things that the Fire can do, the iPad will do, faster and better.    But what I think Amazon has done that may ultimately hurt Apple is making the tablet market accessible to the masses.   $499 is a hard price to swallow in a tight economy, especially for people who have a hard time understanding why an iPad is of any value if they have a smartphone, iPod, laptop, and/or e-reader.  And the Android based competitors that cropped up in the wake of the iPad have mostly been underwhelming, combining prices that are two high and tablet software that's not quite ready for prime time and has too few apps.
  2. SIZE -- Steve Jobs criticized the seven inch size of tablet computer, and many critics agreed.  7 inch seems an odd gray area between a smartphone and a tablet, seemingly providing the least of both worlds.   But in handling a few 7 inch tablets and seeing how much easier they were to hold comfortably and type on, I think that the 7 inch size's portability will ultimately be a winner.  The iPad is easier to carry than a laptop, but for a device that is $499 and up, it often feels dangerous and heavy using it on the go, or even carrying it in your bag.  Using my wife's iPad, I'm always afraid of dropping the thing.    With a lighter $199 device, I'll feel safer taking it on the go and be able to drop it in a bag and take it with me.  
  3. AMAZON.COM -- The Google Appstore has always felt lawless in terms of security.   Apple's iTunes has always felt like you're signing up for a timeshare.   Amazon's App Store, web presence and familiarity with shoppers will help drive Android app purchases forward, as will Amazon's customer service (which has been excellent for Kindle).    Additionally, Amazon's Kindle store provides a much better experience and much more reading options than iTunes.     
  4. TIMING -- Apple's recent lackluster iPhone announcement coupled with no iPad 3 on the horizon makes the Kindle Fire seem new and exciting, even if the hardware is off the shelf.   With nothing else competing for Christmas dollars, the Kindle Fire may be THE electronic item on everyone's wish list.  
  5. USERS -- Android tablets have failed to catch on like iPads have in part because of lackluster apps.   And if people aren't buying the tablets, there's little incentive to program apps for them.   That should change with hundreds of thousands lining up to buy the Kindle Fire.  App developers will have a rich user base to tailor their software for and the store itself promises a simple and safe way of purchasing apps.     
HOW THE KINDLE FIRE COULD FAIL 
  1. BAD HARDWARE OR OPERATING SYSTEM -- It is troubling that Amazon refused to let any journalists have a hands on experience with the Kindle Fire, and watching the demos, you have to wonder if the scripting included the way the hardware was used.    It's possible that Amazon simply wanted to not encounter any issues common with all new devices, or there are some bugs associated with the rush to market that are not yet ironed out.   But if Amazon ships outs a high percentage of lemons among the hundred of thousands scheduled to ship, Amazon could find itself with a fiasco on its hands and little hope for recovery, not to mention a reason for Cupertino to gloat. 
  2. AMAZON VERSION OF ANDROID  -- Amazon created its own version of an Android App Store, presumably to compliment the Kindle Fire.  However, the Kindle Fire apparently runs a modified version of Android based on an earlier version.   As Google continues to develop the Android mobile platform while Amazon branches off on its own, one has to wonder if developers won't soon have to be writing separate apps for each, and if Amazon's own platform development skills will be able to keep up with those of Google's.   If the Kindle Fire users suddenly find themselves waiting for apps or worse, seeing inferior apps pop up on the Fire platform, the Fire could wind up being simply an entry level tablet that encourages people to upgrade to better tablets by other companies.   
  3. PRIVACY ISSUES -- The Kindle Fire's Silk Browser works by using Amazon's own servers to feed you the web pages you want to surf, in a bid to provide more speed.   Given that the tablet works on WiFi networks, this seems like an odd addition to the Fire.   There are concerns that using Amazon's servers to surf the web will give Amazon too much access to your web surfing habits and allow them to potentially invade your privacy.   This remains to be seen, of course. 
  4. STORAGE -- I have an Android phone.  One of the biggest complaints I have with the phone is the poor way in which storage is handled.  Too many apps store themselves on the phone itself and NOT the phone's storage card, which leads to making decisions about what you REALLY want vs. what is nice to have on your device.   The Kindle Fire is supposed to have 8GB of memory and access to all of your Kindle ready content via the cloud.  This may create problems for people that use the Kindle Fire while travelling, where WiFi access won't be readily available, especially if they want to watch movies or listen to their music collection.   Hopefully Amazon will figure out a way in which apps can be seamlessly installed and uninstalled via the cloud so that infrequently used apps are still handy.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs Legacy -- He made Geek cool

Last night I was trying to figure out how many years I'd been using a PC.  If memory serves, I started using one in 1979 or 1980 when I first touched the TI 99/4.   From that point forward I was enamored with these wonderful typewriters that played games and my gadget love began.    A few years later I actually sold a program to my school, a simple math game that caused a rocket to blast off your screen every time you got a math problem right.  

I was in fifth grade.  

Although my programming skills never progressed much, my gadget love did.  I soon progressed from my TI 99/4A to a Commodore 64, where I first started writing on a word processor and first went online on several local BBS.    The Commodore got me through college where I touched my first Mac.  In college, computers were still considered a luxury, and Macs were the pinnacle of that luxury.   I admired my friends who had those sleek machines that my parents and I couldn't afford.    They were simple to use and elegant.  

In the age of the Internet, Apple products created a geek version of the redneck Ford vs. Chevy war.  Apple lovers appreciated their design, functionality, the fact that they simply worked and their snob appeal.   PC lovers appreciated the PC's flexibility, lower cost, openness, and, truth be told, the fact that they were so complex and hard to keep running.   It helped keep the stuff they loved from becoming too accessible.  

And this is where Steve Jobs won the war. Ironically, not with the personal computer, but with the portable devices Apple didn't create, but helped make usable.  

Apple realized not too long ago that there was tremendous power in a device that could go with you everywhere you went.   Unlike the first iterations of smartphones which essentially tried to replicate the desktop experience in smaller form, Apple's genius was to create a mobile platform in which the device and the applications used on it were integrated together to provide a uniquely mobile experience.   Five or ten years ago if someone told you that you'd be able to use your phone to find a new restaurant, a coupon for it, notify your friends you were there, write a review (complete with picture of your entree), and then facebook and tweet about it immediately following, they'd have laughed at you.   Now we can't imagine life without it.  

And what about our music listening habits?  When I was in college, my backpack was always stuffed full of CDs and my portable CD player that got about an hour's worth of listening before the batteries died.   Others were still using cassette Walkmans.    Can you make it to your desk at work without encountering someone plugged into their iPod or their head buried in their iPhone? 

Steve Jobs took technology and made it accessible.  He looked at what existed and questioned "what would make this better?"   He took geek out of the world of geek and gave it to the rest of us.   For all of his faults and missteps, Steve Jobs left the world a better place.   It's sad there are too few waiting in the wings to take his place.  







Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Perhaps it was sheer coincidence, but last night I was watching a video from Sesame Street and saw a link to a video of Big Bird singing Bein' Green at Jim Henson's memorial service.  As tears streamed down my face, I thought of how much connection I had to a man who I didn't know and rarely saw.   Jim Henson's very essence was excellence, portrayed in the hours of television and motion pictures he helped create and the indelible characters he brought to the screen that kids 8 months to 80 years old embraced.   Jim Henson loved his work and it showed in every thing that he produced.   He surrounded himself with dedicated people who created the best and the world was better for it.

I sit here today with much the same feeling upon hearing Steve Jobs.   We'd lost a talent, a visionary, and a one-of-a-kind presence whose vision showed in the work his company produced.   I've never owned an Apple PC.   Truth be told, I've probably spent less than 30 hours working on one in my 40 years of existence.   But I always admired and wanted one of their machines, from the Apple II of my youth to the latest and greatest Macbooks of today, there is a style, elegance, and grace that my TI, Commodore, and multiple PCs have never captured.  

I learned of his death on my smartphone, a device Apple didn't invent, but one that Apple made better.  Only a few minutes later I got into my iPod ready car and rocked out to one of 20,000 tunes housed on a device Apple moved into the mainstream.   I came back and I type this on a PC inspired in part by the visions of Apple.  

Steve Jobs was only 56.    He was just learning to drive when I was born.   You can't say he didn't pack everything into those 56 years, but I am saddened that the world lost another 44 more.  

RIP Steve.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire -- Why I Want One

We're now about 4 hours away from 10 AM EDT announcement of SOMETHING from Amazon.  That something is rumored to be the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire, an Android based tablet rumored to be coming in at $250 and to include a year subscription to the Amazon Prime service, that allows all sorts of perks, including free shipping.

While Amazon has been tight lipped, what has leaked out as either rumor or fact, is that the tablet will be 7 inches, be similar in design to the RIM Playbook, and that publishers are lined up to produce content for it.

So why am I excited about what some might call an underpowered iPad?

Because all of the rumors of a Kindle Fire indicate it is everything I'd like to see in a tablet.   My wife has an iPad, and while I think it is a well designed and enjoyable product, I find it rather limiting for day to day use.  It's too heavy to read on it comfortably, especially lying down.  It's too large to easily carry from place to place easily, especially without a lot of protection, given its price.   And speaking of price, it's simply too damned expensive for what you get.  $500 will get you a nicely equipped laptop that you can write, surf the net, and do a ton of things that an iPad simply can't do.  

If Amazon can get this puppy out for $250.00 and create a great e-reader that can play Angry Birds, surf the web, stream tunes, and check your e-mail, plus add in a rumored attempt at a book subscription service, I think this thing will fly off the e-shelves.  

I own the second generation Kindle, and love it, but I've found myself reading Kindle books more and more on my phone because its a single device that can do so much more than my Kindle.  Having a cheap tablet that does the basics well seems like a no brainer.   If all of the rumors prove true, the Amazon Kindle Fire will be on my Christmas list.   (Or my Halloween list.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Writing on the brain

I was reading a story about Joan Didion in the book I'm reading, The Courage To Write.   It relates that in social situations she's not much of a presence. "I can't even finish sentences when I'm talking.  In the middle, I guess I decide it's not a very good sentence and I just stop."

This hit a nerve subconsciously.   I've noticed that in my personal life, people seem to talk over me, as though they're always sensing a cue that I haven't intentionally given that my thought is over and it's okay for them to speak.   As a consequence, I find myself and my thoughts trampled over and criticized before they're even fully formed.  The reality is that my brain is simply going through three or four things to say and trying to pick the best one.    It's my hope not to spew verbal diarrhea, and instead I become audibly constipated.    

And that's why I prefer writing.   I can get my thoughts on a page, cross them out, retype them, rearrange them, and probably still stay unclear, if even a little less so.   

I noticed when I was at a trade show the other day how little our society seems to treasure communicators among our thinkers.  There were people presenting what appeared to be brilliant ideas, but they were stuck at booths that told me nothing about what they were trying to do.  And when they spoke, they simply layered their presentation with enough baffling bullshit that your average attendee probably walked away thinking it was brilliant, but couldn't tell you a damned thing about what was actually being presented.   I'm not sure that it was necessarily the fault of some of these presenters, but as the same book, The Courage To Write, points out, people from academic worlds tend not to speak or write clearly because when they do (assuming they can), their points tend to be discounted.  

We live in a world with so much information, and most of it bad.   The reality is that most of us crave simplicity.  And the person who can present complex information in simple and understandable terms should be praised and valued.    

So if you hear me talking and you sense I'm done, or perhaps wish I was done, give me a few more seconds to make sure.   I'm probably just writing in my head, and your ears are my paper where I'm going to scratch some stuff out and rewrite what I'm trying to say.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gifted Child in an Adult World

I was a gifted child.  There, I said it.   I heard it early and often.  "You are gifted!" I'd hear teachers say, and I really didn't know what it meant.  I was hoping it meant that I had some gifts coming my way.  All I knew was that I loved to learn things, I seemed a bit sharper than everyone else and grasped information faster.  

I was lucky enough to have a school system that supported advanced children and was moved into advanced reading groups a grade level above and put into a program called "SPREE -- Special Programs and Resources for Expanded Education" in which I got to do reports, work puzzles, and hang with other bright kids. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Late Bloomer

I turned 40 this year.  I'm almost 20 years out of college, where ideally every kid figures out what the hell he wanted to be when he grew up and then takes that degree (at least that was the theory in 1993) and makes his fortune.

I got a film degree.   You do the math.

So now I'm over a decade and a half into my "real" job.   It pays the bills, and has provided me with information, knowledge and life experience, as well as a beautiful wife and child.    But is my current career what I wanted to be when I grew up?  

Nope.  I don't think so.

The problem these days is that everyone from TV programmers to advertisers to businesses consider us washed up by 30.   After three decades of brainiac twentysomethings making a fortune in the tech field and elsewhere, society seems to feel that if your not already ascending your peak by 25, you might as well go home.

To be honest, I felt like a loser.   I was going to be a journalist, film director, veternarian or astronaut, depending on what year you caught me.   But my high school paper wouldn't take me, my student films sucked (here's a taste), I was afraid of dogs, and there wasn't enough rocket fuel to get my fat ass into space.  

But something changed here in the past few months.  I realized that what I really wanted to do was write.   I've been writing most of my life.  From silly plays with stuffed animals to the occasional article for Associated Content, I've enjoyed it all.   I found Twitter, a place where you can get instant gratification from writing something witty and having people respond.    I started writing blog entries, journal entries, and reading about how to become a better writer. Celebrities actually commented on things I wrote.    I met people (or whatever you consider corresponding with people on Twitter to be) who told me they liked what I wrote, encouraged me, and provided wisdom of their own.  

Today I listened to one of my new twitter buddies (I call her buddy, I'm sure she'd call me stalker), Kelly Carlin on her podcast, Waking From the American Dream.  Kelly was talking to Paul Myers, a writer and musician, about being a "late bloomer" and just starting to figure out your life in your forties.    Listening to her talk about spending life as a seeker struck a chord with me.   I've spent my entire life to get to this point, and who the hell am I to say that the time spent to get here was a waste?   I've found out so much about me and had experiences I may never have had if I'd have gone down a different path.   More importantly, who am I to say that I can't make something of my writing at the age of 40?  

The truth is that I'm just now learning to be comfortable with me and give a little bit less of a flying fig about what others think (except for my Twitter followers, of course).   Maybe it'll take me another 40 years to be a well known author. Or perhaps a standup comedian.  Or whatever.  

As the cliche says, it's not the destination, it's the journey.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Amazon Customer Service Chat, unedited.

This is the chat that occurred after I bought a Kindle book that was listed for $1.99 that magically went up to $5.59 after I purchased it.  The reps claimed I was seeing the "African" price and was charged the higher USA price.  They couldn't explain how I managed to buy one book only available in the USA and then immediately turn around and see the African price on another book.   Here's my chat: 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

9/11 Thouthgs

Rather than retype them here, I've shared my notes on that day under this article:  My Memories of 9/11.  What were your thoughts from that day?  Please share in the comments.


Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest, Put My Patience to the Test

I was in line at Chick Fil A the other day to get a tasty artery killing fried chicken sandwich when one of their  freshly scrubbed teenage counter help said, "may I help the next guest please?"   

Guest?  Was I ordering up a chicken sandwich and then getting a room to sleep it off?   Would Chick Fil A pull out their sofa bed so I could watch the game later in my underwear?

Target calls me a guest too.  If that's the case, I wish they could explain to me why they got so pissed off when I dragged one of their futons over to electronics with some Cheetos and a bottle of Dr. Pepper that they didn't even have the decency to chill. 

Of course, maybe those kids in the red polo shirts were just upset because they're tired of being called team members.   You're not an employee anymore, you're a "team member" or worse, "associate".  We're all just one big happy family in this together.  Just don't take a look at the boss's paycheck, don't talk back, and don't show any hesitation when he asks you to clean up the vomit in kids toys or you'll find out really quick that you're Bob Uecker and the boss is Michael Jordan.  (I know I'm mixing sports here.  Shut up.)    

What makes these phrases so maddening though is that they're unnatural.  At no time in the history of Target has any customer ever said, "wow, they love me here.   I'm a wanted guest in their home."   We're all simply there because there's 70% less male ass cleavage, elbow piercings, and eyelid tattoos than Walmart.     And no employee anywhere has ever said "wow, my CEO referred to me as an associate, perhaps I can meet up with him later and share my ideas on how he could improve the company over a beer."   As they said in Office Space, that employee is there to do just enough to not get fired.    

And don't get me started on scripts.   If you have someone answer the phone with anything other than "Thank you for calling Acme Corporation (you can change this to another company if you like), how may I help you?"  then they will hate you and take it out on the customer... er guest.   

So don't make them say "It's a wonderful day here at Uvula Industries, how may I provide you with service excellence today?" or "Oils R Us!  How may I best lubricate your happiness machinery today?"  Why?  Because after the fifth time of saying it, the amusement that they've been forced to spew that crap will wear off.  Then you'll be left with an employ... team member who knows she can't choke the boss for stripping her of her own ability to form coherent and pleasant interaction with a customer, so she'll take it out on that "guest" on the other end.   

So do me a favor, companies.   Go back to calling me a customer.  If you and your people think our relationship is special, show me by hiring EMPLOYEES that give a damn and pay them a fair wage for their abilities.   Simply defining our relationship with words isn't going to change any given situation any more than me calling that burger on my plate a "steakburger" is going to change the fact that I'm still eating ground up cow scraps.  

Great, now Steak and Shake's going to think I'm a bad guest.      

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Business Books -- The Allure of BS


I was looking at Amazon's Daily Kindle Deal and found a book from Seth Godin.  If you don't know Seth Godin, Seth is a marketing guy who writes all sorts of short, fun, books for business about selling, image, and the "new" economy.   His books look good and have ideas that are easily digestible  

But are they any good?  Who knows.

I remember reading several business books years ago.   I was telling my dad about the strategies professed within and how awesome they were.    My dad looked at me with a sort of amusement that said, "silly kid, if only you knew."  

After 16 years of a "real job", I now understand the look my dad gave me.   Business books are essentially self-help books for corporations.   The books that have "systems" that promise to help companies reinvent themselves, attract new customers, move themselves into a new realm, are not unlike the ones that tell individuals how to win friends and influence people.   Then there are other books that repackage centuries old advice as new material, essentially selling you common sense.  

There is nothing inherently bad about all of this, except the fact that for companies, the true answer to success or  failure is seldom changing to meet the model of a book.  And many companies that embrace a certain book or set of books as the answer to their problems seem to embrace a particular book and its ideals only as long as necessary, and sometimes not even for the time it takes to promote it.

I remember a particular instance when my own company embraced a business book years ago.  They rolled out the strategy within the book in a series of meetings.  I read the book and was shocked to see that in a company wide meeting to discuss the book, the message had been skewed to essentially ignore the main point of the book and ultimately go against what it said.  When I questioned a trainer who had helped develop the program to present the strategy, I was told "well, the book was a jumping off point, we put our own spin on it."

If you're going to spin something to the point of ignoring its central thesis, why bother at all?

The problem with business books is the same as self help books.  Ultimately one strategy never works for a company any better than it does an individual.  Companies, like people, are messy enterprises.  Some succeed for obvious reasons.  Others seem to succeed in spite of themselves.   Ultimately, if you get too bogged down in trying to embrace the strategies of business books instead of simply figuring out what techniques and strategies work for you or your company, you're going to wind up chasing easy answers that simply don't exist.

So I still occasionally peek at business books, just like I do self-help books, hoping for a bit of something new or something old said better that I can apply to my own life.    But just like the self-help books, I don't see any one of them as being the answer to all that ails me.  

Oh, and here's that book from Seth Godin that spurred this thought:

Monday, August 29, 2011

College Dreams

When I was younger I used to have a dream about a house that was a bit like a light house, in that it was circular and tall.  You'd have to climb all the way up to the top and then climb down into it.  

Never understood that one.

Now I have a different dream.   I'm back in college.  I assume it is Boston University, but each time I'm in a building or dorm that is not familiar to me at all. I sometimes find a person I know,  but I'm always alone, and typically feeling like I've missed a class.

Last night was no different.   I was in my dorm room, where I left my stuff, went to the bathroom, came back, and found out that I was suddenly on a different floor, I thought, but I wasn't sure what locker I had, what my room number was, or where my keys are.

The dreams are disturbing in that they keep happening and I have no idea what they mean.  Does it refer to my need to go back to school?  The feeling of being lost?  My inability to challenge myself?   Missing those days?  Not missing those days?   Being ill prepared?  

Maybe one day I'll find out.  Do they hide clues somewhere in your dreams?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twit Fits


I once was addicted to facebook.   I’m not proud of it, it just happened.   I’d spend hours chatting up old friends, trying to build up my list to reach some magical mystical number of 500 friends.   But then I realized the magic was gone.   There are only so many stories of people visiting their uncle in Iowa that you can click “like” on before you need something harder.    So I turned to Twitter.  

Twitter seems pretty stupid at first.   You have 140 characters to say anything to the world.  140 characters isn’t enough to document a sneeze.   How can you work with that.   And I had like 14 followers, and most of them were friends who joined and quickly abandoned it.  

Seven months ago I started looking at the “Trends” on Twitter, a list of topics that are currently showing up in Twitter.   I noticed Zac Efron, Taye Diggs, and Huckleberry Finn (which had just been released in a censored edition) were all trending at the same time.   Suddenly I had this brain fart:   

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day of School Tomorrow


Tomorrow my daughter starts fourth grade after two false starts.  Mother nature decided to give the kids two days off by knocking down trees and out power, phones, and Internet.   And you can't have school unless kids have access to Facebook.

My daughter asked me tonight to read her a story.   I knew it was a stalling tactic designed to squeeze a few more minutes out before bedtime, but I agreed.   Ever since she was little I'd been reading or making up stories for her.  There was no greater pleasure than making up a ridiculous story in which one stuffed animal would beat the snot out another or telling a good poop joke to have my daughter rolling with laughter.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Even if we're apart, I'll always be with you

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. i'll always be with you.”
Quote from Winnie the Pooh -- Read at Keegan Adkins Tree Dedication 

I did not know Keegan Adkins.   There is a strong chance that his path crossed mine.  He may have been one of the kids I smiled at as I swam at the pool.   I'm sure he was one of the smiling kindergartners at his school who seemed to be having so much fun at his school's field day only a few short months ago.   

Keegan died not long ago.  An accidental death, drowning in the same pool that my in-laws belonged to and my daughter swam in several times a week.  He became a hero in death, donating his organs so that others may live.   Last night they held a tree planting ceremony at his school, planting a tree and dedicating a bench and plaque not far from the playground that he loved.   

I watched his classmates last night.   Little kids who don't understand the depth of tragedy.  In truth, I'd been there.  As a teenager several classmates died in various sad and tragic deaths while I was in high school.   You sense that it is sad, but the sense of permanence isn't as complete.   It's easier to compartmentalize that they've simply moved away, or even that you'll see them again.  

But when you're an adult, and especially a parent, the loss becomes more profound.  I imagine every adult at the tree planting ceremony looked at the picture of Keegan and thought not of Keegan specifically, but rather of their own child smiling back at them.  We've given life to our children and devoted our lives to them.  They drive us crazy, sometimes take us in paths we never dreamed, and never quite turn out how we imagine, but they're ours, and the one pleasure in life we shouldn't be denied is seeing them grow into the people they wish to be.   When I looked at Keegan's picture, I thought of all 9 years of my daughter Maddie's life.  How the little person she was at Keegan's age is blossoming into the young woman she is now.   I thought of how all the sleeplessness, effort, worry, and frustration always gets paid 100 times over in love.   I could not imagine not having all 9 of those years with her nor the 50 or more I hope will follow until I pass on.   

After the ceremony ended, the kids in attendance ran to the nearby playground to play.    I'd spent many hours working on raising money for this playground as a PTA board member.  To be honest, I never was that thrilled by raising money for it, and I always thought that the time, effort, and money spent on it could be put to better use.   

But last night I saw those kids on the playground and reflected on the knowledge that Keegan's tree was planted near it because it was his favorite place at the school.   I watched the kids running around it, climbing all over it, and just hanging out around it.   I realized in some small way I got to play a part in his young life, and his bench and tree would always stare back at the place I helped build.  It was then that  I really missed this little boy I never knew.   

Rest in peace, Keegan.  May your memory live on in those who knew you and loved you, and your life live on in those you helped save.   




Monday, April 11, 2011

Trump's Statement on Bill Cosby -- With My Comments in Red

The other day on The Today Show, right after I was interviewed by Meredith Vieira, a terrific person and reporter unless, of course, she says something negative, in which case I never liked her, I happened to watch Bill Cosby who was on at the end of the show because honestly, I don't do anything all day. While I have never been a fan of Cosby’s because he has talent, I had always assumed he liked or respected me because every time I met him—the last time at the David Letterman show where I preceded him as a guest—he was always so nice, saying “let’s get together”—asking me out to dinner, and being polite to the point of offering to buy me a suit because he has a “great tailor.”  Surely he wasn't just blowing smoke up my ass like I was with my Meredith Viera comment earlier. 
In any event, as I watched the show, the subject of Donald Trump came up.   I was surprised to hear him blabber, somewhat incoherently, because that's my shtick, “you run or shut up.” The hatred was pouring out of his eyes when he said this, which hurt because I'm a sensitive guy.  As I am sure he must know I cannot run until this season of Celebrity Apprentice ends. I know that he has taken a lot of heat over the years  in that he seems to be talking down to the people he’s talking to and purportedly trying to help, unlike me who talks down to everyone. Actually, based on the way he acted, things are not looking too good for Cosby who is only worth $450 million without having to work another day.
I wish he would be more honest although I'm not sure what that word means, and if he doesn’t want me to run because he’s obviously an Obama fan, he should state the reasons and not come into my “green room” in front of numerous witnesses and treat me like his best friend, only to denigrate me when I’m not around, because that's power reserved for people like The Donald

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Donald Trump's Letter to the New York Times (with my comments in red)

Even before Gail Collins was with the New York Times, she has written nasty and derogatory articles about me.  Actually, I have great respect for Ms. Collins in that she has survived so long with so little talent.  Because if anyone knows what it's like to survive without any talent, it's The Donald.  Her storytelling ability and word usage (coming from me, who has several ghostwritten many bestsellers), is not at a very high level. But certainly at a higher level than the preceding sentence More importantly, her facts are wrong! Because, as we know, facts are merely opinions to tea party panderers.
As far as her comments on the so-called “birther” issue, I don't need Ms. Collins's advice. There is a very large segment of our society who believe that Barack Obama, indeed, was not born in the United States. Belief, of course, is the same thing as fact.  Did I mention I believe Donald Trump is a moron whose gift is turning billions into millions?   His grandmother from Kenya stated, on tape, that he was born in Kenya and she was there to watch the birth. His family in Honolulu is fighting over which hospital in Hawaii he was born in-they just don't know.  Of course, to Dipshit Donald, who views reality through the window of reality TV, an edited audiotape from the grandmother misunderstanding the question is exactly the same as the truth.  
He has not been able to produce a “birth certificate” but merely a totally unsigned “certificate of live birth”-which is totally different and of very little significance.  Unlike a birth certificate, a certificate of live birth is very easy to obtain. Equally of importance, there are no records in Hawaii that a Barack Hussein Obama was born there-no bills, no doctors names, no nurses names, no registrations, no payments, etc.  Using this same standard, it's quite clear that nobody born in Hawaii during that time period is a US citizen.   Wow, this will make cutting the deficit easier.    As far as the two notices placed in newspapers, many things could have happened, but some feel the grandparents put an ad in order to show that he was a citizen of the U.S. with all of the benefits thereto.  Yeah, that makes sense, since everyone knows a classified ad works well at a Government Agency.   Everybody, after all, and especially then, wanted to be a United States citizen. Including your wives.
The term used by Ms. Collins-“birther”-is very derogatory and is meant in a derogatory way. Wow Trump, your talent for writing shows through here in your expert use of repetition.  But at least you understood her intent.   Had this been George Bush or almost any other President or Presidential aspirant, they would never have been allowed to attain office, or would have been thrown out of office very quickly.  And this sentence too.  How does this follow the one that precedes it?    For some reason, the press protects President Obama beyond anything or anyone I have ever seen.  Really?  Have you seen your own press tour?    What they don't realize is that if he was not born in the United States, they would have uncovered the greatest "scam" in the history of our country.  Possibly second biggest.   Can we see a complete accounting of your finances? In other words, they would become the hottest writer since Watergate, or beyond.   Open your eyes, Gail, there's at least a good chance that Barack Hussein Obama has made mincemeat out of our great and cherished Constitution! Mincemeat is not an American dish, Donald.   What are you trying to hide. 


DONALD J. TRUMP
New York, April 7, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Creativity, Education, and Conformity

I was a gifted child.   There, I said it.   It feels good to get it out.   Adults looked at me and a few of my peers and said, "he's more gifted than the rest".    Felt good, honestly, as did the ability to get out of class for a few hours a week to explore my education.    The idea that I was special stuck, as did the idea that I didn't have to conform.    I could "think outside of the box" long before anyone coined the phrase and turned it into a cliche.    Learning could go in any direction and could be from anything.   It was okay to pursue life's passions. It was okay to be creative in an assignment and not just do it by the numbers.  While this lesson stuck in my head, over time that my own place in the social pecking order had changed from one of the cool kids (okay, perhaps that is a stretch, but give me a break, it was 34 years ago) to a "smart" kid.    But honestly, pursuing academic and creative pursuits was more important in my head than fitting in.  



I mention this because I saw the video Changing Education(al) Paradigms.   The video points out how a child's thinking changes as they age from kindergarten through the rest of their career.  The speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, mentions a test in which people are asked how many uses they can find for a paper clip.   The older you get, the more challenging it becomes to think of uses.  


Robinson blames it on the educational system, which may be partially true, but I have to wonder if the real answer isn't simply cultural.    Conformity is considered a value as you get older in the school system.   While smart kids, nerds, artistic kids, and other people get a pass for thinking differently (or more correctly, come to accept their place outside the social order), the vast majority of kids trying to find their place in the world simply start to migrate toward a center of conformity.  Friends, clothes, and other items that help you fit in are more important than trying to expose yourself as different by finding 200 ways to use a paper clip.   

Could I be wrong?  Perhaps.   But when you look at innovators and creators, you often find stories of people who are unconventional.  They were nerds, outcasts, and people who marched to their own drummer.   Often their personalities are described as abrasive, shy, awkward, or otherwise not fitting in with the social norms.    Is there something within these people that pushes them to the fringes of "normal" behavior, or is there something deeper within our culture that pushes everyone else to a homogeneous center?    Does peer pressure play a large role in our reduced creativity as we get older?   If you work in an office, think about meetings.   How many people spit out ideas when asked?   How many people take risks and offer "ear wax cleaner" to your boss' "how can I use this paper clip?"     What is the response when they do?    And if the response is negative, how long does that negativity have to continue before the risk takers stop?

Imagine if our educational system could not only change its educational paradigm, but also the cultural one within our nation's youth.   What if not fitting in was the new fitting in?   What if we focused not just embracing our cultural, religious, and racial diversity,  but also on our diverse ways of thinking?  Imagine how much more creative and productive we could be if everyone had a voice and was encouraged to use it without fear.   

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mom Sues Preschool For Hurting Daughter's Ivy League Chances


If you think spending $19,000 on a preschool is the best way of preparing your kid for an Ivy League future, may I suggest the problem might not be the school, but a genetic one?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost