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Archive for the ‘The Lighter Side’ Category

Conservatives Beware–You May Be In Over Your Head On This!

If you are one of those racist, Fox News-watching, Halliburton-loving, tea-bagging, right-wing extremists, you are probably too academically deficient to comprehend the sheer genius contained herein.  But read on, my red-necked friends, you might learn something.

Methane contributes significantly to global warming.

I have no supportive data on that, but, when I saw him recently at the “Happy Endings Day Spa”, Al Gore assured me that the assertion is true. (For the record, I was only there for a facial.) Intrigued, I asked the distinguished former Vice President for some insights on how we can, once and for all, put an end to the imminently life-threatening menace called “global flatulence”.  This was his recommended approach:

Liberal Logic Snap Shot

Cheese is binding, therefore, it should be consumed in mass quantities to reduce human methane emissions. Left to free will and free markets, it is unlikely that individuals will consume the projected 20 lbs a day necessary to effectively “cork” a nation. This proves that liberty and capitalism are poor substitutes for sound public policy when it comes to providing for the general welfare of the planet.

Al’s Action Plan

To set an example for the rest of the world, the federal government of the United States shall unilaterally require that, under penalty of massive fines and/or imprisonment, everyone (including illegals, who of course would be exempt from the law enforcement component; but fully exempting our Muslim brothers and sisters) shall be required to consume copious amounts of cheese. Several government agencies shall be created, and at least 2 “Fart Czars” shall be hired, to oversee the program.

The repulsive “pull my finger” game popular with Dads across America shall heretofore be permanently banned.

Problem

Much of the cheese supply comes from cows, which emit methane gas in great quantities.

Solution

Mandatory catalytic converters on all cows. (George Soros has recently purchased a company that makes these devices and he’s offering us a good price on the equipment!) Goat/sheep converters will be phased in over time. Delaying the initial cost of the non-bovine expenditures will be seen as a great victory for fiscal responsibility by Senator Olympia Snowe and her swing vote will thus be “earned” by Harry Reid. We can get this done, folks!

Problem

Excessive cheese intake may limit the effectiveness of the First Lady’s ongoing “war on fat kids”.

Solution

In exchange for a percentage of Chicago Climate Exchange revenues, Michelle Obama will pick another, non-conflicting cause to champion. No worries, Chicago-style “quid pro quo” is just the cost of doing business with certain people.

Outcome/Call to Action

If this plan works, and it will because Mr. Gore says so, the total cost of saving the world will be approximately $100 Trillion-Gazillion over 1,000 years…don’t sweat the details though.  It’s clearly worth every penny–but we must act NOW or risk irreversible damage to Mother Earth!

As Al stated to me so eloquently, either you support this measure or you want the planet to die. There’s simply no arguing with logic like that!

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Hypothetically speaking…

If the real Jesus Christ were logged on to Twitter today, what would he “tweet” about?  Would you follow him? Would he follow back?  Would he engage or just “broadcast”? Clearly, nobody knows for sure, but it might be fun to speculate.

Heresy?

I know I’m on dangerous ground, so let me preface this by saying that there are no heretical intentions here. I am a believer who tries to live by “The Golden Rule”. My mind simply works in strange ways, and I just thought this particular twist might capture more interest than a piece on “Best Practices for using Twitter Hashtags”. I don’t speak for Jesus Christ and he did not approve this message. My goal here is to inspire creative thinking about social media and make a few people smile in the process. I may go straight to hell for many other reasons, but this post will not be one of them!

Any social media “gurus” interested in this job?

OK, with eternal damnation (temporarily) averted, let’s think together. Assume that Jesus Christ, or “@therealJC”, has decided to open a Twitter account (despite being all-knowing and therefore having no need to do so). What would his strategy be? Who would he target? What would he say? Would he use Tweetdeck to categorize his followers? How would he measure the ROI, or results of his campaign? Again, we can’t possibly know, but I challenge all the social media “gurus” out there to think about how they would help @therealJC grow a following and spread his positive message.

I don’t claim to be a “guru”, so I have no intention of creating a campaign in this post, but I do have some thoughts to share.

I BELIEVE that @therealJC would:

  • “get” the general concept of social media
  • see the benefit of  “going viral”
  • love the testimonials and retweets
  • use many “best practices” to grow his following
  • take the time to engage followers individually
  • inject some humor and personality into the conversation
  • retweet good quotes and links to positive articles and videos
  • follow people who offer “value” and are “real”
  • give lots of #FF “shout outs” to good people and non profits
  • share GREAT CONTENT!

I BELIEVE that @therealJC would NOT:

  • @spam
  • just preach or “broadcast”
  • only talk about Himself (or his Dad)
  • Link to the Bible on every “tweet”
  • pay to get 15,000 new followers
  • purchase teeth whitening products
  • keep following anyone who “auto-DMs” Him
  • tweet excessively
  • follow any politicians (none of them “get it” yet)
  • be negative (He might DM the spammers and false prophets though!)

So what might some of Jesus Christ’s tweets look like?

(forgive me Father, for I may be about to sin)

therealJC Just talked with @DAD. We’re cool now. I saw the big picture and got over the tough assignment. #forgiveness

therealJC @porngal272  FYI…you’re beautiful, but no need for you or anyone else to show me hot pix…nothing I haven’t seen or created before.

therealJC @susanboyle You go girl!

therealJC I still cry every time I watch “Brian’s Song”…how about you? Great movie!

therealJC Love you all, but @chrisbrogan is really a great tweeter! #socialmedia

therealJC #FF shout outs to every community group that helps kids at risk! You know where its @!

therealJC RT @DAD “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

therealJC @lazarus You’re welcome. Nice comeback! #gratitude

therealJC RT@Job “Patience is a virtue!”

therealJC @Judas @Pontius @orneryatheist All is forgiven.

therealJC Went to a party and they ran out of just about everything. Problem was solved…no harm done…good time had by all. Who needs a caterer? LOL!

therealJC Do you treat others as you would like to be treated? #goldenrule

therealJC @Job — recommend you connect with @CubsFan and share. #sympathy

therealJC Look past the teeth and $– @tonyrobbins makes some great points!

therealJC Want inspiration? Check out http//www.thebible.com (New Testament section is an easier read!)

therealJC Who is @ashtonkutcher and why is everyone following him?

therealJC about to experience a fantastic meal with the perfect wine pairing– “heavenly” –tweet you later! PEACE! #food #wine #happiness

Summary/Apology/Last chance for Redemption

So, having not yet been struck by lightning and not wanting to overtweet on behalf of @therealJC, I end with this. I don’t presume to know what Jesus Christ would tweet. I wanted to use an unconventional method to trigger some creative thinking. If anyone is offended, I apologize. But this blog post was more about #comedy #Twitter #Web2.0 and #socialmedia than #religion.

Sixteen years of Catholic school down the drain. I hope it was worth it. If you read this, feel free to comment…and pray for my soul!



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I’m officially old. Tonight proved it. But it also exposed something a little less obvious and a lot more significant.

I just noticed (via someone’s “tweet”) that the infamous wrestler/manager Lou Albano passed away at the age of 73. I have to admit that, while I don’t watch professional wrestling any more, when I was a kid growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, my Dad and I did a little bonding in front of the TV.  There weren’t many channels back then. There was no internet. “Exciting” video games like “Pong” and “Pacman” hadn’t quite hit the market. So, when bad weather kept me from playing ten continuous hours of baseball with my friends, television was the primary form of entertainment.

It must have rained quite a bit back before “global warming” kicked in. Dad and I would watch a comical assortment of  ethnically and morally categorized wrestlers bludgeon each other for hours at a time. (“Political correctness” obviously hadn’t been invented yet either.) Albano was one of the “bad guys”. He was loud, obnoxious, out of shape and dirty (literally and tactically). He was one of the people everyone loved to hate.  I had no great affinity for “Captain Lou” or any other stereotypical villains of the “squared circle”.

But, just on a whim and with questionable sincerity, I decided tonight to post “RIP Captain Lou Albano” on my Facebook profile. I also included this comment: “Let’s see how many of my ‘old’ friends remember this guy.” What happened next was absolutely astounding.

Within an hour of my original post, I had accumulated two pages of comments, some (sadly) from people I thought were “just kids”. They didn’t eulogize Albano however. No, much to my amazement, everyone started reminiscing and naming their favorite “old school” wrestlers, personalities and “catch phrases”. The list was extensive and it included names like George “The Animal” Steele, Chief Jay Strongbow, Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Ivan Putsky, Freddie Blassie, “The Grand Wizard of Wrestling”, Andre the Giant, Killer Kowalski, and of course, the “Pencil Necked Geek” a.k.a. scrawny young announcer, Vince McMahon. It really “took me back” and I caught myself chuckling and waiting anxiously for each new entry.

My roster of Facebook friends is probably typical of most in my demographic category. Mainly married or divorced professionals with kids of varying ages. Bankers, lawyers, IT folks, massage therapists, men, women, liberal, conservative, black, white and brown. Quite a mix of characters actually, and a fun group to boot.

What I found quite intriguing, aside from how willing everyone was to “date” themselves by commenting, was that the conversation bonded us all so quickly and seamlessly. Race, gender, profession and party affiliation became irrelevant. We all just took a break from the “rat race” and jumped on the nostalgia bandwagon. People who have never met in person started interacting with each other.  The business guru from Atlanta talked with the stay at home mom from New Jersey. A hardcore “techy” chatted with a Facebook “newbie” who can barely check his email. It was really interesting to watch.

So what do I take from this experience?

  1. My long term memory is working just fine, thank you. (Now, if only I could remember what I did with my pants!).
  2. My friends are not vain. They clearly don’t care who knows how old they are!
  3. Everyone needs a diversion now and then.
  4. Reminiscing about “the old days” bonds “old coots” like us together, regardless of backgrounds or current circumstances.
  5. A silly pop culture reference from 30+ years ago can trigger a powerful range of emotions and, in my case anyway, fond memories of family and friends.
  6. New media and technology can cause some serious “flashbacks”! (Remember, children of the 60’s and 70’s, it’s not the drugs. Go right ahead and blame Twitter and Facebook!)

So I guess I have to close by thanking Captain Lou Albano and all of his professional wrestling cronies for the years of entertainment which mysteriously yet compellingly resurfaced on my Facebook page. I don’t regret chanting: “Albano is a bum” in 1971, but I do now recognize the significance of the Captain’s contributions to a simpler society and unique TV genre.

RIP “Captain Lou” Albano–and thanks for the memories!

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Thousands of authors, poets, philosophers, life coaches, psychologists, sales trainers and more have been written about and lectured on the power of our “inner dialogue”.  I agree with all of these thinkers. We can train our minds just like we train our bodies. We have to consistently remind ourselves that we create and own the outcomes of our lives. In business, “mind set equals market share”. We need to free ourselves from the constraints of negativity and embrace a more positive, creative, and repeatable action plan that guides us toward financial and personal fulfillment.

Heard this all before? Are you bored yet?

Sometimes even great words lose meaning when we hear them too much or fail to incorporate them into our daily habits. They become noise rather than nuggets of wisdom. So, let’s have some fun today. Let me tell you about my morning to add perspective and hopefully, some value for all of my readers.

“Oh no, heeeeere we go!

I woke up and visited my daily checklist. The first task that I felt compelled to put on paper was taking my car to the shop. The “check engine” light has been on for a long time and I needed to get it looked at, both for vehicle safety and because I can’t be issued a registration sticker without passing emissions testing. I also needed some brake work.

“This might leave a mark!”

So I took the car to the shop and was surprised to find out that my key contact, who promised to give me a great deal, was on vacation and would not be back for a week. I explained my connection and “VIP status” to a barely-English speaking mechanic, and I’m not sure he got my point. Chances are good that the repair estimate will be much higher now. Bummer, but I’ll speak with the owner later.

“D’OH!”

I left the car and walked a mile back to my house, only to realize that I was locked out. My keys were still on the key ring in the ignition. Fortunately, because it’s a beautiful day here in Boston I left my windows open to get some great fresh air circulating through the house. I also had a ladder under my back porch. Solution: break into the house and revisit the checklist. Lots to accomplish today.

“Urge to kill growing!”

Not so fast. As I ascended the ladder, a neighbor, who lived a block away and didn’t recognize me, threatened to call the police and made a big, loud scene.  It took me and several other neighbors (who were drawn over by the commotion) ten minutes to convince her of my identity and homeowner status. Crisis averted.

“Double D’OH!!”

I got back on the ladder and promptly fell off, landing in a not-so-pleasant way on my head and shoulder. It was a short drop and I’m fine (thanks for wondering). I tried again and was successful. So here I am, writing about my ordeal while I wait for the mechanic to call me back with his diagnosis about the car.

“Goshdarndiddly, it sure is a wonderful day!”

Most people would say that this morning absolutely sucked.  I admit, I’m only human and the notion did cross my mind (hence the subtitles). But here’s my spin.

  • My car will soon be safe and legal.
  • I got some much needed exercise.
  • I had an opportunity to try out my high school Spanish
  • I was complimented on my pronunciations (if not the vocabulary)
  • I made a new friend in the neighborhood.
  • People are watching my house.
  • I have a very hard head protecting a still functioning brain.
  • I need to bring the ladder inside so nobody else breaks in.
  • My “ordeal” was really an opportunity to share and teach.
  • I was inspired to write this blog post.
  • People will smile and laugh when they discuss my adventure.
  • I don’t feel at all angry, miserable or unfortunate.

I encourage everyone to think of this post when adversity strikes. You do control how you react to and learn from external circumstances. You really can make lemonade out of lemons. Today, and every day, when you feel that “woe is me” is the only option, try “WOW is me!” instead. See if it makes a difference in your life and work.

Many thanks to Chris Farley (RIP), Homer Simpson, Stewie Griffin and of course, Ned Flanders, for allowing me to borrow some of their work for my subtitles.

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If you Google search “dog books” today, you’ll come up with 718,000 hits. Variations on key words jack that number up into the millions. There has always been a strong connection between dogs and humans, and the internet is now visited by most Americans, so the numbers are no surprise. More and more books are covering all things canine, TV shows like “Dog Whisperer” and movies like “Marley” are smash hits and the human fascination with the lovable pooch seems to be intensifying. I share that fascination with most of America and, close friends and family excluded, I truly believe that I like dogs more than people!

Now, before you start thinking I’m “out there” on this issue, let me just provide some clarification. I am not some kind of puppy pundit. I do have a life and I’m not crazy. I don’t see or treat dogs as “little people” and I will never use one as a fashion accessory (sorry Paris, it’s obnoxious!). I know what I know about dogs not through books* but through a lifetime of experience, and I have a few opinions on why my interactions have been as positive as they have.

First, some history. As an only child, dogs were the closest things to siblings that I had from birth until my early 30’s. I had two great pals, Scamper, who was a puppy when I was an infant, and Brandy, who immediately replaced Scamper. Each was a “mutt” who lived to be about 16 or 17. Both were loyal, friendly, obedient and playful. I still miss them and it’s been years since the latter died.

Due to my schedule, I’ve never owned a dog other than these family pets, but I will always be grateful to my parents for bringing them into my life. There were, however, several other dogs who had an impact on my “dogs vs. people” outlook . Here’s one quick story. I was doing real estate and sold a house to a couple who had an adorable yellow lab puppy. The transaction was difficult and the listing broker was a dope, but “Lukas” was always there to lift my spirits. I couldn’t stay angry or frustrated with him in the room. After the closing, I told the couple that if they ever needed a sitter, I would be happy to help out. Today, thirteen years later, I remain the only person who has ever watched Lukas for the family. Either I really love dogs or I absolutely define the term “full service broker”! (Believe me, it’s the former.)

Some of my friends’ and neighbors’ dogs also left an impression. In New Jersey, there was Duster I and II, Porsche, Viper, Shauna, Kujo, Buck and Wendy. Here in Mass, there was Niki, Honey (a nasty, snippy “rodent dog” who I “Dr. Philled” back to normal in about 10 minutes), Sadie, Captain, Pooh, LuLu, Whitey (a black lab, go figure), Simba and more. Before leash laws, if my neighbors couldn’t find their dogs, they would call me first before panicking. More often than not, I had a visitor!

So what is it that has made 99.9% of my experiences with dogs so great over the last four (plus) decades? And why is it that, even though I generally enjoy human interaction, this likability index drops dramatically when applied to people? If you love dogs, you probably already know the answers. Here’s my “doggy dozen”:

  1. Dogs “love” unconditionally.
  2. They’re always happy to see you.
  3. They sense that you like them and like you back right away, so making “friends” with a dog is almost never a long ordeal.
  4. They don’t carry grudges.
  5. They are always “there” for you when you’re having a bad day.
  6. If you know how to behave as an owner, they are easily trainable and maintain great dispositions forever.
  7. They are content to just hang out with you for hours at a time without bugging you about anything other than food, water and nature calls.
  8. They don’t over-analyze anything.
  9. They don’t nag you or whine incessantly about a bad day at the office.
  10. They make you smile when you normally wouldn’t.
  11. They are consistent.
  12. They watch your house, and your back.

As I mentioned, there are thousands of publications, videos, movies and personal anecdotes about dogs–so clearly this is not a comprehensive list. I’m sure you could add many more reasons to celebrate their existence. Feel free to post your own “doggy dozen” in my comments section!

* “Soul of a Dog” by Jon Katz is a great book and bestseller. I highly recommend it.

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One of my ex girlfriends used to speak in cliches. It was irritating and it certainly contributed to our break up, (well, that and the dead bunny…but I’ll spare the details). I mean, really, she could string ten or twelve together without breathing or blinking. Pretty creepy, now that I think about it.

I definitely have to thank her though. (And for the purpose of this piece, I’ll just give her a fictitious name…let’s say… “Glenn Close”). One of her favorite expressions was: “Talk what you know!” I used to find that annoying, especially since I always knew what I was talking about, “Glenn” never did, and she fell back on the cliche to extricate herself from a hopeless, no-win discussion.

But, since I started blogging, I’ve been searching for creative inspiration and this particular personality quirk has lit the proverbial light bulb. I knew there had to be a legitimate reason for me to have dated “Glenn Close”–it just took me a couple of decades to figure it out!

“Talk what you know!”

If you’re with me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I that I pay attention to and comment on politics. I’m often reprimanded by “followers” and “social media gurus” who think it’s inappropriate, mean-spirited or “not in keeping with Web 2.0 best practices”. I understand their point and try to keep my “rants” substantive and polite so I don’t alienate friends or prospective clients.

But every once in a while, (and it has become more frequent as our national debates intensify), someone wants to either argue with me or add supportive talking points “for” me in a public forum, like a Facebook “wall”. To this ensemble of well-intentioned allies, pseudo-intellectuals, amateur comedians and, I’m sorry to be so blunt, total whack jobs, I say: “Talk What You Know”!

If you’re “on my side” and post a publicly viewable, curse-filled short story, complete with 72 misspellings and no supportive data, you’re not helping. Save the babble for your own “wall”! If you want to argue with me, keep to the point, address the subject at hand and try not to spew venom toward me or the referenced “talking head” or political figure.

“Talk what you know!”

If you want to fight about, say, pending legislation, please read it first. If you want to tell me what a jerk I am, please do it privately and back it up with some substance. If you want to make a joke at my expense or criticize another “wall” contributor via comedy, make sure you’re actually funny!

“Talk what you know!”

On Twitter, if you are “tweeting” about “SEO” and you don’t even know what the acronym means, you might want to reconsider. Focus on your area of expertise and provide real value, not “smoke and mirrors”. You will eventually be exposed and “unfollowed” if you ignore this advice! And, (this is one of my favorites), using ALL CAPS does not mean you’re any smarter than the next “twit”.

“Talk what you know!”

I could go on, but you get my point. Whether we agree or disagree, like or dislike each other, a good discussion, opinion exchange or argument must be grounded in fact. Why do you believe what you believe? Prove the flaws in my position. Show me what influenced you when you formed your opinion. I’m a reasonable person…maybe you’ll persuade me…but I’m staying right where I am unless you “talk what you know”.

Thanks for the inspiration, “Glenn”. All is forgiven (except for the bunny)!

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