December 31, 2009

Why Teddy Roosevelt Sucked: The Song


#26. Theodore Roosevelt
Em, G

You’ve got a trust
I’m gonna bust
You can trust me to do the right thing
X4
Let’s make a square deal
‘cause it’s not a fair deal
It’s how do I feel at the time
That decides your fate

Don’t worry
I’ll find the balance
‘tween good and greed
I’ll set this country straight

Speak softly and carry a big stick
You can take around and beat company’s with
That you don’t like

And really?
Mount Rushmore?
Is it ‘cause you need 4?
‘cause I got some war criminals
willing to pose

They call me the teddy bear
Not because I’m nice
But because of my size
You best believe that I bite
And today’s the day the teddy bear’s have their picnic.

I Want Our Generation to Take Over Signage


Going to Midway Airport the other week to make a pickup, the much less confusing airport in Chicago, I still got lost two times. Signage currently only acts as a reminder for people who have already successfully made the route before. It rarely is good enough to correctly navigate a newbie.

I want our generation to take over this task. Hopefully next year?

December 30, 2009

Censor Yourselves


"Say something worth saying, or don't say it." - Sabai

December 29, 2009

The Fallacy of Health Care Public Option "Competition"


If you've been paying attention to the healthcare debate, a lot of Democrats have been pitching the public option, although currently off the table, as a means of bringing "competition" to the private insurers.

This is a brilliant vocabulary tactic that they were surely trained to use. Of course, this only works if you're dealing with idiots.

A subsidized federal option with the power to impose mandated regulations is not competition. It is a prelude to a monopoly - much like bringing a shotgun to a knife fight.

But in terms of vocabulary, it's smart. It'll get fiscal conservatives to think twice about why they're booing, and get supporters to not think about the negative economics of progressive healthcare policies at all.

December 28, 2009

The Necessity of a Winter Christmas


Most historians believe Jesus was either born in March or April. None believe December 25th was the actual birth date. This date originally became tradition as the church sought to redeem a previously Pagan winter holiday.

But, isn't it great that Christmas is in the middle of the worst season of the year?

It's this nice warm, beacon of light that helps break up the horrible cold. You don't even really think about how gross it is outside until after Christmas, because of the anticipation that precedes it. And after the holiday rush is over, there's only a few months of horrible left before spring comes again.

If we celebrated Christmas in March, we'd simply create something else to break up the cold. Or maybe New Years would be even bigger than it is?

December 24, 2009

Let's Gather this Christmas and Whip Sinners



Instead of celebrating the birth of Christ this year by singing quaint songs, go out and whip some tax collectors instead.

Merry Christmas.

December 23, 2009

Why William McKinley Sucked: The Song


#25. William McKinley

D, Em, C

I promised not to intervene
But you see, that’s not what I mean
‘cause now I see the benefit
of buying other governments

Cuba
Puerto Rico
Guam
and the Philippines

but I’m a good guy. Can’t you see?
‘cause Spain was even worse than we

Buy your enemies
Across the seas
Says William McKinley
I don’t want to rule your lives
But it’s the only way to make sure no one else can

December 21, 2009

Why Are Billboards Still Legal?


...when many cities have already banned cell phone use while driving?

More specifically, at what level do city revenue prospects have to reach before ignoring the safety risks of these things? And if there is such a number, how much does Motorola have to pay off cities to stop these bans?

Marry for Money


Considering that "money problems" is one of the greatest reasons people give for getting divorced, should we should pay more attention to our potential partner's financial situation before we get hitched?

Yeah, that sounds bad. But, I think it's something we should think about more than we do. Because I have poor friends who fall in love with poor people (neither knowing about the other's financial situation), and simply put, it's really tough on them. Whereas falling in love with someone who has strong financial backing from their family can be a huge blessing, and allows you to start your marriage with one less giant thing to worry about.

So, don't marry for money. But, at least think about it.

December 18, 2009

Why Tiger Woods Thought He Could Get Away With It...


Because he had for so long.

If even 10% of the accusations surrounding him right now are true, Woods did a wonderful job of covering his tracks for years. It seems unbelievable to us. But perhaps we underestimate the power of a lot of money. And that's why big names in politics and entertainment continue to take massive risks. Because they really believe they can get away with it.

December 17, 2009

Why Benjamin Harrison Sucked: The Song


#23. Benjamin Harrison

Em, C, G, D
if I raise the tariffs, more and more will buy American
so if I raise them higher, we’ll be rolling in the Benjamins
not named after me of course
I hope you’ll see why after this

G, C, D, D
in war they say, raise the tariffs
but in peace, I say raise ‘em higher
we’ll get more money
we can spend on everybody
it’s a perfect situation
just don’t look at what you’re paying

‘cause tariffs make everything cost more
‘cause it keeps the competition out of our doors
the Harrison family presidential legacy
William Henry dies a lot and then there’s me

December 16, 2009

Shh! The Terrorists Might See: A Guest Post


(a guest post by Keith Connor)

The other night, I watched a news report about how the TSA had posted specific security guidelines on their Web site. The reporter feigned outrage of how this would only serve as a roadmap to terrorists...and then proceeded to describe the details of the guidelines herself, specifically, what it is screeners look for and exactly what official security badges look like.

Obviously, if the outrage was real, they wouldn't have given the terrorists another opportunity to see the TSA details. So, since it's fake, how dumb do they think we are?

-Keith Connor, Chicago, IL

(If you would like to contribute a guest post on All Opinions Are Not Equal in order to spur debate, please e-mail me your submission and include your name and hometown)

December 15, 2009

The Risks of Genetic Information



In the future, when getting access to your full genetic code in order to determine the likelihood of inheriting certain diseases becomes cost-accessible for the majority of the populace, will group insurance be gone?

The original idea of group insurance was to mitigate the risk of costly illnesses by spreading out the costs among a large group of people.

But as our knowledge of risk becomes increasingly more aware, won't the benefits of willing group insurance become less attractive for the statistically healthy?

December 14, 2009

Farmers vs. Sex Traffickers


Remember, I take my recommendations seriously.

I highly recommend the documentary, Food Inc. This film depicts exactly where the majority of our food comes from in a much more compelling way than either King Corn or Fast Food Nation does. In fact, for the first time, it actually made us go out and buy organic meat this weekend (which means grass-fed animals, not processed and chemically enhanced corn-fed). The chicken was unreal.

But anyway, one of the rebuttal arguments in the movie from a farmer of a non-organic, cattle prison feed lot defended his business merely by saying, "We're not bad people. We work hard."

As if the effort alone determines the worth of the action?

December 11, 2009

Your Gateway to Eggnog


Eggnog. What a disgusting sounding composite word made up of two other unappetizing words.

Hence my reason for avoiding this seasonal treat like the plague as a child. It wasn't until a few years ago when I was awakened to its noggy wonder. On a Christmas visit to my Aunt's house, she served us a dessert concoction, equal parts rainbow sherbet and egg nog. Not blended, but served as a part runny, part hard shake.

Wow. It was wonderful. A rich and yet fruity dessert that opened me up into the world of nog. While I still only rarely drink it alone, that sherbet drink is a holiday staple at our house, as is mixing it in with your coffee in lieu of cream and sugar.

If you, like me, think that drinking the nog of an egg sounds disgusting, give one of the alternatives a try this Christmas. And please report your findings. Also, let me know if you've had a pleasant experience with eggnog in some other child-friendly concoction.

December 10, 2009

Save Up For A Rainy Day


I always thought the phrase "save up for a rainy day" meant, "save up so that one day when it's rainy and you're bored, you can buy something awesome."

Seriously.

I recently watched the documentary IOUSA, which depicts how daunting America's future debt promises are, in the hopes of tipping the American populace toward the election of political candidates with true budget-neutral fiscal responsibility. It was in this movie where the directors used that phrase "save up for a rainy day", and discussed how most people born in the 80s never really understood the concept of saving in terms of "tragedy-protection."

So, my question is, what did you think the phrase "save up for a rainy day" meant? And in what decade were you born?

December 09, 2009

Why Grover Cleveland Sucked: The Song


#22. and #24. Grover Cleveland

Em, G, D/F#

number 22 and number 24
how could this be true?
we got sick of you
subsequently missed you mister Cleveland

you were president
then you lost the next election
than we came to all our senses
said we could do worse than Grover, maybe we didn’t think this over?

‘cause you made the ISS
our first agency
that made it technically legal
do whatever what we want
its purposed claim
to make wages fair
but if you give a mouse a cookie
you know where it goes from there

oh it’s the ISS
you’re the one for us
you can fix everything
that we find unjust
make it illegal to do things we don’t like
or just out of spite,  out of spite, out of spite, out of spite

regulation, salutation, save the nation from temptation
straw foundation, abberation, turn frustration, celebration
forced donation, false salvation, top vocation, compensation
constipation desparate for an explanation.

December 08, 2009

Why Do The Chicago Bears Still Call Themselves a Running Team?



As a Bears fan, this has been a struggle of mine for years now. And with actual talent at the quarterback position for the first time in two decades, we still hear from the coaching staff every week, "We're a running team, and we're committed to running the ball." Even the announcers scoff at this while pulling up stats that rank the Bears dead last in terms of total run offense.

So why not just become a West Coast offense now that you have a QB who could handle it? Because no one else on the team knows how.

Just like a business, every football team needs a mission. Something that you move toward with every decision you make. You hire coaches based on their expertise running particular formations you're building your team around. You're drafting lineman out of college based on their familiarity with and how they would fit running certain schemes.

It's not just about utilizing whatever's available. It's about building toward something. Now you can argue that they should change their mission statement. But, that's a bigger process than just saying it.

December 07, 2009

Red Kettle Campaign Boycott


It's that time of year again...when the jingle bell beggars stand outside the doors of every major retailer and beckon you with their siren song of guilt.

Here's the thing about The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. I really love the charity work the Salvation Army does. But, I'm wired to be obsessively self-aware. And I feel completely judged by these bell-ringers when I don't give. Especially because they know nothing about me except for that one action. They don't know whether or not I gave to the basket 3 stores down just an hour ago. They don't know whether or not I have prioritized charity causes I feel more passionately about than theirs.

And I refuse to be motivated to give by guilt alone. Note: this is one of the main reasons these are manned stations and not just stand-alone baskets...and another reason why most churches pass the offering plate down the aisle rather than having a basket in the corner where you can give discretely...more on that one another time.

In fact, I will even go out of my way to enter or exit the store through an unmanned entrance. And if this isn't possible, I will slow down my stride and use someone else as a full-body shield to eliminate a personal encounter.

Do you have a strategy, or are you just fortunate to be someone who could care less what these people think about you?

December 04, 2009

Make Money, Not War: A Guest Post


(a guest post by Jarrett Harris)

In this week's speech from West Point, President Obama cited - among other things - economic reasons for setting a timeline to exit Afghanistan. Certainly, no one can argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been costly. But is there really as much of a connection between the current economic crisis and the high of these conflicts as has been purported? Did these spur a culture of unsustainable borrowing by homeowners and insanely risky lending/derivative trading by "Too Big to Fail" institutions?

It seems that the high price tag of these military endeavors probably falls under the same category of GDP - both are technically important economic measures but realistically have little direct impact on a 10.2% unemployment rate. Then again, most people have been fairly well trained to blame the economy for all kinds of issues over the past year, and perhaps that is what President Obama and his speechwriters were banking on. So was the economic angle of this speech really the most compelling argument or just the easiest way to sell the final decision to the American public?

-Jarret Harris, New York, NY

(If you would like to contribute a guest post on All Opinions Are Not Equal in order to spur debate, please e-mail me your submission and include your name and hometown)

December 03, 2009

What on Earth is Obama Doing?


As a marketing professional, I stress Expectations Management as one of the most vital tools in a company's communications arsenal. And strictly from this standpoint, Barack Obama is committing suicide.

He ran on a peace platform, and promised to quickly end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. So, that is exactly what we all expected him to do upon reaching office.

So, when he gives a speech like he did the other night about increasing the troop count in Afghanistan by 30,000 and prolonging this war, we're simply left scratching our heads saying, "Really???"

For those who voted for Obama primarily on his anti-war rhetoric, they feel cheated. For those who voted against Obama because they want to "win" both these wars, they're just confused. They're not cheering his turn toward their cause. They just think he's a whack-job for flip-flopping.

From a pragmatic, objectivist standpoint, we should be glad that this man took the time he did to thoughtfully think through both the short- and long-term consequences of our actions, regardless of his final decision.

From a marketing standpoint, he's hanging himself.

(Tomorrow, we will continue this discussion with a guest post by Jarrett Harris. If you would like to contribute a post to this forum on any subject in order to spur debate, please e-mail it to me.)

December 02, 2009

Why Chester A. Arthur Sucked: The Song


#21. Chester A. Arthur

Capo 2
Em, G

Sure, I’ll cave
Who do you hate?
Let’s make them illegal

We’ll call it the Chinese Exclusion Act
Can it be that simple?

C, G, D/F#
No, no, it’s not what you think
It’s just that I exclude you

‘cause if you were gone, us whites could get our rich on
supply and demand, you’ve gotta understand
x2
that’s why I’ve called for a 10 year ban on you
but before you go, will you teach us how to make crab rangoon

December 01, 2009

What if You Have No Street OR Common Sense?


I love my house. It's a wonderfully-designed (by my beautiful wife), comfortable and spacious house for the two of us. Our master bathroom has a whirlpool tub and a shower - very chic at first glance. But, this whirlpool forces the shower to be a corner unit, standing room alone, and I'm 6 ft. 3.

For three years now, I have been taking slightly uncomfortable showers, simply because the spacial constraints don't allow me to be super relaxed.

Just last week, a thought pops into my head. "Oh, I guess I could use the full size guest shower down the hall."

Three years, folks. But boy, has this last week been great.

Lord, beer me wisdom.

November 30, 2009

Go See Your Favorite Band Live...At Home


Why hasn't this idea popularized yet? I love seeing live shows, but in a lot of cases, I would almost prefer to watch them from the comfort and convenience of my home.

It's like a football game. Your experience is arguably much better from your couch. You get a better view. You're 10 steps away from both the bathroom and the kitchen. The networks replay exciting plays in slow motion for your amusement. It's hard to beat.

So, why can't I pay $5 to stream Jeff Tweedy's solo show in Arizona LIVE in my living room later this year? If you don't live in a big city, this might be your only option to see your favorite band live. If your favorite band is really popular and you're not wealthy, maybe you'll never be able to afford to see them live. And if you're old and lazy, you might actually prefer this method of entertainment.

Now you tell me why this won't happen.

November 26, 2009

Happy "I Am Fortunate" Day


Some people have no family. Some people have no home. Some people have no food.

We are blessed. Remember what you have and enjoy it!

November 25, 2009

Why James Garfield Sucked: The Song


#20. James A. Garfield

C, Em, G, D/F#

when I say Reagan, you say president.
Jefferson, kennedy, you say president.
I say Lincoln, you say president
I say Garfield, you say cat

Garfield spent his presidency
trying to make his enemies
angry at the fact that he in fact did win

Roscoe conkling, enemy one
wanted a little recognition
Garfield said no way
I won, you lost, the piper’s got to pay

spite’s what made up his cabinet
4 months later, he died to fit
shot by a man who wanted in
shouted the stalwarts would rise again

that’s why we know the cat over the man
a lesson for all you kids out there
you pick a fight
you’re going to get shot in the spine

when I say Garfield
you say president
Garfield. Odie!
Garfield. Lasagna!

see, it’s not that easy
you shouldn’t have been so sleazy

November 24, 2009

Second-Hand Curry


Landlords currently have the right to refuse lodging to smokers. Should landlords have the right to refuse service to people who cook traditional Indian fare?

I lived in a majority Indian apartment complex the year after college. The complex itself smelled noticeably of curry. I got used to it. But, when I transferred my coat closet to my new apartment the next year, I realized that my coats were ruined.

Last week, I attended a non-Indian friend's party. Walking in the door, I was overcome with the odor. Our theory is that a neighbor above or below must cook Indian fare, and the fragrance comes through the vents. After this 6-hour event, our clothes were married to the spice.

While second-hand smoking laws are obviously present due to the health risks involved, and second-hand curry is merely a nuisance - if you were a landlord, would you be worried about leasing to Indian tenants?

November 23, 2009

Why Obama Won the Nobel Peace Prize


More than a month ago, The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Barack Obama with its Nobel Peace Prize. And it has taken me these last five weeks to really understand why.

I believe it was a pre-emptive desire by those on the committee to see the man who ran for office on a peace platform to reclaim that vision. And I also think it was a brilliant move. Think about it. Let's say Obama listens to his generals in either Afghanistan or Iraq and commits to another 6, 12, 18 months in either place. The headline back home? Peace Prize Winner Prolongs War. That's the kind of headline that stays in the news cycle for weeks and could have crippling aftermath.

And I think the Nobel committee is counting on Obama's advisors considering that before making any more Bush'esque decisions. They want to see the man that ran for President serve as it.

November 20, 2009

How's That Turkey Burger?


...is not the right question to ask someone the first time you try weaning them off red met.

"Oh, you want to know how this burger tastes? Like someone sucked every ounce of goodness directly out of it!"

You don't want them to mentally compare this heart-friendly alternative to the last burger they had. That's just asking to lose. In fact, you don't want them to think about the meal at all. You just make them eat another one the next few times you make burgers. And then, without realizing it, THAT is what a burger has now become to them. They'll enjoy it without remembering what the comparison is.

The second greatest gift God has ever given the world is a short memory.

November 19, 2009

E-Ching for the Day


"The first half of your life is spent learning how everyone's trying to scam you out of your money. The second half you spend avoiding people so they can't."

November 18, 2009

Why Rutherford Hayes Sucked: The Song


#19. Rutherford Hayes

Em, G, D/F#

everything that comes up
must come down
post-civil war growth
exploded around
then the ripples started coming from across the sea
europe’s depression was coming to we

two wage cuts
on the railroad lines
didn’t take much
to enrage the insides
of these fortune-telling men who saw the end of better days
but they couldn’t see what was coming from Rutherford Hayes

Hayes, I’m amazed at the ways
That you tried to keep the peace
On the streets
Shot the strikers off their feet
70 was the number of the B&O employees
said goodbye to their lives thanks to Rutherford’s mishandling of the times

November 17, 2009

It's Just Actor Sex



One of my favorite magazine subscriptions, The Week, an aggregate publication which pulls the very best articles from around the world to create their own multi-sided editorial arguments recently re-ran a very interesting article written by Gina Piccalo for LA Magazine.

It details the collateral damage of actors with on-screen love interests, and how that affects their real-life relationships. The interesting thing about this article is that these people are affected the same way you know YOU would be in the same role. You would feel super awkward kissing someone else. And your spouse would hate it.

For some reason, I was under the impression that since these people are actors, that they're able to easily separate acting from their real lives. But, after reading this article, I think that's just something they have to tell themselves. Because they're human. And practicing being in love with someone for hours on end each day does create a bond. (think Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie)

And now, I no longer want to see love scenes between people who aren't in real-life relationships. But, I'm a realist, and I understand the effect that would have on digital entertainment. But, I also remember the first two seasons of The Office. The Jim/Pam relationship had some of the most romantic moments I've ever seen. And no touching took place. (Note: It was after the Jim/Pam relationship became hands-on in the show that Jenna Fischer, the actor who played Pam, separated from her husband) (Note #2: I also know that bonds can be/are formed without physical contact...but I don't have an answer to that one yet.)

So, rather than looking at a lack of touching as a roadblock to good television, perhaps producers should see it as an opportunity to create true romantic moments?

November 16, 2009

Keeping the Toilet Seat AND Lid Down


Keep the toilet seat down...

...is a lesson I learned as a child, and have always followed through on. But, recently I learned there is an even higher standard some want me to live up to. The desire to keep the lid itself down when company is over as an aesthetic choice, to avoid "Here's our bathroom, and there you'll see the inside of our toilet you can utilize after dinner if you wish."

Now, I always thought the lone reason of someone's desire to keep the toilet seat down was so a woman wouldn't fall in. But, if you're one of those people who have a preference for "keeping the toilet seat down", do you really mean the lid, too?

November 13, 2009

Double-Slit Dental Anxiety


So, after yesterday's post, I feel comfortable throwing out an idea that without it, you could probably lock me up for. I visited my dentist's office twice in the past week. The first was to repair two cavities. I was slightly anxious about the appointment, but as I walked in the building, this anxiety evolved into an overall feeling of grossness. All in all, the appointment ended up fine.

One week later, I was there again for a routine checkup. Not anxious at all. I knew I wouldn't be facing a drill. But, the second I walked into the building, the anxiety returned and the walk to their office felt like a death march.

So, before yesterday's video and before I became aware of the seemingly self-awareness of every particle that makes up my body, I would have attributed this to a conditioned response. My past feelings of dentist visits created this anxiety in my system. But now, I wonder if there is something more to it? Can my body pick up on the anxiety that others have had, simply being in this building, and does that cause a response in mine?

November 12, 2009

The Double-Slit Experiment Will Mess You Up



When you have 5 free minutes, I encourage you to watch this thought-provoking video clip. It's a wonderful animated clip designed to explain entry-level quantum theory to children. And it will mess you up. I was directed to this film clip based on the discussion of the double-slit experiment in the new TV show, Flashforward, and which we talked about it heavily in a recent episode of our FlashForcast podcast about the show.

It was very confusing for me, thinking about the idea that something so small could be so complex. But, when I looked back to high school, learning how mitochondria are these little supercomputers within each cell, it only makes sense that there's much more going on in particles than meets the eye.

Anyway, I need you to watch that video before I can start being really crazy in tomorrow's post.

November 11, 2009

Why Ulysses Grant Sucked: The Song


18. Ulysses Grant

Capo 4
A, A/G#, A/G, A/F#

oh Ulysses
you’re a war hero
but your competence
stands around zero

filling your cabinet
with friendship over merit
was fun for about a day

you thought that you could use them
but they thought the same of you and
their abuses still astonish us today

black Friday
credit mobilier
whiskey ring just to name a few

oh Ulysses, what are you going to do?
what are you going to do? what are you going to do?

November 10, 2009

Pay-for-Performance Politicians


If I was hiring a CEO for my company, my ideal pay setup for him would be that he would receive a progressive amount of stock options based on the company's EPS stock performance growth 10 years down the line. So, no concentration on short-term market trickery to cash out early. But only a CEO who increases the long-term value of the company would be paid, and if successful, could be paid mightily.

Is there any way that politicians could be incentivized in a similar way?

November 09, 2009

A Gas Station that Sells only Non-Saudi Oil?


What do you think about the idea of a gas station that sells only non-Saudi oil? If that was their branding differentiator, if they promoted it as an act of both patriotism and an act of peace, would you want to fill up there? And would you be willing to pay any more per gallon to do so?

November 06, 2009

Romeo and Juliet Were Just Stupid Teenagers



People often think of Romeo and Juliet as the ultimate love story, but with the poor casting of modern adaptations, we sometimes forget that in the original play, Juliet is only 13 years old.

Rather than creating this idealized version of what the depths of "true love" should cause us to do, I think Shakespeare was simply trying to show us how dumb teenagers really are.

November 05, 2009

Do You Half-Wave at Yield Sign Holding Construction Workers?


I've done this for as long as I can remember. I assume my mother or father did this, and I inherited it from them. So now, when I'm driving in a construction zone, and there's a construction worker with a yield/stop/slow sign directing traffic, I always give them a little half-wave.

Do you do this? And if so, why them and no one else?

November 04, 2009

Why Andrew Johnson Sucked: The Song


#17. Andrew Johnson

Capo 4
Em, G, D/F#, Em

the tenure of the office act
required that the senate back
anyone the pres would want to boot

Johnson vetoed it straight it down
the senate overrid his crown
but Johnson said I’m bigger than all you

dismissed ol’ Edwin Stanton
said you undermind me
but what Johnson didn’t mind was federal law

the senate said you serious?
you think you can get away with this?
who in your name do you think you are?

impeached, impeached
it’s not an ice cream flavor
it’s a political wager saved for scum

just because you’re president
don’t mean you’re king of government
you presican’t do anything you want

November 03, 2009

You Must Not Only Do Easy Things


It is silly to assume you should only pursue things that come naturally to you. You must pursue the things you feel compelled to, regardless of initial ability.

Fight for it!

November 02, 2009

Ditch the Plastic Pumpkin for a Pillowcase


I was surprised at how many trick-or-treaters this year were exceptionally polite.

"Trick or Treat!...Thank you!" was the norm...well, as far as I could overhear from the couch while my lovely wife did all the manual candy labor.

And now, more than ever, I am convinced that common courtesy is a learned behavior. That when I come across an annoying kid, they simply have no good examples to imitate in their life, and therefore, are not expected to live out a lifestyle I prefer. So, they don't.

So, three cheers for you parents within a 2-block radius of my house for being great examples of social awareness for your child. But, please... ditch the plastic pumpkin for a pillowcase. Those things hold nothing.

October 30, 2009

Best Day for Door-to-Door Salesmen


Let's say you're a door-to-door salesman. Newspaper subscriptions or something of the like.

Halloween's gotta be your Christmas. From 3-7 PM, your open door rate goes from maybe 2% to 95%. Worse case scenario, you can't close the sale, but you get a Reeses.

What a fun day awaits you tomorrow.

October 29, 2009

The Evolution of the Dairy Cow


Once again, cartoons have confused science for me. In the cartoon world, dairy cows need to be milked constantly or else they'll explode. But, this implies that before their domestication by humans, dairy cows could not have existed. So, do dairy cows only keep producing milk because machines keep suckling it, so their bodies think that they're still nursing?

October 28, 2009

Why Abraham Lincoln Sucked: The Song


#16. Abraham Lincoln

Em, G, D

land of lincoln
what were you thinking?
you talk pretty
don’t mean you’re right
you killed slavery
but you also paid for thee
6 hundred 20 thousand men died

I will preserve the union
at all costs you said
and that’s exactly what you did what you did

habeus shmabeus
maybe this would be a good time to shut your mouth
or I’ll throw you in jail
with the other 18,000, you cynics and critics can all go to

the sad thing is
for the cost of the war
you could have bought and freed
every slave you’re fighting for...
let me repeat that in case you didn’t hear that

in fact more than that
could have sent them on their way
with 40 acres and a mule
have a nice free day
and all this for
the costs of the war
minus the dead men
and that begs a question

what were you fighting for?
what were you fighting for?

October 27, 2009

The Halloween Line of Prudishness


There was a Christian lady in our neighborhood who would give out little cartoon Bible stories to us trick-or-treaters in lieu of candy. This is the equivalent of leaving a waitress a little message that she should repent of her wickedness on the receipt in lieu of a tip. Non-relational evangelism never works. In fact, we sort of talked about that yesterday.

But, one could argue that lady was on the liberal side of the Christian spectrum, in that some Christians choose not to participate in the "satanic" holiday at all. I asked my parents about this when I was kid, and they said, "Our neighbors are freely giving out something our kids love. We'd be monsters to keep you caged inside that day." To their credit, I escaped these childhood nights without a conversion to the dark side.

But, as a Christian, there's something about hangmen decorations that freak me out. The morbidity of a recently executed human as a holiday decoration simply creeps me out to the point where I don't feel it's appropriate even for a holiday.

My question is, is this just a Christian thing? Am I just a step down from the bible story lady in our subdivision growing up? As always, I need consensus to rationalize my lifestyle choices. So, if you're a non-Christian who is creeped out by hangmen, comment below. And if you're a Christian who decorates their home with the deceased, do the same.

October 26, 2009

Unsolicited Life Coaches


Whether you saw an irrate mother cross the line with her child at a grocery store, and you stepped in to intervene, or you saw a friend being an idiot in terms of his career or a relationship and you called them out on it...

Has your unsolicited advice ever been received well?

I'm legitimately curious to see if we have any success stories among us, but if not, it begs a different question.

October 22, 2009

Habitual Love


I no longer have to try and be polite. It now comes naturally to me. Sometimes I do not even stop and think about what the person I'm holding the door open for thinks about me. I have practiced these small acts of kindness long enough that they have become truly habitual.

For those struggling with habitual sins, the battle can be so intense that giving up actually seems like it makes the most sense. But, that's because we only see two options. Giving in to things you know are wrong. Or a daily fight with all your strength and will against those same temptations.

But, there is another option. After practicing long enough, the same temptations you thought were going to be your forever nemesis become weaker and weaker. Freedom itself can become habitual. We simply have to unlearn bondage through practice.

October 21, 2009

Why James Buchanan Sucked: The Song


#15. James Buchanan
C, G, D

James Buchanan, you're our last hope
we need you to warn both sides of dopes

tell the north that the south has rights
tell the south it ain't worth the fight
or just give up
we'll follow the leader, thats you

pick a side, any side
yell a lot, dont you hide
you're our last chance
before our civil war dance

Be Careful With Your Recommendations


Whether you know it or not, people take your recommendations seriously. And when you tell someone a movie is awesome, they might dedicate 2 hours of their precious life to seeking out that specific entertainment. You're responsible for that. Take it seriously.

Likewise, you have to be careful when taking recommendations from somebody. If you notice this person happens to like every single movie they see, completely dismiss this person as a trusted resource. This person might also claim to like ALL kinds of music. Stay away from them. You will be disappointed.

October 20, 2009

What's Your Favorite Chicago Pizza?


...is not a good enough question. Because thin crust pizza and deep dish pizza are completely different cuisines.

Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago: Lou Malnatis

It's all about the buttery, flaky crust. There's just nothing like it. And with cheese on the bottom, toppings in the middle and sauce on the top, it's really an ingenious upside-down creation of glory. If you're in Chicago, this is absolutely the first place you should check out. And if you're willing to take topping recommendations as well, pepperoni is the perfect pairing for this pizza pie.

Now, your friends may try to get you to go to Giardanos, typically the other top competitor in arguments about the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. I have only recently begun to understand this argument, when I paired this pie with sausage and green peppers. Because it's a darker flavor than Malnatis sauce, darker flavor toppings like sausage make much more sense. But, Lou Malnatis still takes this category by a mile, and a crust.

Best Thin Crust Pizza in Chicago: Aurelios

This crispy pie has one of the most memorable pizza flavors you'll ever experience. What sets it apart from the competition is the super-sweet tomato sauce. It will change your mind about what pizza should taste like, and honestly, it's hard to go back to anything else . Definitely one to check out next time you're in Chicago.

Now's where you tell me how wrong I am.

October 16, 2009

Genetic Rivalries


Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf have an 8-year old son and a 6-year old daughter. Graf, is arguably, the greatest women's tennis player of all time. Agassi is easily in the top 5 for men.

Roger Federer and his wife Mirka recently had twin girls as well. Federer, is arguably the greatest men's tennis player of all time. Mirka also played tennis at the professional level until an injury ended her career.

How cool would it be if these children were the next generation of great rivals? And before you say it's ridiculous, remember that the current top two women's tennis players in the world just happen to be sisters.

Also, what other sports could you see this super-genetic mating happen in? And 100 pts. if you think through why this could never happen in basketball.

October 15, 2009

The Best Defense Against Psychos


During the recent town hall healthcare protests, John Whitehead of the Huffington Post claimed that, while of course legal, those who brought guns to these meetings were "downright stupid" and did nothing but "endanger innocent lives".

This is an example of what's wrong with the gun debate. Gun critics see these meetings as unsafe because there are people with guns on premise. But, these same critics likely have no problem with an armed police force at these meetings, and would probably feel safer in that situation.

Gun proponents see armed citizens in the same light - that if a psycho with a gun decides to go on a killing spree, the dude's going to be stopped WAY faster if there are people there willing to defend their fellow man.

My sister-in-law was at Northern Illinois University during the Valentine's Day Massacre last year. The guy got 54 shots off, striking 24 people and killing six, including himself before police showed up...several minutes later. Any thoughts on how this tragedy could have been lessened?

October 14, 2009

Why Franklin Pierce Sucked: The Song



#14. Franklin Pierce

Capo 6
C, G, D/F#

You’re so close
And Spain’s so far away
Plus, we’ll make you
a new-found southern state

I’ll make friends with the south
And pretend the north will still like me anyway

Oh Cuba, oh Cuba – ah ah ah
Mr. Pierce, you pierced our hearts

What you mean Spain? Yes, we made you an offer.
But not accepting is not an option.
Either take the money, honey
or Spain will feel the pain of lady liberty
No, I can not see the hypocrisy
All I see is a new state they’ll credit to me

October 13, 2009

Is There a Caramel Shortage?


I can buy apples year round. I can buy apple juice year round.
Why can't I buy apple cider and affy tapples year round?

October 12, 2009

You Need to Dress Better


It doesn't matter how you currently dress. Advice to "dress better" is some of the best advice you can possibly be given. It's sad, and it's shallow. But, in a world where perception is so valuable, it's for your own good.

Just think about your best-dressed friend. Don't you like how they look? You can be that person! One shirt at a time.

October 09, 2009

How I Regained My Faith in the Local Church

First, let's talk about how I lost it. A couple of years ago, I was sitting in the pews at The Orchard, a wonderful church community in Aurora, IL, where they played the following 2-minute video that opened my eyes to the average person's expectations of who a "Christian" is.



But, that's not me, and I hated that I might be perceived like that. Someone who uses the Bible to compare themselves to others, rather than to compare humanity as a whole to the perfect righteousness of a loving God. A person who thinks that scientists have a vested interest in deception, and therefore, will ignore any and all evidence they come across that points to a Creator. A person who believes that "freedom" means letting poor people be free to get sick and die.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, at Grace Church in Shorewood, IL, I participated in one of the coolest Sunday morning church gatherings I've ever been involved in. We got together. Sang some prayers and praises to God. And then, were directed to go drive over to the local Aldi to go and buy groceries to distribute in a underprivileged housing community in nearby Joliet.



I was proud to be a Christian that day, and to be a part of something so beautiful. And I am now more optimistic than ever of what the collective local church can do for the world.

October 08, 2009

Why Millard Fillmore Sucked: The Song



#13. Millard Fillmore
Lyrics can be found on the YouTube page itself.

October 07, 2009

Evangelical Christianity and Online Marketing


I just finished reading the wonderful book, Trust Agents, a primer on how to become an online "connector", to steal a Malcolm Gladwell term. It's a terrific book, which by that I mean, it covers very intuitive information you haven't really thought through all the way in your head.

The biggest tip I got out of it was a reminder not to be Bullhorn Guy. Online relationships are not as different from real ones as we think. If I don't know you, if I don't trust you, I don't really care what you have to say. You must not presume a position of authority.

So, stop selling, stop asking for favors, and start trying to help others. Become a helpful knowledge resource in whatever industry you're in. And once I see that everything you say is not completely directed toward selfish purposes, I'm going to start listening.

In fact, I really think the parables in this book are as equally relevant to modern-day Christians as they are to online marketers.

October 06, 2009

How to Take Advantage of Political Downturns


#1. Under my administration, worldwide emissions are lower than they have been in years. (because production is lower than it has been in years)

#2. The creation of new businesses is at some of the highest levels we've ever seen. (because our near 10% unemployment rate has forced individuals to become entrepreneurs)

You see, no matter how bad the situation, you can always take credit for something positive. You just have to find it.

October 05, 2009

Sophisticated Garbage


The Food Network has pushed me on my way to becoming a food snob. Because the Food Network is a channel that both my wife and I can enjoy, I watch a lot of it. And I've learned a lot, and grown in my appreciation for good food. But, you know those "meat & potatoes" kind of guys? Well, I don't even like potatoes. I'm a meat guy.

I also eat cereal with cartoon characters on the boxes every morning, and candy on a nearly daily basis. But, my wife is an insanely good cook. And she knows exactly how to sophisticate the dining experience for my very narrow palette.

It makes me wonder if there can be a gateway drug to food snobbery. Junk food with layers of flavoring that even a gourmand would appreciate.

If some company is already doing this, link us.

October 02, 2009

Obesity in America


One of the reasons for the obesity problem in America that often flies under the radar is the fact that there is now so much good tasting food so widely available to us.

Not subjectively. Chemically. Food producers now spend millions of dollars creating chemical additives that perfectly please the typical human palette. We now have sharp cravings for things (cheddar & herb kettle corn potato chips) that until recently, didn't even exist.

Food is everywhere. And it's getting better and better. But, unfortunately, our willpower stays the same.

October 01, 2009

We All Want to Be Olympians


That's why we have award shows and employees of the month. It's the closest we'll get.

September 30, 2009

Why Zachary Taylor Sucked: The Song



#12. Zachary Taylor
Lyrics can be found on the YouTube page itself.

September 29, 2009

Prozac Children


As I was waiting in Villa Park for 6 hours yesterday to get my MAC repaired, I visited the local Dollar Tree retail store, where everything is $1. Everything includes sunglasses (which I bought), an 8-pack variety pack of Now and Later's (which I bought) and a hardcover children's book about the story of Adam and Eve.

Now, to make this a profitable venture for the book distributor, the picture book is only about 8 pages long, and they had to wrap the story up a little too quickly.

In fact, the last page of the book simply said, "Adam and Eve were ashamed because they disobeyed God. They would never be allowed to return to the garden." with frowney-faced Adam and Eve walking away from paradise.

What a horrible and incomplete message of the character of God from a company you can only assume is trying to present a positive message of faith.