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 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.

A Christian Approach To The End Of Life

 Note: This post has been contributed. Unsplash - CC0 License Talking about the end of life isn’t a popular topic. But it is something that ...