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.

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