March 31, 2010

Passover Humor

"So, are you celebrating the Seder meal tomorrow with your family?"

"Uh, I'm not sure. I think Marcie might be hosting something..."

"You're not excited? I thought you were an orthodox Jew?"

"Nah, I'm more Jew-ish."

March 30, 2010

Secrets Secrets Are No Fun

Freshman year of college, my roommate came home super-late one night and told me about a make-shift therapy session a bunch of our friends had. They all shared some of their biggest secrets, and at the time, I was pretty shocked. Thoughts of suicide. Huge regrets. Deep emotional scars.

But, looking back, that was probably a very freeing experience for those involved. After all, I'm on record as arguing that we all need counseling. And this was a great step in the right direction. He at least, looks back at that night extraordinary fondly.

He knew he wasn't alone. And he felt hope about the future. So, the moral of the story is, don't keep secrets. They'll eat you to death. Tell someone you can trust.

March 29, 2010

Compassion for the Insane

I remember a friend once told me how smart their father was in terms of theological understanding, and said "He always wanted to be a Pastor, but just didn't have enough compassion for people to make it.


As if that were a natural stop point impossible to overcome. Now, I'm preaching to myself here. I don't like a whole lot of people, either. I prefer my personality. But, this is a moral failure. Not who I'm content to be.

Because God ferociously loves the very same people I can't stand. And I desire to do the same.

March 26, 2010

Now Playing - Jesus is My Girlfriend

If you saw a poster for a band called "Jesus is My Girlfriend", what genre would you assume they were just by the name alone?

March 25, 2010

Professional Fitter: Job of the Future

I'm pretty sure that the future of fashion has custom-tailored clothes sold on a mass level in store for it.

So, what does that mean? To participate in this not yet invented market, you're going to need precise and detailed measurements of your frame. I see a universal scale being created with maybe 30-35 body measurements. And if you have that information, you'll be able to order custom-fit clothes from any customer clothing manufacturer who offers it.

So, we're going to need an industry of professional fitters. Charge $50 for a 1/2 hour session and that person will be instantly ready to buy custom-fit clothes with confidence.

Plus, every time the customer gets fatter, they'll need to come in for a re-fit. This can't miss.

March 24, 2010

Why Dwight D. Eisenhower Sucked: The Song

#34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

G, D/F#, Em, C

Oh Cuba, you’re done.
The embargo has come
In January of ‘61.

The goal was that the people would revolt
and they did, but they did against us

‘cause everytime something goes wrong
they can point to America
say we’re enslaving them

it’s pure ammunition
golden propaganda

we’re poor, it’s america’s fault
we’re hungry, blame it on Ike
you’re mean, it’s not our fault
we’re leaving, don’t or we’ll shoot you

March 23, 2010

Sweet Table Chicago: Designer Dessert Buffets

My wife just launched sweettablechicago.com over the weekend with a first to market strategy of claiming the role of premier dessert table designer in the Chicagoland area. This idea of creating custom-designed dessert tables for parties, weddings, bridal showers, graduations and more is big in New York, but hasn't really spread nationwide yet.

So, we're really excited about it! Check out the site, designed by frequent contributor and design blogger, Laurenbecome a fan on Facebook and make sure to sign up for Sweet Table Chicago's E-Mail Club in order to get a delicious surprise.

And as always, businesses who have awesome friends always grow the quickest. So, if you have friends who like design-y or food-y things, or have your own blogs and think your readers might be interested, feel free to give us a tweet, post or shout-out!

March 22, 2010

I Forgot I Was Charismatic

I got to go to Peoria this past weekend to see some great friends and play drums at my old church. And I had forgotten how much I enjoyed a charismatic music/worship experience. In fact, it almost surprised me when I think of how different my current church is.

So, the question for today is, what factor(s) made you decide to attend the church you currently attend?

Preacher? Music? Proximity? Friends?

March 19, 2010

I Don't Want to See Your Baby Pictures

Unless I have a vested interest in your child, I don't want to see photographic proof of their evolution through babyhood. I know that many people do (mostly women), but it has absolutely no interest to me.

That's why people mass e-mailing videos and pictures of their children has always struck me as weird.

But, I was thinking about it more the other day. It's a God thing, isn't it? The same way that God ferociously loves all of his wonderful disgusting little children is a perfect reflection of our photo obsession.

We're proud. And we want to show off. And that's a beautiful thing. So, I'll try to feign joy in your little aliens until I fully get it.

March 18, 2010

Why I Don't Drink Alcohol

I know it's unfashionable today, even for a Christian. But, my wife and I are teetotalers (don't drink at all). My reasons have changed over the years. Family history. Religious conviction. Seeing the negative effects firsthand. Misappropriated legalism.

But now, I think the main reason I don't drink is because it's quite clear that people aren't mature enough to handle it.

The next time you hear people talking about drinking, pay attention to the conversation. Do you hear things like, "After the first glass of wine, I was feeling pretty tipsy..." followed by a chorus of "hahahahahahas!"? Or you're having a normal conversation with people, and they say, "You know what would make this meeting better? A 6-pack!" followed by another chorus of "hahahahahahhahas!" Or as early as 9 AM you hear, "You know what would make this coffee better? If we Irish'd it up a little!" followed by a chorus of "hahahahahahs!"

These are the same jokes that made me stop drinking when I was 18 years old, less than 6 months after I had started. Witnessing the stupidity of collegiate freshman was enough for me to hate both the idea of, and the effects of alcohol. And now, I've realized this mentality has nothing to do with age. We're getting older, but not growing up.

We still think it's funny when someone talks about needing a drink at the end of a hard day. And not only do we encourage them in this feeling, but help rationalize that they (and ourselves) deserve it. Rather than working to change the circumstances that 'cause this mental desire to relax through alcohol. And that's terribly sad.

Start listening and you'll learn to hate it, too.

March 17, 2010

Let's Wait 'Til Someone Makes it Illegal

Once again, an airline (this time Virgin) left their passengers stuck on a tarmac for 7 hours in NY due to bad weather preventing their takeoff.

Which prompted Congress to talk about creating a "Passenger's Bill of Rights" that would put a limit on the amount of time airlines could keep passengers immobile on the tarmac.

It bothers me that Congress would have to do this, and makes me very suspicious of monopoly-like tactics being employed by the airlines.

Otherwise, why wouldn't one single airline advertise an X-hour maximum tarmac time before they unload?

March 16, 2010

Hourly Wage vs. Salaried Wage

As someone who's been an hourly employee over the past year, I would like to bring up a question.

Why isn't everyone paid hourly? The business would save tons of money, and you'd command a higher hourly rate.

I know a business would be nervous about people trying to milk the system and work late just to get paid more. But, wouldn't the money they save on welfare services be worth it? And I know some people would be nervous about the insecurity of an hourly rate over a salaried position. But after these past couple years, I can't imagine anyone's feeling too safe anymore.

Plus, in terms of employee morale, if you have to stay late and work on something, you'd know you were getting paid for it.

I love the motivation that hourly work gives me. Don't tell me why it's not perfect. Tell me why it's not a better system than salaries.

March 15, 2010

Why Harry Truman Sucked: The Song

#33. Harry S. Truman

Em, C, G, D/F#

Oh Truman, it’s not your show. You don’t get to decide who goes.
Hiroshima. Nagasaksi. August ’45.
Quarter million mere civilians radioactively died.

It’s simple math you said.
You saved more lives than invading Japan.
But you killed a quarter million civilians.
and you fueled the arms race to come.

Am, C, G, D/F#
There’s a nuclear option.
And there’s a crazy man pushing sorts of buttons
In world war II
Which one were you?

Why FDR Sucked: The Song

#32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Capo 2
Am, C, G, Fmaj7

You say the law says that I need
a supreme court majority
To get my laws done
To save the nation

‘cause some of the court says my ideas
Are quote un quote against the law
But if we change the law
We can do what we want

I’m trying to make a new deal
But you’re getting in the way of me
The only way to right the situation
put some left on the court, some left on the court

Let’s add 6 more justices to the court supreme
Get the majority and I’ll get what we need
‘cause guess who gets to appoint them? Me
and guess who’s going to get his way again? Me

the only problem with this full proof plan
is that the senate kind of thought it was a supervillian thing to do
so they struck it down
took off my crown

Let’s add 6 more justices to the court supreme
Get the majority and I’ll get what we need
 ‘cause guess who gets to appoint them? Me
and guess who’s going to get his way again? Not this time

March 12, 2010

How to Be a RockStar? Avoid the Public Entirely

Is there a PR benefit to avoiding the public entirely?

For instance, the "rockstar", almost "divine" persona of a person you know very little about, but are extraordinarily intrigued in. They have a huge intrinsic incentive to not share their lives with the public. Because by odds alone, the more you know, the less you're going to like about them. Simply because they'll become a real person.

So, the democratization of the Internet has made it possible for random guys to become "niche-famous" via social networking sites as Twitter. But their fans know EVERYTHING about them. So, they're not really "rockstars" anymore. They're just friends.

So, what's the best way to get "rock-star" famous in these 21st Century circumstances besides a sex tape?

Yes, this is what I stay up late thinking about.

March 11, 2010

I Don't Care About Local Farmers. What About Me?

I don't know why people keep trying to promote altruism as a primary marketing message when there's a much more direct one.

Eat local and sustainable food to help local farmers? No! Eat it because it's way way way better for you. You'll live longer. You'll live better. You'll save money on health care costs. There's much better primary messages to choose from when trying to get people to make the change.

Same with global warming. Don't pollute because it'll decrease the water supply in sub-saharan Africa? No! Don't pollute because you have no idea how dangerous the air you're breathing really is. You have no idea how dangerous the mercury levels in the water you're drinking really are.

It's way easier to make a change in your life when you see a direct benefit of that change. It's simple marketing.

March 10, 2010

Why Are Drivers So Crazy?

...because they could care less where you're going or if you're going to make it there on time. They're thinking solely about their own experience and making decisions based on that.

You're sharing a highway. You're not family. And they don't care about you one bit. And you feel the same way about them. Nothing.

Road rage is the only reasonable outcome in that scenario.

March 09, 2010

What is formspring.me?

If you're friends with any high-schoolers, you've probably seen links to their own formspring pages pop up on Facebook recently. It's actually a pretty ingenious idea. The site gives you the ability to send in anonymous questions to the person that they respond to publicly. So yes, the site tends to quickly become an "i have a crush on you." "cool, who are you?" "i don't want to say." type environment.

But, I really like the idea behind the site. I see a real potential for friends being able to tell things to each other that they wouldn't say publicly - in fear of getting their friends mad at them.

In fact, I had that situation come up recently. I have a friend who's doing something that's bugging a lot of their friends. And yet, none of us want to address this because of how awkward the situation would be. But, if WE, as their friends won't say anything, what chance do any of us have in becoming better people?

So, I would like to open up the comment section today for you to anonymously voice things about me that you wish I would change/do differently. I am legitimately looking to improve the way I come across to people, and would like to know how I irk you, so that I can avoid doing it in the future. Stab away.

March 08, 2010

Something You May Not Know About the Bahamas

Earlier this year when we were on Grand Bahama Island, we took a tour to Gold Rock Beach, which was absolutely beautiful. Our tour guide spent some time telling us the history of the islands - from the original inhabitants, who were all wiped out by European imperialists, and the subsequent American and British fight over the land. Then after telling us how tourism is now their #1 industry by a long shot, someone asked what were their big industries were before tourism flourished in the 20th century.

Our guide then told us about how shallow the waters are around the islands, and then, with a little shame, told us how islanders would boat out to the trade waters and put out misleading markers that would steer boats into the reefs. Once capsized, the Bahamians would plunder the boats en route. This was a "legitimate" trade back in the day, in an industry called "Wrecking."

It's hard to fault their ingenuity.

March 05, 2010

NYC vs. Chicago: Part Four

There are nearly 7 billion people in the world. And I saw a girl from high school at my hotel in NYC. (We went to high school together in Illinois. I haven't seen her since.)

This has happened to me once before. When I was visiting Seattle a few years ago, I saw some guys from college on the street downtown. Our college was in Illinois as well.

I'm not sure I really understand exactly how coincidental these things are. Is stuff like that to be expected? How small is the world? Does it mean anything?

Oh, this is supposed to be our NYC vs. Chicago conclusion? Well, I think I need to gain a better understanding of Chicago before I pass judgment. So, Kat and I are going to take a couple of trips downtown this Spring, and I'll keep you posted. But, Chicago's got some catching up to do. New York's just magical.

March 04, 2010

NYC vs. Chicago: Part Three

Our trip to New York City this past weekend was very last minute. So, we went without an itinerary or even a real list of things we might want to do.

Once we got there, the World Trade Center came up as a possible visit point. But, after thinking about it for a minute, I realized I had absolutely no interest in going to see it. And I still feel partially guilty about that. So, I'm trying to figure out why it is that I have no interest in seeing it.

Is it simply because there's nothing to see?

March 03, 2010

NYC vs. Chicago: Part Two

On a gut level, I enjoyed New York City a lot more than I've ever liked Chicago. And I'm still trying to figure out exactly why. Here's my starter list. Feel free to add to it or argue against it.

1) Times Square vs. Nothing
This part of the city is simply unreal. It's big. It's safe. It's futuristic. It's wonderful. It has everything.
2) 5th Avenue vs. Michigan Avenue
Both are awesome streets to shop on. A virtual tie.
2) Central Park vs. Nothing
Chicago has nothing close to this 843 acres of roads, paths, walkways, trees, hills and water.
3) Lack of Solicitation
We were asked for money a grand total of 0 times during our 4 days in the city. Now our friends who live there say that it would have just been a matter of time before we'd come across it. But, I have yet to experience even a single hour in Chicago without being accosted for change. Some people don't mind. I hate it.
4) No Alleys vs. Visible Garbage
New York City has no alleys, which really helps in terms of safety, both real and fictitious. There's no hiding places for the people I assume are carrying knives and waiting to shiv me. This also makes it so that the curbs are continuously piled with garbage. I didn't mind as much in the Winter. I'm sure in the summer, the stench could be unbearable.
5) Street Width
Perhaps because of the lack of alleys, NYC's streets seemed to be a little more narrower as well, which helped in terms of people/sq. ft. and a general feeling of safety.
6) Ease of Transportation
Because Manhattan is condensed to an island, they were forced to treat space as a premium. Chicago, not as much. So, everything in Manhattan is just a little bit nicer. A little bit easier to get to.

March 02, 2010

NYC vs. Chicago: Part One

Spent last weekend in downtown NY. My first time there and I absolutely loved it.

And while I claim to "live in Chicago", I'm really a suburban boy, so my actual downtown Chicago and lifestyle experiences are minimal. For those who have experienced both, which did you prefer and why?