August 31, 2010

E-Ching for The Day

"The difference between being smart and being a genius is an insatiable sense of curiosity."

...big news coming tomorrow. Not about me being a genius. But about all of us acting upon what we now know.

August 30, 2010

Single Guys Who Chew With Their Mouths Open

I have noticed a pattern with both my single and divorced male friends. Most of them chew loudly with their mouths open while eating.

And, at first, I jumped to "oh, that's why they're single." But, it's obviously a result, not a symptom, right? Most of them eat most of their meals alone. And therefore, with no social norms or polite niceties to pay attention to, eat in the most efficient way possible.

It makes sense. And will make you feel sad the next time you're grossed out by it.

August 27, 2010

What is Flavors.me?

If you don't have a Web site, you should really get one from these guys. I don't care what you do. Networking is essential for your future. And your name is your personal brand. Make sure it's pretty. Flavors.me is the easiest and most affordable way I've seen for the non tech-geek to do it. Check out the video.

August 26, 2010

Imagine You're a Stalker

Consider the unique benefits of stalking in the 21st century.

You can leaf through pages and pages of photos of your target... that they have uploaded themselves for your convenience. You can see their answers to "What are you doing right now?" at any time - day or night.

Your target helps you maintain constant surveillance by utilizing GPS check-in with Facebook Places and FourSquare.

It's a relative golden age. You can even stalk from home if you want.

August 25, 2010

The Isolation of Being Charles Darwin

You're Charles Darwin. And your 5 years surveying the natural sciences around the world on the HMS Beagle have wrecked you.

Mainstream thought no longer seems possible. That every creature in existence had been created instantaneously in one fell swoop. That the fossil remains of extinct species are simply the ones that didn't make it on to Noah's Ark. These assumed truths no longer makes sense with what you're seeing.

And then you notice layers of seashell sediment on a nearby mountain. Realizing that this geology could have only happened over millions of years. Not the 6,000 maximum your peers all assume is possible.

Your no longer know what to believe. And you are all alone.

August 24, 2010

Life After Science: Identical Twins

200 years ago, before scientists had even the most basic understanding of genetics, what the heck must they have thought when a pregnant woman popped out identical twins?

August 23, 2010

If You Were Islam's Image Consultant

You're a PR image consultant for the Church of Islam in America.

Your reputation here sucks. So, what do you do? Keeping in mind that you have no power to change legitimate articles of faith. Simply perception. What do you focus on? What would you want Americans to think of when they think of Islam?

August 20, 2010

My First and Likely Last Sermon Ever



This is a sermon I gave last week regarding the difference between the church today and the community in Acts 4. It was terrifying. I'm not cut out for it. But, if you're curious...

And we couldn't put the SNL Clip I Got This on our site for copyright reasons, so when I introduce it, you can watch it here.

The Horoscope Experiment Conclusions

Well, we don't really have any conclusions. Becky was the only one that really played along. But that actually did produce some gullibility...in me.

My goal was to predict broad, yet seemingly specific circumstances that would creep you out.

TEST SUBJECT: BECKY JOHNSON
"You will have an awkward encounter with a tall man today."
Becky's husband is 6'8" tall. And without her verifying this, you'd have to imagine she could have found something if she had tried.

"You will experience a small amount of physical pain."
Becky is breastfeeding a 5-week angel named Louisa. (Congrats Becky!)

"Your day will not end up as you had originally planned it."
The day in the life of a 5-week old is, by definition, un-plannable.

After Becky's comment on Wednesday, I thought to myself, "woah, that's weird. I wasn't even thinking of Becky when I was creating these."

The project worked....on me. I confused coincidence for something else, and I acutely aware of what I was trying to achieve. If you were Becky, and you had a leaning to believe this stuff, wouldn't you?

August 19, 2010

Your Thursday Horoscope Experiment

You are going to feel embarrassed today in front of a small group of people. Try and laugh it off.

Report your results before tomorrow's wrap-up.

August 18, 2010

Your Wednesday Horoscope Experiment

Your day will not end up as you had originally planned it.

Report your experiences.

August 17, 2010

Your Tuesday Horoscope Experiment

You will experience a small amount of physical pain.

Report your experiences.

August 16, 2010

Your Monday Horoscope Experiment

You will have an awkward encounter with a tall man today.

Report your experiences.

August 13, 2010

I'm Preaching This Sunday

For those of you who haven't gone to Church since Christmas....of 2007, here's your chance to continue your trend. Head over to gracewired.net this Sunday at either 9:00 or 10:30 Central Standard Time, and participate in a church service from the convenience of your laptop. You simply have to scroll down the bottom right hand corner and click the "Watch Live" button.

And if you do, you'll see me preach.

Yes, I'm terrified. But, the content is pretty cool. I'm going to be talking about the difference between today's Americanized Church and the very first baby church in the book of Acts. What made them tick. What made them treat everyone in their community as if they truly were one big family. And if we're permanently stuck where we are.

On an opposite note, I'm going to try a horoscope experiment on the blog all week next week. Should be fun! Stay tuned.

August 12, 2010

Inception

So, what did you think?

August 11, 2010

Seek Humility

"You can not presume a position of authority. You must be placed there."

I know you're smart. You know you're smart. But strangers don't know that yet. And the best way to get them to hate you is to start presuming authority over their life. Telling them why they're wrong. Even in the guise of "speaking truth" into their life.

If you want their respect, earn it. Listen. Think out loud with them.

Stop preaching. The pride will kill you. And it's ugly.

August 10, 2010

What Do "Best Practices" Mean?

Often I find myself in situations where people return my comments with blank stares. This is usually because I am using some marketing "buzzword" that's not mainstream vernacular.

And I am realizing that the average doesn't know what it means to follow "best practices."

This simply means that you don't have to re-invent the wheel. "Best practices" means following that which is statistically proven to work best.

There are best practices for design. Writing. Teaching. Athletics. Entrepreneurship.

Unless you're Mozart, don't reinvent music. Figure out the system. Imitate the best. And you'll be fine.

August 09, 2010

The Most Likely Scenario Can Still Be Improbable

"CaseRanter" made an interesting comment regarding Justin's guest post last Friday about Lebron James' "Decision".

When giving his thoughts, he predicted that Miami would lose to the Lakers in the finals next year. Now, let's think about this. A Miami-Lakers Finals next year IS probably the most likely scenario possible for next year. And you should bet against it.

This is a good gambling lesson for how to get money out of your mathematically illiterate friends. Who's the most likely team to make the finals in the West next year? The Lakers, right? So why bet money against it happening?

Because just because something is the MOST likely scenario still doesn't mean the odds are in it's favor. Because we're not in a 2-possibility system. The most likely scenario is RARELY better than 50% odds.

Follow yet? Let's take another example.

Who do you think the Republican nominee for President in 2012 is going to be? I'll put money on you that they're not. Why am I being so crazy? Because by going against the favorite, I get the odds of every other possibility. And the odds are always in my favor.

Tiger won't win the next major. You won't win your fantasy league. Wanna bet?

August 06, 2010

Lebron James: "The Decision" - A Guest Post

I had a lot of thoughts about Lebron James' recent "Decision" to leave Cleveland, pass by Chicago and go straight to Miami to play basketball with two of the other most dominant players in the game. But I brought in a ringer, a crazy sports fan and my good friend to give you the real low-down and deeper insight than I could bring.


"The Decision"
A guest post by Justin Elder



I have been to three Chicago Bulls/Cleveland Cavs basketball games since LeBron James joined the league, solely to watch one of my favorite NBA players of the past 7 years.  On one occasion, I'm not sure I really remembered him scoring a basketball until the 4th quarter, but he quietly had 43 points at the end of the game.

Each time the Bulls lost yet I left the stadium satisfied because I had watched one of the best players I'd see in my adult lifetime.  I also watched the entirety of his high school basketball games that were aired on ESPN during the winter of 2002-2003.  I even seriously considered buying his basketball jersey but convinced myself I couldn't do that as a Bulls fan.  I've read articles and seen movies about LeBron and his buddies from high school help each other live their dreams and thought how different LeBron must be from other superstar players.  And, until July 8th I loved LeBron as much as I could love any other player not on the Chicago Bulls (except Kevin Durant).
   
For a wonderfully written, albeit 2 weeks late, analysis on why ESPN raised serious ethical questions based on "The Decision", please read the following. I believe this in-depth article to fully answer why Team LeBron chose to use a one hour program to announce a one-second decision amongst other things.  

I want to focus more on the pros and cons for LeBron after that one hour decision.  

Pros: (There's only one that I see, but it's a big one):
LeBron is now a Miami Heat and in prime position to win as many championships as the three egos will allow in South Beach. This was a decision that is well documented to have been planned during the summer of 2008 Beijing Olympics. Though talking about the possibility and actually pulling it off are two different things, it's clear that all three stars (Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh) were willing to sacrifice pay in order to play together as evidenced by Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks being the highest paid free agent this summer.  Pat Riley also did whatever was necessary to get them there, something no other team had either the guts or the stupidity to pull off.  

Cons:
LeBron's popularity fallout could not been anticipated when Team LeBron first pitched the idea to have a one-hour special, however I believe a few things really hurt his credibility and turned him from a lovable, one of the boys type kind of guy to a narcissistic evil empire player.  First, just two days earlier Dwayne Wade (a similar caliber player) and Chris Bosh (a short step down caliber player) announced their decision in a short "Breaking News" interview on Sportscenter.  If the Heat are truly all about playing together as a team, why not announce the decision as a team of three instead of two? Second, Kevin Durant, reigning NBA scoring champion and quickly climbing the ranks of top 5/10 players announced his decision to sign a contact extension via Twitter with zero media attention and continued to go about his business as usual.  After we saw how players of similar quality made their decision it became very clear during "The Decision" that LeBron only cared about himself and fans quickly turned against him and his new team.

Although I don't believe LeBron only cares about himself, that was the perception that was given off and one I'm not sure he will be able to overcome.  For the next few years every city will be rooting for their team to annihilate the Heat.  It won't happen, the team is too good, but why do you think teams don't want Terrell Owens or Barry Bonds on their roster?  Players like this bring in extra reporters with extra questions and pretty soon the hype and pressure on this team will be something the NBA has never seen and to me, LeBron has become as hated in his sport as either of those guys in theirs.  If this is true, there's no doubt that this team will fall well short of winning multiple NBA championships. 

I believe this to be the biggest negative for LeBron.  No matter how many rings he wins in Miami, Wade will always have one more than he does.  This year Kobe Bryant won his 5th ring and the media talk was how he measured up to Jordan.  None of them said he was better, but if Kobe were to win 2 more and have 7, there would definitely be those out there saying without question that Kobe was better.  At the end of LeBron's career, it's inconceivable to think that he won't be upset if he's won 5,6,7 championships and yet Wade will have won one more.

His legacy can now never end up as the NBA's all time greatest player, no matter what he accomplishes.  

August 05, 2010

Leasing Cars is for Economic Idiots?

Growing up in the 80s, my dad told me about a magical time in history. A car lease that he made a total net profit it.

See, when you sign a lease, you agree to a possible buy-out price once the lease is over. Due to severe hyperinflation at the time, the car's value went way up (as did all goods) during his lease period. So, he was able to buy-out the car at the end of the lease for far less than the car was actually worth, and instantly sold it back to the dealer for a net profit.

Ever since then, I thought that there was a way to beat the leasing. But I've realized that was an extraordinary circumstance. And maybe the common logic that leasing is stupid or only for people who can't be seen driving a Mercedes more than three years old, is right.

Because economically, when else would leasing make sense?

Let's say you're going to buy a $16,000 car, hoping it will last for 10 years. And let's put a conservative repairs estimate over those 10 years being $2,500. That's $18,500 over 120 months, or $154/mo.

If you can find a $150/mo lease payment, leasing would definitely be worth it, especially since you also get the benefit of a new car every 3 years. So with that perk, even $165-$170 might be worth it.

And that's actually close to the some of the lease offers you can find on smaller cars nowadays. Or am I missing something again?

August 04, 2010

Cost Analysis of Junking Your Car

At what point should you give up on your car?

Tradition states that it's when the cost of the repair is more than the cost of the car. But, that's an incomplete analysis. Because that's simply treating the vehicle as a parked asset and not a means for transportation.

If the car is worth $500 and the repair costs $600, it still makes sense to make the repair if I get more than $600 out of the car in the future. And while there is some risk involved in that not knowing the future, the economic choice is to choose the repair.

But, I feel like I'm still missing some factors? What else do I need to think about? Let's solve this today so tomorrow I can talk about leasing, which I've always wanted to figure out how to make sense of.

In other news, my wife's company, Sweet Table Chicago, designed a dessert table for recent Stanley Cup Winner and Chicago Blackhawk defenseman, Brent Sopel. The party was ridiculous. And the table was her best yet. Check out the pics.

August 03, 2010

Driving Tip of the Day

"You should always drive like there's a cake in your back seat."

People always ask the question, "Are you a good driver?" But I don't think that's a great question. Because what does that mean? Does that mean being ultra conservative and safe? Or does that mean the ability to drive extraordinarily fast without being too reckless?

Because the second one requires much more skill. But I realized that it's not a great idea when you have passengers or pastries in your car. The first think you're nuts, and the latter fall over.

August 02, 2010

Why I Love Google

Last night, I clicked "send" in Gmail when a notification popped up.

"Did you mean to attach files?" You wrote "I've attached" in your message, but there are no files attached. Send anyway?"

This is the sort of thing that keeps me falling in like with the ridiculously growing online monstrosity that is Google.