March 31, 2011

I Need 3 Seconds to be Funny

I'm only funny if I get a 3-second head start.

In those 3 seconds, I can think up and quickly weigh a couple of different punchline options in my head. In person, I have no censor, and typically go with my first instinct, which rarely works.

I am a writer.

March 30, 2011

How to Stop a Nosebleed

I got a nose bleed last night.

So, I grabbed some tissue. Pinched my nose. And tilted my head back. At which point, my wife interjected,

"Honey! Tilt your head forward, remember?"
"No. When did that rule change?"
"I don't know. The late 70s?"

The Internet backs her up. How I have been doing this wrong my whole life? Please someone admit to accompanying my misery with your foolishness, too?

March 29, 2011

I Wake Up at 4:30 AM

And I just recently realized how impressive that is when people find that out. So, there you go. Why? Well, it's for freelance work, all my side projects and so that I'm off the treadmill before my wife gets on at 6:15.

In much less impressive news, I also consistently go to bed before 9:30.

March 28, 2011

Facebook Memorial Wall

When someone on Facebook dies, their page often becomes a Memorial Wall. A place where friends and family can forever eulogize about their relationship and pay their respects.

The only creepy thing is that Facebook doesn't know the person is dead. So every year, you get a birthday reminder from a dead person. And that can be troubling.

Not as troubling as if a family member decided to post from that profile AS the deceased person, even with the best of intentions. (Fortunately I have yet to personally experience this).

But, it raises the question. Would you ever un-friend a dead person? Why or why not?

March 24, 2011

WalMart's Boy Scout PR Trade-off

Every time I go to Walmart, I have to sneak by either the boy scout beggars, the screaming girl scouts, the in-uniform baseball team or more.

I walk out of my way to avoid them. I see other people doing the exact same thing. So, why on earth would Walmart allow this annoying solicitation?

They have to. After all, they're Walmart. They're the big bad mom-and-pop shop killer, anti-union, behemoth of capitalist carnivores. That's why they hire the functionless greeters and allow pan handlers to surround you upon both exit and entry.

They need to be able to say they hire more 65+ and special needs workers than any other business. They need to be able to say they support more local organizations in the community than any other business.

That's the trade-off. That's what it takes to offer the lowest prices and still be invited to the party.

March 23, 2011

You're Not Bored. You're Lazy.

It is definitionally impossible for you to be bored right now, living in the 21st century. Not only is there so much creative thinking happening right now, but you have 24/7 access to it.

If you're the least bit curious about anything at all, odds are that some geniuses around the world are doing amazing things with it. Check it out. Start learning. Then, understand that you're capable of doing some extraordinary things too, and start doing them.

Stop being bored. After all, it's impossible.

March 22, 2011

No, Libya and Iraq Aren't the Same

No, Libya and Iraq aren't the same....

Congress actually approved the Iraq intervention, and there was at least an attempt at showing a direct threat to our national security with Iraq...

March 21, 2011

Water Cooler Gossip Evolution

Has anyone stopped to think about how the proliferation of on-demand entertainment is effecting water cooler gossip?

Now that people still watch all of the same content, but rarely "live", there's no automatic expectation of discussing last night's programming.

And that's all we have in common with most of our co-workers.

March 18, 2011

People Look Weird When They're Drinking

I'm having a serious conversation with you. Looking you in the eye. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, you jerk your head back and display your teeth, as you yearn to get the last remaining drops of your drink.

I'm unhappy with the current design of drinking containers. At least with a glass, you only half to go a millimeter above horizontal, and gravity will empty the remains into your mouth.

But soda cans? Coffee cups? Anything with a lid creates this sort of catch-all that forces you to violently try and defy physics.

And no, I refuse to leave any of the beverage in the container. And no, I refuse to use a straw.

Solve my problem.

March 17, 2011

The Next Christians: A Pre-Emptive Book Review

I just started reading, "Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America" by Gabe Lyons this week. Had heard a lot of good things. But not super excited about it.

Then, in the first chapter, in a single paragraph, he thin-sliced me. Talked about how 20-somethings have no trust in authority. How Bill Clinton was the first president we remember. And we remember him as an unfaithful liar. How our Great War is the Iraq War, one which we feel largely duped and heavily deceived about.

Enron. Mortgage-backed securities. Everything around us our entire lives has told us, "Don't trust authority, because they can not be trusted."

And my jaw dropped. Why? I don't know. Perhaps because I created an entire website trying to convince people of the total depravity of man.This whole time, I thought my libertarian conclusions were a result of my own intellectual superiority and search for truth. But Lyons claims it simply because I'm in my 20s and I'm a product of my environment.

I'm hooked. And I'll be sure and tell you if it holds up.

March 16, 2011

Win-Win Insurance Strategy

I didn't go to the dentist for a year and a half. And I got 5 cavities.

Surely, the preventative care I avoided was at least a partial cause of this. And by avoiding 2 check-ups that would have cost me $0 (outside my deductible), I had to pay over $300 out-of-pocket for the 5 cavities, with my insurer covering the other $700.

Because of my laziness/fear of dentists, we both lost.

The $0 check-up was not an effective motivator for me. But what if they fined me? What if I agreed to an insurance plan that would fine me $30 if I didn't go to my twice-a-year preventative check-ups?

I would have gone. I would have $300 extra in my pocket right now. And my insurance provider would have an extra $700.

Are we on to something here?

(Yes, I considered the idea of the provider giving me a $30 bonus for going to the appointment, rather than the punishment for not. But, A) that's a worse deal for the insurance provider, so it would be harder to get their buy-in on. B) psychologically, humans have a greater aversion to loss than a motivation for gain, so it would probably be more effective this way as well.)

March 15, 2011

Choose All 12 of Your Dozen Donut Flavors

Ever order a dozen donuts from your favorite donut shop, and then get really disappointed when you open the box with what you ended up with?

Don't order a "random assortment" ever again.

No one likes plain donuts. Absolutely no one. And sure, some people have the occasional favorite oddity like Bavarian Creme. But trying to guess the weird ones for each person in your office will only leave you with a half-full box by day's end.

Here's the reality. The 'average' person prefers a chocolate donut, statistically. So at the very least, if you're in a hurry, order "a dozen random assortment of chocolate donuts."

March 14, 2011

The Death of the Librarian

The last time I asked a librarian for help, it was because I needed her to manually place a hold on a movie I was looking to rent that wasn't available in my location's network. Before that, I wanted to know where the fax machine was. Before that, I think I was 11.

The role of the librarian has become increasingly unnecessary. Why?

Because ancient databases have evolved to become more user-friendly. Librarians aren't the lone guardians of information anymore. Knowledge has been democratized.

Is this a bad thing?

No. This is a wonderful thing. 99.99% of the populace benefits. But there will be less librarians needed. Some say I'm cold for not thinking of the .01%. I say you're out of your mind for not prioritizing the 99.99%.

March 11, 2011

Negative Placebos

If you do any research on the placebo effect, your mind will be blown at how powerful the human mind is. But, I wonder if too much of our time is spent on considering the power of "positive" placebos?

What about negative placebos? What about when we get tricked into thinking we feel bad?

If a doctor can give me sugar pills that make my "allergy headaches" go away, perhaps the times that I'm feeling bad, I really don't?

March 10, 2011

Why I Haven't Done a Post on Charlie Sheen Yet


Why haven't I done a post on Charlie Sheen yet? Because I haven't come to any conclusions. But what spurred me to reach out today was this tweet by Rainn Wilson.

"Charlie Sheen was the best thing that ever happened to Mel Gibson."

And that helped me realize one thing. I'm not mad at Charlie Sheen at all. Charlie Sheen's "self-destruction" is less angering to me than the violent, rage-filled outbursts from Mel Gibson, Alec Baldwin and Christian Bale.

Perhaps I'm willfully ignoring the verbal abuse from Sheen's previous relationships, which ex-wife Denise Richards claims. It's probably because I didn't hear it myself. Whereas, I heard Mel's. I heard Alec's. I heard Christian's.

But right now, I simply hear the claims of a man who thinks he's the greatest in the world. And I have this debate with people a lot. That it is impossible for Michael Jordan to be arrogant. That's why I presented the question yesterday.

While I think and have blogged that Two and a Half Men is a disgrace to the human conscience, it's the most popular comedy on television.

Why wouldn't he think he's special? He is.

March 09, 2011

A Michael Jordan Preface Post

Is it possible for Michael Jordan to be arrogant?

My premise:
It is literally impossible for Michael Jordan to be arrogant in his basketball playing abilities, because he truly is the best in the world.

What say you?
(Trust me, I'm going somewhere important with this tomorrow. #winning)

March 08, 2011

Gift Card Worth Your $Age

As you get older, your birthdays likely get less and less fun.

Less mini-golf and pizza at your parties. Less presents. A year closer to earthly death. So, what can we do to instill some fun into these birthday "celebrations"?

What about giving the person a gift card worth their age in dollars? That way, they see a direct positive benefit for being as old as they are?

March 07, 2011

Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Video Contest

When my favorite deep dish pizza in Chicago launched a video contest to win a year's supply, I knew I had to create an entry.

Let the blog record show that I have pledged my allegiance to Lou Malnati's many times in the past. And for that proven consistency, I ask for your help and support.

1. Go "Like" Lou Malnati's on their Fan Page.
2. Go to 'Contests' in the left navigation, and click 'View Entries'
3. Find my song, give me a thumbs up and leave a nice comment.

I would greatly appreciate it, and in exchange for your support, you will be invited to the massive pizza party I'd throw if we win!

March 04, 2011

Girls Only Wear Dresses Once

My wife is renting a maternity dress for her baby shower. This is really smart, because that is a dress you will likely only wear once.

But, here's the reality. MOST dresses are dresses women only wear once. Because you're crazy. And you think that the world will judge you with contempt - even if you wear it to two separate weddings that have absolutely no overlap of social circles.

Maternity dress rental makes sense. But so does dress rental of every kind. The only reason this business doesn't explode is because or irrationality.

March 03, 2011

I Can't Tell My Westboro Baptist Church Joke

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church free speech case. Right when the news came out, people wondered who the lone dissenter on the court was (turned out to be Justice Samuel Alito).

I immediately thought of a punchline that I thought was hysterical... and realized there was nowhere I could safely share it.

My Facebook circle is simply too big. I have family on there. Lots of church friends. Too many people that either wouldn't get, or would be offended by broad humor.

In 99% of these cases, I go to Twitter. My Twitter followers are equal parts strangers, equal parts friends. Much more of a homogeneous group. But the problem with Twitter is that your punchline just sits there on its own. Even if you reply to someone specifically. The punchline sits in your feed without the other person's setup. And this one definitely wouldn't look right on its own.

Ok, my punchline to "I wonder who the lone dissenter was in the Westboro Baptist Church ruling..." that never went out was, "Probably some God-hating fag."

Even here, in my MOST homogeneous group of online friends, I bet only 30% of you laughed at that. 60% don't get it. And 10% get it and still think it's inappropriate.

Should I just call up individuals next time, rather than trying to cause laughter en masse?

March 02, 2011

You Like Your Coffee Weak and Milky

Remember when you started drinking coffee? Probably because of a coffee ice cream or frappuccino gateway?

If given the choice, what kind of coffee would you choose? The dark roast. The darker the better. You wanted a bold, rich flavor.

Here's the reality. You probably didn't. Statistically speaking, and by a wide margin, you probably prefer your coffee weak and milky. But those words suck. They sound like you're a wimp.

And people spend their life drinking stuff they like less. Because the other words are better.

March 01, 2011

Don't Approach A Commercial Property Investment With A Residential Head

This post has been contributed.   Image source Investing in any sort of property is a pretty sound bet to make, but please don’t think...