Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Public Service?

Hi there. I've completely lost my mind. All gone.

I decided (and not while under the influence), to go to Key West, FL. And I'm going to drive. With the kids, some of the nieces, a whole crowd.

For anyone who might be considering a similar venture at any point in the future, I offer the following as a service. I will Mobile Blog over at and let you know how it goes.

A Challenge?

Hi there. I found the following in a comment from a previous entry:

This nonsense is apparent everywhere. It sucks. But I have an assignment for you...should you decide to accept it.

Take a week...and only look for (take notice of) all the nice gestures. All that's good and right in the world (outside of your family). It might be hard, but I wonder what the results might be.

I'm not being sarcastic, or trite...I'm simply suggesting a task for my Lipster friend.

Do you accept this challenge?

I'm not sure what that was about. Anyone who knows me, knows that my act here is being silly and sarcastic when I make my observations on society. I like trying to be funny when I get in that mood because I think satire and idiotic humor make the bad things in life a little more palatable. Or at least not as bad. I don't write about the heinous crimes or other atrocities that take place in the world. I try to avoid politics and religion because those topics bring out the worst in people. There are a whole lot of people who believe in freedom of speech, as long as what you say is agreeable to them.

I fancy myself a social satirist. I also know I'm a wiseass.

I had the pleasure, once, of meeting George Carlin. The man was one of my favorite comedians, and he made a career of roasting society. He called people on their B.S. and had a hard time with the Self-Important, The Rude and the Inconsiderate. His humor, in my opinion, was peerless. But at the same time, meeting him was a great experience because he was a delightful, social man. He wasn't a sour monster, in fact, he was a very pleasant man.

Point is, when he was being humorous, he knew what to be funny about. How long would his comedy career have lasted if he spent his time pointing out how wonderful the world can be?

Now I in no way compare myself to George Carlin. I wouldn't be able to carry his microphone. But his style, along with some other satirists, inspires me. I don't think George would have been so gracious, however, had I deemed it necessary to offer advice on how to revamp his brand of silliness.

I am very well aware of all the good in the world. I've been the recipient of many acts of kindness, particularly in the more recent years. I love my children and take great joy from my doings with them. I love my friends, who have carried me through some tough times. I have shared some of the joys in my life in this very blog over the years.

But, it's all about creativity for me. Some of my favorite blogs have had themes: some tremendous photographers, people who paint or sculpt, people who produce crafts; Moms who share their kid stories, folks who share their career adventures. My creative muse wants me to be silly, and funny. "Write about what you know" is the advice I was always given.

Let's face it though, it's nice to be nice. The world is a good balance of good and evil. But, if I were trying to attract an audience by making fun of nice things, kind people and happy souls, it wouldn't be a long relationship. It's more fun to make light of the Self-Important, The Rude and The Inconsiderate. Kind of let them know that they're not as great as they would have you believe. I rarely name actual names, so I think I'm fairly harmless. I don't post photos of my targets, so I'm really not hurting anyone, right?

I don't consider what I do an "art", but it is something that I produce. I don't take myself too seriously, which is why I usually add the tags "Moral Outrage" or "My Personal Dumbness" to those particular articles.

Just as photography, or music, or painting doesn't define the person who creates it, my satire doesn't define me. I like being a people watcher, and that brings a lot of joy and happiness to my life, but it's also a great source for my idiotic humor. I like the World because I do believe people are inherently good, I just think we always have room for improvement. I wouldn't tell people what to change so much as I enjoy picking on them. I don't view the world through rose-colored lenses, but neither do I look through black glasses. I just like to have some fun.

Challenge met?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Driving Through Church

I wouldn't normally think of driving on the highway in the same frame as going to Church. Although with all the busy people out there leading such busy lives these days, can Drive-Thru Mass be next?

I digress.

I've come to realize that Sunday Mass and a Sunday Drive are opportunities to see a lot of what's gone wrong with us. Really!

First off, where is the hell is everyone going in such a friggin hurry? Speed limits are a thing of the past, I know that, but why the hell does everyone need to drive like they're escaping a tidal wave?

And if you want to see where courtesy has gone, just watch roadway etiquette these days. I've seen people who'd rather die than let someone merge in ahead of them. It might hold them up 15 seconds to let the guy in, but then what would one do to make up that lost quarter-minute. Good god no!

Used to be, if you were one of those idiots who insisted on latching on to the left lane like Bin Laden to a cave, you were open to tailgating and flashing lights. Now all you have to do is be on the road. HEY, GET OUT OF MY WAY! I'M A BUSY GUY YA KNOW!

Being a rude, idiot driver makes no logical sense. But yet...

And Church...Sitting through a service these days is a test of human endurance. I watched a woman come into Mass recently, carrying a Starbucks bag. She proceeded to unwrap a coffee and I what I believe was a blueberry muffin and eat it during the Mass. And seeing a moron on a cellphone during a Mass is so commonplace these days that it's barely worth mentioning.

People show up dressed in their Sunday Worst; they show up whenever they want. At Sunday's Mass, the priest was wrapping up after Communion and there were still nitwits showing up. My friend, the Future Criminal, was there today, tormenting his parents. I'm not sure what the fuss is, though, because he was no more disruptive than a typhoon. But people don't remove obnoxious children anymore because people assume it's their right to inflict their little Plagues on the rest of society unimpeded.

And I think nothing says it better than what I experience first-hand these days. While I'm hardly a helpless cripple, I am sufficiently handicapped to the point that I must walk a bit slowly, and with a cane. More than once, recently, I've been shoved past by someone on their way into Church. I can't walk too quickly, but I can still fight, and my handicaps provide me with a nice heavy weapon. But my Christian upbringing was at least good enough that I know it's not a good thing to club someone on the Church steps. Even ignorant morons who don't realize how lucky they are that we are, in fact, on hallowed ground.

Anyway, I'm finished with my amateur pyscho-babble.

What's your take?

Monday, June 15, 2009


It's something I hear all the time: people demanding respect. Oh they want it, demand it, do everything but earn it.

Somehow, in this society we've been transformed into thinking that we can get pretty much anything we want if we yell loud enough, or are obnoxious enough or just plan anti-social, "Squeaky wheel gets the grease" type of thinking. But it's our own fault now, that we have to deal with these loud, annoying, half-witted morons. We've glorified them, made celebrities of imbeciles who should better be slapped and sent back home. We've allowed them to equate "attention" with "respect".

I think that's part of the reason we have so many people on medications. They're raised to believe they're entitled to anything they want, and when the real world catches up with that illusion, they need to medicate. It's not depression, or anxiety, it's "slap in the face". Let's face it folks, we have as many commercials encouraging self-medication as we do for laundry detergent.

And the same goes with the whole respect thing. There are so very few people I know who've actually earned my respect. There are a lot of people who have my attention, or get it; there are a lot of people I might even like, but not a whole lot on my list for those I respect.

I don't equate respect with power, either. Powerful people in this country seldom earn their positions anymore. Power is bought and sold (particularly in NJ) like a cheap commodity these days; respect is like platinum in my view. In fact, the people I respect the very most are not what we'd typically consider people of "power". They've gained respect by acting respectful and being respectable.

Being respectable: it's a pretty simple concept. It's the best way to earn respect.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Just some thoughts that passed through my head the last few days.

Should safe packaging be so safe that you injure yourself opening it? What do they make those seals out of, anyway?

I know that money is tight these days. In fact, they tell us here in NJ that there are so many things that there are "no money for", I wonder what they do spend it on besides graft. But isn't it a reasonable thing to expect that the roads in a US State at least be passable? These roads EAT cars now. Not just tires, axles, hubcaps, I mean entire cars. Friends of mine have disappeared forever on the Garden State Parkway and Jersey Turnpike. At least some gravel or something, ya know?

And I've come to understand that expiration dates are important on packaging. I get it. So if they are so important, could these people please MAKE THEM READABLE! And what about the occasional package that has no date whatsoever? Can we assume that the stuff in there is good forever?

Note to FOX-5 NY: I can no longer watch your news at 10. You guys have so many computer graphics spinning, circling and flashing on the screen that I seize up after mere seconds. Could we make the news about the news again someday and stop dressing it up like a Sesame Street skit?

And how sad is it that the news promos now feature stories that we used to only be able to read in such gems as The Star or The National Enquirer. I fully expect Maury Povich to move back into the Anchor desk any day now.

I still don't get these TV ads that feature people so close to the camera that we can see their nose-hairs. Sorry.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I got a message that said, "Your not gonna believe this, you're life will definately never be the same..."

That made my brain hurt.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Hi folks. I've been working my tail off. It's still there (kinda still large too) so I need to keep working.

I'm not knocking the cover off the ball, so to speak, and part of my problem is that I'm part of an industry that doesn't always encourage honesty, or the benefit of the client. I'm really, really trying to do my business in an honest fashion, where I put the needs of the client first. But I'm fighting that less-than-stellar reputation on a daily basis.

When did American Business become all about exploitation? I think that paying people less than their efforts are worth encourages short-cuts, dishonesty and outright deception. The SubPrime mess speaks volumes in that area. Anything that makes the Company money is ok. No matter what.

I just keep wondering, is it possible for one to market products and services honestly, with the best interest of the client at heart, and be successful? For me, at this point, just winning people's trust feels like a major victory. I've met with people who've been scammed and lied to, so why should they trust me?

I've been told to remind my clients that the recommended amount of life insurance is 8 to 10 times their current income. See, I have a hard time with that because the recommendation comes from the Insurance Industry. To me it's like McDonalds telling people that the recommended amount of hamburgers is 2 a day.

Part of my training included what not to say to people. The "Not To Says" were things that I would just consider being honest.

My approach to my service business is identifying need and offering to fill that need in a means to the client's benefit. I do believe that people should carry life insurance. People need to pay for funerals, medical expenses, and provide income to help the survivors get through the difficult times after someone passes early and unexpectedly. The way I approach the situation is to go over what the financial needs would be, and design an insurance program to meet those needs, and nothing more. A young father with a wife, 3 kids, a mortgage and some extra debt needs more coverage than a woman in her 40's with a husband and an apartment and an 18 year old child. I want to match them to the right amount.

Same goes for retirement savings. People can't save more than they're comfortable putting aside. And not every financial instrument is a suitable investment for every client. Mutual funds are great. Individual stock investments can bear an enormous amount of risk (Enron, Lehman Bros. anyone?) and annuities are good for people who are looking for supplements to their retirement savings.

I believe I have the means to sit down with clients, analyze their needs and design programs and services to meet those needs in a way that benefits them, while also benefitting me by compensating me for my time and efforts. I think this can be a mutually beneficial situation and try to act accordingly.

But I get a lot of flack. If I meet clients who have adequate insurance coverage, I tell them so, and leave it alone. If they're saving enough for retirement, I back off.

I refuse to engage in subterfuge, and I refuse to pull out the smoke and mirrors. I try to deal honestly and fairly. If I can't improve one's situation, I don't do business. If I can, I show how I can and let the clients make up their minds. I refuse to be a door-to-door snake oil salesman.

I have a lot to learn I guess.

But wouldn't it be easier to offer products and services at a price people can afford and without trying to "sell" them? I have those means at my disposal. I just don't get a lot of encouragement to use them.

It's hard.

Monday, June 08, 2009

So How Come...

With all the potential, the incredible promise, offered by the new Information Age, it blows my mind that the only thing coming from the Internet is a major increase in national stupidity.

We can now exchange volumes of written information in seconds. Sentences, paragraphs, pages in mere micro-seconds. We could theoretically share our life stories with the world in moments.

Yet we have such things as "LOL". "BRB" We're in possession of the fastest communication devices in Human History, and we want to make it faster. We equate "incorrect" with "fast" so we get such moronic blurbs as "Your my hero".

Some moron was explaining the other day how we shouldn't be teaching our kids how to write (with a pen or pencil, numbskulls)anymore. This Genuis decided we won't have to write manually anymore, we can just type it up on a computer. Personal touch. Class. Integrity. Manners. None of that matters anymore, so yeah, maybe he's right.

We've just about destroyed the English Language because the so-called "Educators" in this country think it's more important for our students to learn other languages, or design curricula that don't require the lazy to bother learning English.

I think my own problem here is that we have been given access to something that could have raised the learning curve in this country immensely by giving equal access to incredible amounts of information that could have leveled the playing field.

Instead we spend hours watching Morons On Video taking stupidity to new heights. We encourage idiots to become stars, we applaud morons who break the law by calling it entertainment. We condone the most ridiculous behavior as long as we can watch. That's partly why we have Reality TV. This crap wouldn't have sold 20 years ago because people were to smart to waste time on stuff like this.

We have one of the most powerful learning tools ever, right here at our disposal, at what do we get? YouTube, PerezHilton and MySpace.

Do you think the guys who invented computers ever envisioned that?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Who's Who?

Hi guys, still me!

I'm really curious about something. When a "help" section of a website is designed, it's like anything else: "let's start at the very beginning...".

When these web companies design their help sections, they offer something called "FAQ's". What they forget to include is "NAQ's" (Never Answered Questions) where most of us would probably find the actual answers we're looking for.

I mean, if I were going to run a Cooking website, I'd have listings for such things as "How to bread cutlets" or "how to roast a chicken"; I'd be doing most people a favor by not including instructions for "how to change a motorcycle tire", ya know?

I was on a site called Linked-In today, and found my inbox stuffed with the usual SPAM messages, only there's no obvious way to report SPAM or violators and the like. So off I went to the HELP Section. I typed in SPAM REPORTING and SPAM VIOLATIONS and the closest thing I found to an answer to that was:

  • No. Only your group manager can contact all members at the same time. The Discussions feature was designed to specifically address and prevent spam from an unknown group member. Discussions in groups allows members to communicate with the group or privately with an individual group member without sharing email addresses of the individual members.

Maybe, again, it's a matter of expectations. Maybe these guys set out to design the HELP SECTION to specifically NOT be of any help. I mean, after all, In 15 years of computing experience, I have never, EVER gotten actual useful information from Microsoft's Help site.

And of course, those Web "Forums" where any idiot with a keyboard can deem himself an "expert" and clog up the space with completely useless, inaccurate information.

Or the morons who respond to a posted question with such gems as "I have no idea"

Then why offer a response, Imbecile?"

Anyway, I was just curious why HELP sections offer everything but help?

Thursday, June 04, 2009


I'm just curious about something.

We've all become too familiar with Internet advertising. In particular, the ads that pop "under" the page you're currently viewing, rather than pop "up". I see ads for Screen Savers and the like, whenever those pop "under".

What I'm curious is, has anyone ever actually made a purchase in response to an unsolicited ad that appeared on your screen? Not just screen savers, but any product at all?