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Archive for July, 2007

When it bleeds it leads.  That’s the philosophy of the news media. For centuries, the bad news gets the spotlight – above the fold in newspapers and the first 30 seconds on television news. (Did I just say first 30 seconds? I meant all 22 minutes of TV news programming.)  We are our own worst enemies when it comes to pumping out a shit load of bleeding news stories. 

But today I had to do a double take, because making the news is the story of the Wisconsin man who has won the national “title” for bad writing.  You can read the whole story here– from a legitimate news source.

The down and dirty of the story, though, is that Jim Gleeson of Madison, Wis., won the distinctive honor (?) for his blend of awkward syntax, imminent disaster and bathroom humor that offended both good taste and the English language. He proudly beat out thousands of other prose manglers who entered San Jose State University’s 2007 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.  He won $250 for his effort and national recognition.

Am I jealous. Ummm. No.

While this story is bleeding, it is rewarding – of all things – bad writing style. Is that something our society really needs to recognize and perpetuate?

C’mon Jim, quit with the trying to write badly already. You’re adding further embarrassment to our craft!

Editor’s Note:  Got a pet peeve that drives you insane whenever you read someone’s else’s writing or hear someone speak on television?  Blog about it here.

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(c) ceg 2007

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Our current president may have an all-time low approval rating, and rest assured he won’t be serving a third term, but the Democrats own in-fighting among the top three candidates to receive the Democratic nomination bodes well for Republicans today.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards seemingly refuse to play nice as they glad hand potential voters months before primaries and caucuses begin.

After the Clinton/Obama dust up last week during the CNN/YouTube debate continues to serve as the mechanism that will likely drag these candidates into real-life fist-a-cuffs until a clear winner is announced. Ms. Clinton may have an argument when it comes to Obama’s weaknesses when it comes to national security. In her memo following the digital debate, Clinton expressed that:

Senator Obama has committed to presidential-level meetings with some of the world’s worst dictators without preconditions during his first year in office. 

She’s in this race to win it and her campaign needs every bit of help it can muster. 

Obama countered that Clinton’s view is old-guard. About his own nationaly security platform, he said:

This is exactly the kind of change and new thinking that excites voters about an Obama presidency.

Meanwhile, John Edwards is trying to remain relevant. In doing so, he’s taking the high road (nice move), but jabbing his two opponents for their own lack of immediate response to the Iraq War.  Edwards, apparently, was in favor of liberating Iraq from the start, and says today that the U.S. needs to finish what it started.

While we can’t expect the Dem front runners not to get in the occassional knife fight with each other, it would be mighty convenient if they would fight as a team against the conservatives who are trying to extend this Iraq War conflict indefinitely. If Obama, Clinton and Edwards continue punching each others’ throats for the next six months, the only clear leader in the end will be the Republican who gets that party’s nomination.

Let’s hope whoever is left standing has some fight left in him/her next summer after the conventions.

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Humans! We’re tough nuts to crack.

I suppose that’s why the psychology/psychiatry field is a multi-billion dollar industry.  On the upside of life, however, we each choose how to live our lives. Some get in line behind the Jim Joneses of the world and drink the kool aid unquestioningly. It happens. With the bandwidth of the Interweb, there are now more self-professed “leaders” and lamb-like followers than one can count. Some people just want some iota of sense to believe. Others want their large egos stroked by strangers so they can live their fantasy of fame and acceptance.  Still other folks live life skeptically, suspiciously. Asking questions of everything. Looking for THE answer they require. That form of skepticism holds them back in life just as blindly following puts people on a path to disaster.

There is a happy medium in life and it’s up to each of us to find that path and walk it (swerving outside the lines as needed to keep things interesting).

How, then, shall we live? Fully and completely is the best answer for me.

What does that look like? It means waking up happy to be alive. Going to bed with a sense of accomplishment. Filling every day with teaching and learning moments. Loving completely. Being a best friend. Leaning on others for help when you need it. Not hurting those around us with spite, anger and fear. Not overanalyzing your own shortcomings or puffing yourself up to a larger-than-life hot-air filled balloon. It means parenting your kids, if you have them, with your head on straight – attentive to their needs for love and to love.

My son, who is 13, spends about half his time living with me, as does his sister. He is soulful in his approach toward our father/son relationship. He has no fear expressing his thoughts and feelings. For a 13-year-old boy, he is in touch with his feelings and emotion. Unusual for many that age. Numerous times a day, out of the blue, he tells me he loves me. At first this was odd to hear. I neither heard that from my own Father more than a dozen times in my life, nor did I express that sentiment to him on a frequent basis. But my son is in touch. He lives knowing that he loves his parents and he TELLS us he loves us regularly. It’s reassuring for him after seeing his mom and I separate and divorce to express that love and feel it in return. I’m blessed to have a son who can do this and I want to perpetuate that emotional in-touchness that resides in him.

I want to live my life with a similar authenticity – an ability to be in touch with emotion and able to express it well. Purposefully and confidently.  I don’t need people to psycho-analyze my social behavior. I know exactly who I am (although I don’t always know why I do what I do). I know there’s room to make improvement. I’m only 42 after all…still learning, still respecting life and the people who are in mine – even through the troughs that I’ve sunk to and the crests that I’ve ridden with a smile wide open.

I’m human. And like all of us, I make mistakes, say the wrong things, don’t say the right things the right way, struggle with confidence, jealousy or neediness, and wonder what to make for dinner. But with each error made, I’ve learned more about how, then, I will live.

I intend to live fully as each day is mine to make.

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(c) ceg 2007

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Allow me to borrow a phrase from the talented and popular Mr. T: “I pity the fool…” Mr. T, known foremost for his acting prowess in a network television show, “The A Team,” has pitied many fools who made bad mistakes, caused suffering among others or otherwise just did not live up to his personally lofty expectations.

Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan just HAS to be on the “pity the fool” list that Mr. T maintains. Imagine Mr. T’s thoughts when he woke up Wednesday morning this past week to learn that Lohan, again, had been arrested for driving while intoxicated. Plus, she got the extra charge of cocaine possession.

Mr. T had to be out of his mind. Here’s a young starlette, so cute and popular in her twin acting remake of “The Parent Trap,” who seemed to be the new belle of Hollywood. Scripts were pouring in, friends were glomming on and the seduction of power and fame obviously grew too large in this young girl’s brain to be manageable.

So Lindsay is the new poster child for the self destruction of a starlette. So long Britney. So long Paris and Nicole. You got nuttin’ on Lindsay when it comes to screwing your career goodbye (not to mention you have a stream of income Lindsay doesn’t in the form of rich parents and grainy porn video royalties).

Pity the fool.

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There’s a reason John Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” does what he does and gets paid so handsomely.  He’s just that good.

With all the doping scandals underway during the 2007 Tour de France, Stewart took to his stage and found the humor in it all.  I shouldn’t give away the clip, so I’ll just stop myself short and say it’s f-ing hilarious, whether you like the sport of cycling or not.  The plums comment – laugh out loud funny.

Click this link to view the clip on the doping scandal. It’s well worth it.

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I blogged about my learning edge a few weeks back and while the new gig at work has served as a great way to engage with more people and refine my own ability to plan, strategize and execute, I’ve found this innate need to be creative in other ways.  The concept of “What’s Your Learning Edge,” keeps returning to my head as I ask myself that very question. 

So in defining what I can do to let this creative bug out, I started talking with a friend in great depth about, of all things, relationships. How do they start, how do they build, how do they last, what happens if they come to an abrupt end, and why would a great friendship with a strong foundation abruptly end? (Short answer: one half of the friendship must be a dumbass!). The conversation, though, eventually turned to the one theme that long-time couples seem to enjoy: common ground.

I’m no Dr. Phil (*cough and say “full-of-shit”*) but, the consensus we reached was that in order to find success in a relationship both parties must be open and willing to try new stuff and find stuff that they can do together. Earthshattering, I know.  No one in the Universe could possibly have stumbled on such a revelation as this. Do Things Together (DTT).

What’s this have to do with my creative urge?

Part of my drive to be creative and spawn something at the genious level is to provide me with an opportunity to work with someone intelligent, creative and fun. My friend, who just happens to be all of these things, also happens to be savvy with a pen and paper (or monitor and keyboard). With these things in place, we have agreed to collaborate on a project.  A book project. We’re in the brainstorming phase at the moment, but we have already established a goal (to write a book) and a deadline (Dec. 2007) to have said book self-published and under the Christmas Tree for certain family members.

The selfish aspect of this project is to see our names listed as authors on the cover of our self-published book – the content of which is likely to be really good, but publishable? Time will tell. Still we’ll have a little more to leave behind as our legacy when this book is done. And the fact that we’ve agreed to do this, make it happen (and have FUN doing it) makes the learning edge concept all the more interesting.

Stay tuned on progress reports regarding the book project and the impact on if my own creative urge is satiated or only teased with an appetizer.

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If you’re a major league sports fan, it’s four stikes and you’re out.

Black Tuesday fell upon the sports world today.

From the Tour de France, where (surprise!) yet another stage winner pulled out of the Doper Alexrace following doping allegations. This time Alex Vinokourov, who was very likely competing in the last TdF he’d ever participate in, decided to up his odds by pumping himself with someone else’s red blood cells. It’s called homologous blood transfusion. It’s against the rules. So, another rider falls by the wayside of the Alps because, clearly, the only way to win the Tour is to cheat. Heck all the pro riders do it, so it’s not really cheating, it’s just breaking the official rules in order to level the playing field.

The TdF fiasco may completely take down the sport of pro bike racing, which when you stack spectators side by side, it’s really small potatoes when compared to what’s happening in the NBA. Today, NBA commish, David Stern, blamed what he described as a “rogue, isolated criminal” for a betting scandal that is giving the league headlines during its off season and questioning the credibility of every referee. Stern says he’s betrayed by former referee Tim Donaghy, who is now the target of an FBI investigation for allegedly betting on games, including some he officiated. The ref will likely take a plea to make this all go away.  Kobe who?

And in the NFL, the news only gets more interesting. Michael Vick, quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, obviously has too much money and time on his hands since he’s been charged on numerous counts involving a dog fighting ring that he was leading.  Falcon’s team owner Arthur Blank, who initially planned to suspend Vick for four games (until the feds suggested the NFL take no action until the investigation is finished), said he planned to ask Vick to put his career on hold while the case is pending.

Lastly, Barry Bonds, working for the San Francisco Giants, continues his try to beat Hank Aaron’s home run record which, when accomplished, will be tarnished due to the obvious steroids abused by Bonds to increase upper body strength. Apparently, the increase in upper body strength resulted in a decrease in overall brain power once held by Bonds.

So sports fans, how about cracking open a book, renting a DVD, doing some summer yard work or hey, here’s an idea – go participate in a sport instead of watching these embarrassing members of society who take drugs and have clear mental issues, pretend they’re professionals.

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