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Archive for February, 2009

High School Again

I graduated from high school in 1983. It was the year of Flashdance and The Police; Billie Jean and Hall & Oats.

My junior and senior year of high school were spent dating a good Catholic girl, Carol, who lived on the east side of town. We watched movies at the drive in (kind of), held house parties when our parents left town, and “parked” in her Volkswagon Beetle on quiet county roads where the smell of dirt from the cornfields made its way through the open windows. We would break up and get back together days later because that’s what kids did – and we were kids.

High school – even my small-town high school – was all about social classes. The wealthy came from the country club. The poor from Park Street (not Park Avenue). The working class occasionally produced an athlete or a genius and we took great pride in knowing those kids; the ones who elevated the rest of us nearer the top rung of the ladder.

Friends were friends and I knew who they were. I knew who could be counted on and who would turn and run when the shit hit the fan. If a friend was in trouble, we rallied around and made the recovery bearable. But kids then, as now, could be asses and the high school games some kids played were tiresome, hurtful and just plain dumb.

So I’m amazed at the games people play some 25 or 30 years later in life as if they never left high school. It’s pitifully disappointing and these are the people I never would have wasted my time on back in my teens. Why would I waste my time now when it’s so valuable. My own ethics and opinions too established and important to who I am to play the games they choose to play.

It means my circle of closest friends remains small and proximate. And I refuse to let just anyone into that circle. But it also means I know exactly who my real friends are and who I can count on when the shit hits the fan.

Here’s to my friends. You know who you are.

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I heard this tune on, of all days, Valentine’s Day – and suddenly recalled the song today while spinning. Is it a love song or is the message something else entirely?

Whatever. Radiohead performs it well.

Lyrics:

Her green plastic watering can
For her fake chinese rubber plant
In fake plastic earth.
That she bought from a rubber man
In a town full of rubber plants
Just to get rid of itself.
And it wears her out, it wears her out
It wears her out, it wears her out.

She lives with a broken man
A cracked polystyrene man
Who just crumbles and burns.
He used to do surgery
For girls in the eighties
But gravity always wins.
And it wears him out, it wears him out
It wears him out, it wears him out.

She looks like the real thing
She tastes like the real thing
My fake plastic love.
But I cant help the feeling
I could blow through the ceiling
If I just turn and run
And it wears me out, it wears me out
It wears me out, it wears me out.

And if I could be who you wanted
If I could be who you wanted,
All the time, all the time, ohhh… ohh…

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The Current.Org

I belong.

There are a lot of cool things happening in my world. The Current is one example of “cool” that deserve a shout out here.

After listening “free” for the past year, I bucked up and sent in my financial contribution to The Current, 89.3, an alternative radio station in the Twin Cities owned and operated by Minnesota Public Radio.

current

It is the right thing to do.

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The big difference between people is those who have had pleasure and love, and those who haven’t.”   -Paul Newman

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When 2009 began, a lot of positive mojo filled my world. Enough so that I made this commitment to be more bold in how I lived my own life. Nearly eight weeks later, my general drive to amp boldness each day has become a habit.

Satisfaction in who we are and what we do only descends upon us if we live the way we want to live. Being bold in my professional and personal relationships – hell, in every aspect of what I do – helps me get to the person I desire to be. I’ve tapped a new river of confidence and ability relying on learnings from life that serve me well when I need them most.

Bold gets noticed. The counsel and recommendations I provide to executives I work for are welcomed, accepted, expected. The same holds true for relationships I share with those closest to me. They appreciate candor and honesty – and that is something I can  deliver. It’s much more satisfying than the former rut I’d been in of biting my tongue and reading between available lines.

And in a life-is-short, I’m-keenly-aware-of-my-own-surroundings mindset, I’ve discovered initiating the first handshake or kiss or compliment generates far more points in the plus column than standing back and obviating opportunities I’ll never get back.

If being bold can generate such positive results in a mere handful of weeks, imagine what the rest of the year – the rest of life – presents.

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Ob-se-qui-ous: Full of or exhibiting servile compliance, fawning.

Her obsequious comments and actions were more believable than even she might have imagined.”

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It’s all about the message. In my world of public relations, message is king and in this song, Ben Folds nails both the music and the delivery.

Lyrics:

We’d hit the bottom,
I thought it was my fault
And in a way I guess it was
I’m just now finding out
What it was all about

Moved to the west coast away from everyone
She never told me that you called
Back when I was still, I was still in love

Till I opened my eyes and walked out the door
And the clouds came tumbling down
And it’s bye-bye, goodbye, I tried
And I twisted it wrong just to make it right
Had to leave myself behind
I’ve been flying high all night
So come pick me up…I’ve landed

The daily dramas she made from nothing
So nothing ever made them right
She liked to push me and talk me back down
Until I believed I was the crazy one,
and in a way
I guess I was…

But I opened my eyes and walked out the door
And the clouds came tumbling down
And it’s bye-bye, goodbye I tried
Treading a sea of a troubled mind
Had to leave myself behind
Singing bye-bye, goodbye I tried

If you wrote me off I’d understand it
Because I’ve been on some other planet
So come pick me up…
I’ve landed

And you will be so
Happy to know
I’ve come alone,
It’s over

But I opened my eyes and walked out the door
And the clouds came tumbling down
And it’s bye-bye goodbye I tried
Down comes the reign of the telephone czar
It’s OK to call
Now I’ll answer for myself

Come pick me up,
…I’ve landed

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For All Intents and Purposes

For all intents and purposes, people should not attempt to domesticate wild animals like tigers, bears and chimpanzees.

The recent, sad circumstance bearing out this truth occurred in Stamford, Connecticut, where a woman was mauled to near death by a “tame” chimp named Travis.  You can see the full story below.

In this particular case, the chimp was being treated for lyme disease and was also on anti-depressants. The owner allegedly was providing the chimp with ample doses of wine as well. Crazy? Ummm. Yeah.

I love animals, but with the repetition of news stories about wild animals living on hobby farms or in confinement that suddenly attack their owners or others who cross into their territory, one would think we should enact laws against providing refuge for wild animals in places other than zoos. Just maybe.  Maybe.

And another thing…

Words play such an important part in our daily lives. Unless you’re a hermit living under a rock and only talking to yourself in your head, you really can’t go more than a few hours without communicating.

So when I hear amusing misconstructions – such as “irregardless,” which by the way is not a word at all – I have to laugh. Out loud. It’s funny.

For all intents and purposes, we live by the words we speak. Note, I did not type “for all intensive purposes,” which is another phrase that is misconstrued frequently by millions in the Western world every day. I used the phrase correctly because I’m just that good (said with complete sarcasm).

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

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Wordplay – Multifarious

Mul-ti-far-i-ous: having great variety; diverse.

No matter how excellent a picturer you are, you cannot begin to imagine the multifarious ways the universe can imagine things.”

Thanks to The Communicatrix for the word and the sentence using the word as an example.

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Valentine’s Day night found me at the W Hotel in downtown Minneapolis celebrating the 30th birthday of a friend’s friend. I’ve not been to the Living Room bar at the hotel, adjacent to Manny’s Steakhouse, since last October.  And unlike that first experience, which was quiet and comfortable, last night the place was rockin’ with people – beautiful, unassuming couples and ostentatious men and women whom I was embarrassed for because of their crazy costumes on Feb. 14. It’s Valentine’s Day, not Halloween, right?!?

So our small group of eight stood in the midst of all the couples enjoying their evening at a hip bar/restaurant and we drank our Grey Goose martinis or Manhattans. One lively conversation led to another and another, including the topic of Obama’s economic stimulus package recently passed by the Senate and scheduled for signing on Feb. 17.  As I talked with young 30-somethings just getting married and starting their lives, their interest in owning a home is a clear priority. But some don’t have the financial wherewithall to make it a reality. Obama’s plan allows for first-time home buyers to obtain an $8,000 tax credit if they purchase a home by Dec. 31, 2009. Not bad, but wouldn’t this stimulus plan be even better if that a$8,000 could be immediately applied to the downpayment a first-time home buyer needs to make? That would finally enable many who don’t have an adequate downpayment to push their ability over that hurdle. I guess there’s more than one way to stimulate the economy, but in our current woeful economic state, I’m of the opinion the best way to stimulate the economy is to put funds and programs directly into the hands of people who have long-term plans. Homebuyers, for example.

From the trendy and hip W, the group moved west several blocks to a bar along First Avenue called, The Ugly Mug. Here is where I had a quick glass of Blue Moon and then checked out for the night. Not only is this place designed exclusively for Gen We-ers, it’s also excessively loud. At my age, I prefer not to stand in a bar pretending to hear conversation when all I can do is see lips moving, nod in return and smile a lot.  God, I sound old.

Mickey Rourke and Marissa Tomei make “The Wrestler,” an Oscar worthy movie. I finally got to see this film on Saturday afternoon. The audience was small, but it was Valentine’s Day at 5 p.m., and this movie isn’t really a feel-good kinda show.  Those who haven’t seen Rourke since his pretty boy days of “9 1/2 Weeks,” won’t recognize him. This role was essentially written for him, and I got the impression that Rourke barely had to act to fulfill his part in the film, especially given the past two decades of his life and the hard knocks he’s lived through. Still, the story is a good one, the father/daughter struggle all to painfully real, and the wrestling scenes almost comical in a very WWE kind of way. Tomei, in her role as stripper/single mom, deserves a solid for making her part not just relevant but dominant throughout the movie. Her torn life and dream to make something more of herself become the antithesis of Randy “Ram’s” day-to-day, piss it all away rut that he can’t get out of. In the end it seems they both get exactly what they want.

See “The Wrestler,” in theaters if for nothing else to say you saw Rourke in his comeback effort and Tomei looking beautiful in her plain-Jane kinda way she does so well. Stay for the credits and hear Bruce Springsteen sing the title track to the movie.

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