What would the media do without the corona-virus, Harvey Weinstein and the Democrats jostling for votes to become the candidate to oppose President Trump this fall? They’d have to fold up and crawl under their desks. Is there any news that isn’t bad news, or better put, scary news? The media thrives on crises.
Have you also noticed how shallow the reporting is? Lots of scare language but little substance. There are barely enough facts to understand anything, let alone feel you have the full story.
What’s happened to journalism? What’s being taught in these schools? I think they’re really in the entertainment business. There is no such thing as a well-balance piece about anything anymore except maybe how to dance the tango or make a plum tart.
And have you noticed how many journalists take their cues from Twitter quotes? Or video clips? Pretty soon I’m expecting some company to roll out a platoon of robots holding yellow legal pads and pencils stuck behind their ears to produce the news. They’ll be cheaper and more efficient in the long run. That is, if you don’t care about the facts.
Calvin says, “Take your cue from me. My nose is the daily paper. I learn everything I need to know there. You should do the same.”
There are business leaders out there with books and mentoring classes that say that busyness is a lack of focus, and that it robs us of being attentive to what really matters.
Obviously they’ve never been a mother with children. Or a school teacher. Or an ER doctor. Or ants. Have you ever seen an ant soaking up the sun by itself on the sidewalk?
How about bees? We have a hive in the backyard and a day doesn’t go by that they’re not buzzing around flying in and out of the hive, making sure the queen is happy. That’s full-time work, with no vacation.
These gurus are probably in their 30’s, never been married, and order out every day of the week.
Their philosophy sounds so good, but it’s so wrong. Busyness is the nature of life, especially if you’re holding down a job, raising a family, and being a conscientious citizen.
And if you add in walking the dog at least twice a day, busyness doesn’t even come close. I’d love to stop all that, kick back on my couch with a good book or an addictive television series and ignore the needs around me. But then that would put me in a whole new category – that of being a narcissist.
Calvin says, “Two walks a day? Ha! I’m lucky you let me out in the backyard to chase squirrels for exercise.”
Have you noticed the changes that are happening on social media these days? It’s no longer a place to hang out with friends and family. It’s more like a shopping bazaar. Every other post is for leadership workshops, coaching lessons, weight loss programs, dog training.
Lately there are tons of courses for writing a book. It seems, according to the marketers, everybody should write a book. We have a story in all of us, they say, and it must come out. It’s the new therapy. Regurgitate your life on the page and press publish.
Except it’s boring. Have you noticed that? Read some memoirs. You can distill the essence to angst, depravity and survival. That seems to sell. Stories that are hilarious, unique or good for the soul people won’t read.
I can speculate why the negative sells. People like drama. The more hideous the better. Check out your favorite reality TV show. The human tendency to be brutal is inherent in all us.
But I prefer a good story that ends in laughter. It’s time to flood social media with those. Anyone want to join me?
Calvin says, “I will. I’ll write some scratch & sniff posts.”
Have you noticed the plethora of products being marketed to make you happy in the new year? Things that organize your life, journaling your mindfulness, grabbing for those goals that have eluded you all your life.
First of all, my life is a mess. No organizational planner, yours or mine, will clean me up. Only supernatural power can do that and the only person who is good at it is God. He proved it at the Red Sea. That’s what it would take to part with my clutter and disasters.
Second, since when is journaling a verb? It’s never been a verb, it’s always been a noun, as in keeping a journal or diary. Diary is the old fashion word, but it’s too close to dairy. Since people don’t read anymore, marketers made the switch and sent consumers into bookstores for theirs instead of dairy farms where the cows live chewing the cud.
Mindfulness. Now there’s a mouthful. To be mindful means to be observant, alert, cognizant. But now it’s been turned on its head and it’s a meditation technique with breathing exercises. Think mindless therapy.
And what makes us think we’ll nail those goals this year when we haven’t succeeded thus far? That’s crazy. Those ads and inspirational books and podcasts are meant to do one thing only – buy the course of course! Knowing full well you’ll fail. Like going to the gym. Two sweaty sessions and you’re out.
So what do we do? Try harder? Flog ourselves? Ignore the mounting evidence of sloth that has overtaken our homes and lives?
Being cognizant of the steep hill we must climb, we make a date to walk the dog, eat more fruits and green things, and enjoy the many times we fall off the wagon. That’s part of the fun.
What? You want perfect?
Calvin says, “I like walking the dog part. Stick with me. I’ll take you places that’ll expand you…I mean shrink you.”
It’s the season for Christmas trees. The current culture insists on doing away with anything religious, but I’ve noticed the trees remain. It think it’s because when you see one you immediately think presents. And then you remember your list and have an anxiety attack, which sends you hustling to the mall. Christmas trees are the brain’s signal to get you shopping. If you saw one in February, you wouldn’t react at all.
I see several this time of year. They sit proudly in office lobbies winking their lights and strutting their bows for all who walk by and take a second look inside.
The one with the red bow is in the building that houses Uber and Square. Very traditional in its color scheme for two companies that have broken all the rules of transportation and commercial transactions.
The one with the flowers is one I decorated for our office. Who says you have to stay within boundaries? And the one with all the gold and silver dripping from its branches is found in the Twitter lobby.
Calvin says, “Oh the fuss of it all. Just toss me a bone with a bow on it. It’s the only day in the year when you’ll give me one, I don’t know why, but you do, so let’s have it.”
My computer is old so today I’ve had the services of an expert who has interrupted my work flow all day as he cleans, updates, and fixes all the glitches I’ve been accustomed to work around for years. Now nothing looks or works the same. I have to type in my username and password on everything again and nothing gets remembered anymore. I suppose that’s the price you pay for security. So much for technology. I’m not sure what it buys us except an industry that has given the entire world much of its employment to a people who probably wouldn’t have made it as car salesmen. I guess that’s saying something.
The last time I checked for an industry that spanned the world was aviation. Remember Pan Am? I think in those days it was the only world carrier at the time.
Then came the pharmaceutical companies, most of which have labs in places like China and India.
And let’s not forget Hollywood, except L.A. still dominates as the hub for celebrities recognized and worshiped the world over. I can’t see Taylor Swift hanging out in Istanbul.
The world has become more fluid, with borders being ignored every day. Even the Monarch butterflies defy all boundaries and fly into Pacific Grove all the way from Mexico.
Calvin says, “You forgot the worldwide dog trade. Puppies come from all over the place, some kosher, others not so much. Those you slip into your pocket.”
Yesterday was my day for lost animals.
It’s funny how things like this happen in bunches.
I came into the office to discover a yellow cockatiel in the kitchen peering out of its cage. As the story goes, he flew onto the front steps over the weekend and one of our co-workers, who lives up the street, discovered him, rushed to the store for a cage and food, and is now caring for it until she can find its owner. He’s well socialized and beautiful. Somebody loved him. Did he fly in from the surrounding neighborhood or from Mexico? He’s not talking and so we’ll never know.
When I got home that evening Alf announced he’d found a lost kitten. He was sitting on top of our backyard fence making loud cries for its mother. If you want to see me spring into action this is it. We scooped him up and walked over to our neighbors who have several cats. The kitten was not theirs, and no, they didn’t want it. We brought it home, fed it some tuna, and tried to calm the little thing down. He was shaking from fright from nose to tail. The rest of the evening I was on the phone talking with friends and marketing the heck out of the little thing. Nothing worked. Every one stood their ground while I tugged at their heart strings.
We kept him overnight and this morning Alf returned him to the fence. We’re hoping the mamma cat will come around looking for him and they’ll be reunited and I can go back to a good night’s sleep again.
That’s in a perfect world.
Calvin says, “Hey, you didn’t consult me about this. It stinks. He’ll consume your attention and affections. And don’t count on me to cat-sit. I’ll be sulking.”