Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

FULFILLMENT BEFORE FURY!

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

There’s no excuse for getting all angst ridden over the day’s headlines before first accomplishing something meaningful. 

And there’s no excuse for partaking in America’s new national pastime –scratching the outrage itch– without first empowering yourself through personal performance. Fulfillment before fury!

Why? Because we live in a world that encourages us to agree with ourselves every chance we get. Because the strength we get from knowing that we put ourselves first has the power to declutter our thinking and make us feel as though we’ve earned something.

Examine the back end of any hard, successful day and track how much your sense of completion downgraded your anxiety. By comparison, how does a morning of social media feel, or reading articles from your preferred news outlets? (more…)

NO EXCUSES FOR CUBA Pt. 2

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Habana Centro_Where Excuses Go to Die5I may have returned from Cuba a more informed tourist, but I remain a clumsy narrator, for I’ve experienced more than I know how to process at once.

So, with my eye ever on excuses (and a reliance on my iPhone camera for more complete coverage), I’ll just jump right in.

Our casa particular was in Habana Centro, the most densely populated district in the city of Havana, where much of life is spent where the action is: right outside the building in which one lives. Street sports like handball, self-regulating pet and child care, gossip, singing merchants, colorful laundry Habana Centro_Where Excuses Go to Die3being pinned to decaying balconies, inventive refuse repurposing, prostitution, championship dominoes, and, of course, more vintage Chevy tweaking than outside a Barrett-Revolutionary Square_Where Excuses Go to DieJackson auction are daily occurrences, rain or shine. Drivers use their horns in polite little taps to warn pedestrians, slower cars, and ubiquitous bicycle taxis that they’re approaching from behind, because walking in the middle of the narrow streets is necessary – and not because the city lacks sidewalks. This is about Darwinian natural selection: misshapen rebar barely clinging to crumbles of concrete isn’t just a photo op, it’s a reminder that falling chunks of rotting rooftops are common, especially following an afternoon downpour. Our local host was explaining this to my wife when a basketball sized slab of wall proved his point a few feet away.

Habana Centro_Where Excuses Go to Die1

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Christmas Cards My Ass

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

There are many excuses for not sending holiday cards. Here’re mine:

Holiday Cheer_Where Excuses Go to DieChristmas cards, holiday cards, greeting cards – whatever people wanna call ’em, I don’t care.

It’s been many years since I purchased a greeting card, because the greeting card industry has become insulting. It pushes homogenized sentiments and condescending condolences that are marketed as if buyers were monkeys. While card aisles and displays are perfectly convenient and, yes, could come in handy someday, I must say I did better in a prison cell with magazine collages, glue sticks, and agitated screamers to my left ‘n right.

Yes sir or ma’am: I heavily promoted my “John has turned over a new leaf” brand by mailing handmade greeting cards to friends and family who were on the fence about me. For one, I was determined to prove that my imagination would never be replaced by swastika tattoos and institutionalized hatred. Watching the arrival and transformation of so many gullible young men into seething and explosive monsters positively inspired me to trade even my meals for whatever I needed to stay creative, expressive, and weird.

And there were just certain things I couldn’t re-embrace upon returning to the civilian world. First among them, coincidentally, was store-bought greeting cards. Why? Because I was fresh out of the joint one day and nudged toward a cousin’s birthday party the next. I looked at the clock, gathered the things I’d need (accessing real scissors was a plus), and never looked back.

All these years and hundreds of greeting cards later, the only downside has been visiting my parents during the holidays to find my own card among their others, displayed writing-side out (as if the interior sentiment were the thing!). Apparently my mom is uncomfortable with the idea of guests commenting on the one that’s “different.” My cards are as professionally made as the Thomas Kinkades, yet the images I choose are antidotal to forced-marching-to-the-glowing-Christmas-cottage.

But never mind all that self-congratulatory poo, here are my excuses for not lifting a finger this year: (more…)

Fitness & Stuff with Jimmy

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

I abhor the pretend comfort of gyms. My alternative is much worse. 

PLENTY OF CLOWNS TO MAKE THE ROUNDSWeekday mornings, my wife and I are up at 5:50, wishing we could hide behind our excuses. Our destination is a nearby gymnastics academy, where we attend workout classes that are held before the facility opens for training. The hour-long sessions are similar to those at other fitness bootcamps, yet ours seems to lack an expectation of polite behavior – and that works for us just fine. We sneer at the uniformity, the schadenfreude, and the peacockish know-nothings that inhabit the world of franchise fitness.

Kooks of a different stripe are the smart-asses our alternate choice tends to attract. We get misfits, irregulars, and the godless.

Fitness buzzwords and cheerful slogans don’t get thrown around our class, but insults, gripes, and taunts certainly do. Some of us do manage to refrain from using the word “retard,” which is interesting, because as ethnically, culturally, and socially diverse as we are, it’s the only taboo word no one seems willing to reconsider. And nothing beats “fatso” for the most commonly heard.

And it’s still better than a gym membership. (more…)

Zamperini and Me

Monday, August 4th, 2014

"During the Olympics, I tore Hitler's swastika flag off the Reich Chancellery. I thought, 'Boy, what souvenir!'"

Seriously, shoot me if I ever name-drop –– except this once…

“Zamperini and Me” is simple to explain; the late Louis Zamperini had been my neighbor.

I didn’t know he was my neighbor until we were introduced through a mutual friend, Dena, who’d petered out beneath a big tree while jogging one day. A chainsaw firing up above her head caused her to spaz and discover a then 90-year-old Louis Zamperini, 15 feet up and clinging to branches. He guided the saw through a thick limb and only took notice of her when it fell at her feet. Or so she thought.

“Hello!” he shouted, repositioning himself to see her better.

“Hi!” she answered. “Need any help?”

“Nahh, been doing this since I bought the place, thanks. Besides, young lady, you need to keep running. Your form could improve.”

And there it was: constructive criticism from a famed Olympic athlete, a veteran of the men’s 5000 meter race. Apparently, he’d watched her flail all the way up the hill.

He climbed down to meet an equal of sorts; Dena is a short, hugely stubborn Italian. The two hit it off, and before long were enjoying tea as the sunset’s glow reached Zamperini’s collection of Olympic torches in the living room of his hillside post-and-beam home.

Now, I’m already convinced that Dena’s soul is on loan from WWII infantryman turned B-movie filmmaker, Sam Fuller, but she was really on fire after that. “You’ve got to meet Louis,” I heard again and again. “He’s so great and his story is incredible. You’ll really like him.”

I didn’t know the half of it. (more…)

A False Image of Solid Parenting

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Taking responsibility for your children doesn’t work in silhouette

Notes from a Non-parent 8After 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick threw herself off an abandoned concrete silo tower last month, her friends and schoolmates came forward in droves to tell police she’d essentially been bullied to death. Guadalupe Shaw, 14, and another girl (aged 12) were charged with felony aggravated stalking after Shaw posted a new message stating in no uncertain terms that she couldn’t care less that her cruelty had resulted in the girl’s death. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd reacted to that arrogance swiftly. He has since been adamant in his intent to jail the two minors, and he’s not staying silent on the responsibility their parents should bear, either (“I’m aggravated that [they] aren’t doing what parents should…Responsible parents take disciplinary action”).

I won’t get into the particulars of the backstory since, for instance, the intimidating coercion by Shaw of one of Rebecca’s friends to join in the bullying is all over the Internet. But I will note that an examination of Rebecca’s computer revealed search queries for “What is overweight for a 13-year-old girl?” “How to get blades out of razors,” and “How many over-the-counter drugs do you take to die?” That’s a kicker that feels like it just hit your chest.

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Slamming the Stroller-pushers

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

When the term “stroller-pusher” becomes a derogatory label

 

When Stroller-pusher is used as a snide reference, it’s usually directed at some self-righteous adult pushing not just a stroller, but a holy-stroller, a classist war-wagon, if you will.

Notes From a Non-Parent 7

I also call it steering a child-hero or driving a trophy-trolley, (too often while forcing a 10th-grade wardrobe to conform to a 10th-grade-was-a-long-time-ago body). Certain Stroller-pushers have a pious air of expectation. Some Stoller-pushers rove in gangs, flying yoga colors, and they’re impatient, entitled, and predominantly white. Stroller-pushers believe it’s their privilege in life to express themselves, yet they demand the sanctity of their own comfort zones and short circuit like malfuctioning toasters when challenged. The woman in this cell phone footage (we’ll call her “Bananas”)  exemplifies what happens when a self-important crybaby’s low tolerance for difficulty collides with not getting what she wants. She exemplifies a lack of patience and bearing.  (more…)

A Twitter Pill to Swallow

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

The social networking functionality of this blog is horrendous, I know, especially on the cusp of a book launch. But that’s about to change. The new whereexcusesgotodie.com will launch at the end of this month, incorporating everything from Feedburner to Facebook connectivity. And the publicist with whom we’re working recently informed me that my head-in-the-sand days are over. “It’s time to open that Twitter account you’ve been avoiding,” she stated.

She’s right, I know. My excuse has been that a person’s journey, abilities, and goals should matter more than following trends. Besides, whether published by a major or self-publishing, the whole experience feels like standing at the bottom of a freeway off ramp rattling a foam cup at cars: Twitter and the like will only exacerbate that.

But the real question is, do I want the public to decide the value of Where Excuses Go to Die (the book), or do I want to wind up bitter ’cause I was too good to play the game – or failed to do everything I could to tell the world what it has to offer?

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Admit It, Part of You Hoped to See the World End…

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Had the world ended in a cataclysmic inferno, chances are we’d all have been flipped off like a light switch, and frankly that seems boring. The children of earth have seen too much suffering, so we don’t need anymore of that, but there are some things to which I would’ve enjoyed wishing good riddance – possibly in the form of a meteor impact. I would’ve been okay with sacrificing some comfort, WiFi, and possible second-degree burns so I could shout, “So long!” to:  (more…)

Whitney Kropp is No “Carrie”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Whitney Kropp – Photo credit, Dale G. Young/Detroit News

So who is this Whitney Kropp person, and why do we care? Well, the Michigan sophomore was elected to Homecoming Court by her winner schoolmates in an effort to humiliate her — no doubt for something egregious like failing to buy the latest handbag or iPhone.

Until recently, Whitney wasn’t too popular. She apparently keeps to herself, wears a lot of black, colors her hair, and has Kropp for a last name. So her being ridiculed by catty princesses and Brownshirts on the football team isn’t too surprising. But what these  products of idiot parenting didn’t realize is that putting a spotlight on an underdog in the hopes of embarrassing her only really results in spotlighting the underdog.

So when the West Branch dust settled, these “cool” kids found they’d actually succeeded in making an unpopular girl the most popular one in town.  Simply put, there’s no excuse not to love how this is turning out. (more…)