July 2009

The Greatest Present of All

If you could develop a Pie Chart of what your brain is consumed by on the average day, what would it look like?  I took the liberty of providing mine…:graph22

A couple items to note:  1) Yes, that says “ninja tactics” and 2) no slice of the pie is dedicated to “passive observation”.

Lately, one of my most reoccurring thoughts has been to spend less time thinking, as ironic as that may sound.  That doesn’t mean I aspire to be more like Paris Hilton.  Instead, I realize I spend far too much time wrapped up in my own thoughts.  On average, all but 2-3 minutes a day are spared from processing some bit of information: “what I should make for dinner,”, “what time to set my alarm for,”, “who I need to call back,”, “words that rhyme with raspberry,”  etc.   I can mentally prepare an entire conversation with someone, with their physical presence being entirely optional (I know, I’m crazy).  My brain is hyperactive – every second I can direct my attention elsewhere is like providing water to someone crossing the Sahara. Read more

Obama = Clinton 2.0?

And I don’t mean in any political or governance sense.  I mean in the overactive hormonal variety.

Okay so maybe Obama knows when it’s appropriate to check out another woman (if married…then never).  But I think the real issue here is what the public chooses to focus their attention on.  Whether it be a Democratic Governor or Republican Governor, President, or gay Senator, we sure give a lot of attention to politicians unfaithful sex-lives.  To clarify, I think that all of these acts are horrible and most likely not mistakes.  A mistake is when you accidently step on your friends toe while playing soccer.  I don’t think you can accidentally pick up a hooker, but I guess I wouldn’t have enough experience to know for sure.  The fact of the matter is, with the exception of Bill Clinton, names like Spitzer, Sanford, and Larry Craig would be largely unknown by most of the public if it were not for their highly flawed personal lives.  These are the same people who decide where our taxes are directed, help process laws, and keep our overall political stability in check, and their names don’t become familiar with the public until they misuse their privates.

We should choose to hold the news to a higher standard.  When CNN continues to force feed us a story about Mark Sanford’s ridiculous affair, they assume we care more about a politician’s personal rather than professional lives.  If I wanted real romantic drama, I would turn on the Real World.  At least the people on MTV are attractive.

As a slight bit of publicity, if you are interested in more pressing issues than who’s kissing who, then may I recommend The Huffington Post.  It’s way less bad then the majority of our alternatives.

The Top 4 Reasons Why People Like Lists

Party on Wayne

We are nation of ADD/ADHD beings.  We like microblogging sites such as Twitter because anything longer than 140 characters is a homework assignment.  In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already given up reading this post, probably somewhere in the ADHD to the microblogging range.  With so much information at our disposal, it’s no wonder we’ve developed mechanisms to try and filter out the fluff.  Nowhere is this more apparent than the abundance of lists available online.  Every site that you see has a “7 Fastest Ways to Lose Weight“, “The Top 4 Worst Best Man Speeches“, “The 15 Creepiest Vintage Ads of All Time” or the “Top 100 Chuck Norris Facts” (this actually exists).

As a service to you, I now present, the 4 Reasons Why We Like Lists:

1) Improved Organization

If I were to write a non-list post about why people enjoy lists, chances are after reading, you’d be able to recite a couple of the reasons, and maybe one of the ridiculous links.  Most likely, you’d skim through the text, try to grab what was valuable and then breeze through the parts where I reference my own personal life, like that one time where I…..

By incorporating a list two things are accomplished (a list within a list): 1) You give the reader a simple outline of the message you’re attempting to convey 2) You let the reader know how many important items your message consists of.   In other words you let the reader know which pieces are most valuable, and how many to remember.  A list helps to organize larger context into a structure that’s similar to how our brains will store the information.

2)  We’re Stupid

Attempting to explain why we like lists so much is like trying to describe why anyone ever enjoyed LOLcatz, The Pet Rock, Carlos Mencia, Reality TV, Vin Diesel, Second Life, or Bon Jovi.  People are dumb.  Assuming that complex answers can be broken down into a simple numerical construct is a cheap attempt to get your attention and more often, your cash.  If I’ve got a proven money making method, which book are you going to buy: “How to Become Wealthy with Rigorous Research, Long Hours, High Financial Risk, and Patience,” or “6 Simple Steps to Earning 7 Figures”?  These two books could consist of the same exact text differing only in their titles, and book # 1 wouldn’t sell 10 copies while book # 2 could land on the NY Times top 10.  People want to hold onto the hope whereby great achievements can be broken down into few easy-to-follow steps, so other people, smarter people, take advantage of this.  Everyone is aware of the 2 step program to lose weight: 1) eat better, 2) exercise more.  Unfortunately, this requires self control and patience.  I think I’ll go with the 10-day grapefruit and mustard diet instead.

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