Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Coverage in the Modern Age

Local ABC: We're providing round-the-clock hurricane coverage.

Local NBC: Three days before Irma makes landfall until she finally hits Georgia.

L-ABC: 24 hours a day.

L-NBC: Without commercial interruption.

The Weather Channel: Residents of southern Florida are being told by the Governor to evacuate.

L-ABC: Southern Florida is being ordered to evacuate. In the next hour, we'll tell you whether Central Floridians should stay put.

L-NBC: Are Central Floridians evacuating? We'll have the answers sometime in the next four hours.

L-ABC: Stay tuned for our interview with Central Floridians who are fleeing for their lives! But first, our 3-color radar map.

Text from my dad: Are you evacuating?

Fox News: Liberal Hurricane Irma threatens to strike the South White House, Mar-A-Lago.

Rush Limbaugh: The liberal media is overinflating Hurricane Irma to sell ads! They just want to scare you.

TWC: I'm standing outside in my loudest rain slicker so you can hear how whippy the wind is.

Rush: Climate change is a hoax to distract us from Hillary's emails! Don't fall for it, folks!

Florida Governor: Everyone in the Florida Keys and Miami area, please evacuate immediately! This hurricane is dangerous!

Rush: Feet, don't fail me now!

L-ABC: The Governor is holding a press conference! We'll join live with our picture-in-picture 4-color radar map.

TWC: It's really windy out here! I'm actually in danger!

Midwest Facebook: Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Florida Facebook: Woo-hoo, I'm having an Irma party.

MW FB: Text "IRMA" to 90999 to donate to the Red Cross relief fund.

Florida Facebook: Just donate booze and food to the party.

L-NBC: Here's our radar map. Look, Ma, five colors.

L-ABC: Our map has seven colors now.

TWC: Irma is shifting westward and is heading for Tampa.

L-ABC: So many colors.

Fox News: Mar-A-Lago will be spared! I repeat, Mar-A-Lago will be spared. The hurricane has shifted westward, away from Mar-A-Lago.

FL FB: I'm hosting a "Point your fans at Irma to make her blow away" party. Ha ha!

Rest of FL FB: Ha ha, that's a good one.

MW FB: Actually it doesn't work that way. That's like us throwing ice cubes at blizzards.

Small Town IN Newspaper: A local couple has a tenuous connection to a hurricane affected area. Check out our front page coverage.

FL FB: I'm hosting a "Shoot Your Guns at Irma to Make It Blow Away" party. Ha ha!

Rest of FL FB: That's funnier than the fan thing. Good one!

MW FB: Why aren't you people taking this seriously?

L-ABC: Some Floridians aren't taking Irma seriously! We'll interview a few of these so-called comedians.

L-NBC: Come on, you guys. This is serious.

FL FB: Stores are out of water again. Here are pictures of empty shelves that used to have water.

L-ABC: Stores are out of water again. Our reporter is on the scene!

L-NBC: Stores are out of water again. Our reporter is on a different scene!

My dad: Do you have plenty of water?

Fox News: Gangs are stealing water in Florida!

STINN: People in Florida are planning to shoot Irma with guns. We talk to a gun owner about gun safety. Check out our front page coverage.

Florida Police: Don't shoot Irma with guns!

FL FB: BWAHAHAHA! They fell for it!

TWC: Miami is taking an awful lashing from Irma as she heads west, diverting away from Central Florida.

L-NBC: Irma could head back our way at any moment. Stay tuned to our 9-color map!

Miami FB: Man, I hope my house is okay. I'm seeing a lot of flooding on the news. All my photos and family heirlooms!

MW FB: Things can be replaced, people can't.

Miami FB: Aren't you on your second marriage?

TWC: Look at all this wind! My rain slicker is really whipping around!

STINN: Our features editor went to Disney World 17 years ago. Check out our front page coverage for her memories about the Magic Kingdom.

Fox News: Rush Limbaugh was bullied by liberals!

Conservative Facebook: Obama didn't do squat during Hurricane Katrina. He was playing golf!

Liberal Facebook: That was 2005. He wasn't president then.

Fox News: We look at eight years of Obama inaction during Hurricane Katrina.

L-ABC: We added three more colors!

TWC: Look how far I can lean over in the wind!

FL FB: My power went out.

FL FB: Mine too.

FL FB: Me too.

My dad: Did you lose power?

After it was all said and done, we made it through Hurricane Irma just fine. We lost a small section of our fence, but our power never went out, and our preparations paid off. We've been having friends come over to use our showers, laundry, and to charge electronics.

And I do want to thank everyone for their concern, especially their thoughts and prayers. My family and I heard from a lot of people who wanted to make sure we were okay, and we felt truly blessed to have so many friends who checked in on us. Thank you all!

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Hunker Down and Batten the Hatches, a Hurricane is Coming

Living in Florida is a whole lot different from living in Indiana. For one thing, I miss the four seasons. I miss being cold four months of the year. I miss putting on sweaters, and wearing a fleece everywhere I go. I miss the coziness of crawling under a blanket to watch football. I miss telling my kids, "You call this a snowstorm? Why, in the blizzard of '78, the snow was piled so high, it was like driving down a hallway!"

I miss the way Hoosiers freak out over every impending snowstorm and pick a grocery store clean three days before it hits, like ants at a picnic. They think they're living in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book and won't see food again until the Spring thaw.

Of course, the stores were always restocked 24 hours after the snow fell and everyone said, "Oh, that wasn't so bad. I knew it wasn't going to be so bad."

In Florida, we have two seasons, hot and hotter. When we do get our three days of winter, and the temperature hits 36 degrees, you can tell the real Floridians, because they chop up their furniture for heat and eat their neighbors.

Otherwise, it's so hot, we're always fighting off the Florida state bird, the mosquito. And the lakes and ponds are filled with animals that are genetically programmed to eat us. That whole "they're more afraid of you than you are of them" nonsense does not apply to Florida's modern-day dinosaurs.

We also have hurricanes, one of which we're preparing for now. As I write this, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on southern Florida, and is expected to reach the Keys by Saturday and Central Florida by Sunday.

All week long, people have been preparing for it. We started hearing about Irma last Monday, seven days before it was supposed to reach us, and people began panic-buying supplies, like that year Ma and Pa Wilder spent in Jacksonville.

Everyone has been snapping up all the bottled water they can find. Never mind that it's currently flowing freely out of our taps, people insist on the bottled stuff.

I don't know if it's because bottled water is gluten free and filtered through cruelty-free kale, or if Florida tap water is filled with gator pee, but people are draining grocery stores dry and leaving other important items behind, like empty 5-gallon water coolers.

Seriously, for the price of two cases of water (which equals six gallons of water), you could buy a single 5-gallon cooler on Amazon, and fill it up with tap water the day before the hurricane. Then, when the next hurricane comes through, you're not scrambling for more bottled water. Just fill up your 5-gallon cooler again.

What's more surprising is the number of people who suddenly realized they needed water to survive. They've lived on six Diet Cokes a day for the last 12 years, until there's an imminent disaster. Then they're as thirsty as a goldfish in a half-empty bowl.

As a language aficionado, I've been paying close attention to how we talk about our preparedness. Despite our many differences and the things that will kill us — gators and snakes versus deep fried Twinkies at the state fair — we still talk about preparedness in the same way.

I've heard "hunker down" from the TV weather people so much, if the news were a drinking game, I'd be hammered by lunchtime.

No one is sure where "hunker down" comes from. We know hunker is a Scottish word that means "to crouch," but it's originally tied to an Old Norwegian word, "huka" or "hoka," which means "to crouch or crawl."

I also hear "batten down the hatches" a lot. It's an old nautical term that refers to covering a ship's hatches with tarps and use lengths of batten (rods) to hold the tarp in place. Mostly people are boarding up the windows, but the sentiment is the same.

Because that's what we do, both Floridians and Hoosiers. We prepare for things. We get ready for what's coming. Whether it's blizzards and tornadoes, or hurricanes and sharknadoes, we face what this world throws at us, and ask if that's the best it can do.

Because we're veterans of natural disasters, and this isn't our first rodeo.

We're planners, preppers, heavy hitters, triple threats, five tool players, and Jack Dusties.

We hunker down and button everything up. We zip up our houses tighter than a drum, batten down the hatches, and beat to quarters.

We're locked and loaded, in the ready position. It's all hands on deck, asses and elbows, as we get everything squared away, making it shipshape and Bristol fashion.

So we're ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us, because that's what we do. We're made of sterner stuff than those fair weather weenies in Virginia and Tennessee.

I just hope the power doesn't go out, because if there's no air conditioning, I would just die.

Photo credit: National Hurricane Center (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Cigarettes and Peanuts: A Deadly Duo

Some people in the UK are pushing for a ban on nuts in public, which will no doubt prompt half of you to leave "guess you won't be allowed outside!" messages on my Facebook page.

A recent BBC article said that some people are pushing for the ban in public areas, like at work, on airplanes, and in some restaurants. The concern is that because some people have allergies to nuts, especially peanuts, they might have a reaction to contaminants in the air or in their food.

For example, many airline flights no longer serve peanuts because the peanut dust might get in the air, which is recirculated, but apparently not filtered. In restaurants, some people have to alert the servers to their nut allergy so the kitchen staff won't prepare their food on a surface that previously came into contact with peanuts.

Others wonder whether this isn't just some overreaction by the peanut protestors, or could become one more example of Britain's nanny state banning any activity because someone somewhere might possibly be slightly injured.

Remember, this is the island of raging overreaction. The place where a city council once banned firefighters from using a ladder to decorate their Christmas trees because they might fall. The place where an entire elementary school banned chocolate because one kid was allergic to it.

Look, these people didn't ban smoking in public places until July 1, 2007, even though everyone fully understands that smoking is bad for you. Yet they're rattling on about the dangers of peanuts to a very tiny minority of people.

Never mind that people have been clamoring for smoke-free workplaces for decades, because cancer. Never mind the mountains of evidence that piled up about the dangers of smoking. Never mind that smoking leads to emphysema, heart disease, and even colon cancer (although if you get colon cancer from smoking, you may be smoking wrong).

Sir Walter Raleigh brought tobacco to England on July 27, 1586, which means it took England 420 years and 48 weeks to ban public smoking.

But a few people get itchy eyes and rashes from peanuts, and now some people want to ban all nuts from public areas? That seems a little precious to me.

Now, I'm not saying that peanut allergies aren't real or that they shouldn't be taken seriously, but I know too many helicopter parents who have a full-on freakout whenever someone gazes too long at a Payday candy bar, because one time their kid sneezed after eating a PB&J.

These are people who react to a peanut like they spotted a great white shark in the kiddie pool at the Y.

Having said that, I understand the very real danger some people face from an ill-placed nut in the air, in their food, or even on their skin.

These allergy sufferers could literally have a deadly reaction to someone smashing a peanut butter sandwich in their face. Someone flinging a spoonful of peanut butter during a food fight could be catastrophic. They carry their epipens, and have told their friends how to use it in case they accidentally trip and fall onto a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

So I get that there are people who will actually die from peanuts, but I also wonder how well a public peanut ban would be received in this country. We can't even enact a federal smoking ban, and everyone knows it causes nearly half a million deaths each year.

A lot of it has to do with our culture of rugged individualism and the way we value personal rights over society as a whole. We don't like people telling us what to do, and we will fight for our right to do whatever the hell we want, even if everyone else doesn't like it.

It's my right to listen to loud music, it's my right to make fun of politicians, and it's my God-given inalienable right to eat as much cake for breakfast as I want. When my wife isn't home.

That means that if I want to sit at a park and eat those Planter's Peanut Bars that your grandmother buys, I can do it. If I want to put three pounds of peanuts into a mesh bag and swing it around over my head as some kind of performance art, I'm guaranteed that right under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Right? That's how America works, doesn't it? I have rights, and I get to exercise them whenever I want. (Although, I probably won't, since it's called "exercise.")

On the other hand, people have the right to not be sprayed by the dust from my performance art. They have the right to not die from being sneezed on by some kid chomping on a Snickers bar.

Bottom line, we may have the rights to say and do certain things, but not when it can actually harm someone else. So while I may not support a public ban on peanuts, I at least understand that some people literally risk their lives whenever they step on an airplane or get into a fight with Mr. Peanut. And they deserve our understanding and support. So I'll do my part and eat all the Nutter Butter cookies to protect them from accidental poisoning.

Photo credit: Jack Dykinga (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, August 25, 2017

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are thankfully the last of the Millennials, although Baby Boomers and Gen Xers won't shut up about them for another 60 years or so. (And yes, we plan on being around that long.)

"Donald Trump," said the list, "has always been a political figure, as a Democrat, an Independent, and a Republican." The list did not mention anything about his giant pumpkin head or dangerous racism and rampant crotch grabbing.

The class of 2021 has "always been searching for Pokemon." And a girlfriend.

They were never able to use a Montgomery Ward catalogue as a booster seat. Partly because the company went out of business in the year 2000, but also because they weren't subjected to the shocking lack of child safety laws from when I was a kid.

Steve Young and Dan Marino have been retired almost as long as the Beloiters have been alive. And I've grunted whenever I sit down since they were 10.

"They have never found Mutual Broadcasting or Westinghouse Group W on the radio dial." Also, they don't have a radio dial, it's digital. Also, they don't have a radio, they have a phone. Also, they don't know what a radio is, they stream their music.

They are the first generation who didn't have to flip a phone to use it. Instead, their phones have always been a video game, direction finder, Internet browser, and way for my kids to send me stupid emojis in text messages. It's also been an opportunity for said children to throw punctuation rules to the wind and ignore my demands for proper spelling at all times.

Oldest daughter: U mad, big D?

Me: U r grnded 2 wks.

Oldest daughter: Sad face.

Only she didn't type "sad face," she typed one of those stupid emojis, which I will not dignify by repeating here.

Beloit says that emojis have always been around "to cheer us up." I disagree. Emojis do not cheer me up. In fact, I'm disgusted that someone in Hollywood ever greenlit The Emoji Movie. I come from a long, proud heritage of using punctuation-based emoticons — like >8-( — which is my grumpy-old-man-hates-emojis emoticon.

Also, it's a kitty cat.

Speaking of phones, blackberries have always been a fruit, not a failed telecommunications device whose creators refused to keep up with the smartphone craze, only to have their decision blow up in their collective faces.

Similarly, Motorola and Nokia have been rapidly shrinking telecommunications giants. Thanks to Androids and iPhones, Motorola sounds more like a failed Transformer and Nokia is what my Ford loving brother-in-law said about my car in his driveway.

Our students "may choose to submit a listicle in lieu of an admissions essay," said Beloit College. And the faculty all shuddered as one.

Beloit College applicant: Hey BC, u up? 4 me 2 b a student, that is.

Beloit College: No, please go away. Ask the University of Wisconsin.

Speaking of computers, Beloit's incoming freshmen have mostly "grown up in a floppy-less world." That will change in about 30 years.

"Globalization," says Beloit, "has always been both a powerful fact of life and a source of incessant protest." Globalization is also a shining example of irony: Who do you think made all the poster board and markers for their protest signs? Because no one makes fair trade, soy-based organic poster board in this country.

When they were toddlers, they may have taught their grandparents how to use Skype. But they still can't do anything about the VCRs constantly flashing 12:00. Especially since the VCR started becoming obsolete in 1995, and the last commercial movie released on VHS was in 2006. (It was A History of Violence, starring Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris.)

I've finally reached the age where my kids could easily be incoming freshmen at Beloit College. The only difference is we raised them right. They understand things like what a radio is, what a floppy disk looks like, and how a VCR works.

I just wish they'd stop calling '80s hair bands Combover Metal.

Photo credit: Sifiboy31 (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, August 18, 2017

What Does Your State Hate?

I'm a little offended, Indiana. Apparently, you hate bloggers.

I'm a blogger!

I lived in Indiana for 45 years, made my career out of blogging, and yet my home state hates bloggers? I even blogged for the state of Indiana, for crying out loud!

I guess I can't take it too personally. Massachusetts hates Eli Manning as an individual. There are 6.8 million people in Massachusetts and apparently they all hate Eli Manning. My state just hates people who do my job.

But Eli isn't the only one who has a whole state hate him. South Carolina hates Edward Snowden, Delaware hates Casey Affleck, and the entire state of Florida hates workout couples.

I can get behind that last one. People need privacy when they're sweating, grunting, and accidentally farting.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania hates people who use money clips, and Kentucky hates people who ask you to help them move. Both are odd things to hate, but not as weird as Missouri's hatred of people who believe in aliens.

People in Texas also hate aliens, but I don't think they mean the same thing.

This data comes from the dating app Hater, which matches people based on things they hate. You vote on over 3,000 topics, telling the app whether you hate, love, like, or dislike something. Then you're matched with other hard-to-please people based on what you both find abhorrent.

Targets of your bitter loathing can include "biting ice cream," "Vladimir Putin," "starting an Instagram for your dog," and "butt selfies."

Founder Brendan Alper got the idea for Hater based on a 2006 University of Oklahoma study that found people are able to bond more effectively over things they hate than things they like.

In other words, the enemy of my enemy is having dinner with me Saturday night.

Still, you have to wonder what kind of relationship is born out of discovering things you mutually hate. I'm sure it makes for interesting conversations during the first weeks of a relationship — Do you hate jellyfish (New Jersey)? I really hate jellyfish! — but a relationship based on the mutual hatred of stupid stuff is going to get old after a while.

"I hate waiting in line (Vermont)."

"Can we just talk about something else?"

Of course, not everyone hates the same things or to the same degree. That's going to lead to some mismatched relationships.

"Do you hate porn? I totally hate porn (Utah)."

"I think we should break up."
A few weeks ago, Hater compiled the most hated items for each state, as decided by their few hundred thousand users, and released a map showing what each state hates the most.

The things that each state hates vary wildly. They're not even regional preferences. Some states hate people, some states hate things, while others hate activities, and still others hate ideas.

For example, Illinois hates biting string cheese, Idaho hates asking for directions, Oregon hates spin class, and Virginia hates dabbing pizza grease with a napkin. But Nevada hates feminism, California hates fidget spinners, and South Dakota hates friendly reminder emails.

And Montana hates going to the gym. I was born in Montana, although we left when I was two. But I can tell you that particular hatred gets into your DNA at a very early age.

As far as individual people go, only a few were named outright. Massachusetts hates Eli Manning, South Carolina hates Edward Snowden, and Delaware absolutely despises Casey Affleck.

And Hoosiers hate bloggers, so those of you who swiped down on that can just bite me.

Meanwhile, Texas hates sleeping with the windows open, because it never gets below 95 degrees there. Also, Texas snakes are 15 feet long and can climb in though second story windows.

Oklahomans say they hate hearing the latest gossip, which I think is a lie. But they are troubled about Marjorie Peacock's drinking because they smelled whiskey on her breath at church. And also they're worried sick about Kenny and Shelley Ann's marriage on account of they heard Shelley Ann went dancing at The Root with a younger man she says is her cousin, but they were dancing awfully close for cousins, so it's not actually gossip, just concern for other people.

Lastly, Rhode Island hates Middle America. Look, Rhode Island, you're the Vatican City of the United States. There are 1.05 million people who live there, and nearly 1 million people who live in central Indiana, so it's not like you're anything special.

So you snooty Swamp Yankees better climb off your high horse, or we'll tell Virginia you dab pizza grease with a napkin.

Photo credit: Hater Dater app (Used with permission)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Debate of the Ages: Cake or Pie?

Hey Karl, cake or pie?

"There's pie?" asked Karl. "Never mind, I'm on Atkins right now. So, no carbs."

No, there's no pie, I said. Just answer the question: cake or pie?

"If there's no pie, then why are you even asking?" Karl plonked his beer on the bar. We were at First Editions for a slam poetry tournament. Kurt knew a few of the competitors so he made me come to this little struggle of the sonnets.

I didn't quite understand what was happening. How can poetry be competitive? And why was everyone snapping?! I've never quite understood poetry, and the snapping just made it worse.

It's a simple question, Karl. Which is better, cake or pie?

"Kid, of all the idiotic questions you've asked me, that has to be the idiotic-est. There are so many more important things we could discuss, and instead you give me 'cake or pie.'" Karl waved at Kurt to bring two more beers. "I don't want to even dignify that with a response."

Oh, it's a very important question, I said. I've seen people get into shouting matches over it.

"Well, it's a stupid question because the answer is obviously cake."

I knew it! I pegged you as a cake guy the first time we met. Because everyone knows pie is the superior choice.

"You're delusional, Kid. What about birthday cake? You can't beat birthday cake. But no one has ever heard of birthday pie."

True, but do you eat pumpkin cake at Thanksgiving?

Karl crossed his arms. "Maybe."


Sugar Cream Pie - the closest thing to Heaven on Earth.
"Okay, but have you ever seen a naked woman jump out of a pie?"

I can honestly say I have not. Of course, I've never seen a naked woman jump out of a cake either, except for that stupid Steven Seagal movie.

"Besides, there are so many kinds of cakes. Chocolate cake, angel food cake, and my favorite, lemon cake with vanilla frosting."

But there are just as many different flavors of pie. Cherry, raspberry, and what's more American than apple pie? Don't forget lemon meringue.

"I hate meringue," groused Karl.

You can't beat warm cherry pie with ice cream.

"You can have cake and ice cream," said Karl. Kurt hovered nearby, pretending to wipe down the bar.

Sure, but you don't normally serve it warm. But when you get a bite of warm pie and cold ice cream together, there's nothing better.

"What about cheesecake?" Karl said with annoying air of triumph.

I would counter with Indiana's official pie, the Wicks Sugar Cream.

"Oooh, I'll give you that one. Wicks makes a mighty fine pie." Karl took a drink from his beer, and listened to the poet up on stage talk about a broken heart. I had lost track of which broken-hearted poet was currently performing.

"How about pancakes?" said Karl. "You can't beat pancakes on a cold winter morning."

I've got it, I said. Pi.

"We've been through this," said Karl. "What kind of pie?"

Not pie, Pi. The Greek letter. The mathematical symbol. Three-point-one-four-one-five.

"That doesn't even count."

Sure it does. You can't spell 'pie' without Pi. And if I want to calculate the circumference of your birthday cake, I'll need to use Pi.

Karl stared at me, mouth open. I'll tell you something else, I said. Kurt stopped pretending to wipe down the bar and moved closer. Pi contains the secrets of the universe, I said.

"You're drunk, Kid."

I ignored him. As you know, Pi is an infinitely long number with no end. We could try to calculate the end of Pi on the most powerful computer ever made, and it will run to the end of time without ever reaching the end.

Now, if we were to assign each one- and two-digit number to a letter, we could find patterns in that infinite string of letters. Those patterns would form words, and those words would lead to sentences, and those sentences would become stories.

And with that infinite string of words, we can find your name and my name in there. We can find the secret recipe for Coca-Cola, or the Colonel's 11 secret herbs and spices, or the Wicks sugar cream pie recipe.

I pointed up at the stage. We can find that woman's poem, the words to your favorite song, or a version of every Shakespeare play where the word 'forsooth' has been replaced with 'Sweet Jeepers.' We can even find the kind of cake you had on your twelfth birthday and a list of everyone who came to your party.

I leaned in closer. Karl and Kurt did too. And the one thing we'll find, over and over again, ringing like a bell in all that infinity, is the most important phrase you'll ever say.

"What's that?" Karl whispered.

Erik was right all along, I said. Erik was right all along.

The crowd snapped its approval.

If you think this is a dumb question, ask some friends this question and ask them to defend their choice. See what happens and tell me about it in the comments below.

Photo credit: Sarah Stierch (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, August 04, 2017

My Application for NASA Planetary Protection Officer

Dear NASA,

Our planet is a fragile orb in a hostile galaxy. We face threats both here on Earth — climate change, the lizard people who live at the center of the planet, plastic grocery bags — as well as threats from "out there."

Whether it's asteroids, alien invaders, or the monster from "Cloverfield," we are rather vulnerable, given our reliance on 20th-century technology and a child's understanding of the threat that aliens present.

But a steady diet of movies, old Omni magazine reprints, and TBS' new comedy hit, "People Of Earth," I'm well aware of the lurking menace we face.

To that end, please find my application for the brand new post of Planetary Protection Officer at NASA.

I feel I would make a perfect candidate for the position, because of my varied experiences in planetary protection studies. My résumé is attached, but I would like to draw your attention to a few important details.

First, I have an outstanding record playing Space Invaders, both the original standup arcade, and later, Atari console game. I became an ace at shooting up through my own shields, and I was often asked by my sister to help her get that last guy.

I was also a dab hand at Asteroids, and am confident that a small crew and I could keep our planet safe from large, medium, and small space rocks. While I could easily fly a manned spacecraft, I believe a smarter strategy would be to develop a series of ships that could be controlled from Earth and deployed in sets of three.

I have also given some thoughts to several strategies and tactics I would develop during my tenure as PPO.

One is to train and equip elite ground troops to be deployed should aliens ever launch a ground attack. I've studied the tactics of Tom Cruise in "Edge Of Tomorrow" and Ellen Ripley from Aliens, and I believe if we were to equip our soldiers with those body suits with forklifts for hands, as well as machine guns on their shoulders — like War Machine from Iron Man 3 — we could give those little green bastards a run for their money.

I would also ask NASA scientists and leading physicists to develop hand-held phaser blasters, similar to those seen in Star Trek and Star Wars, and the plasma blaster from Predator. I realize the U.S. has enough guns that we could probably just drop the entire stockpile onto an invasion and wipe it out, but we may need them later since the battle is never over until you see their mother ship crashed in the desert.

Plus, the guns may be damaged by the alien blood, which as you know, is acid.

While we could use normal firearms, I worry about accuracy and reloading. Pistols are notoriously inaccurate, and semi-automatic rifles are only slightly more so, especially over a long distance. But phaser blasters have an endless energy supply and the bolts fly faster than bullets. If nothing else, a soldier would only have to press the trigger and fire a continuous laser to cut the invaders in half.

Of course, war should only be a last resort, and we should never ignore the lessons that Gene Rodenberry taught us through Star Trek. We should always seek the diplomatic solution first. After all, the aliens may actually only be an exploratory contingent, and eagerly blasting them into atoms may doom us all.

So I would also propose that we put a portion of our annual budget into developing a communications strategy. Since music is a universal language, I would assemble a crack team of musicians including Justin Bieber, Nickelback, and Skrillex to communicate musically with any alien ships that make contact with us.

If they manage to prevent our first intergalactic war, that would be wonderful. But if we're truly about to be invaded, I at least want to go to my own death knowing they died moments before I did.

Finally, while we're probably a couple centuries from cloaking technology — unless you know something I don't — I propose a similar solution that I call Project Disappearing Elephant.

We would collaborate with David Copperfield, who made the Statue of Liberty disappear in 1983, to place a series of mirrors around the planet to make it "vanish." I've taken the liberty of reaching out to Mr. Copperfield's people, and am awaiting a return call.

I read on your website that for this position, the ideal candidate will have "advanced knowledge of Planetary Protection," which I have demonstrated. He or she should also have experience overseeing nationally significant space programs, and have" skills in diplomacy that resulted in win-win solutions during extremely difficult and complex multilateral discussion."

To that end, I'm the father of three older children. And I've read the Star Trek book, The Kobayashi Maru, seven times.

Finally, I understand the position will require frequent travel. Can you tell me whether that's within the country, or will it require international travel? Or will there even be a need for off-planet travel as well? Another plus in my favor is that I don't suffer vertigo or get car sick. Also, I have a new passport.

I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

Photo credit: FitzFox (Pixabay, Creative Commons)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, July 28, 2017

How Did We Survive Bad Parental Advice?

When I was a kid, I was convinced parents and teachers gave terrible advice. When it came to dealing with playground issues — bullies, being teased, being picked on — they had no clue what was going on in a kid's world or how to handle certain problems.

Now that I'm a parent myself, dealing with my own kids' problems, I realize their old advice is still pretty terrible.

Remember "if they tease you, it's because they like you?" I heard it in the first grade when a girl told on me for teasing her.

I thought, "Eww! No, I don't." and I quit because I didn't want anyone to think I actually liked her. But we all realized that was patently absurd and no one ever believed it except for the teachers who kept saying it.

Teachers continue to perpetuate this idea despite it being a) false, and b) dangerous. Not only are you telling the teaser that this is how to tell someone you like them, it teaches the other person that being picked on is an acceptable demonstration of love. Teach a kid this is acceptable, and this is how you end up getting stalkers in your bushes.

Besides, what happens if I retaliate? Is that the beginning of a courtship? What if I stab the other person with my compass? Does that mean I like them back? I don't want to send any mixed signals or anything.

Of course, the friends who made fun of me weren't doing it because they liked me. They thought the plaid pants I was wearing in the third grade were hysterical.
However, those kids weren't my "real friends," because as everyone knows, friends who judge you because of your clothes are not your real friends.

Apparently, my real friends were some secret plaid pants-wearing nerd cabal who met every week to play Dungeons & Dragons, but I never actually met them.

This "not your real friends" business was never very comforting. Of course, kids will tease each other about their clothes. It's what kids do. They're rotten little turds who don't know you're supposed to hide your true feelings behind a frozen mask of civility.

But they tease because they're just jealous. Apparently, that's the only reason kids are mean to other kids. According to my mom, it's because I was smart, handsome, and loved to read. (Hey, just because her advice was bad doesn't mean she was wrong about everything.)

And also my pants, apparently. They were jealous of my pants. Not every kid got to wear pea-green-and-burgundy plaid pants, so I was special. To hear my mom tell it, these kids would run home after school, fling themselves on their beds, and sob and wail that they didn't have pants like mine. My pants gnawed at their very soul, and they hated me for it.

The dumbest piece of advice I heard was how to deal with bullies.

"If someone is picking on you, just ignore them and they'll go away."

Clearly, someone has never dealt with bullies. They don't go away because you don't react. They continue picking and punching until they get a reaction, which is what they want. They're patient in their cruelty and they'll punch you over and over until you finally acknowledge them.

Don't believe me? How many times will a little kid shout "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!" before he gives up and goes away?

Trick question. The little turd won't shut up ever. I've been in restaurants where the mom is talking and is ignoring her kid or just hasn't taught him what manners are. Either way, the kid ain't going away no matter how hard she pretends he isn't there.

The only thing worse than a parent not understanding how bullying worked were the teachers and principals who were either unsympathetic or unwilling to listen. There were a couple times I got punished for fighting when it was basically just some bully beating the crap out of me.

I mean, I can see getting in trouble if both of us were whaling away on each other. But when it's just one kid repeatedly punching another kid, there's no reason the second kid should face any kind of punishment.

Ice cream was not an unreasonable expectation.

But the principals and teachers were as unsympathetic as prison guards. They would claim they had to "be fair" and couldn't show favoritism. Except it's not favoritism when you only punish a bullying A-hole for being a bullying A-hole. That's justice.

You don't prosecute both the burglar and the home owner, or the car jacker and the car owner. But this notion of "fairness" in punishing both the bully and the victim was one of the dumbest things any school administrator could have done.

Or maybe they just really liked me.

Photo credit: Thomas Ricker (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Olathe, Kansas State of the City Address

My fellow Olatheans, it has been a wonderful year, after a whole string of wonderful years. And as your mayor, I am proud to deliver my state of the city address in this year of our Lord, 2037. It's hard to imagine that we would go from the nation's 193rd largest city to its 10th largest in just 20 short years. And it's all thank to our wonderful beaches!

(Cheers and laughter.)

Who knew that a simple article from could have been the focal point of the world-changing growth of our city. Those of you who moved to Olathe in the last 20 years may not know our history. We used to be the fourth largest city in Kansas with a population of 135,000, and things were fine. They were just fine.

(Cheers and applause from the old-timers.)

Those of us originally from the Midwest know that feeling well. We like it when things are Just Fine. But then that Wallethub article was published, and it changed everything. Now we're the largest city in Kansas, and Kansas City is now a suburb of Olathe!

(Wild cheers from the crowd.)

In that article, "Best Beach Towns to Live In," Wallethub examined various cities with beaches, and ranked them in terms of affordability, weather, economy, and quality of life. And our tiny beaches next to Lake Olathe and Cedar Lake ranked higher than Miami Beach, Florida. Wallethub ranked us at number 20, and Miami Beach at number 27! We even finished beat Newport Beach, California.
Well, folks around here thought it was all a mite amusing. Surely this was written by some intern who had failed basic geography, or at least had never been to the ocean before. It was good for a few laughs, and I can remember being in college at Kansas State University and making jokes about it. We had fun on Twitter that day, I can tell you. You folks remember Twitter, back in the good old days?

(The crowd murmurs fondly in remembrance.)

Except it turns out other people took it seriously. They began moving to little Olathe to pursue the beach life. The beaches got bigger, and people began putting up little bamboo hutches with grass roofs to serve drinks and food. Then there were a couple restaurants. My father started his restaurant empire by opening Turf's Up, the first Midwestern beach-themed restaurant. That was quickly followed by a series of nightclubs and bars that drew the nighttime beach crowd, and we never looked back.

Pretty soon, the city was overrun with beautiful rich people who were attracted by our glamorous beach life. It wasn't too long before people began flocking to little Olathe for some of that beach life. Even Jimmy Buffet's last three albums have all reflected the Kansas beach attitude: Wichita Dreamin', Last Mango in Iola, and Far Side of Missouri.

We had fashion shows, you started to see Ferraris and Lamborghinis everywhere, and there was a Cuban music revival, even though we only had two Cuban families, and they were former baseball players who just never left.

In my six years as mayor, we've swapped baseball teams with Miami, which sparked a wonderful rivalry. These days, everybody gets excited about the games between the Miami Royals and Olathe Marlins, and we call it the Battle of the Beaches.

The Kansas City Chiefs finally changed their historically racist name to the Olathe Breakers, and every year, we look forward to the Beach Bowl between the Breakers and the Dolphins.

Finally, the Kansas Heat is in the middle of their seventh season in the NBA's Western Division. Of course, some of that Miami Heat luck followed them up here, because they're currently fifth in the division. I guess some things never change.

Olathe continues to prosper thanks to our beaches, our businesses, and our people. Property values are growing, we have more condos per capita than even New York City, tourism is one of our primary industries, and our unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, compared to seven percent for the rest of the country.

We aren't the only city to benefit from Wallethub's complete lack of understanding of statistical research. Thanks to their staggering geographic ignorance, Cincinnati now has the country's best art scene, the Portland, Oregon theater district is considered an American treasure, and Oklahoma City is now the hot dog capital of the world.

And their latest article means Kansas isn't done growing. The "Best Pizza in the Country" article lists Antonio's Pizza in Manhattan, Kansas as the 13th best, just behind Brooklyn, but ahead of Chicago. So to our friends in Manhattan, let me just say, "hold on for the ride."

Photo credit: Ichabod (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Four Pieces of Sage Advice on Job Hunting

Most of us know the pain and frustration of an extended job search, especially if you were looking several years ago during the Great Recession, when jobs were scarce and companies were going out of business.

Even now, several years later, I know people who are having difficulty finding work in their chosen field, earning a living at their profession. And it occurred to me that some of you may need a little ego boost as you search for the next chapter in your life.

As a veteran job seeker who has applied for hundreds of jobs, thanks to the mocking curse of the online mega job boards, I've learned a few important lessons about patience, tenacity, and how not to be bitter, even when the hiring manager is a know-nothing hamster fart.

Here are a few lessons to share with you about your job search.

If you're a young person, remember that your current job is not your career. I know a 17-year-old kid who searched for a job for several months, hoping to find his dream job, working for a music producer or a music studio.
McDonald's in Kyoto, Japan. Could be worse though. It could be a Rally's.

That job never materialized and he got a job at a restaurant instead. I remember he was disappointed about his fate, so I reminded him that he wasn't going to be at the restaurant forever. In fact, most 17-year-olds' jobs won't last to the next full moon. I had my 17-year-old job for three months which is probably some kind of record.

If you're anything like today's Millennials, you've got a good 20 or 30 jobs ahead of you, so it's okay if this job isn't the one you want. You'll get and lose four new jobs while you're asleep tonight, so don't worry about being stuck.

It's okay to take rejection personally. Rejection sucks. It feels like your very humanity has been rejected. The only thing more painful is being turned down after you proposed on the stadium Jumbotron. (Jeez, what a loser! She kept the ring too. His mom still keeps in touch with her though, even had her and her new husband over for dinner last week.)

Of course, there are plenty of perpetually-employed people who will tell you "don't feel so bad, it's not personal."

These people are idiots.

Of course, it's personal! You've just offered your best self to an employer, told them "this is who I am as a person," and placed your heart on their desk, and that jerk of a hiring manager stomped on it with a pair of golf cleats. How can that not be personal?

Having said all that, it's usually not personal. It comes down to whether they thought you were a good fit for the company. Or if they could hire someone for less. Or if you're in marketing, if the other person was young and pretty.

And since I'm neither, you'd better bet I take that personally! Mouth-breathing hamster farts!

Start your own company. I mean it. If you don't have a job, don't fall for that "my job is looking for another job" nonsense. Nothing will drive you deeper into a depressive funk than spending 40 hours a week applying for jobs online and not hearing anything back. Instead, start a company, or become a freelancer, using the skills you do have.

If you're an accountant, become a small business bookkeeper. If you're in marketing, become a marketing consultant. If you're an electrician or builder, become a contractor.

As heartless as it sounds, employers don't like to hire people who don't have jobs. Never mind they could be bailing someone out of a tough spot. Never mind they could earn lifelong loyalty by hiring someone who hasn't worked in nine months. They just tell themselves, "there but for the grace of God go I," and hire someone away from another company.

So start your own company, get some business cards, and go out and find new customers. At the very least, it makes you look employed to a hiring manager. But at the very best, you'll be wildly successful, get rich, and you can tell those hiring managers what they can go do to themselves.

Finally, just remember that you're amazing. If a company didn't hire you, remember, it's because those people are know-nothing hamster farts. They wouldn't recognize talent and a winning personality if it smacked them upside the head.

Instead, they realized you're a proverbial unicorn of skills and experience, and they're threatened by your brilliance. You set the bar of excellence so high just by breathing that their knees tremble at the mere thought of you.

So if you're having a tough time finding a new job, just know that a lot of people are pulling for you, hoping for your very best, and sending you positive thoughts and energy.

Of course, none of us have real jobs ourselves, so that's about all we can help you with. But we're all pulling for you!

Photo credit: Ben Garney (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Which Part of 'No' Don't You Understand?

Erik is out of the office this week partly because of the Fourth of July week, but also because it was his birthday the week before. He retreated to some spa, whining about his "mouth wrinkles," so we're republishing a piece from 2003.

It's not something I like to talk about, but when I was in college I did something I'm not proud of.

I was a telemarketer.

Okay, I was only a telemarketer for about three hours, but still, it was pretty traumatic.

It was my last summer in college, and I was looking for a part-time job. I called a company I found in a classified ad, and I was hired right over the phone. I should have been suspicious when I was hired based purely on how I sounded. There was no application, no background check, and no questions about whether I got disgruntled easily or owned any guns.

The "business" was a single room in an office complex with three folding tables, six folding chairs, six phones, and two windows that didn't open. That normally wouldn't matter, but out of the six people there, I was the only one who didn't smoke. Everyone else was like those smokestacks on anti-pollution ads.
My job was to call local businesses written on a stack of index cards and get donations for the Fraternal Order of Police. I would get paid 50 percent of any donations. But I realized the deck was literally stacked against me when I got all the small businesses, while my boss' buddy got all the big businesses and previous donors.

I coughed and hacked my way through three hours without a single donation and enough smoke in my lungs to set off a fire alarm. So when I left for lunch, I didn't go back.

That experience left a bitter taste in my mouth for a week, although it could have been the second-hand smoke. After that, I've had mixed feelings about telemarketers.

On the one hand, I feel sorry for the people who try to earn a living by calling complete strangers. On the other hand, I hate them.

So I'm torn: do I put myself in their tobacco-stained shoes and be as kind as possible when I say no? Or do I hang up as soon as they stumble over my name and start reading their script?

It's not that I get annoyed that they call me at all. It's that some telemarketers are so pushy they won't take "NO!" for an answer, even when I've said it 37 times.

One guy even started talking louder when I tried to explain that I wasn't interested in new windows for my house because it was less than five years old.

"Alright, you've convinced me. I'll listen," I said.

He stopped talking. "Really?"

"No," I said and hung up.

My problem was solved when the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communication Commission launched the national "Do Not Call" list. You can join it by calling (888) 382-1222 or visiting

But the telemarketers aren't happy that people have registered at (888) 382-1222 or They think it's an infringement on their First Amendment rights.

According to an Associated Press story, Tim Searcy of the American Teleservices Association said ". . . the FCC ignored its obligations under the federal law and the Constitution to carefully balance the privacy interests of consumers with the First Amendment rights of legitimate telemarketers."

What Searcy doesn't seem to understand is that the First Amendment only guarantees the right to free speech, it doesn't guarantee you an audience. Especially at dinnertime. It means I don't have to sit through TV commercials, listen to protest groups as I walk down the street, or read literature shoved at me by radical cult members. And it certainly doesn't mean I have to listen to pushy telemarketers asking me if I'm satisfied with my long distance carrier.

So I have a harsh, but much-needed message for the telemarketers: We. . . how do I put this. . . ? We, uhh. . . we just don't like you.

I'm sorry. It's not you. It's not you at all. It's us. We like our privacy. We need our space. That's why we've registered at (888) 382-1222 or So please don't call anymore. Maybe someday, when we're both older and more mature, we can try again. But until then, we want to talk to other people. So don't call, don't write, and don't send email.

In the meantime, we'll use our caller ID to screen calls from numbers we don't remember. Or we'll dial *77 on our touch-tone phones to reject anonymous calls. (2017 Update: If you have a mobile phone, you can download apps like Mr. Number to block spam callers. Here's the iOS version or Android version)

But we'll think of you often. Especially every five years when our registration expires, and we have to reregister at (888) 382-1222 or

Photo credit: OddibeKerfeld (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Millennials to Blame for Killing Napkins

Millennials are blamed for a lot of things these days, and they don't deserve it.

Well, most of it.

Some of it.

I mean, I blame hipsters for a lot of things, like skinny jeans, flannel shirts in summer, and man buns, and I think we can all get on board with that. But I don't blame the entire 18 – 28 year old demographic for everything wrong in society.

Millennials currently outnumber Baby Boomers, and thanks to the laws of attrition, that won't be changing any time soon. Also, Generation X, my generation, is predicted to start outnumbering the Baby Boomers by 2028, which is a little depressing when you think about what that means.

But as the largest population demographic, Millennials have the biggest buying impact on our economy. Ten years ago, they were the biggest influencers on purchasing, but now they've got their own money, and they're starting to decide when and how they want to spend it. And that has a whole slew of industry experts in a tizzy, shrieking that the sky is falling. Again.

So it's not a surprise to see a slew of articles lately that blame Millennials for killing dozens of industries simply by not patronizing them.
For example, last year, the Washington Post reported Millennials are killing the napkin industry for a variety of reasons: they stopped buying napkins in favor of paper towels, because they prefer to use paper towels at dinner. They think paper towels are a better choice than napkins, said a napkin industry expert, because they're ideal for cleaning.

Paper towels, that is. Napkin industry experts are pretty useless for wiping up spills, and you're never sure if you can recycle them.

Also, says Big Napkin, Millennials are dining out more, which cuts into the napkin industrial complex. But they must be eating at fancy places with cloth napkins or they're wiping their mouths on their flannel sleeves.

On the other hand, despite all their dining out, Millennials are also killing chain restaurants like Applebee's, TGI Fridays, and Buffalo Wild Wings by not eating there anymore.

Sure, they went with their parents when they were little, but now that they can make their own big kid decisions, 20-somethings don't want to eat at the boil-in-a-bag, microwave-a-meal restaurants anymore.

They prefer farm-to-table restaurants. They love the phrase so much, they're turning it into a verb. "I wish I could just farm-to-table this chicken."

Okay, not really, but I'll bet it didn't surprise you either.

The point is, Millennials are getting picky about where they eat, what they do for entertainment, and even the things they do to help the environment.

They value experiences over possessions, so they're traveling more and buying less useless crap. So if you're in the useless crap business — which is about half our gross domestic product — you've got problems. Not because it's the Millennials' fault, but that you didn't find a way to appeal to them and their buying habits.

That's the problem. All these industries don't fit into what 20-somethings want out of life. They didn't do their research, they didn't find out what their young customers wanted, they just assumed that if their parents did it, their kids would do follow suit.

Anyone who grew up in the Sixties knows how well that worked out.

They're killing credit, they're killing traditional banking, they're killing the entire lending industry, cry the financial industry experts.

Can you blame them? They're cautious about spending money, because they're underemployed. They're underemployed because wages dropped after the Great Recession. A recession that was created by Baby Boomers at all the big mortgage lenders and banks. They can't find high-paying jobs because corporations are making cuts so their executives can get million dollar bonuses. Which means they're not buying cars or houses, because they don't feel like driving SUVs or owning 4,000 square foot McMansions to store all the useless crap they're not buying.

Except they got college degrees, and loads of college debt, because they were told that going to college guaranteed a good solid job.

Of course, someone should have explained that those degrees shouldn't be in poetry or art history, because corporations don't hire people to write about their feelings or stare at paintings. Said the guy with a Philosophy degree.

They're even killing golf, because they can't afford to play such an expensive sport. Also, because golf is stupid. Plus golf courses damage the environment. But mostly it's stupid.

Remember, these are the same people who want farm-to-table food because they care about an animal's life experience. Why would they support an environmental black hole like a golf course?

If you want your golf course to succeed, forget the Millennials. Go after the rednecks who put diesel-belching pipes on their pickups because Obama wanted to protect the environment. Tell them liberals think golf courses harm the planet, and they'll belch over to the golf course and sign up in droves.

But this blame game isn't anything new. The older generation always blames the younger generation. Go back as far as you can, and you'll see who was to blame for killing live theater, vinyl records, radio theater, Victrolas, pre-movie newsreels, silent movies, Vaudeville, the harpsichord, leeching, and having the vapors.

Sort of makes you nostalgic for the good old days, doesn't it?

Photo credit: Shari Weinsheimer (, Creative Commons 0, Public Domain)

You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.