Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How Not To Be An Idiot

Maybe it's just me. Or to be more specific, maybe it's just my particular form of neuroticism. But is it not true that if you know someone thinks you're an idiot that everything that comes out of your mouth while you're in their company is going to support that assumption? It's sort of a Fulfillment Theory Issue (FTI). What people expect from you is exactly what one does. It's only polite. And besides, people are going to think what they like and you're much too busy babbling what they're hearing as incomprehensible idioticracies (new word) to change their minds.

And you know intuitively within the first few seconds of meeting someone if they think you're an idiot (or worse a complete jerk). It's in the way they look at you and then look away the instant you look at them. It's in the way they spell out certain "w-o-r-d-s" for you or begin overly en-un-ci-a-ting every syllable of every word and how they keep defining words for you ("that means telling what a word means") and how they hold up fingers in front of your face when they're talking about something to do with numbers. "I'd like two (holds up two fingers) of those logo doodads to choose from please."

If this goes on for some time, it's obviously going to begin to bother you that someone believes you're an idiot because you're a person of the twenty-first century; fully in touch with your sensitive, caring side. So you're obviously not going to choose to spend much time with these people, otherwise you might begin believing that you are indeed an idiot yourself and that won't do at all. Then you'll have real problems. That is DEFCON 1 territory. Because you can't not hang out with yourself. So you must do something about it before it gets to that stage. As well as leaving their company, there are a few other options.

If you're not really an idiot (and of course you're not, only non-idiots read Rand's Place) it stands to reason you're far better off and have much more of a chance of getting somewhere in life if you only hang out with people who believe you're fairly intelligent. Then the Fulfillment Theory Issue (FTI) will have you only uttering intelligent things. But how does one go about finding someone like that? Well, you could put an ad in the classifieds, something along the line of "WANTED: People to hang out with that won't automatically think I'm dumber than a sack of cucumbers." That's all you'd have to say because you need people with a relatively high Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) and people who can figure out the reasoning behind your ad and respond to it should therefore be reasonably high on the Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) scale.

Or, you could do the old comparison thing and hang out with people who are real idiots so you look obviously intelligent by comparison. Smart people will look at you and go, "Isn't that a nice guy, hanging out with that obviously inferior person." Then they'll nominate you for sainthood and you'll get to then hang out with all the other people who used to hang out with idiots just to appear smart.

Whatever option you choose, just remember this: you don't have to be very intelligent and wise all the time. People who do that are so very odd.


(Dedicated as a first life lesson to newly born Dakota Rose, from her somewhat wacky but always very intelligent and wise great uncle.)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The One With No Name

Inside the artist lives a ronin – an unconventional being known only as the one with no name. An eccentric stranger with an unorthodox sense of justice; this stranger comes to town with an extraordinary proficiency – with an image, a word, a rhythm, a look or a sound. People know of the stranger only by reputation, and they speak of the arrival only in whispers. In the dusty saddlebags lay the stranger's weapons.... a pen, a thought, a worn paint brush, a lens, a pencil or two, an instrument, a voice, a chisel, or some pixels.

It is not for the stranger to mingle with others. It keeps company only with the artist. The one with no name will not bother others. They are incidental. If they don't interfere there will be no trouble. Most know to step back and give this consummate pro plenty of room.

Once triggered, years of training spring into action... and justice is dealt out swiftly and without mercy. Sometimes for no other reason but because it needs to be done.

Marisol: Why are you doing this for us?
The One With No Name: Because I knew someone like you once and there was no one there to help. ~ A Fistful of Dollars

When the job is done, the stranger leaves town as quietly as it came. And the townspeople stand in the middle of the dusty road and watch as this enigma rides into the sunset. To right the next wrong. To bring justice to an unjust world. One work of art at a time...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who's The Guy Who Rolls The Toilet Paper?

Hope you'll forgive me for a quick one today because, honestly, I've been talking much too much lately.

These days toilet paper comes wrapped around a cardboard tube that allows you to hang it on a special holder on the wall beside you and unroll the appropriate amount needed.

I'd hate to be the guy who has to roll it all up. I can't imagine people asking me what I do and me saying "I'm the guy that wraps toilet paper around those cardboard tubes." But it's one of those necessary jobs and I'm glad someone does it. And they've probably got great job security there because there's always a demand. I'd like to shake that guy's hand but I probably shouldn't because his hands are most likely insured for quite a lot because, really, that's a rare skill they've got there. 

For more information than you'd ever want to know, including alternative names for the tissue, visit Wikipedia.

For a free 18" X 18" print-ready PDF of the "Sweet Rolls" art drop me a line with your email address.

Gotta go.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dear Prime Minister Harper: A Note

Dear Honourable Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper:

Forgive me for intruding on your busy day. It's not for me to get all political by any means, that's your job. We have a great country with a splendid record and we've weathered the economic crisis better than most and for that I thank you and the agencies responsible. But since I was a teen and aware of world events, I've longed for world peace.

Lester B. Person
Canadians have a grand history in the establishment of world peace initiatives. When a ceasefire was declared in 1957 in the Suez Crisis of 1956, (a war between the alliance of the United Kingdom, France and Israel, and Egypt, which was supported by other Arab nations), Canadian diplomat (and future Prime Minister) Lester Bowles Pearson suggested that the United Nations station a peacekeeping force in the Suez in order to ensure that the ceasefire was honored by both sides. Pearson would win the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize for this, and he is today considered a father of modern peacekeeping.

In more recent years, the role of Canadians in peace support operations has expanded to include the delivery of humanitarian aid, the supervision of elections, the repatriation of refugees, the disarming of warring factions and the restoration of shattered landscapes through the clearing of mines, helping nurture human rights and the training of police forces and the judiciary. This is a diplomatic expertise to be profoundly proud of.

Canada is one of only a handful of countries to which the international community has regularly turned to obtain expert advice on peace support issues. Tens of thousands of Canadians have served in more than 40 international peace support operations around the world.

A Canadian led the way in promoting peacekeeping as a tool to help end conflicts and Canadians have long had an international reputation for putting themselves out to support peace. Now, we're in a new age of discord. And we've slipped in the world's recognition of our traditional role as leaders in the peace movement. We've gotten caught up in other things. We've taken sides over matters to appease other countries. And peacemakers don't pick sides. Maybe it's a good time to revisit this aspect of being Canadian and step it up. Listening Mr. Prime Minister? There is an economic aspect to this. People and nations getting along, sharing expertise and resources. Sounds good, doesn't it? How can it not?

But because of alliances and various reasons, we've slipped in world opinion as peacekeepers. Now, with conflict raging in countries all over the world, some think it time to get back to concentrating on earning back the respect that our country has historically garnered throughout the world to be leaders in bringing more peace and harmony to our world.
"Given the escalation of violent conflict, the increased threat of nuclear annihilation and lawlessness across our world today, there has never been greater urgency or a better window of opportunity to promote this initiative in Canada. ... advance an agenda for a new architecture of peace by supporting and establishing activities that promote a culture of peace and assertive non-violence in Canada and the world... In pursuing this initiative, we recognize that the crisis facing humanity is not only social, political, economic and environmental, but also spiritual in nature. We believe that creating a culture of peace is an ongoing and long term process but it is our intention to turn the tide in our generation working closely with Canadian youth." ~ Campaign to establish a Canadian Department of Peace
The time seems to be right to move from an image of past-tense peacekeeper to a world leading, non-violent peacemaker.

Just a thought. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ventriloquistic Cheerios

Few sounds in life have the power to make you drop anything you're doing, can wake you from a deep sleep or immediately stop you from having the greatest sex you've had in a hundred years than the sound of a pet getting ready to upchuck. You know the sound, it's sorta like "Huuagh. Huaaahhh. Whooowauahhghhh!" Instantly, visions of a favorite chair that you'll never ever want to sit in again fill your mind. You can clean the icky stuff all you want and spray with all the cleansers in the world to get the smell out but you know in your mind that deep down in the tiny holes in that foam cushion somewhere lies the potential that you are sitting on pet barf.

You can't blame the pet. It's a natural physical response to stuff they eat that their stomach says "Nope, this ain't allowed. Back out you go."

This morning I thought I heard the cat getting ready to bring up a hairball and I stopped the open heart surgery I was mentally performing and went flying into the bedroom where, it turns out, he was lying completely relaxed on the bed, innocently looking up at me saying, "What?" Turns out the sound I thought was the cat getting ready to hurl was coming from inside me. Evidently the Cheerios I ate for breakfast had one hidden in there that had a ventriloquistic ability that allowed it to throw it's voice from somewhere in my lower intestines sitting in the living room clear through to the bedroom.

Somewhere in the Cheerios factory is a guy with a smirk on his face who's throwing the odd special cheerio every now and then into the batch going, "Ha, this'll get him." Which would be cool if you wanted to impress a date and make her think the cat was hoarking up in another room and you could laugh and go, "Ha, fooled you, didn't I? It's actually a special Cheerio I ate that you're hearing. Neat eh?" Then again, that would probably signal an early evening for some dates...

Only thing is, these special ventriloquistic Cheerios look and taste just like all the others. This makes it sort of the luck of the draw if you get one. And I get the taste thing because you want to keep the quality of the Cheerio eating experience. But maybe they could make the special ones a different color. So if you were having a night out with the guys or something you could pick out the special ones and your intestines could be the floor show. Or you could avoid them if you were having a night out with folks who just wouldn't get the humor. Like the Queen. Or other people that don't have bodily functions.

Which is silly really. Because where's the humor in not having bodily functions?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 14, 1983

This is a stick. It has no monetary value. It's about 26 inches long with a bit of a knot at one end, which makes it easy to hold. It was found weather-beaten on a beach. At the time it proved to be a handy accessory; useful for prying up shells, urging along critters with claws, inspecting icky things in the sand, poking at embers in sunset bonfires and swiping at tall grass. A cord was added to allow it to swing freely or hang on a wall when its services were not required.

It's a historical fact that guys need sticks like this. It's a symbol of something or another and a testimony to the stylishness of leisurely pokes and the grandness of swings of the arm.

It's funny what we keep, given the number of times we move and each time we do we discard stuff that we've accumulated to lighten the load. But this small piece of wood was always sort of special. It holds memories.

And this year marks its 30 year anniversary. The date inscribed at the time with a pocketknife proves its age as a manly stick. And it has a bit more significance because there are two names carved above the date. They are the names of two people in love; who married the previous February. On Valentines Day. And the stick was inscribed that summer perhaps as an expression of hope and happiness. So while it may not be worth anything to anyone else, it reminds this guy that once upon a time he was loved by the most wonderful woman.

So today marks the day they married thirty years ago. Even though the relationship is long over, perhaps it still matters somehow. Even though they haven't met or talked in decades and even though they both went on with their lives and found happiness with others, it doesn't mean that something special didn't happen and it doesn't necessarily mean that the time spent together as one back then can't be remembered and perhaps even quietly celebrated now.

Events that happen when we were younger, when we share a deep love, help shape the fullness of our lives today. These experiences are rare and can never, ever be replaced. Never should past love be buried in the bitterness or angst of love lost, nor used cruelly as a shield to fend off new love from our hearts, because our hearts have no full gauge. They are meant to overflow. This kind of love knows no time limit, even if it visits us for only a brief period of time. It stays in our souls as pure as it was when it was unselfishly given and enriches us even now. In memories of joys we shared, in how our chests felt buoyant at the mere thought of each other, in kisses kissed, hugs given for no reason and secret smiles shared across crowded rooms. And more. Much, much more.

So, a message to a woman from a guy who had the honor of being your love so long ago might go something like this: even though time has passed and our lives are entirely different now, he treasures the gift you so freely gave back then. And there aren't words to tell you how much that meant to him and how precious those memories are today.

Happy Valentines Day. Happy Anniversary.

Love, Rand

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Blundering Through Life's Side Effects

You're sick. You get something to take for it. Prescription drugs. The whole point of taking them is to get better. You know, from evil little bugs and illnesses your good friends give you or your kids kindly bring home from school or you get from doorknobs (and then make sure you lick your hands). In a perfect world, what these drugs really aren't supposed to do is add to your suffering. But you know that really tiny 3 point type at the bottom of pharma ads and the speed read rushed in at the end of their TV commercials? Disclaimers. They outline the possible side effects of taking the medications that are going to make you better.

The disclaimers generally go something like this: "Common side effects include headlessness, dizzy gillespie, tsunami, passing wind, sand pits, rage at the machine, and decreased karma, a side of fries, sore bussoms, banning from public swimming, onion rings, prostratigations (new word), ingrown toe nails, not being able to sleep or even insomnia. Some patients feel the urge to write love letters to Don Rickles, yell at microwaves, hype their playlist, play with bed bugs, or imagine their feet are six feet long. This medication should not be taken if you are pregnant or may be pregnant, planning on getting pregnant sometime in your future, have painted extremities, or have ever dropped Mentos into Coke bottles." And then comes my favorite ending: "In some cases patients have been known to suffer from loss of life and even death." Death. They sneak that in there.

Then they say, "Consult your doctor." So I go to my doc and tell her I want the stuff that I'm not supposed to take if I'm pregnant, or may be pregnant but definitely don't want the stuff that may make it impossible for me to become pregnant in the future. Because someday when medical science allows guys to do this I may want kids (born conveniently at 4 years of age) who can bring home more illnesses for me to catch. Death? Ha! Death doesn't worry me. I laugh in the face of death!

Now, to be fair, any medicine that is out on the common market has been tested and is relatively safe but depending on your metabolism, what you're taking, what else you're taking and how much of it and for how long, there can be issues; just as there can with practically any foreign substance (legal, not-so-legal and just plain scandalous) that you put into your body.

My favorite conversations with my doctor is when she says, here take this and hands me a prescription. Then she prints out another three prescriptions and I ask what they are for. She says, "Oh, to counteract the side effects of the first one." I'm afraid to ask about the possible side effects of the drugs I'm taking to counteract the side effects of the first medicine. Besides, by then she's usually out of the room.

These other side effect meds seem to work. I suffer from very few side effects. Maybe the times I find myself belting out "My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord," while talking on the phone to clients is one. Plus, I'm convinced the mustaches growing just under my kneecaps will fade. And what about those horns, you ask?

What horns?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

News Flash Big Guy: Laughing Is A Good Thing

Sorry about being late with this post. I was busy last night.

I thought this guy at the gas bar was going to write me a ticket or something.

Oh, my klutziness got the better of me again. I started laughing. The clerk at the cash did then as well. There we were laughing and the guy behind me in line took exception. I reminded myself that some folks love to be miserable. It's almost like an entitlement. You'd think this guy'd got a degree in miserable or something and was so much of an expert at miserability (new word) that he'd go out looking for happy people and offer to teach them how to be unhappy. He probably had a big tub of cranky in his trunk ready to deliver to my house for me to wallow in. (Wallow, love that word. It relates mainly to large mammals, to "roll about in mud or water, esp. to keep cool, avoid biting insects, or spread scent.") He probably thought he was doing me a favor showing me the error of my laughing ways and I left before he could get around to offering me a wallow.

He probably needed a hug. But I wasn't the one to give it to him. Rule number one with miserable people: no physical contact. Rule number two with people with wallowing tubs in their trunk: stop laughing. On the outside. Laughing on the inside is fine. Rule number three with wallowing people: agree with them profusely and walk away as soon as possible.

I laugh at myself all the time. Maybe it's in my DNA or something because I'm continuously finding new ways to break myself up. And sometimes I share.

An article on the healing powers of laughter, states "when laughter is shared, it increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress." Then there was a quote from a doctor that I was going to include but it sounded like a preachy public service announcement. And we all know these can cause crankiness. You can look it up for yourself, but be forewarned.

I can't remember where I heard this but there was a motel owner who used humor to good effect. When half of his motel burned to the ground in a fire he changed his promo sign out front to read, "Great rates on non-smoking rooms." 

If we can laugh at our foibles it signals to others a self confidence that wallowing pool misery lovers will never project...

...so you might want to visit your own Happy Place yourself, Mr. Gas Bar Grump. (phhhhfffft)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Art, The Pleasure Center and Becoming Very Sexy

It seems we are surrounded with definitions of proper art. Not of the Garfunkel variety. Of the aesthetic kind. Not that Garfunkel isn't proper. Nor isn't he not an Art. Just not the art that can be defined. Perhaps even by Art himself.

"Aesthetic" describes a philosophical theory that defines what is beautiful. Those who think more than most would say art is a unique presentation of interpretation, technique, form, tone, texture, use of color and shape – one that hits the pleasure center in the brain (ie: nuclear accumenitos or NAcapow) via neurotransmongers. Said neurotransmongers, dopahumahuma and serotestical in turn punch out tiny pheromones via quicky messenger. Pheromones are chemical signals first discovered as a sex attractant in insects which make you very sexy. All add to the drama the eye beholds, the ear hears or the fingers touch. So if you hear someone exclaim, "Better than sex!" after taking in a piece of art, or you find them suddenly very, very attractive and want to jump their bones, you'll now know there is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon.

Other, less excitable affectionatoes tell of a conversation that happens between the objet d'art and the viewer. If something speaks to you, draws you in, creates an emotional response; it must be either art, you are off your meds, or you need to take a break from whatever you're imbibing.

Beauty, or the lack thereof, is indeed so subjective that no one can tell you what you should like and what you shouldn't. Most of us unless we're excessively boring, doing an academic paper or detailed gallery review don't consciously make a laundry list of why we like something. We just look at, listen to or nudge it in some way and go "Give me a cold shower!" or at the least, "Ahhhhhhhhhh. Cigarette?"

In marketing communications there is an occasional lack of understanding about the value of art in the design of business material. To draw the eye, create an impression and begin a relationship with the viewer even before a single word is read is a highly misunderstood and feared magic. While creatives yearn to give beauty and substance, marketers sometimes view this as a form of witchcraft; one that conjures the devil and makes one want to shed their clothing, slap paint on their torsos and dance around a fire. Therefore they feel it only prudent to request slapdashery and the mundane.

Artists have a phrase for when this happens.

"Oh well."