Experts, experts everywhere

Yesterday on our afternoon walk, Sallie was having a bit of trouble walking straight and she was getting her leash all tangled up in my legs, so since we were only a block and a half away from home, I unsnapped it and kept walking. A few minutes later, I hear this woman yelling at me from half a block away,

“Excuse me, is that your dog??!!???”

I turned around to see a letter carrier from the US Post Office flailing her arms and yelling at me, “You gonna put him on a leash??”

What??!! We’re half a block away and we’re not bothering you. Really? Is it part of your job to enforce the leash laws in Englewood? Do you think the USPS uniform gives you the authority to yell at me? No wonder the US Post Office has problems getting the mail to the right mailbox; it employs police officer wannabes who are more interested in enforcing leash laws.

I turned back around and kept walking. So did Sallie and Charlie. I suspect that if I did not have Charlie with us, that crazy woman would have driven up and further tried to engage me on the leash laws. In hindsight, I’m not sure it was a good idea to piss this woman off.

Here is what I discovered that almost every other dog owner probably knows:

1. Everyone is an expert on leash laws and will go out of their way to tell you to abide by them.
2. Everyone is an expert on breed tendencies and will go out of their way to tell you what breeds your mutt is mixed with.
3. Everyone is a dog behavior expert. They all know how to make a dog heel, walk on a lead, do tricks, whatever. They’ve all seen Cesar Millan.

I don’t want to hear your opinion on anything about my dog unless you are willing to walk them three times a day, rain, snow, sleet, hail or fog, pick up their mounds of crap, pay for their food and vet bills and deal with their tiny bladders at 3:00am. I don’t want you talking to me when I’m on a walk because to my dogs, that is their job and they take it seriously. Believe me, the block can go without mail for a day, but not without a canine patrol.

I don’t care about what you think you know about dog training or behavior.

I want you to shut up and deliver the mail. Yelling at people walking their dogs half a block away and trying to enforce leash laws is not part of the “other duties as assigned” in your job description.

Let me know when I can yell at you about how to open a mailbox and put a letter in. I’m an expert in that.

*Yeah, and if you are a letter carrier and feel the urge to comment about how dogs make your job difficult, blah, blah, blah, just don’t. Unless you can assert that MY dogs (specifically Charlie and Sallie) have impeded your letter-carrying duties, I simply don’t care. Other people’s dog behavior is not my responsibility. Deal with them.

Content was king then, it’s still king

Watch this video from Manfred Mann. (thanks, DadsUpLate for the inspiration!)

You can’t listen to this song without turning up the speakers past ear-shattering levels, singing along in your worst possible voice and dancing that Do Wah Diddy dance that has your butt straining just inches above your seat. Ok, maybe that’s just me, but I doubt it!

Why does it have that effect on us? The video is just a black and white of a ’60s rock band doing the cheesy guitar stance, shaking the maracas and the panning the overhead crane. There are no naked dancers anywhere, no story line, nothing that makes a modern rock video.

It works because the band had great content; a snappy song they just sang. No glitz, no spinning balls or funky fonts to hide the content. Just killer content. And they let the content stand alone in all it’s naked glory.

Content was king then, it’s still king.

Amy Poehler, wisdom, teamwork and the art of improv

Hulu left the best parts of the interview out and I hope to be able to find them to piece this together, but the video below comes the closest.

Among the gems:
“Playing with good players makes you look really good.” This works in life and in business. Play with the smart, funny, talented, dedicated and passionate people. Don’t spend time with the haters and nay-sayers.

“Yes, and….” The first rule of improv and a pretty damn good piece of advice for life. Accept something from the other person and offer something more of you back.

Why Hulu decided to cut these parts out and just go for the funny is baffling to me. We can watch Amy Poehler’s comedy every week on Parks and Recreation and SNL, but it is these inside glimpses through the cracks when the actor isn’t “on” that gives Inside the Actor’s Studio it’s value.

Dear Minority Leader John Boehner; this I fear more

A few days ago, I saw a video of you saying that Americans most fear the US Federal Government is spending beyond it’s means and that we are leaving a mountain of debt to our kids and grandkids. (I can’t find it right now, but when I do, I’ll post it.)

I think you are wrong.

Here is a short list of things that I fear more than the Federal Government spending getting out of control.

– I fear that my health insurance company, Blue Cross/Blue Shield will send me a letter in March, 2010 stating they no longer want me as a customer because I am getting too old to be in the “sweet spot” of profitability for them. My insurance renews on April 1st of each year which gives me thirty days or less to find an insurance company to take me.

– I fear that I will have a heart attack during the next four years, causing me to spiral into bankruptcy during a time when my daughter most needs me to be able to help her with college tuition.

– I fear that the City of Englewood will assess me an outrageous fee to arbitrarily replace the curbs and water supply infrastructure in front of my house, oblivious to the recession going on around us.

– I fear that I will be diagnosed with a medical condition that my insurance company will not pay to treat.

– I fear that I will get a letter from some tax department in Ohio (county, city, state) claiming I owe a bucket of money to them and they will hang on like a rabid dog because they are running a deficit themselves.

– I fear that some of my right-wing, gun-happy, God-fearing neighbors will become irrationally scared of losing their country to “those who are not like us” that they will do something stupid that will endanger me, my family and my home.

– I fear US Representatives who can afford to live in West Chester, OH and stay tan all year losing touch with their constituency* and start erroneously claiming to know what Americans are most fearful of. I also fear these same Congressmen categorically dismiss and oppose ideas simply because they came from the “other party” with no thought or analysis.

– I fear the loss of rational thought and civil discourse.

– I fear the decline of the quality and breadth of education available to our younger generations that will further doom them to become less competitive in an increasingly global marketplace.

– I fear the increasing selfishness and short-sightedness of parents who teach their kids that the President of the United States of America is not worthy of their attention or respect.

– I fear a society that believes it to be permissible behavior that a Congressman disrespect a sitting US President in public. On TV.

There are many more things, but this list is probably long enough.

Mr. Boehner, I fear a lot of things more than I fear the US Federal Government putting us in debt. If you had to live in the day-to-day world that your actions in Congress create, you may possibly also share these fears.

Please, Mr. Boehner, please think before you talk in hyperbolic terms. Please think about what consequences your words have. Please think that possibly things like fear, hatred, distrust and violence may be a worse legacy to leave to our kids and grandkids than debt.


*I know, Mike Turner is my rep, but he never gets the microphone and doesn’t ever read my blog nor return phone calls.

Is social media a fad?

I think the difference between Social Media channels and traditional channels is on SM, users rally around the tools, not the message. Most users are too busy yelling out their own message — because they can — that they no longer become part of the community in which they are yelling. Instead of a community of 50 million, we are all becoming 50 million communities of one.

Just thinking out loud. You?

Health insurance is not at all like car insurance

Barack Obama compared having health insurance to having car insurance in his speech last week. Today, I read an article in the WSJ that did the same thing. Over the course of a week, I have heard this being repeated again and again. The two are not at all analogous to each other.

Driving is a privilege. Living is a right.

If I can’t afford insurance or gas for my car, I can decide simply not to drive it. I can’t decide not to drive my body because I can’t afford the insurance.

Comparing the two is silly and stupid. Please quit doing it.

Sharpie at Fashion Week and funky purple

Sharpie is at Fashion Week in New York. I just wish I was there. I really don’t care too much about fashion, but life in Dayton, Ohio is just dead boring. I’ve also set a new random challenge to get an invite to a fashion show in 2010. Anyone want a dog to attend a show? Front row only, people!

So Sharpie has this thing called a Sharpie Bar at the Bryant Park tents and @sharpiesusan has been tweeting out all week. Someone said something about the stainless steel Sharpie and I had to see it. As I was strolling through their web site, this caught my eye and I had to share.

Purple gets to be the “funky color swatch” I love it! It’s these little details that designers throw in just to make life a tad more interesting. A little outside the lines, enough to get away with, but not so much that you get in trouble for it. Like contractors hiding empty beer cans inside walls (another story!) or Easter eggs in software.


Ok, back to work people. Present Sharpies! Click! Write, write, left, wright, left.