Recharging around here is easy.

Nap, walk, eat.

Pick one or more; they all work equally well 🙂

I have not had a “real” vacation in over thirty years. The idea of taking an entire week off to do nothing — or worse, planned activities — gives me more stress than working through the whole year without a vacation. Instead, I take mini-vacations that look like goofy off to everyone else around me.

A twenty-minute nap, a cup of coffee on the deck, a walk in the park with the dogs, reading several chapters of a book, a trip to the grocery store for nothing I need, reading blogs, doodling in my journal, a trip to NYC under the guise of attending a conference or something randomly silly like this. Any and all work to “recharge.”

I’m not a big fan of running down the batteries and then recharging the way most Americans work, which is why I built a business out of not having to be anywhere specific for any particular reason. Moderation works in recharge mode as well.

This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about answering the question, How do you relax and recharge? To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.

The skinny on Skins

If you are a student of American culture, you have undoubtedly heard about the new MTV adaptation of the British show Skins. If not, you probably should. For better or worse, MTV drives a lot of the teen and pre-teen culture, despite the best efforts of American parents to control or ignore the exposure to their kids. It’s just gonna happen, so you should be tuned in.

CNN had a segment on this morning about Skins. In typical fashion, they showed brief clips of some racy, provocative footage and cut to a psychologist answering prepared and banal question about how this is “kiddie porn” and why it should scare parents. Then he went on to offer solutions to parents, mostly amounting to “turn the tv off, control the remote” as more footage ran in the background. All neatly wrapped up in 4:45 minutes.

Yeah, and just say no and don’t have sex.

Kids will be kids and as a parent, if you don’t think any of this is going on behind your back, you are seriously delusional. Moreover, if you believe you can control your kids behavior with a remote, you really do have your head in the sand. My issue with Skins and that genre of reality is far more basic.

Skins (and reality tv) is highly edited to show a glamorous and accelerated view of life. Life does not move that fast nor does it have cuts. It moves in real time. I think it sets false expectations of even faster immediate gratification in teens.

The second issue I have is the shows never show the real down sides of the decisions the kids make. It is a life of privilege without responsibility. Someone else pays the cell phone bill, the rent, the clothes. Someone else cleans up the mess unless the “mess” is the catalyst for the plot.

That is what parents need to hone in on. Your kids will watch Skins, the Real World, Housewives, 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom and other shows of that ilk. It’s part of their collective conversation.

As I turn to my private focus group to validate my observations, they shrug and say, “it’s just TV. That doesn’t happen in real life.” Maybe as MTV gets more and more provocative, kids will tune out more and recognize the programming for what it is; a desperate cry for attention from mass media and advertisers.

But they’ll still watch.


Listen to the groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil being yanked from his comfy home by people who can't wait to know the future.
Punxsutawney Phil being yanked from his comfy home by people who can't wait to know the future.
I love Groundhog’s Day. It is a silly holiday that you can just hype up and people giggle at.

When reading a post from Chris Brogan today, along with my Wall Street Journal, The Waterboy and a healthy dose of Morning Joe, I’ve come to a conclusion about this economic mess. The economy prognosticators have it all right. And all wrong.

Here is why Punxsutawney Phil — that famous groundhog — is relevant to what is going on with this economy prognosticators right now and what we can take away from him. If Phil sees his shadow, gets scared and scurries back to his burrow, there are six, long weeks of Winter left. If he doesn’t see his shadow, there are only six weeks left of Winter. Yeah!

We can learn a lot from this annual holiday in Punxsutawney, PA, but accurately predicting the future is not one of them. The “Inner Circle” of Punxsutawney have figured out how to get thousands of people to visit their little town in a very cold part of the country in the dead of Winter and all the news media talking about them for a whole daily news cycle. They created a legend of a groundhog, dress up in top hats, hold this grand ceremony and declare the future of Old Man Winter!

That is all these economy pundits are doing. Nobody knows the future. The quality of the remaining six weeks of winter is not a function of a skittish groundhog or a proclamation made by a fraud in a top hat, but by the decisions you make with that time. Will you hibernate and wait out winter or go out and play with the snowflakes? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

As I mentioned in my comment to Chris Brogan’s post:

My take on all this future stuff, however, is to look at future films of the past — even as recent as the 1980s. Nobody got the 16:9 television. Even when screens were larger, wall-sized, the 4:3 format still reigned.

For the astute reader, you may have seen the mention for the movie The Waterboy in my opening paragraph. At one point in the movie, (toward the end, you have to watch the whole thing) Coach Klein envisions his nemesis Coach Beaulieu with the head of a cute puppy, is no longer scared of him and adopts a new-found self-esteem.

The next time you watch Joe, Pat and all these other prognosticators on television predicting gloom and doom, envision them with the head of a groundhog.

Then, go make your own future. It will happen whether you wait it out or not.

Blame the terrorists.. again

41nhb5qfrl_sl500_aa240_Generation Y isn’t lazy, impatient, demanding, high-maintenance and self-absorbed. They are just living life fully, in the moment, every day. Why? Because of terrorism.


Yes, says Tamara Erickson in a recent podcast posted on GenY came of age during the era of terrorism and that affected them so much that they seek to be in the moment just in case everything comes crashing down around them in a single, unpredictable moment.

Perhaps they seek to be in the moment because they have been handed everything by their Boomer parents? Perhaps they don’t know how to delay gratification. Maybe? Even just a little bit? Is there no depth to which GenY will not stoop to blame someone or something else for their failing?

There are all sorts of other tangents that Erickson goes down that are flawed reasoning. For example, she suggests that corporations give them a task, but don’t over-train them, let them figure it out. The problem there is GenY really has no skills nor do they have any sense of when a project is complete or well done. The conclusion most would draw is “If my boss has a problem with the quality of my work, he will give me feedback. Otherwise, its all good.”

Sounds like a theory being backed into a book.

Dogs bring civilization wherever they go

Catherine Osborne wrote an interesting paragraph for her article “Bien chien” in the magazine Design Lines Toronto.

Starbucks used to be the sign a neighbourhood was on a gentrification upswing. But now, it’s your local dog boutique. They’re everywhere – spas that offer organic shampoos, daycare centres with webcam feeds, bakeries that sell handmade biscuits with restaurant-grade ingredients.

Really cool that dogs are now setting the standards for urban renewal, gentrification and all things cultured!

Thanks,  la Culture Populaire!  (Not so much, Design Lines Toronto which has a crappy web site.)

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

Can you own a dog?

I grew up in the great state of Minnesota. All of my views of the world, especially the ones about gender relationships, power balance, worth, etc. were shaped by my litter and the other dogs around me. For those of you not quite up on your Minnesota demographics and political history, the state was settled mostly by Scandinavians and Germans. Anyone knowing anything about these two cultures know that they have figured out the balance of power between the sexes a very long time ago. Bottom line; different parts, but equal in intelligence, decision-making ability and neither is subservient to the other. For that alone, Minnesota may be known as the most liberal state in the Union (next to California, of course, but they are all nuts!)

My litter consisted of me, my older sister, two younger sisters and a brother. My mom was in charge of us kids and she was always carrying around this big wooden spoon. When she got mad, she would start spewing out this string of French curses and her dentures starting flapping out of her mouth. If you weren’t already running, you were a dead dog. (She was French and took that quite seriously.. in fact, I think the only reason the French did not do so well during WWII was because they wouldn’t let their women fight. To date, the only thing that is scary to me than a French women with a wooden spoon is the thought of a French woman with a gun. But, I digress.)

The short order of that story was if you, as a male member of the litter had any thoughts whatsoever of being “better than” the females you were surrounded by, you were put in your place faster than a prison yard bitch. But, in a kind, non violent — though estrogen-charged — way.

I am amazed to this day with women who allow themselves to be “owned” by men, but am more in awe of the men who appear to like owning women. I’m not quite sure why a man would want to dominate and suppress one of the most creative, intelligent, strong-willed, resilient and beautiful beings God has created. I am not sure why men would rather not let them unfurl and touch those around them, making the world a better place one day at a time.

Can you own a dog? Probably, but why would you want to? And what do you do with it when the life has been crushed from its soul.