PROCASTINATION – IT’S EARLIER WHEN YOU THINK

Procrastination? It’s not procrastination. Uh uh. It’s enjoying the freedom of unharnessed time. For long time-faceyears, I too was scheduled. Always short of time, but never late. Never missed a deadline. Always left the house early in case I encountered traffic. I used up my time making sure to have enough time.

But time is all in our heads. There’s always time and there’s always no time at all. I put off what isn’t critical, do what must be done now, and the rest? I’ll have another cup of coffee and a Danish, please.

I call and change appointments when I don’t feel like going. If traffic piles up? I’m late. I say “Oops, sorry. Hit some traffic.” The world keeps spinning. No one takes out a pistol and shoots me. Yet.

In the immortal words of Robert Heinlein’s Time Travel Corps from All You Zombies —

Never Do Yesterday What Should Be Done Tomorrow

If At Last You Do Succeed, Never Try Again

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine Billion

A Paradox May be Paradoctored

It is Earlier When You Think

Ancestors Are Just People

Even Jove Nods.

Priorities are important. I’ll get my leaky valve fixed. In time. I’ll get that book review written. Tomorrow. I’ll process some more of the pictures we took yesterday … later. After coffee. After I read, write and think a while.

There will be time. For the important stuff. Maybe there won’t be time for other things and, well … they just won’t get done. Because my hurrying days are done.

WHO DO YOU TRUST?

It’s Not A Game, by Rich Paschall

Many game shows are centered around the idea of trust.  Whom do you trust to answer a question correctly or perform a task accurately?  This critical questions is, of course, tied to the winning of money and/or prizes.

In 1956 CBS television introduced a game show called “Do You Trust Your Wife?”  Married couples would answer questions for the chance to win money. The husband got to choose whether he would answer a question on a particular topic or trust his wife to do it.  The idea was to provide entertainment and comedy as much as to hand out small amounts of money.  The show was hosted by ventriloquist and comedian Edgar Bergen, father of Candice Bergen.  It was a vehicle for his famous act.

The show was handed off to a new host in 1957.  Young Johnny Carson got the chance to interview guests and provide comedy.  The show was later changed to “Who Do You Trust?” so that the contestant pair did not have to be a married couple.  After a year Ed McMahon was brought in as announcer for the show.  You probably know what happened to their careers just a few years later.

The game was similar to another popular show of the era, “You Bet Your Life?”  Here the famous member of the Marx brothers, Groucho, was host.  This gave the popular comedian a chance to show off his famous wit as he interviewed the contestants.  Unlike Carson, who frequently participated in stunts and demonstrations with contestants, Marx stay seated and left that to his announcer.  Failure to get a question right might be cause for a wisecrack from the host known for such things.  The show ran for eleven years.

You Bet Your Life

You Bet Your Life

Many game shows that followed are based on trust or at least knowledge of the other person.  The Newlywed Game is based on knowledge of a spouse.  How did he or she answer certain questions?  Family Feud asks the winning family to send one member to the final round.  It is sometimes amazing to viewers which one they trust with the chance to win big money.

There have been many other game shows that rely on an element of trust.  You might have to “Beat the Clock” to complete a task in a certain time.  The task might include your partner get wet or facing broken eggs on his head, depending on how well you did the task.  The little tasks were also meant to provide comedy for the audience.  Trust, competition, money, comedy, entertainment!  What is not to like?  Perhaps you can add more shows to the list in the comments below.

This season there are new game shows and the contestants are not very funny.  In fact, few find them entertaining at all.  There certainly is the famous issue of trust, but in this case it is whether the audience trusts the answers of the contestants.  Like all good game shows, there is a lot of money at stake.  Oddly enough, these contestants will spend a large amount of money (their own as well as others’) trying to win the final prize.  The show is periodic and will last until the Fall.

These shows are called the Democratic Debates and the Republican Debates.  The same contestants appear each time but the ones who have performed poorly in past weeks drop out.  This is so they can combine the shows into one later in the year when just one contestant from each show is left.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The eight Republican debates so far have drawn significantly higher average viewership than the six Democratic debates.”  That may be because there are more contestants and much more comedy is involved.  When the leading contestant did not show for one of the Republican debates, viewership fell.  This introduced an element of drama into the contest. Higher ratings and more contestants must be the reason for more debates for the Republican teams.  Just like American Idol, we are all waiting for the show to get down to the final two contestants.  Without Ryan Seacrest as host, the debate season seems too long.

Republican debates

Republican debates

Since the object of the debates is to get the viewers to trust them, the show is much like the old “To Tell The Truth.”  In that show the viewers see one person who is supposedly the real person to be identified and the others are imposters.  A series of questions are asked and in the end it comes down to “Who do you believe?”

The problem for the viewers of the current competition is that all of the candidates may not be telling the truth.  The Pulitzer Award winning PolitiFact finds that all of the Republican candidates are wrong on most facts.  Amazingly, the leading candidate on this show is found to be wrong almost all the time!  This does not seem to bother the viewers as he continues to have a wide base of support.  FactCheck.org (A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center) has dubbed the front-runner on the Republican shows “King of Whoppers.”

Can you imagine a show where the contestants consistently get the answers wrong, but win anyway?  That indeed may be what is happening.  For those unaware, this is No Truth and Major Consequences.  It is not a game either.

 

Related: Fact Checking The Eighth GOP Debate, FactCheck.org, Feb. 7, 2016

YOU’VE EITHER GOT IT OR NOT

Style, by Rich Paschall

Perhaps you have noticed that it seems to be dying out.  You are probably glad of it too.  You did not like it.  You may even have been insulted by it, so it is so long and farewell.  It should be like many style statements we have seen over recent generations.  It is here for a while, then reason sets in.

Of course, we are talking about that so-called “fashion trend” that saw young men wearing their baggy jeans below their rear ends so that we could see their boxer shorts.  I am sure this did as much for makers of boxer shorts as it did for sellers of baggy jeans.  Perhaps these guys have started to realize just how crazy this was.  There may have been some cheap thrill in letting us see their underwear, but as a practical point of view it could not have been dumber.  At least you know these guys were not going to cause trouble.  It is tough when you have to waddle away from the scene of the crime.

Maybe the lack of a Justin Bieber tour helped to kill this idea.  Let’s hope that his next tour does not bring it back or some equally strange wearing of clothes.  The alleged singer-songwriter will take his “Purpose” tour on the road this year.  We are not sure of the Purpose or style yet.

When I was younger we had our strange fashion trends, which I am sure were heavily influenced by the entertainment industry.  If someone looked cool in the movies or on television, then I guess we wanted to look cool too.  I was too young to be influenced by the first wave of the British Invasion.  It did not matter to me what John, Paul, George and Ringo were wearing.  For clothes choices, I got whatever my mother thought I should have.

As I got a little older I realized, as all kids do, that a little (or a lot) of whining would probably get me a few of the things I liked.  By high school, it was white Levis, madras shirts (plaid) and penny loafers.  I thought this ensemble was cool.  I guess I still do.  For a while it was “skinny jeans.”  I don’t think we called them that but they were the type that were difficult to put on and the opening at the bottom of the pants leg was barely big enough for your feet to go through.  I guess we thought we were sexy, like the boys showing off their boxers in more recent times.  Skinny jeans also seem to be quite popular at present.

It was just a few years and that whole “preppy” look I loved so much was out, and a whole collection of things that would not stand the test of time came in.  When skinny jeans gave way to “flares,” that is pants that had wider leg openings at the bottom, and then bell bottoms we had a whole new look.  Yes, I got those, including the “hip huggers” style.  Those had a lower cut.  Neither my parent nor my grandparents ever wore any such items.

Your wide pants might go with a variety of looks, but maybe not with your Nehru jackets or shirts.   These items may have retained their popularity in India, where they are named after  Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who served from 1947 to 1964, but they were a brief trend here.  The jackets and shirts with the “mandarin collar” would make you look like a priest if you wore something dark.

Your 70’s hippie look did need “tie dyed” t-shirts.  I guess those just keep coming back around the style block.  They were always popular with the Grateful Dead crowd and then with Phish, the Grateful Dead for the 21st Century.  I am glad to say I never owned one.  You may think that picture of you with beads, tie dye shirt, bell bottom pants and sandals that one of your friends posted on facebook on “throwback Thursday” looks really cool, but I have news for you…

All of this was followed by the regrettable trend we called “leisure suits.”  The polyester creations featured jackets that looked like shirts trying to be jackets.  Unfortunately, a number of pictures of my youthful self in these suits can be found.  My friends who escaped the camera at the time are pleased to point out how unfashionable that look is today, using one of my pictures as an example.  The worst looks were the ones with the leisure suits featuring polyester, flower patterned shirts with big collars.  Thanks to the internet and some Boys Club photo albums, I may never live that down.

It would have been easy to be an Urban Cowboy next.  Who does not love a classic American western look?  Following his success in making us all want to look like something out of Saturday Night Fever (which I saw more than once), John Travolta soon convinced us we should change to jeans and ride a mechanical bull.  Yes, the fashion bull kept galloping through our lives and many of us got trampled by it.

It probably would have been better to stick to standard looks that stay in fashion generation to generation.  Frank Sinatra always looked cool.  He has styled throughout the ages, even if it was all pretty much the same.  A sharp suit and a fedora hat would have been good, but not as good as a tux with carnation or other fresh flower and a hat tilted to the perfect angle.  If you do not understand, here’s your primer:

WHAT ARE YOUR RANDOM THOUGHTS?

Share in the great thoughts, Rich Paschall

What are your great and random thoughts on any topic? Comment below and remember the more random, the better. Also remember, I have to keep it civil, so you do too.

Donald Trump is on the cover of Esquire as “Hater in Chief.”  Has it come to the point in our history where we will elect someone we all agree is a hater?

Was Marco Rubio really born in Miami?  I want to see his birth certificate.

Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and applied to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship, which happened May 14, 2014.  His father is Cuban.

Cruz was a complainer about whether President Obama was born in Hawaii and that his father was not American.

Where are the Cruz “birthers?”  Oh wait, those Republicans do not want too much egg on their faces.

Do you think all these random thoughts are easy?  I have to stop every three sentences and get a cookie.

Is it officially hot chocolate weather?

If my marsh mellows are left over from last year, can I still use them for hot chocolate?  S’mores?

If you do not have a team in the NFL play-offs do you really care?

Do you still watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials?

How many think a concert in the middle of the game is appropriate?  How about before the game so we can cut down on the six to eight hours of pre-game analysis on various networks.

Pre-game analysis on the NFL Network official begins two weeks before the game.

I still want to see the Super Bowl in a snow storm.

Will the NFL have their lawyers send me a cease and desist order for using the words “Super” and “Bowl” along side of one another?  I guess they are a rather unique combination of words requiring a trademark.

Giant flakes of wet snow look really nice coming down, until you have to shovel it up.

Healthy couples with healthy teenage children should be made to shovel their walks or face fines…just saying.

I don’t think I ever made a snow angel and I am not going to start in a wet snow.

I bought a ticket to see an act I never heard of (R5) so that I could see the opener, MAX Schneider.

There are many videos that will show off his singing better than this one, but this one is more fun.

I bought a ticket to see Steve Grand. I had written about the All-American Boy in the past, but never got a chance to see a live performance.

Album

Album

I am excited that Chicago is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I have seen them at many venues around town and I was never disappointed.

Chicago in Chicago, August 2014

Chicago in Chicago, August 2014

Tom Law supports some of his music videos via a website called Patreon.  That is where you can be a patron for each video for any amount you wish.  At a high enough level you get to chat with Tom and even get his music a little before it comes out.

Chicago is at the United Center in April.  I have never seen them there.  mmmmm?

Chicago Cub fever is already beginning.  It’s not even time for Spring Training.

Why does the election season have to be so long?  Why?

Why does the baseball season have to be so long?

Some “charities” I have never supported have sent me more mailings over the years than I could count.

Some charities I have supported have sent me so much mail I wonder if they have made any money off me.

Don’t bother telling charities to stop sending snail mail.  It doesn’t seem to help.  It seems to work for email.

I saw a facebook meme that claimed President Eisenhower ended segregated schools by executive order.  I guess they never heard of the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

Here’s what I have to say about facebook memes.  “Snopes!”

A 19-year-old Australian boy, Joel Adams, seems to be moving up the charts with one of his own songs solely off social media hype by fans.  At first it did not do well and they were giving it away (I downloaded it.)  You can go to itunes for it now.

I guess it is tough to lip sync your own song.  That is what they are doing in the music videos.  Tom Law says when he does not get it just right, that’s when you cut to another angle or some shot where you do not see him singing.  Ooops, did I give away an industry secret?  Nah.

Winter, Chicago and this guy!

FIRMLY RESOLVED

Your New Year’s Resolution, by Rich Paschall

Have you given up on it yet?

You know what I mean, that New Year’s Resolution you felt you had to make.  It may have seemed like a good idea in December.  You knew you were going to eat too much and drink too much from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. You knew there would be cookies and cakes at work, at home, at Aunt Hilda’s house. You did not want to go to Aunt Hilda’s house, of course, but you were willing to eat her cookies and whatever that greenish Jello stuff was that she puts out every year.

72-Pound-cake_08

There were candy dishes everywhere too!  You swear that some of your friends and relatives only bring out the candy dishes when the holiday season comes.  And the Holiday season can be long, very long.  That means there is plenty of opportunity to eat up the candy from the time the half price Halloween candy runs out to when the after Christmas candy sales are over.  “Fie, you devil dogs, who doll out the candy as if it was health food,” you may exclaim.  These candy tempters lurk around everyone’s desk at work and around the coffee table at those awful Christmas parties.  The unfortunate also have co-workers who are actually “candy pushers,” getting you to buy the stuff so little Johnny can go to day camp or basketball camp or Camp something.

With Aunt Mary, Aunt Sherry and Aunt Scary conspiring against your waistline, you just know you should resolve to do something healthy when the attack of the gingerbread men has ended.  You look forward to January 1 with the resolve to eat well, exercise, give up whatever vices are dragging you down.  When the New Year came it was going to be all about you, and not about extra helpings of Aunt Bertie’s Sweet Potato Casserole.  You know, it’s the one with the Praline topping you can not get enough of.  “Besides, aren’t sweet potatoes good for you?” the conspirators may ask.

If all that spinach dip, taco dip and cheese dip don’t drive you to a resolution, perhaps all that alcohol will.  In addition to whatever your favorite beverage may be, there’s eggnog and glogg (or gluhwein, depending on your relative’s background), white wine, red wine, pink wine, and champagne.  There are specialty concoctions someone found in a recipe book or online.  If you make it to the Wild West Sports Bar or some similar place, someone will probably buy you a shot of something you would never order for yourself.

Party!

If you are in the hangover den on New Year’s Day, you would certainly have resolutions on your mind.  Some of those may start with “please god” and end with “never again.”  Those are the types of resolutions that fall to the wayside first.  You may be dead serious when you make the pledges on January 1, but you are perfectly willing to forget about them on the following weekend.

So what was it?  Were you going to lose weight?  Many people adopt this promise and some even join some weight loss group to help them out.  They may get inspirational speeches and coaching.  They may order health food from the organization, spending a lot more than if they went to the health food store and bought it themselves.  Soon some chocolate mousse will cross your path, calling out your name and you will cave in to the thing you never meant to give up anyway.  I knew a woman who spent a lot of money on health food and healthy shakes from a club.  They were so unsatisfying that she also spent a lot of money on junk food “snacks” to get her through to the next “healthy” meal.

If you were going to give up alcohol for January or until St. Patrick’s day or some other lofty goal, you may soon find the birthday party, sporting event, or post season work party to cancel that idea right out of your brain.  If you were encouraged to make such a resolution based on how you felt when you finally dragged yourself from the bed to the sofa on January 1, then it will probably go away soon anyway.  Those resolutions are made in the heat of the battle and forgotten when the fight is over.

Since all that partying does not qualify as exercise, you may have decided you need to work out.  Trust me, if you were not doing much physical activity prior to January 1, the turn of the calendar may not be enough of a push to get into shape.  Many work too hard at it in the first week, causing all those unused muscles to ache.  That in turn leads you to the feeling that you must lay your poor body down.  If your tough work out leads you to a night out because you “deserve it” after all your hard work at the health club, you may be on the road to blowing two resolutions at once.

So, are they history yet?  After all it will be two weeks into the New Year and a lot of life has gotten in the way to pull you off course.  If your resolution was to stop some vice like smoking, gambling, watching porn or something I would rather not know about, it is like the other resolutions.  You did not need a specific calendar date to give them up and you will not succeed unless you are firmly resolved.

LEADERSHIP

What makes a good Leader? by Rich Paschall

With the election cycle in full swing, and the seemingly endless Presidential debates at hand, it is fair to ask what makes a good Leader.  What traits do we expect a Leader to have?  What do we admire in our leaders?  What qualities do we want to avoid in our leaders?  What generates our respect and our willingness to follow?

Your Vote Counts

It is not enough to say that our leaders should “lead.”  What does that mean exactly?  In a certain sense they all want to lead, but where are they trying to take us?  What message is their leadership style sending?  Are they willing to lead us in a good way?

It is also not enough to say that they should “inspire.”  What does that mean as well?  If they inspire you, I guess you would, of course, want to follow.  Not all inspiration is filled with positive messages or moves in the right direction.  Will we know a good leader when one comes along?

Perhaps at the top of my list would be “trustworthy.”  Can we trust someone to do a good job?  Will they always look out for the best interests of the nation, the community, the local parish or whatever group they are asked to lead?  This trait speaks to the virtue of honesty.  If we trust someone, then we must believe deep down that they are honest.  They will not steal or take advantage of their position.  They will not use their position of authority to enrich themselves at the expense of others.  Do you trust your leaders?

A good leader must also be a “problem solver.”  Every organization will have it challenges along the way and the solutions are not necessarily apparent. This is where a good problem solver is important.

problem solving dogsIt is not that the leader needs to solve the problem himself or herself, it is that they must know the best way to get to the answers that are being sought.  In this regard, leadership might be stepping aside to let someone else step in to handle an issue.

To lead a person must also be self-confident.  In this manner some may come across as cocky or arrogant, which could indeed be the case.  However, one who lacks confidence in what he does can never be a good leader. Indecision will creep in as the dominant trait. Then the leader will find himself following others, falling prey to advice that may not be in the best interests of all.

Which way is your Leader going?

Which way is your Leader going?

Passion is important for those at the top of an organization. I have seen it often at the local level where leaders either do not feel passionate about what they do, or have lost that passion as the years wore on.

Just because you are a good leader in one decade, doesn’t mean that you will be a good leader in the next. Our diocese has a habit of moving successful pastors from one location to another, but success in one place doesn’t mean success at another.  Sometimes a problem arises when the so-called leader does not share the same passion for the next assignment as he did for the previous one.

Leaders must be resilient. They must have the ability to “roll with the punches,” as the saying goes. Some do not take real or perceived criticism well. Their downside begins to show when their side of things indeed seems to be down.

One thing for sure — a leader will face criticism. Not all will agree with everything that is said or done. It’s inevitable. A new leader may enjoy a “honeymoon” period of no criticism, but it won’t last. If you’re President of the United States, it will be brief indeed.

A leader needs vision. He or she must have a clear idea of what it is they should do and how they’ll get there. Again, this doesn’t mean the leader has to do it all.  A leader with vision will inspire others to work hard to help a vision become reality. If your vision doesn’t inspire others, you may need to rethink it.

A leader must effectively manage others, especially subordinates in the work place.  This means training, coaching, guiding and building up the resources of the organization, town, state, or country through hard work and careful planning.  “My way or the Highway” is not an effective leadership style, although I have seen some try to use it on the local level.  It is not what any organization needs and in fact tends to drive away good people.

Problems should be seen as fixable, not something to avoid at all costs. Some so-called leaders would choose the path of least resistance. If they avoid something where there might be even the slight chance of failure or disappointment, they are not leading at all. This is like the “prevent defense” in football.  Sometimes that prevents you from winning.

A good leader also is a good listener. I’m sure you’ve heard “no one learns anything new when he’s talking.”  A leader knows when and how to listen.  A leader knows which questions to ask to get the information to understand the issues and seek the right course of action.

Recently I sat down with a local pastor to discussion an event that he felt did not go well in every aspect.  At least I thought it was going to be a discussion. Instead it was an unpleasant hour listening to his negative point of view of certain aspects of the event. I’m not sure he listened to anything I said. He could just as well have had the conversation over coffee with himself.  I’m not sure why I bothered to talk at all.

Are your leaders listening?  Do they care what you think?  Will they serve your interests? As local and national elections near, what traits should your elected officials have?  As you join community organizations, what traits do you want to see in their leadership?

MORE GREAT THOUGHTS

Random Greatness, by Rich Paschall

How many random and unconnected thoughts can you come up with in one week? Just how random is your life anyway? If I keep writing random statements, does that indicate a failure to focus?  Uh…what was I saying?

Since I received 15 calendars in the mail from various organizations, down from almost twice as many a few years ago, I had no need to buy calendars for 2016.

I bought two calendars for 2016.  One is the Tom Daley calendar and one is Chris Mears.  Chris’ calendar is autographed, although I can not make out the signature anyway.

You don’t know who Tom Daley and Chris Mears are?

If I was going to the Olympics, I would want to see diving and my friend would want to see basketball.  I guess we will stay home, in our respective countries.

If my friend from Colombia comes to visit I plan to take him to the nearby Colombian restaurant to see how authentic it really is.

When we go to German restaurants, I compare the food to the memory of my grandmother’s cooking, or her sister’s.

When my friend from France visits we do not go to a French restaurant because he can get that at home.  Besides, he says, the French charge too much here for food and wine.

Eat local, drink local.

I did not find any Andes candies in the Andes.

To Rionegro

The Andes

Do you think any Eskimos go to Arizona or Florida in the winter?

My yellow tortilla chips are yellow.  So are the white ones.

The spicy guacamole from the local store is too spicy and the regular is too mild.  We need a medium.

There is a big difference between currency exchanges here and currency exchanges in other countries.  The ones here do not exchange one currency for another.

I think I will have to go back to the airport in Miami if I want to exchange Colombian pesos.

This is not a new story but I just ran across it.  It seems a man practicing his right to “open carry” his brand new gun was robbed of it, at gunpoint.  I guess the thief was glad the other guy displayed the gun openly because he told the victim he liked his gun.  KOIN news story is here.

Every now and then the line from Forest Gump comes to me.  You know the one.  “Stupid is as stupid does.”

There is something called the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act that will never pass Congress.  The NRA is against it.

If an organization supports the right of terrorists to buy weapons (as a second amendment right), does that make them a terrorist organization?

How many people still think Mark Zuckerberg is going to give them a lot of money if they share some Facebook post?

OK, everyone, repeat after me, “I will check Snopes.com or responsible websites before reposting stuff on Facebook, twitter and other social media.”

By responsible websites I do not mean FOX News.

All followers of the news channel whose name should not be mentioned should watch the movie Citizen Kane and keep watching it every week until they get it.

Followers of so-called Patriot radio should watch A Face In The Crowd and should keep watching it every week until they get it.

If you have not heard of Senator Joseph McCarthy, you should definitely read up.

Is it just too random if I switch from politics back to entertainment?

British musician and YouTuber Tom Law says he is moving to Croatia.

From photo shoot in Bath, England

Tom Joseph Law, from a photo shoot in Bath, England

Having missed him at least twice in 2015, I think I will definitely catch MAX Schneider in March.

Sometimes I catch myself randomly watching popular You Tube personalities and saying, “I don’t get it.”

What is your favorite Humphrey Bogart movie?  If you do not say “Casablanca,” don’t even speak to me.  How can you possibly say something else?casablanca-poster

I was disappointed to read that George Lucas does not like the direction of Star Wars under Disney.  I guess he should not have sold it.

How many Congressmen have ever visited the Library of Congress?

If the band Chicago is from Chicago and the band Kansas is from Kansas, where did UFO come from?

Resolutions?  What resolutions?