Just imagine that the world is a neutral place. Nothing is good or bad until you decide it is. Nothing is possible or impossible, unless you decide it is. There are no judgments about anything, until you make them. And when you do start to make them, when you do assemble your own unique, personal world view, it's strictly your thoughts that define what that is for you. Because the world is, and has always been, a neutral place. Think about that.
May 2, 2010
A livid letter writer tells me that she is outraged by my "stance on things". She goes on to say that she is a teacher and thus a "universally recognized person of authority", and she is going to demand that the school remove my site because she doesn't want the children to be infected by my "completely erroneous and Godless thoughts about thoughts. Especially the ones about life, where God isn't even mentioned, like that's even possible." Hey, I'm on board with that, ban me, 'cause, you know, it's for the children.
May 3, 2010
We here at Keith Ryan Publishing have so much need for mental health counseling that we have decided to hire a company shrink. And to break down old barriers, we put up a bunch of educational posters that say stuff like, 'Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, your Uncle Bernie however...', and, 'If you're being driven crazy, don't kill your fellow co-worker, even if he/she is the one chauffeuring you there. Step away from the car, put down the gun, and come see us!' Good stuff like that. Anyway, we put out a Craigslist ad and got all kinds of the usual suspects. Interviewing starts tomorrow.
The first candidate this morning was Dr. Cupcake (nee Ronald Bishoven), inventor and founder of Dr. Cupcake's Instant Cupcake Therapy. He went on to explain, though no one asked, "The pinks ones are for the depressives, but no sprinkles on those, it tends to overwhelm them. Sprinkles in general tend to be flashy with all their colours and gaudy beauty and I have to remember to tell myself when I'm baking them, Remember Ronald, we're trying to make the sick well not win a county fair! This yellow one is my favorite, it just plain banishes the blahs..."
He went on and on. We stuffed our faces with his "medicinal" cupcakes the whole time. When he was done, none of us felt any better, but we were full, so we sent Dr. Cupcake packing and called a halt to the rest of the day's interviews so we could nap.
These guys used to be in a group practice, have been retired for decades, bored for decades. Each one wants to work one day a week with Melvin, the Abe Vigoda look-alike, third from the left, working two - "As long as one's not a Thursday. I hate Thursdays. It's not quite the weekend, but it's the fourth day in a row at work and you're just beat down by all the me me me stories you've heard all week from this whiny patient and that loser court mandated client and, well, don't get me started. No Thursdays!" When I asked the boys if they realized we were an Internet company and were they up to snuff on the problems of today's tech workers, to a man they all stared at me like I was a caretaker who just walked into the room and said, "Now who wants pudding?!"
On the other end of the spectrum, we talked with this bright young tyke who became the first board certified psychiatrist under the age of 2 in history! While certainly qualified, and more than adorable, unfortunately, draconian child labour laws prevented him from working more than 8 hours a day, and well, we have a lot of sick people here.
Oh my lord this guy was interesting, but crazy himself. Crazier, in fact, than anyone who wanted to avail themselves of his services. Crazy enough to understand crazy, sure, but able to temper it in others when he seemed incapable of tempering it in himself? We weren't so sold on that. I mean, the guy just inspired it. Heck, we all felt a little nuts after he left. You know, I can't really tell if things are going well or not. The plan is to finish up tomorrow.
Oh this was just too weird. May I present Jenny and her mummified sister, Joanna. Jenny and Joanna are "cognitive angels", where, according to Jenny, "Joanna takes over the patient's mind and then tells me what's wrong with 'em. We're a super team!" Jenny enthused. Just not here, I added.
Donny impressed us with his been there, done that approach to life. Apparently there wasn't anything Donny wouldn't try. Hasn't tried. Now it's true, Donny was never officially trained in the psychological arts, nor does he have a formal education past grade 2, but his no nonsense approach to setting people straight won us over. See, at the end of every session, Donny's parting line is, "If you don't listen to me, you'll end up looking like me. That what you want? Have a nice day, bub. Next."
There is no next, Donny. You're here to stay. Welcome to Keith Ryan Publishing.
Coda: Donny stayed just long enough to rob the petty cash drawer, impregnate Sheila in Accounting, get high in the bathroom and stiff a month's worth of appointments. Sigh. Well that's it, I'm making an executive decision. Since I have to go out of town for the next 5 days, I'm giving everyone at Keith Ryan Publishing a mental health extra long weekend off so they can do whatever it is that makes them sane, and then they can return refreshed next Tuesday. There, that's tidy.
So, that means the entire company is closed from right now until Tuesday morning.
The website will remain static.
The e-mail will go unanswered.
Please excuse us.
We'll be back Tuesday.
May 11, 2010
I was in Chicago recently for a business meeting. If I had said that perhaps at any other time in my life, it would have been funny, and by those that know me well, really funny, because I was notorious for things like having no interest in business meetings in Chicago. Now look, I realize that makes no sense to many, and I also realize that you've been waiting the better part of a week for a new post, and then I come up with this, the equivalence of a I-was-in-Chicago-for-business-meetings-recently-and-all-I-got-was-this-lousy-T-shirt, T-shirt. Still.
May 12, 2010
I admit it, I think I'm funny. I think I write funny, and though it may be esoteric humor only appreciated by myself and a select sick few, funny's funny, right? I bring this up because I got a call from a producer who said that he was in a meeting about writers, my name came up, and the discussion centered on whether I was a "certain kind of funny" or not. These guys wanted to produce a stupid, simple minded, brain dead adolescent gross-out comedy in the hopes of luring stupid, simple minded, brain dead adolescents to come watch it. I asked him what the consensus was. He told me that to a man, no one knew if I could write stupid funny, that was why he was calling. I told him the real question was, Why did they think I would want to?
May 13, 2010
The Big Bang of poor interfamily dynamics: sibling rivalry at its source.
A guy talking about his life boasts that he twice barely survived catastrophes that killed scores of lesser men. It made him wonder if merely surviving is not mankind's greatest strength? He said the sheer will and forceful determination to survive was the most powerful thing he had ever conjured up in his life. And he did it twice. And yet I had to wonder at the toll that took because he was currently uninspiring, mean spirited, fat and lazy. The incongruity between the words coming out of his mouth and the bloated picture before one's eyes, was too sharply drawn to ignore. Sadly, I'd say that survival for him now is killing time between bags of potato chips. And it certainly begs the question: Could he survive a thrid time, or has he given up already?
May 15, 2010
Obviously, the Internet is the mass medium for the people of the world. It is egalitarian, unfettered and needs no regional regulation whatsoever. Any intimation that it needs to be tiered, throttled, censored or limited in any way is not at all - nor will it ever be - in the best interest of the hundreds of millions of people who use it and need it. Power tripping governments, business self-interest, or any pious group calling for crippling the Internet for any reason is spurious, and always smells of corruption and/or ignorance.
May 16, 2010
Almost 20 years ago I had been given a Swiss Army Knife that had never been used. Recently, we had guests over for dinner and we couldn't find a bottle opener, when suddenly I remembered the Swiss Army Knife, the exact place I had put it two decades ago, and the fact that when I initially received it, I had opened all the blades to see what it had and one was a corkscrew. Well how do we do that? How do we unknowingly catalogue ephemera and remember it? And while I'm at it, we never did find the bottle opener. How do you misplace a 6 inch corkscrew? How does that even happen?
May 17, 2010
To the eye, contrast can be as mesmerizing as any rabbit ever pulled out of a hat.
Back at the beginning of this year, I said I was going for a rocket ride in 2010. To continue with the metaphor and bring you up to speed, I can say that the rocket designs have been completed and the building of the rocket has commenced. Except for the times we have misplaced irreplaceable tools, bolted on the wrong parts, gotten kicked out of the hanger, read the plans upside down or run out of money, all has gone relatively smoothly, for building a rocket, which is, as you might guess, you know, hard. Launch date is completely dependent on rocket completion, which is completely dependent on finding the misplaced tools, bolting on the right parts, following the plans right side up and securing oodles of capital. In other words, launch date has yet to be determined. Still, exciting, no? All right, but soon you'll see.
May 19, 2010
My ode to the computer. Ahem.
Computes are great, when they work.
Thank you. Thank you very much. No, you the man. Really.
May 20, 2010
Walking through a cemetery and skimming headstones, I come across this:
May 21, 2010
We had a windstorm that blew down some dead wood across the driveway. Cleaning up the debris I found an intact bird nest with two eggs in it. I got our orchard ladder and securely placed the nest high up in a tree next to the one that blew down. Will the mother return? Is it too late? Drama in real life, countryside style.
May 22, 2010
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIThe TUCKER & SOPHIE & MADDIE ChroniclesIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
Circadian rhythm be damned! Our dogs, who used to easily be able to sleep till 9, have started arising at dawn, which at this time of the year is about 5 AM. Every morning I tell them that it's too early to get up and I have no intention of playing with them at that ungodly hour now leave me alone I'm not kidding, but they laugh. They jump on my side of the bed. They howl. They say that first light is the best light, get up, get up, get up. Even Susan wants me up because that's the only way she can go back to sleep. Soon I'm making coffee and telling them what terrible dogs they are for waking me at the crack of dawn, and thinking it's funny when it's not, and jumping all over me and other such fierce admonishments, but they don't care, I can see it in their eyes, and their wagging tails.
May 23, 2010
If you know who you are, and like what that is, then self-confidence is yours to use as a tool and a coping strategy. The value of self-confidence is ridiculous. You feel it, everyone else sees it. It's powerful, it's got the panache of an eye patch, its middle name is charisma, but to know who you are requires self-examination of, well, who you are. It's like making yourself your own hobby. But instead of constructing model airplanes, you construct a better life. You - what else could be more worthy of your time?
May 24, 2010
Is OMG the digital version ofAy, caramba!
May 25, 2010
It was the May long holiday weekend in Canada - the official start to Summer, but I ended up working most of it. Please, no tears, it was good work, labor of love work, and it allowed me to complete stuff that had been nearly complete but just somehow wasn't quite, um, complete. But now it is. The final push happened this weekend. While everyone was camping and roasting weenies. While every other Canadian frolicked and funned themselves silly, I was working and working and then I would work some more. Could I smell those hot dogs, you bet. Still, like I said, don't cry for me, Argentina. I'm good. Really. Am too.
May 26, 2010
Detached, cradled in gravity's fold, the end. Beautiful yet sad.
Jeez, I almost impulse bought a computer. Susan is due for a new Tablet PC and we had narrowed it down to two. This morning, I stumbled on one of the contenders, who happened to be having an online sale - for like another three hours. For our preferred configuration, the price was good - not blow you away good, knock your socks off good, or even, well kiss my grits good, but good enough to almost impulse buy right then and there. But I didn't. I mustered my reserve and walked away. Puff puff, who's your daddy! Will I end up going back and buying it within the next couple of hours. Probably. Still.
May 28, 2010
WTF? I was snail mailed a grainy black and white picture of a naked woman and her immensely fat boyfriend, on a bed, surrounded by what appears to be hundreds of greeting cards. She is looking coquettish, with a greeting card stuck between each of her toes; he is eating a candy bar and smoking a cigarette. The caption says, "Steffi and Aldo greet you - forever!" WTF?
May 29, 2010
Public Service Announcement
A geek and a modern day hippie fall in love and get married. He strikes it rich on a piece of software and immediately goes out and buys a turbo twin diesel 2,500 horsepower cigarette boat that gets a half a mile to the gallon. His wife turns on him. How could he do this to the Earth? Earth-schmerf, he says, I wanna go fast! She swiftly loses her mind, kills him in a rage and buries him in her organic garden. The lesson? Please, please, please, stay away from tech! Lest you get rich and die.
This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you by the concerned folkery at Keith Ryan Publishing, where we believe that your welfare is much too important to leave up to you, not that you don't do some things well, it's just this is not one of them.
May 30, 2010
When I was a kid, one of our neighbors had a house that was a magnetic deathtrap for me. Once, I jumped off their second floor balcony and tried to "slide" down a fir tree that grew right next to it. That ended badly. It was a brick house and the corners had squares where alternating courses had a ¼" proud reveal, so you could literally climb the side of their house all the way to the roof, some thirty odd feet off the ground. More than once I lost my finger grip or toe hold on the way up or down... I even remember climbing past the kitchen window once and waving to my friend's mother at the sink - and she waved back! There was a series of five successive summers where I managed to puncture my foot on a rusty nail, resulting in five consecutive tetanus shots - and all five nails were stepped on at their house. I just looked at it on Google Earth. It seems benign enough. I don't know what it was about that place...
May 31, 2010
Sometimes the end of the month can be a sad time, especially for shut-ins like Ernie Usterdorf, who only has some crossword puzzles and a black and white TV for company. It used to be that every 4th Sunday 19 Usterdorf family members would jam his room and crowd around his little black and white TV and make Ernie feel claustrophobic and unloved. Once, when everyone was gaga for a meaningless quiz show and continually shouting out the wrong answers with gusto, Ernie, in a pique, told the lot to bugger off and go get educated 'cause the Usterdorf family was obviously comprised of 19 freakin' idiots. That was a long time ago... Sometimes the end of the month can be a sad time, especially for shut-ins like Ernie Usterdorf.