Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Knife Show and ‘How to be Great’ books


The chaos of the season is over, and everyone can truly relax and slow down the production of cortisol. No more shopping, wrapping, fretting, blowing budgets, eating (sorry), and assembling. Now ‘tis the season to relax and reflect, at least for those mere few days between the cleanup of destroyed wrapping paper and the last shot you take on New Year’s Eve.

One of the things i like to do in this snippet of mandatory vacation from my employer is to observe, reflect and record. Since I have yet to develop a gadget to be implanted in my head that will record and regurgitate on command, I shall blog. Upon reflection, I often end up with a long list of things about myself that should, must or really really need to be improved.

Incredibly, the knife show had an allure similar to zen teachings that I believe will help me improve in 2010. Things I learned from the knife show:

1. If Tom O’Dell can sell knives, you can do anything!
2. Follow the Zen teaching of no resistance. Just go with the flow and practice acceptance, especially when there is nothing else on television but the knife show.
3. Some knives just do not want to be opened. Like uncooperative people, children or pets . . . just leave them alone.
4. Don’t drink and play with knives, they are sharp and you will hurt yourself or others.
5. Last, have fun no matter what you are doing, even while watching the knife show.

Well, I can feel the improvement beginning already. If only I can get past something I saw while Christmas shopping. I came across a couple of books that shocked me. Offending me is not easy, but what I found really got to me. The reason, because what I saw pointed out everything I am not . . . the perfect girl.

What I found sitting on a shelf in a store were two books, side by side, just like a man and woman would walk through life. One was blue and one was pink. The blue book was entitled The Boys’ Book of Greatness, Even More Ways to be the Best at Everything. The pink book was entitled The Girls’ Book of Glamour, A Guide to Being a Goddess.

There is clearly something wrong with this picture. Why can’t girls be great? Why do boys have to be the “best” at everything? Are they also the best at decorating, cooking, being pretty? Probably, since men design clothing, makeup and have crazy cooking shows.

What are we teaching girls? Have the sisters of the bra-burning days taught us nothing? Are we all supposed to be dumb airheads only to be seen by boys as objects? What about the boys that want to actually engage in an intellectual conversation with girls and all of a sudden we have nothing to add?

I’m no Goddess, and never will be, but I feel better now that I have reflected. Of course, my list of improvements just expanded and I don’t think the knife show is going to help me.

I do hope everyone has a wonderful new year with much success and happiness.

Carpe Diem!


Another Way to Look at War


College football is not quite over yet, and we are all waiting here in the south to see if UT can do it. But as I surf around and arrange my own professional fantasy football team, I can’t help but notice all of the news about the recent actions in the White House. The decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, the potential decision to move into Pakistan, the recent massacre in Iraq, the trials of terrorists in New York, etc. It all makes me wonder why we do, as a nation, what we do in other countries.

Why do we spend our time, our lives, our money, and sometimes our freedom to help other countries? And can you really say we are helping? I wonder this every day driving to work and listening to to the reports from overseas. Listening to the slaughter of troops from around the world attempting to free a country of tribal struggles. How did this all of a sudden become our problem?

Then I read a story about Angelina Jolie’s opinion of President Obama. Apparently he has not lived up to her expectations when it comes to yet another foreign country, Sudan. The death toll is gruesome, and there is not much hope there. I’m not sure what Obama is supposed to do, but whatever it is, he has not done it.

As all of the problems of the world swirl around on the airwaves for every American to see and hear, I again wonder why we are expected to care? And it finally came to me . . . because we can and because we should. Wouldn’t America want the same in return if the shoe was on the other foot? I can promise you if I were wearing a sari and breaking rocks on the side of the road all day in 100 degree temps with absolutely no end in site, I would pray for any kind of salvation. Whether it be from a soldier or death, it would be better than breaking rocks with only death to look forward to. This is the bleak outlook of hundreds of thousands of people in different parts of the world.

The world is full of atrocities. And maybe it is not up to America to impose our democratic system and values on every single country, but it is in our best interest to help when asked and where we can. Impossible? Maybe. But there are so many solutions, you just have to keep trying until you get it right. Or at least that is what you do if you are a super power.

It’s mind boggling, and what we can hope for is that in our lifetime, we will never need this kind of assistance from another country!

Carpe Diem.