March 12, 2012

Why This Season’s Saturday Night Live is My Favorite

My friend Ryan recently explained why we're enjoying this season of  Saturday Night Live so much.

His theory? We are slowly getting closer to the ages of the head writers.

Comedy is cyclical. It is cultural. And our senses of humor are deeply shaped by our childhoods. For example, my generation is the Simpsons-Seinfeld generation. That's our baseline. Slightly dry. Slightly zany. Overtly sarcastic.

And that's where Saturday Night Live has been slowly moving these past three years with, Seth Myers, the host of Weekend Update, as the lone head writer.

If you stopped watching SNL during the 2000s (for good reason), give it another shot. Unless you're old. Then, go get rent some Best of Dana Carvey or something.

Just like I can't wait until our generation takes over design, politics and business, I'm really excited to see what SNL continues to evolve into. (Myers is actually 11 years my senior.) But, even now, I'm absolutely loving it. Because each year, I'm becoming more and more in charge of what gets written.

March 9, 2012

You Can Not Presume a Position of Authority

"You can not presume a position of authority. You must be placed there."

This is my running mantra. The most important professional lesson I could ever take to heart.

And I never do.

After a fleeting moment of clarity last year, I posted this, thinking I had finally learned my lesson.

And it didn't stick. I do this every time. I think people can see me the way I see me. That they are equally confident in my abilities. That they are equally dying for me to steer their ship.

Well, guess what? People don't like their gig getting stepped on. Especially by folks our age.

It doesn't matter if you know what you're talking about. You must be invited to the party. Even if you show up with a lovely bottle of wine, it's still really weird. Because you weren't invited.

You may be at your current job, confident of what you could do if you were just given the keys to the company car. But, you have got to stop asking for them.

If you're in a culture that recognizes talent, you're going to be fine. If you're in a culture that doesn't recognize talent, there's nothing you can do to fight it besides getting bloody. You're still not getting the keys.

So, do exactly what you're told. And do it surprisingly great.

March 8, 2012

Creating Incentives for Critical Thought in High School Education

The implied goal in high school is to get "A"s.

But, in some schools, and for some people, getting A's can be really easy. So easy they can get them without learning.

And those people need different goals. Perhaps making "A"s harder to get would do it?

Perhaps re-thinking the goal system altogether?

March 8, 2012

The Evolution of Sloth

"Ugh, the closest corral to return this shopping cart is 6 car spaces away? Nah, I'll just leave it here in this empty parking space."

Sadly, I'm not mocking society at large. This is a personal confession of my thought process and the behavior I exhibited yesterday.

What's happening to me? Why does movement in general seem like such a chore nowadays?

March 8, 2012

White V-Neck T-Shirts: Male Fashion Mandate

Alright my fellow males, it's time we stop buying anything but v-neck style white t-shirts.

All other t-shirt styles are unnecessary. Think about it.

When you're wearing a business shirt without a tie, you need the top button open, and you really don't want your high collared white t-shirt rim sticking out for the world to see. It cheapens the look.

So since the v-neck t-shirt style still works in a lounging day around your house, why would you buy the other kind?

Just buy the one that works in every occasion.

March 6, 2012

If We Took the $50 Billion a Year We Spend on Pets…

Each year, Americans spend $50 billion on our pets, including food, veterinary care and more.

Do you know what else we could do with $50 billion a year? Pretty much anything great you could imagine.

A one-time cost of $30 billion could provide the entire world with access to clean drinking water.

$30 billion a year over just 10 years could create a sustainable solution that would virtually end world hunger.

I'm not saying you suck for having a pet. I equally suck for buying donuts. This is simply a fiscal example to help us understand our current spending priorities, as well as what we are capable of doing.

Currently, we value our pets over human suffering. That's the reality. But, maybe if we see these numbers, our reality starts to change?

March 5, 2012

Living in Fear and Locking My Doors

In the movie Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore visits Canada to test a theory he hears about how Canadians don't lock their doors.

So, he takes to the streets, tries walking into people's homes unannounced, and succeeds.

He tries getting explanations out of these individuals - some of whom have admitted to being robbed in the past, and still don't lock their doors. The gist of it?

"If I lock my doors, I'm afraid. If I don't lock them, I'm not."

This is clearly insane. Yet, part of me loves it. I loved walking to the park and leaving our garage door open. I loved not thinking about. I loved pretending that bad people didn't exist.

And then my daughter was born. And the idea of harm befalling her shakes my very core. Yet, owning a gun for protection does the same.

What's my ideal here for getting the mental protection I need without being held hostage to my fear?

A security system?

March 1, 2012

This is Austin?

Austin, Texas: "It's like a bunch of 17-year olds set out to create the coolest city ever, gave up after 2 blocks, and spent the rest of their lives doing drugs."

I apologize for the blog silence this week. I was down in Austin at a conference for work. But I'm back with a re-cap.

Austin was one of those places I always thought I might want to live - despite never having been there. And I was disappointed. But how can you not be - when you think it might be your Eden.

And that was my main takeaway from this weekend.

I met people from Canada. From Texas. From New York. From California. And no one was really happy with where they were.

Even the girl from Fresno, who's minutes from the ocean, and minutes from skiing in the mountains.She loved it. But talked about wanting to give Denver a try. Or maybe give Spokane a try.

The lesson I learned was that we will always be discontent, because this is not our home. And that's not saying we should settle where you are - but not to think a city alone can solve the discontent in our soul.

More soon.