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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Positivity and Negativity

If I make dark my countenance,
I shut my life from happier chance. 


A few years ago, I was at a thing at Baylor High School in Chattanooga (GBR), and Bill Curry was among the speakers - FYI, Bill Curry was the head football coach of the University of Alabama for a time, and I was a Tennessee fan in attendance at Legion Field on Mr. Curry's 47th birthday (10/21/89), when the Crimson Tide put up 47 points on my beloved Vols. They ran a meaningless touchdown in at the end of the game just to give him 47 points on his 47th birthday.  Yes I'm still bitter.  Also, if you don't follow college, and more importantly, SEC football, then the preceding is meaningless to you.


Mr. Curry gave a really inspirational talk that centered around positivity.  I'll never forget one thing he said (to paraphrase him):  Just stay away from negative people.  Just don't engage with them.  I really took that to heart (for a week or so), before I went back to my cynical way of looking at things. One dictionary defines Cynicism as "An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others" - I don't really ascribe to that definition, preferring instead to consider (at least) my brand of cynicism to be more of a sarcastic (not necessarily negative) view of life.  I'm close to digressing again.

Anyhow, negativity is such an easy attitude to slip into.  I spent most of 2012 that way. I choose now though to break free from that way of living my life - probably not quite as simple as making Grand Proclamations on a Blogger Blog, but still, it is how I choose to start. I think one place I could start that might effect a change in me is by paying attention to what I watch on TV - I watch a fair amount of Cable TV news, and read a fair amount of editorial political comments, from both sides of the aisle. These tend to raise my blood pressure and cause negative reactions in me.

Grand Proclamation #1 - stop watching so much of that drivel - it is there to provoke, not as an intellectual exercise, but as an exercise in ratings and revenue production.

As Mr. Curry pointed out, I should stay away from negative people, so:

Grand Proclamation #2 - stop engaging negative people, whether in person, on Facebook, or wherever.

Grand Proclamation #3 - Put the phone down occasionally.  Unplug occasionally.  This one will be difficult.

Wish me luck

(I still want to be a little cynical though)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration thoughts

I enjoyed watching the President's public inauguration today.  Did you know that he was actually sworn in yesterday? The constitution (20th amendment, see here) states that the President's term in office ends at Noon on the 20th of January, so he took his official oath (so did Vice-President Biden, btw) yesterday, in private. Today was all about the celebration.

My favorite part of his speech was this line:

"We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate."

Yeah, especially the last part of the sentence. We've really devolved in that regard.

Here is the full text of his speech: 2nd inaugural address

I also enjoyed watching his two beautiful daughters and his beautiful wife.  Maybe as a man who has the same at my house, those images resonated with me.

I had to laugh when I saw everyone except Michelle Obama whipping out their cell phones.  Again, the image below resonates with me!!

The guy off of Michelle's left shoulder looks as if he disapproves of something, or maybe has a little gas. Can't really tell.

I can't find very good pictures, but both Michelle Obama and Jill Biden had some shoes on that were not conducive to marching down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Joe Biden looked like he was ready to high five everyone on the route - I'd like to have a beer with him.

Anyhow.  Good luck to the President and the Vice-President.  I don't always agree with them, but then I don't always agree with anyone.  Regardless, he's in charge and God bless him - I wouldn't want the job.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


It's no secret that the last couple of years have sucked in my world.  So far though, 2013 hasn't (knock on wood).

Since the beginning of the year, I've been preparing for tax season - although the IRS has announced that individual tax season won't start until January 30 (read this for details: Shameless, self promoting link to my business website). With the help of my staff, I've organized the office in general, and specifically, I've cleaned and organized my office.

My office before  organizing (ok, not really):

My office after organizing (yeah, yeah, another dramatization):

Anyhow, this process has been wonderfully cathartic for me.  It's as if I'm throwing away all the badness and starting the new year fresh and ready to go.  This morning, I cleaned out what I call "The dungeon". The dungeon is a cellar off of my office where, apparently, I stash any box, carton, dead body, whatever I don't want to deal with.  Over the last amount of time, stuff has stacked up.

I'm going to recycle approximately 7 million cardboard boxes in a few minutes, after which I will hopefully be left with a clean office and a clean mind, raring to go into a fantastic tax season. Call me.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Funny thing about sleep... come you can't have it when you most want it? It is 3am, I'm awake, and would give anything to be asleep right now.   Twitter is silent, Facebook is silent and I can't get into any of the three books I'm reading right now.

Did you watch the Sugar Bowl tonight? I found myself pulling for Louisville, and against the hated Gators. The heavily favored Gators. They (the Gators) lost and I smiled several times at the crowd shots of distraught football fans. It's a game, not life! (although it's nice when they stop doing that stupid Gator chomp).

Here's a list of the last several songs I tagged on Shazam:

Dog Days Are Over - Florence and the Machine
99 Problems - Hugo
The Distance - Cake
It Makes No Difference - The Band
Tu Cuerpo - Pittbull feat. Jencarlos
Souvenirs Souvenirs - Johnny Hallyday
If It Wasn't For You - Various Cruelties
Yellow Ledbetter - Pearl Jam
Home - Phillip Phillips
Keep Us Steadfast - Lyle Lovett
I'm Not Down - The Clash

You should listen to each of these and figure out why I tagged them, then let me know.

The overnight housekeepers at this hotel carry the vacuum cleaners on their backs. They look like something out of The Jetsons. They also look annoyed at me for sitting here in their way.

I type with my forefingers, as well as my pointer finger (but only on my right hand).

I just got an email telling me that my online backup service had completed the backup, with no skipped files, so there's that.

Update: I picked up my feet, so the housekeeper could vacuum under them. She was appreciative.

Ok. That's all for now. I think I'll share this to FB and Twitter so that people can read this and then wonder how they can get the three minutes of their lives (that it takes to read this) back.