If it is . . . you’re part of the problem.

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Quotes: Focusing on the unimportant.

Ever noticed how we tend to focus on the unimportant? We spend more time fretting over how we’re dressed when we should care about telling our family we love them. We worry about working tirelessly at a job we hate rather than searching for something that makes us happy. And we focus so often on the future or the mistakes of the past that we forget to live in the present. We care so much about our online presence and how many followers we have yet we couldn’t [care less] about the man or woman standing beside us who is desperate to feel loved.

– Chris Nicholas

Source here.

Quotes: Drugging children into compliance.

image“Through natural learning children learn critical thinking, social skills, bonding with friends and family, and develop a genuine interest in knowledge. In structured, rigid schooling, especially the forced government variety, children learn conformity, compliance, memorization, the importance of following arbitrary rules, and to blindly respect those in positions of ‘authority,’ whether they deserve it or not. . . . And if children aren’t perfectly conforming to the rigid idea of what is ‘normal’ behavior, if they express themselves, and stand out – then these children are slapped with various diagnoses, then drugged into compliance.”

From the article The Absurdity of Public Education.

Pain Rankings: The seven NFL teams who have caused their fans the most pain and suffering.

imageWhat better way is there to ring in the 2015 NFL preseason (beginning in two weeks) than by ripping open the wounds of fans whose teams have caused them the most pain and suffering for many years decades.

But please do not take pleasure in the misery of the fans of these teams . . . they have been through enough.

Without further ado, I introduce you to the NFL Pain Rankings, written by the witty Dan Hanzus. (Click on each team name for the full article.)

7). Kansas City Chiefs

image“Where were you the last time the Kansas City Chiefs won a playoff game? That would be Jan. 16, 1994, when 37-year-old Joe Montana led K.C. to a comeback win over the Houston Oilers at the Astrodome. Me? I was probably taping Ace of Base singles off Z-100 while plotting out a battle plan for the upcoming Spring Fling dance.”

6). Cincinnati Bengals
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“The Bengals are the NFL’s Kings of What Might Have Been. With some better decisions, improved timing, maybe just a pinch of luck, they could be seen as one of the NFL’s most successful organizations. Think about that. The Bengals. But each time the Bengals approached greatness, they made a wrong turn or were otherwise detoured away from a better place in history.”

5). Minnesota Vikings

image“The Minnesota Vikings are a franchise committed to family: They have pain to share for all generations. For decades, they’ve bonded the people of the Upper Midwest with their ability to lift you up, then throw you down like a Prince thunder jam from the banks of Lake Minnetonka. Remember when the Metrodome roof collapsed a few years back? That’s what being a Vikings fan is like. Everything looks safe … beautiful even. And then … whoooooooooooooooosh.”

4). Detroit Lions

image“Lions fans are still waiting. The Super Bowl will celebrate its 50th anniversary next February, and you can safely assume the NFL will go all out to honor America’s grand sporting spectacle. If history is any indication, the league’s Detroit franchise won’t be anywhere near San Francisco.”

3). Buffalo Bills

image“On Jan. 20, 1991, the Buffalo Bills dropped a 51-3 bomb on the Los Angeles Raiders to become AFC champions. The Bills would go on to successfully defend that conference title in the three seasons that followed. It remains a remarkable achievement — one that might never be duplicated. Which makes it all the more cruel that this feat is not remembered for its success, but rather for its failure. That’s what happens when you follow each of those wins with a painful Super Bowl loss20-19. 37-24. 52-17. 30-13. No God-fearing citizen of Western New York will ever play that set of numbers in the lotto.”

2). New York Jets

image“Same old Jets. Seasons come and seasons go. As do players, coaches, owners, stadiums and Fireman Ed. Everything changes. Everything, except the Jets. For the past 45 years, they’ve remained the one New York team you can trust above all others to break your heart. (That’s a pretty big achievement in a market that also houses the Mets and Knicks.”

1). Cleveland Browns

image“How could it be anybody else? For the past two weeks, we’ve counted down the NFL teams and fan bases that have suffered the most through the years. Deciding where to slot each of the damned in the ‘top seven’ was a difficult process (a process, it must be acknowledged, I took waaaaay too seriously). The truth of the matter is that a case can be made for each of the teams to land anywhere in the first six spots. Each team except . . . the Cleveland Browns.”

What happens when a writer reads a classic and doesn’t like it?

Last summer I read a classic that I had been wanting to read for a while. I began the journey through its pages with great hope and anticipation only to quickly find myself slugging through the prose, disappointed in not only how the story was written but in the story itself.

imageLet down, I drudged along expecting the story to get better but it never did. Like the man in a dental chair enduring a root canal, I found myself wanting the whole experience to be over as quickly as possible but the ending took an excruciatingly long time to come, and when it did arrive it failed to make up for everything preceding it.

The book never resonated with me, never moved me, and quite frankly, failed to interest me. And what made the whole experience even more frustrating is that I had expected that I was going to like the book.

So what does that make me? A writer who doesn’t like a classic book?

Maybe I’d be better off not pursuing a writing career, similar to the kid who passes out at the sight of blood should not list “doctor” as one of the things he wants to do when he grows up.

imageHave I done the unthinkable in the literary world? Should I have kept this dark secret to myself and not shared it publicly? I felt like I should be banished to an island void of all books for this egregious transgression.

But then I had a moment of clarity. I realized that what makes me different is what makes me unique. And aren’t some of the best writers some of the most unique writers? Yeah, that’s me. I’ve never quite fit into a mold so why should I try to now?

So I will put this unthinkable crime behind me and move onward, writing the stories that I would want to read (and hopefully that you would want to read too).

Oh, and in case you were wondering what the book was, it was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.