I was spending the weekend at Crystal Cove State Park enjoying the ocean view with my wife and daughter when I noticed that all my daughter wanted to do was watch a TV show on her cell phone. We couldn’t get her to play in the sand or even take a nice sunset stroll with us. Then while I was going into town to get groceries, I heard an NPR podcast with Manoush Zomorodi about her new book, “Bored and Brilliant – How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self.” All of a sudden, the light bulb went off.
Manoush has figured out one of the biggest problems with today’s society and made me realize that cell phones and social media platforms are sucking the creativity right out of us as human beings. We’re all guilty of peeking at our phones unconsciously throughout the day, but I didn’t realize how obsessive we were about this until she explained the phenomenon. Of course, I immediately bought her book and am reading it now.
I implore you all to listen to her podcast because it will change your life. Well, if nothing else, it will chance your opinion of cell phone use.
There was a nice article in my college town newspaper about Brother Jed and my college days.
Here’s an excerpt:
And if entertainment executive/author TOM LOPINSKI (left) hadn’t crossed paths with one JED SMOCK (right) during his years at the UI (off and on, 1976-81), his most recent novel would have one less colorful character.
For the Georgetown-born Lopinski, now director of music licensing for the Disney/ABC Television Group, the most memorable campus personality wasn’t a coach or a professor but rather a preacher — though not the traditional presiding-over-Sunday-services variety.
“Reverend Jed entertained students every spring and fall with his fiery sermons and a relentless desire to save us all from ourselves,” Lopinski says. “I spent many an afternoon sitting on the campus grass watching a crowd form around him as he spun tales about spiritual enlightenment and captured our hearts. He ignored the subtle slurs, constant giggling behind his back and in-your-face direct rebukes that followed him everywhere… READ MORE
Here it is the morning after my beloved Cubbies finished off the Dodgers with ease…
Source: Just Try Not To Suck!
I love that saying. Thank you, Joe Maddon.
Here it is the morning after my beloved Cubbies finished off the Dodgers with ease and I’m still in shock. All I could think about was what my father and grandfather would say if they were here today. Then I realized that they’d say nothing because they’d be in shock too.
There have been hundreds of stories written about heartbreak and defeat for Cub fans over the years. The saga between the Cubs and the World Series is kind of like that shy quiet kid who is in love with the prettiest girl in class. She ignores you for years but knows you’re staring at her all the time.
Occasionally, she’ll feel sorry for you and allow you to take her out for hot dogs and a beer. Before the night is over though, you gather up enough courage to try and kiss her on the lips. Unfortunately, every time she turns her head away and only let’s you peck her on the cheek. You just can’t seem to ever get that juicy kiss on the lips.
Well, Mary Makowski, wherever you are, the kid’s time has come so pucker up and get ready because the Cubs are in the World Series this year and we are going all the way!!!
Instead of the normal boring book trailer, my girls and I created a short comedy piece to bring a smile to your day.
Please watch the Lopinski triplets talk about “The Art of Raising Hell” in their own special way.
Take a look:
Now that this Halloween is over, it’s time for a little reflection.
First of all, why isn’t Halloween a week long celebration? I was recently in Peru during the summer solstice holiday of Inti Raymi. The Peruvians danced, sang, drank and paraded for a whole week. That is how you celebrate a holiday and make it memorable. Anyway, I digress.
This Halloween, I sat on my front porch swing and waited for trick or treaters to come to my doorstep. I placed the candy in a large bowl and set it on a table in front of me. As children came up to the house, I told them to take a couple of pieces of candy.
What happen next was quite unexpected. Some kids came up to the porch and timidly picked up one piece of candy, then quickly walked away. Other kids boldly stomped up to the bowl and swooped out handfuls of candy while ignoring my instructions. It became obvious after a short while that I had stumbled onto the makings of a rather interesting psychology experiment.
The question would be: do the children who take one piece of candy turn out to be people who are unsuccessful in life while the ones who grabbed as much as possible turn out to be the one-percenters? It took me almost a week to figure out the flaw in my thinking. I was looking at this from the completely wrong perspective.
After a week of reflection, I realized that the question wasn’t concerning how rich these children would turn out to be, but how HAPPY they would be. It was right there in front of me. The kids who took one piece of candy would grow up to be adults who would be content with who they were and the lives they made for themselves. The kids who grabbed as much as possible would never be satisfied no matter how much wealth they had.
Science be damned, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!
We thanked the wonderful straw hatted lady for bringing our supplies up the mountain and saving us from scavenging through trashcans to find half empty water bottles. Funny, how a lack of water makes your mind believe that the yellow color in a faded piece of plastic is really just Mountain Dew instead of urine.
After setting up camp, our guide convinced us to use the last few hours of daylight exploring the plateau, so we set off south toward Laguna Negra. He pointed out rock formations along the way in the shapes of frogs, monkeys, seals, condors, sphinx, naked ladies…sorry, at 13,000 feet and deliriously dehydrated,
everything looked like naked ladies to me. By now, my wife was comparing me to Seann William Scott’s character in the movie, Role Model; boobs were everywhere!
Just before dusk, we found ourselves in front of the infamous Inferno. I looked down into the sinister gap between the two gigantic rocks and saw only danger. Eduardo told us a tale about a girl who jumped down in between the rocks to take a photo only to have her cell phone catapulted out of her hand by “the wind” and tossed down into the abyss below. When he asked if we wanted our photo taken in the crevice, I replied, “Photoshop.”
That night as Eduardo built a fire, we all sat down and enjoyed a bottle of cheap wine I’d
bought earlier in the day. As the stars filled the sky and the temperature dropped, we soon realized that our guide had no intentions of cooking a warm delicious dinner as noted in the travel brochure. When I asked, he innocently replied, “No one told me.”
A funny thing happens to you at 13,000 feet in the air. You don’t feel hungry. The human body seems to shut down all sensory nerve functions related to hunger and bowel movements. We shared a few crackers and enjoyed the pitch-black starlit sky before us. While the Milky Way swirled through the constellations above and the Southern Cross glowed like a beacon guiding us into another galaxy, I realized that I was viewing something few people had ever seen: Mother Nature, untouched and unleashed.
I recalled a story about a group of adventurers who’d camped at Markawsi a few years earlier. A falling star had jetted across the sky only to stop midway in the air. It hovered for a moment and then reversed course back in the direction that it originated from. Some say it was a space ship. Others say it was too much wine. I say it was the Gods talking to us from above, reminding us that we are just human and so miniscule in the whole scheme of life.
As the campfire died out, Eduardo told us another story about a Big Foot creature that apparently lived on top of the mountain. He said he’d seen its shadow one night as he took a leak on the far side of the campgrounds. I knew that bones of giants had been found in this area of Peru dating back thousands of years but was pretty sure that nothing had been seen in centuries.
The stray dog we’d adopted earlier that day returned as we set off to bed. I’d given it some water and left over food earlier solidifying our bond of friendship. As we bundled down for the night, dusty, cold and sleeping on an unforgiving hard rock surface, I turned to my wife and said, “Isn’t this better than the Sandals Resort?” She unexpectedly replied, “Yes.”
About 2:00 in the morning, the dog took off barking chasing something lingering around our campsite in the dark. A half hour later, it ran off barking again. This became the pattern for the next few hours as images of Big Foot danced in between the different stages of parasomnia. With with one eye open, I whispered to my wife, “I’m sorry for bringing you here. We could be sipping on Margaritas right now next to the beach somewhere.” She yawned and said, “Margaritas are for pussies.”
I know I’ve been away a while but, useless excuses aside, here I am again and ready to tell you about my wonderful trip to Peru this summer. Here is the first report and I hope you enjoy it.
“Honey, your fingernails are making my leg bleed.”
I must have said that to my wife a dozen times on the drive up to Markawasi. It wasn’t meant to be accusatory; no, it was my way of acknowledging the fact that I was just as scared as she was. Continue reading