Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
I remember talking to my dad back in the 1950s—yes, I have seen at least that many moons—about the planets, the stars, and things to come. He told me that someday people would walk down the street talking on phones that transmitted through the air with no wires. Now, it's hard to walk down a sidewalk without the danger of colliding with a drone-head, walking straight at you while searching his or her handheld communicator. And Dad said cars would fly, and now some can, you know? The problem is, there's no place to park. Once you're up there, you're like Major Tom, floating in your tin can, high above the world. And my dad said people would travel through space and walk on other planets. You see, my dad was a geek of his generation, although that was lost on me then. I just wanted some of the happy juice he was having.
And get this: Amazon is testing drones to deliver packages up to 5 pounds—86% of its business—within 30 minutes of an order. (I guess delivery drones don't have propellers, but I'll bet a missed landing could still create bustle in your hedge row.)
How about vital organs? They can now be grown in labs—lungs, livers, even a beating heart. (My first wife could have used one of those, but I digress.) Someday, you'll go to the doctor with heart problems, and he or she will call the parts place and say, "This is Dr. Glans. Please send over a new four-valve heart, size medium, and toss in that new improved 201 Aortic valve while you're at it." Then, the doctor will look at you and say, "We'll have to put you on the lift, but you'll be up and running again by this afternoon."
More thoughts on the wonderful world of science and technology in this week's Rambling Harbor podcast. Give a listen!
We like to keep things fun and light when we can, but there are times when a serious news story commands our attention. Case in point: A woman was shot and killed after a recent Auburn/Alabama football game. It was a fellow female fan who pulled the trigger...and why?
The reasoning was simple, and horrifying: The victim wasn't taking Alabama's loss hard enough. The murderer - who didn't know the mother of three before they attended the same post-game party - felt that the victim deserved to die because she wasn't a big enough fan.
Sure, it was a dramatic game with a miraculous, unexpected ending for Auburn, but that's no excuse for violence. Can society live through a couple of drunken fans throwing punches in a stadium parking lot? Probably. Is a football game actually important enough to fight over? No way. At the end of the day, though, a five-minute fistfight is a hell of a long way from cold-blooded murder.
Do the world a favor, folks. Before you leave the house today, stop in front of the mirror and ask yourself: "Do I have a handle on this?"
If the answer is anything but "yes", stay inside and talk to a professional.
I found myself relating to an idea from a recent Group Therapy email, sent by a Rock-A-Holic named Cheryl. It seems that her kids have been particularly difficult to deal with this year, and they really went off the charts on Thanksgiving…when they had a food fight during dinner!
Cheryl's husband has had enough of this bad behavior, so he took drastic action:
He canceled Christmas.
Cheryl completely agrees with the idea that serious action is required to snap these kids back to their senses, but she feels like a full-on Christmas cancelation may be taking things a bit too far.
It's probably a statistical fact that men -- especially fathers – will crank up the dials to 11 when it comes to an anger-driven reaction. Even if the statistics don't agree, it's certainly a universal truth. The male brain can go to extremes with ease, sometimes.
Is this an extreme solution? Yes, without a doubt. In this case, though, I'm still going to side with the husband, because these kids obviously need to learn that actions have consequences. As one listener suggested, Cheryl's husband needs to stick with this punishment now; if he caves in, he'll show the kids that he's all talk, and no action.
Have you ever canceled Christmas? Would you ever consider it?
As the clock ticks down to Christmas, we're entering the Commerce Zone: A strange dimension where humans think less about their fellow man, and more about the latest hot sales. When you've had enough of that, you can always find some holiday cheer from your fellow Rock-A-Holics!
Tramplings! Fist fights! Death threats! Women using stun-guns on each other! No, I'm not describing the end of the world; I'm just sharing some Black Friday stories.
Is a great deal on an XBox One going to be the tipping point between acting like civilized humans, and just turning into idiot cavemen? How can anyone defend this nonsense? When did "The Twelve Days of Christmas" turn into "The Hunger Games"?
Holiday Shopping Tip: Group Therapy is the gift that keeps on giving!
We heard from a Rock-A-Holic named Aaron, who is tired of having his neighbors over for Thanksgiving dinner. This has been an annual tradition for the last five years, but the obnoxious neighbors actually managed to irritate some of Aaron's family members, and he's had enough.
The male half of the neighborly couple is opinionated, and insulting. Aaron thinks he needs a muzzle, but the neighbor's wife actually thinks her husband is funny. They're so accustomed to the holiday tradition that they just assume they're invited as usual, but Aaron wants to change that. Can it be done without ruffling any feathers?
This one seems pretty cut-and-dried to me: If you know someone who is practically guaranteed to ruin your special day – especially someone who ISN'T part of your immediate family – then you have to bite the bullet, and prevent that from happening. You may not win any popularity contests among your friends and neighbors, but you'll have a happier holiday (or any other day) in the long run.
You may not be the cause of the problem, Aaron…but it's up to you to be the solution.
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
There is an old saying in New England: If you don't like the weather, wait a minute; it will change. Maybe it's an old saying in other places as well, but New England takes it seriously. In Rambling Harbor, where there's not much to get excited about, people take the weather challenge seriously.
Take yesterday, for example. It was 8 degrees, and today it is 60. The water is gray. The sky is gray. The air is gray. I know. This sounds like L.A. last winter, enshrouded no longer by smog, but happy smoke. According to the National Weather Service on January 14, 2013, "Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles dropped to their coldest point in 23 years Monday morning, hitting 34 degrees, setting a record low for the date." Poor babies. I'd be smoking happy too. In New England, if it hits 34 in January, we run around naked, which is one of the reasons, thankfully, the weather gods hardly ever let it get that warm in January.
Fortunately, I do not live here for the excitement. I live here like everyone else, excluding a few deranged souls who run around in flip-flops when the temperature is so cold, even the coyotes are wearing boots.
Not that I don't suffer the elements. I do. But I live here because it is as close to an untamed place not far from a major city as I can get, surrounded on three sides by water. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.3 square miles, of which 2.0 square miles is land, and 6.3 square miles is underwater. Rambling Harbor has a land area of just 1.6 square miles, and the rest could be an Octopus's Garden for all we know. I believe there is still a bill on the floor, signed by William (Ben) Franklin, that we should investigate who the hell lives down there, and there may be a good reason why the bill is still on the floor. We do not want to know, and I suspect that pleases the underwater inhabitants. As in all good seacoast scary movies, we leave well enough alone.
Here at Rambling Harbor, waves pound the sea wall and leap 20 feet or higher, flooding streets a mile from the coast at times. Sea water actually freezes, salt and all, and winds regularly soar to 40 or 50 miles an hour. This is a place where there is literally one way in and one way out, and if you're caught in, you ain't going nowhere.
This place was settled in 1630. It has a jagged coast with unpredictable currents that have sent many a ship to rest forever in a watery grave. The last ship down was the Raw Faith. On December 8, 2010, Raw Faith began taking on water in rough seas off the coast of Nantucket, and sank in 6,000 feet of water. My wife and I had planned to sail with the crew, but her health prevented us from going. We later learned two people had been rescued from the ship by a helicopter the previous day. A close call for them, and for us.
Tune in to my podcast, which will deal with the mysteries of the weather as well as BlackFriday.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Personally, I’m feeling thankful for all of the Rock-a-Holics who put their faith in Group Therapy, each and every day.
Speaking of which, we have a new situation to discuss: Rock-a-Holic Kim is distressed, because her pregnant sister has decided to name her daughter “Stormy.”
The as-yet-unborn baby girl was conceived during a storm; the sister wants to pay tribute to that, while also giving her daughter a unique name. Meanwhile, Kim feels like naming a little girl Stormy is a sign that her sister should just go ahead and buy a stripper pole.
Let’s throw this out to all the blog readers: Does it really matter? Does the name define the person?
We’d also love to hear from anyone with a strange name! Has your name been a difficult thing to live with? Tell us your life story (please don’t tell us your life story).
I guess I’m also thankful that B.J. is a relatively normal name. At least it doesn’t stand for “Buffalo Jeremiah” or “Banana Jammer”…
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Netflix, which I have had for a few months, is full of movies both theatrical and TV, dealing with the supernatural, the paranormal, demons, ghouls, and other forms of terrifying, blood-sucking, stomach-churning, eye-popping things-that-go-bump-in-the-night. There are also movies that instill fear regardless of the time of day, such as Jaws, featuring sunny days and the beach, but condemning the viewer to fear going into the water. Now, a TV movie has brought the water to us in Sharknado, portraying L.A. swamped by the ocean as sharks swim down Hollywood Boulevard (and incidentally. show no interest in the Brown Derby restaurant where all the Hollywood sharks used to dine).
Possession, shown in movies such as these, is just one kind of possession; house possession is another kind. The S.P.I.R.I.T.S of New England is an organization that investigates places believed to be haunted, and a friend of mine involved in the organization and her team were privileged to be allowed to spend two nights in one of those places, the USS Constitution. What she saw and heard confirmed that our life force lives on.
Another type of possession is portrayed in classics such as The Exorcist, featuring the girl with the spinning head, and The Shining, with Jack Nicholson’s famous line “Heeere’s Johnny,” which he added to the script.
I love this stuff, but I don’t go for a lot of violence. I do not need to see a body split in half before my mostly covered eyes. Scare my mind with the possibility of reality, though, and you’ve got me. I believe a series like Sleepy Hollow is more a possibility, if you can get past the headless part, which seems a bit farfetched to me. The point is, I do believe in spirits, and that some people may be actually possessed. (Perhaps Ted Cruz has been overtaken by Dr. Seuss?)
Back to why I called this piece “Possession Obsession”: So many movies and TV shows revolve around the occult and spirits, witchcraft, and on and on. Is it because all of us, myself included, are searching for something we can’t explain, something that goes way beyond what we see as reality, something that no one can explain, but seeing it makes it real? I think we are obsessed with the desire to find that other place. If we can’t go to the source of the mystery, we will let the magic of the movies and TV bring the mystery to us, and after watching a good movie or show, think, wow, that really could happen.
Well, not really…but Rock-a-Holic Heather might be looking for someone new to watch movies with. Heather is a self-confessed “movie snob”, who judges people based on the movies they enjoy, including her current boyfriend.
After 2 months of seeing this guy, Heather is considering breaking things off, because their taste in movies just doesn’t match up. Recently, Heather wanted to see 12 YEARS A SLAVE, but her boyfriend wanted to see THE DELIVERY MAN, because he loves Vince Vaughn. Heather has a big problem with this, even though her friends feel that she’s being too shallow.
In the age of dating websites and internet compatibility tests, I guess I’m a little surprised that a couple can’t figure these things out before they get too far into the relationship. That’s not to say that opposites can’t work out; my wife and I have almost nothing in common, but we’ve managed to keep it going for a while now.
Personally, I think that a relationship works best when both parties are reaching beyond their own comfort zones, and meeting in the middle. Isn’t that what any partnership is all about? Are a partner’s preferences in movies, TV, and music so important that the future can live or die because of them?
When Rock-A-Holics need help, they turn to their own kind. That’s how we do it in Group Therapy!
Here’s the story:
Leanne fell head-over-heels for a guy who seemed like Mister Right. He moved in with her after just two months together, and it didn’t take long for him to start acting like Mister Wrong. He stole Leanne’s credit card number, and racked up SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS in charges!
The relationship came to a screeching halt, of course. He has since paid back $1500 of the total amount, and life has been slowly moving forward for both of them…until now.
After 8 months apart, the man who stole Leanne’s heart (and money) has returned, and he wants her back. In a development that will shock no one, he had a serious drug problem, and that led him to rip off his girlfriend. He’s in recovery now, and Leanne is conflicted; her friends are telling her to run away fast, but she believes there may be some hope for Mister Right after all.
I’m pretty sure I don’t even have to say this, but my reaction is simple: She needs to head for the hills, and avoid this guy at all cost (literally!) The listening audience seems to agree with me, but I’d love to hear from the blog readers, too…especially if you’ve taken a questionable partner back, or know someone who has. Did it work out, or did it turn into a horror story all over again?