January 24, 2010

40’s the New Awesome, and I’m Newly 40

Posted in Fun w/Photos tagged at 10:09 pm by Andrew

I turned 40 last month…and it was no big deal. I feel great, and Lord knows I look great. But any age that ends in zero is like New Year’s — an opportunity for self-reflection. So I self-reflected.

As you all know, I’m a humble realist…a worker bee…someone who achieves dizzying success on a daily basis but doesn’t seek accolades. (The accolades just naturally find me.) So to ponder this “turning 40” concept, I decided to seek out some peers…to learn from those who are walking my same path.

I interact every day with wonderful people in my age group. Mothers and fathers, friends and co-workers…salt-of-the-Earth souls who live life the right way…people who’ve shed delusions of grandeur and have tapped into simple happiness. So I decided to choose two such people…not so much as role models but as wingmen. People I can relate to. Fellow 40-year-olds who share my outlook and with whom I can share my thoughts.

I chose Brett Favre and Jennifer Aniston.

In addition to all of us being 40, I find I have a lot in common with Brett and Jennifer. And that’s the point — I don’t mirror everything they do, nor do they copy me 100%. We’re unique individuals with similar qualities.

If you’re not familiar with them, here are some photos:

Let’s start with Brett. Despite slowing down physically and needing more time to recover from our activities, we both continue to dominate athletically. I haven’t talked with him lately, because we’re both slammed at work, but it’s interesting to watch our careers arc in unison.

Brett’s tearing it up with the Vikings, and I’m with him every step. The only difference — he focuses on football, while I’m a multi-sport athlete. I was hitting my boys in stride throw after throw this weekend as they ran their posts patterns to the mailbox and fade routes to the sewer. And I pounded the strike zone all morning thowing BP to my 11 & under baseball team. I don’t know if it’s work ethic or love of the game that keeps me and Brett at the top of our game. It’s probably just exceptional talent.

As for Jenny…I have to laugh. Neither of us is particularly vain, which is fortunate, because it would be easy to get caught up in how beautiful we are. For both of us, life is about happiness, not attention. Granted, I’ve been happily married for 15 years while Jenny’s struggled with relationships, but that’s where I’ve been able to help her. And she helps me by keeping me abreast of the latest hairstyling trends. It’s a two-way street for Jenny and me — a strikingly gorgeous two-way street.

So if you’re approaching a milestone, I urge you to find a buddy…someone walking your same path. Maybe it’s the mail man, store clerk, or co-worker. But find a peer you can relate with…not aspire to.

Find your Brett and Jenny, and you too can age with the humble awesomeness that we have. Keep it real!

January 19, 2010

Haiti Loves Cell Phones

Posted in Just Darn Clever at 9:39 am by Andrew

A few thoughts on the Haiti tragedy:

San Francisco Perspective. If you’re looking for a way to help your kids grasp the magnitude of last week’s earthquake, consider this: The Haiti quake measured a  7.0; the 1989 San Francisco quake was 6.9 — essentially identical earthquakes. The death toll in Haiti is pushing 200,000. San Francisco’s death toll — 63.

That disparity and the many causes/implications there of are staggering. This is an opportunity to talk with your kids about the impacts of poverty…the benefits of a structured government…the role of building codes and inspectors…purpose of taxes…the evils of corruption…and the need for a world view.

Honestly, kids who are exposed to such conversations and concepts become the adults who can think with depth and creativity. The other kids will join the mass of dolts and lummoxes.

Media Coverage. I’ve heard several commentators and media outlets compliment themselves for their outstanding coverage of the relief efforts. I agree that the broadcast media are doing well. But that’s in relation to their generally poor coverage of everything else.

The role of media is to report news. Problem is, media  outlets wildly outnumber newsworthy events. As a result, they’re forced to fill their time with “analysis” — otherwise known as “poorly educated vapid opinion.”

So now we have an event that truly is news. The situation is very fluid in Haiti, and we need updates on the rescue effort, airport operations, looting, the wounded, death toll, costs, Haitian leadership, global leadership, and so on.

In short, news media are finally doing their job. And when we start hearing reports about “what should have been done differently”…we’ll know things have plateaued in Haiti.

Cell Phone Nation. For perhaps the first time in a decade, the existence of cell phones has had a positive effect rather than sapping society of decorum and common sense. The ability to text HAITI to 90999 and donate $10 to the Red Cross has been incredibly successful. According to the Red Cross, as of yesterday the texting program has raised $20 million. At $10/pop, that’s 2 million donations. Amazing.

And it’s safe to assume the majority of those texters are under the age of 30, a demographic that isn’t typically at the top end of charitable giving. So much of that $20 million represents “new money” in the disaster relief arena. Sure, some of these texters probably don’t even realize the $10 will show up on their bill…maybe they think it’s some form of text magic…or more than likely, they have no clue how it works. Ignorance and a cell phone is charitable bliss.

January 8, 2010

Terrorists Deserve Nicknames Too

Posted in Just Darn Clever tagged , at 9:21 am by Andrew

So today’s the court hearing for that guy who tried to blow up a plane near Detroit on Christmas. It’s getting a ton of coverage, as is the terrorist himself – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. It’s similar to the coverage of Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s ongoing trials in New York City.

So I’m wondering — will the media give Abdulmutallab a cool nickname like they gave Mohammed?

Remember that? The media call him “KSM.” (Wall Street Journal did it; so do CBS and Fox.) It’s entirely too difficult to spell out…or even say…Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Couldn’t possibly expect journalists to spit all that out, and Lord knows we Americans can’t be expected to process such bizarre names. Farouk? Abdulmutallab? I’m confused already.

Plus, nicknames put a human face on these terrorists. So maybe Abdulmutallab will become known by his initials, “UFA.” We could call him “Ufa.” That sounds nice.

Or we could stop being so formal and just call them by their first names, Khalid and Umar. Terrorists have such a bad reputation — nicknames could help soften their image.

In fact, we could relieve much of the angst surrounding the whole terrorist concept if we gave them really cool nicknames. Like “Blaze”…or “Viper.” Wouldn’t that just be great!

So I’m excited to see how the media play up Super Fly’s trial….oops, that’s my nickname for Abdulmutallab. I don’t know if it will stick. Given that he carried the explosives in his underwear, I wouldn’t be surprised if the media call him something like “Farouk of the Loom,”…or just “Wedgie.” But that seems cruel.

We’ll just have to wait and see. Keep up the good work, media!