Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stop Threatening to Move to Canada

I feel bad for Canada.

Less Loon, More Lunatic (source)
Not too bad, mind you. I mean, poutine is delicious and they do have a sensible drinking age there. But bad in the sense that every time a political group in this country doesn’t get their way they threaten to move to Canada.

I don’t know where this threat originated. I know Canada took draft dodgers during Vietnam, and before that accepted escaped slaves during the age of underground railroading. Maybe the threat comes from there. Regardless of origin, though, it’s a common refrain for spoiled, pig headed political brats on both sides of the political spectrum. Pig head Democrats threatened to move during the (admittedly disastrous) Dubya years. Republicans threatened it during the (admittedly embarrassing) Clinton years. Hell, I remember being what? Must have been six to ten years old sitting in a crappy Mexican restaurant with a friend and his incredibly Liberal mother – I knew she was notoriously Liberal before I even had a working comprehension of political differences at all – listening to her threaten to move to the Great White during Bush Sr.’s term. Can’t even remember why. Doesn’t matter. Her team was losing on something or other.

Of course, the latest incarnation, spawned by the Supreme Court’s ruling that Obama’s Health Care Plan is not unconstitutional, has a special level of irony. This considering Canada’s penchant for socialized medical care. But whatever. Spoiled, pig headed people aren’t going to let things like facts get in the way of a good threat. That in turn won’t stop people from pointing out the hypocrisy of it all.

Hey, if you’re the kind of person who throws a fit every time something happens that you don’t like, please by all means leave the country. The ability to compromise and to deal with shit when people with opposing viewpoints get something they want and to somehow coexist is kind of important for a proper Democratic Republic. One might argue that you, hypothetical expatriate, are why things are so jacked up around here – cynical assholes appeal to your assholeness, which causes you to vote for them, perpetrating continued assholism.

I would prefer the country be made up of people who want to stay and work to make things better for everyone, rather than people who want to complain because Red Team of the Blue Team didn’t win. This isn’t a team sport, people. We’re not soccer hooligans. We’re supposed to be an enlightened citizenry that stays informed and chooses the best available leadership, not chooses people based on who we want to lose the most. And if something doesn’t go our way then we’re supposed to compromise, not take to the internet and register our supreme discontent with… okay well, I’m kind of doing that right now.

But poor Canada, should they agree to let these whiny people move in. Because they will pack up all of their belongings, along with all their bullshit and irrational anger and intractability and penchant for complaining, and they will bring all of it with them. And it will be the same thing over again, only slightly colder. If I were Canada, I’d start putting up the wall right now.

Maybe if you’re lucky, Canada, those people will threaten to move to Greenland.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Meditations on My Thirtieth Birthday

I have been told various things by various different people: that the 30th birthday is a tough one; that the 31st is actually worse; that the 30’s are better than the 20’s; or that it’s the other way around; or that the 40’s are better then all of them; or far worse; or whatever.


No matter what I make of it, the fact of the matter is it’s here. I’m 30 years old. There’s no getting around it.

I think I’m supposed to have a nervous breakdown or a ‘my God what have I done with my life’ moment, but I think I may have already done that November of last year and that I came out the other end of it not really giving a damn, so I think I’m good there.

So, the imminent collapse of my self-worth temporarily postponed as it is, I thought I would share with you, my blog viewership of three, the wisdom of my three decades of existence. We’ll see how that compares with what wisdom is left after my fourth decade – provided blogs still exist and that we’re all still inclined to pontificate.

The most important life skill you can have is not the ability to get what you wants, nor is it the ability to make a plan and stick to it, nor is it the ability to talk your way out of anything, convince people of anything or to win arguments at all cost, nor is it the ability to think constructively or empathetically. Nor is it the ability to drive a stick shift. Some of those are generally useful. Some are even necessary. However, in my humble opinion, the supreme life skill that everyone needs to develop is the ability to deal with shit.

This might sound depressing, but it’s not.

You know what? Sometimes you get stuck in an elevator. Sometimes you work your ass off for a promotion or a new job or a part in a show that goes to someone else. Sometimes you date someone and things don’t go so well. Sometimes you do a show that nobody comes to. Sometimes your bus is running late and is crowded. Sometimes you forget to take the trash out and your apartment smells like trash when you come home. Sometimes you’re sick and there’s nobody to take care of you. Sometimes you have to sleep on a friend’s couch. Sometimes you forget your umbrella and rain coat and then it pours rain and then you’re soaked for the rest of the day. Sometimes your significant other’s family hates your guts. Sometimes the merchandise you ordered wasn’t shipped, or is damaged. Sometimes your burger has mayo on it when you specified no mayo. Sometimes you piss off your best friends, or they piss you off. Sometimes you let your family down. Sometimes your phone is out of battery. Sometimes your car won’t start. Sometimes you are broke. Sometimes you lose your job. Sometimes you have a job that you hate. Sometimes people disappoint you. Sometimes you are a disappointment to someone else. Sometimes your apartment building goes Condo and you have to find somewhere else to live. Sometimes your plane is stuck on the tarmac for hours and nobody will tell you why and then you miss your connecting flight and are stranded in St. Louis with a bag full of wine soaked clothes because a bottle of Chianti broke somewhere in Newark.

You could get pissed and go shout at someone, you could break down and cry or you could ask why, or why me? For the most part, though, I’ve found such things to be useless. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not above such reactions. In fact, I love to get pissed about certain things. But now, instead of getting wrapped up in the injustice of it all, I think to myself, ‘You know what? Shit.’ And then I deal with it, or I forget about it and I focus on trying to do the things I love to do (like eating bacon).

It seems like I know so many people who let the littlest things ruin their day, or who match their lives up to the expectations they had for themselves and let that paralyze them. Don’t worry if you don’t have that house yet or that retirement fund set up. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that not even those mainstays of respectability and stability are guaranteed to be around for you. It’s the ability to handle adversity with grace that will see you through, and the ability to manage disappointment and to adapt.

Live your life and try to enjoy it. I’ll make that the focus of my thirties. We’ll see what forty brings when I get there.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fake Amazon Review: Leadership Lessons of the U.S. Navy SEALS

Disclaimer: this is fake.  I wrote it for fun.  Love, Nat.


"WICKED AWESOME BOOK FOR BUSINESS March 23 2004

"By BizNazFrank
"Format: Hardcover

“I just bought this book about management and it’s great. It’s called ‘Leadership Lessons of the U.S. Navy SEALS: Battle-Tested Strategies for Creating Successful Organizations and Inspiring Extraordinary Results.’ You know it’s a good book because the title is so freaking long. The title is practically a book by itself, so you’re reading a book before you even read the book – that’s two books in one and that, my friend, is what we call in the Business world ‘value-added value.’ I think.


“Anyway, I’m going to give a quick review of it for everyone. I should probably start by saying I haven’t read the actual book – I’m a busy business man who does a lot of business – but I have read the title, and here are some of the lessons I learned just from reading the title:

“1. Navy SEALS are sweet and they get shit done in a proactive, value-added ass-kicking way.
“2. To succeed as a manager, I need a highly-motivated crack core of employees who are insanely well-trained, preferably somewhere in San Diego by a bunch of military types.
“3. All employees should carry assault rifles to increase productivity and preparedness, as well as to facilitate conflict resolution and team building.
“4. Employees are most effective when they are able to work at all hours of the day; therefore they should all have night vision goggles.
“5. Helicopters.
“6. We should have trust falls maybe from time to time.

“And that’s just the stuff I gleaned from the cover and title and stuff. I’ll let you all know if anything new pops up once I’ve read the book, which I probably won’t have time to do because I’m a busy business person. But, uh, 5 stars. Go Amazon!

“Frank Jefferson, CEO
“F. Jefferson Financial Consulting and Business Applications Business, LLC”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Farewell to Tro-Lo-Lo Guy

Very important news as far as Internet issues are concerned: Eduard Khil has passed away. Those of you who, like me, have spent an inordinate amount of time trapped in the big silky webs of online existence may recognize him as the Tro-lo-lo Guy. Behold, for posterity:


The title of this piece, despite containing no actual words whatsoever, is “I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home.” Strangely, and based only on a series of nonsense words and Khil’s whack-a-doo delivery, I can kind of see that.

I first became aware of Tro-lo-lo guy a little over two years ago and it made me very very happy. Strangely happy. I’m not even completely certain why it made me so happy, but it did. The animated .gif and various other incarnations went on to circle the virtual globe, riddling chat rooms and message boards. In fact, there was a time where every Troll had a Tro-lo-lo reply. Just think: twenty years ago that last sentence would make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

For me, Tro-lo-lo will always stand as a testament to the power of the Internet to take something completely obscure (say, Soviet entertainment from 50 years ago) and turn it into an enduring and hilarious piece of modern society. Plus, man, the song just gets stuck in my head sometimes.

So pour some out for Eduard Khil today and may he rest in peace.