Sunday, January 15, 2012

Politics 2012 At Its Best

This may very well be one of the best Sunday Morning Talking Head interviews EVER.  Watch for yourself, and then compare it against the usual suspects you see on the tube while you're trying to get started on the Day Of Rest.  Speaking of "getting started", I had nothing to do with the pre-roll ad that runs before the clip.  Really.

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Thanks to the good people at ABC News for letting the candidate on their air.  And thank goodness George Stephanopoulos is back in the Big Chair.  Not sure anyone now or formerly hosting a Sunday yakfest could have pulled this off the way George did.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

The Most Important Two Minutes You'll Spend This Week

There's a remarkable lady named Hilary Rosen. These days, she's a political consultant and a regular contributor to CNN.  I met her once, many years ago, when she was President of RIAA, the Recording Industry Association Of America. We didn't exactly see eye to eye on the issue of music piracy, and we had a short but substantive chat. I know she'd never remember.  And it doesn't matter. She's a great communicator and has done something pretty special.




I was on Facebook late last night and saw a post from her.  It really hit home for a number of reasons. Because of my visual handicap, I was bullied throughout my schooling, even into college.  I have two kids with special needs, and every day I send them off to school, I pray that they'll have a day without being bullied, ignored, or insulted in some way.  She asked people to post it on their Facebook walls, but I think it deserves wider distribution, so I'm posting it everywhere I can on the Internet.

Dear bullies, The boy you punched in the hall today. Committed suicide a few min ago. That girl you called a slut in class today. Shes a virgin. The boy you called lame. He has to work every night to support his family. That girl you pushed down the other day is already being abused at home. You think you know them. Guess what, you don't! Re-post if you are against bullying. I bet 99% of you won't , Re-post this if your that 1% with a heart

Please take a moment to share this with anyone you know who has been exposed to bullying, who has a child, or who needs to be reminded that there are some people in this world (and I'm not talking about myself) who care about our kids and their well being.  I think you'll make your Friday the 13th a little better, and help do the same for your friends.

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Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sage Advice For The New Year

I guess you might call this a "Guest Post", as I'm (with permission) reposting (with permission) a piece the brilliant Julien Smith wrote on his blog, In Over Your Head.  I probably won't be sharing it with my kids because of Julien's very direct and a little, uh, salty language, but I encourage you to read it and share it with anyone who, like me, needs to get slapped upside the head.

The Complete Guide to Snapping the @#$% Out of It

Hey, you. Yes, you.
Do yourself a favour. This year, for once, I have a suggestion, and I’d like you to take it.
This year, this once, it’s time you used your New Year’s resolution properly for a change.
Stop screwing around with your I’m-going-to-lose-10-pounds, buy-a-treadmill bullshit. Stop with the 7-Minute-Abs, the “I’m going to blog every day” thing that everyone is doing right now. And your “I’m going to quit smoking for real this time” is not convincing anyone.
It is time for you to recognize that what you’re doing is not working.
“Great,” you may be thinking. “I agree.” Now, perhaps you will go and find people in your life who can give you a gentle talking to, such as your spouse or friends. They’ll set you straight. They can say, “come on man, you can do it,” and that’s helpful and good.
But there’s a problem. None of these people can really tell you the truth. They can’t call you on your bullshit right to your face, because that would be rude, and you might get angry at them. There are social consequences, shockingly.
But here’s the magic. On the internet, I can do whatever the hell I want. I can tell you the truth, because you don’t know me, and you probably never will. That, my friends, is freedom. I’m going to use it.
It’s time you snapped the fuck out of it. I’m here to help.
Enough screwing around. Let’s start with a few questions.

Q1. Do you know which five opinions of yours, right now, are 100% wrong?

Have you ever noticed how no one ever thinks they are wrong about anything, ever? “But I might be wrong about that” may just be the most rarely uttered sentence, ever– and when it is, it’s never about things that matter. Yet at any given moment, you can examine your opinions and ask yourself “which one of these am I wrong about?”
Of course, most people will answer “none.” Most people never think they’re wrong about anything.
Now ask yourself, is it truly possible that I am totally right about everything I think, right now?
Or is it more likely, and stick with me on this one, that you are totally wrong about a lot of things all of the time, but that you never examine your blind spots so you have no fucking clue what you’re doing right or wrong at all?!
Somewhere out there, there is a man or woman just like you, just as smart as you are, just as clever and good-looking, who has the exact opposite political views, or who thinks that Ayn Rand is the greatest philosopher of our time, or something.
Yet, these people are not idiots. In fact, it is highly possible that, quite counter-intuitively, the idiot is you . So the first step in all of this is to consider that it’s possible that you are wrong– not a little, but a lot– in fact, that you’re fucking everything up and that you need a wakeup call. You need to get bitch-slapped, regularly, and put your arrogant ass in its place.
I include myself in that group, of course.

Q2. Hey, so how’s that method working out for you?

I know! I’ve got this new habit I want to implement and I’m going to try it the exact same way that I tried it last year, except harder! Super good idea brah, let’s do it.
If you’re the average dude, with an average system and average efforts, how do you think your results will be? You got it: average. Should this surprise you? No.
Here’s the thing: average is bullshit. You think it’s fine because you’re also surrounded by average dudes, so any small difference makes you feel good about yourself. But you need to stop fucking around. It’s still average, you know it, and you’re better than that.
Get yourself a goddamn system . Read 18 Minutes , or Making Ideas Happen , orGetting Things Done , or Bit Literacy (free!), or anything else for that matter.Get a fucking clue. Get out of your usual habits and do something different or you will get nowhere.

Q3. Do you know what effort feels like?

This is a call-out to all of my friends on Twitter who are doing the same thing they were doing three years ago. You know who you are.
Here’s a question. When was the last time your body and your mind were totally screaming because you didn’t want to do something? When was the last time you felt that you had to do something, because you knew it was important, but it was too much work, too much emotional labour , and further, even if you did do it, you don’t even know how?
Then, how did it feel when you did it anyway? Yes, exactly.
This, my friends, is the ideal state . I call it the ring , because it’s the place where the fight actually happens. Those that enter are fighters, challengers , and champions– people who push their boundaries and make things happen. You cannot remain in the ring forever, because it is immensely difficult, but if you never go there, you will never have breakthroughs. Otherwise, your life will be a comfortable carriage ride all the way to the grave.
Q4. When was the last time you questioned your direction?
I just recently tested my genetic code on 23andMe . The results came back, and one thing that popped out is that I have higher possible chance of living to the age of 100 than most people. In other words, I have a long life to lead. I eat really well, exercise, fast 16 hours a day, and generally inform myself about health, so I have a feeling I’ll be doing alright and have a lot of time.
I do not believe, however, that this potential long lifespan (or anything else) allows me to feel like I have the right to fuck around and waste my life. You can choose to ready, fire, aim if you want, but remember to adjust afterwardsbecause you may be going in the totally wrong direction.
My father, a career counsellor, used to tell me that people had on average 7 careers in your lifetime. In other words, there’s plenty of time to change and you should consider it! For example, after 15 years or so off and dropping out of art school, I am spending more time drawing, sculpting, etc, than I have in a decade. It’s challenging but it feels good, and good accidents can happen. Haruki Murakami, one of the most respected living writers in the world, started off writing while he owned a bar. He was just trying it out.
This should also be a sign to those of you who are choosing careers based on their potential future earnings. Stop being such a tool. Go do something you actually care about– trust me, I’ve had enough conversations with successful yet miserable people. Success and money are ruts that are just as hard to get out of as being in a miserable job for 5 years.
Q5. How are you going to be changing the world?
Here’s my final point– for now, at least. I’ve spent a lot of time around authors over the past little while and I’ve started to figure out that almost all of them have one primary thing to say, a single idea that they are really aboutSeth Godin could be “be remarkable,” applied to multiple different formats. Tim Ferriss: “most effort is wasted– do what matters.” Pema Chodron: “Drop the storyline.” I could do this all day.
Here’s the thing: authors have to write down their ideas and express them differently. It’s their job and they have to work at it, so they get many ideas in their head and stick with those that matter to them (or sometimes those that sell– sigh). Point being, even non-authors need to figure this one thing out.But most never think about it. They plod along without much direction or grand goal at all– and if it is, it’s often rather selfish.
Again, I include myself in this.
Here is my suggestion: If you had a TED talk, or some other grand idea, how would you present it? Think about it. This is your one chance. How would you use it?
Or, optionally, if you had to leave something behind, if you were going to die and be entirely forgotten but could change one thing, what one thing would that be? Would you be like Bill W and start something to help alcoholics all over the world? Would you solve a technical problem or a social one? Think about it. Or write about it, it’ll help you figure it out.
Ok, now that you have the answer, or at least you’re thinking about it, here’s the real focus.
Q6. Why would you work on anything else but what actually matters?
I leave you with that. Please subscribe below.
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* Filed by Julien at 12:57 pm under guide
That pretty much says it all.  Thanks to Julien for allowing me to share.  If you lie what you read, check out his blog, In Over Your Head.  Some great stuff there.  As for me, I'm still wrestling with question 4.and
still looking for a joh. So please tell your friends and neighbors that they should resolve to Hire Mark Edwards.

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

OK, Maybe St. Louis Does Suck, At Least A Little

Back on December 7th, I wrote a blog post based on an article in Forbes that had the premise that St. Louis Doesn't Suck.  Author Aaron Perlut very truthfully spoke of some of the great things in the area and laid out a plan that could help the city of St. Louis, as well as St. Louis County, two different governmental units, fix the perception that St. Louis sucks.

As tends to happen in St. Louis, nobody took on the task of working on the city's image.  Something so important or so (basically) inexpensive and easy to implement was far beyond the reach of Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley and the droids who work for them.  Not a surprise, especially since the Holiday season had some mighty fine photo ops of the Mayor at St. Louis Lambert International Airport showing off some fancy artwork that was installed in that incredibly boring (and still not fully operational after the Summer tornado that hit it) place. Sadly, Hizzonner is not in this photo, he must have been trying to find a parking space or something.

But I digress.  This post is about suckage, and while the airport does suck in many ways, St. Louis as a whole grabbed a major suckage award today, being named the seventh worst run city in America by 24/  Here's the praise the website laid on St. Louis:
7. St. Louis, Mo.
> Violent crime per 1,000 people: 17.47 (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 27.8% (13th highest)
> Adult population graduated from high school: 81.5% (36th lowest)
> Credit rating: Aa3 (stable outlook)
> Population: 319,156
St. Louis has had a hard time controlling violent crime. With 17.47 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2010, the city has the second highest rate of violent crime in the country. This is due in part to the city’s high poverty rate of 27.8% and its median income of $32,688, which is the 10th lowest out of the 100 largest cities. Additionally, nearly 20% of housing units in the city are vacant. All of these measures influence government revenues. Despite this, St. Louis has managed its finances fairly well. While Moody’s credit score is Aa3, the credit agency also reports that the city faces a continued weakening of resident income levels, high unemployment rates and a decreasing population.
Read more: The Best and Worst Run Cities in America - 24/7 Wall St.
This information is about St. Louis CITY, not St. Louis COUNTY, which I mentioned before are completely different areas, in more ways than I care to go into here.  But has anyone from the City, County, Chamber Of Commerce, or the almost double secret RCGA come out to dispute or spin the story?  Not on the bleak front page of the city's newspaper website.  Not on the top rated TV station's website.  And not on the website where I first found the story, the radio station that calls itself "The Voice Of St. Louis".  They had no local reaction to the story, which makes me think the voices of power in St. Louis either had nothing to say or couldn't defend themselves.  Or that the reporter didn't pick up the phone to get a reaction, but I know that would never happen.

So America once again sees St. Louis cast in a bad light and the Damage Control machine sits dusty and unused, a victim of "old boy" networks and nobody willing to defend the city's honor.  I've seen this play many times before, and I'm seeing it again.  When will the Powers That Be in St. Louis get their act together and at least defend the region when it gets smacked around?  The dream of a campaign to prove that St. Louis doesn't suck remains unfulfilled, and the city just took another sucker punch without defending itself.

And THAT truly sucks.
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