How to Win Friends, Influence People, and Perfectly Predict NHL Playoff Games

originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Wed, 04/27/2011 – 13:35

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I won’t deny that the first two items in the title were designed to get you to read my article.  I actually have no idea how to win friends or influence people but you could try money as a starter.

No – what I’m writing about today is how to predict the outcome of NHL playoff games – and with perfect accuracy.  I found it relatively amusing to watch facial expressions when I told my customers that I was writing an article about hockey.  This is actually my second article about hockey.  As a professional sports writer (I just keep giving myself new titles as I go along here) I have to pump out the articles to keep the readers satisfied.  Here is my first hockey article: http://waynetaylor.ca/why-the-hockey-hype/

For the following explanations, I will be using Chicago Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks.

Step 1: Don’t Watch any Hockey

Watching hockey will influence your predictions.  You must vigilantly remain unbiased.  After all – it’s hard not to feel sorry for the underdog or cheer for a team that lives near you.  Since I wouldn’t know a Canuck from a Mighty Duck, I am in a perfect position.  Many people ask if I am ‘for real’.   When I ask ‘How’d the game turn out last night?” the countenance of most people will drop and they’ll ask if I’m serious.  Of course I’m serious.  I’m a professional NHL Playoff Predictor (NHLPP).  It’s acceptabl to hear information from others, but make sure that you don’t actually participate.

Step 2: Research the Political Landscape of the Two Teams

The Canucks needed to win game seven because Canada has a federal election coming next week.  If there weren’t games going on last week, the people would have had to take a serious look at how dismal their voting options really are.  They also might have noticed that somehow Jack Layton increased in popularity.  Surely he is friends with a few NHL team owners and asked for a favour.  “Hey, man.  I need you guys to keep these people occupied for another week while I slip in the back door and take a large share of the ridings.  There will be tax breaks for professional sports coming down the pipe I’m thinking…”

Step 3: Understand the Business of Hockey (where the $$$ flows)

As an unbiased hockey outsider I’ve noticed that NHL players get paid quite a bit.  I’m sure the owners do alright as well.  Where does that money come from?  I haven’t actually studied this but I’m guessing that the following sources produce most of the revenue and likely in this order: advertising, merchandise sales, ticket sales.  It was also explained to me today by a customer that all hocky team owners share the profit from the entire league.  If this can be validated, it would indeed substantiate the possibility of top level shoulder-rubbing and the influence thereof.  The dialogue might look like this:

Hockey Team Owner A: Hi! I’ve noticed your team is ahead by three games.  I think that means all the games stop for us if you win the next game.  Do you think it’s possible you could chill a bit for a game or two so we can ramp up some extra revenue?  Since we pool the winnings then you’ll benefit from this, too.  Sound good?

Hockey Team Owner B: No. I’m not interested in throwing matches for extra money.  PSYCH!  Of course, buddy! hahaha.  Watch how bad we’re gonna play next game.  Make sure your wife is watching.  It’ll be a lark.

Step 4: Research the Economic Landscape of Both Sides

Chicago had a tough year.  The impact of the recession on the auto industry in that place was devastating.  They needed some good news coming out of this recession. And good news they got!  Look at the mighty comeback!  I mean, they almost took the series.

Vancouver has a lot of affluent people and video game programmers.  Both of these groups of people seem to be serious hockey fans.  They have been waiting many years for a win they’ve been telling me.  Well, patience has paid off.  They get to go to round two.

The economic landscape of a city can create the necessary atmosphere to play out the pre-scheduled wins and losses as the fans work themselves up into a frenzy.

In conclusion, I’ve hogged entirely too much of your time.  As usual, we would love your feedback so tweet us up at @seymourblenz  or email blenzseymour@gmail.com.

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Five Reasons Why I Already Hate My Iproduct

Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Sat, 07/16/2011 – 23:47

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I avoided Apple for a long time.  A very long time.  While everyone was running around snapping up their expensive, locked-down hardware for extreme prices, I enjoyed more open items like Ubuntu operating systems and Android mobile devices.

However, we didn’t have a touch device for home, more specifically, for my wife who periodically wishes to distract our daughter with it.  During a marriage-altering blowup, my precious throws in her lack of an IPhone or IPod Touch (or my vehement opposition to its purchase) as one reason why I suck.  So, I decide to give my blessings towards the purchase of an Ipod Touch because at least we won’t be stuck on some wackage-package from a cell provider…

My woes didn’t take long to surface.  Here they are as I discovered them:

1. You cannot expand the storage memory at all!  Like.. no SD slot.  Nothing.  Further, there isn’t a micro USB input! Could you be any more lame?

2. No wall, 110V outlet power charger.  Just the USB charger.  I would love to charge for 5 times longer than necessary so please make sure to not include that in the box.  🙁

3. They force you to synchronize with Itunes!!!  Like… you can’t seem to move files back and forth without the installation of Itunes.  I accepted that, but then I found out the real doozy – you can’t put Itunes on Linux!!  Now I’m just fuming.  Not only do they lock you out, but they also lock you in!  It’s like the jail of jails.  You Apple to get in, and you need Apple (or Windows) to get out.  So lame.  So, so, lame.

4. When I finally got Itunes downloaded and ready to install on my virtual machine in Ubuntu, I discovered yet another thing that sucks – Itunes is one of the biggest most annoying programs I have ever installed!  It took me like five years to finally get it installed. I think I saw 4 million registry files being edited 🙁

5. Now that you finally have your precious and highly-proprietary Itunes installed on your Windows (or Mac)(but not any other OS) system, you’ll be pleased to know that the pain is only just beginning.  Now you have to become an Apple-Man and get yourself a IAccount.  This requires submitting pretty much everything about yourself to Apple headquarters.  Apple finalized the deal, after getting all that info from me, with a request for a credit card or some kind of payment information.  I assumed that you’d probably have to submit this even if you wanted free apps because they probably have a payment-portal system set up regardless of whether it’s free or not.  I’ll find out about that soon.

So, my first two hours of Apple have been poop-lame-sucky. I hope the actual use of this device makes me forget how black my soul got this evening 🙁

PS. Any of you who think this was all ‘ok’ should seriously check yourselves in. I’m here to tell you that THERE IS A BETTER WAY.  Make your next device NOT Apple even if it’s just for the stuff I blogged.

And three more un-smilies for the road 🙁 🙁 🙁

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Tutorial: Making the World a Better Place with your Complaining

Originally Posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Thu, 09/29/2011 – 21:03

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Intriguing title? I had no choice. I knew that the people who really need to read this wouldn’t if I didn’t word it that way.

The inspiration for this tutorial is based on one of those ‘situations’ that didn’t need to become a ‘situation’ at all. As I was sitting there reading a tweet about my business and rolling my eyes asking myself how this is even happening, what I came to realize is that these ‘situations’ are usually caused by someone saying too much, too fast, or in the wrong way. Thankfully, there is no one more guilty of this crime than I so I feel qualified to teach the course. The great part about this teaching is that if you heed the suggestions, it can also apply to your marriage, and basically any other relationship you can think of where complaints abound. I’m going to use the customer-business example because it’s more generic and easy to understand for everyone, and because it’s based on a real-life situation.

The Cast

Bob: The employee
Fred: The customer

First, what most people don’t think about is that Fred and Bob already need each other. If Fred doesn’t buy his coffee, Bob won’t have a job. If Bob doesn’t make his coffee, Fred will go home and beat his dog. And so on, and so on. So, they are perfectly set up to build a relationship while both of their needs are met. It’s somewhat heart-warming. Except that both Bob and Fred are men and have a hard time communicating and understanding each other.

The ‘Situation’

Fred comes into the cafe and buys a coffee and sits down. He then proceeds to open his bag, remove a home-packed lunch box sandwich and begins to eat it. The cafe isn’t busy. Bob sees Fred eating the sandwich and quickly, quietly, and politely asks Fred to refrain from eating the homemade sandwich while in the cafe and points him to the display fridge where he can purchase sandwiches. Fred seems to understand, puts the sandwich away, and then a short while later leaves. One day later, Bob finds that his twitter account is full of heated messages from Fred about what a rat-bastard he is and how the service sucked Hoover-style and how the chain no longer deserves his business because he obviously isn’t appreciated. Bob is personally upset because these things are spoken of him personally, and the business owner is upset because there are these negative comments floating around with hashtags and @ symbols.

Fred’s expectations: a quiet place to eat his sandwich which should be ok since he purchased a drink
Bob’s expecations: that guests will not consume outside products in the cafe, especially ones that are available for sale in the display fridge

You may agree with Fred that it’s perfectly ok to bring a bite to eat with you into a food and beverage business, as long as you contribute to the business. You might feel that Bob is a soup nazi for enforcing such a petty policy. But what you might not know are Bob’s reasons for enforcing. What you might not understand is that there are many private schools upstairs and that the students, in the past, would swarm the cafe and eat their own lunch, ruining the atmosphere for the customers who are paying good money to not see that and who are purchasing food items from the business. Some of those students didn’t even make a purchase.

It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in this situation. Both parties feel justified in their behaviour. What does matter, however, is the way that Fred went about dealing with his complaint. He didn’t  so much as voice his feelings to Bob on his way out. Even if he flipped him the bird and said, “Why didn’t you just let me eat my sandwich, loser boy!” and left, at least Bob would know he offended someone and could think about whether he acted too strongly, or maybe the way he said it was in the wrong tone, etc. He at least could have known and learned, even if he believed he was in the right. I don’t agree with flipping the bird and walking out, though, because I will not hear the business’ perspective on why they did what they do. I would miss a possibly interesting piece of the world that I know nothing about if I just flip ‘n’ walk. Maybe I was in the wrong? Maybe my parents didn’t teach me this etiquette. I think there is a better way – a face-to-face conversation with someone in management right there, right now. No one stands to gain by letting hours pass before dealing with it. By that time, the molehill has become a mountain and you’ve already plotted how you’re going to ruin this business with your flashy  new smart phone.

So, with that background, here is the step-by-step tutorial about how to deal with a complaint:

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1. Don’t wait. Don’t leave.
Now is the best time. Later will only make it worse.

2. Face to Face
Face to face is always the best. No one can run away and body language cannot be hidden.

3. I’m not a Problem causer.
Start by making sure they know you’re not planning on bringing down their empire and that you’re only going to discuss this because you are upset and you believe the business will benefit by knowing about it instead of doing what most people do and dumping it online in hopes of hurting their business. Tell them you’re not that kind of person.

4. Stay Calm
The person may not be familiar with face-to-face confrontations. Don’t get upset even if they say something with a knee-jerk emotional reaction – no matter what. You’re in the drivers seat if you remain calm

5. Always Apologize
If you are Fred, start by apologizing for eating your home-packed sandwich in the cafe even if you don’t think it was wrong. It’s obviously the reason why Bob confronted him. Then proceed to explain why you think it should have been ok since the cafe wasn’t busy – or whatever your reasoning was.

6. Express your side
Give details about your perspective. It’s very possible the employee, manager, etc, didn’t think about it from that perspective before. Maybe they are new. Maybe they’ve seen weird stuff in the past. You really have a chance to help someone gain perspective here.

7. Listen to their side
Encourage them to express their reasoning for doing what they did. Everyone needs a podium and loves to know someone is listening. Even if you don’t think this person has anything worth listening to, you may be surprised.

8. Thank them
No matter what, once you are done expressing yourself, thank the person, no matter how much you don’t like them, for their time and for hearing you.

9. Follow up if possible
It doesn’t take much to make a quick phone call, email, or tweet to say something like “Thanks again for your time.”
I can guarantee you that 99% of business owners will be blown away that you are so awesome (they see some real losers during the day, if you didn’t know) that they will probably either a) want to be your best friend b) allow you to do the thing they just hated as long as it is out of sight or c) give you a free product and invite you back. Now you’ve made a friend instead of gain an enemy.

10. Escalate only if necessary
Some people are truly beyond discussion, rare as it is. If you did all the steps above and things still aren’t working well then it may be necessary to escalate your action to something like a public blog or tweeting the bad experience online. However, this should be your last resort. You have no idea if the person you are dealing with just had a bad personal experience, is fighting sickness, lost all their money, or a loved one, etc. They could be completely different person just hours later.

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After typing this tutorial I’ve come to realize also that I have a lot to learn about this process. Do I follow it perfectly each time? No. Am I better today than I was yesterday? Absolutely.

I truly hope this post will help someone make a friend out of a bad experience. Trust me – I’ve seen it happen more times than you will believe. Keep it real and don’t take the easy way out by talking dirt about someone online before you’ve attempted following these suggestions. It’s so tempting, I know. I’ve been there and I’m sure I’ll be there again.

And to help you remember these steps, here they are in an easy acronym: DFPCAELTFE (prounounced ‘defpcaeltuffy’)

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A Forwarded Email from Mom Worth Blogging

Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Thu, 10/06/2011 – 20:38

Mom’s gonna read this for sure so I can’t say anything about her forwarded emails but you know… Moms like to forward stuff to their kids.  It’s like social media to them.  My mom is great because we’ve been pretty open about what I auto-delete and what I actually read so she pre-filters about 800% of the emails she might be able to forward.

I plan not only to share this content but also to re-read it on occasion.  Of course, to make sure you really get that home-cooked mommy flavour,  I left the intro with all the exclamation marks and the conclusion that attempts to make you feel like a criminal if you don’t forward it to others.

Got a mom?  You can call just copy the link of this article and email it to your her and tell them to forward it to their friends :-0

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This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!!

Make sure you read to the end!!!!!!

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio.
“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

Its estimated 93% won’t forward this. If you are one of the 7% who will, forward this with the title ‘7%’.

I’m in the 7%. Friends are the family that we choose.

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Three Diaspora Tutorials to Get You Started Right

Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Thu, 10/13/2011

I found that I was posting this too much and it was annoying copying and pasting all these links, so here is a funkly little static page that has all the funkly little linkies that you can simply short-link and tweet to your buddy and your gramma.

Hope it adds value to your life and helps you win friends and influence people:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAoAZgw4r6A

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F1gOHUmUnk

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD1pE0XJTcE

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Diaspora – Social Media that Actually Excites Me

Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com at Sun, 10/02/2011 – 21:09

Finally.

After what seems like years, I got my invite to sign up at Diaspora. The coolest thing to me is that you probably don’t even know what it is yet. Don’t worry – people like me will spread the news quick. In a few words, it’s a dumbed down version of Facebook, Twitter and Google + (dumbed down is actually a good thing, by the way, if you didn’t know) and, get this –

YOU OWN YOUR OWN CONTENT! *

*if you want to set it up that way

Did you catch what I just wrote? This is the thing so many people have been waiting for. Why did I kill my Facebook account a year or so ago? Because I just didn’t like the way Facebook was starting to own our social lives. Like everyone else, I don’t mind actually posting about my life and seeing what everyone is up to, but I started to think about the trail this kind of stuff leaves. Then, I went to delete my account to find out that… it didn’t really seem to delete. In fact, I bet if I went there today and just tried to enter my old username and password that it would spring back to the condition before I ‘deleted’ my account. I haven’t tried that though, so I might be wrong. Point is this: If I start posting personal things I want to, as much as possible, be sure that I can erase that content forever and not leave some kind of ‘social trail’ behind me.

Diaspora is awesome. If I wanted to, I could set up a computer just for my family and install ‘my own social media website’ just for us. I could post photos of my daughter, my wife, even a picture of my gross farmer’s tan… and no one in the public would ever know (unless a hacker hacks in but that’s always a risk). It’s just… perfect. But, you don’t have to be that exclusive. You can set it up just like Google + (I kind of wonder if Google actually stole this concept from Diaspora…) with the ‘circles’ concept except they are called ‘aspects’ in Diaspora. You can stay pretty open about hooking up with people, and then just maintain your privacy via your ‘aspects’ and who you share your content with.

So, yeah. Remember when Facebook was pretty simple and didn’t have farm animals harassing you? It’s like that.

I know this isn’t a very cohesive blog but I just wanted to bang out a shout-out for the crew at Diaspora who has finally done something worth getting excited about. I’m already working with some local folk to set up our own pod. Here are some quick ideas I’ve already thought of where Diaspora might be useful:

1. A private way to network employees (large enterprises with high security)
2. Political party members (they want to discuss things totally off the public radar, I’m sure)
3. Family pod: a pod just for the family that will never host any other users other than actual family members so you can share extremely private information if need be without risk of content ending up in the wrong hands
etc
4. Education: teachers and students… somehow?

I mean check out their dumb-simple homepage:

https://diasp.org/

I love these guys.

If you want to join, you could ‘try’ to get an account here by filling out a request (it’s still Alpha release):

www.joindiaspora.com

…Or, you could beg me to send you an invite by following us on twitter @seymourblenz and I might find it in my heart.

See you in there…if you’re lucky

Oh yeah! One last thing: It works well.

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Cutting Out the Rust

rusty <–CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO RECORDING OF THIS POST. RIGHT CLICK ‘SAVE LINK AS’ WORKS TOO. 

One of my fondest ever memories is that of my 1977 Honday Civic.  This thing was dope.  Four speeds, a super long stick shift, felt like you were going 200K on the highway when you were actually going 85, and had those external flashers on the hood..with chrome.  I put some boom in there too so the license plate rattled real good when I was listening to the Dream Warriors (look ’em up).

It had just one flaw – rust.

Around the wheel wells of every Honda Civic of that era water would somehow get in and rust away the  metal right above the rear tires.  Obviously rust spreads so I did my college best (I was literally in college) and cut as much of the rust as I could and used one of those rust kits and bondo to fix it.  I repainted things and it looked good.

But the rust came back.

Just a few months later bubbles started to appear and the paint started to bulge. A few months later the red rust was breaking through the gold paint screaming ‘let my people go’.  I attacked again but could never quite get down the wheel well far enough with my residential toolbox and the problem would always resurface.

Lately I’ve been noticing ‘rust’ in my life, the lives of others and in business.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people when they are caught in a sin (I define sin as anything that is rooted in selfishness while disregarding the commands of God that produce a joy-filled life) try to remove the sin by means of replacing them with good habits, by controlling their thoughts, or by patting themselves on the back when they don’t sin.  The last one to me is funny if you use an extreme example:

“That’s great, Tommy! You only murdered three people this week in your anger.  That’s down two from last week.  Keep that up…I mean down.”

The problem is that sin is like the rust in my civic.  That beast will eventually re-appear because it’s rooted in my sinful nature.  Once people realize that the cause of many of their personal problems are rooted in sin, they can seek a solution. The cross is their solution.  If you want to stay on your merry-go-round, no one will stop you.  Feel free to keep trying your failing methodologies.

I’ve also seen rust in business.

I’ve been monitoring a fairly large retail chain these days.  This chain had a heyday a few years back and the brand was really starting to kick some kahoahoa (I just made that word up).  They were carving out a piece of a market where few had attempted to travel and creativity, life, excitement surrounded it.

But then Mr.Arrogance came by for sales call and the chain bought what he was selling in wholesale quantities.  The rest is history.  On the outside it still looks somewhat as it did but on the inside is dead man’s bones.  The writing is on the wall.  They only have one choice left: a full scale repentance and willingness to come clean with all people involved and even to the public.  Nothing short of full confession of past foul-ups and immediate remedies will suffice.

This retail study will very much help my future investments, too.  A company that is being eaten by the rust of arrogance will show symptoms:

  • lack of creativity
  • lack of excitement from the inside
  • infighting
  • trash-talking
  • positions filled by people who shouldn’t be where they are
  • words that don’t match actions
  • no apologies – ever
  • a heavy reliance on lawyers evidenced in one-sided contracts in their favour
  • selfishness
  • leaders who don’t get their hands dirty with the troops – ever
  • and more

If you see these things, keep your good money as far away from this as possible.  Search for companies or organizations that display the opposite and you will sleep better at night.

Rust.  Cut it out.

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When to Fight and When to Fold ’em

I’m not a fighter.

If someone were to attack me I would just curl up in a ball and try to protect my vital organs.  I tried Tae Kwon Do to remedy that back in high school but I still find it easier to curl up in a ball.  I’m not lazy, but I just figure even dirtbags would feel dirty if they were kicking a helpless man curled up in a ball and may stop sooner than wasting more time provoking them.  I never won arm wrestles either which was embarrassing, especially in front of girls and even worse when I was the one challenging someone.

I’m not a fighter – physically.

I learned early that the battles of this world are not fought physically but that there was a greater force at work that I could not explain.  First of all, why were they kicking me in the first place?

Let us turn for a second study someone who knows more about this topic than anyone else – God Almighty – Jesus the Lord.

One of the greatest battles of history (I almost typed ‘Epic Rap Battles of History… go to Youtube to figure out why that’s funny in a bad way’) was when Jesus defeated Satan on the earth in Round 1 in the book of Matthew chapter  4.  Here Satan tries to make Jesus fold ’em and take the bait with the hook.  Note that Satan didn’t sucker punch Jesus or beat him like a rented mule when no one was looking.  He leaves that kind of buffoon work for his underlings.  He used words.  He cut right to the core of the human vulnerabilities and used manipulation skills in an attempt to achieve his nefarious goals .

And that’s the battle we face.  Words and manipulation for selfish gain.

So our battles are, at the core, battles of the words (not much unlike Epic Rap Battles of History…. I really gotta stop promoting these guys but it’s hard)

Good manipulators don’t put anything in writing.

Companies hesitate to put in writing anything other than that which will benefit them.  I told my mom to call up her ISP and try to get a new modem and a better rate.  I told her to get them to email the quote to her and then she could forward it to me for approval.  When I asked her for the quote later that day she said, ‘They weren’t allowed to put it in writing but they gave me a faster download speed and bundled something with it.”  Not surprised I then asked, “And the new modem?”  She informed me that the company ‘doesn’t have new modems like the one she has but only modem routers’.  Gimme a break.  She ended up with a plan that will save her a bit of money now but, at the end of the fine print (and there is always fine print) she will likely pay more.

Lawyers know this, too. They are Wordsters.  They can word you into certain death or they can word you right out of a mess. They can outword anyone and using a language that only they know.

With that preface, now that we agree the battles are with words, what battles should we fight and which ones should we pass up?

I believe that if your battle is for selfish gain you won’t have any long term joy from the victory.  If your battle is just simply to take someone down that you will spend your energy and time and even when you are done, you won’t have made any great significance in the world.

If your battle is to pave the way for helping others in the same boat as you, and your victory will not only help yourself but many who come after you, then you must fight.  You cannot avoid your duty to put on the verbal gloves and wordcraft your way to victory.  So what do two examples look like?

The classic example of a battle not worth fighting is the divorce battle.  Obviously I’m completely against divorce from the get-go, but for those who have chosen this path, read on.  The sick stories that I’ve heard related to one ex trying to destroy the other ex seem like they are from a twisted Hollywood movie.  The only people who win in these stories are the lawyers.  And I’m not talking about a ‘fair divorce’ (if such a thing were possible) where both sides divvy up the bounty.  I’m talking about divorcing but then going that extra step to make sure there is salt in the other person’s wound.  Forget it! Move on.  Seek God and He will heal your heart, not auctioning off your ex’s motorcycle for a dollar.

I’m not saying that I agree completely with where many unions seem to have gone in the last few decades, but I think they are a good example of a battle that was worth fighting.  Unions formed because companies were abusing people.  Companies that have only their own selfish gain in mind are still very much present and, oh yes, right here in Canada, right here in Vancouver.  Unions used peaceful demonstrations, and words of negotiations.  No punching (well I’m sure a few angry union dudes lost their cool).  No beating of rented mules.

So, I recommend using a basic gauge for your battle.  Will others benefit from your battle?  Will you be helping others beside yourself?

If the answer is ‘yes’ then by all means go down fighting and die trying if you must.  Take a round-house kick to the head for the team.  Curl up in a ball and let them boot-smack you.

But if you are the only ‘winner’ in the battle, pack up, fold the cards and move on – your battle is in vain.

 

 

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Our Generation: Dude, somebody should probably go save her.

So I’m reading a news article (rare) when I come across this article about some chick (is that politically correct?) who got swept away (literally).

I think the point of the article was to confirm that the woman didn’t end up falling off the corner of the earth but it got me thinking about the true  meaning of this video.  You really need to take a minute to watch this. You can start watching at 30 seconds in to get the point.

At first I chuckled the same way as the 99% of the other people watching and filming and did a short belly laugh when the goofy sounding drunk college student said these words

Dude.  Somebody should probably go save her.

So I watched the video again and noticed that not only were there many people standing around on the other side of the torrent but there were a lot of voices near the camera too.

Nobody went to save her.

Then I started thinking about his words ‘somebody’.

Who is somebody?  Isn’t the goofy voice guy somebody?  Oh… I get it.  It’s the ‘general somebody’.  It’s the same ‘somebody’ we blame for all of the mishaps and failings of the world.

“Somebody should run for politics who isn’t corrupt.”

“Somebody should really come up with a win-win way of doing business.”

Somebody‘s best friend is ‘they‘.  They and somebody are clones – one and the same person.

“They should really do something about the government wastage in this country.”

“They should really create legislation to stop large corporations from ruining people’s lives.”

“I heard that they‘ve found a cure for cancer.”

“They should really come up with a kind of computer that has higher security and doesn’t violate you privacy and get lots of viruses.  Oh wait.. they did.”

It’s also interesting to note the use of ‘dude’ in this video.  Is he speaking to his friend, a ‘dude’?  No.  He’s speaking to the ‘general dude’ which in turn means that he’s speaking out loud to himself and anyone else who might like to hear his thoughts.  Here are a few more examples of such usage of ‘dude’:

Dude! Check out that couple tongue wrestling by the mailbox.”

“Oh, dude.  I can’t believe I forgot my textbook.”

Dude…. *tokes reefer*… I’m like so stoned.”

So, in a complete sports-commentary-style analysis of Goofy-Guy’s statement:

Dude: I’m now vocalizing and pointing attention my internal thoughts so others can hear and discuss them

Somebody: someone other than myself, the general somebody, the un-faced somebody upon whom I blame for the bad things of the world

should: a word that removes certainty, a conditional recommendation, a suggestion to be considered but not necessarily acted upon

go save her: the command given to go and save this woman from a frozen posterior and possibly death

Why didn’t Goofy-Guy just turn to his friend and say ‘GO SAVE HER!’  It’s obvious she needed saving.  She was rocketing down a street in frozen water, unable to stop, freezing her butt cheeks off.  He didn’t say this because it would project the responsibility and guilt of not doing the right thing onto someone else.  That might make them feel uncomfortable.  And making someone feel uncomfortable in Canada is akin to genocide.

Why didn’t he say “I’M GOING TO SAVE HER!”  Because he didn’t care enough.  The empathy level towards this woman was enough to vocalize concern but not enough to take action.  His conscience at least recognized he should do something but he was more concerned about staying warm and hanging with his friends, while assuming that Mr. Somebody was already taking care of her salvation somewhere down this newly-formed river.

Dude.  Somebody should probably go save her.

Just when you thought Goofy-Guy and Torrential Tracy had been analyzed enough, I started thinking again.  The image of this woman standing strong, yet in an obviously stupid position of risk, and then being swept away to possible destruction stuck in my mind.

Why was Torrential Tracy standing there in the first place?  Why was she trying to cross?  Was she showing her bravery?  Was she late for her class?

And where were her friends of reason standing on the side screaming at her to stop being stupid and come back to safety?  Maybe she was alone.

I started thinking of the foolishness of youth.  We put ourselves in obvious risk of danger every day.  Where are the wise elders to stop us from wading out into the torrents?  Where is the voice of reason?  And when we slip and foolishly get swept into the sea of sin and destruction, where are the people to reach out a hand?

I’m guilty.

I’m the proverbial Goofy-Guy in the video who said:

Dude.  Somebody should probably go save her.

And I’m sorry, Torrential Tracy.

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Why the Crapital Letters?

So there I am typing an email to someone who sits somewhere between a friend, an acquaintance and a business partner.  I had begun the email typing very quickly, not even taking the time to hit the shift key to capitalize his name.

At the end of the email, as is customary, I nailed the shift key and typed my ‘W’.  That’s short for ‘Wayne’ if you are curious.  Just before I pressed send, I realized that my recipient’s name was underlined by the browser’s spell check feature, but my ‘W’ wasn’t.  Immediately, I thought ‘This will look bad if my name is capitalized but his name is not.”

Then the real thought struck me:

Why are the names of mortals like us capitalized at all?

I did a search in a major search engine and to my surprise, I couldn’t find an article on this topic.  I could find many articles about how and when to use capital letters, but not why we use them.

I can understand capitalizing God’s name because God is God – He is worthy of a capital letter -He created the heavens, the earth and all that is therein.  But not me.  Nope. I’m not worthy of a capital letter – my poop stinks and I talk too much.  I’m not worthy of having my name distinguished as if I have done some great thing in this world.  And even if I had done some great thing in this world that some human thought was important, did that warrant a capital like God?  Did I create flowers and DNA and the stars and the moon or a newborn babe or the eagle soaring in the air? Methinks not.

Don’t get me wrong. I think people are important.  I think they are so important that God sent His own Son Jesus to die for them, for crying out loud;  You don’t see Him doing that for pigs or cows – not that they don’t have their place in creation.  So people are dearly important. However, I think it’s arrogance and ego that started the capital letters on people’s names. Let’s humble ourselves a bit and not think of ourselves as so great.

So, starting today, I encourage you to start removing the capital letter from all these people’s names.  If they would allow you to put their thoughts and the rotten condition of their heart on a big screen, the world would quickly see (in HD quality) that they do not deserve a capital letter.  So, backspace, type your boss’ names again without the capital.  Be sure to include a link to this article so they don’t blame you for this act of what they will probably consider defiance, rudeness or lack of English language proficiency.

If you don’t buy into the theological reasons for killing the crapitals, at the end of the day, think how much faster you could type if you didn’t have to hit the bloody shift key for every ‘proper name’.

-wayne taylor, december, 2012

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