What is this crazy challenge? It’s simple — follow all these rules:
Buy no new gifts during the holidays.
Wait, whaaat? Don’t fret, there are alternatives:
Make gifts, like crafts or construction type gifts.
Bake or cook consumable gifts like cookies.
Give the gift of your service — wash cars, give a massage, babysit, clean a house, mow lawns, etc.
Buy used gifts at thrift stores.
Donate to charity, as a group.
Volunteer at a charity together.
Have a shared experience together.
Create something, together, instead of consuming.
Give to others things you don’t need (a good sewing machine, etc.).
Find gratitude for what we already have.
A brief visit to the emergency room last month reminded me of what an organization that’s pre-digital is like. Six people doing bureaucratic tasks and screening that are artifacts of a paper universe, all in the service of one doctor (and the need to get paid and not get sued). A 90-minute experience so we could see a doctor for ninety seconds.
Wasteful and even dangerous.
Even when they use technology, they have tons of isolated systems. Last time I was in the emergency room they had fancy tablets and wheel around PC’s, but then asked you the same questions and re-entered them 3 times. I actually asked if the machines didn’t have a network connection.. They had no answer.
“The government is not empowered to trample shareholder and property rights even in the midst of a financial emergency,” Starr International says in the suits. It contends that the government discriminated in its action against AIG, by refusing to provide loans or loan guarantees or access to the Fed’s discount borrowing window as it had to other financial institutions such as Citigroup Inc.
The AIG shareholders didn’t agree “to the proposed taking of their property rights,” the lawsuits say. They were filed against the government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington and against the New York Fed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Reacting to calls for cuts in entitlement programs, House Democrat Henry Waxman fumed: “The Republicans want us to repeal the twentieth century.” Sound bites don’t get much better than that. After all, the world before the twentieth century–before the New Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society–was a dark, dangerous, heartless place where hordes of Americans starved in the streets.
Except it wasn’t and they didn’t. The actual history of America shows something else entirely: picking your neighbors’ pockets is not a necessity of survival. Before America’s entitlement state, free individuals planned for and coped with tough times, taking responsibility for their own lives.
The Benefits Of Not Focusing
“We live in an age that worships attention,” says my friend (and Radiolab colleague) Jonah Lehrer. “When we need to work, we force ourselves to concentrate. This approach can also inhibit the imagination. Sometimes, it helps to consider irrelevant information, to eavesdrop on all the stray associations unfolding in the far reaches of the brain.”
That ability to let go, float free, does seem like an essential part of a creative mind, not just in giant ones. Those of us who make our livings closer to the ground, have to do it too. In his forthcoming book, (coming to bookstores this Spring) Jonah mentions a study by Dr. Holly White, then at the University of Memphis, and her colleague Priti Shah, of the University of Michigan.
They recruited 60 undergrads, half of whom were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). So these kids had real difficulty focusing and sticking to any one activity. All the students were then given a variety of creativity tests (including the Creative Achievement Questionnaire, originally developed by Shelley Carson at Harvard) and, surprisingly, the ADHD students generally got higher scores. When White asked, “Who among you has won a big part in a play, an art prize, a science prize?” — who has been recognized for his or her achievements out there in the real world — again it was the ADHD students who had done better.
Minds that break free, that are compelled to wander, can sometimes achieve more than those of us who are more inhibited, more orderly, the study suggests. Or, as Jonah chose to put it, there are “unexpected benefits of not being able to focus.”
Speakers say they work hard to balance speaking with their day jobs but that the personal exposure helps promote their business, too.
“It is an executive sales role,” said seasoned speaker Jeff Taylor, founder of job site Monster.com, who has started a talent management service for DJs.
This year, Mr. Taylor will give more than 20 paid speeches and roughly as many pro bono ones. A few Fridays ago, he shared tips about running a business at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Massachusetts. The next day he spoke about a similar topic at an event hosted by dental-implant maker Straumann Holding AG.
Ironwood employee Linda Musgrave said Mr. Taylor’s talk was well worth the $15,000 they paid him. Paul Patella, a senior marketing manager at Straumann, said Mr. Taylor connected with the nontechie audience by telling them to “go way outside the box.”
Everybody’s been too damn polite about this nonsense:
The “Occupy” movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an exercise of our blessed First Amendment. “Occupy” is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.
“Occupy” is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the “movement” – HAH! Some “movement”, except if the word “bowel” is attached – is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.
This is no popular uprising. This is garbage. And goodness knows they’re spewing their garbage – both politically and physically – every which way they can find.
Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy.
Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.
And this enemy of mine — not of yours, apparently – must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh – out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle.
In the name of decency, go home to your parents, you losers. Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft.
Or better yet, enlist for the real thing. Maybe our military could whip some of you into shape.
They might not let you babies keep your iPhones, though. Try to soldier on.