Friday, January 25, 2013

Are You a Believer?

We’re becoming a nation of skeptics. We never know when to trust our eyes and ears. For instance, earlier this week my husband talked to our kids about how practice and hard work is an important aspect of success. He mentioned Michael Jordan’s athletic career and the rigorous practices that helped him to excel. He also cited athletes who failed to blend talent with hard work and, as a result, fizzled out. He even reminded the kids of how their practices played a role in their own accomplishments. The examples built a compelling case for the merits of practice and hard work. After listening and soaking up every word of the discussion, our youngest asked, “Do you have any statistics on that?” Statistics? Really? Had we produced statistics, I can imagine the next question: Where did you get these numbers?

Sometimes we have to assess situations based on available evidence, prior experience and common sense regardless of what we see and hear. Check out this video and see if you’re a believer:   

What do you think—is the fish real? Technology enables us to fabricate the simplest and most outrageous situations and then document them as if they’re true events. We’re on a slippery slope when our eyes and ears serve as the basis for what we believe.  

What extraordinary cultural phenomenon do you believe in and why?       


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Insanity Continues

My new DVD workout seemed insane at first, but after tackling a few sessions it wasn’t as exhausting as in the beginning. Oh, it’s still a great cardio challenge, but much less intimidating. The interesting part about experiences that spill outside the parameters of our initial expectations is this: once we eliminate the element of surprise, we see things differently. This video will surprise and puzzle you:
Is that insanity or what? The scene happened in Devil’s Pool at the Victoria waterfalls in Zambia.  Despite the fear, it looked like everyone had fun. The question is: Why didn't they go swirling over the edge? I investigated and I discovered that a natural rock wall located at the water’s edge prevents swimmers from falling several hundred feet to their deaths—forget about rock walls, it still looks dangerous to me. I’m no daredevil, so I don’t see myself jumping into Devil’s Pool. Many people have an innate need to stare death in the face, push past their fears, and go for what seems inconceivable. It’ a new year, what seemingly impossible—some may say insane—activities do you plan to accomplish in 2013?    

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Nationwide Epidemic

We’re in the midst of a nationwide epidemic. No, I’m not talking about the flu. I’m referring to how so many of us kick off the year with a new exercise routine. I’m jumping on the bandwagon by doing a DVD workout program at home. Since I’ve exhausted the health benefits from running track in high school decades ago, I’ll need to dig deep into my energy reserves to finish this program. I’m so committed that I’m going to work out more than twice a month. Oh yeah, I’m going for the finish line! After having completed two DVD sessions already, I can tell you this exercise program is insane. You know you’re in for a tough time when the assistants look as though they want to crawl away and sleep. I like that. It gives me a legitimate reason to rest on the sofa for a second or two, or twenty or….  Some people will put themselves through anything to get in shape. Take a look:


I don’t know what the audience thinks, but it’s probably not much different from what we’re thinking. Did you catch the first exercise in the demonstration? It’s priceless.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to recondition your mind, body or soul?   

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Freak-Out

Our family just watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for the umpteenth time. Everybody’s familiar with the premise: Willy Wonka, a candy manufacturer, holds a contest for kids. The five winners embark on a factory tour and secret “interview” process to see who has the moral fiber to inherit and operate the candy business. As Wonka tests each kid’s mettle, the greedy, the arrogant, and the disobedient kids suffer the terrible consequences of ignoring Wonka’s advice. Their disqualifications allow honest Charlie to win. Although the movie premiered over forty years ago, it’s still entertaining. Here’s one of my favorite scenes:
Yes, it’s very weird. My family calls it the “freak-out” scene. Viewers know one thing for sure, Wonka qualifies as either crazy or genius, maybe both. The boat ride begins innocently enough. As passengers board, lovely music plays in the background, but the disturbing videos and Wonka’s screaming soon send people clamoring for safety.

The tunnel scene reminds me of 2012—the freak-out year. It started off fairly normal, but by year-end we had escalated into full-blown insanity with one unbelievable situation after another including Stormy Sandy, Sandy Hook, a presidential election, apocalyptic preparations, and a fiscal cliff.  I’m sure you have your own vivid memories of 2012. 

What one word would you choose to describe 2012 and why?