hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley

It comes in many forms

Tag: health Page 1 of 3

25 reasons to have someone buzz your head this summer

Subject: Buzzcut Photographer: Photographer's ...

Subject: Buzzcut Photographer: Photographer’s Mate 1st Class (NAC) Mark S. Kettenhofen Date: July 1, 1998 Location: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland Source: U.S. Navy Office of Information (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. It saves on haircuts, that is, if the person buzzing you is giving you the mop chop for free.
2. It keeps you cooler. Today was pretty hot and I can say without hesitation my head feels cool when I’m in the cool basement. And you know what they say about cooler heads prevailing.
3. Cooler heads will prevail.
4. Because “serious” bloggers say the time has come and gone for “top twenty-five anything” blog post lists in the blogging community. Meh.
5. If your wife does the buzzing, you can hear things like, “I don’t think this is set on a No. 1, Bob. Oops, too late now. No need to get the adjustable blade. Oh my. This is a completely different look. Not that it’s bad. There. Done.”
6. Animals like gold fish and hares are no longer intimidated by your hair…even the hair that is on the ground.
Buzz Cut

Buzz Cut (Photo credit: JasonTromm)

7. It “feels” like you are going faster on the downhills when you are riding your bike.
8. Because gray hair is replaced by gray dots.
9. Your bald spot(s) is/are less pronounced.
10. People didn’t know you before the buzz cut and they sure as shite won’t know you afterwards. Revel in your anonymity.
11. Head bands actually stand a fighting chance of absorbing sweat before it drips down the bottom of your forehead and stings your eyes.
12. You look like an 80’s rocker when you wear a head band.
13. People want to rub your head for good luck. No, not that head. C’mon, you know you were thinking it.
14. Your smile really makes your eyes pop after a buzz cut. No, if your eyes are kind of big like mine, they can sometimes appear to be bulging. But, keep smiling. People will think you are up to something.
15. Shuffle down the street with your practically bald, well, yeah, entirely bald head, until someone comes up to you and asks, “Whatsa matter witch you boy!”
Newly commissioned officers celebrate their ne...

Newly commissioned officers celebrate their new positions by throwing their midshipmen covers into the air as part of the U.S. Naval Academy class of 2005 graduation and commissioning ceremony. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

16. Your hats can be tightened up a little now. Or, for those hats that don’t adjust, you can wear that headband under them so they won’t feel so loose.
17. You wear hats more often than before if only to keep from getting a sunburn on da dome.
18. You can get ready for work/school/anything faster without having to mess with your hair.
19. Can’t technically qualify as having a bad hair day.
20. You can finally ride with ALL the windows down without messing up your hair.
21. If your ears are big you’ll appear more Spock-like.
22. Stupid people who didn’t pay much attention to you but who know who you are will think you did something to your appearance but they can’t quite put their finger on it. Nor will you let them.
23. You’ll think you’ll be more careful about bumping your head accidentally since it’ll hurt more without hair protecting at least some of your skull. You would be right about it hurting more.
lauren's buzz cut

lauren’s buzz cut (Photo credit: Runs With Scissors)

24. You’ll still bump your head accidentally just as much. This isn’t technically a reason to buzz cut or shave your head, but I feel you should be aware.
25. You’ll look and feel fresh and happy. And that is way better than hairy and unkempt. Plus, you’ll want to come up with at least another 10 reasons to buzz your hair off after reading this.

Increasing your chances of receiving the kindness of strangers


A little kindness goes a long way

A little kindness goes a long way (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

This piece is about bad.
And good.
Mostly bad, though.
And how people you don’t even know may get you through all changes good and bad provided your heart is not closed off.
If you say you don’t like change, that you prefer things to just remain the same, yet you are doing nothing to keep them that way, you’re just letting life happen to you because you feel things are fine as they are and would always prefer they be that way.
Suddenly, with that kind of thinking, you become change’s latest victim.
We all eventually have simple triumphs, things that help us feel our lives are going pretty well at some point in time. When this happens, we can silently root for things to never change, that they always are the way they are then.
But change is something beyond all of our control. Rich people can control some of the change but ultimately the change that happens to them is beyond their control, too, just like poor people.
Why would anyone want things to not change?
If things would not change, life would be a whole lot easier, but probably way more boring, too. For instance, let’s say you’re happy with your professional life. You don’t ever want things to change there. You go about doing things in your professional life to the point that you become one of the recognized leaders in your field. Your success is spread out on the table for all to view. You feel that things can stay the same provided your professional performance remains at unparalleled levels.
This kind of thinking can be a mistake.
Just because we become static in our jobs does not mean we are allowed to keep everything the same. Nothing is within our control when it comes to professional lifestyles. Change is constant they say. But at the professional level, change can be daily–and we are at a loss to control it unless we are the ones pulling the strings.
In our personal lives we can have more of a semblance of routine and a sense of control. But we should not ever fool ourselves into thinking we have complete control there, either. Just when we think everything is fine is when our personal lives can be turned upside down.

So how can we best roll with change since we cannot control a lot of the things that may happen to us personally and professionally?

In a couple of words…
And graciousness.
To be kind and gracious is not something that just nice guys do. But it’s mostly nice guys that are. And to be clear, nice guys don’t finish last. They just live a lot longer than bad guys because they are kind (and gracious) to the right people. Maybe living longer is viewed unfavorably in some circles, so I suppose that could be considered finishing last? Like the old one liner…”Why do men die before their wives? Because they want to!” Ba-doom-boom!
Seriously, I do feel Chili bowl was wrong when he sang “only the good die young.” Fact is, bad people are more likely to die young since they are more likely to commit bad acts that good guys will not. Bad guys and good guys take risks. Risk taking is necessary for all of us to one extent or another. It’s just that bad guys have a habit of taking the kinds of risks that imperil their health. So to put it another way, while some people may feel nice guys finish last, I would suggest bad guys just don’t finish at all.
Someone once told me you never know who you’re talking to. That in and of itself should be reason and cause for most of us to live in a kind and gracious manner, doing the right thing. But sometimes when bad change comes along, even the kindest and most gracious of us can be driven to adopt a new way of thinking, a new attitude, that is seemingly not too far removed from the impetus of the change itself.
When bad change comes there is temptation to think unkindly and to act ungraciously. It’s pretty difficult to take the high road, but revenge is not something the good guys will typically seek out. That is because that while to bad guys revenge may be sweet, to the good guys, living well is sweeter. Plus, revenge does not even the score, let alone change the negative things that have transpired.
Bad change is atop most of us before we can see it coming. By the time it gets here, we may have alienated or lost the persons closest to us who might have helped the most. It’s at times like these we are most vulnerable and could use a helping hand.
So what not to do?
If you live your life like a rude ass, not ever ingratiating yourself to even your best friends, acquaintances and associates (like bad guys can do), you will not ever know the kindness of strangers (like good guys do) because you won’t recognize it as it passes you by.
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Napping is the next workplace revolution

Dying Achilles at Achilleion, Corfu. Sculptor:...
Many of us are obsessed with all things sleep. We need our rest in order to do great things. I think we can do pretty great things when we are not so rested, but no one ever says things like, “I wouldn’t have set that world record if I had gotten eight hours of sleep the night before. In fact, staying up all night the night before really helped me relax at the start of the race, which has always been an Achilles heel for me.”
The greatness in a statement like this is its inverse absurdity. We are constantly using lack of sleep as an excuse for poor performance to come. We even show up to work and tell the boss things like, “I’m just warning you ahead of time, Jerry. I didn’t get much sleep last night, so when I crunch the numbers in those spreadsheets, something may be off.”
We cover ourselves and pending, expected poor performance with our lack of sleep excuse, but we never attribute lack of sleep to reaching our goals (in spite of it). Think about it. There have been stories for as long as baseball has been around of players carousing the night before games and hitting home runs and pitching great games off of less than four hours of sleep.

The point in all this is that we humans will use anything as an excuse to explain why we did or didn’t do well on the job on any given day, at any given time and after getting enough or not enough rest, the night before.

It was very interesting to see a poll in USA Today that basically put the question to people that if napping on the job were allowed, would you take advantage of it? Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly—does anything we do as a species even get a sincere OMG anymore?) 48% said yes, 49% said no and 3% said they’re not sure.
Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...
Now, to me, the 3% who are not sure are just hedging their bets until they can see how to use the napping edge to their benefit or not. If they feel they either, a) use the nap as part of an excuse; or, b) use it as a reason for justifying some self-serving action (more on self-serving actions in a bit), they are ultimately unclear as to which one will provide the best mix of accolades and work getting done in respect to how much sleep they got the night before.
Personally, I have observed nappers on the job. They are very peaceful-looking. I have even covered for them when someone came into the work space to query them. I would head off the would-be solicitor and nap killer at the pass, saying things like, “Don’t bother Sadie. She’s totally in the zone and up to her ears in alligators (don’t scoff, alligators can be effective in scenarios like this provided your delivery is urgent enough) critiquing the boss’s proposal. Sadie was not a loud snorer and her back would be turned to everyone when she was napping in her chair. I was always a little envious of Sadie as she appeared so refreshed after awakening from one of her beloved naps.

The people in the camp of non-nappers I personally find annoying. These are the very same people who are yawning loudly throughout the day, complaining about how little Cassy kept them up all night and annoying the hell out of the rest of us in the process. We get that you didn’t get any sleep. Now you are just being an unwanted distraction for the rest of us, and especially because you can’t take a nap at work so we can avoid your incessant yawning and complaining.
Self-serving nappers
Back in the day I once made a proposal to institute the four-day work week in the department I was overseeing. We won’t get into particulars, but I was initially rebuffed by certain parties north of me, saying they thought the initiative would be entirely self-serving. I thought that interesting because this opinion was offered without benefit of reading the proposal in the first place. While there were certain parts of it that could have been deemed a benefit to an employee’s quality of life, ultimately the fact that a happy employee is a more productive employee engendered the success of the proposal. I was given a test period to try the four-day work week and if productivity and efficiency increases were not enjoyed it would be the death of the experiment at the completion of the trial period. The initiative unsurprisingly won out as impressive productivity and efficiency gains were realized during the trial period.
While napping on the job might be seen by higher-ups as self-serving, I think it’s a bit unfair to characterize it that way. After all, most worker bees do not have their own offices where they can close the door and nap to their heart’s content. And before you mid-level managers and C-suite types get all indignant, you really should just knock off the protestations as you know you have napped on the job occasionally; you can’t lie to me about this one.

Bags Under The Eyes

Bags Under The Eyes (Photo credit: DerrickT)

The overall success of the napping initiative in this country may rest on its implementation. Will current break rooms be outfitted to enhance the napping experience or will we just put our heads down on our desks and hands like we used to do in kindergarten? Didn’t the thought of nap time at kindergarten just make you all warm and fuzzy? It should have, especially if you can remember how raring to go you were after you woke up. Now get to napping…on three…
Go team.

Go your own way

English: Indian family in Brazil posed in fron...

English: Indian family in Brazil posed in front of hut – 3 bare-breasted females, baby and man with bow and arrows. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one has a perfect life. No one even comes close for there are only perfect moments within lifetimes. No one has a monopoly on happiness. We sometimes seem to have it all together at times—everything serene, everything working out sublimely, or so we think. But, it’s fleeting.
Since you can’t please all of the people all of the time, the best piece of advice I ever gave myself was to go my own way. No matter what anyone else thought about what I should be doing at any given time in life, ultimately I was the one who had to live with the decisions made, and no matter how influenced by others they were sometimes, too.
If we go about our lives relying heavily on the input of others for what we do, where we go, who we’re with, why we’re with them and when we leave or stay, we aren’t living the life we’ve been given. Sure, the unknown is tough, but the unthinkable is worse. We have to do our own thinking and let ourselves end up where we will. In effect, we have to go our own way.
English: Booth of Nintendo, presenting Wii, on...

English: Booth of Nintendo, presenting Wii, on the Gamescom 2009, Cologne Deutsch: Messestand von Nintendo mit der Wii auf der Gamescom 2009, Köln (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new friend told me they had lived through times in life when they didn’t know where their next meal was coming. They also told me they had at times been comfortable enough with their finances that they didn’t have to worry about stuff like that. What was consistent all along was the ability of this person to make the hard decisions they had to. Sometimes their decisions were good ones and sometimes not so good. Did they ever get advice from others along the way? Sure they did and sometimes what happened as a result of the advice of others was good and not so good. By making the majority of the decisions on their own, however, they came to know the meaning of being accountable, for they did not place the blame for their lot in life at any given time on what others had advised them to do. If they had, they told me, they couldn’t have taken credit for the successes and failures in their life. And that, above everything else was most important to them—the mother of all signs that they were adults, going their own way and by doing so, living life to the fullest.
Brazil: Train's a Comin'

Brazil: Train’s a Comin’ (Photo credit: Rhys A.)

Playing it safe is easy. We get locked into comfort mode and resist change at all costs and measures. This is another way of living that precipitates a fall—from comfort if nothing else. Life will fling crap at us no matter how insulated by good fortune we think we are. We may be riding high in our professional lives only to have it all come crashing down in our personal lives.
If you were able to have a preference as to which part of your life crumbled—professional or personal, which would it be?
The answer for me is professional. We are not able to have either completely problem free, but my personal life crumbling would be more disabling than if it were my professional life. Professional reputations are ruined each day, yet can be rebuilt. If something is destroyed in one’s personal life it may remain forever unrecoverable.
A life well lived includes listening to music both at work, at home and when we’re alone. While I used to think it rude to see (and hear) people on the bus when they listened to their portable music players, I have come to appreciate this way of shutting out the world. It would be more courteous, however, if the ear buds used were not so inexpensive that I could keep from hearing the music they were playing—always made me feel like I was in a bad movie and I was the annoyed guy on the bus sitting not next to the dude going deaf by his own song so to speak, but several rows back. If I could hear it in the back how could people closer and next to him tolerate it?
But listening to different kinds of music is part of what helps us go our own way. There is an appreciation gleaned from exposing oneself to different things including music that isn’t what has grown familiar and comfortable to us. Differences (I hesitate to say diversity because it is too sterile a characterization) are what need to be embraced in order to be part of the world of the truly living.

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

It always cracked me up when I read those surveys of what people would be able to give up and what they would not. What was pretty hilarious, at least to me, were those that indicated a good percentage of the population would forgo sex rather than be without the Internet—talk about having an alternative lifestyle!
As I’ve gotten older my tolerance for many things has grown greater. That is another part of going, in this case, my own way. If I could wish one thing for youngsters it is for them to have tolerance and to be tolerant, of differences, in people, cultures, opinions and customs not your own that do not hurt anyone or anything. When we embrace our differences and the uniqueness of them, the variety of them, and when we do so uniformly across cultures and genders, life is better. It is better by virtue of the fact that our differences, and the sharing and adopting of them, makes us more alike, draws us more tightly together, and as we go our own ways.

Get paid, get yours: The greater good as afterthought

My LinkedIn network, visualized

My LinkedIn network, visualized (Photo credit: For Inspiration Only)

You still have a better chance of becoming rich in the United States than you do, say, in Russia. This is because, although the disparity of wealth in the U.S. has never been greater, it is not as bad as countries with governments that funnel the sums of their gross domestic product into the hands of a ruling few.
I think people coming up now are more inclined to have making money as one of their goals. “Get paid,” goes the creed. While some people believe helping out the poverty-stricken in foreign countries helps them feel better about themselves than those who stay at home and chase a buck, the ones forsaking disgustingly big earnings at a young age are now most definitely in the minority.
No matter whom it is and where the opportunities are, people who struggle at all early in life seek to change their fortunes as soon as possible thereafter. Many specialize in a field of study that promises their best chance at immediate employment when their schooling is done.


Money is one of the great motivators, second only to ambition. I would suggest if someone has ambition, part of their wanting success stems from the thought of what a lot of money can bring them at the end of their pursuit of success: prestige, sex, creature comforts and status among their peers—and maybe more sex, provided they are willing to pay both the literal and figurative premiums. But is money the root of all evil or is its acquisition in more than copious quantities simply a necessary evil?
I’ve often wondered, given a chance, how much money would I need before I would feel it is time to help others get to where I am and become an “influencer” on a forum such as LinkedIn? I think those with just money wealth as end games in mind do not ever consider such things. When you are in the hamster wheel that is chasing a buck, you never get off it even when you are tired. You just drink more coffee and keep the damn thing spinning.
When you embark on a path, whether it is one that can offer the chance for a lucrative career or one where you feel your contributions to society at large are more important than the amount of money you make, which path do you opt for?
If you had to think about that last question at all I am encouraged. Most decide quickly what the answer is and that answer most of the time is embarking on the path that promises the lucrative career. I believe if you hesitate at all when you think about what your answer is, you quite probably have the big picture in mind. You feel sharing of yourself, your time and what you know, with those who could use your help the most, takes care of a greater overall and more responsible need. This is what rich people do after they acquire so much money they finally figure out it is more than enough for them to remain comfortable no matter how much they spend each day. So, they reach out to lift people up in the best way they know how. I salute them for this, too, as it’s better to arrive at this good place late rather than never at all.
Wealth in America
Recently I read a draft feature article by one of my classmates at school. This is a young person trying to better their lot in life with education and the promise of a job awaiting them at the end of their studies. The article was about how they felt they were making a difference in a person’s life, how they helped someone on a particular day, so much so, that what they did changed not only the outlook of the person they assisted, but also altered for the better how they viewed themselves. This is how I define living each day with meaning and purpose.
Chasing a buck beyond one’s needs reeks of selfishness. What are you doing with all of that extra money? The latest irritating thing for me from professional networking sites like LinkedIn is their wanting, check that, besieging me, to follow “Influencers.” Best I can tell, influencers on LinkedIn are people who make more money than I do and by implication, if I follow them I can be successful like they are. I call happy load of crap on requests like that.
LinkedIn has been great for broadening my network of professional associates, but after reading a few posts from different influencers, I was quickly and unflinchingly unimpressed. Most of their “influence” is directed at how I should be changing or doing something in order to make more money and/or become financially successful. Not a single one of these influencers account for people like myself who do not equate more money than you need with success. That may be the definition of business success, but business success without personal success is a lonely place from which to live.
Rich Studying
From my perspective, people who are rich are out of touch with most of the people who live ordinary lives on a planet where success sometimes means just making it through the day alive.

You’re not following any Influencers or Channels yet. That’s an easy fix! Click the tabs above to explore, or we can help you get started. – LinkedIn

That’s ok. Thanks just the same.

Things to consider (just in case)…

Yummy Canine Scramble - Glucosamine

Yummy Canine Scramble – Glucosamine (Photo credit: Kimberly Gauthier | Keep the Tail Wagging)

So glucosamine is snake oil. Or so the evidence from recent studies suggest. Glucosamine was one of those supplements that utilized a great deal of peer pressure in its heyday. “I’m using glucosamine! My knees feel less bad! My girlfriend is prettier! And although I’m making the same amount of money I always have for the past five years, it seems like I’m bringing in more dineros! In a nutshell, my life rules since taking glucosamine.”
Supplements are part of our micro journeys in our individual quests to find the fountain of youth, or at least a better life. We take them just in case. We all have to be able to do more with less these days and as we age, we stay in jobs longer for fear of losing the security of our present paychecks. The paycheck is what keeps us showing up. While we struggle to make ends meet with benefit of our “secure” paycheck, we watch as a life we hoped would bring us better slips away. Our needing security keeps us from realizing our full potential. We never find out what we could become or what is out there because we continue to be held back by what others say we should be doing.
“Take the glucosamine,” say the masses. “Don’t quit your jobs,” say the masses. “I will hitch my wagon to this pony called BlackBerry for as long as I can,” say the soon to be displaced BlackBerry worker masses.
One thing that has been most impressive in my return to school has been the quality of the faculty of the college I attend. I’m not sucking up, either, even if it looks that way. Sucking up here will not get me anything, either, just like glucosamine. Without going into any real specifics, let’s just say all of the teachers are very knowledgeable, care about the students and are passionate and committed to their work. But, what’s even more impressive is they look to always better themselves. They try to anticipate downturns in any one area of what they are presently doing and seek opportunities to either a) personally improve themselves; and/or b) continuously improve their ability to deliver top notch results academically-speaking for their students. These teachers remind me of stakeholders who own stock in companies, only five notches better than that. Instructors who care are not as common as you think. And when you have faculty members that act as if they are vested in their students’ overall success, you can be sure the quality of the education delivered receives a legitimate and real boost—unlike what the users of glucosamine get.
Went to see GC in Trenton on 4/4/08. His openi...

Went to see GC in Trenton on 4/4/08. His opening act was Dennis Blair. Between the 2 of them I had no mascara left (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am guilty of taking my share of supplements. Some days I do not take them, some days I do. I stopped taking glucosamine a long time ago and it was only for a short time that I took it in the first place. People were so crazy about glucosamine at one point they even started administering it to their pets. I’m thinking Sparky’s newly audible, glucosamine-tainted wind was the only real benefit derived from his glucosamine use. But it didn’t stop his owners from raving about his new, less painful mobility. The problem was the only newfound mobility the old buffer was experiencing was in his digestive system’s flutey reaction to the homeopathic supplement. I suppose supplement wind is not the worst thing if that is all of the side effects glucosamine drifted Sparky’s way. In many respects, I suppose glucosamine was and is, harmless in a gas-inducing fashion.
This final quarter I will be in school from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with only five minutes between classes to gobble something down. I have decided I will make peanut butter sandwiches each day I am in class this fall. I will eat a half a sandwich on the way to class when I need to. I thought last quarter was rough as I was in the same boat, only it was 9 a.m. to just 2 p.m. without a break. In order to keep my program on a fast(er) track graduation date, this lunch-less schedule gives me the benefit of keeping me on a strict diet while I maximize class time. If I thought glucosamine would somehow help, I would throw some back into the mix, too. But, it won’t, so I will leave it as part of my supplement past.
When it comes to the whole should I or shouldn’t I (regarding taking supplements), going back to school or staying on a job you feel is already on shaky ground, the “just in case” school of thought awaits your consideration.
“I’ll keep taking the glucosamine just in case the government tells us at some point down the road that it’s really good for us after all.”
“I’m going to go back to school because I want to see if I still will fit in those little desks that have remained the same size as the ones we had in elementary school. I better take a class in something, too, just in case I have to consider doing something else for a living.”
“Just in case, I better stay on this job. I do not really like it. I sometimes think my life sucks because this is what I do. I come home miserable on many evenings after being aggravated during the day. But we need the paycheck, have to pay the bills and send the kids to college just in case they want to go. What really bugs me is the talk of possibly more layoffs coming. But I guess all things considered I better stay put until something forces my hand.”
Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment. Before 1920.

Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment. Before 1920. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like a layoff?
What about last rites…if you are a recovering Catholic…do you take them upon being on your death bed?
In one of his skits George Carlin said, “Yeah, just in case.”
I’ll let you know how the peanut butter thing works out, too.

You never know who you’re talking to

English: Ear. Good for listening.

English: Ear. Good for listening. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or who’s listening to what you’re saying.
This is because the biggest breaks that we get in life are often by accident. Timing is occasionally key to changing things for the better but we do not know how to control that component of it, nor can we. Unless it is something like an automated, computer-generated command to either sell or buy a stock when it reaches a certain value, timing, breaks, luck and just hitting the sweet spot in general is many times by chance (you can of course visit hittingthesweetspot any time you like, however. :))
We are tuning people out and turning people off that might be able to help us, all the time. For example, let’s say you’re one of those people who love to blare your music with the windows down in your car beyond levels that are conducive to maintaining good hearing in your later years. This is great, I’m thinking, if I’m an audiologist. I will make a killing off the likes of people who do this and come to see me about their hearing loss. While I was in traffic yesterday, there was a car in the left lane that was blasting an “artist” mouthing something way too loud. So loud in fact, the car in the right lane in front of me and next to the car blasting the music, first tried inching up, then back, while we waited for the light to change, so as to be out of the direct path of sound from this mobile noisemaker. I opt for a new word: garbagist. This could be the word critics use to describe “artists” who produce music of questionable value and quality. It is being kind to describe it this way. Let’s face it, what they are producing is garbage and we consume it so we enjoy eating garbage I suppose. But, only if we can regurgitate it and have it pollute those within earshot of it.
Listening (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is not about sound ordinance enforcement, nor am I saying I don’t enjoy playing music loud on occasion, too. If I am rolling 60 miles an hour or more, I am guilty of blasting tunes same as anyone. I enjoy it loud for periods of time. The difference being, I am considerate of those other motorists or pedestrians who might not enjoy hearing my “garbage” music when I am in stop and go traffic. It is just plain rude and it is readily apparent that you are a whole ass (reverse the last two words before the open parentheses for greater impact and intention).
When you engage in behavior like blasting your music in traffic with the windows down you do not impress anyone in a positive fashion. It is just the opposite. You are not even considering the possibility of receiving a break, some good luck or a measure of good fortune as you close yourself off to all around you. You may be the most wonderful person in the world otherwise, but when you are rude, good things just will not come your way. You will perhaps be the recipient of rude behavior as a result of your own rude behavior (receiving a certain hand gesture featuring a prominent middle finger comes to mind).
English: A Photo of Tiggy the talking cat take...

English: A Photo of Tiggy the talking cat taken in her home by her owner. To accompany the article “talking animal” in which Tiggy has a section in the Cats area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While on the job, we sometimes fall victim to going through the motions. It is hard to muster enthusiasm and excitement when we perform repetitive tasks day in and day out. I understand this. Some of us do not work with many people or the public, and our opportunities for an encounter with someone we would never expect to interact with, is limited. But all of us typically have opportunities to be on the phone when working. How we speak, our tone, if we are helpful, listening well, has the ability to transform the experience occurring at the moment one is having the conversation, as well as what might transpire afterwards. You will be remembered more for all the wrong reasons when you create foul, negative, unhelpful, even rude experiences on the phone, in person and in public (then you will for making someone smile, unfortunately, so that is something to keep in mind).
AA car transport vehicle, Bristol, United Kingdom

AA car transport vehicle, Bristol, United Kingdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You will not have the benefit of possible future assistance that comes from meeting someone who you interact with respectfully and positively. I sometimes forget that we mostly get back what we put out there.

If you are not happy, I would suggest you at least fake contentment.

A pleasant disposition and manner can go a long way. You might just meet someone who can change your life. It could be the person of your dreams. It could be someone with far-reaching contacts or extensions into a career you might be interested in pursuing. It might be someone who is in a position to give you the break you sorely need. It may be the smile returned after helping someone with a pure spirit; that is, you are compassionate and like to lend a helping hand to those you come across in your daily life who could use it.
Fall is here, or autumn if you prefer. The heat of the long summer has abated. As we enter into our favorite season, hittingthesweetspot knows the value of being mindful of what we communicate. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our readers who quite literally help shape the content we present here. Always cognizant of our voice(s) when speaking, we will continue making contact with new, interesting people, knowing we might catch a break when we remember you never know who you’re talking to.


Eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest and…

English: Histopathogic image of senile plaques...

English: Histopathogic image of senile plaques seen in the cerebral cortex in a patient with Alzheimer disease of presenile onset. Silver impregnation. The same case as shown in a file “Alzheimer_dementia_(1)_presenile_onset.jpg”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Die anyway. That is correct. Doing all the right things will only get you so far. The thing is not to abandon doing all of the right things you think you should do because you will die anyway. Let me make this clear. Keep doing whatever it is you are doing if you feel good about yourself and how you manage your life, mind, body and the relationships you have.
For me, however, I know the best thing I can do for my healthy longevity is to limit stress and worry. I had a dentist tell me (with her tongue planted firmly in cheek) she thought I was grinding a little and said, “Bob, if you eliminate all the stress in your life, your grinding will stop.”
I thought this was genius; a most simple thing to do, right? Just eliminate the stress from your life and you are good to go. I do not know how it is possible to eliminate all the stress from one’s life, however. You can try to eliminate some. You can try to offset stress’ debilitating effects with exercise, rest and eating the right things. But is it possible to become obsessed with doing the right things in order to limit stress in life and feel better overall (while trying to have a better quality of life as we age)?
English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The answer to that is a resounding maybe. By trying too hard to live better longer, we perhaps create additional subsets of worry and concern while in the process. Attempting to avoid things like dementia and Alzheimer’s by regularly exercising via more-expensive-than-you-can-afford paid fitness club memberships, eating high-priced organic food and taking anti-depressant medication because we are unhappy (living in a time where we have more of everything than ever before and do not know how to enjoy this abundance), we tend to generate more worry, which causes even greater levels of stress, and compels us to exercise harder, diet faster and self-medicate more intricately. We eventually begin the neurotic process of tweaking our lives microscopically—a pinch less of this and a tablespoon more of that and surely my body systems will react more favorably to my calls for a return to balance!
English: Studio publicity portrait of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If we live long enough we all get to endure the aging process. I use the word endure because as Paul Newman reportedly once said, “Growing old ain’t for sissies.” It is not. Growing old can be cruel, and we are told over and over again we must age “gracefully.” Father Time has his own ideas for how we will age, and gracefully, unfortunately, is not always in the cards.
Everyone knows that 100 years ago and beyond, everyone ate more purely, closer to the earth and with less overall manufacturing process. The acronym GMO did not exist back then. Everyone received plenty of exercise on the jobs they worked. The everyday lives of most people were way more physical than the kind of lives lead today. We did not have things like paid health club memberships, fitness centers or “pay to run” clubs. No offense to anyone and everyone who participates in organized fitness activities, but one of the beauties of running and exercising is that the “free” choice still exists. Not too many of us take advantage of the free route anymore. Sadly enough, over the years we lost our ability to recognize what kinds of exercise our bodies need, too.
So what do we do today?
We rely on other people to tell us what type of exercise we should be doing and what kinds of food to eat. The problem with utilizing other people’s knowledge in these areas is that as well-intentioned as it can be, unless you have enough financial resources to go through the evolutionary process of finding out what works best for you, all too often the reality is that you will contribute to the profitability of multinational conglomerates by consuming your share of Big Macs or reasonable facsimiles thereof, upon your professionally organized fitness routines expiring.
English: Mid drive fluid motion quantum ellipt...

English: Mid drive fluid motion quantum elliptical trainer. A mid drive crosstrainer has the driving cranks centered under the user. A front drive elliptical hsa the driving cranks located at the front of the unit and the rear drive has the cranks at the rear of the unit. Houston Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Internet and the lifestyles it has brought kind of simultaneously screwed and assisted us. Catchwords like “balance” and “moderation” are part of the lexicon now. The irony with a lot of this is we live in a world where there are arguably more addictions than ever before. How can we attain any “balance” or “moderation,” when we have chronic compulsions to feel and look good at any cost?
We criticize professional athletes who look for chemical, synthetic performance edges and get caught. But at the end of the day, most each and every one of us would take a pill if it would help stave off the ravages of the aging process. When we are young we are not concerned with what we will become or have to contend with, once we are older. We consistently put off all thoughts of the aging process and unfortunately disregard (and disrespect) our elders; so much for reaping the benefits of their wisdom.
I believe old people have a lot of wisdom. They grin a lot during the limited times they can interact with young people (who are seemingly busier than their elders ever were). I believe the smiles of elders belie their wisdom; they reveal their knowledge of the fates of those who would ignore the best of what life can offer each day in favor of the folly that is the pursuit of youthful longevity.


The fine art of butt smoking

Cover of "Pretty Woman [Blu-ray]"

Cover of Pretty Woman [Blu-ray]

Greasing the skids. Sucking up. Kissing ass. Butt smoking. Stroking (someone’s ego?)…
However you describe it, whatever you want to call it, does sucking up in any shape, form or fashion still have a place in today’s world?
Some would say the heydays of butt smoking have come and gone; that sucking up reached its zenith after Julia Roberts and Richard Gere starred in “Pretty Woman” back in 1990.

I can say with all certainty cigarette butt smoking is alive and well here in Louisville, Kentucky. That is partly because we are in tobacco country and I get that. But the numbers of my fellow students who butt smoke while pursuing medical profession careers are more than they should be. Everyone now knows cigarette butt smoking is bad for you so the thought of young people still smoking in great numbers is somewhat disconcerting. Money is tight for students, so when they look at what they can cut back on budget-wise, perhaps they will eventually decide to forsake the butt (smoking).
For years cigarette butt smoking was touted as being part of a healthy, vigorous and robust lifestyle regimen. When evidence to the contrary finally became widespread, known and disseminated, changes in how we view cigarette butt smoking came into vogue. Slowly but surely cigarette butt-smoking was banned in many restaurants and taverns in municipalities across the country; it was known to cause cancer and was most certainly not good for us. Many public places even ended up banishing butt smokers to remote corners outside buildings—outcasts even as they were once in the glamorous majority of society.
Skull with a Burning Cigarette

Skull with a Burning Cigarette (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But is the butt smoker of the ass kissing variety still alive and well in today’s business and academic climates? And if so, what influence does sucking up have when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder or just trying to remain in good standing from year to year on the job or in school?
To answer this question is to examine the nuances of the relative advantages of butt smoking while we function throughout our daily lives.
For example, when you go to the store to purchase something, in a manner of speaking, do you ask for sucking up like Richard Gere did in Pretty Woman? Or are you like me, just more purposeful in your shopping habits—you know what you need, go out, get it and come home (I give myself bonus points when the only sales person that engages me is the clerk at the checkout counter who asks if I found everything I needed today).
I think having to participate in ass kissing generally speaking adds more time to whatever endeavor you are engaging in. Take for instance an annual performance review that your boss may give you.
Raise your hand if you have ever been guilty of stroking your boss’s (ego) during the whole review process. Go on…raise your hands (you filthy butt smokers).
“I would not have been able to have had the year I had, Frank, if not for the way you backed me each step of the way.”
Spoken like a true butt smoker. But is the boss paying attention? And you know the boss has to respond to a statement like that (which adds to the amount of time you are there for the review in the first place). I suppose I am saying if you are going to smooch the buns you need to understand it will be that much longer until you can move on to the next thing that will happen in life. Perhaps you are trying to delay the next thing in life from happening to you, in which case you are incorporating ass kissing into your time management habits. But that’s a blog post for another day.
KISS Concert in Montreal - Kiss Alive 35 Tour

KISS Concert in Montreal – Kiss Alive 35 Tour (Photo credit: Anirudh Koul)

Many butt smoking advocates everywhere suggest if you are going to kiss butt you need to do it effectively and not be too overtly gushing with the praise.
To this I would add butt smoking should not be so in your face. It should be performed more subtly, much like how age discrimination is heaped upon mature members of the work force. To polish the apple understatedly is to do it correctly in my opinion.
“This place runs so smoothly that I sometimes forget you are even here, Boss!”
Raise your hand again if you think the manager is confused at what you are getting at if you say something like this to him.
Is he kissing my ass, insulting me or just plain batcrap crazy? Why did I hire him again?”

When Sleep Won't Come

Chocolate brownie in detail.

Chocolate brownie in detail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chocolate brownie had no effect on his energy level. It was the end of the day and his body was letting him know in no uncertain terms it was done with his burning the candle at both ends. Fatigue was always a mystery to him; sometimes he’d acquiesce to it grudgingly, collapsing into whatever couch or sleeping arrangement most handy at the time.
At other times fatigue was something to be pushed through. If there really were such things as special angels, he felt one was on his shoulder at various times in his life—getting him home safely after weeks of 16- and 18-hour days. When he was younger, although his body wracked with the nastiest form of dried out eye socket fatigue you could imagine, he remembers how he used to smile, his eyes burning even though he’d just washed his face and hands not seconds earlier, before attempting to lie down.
He understood after that kind of day, the first time he would lay down would not go very well in terms of falling asleep. Oh sure, he would close his eyes, but he could feel them rattling around uncontrollably as his mind refused to let go of the tasks it left behind less than an hour previously. His head accompanied the eye twitching with pounding of its own. He remembers feeling as if a headache were coming on but never actually did.
Now instead of smiling about how not too many other fools would be able to endure the kind of evening he had so many times before, he was chuckling about how Red Bull and other energy drinks had come into vogue (and stayed there). He recalled how some of his co-workers’ hands would tremble after downing three in a row, and enjoyed a good belly laugh at that.
Red Bull GmbH

Red Bull GmbH (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Why don’t you just suck it up?” he spoke aloud to himself. Seems like all the caffeine in the world isn’t worth shaking like a leaf the rest of the time you are working. For him, there never was any Red Bull drinking. Sleep would come soon enough and deliver its relief; it just would have to wait until work was over and he was home.
The days he slept eight hours the night before were always among his best. People would constantly remind him that you needed to keep a positive attitude. Well, when you’re tired out the ass, he thought, it’s hard to be positive about anything other than making it through the work day. He was always told that humans are creatures of habit, that the ones who get good regular sleep are the ones who have rituals, patterns, if you will, whereby they do the same things before going to bed each night.
As healthy as that may be, he didn’t see how his life’s circumstances would ever permit becoming a ritual sleeper. He laughed once more at the thought of himself having his warm milk at 9 p.m. and then reading in bed until his eyes became fallen and turning out the lights.
He never knew anyone who consistently got good rest—even if they were people who had the luxury of being able to do the same sleep-conducive behavior night after night. America is a country of insomniacs, he thought.
What he felt was a more practical way of living was to just deal with each day as its own unique entity. He would face the day with whatever zeal he was able to muster and proceed accordingly. If he knew he had to go for long stretches of time without a break, he would take pains to pace himself enough that he would have room for at least one big kick during the end of the day’s run.
That was more how life is for most people, he thought. Another thing he always found funny was how people who said they were so tired (all day long at work), suddenly were full of energy when they were about to leave. They might be tired he thought, but it was probably more like disinterested and bored. They were there for the paycheck and taking extra effort was not something they felt required to do; a job well done no matter how long it takes was never a part of the thought process for folks lacking any work ethic to begin with.

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

At the end of the day, even if it were only for a few hours, the temporary death that is sleep absorbed, enveloped and nourished him. He never remembered his dreams. Occasionally upon awakening, his mind flashed bizarre images of what could have been dream fragments. Most days he rose, hearing various parts of his body crackle as he found his way to the bathroom.
Whether it is sleep or getting ready to begin the day, the body does what it is going to do, and it is never the same from day to day. And as he contentedly brushed his teeth and spat into the sink, it was clear as the day’s sun was shining, that at least on this day, he would not be listening to, or reading, an instructional tome on how best to live your life.

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