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Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Post For The End Of The Year!

Last Mile Of The Year!

Bloggin' time, bloggin' time, across the U.S.A., bloggin' time, bloggin' time, yeah yeah yay!

Yes, people, it's Sunday night, and you know what that means!  There already was a post about Black Friday, which some of you all enjoyed, but that's not knocking me off track!

Our friends who braved late-night mob scenes and come home with their hard-won bounty, without spending too much booty, may be ready for the holiday season.  But are we as ready as they are?

I don't mean, have you bought all your presents yet.  I already said that can be done next week, if you're so inclined.  When I say ready, I don't mean whether you've gained all you need to gain.  I mean, have you gotten rid of everything you need to get rid of?

Have you gotten rid of the clothes that are too small to fit you?  Or, if you're a runner like me, have you gotten rid of the clothes that are too large to fit you?  Either donate them or chuck them.

Did you make good on all those New Years' Resolutions you made in January?  Or at least two of them?  Cross them off your list!

Was there a conflict with someone?  Is it no longer happening?  Are you still replaying it in your head, like you're in the team's projection room?  Time to dump it and make room for next year's episodes!

Are there friends on Facebook who ignore you?  Are there other people who IM or e-mail you when you don't have the time or the inclination to chat?  That's why some genius invented the Unfriend button, and some other genius invented the Block button -- toss 'em!

We're heading towards the finish line of 2011, people.  Like I said in an earlier entry, we don't need anyone or anything riding piggy back on our shoulders, weighing us down and planting negative and self-hating thoughts in our heads if we're running a race.  Lose the unnecessary baggage!  Throw it in the garbage!  You'll hit that finish line so fast you won't know you had it in you!!!  You don't need any of that crapola in 2012, so why hold onto it?

So here comes December, the last leg of this race -- make it a good one . . . and have a happy holiday season, no matter how you celebrate it!

Don't forget to comment!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving -- A Post About Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

Day And Night -- A Thanksgiving Post

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  A completely American holiday!  An old friend of mine on Facebook recently described how this day should be considered the perfect holiday:  no annoying music, nobody getting drunk, no exclusion based on religion, and the option of watching three football games featuring some of the best teams in the NFL!

I've commented in the past how Thanksgiving appeared to be evolving into a two-day holiday, following the lead set by Jews in the western hemisphere, who celebrated several holidays that had originally been celebrated as one day, for two.  However, it appears that the retail industry has taken advantage of this trend, to the point of infringing on the holiday itself.  Accordingly, this expected two-day holiday is splitting into two completely separate halves, and they couldn't be more different than day and night.

"Black Friday" has become the unofficial first shopping day of the Christmas/Holiday season.  When this term because part of our culture, there was the understanding that this would be the opportunity for all the aggressive early-bird types to buy all the gifts they needed for Chanukah/Christmas/Kwanzaa as soon as Thanksgiving was over, to avoid the last-minute insanity of buying gifts on Christmas Eve itself (those who celebrate Chanukah, an 8-day holiday, could argue that the gifts could be given on the last night, and not the first night, but that only delays and extends the last-minute insanity).

Most retail outlets would acknowledge these early birds by opening their stores early.  Maybe at 7am, maybe at 6 am.  That is to say, at dawn, or maybe a few minutes beforehand, on the morning of the day AFTER Thanksgiving.

So what do we now have this year?  Stores opening at 3 a.m.  Not good enough?  2 a.m.  Still not content to camp outside in tents until then?  Midnight at Target (tar-ZHAY)!  But now, thanks to Walmart, Best Buy, and Geek Squad, we have the final insult -- 10 pm on Thanksgiving ITSELF!

Employees had to put the kabosh on their own Thanksgiving dinner, and all the happiness that goes with it, for the sake of material things!  Early-bird types were now prepping to go to retail malls and outlets late at night, or in the "wee small hours of the morning," to grab the best deals they could off the shelves, with the knowledge that if they were not fast enough, someone else could yank it away from them.

Excuse me . . . is this not the same insanity that the idea of Black Friday was intended to prevent?  Shopping for presents at insane hours??  Whatever happened to the image of being thankful for what we've already been given -- have we rejected that so quickly to grab and snatch what we don't already have???

Even if Thanksgiving one day becomes a two-day holiday, let's please make it two days of Thanksgiving, and NOT Black Thursday And Friday.  Yes, it certainly is a tradition to give gifts to loved ones during the December celebrations that follow Thanksgiving, but it's not a life-or-death obligation!  Gift-giving is meant to make the holidays happier and more enjoyable, and not to usurp, overtake, or obliterate the true meaning of the holiday!

So my recommendation is this:  The day after Thanksgiving, if you don't have to work, use it as you would any other vacation day.  Sleep late!  If you want to make sure you're not forgetting to buy gifts for the loved ones in your life, wait until the weekend AFTER Thanksgiving.  If you can't wait that long, do it the SUNDAY after Thanksgiving!  The recipients of your gifts will (hopefully) be a thousand times more concerned with the thought that went into your choice of gift than the manner in which it was obtained (or how much it cost you).

As I said above, the tradition of gift-giving at this time of the year is meant to make the holidays happier and more enjoyable.  What you choose to give is not a measure of who you are as a person, and neither is the price of the gift you purchased.  However, there are still those who think of gift-giving as a mandatory requirement and a dollar-for-dollar obligation, and continue to use it as an excuse for demeaning tit-for-tat attitudes towards others.  As a result, the joy of gift-giving is sometimes ruined because it becomes something that is motivated less by caring and happiness, and more by a desire to appease someone else.  All I'll say on that subject is that those of us who choose to express our friendship, affection, and love for others through gifts are welcome to do so because they choose to give that way, not because some unseen force tells us we MUST purchase it at 2am to get the best dealnot because "everyone's doing it,"  not to make ourselves look good, and not so we can demand something from the recipient later!  It's a gift, not an obligation -- that means that the recipient is not required to reciprocate anything.  If they choose to do so, that's great -- but it's their decision to do so, and not yours!

In conclusion, let's remember that the message of Thanksgiving should temper the gift-giving season with a little wisdom.  We cannot be defined by gifts.  Gifts are important, but the people in your life matter a thousand times more than gifts do.  The fact that we have these people in our lives, and that they hopefully love us as much as we love them, is the greatest gift that there is, and it cannot be priced or put on sale like material objects.  If you really wanted to rush out there and snag all the gifts you could, I'm glad I didn't stop you.  However, life would be a little more balanced if we rushed out to be kind and respectful to others just as quickly and just as intently as we did when a corporate giant told us to buy something when we should have been sleeping.

DISCLAIMER:  The above post was not meant to impede or decry our capitalist system, to state that gifts should never be purchased, or to imply that anyone who looks forward to receiving gifts in December is wrong.  Any misperception of insults or besmirchings is entirely the responsibility of the reader of this message, and the author bears no responsibility for same.

For those who read and like this blog, I am thankful for you.  Just as I am already thankful for my health, my earnings, my family, and my friends, I am thankful for you.  Please keep reading, and don't be afraid to comment!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hey All -- A Running-Related Blog About Controlling Negative Thoughts!

Don't Hulk Out!

Of course, I'm not referring to the former WWF champion who told kids to "say their prayers and eat their vitamins," and threatened to have Hulkamania run wild on his opponents.  I mean that brainchild of Stan Lee who turned into a green-skinned giant whenever he got angry!

Lately I've been talking about things that should make us angry, specifically bullies and the enablers who keep them around.  The anger they inspire should manifest itself in action:  to set boundaries, to grow backbones, to reject and condemn those who (still) expect to get away with it, and to eliminate it from our lives.  But what if you're feeling anger for the same of anger, ranting for the sake of ranting, and hate for the sake of hate -- with no constructive purpose to use it for????

You're in trouble, that's what!

If you sit in a dark room by yourself, thinking only about things that make you angry, and don't do anything about it, you've introduced a parasite into your psyche.  You have injected a tapeworm into your brain and allowed it to eat away at everything that would otherwise be healthy and positive.  You have transformed your anger into resentment, which can kill you just like smoking or overeating can:  it's a disgusting habit that slowly erodes everything good -- the difference being that smoking and overeating destroy the body, while resentment destroys your mind, your soul, and your personality.

Psychologists describe resentment as the result of suppressed or repressed anger.  The only way to prevent resentment is to use it properly.  It is a weapon meant to be used from a position of strength to make needed changes.  It is not a crutch, it is not an excuse, and it is not permission for you to do or say things that hurt those who don't deserve it.  If you think it is, you're putting your own psyche through a meat-grinder!

So what if you're someplace where you can't get rid of it at the moment?  Keep thinking about it at that moment, you'll get distracted and sloppy, you'll lose your focus and your energy, and the source of your anger will (yet again) get off scot-free!

Being a long-distance runner, let me use the marathon as an example.  The marathon is the ultimate endurance exercise for your body and your mind.  You train your body by constant activity, putting it through the distance and time it will take to finish the rate.  You also train your mind for the same thing.  That means you visualize turning on your speed at Mile 18.  That means you think about friends or family who will call at your name and hold up big signs on the course!  And that means you DO NOT think about whether your time is too slow, whether you shut the oven off, whether you missed a deadline at work, or whether someone made you angry and you wish you could tell them off right then and there.  And if ANY of those thoughts are creeping into your head, scuffing your shoes, or slowing your stride, TURN THEM OFF, OR YOU'LL FIND YOURSELF LIMPING TO THE FINISH LINE TOMORROW WHILE EVERYONE ELSE HAS GONE HOME!

In other words, tell yourself to "stop," and then for the next minute or two, don't think about anything.  Maybe slow your pace to a jog while doing this, but whatever you need to do, get it out of your head.  You're running a marathon, and that's not a time to be carrying excess baggage.  Get your head in the race, and not up somewhere else!  ;)

If those malcontents and jabroni's knew that you were giving them a piggy-back ride to the finish line, they'd probably laugh out loud because they won (again)!  And if you're doing something else you like other than that, imagine how bad it would be giving them a free lunch, or a free hotel stay in your head.  Thinking about anyone or anything that makes you mad while you're trying to do something that you enjoy is ridiculous.  Once you're able to do something about it, you pull the trigger, but they don't get to have your thoughts when it's your time, and not them!

Don't misread me, I'm not saying that anger is better when it's repressed, far from it!  What I'm saying is that your anger must be controlled, harnessed, and dominated, because IT WORKS FOR YOU, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!  When it's the wrong time, turn it off.  When it's the right time, and you're using it the right way, then and only then, TURN IT ON AND GO DEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOU decide when the anger comes out, and YOU decide when to keep it together.  Times when the source of your anger is not present and not causing you trouble, directly or indirectly, is when you keep it together.  Times that they are crossing a line, and they are talking trash, and they are expecting to perform yet another action without a consequence, DON'T HOLD BACK, MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When you're mature, you pick your battles and the times you fight them, and not the other way around.  It's your mind, it's your life, it's your manhood.  Show them all who's boss and make them do their jobs right!  You can't control all the gangsters in this world, but you can, and must, control you.

I'd like to thank two of my toughest critics for this one.  Please feel free to comment!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hey Guys -- During Halftime, Check Out This Week's Post!

Get Up and Go Deep!

Hey All!

We're continuing with our transition from righteous anger at those who've wronged us to satisfaction and self-actualization.  There are miles to go before we rest (ha ha, running humor), but let's get to it.

To expound a little bit on what I've said earlier, once the battle against those is finished (got attacked, responded within 24-hour statute of limitations, told them off, got respect), there's another stage to get past . . . not the just respect of others, but the respect of yourself!

When we have our minds focused on a conflict ahead of us, we think about how to beat our adversary logically and systematically, with just enough anger/fury/rage not to let them get away with anything.  That anger/fury/rage can sometimes mean the difference between a win and a loss, as long as you control the anger, and it doesn't control you.

So what happens when the battle is over?  If we lost, we might be angry with ourselves, and that's when we really get into trouble.  Our opponents can, and should, get angry with us and maybe smear us a little, if they expect to win.  We cannot, and MUST not, do that to ourselves!  We'll be giving our opponents free passes that they never even asked for!!!

As another blogger I've linked to likes to say that we should not be our own worst critics.  Rather, we should be our own biggest fans!  Check his blog at

That doesn't mean we shouldn't be objective about our weaknesses and mistakes, and that we shouldn't learn from them.  It means that we should be tough on our opponents, and gentle and forgiving with ourselves.  It means we don't whip ourselves like that albino monk in The DaVinci Code!  It means if we get knocked down, we don't smack ourselves in the head for letting it happen, chew ourselves out for being stupid, or think about how wrong we are.  It means WE GET UP!!!!

We've already learned that bullying is wrong and bullies should be punished -- but now that we've gotten up, and gotten past that, we keep going.  We get ready for what's next, stronger and wiser.  We aim our anger that way, not back this way!

And what, pray tell, do we do if there's actually not a fight in front of us?  No opponent to dismantle, no argument to refute, and no emperor to overthrow?  No argument to win, no besmircher to resmirch, and no jabroni to layeth the smacketh down upon?

Does it even happen that way????   YES, PEOPLE IT DOES MORE OFTEN THAN YOU THINK!  Not everything is a fight!

So what then?  You smile.  You laugh.  You tell jokes!  If you're like me, you do impressions too, because they're a riot!

You get your friends and have a rockin' good time!  You talk to your family and talk about everything that's going right, and save the depressing crapola for another time!  If you have someone special in your life, you show them that they're special because you know they're special, with prompting or reminders! 

And if you don't have someone special, and would like one, let it happen!  That doesn't mean going to clubs and showing off your Rico Suaveness if you're not comfortable doing so (if you are, don't let me stop you, but please!)  It means that you present yourself with confidence and respect in everything you do, even the way you get lunch from the deli or zip onto the subway before the doors close.  It means you don't throw hissy fits if the train is late or if people annoy you.  Just put your best foot forward without being a "desperado," as my sister calls guys who "desperately" need women, and you'll get one!  And once you get one, make it worth your while!

It's two very simple methods. During wartime, GET UP, and in peace, GO DEEP!

Feel free to comment, and let's go JETS!!!!

In fact, don't only comment, but give me a high sign and a vote of confidence.  I know I've got my regular readers out there, thank you very much, but unless someone hits the "like" button on Facebook, I've got no clue that my stuff is well received.  What would you like to read more of?  Is my shift from rebellion against abuse to living with self-respect a welcome one?  And more importantly, where are my young men and boys that I want to read this stuff?

Help a guy out -- thanks!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Congratulations to everyone who ran in the NYC Marathon today -- this one's fur you!

The Marathon Of Life: Don't Look Back, But Don't Move Too Fast

Today is the New York City Marathon.  The TV coverage may be ending to make room for football, but I know from experience that the race is still going strong.


This weekend, I visited a close friend of mine.  This person is a regular reader of my blog, and a fan.  However, she also belongs to that "we don't care" crowd I've been talking about recently -- those people who think that nobody should react to bullying, or even mention that it might have occurred if it happened more than two seconds ago.  Whenever they hear that someone's being wronged, their reaction is always "why are you obsessing over it, it doesn't bother me, let it go, you can't change people, who cares, etc., etc."

As you may have seen, I don't agree with this worldview in the slightest.  However, I have great respect for those who have this opinion, because they seem to be much happier and live much more satisfying lives.

During one of our many lively (but respectful) debates, she brought up an analogy that got me to step back and think a little bit.  She believed that when people talk about bullying, that they're fixated on something that happened in the past.  By way of analogy, she discussed the marathon.  She reminded me that I've run the marathon before, and that my goal was to come away with the fastest time that I could.  However, if I kept stopping along the way to say, "But this happened at Mile 2, and this happened at Mile 5, I forgot this and I forgot that," I'd come away with a very slow and unsatisfactory time.

She does have a point.  I certainly would never run a race that way.  Moreover, if I thought only about the past, and spent no time thinking about what was in front of me or which way I was going, I'd be stunted.  I'd be unable to move, unable to think, and unable to grow or learn in any way.

Earlier in this blog, I've discussed the 24-Hour Statute of Limitations.  Believe it or not, my friend's advice is completely congruent with that concept.  The 24-Hour Rule prevents us from looking backwards out of necessity.  It forces us to confront those who wrong us promptly, and forces us not to nurse grudges or hold onto unfinished business.  It's basically a "now or never" rule of dealing with life.

(of course, it is a 24-Hour rule, not a 24-Second rule, there is a small amount of time to deal with these things, but my point is, you don't hold onto it indefinitely)

But let me expound upon this rule a bit.  Life only goes in one direction, much like today's marathon.  You can't run it backwards or sideways.  If you have wounds from the past, you must let them heal, but once they've started healing, stop picking at them!  They'll get infected, and infect your outlook on life!

That being said, a top female runner in today's marathon taught us all a lesson about going too fast when you move forward. 


Right from the start of the race, she led.  I mean she put at least a mile between herself and the rest of the pack.  It was unreal!  But, as the sportscasters noticed, she got slower as she got closer to the finish line.  This allowed two other runners to close in on her, and for the both to pass her with one mile left!

Meanwhile, on the men's side, a pack of about 8 runners stuck close to each other until mile 20.  At that point, someone decided to break away from the pack and made the play for the finish line.  Since he had stayed patient, he had stored up enough energy to make it a 6-mile race more than a marathon!

My friend still has the idea that just forgetting about it solves all issues.  Only problem is, even if you do want to move on and get past things, you can't just sprint for it without a second thought. 

Maybe she can, because she's a real tough one.  But the rest of us, as a matter of fact, can't just let it go that fast.  Sometimes, our problems and feelings are so deeply ingrained, that it could take months or longer to just "let it go."  Sometimes people are not ready to just "get over it" cold turkey.  Maybe they shouldn't do it lickety-split if they're not ready to do so.  If they try it, the pain and hurt might catch up to them and beat them.

So how can we get past prior harms, and achieve the same level of satisfaction as our counterparts, if we're not at that level yet?  You go at your own pace, as long as you keep going.

Every day, reposition your thoughts and your attitude away from the horror stories of the past.  Focus them on what's in front of you and ahead of you.  If you have to take baby steps instead of giant steps, so be it.  Just don't stop moving forward.  If you start out doing it slowly, you'll eventually get faster, just like the men's winner of the marathon.  If you commit the unpardonable sin of "going out too fast," however, you might not have enough "juice" left for the end of the race to make it really count.


Today's marathon can teach us a lot about increasing or repairing our self-esteem.  Although I've blogged at length about the scourge of bullying and how we need to impose consequences against the offenders, the blog is intended for those who are being victimized now, and not in the past.  If someone wronged you long ago, you are responsible for healing your own pain, not for continuing to hurt yourself.  If you need to heal it slowly and easily, then that's what you do.  Give yourself a nice, comfortable pace, and then when you're ready to do so, start racing!  Just as long as you keep moving towards the finish line, and not back towards the starting line, you will win!


Please feel free to comment!