Monday, June 30, 2008

Goodnight, June

Geez, Louise!  Half the year gone already!  Seems like yesterday we packed away our Christmas decorations.  Yet here we are... on the verge of July.  And it got me thinkin' about June.

June Cleaver, that is.

Always perfect, wasn't she? Perfect hair.  Perfect makeup.  Perfect clothes- even a perfect apron.  

I have a theory: maybe June was a cut out doll?  

What do you think?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Are you one of those people?

Do you develop rapid heart beats, dry mouth, and anxiety as the sun sets on Sundays?  If so, you must be suffering from a 20th Century medical condition doctors call Chronic Allergic Monday Phobia (CAMP).

CAMPers have a great deal of difficulty transitioning from the idea of having their own time to having their time structured by busy-ness.

HAPPY CAMPers are those who have recognized that life needs to be balanced; they look to work hard and play hard-- and look to spread some joy throughout each day of the week.  Hogging joy for the weekend makes for unHAPPY CAMPers.

So... let's all work to remember this, CAMPers: Sunday night is one seventh of your evenings in life!  Don't take them for granted.  Enjoy each and every one!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

For love or money? For love OF money!

The following QUESTION and ANSWER washed ashore from the Internet-- Craig's list, New York, no less.  While there are aspects of both question and answer that are ha-ha funny, I think the more serious concern I have is about the underlying message.  And, curiously, I think it points to what haunts the greater part of the developed world: we want to be happy, yes, but we have assumptions about what makes us happy (exaggerated financial resources, youth, beauty... the list goes on and on...) and we have never been able to see how illogical and poorly constructed these assumptions truly are.

My upcoming book, "The Core of Happiness: Your step-by-step, fun-to-read guide to greater happiness. Guaranteed!", due out  in the fall of 2008, points out that achieving anything -including happiness- necessitates a clear understanding of what is desired.  Specifically, the stage of defining one's personal happiness must include a thorough review of the myths - some subtle, some not-so-subtle - which are so pervasive in our society.

Keep this thought in mind, particularly as you read the following "question."

THE QUESTION:  What am I doing wrong? 

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful 
(spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. 
I'm not from New York. I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at 
least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind 
that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think 
I'm overreaching at all. 

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could 
you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 
200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get 
me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married 
to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as 
I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I 
get to her level? 

Here are my questions specifically: 

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, 
restaurants, gyms 

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my 

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)? 

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east 
side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have 
nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead 
gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story 

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment 
banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they 
hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out? 

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for 

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest 
way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front 
about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't 
able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a 
nice home and hearth. 

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial 

PostingID: 432279810

Dear Pers-431649184: 

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully 
about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. 
Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your 
bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I 
see it. 

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a 
crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you 
suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring 
my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my 
money will likely continue into fact, it is very likely 
that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't 
be getting any more beautiful! 

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning 
asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation 
accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty 
hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in 
earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you! 

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy 
and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense 
to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case 
you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were 
to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's 
as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage. 

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, 
I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" 
as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to 
believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K 
hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout. 

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then 
we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation. 

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. 
Classic "pump and dump." 
I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of 
lease, let me know.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Your Friday Funny! (Video available at the top of the blog.)

A favorite to many, Tim Conway is a master funny man.  Take a quick peek at these scenes and enjoy the giggles that follow! Here are some summaries for the video links for this edition of YOUR FRIDAY FUNNY!  (Please note-- YouTube rotates the four videos, so the summaries below may not always apply...  Also, if you move your cursor to the bottom of the pop up screen, you can access other Tim Conway videos-- ENJOY!)  As a last resort, just go to the and search for Tim Conway and Carol Burnett.


Some of the funniest moments of TV occur when Tim Conway cracks up the other stars on the long-running Carol Burnett Show.   Check out the reactions of his fellow actors as Tim describes the siamese elephants he had seen at a freak show!


Magically gifted as a physical comedian, Tim Conway struts his stuff in this hilarious snippet. Poor Harvey Korman has a tooth ache and needs some relief!   Enjoy this scene of the bumbling dentist as he attempts to provide some aid... and... oh yeah, don't forget to smile!


More physical comedy-- this time Tim uses a mechanical wheelchair to get his point across.


I spell it "E", "N", "D", because this isn't a very funny scene in my estimation.  Go back and watch the siamese elephant scene!  Or move your cursor to the bottom of the pop up screen and watch Tim Conway as a wartime interrogator- it's hilarious!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Youth is wasted on the young?

George Bernard Shaw said those immortal words: youth is wasted on the young.  To my way of thinking, however, we rarely (if ever) have things in life exactly as we would have them.

And the truth is a good number of us typically defer our own happiness by statements like: "When I finish school, then I'll be happy."  "When I get a new car..."  "When my mortgage is paid off..."   or "When I retire, then I'll be happy."

But it seems to me there is no better time to be happy than right now.

Oh, and now...

And now too!

So dare yourself to be different!  Tell yourself that nothing is ever really perfect, and that that's okay.  There is always a way to look at life in such a way as to leave yourself with a smile.  Some call that a type of mental illusion or delusion.  Personally, since my perception of reality is the perception of reality that I experience, I am going to choose to favor that aspect of reality that leaves some laughter on my uvula and a smile on my lips.

I choose to be happy by always focusing on the positives I have in my life, not on what I don't have... and certainly not on what others have (or appear to have) in their lives. 

Know someone who might want to be happier?  Ask them to consider all the good things in their life right now.  And then invite them to consider making these things the focus of their life for just the next week.

The results, I'm happy to say,  are predictable and reproducible!

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For everything there is a season and a time

My father was a true Renaissance Man.  He could change a gas line, fix a furnace, re-wire electrical systems, build a building... all with his own hands.  He also was a university philosophy professor, an economist, a researcher, a public policy advisor and analyst; he was a think tank guru, author, speaker and general go-to guy.  My Dad was regularly meeting with government ministers, Premiers, and Prime Ministers.  He was one of a few lay people to address parliament. 

Impressive by any standard.  Yet if you were to speak with anyone whose path crossed his, above all the praise for his abilities and accomplishments, the one resounding thing you would hear is what a generous, warm individual this man was.  It mattered not if you were a CEO or the lady who empties the trash, you always received his genuine, infectious smile and an encouraging word.

Throughout my childhood I adored my Dad.  Not really for any of the above reasons, though.  I cherished his sense of humour, his ability to make me smile when I needed to smile most...  I loved being with him: it mattered not if we were at the park, playing catch in the backyard, or skipping through the parliament buildings to one of his meetings. (See, I often accompanied my Dad on his activities.  From a very young age, I remember him leaving me briefly with the Sisters at the check out desk at St. Michael's library while he scurried off to quickly get some books from the dusty stacks.  And, yes, I have fond memories of my Dad, all 6'3" of him, wearing a grey suit and carrying his briefcase, skipping with me, his youngest boy, through the halls of Parliament.)

Not that I didn't enjoy his mind!  During my adolescence, some of my fondest memories are of me sitting with Dad at the kitchen table, just talking, for hours at a time... this is something we did every evening.  He was a walking encyclopedia and a joy to be around because he loved teaching and loved learning.  The one thing, though, was that Dad insisted all us boys do our own work.  He would always be available to help, but there were no free rides in the homework department at our house!

When I was in first year at the University of Toronto I was registered in Arts and Science with my sights on Physiology.  My breadth requirement was partially going to be filled with Eng 101-- a creative writing course.  I remember the intensity of being in first year, something so very different from grade 13.  As "luck" would have it, I developed a pretty bad bronchitis and was wiped out for more than a week.  For the first time in my life my Dad took total mercy on me and completed my writing assignment, which is to say  he did the whole thing-- from start to finish.  He even submitted the paper on my behalf.  Believe it or not, I had not even read the thing!

Two weeks later, after I was back at school, I arrived home at dinner time to be greeted at the door by my eldest brother, Peter.  He reached for my shoulders and said, "Dad's dead."

My father had died in his home office of a massive heart attack while working on a paper he was to deliver at Memorial University.  He was 47.

A few weeks after the funeral I received back my first assignment from my creative writing course.  The man who had written a Ph.D. dissertation, hundreds of briefs, speeches, articles- even books- had gotten an A.  "I've never given an A to a student in first year on the first assignment!" the professor noted.  After my eye had digested the large red A on the cover, my eyes flashed up to the title and I began to slowly read:  For everything there is a season and a time...

Today, June 25th, Dad is celebrating in Heaven what would have been his 69th birthday.  Today, though I miss Dad dearly, I celebrate knowing I had a very special man as my father... and tonight I will be enjoying a slice of one of his fave's, black forest cake!

Happy Birthday, Dad!  I love you.