Monday, April 26, 2010

Don't explain the high-five

The high-five is an accepted form of communication, primarily in the congratulatory sense. Raising an arm and slapping hands with someone else is an action that displays and relays positive emotion. High-fives have their place. After a baseball player hits a home run and returns to the dugout, a high-five from teammates is perfectly fine. When someone gets good news, like an A on a test or a promotion at work, a high-five is in order. Unfortunately, the ubiquitous action can also be uber-corny. So here are some tips on avoiding high-five corniness: Don't yell "whoo hoo" when giving a high-five; don't jump toward the person you are high-fiving during the action, as it can lead to a loss of balance; don't make the high-five a high-ten, it's just too awkward; and please, please don't say "high-five" before, during or after the high-five. That's like saying "handshake" while shaking hands with someone. The high-five is such an important part of American culture that there is a move afoot (ironic) to give the hand gesture its own special day. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of it when it passed two weeks ago, but I'm hoping next year to celebrate National High Five Day, which apparently has been around since 2002. I would have bought a card for my wife had I known that this special day occurred on the third Thursday of April. Or at least given her a high-five.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tlk 2 me, in 160 characters or less please

OMG, teens like 2 TXT a lot. More than half of all teens text on a daily basis, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The average teen sends and/or receives 50 texts per day and more than a third of them top triple digits each day, according to a story in The San Francisco Chronicle. My 15-year-old son helps skew the numbers upward, sending and receiving thousands of texts each month. As of this evening, he has sent or received 7,601 messages since last month's bill. When I heard that number I wanted to LOL. It hasn't been a month since that last bill, so he's averaging at least 253 texts per day. Assuming he is awake 15 hours per day, that's an average of 16 per hour or .28 per minute. I hardly have .28 thoughts per minute throughout the day, much less .28 things I want to text to or receive from someone. But that's the dominant form of communication for today's teens. If I want to reach my children to tell them or ask them or remind them of something, more often than not I'll send them a text. My wife and I communicate by text if we're otherwise occupied. Even my parents, who are retired, are texting machines. It's new the way to send birthday wishes and grocery lists. It's a great way to tell my baseball team about rainouts. Forget sending out invitations to a party. I'll send a text. If a person is not a close enough acquaintance to be listed on my cell phone, they probably won't be on my invite list. 2 bad 4 them, I guess.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How about we try to party together?

Thursday was national Tea Party day in the United States, as angry and disaffected (mostly Republican) citizens chose tax deadline day to complain about being over-taxed and under-happy about our perceived slide into socialism. I'm all for peaceful public protest, as it is one of our greatest rights in this country. I was pretty upset myself this week as I had to cut a check to the IRS and the franchise tax board on top of the check for my tax preparer's work. It had been years since my wife and I didn't get a refund, and we didn't like it. I'm not happy with the economy or the uber-partisan nature of Washington, D.C. politics. People are labeled as either a big-government liberal or an anti-Obama conservative -- pick a side, pick a corner. I'm not scared of my government. I'm not happy with it, but I want it to work. Protesters who want to "throw them all out" aren't coming up with alternative plans or inspirational leaders. They are playing on people's fears and forgetting that just two years ago our economy was on the verge of collapse after years of stagnation. Are things better now? It sure doesn't feel like it, but hoping for the failure of the current president is only hoping for the failure of our country. Tea Partiers are well within their rights to be mad with the government and protest against it. It's great that they are working to engage a disaffected citizenry. I only hope that they work for positive change with positive ideas and positive leaders. The Tea Party movement is an only-in-America effort that can lead to needed change if handled responsibly. A little tea is a welcome change of pace. Too much and we're drowning in partisanship. That's not the type of change we need.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Liz and Larry, sitting in a tree

I certainly am no marriage expert, but I know it can be complicated and wonderful at the same time. That complexity makes me wonder how anyone can do it multiple times. Like Larry King and Elizabeth Taylor-type multiple times. In the least surprising marriage news of the year, Larry King filed for divorce today from his seventh wife. I don't own seven pairs of jeans, much less have seven ex-wives. Taylor this week denied rumors that she was heading toward her ninth marriage -- at age 78. Or, as I like to look at it, she's still on the market, just like Jennifer Aniston, only four decades older. My parents will celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary next month. My 17th anniversary is less than two months away. That's enough complexity for me. One suggestion for the 70-something celebrity marriage addicts: Larry and Liz, I know a single, 70-something person who'd be perfect for you. They probably won't ask for a pre-nup and they wouldn't be marrying you for fame, because they've already got it. I've heard the 16th time is the charm.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pee fees take flight

Howard Stern had it right the other day: He said that airlines are adding on so many fees that the next step will likely be to charge passengers extra if they want a trained pilot on their flight. I don't fly that often -- maybe once every two years -- so these fees don't have a huge impact on me. But if some of these ideas catch on, I may stick to ground transportation. Ryanair, a European budget airline, made headlines recently when it announced that it plans to charge passengers for using the bathroom on flights. So within two years, flyers will have to pay about $1.50 to enter the latrine in-flight. Or, they can plan ahead and where adult diapers and save the hassle. Would I pay to use the toilet? If you gotta go, you gotta go; so yes. But I would not want to sit near the front or the back of the plane, near the bathroom, for fear I would be hassled for spare change by a lady crossing her legs to avoid having an accident.