Friday, October 8, 2010


I don’t know if this is a joke or a real story because I’ve variations of it over the years. But I had the pleasure of re-reading it today in Harvey Mackay’s newsletter and wanted to share it with my readers as well.

The kindergarten teacher handed out a coloring sheet and gave what she considered to be simple instructions: Color the duck yellow and the duck's umbrella green.
But when little Betsy turned in her paper, the teacher asked, "Didn't you understand the directions, Betsy? You colored the duck red and her umbrella blue. How often have you seen a red duck?"
Betsy didn't miss a beat. "About as often as I've seen a duck carrying an umbrella," she replied.

It’s a cute story, but it also offers us an important lesson about the current political season we are enduring.

Politicians want you to color things a certain way. And usually it’s the way that they are most comfortable and familiar with. But the reality is, while ducklings are often yellow, ducks are rarely so.

This political season, don’t just blindly follow instructions. Think about things. Deeply and critically. And in the end, if you feel strongly that your duck has to be red. Color it so.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


My birthday is quickly approaching and having a number of “rewards” cards for local merchants I am receiving birthday wishes from some of them. Mostly, they mean nothing.

Some actually send a real gift. A free entrĂ©e, a $10 gift card and a free massage are keepers. Mainly, because they require no purchase and are useable. I like the “no purchase required” aspect, which means not only will I redeem these gifts but I am so much more likely to continue doing business with them.

On the other hand, are the “Are They Kidding?” gift givers. These guys just don’t get it.

Consider the restaurant that sends me birthday wishes and a coupon good for half-off the price of two desserts. Yes, I have to buy two desserts. But before I can to enjoy my half-off desserts I first have to buy two dinners, with beverages, but only between Monday and Thursday nights, except on holidays or other special events. So on a limited night, I would have to spend around $50 or more, and not only will I not get a complimentary dessert, if I want dessert I’ll have to pay half price and have to buy two in order to use the coupon. Are they kidding?!

Or how about the tools and supplies store that sent me a $5 gift card for my birthday? All I have to do to enjoy their magnanimous generosity is spend a minimum $50 before the end of the month. Of course, there are thirteen brands that I am excluded from purchasing with the $5 gift card, but hey, if I need fifty bucks worth of generic nails or light bulbs, they’re the go-to place. Are they kidding?!

And then there’s the truly thoughtful gift sent by an area hotel. A photocopied “Birthday Wishes Certificate” good for a free continental breakfast on Sunday morning, if I spend Friday and Saturday nights in one of their “luxury” suites. For those who don’t know, a “continental breakfast” is typically donuts/pastry and a beverage. The per night rack rate for accommodations? A mere $127.50. So for only $255 I can get a couple of free donuts and a cup of coffee. Happy birthday to me! Are they kidding?!?!

But what I really want to know is … how many suckers do they hook with that crap?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


What does evil look like? What does it smell or sound like? Do you know what it tastes like? Would you recognize it if it touched you?

Is evil male or female? Tall or short? Fat or thin? Married or divorced?

Does it hide in the shadows or walk in the light? Is it capitalist or socialist? Is it living or dead? Can it make you do things you really don’t want to do?

Since the beginning of time, humanity has wrestled with evil, both real and imagined.

But we rarely think about it, until it’s too late. Until we are already engaged in the battle.

There is one strategy and three keys to winning any war. The strategy is preparation. The keys are (1) know yourself and your allies; (2) know your enemy; (3) be well armored and well armed.

To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” –George Washington

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Our lives are filled with pebbles and stones and rocks and even a huge boulder every so often. We call them, things. Or more specifically, things we need to get done. Our little Post-it® reminders become not-so-little to-do lists which transform into a Getting Things Done® system which eventually morphs into a “help-me-I’m-drowning-in-clutter-and-stuff-and-need-to-simplify-and-minimize-my-life” revelation. Then we rinse and repeat.

We talk about balance and priorities. We worry about lost time and last minutes. We tell ourselves that what we want is what we need, effectively blurring the distinction between the two. And before we know it, we are tending to a rock garden.

Are you happy? Look around your life. Does every pebble and stone and rock add to the quality of your life, or does it merely add weight?

Lose the weight, save your life.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Ready? Get Set. Go! and enjoy your Monday Morning Chuckle.