An Awkward Conversation

“I don’t know why I’ve always been so misunderstood.”

Looking up from my steaming coffee, I watched my new table mate sit down.  No invitation was offered or accepted; he just decided to bend my ear.  I was perplexed at his opening salvo.  All I could manage was, ”Oh?”

He nodded subtly.  “I’m really an optimist, trying to see the best in people and helping them when I can.  But people say the worst things about me.”  He shook his head slightly, sighing as he looked down at the table.  “ I’ve never forced anyone to really do anything,” he said quietly.

Sipping my coffee, I took a more studied look at him.  His hair was dark and brushed back.  If this was 1958, he probably would have worn a DA, but now in 2013 he wore it shorter and slightly spiky.   But there was definitely a nod to that duck’s ass.  It wasn’t so long as to be a mullet, but it was just short of becoming one. There was a slight, well groomed point to his sideburns as if to punctuate some as of yet unvoiced hypothesis.

“You’d think all I ever did was take advantage of people and make their lives miserable.    Honestly, I just listen and try to help.”  He sipped his drink.  It smelled like a chai latte.  He  wiped his mouth and the sun sparkled off his sharkskin jacket.  It was more of burnt sienna than true red.  It was an odd choice for a winter afternoon.

“Do you like my Jacket?  It’s my favorite color, though for some reason people think of me as more of a bright red kind of guy.  I wish I liked blue more; I like black, but this isn’t Manhattan.”  I realized he had a black silk shirt under the jacket, diamond studded cuff links were just visible at his cuff.  There wasn’t anything subtle about his appearance.

“Honestly,” he continued, “I just want to help people realize their dreams.  I don’t judge their dreams or try to change them.”  His mouth twitched to a mournful smile.  “Is it my fault that people rarely think through what they want, what they believe they need?”  He shook his head.  “I don’t think so either.”

“You would have thought the old story The Monkey’s Paw was about me.  I have no idea where W.W. Jacobs got that idea.  And I never met Daniel Webster.”  I noticed as a turned his head, scars at his hairline on both sides of his head.  Not symmetrical, but close.  The device that made those scars was not as sharp as it could have been.

I took another sip of my coffee.  I looked at my cup; it was black with candy apple red letters, sparkling like gold leaf.  Diablo Coffee it said.  I had always assumed it was named for the mountain behind me.  I wondered.  To this point my contribution to the conversation had been a single syllable.  I wasn’t sure I had much to offer and was considering just letting him finish his monologue. Maybe he’d move on.

“ I’ve never tricked anyone into doing anything they didn’t want to do.  Robert Johnson? I didn’t do anything, other than give him a pep talk.  Why do people always lump me in with the deep blue sea?  We aren’t conjoined twins.  Do you think Mick Jagger really did me any favors suggesting that I needed sympathy? Not at all.”  For an instant I was sure his eyes shone red.  And then it was gone.

“Why are you telling me this,” I asked cautiously.

He pointed over to the corner where one of my coworkers sat.  “He says that you are a source of great career advice.  I think I’m ready for some.”  I was stunned.

Talk about pressure.

Update: Today in the Bagel Ghetto

at 9:10 am, all I found were Blueberry, Cinnamon Raisin and Red bagels.  Strawberry? Cranberry?  Rhubarb. I didn’t want to find out.  There was also 1 half of a mangled Wheat bagel (or so it appeared.)  On closer inspection I found 2 Asiago bagels sandwiched between the Cinnamon Raisin and Blueberry bagels.

Now seriously?  Have ever seen how most places pack the onion bagels?  That’s right in a separate bag.  Why would anyone pack the savory bagels interleaved with the sweet (aka ghetto) bagels?  It must be the special customer service we love so well.

Let’s think outside the box, shall we?

The political debates in the country are driving me crazy.  It seems like every day the level of angry diatribes on Facebook for conservative causes gets louder, crazier and more rabid.  I tend to remove people from my timeline daily. Clearly, the free speech movement of the 60’s showed that free speech, demonstrations and perseverance can change the world.  Maybe not quite as much real changed as they might have wanted, but it does contribute to change.  Sadly, it seems that has translated into yelling, fanaticism and personal attacks.  It seems the lesson was lost.

I don’t mind debate and I acknowledge that my opinion might not always be right.  But let’s have discussions and compromise.  In today’s partisan politics, compromise has been lost.  During the fiscal cliff fiasco, the Republicans vowed to not compromise.  That’s one sure way to encourage debate and compromise.  All it does is make deep chasms deeper.  To my way of thinking, it is no better that a 3-year-old boy who won’t share his toys.  Nothing good comes from it and the behavior needs to be corrected.

Fox News, my favorite whipping boy, spends hours per day on topics that are ridiculous.  President Obama is ruining the country is generally the basic theme.  During the election, I was constantly amazed on how Fox harped on “Obamacare.”  It was a good idea when Romney did something very similar in Massachusetts.  Is it because it is ok if a state does it but the not federal government?  Personally, I am not sure that every state in south knows the civil war ended and they lost.  I don’t dislike southerners, but I am wary of the “old ways.” Let’s be honest, many people still fly the Confederate flag and think it isn’t offensive.  It is.  I believe, regretfully, we are still generations removed from racism and classism being eliminated in this country.  Isn’t Arizona still protesting the MLK Holiday and looking for reasons to stop minorities?  It is in the name of curbing illegal immigration of course.  I think a strong federal government has to something that some states probably won’t do.

That’s not to say there is no room for debate or compromise.  I believe there is.  But, is there a debate if each side yells, “no compromise!”  I’m not a fan of pork barrel spending or ever increasing entitlements.  But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Let’s make plans, as complex as they may be, to cut spending.  Not everything today.  Real change is needed, but it’s not a light switch change and there is no magic bullet.  Discussion and compromise are needed.  If you see it, please let me know, because I do not.  That bothers me.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Democracy and Capitalism.  I also believe in compassion and more butter than guns.  But I do believe in a strong defense system; we are the watchers on the wall so to speak, let’s not abandon that.  Let’s be smart about it.

While I believe that we need to arm and outfit our military appropriately, I do not believe in nuclear weapons vis a vis mutually assured destruction.  We have some, ok.  So do a few other countries.  I am very bothered by Iran and other countries developing them.  I’m not saying let’s go invade Iran.  But it’s not the worst Idea I’ve heard either.

What is the worst idea I’ve heard lately is that the best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.  Color me stupid, but this not the old west and the good ‘ol USA is not Tombstone.  We are not all Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.  Some of you must be the Dalton Gang, by definition, of course.  Aren’t you puzzled about how much power the NRA has?  I saw a poll that 84% of the US wants some sort of increased gun control.  84%.  Even if that is an exaggeration, I think we can agree it is 84% likely that MOST people want some sort of gun control.  But there seems to be two sides:  people who want to talk about it and those that refuse to entertain the thought.  The people who believe this will ruin the country seem to be yelling the loudest.

I’ve seen some people go as far as declare the president a criminal or tyrant for the plans and objectives he outlined on gun control this week.  Is it really that different from the legislation, now long expired, that Regan put into place in the 80s?  Not to my mind.  But something is different.  Probably the Fox pundits spewing hate all day every day.

Last night I saw a clip of some idiot proposing that if European Jews had assault weapons, there wouldn’t have been a holocaust.  Really?  To paraphrase John Stewart, France couldn’t stop the Germans and it took the US and other countries over 5 years of WAR, but giving civilians guns would have prevented WWII.  Lunacy.

People are screaming that taking away semi-automatic, high capacity killing devices is in violation of the constitution.  The constitution that was written when weapons (or arms) meant muskets (manually reloaded, of course), knives, bayonets, and cannons.  I would never thing to propose to take away one’s musket or bayonet.  Other than Rick Harrison (and his high profile customers) on Pawn Stars, who do  you know that has a cannon?

In 1729 Jonathan Swift published “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick.”  I often recall that piece and think of its great logic.  I have a new modest proposal.  Clearly, hand guns and hunting rifles are not enough for the gun enthusiasts.  Perhaps they are right that we need more good guys with guns.  I would propose the following.

  • Every dwelling must have at least 1 hand gun.  People will be on the honor system to keep it away from children and encouraged, but not required to take a gun safety course.
  • People will be encouraged to have as many rifles and hunting gear as they can afford.
  • On each block, at least one family will be required to have and AK47 (or more powerful weapon)
  • In each 4 block area, at least 1 family must have a machine gun or other killing weapon to use against the bad guys.  The blocks will vote on who is the good guy
  • For every 100 families or dwellings there will be one family with a crate of hand grenades.
  • For every 500 families or dwellings, there will 1 ground to air RPG or rocket launcher with at least 3 rockets.
  • Cities larger than 50,000 will have 1 tank per 50,000 citizens.  These will be housed at the homes of the city council.
  • Cities larger than 900,000 will have at least 1 nuclear bomb.  Cities over 2million must have at least 3.  The head of the city’s garbage collection agency will be in charge of the bombs or rockets.

I believe this is a great course of action.  It will put lots of weapons in the hands of good guys and will force everyone to be careful how they use their allotted weapons.  It logically follows that if the killers at Columbine, Newtown and Aurora had known they could be easily killed they would have thought twice about the consequences of their actions, they wouldn’t have pulled the triggers.  Right?  Thank god for the NRA.

Wax on, Wax off

There are days I lament the stupidity my fellow man.  Today is one of those.  Like H.L. Mencken said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”  He did not actually say this, but it is a pretty fair summary.  Of course my favorite Mencken is Rachel, but I digress.  What else would explain the popularity (#1 in your hearts and #1 on the charts) of the Dukes of Hazzard, The Beverly Hillbillies or Manimal?  (Ok, Manimal wasn’t #1, I was just testing you.)

With the advent of the DVR, we aren’t forced to watch commercials like we were in the past.  I find this to be exciting and ground breaking.  By using the DVR to time shift our viewing, we generally get 18 minutes per hour of our life back.  With some minor effort, we can watch 3 hours of prime time TV in just over 2 hours.    While this exciting, it is not new; I have been viewing TV this way for about 8 years or so. 

Even with the DVR, sometimes commercials can’t be avoided.  Sometimes we all watch live TV.  Like the pregame shows before football during the playoffs. (You just heard Jim More screaming “Playoffs? Playoffs??!!??” didn’t you?) What is new is the shock of how dumb some commercials are.  And they must work, because I see them over and over and over.  I feel like a crash test dummy, being pounded over and over by bad commercials  As opposed to good commercials – there are a few. 

I remember seeing an old ad for some “space aged” and “futuristic” new cookware years ago.  It was made so food wouldn’t stick.  To reinforce the point, it showed several people cooking and ruining their food by burning it into the pan.  To be fair, this was akin to showing a Neanderthal or Troglodyte using rocks to make a computer keyboard work.  It was such hyperbole, it was comical. I would have thought the ads were better suited to MadTV or SNL.  On further reflection, I thought of my ex-wife.  She could burn water and did twice. Ouch. Good-bye pots.  Nevertheless, I do believe that might be such a small percentage of the population, that the portrayal is ridiculous.

From there it is really such a small step to the legacy of Ron Popeil and Ronco.  Do you want to shine a penny? Scramble an egg inside its shell?  Do you need a pocket fisherman?  We have come so far.  Or have we?  

Lately, my eyes are being raped by the commercial for the ear vac.  Seriously?  I’m sure you’ve seen the ad.  A guy uses a q-tip to clean his hear and scream, “OW!”  Who does that?  I think I’ve been cleaning my ears for over 43 years.  I have never pushed the q-tip all the way to my ear drum.  I’ve never screamed from cleaning my ear wax.  Who watches these things?  Who buys these things? Sadly, because the commercials run constantly, I tend believe someone is buying them.

Or perhaps it is a wicked plan.  Maybe someone somewhere wants to gather all the earwax they can.  It is hard to harvest it from the q-tip, but from a vacuum, that’s doable.  Perhaps they are not satisfied having the largest ball of rubber bands or a picture of the Last Supper on their burnt tortilla.  Their new mission might be a swimming pool filled with ear wax.  Or perhaps ear wax is the answer to the zombie apocalypse because they can’t resist it or digest it?  Perhaps aliens use it as fuel for their ship.

Maybe people are just stupid.  Not you, you are reading this.  But still, I wonder how rich the ear vac people are getting?

I vote for stupid.

Another Recipe

Today while watching football I spent the day cooking a pot of beans, filled with delicious goodness.  I know many of you read my blog for the snark and humor.  I am realizing my food writing, especially when it comes to my cooking, is relatively snark free.  I will try to find my deep dark snark later this week.

In related news, the Urban Legends 2009 Malbec is a wonderful wine for drinking and cooking, a steal at $29.  Ok, I am a member there.

My Bean Recipe

A New Year, A New Thing

Well, I know you are thinking that something monumental is up.  It’s not.  I’m just changing things up so you don’t get bored.  I am horrid at keeping records and that includes my recipes  So I’ve added a recipe section where I’ll get some pictures and recipes of good meals.  That won’t update as a “blog post” if you are using the email, the Fbook or Twitter to follow my exploits.  As life is ever-changing I’m sure I’ll be changing the structure, but we’ll see.

For now, enjoy the day and if you want, look at my Playoff Burger.  It’s under Recipes and Food.  The first of many page.  Long live food porn!

Ashley Broad is a Nasty Bitch or Does She Just Play one on TV?

Most of us remember that wonderful song from South Park Kyles Mom is a big fat bitch.  I, for one, got hours of enjoyment watching it over and over and singing the many variations it inspired.  It never dawned on me that Sheila Broflowski was a bitch, she was just the stereo typical Jewish mother.  But over the last 2 years, I have found a new contender, worth of a song proclaiming her bitchiness:  Ashley Broad.

Let me digress.  One embarrassing fact is that I like some (but clearly not all) reality TV.  It started with Survivor and expanded to the Amazing Race and even to Pawn Stars.  Rick Harrison and his crew have the formula down, but after a while the “Neato Item of the Episode” got tiresome.  And we all know Chumly is not as dense as they portray him.  It’s the shtick we chose to ignore.  And the cast of experts leaves me lukewarm. Forensic document expert Drew is just plain creepy.  After a while, it became tedious and it fell off the back of the DVR.  OK, I pushed it off.

One day I was channel surfing, which takes quite a while. We get 600 channels or so.  Remember when we scoffed at The Boss’ 57 channels (And Nothin’ on)?  57 choices seemed like a dream to me then.  Anyway, I ran across this silly little show on a silly little network called Hardcore Pawn.  The name alone made me smile.  I’d not heard of TruTV, but what the heck, right? 

Hardcore Pawn is the exact opposite of Pawn Stars.  Sure, there are interesting items from time to time, but mostly it is about crazy customers and the dysfunctional Gold Family.  Every week, there is a 70/30 ratio of crazies to normal people  shown at American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit.  What a premise, one of the country’s largest pawnshops in one of America’s most broken cities.  Each week, people come in demanding “their money” and creating chaos, forcing the very large security guards to escort, carry or push them out.  It is a sideshow of humanity that maybe as bad as Honey Boo-Boo.  And know that just because we know who she is, does not mean we have ever tuned it.  We did see her once on a morning show clip. That was too much.

The outrageous behavior of the poor or addicted or just plain crazy is off the charts in Detroit.  Women wearing tights when tents would have been risqué, men missing more teeth than those remaining and too many people a basket short of a picnic all show up over the course of a season.  I firmly believe that some of those people who believe CZs are diamonds are real, but I also believe that at least 40% of the wack-a-doos are put up to their shenanigans by the producers.  Not that I know or can prove it.  (Though, I have found a few message boards where people attest to being asked to “act” a certain way.)

Beyond the pale of the crazies (one woman wanted to sell her boyfriend’s “Prince Albert”) and the not so crazies (people need money for funerals and school), there is the real drama; the Gold family is one of the most unlikable families I have ever met.  At first, Les (the father) and Seth (his son) were pleasant enough, just a bit off center for TV.  Ashley was always a bitch.  Every week Lambchop and I would debate it.  I thought she was a huge bitch from the go.  Lambchop thought I was reacting poorly to her being a strong woman.  I don’t think a strong woman looks for any reason to undermine her brother and is continually is a divisive force.  Heck as a manager, she always plays “I’m the boss so you do what I say” card constantly.  I’ve rarely seen her listen to anyone. Even when she’s horribly wrong, she still thinks she’s right. Let’s be honest, I have never ever seen a redeeming quality in her.  I wonder what her kids think.

There are two questions here.  First is she really that much of bitch?  From my perspective she is the Superman of Bitches, with no kryptonite left on Earth.  Second, whether she is or not, why let yourself be shown like this on TV?  This is not the editing that takes place on other shows; this is full on “I’m watching my brother to catch all his mistakes so I can shame him” and yelling at the crazies AFTER they have been thrown out.  I think the Kaiser Chiefs’ I Predict a Riot should be the show’s theme song. Week in, week out, I’m appalled at her behavior.  I feel bad for her husband, who we’ve not met.  On the other hand, I know Honey Boo-Boo’s mother has a boyfriend, so we know there is all kinds of stupid and stupider in the world.

Recently, we had a breakthrough.  Unprovoked, Lambchop said that she finally agreed (albeit reluctantly) that, yes, Ashley Broad is a bitch.  Victory was mine.  Sadly, my mind had moved on.  I am now convinced that Les and Seth are giant assholes too.  Each too self absorbed in being right and abrasive.  There are grudges and fights and very few examples of love or teamwork.  These days Betrayal is the secret word.  I keep watching for the magic duck from the ceiling.

This week I was appalled at the treatment Ashley (being a tattletale, not a manager) and Les gave to Rich, their 26-year employee.  Rich always seems likable and level headed.  He’s the employee you want.  The TV show goes out of its way to show his small (or human) mistakes.  The the response to said mistake is shown like a tornado ripping through a trailer park.  “Fire Him!” Seriously?  Am I not supposed to think this is contrived?  Wait, they did this last season also.  If he is so bad, why has he been there 26 years?  I’ve reached the conclusion that too much of it is fake.

After reading this article, I’m sure it is.  You’ve got to love the internet and easy hyperlinks.  They like Ashley.  I get the advertising angle, but why show yourselves to be such unlikable people week after week.

Now you know my dirty little reality TV secret.  I will probably keep watching but I don’t want to.  And I’m sure you’ll tune in once to see what I am talking about.  TruTV won’t pay me for your eyeballs, but I appreciate you reading to the end today..  

The Bagel Ghetto

On Wednesdays, the company brings in bagels and donuts.  There are 4 dozen donuts and 4 dozen bagels with not nearly enough cream cheese.  There are roughly 110 people in the office on any given Wednesday.  On the Wednesday after Christmas there were about 30; the half order lasted till after lunch.  Today, the Wednesday after New Years there are closer to 50.  At 11 am there are still a dozen donuts and 18 or so bagels left which is unusual.  Under normal circumstances the order is completely gone by 10:15 or so.

Wednesday seems like an odd day to bring in snacks.  In my old company we brought them in on Fridays.  There were 30-40 of us in the office and we alternated with 3 dozen bagels and 3 dozen donuts.  Friday, the gateway to the weekend, seems like a great day to have a treat for the staff.  At my old job the food lasted all day for the most part.  Here, I see many people leaving the lunch room with 2-3 items.  That explains why the food is gone so quickly.

But why Wednesday?  That makes no sense to me.  Monday would get you in a good mood to start the week.  Friday would be the celebration of “almost done.”  Besides, we all know that most people slack on Fridays.  But Wednesday only makes sense, at least to me, if you are bringing food in each day.  That doesn’t happen here.  Is Wednesday the day no one in management is looking?

Of course judgment here is always called into question.  Let’s examine the food. First its bagels AND donuts.  I don’t get it.  One or the other, not both.  It is not a cocktail (or coffee) party, it is food to take to your desk.  Strike one.

In the bagel assortment is created by the bakery, which in my mind is just plain lazy – make a good order.  Because the bakery makes the assortment, they are only too happy to give us a few dozenl ghetto bagels.  Being Jewish, I know that the top tier bagels are onion and plain, followed by garlic, sesame and poppy seed.  Then there are middle tier bagels for the goyim like cheddar jalapeño, everything and asiago.  But not here.  We get cranberry, whole wheat and cinnamon raisin. And the worst?  That would be the blueberry. These are the ghetto bagels; the menu items they can’t give away. These are the bagels that would not qualify for food stamps they are so trashy.   I would say that at least 40% of the order is ghetto bagels.  And the order barely includes enough cream cheese for half of the bagels.  A lazy, incomplete order.  Strike 2.

Then we look at the donuts.  The first things I see are chocolate coated donuts with sprinkles.  Seriously?  And then I see the donuts with white frosting and sprinkles.  Sprinkles are for the whiney kids to shut them up.  They are not for hard working adults.  That begs the question, does management see their staff as whiners or are they too lazy to care?  Strike 3.

After over a year of watching the Wednesday orders, I can’t for the life of me figure out why no one evaluates what is left (aka the “rejects” or the “unwanted”) and tailors the order?  By now you know I over think many things, but seriously, if this is meant as an employee perk, shouldn’t more care and thought be put into it?  As a consultant I know these are not really “for” me.  Its why I tend to wait towards the end to take one.  I just wish some of those guys who take 3 would take 2 and that the person in charge of ordering would place a real order.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, he bakery where the order is placed, may be close, but it’s not good.  Their top tier bagels belong in the ghetto too.

How about this year we get our bagels from a middle class bakery?  I know there is no Barney Green Grass in the bay area.  I’d settle for Noah’s or any of about 25 small independent bakeries that do a passable bagel.  Yes Safeway is better.  Clearly buying ghetto bagels has not improved the ghetto economy and their social standing.  I guess this just another failed social experiment.

Happy New Years

It is New Year’s Day and already the resolutions have started.  My Facebook feed is filled with people swearing off high calorie coffee, promising to exercise and resolving to stay off Facebook.  That last one is especially amusing because the people that have decided to get off of Facebook or use it less are the people that least need to make that resolution.  I have a startling admission to make.  The people that need to use FB less, have already been hidden in my feed.  My mind is not that warped to need all that drivel.  I am pretty sure it is none of you. I have a good sense who reads this blog.  To my knowledge none of you are posting 75 times per day or are spouting nonsense.  I hid the people with tinfoil hats.   Speaking of which, I need more foil.  The roll just ended.

January television is brutal. Every 10 minutes there are 4 commercial for exercise programs and equipment or diets and weight loss programs. I know it is a typical marketing ploy, but the people that want to lose weight or exercise really don’t wait until 1/1/xx to start, they start when they really feel the desire or need to change.

A few years ago, I realized I was seriously overweight.  I also knew that going to a gym wasn’t my style.  I had done that years ago and it had worked, but my motivation was skewed.  I did that because I didn’t want to go home.  In my head I knew my marriage was over and it was easier to find other places to be, waiting for that relationship to crumble completely. My motivations were not those of one wanting to lose weight, but it was an off-label side effect.  I knew I’d have to do something different this time and I also knew there was no magic bullet for weight loss.  But if there was I’d buy it too.

Shortly after my Dr. told me I was obese, I was laid off and I’m sure the stress helped with losing weight.  I knew I was heavy, but the scale scared me with what it said.  Nevertheless the changes had come so slowly I did not realize they had been so severe.  300.  It was more than a movie.  Those first 10 pounds that came off due to stress helped and provided some motivation.

In my previous job, I drove to work and I drove to lunch and drove home.  I ate well and I gained and gained.  That needed to stop.  My latest position made it possible to take BART to work.  I walked across the lot to the station and always sat at the back of the train to maximize my very short walk to work.  I also realized that I needed to change other habits.  I no longer feel the need to lick my plate clean when I’m out.  I still do it sometime, but only when the meal is exceptional.  I have tried to take smaller portions at home and snack less.

What has really helped, however, is that my office moved.  Instead of being 100 yards from the BART station it is now about a mile.   Most every day I walk to and from the office to the station.  Extra exercise seems to have helped.  I have needed the extra exercise as my body has changed with age.  I used to carry my extra weight all over, especially in my thighs, but no longer.  I may not have male pattern baldness, but I do have a male pattern beer belly, which is funny, because I don’t drink THAT much beer.

This year I will continue to try and reduce the extreme pressure I place of the ground below me.  I know it is working. I have pants that I bought in ’07 that fit better than the day i bought them. (Lambchop just found a picture of me the boys from 2007 in Alaska, I forgot I was that fat.) I have pulled sportcoats, jackets and shirts out of storage that haven’t fit in 8-9 years.  None of this was made possible through the blast marketing that you and I will see for the next 6 weeks or so.  It tends to end around the Super Bowl, doesn’t it?

This is my encouragement to you to be what you want.  It is never about the negative thoughts marketers send your way encouraging you to reach for their products for your improvement.  You are great.  If you want to change something, great.  I’ll be there pulling for you.  If you don’t?  That’s great too.  Let’s let 2013 be about us and not about what Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig or the exercise equipment manufacturers.

And if you want to stop by for a meal, I’ll happily set a place for you, but you’ll have to provide your own portion control.