Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Well-Dressed Revolution

People who spend some time with me soon recognize my affection for a bit of fancy dress. This heightened sartorial sense certainly doesn't extend into being a clothes-horse, but I like sweater vests over buttoned shirts, a dapper hat, or perhaps some argyle somewhere. And, it should be said, I like pretty swell in a suit.

Where did we come into such bad ideas that being well-dressed is uncomfortable? That nice clothing indicates stuffiness, lack of creativity, or restriction? These items are by and large untrue. It is very easy today to arrange a striking ensemble on the cheap and look like a million bucks... and be comfortable! For example, I have sagged three different suits off clearance racks at Target. I made certain to try them on, check the fit, and note the comfort. Once satisfied, I plunked down 75% off the original price and had an entire suit for about $30. Sure, it's not Brooks Bros., but they look nice, feel nice, and were inexpensive.

What fanciness can you find on the cheap? Give it a shot and perhaps consider joining my Well-Dressed Revolution.
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Objects/Possessions & Identity (or "A Very Parenthetical Post")

What do you own that becomes a part of who you are? Maybe you firmly believe that your identity has nothing to do with material goods, and that's great, but what would your friends notice is missing if you left home without it? Looking at it that way, how much of "you" can be abstracted by listing a few of your possessions? If my friends stumbled across a fountain pen, blank journal, droid/HTC phone, black-framed glasses (metal our plastic, I have/wear both) and plaid fedora (it's a trilby, but do they know that?), they would almost certainly begin to look around for me or call me to say I forgot my stuff... again (wait, why would I have left my glasses?).

So, list five items, more or less, that form a fairly accurate description of you. You can even do so here in the comments, go ahead, I've provided some space...

Looking over the list, are these things you could lose or part with without existential turmoil? Please discuss (we'll all be the better for it).
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Green Spaces

Do you know where your green spaces are? These places are parks, fields, walking & bike paths, hiking trails, ball fields, hills or mountain sides, beaches, woods, meadows, etc... Certainly many of these places near you may be private property, but how often do you visit the ones that are not? These spaces stew beneficial on many levels. They assist in cleaning the air, they provide exercise & recreational space, they are a change from most persons regular urban our suburban environ, and they clear the mind. Study shows a marked improvement in mental and behavioral health with regular exposure to green spaces. Also, with use comes conservation. People will lend support to save and create green spaces if they believe them to be integral to individual and communal living.

This week, commit to finding and using a green space at last three times. Feel free to post here about your experiences, too. Here are some helpful examples to get you started:

- Read a book
- Pray, meditate, or ponder
- Walk, jog, or run
- Picnic
- Collect leaves for pressing
- Draw or paint
- Watch the sun rise or set

Good luck, enjoy yourself, and be well.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Choices

What about choices we make when we don't make a choice? I fail to sufficiently educate myself on the origins of raw materials that make up my electronics and, as such, most likely hasn't blood on my hands. When does "I didn't know" stop being an exuse? When does, "I didn't do it" no longer apply? Perhaps if every electronic device comes about at the cost of spilled blood we should stop looking the other way...
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mental Health

While the stigma attached to mental health its eroding (perhaps an upside to Oprah & Dr. Phil?), there its still an apparent hesitation for people to express a need for, or acknowledge as normal, mental health services. This should be as abnormal to us today as it would be for one to declare she is going to heal a broken leg by "just walking it off."

Mental health services are an important function of a healthy society. Disregarding the need for assistance in areas of mood disorders, attention/motivation disorders, grief/marriage/general counseling/therapy, etc... is reckless and detrimental. Ostracism, violence, even suicide and more are just some results from our society's inability to seriously consider the positive mental health of its citizens. No one should feel embarrassed about these services, not should it be considered exceptional out even out of the ordinary. This should be reversed: just like dental visits and physicals, it should be part of one's regular health routine to have some form of mental health service a couple times a year. Even the simple act of during down to talk out how things are going can carry a vast improvement in one's mental AND physical health, such as lower stress, lower blood pressure, and a healthier heart. Persons engaged in some form of mental health activities are also, on average, better equipped to handle traumatic events such as changes in socioeconomic status or the deaths of friend and family.

So let's work hard to drop the aversion to mental health services. Support the inclusion of mental health care in insurance plans. Tell elected officials that you care deeply about the well-being of our society and will expect her to treat mental health measures and funding accordingly. Anything less is to damage the fabric of our communities and society. It is time to recognize such a simple yet vitally important fact.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pay Cuts & Term Limits

Here's an idea: Lower the pay of every elected position to a living wage (if not minimum) and limit persons to two terms in any office.

There is something wrong with us as the public when we allow elected positions to pay higher wages than we can earn at decent jobs. There its an argument that the pay matches the work. Bullocks. Politicians should get at the end of the line if there's not enough to go around. Look at our teachers: there is a group that should swap wages with politicians. We stand idly by and are complicit in this utter disrespect and disgrace. It had also ben argued that higher wages are needed to attract the best and the brightest to elected positions. If they are running for the compensation, they are neither the best nor the brightest and shame on us.

Two term limits allows one term to get one's bearings and one term to actually do something. Two terms for all keeps others from monopolizing the experience and bullying newcomers with their "experience" (read: cronyism). There are 360 million people in the United States and our founders were farmers, soldiers, shop keepers, etc... We can and SHOULD expect "average" people to perform to similar results today.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Empire Avenue

I can now be found on Empire Avenue trading my influence under the ticker (MoRE). Hopefully this will be fun. Out of all the things I have tried online over the years, only Facebook seems to have stuck. Will the novelty of a stock market style Facebook be enough? My hunch is that if the only draw to Empire Avenue is that it is the game itself (as opposed to Facebook being a platform that allows for games to be played on/in it), perhaps Empire Avenue will not last as a contender in the social networking ring.

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