Wednesday, January 27, 2010

face your fears

Recent conversation I had with a co-worker:
Me:-How did your presentation go?
-No major screw ups?
-No, went smoothly.
-You don’t have a fear of public speaking?
-Not really. I don’t like it but it has to be done.
-By the way, how is the fear of speaking #1?
-Yeah I know. Wouldn’t the fear of dying be #1?
-Exactly. Drowning, electrocution, fire. These scare me a lot more than talking in front of people.
-I’m not afraid of it. I just would rather not if I didn’t have to.
-What kind of research went into that? Do you fear public speaking? Yes. Therefore it must be #1. I can’t believe if you gave people 10 choices, public speaking would make it.
-It’s all in how it’s phrased I’m sure.
-But still. I’m afraid of dying a horrible, painful death. Period. I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of pain.
-Well wouldn’t losing loved one like a spouse or a child trump public speaking? So what if you make a fool of yourself in front of strangers, peers or co-workers?

So I went and did a little research on the information superhighway.

According to a Gallup Poll in 2001 1,016 respondents produced the following:
1. Snakes
2. Speaking in public
3. Heights
4. Being closed in a small space
5. Spiders and insects
6. Needles and getting shots
7. Mice
8. Flying on a plane
9. Dogs (sorry, Lassie)
9. Thunder and lightning
9. Crowds
10. Going to the doctor

In 2005, listed their top ten most common phobias:
1. Arachnophobia Fear of Spiders.
2. Social Phobia Fear of being evaluated negatively in social situations.
3. Aerophobia Fear of flying.
4. Agoraphobia Agoraphobia involves intense fear and avoidance of any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of developing sudden panic-like symptoms.
5. Claustrophobia Fear of being trapped in small confined spaces.
6. Acrophobia Fear of heights.
7. Emetophobia Fear of vomit.
8. Carcinophobia Fear of cancer.
9. Brontophobia Fear of thunderstorms.
10. Necrophobia Fear of death or dead things

Fear of vomit. I don’t like it and it makes me want to throw up, but I’m not afraid of it.

Now for something a little more current . . .
Wiki.answers has America’s biggest fears as follows:
• Economy
• Job
• Personal Finances
• Relationships
• Health
• Children
• Terrorist Attack
• Divorce
• Death
• Insignificance

Now those seem reasonable. Notice public speaking is nowhere to be found.

Check this out. The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about “scare campaigns” designed to influence public opinion and policy, has periodically issued a list of the top anxieties Americans will experience in the coming year.

“The list,” says founder Alan Caruba, “is subjective, based on an analysis of the past year’s headlines and anticipated events. It incorporates on-going, often long term concerns that Americans have expressed.”

1. Out of Control Government Spending. It is evident to everyone except the White House and Congress that America cannot spend its way out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, but both have embraced programs that will increase the level of taxation facing Americans, while engaging in “stimulus” programs that only stimulate more anxiety. The lack of job creation in the private sector will be the major anxiety Americans encounter in 2010.

2. Iran. It is evident to Americans and the world that Iran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons that can be used in a missile attack on Israel and which can reach Europe and other nations throughout the Middle East. The only option available is an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and there is considerable anxiety regarding its timing and outcome.

3. Afghanistan War. Eight years after the initial effort to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, Americans are war weary and increasingly wondering about the benefit of further involvement, its costs, and the possibility that leaving would embolden Islamist enemies there, in Iraq, and worldwide. The Middle East remains a powder keg of instability.

4. The Economy. There is anxiety concerning how long it will take for the American economy to recover from the housing and credit bubble created by congressional programs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. No steps have been taken to eliminate these programs and, indeed, other federal programs have been introduced to assist imprudent mortgage holders already in default.

5. Inflation. The raising of the nation’s debt limit, the printing of vast amounts of paper currency by the Federal Reserve, and other comparable actions portend an inflation of prices and a possible default. Moody’s Investor Service has warned both the U.S. and British governments they are in peril of losing their triple-A ratings.

6. Medicare. Medicare, like Social Security, will be insolvent within a few years and Americans of all ages are worried, not only about solutions to this prospect, but about proposals to vastly expand Medicare at the most inopportune time.

7. Illegal Immigration and Amnesty. The drain on the nation’s economy and problems associated with illegal immigration, now estimated to number more than 12 million, as well as yet recently proposed amnesty program continue to worry Americans.

8. Education. The continued failure of the nation’s school systems to meet international standards of scholastic achievement has resulted in the decline in the ability of American’s children’s to acquire basic skills and the knowledge required to compete in a global economy.

9. Diet and Health. The growing number of overweight and obese Americans is a personal and national concern for the overall health of everyone struggling with weight problems and their potential for diabetes and other diseases.

10. American Culture. The increasing vulgarity found in films, on television, in music, fashion, and other elements of American culture remains a concern for many, particularly as it affects the younger generation.

“The good news is that more Americans are no longer concerned about global warming and carbon dioxide as they become aware that the claims justifying these fears are based on deliberately falsified computer models and the fact that the nation and the planet are now a decade into a natural cooling cycle,” says Caruba.

“2010, the end of the first decade of the 21st century, is likely to be seen in retrospect as a tipping point that will determine either a return to traditional standards of fiscal prudence,” says Caruba, “or will plunge the nation and the world into a Depression of cataclysmic proportions.”

I’m glad the Green fad is on the wane, but the comments re: the either/or of fiscal responsibility v the Great Depression II are a little worrying.

To wrap up, I don’t fear public speaking, I hate it. I think a lot of people would agree with me.

Friday, January 22, 2010

trip down memory lane: summer movies 1984 and 1985

On a previous Totally Rad Show podcast, they discussed the roster of movies from the summer of 1984. This trip down memory lane led me to research films from the summers of 84 and 85. If you grew up at the same time I did, this is really a golden age for fantasy and creativity and imagination that formed who were and our cultural touchstones.


The Natural: Redford’s story of one last shot.

Ghostbusters: Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Classic.

The Karate Kid: Ralph Macchio may be annoying but who can forget the Crane?

Conan the Destroyer: Grace Jones going psycho. Don’t forget Wilt Chamberlain.

The Last Starfighter: Playing video games is worth while.

The Neverending Story: No idea what was going on but watched it over and over.

Purple Rain: Great soundtrack

Red Dawn: This is the movie for anyone who played war in the backyard.


Fletch: Chevy Chase creates an unforgettable character(s).

The Goonies: Great film about friends and the search for treasure.

D.A.R.Y.L.: I remember this being dark and a little scary but cool nonetheless.

St. Elmo's Fire: The Brat Pack in another classic with a great title track.

Back to the Future: Took a ridiculous car and made it an icon. Sequels not so much.

European Vacation: Be a Pig! Be Pig!

Weird Science: Kelly LeBrock. C’mon now. 80’s babe.

Real Genius: When Val Kilmer was somewhat normal.

Teen Wolf : Michael J. Fox had this and Back to the Future in the same summer. Set for life.

Time to head to the local video store to look for some VHS tapes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My new job

FWD from Tom Butz, VP of Operations


I’d like to take a moment and announce an exciting change in the BIGGBY office.

Starting Monday, Austin Long will be taking over some new duties. This has been in the works for quite some time and we are ready to pull the trigger. To keep you in the loop, here some his duties:

Day to Day Duties:

*Drink Making
-Specialty Drinks
-Keg Maintainer
-Mixed Drinks
*Facebook Contribution and Maintenance
*Snarky Bumper Stickers
*Foosball Competitor
*Poker Coordinator
*Snack Eater
*Media Consultant
-TV on DVD
-Podcast Adviser
*Deadpan Look Coach

Research and Development Duties:

Increasing Meeting Efficiency
*Develop a MUTE button that works on VP and above personnel
Goal: Move things forward and allow the “little ones” to have input
*Develop a Meeting Content Condenser
Goal: squeeze out pointless chatter in the middle of marathon meetings

Develop an Underground People Mover with access from the basement connecting 5/3 building to Eastwood Towne Center, in particular Claddagh’s
Goal: Increase BIGGBY presence in immediate surroundings

Additional Duties:

Negotiate and secure 5/3 conference room
Goal: Convert conference room to include a putting green that shares space with a disc golf basket, a bowling lane, and a space for a soccer or hockey net

Secure a pool of season tickets to local sporting events and concerts

Organize pools (March Madness, Super Bowl, etc.)

Organize BIGGBY patio parties

Carry Jeremy’s Disc Golf Bag

Hotel accommodations-in-a-pinch Planner for the Annual Franchisee Meeting

His main focus will be keep up the energy and fun atmosphere in the office, while he himself will remain sedated, low key and marginally angry. We look forward to this development and hope you will help Austin has he takes on these new responsibilities.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Drivers Wanted

Volkswagen has it right: Drivers Wanted. That’s what I want. People who are ready to drive their f’ing cars. Fast, aggressive, getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Not talking on their cell phones; not trying to solve greenhouse emissions; not gibby gabbing with their friends. Green light means go. The pedal on the right gives it gas. Slower traffic stay to the right. Let’s go!

Too many times on the road I run into drivers who are clueless. They’re too busy checking their smartphones for whatever important piece of information they are waiting for. Or they have no idea where they are going. If so, pull over or pony up for a Bob Dylan voiced GPS. Then there are the people who are just driving 10 miles under the speed limit, because of incompetence or that’s how they roll or maybe they are slowing down to enjoy the roses. Out of way bub.

If we are going to cover this world in concrete, let’s do it right. Separate lanes that specify what kind of driver you are: clueless (slow, lost, CrackBerry/iPhone types, elderly, women) and type A a la the U-Scan at the grocery store. So let’s earmark some of that economic recovery money and get going.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Video Replay in soccer

So I got into several discussions over the holidays re: video replay in soccer. My thoughts: do 2 things. #1 Put a chip in the ball. Use Hawkeye technology, similar to tennis, that can determine whether the ball crossed the line. #2 Extra official, either behind the goal or on the sideline that has access to video replays from several angles.

With the vast amounts of money and prestige riding on these games, isn't it the least they can do? Imagine the Coca Cola Championship at the new Wembley. The supposed richest game in the world. Isn't a little technology worth the expense rather than screwing a team out of promotion because the ball may or may not have crossed the line?

As for video replay, the Henry handball debacle is just the latest instance of a goal being allowed that should not have been. I don't blame the game officials. They couldn't see it in real time. Only replays revealed the infraction. So have an official with the job of quickly reviewing all goals. He could watch several different replays and if the goal should not stand, he signals the center referee to wave off the goal. Goals don't happen that often. Shouldn't we be sure that they are legal?

Now you may be saying, African or South American or lower league teams probably cannot afford this. You are right, but my guess is that top European leagues can. Or you may be saying, won't video reviews of goals lead to other reviews? Maybe, I don't want it to, but maybe. Goals are the most critical part of any football match, and we have start getting these things right. Forget human error. We can correct it, especially in this important aspect of the game. Forget the previous 100 years of how things were done. Remember players used to wear wool jersey, actual boots and kicked a heavy leather ball. Forget waiting a few seconds to confirm a goal. A legitimate victory that has been reviewed is worth the moments of waiting.

Here is an article from When Saturday Comes about their thoughts on video replay:

With all of the incidents over the last couple of years, the public opinion is swinging to replay, and I think it will be implemented in some form by the next World Cup, although with Sepp Blatter you never know.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Long's: Year in Review

Here’s a quick synopsis of 2009 for the Long’s.

Larry finished Kindergarten and moved on to the first grade after a summer of playing, including building his own go cart. This year, he took a karate class and started playing soccer. He continues to build up his Nerf arsenal and got a skateboard and snowboard for Christmas. We’ll see if becomes an extreme athlete.

Erin worked for Meijer, switching from produce to frozen foods in an attempt to figure out a schedule that worked for her and the family. Unfortunately it did not work out, as she became exhausted and the store was not able to meet her scheduling requests. She quit on New Year’s Eve. She has been helping a couple of ladies in the church and will continue to do so.

Austin finished his third year at the BIGGBY home office and has been involved in the company for almost 10 years. On the soccer front, Haslett had an ok season losing to Dewitt in the districts. He helped Dan Raben with the TNT U17 Girls through a season of highs and lows, with a couple of severe injuries that held back the team. He will be taking a break from coaching, with plans to help Larry if he continues to play.

This summer was the Long Cousin Reunion at the Neshoba County Fair. Most everyone was there and a good time was had by all. The photo scavenger hunt ended in a tie and Grandma Margaret and Grandpa Larry opened up their new cabin to the family for a wine tasting.

We traveled to several Christmases. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Lisa and Terry. Then we drove to Keith’s for the Goodrow Christmas dinner. Larry and Austin to Columbus to be with the siblings and cousins. (Erin had to work) On 1/3/10, we went back to Lisa’s for the Bailey Christmas dinner.

That’s about it. 2010 is upon us. Larry is back at school and Austin is back at work, and we continue to minister to the kids in the neighborhood. To keep active, Larry is playing floor hockey this winter; indoor soccer starts for Austin this weekend; and Erin is going to the gym.

Hope this letter finds you well.