Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Used To Work In Porn - Part Two

This post is a continuation of the post from yesterday. Before reading, you may want to visit this post to get caught up.

As explained in yesterday's post, I had accidentally fallen into a way to make money and had started looking for ways to make more. Suddenly, finding myself surrounded by hard-core pornography, I had an idea.

Kids didn't have access to this kind of stuff. Other than sneaking looks at the Playboy's in their dad's closets, this was unavailable to people our age. However, I had access to a lot of it and I was just positive they would be willing to pay.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I found any excuse I could to ride my bike into town. This town was in the city limits and I lived a few miles out. I would go into the abandoned house, load up my backpack and ride back home to put the magazines in boxes under my bed. It took me a few dozen trips to get them all. Occasionally, my friend who found them was available to help me, but most of the time, I was on my own.

The second floor of our house consisted of only the bedrooms of my brothers and myself, so my parents didn't come up there very often. I used this fortunately convenient privacy as an opportunity to start sorting through these adult publications to get them in some sort of reasonable order. Once I felt that I had a decent grasp on my inventory and was familiar with what I had, it was time to find buyers.

I never got caught with anything at school, but there were a few close calls. A bunch of students standing and giggling in the middle of the hallway while crowded around something had a tendency to attract the attention of school faculty. I quickly decided that was too risky. I needed another tactic.

On the weekends, I would load up my backpack and make house calls. I went to kids' houses and showed them what I had. Since, I had paid nothing for any of it, every sale was pure profit. I sold most magazines for five dollars, but I quickly discovered that junior high kids really had no grasp on what stuff was worth and could sometimes sell a magazine for as much as twenty. I could really pull a lot of money by cutting one up and selling individual pictures for a dollar or two a piece.

I know these prices sound outrageous, but a sixth grader would give me anything he could get his hands on in order to have his own picture of a naked woman.

I would go with my parents to a wedding and gather several kids to go outside and see what I had brought. Soon the money would start changing hands. I sold porn to kids from my school, kids from other schools at basketball games, kids I had never met at weddings and anyplace else that I could. Looking back on it, I have no idea how I never got ratted out by any of them.

Eventually, my friend who had originally found all the magazines, decided he wanted a bigger cut of the money I was making. I had been paying him 10% since he was the one who had found them, but did not feel that he was entitled to any more since he wasn't doing any of the work and was incurring none of the risk. However, he did not agree. Finally, he demanded that I give him half of the magazines that I still had or he would inform my parents of what I had been doing. I stood firm and decided to call his bluff.

He wasn't bluffing.

He showed up at our house the very next day and told my mother. Now, he either didn't tell her the entire story or she missed some of the details during the shock of what she was hearing, but when she came to talk to me, she didn't know about the porn ring I was running out of my bedroom. All she knew was that I had pornography in my possession.

When she told me to retrieve the magazines out of my room, I will never forget the look on her face as her jaw dropped when I came down the stairs carrying two large paper grocery bags filled to the top. When I turned around to go back to my room, she said, "Where are you going? We aren't done here."

I sheepishly answered, "There's more. I'm going to get the rest."

My poor mother spent the next couple of hours trying not to look at the dirty pictures as she cried over a burn barrel while ripping them up to toss in the fire. I sat in the house wondering what would happen when dad got home and found out.

When she asked my little brothers if they had seen my magazines, thankfully, they both covered for me. They claimed they didn't know anything about them. They may have just been covering their own butts, but had Mom known that my little brothers had been subjected to that filth as well, I would have been in much more trouble.

I didn't get into as much trouble as I thought I would. In fact, I never heard a word about it from my dad, but my future as a porn empire magnate was over. Being so young, the money I made was not spent on anything substantial. I have no idea how much passed through my hands since it was being spent as I made it. I remember that I always had a soda when I wanted one and I could buy a book or video game for myself if my parents said no. Soon it was all gone and I had nothing to show for it.

I ended up back where I started and had to go back to selling lunch room tickets, but I was smarter than before. However, it would be many years before I would be able to use my new knowledge. Turns out that real life was not like those magazines.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Used To Work In Porn - Part One

This post inspired by the writing prompt at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine With My Morning Quiet Time?Writing prompt: When I was younger I tried...

When I was younger I tried to manage a pornography ring.

I know that is a heavy statement. Let me back up and explain.

When I graduated from elementary school and entered high school, I was scared out of my mind. I just knew I would get stabbed the first day. If for some reason I did survive, I would have to spend all my energy dodging junkies, avoiding getting sucked into a gang and practicing to "Just say NO!"

When I actually got there and lived through my first day, I concluded that it wasn't that bad. I was a puny nerd and it was still a bit intimidating, but I was more comfortable than when I first entered that morning. After a couple of weeks, I began to get a feel for the place.

I very quickly began to notice some of the differences from the years before. In junior high, we paid for our school lunches well ahead of time. Our parents could pay for the entire year up front or cover a month at a time. If they were behind, they would get billed and catch up, but high school did it differently.

The high school sold lunch tickets to be presented in the cafeteria in exchange for a meal. These tickets could only be purchased before school or during lunch period from the guidance counselor.

One ticket = one cafeteria meal = $1.

One week's lunch. It all started with this.

Every Monday, my parents gave me five dollars to buy a week's worth of tickets for my lunch. I bought them as soon as I got to school and put them in my wallet. However, not everyone had the foresight that I did. Many students never thought about their lunch until the lunch bell rang. Then they would have to go stand in line at the guidance counselor's office to get a ticket before crossing the parking lot to the cafeteria to stand in line again to get their food. By then, all the best stuff might be gone and they had already lost almost half of the already short 30 minute lunch period.

One day in class, I pulled the tickets out of my wallet to rip one off and stick in my pocket. The bell was about to ring and I didn't want to waste any time. It was pizza day and I wanted to be ready to bolt as soon as I heard that bell. 

A guy in the next row saw my tickets and asked if he could buy one. He had forgotten to get his earlier and didn't want to stand in line and miss the best pizza. So, I sold him one. That caught another guy's attention and I ended up selling all I had, except the one for me. All that meant was that I would have to buy more tickets the next morning. It was no big deal.

The next day, I was asked again if I had extras. I said I did and sold them, but griped that they should plan ahead and buy their own. Once again, I had to stand in line the next day to replace them. I hated standing in that line and vowed that I would not sell any more tickets. It just wasn't worth it. It's not like I was getting anything out of this......WHOA! Wait a minute! What if I could get something out of it? If I made a little bit of money, it would be worth it.

When I was asked for my extra tickets right before lunch the next day, I held my head up and demanded $1.50.

DUMB JOCK: "What? Tickets only cost a dollar."
ME: "Wrong. The guidance counselor charges a dollar, but she doesn't sell tickets in this room. This room is my market and here they cost $1.50. If you don't want to pay it, then go stand in her line."

While he thought about it, the guy behind me decided it was worth it to be able to avoid the delay and lose all that time. He paid me what I asked for, which prompted others to do the same. I only sold four tickets, but that meant I had made a two dollar profit. I used all that money to buy more tickets and keep doing the same. Within a couple of weeks, I was buying 10 to 20 lunch tickets every morning before school. I sold them at a 50% mark up selling out almost every day. I averaged $25 to $40 a week in profits. Not bad for a 14 year old kid.

Like most people, I got a little greedy and wanted to make more money. I tried jumping the price to $1.75, but no one would buy at that price. It hurt my sales which killed my profits and I quickly dropped the price back again. Since I always had extra money, I tried loaning some occasionally. I would buy someone a soda or candy bar if they agreed to pay me back within a week plus a little extra. I even carried a pocket notebook around to keep track of my transactions. However, being a little nerdy guy, I really had no way to enforce collections if someone stiffed me. It never occurred to me to hire a bruiser, so the loan shark game was short lived. I went back to all money up front.

Soon, I lucked upon the knowledge that there was a way to get two sodas from the soda machine when only one was purchased. After school, I stood beside the machine and would offer to get students an extra soda if they paid for one and a half. Sodas were $1. If they put a dollar in the machine and then gave me fifty cents, I would get them two sodas. They got more than they paid for and I made fifty cents per transaction. That added a few extra dollars each day to my profits, but it was too slow. I needed something bigger.

It wasn't long before bigger happened. A friend of mine was wandering around town and decided to go into an abandoned house one weekend. This house had sat empty for well over a year and he just wanted to see what was inside. He discovered a closet full of pornographic magazines. He told me about it at school the next day.

As a 14 year old boy, I was very interested in seeing these magazines and accompanied him to the house the following weekend. I was amazed. There were literally a few hundred magazines of all types. Up to that time, I had only seen a couple of Playboys at a friend's house, but these were different. They were not standard publications. They were not just full of naked women. They were hard-core porn and a lot of them. I had never seen anything like what was in these pages and it occurred to me that most other kids hadn't seen this stuff before either. Remember - this was years before the internet.

Then, the idea hit me like a thunderbolt. Other kids hadn't seen this stuff. I was sitting on a goldmine.

Everything about my little business was about to change, but this post has gotten long enough. I will wrap it up in the next post. I know it seems unfair since I just now finally got to the porn part, but there was a lot of back story.

For those of you who are overly excited and are unsure if you can wait for the porn, I hear that there are plenty of other sites that can accommodate you until then.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Finding Your Funny Bone #13

It's that time once again to see how funny my readers are, but this time we will be doing something a little different. First, I am moving this feature to Mondays and the results will be put up on Fridays. This should give more people the opportunity to participate. Second, this one will not be a caption.

Take a look at this week's picture.

Col. Sanders & Alice Cooper

I found this picture of Col. Sanders (founder of KFC) hanging out with Alice Cooper (original shock-rocker). However, there was no information to go with the picture. I don't even know what year it was taken. I also cannot figure out what in the world these two would have to discuss with each other.

This is where you, the reader, come in. In the comment section, let me know what you think they are discussing. You can write a whole dialogue or just give us the topic. I will be posting the results on Friday.

Good luck and make me laugh!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Funny Bone Results #12

I am trying something a little different this week with the picture caption game. I had been posting on Saturdays with the results going up the following Monday. However, the weekend is when blogs get the least amount of traffic. Starting this week. I am posting the picture on Mondays with the results going up on Friday. Hopefully, this will give more people an opportunity to participate.

Here are the submissions I received for this week:

Hestia (submitted two)
  • And that is how Grandma got run over by a reindeer.
  • George wasn't sure what Bambi meant when she said "if you can make it to the hairpin turns, I am sure the hitch will disconnect."
Ken Degner of ken-inatractor - Um, Jed......we have to stop. I think another bee knocked granny's dentures loose again. 

Shane Morgan of In Shane's Brain - Wilma didn't get what she expected, after Charlie promised her that she would get a ride from behind that she'd never forget from two people. 

Stephen Hayes of Chubby Chatterbox - Here's how Mother Goose got around after the goose died. 

Red of Doesn't Speak Klingon - Faster Bob! Do a donut - We need that inheritance! 

Rachael of Rachsel's Insane Rants - After the cut backs, transporting seniors to the center was never the same. 

Vinny C of As Vinny C's It - Just one more grandma to deliver and we're done for the day. 

Shannon of The Squeaky Wheel Blog I told Gramma I would take shotgun if she didn't watch her attitude

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fifty Shades of Grey: Super Bowl Follow-up

On October 4, 2012, I wrote a post entitled Blog Traffic OR Fifty Shades of Grey. I posted it on the night of the first presidential debate between Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney. I chose to do the follow-up now because the final NFL playoff games were just completed and we now know that the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will be competing against each other in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Not that this post has anything to do with football or politics. I only mention it because the Blog Traffic OR Fifty Shades of Grey post was an experiment to see how much traffic I could drive to my site by using keywords. Especially words surrounding current events. If you don't remember or didn't see the original post, I suggest you go back and take a look at it to see what this is all about.

In that post, I mentioned the presidential candidates several times and even linked to their websites. I made lists of current events in the news that week and threw around the names of celebrities, brands, and popular television shows just to see what would happen. My post about 9/11 pulled in some big numbers a year after I wrote it. My post about the falling of the UARS satellite pulled huge traffic due to its relevancy to the moment. This would be the first time I had done this intentionally.

I wanted to let some time pass to see what happened with the numbers and I think I may be on to something.

Total hits: 575     
I know this is not a huge number, but my average number of hits for any post is about 120.

All Time Rank: #7
The post you are reading now is my 227th post. My Blog Traffic OR Fifty Shades of Grey post was not that great, but it rose to near the top anyway.

Rank for the past 30 days: #1
This post was written over 3 months ago and is still getting more visits than any other post on my entire blog. I have 78 posts that have gone up since then and it still ranks #1 for the past month.

Rank for the past 7 days: #2
It was written over three months ago!

Rank for last 24 hours: #8
Despite its age and the number of posts to go up since then, it ranked in the top 10 today!

While I did try to drop some jokes in on that post, it is far from being one of my better ones. The only thing it really had going for it was the name dropping I included in almost every paragraph. However, I do want to make sure that this is not just a fluke. I need to test the theory one more time.

This time I actually checked out the hot trends on Google's search engine to see what people are searching for. I want to go right to the source and get the real traffic this time instead of just throwing out a wide net and hoping to get lucky.

The most searched for term right now is (surprise, surprise) SUPERBOWL 2013! We probably could have guessed that one. Just for good measure, let's throw in a couple more terms to sweeten the searches a bit. Only a few hours ago, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons. They will be playing in New Orleans on February 3, 2013 for Super Bowl XLVII. Is that enough terms for you?

Other highly searched NFL related terms: Ray Lewis, Earl Weaver, Chip Kelly, Colin Kaepernick, Marc Trestman (I have no idea who these people are.)

Jennifer Lawrence, star of Silver Linings Playbook, will be hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend. The musical guest will be the Lumineers. I don't know who they are either.

Lance Armstrong had a ball on Oprah this week, but got a little teste when he finally admitted to years of steroid use. This guy  admitted to using performance enhancing drugs after he had sued people for accusing him of using performance enhancing drugs. I've got to hand it to you, Lance. That took some ball.

Manti Te'o of Notre Dame has been all over the news this week as he mourns the death of his internet girlfriend that he never met, Lennay Kekua. Apparently, no one else has ever met her either, since she was not real. Maybe the Patriots would have played better and would be headed to the Super Bowl if they had been playing for imaginary, dead girlfriends.

President Obama's Inauguration was this week, which opens up the opportunity to talk about gun control, Michelle Obama's fashion sense, the debt ceiling, NRA, and executive orders.

There is a growing theory floating around that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax perpetrated by the government to push through stricter gun control measures.

TV and movie stars that have recently made headlines: Nikki Minaj, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Jodie Foster, Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, Jessica Chastain, Justin Timberlake, Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx, Claire Danes, and Tina Fey.

People who have died recently and are jumping up through the search engines: Conrad Bain, Stan Musial, and Pauline (Popo) Friedman Phillips (better known as Dear Abby). Natalie Wood even made a comeback as new evidence about her death has surfaced.     ← (HA! unintentional pun)

Once again, I want to see if using these highly searched terms will bring more traffic. If it happens to this post as well, then I will know that it was not a coincidence. I will not be doing this experiment again and hate having to read about sports in order to know what is going on anyway. I actually had to look up the Falcons to see what city they play for. Although, the Manti Te'o story is intriguing. Back to regular posts in a few days.

I couldn't even find a way to work in a Nickelback joke.

Lumineers - Mega - Java - UFC - Wral - Frank Zamboni - Stacie Halas - Chief Keef - Amber Alert - Martin Luther King, Jr. - Stuart Scott - Golden Globes 2013 - Lincoln - Seahawks - 2014 Corvette - Miss America 2013 - Aaron Schwartz - Ganster Squad - Oscars - Beasts of the Southern Wild - NRA - scandal - People's Choice Awards - Sacramento Kings - Bethenny Frankel - Pokemon X and Y - Comcast - Pretty Little Liars - Elvis Presley - David Bowie - Rob Parker - Paulina Gretzky - Social Security - ABC Family - Justin Bieber smoking weed - A J McCarron - Katherine Webb - Huell Howser - The Bachelor - Google Docs - Alex Jones - Piers Morgan - IRS - CES 2013 - Chuck Hagel - NHL Lockout - Downtown Abbey

Nickelback sucks!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Test Your Funny Bone #12

As soon as 2013 rolled around, I set a goal for myself of posting an average of three times per week for the entire year. So far, I am failing miserably. My classes are taking up more of my time than I had expected. I need to get into a more steady routine to accomplish this goal. I do not intend to use my classes an an excuse. They are the reason for my lack of posting, but I know I can find a way to make this work.

For the moment, here is our weekly Funny Bone feature. I supply the picture and you supply the caption to go with it.

Show us how funny you are. Put your funniest caption in the comment section and I will post the responses I received on Friday. I am going to move the days for this and see how it works out. After giving the results on Friday, I will start posting on Monday with the results coming in on Friday. I believe this will give more people the opportunity to participate.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Funny Bone Results #11

A few days ago, I posted the following picture and asked my readers to submit their funniest caption to go with it.

Here are the submissions I received.

Kevin of Who Woulda Thought? - I guess Honey Boo Boo is just filled with air not fat.

Shane of In Shane's Brain - After little Maggie called him a fat tatted unkept loser, Bubba tried to blow her brains out.

Lotta Joy of Witless Relocation Program -  What to do when your kid won't allow you to pull out that loose tooth.

Stephen Hayes of Chubby Chatterbox - Trailer park dental care at its finest.

Hestia - All your mother said was to make sure you were dried off before she got home. This is how Daddy does it. Your next.

Red of Doesn't Speak Klingon - Hmm...I think she's got a career ahead of her!

Gorilla Bananas of The Japing Ape -  This is what happens when you flush your head in the toilet.

Rusty of Swinging Like a Rusty Gate -  Now, windswept photos in 3... 2... 1...

Kyle Minor - Plumber Bob decided to cure his daughters constipation the only way he knew how... Pressurize the line.

Terry Schoenherr - No, it is the only way to take your vitamin!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

From Barbara's Belly Button to Janet's Boob

Back in August 29, 2011, I asked my readers for suggestions of things to write about. I have since covered almost every topic that was suggested to me. However, I didn't do them all. I was not too worried about this, but one of my friends has been hassling me ever since then as to why I still haven't written on his topic. In fact, he brought it up again today.

My persistent complainer has been Adam Elliott. He had asked me to write about the change in television content over the years. I blew him off again explaining that I would have to do too much reading before writing the post, but decided to tackle it tonight anyway.

Before we go any further, I want to make it clear that I greatly enjoy television. I don't watch a lot of it anymore because I just don't have the time, but I love Dexter, True Blood, The Walking Dead, and Sons of Anarchy when I do watch. Knowing this, hopefully as I start talking about this topic, I won't be considered a prude or sound self-righteous.

When television first came out in the 40's it was mainly used as a propaganda tool to get people to buy war bonds, telecast boxing matches and broadcast the news. Even the news was mainly a recap of the front page newspaper headlines. You didn't discover anything new on television that you couldn't read in that morning's paper. There was no discussion of the dangers of television content for almost twenty years, because there was nothing serious on television to discuss.

Technically, the Flinstones beat them
by 2 years, but that was a cartoon.
Today, it has been almost 10 years (2004) since Janet Jackson boobed us live during the Super Bowl halftime show. Forty years before that (1964), the most controversial and talked about thing on television was the show Bewitched, because for the first time a married couple was depicted as sharing the same bed. In fact, the only reason they were able to get away showing Darin and Samantha in such a suggestive position was because Samantha was a witch. Since she was not human and the show already openly displayed witchcraft, they thought they could get away with it because she was not considered to be human.

Despite that huge leap, the following year I Dream of Jeannie debuts on television and the network decided that her showing her belly button would be too racy. In every episode, they either filled her navel with putty or had her wear a skin colored covering over it.

It was during this period (mid-60's) that the head of the FCC called television "wasteland TV," because it had become a bunch of silly nonsense. What had once been envisioned as a way of better bringing information to people was now showing The Beverly Hillbillies, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, My Mother the CarGreen Acres, and Gilligan's Island. As entertaining as they might have been, they were in no way depictions of the real world. For the first time, television was recognized as being an escape.

By the time day time talk shows came around, they focused on bringing the audiences attention to an issue or offering assistance (sometimes useful counseling) to their guests. Today, these shows are to do DNA tests to discover which of the dozen men someone has slept with might be the baby daddy or to celebrate some other family's unbelievable dysfunction. If the family is messed up enough, they might be given their own reality show.

If you call yourself a 'family' channel,
should you really play this show?
Without even turning to cable, I can see more sex, drug use, and violence in one night of prime time programming than was on TV for an entire year when they started pushing the boundaries in the 1960's. Plus, now there is so much more to choose from. Then there were only three networks. Today, there are six plus literally hundreds of cable channels. Some of those channels, it is to be expected. However, when ABC Family puts a disclaimer before a show stating that it may have questionable material, I have to wonder why they use the name they do. I guess giving the warning gets them off the hook rather than just choosing 100% family suitable programming as their name suggests.

In 1951, I Love Lucy was almost cancelled before it even started because when it came time to film the pilot Lucille Ball was pregnant. The producers decided to go on with the show, but always keep her condition hidden from the camera. Years later, when she was carrying Desi, Jr. the network decided to incorporate her pregnancy into the show, but still forbid the use of the word 'pregnant.' Today, you can see outright sex acts on prime time network television. We are not shown full blown nudity, but very little is left to the imagination.

In 1967, the first curse word was used on television. Captain Kirk said, "Let's get the hell out of here" on Star Trek. Today, cursing is so common ABC has had two shows with the word 'bitch' in their titles.
  • GCB - This stood for Good Christian Bitches, which they later changed to Good Christian Belles when it wasn't well received. Only a couple of episodes made it on screen. It was cancelled May 11, 2012.
  • Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23 - The 'B' stands for bitch. This one is still on the air today in its second season.
Although, I do not curse myself, I don't squirm at the sound of curse words. I love a good horror movie and watch television that would have given June Cleaver a cardiac arrest to learn the Beaver was watching, but I do recognize that a steady diet of this stuff is probably not good for my brain. There is definitely even more to consider when it comes to what children watch. I am not an advocate for saying that watching a violent show or playing a violent video game will cause someone to use a hatchet on the neighbor's cat or go shoot up the local mall, but I do believe that it is really naive to think that a steady diet of this stuff has absolutely no effect.

Whether you have a problem with this evolution or not, the original point of my post was just to point out the changes. They have occurred and things have changed. Considering how far things have gone, we are left with the question that many have started asking.

Since so much is allowed and we show more and more all the time, should the FCC even be regulating or censoring television any more?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Test Your Funny Bone #11

Let's see how funny you are. It's your opportunity to show us what rattles around in your head. Leave your funniest caption for this picture in the comment section and I will post all the captions received later in the week.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fortune Cookie #6 - Confidence Isn't Enough

I recently got to visit my favorite local restaurant again, China Buffet #6. As usual, I was very happy with the experience right up to the very last bite. At the end, they brought me my bill and accompanying fortune cookie. Here was my fortune:

They can because they think they can.

When I do these fortune cookie posts, I often feign ignorance at what they mean to try to pull a post out of it, but for this one I want to make it clear that I completely understand the meaning. I just vehemently disagree.

I have heard the following phrase hundreds of times and know it has been used by sales seminars, self-help books and new age gurus:
"Whether you think you can or cannot, you are right."
Stewie Griffin even said it once to Brian in an episode of Family Guy. The idea behind it is fairly simple. Often the biggest deterrent to your success is your own self doubt. I can't disagree with that. There are a lot of people who do not succeed because they never step forward to do what is necessary to succeed due to the fact that they do not believe in themselves. However, that is not what this fortune cookie said.

While it is similar, it is not the same.

I am sorry to inform all you bright eyed youngsters who believed your mother when she said, "You can do anything you set your mind to." It's not true. Your mother lied to you. It takes a whole lot more than just determination, belief, and a healthy self-esteem to accomplish most significant tasks.

Several years ago, my brother Trevor had just left the bar with a girl and was driving home when they came upon a bull in the middle of the road. Despite the fact that the ditches were shallow and he was driving a large jacked-up, four-wheel drive truck, he decided to get out and move the bull by hand rather than drive around it or nudge it with the bumper. Trevor fully believed that he could impress this girl move this bull, but his belief did not prevent his horn-shaped puncture wounds, loss of hair and skin, and days of soreness that he experienced later.

When I was a teenager standing in the bed of my buddy's truck, I firmly believed that I would be able to jump into the bed of another friend's truck as he sped by. The idea that it might not work never even crossed my mind. A few minutes later, when my friends dragged my bloody body into the nearest bar to seek medical assistance (yes, we went to a bar), I fully believed that my shock-induced pick up lines were good enough to break through the sight of my injuries to the cute bartender who was tending to my wounds. As she was applying antiseptic and asked where else I was hurt, I started to undo my belt. She just left me bleeding in the back room.

My brother Kyle was about 8 years old when he believed he could do a flip out of the barn loft at our grandfather's house. He believed it because I thought it would be cool to see and convinced him he could do it. I did such a good job of pumping up his confidence, that soon I even believed he could do it…right up to the moment he leapt out and belly flopped onto the grass twelve feet below. Then, I believed Dad would make me pay for my idea. That belief was correct.

In each of these instances, not only was believing in success not enough to make it happen, but it was the firm belief that something could be done that got us into trouble to begin with. There is usually a reason for caution. Not everything can be done just because you are confident and believe in yourself.

Some people's belief in themselves is so deeply rooted that they can't see the truth even after it has been shown to them. In this video, the contestant truly believed he had what it took.

I have worked with youth for close to two decades and have met literally hundreds of teens who were convinced they were going to be professional athletes. There was no doubt in their minds. They didn't just want to do this, they believed it with their entire being. However, they were lacking a key feature needed in order to succeed: the necessary talent.

NOPE! They can because they are good enough.

Believing that you will go to college will not get you there. It takes work. Believing your business will be a success will not make it happen. It requires a good business plan, hard work, long hours, wise decisions and a host of other factors. Believing you are going to win American Idol because your grandma convinced you that you are better than any of those "screeching idiots on the radio" will not impress Simon or even the nicer judges.

I am not suggesting that people should not pursue their dreams and I will agree that success usually starts with someone believing that something can be done, but that belief is only the very beginning and is definitely not the factor that makes it happen. There is so much more involved. We've all met that incredible cocky person who believes they are the greatest in the world at something (or in some cases, everything). Yet, despite that person's incredible belief, they never accomplish anything worthy. Belief is overrated. Success is achieved by hard work and persistence. Sometimes, even then, it sometimes still doesn't come. I leave you with the wise words of the poet Shel Silverstein.

The Little Blue Engine

The little blue engine looked up at the hill.
His light was weak, his whistle was shrill.
He was tired and small, and the hill was tall,
And his face blushed red as he softly said,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

So he started up with a chug and a strain,
And he puffed and pulled with might and main.
And slowly he climbed, a foot at a time,
And his engine coughed as he whispered soft,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

With a squeak and a creak and a toot and a sigh,
With an extra hope and an extra try,
He would not stop — now he neared the top —
And strong and proud he cried out loud,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”

He was almost there, when — CRASH! SMASH! BASH!
He slid down and mashed into engine hash
On the rocks below... which goes to show
If the track is tough and the hill is rough,
THINKING you can just ain’t enough!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Funny Bone Results #10

On January 4, I posted the following picture and asked my readers to supply me with their funniest caption.

These are the captions received:

Jayson Ferguson - Must be a school for Wall Street executives!

Shockgrubz of Randoom Blog - If you think the recess bike is bad, you should see what they haul us in for detention!

Rosa Mystica - Gosh, when they said "homeschooling multiples" I don't think this is what they meant! 0_0

  • A little life lesson on what will happen if you don't stay in school!
  • What they mean is Ideal School (for teachers): small class sizes, students not allowed to run amok and teacher stays fit while peddling.

Red of Doesn't Speak Klingon - Wait!...What? There's no ice-cream in here!

Stephen Hayes of Chubby Chatterbox - The most important lesson of all: life is an endless journey in a vehicle without a driver.

Queen Holly the Magnificent of A Holly With Follies - I don't think the child stealing goblins truly understand flying under the radar.

Shane Morgan of In Shane's Brain - We promise never to do it Gangnam Style again!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Test Your Funny Bone #10

It's that time of week again to see how funny my readers are. I supply the picture and you come up with your funniest caption.

Here is this week's picture:

Leave your funniest caption in the comment section and I will post all the responses later in the week.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Goals

By 2013 Goals I don't mean 2,013 different goals. I am referring to goals for the year 2013. You may have figured that out on your own, but I just wanted to make it clear.

I don't generally make resolutions and I am not about to now. However, I do have some things in mind that I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. Setting goals for yourself is not the same thing as making resolutions. Resolutions usually involve trying to improve yourself in some way. Since I wouldn't even begin to know where to start with that, I will let it slide. Plus, admitting any type of fault that needs to be worked on might cause Red to see a flaw in me that she is not aware of at this moment and I am going to try to maintain this perfect image she has of me for as long as possible.

Once again, resolutions involve making some sort of personal improvement. A goal is something you would like to accomplish and I do have a few of those in mind.
  • My first class in the TESOL graduate program just started yesterday. I intend to never receive any grades lower than a 97% for the entire program. You can believe I will keep you posted, especially every time I meet that goal in a new class.
  • Last year (2012) was a wonderful year. A large part of that was due to meeting Red. I know we have not given many updates lately, but things are going beautifully. I am making it a personal goal to make this year the best year she has ever had.
  • In August 2011, I created The List. It is my list of things to accomplish before I die. Of the 150+ items I have on that list, I have only marked off one in the 17 months since I first posted it. This year, I will average at least one list item per month for a total of twelve or more before the end of the year.
  • I want to maintain a steady blogging schedule. 120 posts for the year would break down to 2.3076923 posts per week. That's one post every 3.04167 days. Why does this have to be so complicated?
  • I will read fifty books this year. This is close to one a week. It is not a lofty goal, but with me being in school, it should keep me reading things other than just my textbooks.

On a side note and totally unrelated to anything else so far, I have a request. Today, January 4th is my daughter Kirsten's birthday. She will be 17 and is very excited to be old enough to go to rated R movies on her own.

After you leave this page would you take the time to leave her a birthday wish either on her Twitter feed @KirsteyDahl or her Facebook Wall (Kirsten Minor). If you would like to make it extra special, include a picture of a windmill. She loves windmills. The bigger the windmill the better. Any picture of a windmill will work, but I included a few here if you would like to use them.

Actually, she doesn't really love windmills. She is scared of them for some reason. So if you think I am being cruel, just send her a Happy Birthday message. On the other hand, if you don't mind torturing teenagers, then send her a windmill also. Either way, she will be thrilled to get a bunch of messages coming her way from people she doesn't know. Since she doesn't read my blog, she won't know where this is coming from.

Happy Birthday, Kirsten!!!

Have a great year everyone.