Tag Archives: inspiration

Why Didn’t Sears Become Amazon First? (Lack of Foresight and Applying This to You or How Sears Got Its Milkshake Drank)

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Sears got its milkshake drank.  Will yours be next?

Ahh, Sears.  Back in the day, no trip to the mall was complete without a trip to this anchor store and let me tell you, my Aunt Gertie used to get Sears catalogs in the mail all the time.

They were big ass tomes the size of 10 bibles that weighed at least 10 pounds and oh, as a kid I’d turn through the pages and dream.  I want that toy, I want that toy, and oh my, why do these bra models give me a tingly feeling?

Jeez.  I think I might have a few of those catalogs lying around.  I wonder if they’re worth anything.  I’d go fap to the bra models but I won’t out of respect, given that all those models are probably either dead or super old and in nursing homes now.  Sigh.  Oh time, you cruel bitch, you.

For the uninitiated, Mr. Sears, way back in the 1800s was the first businessman to realize that since there were parts of America that didn’t have any stores, he could make bank by sending out catalogs and taking orders for goods by mail.  As the years went on, Sears stores became the pinnacle of every mall and as credit cards came into style, they dominated the catalog sales market.  Shit, Aunt Gertie ordered all my clothes as a kid from Sears.  You think that was why I was so unpopular?  Oh well.  Water under the bridge.

So, I guess I don’t get it.  The Internet came into great popularity in the 1990s and Jeff Bezos, blessed be his most revered name (and I’m not just saying that because he has the power to snuff out my self-publishing dreams) saw the potential of the Internet to sell stuff.

Wal-Mart saw the potential too and though I don’t believe it has reached Amazon lengths, it does a brisk online sales business.

JC Penney, Sears’ longtime rival in the box store/catalog game has kept afloat by doing online sales as well.

So, to repeat, I don’t get it.  Sears basically invented the whole concept of taking pictures of products, organizing them into catalogs and giving them descriptions, product numbers, listing the prices, making it easy for people to call on the phone, read off the products they wanted to an operator who took their order, credit card number and address and they even mastered how to complete orders through the mail.

Why didn’t anyone at Sears have the vision, the foresight to say, “Hey, I think this Internet thing is here to stay and we should take our catalog…and hold on…think about it here…put it online!”

Now, I don’t know.  I believe they did.  To what extent I couldn’t tell you.  Perhaps it wasn’t so much the lack of putting it online so much as getting you anything you want the way Amazon can.  I mean, there are so many times when I think something like, “I would like a can of farts excreted by an East Peruvian Water Buffalo in July” and then go to Amazon and do a search and get, “Here are twenty choices for farts excreted by East Peruvian Water Buffalos in July.”

I don’t know.  I’m not sure what Sears’ downfall was.  Either they didn’t get into online sales early enough, or maybe they didn’t make online shopping as cool as Amazon did.  Maybe they didn’t think of nifty little ways to grab your cash the way Amazon does.  Shit, Amazon thinks of new ways to get your money all the time.  You can get a little button to stick in your kitchen and push it when you’re out of toilet paper, chips, insert household staple here and they will put it on your tab and send it to you.  You can get Alexa and say, “Hey Alexa order me a can of East Peruvian Water Buffalo Farts” and she’ll order it for you.  Maybe it was that.  Maybe Sears just didn’t think of enough ways to be cool.

I know Blockbuster could have gotten into the streaming game earlier and could still be around in an online form today.  Borders could have embraced e-books earlier and still be in the fight today.

So, let’s apply this to you (because I never apply good lessons to me, I just continue to do the same dumb things and let them blow up in my face over and over again and never learn anything like Wile E. Coyote.)

What is something that you could begin doing today that will be hard, will require hard work and sacrifice, will unlikely yield results in the short term, but in 5 years, you’ll be glad you did it?

I bet the people in charge of Sears wish that 5 years ago, they might have made their website cooler.  Maybe they might have gotten more exclusive product deals available only on their site.  Maybe they could have come up with a little robot that sits on your desk and speaks in a British accent, like your robot butler who says, “Pip, pip, cheerio, you want me to order you some more raisin bran, fuck face?”  I don’t know.  All I know is they didn’t do it, and now much like in that film, There Will Be Blood, Bezos is drinking Sears’ milkshake.  “I drink your milkshake!  I drink it up!!”

Back to the point.  Maybe you’re a fat fuck.  Maybe in five years you’d like to be a skinny fuck so you can run, jump, hop, skip, do fun activities and if you’re looking good you might just score yourself some bomb ass pussy (or ladies, you might acquire some bomb ass peen.)

Maybe you’re having financial woes.  Maybe if you start a plan of cutting spending and perhaps get a little side gig or a part time job, you’ll get those debts tackled in five years.

Shit.  Take some piano lessons today and maybe you’ll be tickling the ivories in a concert hall in five years.

Hell, I spent the last two years writing a book about an alligator that eats people on the toilet.   I hope to have it self-published next year.  When I’m swimming in mad cash and bomb ass pussy thanks to all the fame and fortune I get when this book about a toilet gator goes gangbusters, I’ll be glad I put the time in on this fine book.  I’ll be laughing at the other me in the alternate time line who will be a fucking loser because instead of writing a book about a toilet gator he did some weak ass shit like working extra hard on his cardio or volunteering to read to impoverished blind children or building hospitals in Ecuador or some shit.

Anyway, 3.5 readers.  The takeaway?  Right now, I know there is something you have wanted to happen for a long time.  You never did it, but you know in your heart if you put the work in, you’ll have it in five years.  Do you want to be like Sears?  Do you want to be the hollow shell, the desolate remains of a once thriving business that was the brain child of a wise 1800’s business tycoon?  Or, do you want to be like Supreme Overlord Bezos, violating the spent carcass of yet another fallen, wasted competitor over and over again?

If you don’t identify what you want and start acting on it today, then I guarantee you in five years, someone else will be getting it.  You’ll still be fat and some other skinny person will be partying with the bomb ass pussy or peen, whatever your preference.  Someone else will be playing the piano you were going to play.  Someone else will be enjoying a debt free life while you’ll be giving handjobs in bus station bathrooms just to pay off the minimum payment on your credit cards.  (You’ll be giving handjobs forever at that rate!)

The next five years will go by fast…in the blink of an eye.  You can drink some other schmuck’s milkshake, or you can get yours drunk up.  What’s it going to be?

(Note.  Let’s all return to this post in five years and trade notes on how this all worked out.)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: It dawns on me that not all 3.5 of you have seen There Will Be Blood and I don’t advise it, because once you see a man get beaten to death with a bowling pin by a man enjoying a brownie, you can’t unsee that shit.  Long story short, “I drink your milkshake!” comes from this scene where Daniel Day Lewis plays an oil baron who is bragging to a preacher about how he screwed him over in an oil deal.

So, to really motivate yourself, you need to a) picture what you want and then b) work on getting it for fear that in five years, if you don’t get what you want, Daniel Day Lewis will get what you wanted because he worked for it harder and he will ridicule you by laughing at you, telling you he got what you wanted because you’re a weak, pathetic loser and he was really strong and cunning and then he will beat the shit out of you with a bowling pin and eat a brownie.

If that doesn’t make you work hard on your goals then I don’t know what will.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 42

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Rusty perused the letter. “Little Mutumbo remembered your birthday.”

“Isn’t that nice?” Maude asked.

“Yup,” Cole said. “That kid’s thousands of miles away yet he’s like the family I never had.”

Rusty and Maude frowned in unison.

“What are we?” Rusty asked.

“Chopped liver?” Maude added.

“Fine,” Cole said. “He’s like the son I never had.”

Rusty reached across the table, seized one of Cole’s tater tots and popped it into his mouth. “Damn. Steve’s on his A-game tonight.”

“You knew Ruby Sue up and left this place to go see the world?” Cole asked.

“Sure did,” Rusty said.

“Everyone knew that,” Maude said.

“Not everyone,” Cole said. “I didn’t know.”

“Well,” Rusty said.

Maude reached over the table and patted Cole’s hand. “Sometimes you get stuck inside your head and don’t pay attention to the world, hon. It’s ok.”

Mindy stopped by the table. “New guests! What will y’all have?”

“It’s been a rough day,” Rusty said. “I deserve the full course barbecue chicken, ribs, pulled pork platter. All the sides.”

“All the sides?” Mindy asked.

“All of the sides,” Rusty said.

“And for you, ma’am?” Mindy asked.

“Oh,” Maude said. “I deserve the works too but I know I’ll be up all night on the toilet and rumor has it that can be hazardous for your health these days so I’ll just go with a nice bowl of the house soup.”
“Coming right up,” Mindy said as she walked away.

“Hazardous to your health?” Cole asked.

“Yes,” Maude said. “Kiddo, do you know that while you were out having yourself a good old time today, the world basically erupted into a fireball of shit?”

“Might have heard something about it on the television,” Cole said.

“You don’t know the half of it,” Maude said. “Everyone and their Uncle is afraid to shit and they’re all calling the police station to ask when it will be safe to shit again…as if anyone actually knows.”

Cole stuffed a fork full of barbecue into his gob, chewed, and swallowed. “Why would anyone be afraid to take a shit?”

“Because there’s a psycho killing people who shit,” Maude said.

“So now everyone thinks they’re going to buy the farm on the bowl,” Rusty said. “I was at the college all day and at least three hundred kids asked me if it’s safe to shit. Honestly, I dodged the question because I didn’t think it was right to tell them it’s safe.”

“All these millennial kids were worried about finding a safe space free of opposing ideas,” Maude said. “Who knew they’d need to find a place where it’s safe to shit?”

“People are idiots,” Cole said. “I doubt the killer is after people just because they shit. He’d have to kill everyone in the world then. There must be some link between the victims.”

“Maybe,” Rusty said. “But you got to admit it, there’s no clear pattern. Most serial killers off people with a similar look or have something in common, some kind of trigger that reminds them of a person they disliked intensely.”

“Maybe the killer was once done wrong by someone who shits,” Maude said.

“Yeah,” Cole said. “But again, that’d be everyone. Everyone shits.”

“But again, other than the fact that they all were shitting the time of their untimely demises, there was nothing else that tied the three victims together,” Rusty said. “A pop star with a famous butt. An old, retired teacher. A dummy that was on his tenth year in pursuit of a two year degree. These people have nothing in common…except that they all shit.”

Cole took a sip of soda. “And everybody shits.”

“Everybody indeed shits,” Rusty said.

Cole was quiet for a moment while he dug into his food. “So Sharon has cracked the case yet?”

Rusty smiled. “I knew you wouldn’t be able to last five minutes without asking about your Smoochy Poo.”

“Shut up,” Cole said.

“Mmm mmm,” Rusty said. “Kissy kissy, you still love her.”

Maude could tell this was not going to end well. “Enough, Rusty.”

“Cole and Sharon sitting in a tree…”

Bam! Cole’s fist pounded the table. “Shut up!”

“Whoa,” Rusty said as he held his hands out. “OK. Chill.”

“Stop picking the scab, Danny Bonaduce,” Maude said.

“Whatever,” Rusty said. “I meant no disrespect.”

Cole glared at Rusty.

“OK,” Rusty said. “I meant a slight, teeny, tiny amount of disrespect. But look, Cole, I gotta say it. This is the case of a lifetime, one that could give you and I a ticket to the big time and you are letting your personal shit with your ex-wife get in the way of pursuing your own glory.”

Ever so calmly, Cole put down his fork. He folded his hands, took a deep breathe and faced Rusty.

“Oh Lord,” Maude said.

“Go on,” Cole said.

“What?” Rusty asked.

“Explain to me, a mere peon, how you, an obviously very wise man, came to conclude that I am allowing, quote ‘my personal shit with my ex-wife get in the way of pursuing my own glory.’”

Rusty smirked. “Honestly, Cole I didn’t get this far in my mind. I thought you’d of thrown some kind of blunt object at me by now.”

Cole’s eyes traveled into the direction of his hands, reminding Rusty they were still folded. “Nope. No harm will come to you, Carrot Top.”

“OK,” Rusty said. “Look. We’ve been working hard all our lives, right?”

“True,” Cole said.

“And we don’t get as much appreciation as we deserve, do we?” Rusty asked.

“Not at all,” Cole replied.

“So,” Rusty said. “Sooner or later, this case is going to bust wide open. The man who killed all three people, including one celebrity, in one night within a two hour span, all while they were on the toilet, will be caught. Whoever does the catching is gonna be golden. That person is gonna be a guest on talk shows. They’re gonna have book deals, movie deals. The money and fame and accolades are going to pour in.”

“And you think that should be us?” Cole asked.

“Well,” Rusty said. “Better us than the woman that left you at the worst possible time of your life, don’t you think?”

Cole raised an eyebrow. “Maybe.”

“People will tell tales of our bravery long after we’re gone, Cole,” Rusty said. “Come on, man. You’re forty today. I’m gonna be forty this Fall. How many more years of excitement do we have left?”

“Excitement?” Cole asked.

“Oh boy,” Maude said. “Here it comes.”

Rusty winced. “Brace for the speech.”

“Let me tell you a little bit about excitement,” Cole said.

Rusty and Maude had heard this speech many times before. Rusty began it for Cole. “People always think it’s fine and dandy to be the hero…”

Cole was too busy being self-righteous to notice he was being mocked. “People always think it’s fine and dandy to be the hero but you know what being a hero gets you?”

“Nothing and nowhere fast,” Rusty said.

Cole pounded the table. “Nothing and nowhere fast! Like a moron, like an idiot, like a complete, stupid jackass, I ran into the house thinking I was going to be hailed as some kind of special, wonderful hero, the big man who saved the little girl from the evil killer dog but where’d it leave me?”

“No leg,” Rusty said.

“No wife,” Maude added.

“Without a leg,” Cole said. “And without a wife. For the past decade, I’ve been limping around like a lame gimp that should be put out to pasture and shot and my own wife was so disgusted by the idea of being with a one-legged man that she skipped town the second she found out about what happened to me. Sure, I got to be the big hero but all I got out of it was a ruined life.”

“Oh Cole,” Maude said.

“Buddy,” Rusty said. “You think your life is ruined?”

“Damn right it is,” Cole said. “Chief Haskell told me not to go in. He didn’t go in and he’s happily retired.”

“He’s not that happy,” Rusty said. “Lost a bunch of money on Borders stock. Poor old bastard had to take a part-time job as a Price Town greeter. Hell, it’s been so long I can’t remember who gave him that bad stock tip but whoever it was, that guy was a real horse’s ass.”

“Whatever,” Cole said. “He’s fine. And he’s got both legs. And you. You and your friggin’ Jessica Chastain hair. You’ve got both legs. You’re out with a different girl every night.”

“And none of them have dicks,” Rusty said. “Contrary to popular opinion.”

“The point is that you and the Chief played it smart and your lives are fine now,” Cole said. “Me? I had to go and be the big hero and where’d it get me? A fucking fake leg I have to take off when I go to sleep every night. That’s why I keep my head down. I lay low. I don’t rock the boat. I don’t cause any trouble. I don’t have much left, but I don’t intend to lose it on any more hero bullshit. Being the hero is not all that it’s cracked up to me, believe me.”

“Cole,” Rusty said. “You really believe that?”

Mindy interrupted with a bowl of soup for Maude and a big ass plate for Rusty. “Can I get you anything else?”

“No,” Rusty said. “We’re fine.”

“Let me know if you need anything,” Rusty said.

Cole resumed the conversation. “Yeah, I really do believe that. My life ended when I was thirty and I’ve felt like a zombie ever since, just going through the motions and for what? To save some little kid who, let’s face, probably grew up to become a degenerate scumbag like his old man.”

Rusty gasped. “Cole Walker! You take that back right now.”

“I won’t,” Cole said. “You know how the world works just as well as I do. If you’re born into shit, the world will never allow you to become anything other than shit no matter how hard you try. I’m sure that little girl tried her best but she probably became a drug fiend like Wade.”

Rusty pointed at Mindy, who was standing across the room, taking an order from another table. “Maude’s right, Cole. You really don’t pay attention to anything that’s going on around you, do you?”

“What?” Cole asked.

“Do you have any idea who that is?” Rusty asked.

“Who?” Cole asked.

“That waitress,” Rusty said.

“I dunno,” Cole said. “Mindy. Ruby Sue’s niece. What about her?”

Rusty looked around, then leaned over the table and whispered. “She’s Molly Randolph.”

Cole contorted his face in every different direction it could possibly go in. “What?”

“It’s true,” Rusty said.

“Bullshit,” Cole said.

“No word of a lie,” Rusty said.

“She said her name is Mindy,” Cole said.

“Pretty close to Molly, isn’t it?” Rusty asked. “She changed her name so her old man wouldn’t find her. She got herself out of that life, got some help from her Aunt Ruby Sue.”

“No,” Cole said. “No. I shot the shit with Ruby Sue for years and never once did she ever mention any of this to me.”

“Well, what do you expect?” Rusty asked. “The woman was probably embarrassed that her no good brother-in-law turned a pit bull lose that went and bit your damn leg off.”

Cole looked like he’d just been run over by a freight train. Beads of sweat formed on his brow. He watched Mindy as she brought a tray of drinks to another table. “So you’re telling me that’s…

“The little girl you saved,” Rusty said. “All grown up and pretty as a picture.”

Cole breathed deeply.

“Still think you wasted your life by being the hero?” Rusty asked.

Cole winced. “I dunno.”

“You don’t know,” Rusty said. “Well, Mr. Doubting Thomas, let me tell you this now. She’s just waiting tables here for the summer to save up some money because she’s going to Harvard this fall.”

“Harvard?” Cole asked.
“Pre-med,” Rusty said. “The girl has her heart set on becoming a big time doctor. She’s going to volunteer to work for Doctors without Borders and everything. Hell, some day she might give a shot to little Mutumbo.”

A tear trickled out of Cole’s eye. “Little Mutumbo?”

“Yeah,” Rusty said. “She’s going to save Little Mutumbo’s life and not just that, I bet throughout her career, she will save the lives of thousands of Little Mutumbos and you know what?”

“What?” Cole asked.

“Every Little Mutumbo that girl right there saves will be because of you,” Rusty said. “It’s all about the Butterfly Effect, man.”

“The Butterfly Effect?” Cole asked.

“Hell yes,” Rusty said. “A butterfly beats his wings. His wings hit the water, causing a reverberation that causes a fish to shit on a frog and the frog jumps out of the water and then the frog jumps on some little kid’s head and that kid gets so pissed off at the frog that he stops playing outside and goes to the library and reads a book and becomes a genius and the next thing you know that kid grows up and becomes the best President of the United States ever, the one that heals the nation and the planet and saves the world and gets everyone to hold hands and sway back and forth while they sing kum-bai-fucking-yah! That makes sense, doesn’t it Maude?”

Maude blew on her spoon. “This soup is way too hot.”

“OK Maude checked out,” Rusty said. “What about you, Cole. You get it?”

“I saved Molly,” Cole said. “Molly will save a bunch of Little Mutumbos. Many of those Little Mutumbos will go on to save the world so…”

“It’s literally like you have already save the world thousands of times over and over again,” Rusty said.

Cole leapt to his feet and smiled. “Hot damn!”

Rusty jumped up. The two buddies embraced in a bear hug.

“So can we will you stop all of this mopey shit and go take your balls back from the hypothetical mason jar and become a couple of big time heroes?” Rusty asked.

“You better believe it!” Cole shouted as he let go of Rusty. “I’ll be in the car.”

“Oh,” Rusty said. “I hadn’t finished eating yet but ok…maybe I can get this to go.”

Cole walked over to Mindy. Without warning, he wrapped the young woman up in his arms and picked her up off the ground.

“Whoa!” Mindy said. “What was that for?”

“For you,” Cole said. “Just for being you.”

Cole opened his wallet and counted out a series of twenty dollar bills. “Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty…one hundred.”

He tucked them into Mindy’s hand. “I’m sorry. That’s all I’ve got right now.”

“What’s this for?” Mindy asked.

Tears poured down over Cole’s face as he proudly declared. “For Little Mutumbo. For all the Little Mutumbos of the world.”

Cole walked out of the diner. Rusty motioned for Mindy to come over. “Hey, can I get a box for all this?”

“Sure,” Mindy said. “Least I can do since your friend’s such a generous tipper.”

“Oh,” Maude said. “He was just so happy to hear you’re going to school this fall.”

“Wow,” Mindy said. “Word sure gets around this little town fast, though I didn’t think SCC was that big of a deal.”

“SCC?” Maude asked.

“Sitwell Community College,” Mindy said. “I was thinking about majoring in Gender Studies. I hear that’s a very versatile major that can open doors to me in a variety of high paid fields. I’ll go get your box.”

Mindy walked into the kitchen. Maude fired off an icy stare at Rusty. “SCC?”

“OK,” Rusty said. “That girl may or may not be Molly Randolph.”

“I’m going to guess she’s not,” Maude said. “And the real Molly Randolph?”

Rusty hesitated, fearful of Maude’s reaction. “She may or may not be a meth addict stripper at Big Ray’s House of Fancy Funbags.”

The redhead winced in preparation of a jarring whack upside the head, which the old lady indeed delivered. “Pig!”

“What?” Rusty said.

“How do you know this?” Maude said.

“I may or may not have been getting lap dances from her for the past three months,” Rusty said.
Maude whacked Rusty upside the head again.

“What?” Rusty asked. “It gets lonely in the champagne room! People talk!”

Maude glared at Rusty in a disapproving manner.

“What?” Rusty asked yet again. “She’s eighteen! It’s totally legit!”

“You make me sick,” Maude said. “You lied to your best friend.”

“I helped my best friend,” Rusty said.

“With a lie,” Maude said.

“With a helpful lie,” Rusty said. “And it wasn’t a total lie. The Butterfly Effect chain reaction that Cole started when he sacrificed his leg ten years ago has given me many hours of pleasure today because seriously, Chastity is the only bit of talent that Big Ray’s got in that joint.”

“Chastity?” Maude asked.

“Molly’s stripper name,” Rusty proudly declared. “She told me her real name because she likes me. Strippers don’t do that for just anyone you know.”

Maude shook her head and stood up. “I have to go ask Mindy to give Cole’s hundred back.”

Rusty looked aghast. “That ship has sailed, Maude.”

“But…”

Rusty put his hands on Maude’s shoulders. “Look at me, Maude. Once you start tugging on the thread of a lie, you’re going to eventually unravel the whole thing. Unless you want Cole to return to being a sorry sad sack, you’re going to have to choke this one down and realize that hundo belongs to the Sitwell Community College Gender Studies Department now.”

“But it’s a useless major,” Maude said as she picked up her oxygen tank. “Do you hear me? A useless major!”

“Maude,” Rusty said. “You’re being ridiculous. I’m sure there are many fine professions that a gender studies degree would be applicable to.”

“She’ll be lucky to shake her tits next to Chastity!” Maude said.

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Rusty said.

Maude stormed off.

“Where are you going?” Rusty asked.
“Somewhere where I don’t have to look at your stupid dayglo red head,” Maude said as she slammed the restaurant’s front door behind her.

Rusty sat down and waited patiently until Mindy returned.

“Your box,” Mindy said as she handed Rusty a styrofoam container.

“Why thank you,” Rusty said as he looked up at Mindy longingly. “I do so like it whenever a woman brings me a nice…box.”

Mindy stepped back. “Ew.”

“What?” Rusty asked.

Mindy walked away. “Not happening, Conan O’Brien.”

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Stop Sucking with Vinny Baggadouchio – Why Does the World Suck?

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World Renowned Motivational Speaker, Anti-Suck Book Author and Bookshelf Battle Blog Columnist, Vinny Baggadouchio

 

I’m Vinny Baggadouchio and if sucking is the disease, then I’m the cure.

If you’ve come down with a bad case of suck, then pick up one of my anti-suck books today:

Be the Not Sucking Person You Were Meant to Be

101 Ways Suckiness Creeps Into Your Life

Stop Sucking This Instant

Goodbye, Suck. Hello Not-Sucking.

Don’t Stop Sucking Tomorrow. Stop Sucking Today!

Why Do Sucky Things Happen to Non-Sucking People?

Drop That Suck!

Don’t Want to Suck? You’re In Luck!

The news sure has sucked lately, hasn’t it 3.5 readers?

In fact, a whole lot of suckage has happened in Orlando, which is surprising, because you’d think between the great weather, cartoon mouse park, the wannabe cartoon mouse park, that park where they make whales do tricks, all the beaches filled with scantily clad women and the ability to buy oranges anywhere every two minutes, it  all blends into a very not-sucky place.

But so much tragedy struck in the course of a few days.  A budding singer was shot dead. 50 gay people were killed in a night club. Another 50 wounded.

Plus a kid got eaten by a damn alligator.

So much suck.  So, so much suck.

3.5 readers, I have counseled world leaders and useless peons such as yourselves through very dark times and inevitably, someone always poses the following question to me:

Why does the world suck?

What a loaded question. I’m tempted to say that question sucks but in as much as it gets the mental gears turning, it does not suck at all.

Before I reach an answer, I must first back track to another inquiry:

Does the world, in fact, suck?

You’ll notice the subtle difference between the two questions.

The first one presupposes a sucky world and seeks knowledge as to why it does suck.

The second does not automatically assume a sucky world but rather inquires whether or not it sucks.

“Does the world suck?”

It all boils down to a matter of perspective. What sucks to one does not suck to another.

Suck is truly in the eye of the beholder, or perhaps I should say, in the eye of the be-sucker.

I’m paid big bucks to stop the sucks. Thus, life seems pretty good to me. The world is my oyster.  And it tastes like it doesn’t suck.

But for the many, many suckers out there, life sucks and by extension, they view the world as a sucky place.

Life is precious. We are all given a short, finite supply of time to not suck in this world.  Everyone should do their best to not suck.

Yet, many aren’t able to escape the feeling that their lives suck and therefore by extension the world sucks.

The world’s supply of suck ebbs and flows. Sometimes its suck cup runneth over. Other times it putters along at an excellent, suck free pace.

Overall, all non-suckers must not taking their suck-less lives for granted. They must cherish them and do what they can to guide suckers by the hand and walk with them hand in hand down the road to non-suckitude.

Many suckers are out there wallowing in their own suck filth, waiting for a kind non-sucker to show them the way to not-sucking.

Meanwhile, many suckers are so stuck in their sucky ways that try as they might, no one is able to snap them out of this suck spirals.

As much as it sucks to admit it, even I, a world renowned anti-suck expert, have met a few suckers who I wasn’t able to rehabilitate and turn into productive non-sucking members of society.

On top of all that, many suckers become suckers, not due to any sucky things they did per se, but because they are trapped in environments, situations, or circumstances that suck.

Non-suckers will always have a duty to work towards desuckifying that which sucks up life for so many sucky people.

So does the world suck?  It all really depends on your perspective.

To get to the original question – “Why Does the World Suck?”

That, too, is a question with so many answers.

It’s never easy to go through sucky times.

And in the wake of sucky tragedies, it’s only human nature to want to know what can be done to keep all the suck from sucking up people’s lives again.

To answer the question, I could go on for days.

I could talk about:

  • The history of the world and more specifically, how so many sucky activities that transpired in the past have led to a sucky world today.
  • The need for the present day world to come to terms with its sucky past and more importantly, learn to find a way to embrace a suck free future.
  • The sucky political climate where suck-a-ticians from both sides retreat to their own corners and suck rather than engage one another in suck-free dialogue on how to rid the world of suckage.
  • The downward suck-conomy, in which it has become so difficult for sucky people to find jobs that will turn them into productive non-suckers, and the ensuing despair that leads non-suckers down the path to suckitude.
  • The need for parents to embrace suck free lifestyles and become positive role models to thus inspire the next generation to not be suckers.
  • The necessity for suck free and less sucky parts of the world to continue their quest for non-suckitude and the corresponding need for regions of the world that suck to work towards desuckifying themselves or at the very least, to not export ideas that suck to not-sucking parts of the world, thus descending the entire world into suckage.
  • The adoption of a “Don’t suck and let suck motto.” Non-suckers can’t force suckers to become non-suckers over night. Rather, suckers need to learn how to not suck by making mistakes on their own and eventually reaching the conclusion that they must change their ways and not suck. Only then can non-suckers make a difference and lend a helping, non-sucking hand.
  • Until that happens, suckers and non-suckers alike must learn to live together and be happy, each side agreeing to enjoy the goods, services and opportunities of the modern world without trying to foist their believes vis a vis sucking or not-sucking upon one another.

I could write a book on each of those points (wait a minute, I have!) but suffice to say, I believe the world itself does not suck.

The world is water and trees and land and so on. At its core, it does not suck. It is the things that sucky people do that make it suck.

To non-suckers, the world does not suck.  To suckers, it does.

What can be done to rectify the situation?

Non-suckers must continue to embrace their suck free parts of the world.  Help those who shout, “I don’t want to suck anymore! Teach me how!”

Suckers must keep their suck to themselves and not export it to suck free parts.

And while it’s never a fun concept to talk about, non-suckers must be vigilant and take the necessary security measures to keep suckage from spilling over into their not-sucking areas.

Keep moving forward. Keep not-sucking. Be an inspiration to all those who suck yet aspire to not-suck.

Thanks for your time, non-suckers and suckers alike.

Remember, buy my anti-suck books. They’re available at bookstores that don’t suck.

And if you want to know when my latest anti-suck column has been posted, be sure to follow BQB on twitter – @bookshelfbattle

 

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Movie Review – Joy (2015)

You wouldn’t think the story behind the invention of the self-wringing mop would be all that interesting but as it turns out, it is.

Inspiring too.

BQB here with a review of Joy.

SPOILER ALERT – the movie’s less about the mop than it is about the burdensome road one must go down in order to achieve a dream.

Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) started out as a very intelligent child, dreaming up new inventions in her room. She assumes life will be great but as the years go on, she eventually finds herself divorced, caring for her kids, her elderly father (Robert DeNiro), her mother who hides from life by watching soap operas all day (Virginia Madsen), and ironically, her ex-husband who she’s still friends with (Edgar Ramirez.)

Bradley Cooper rounds out the cast as the QVC executive that gives Joy her big break during the television shopping industry’s infancy.

“I feel like I’m in a prison” sums about how she (and most people feel) when they’re stuck in a rut.  We all have dreams but day by day, as the time ticks off the clock and the day to day struggles of earning a living preoccupy our time, those dreams fade away.

Supposedly, we’re all free to do as we please but when you factor in all the obligations of life, the average person is not free at all.

The pressure to throw your hands up, forget all about your dream and just live out a boring, hum drum existence is strong – for Joy and well, let’s face it, for us too.

But when Joy cuts her hands on a mop filled with broken glass, she develops the idea for a self-wringing mop, one that you can wring without even touching the mop head.

Sounds simple enough but once she goes into the mop making business, she quickly learns the downside to following her dream.  The path to success is not easy.  Price gauging suppliers, crooked businessmen, mounting bills, and family jealousies all stand in her way.

Is that mop that interesting? No. But watching the movie is an exercise in self-forgiveness.  We all have our own self-wringing mop, that pie in the sky idea we always wanted to follow.

But we also have people who depend on us, financial woes, etc.  Forgive yourself if you aren’t living the life you wanted. Most people aren’t.

There are many times in the movie where Joy has the chance to give up and walk back to the hum drum life or double down on her mop making enterprise, potentially pushing her deeper into debt and misery if it doesn’t work out.

Many people in her shoes would have given up and, at least from my perspective, the message of the film is that you should forgive yourself if you didn’t pursue your dream because at the end of the day, the deck is stacked against you.

Living a realistic boring life doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you normal. On the other hand, if you follow Joy’s lead and keep plugging away at your dream it may very well come true.

FYI – Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Joy.  At the time, I assumed it might have been a case of  Hollywood blowing smoke up J-Law’s butt (I like her a lot but is there anyone else out there deserving of accolades since she’s already had so many?)

Turns out I was wrong. She was very deserving of the nomination.  Joy made me laugh. She made me cry. She made me visualize myself in her shoes, this damn blog with 3.5 readers as her self-wringing mop, and all the people telling her that her mop is dumb as the people telling me this blog is dumb.

Eh. They’re right. This blog is kinda dumb. I should just quit and go eat cookies.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Losers Seeking Redemption

I’ve conducted an analysis of every story idea I’ve ever had and there’s one key theme:

Losers seeking redemption.

3.5 READERS: But BQB, every story is about a loser seeking redemption.

Not really.  It depends on how low of a loser we’re talking about.  Mine are pretty low.

Luke Skywalker may have been a poor farm boy, but he could have told Obi Wan to stick his light saber where the sun don’t shine and taken over his Aunt and Uncle’s farm, rejecting the Jedi life altogether had he wanted to. He could have lived a comfortable life.  He didn’t do anything wrong or dumb or stupid that he needed to make up for in order to feel like his life had meaning.

Rick Grimes isn’t a loser.  He’s just a dude driven to extremes by a harsh new world. But he didn’t do anything he needed to make up for.  Sure, his wife and friend got it on but that was after they thought he was dead (for five minutes) and if anything that reflects badly on them not him.

So most stories are about characters facing difficult decisions but they aren’t starting out as losers.  All of my heroes start out as losers and the objective seems to be a way for them to not be losers anymore.

Hate to say it, but I’m a loser seeking redemption.

Are you a loser seeking redemption?  I wish you the best of luck on your path, loser.

 

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Nimoy’s Last Tweet

Inspiring to the end, the final tweet of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Mr. Spock on Star Trek:

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Rocky Balboa and Rambo 5 – Attack on Nursing Home Delta

Readers, I’ll let you in on a secret.  Hell, there’s only like three of you reading, so it will still remain a secret after I’ve told you.

The Bookshelf Battler is a fan of the Rocky movies.

In particular – Rocky 1-IV, and VI.  I like to pretend V doesn’t exist.  If you’re not an Ancient Roman, I’m trying to tell you I like Rocky 1-4, not 5, and 6.

Six had the potential to be very bad.  It was released in 2006 as Rocky Balboa and even then, Stallone was past his prime.

But to his credit, Stallone didn’t do what many aging stars have done – demand that the audience turn a blind eye and see him like he’s some kind of young superstar, like he was in his glory days.  He wrote his age into the plot.  In the film, Rocky is old, down on his luck.  Adrian’s deceased, he’s lost all his money, his grown-up son hates him, and he runs a lame restaurant that people go to just to listen to him stop by their tables to tell a few boxing stories.

After a computer simulation pits him against a popular fighter, a match is arranged for them to go head to head and the measure of Rocky’s victory is laid out – to be considered a success, he doesn’t have to win.  He isn’t expected to win at all.  He just has to survive for awhile in the ring.  Essentially, by fighting the fight and not dropping dead, Rocky wins.

The movie brings the franchise around full circle, to the initial movie where Rocky did not win the fight against Apollo Creed, but actually found success just by going toe to toe with him in the ring when everyone thought the nobody would pretty much be murdered instantly by the famous fighter.

In my opinion, when Rocky gave his infamous speech to his son, he defined the entire series:

Rocky Balboa’s Inspirational Speech to His Son

“You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. (Shows palm of his hand). I’d hold you up to say to your mother, ‘This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.’ And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watchin’ you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started lookin’ for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know.The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.”

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa (2006)

Let me just repeat one part:

“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

In other words, getting knocked down is inevitable.  It is going to happen.  You can’t feel bad that it happened.  You can’t say, “Woe is me, if only I was like one of those lucky people who didn’t get knocked down.”  This is just what life does.  You didn’t fail when you got knocked down.  You failed when you stayed down.

I remember sitting in the movie theater, listening to an old Sylvester Stallone say those words, and they made me feel inspired to take on the world.  And, sadly, there have been many times when I’ve ignored Rocky’s advice.  Life would toss a right-hook to my face, send me straight to floor, and I’d say, “Hmmm, what a nice, comfy floor!  I think I’ll stay here for awhile!”

But aside from that, at my lowest moments, I would not turn to a classic poet, or a Rhodes Scholar, or a Nobel Laureate.  I’d click on YouTube and find the clip of Rocky giving his son that speech.  And it would leave me feeling inspired.

The success of Rocky Balboa allowed Stallone to bring back Rambo.  More or less, he followed the same formula.  Don’t portray Rambo as an old man pretending to be a youthful tough guy.  Present him as an old man, hiding out in the jungle, trying to get away from his past.  I can’t say it inspired me to the extent Rocky Balboa did, but it was an acceptable film.

Then came The Expendables.  Again, the same formula – old timers playing old timers.  People who criticized it didn’t get the point.  It wasn’t made for them.  It was made for 1980’s era action flick fanboys like yours truly.  High action.  Low plot.  That’s how we liked our action when Reagan was in the White House.

But I have to say, the recent Expendables 3 didn’t do much for me, and I fear another Rambo installment might be pushing it when it comes to cashing in on the audience’s good will.  Stallone can only go to the, “OK I’ll admit I’m old” well so many times.  Every time he trots out one of our favorite characters, he runs the risk of overextending beloved franchises.  The idea that Rocky is going to star in Creed, a film about Apollo Creed’s son as a boxer, worries me as well.

Oh well.  At least I’ll have Rocky 6 and Rambo 2.

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