Moore Droppings

The name really says it all, don't cha think?

cropped-img_0910Greetings beloved and belovettes! I trust this communique continues to find you well, fulfilled, and leaning forward in life. As for me, I am standing in the need of some comfort philosophy.  Meaning? Some common sense slinging. Times being what they are, it seems like a good conversation.

When I first started teaching, Moby Dick was a minnow.  My teaching assignment was a public speaking class or a class in interpersonal communication. Students had an option and either course would satisfy the core requirement for graduation. Since most people are more afraid of death than public speaking, you can imagine how quickly the non-public speaking class filled up. Faster than sinners RSVP-ing to a bodacious tent revival. Now to say I have ever been a predictable professor is — well, if you have had a class with me you have stories to tell and I will deny them all, they are despicable lies.

As I prepared to teach my first interpersonal (non-public speaking) class I thought, maybe I can find a way to create a teachable moment that has nothing to do with me or my  classroom.  Maybe I can derail the, “This-class-is-a-blow-off-class” reputation.  Let’s face it, sitting thru a touchy-feely class on the surface sounds awesome and easy, but I’d rather be blindfolded, shackled, and waiting in line for the next available cashier.  What to do?? How can I possibly push back the frontiers of ignorance regarding interpersonal communication, good grief.  Ah ha! Create an experience. Something to chew on. That arguably specious reasoning spawned an assignment that remains one of my favorite in terms of impact and filled with oozing take-aways. The assignment was simple, in theory:

Find an elevator, preferably one that carries a lot of passengers, e.g., the mall, hospital, office building.  When you get on the elevator and the door closes, turn around so you are facing the occupants. Do not speak. Ride up or down for one floor. When you exit, immediately write down what you observed. Be specific. Be ready to report in great detail next class.

As you can imagine, the class discussion was always interesting and most definitely entertaining.  Over the years, the vast majority of my students have reported witnessing reactions from puzzled looks to bawdy laughter and everything in between.  This assignment always did exactly what I had in mind — demonstrate the raw principles of interpersonal communication and reveal an even more compelling lesson — the absolute power and breathtaking awe generated by the noise of silence. I mean, no one ever talks on an elevator.  It is so jacked up, someone had to invent elevator music to drown out the silence. Silence is a good thing, I have never been very good at it. Sorry, I’m working on it.

After several years of “running” this assignment, I have noticed a common theme that has emerged when  I ask students, “So, what if this assignment had required you to say something? What would your elevator speech have been?”  As you can imagine the typical response is always something like, “Come on Professor, no way you can give a speech in such a short amount of time!  60-90 seconds, tops, no way.” More common, and accompanied with the look of a goose staring at the lightning, “Elevator speech, what’s that?”  My moment to pounce.

To be honest, that is a predictable response from the increasingly emoji rich culture we live in, I get it.  No harm, no foul, just human. What I leave my students with are examples of the greatest elevator speeches I have heard. They usually start with something insanely simple, like — “Hello!” Or maybe, “Hope your day is super!” If your feeling especially frisky,  “Cool hat!” You get the idea. Human beings doing what we used to do with more frequency, being human, on purpose. Perhaps realtime interactions with fellow human strangers, what?!?

The fine art of delivering an elevator speech isn’t fine art at all. It doesn’t have to be an impassioned plea to save endangered jackasses from themselves, although I’d love to hear your perspective. It shouldn’t be a well rehearsed soliloquy, we apparently just sent  them all back to congress and the statehouse. An elevator speech is your golden opportunity to speak kindly, honestly, encouragingly, and with civility. Who knows, you might even tilt someone’s otherwise wonky orbit in a totally positive way.  How cool would it be for the elevator door to close behind you and your audience of 1 or 2 say, “Wow, I needed that.”  Not a bad way to roll beloved. What’s your elevator speech? Remember, it is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.

So now, I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming.  Be cool. Be nice.  OH, this is my floor, see you later.

mszxTRjaaTaUxipYGmQGreetings beloved cousins, assorted friends, and a special salutation to my vast collectivity of fellow ne’er-do-wells. I do hope this dispatch finds you all uplifted regarding the approaching hiatus we all hold dear – the weeeekend. Yes, I took the liberty of adding a couple of vowels to help solidify and illustrate my unbridled (bordering on embarrassing) excitement regarding the forthcoming 48 hour reprieve.

Is it because we are all nurtured by the assurance that we get the chance to recharge and escape the ball and chain of our labors, emails, texts, dreadful water cooler hyperbole? “No,” I retort, almost snickering at the heinous predictability of that notion.

 Perhaps it is that you are so looking forward to destroying that beautiful piece of $8 a pound rib-eye for your idiot brother-in-law on the grill. “No,” I say with growing conviction, yet still friendly.

Maybe it’s because you have been jumping on one foot and the other giddy to clean the gutters and rake leaves.  “Ha,” we all full-throated chortled at that stupidity, even my PhD friends.

Of course!!  It is because we will “fall back” and we will get that extra hour of sleep only to get up and head off to work Monday in the pitch black. “Tsk-tsk-tsk,” not even close.

Truth be told, we are all slap-happy that the long hair-pulling, snot-slinging, cluster-gaggle of an election cycle will mercifully come to an end, for at least a day or two. This campaign, no inquisition really, reminded me of a fond childhood memory.

When I was a kid my folks used to take us up to visit relatives in STL, which always meant  trip to the Zoo.  I remember watching the chimps watch us, watching them sling poop at each other and how the gathered crowd would laugh and laugh. The monkeys understood and seemingly buoyed by the reaction, they just gave us more and more. What a spectacle.  As I sat thru this endless, mind-numbing election cycle, it took me back to my childhood and the zoo. Still a spectacle but not nearly as funny as when I was a kid. *SIGH*

SO beloved, rejoice!  There is light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train!  Nurture the weekend, go to church, rake the yard, fire up the grill and oh,  remember to set your clocks back.  We will all have our lives back soon enough and hopefully the pols will all take very long showers to get the stench off.

Actually, I am most happy for my poor mailman. He will now be able to deliver the mail in his traditional mail pouch rather than having to push a wheelbarrow filled with a load of Good-God-Almighty-Daily-Mailers from all our political hopefuls.

Oh, while getting back to your wonderful weekend, if you perchance have an extra steak, just knock the horns off of it and put it on the plate. I like mine very rare, surprised?

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The Village Idiot pondering.

I stepped out in my backyard this morning and took in a lung full of beautiful fall Ozarks crisp air and you know what I immediately discovered? It didn’t smell left or right, Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Socialist, Libertarian, Dumb Ass, incumbent, PAC sponsored or even Communist.  It just smelled — ahhhh, fresh and renewed.  I said out loud to the annoyed squirrel who was ravaging my bird feeder, “Seems to me, that this is the best thing I have done today and I’m going to grab another lung full tomorrow same time, same place, same outlook.”

As stupidly trite as it sounds, you are the single point of contact with what ultimately controls your outlook and point-of-view, ergo your world view and how that will translate to those you will encounter during this current cycle (today) of the globe — so smile dammit, there are plenty more who will insist on looking and acting out being pissed off. Give me a big old toothy grin, like the Village Idiot above. Have a super deluxe day beloved.

 

"hillbillium glorioskium"I was happily minding my own business heading home from the grocery store.  You know, the essentials — bread, milk, toothpaste, ice cream, TP.  So I am entering the on-ramp at 65 and Sunshine and immediately notice this large vroom-vroom truck driven by two very elderly folk pulling a mondo 5th wheel RV.  Nothing particularly odd about that given the region in which we all live and love.  But wait.  I notice across the back they have a huge custom graphic naming their beloved RV — “Sexual Tension.” Not “Road Warrior” or “Weekend Getaway” but Sexual Tension.  Double-take you ask? Oh my.

Now if you have followed Moore Droppings long enough you know how much I relish this sort of strange intersection where deliberate thought and creative urges collide. It is a juxtaposition I can not ignore studying. Not at all unlike my over-thought academic interest in the rhetoric of bumper stickers and how they come to live on the back of vehicles ranging from seven-figure Bentley’s to my total POS Honda.  (Spoiler alert – bumper stickers will be the subject of a future Dropping.)

So back to the issue facing us now.  I tried to ignore this interruption to my otherwise normal day, but I said totally out loud, “Why, pray tell, might two octogenarian opt for such a naming opportunity?”  I immediately started trying to piece this together.

My first thought was that they were looking for the coolest ice-breaker possible when they pull into the KOA campground.  Who are these people? Do they have kids? Do the kids know? It was a guess on my part but I rationalized his name or handle has to be Good Sam, right?  For the purpose of this narrative we will call her Mabel and I flashed, if only for a moment, on her likely handle — Able Mabel? Capable Mabel?

It struck me like an errant deer grazing on the centerline — Good grief, they are crisscrossing the heartland in this rig! What sort of carnage did they leave at the Royal Gorge?  Did they fully extinguish their last campfire per Smokey Bear protocol?  Imagine how the truckers at Love’s Truck Stops across America must react when they pass Sexual Tension on the super slab. “Breaker, Breaker!! Hey Hoss Man, I just passed Sexual Tension at the 86 mile marker — hoo, they gone!”

Imagine the looks they get pulling off at the first rest stop on the Penn State Turnpike. My inner-amateur psycho-analyst shrink-voice was crying out, “Who is suffering the tension her or him?” Is it chronic? Is it being treated? Does Part D cover this?”

Then it hit me like a brick — they are at that marvelous point in life where the need to justify anything to anyone for any reason is at the absolute bottom of their care less colander.  I so wanted to speed up and at least give them a congratulatory toot on my Klaxons and a hearty thumbs up, but in a flash, they were out of sight and I jolted back to reality – ice cream melting in the back seat.

It occurred to me and hopefully to you my dear Droppings aficionados, Sam and Mabel and that good old Sexual Tension recreational vehicle represent sweet freedom personified and another grand adventure. Go get ’em kids.

Greetings beloved. It has been a very long time since I last spun off a Moore Dropping or two. Truth be told I have missed our little round of occasional blitherings and routinely mindless chatter and once in a while, a semi-intellectual poof or scant of an intentionally challenging  thought, observations and the like.

I just stopped and I can’t give you a single reason, good or bad, or even a lame excuse as to why. Forgive me for my prolonged absence. So why now? Just take a look around or run the channels – the answer will emerge. The world needs humor – love – respect – a laugh from the gut. The world needs honesty not vitriol. The world needs decency and conversation – not a partisan hate fest. The world needs a POV reset with no axe grinding – for the love of Pete!  I am a simple observer of the human condition and when the clown car gets full and starts going in erratic circles under the big top, beloved it is time to pause and opine loudly “Are ya’ll catching this!?!”

So I am back with a desire to do one thing – help the world get beyond that crossroad where seriousness, skepticism, cynicism has forced our current culture into the  ditch of despair, angst, and rage.  We must be open to that other path that recognizes and celebrates differences, reaches out a hand to help pull up.  We are better than the status quo.  We have to leave this place better than we found it, not sinking in a pig pen of our own making.

I started Moore Droppings with no grand plan or agenda.  Droppings are simply an attempt to find the silliness around us, that we are human and do some pretty dumb and funny stuff. We only get a finite number of ticks on the clock and then the great eternal silence.  How do you want to be remembered when the last tick tocks?  I hope I will be laughing my ass off at something brilliant I just uttered or better yet, a delicious thought you said.  What a way to go.  So beloved – Moore Droppings is back.  We have much to observe and most of it is hilarious – you’ll see!!

Salutations beloved.  This installment finds me yearning to be in the pharmacology business or more specifically, as an ad writer for one of these behemoths.  I won’t quarrel with the populist thinking that everyone in the medical business is in bed with the drug companies — except to say that hey, they need a little lovin’ too now and again I suppose.

What does give me pause though are the marketing campaigns.  What an interesting spectacle these contemporary ads have become.  Just so you know, I have over the years been associated with hundreds and hundreds of radio and television commercials, some I take great pride in and the scores of other less artistic or just plain stupid commercials bearing my mark — my association is perhaps more on the loathing side.

I totally blame those lesser efforts on the need for personal financial expediency or more often than not, a hubris-filled client, and I’m not kiddin’.  Thus, I do modestly claim the right as a critic of the good, the bad, and the butt-ugly when speaking of the barren landscape that constitutes advertising.

A few quick observation on ads I see in prime time that cause me to cock my head sideways and say, usually out loud, Are you freaking kidding me?!

Is it not a little curious to see ads for things like, oh say chronic depression medication during shows like — The Biggest Loser?  I understand product placement but really — depression meds?  Just once I’d like to see an “eat-like-you-mean-it”ad for Wendy’s during the show. Now that is product placement.  All I can think is that there is some skinny-bitchy, gum-chewing account executive who snickered as the buy order was placed with the network. “Puh-lease run the end just as soooon as they do the weigh-in!”

Who doesn’t just love the ads running for the couple who brush hands while unloading groceries in the kitchen and the set instantly morphs into the both of them sitting in matching soaking hot-tubs overlooking some beach on Bora-Bora suggesting that, voila,  his ED has been cured thus, the moment is right, right?  Seriously?  Let’s review — dude has just ingested the “fix” and via the magic of fantasy, been transported to a beach with his smokin’ hot wife and this genius chooses a separate soaking hot-tub?  Are you freaking kidding me?!?   Listen nimrod, she will have the cabana boy’s cell number before dark-thirty. 

Of course you have seen the dude, remember now, a sufferer of chronic ED,  who pulls his piece of crap Chevy truck and trailer out of a mud hole with a team of horses [sure that’s gonna happen]. Apparently this out-of-the-box discovery ignites a fire that such ingenuity is going to get him laid.  Just imagine how this conversation rolls out — “Hey baby, so I got the truck stuck up the the freakin’ axle and old Admiral and Blue pulled me out of the mud — now don’t that make  you horny?”  Are you freaking kidding me?!?   Listen my man, the lady  is  gonna want you to wash off that horse smell, shave, and at least put some Barry White tunes on  before you attempt a victory lap — just sayin’. 

And I love ads aimed at fixing your low testosterone. “Hey there down and out aging hunter-gatherer — you can get back in the game with a little smear of this roll-on under your armpit — your ole bowling game will improve, hell, you might even regain the desire to sit in a tree-stand in the back yard and sight-in your AR-15 on a stray neighborhood cat or two.”  If you grow a third testicle — bonus.

Then there are the ads for “I-can’t-take-a-leak” or “I-can’t-stop-taking-a-leak-and-my-friends-hate-me-for-screwing-up-the-golf-game”.  To pee or not to pee is really a problem you need to take up with your doc, and not a decision based on a commercial during Dateline or Off Their Rockers. Perhaps cutting back to a six-pack during the news hour will help too.

Grace Slick got it right with respect to truth-in-advertising:

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall

Till next time, take two and call me in the morning beloved.

Well beloved, as you have gathered much time has passed since my last installment to this slice of cyberville. Hiatus is a good thing, particularly given the rehabilitative effect it offers body and soul. You should try it sometime, if for no other reason than to reacquaint yourself with yourself.

So with that preamble/footnote/disclaimer and the obligatory mea culpa’s explaining my absence completed, let us move on, shall we?

You will notice first and foremost that I have bitten the bullet and actually purchased my “.com-namesake” so as to further solidify and more forcefully stakeout a personal slice of the aforementioned cyberville. Thus, having spent some real disposable income on this enterprise, perhaps that will cause me to post drivel and other artifacts in a more consistent fashion.

As for what I have been doing — or some would suggest — not doing? Well, after talking it to death, I decided to pull the trigger in 2012 and actually retire. OK, so I was retired for about 8 hours and then decided I should aspire to do something other than interview for the Head-Greeter position at Walmart. Apparently they get prickly about Greeter’s who have limited patience for dealing with openly stupid people. But happily, I found myself a sweet retirement gig with a great organization that does good things for people and it seems to suit me fine. I also continue to push back the frontiers of ignorance at our fine local university as there seems to be no shortage of those requiring serious intellectual intervention. Serious intervention.

My beautiful wife and I moved to a new “hood” or “burbs” as it were. A very quiet little slice of nirvana, close to shopping, dining, schlepping, etc.

So, watch this space my beloved, the new year brings the promise of fresh and more frequent Moore Droppings. For example? Just moments ago I heard a local weather dude describe the presence of “snizzle” in the weather forecast.  OMG — for realizzle?  Ergo, the stuff of Droppings.

Turning the calendar is a good thing, eh? Oh, and Happy New Year…