30 July 2008

The Lost Art Of "Thank You"

We all know it to be true. People love to whine and complain. We thrive on negativity. Heck, I myself tend to gravitate towards cynicism and sardonic comments. It's an unavoidable part of human nature.

I want to propose a "Thank You" revolution. Holy crap, yes, I know how xCHEESYx that sounds, but I'm serious. Do you know the difference you can make in someone's life just by letting them know that you value and appreciate them? It's huge. Really.

So whether it's the person at the coffee shop/restaurant/retail store, a co-worker, friend, or family member, show them your appreciation with a kind word and a smile and this 'ole world may just become a bit more bearable for all of us.

[mccracken]

13 July 2008

City Life

Meg and I were watching American Gangster this evening and we took a break about forty-five minutes into it to sit on the front porch for a spell. If you haven't seen the movie, don't worry, I won't spoil anything, but you do need to know that this is a movie set in the early 1970's in New York City and thereabouts.

As we sat on our front porch, I couldn't help but notice how nice it was. An absolutely beautiful day. And quiet--blissfully so. We were sitting there with Scarlette, our Basset Hound, and I was struck by the dichotomy between our surroundings and those of New York City, Newark, etc.

I just don't know how people do it. All the noise and people and concrete. Trash and graffiti and exhaust fumes. Hate and rudeness and indifference. The lack of trees and grass and wildlife. All crammed together with no open spaces. I couldn't handle it. It'd drive me mad.

Now, I know there is plenty of good in big cities and that I've made some broad generalizations. I also fully realize that I'm talking about what I've observed while watching a movie. But rest assured, I have been in many a metropolis. On several continents, at that. And I can't hardly take it for more than a day or two. I really don't think that's how we were meant to live.

[mccracken]

02 July 2008

Keep Supporting Your Local Coffee Shops

One of the biggest business news headlines this week has been about Starbucks closing down some 600 stores. While I don't rejoice in the fact that 12,000 employees will be affected, I am always happy to see a giant, evil conglomerate take a blow. I don't go to Starbucks. Ever.

I don't like chains. They're all the same, boring and predictable. I'd much rather support local businesses and experience a variety of products, services, and atmospheres.

Do I shop at Walmart? Yeah. Do I work for a large corporation? Yeah (though it's locally owned and operated). Do I order things online from large retailers to save a few bucks? Sure. But when I can afford to do so, and the food industry is a place that has a pretty level playing field for the consumer, I stay local--wherever I am.

[mccracken]