Take It Personally

In case we need any more proof of the personal connection we make with art, here it is.
You can criticize almost anything about a person, like their car, their lawn, even their hairstyle, and they’ll probably just shrug. We generally don’t care what people think of our choices.

But tell them the music they love is crap and they’ll storm off. Say something derogatory about their favorite movie and they’ll practically unfriend you. Disagree when they rave about a book and you’re not only wrong, you’re a shithead and likely to get punched in the face.

We may not like it when someone disses our shoes but that’s nothing compared to questioning our favorite art. (Although, yes, for many people shoes count as art.) This puzzled me for the longest time until I realized it’s not just a matter of different styles.

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My New Buzz

You know how you get little signs here and there that you’re getting older? Maybe you bend over to pick up something and feel a twinge. Or maybe you stop going to concerts because they’re too loud.

Well, today Gretchen presented me with a hypothetical choice: If I had to pick between two pints at the pub or two scoops of ice cream, what would it be?

I startled myself by realizing I’m suddenly team ice cream.

I’m losing my affinity for alcohol. Back in the day I’d have a glass or two of wine about three nights a week, and enjoyed other adult beverages when I went out with friends.

Now? I’ve probably had wine on 4 or 5 occasions this year, and one of those was during a visit to my friend’s winery. What are you gonna order there? A milkshake?

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The Perfect Day

Yesterday I had a pretty good day. The radio show went well, I took a couple of good walks while the sun was out, and I ended the day by reading six or seven pages before I fell asleep.

But what exactly makes for a PERFECT day?

It’s an interesting question, and one that thousands of people were asked. (The fact that the survey was conducted by a council of blueberry farmers somehow makes the whole thing charming.)

Here are the things that should magically transform your day into a perfect one:

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I Was Held Hostage

This past week I was held hostage for five hours.

The lesson I learned is that there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who love to spend all day on a boat piloted by someone else, and those who would prefer to capsize and drown like rats.

It was a fun trip overall, and this one segment had been billed as “two to three hours” on a boat on the Mississippi. On the surface (no pun intended) it sounded like it could be kinda fun. Grab some beer and snacks and enjoy the scenery, right?

Except our boat was owned and operated by a total stranger, a friend of someone in our group. And she was determined to entertain the shit out of us whether we wanted it or not.

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Cheering For The Bad Guy

I like to think I’m a pretty good guy, but I must admit I love a cool movie villain. It’s not like I’m cheering for the bad guy to win, but usually the actor has way more fun with the character when it’s evil.

These days there are spinoffs for everything, but the one place I thought Hollywood dropped the ball was by not producing a prequel of the original Die Hard. Hans Gruber (played by the incredible Alan Rickman) was so fascinating that we should’ve had a film about his background. What was that dude’s story?

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Lucky Number

I feel like such a loser. I don't have a lucky number.

Now, to be honest, there is a number that keeps showing up ALL THE TIME. I'm afraid to tell you what it is because some people are really freaky about numerology and I know what they'd say about my particular combination.

But if I went to buy a lottery ticket there wouldn't be numbers that speak to me. I know that lots of Americans say 7 is their lucky number, but all I think of when I see that number is John Elway.

There was a survey done recently with people from around the world, asking them what number they'd definitely use in a lottery. The number that came up the most often was . . .

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Why Do We Suck at Soccer?

I love my country, but I can’t understand why we suck at soccer.

Arguably the biggest sporting event in the world, a tournament that captivates billions of people around the globe, wraps up this weekend when France tangles with Croatia in the World Cup Final.

It’s not embarrassing that the United States didn’t make it to the championship game. But isn’t it humiliating that our country didn’t even play well enough to get into the tournament in the first place?

I say this as someone who doesn’t particularly care about the game. I’m not a fan of soccer, but I am an American and therefore, by nature, a competitive s.o.b.

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Blockbuster Taught Us Frustration

It's the end of an era and a sad day for some. After 33 years of charging late fees, the Blockbuster Video chain is down to one store. Yep, one.

At its peak in 2004 there were 9,000 bustling locations across the United States. But the final two stores in Alaska closed this week, leaving the last, lonely Blockbuster outpost in Bend, Oregon.

Why it has survived in Bend is anyone's guess. It'll probably become a shrine.

Granted, you have to be of a certain age to have memories of these brightly-lit stores, these meccas of movies. But I'll bet your memories are similar to mine.

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Getting Past the Mental Roadblock to Write

Two of the best books I ever read about writing didn't spend much time on writing. And that makes sense to me. I’m (mostly) in the camp that you either know how to do it or you don’t. Sure, you can get better. But I'm convinced the biggest obstacle to writing and publishing isn’t on the page/screen, it’s between the ears.

Both of those books spent a lot of time on the mental part. That resonates with me (and maybe you) because, even after publishing 15 books, I still battle fear and doubt. Every damned time. Then I finish writing a book, it’s printed, and I wonder what all the fuss was about.

I won’t beat you over the head with a sales pitch. But I’ll tell you that my latest book, called The Color of Your Dreams, follows the same path: Fix your head and you’ll likely fix your writing.

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Sleeping in Separate Beds - or Separate Rooms?

You're in a happy relationship, and you'd never dream of hurting your partner's feelings. But there's this little matter of sleep. If they're keeping you awake, is it time to think about changing your sleeping situation?

I'm talking about finally breaking down and sleeping in separate beds. Or, in some cases, even separate rooms. It's something we've covered many times on the radio show, and it's an interesting exploration of a social custom.

Because, for whatever reason, our society has the notion that sleeping apart somehow means you don't love the other person anymore. Which is funny. It's just sleep. You're unconscious. Why is it so important to be unconscious together?

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