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Happy Memorial Day. Now Go Vote!

One of the easiest ways to honor those who have given their lives in defense of our freedom is to exercise our basic right to vote.

It is only fitting that this year, Memorial Day happens to come between two very important elections. If you missed out on your first chance to honor the troops, don’t stress. You still have time to make it up in a big way.

On Tuesday, June 28, 2011 (mark your calendars), Miami-Dade County will be holding a Special Run-off Election that will decide who the next mayor of Miami-Dade County will be. Now, I know how disappointed you are that Uncle Luke didn’t make the cut and that Brother Marquis and Fresh Kid Ice will not be serving as Vice Mayor and Chief of Staff respectively. However, the upcoming election is a most important one for this county whose unemployement rate hovers at the 13% mark. It is important that you become familiar with the candidates and decide:

Which candidate best represents my interests and those of my community?

…but I’m Not Registered to Vote

Not registered to vote and don’t know how to register? Don’t panic, but do get moving. Voter registration closes 29 days prior to an upcoming election, which means that voter registration for the upcoming Special Run-off Election on June 28, 2011 closes tomorrow (Tuesday, May 31, 2011). Simply take 10 minutes to print, fill out the form below (follow directions please) and proceed with one of the following:

  • mail your form (and have your envelope postmarked) by May 31, 2011 to: 

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The Right to Right History

Like millions of Americans everywhere, tomorrow I will be eating turkey, honey baked ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni-n-cheese, green bean casserole (not really), corn, cranberries, sweet potato, pumpkin pie, flan, and all that other good shit Publix shows us we need to give thanks.

Disclaimer: Any excuse to get together with friends and family is cool with me. I mean, it’s not like everybody gets together on (uh-hum) Thanksgiving , looks themselves in the eyes, and says “thank you for ________”. That would be a little odd. Different – which is good – but odd, nonetheless. The opportunity to drink beer, eat good food, and talk out of one side of my mouth, however, is always welcome.

I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful for my ridiculous family (yes, “that good”).

I’m thankful for friends (no need for an adjective here; if he/she is a friend, that’s ’nuff said).

I’m thankful for intellectual freedom.

I’m thankful for property rights (cause that’s how I eat).

I’m thankful for my life (for choosing me).

And I’m thankful for Squanto, the Pantuxet tribesman widely known for assisting the Pilgrims at the site of his former village.

After all, if there was no Squanto, there would be no Pilgrims, which would mean that there would be no reason for us to eat, drink, and be merry.

If there was no Squanto, there would be no Pilgrims, which would mean that there would be no reason for children to dress as Pilgrims and Indians at school (and parents couldn’t take pictures with smart phones that allow them to post straight to their favorite social media profiles almost immediately).

If there was no Squanto, there would be no Pilgrims, which would mean that we couldn’t watch the Dallas Cowboys or the Detroit Lions while we wait for the bird to cook.

If there was no Squanto, there would be no Pilgrims, which would eliminate the reason to get 1 2 days off from work.

Worse of all, if there was no Squanto, there would be no reason to celebrate Black Friday. I know. Imagine that. I don’t even want to think about it. Horrible.

The Exchange

Squanto, considered instrumental in the survival of the English in their first winter in New England, may or may not have had an exchange that went something like this (please don’t quote me):

Squanto: Hi, my name is Squanto. Welcome to _________ (insert Native American name of land).

Englishmen: This used to be  _________ (insert Native American name of land). It’s Plymouth now, homeh.

Squanto: Oh OK (shakes head not knowing exactly what that means). You guys wanna learn how to survive this harsh ass winter? How ’bout plant and fertilize crops? Fish? Catch eels?

Englishmen (eager): Yeah, yeah. Please teach us.

Squanto: OK

After the 2nd day, Englishmen congregate and come up with an idea.

Englishmen: You know what Squanto?

Squanto: What, Caucasian-man-with-interesting-accent?

Englishmen: We like the way you and your buddies plant maize, fertilize crops, hunt, and fish?

Squanto: For real?!

Englishmen: Hells yeah! We like it so much that we think you and your boys should stop teaching and start doing.

Squanto: Oh yeah?

Englishmen: Yes

Squanto: But what’s in it for us, Caucasian-guy-with-interesting-accent?

Englishmen: Maaan, you get to have smallpox, leptospirosis, and all those other infectious diseases that you have no immunity for. It’s gonna be killer.

Squanto: If you say so.

Englishmen: Oh, by the way…we heard that your homehs, Massasoit and Hobamok, think you’re a major sellout. You better watch them closely.

Squanto: You got my back?

Englishmen (laughing while looking at each other): We got your back alright (as they give each other the “wink, wink”). Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

THE END

Happy Thanksgiving!

Flickr image courtesy of Yelnoc.

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A book review (why not?) | Linchpin by Seth Godin



Seth Godin's sh!t doesn't stink. It can't. Not after writing his latest and greatest, at least.
 
Let's start with the title. Wikipedia defines a linchpin as a fastener used to prevent a wheel or other rotating part from sliding off the axle it is riding on – a great analogy for the subtitle and the question Godin (can I call you Seth?) attempts to answer for you in 236 pages: "Are You Indispensable?". Hold that thought for a second.

According to Seth, there used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. A third team, however, has prevailed: the linchpins. Linchpins, he argues, are those people who invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, makes things happen, and create order out of chaos.

In short, linchpins are the essential building blocks of any great organization, the ones with no job description. Why? They solve problems that others haven't predicted, see things others haven't seen, and make connections no one knew existed. A job description or a manual can never describe what they do. Linchpins don't sit around and wait for job assignments from the top. They have a knack for knowing what needs to be done and just do it. No permission necessary.

Creating art (Seth defines an artist as "anyone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to fight the status quo"), and fighting the resistance and the lizard brain are the broader themes throughout the book. One particular chapter, however, stood out for me.

The Powerful Culture of Gifts

That's the title of the chapter that had me nodding my head in agreement the entire time. It's where Seth takes us back to the tradition of tribal economies (built around the idea of mutual support and generosity) to make a point about the power of unreciprocated gifts. "We've been so brainwashed that it doesn't even occur to us that there is an alternative to 'How much should I charge, how much can I make?'".

Hard to believe, but once upon a time, power was about giving, not receiving. Money and structured society changed the system. We expect to get without ever giving, our titles serving as a (false) sense of entitlement.

However, Seth predicts that the winners will once again be the artists who give gifts.

Giving a gift makes you indispensable. Inventing a gift, creating art – that is what the market seeks out, and the givers are the ones who earn our respect and attention. 

 
It is difficult to be generous when you're hungry. Yet being generous is what keeps you from going hungry. Hence the conflict.
Why does gift giving make you indispensable in today's world? The digital nature (think internet) of our new gift system allows us to create an idea that spreads everywhere fast at little to no cost. Ideas that resonate are rewarded. If your work persuades, others willingly share their experiences (via the tools available – think blog, facebook, twitter, yelp, foursquare, i.e. word of mouth of HGH). You prosper.

The gift, the art, is difficult to quantify. "Artists can't be easily instructed, predicted, or measured." He's got a point. However, if you have the ability to deliver a gift that can never be adequately paid for, you're on to something. You may very well be a linchpin or on your way to becoming one.

Are you open to new ideas? Are you conscientious? Agreeable? Emotionally stable?

Are you indispensable?

Are you a linchpin?

Bonus: You can go to a local bookstore (like this one) and purchase your very own copy of Linchpin. I'm sure Seth Godin wouldn't mind. Or you can borrow my dog-eared and note-filled copy, dog-ear your own pages and write your own notes in it, and return it to me in a few days.

All you have to do is ask for it. There, my gift to you.

Posted via email from Realest Ate Miami

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Bad Dog: Munchausen syndrome by proxy

Dear Sir or Madame,

I met bad dog.

I’m not sure if it’s bad meaning bad or bad meaning good, but judging from the CAPITAL RED letters, I fear it’s the former. You see, bad dog isn’t all that bad. He’s just a little confused. You told him “you’re bad!” and he believed you. You told him “eres igualito a el!” (as you pointed at the sign) and he believed you.

I told him the truth. He’s doing OK now. Actually, he’s quite relieved.

He’s no longer happy being bad.

Warm Regards,

Adrian

Posted via web from Realest Ate Miami

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