The Circular Birthday Evolution
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Black Friday Eve
So today is my birthday. I’m 24. Do I feel any older? You know what, I actually do! Twenty-four years of celebration, 24 years of experience and immaturity, 24 years of wisdom and stupidity. Anyway, it got me thinking about the circular evolution of the birthday. You parents will often say, your birthday was the happiest day of their lives. Throughout your childhood, birthdays were the biggest celebrations possible, with clowns and cake and confetti. Back then, your age was always the first thing on your mind and the first question you were asked. Remember when your age directly correlated to how “big” you were? As you get older, some other factors unfortunately begin to determine how “big” you are - but that’s a whole other issue - back to the birthday timeline. The teenage birthdays become less a celebration of you, and more a celebration of milestones and newfound freedoms. At 13 you’re officially a teen, 16 can drive, 18 an adult, and at 21 drink. After that, the celebrations become a little less exciting and come around a little more quickly every year (I’d like to tell you they don’t really come faster, but according to some mathematical law of fractional differences, they actually do). By then, the clowns and confetti are gone, and your cake isn’t big enough to hold all your candles. Have you ever forgotten how old you are? Its crazy to think you used to be able to show those tall people how old you were with the fingers on your hand. But just because you can’t count how old you are on your fingers and toes anymore, doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. Sure, no one will be screaming on your 25th like they did at the bar at midnight of your 21st (because they probably won’t be as drunk), but all those birthdays coming up that end in zeros are celebrations of different milestones in your life. And think, at the big 5-0, you will only be halfway through your entire life. Half way! Imagine all the things you did in the last half of your life? Seems like a lot, huh? There will be more career accomplishments, new relationships, and every day excitements. Heck, the Yankees might even win another pennant in your lifetime. And you always have the Denny’s senior citizen discount to look forward to. There is always more. And if and when you have a child of your own, the evolution will start all over again with their birthday, the happiest day of your life.
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Halloween, a Night-of-Fright?
It’s almost here! A day of feasting followed by fatigue. A day of indulgence then reduction. No, not Thanksgiving you glutton - Black Friday! On Black Friday, Americans everywhere indulge themselves in spending and feast on super-reduced sales at stores that open so early in the morning they shouldn’t be early-bird specials, but night-owl specials. Now why would you think I was talking about Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day of gratitude and grace (no matter if you believe it a secular or religious holiday). But by no surprise, America has turned it into a day of full of turkey and football. Now I’m not trying to bash Thanksgiving, because, just being Americans we have so much to be thankful for (i.e. every soldier fighting the war on terror). But the real excitement follows. Thanksgiving is just the start. Thanksgiving is Black Friday Eve. And thank goodness for “Turkey Day” because if it wasn’t for all that tryptophan consumption and Thanksgiving Day napping, you’d never be able to wake up at 4 a.m. to stand in frigid lines outside Sears. Is nothing more American than these two days? So tomorrow morning, give your thanks and get ready for the big day. Stuff the turkey, whip the mashed potatoes, turn on the parade (or football pre-game show), pull the pumpkin pie out of the freezer, and check your local ads. Our economy will certainly be thankful.
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Boo! Scare ya? I sure hope not, But if so, it’s probably because everyone has become a scaredy-cat wuss lately. Now, I understand that everyone is afraid of something. But that is no reason for the recent evolution of my favorite holiday, Halloween! I hate that Halloween has moved from being a night-of-fright to a day-of-hilarity. It sounds dumb, but it’s true. Doesn’t it seem like everyone wants to be funny on Halloween now? I don’t get it! There is a reason Halloween is Halloween. Don’t you know the history behind it? It is not a day to look silly and make people laugh. That is called April Fools Day! And it’s not necessarily an excuse to look like a whore (though I have no problem with a slutty witch or hunky devil). Dressing like a horny schoolgirl or French maid is for Valentine’s Day (or a lucky night in a man’s love life). Halloween is a day to scare the crap out of people! There is a reason why Hollywood releases every “Saw” horror movie around Halloween annually, and movies starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore come out in the Spring. Even on ListAfterList the funny and sexy costume stuff gets more attention than the scary costume lists. So please, go pick out a pumpkin and carve a scary face, not a silly clown one. And scare the hell out of those teenage trick-or-treaters when they come to your door! But don’t worry, if you feel the same way as I do, just watch this - and show ‘em to your friends too!
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A Female Football Season
Sex sells. It’s a fact! Check this out… Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie or Star Jones and Al Reynolds… which one did you click on? Probably Brangelina huh? Point proven. But why are Americans obsessed with sex? In fact, why is the entire world so obsessed? Here’s some street magic for you: Ask people to create a list of their top 5 favorite things in the world, and (if they aren’t shy) I guarantee “sex” makes the list. Take that David Blaine! And the thing is, it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, a teenager or old fart, or gay or straight. Maybe it has to do with the growing American obsession with weight, diets, health, and fitness? But doesn’t that stem from our society’s obsession over celebrities? Isn’t the sentiment “thin=sexy” drilled into our conscious by global media? Or is it the other way around? Or maybe it’s something else totally? Here are some facts you can’t deny:
- Do you want a flat tummy and washboard abs, or prefer a beer belly? Doubt you say beer belly.
- Which do you wish was your favorite fast food restaurant – Subway or McDonald’s? Probably Subway.
- Have you ever looked at a nude picture or celebrity sex tape online? C’mon, you know you have seen Pamela and Tommy Lee on that boat. Or Paris in the green light. Globally, internet porn is booming billion-dollar industry. It estimated that 100 million people every month visit porn websites, and 30% of them are women.
- Did you ever see Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars? The sexiest celebrities draw the biggest box office movie-going crowds. Leo sold $1,835,300,000 worth of tickets to Titanic globally. Keira, Depp and Bloom made $2,600,000,000 for dressed as Pirates. Orlando and Viggo raked in $3 billion for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And Ford, McGregor, Portman, and a golden-bikini created a worldwide Star Wars phenomenon. Hell, Jessica Alba is a valid movie star, and she can’t act at all.
- Did you read this entire newsletter? Do you usually read this entire newsletter?
Face it, most advertisements feature “sexy” models, not chubby couch potatoes. Sex sells, It’s a fact!
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It’s mid September. Leaves are changing colors. The weather is getting colder. Another school year has started. And O.J. is finally going to jail (that is kind of like the ultimate make-up call in sports history). But September also brings another football season. And for many men in America, that means couch potato season. And for a lot of women, that means boredom. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So take the advice of one of the greatest characters in movie history, “quid pro quo.” Something for something. A favor for a favor. Give and take. If you just started dating, good luck! No, just kidding, but it will take a little more effort than it will for those couples who have been together long enough to thank the heavens for the plasma screen male babysitter. So while the men are pounding beers and feasting on cheesy poofs, don’t volunteer to be the miserable maid, instead try one of these great ideas.
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Moving On, To and From
Yesterday was the six-year anniversary of the tragic events that occurred on September 11th. It was a horrific time in our lives, filled with death and destruction, and remembered as the day that started the “War on Terror.” 9-11 was a horrendous day, one of the worst in American history, and served as a catalyst for some significant effects, both good and bad. Here are just some of those far-reaching consequences (and some less serious ones as well):
- Nearly 3,000 people were killed, including 92 people on board American Airlines Flight 11, and 43 people on United Airlines Flight 93
- It was the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil
- Over 1,036 books have been published about the attacks
- Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9-11 currently holds the record for the highest box office receipts by a general release documentary
- A variety of conspiracy theories have emerged which contradict the mainstream account of the September 11, 2001 attacks
- In 1997, the United States finally reached Mars on September 11th
- Harry Connick Jr., Ludacris, the NFL Baltimore Ravens’ Ed Reed, and Jesus of Nazareth were all born on Sept. 11
- If you have any of these names, you probably can’t fly on a plane because of 9-11
- The FBI put Usama Bin Laden atop the Most Wanted List
- George Bush was re-elected as the President of the United States
It was possibly the most consequential event in the history of America. And just like the JFK assassination, Apollo moon landing, Berlin Wall destruction, Challenger Space Shuttle explosion, etc., people will always remember exactly what they were doing at that time. 9/11 will forever remain on the American conscience. And for many people – 20% of Americans who lost friends or family members, the victims and heroes will always be in their hearts.
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Room for Error? Or Room for Air?
It’s September and it’s “moving” time. Moving schools, moving homes, moving through lifestyles. Moving from one season to the next. Moving nearer the weekend. Around the world everyone and everything is moving:
- The seasons are moving from the stifling summer towards an appeasing autumn.
- Hurricanes are moving in on American shores.
- Students are moving from one grueling grade to the next.
- Teenagers are moving from their strict parents’ homes to the independence of dorms.
- If you are a twenty-something, chances are you are moving from one 12-month leased apartment to another.
- Football finally moves from the pointless preseason to the regular season on Thursday.
- The University of Michigan, FloridaState and Notre Dame are moving out of the Top 25 Polls.
- Television networks are moving from summer programming back into the regularly-scheduled fall lineup.
- It’s mid-week, so we are moving ever closer to another work-free weekend.
- Monday was Labor Day, so you have to move all your white shorts and skirts back to attic for another bland winter.
- The United States economy is moving the wrong way.
- Michael Vick is preparing to move out of his massive mansion to a pocket-sized prison.
- Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are moving towards motherhood.
- Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are going to need to move to a bigger home, stating their desire to adopt more children.
- Owen Wilson has moved from a cute, funny, and happy to a crazy, depressed, and suicidal.
- Britney Spears is moving on the Billboard Charts again (and moving back into the courtroom).
Everyone and everything is moving. This is just another example that serves as proof that lists are all around you. So take a look around you, and keep creating those great lists on ListAfterList.com
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On the Road Again
Let’s play the word association game! No. 2 pencils… book bags… lunchbox… recess… pop quiz. Yep, it is that time of the year again. The first day of school has crept up on summer like a bully from the back of the bus. And whether you are jumping on your first yellow bus, attending a new school, or driving to night classes after work, the first day of class can always be a little unnerving. Do you have enough pens? Pencils? Paper? Did you buy the right books? What are you going to wear?Is your teacher going to be cool?Who will you sit next to? But don’t worry, because there are always those cute icebreaker games - that tend to make you more uncomfortable instead of less.
“Hi, my name is Ryan. I am from Canton, Ohio. I am 23 years old and I visited the world’s largest ball of string for the 17th straight year again this summer.”
The crazy thing is – once you are done, you start to miss those annoying little things. All those people were right; school days are honestly the best days of your life. Back then, there was plenty of room for error – now, there is barely room for air. Grade school, childhood, high school and even college is a breeze compared to being an adult. But with the responsibilities of being a working adult, come the freedoms and adventures of life. So whether you are lugging your backpack or shoulder-saddling your briefcase out the door in the morning, remember this: “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” So, what do you see in that glass?
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A Coattail with Handles
Been traveling much this summer? I’ve been moving around so much I feel like a drug-trafficking husband of an untrustworthy stewardess (bad analogy?). And tomorrow, I am actually leaving again, this time heading to Nut Ridge, in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. The crazy thing is, I actually found a ton of lists about the area on ListAfterList.com: Notable Residents of Ithaca, NY; Famous Alumni of Cornell University; and Top 10 Best Wine Country Inns just to name a few. Then I realized, it’s not just this area, but everywhere. Hundreds of listers have created thousands of lists - some about small towns, some about big cities, and some about their favorite vacation spots. You can find lists about localfavorites and traveltop 10s.
Maybe you have some entertaining ideas to add to this list of top 10 things to do around the campus of Ohio State? Everyone already knows about the Oval right?
Or maybe you know of another interesting attraction in Wichita, Kansas besides Ty’s Diner?
Do you even know where on earth Chandigarh is located? If so, have you ever been to Sector 17?
From there, dig a hole through the center of the earth and you’ll end up somewhere in between some more familiar places; like Las Vegas, New York City, and the OC.
Or maybe you want you’d just rather fly? Try one of these top 10 international airlines!
Wherever you live, or wherever you end up, create a list about it! If you share what you know and what you’ve learned about your favorite places in the world, you may someday find it flourishing because they heard about it on ListAfterList.com. If nothing else, it’s also a great way to vent about your most despicable places you’ll never visit again.
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Do you hate it when people ride the coattails of others? I do! Or should I say, I did. After I started thinking about it, I realized that everyone is always saying life is all about the associations you create with others. So where do you draw the line between mooching and networking?
Hillary Clinton didn’t sever ties with Bill (despite his ability to have sex without having “sex”).
George W. Bush didn’t change his last name and burn all his birth certificates.
Paris Hilton would have nothing if the Hilton Paris was never built.
Kobe Bryant rode Shaq’s extra-long coattails to three NBA Championships.
And Ben Affleck held on to Matt Damon’s hand as long as he possibly could.
So, as always, the real question is, how do you feel? Have you gotten where you are today by shoveling your own coal, digging your own ditches, and weeding your own garden? Or did your mom do your homework for you, your dad give you a summer job, joined a fraternity or sorority in college, and now work for your smarter, better-looking best-friend? Hey, I’m not ragging on it, if my best-friend from high school became a successful movie star in Hollywood you better believe I’d be out there swimming in his mansion’s pool and drinking his Bud Light. But just because your last name is Williams, Jones, Miller or Smith doesn’t mean you can the next anchor on NBC’s Nightly News, an adventurous archaeologist in a temple of doom, start your own beer brewing company, or flash your blonde hair and oversized bosoms and get a ring from a rich old oil tycoon.
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