Corporate lies uncovered

downloadApril 7, 2015 – It is probably not shocking to learn that major corporations have told despicable lies to sell their products. The Nestle Corporation debacle instantly comes to mind, as the company once aggressively pushed their baby formula over breastfeeding to mothers in third world countries who couldn’t afford it, and is #8 on the top ten list below.

Here are the 10 shockingly heartless acts by beloved brands that we should never forget, courtesy of Let the buyer beware.

The science of happiness

choose-happyMarch 30, 2105 – If you’re a regular on Facebook or any social media platform, perhaps you’ve come across, the website that claims “worrying is a waste of your intelligence”, and that you can triumph over negative thoughts, stress and anxiety, and find happiness by partaking in the activities and games on their website.

That’s a big promise, and although I’m a positive person by nature, I’m also skeptical that a few minutes a day playing games online can profoundly change the way I view the world.

Defining happiness, or the amount a person should experience isn’t easy, and that’s where I think most people (at least Americans) struggle. If you’re not walking around feeling euphoric with a crazy smile on your face every second, you can’t be happy right? Sure, that’s absurd, but some people believe exactly that when it comes to happiness.

Psychologist Ronald Siegel developed a one-minute survey that can be used to measure your happiness level. Read the five statements below, decide how you feel about them based on the scale, and add up the points.

1—Strongly disagree
3—Slightly disagree
4—Neither agree nor disagree
5—Slightly agree
7—Strongly agree

• In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
• The conditions of my life are excellent.
• I am satisfied with my life.
• So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
• If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

31-35 Extremely satisfied
26-30 Satisfied
21-25 Slightly satisfied
20 Neutral
15-19 Slightly dissatisfied
10-14 Dissatisfied
5-9 Extremely dissatisfied

I scored a 26, which puts me in the satisfied category, but I suppose my results could vary depending on my mood when I take the survey. That makes me question the accuracy of the survey, and wonder how much of my happiness is under my control.

According to the website, Science Of Us, 40% of our ability to be happy comes from ourselves, while 50% comes from genetics, and 10% from our circumstances. That means if you’re negative because of your genes, you’re pretty much screwed.

Still, the more I read about the psychology of, the more I became intrigued., and I gave a lot of thought to their conception of living in the moment. I’d loved to accomplish that state, even though I’ve failed in the past after reading Ekhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”. Although I believed and agree with most of what Tolle wrote, I couldn’t stay in the now. Something makes me worry about tomorrow, or dwell on what happened yesterday. Taking a chance with means I get another shot at training myself to live in the moment. I know I miss too much of my actual life because of it.

With a push of a button, I began my journey with happify.

First up, a questionnaire that made me feel like I was signing up for or a dating site. It’s that in-depth. It asked a lot of personal questions, and promised it would not share the information with anyone. Still, there weren’t any questions too personal that I skipped over, and I felt the questions were appropriate considering the site promised a set of activities to boost my happiness that were specific to me.

My results: the data shows I’m not that bad off, and that I can achieve real changes in my emotional well-being if I stick with the program for two months. That means taking a few minutes to complete the exercises three to four times a week. That’s not too much of a commitment, so I plan on diving in. After all, it was the Dalai Lama who said, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your actions.”

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. ☺

The downside of being linked in

16d5bbfMarch 15, 2015 – Dear LinkedIn:

I realize that as a professional networking tool whose purpose is to help people like me locate and establish business contacts, you thrive on recommending people to add to my social network.

Normally, I appreciate your recommendations, and have taken advantage of some of your suggestions. However, lately, I have found you a bit insensitive. The last few times I signed on, your suggestions consisted of people who I’ve interviewed with over the past several years and didn’t hire me. So, you’re recommending people who have rejected me. Nice.

At first I was puzzled by how you connected us, the same way a waitress may be puzzled by a customer who calls her by name, only to realize that she is wearing a name tag. In my case, the recipient of my resume most likely searched for me on your network when they wanted to learn more about me. I likely did the same when they called me to schedule an interview. Now, we are forever linked in cyberspace thanks to your algorithmic methods, even though we will have no need to contact each other again.

Perhaps your algorithm should consider that if I looked up a profile two years ago and didn’t link with them then, I’m not interested.


Jane McMaster

A few thoughts after last night’s Oscars

February 23, 2014 — Last night’s Oscars weren’t among the best, but that’s most likely that’s because I only saw two movies leading up to the big event — Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Being prepared with my list of favorite performances and movies always helps me enjoy it more. Still, there were a few enjoyable moments:

  • Although the song from Selma was touching, the theme to The Lego Movie was catchy. I sang “Everything is Awesome” for the rest of the night and part of this morning, too.
  • Lady Gaga’s performance was great. I’m not familiar with her music, but she proved her vocal chops last night, and that when she’s not wearing clothing made out of meat, she’s pretty appealing.
  • The many Oscars given to The Grand Budapest Hotel had me jumping for joy. The clever and creative film did have the best costumes, scenery and make up by far.

There were also moments that had me scratching my head:

  • Neil Patrick Harris coming out in his underwear had me stumped, and I wasn’t impressed with him overall. This morning, I heard that the underwear thing had to do with Birdman. In years past, I would have known that because I would have seen Birdman.
  • Boyhood not winning Best Picture or Best Director was a not so nice surprise. Being one of the two movies I saw, I was cheering for it all the way. At least Patricia Arquette took home the Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
  • And speaking of Arquette, her fired up feminist speech had me confused. She said, “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” I agree with the wage equality, but also know that’s nearly impossible between any two workers in the same positions, male or female. Wages depend on so many factors, such as experience, performance, and ability to negotiate raises and bonuses. The latter is a huge factor. And I’m totally missing the equal rights part. What rights don’t I have? Please tell me so I can do something about it now! The bottom line is that I’m not a big fan when politics crosses entertainment.

That’s it for another year, folks. It’s time put the feather boa and tiara away until next February, and hope I do better catching the nominees in 2015.

Movies from SNL Skits

snlFebruary 16, 2015 – There’s no doubt the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special delivered huge ratings for NBC last night. Too bad you can’t say the same for many of the movies that came from short skits first performed on the show.

There were 11 movies in all, but I thought there were more. I must be thinking of the great movies cast members went on to create separate from SNL, like Fletch, Stripes, Bridesmaids and Anchorman, to name a few.

Here is a look at the 11 based on SNL skits in order of their release:

1. The Blues Brothers (1980) – The first to come out of the SNL arsenal is still the best. The Blues Brothers was a fun movie, filled with comedy and music. The story worked because it wasn’t based on an actual skit; when Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi appeared as the Blues Brothers on the show, they performed musical numbers only. While the movie was good, Aykroyd’s best will always be Ghostbusters, and Belushi’s best, Animal House.

2. Wayne’s World (1993) — Wayne’s World is likely the second best movie on the list, and the second to be released. The characters created by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey could pull off a feature-length film, and if nothing else, it breathed a second life into Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Still, my favorite Myer’s film is So, I Married An Axe Murderer, a classic I can watch over and over again. Although he’s extremely funny, I can’t think of a favorite movie starring Carvey. Still, even after all these years, he has singing “Chopping broccoli” while making dinner. That has to count for something.

3. Wayne’s World 2 (1993) – One was definitely enough for Wayne and Garth. I saw it, but it was more of the same, and I could have easily done without it.

4. The Coneheads (1993) — I adored this skit on SNL, and referred to my parents for years as parental units in its honor. However, it was one of those skits that was funny for five minutes, and should never have been made into a feature-length film. Aykroyd, along with Jane Curtain and Laraine Newman were too good for that.

5. It’s Pat: The Movie (1994) – Even Julia Sweeney’s short skit about the androgynous character Pat was creepy. Why was this ever made into a movie?

6. Stuart Saves His Family (1995) – I have no words for this Al Franken scripted feature. That’s because I never saw it and never wanted to.

7. Blues Brothers 2000 (1998) – Like Wayne’s World, one was enough, especially with Belushi gone.

8. A Night at the Roxbury (1998) – No. Just no.

9. Superstar (1999) – Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher character was fine, but not special enough to make me want to see 90 minutes of the spirited and klutzy Catholic school girl. Besides, how many times can she sniff her armpits in one movie?

10. The Ladies’ Man (2000) – Tim Meadows is somewhat appealing, but his Ladies’ Man character did nothing for me. Another skip for me.

11. MacGruber (2010) – I admit I got a kick out of Will Forte’s MacGruber character poking fun of the television show MacGyver, but not enough to pay $10 bucks to see it on the big screen. This was the last of the SNL skits made into movies. Perhaps, movie executives finally learned that what’s funny in small increments can be a disaster when made into a long feature.