The Kindness Gene

November 27, 2017 – When Blanche Dubois uttered her famous line, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” in A Streetcar Named Desire, I bet she didn’t know that one day there would be a scientific theory to explain why. Or rather, to explain that we can spot kindness in people we don’t know, and maybe she was drawn to strangers she sensed were kind.

According to research data published in 2011, people with a certain gene trait are known to be more kind and caring than people without it. Who knew?

This isn’t earth-shattering news, but what’s interesting about the research is that they’ve proven that if we have the kindness gene, it can be easily and quickly picked up by people who don’t even know us.

The research was conducted on average people, and not folks who go through life pinching babies and kicking dogs, where it is more than obvious they’re missing the kindness gene. Researchers at Oregon State University devised an experiment in which 23 couples, whose genotypes were known to them but not to observers were studied. These observers were asked to watch them converse in groups of two, and with the sound turned off, identify which listener had the kindness gene and which did not. In most cases the observers chose correctly.

Finally, an explanation why I’m always selected for jury duty.

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A bedtime snack?

April 24, 2017 — I used to work with a woman who bragged about giving her kids Benadryl before long car trips to make them sleep.

If she’d known about Kush Cakes, she could have saved herself from the awful stares of her co-workers when she told us about it.

Kush Cakes, advertised as the ultimate psychedelic brownie, are made with ingredients that are legal in every state by a licensed pharmacist and with a formula to help support relaxation and sleep. They also contain hemp protein, melatonin, valerian root and coco, and have a logo that resembles another hemp product that you might be familiar with.

Although the manufacturer says that the brownies are for adults only, especially those who need to relax after consuming energy drinks to fuel themselves at work all day, I’m sure the Benadryl mom would have an easier time giving her kids a brownie with rather than a teaspoonful of nasty tasting medicine.

I like the idea of eating a brownie before bed over popping an Ambien. At least Kush Cakes don’t have a history of making people do weird things like sleepwalk in the nude, or eat everything in the kitchen without any recollection. However, they are pricey.

Find out more about these delectable goodies at www.mykushcakes.com.

Need a Good Laugh? Surf the Web.

March 13, 2017 – The beauty of the Internet is that there is always something new to discover.

I came across a site appropriately named watchitbackwards.com, which is devoted to providing a good laugh to movie and television fans.

The premise is that story lines in reverse create a completely different and humorous outcome. Some plot lines even improve. For example:

“If you watch The Wizard Of Oz backwards, it’s about Dorothy escaping Oz by running away from the Emerald City and getting home to Kansas in a flying house.”

Or, “if you watch Pretty Woman backwards, it’s about Richard Gere transforming Julia Roberts into a hooker.”

And my favorite, “if you watch Scarface backwards, it’s about a man who gives up cocaine and crime to follow his dream of becoming a dishwasher to earn enough money so he can visit Cuba.”

The site is updated frequently, so even the latest Oscar nominations have been added. And if you’re clever enough to come up with your own backwards movie or television show, the site welcomes submissions.

Listening to the Silence

silence5February 27, 2017 – When I worked in PR and advertising back in the day, we spent a lot of time assembling media packages. My co-workers and I would amuse ourselves by discussing the deeper questions in life while working the assembly line of brochures, trinkets, and press releases. It helped pass the time.

I once posed the question – would you rather lose your sight or your hearing – and received a witty response from a co-worker. He said, “My hearing, so I don’t have to listen to this absurd conversation.”

We chuckled; he had a quick sense of humor. Still, the go to response for most people would be to keep their sight. Getting through life without it would be difficult. However, the thought of never hearing a baby’s laugh or a beautiful piece of music is enough to make me at least ponder the question.

I began to take notice of how often I was surrounded by silence after that conversation. In the office, I sit at my desk surrounded by white noise and the sound of my co-workers typing on their keyboards; in my car I listen to the radio; At home, it’s conversation, the television or music. Even when I go to bed at night, the sounds of the ceiling fan or the humidifier fill the room.

The last time I drove to work in silence was several years ago when my battery light came on as I was driving onto I-95. I managed to pull over and quickly restart, but fearing it would happen again, I pulled back on the road after turning off the music. I surrounded myself with the sounds of silence, and because the windows were shut, even the traffic seemed hushed.

It made me ultra-aware of what is going on around me, and affected me in other places outside of my car; the clock in work that sits above my desk, for instance, began to drive me crazy. Oddly, I could hear it tick, and had to turn on music to drown it out. I’d never noticed it before.

There is something about silence that is appealing. As long as there isn’t an annoying clock ticking in the background to spoil it.

It Does a Body Good

imagesJanuary 27, 2011 – Quick! Name a sound more appealing than a baby’s laughter.

I don’t think you can.

Laughter is important both mentally and physically, whether you are a child or an adult, because it instantly improves your mood. It also works your abs, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, boosts your immune system, and reduces pain by releasing endorphins.

It’s documented that people who have a positive outlook on life—those who tend to laugh freely—are better equipped to fight disease. Like crying, laughter also releases pent-up emotions, and brings more oxygen into the body, which makes the Joni Mitchell lyric ring true… “Laughing and crying, it’s the same release.”

A wise man once said, “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.” Here’s a little something to keep you young.

 

 

Crescent Moons, Magazines and Peppermint Tea

downloadDecember 2, 2016 – Anyone up for solving a mystery?

The song, My Favorite Things, from the musical The Sound of Music, is played at Christmas each year, and I’m not sure why. Aside from the lyrics “brown paper packages tied up with string, or snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes” – and are a both a stretch – there isn’t a reference to December 25 or any of its holiday traditions. Yet artists from Tony Bennett to Luther Vandross include it on their Christmas recordings.

And while we’re on the subject … the items Rogers and Hammerstein mention in their song are nice, they aren’t included on a list of my favorites. If I were to rewrite the song, I’d include the things below:

Curtains fluttering in the breeze
Early morning walks with my camera
Georgia O’Keeffe and Vincent Van Gogh paintings
Sunflowers and daisies
Crescent moons
Lighthouses
Sunsets at the beach
Crisp mornings in autumn
My brother-in-law’s margaritas
Long drives
Magazines and peppermint tea
Mack’s Pizza at the Jersey shore
Listening to Joni Mitchell on Sunday mornings
Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream
Warm towels straight from the dryer

Happy Belated Google!

googles-18th-birthday-5661535679545344-hp2x-2September 30, 2016 – On Tuesday, Google officially became an adult.

The Internet giant, which officially incorporated on September 4, 1998, has decided that instead September 27 is its birthday.

For something that has been around for only 18 years, it’s difficult to imagine life without Google, especially when it’s estimated to process over 3.5 billion search requests each day worldwide. I’m probably responsible for 10 to 20 of those daily searches, which makes me doubly embarrassed to have missed this special milestone.

Happy belated birthday, Google. I certainly hope won’t cause too much of a ruckus celebrating. You’re not 21 yet.