Thursday, April 21, 2011

Trust Your Spidey Senses

I believe the “sixth sense” is the ability to suppress social and political correctness and make judgments based on all the information at hand.  It’s not all that complicated.
While drinking coffee with a herd of experienced detectives, it was remarked that friends and family often comment on our skills in spotting crooks, smooth talkers, liars, thieves, psychos and flakes and then culling them from those who are worth knowing.  While much of it is learned, the vast majority of observation skills are very natural but we suppress them because we’re taught that judging others is sinful and we are to give the benefit of the doubt to everyone who crosses our path.  Cops are lied to more than dentists.  It’s all about attention to detail and there are a few “red flags” I’ve learned to watch for:
“Religion on a sleeve” is where someone drops religion on you very quickly.  “We’re good Christian people” is the battle cry.  Misquoted or generalized scripture follows.  This is usually an attempt to make you believe they have high standards of ethics (without any proof) and can therefore be trusted.  The most genuinely devout people I’ve known are very respectful to their faith and don’t speak about it in that manner.  Actual religious people see their God as a deity, not an imaginary friend who agrees with them all the time.
Beware the instant crier.   The better ones can produce some tears on occasion, but the crying can filp on and off like a switch.  Most people can learn to produce visible tears but getting the snot to flow is an art form.
Do you have a “Close personal friend?”  This is never said unless a person is attempting to align themselves with some positive figure.  “Yeah, the police chief is a close personal friend.”  The actual friend will say something like, “The chief and I play golf a few times a year” or maybe “I’ve known him since high school.”  The next time someone drops a close personal friend’s name, tell him you really need to call the friend but your phone was stolen and ask for the number.  I'll buy you a beer if they can produce it.
Is the person listening to you or pausing to formulate the next thing they’re going  to say about himself?  This one is important because you’re not having a conversation if the latter is happening.  This one’s tougher to articulate, but you all know someone who does this frequently.  We all do it on occasion but the black-belt flake will live by it.
These are all signs that something may be amiss.  Judging others is a matter of observing actions and responding accordingly.  The judgement we're taught about in the bible is about unjustified condemnation.  Trust your Spidey senses.  They really work and can save you time and money. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Food, Inc.

I like a good conspiracy theory.  One day I needed some background sound while cleaning my office so I streamed “Food Inc.” from Netflix.  It's a documentary that was to tell me how big food companies are taking over the world.  The last news I heard was that the oil companies were in the world domination market so I thought it would be nice to hear someone other than oil producers get it for a while.
Most disturbing to me was a segment about a family of four consisting of a mom, dad, son and daughter.  The kids looked 10 or 12 if I remember right.  They were all overweight.  They seemed to be a normal middle-class family.  They leave the house at 6:00am and return home after 9:00pm.  This doesn’t leave them time for home cooked meals so they pack in 2000 calories each of fast food from drive-through windows at each meal.  They further claimed that they could eat fast food for $3 per person at a burger dive and it was impossible to find a meal for $3 in a grocery store.  To prove the point, each person was given their $3 and sent to a grocery store.  Sure enough, they couldn’t find a meal for that amount of money.  They failed to mention that grocery stores sell meal components, not meals.  It’s like going to Lowes to buy a bedroom.
The film never explained what the people were doing from 6:00am to 9:00pm every day.  They didn’t seem to be poor.  Maybe a responsible parent would make time for decent meals?  That would include planning meals, packing lunches and all the other horrors that come with it.  I’m sure these kids would faint if they had to eat a ham sandwich instead of a Big Mac. 
This conspiracy was DOA for me.  It slid right in the same file as Roswell and Kennedy.  If you really dig fast food, hate cooking and spending any meaningful time with your family, there’s now a convenient avenue of blame for you.  Burger King and Uncle Sam are keeping you down!