Archive | May, 2012

Emotional Intelligence

29 May

While I was visiting the Clinton Center in LR six weeks ago, I noticed that a book by Daniel Goleman “Emotional Intelligence” was the #1 bestseller in 96′ just ahead of Hillary’s bestseller “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”. I checked it out at my local library a few weeks back and I am just now getting around to giving my 3 cents about the very intriguing book by Goleman.

Goleman basically believes that emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important for success in life than IQ. Well, what is EQ? It is simply how well we get along with others. That’s it? Yea, that’s it. Not so fast. Ok, it is a little more complicated than that but not by much. EQ can be measured in five ways: knowing one’s emotions, managing one’s emotions, motivating self, recognizing emotions in others (also referred to as empathy), and handling relationships.

Did your parents sit down with you and educate you on your emotions and how to recognize them in others? I don’t think so. They probably did tell you to calm down or play nice with your brother. Who taught you to motivate yourself? I was motivated by getting approval from my parents and that crossed over into school and then work. Now, the biggie: handling relationships. Who taught you about that? Probably TV and movies (how did they learn that stuff before TV and movies)? 

In my view, relationships with others is the most vital activity we do as humans. Think about it for three seconds…Yup, he is right (again, ha ha). Those who succeed in life (not just financially) generally know a thing or two about building and maintaining relationships with others. Even the sick bastards like Aristotle Onassis knew the importance of relationships. But no one sits down with us and tells us how to do it (play well with others). Well, Goleman believes we ought to. We can’t afford to let it happen naturally because for some, actually many (just look at the current prison population) just don’t get it.

We need to learn how to control our emotions to get better outcomes in this world. Think about this example: Tim McVeigh, the OKC bomber (in 95′), he had built up so my anger and hatred for the government that it led him to kill 168 people. See my friends, this EQ stuff is life-saving and/or life-giving stuff. We have to learn to be more self aware about our moods. If you don’t understand your mood, it might end up controlling your life (i.e. depression). 

Some people, according to Goleman actually can’t understand their feelings (so they are unable to express them) or they experience too much feeling (and lose control and do “stupid” stuff). Naturally, we want to feel good or better (hum, wonder why alcohol and other drugs are so abused in this society?). A little anger management lesson for you:  instead of thinking negative thoughts over and over which only increases anger, change it up with some “other” thoughts. Here’s an anxiety management lesson: catch the cues for anxiety early, is it really possible (that it could happen), think about alternatives to the situation instead of “just” worrying.

Goleman also looks at hope. How much hope do you have? Low/Medium/High, do you have a defeatist attitude? How optimistic are you? Do you take rejection well or do you view yourself as a “failure”. Did you know that 3 out of 4 salesmen quit in the first three years because they can’t handle rejection well? 

The importance of empathy: when we understand others more, it helps us to understand ourselves better. And you thought it was about them. The roots of empathy are based in infancy and by the time your kid reaches 2 1/2 years old, he realizes that someone else’s pain is different than his own. Wow! I still haven’t learned that. How attuned are you to your child’s feelings? A lot of criminals were neglected by their parents and didn’t receive that vital attunement. 

Well, I hope you are starting to get the point. EQ is pretty cool to learn more about and we need to teach our kids more about it if we want them to optimize their potentials. I will probably be bringing a second post to this topic soon…

 

 

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Health Care Crimes

22 May

I finally got my bill from Ponca City Medical Center.  It only took them about six weeks to tabulate the total. The total which they will never see from me is $853 for treating a migraine headache. As I was barely coherent due to my severe migraine, the pleasant receptionist had told me that my cost for the visit would be $238 since I didn’t have health insurance.

This bill is part of what is wrong with this country. I was seen for less than five minutes by a health care professional that could order a morphine shot for my migraine and they want me to pay $853. That’s about what a CEO for a fortune 500 company makes per five minutes while the line workers (the real workers make chump change).

I applied for financial assistance to pay the $238 I was told I would need to pay and the financial assistance people want every scrap of my financial life as possible. Why do they know about every withdrawal and deposit I made for three months from my checking accounts? I only receive less than $950 per month from UE benefits and with my expenses like rent, food, utilities, gas to find another job, internet to find another job, a phone to find another job, etc…, my expenses outweigh my income. That is not even good part. The head financial assistant lady at the hospital scolded me for using the ER. Even she wouldn’t have used the ER with health insurance. I had to inform her (being nice) that my migraine needed assistance after 5 pm on a Saturday when the Urgent Care Clinics were closed.

Not only is the health care industry out of control with their costs to patients, now they are defrauding Medicare. Yea, if you didn’t catch it about three weeks ago there was a story about how about 100 health care professionals were arrested for defrauding Medicare for over 500 million bucks. Simply amazing. It is just never enough for some rich folks. Always have to have more and more.

While I am sharing this about one of the top 100 hospitals in the country (yes, PCMC), let me share with you how the ER treats suicidal patients. First, they keep them in a room for hours waiting for an Edwin Fair clinician to show up to do an assessment. By the way, make sure there are enough chairs in the room otherwise the Edwin Fair person will take the chair that you have been sitting on for over five hours. Since the suicidal patient doesn’t have health insurance, she has to be transported to a state institution somewhere close to the panhandle. Gotta keep those mentally unstable folks away from everyone else.

The ER staff told me that the cop would be there shortly to pick up my friend but instead what happened was the cop put my suicidal friend in a jail cell here in Ponca City for hours until she was finally transported to that state facility. Can you believe it? Is PC a third world city? We have to lock up our suicidal patients in jail? Of course, it took me about a week after this incident to finally talk to someone at PCMC about this incident. The ER director took down my concerns and assured me that she would pass them onto everyone in the hierarchy of the medical center and get back to me in two weeks. She never got back to me.

Blue vs. Red

16 May

Since the 2000 Presidential “selection” when the Supreme Court of the USA chose George W. Bush over Al Gore (he had won the popular vote by more than 500,000 votes), newsman, Tim Russert started keeping track of the Blue states (the citizens who vote mostly with the Democratic party) and the Red states (the citizens who vote mostly for the Republican party).

At the time, Russert probably thought it was a nifty way to keep track of the vote. However, over the last 12 years, the country has become very polarized into Blue and Red states. Blue means liberal and Red means conservative. In 2000, over 54% of all eligible citizens voted in the election. In 2004, eighty million eligible citizens failed to cast a vote either way. Think about that, there are about 310 million citizens in this country and about 25% of those are under age 18, leaving the rest of the USA the privilege to vote. What is the problem?

Besides the Blue and Red states, there are also the Purple states that don’t seem to be so polarized in their views. The Purple states are also known as the Swing states. If I was a candidate for national political office, I would focus my energies on these states where people actually are more open minded than the Blue or Red states.

It is very historically interesting because pretty much the same states (that were states at the time) that were pro-slavery in the 19th century are the same states that are Red today. And the states that were anti-slavery in the 19th century are the same states that are Blue today. In sum, our country’s views really haven’t changed that much in over 150 years. Things are pretty much the same except now we have more states than we did back then.

This concerns me and it should concern you as well. The Civil War came down to the slavery issue. The North opposed it and the South wanted it. Because the Union at the time couldn’t agree on how to handle “the new states” coming to be with the slavery issue, the South declared war on the United States (the North). Hundreds of  thousands of American lives were lost over this issue. Was it worth it? I don’t think so. Americans can’t afford to be so polarized in their views today. There is more at stake now. Our views not only affect us but the whole world as well. When the world sees us fighting over this and that, it makes us look petty and weak.

We need to get back to the what the founders of this country did to create this country. A country that is by far not perfect but it strives to be the best the world can offer. We need to look for compromise on issues that currently divide us, not hold out until the next election in the hopes of getting more Redness or Blueness in our political servants. We all want the same things for America. We want to remain free, at peace, keep our homes, increase our economic standing, respect our neighbors, enjoys the fruits of our blessings and be useful to our world neighbors as well.

I implore you to get involved in making our country one color (not Blue or Red) again, striving for the same goals and dreams as your neighbors.

The Descendants-Review

12 May

For some reason, I put off seeing The Descendants until this week. It might have been due to the fact that George Clooney had just come out with The Ides of March followed shortly by this one. It bothers me for some reason when actors put out work so close  together. The other reason could be that I just didn’t see Clooney as worthy for Oscar’s Best Actor. Yeah, I have liked George’s work but his characters haven’t changed that much from film to film. The other reason was the title of film, The Descendants sounded boring. You know why.

When it comes to Oscar’s Best Actor nomination, I hold a high standard with Dustin Hoffman’s role in Tootsie (82″). Yes, it has been 30 years since Jessica Lange won for her protrayal as Dustin’s love interest in Tootsie. Actually, I thought Terri Garr’s acting better deserved the Oscar over Jessica in that film. But I didn’t care much since I had a big crush on Jessica (I was only 16). Yes, Dustin lost in 82′ (by the way, I share the same birthday with him, 8/8) to Ben Kingsley who played Ghandi (that wasn’t even fair to Dustin, how can one beat Ghandi for heaven’s sake). I remember sitting in the theater for over 3 hours watching Ghandi, but it was well worth it.

I diverted as usual. The Descendants was fantastic. The film deals with Clooney’s character (Matt) dealing with life after a boating accident leaves his wife in a coma. Matt is a hard working lawyer who has sent his oldest daughter off to a private school and has spent little time with his youngest daughter. I loved how Matt brings his daughters together to deal with the tragedy. I especially enjoyed Shailene Woodley’s character, Alex, his oldest daughter. Alex really brings the trio together to face the issues confronting them. Alex’s guyfriend also lends some needed bluntness and humor to the trio as he accompanies them on their journey to deal with the truth.

What I liked most about the film was the message of how crucial it is for parents to get in touch honestly with their children. I believe that parents generally get caught up in their own lives and really don’t get to know their kids on a deeper level. In this film, Matt is humble enough to reach out for his daughters’ and guyfriend’s help and guidance which I thought was beautiful.

I still wouldn’t give the Oscar to Clooney for his role as Matt or give the movie the Oscar for Best Picture, but overall it was a very touching, moving film that I highly recommend.

Start Fresh

9 May

I just finished President Clinton’s book, My Life. I also visited Clinton’s Library in Little Rock a few weeks back. William (Bill) was born in 46′ without a father. While his mother was pregnant with him, his father was traveling from Chicago to Hope, AR to bring her back to Chicago so they could start their life together after WWII. Unfortunately, he was killed in a car accident and never made it back to Hope and never got to meet and raise his son.

Virginia, Bill’s mother could have gave up (she was only 23) but she didn’t. She returned to nursing school in New Orleans so she could support her son. While she was away, her parents looked after young Bill. Clinton believes that a child needs to feel like the most important person in the world and that he or she really matters (he defined what self worth is). Of course, the parent is supposed to provide that, and Clinton felt like he got that from his mother and his grandparents.

Virginia married again when Bill was 8. Bill’s new dad was a drunk and was abusive to Virginia. Even though this new dad was a negative force in family, Bill accepted and bonded with him. Clinton would say later that he always lived two parallel lives. His outside life that he loved: friends and school but then his inside life: the abuse that was going on in the home. I believe that by living this way, Clinton was able to survive and thrive even though it wasn’t easy.

When Bill was about 14, he came across Roger Clinton beating his mother. Bill threatened to hit his “daddy” with a baseball bat and Roger stopped. Clinton would go through life as a peaceful man but when he was threatened, he would stand up for himself and his beliefs like he did when the Republicans were trying to slash Medicare and other social programs during 95′ which led ‘t to a government shut down. Clinton won that fight too which led to American enjoying seven years of prosperity.

When Bill was in high school, his mother took Bill and his half-brother, Roger Jr. away from their “daddy” because she was tired of the abuse and his alcoholic behavior. Bill’s “daddy” pleaded with Bill to convince him to help him win his mother back. Bill didn’t get involved and his mother gave in and took the drunk and abuser back.

Clinton, of course went on to be very successful in public service because he didn’t allow his negative “home life” hold him back. He is one of the fortunate ones. Clinton didn’t allow his well being to be dependent on his parents. He defined his own well being. But for those who aren’t so fortunate, and haven’t done as well as you planned in life because of your “home life” there is a way out.

First, you have to really acknowledge what happened in your childhood and stop taking responsibility for it. It is not yours, it is your parent(s). Second, you have to work through the pain and the feelings of your childhood and then share that with your parent(s). You can use the 4-step process (borrowed from the book, Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward):

In a letter or face-to-face with your parent(s), share with them:

1) This what you did to me.

2) This is how I felt about it at the time.

3) This is how it affected my life.

4) This what I want from you now.

By working through this process you can start fresh in your relationship with your parent(s) and start fresh by defining who you are and where you want to go next in your life. I wish you well…

Late Night Comedy

5 May

Move over Johnny, Letterman is the new king of Late Night Comedy…

Carson hailed from Iowa and got his start in the biz with a radio show called “Squirrel’s Nest” in the early 50’s. During his radio program he would “talk” to the pigeons hanging out at the courthouse. The pigeons would report to Johnny about the corruption going on in town. Carson then went onto host a popular game show “Who do you Trust?” where he found Ed McMahon, his sidekick for over 30 years. Carson took over the Tonight Show in 62′ and held on until 92′ when he retired.

Letterman was posed to take over Johnny in 92′ but the job went to Jay Leno. I think Dave still needs to talk to a therapist about how he was passed over for that post. However, Dave was given his own late, late show after Leno which worked for about 10 years until Letterman migrated over to CBS which cost CBS about 146 million to make room for Dave. Letterman also got his start in radio but was fired from one job for “treating classical music with irreverance”. That’s funny. I once attended the Chicago Symphony back in high school and laughed all the way thru the performance. I am with you, Dave.

Letterman went onto become a funny weatherman and then got a morning show in 80′ but it was canceled after only two Emmy winning seasons. Dave’s show has won 12 Emmys in his 30 years doing Late Night Comedy.

I was able to see Leno at the Improv in LA back in 88′, the same year he started guest hosting for Carson. I liked Leno much better doing stand-up than I do on his nightly sit-down show. I respect him for his no alcohol, no cigarettes, no gambling lifestyle. Although, the man has over 100 vehicles plus over 90 motorcycles. How many toys does one kid, oh I mean man need? Another interesting fact about Jay is that he has  a “funny” jaw. It’s called mandibular prognathism which he could have surgery for but chooses to forgo it to let his chin lead his way. Jay has also been married to the same woman since 80′, no kids.

Jimmy Kimmel is part of the next generation of Late Night comedians. Jimmy got his start in high school working for a college radio station. He moved up to Comedy Central until he started Jimmy Kimmel Live in 03′. The show was only live for a year until Kimmel said something offensive and now it is taped to check for offensiveness. I guess he has an ongoing feud with actor, Matt Damon. I think Matt started dating Jimmy’s ex or something. I got my first look at Mr. Kimmel when he hosted the Press and Obama last weekend. He was pretty darn funny.

Scottish born, Craig Ferguson has had the Late Night spot after Letterman since 05′. For the last few years, Craig’s ratings have beat out Conan and Fallon in the similar time slot. Craig became a U.S. citizen in 08′. He got his start in the biz with a band as a drummer. The lead singer for the bad suggested that Craig try comedy and he did. He got his big break as Drew Carey’s boss on the Drew Carey Show from 96′-03′. Off the subject, I don’t care for Drew as the host of the Price is Right. I miss Bob.

I haven’t watched Ferguson live yet, just caught a few YouTube clips recently. I like his style but he is hard to understand at times with that Scottish accent. Craig is the heir apparent to Letterman’s show when Dave retires in a couple of years.