CY Columns – CYInterview Celebrity Interviews, Entertainment, Sports and a Bunch of Cool Stuff. Wed, 21 Feb 2018 07:44:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ducky’s Totally Different You Salon, a Tale Sun, 24 Dec 2017 05:00:12 +0000 Continue reading "Ducky’s Totally Different You Salon, a Tale" ]]> [*Author’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Any similarities between a character or the establishment in this tale and any person or animal living or dead or any actual establishment are merely coincidental.]

A poodle, a walrus and a goat walked into a beauty salon. A duck was at the counter, attending to customers. The duck asked, “How might I be of service?” The poodle said, “I would like something stylish, like I have.” The walrus said, “I would like my moustache trimmed.” Finally, the goat said, “I would like my goatee shaped; it’s looking a bit messy.”

The salon was very busy on this particular occasion. The duck was multitasking, meeting customers at the front of the shop, assigning them to the appropriate beauty technician and answering the perpetually ringing telephone. Anyway, the duck said, “Follow me,” and brought the poodle, the walrus and the goat to three distinct workstations, where highly trained individuals would work on each one of them.

Time passed. The three were attended to. There was banter. There was music playing in the background. Espressos and cappuccinos were offered and accepted. At times, magazines were read. Then, after about an hour, the three were told that the work on them was done.

It is important to note that this was no ordinary beauty salon. The interesting thing was that there were no mirrors at the workstations. The poodle, walrus and goat were so busy listening to the music, talking and drinking coffee that they hadn’t noticed. After the stylists were finished, they went to the front of the shop to pay the duck. However, when they looked into the salon’s only mirror, positioned behind the cash register, they were in shock.

The poodle had all his fur shaved off. What remained was an exceptionally long, droopy handlebar moustache. The walrus now had a somewhat scraggly looking goatee, befitting a rocker of sorts. Gone was his long moustache. Last but not least, the goat was sporting a very sophisticated hairstyle that looked like it had been thought up in a stylist’s studio in Paris. Gone was his goatee.

The complaints began. The poodle exclaimed, “What have you done to me!!!” The walrus wailed, “My big moustache is gone!!!” The goat bleated, “I look ridiculous!!!” Then, the duck began to speak, “What is the name of this salon?” The trio looked at each other, blank expressions on their now modified faces. They had been given the directions to the salon by a friend but not its name. They had failed to look at the name of the establishment when they came in.

The duck continued speaking, “The name of this establishment is Ducky’s Totally Different You Salon. It says so outside. You should have also noticed that the stylists’ workstations have no mirrors. “So what!!!” the trio cried out in exasperation.

The duck, who was actually the owner of the salon then said, “I asked what you wanted done when you came in, so that I knew what not to give you. The purpose of this beauty salon is to allow you to expand your horizons and see yourselves in different ways. Isn’t life too short to be stuck seeing yourself in just one way?”

The poodle, walrus and goat were unconvinced. They complained more. The duck said, “Even though behind me here at the counter there is a sign that says you must pay even if you do not like your new style – which it did in fact say in big bold letters – I will tell you what. Don’t pay now, but if you like your new looks after one week’s time, come back and pay. The trio, still angry, agreed.

A week later, the poodle, walrus and goat returned to the salon to pay. The duck said, “I knew you’d be back.” The poodle said, “Before everyone thought I was inaccessible. They said I came off as pompous and full of myself. Now they say I am a lot of fun.” The walrus said, “Before, everyone thought I was a lot of fun, but they didn’t think I was hip. They thought I was old fashioned. That’s changed.” And the goat said, “No one took me seriously before. Now they say I seem very sophisticated.”

The duck spoke to them as he took their money, “A wise philosopher once made the observation that appearance is not apart from reality; it is a part of reality. I believe that how we are perceived often dictates how we are interacted with. From time to time it is good to try something new and see the reaction.” The trio nodded in agreement as they finished paying.

The duck made a parting comment, “The New Year is coming. Remember it is new. Consider that you can become new too. Your looks have changed. Consider how you might positively change in other ways.”

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Hope in the Cold, a Poem Sat, 16 Dec 2017 05:00:02 +0000 Continue reading "Hope in the Cold, a Poem" ]]> It’s cold and it feels like death
It’s cold and I see my breath
It’s cold, as the sunlight dims
It’s cold, as I dream of summer whims

Memories of falling in the snow
Remembrances of trudging to and fro
The wind whipping through my soul
Young but feeling old

Frigid night in the middle of day
The sun hiding and too much shade
Sitting beneath too many clothes
Cold, from my nose to my toes

And during warm times there are complaints too
“It’s too hot,” say me and you
Broiling without relief
Baking in our heated grief

So when it’s cold we want the heat
When it’s hot we want chilled relief
Perhaps, what we need is perspective
A moment to recollect, not feel climatically dejected

Yes, it may be cold, but we can bundle up
We can help those less fortunate with blankets and such.
This freezing air need not be death.
While we can still take another breath

Perspective and attitude help us go forward
Recalling challenges past, gets us through this cold air blast
The seasons teach us lessons
And these can work as blessings

We can help each other keep warm
We can help each other stay safe from a storm
We can revel in this season of joy
We can focus on learning to enjoy

Challenges come and go
Temperatures may yoyo
Our spirit though is in our hands
Goodwill is what the heart demands

Goodwill in a season of hope
Goodwill and a nod to the heavens
Goodwill and the bounty of good deeds done
Then the sun returns and the warmth will come

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Twilon Unctious, Third Cousin Twice Removed, a Tale Sun, 10 Dec 2017 05:00:53 +0000 Continue reading "Twilon Unctious, Third Cousin Twice Removed, a Tale" ]]> “Oo-ee, if that ain’t my third cousin twice removed, Twilon Unctious.” So said Nohap Twazzleknee. Nohap’s real name was Steve and his cousin, who really was not his cousin, was named Alfred at birth. Unctious and Twazzleknee were not their real last names either. What was going on? What indeed?

To further muddy the waters, the “oo-ee” Nohap let out upon seeing Twilon was the kind of exclamation you might have heard someone use in one of the southern U.S. states decades ago or in the 1959 hit song, Sea Cruise. The thing of it is these two characters lived in present day Brooklyn, where they manufactured super small batch craft beer and made bespoke bicycles from old plumbing.

We were left confused by these naming conventions so we decided to visit Professor von Knucklehead, who held the Potato Salad chair at the Center for the Study of Sociological Trends and Phenomenon and their Impact upon the Arts, in Flatbush. The chair was considered quite prestigious as it was named in reference to an individual who threw potato salad at lecturers about Dadaism, decades earlier.

Von Knucklehead explained to us that a new trend had emerged, which he called the 7th Iteration of Hipsterism in his book, The 7th Iteration of Hipsterism. The professor explained to us that man buns and ironic t-shirts had lost their charge and, so, hipsters were staking claim to a new set of behaviors in order to progress to the next level. We sat wondering what that level was. Von Knucklehead never enlightened us.

The Brooklyn of superior pizza, hot dogs, the Dodgers and affordable housing had, over the course of decades, given way to the way of the hipsters; whatever way that was. And now that way was becoming dated.

A tenant of hipsterism is that something widely in fashion is not hip. If something – music, clothing, whatever – is embraced by the mainstream it is considered fashionable. The hipsters had seen their conventions, clothing and grooming habits appropriated by non-hipsters and therefore, that which was hip became a fortiori non hip, you dig?

So daddy-o, what was up with these cats is that they were attempting to create a new wave of hipsterism, by crafting new conventions. Of course, over the course of decades or less, these hip ways of doing things might gain traction with the mainstream and consequently be relegated to the ash heap of the formerly hip.

At any rate, if you venture into Brooklyn and hear people referring to each other by implausible names, particularly preceded by the word cousin, you might have an inkling as to what is going on. Maybe. Or maybe this is all made up. You dig? But that would be hip, wouldn’t it?

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Juniper Vafflevash – Not Your Average Cat, a Tale Sat, 02 Dec 2017 05:00:16 +0000 Continue reading "Juniper Vafflevash – Not Your Average Cat, a Tale" ]]> [*Author’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the cat in this tale and any person or animal living or dead is merely coincidental.]

“One day you are running, giving it all you’ve got and the next day you are knitting decorative covers for your collection of stuffed mice. That is the thing of it. Life is variable. All activity has ups and downs. The tides of fortune roll in and out. It is up to us to catch successive waves of opportunity. We must not be drowned by the sorrows of spilt milk.” So began Juniper Vafflevash’s 36th discourse on what it meant to be a cat in a world filled with predominantly non-cats.

Juniper was a stunning, sleek black feline who enjoyed practicing levitation as well as developing incantations to ward off well-wishers who plied him with ever increasing amounts of albacore tuna in a can.

“Tuna is nutritious, but if you eat it every day for five years in a row, you might get bored of it, n’est-ce pas?”

(Now, should you think this is simply another anthropomorphized cat story, I ask you, what of it? Is there something less compelling about a talking cat than a silent human? Think about it? What might Schrödinger say? Verstehen sie? But I digress.)

“It is all the click-clattery that I cannot stand,” said Juniper. The odd thing is he was responding to a question from a giraffe in the audience, who wanted to know whether it was worthwhile to purchase a GPS unit for his car. It was these types of seeming non sequiturs that kept the assembled ping ponging between uproarious laughter and scratching their heads.

How does your average domestic cat become possessed of such a broad knowledge base and irreverent wit? Why was Vafflevash not like the other cats? Why couldn’t he just jump up on the furniture and meow or make himself into a ball on the bed and purr? Why indeed?

Life is filled with mysteries. We often ponder existence and how everything began. At times our imagination stretches to the far reaches of the universe and what we might find there. Sometimes we are drawn into thinking about what lies at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. However, what is truly mysterious is the life of the mind, particularly the potential for uniquely individual thought and creativity. The divergent processes of mentation that can exist between individuals brought up in the apparently same environment can prove vexing.

Juniper Vafflevash had an answer for this, “We are often too timid to examine the life of the mind, particularly if that mind belongs to someone who does not think like most of us. Why? Because it challenges our assumptions about life. It challenges the structure of our reality. It shakes up our ontological and cosmological applecart.”

Hmmm, cats can be smart. Sometimes, so can humans. Sometimes.

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Rhombus and Square, a Poem Sun, 19 Nov 2017 01:00:18 +0000 Continue reading "Rhombus and Square, a Poem" ]]> Sweet potato, luxury tomato, crouching little duck
Walking in the cold bright countryside
Wondering about our luck

Gone for gravy, seas are wavy, looking at a tree
Balloons in the sky, talking about why
Yearning to be free

Asked a barber, to lend his hardware, cut my hair myself
Passed a rock, and there was unlocked,
The secret by an elf

Zwölf, elf, zehn, I hoped would be gone my pain
But a metaphysical ache, does not dissipate
You must work to make a gain

Ah, there’s the golden door, a portal I abhor
Composed of promises and built on warm misses
As I come close, but get no cigar

Clever as can be, I look at the lake to see me
Don’t be Narcissus, better to work on wishes
And make them real to be free

1, 2, 3, the countdown is for me
We shuffle off this mortal coil
A dance of mystery

7, 15, 45, we get honey from the bee
Are we as productive or just self-seductive?
This is the fundamental query

Those in heaven hold their breath, waiting for our fate
Better to keep them guessing
I think I will come late

Grappa and kirschwasser, pickles and capers, savory little things
The best of our hopes, we trust they will float
And become birds with double wings

Jump back now, get up, wake before it’s done
There is lots to do, plenty of joy
Time to have some fun.

Now Dance! Now Dance! Now turn yourself around!
We can do it, we’ll get through it
It need not be profound

Square and rhombus, you make the angle, live your authenticity
Shout it loud or whisper it proud
Infuse abundant glee

This is your verse in the universe!
This is your verse in the universe!
This is your verse in the universe!

Fade in
Now Dance!
Now Dance!

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Times of Day, Ruts and Change Sat, 11 Nov 2017 16:19:41 +0000 Continue reading "Times of Day, Ruts and Change" ]]> Some people say, “I’m a night person.” Other people say, “I’m a morning person.” I have also heard folks say, “I am not a morning person.” Interestingly, I do not believe I have ever heard an individual claim they were a middle of the day person. It seems many of us are drawn to the extremes of the 24 hour cycle.

Some of this might have to do with age, occupation and circumstance. Those in college, for example, might tend to be more drawn to the night. Nighttime is often when people socialize, go to restaurants and go out dancing or if they work and go to school, when they have unimpeded time to study.

Farmers, by the nature of their work, have to get up early, so they become accustomed to the early morning. Certain individuals may perform shift work. If they are on the midnight shift for a long enough time, they might get used to that time of day.

There are other issues that could potentially affect what parts of the day we like the best. These include, but are not limited to, when we feel most energetic, when we are more or less hungry, fluctuations in our blood sugar, habit, etc.

We are all, to a greater or lesser degree, creatures of habit. We tend to get up at a certain time. We tend to go to sleep at a certain time. We tend to favor certain meals, etc. We have our tendencies. However, we are not robots. We can work to gradually alter our tendencies.

When it comes to favoring certain times of day, we might want to consider altering our tendencies, specifically if we feel we are not getting the most out of our time. For example, a person who dreads the morning might be missing out on the wonderful feeling that comes from being up early and getting to work while most folks are still rising.

Getting up and out early often has us missing traffic and getting in some quality work while things are quiet. It is during this time of day when we are less likely to be interrupted. You could argue that working in the middle of the night generally gives us time to perform tasks without being interrupted. However, there could be health considerations if we tend to do things in the middle of the night and, consequently, do not get a good night’s sleep.

The bottom line is simple. If you feel you are in a rut and not getting the most out of your day, consider changing to a more productive and hopefully a more healthful schedule. Yes, we are creatures of habit. Yet, we can change our habits and in so doing positively impact our life.

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Technology and Philosophy Sat, 14 Oct 2017 18:50:44 +0000 Continue reading "Technology and Philosophy" ]]> Technological innovation without philosophical evolution is not progress. I have written that before and, once again, I am back at it. I believe we all need to adopt this phrase as a mantra going forward.

We live in a time when technological advancement is increasing more rapidly with each passing day. Yet, our understanding of what to do with that technology is often stagnant. Frankly, at times it appears nonexistent. We create elaborate technologies and processes in a variety of fields, often not examining the reasons we created these things in the first place.

Take medicine for example. How many times do we seek a medical intervention – often relying on advanced technology – when a low tech solution, addressing the challenge directly, would most likely have worked?

We live in a time when many of us are overfed and undernourished. Countries around the world are confronted with the challenge of overweight and obese populations when, just a few decades back, the challenge was not having enough food to eat.

With obesity and bad eating patterns come a host of maladies. How often are these maladies addressed via education, good nutrition and exercise and how often are they dealt with using pills? A well regarded physician I spoke with, a couple of years ago, talked of us living in a time of “a pill for every ill.” Medicines certainly have their place. Yet, they are not a replacement for a philosophy that leads us to live according to the true needs of our bodies, minds and souls.

Biotechnology cannot adequately replace the need to live according to the dictates of our biology. Social media is a poor replacement for socializing – meaning actually being in front of people and interacting with them. Transportation technologies that get us from one place to another quicker do not teach us to enjoy the journey and savor what we see along the way.

Technology, in and of itself, is neither bad nor good. Technology is a tool. Used properly, in concert with a well-developed philosophy of living, it can be a great boon. Used improperly and devoid of a carefully cultivated philosophical outlook, it can lead us into a trap of seeking ever more technology to correct the ongoing errors in living we are making.

A hammer is a wonderful tool. We can use it to help builds homes for people who have none. However, a hammer can also be used to hit and harm. Education, leading us to develop workable, reasonable ways of being and visions for the future – call this an overarching philosophy of living – can help us achieve true progress.

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Dune Buggy in My Mind, a Poem Sat, 22 Jul 2017 04:00:13 +0000 Rolling down life’s highway in the dune buggy in my mind.
Up and down, endless rolling hills; taking turns that wind.
Asking questions, looking for answers.
Never hard to find.

The answer we get, the answers we give, the people we meet on the way.
Our questions are the things that power us, not to go astray.
Westward and back, to the east and down, in any direction we travel.
Seeking and searching and striving, we want life’s mysteries to unravel.

The beauty of a brilliant sunset.
A warm sandy beach at our feet.
The smile of good folks welcoming us.
The beauty of the world we greet.

Happiness comes to some early, for others we have to learn.
Happiness fills our cup, when for the wonders of the world we yearn.
Amazing this world of ours; incredible the bright burning stars.
Being amazed is what can make us happy – rejoicing in the majesty of it all.

Hey now, stand tall. Say it.
You can be big, you can be small. It doesn’t matter, you can stand tall. Believe it!
And when we stand tall, we see the beauty; we feel the beauty; we live the beauty.
See it. Be it. Be the beauty.

Beauty is not perfection. Beauty is the glow of contentment.
Beauty dwells in the search. Beauty is in our eyes, full of wonderment.
Beauty is.

Rolling down life’s highway in the dune buggy in my mind.
Up and down, endless rolling hills; taking turns that wind.
Asking questions, looking for answers.
Never hard to find

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One of the Basics: Smiling Sat, 15 Jul 2017 04:00:47 +0000 People always seem to be looking for secrets to success. There are countless books on how to succeed. Somehow, we human beings are drawn to ways of accomplishing things that are purported as new or secret. How about some ways of succeeding that are not new and are not secret?

Over the course of our lives, we tend to learn so many things that the basic information we absorbed as children is often forgotten. This information is not secret. It is simply buried in our memories. And it makes sense, from time to time, to dig that fundamental information out of our brains and put it to use.

Here is a piece of information we probably all possess yet often forget. People like people who like them. Think about it. If a person seems to dislike you, will you be drawn to them? Probably not. Consider what happens when you go into a store. Do you react better to the person who smiles and greets you warmly or to the person who looks at you in a surly way, displaying an attitude that says they do not want to be there or to deal with you?

Do you react better to the happy smiling waiter or the grumpy waiter who views you as an inconvenience? Do you like being around happy, smiling people in general or would you rather sit around with people who seem perpetually angry or sad. Do you like to interact with people who like you? I suspect the answer is yes.

One of the easiest ways to raise our own spirits and the spirits of those around us is by smiling. This often increases our likeability. I have to admit, I often forget to smile. However, when I make a concerted effort to smile, good things start happening.

Smiling, in the right context, says you are friendly and accessible. More people will want to interact with you. It will likely improve the quality of your life in general. Get into the smiling habit and I think you will be pleased.

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Positive Qualities Sat, 01 Jul 2017 19:54:59 +0000 In business, school and life in general, intelligence is something we tend to look at with a certain degree of reverence. We often look up to people who are exceptionally intelligent. Generally, we believe these people have a particular advantage when it comes to succeeding at a given endeavor.

I certainly respect intelligence. However, having intelligence is only one of a number of factors that can help us succeed in life. There are, after all, some people who are naturally brilliant yet do not truly push themselves when it comes to accomplishing something. The flip side of this is that there are people of average intelligence who work very hard at their goals and, consequently, accomplish great things.

Perhaps, we should think about a host of qualities that can powerfully help a person to focus on a goal and achieve it. Some attributes that come to mind are discipline, a high tolerance to frustration, a positive outlook on life, a good imagination and emotional stability. Those are but some of the qualities that a person can have that will help them achieve things.

It is important that we take stock of what our positive qualities are. This can serve two purposes. The first is that by knowing what our talents are, we can get to work putting them to good use. The second is that we can then assess what areas we might need to improve in and work at that.

An example from athletics comes to mind. If we are very fast but are poor jumpers, we might consider running races rather than contesting the high jump. However, if we have a passion for the high jump, we might consider a training program that helps us to jump higher. After all, the ability to have passion for an endeavor is one of the greatest talents of all. This is especially true when accompanied by patience, another important quality.

The qualities we possess, as well as the qualities we choose to cultivate, can work together as powerful teammates helping us to reach our goals.

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