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Common Courtesy Rules for the 21st Century

courtesy - smiley faceLet’s face it. We’re all busy. Life now is much harder than it was back in the days before cell phones, the internet and Roomba vacuum cleaning robots. There’s barely enough time in the day to update our Facebook status, let alone find time to see if our kids remembered to make themselves dinner before putting themselves to bed.

In a more primitive era, say around 1989, life was far less complicated. People had much more time to show appreciation and be considerate of others. But thanks to social media and 982 cable channels to choose from, our lives are much more hectic. Nonetheless, it’s still important to try to be polite – okay, maybe not that important come to think about it, but still something to think about when you’re not too busy admiring your own reflection in the window at Prada’s. Here are some common courtesy guidelines to ensure you extend every bit as much consideration to others as do, say, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Tip #1: Cell phone etiquette: One thing we can all agree on is how much fun it is to talk on your cell phone anytime, anywhere. But when using your phone in public, be sensitive to people around you.  When yakking on your phone to your buddy Eddie while watching a film in a crowded theatre, smile at the person next to you and whisper, “This will only take a minute. The game is in sudden death overtime.”

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  • When I finally got to the end of your post, Tim, I had almost forgotten what I was going to …
    Drew Fisher
  • Published On Mar. 05, 2014 by TEJ
  • A brief history of the apology

    Apology - CortezLet me start off by apologizing for this week’s column – something I should probably do every week about this time.

    Apologizing is as old as mankind. The very first recorded apology took place in the Garden of Eden, when Eve apologized to Adam for goading him into taking a bite out of the apple. An ancient Greek translation of her apology roughly translates to: “Sorry about that, Adam. But you have to admit that I look pretty amazing now that you realize I’m naked, right?” 

    Anthropologists have found what they believe to be the earliest preserved record of an apology in a 17,000-year-old cave paintings in Lascaux, France. It appears to depict a dejected male apologizing to his female companion for failing to bring back a hyena for dinner. Or it might have been a small mastodon. Hard to say which. The brush strokes were early impressionist.

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    • You forgot the pre-emptive strike strategy: "I'm the first to apologize if I have done anything wrong..." Ahh, how …
      Betsy Jones
  • Published On Jul. 10, 2013 by TEJ
  • World’s Oldest Person dies – AGAIN

    Medical experts are scratching their heads as another individual has mysteriously passed away this week. Newspapers the world over shared the sad news that the World’s Oldest Person has just died. This is the latest in a rash of similar news stories. Just last month, Besse Cooper, at the time the World’s Oldest Person, died quietly in her bed at a Monroe, Ga. nursing home. She was a spry 116 years old.

    Sadly, barely two weeks later, another sweet woman, Dina Manfredini, from Johnston, Iowa, who with Besse’s passing had become the reigning World’s Oldest Person, barely had time to enjoy her newly bestowed crown before she too passed away, at the age of 115.

    Dina’s heir apparent’s tenure as World’s Oldest Person was seemingly every bit as brief as Dina’s, because last week this shocking headline appeared:  Koto Okubo Dead: World’s Oldest Woman Dies at 115. The accompanying report described a frail, quiet Japanese woman who passed away peacefully in her sleep at her nursing home, barely having had time to thank the awards committee before she too fell victim to this unbroken curse.

    The passing of Koto Okubo opened the way for Ingrid Jørgensen, a retired school crossing guard from Trondheim, Norway, to win the coveted title of World’s Oldest Person at the relatively young age of just 114. Ms. Jørgensen is reportedly feeling rather uncomfortable with the news of her achievement, insisting it must be an accounting error. She claims her neighbor Heidi Fjelstad is several months older than she and therefore is the person who should be recognized, not her. (Norwegians are notoriously modest.)

    Until now, there has been scant evidence that any government leaders or world scientists have made any efforts to combat this outbreak, which cruelly appears to target only the very oldest and most frail among us. Lest anyone think the latest deaths are isolated coincidences, Nate Silver, the uber-statistician who correctly picked all 50 states in last year’s presidential election, places the odds that the current World’s Oldest Person will die within the next twelve months at 97.5%. Friends of Norway’s Ingrid Jørgensen have reportedly urged her not to put off her once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Greece until next summer.

    Millions of senior citizens are up in arms, arguing that this health crisis has been ignored for far too long. The AARP pointed out recently that the United States spends billions of dollars on wars in the Middle East but has invested almost nothing to try to stop the revolving door of World’s Oldest Persons falling prey to the Grim Reaper.

    Recent World’s Oldest Person honorees like Besse, Dina and Koto have tended to be shy about shining the spotlight on this global crisis. They tend not to complain, which may be in part due to the fact they’re deceased. But AARP representatives are urging Americans to fight for these helpless elderly victims and are asking people to write their congressperson to demand that they find a cure once and for all for this mysterious affliction that is targeting the most senior of our senior citizens.

    As one AARP spokesperson bluntly put it, “Our leaders must stop turning a blind eye as our World’s Oldest Persons continue to die off one by one. If we don’t do something about it, eventually all of us may suffer the same fate.”

    That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

    PS:  If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by sharing it on Facebook, posting a comment or giving it a.  Remember, for every person that shares this post, I will donate a dollar to the Tim Jones Foundation to find a cure to save our World’s Oldest Persons from meeting a tragic fate. So please share generously. 

    © Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2013

    • Oh!... sure Tim ... as if the throngs of helpless people suffering the same affliction every minute, although they …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Mar. 07, 2013 by TEJ
  • Bad ideas in the news

    Every now and then, I like to read quirky stories about people who are in the news for having made really bad decisions. I find it helps me feel better about myself. If you’re having a rough day, if you’re questioning your judgment skills or perhaps just kicking yourself for some lame decision you made without fully thinking it through, cheer up. At least you’re not one of these people or businesses ….

    Drunk driver arrested after trying to make a cell phone call using breathalyzer

    In Coburg, Germany, a man named Bernhard Becker was pulled over for driving erratically. Police, suspecting he was intoxicated, attempted to administer a breathalyzer. When handed the device, Becker, thinking it was an iPhone, attempted to call his attorney without success. Things went downhill for Mr. Becker when, attempting to tidy up his hair, he grabbed the officer’s radar gun, mistaking it for a blow dryer. Rumor has it Apple is developing a new breathalyzer app for the iPhone 6.

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  • Published On Feb. 28, 2013 by TEJ
  • Rumor has it I may be the next Pope

    Recently the world’s one billion-plus Catholics were stunned by the news that, for the first time in almost 600 years, a living Pope has decided to step down. The 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI recently announced his plans to resign on February 28, citing poor health and depression over scores of snarky comments his Facebook page has received lately about his red leather Prada shoes (most critics sniping that he should have gone with Gucci, an Italian brand). 

    Rumors are swirling about who will be selected as the next Pope. Las Vegas odds makers say the three front runners are: 

    • Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Tukson of Ghana
    • French Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet and
    • Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras. 

    Most of the mainstream press has completely overlooked a rather unexpected name which is being floated for consideration: Mine. Okay, so most of those rumors have been floated by yours truly. But even a cursory review of my qualifications makes me the obvious choice as God’s representative on Earth.  

    First of all, my name, Tim Jones, is much easier to pronounce than any of those other candidates I just listed. But that’s not all. Check out my impeccable credentials: 

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    • Oh great. I can picture it now. "I conferred with the Lord, and he sayeth that I may kick my …
  • Published On Feb. 21, 2013 by TEJ
  • My predictions for 2013: It is going to snow a lot…. somewhere… eventually

    Every year since this blog began during the Nixon Administration, I have made bold predictions about the year ahead – in politics, world affairs, pop culture and advances in cutlery. I possess an uncanny ability to peer into the future and predict fascinating events no other prognosticators are able to see. The fact that my predictions historically have had about as much chance of coming true as Lady Gaga has of becoming the next Pope is the only small blemish tarnishing my otherwise stellar reputation.

    To show you what I mean, here are a few notable predictions from previous years which would have been newsworthy except for the minor inconvenience that they failed to materialize:

    2002: A resoundingly brisk victory will be won in the war in Afghanistan after just 11 months, and a flourishing democracy will spread throughout this previously troubled region. Afghani women will be elected to several prominent political posts, as Pakistan and the USA become bosom buddies.

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      Drew Fisher
  • Published On Feb. 06, 2013 by TEJ
  • Famous Americans share Thanksgiving messages of gratitude

    View from the Bleachers interviewed famous Americans this past week, asking them “What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?” Here is a holiday gift basket of inspirational messages from some of our nation’s most illustrious, America-loving Americans.

    Ann Romney, wife of presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney: “I was very disappointed that Mitt lost the election, due to that fluke late October hurricane and the minor fact that Mitt’s not very good at relating to people with net worths under $25 million. But we still have so much to be grateful for. Mitt’s hair still looks amazing. We just bought Monaco. Precious. And, frankly, the thought of having to downsize our lifestyle to fit into that cramped White House was something I really was not looking forward to anyway. Besides, six luxury houses is plenty. We know some families who can’t even afford four.”

    Tim Tebow, backup NFL quarterback: “I thank my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me the opportunity to play this sport I love so much. And someday, the good Lord willing, I hope to have the chance to play on a professional NFL team. Until then, I am content to play for the New York Jets.”

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    • Ann Romney was hoping most of all to paint the White House mauve. And Chris Christie suffered a breakdown …
  • Published On Nov. 20, 2012 by TEJ
  • NFL addresses fan discontent by hiring new replacement referees from Foot Locker

    The National Football League is taking decisive action in response to complaints about horrendously bad officiating by the replacement referees, who were brought in due to the lockout of referees by the league.

    The move is the culmination of events precipitated by perhaps the worst missed call in NFL history. In this week’s Monday Night Football contest between the Seattle Seahawks and visiting Green Bay Packers, a Green Bay Packer defender intercepted a pass in the end zone as the game clock expired but the referee called it a Seattle touchdown.  Various instant replays clearly showed that the Packer player had possession of the ball, but the referee still upheld the egregious call.

    Players, coaches, and fans have weighed in, demanding the offending official be executed for treason. Sports pundits are calling it the most outrageously bad call since drummer Pete Best made the decision to leave the Beatles in 1962 to join the band Tony Jack and the Lollipops because they had “more potential.”

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    • I love this. And the impact of your expose' can be seen already, what with the NFL and the Refs …
      Keith Weinberger
  • Published On Sep. 25, 2012 by TEJ
  • Women, help end discrimination against men. Get struck by lightning.

    I am a staunch advocate of women’s rights to equal treatment and nearly equal pay. I’ve even watched Oprah and Ellen on occasion. (But please don’t tell my golfing buddies. They would never understand.) There is no denying that women have been victims of social injustices and hardships men have rarely had to endure. I’m talking, of course, about cellulite primarily.

    The tables, however, have recently turned. I’m delighted to report that women have made amazing strides in the past 40 years – in the battle against cellulite. And even more than that. In fact, in the past ten years alone, for reasons unfathomable to me, two different women have received promotions I totally deserved simply because they were more qualified than I. Discrimination against men is real – and it’s everywhere.

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    • And let's not forget that women are rarely forced to endure the emasculating embarrassment of sexual dysfunction. Do they …
      Ely North
  • Published On Aug. 09, 2012 by TEJ
  • Launching America’s next war: A War on Idiots

    I was recently astounded to read that the USA has more prisoners per capita than any other country in the world, easily surpassing #2 Russia. Did you know that the USA makes up just 5% of the world’s population but 25% of its prisoners? All I can say is WAY TO GO, AMERICA! 

    We now have over 2 million Americans living in prison (several million more if you include New Jersey). The cause of the explosion in our inmate population over the past thirty years is primarily thanks to the incredible success of our War on Drugs, and only secondarily because of the many cast members of Jersey Shore who have served time.

    A thoughtful examination of America’s War on Drugs leads to only one obvious conclusion: By any standard (other than reducing the level of our nation’s rampant drug abuse problem), this war has been an overwhelming success. The only thing left to do is hang a Mission Accomplished banner atop the fence along the U.S. – Mexican border.

    Thanks to our impressive victory in the war on drugs, we have corralled thousands of our nation’s most dangerous habitually stoned South Park viewers and thrown them into the Graybar Hotel. Law-abiding Americans can now sleep safely, knowing they no longer have to fear that a deranged pothead might break into their home during a late night Harold and Kumar movie marathon in search of Doritos or other snack foods with dangerously unhealthy levels of high-fructose corn syrup.

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    • we would never hear the phrase "Hey, watch this" ever again.
      Uncle Bubba
  • Published On Apr. 19, 2012 by TEJ