A safe haven from rudeness
, rage and stress


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Thoughtfull man with advice and opinions
A matter of opinion:  random thoughts, rants, opinions, adventures, off the cuff stuff -- plus a few tips that we wanted to share with you -- offered in no particular order... some fun, too.

Your Voice Has Power, So Use it Wisely!  

Stressed, Angry, Frustrated, on the Edge?  

Attention Gang Members: A Call to Arms!

Maxxed-Out World

Respect Unplugged -- or, Consumer Bashing

Gym Baggage

Re-write the Dictionary, Duh!

Your Voice Has Power, so Use it Wisely! 

We've both had extensive experience being treated rudely and being taken advantage of -- as consumers, patients, taxpayers, as citizens of the planet...and we also have lots of experience taking vendors and
"professionals" to the mat for trying to exploit us.  Here’s our best advice to you: 

Never forget that your opinion matters. If someone has or is trying to take advantage of you, or if you’re displeased about competence, products, performance or promises not kept, make your voice heard. 

Launch a complaint directly to the top person in charge.  Go straight to the honcho who’s accountable.

-- Be clear, be accurate, and avoid any vulgar expressions, crude language, and watch your spelling. If you come off as a crank or a crackpot, you lose your credibility.

-- Know your rights and state them in your letter. State your position clearly and unequivocally. But don’t ramble on for 5 pages. Try to stick to the facts.

-- Check in with the numerous links we’ve provided that connect you to lots of consumer, legal, citizen and voter, air passenger, victim and patient information resources so you’re fully informed and can communicate with conviction. 

-- You’l
l also find several resources where you can directly file a web complaint online, try to resolve your problem, and if warranted, actually praise a store or an e-merchant 

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Stressed, Angry, Frustrated, on the Edge?
These Real-World Tips Could Help You De-Stress and Un-Frazzle... 

When you become angry, here’s what happens: you are letting those who tick you off actually manipulate you. Remember, as soon as you let them push your buttons, you give them permission to be in control.  Then what? You’re fuming, hot under the collar, elevated blood pressure, veins throbbing, stomach in a knot, and they exit -- so they win.  In other words, you’re their puppet, their doormat, their victim.

Don’t let anyone have that kind of power over your feelings and emotions.  It's up to you.  Don’t give them permission to make you upset or angry.  Instead, do some anger-busting, stress-melting techniques that we’ve found very helpful: 

--  Try to avoid hassles, avoid unpleasant situations that really don’t benefit you. When you can't, and a situation heats up, stop and ask yourself exactly how important this will be a week from now.  Be honest with yourself.  Then breathe deeply, count to ten and LET IT GO.  Count to twenty if you need to! 

-- Try to be realistic. You know that you can’t change the way people behave; and yet, you get angry when people don’t change. You’re only human. You get uptight when things don’t always go your way.  Reality check -- remind yourself that you cannot change the world, so stop making yourself anxious, frustrated and angry.  Something will always rub you the wrong way so put it in perspective and move on 

-- All the experts say it’s a good idea to imagine peaceful calming scenes.  Pick a favorite restful place to think about -- it could be a campfire, a porch swing, a beach, a mountain view, whatever.  It’s your special place; try not to let any other thoughts intrude for a few minutes.  Imagery changes the pace for you and is a mighty powerful stress reliever.  Take a minute – you’re worth it 

-- Remember this:  You have to take care of You.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that. Why not take a little time each day – even a quick break -- just to do something for yourself 

-- Here’s more help for your psyche: It’s OK to say “no”.  There are times when friends, family, co-workers, etc. can
be real time stealers.  Sometimes people can make lots of demands on your time.  It’s up to you to put on the brakes and not take on too many commitments.  That way you can avoid feeling frazzled, overwhelmed, overloaded and overstressed 

-- Try not to burn the candle at both ends.  You don’t want to end up getting burned out.  After all, getting lots of quality sleep is a great restorer for body and soul.  Sleep is good medicine 

-- Exercise really does help clear the cobwebs and de-stress the battered soul.  Try to exercise at least 3 times a week, for about 20 minutes – even if it’s only a brisk walk – your outlook will change for the better.  It’s a fool-proof plan 

-- Put your troubles on “pause” and change the pace with music, or play an instrument; or, why not learn to meditate, or start a hobby – anything you do that’s enjoyable will help put you at ease, help restore you and tune out the stressors in your life 

-- Turn off the news – which is probably going to upset you anyway – and shut out the world with a relaxation tap
e; get comfortable and relax; you could get a massage; if stress gets the best of you, get professional help if you need it – you never have to go it alone 

-- Yuck it up!  Connect with people who make you laugh.  Watch a comedy, rent a funny film, or pick up a funny book – what they say is absolutely true:  laughter is the best medicine so you can’t go wrong! 

-- Keep a positive attitude.  In fact, it also works wonders on other people, too.  A positive outlook can turn unpleasant situations around.  Did you ever try to argue with someone while you're wearing a big grin?  Or argue with someone who had a smile on their face?  Strap on a smile (maybe even a pair of those phony glasses with the big plastic noses) and you’ll be amazed how people respond!  

-- A doctor once advised us to read "The Relaxation Response" by Dr. Herbert Benson. We did. And then we bought extra copies for friends and family.  Dr. Benson, along with so many medical voices, shows us that the simple act of becoming deeply relaxed relieves stress, mental tension, and benefits a variety of ailments

-- If you have the time or resources, think about leaving home and releasing all your tension at a spa -- a day spa, a spa vacation, a spa cruise to help you find some serenity for body and soul

-- But first, che
ck out our many restorative fun and silly sites to mellow your mood and make you chuckle.  And for serious stress management, we offer some excellent resources, too

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Attention Gang Members -- A Call to Arms

This Letter to the Editor appeared in the New York Daily News on Wednesday, October 10, 2001, almost one month after the brutal Sept. 11th attack on America:
"I send out a challenge to the street gangs across America:  You think you're so tough, and you're not afraid to die. Well, show us what you're made of and go to the nearest armed forces recruiting office and enlist.  Those of you who are too young to enlist -- become the soldiers of your neighborhoods:  Protect your community, keep your eyes and ears open for anything suspicious that might threaten the well-being of your neighbors and report it.  Make your new gang colors red, white and blue -- and wear them proudly.  Anyone can be a punk, but it takes a very special person to be a hero.  Be our at-home heroes."  Shannon Scott, New York City (we say “ditto”)

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Maxxed-Out World

Every day pumps up our stress levels and cranks our world up a notch.  For instance, “sports fans” are now synonymous with stampedes, public urination, routine violence, tossing projectiles onto playing fields, and setting fires, looting, and overturning cars when their team loses.  Sadly, belligerent, abusive parents are rocking their kids' sporting worlds in an epidemic of "sideline rage."

Our role models are “celebrities” (sports figures, rock stars, movie stars, comics and cartoon characters) many of whom are rude, foul-tempered, ill-mannered, crude, bad sports, and even homicidal – yet they are applauded and emulated.  In fact, not long ago several teenage kids imitated an “extreme” cable TV show stunt and actually set themselves on fire. 

It’s not just sports fans, sports parents and celebrities who have "turned up the volume" in our lives.  

Graffiti artists have put down their brushes and markers and use engraving tools, leaving behind their eyesore scratchiti instead.  Employers install video surveillance cameras in employees' restrooms -- male and female.  Ghouls rush to strip jewelry and valuables from corpses following air tragedies.  

In what the media calls an "epidemic of rudeness" and the "erosion of civility", we're seeing blatant self-involvement mutating into a laundry list of chronic bad manners:  road rage, cell phone rage, bicycle rage, cubicle rage, funeral rage, checkout rage, restaurant rage, desk rage, boat rage -- just pick a venue and name your own rager personality type. 

Perhaps most disturbing is what's called the Dark Side of the Internet.  While the web offers access to helpful information, cyberspace has also become a playground for dangerous predators, child pornographers, pedophiles, killers, scammers, purveyors of bogus credentials, creators of harmful viruses, and identity thieves who wipe out the savings and good names of innocent victims.  For caring parents whose kids spend time alone on the web, this feature is a must:  "A Safety Net for the Internet: Protecting Our Children," by Daniel Armagh.   

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Respect Unplugged -- or, Consumer Bashing

Tune in for your daily dose of verbal abuse.  Just turn on the radio or TV for all the wisecracking sitcoms, nasty "reality" shows, comedians who are lewd or crude to get a chuckle, and particularly the commercials created to make you feel inept, the weak link, feeble, uncool, a total loser. 

Advertising with badditude.  Messages that mock you, chide you, ridicule you, incite you, insult you, call you names and get pretty confrontational.  But wait a minute.  Aren’t YOU the customer?  Aren’t you the one with the money – and, therefore, all the power?  Doesn’t that make you The Boss??  You’d never know it... 

“Listen up, Goober”, says a radio commercial describing a new e-mail service. 

Even pets in commercials are getting downright nasty. “Hey SISTER, while you’re out get me a flea collar”, a condescending cat demands of his/her owner in a current radio and TV campaign. 

Insulting sidewalk and phone booth billboards 'dis you, too  – “wake up," and “which part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?” and similar endearing colloquialisms. 

A TV commercial with two football moms scrapping in the bleachers over a hot soup product, and one screams at the other, “You wanna piece of me?” ...I know that’s how I want my mother to act and be portrayed...not.

A web advertiser selling free Internet services, whose online ad says if you’re paying for online service, you’re an “IDIOT!”  You gotta give screenwriters, copywriters and web marketers credit: they can make you feel a whole lot more insecure than a dysfunctional relative can.

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Gym Baggage

People at the gym can be such warthogs. They leave sweaty equipment behind, or overstay their time on the machines and screw you out of using the equipment.  And if you get to a machine first, regardless of where you are in your workout, a predator who’s ready for the machine you’re still using will stand there waiting, just to intimidate you.  The boys entertain with the dumbbell grunts and testosterone tosses – guys who groan shamelessly, or just slam weights to the floor in a drop that probably could be measured on the Richter scale. And ladies, talk about urban sprawl – one woman can monopolize three gym locker benches with her gym bag, dryer, lotions, makeup and other crap.  Can’t we just play nice?

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Re-write the Dictionary, Duh!

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I became invisible to sales clerks and postal clerks and bank officers who are often deaf, blind, dumb and distracted when I need help.  But since Webster’s strives to keep their dictionary current with our ever-evolving language, perhaps their next edition will include an amended definition for “customer” that’s defined as “annoyance”, interruption’, and “inconvenience.” 

They might as well update their dictionary with popular and useful expressions like “excuuuuuuse me,” and the ever-endearing, “helloooooooooo.” 

Now for a retraction.  Let’s examine the newly-coined “senior moment.” Whoa, this is a demeaning, derogatory and condescending phrase.  It implies that seniors are mentally feeble, and that younger folks never have lapses, never do incredibly stupid things, are never confused, and always have the right answers.  Smells like age discrimination disguised in a flip, smart-alec expression – hit the delete button, Webster’s.  Or, be sure to add the definition of “youngdums” in your next edition, because most people (including us) have some of their stupidest moments and make some of their dumbest choices in their teens and twenties.

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