Words & Banter

RED & BLACK … Not Just New, Better

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


red head assets.rebelmouse.io

Well, it’s our first column of the year. A new beginning. Any “new” ideas for topics? Something other than New Year’s resolutions.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Is there a reason you do not want to talk about resolutions?


assets.rebelmouse.io

Obviously, yours was not to ask fewer questions.


Black (use0 assets.rebelmouse.io


That will never happen, but you are avoiding the question. Why?


Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Because every year, I have a long list of things I want to do, and I start strong, but within a few months, I fall back into old habits. Sometimes it only takes weeks. It’s frustrating and disappointing.


Black (use) assets.rebelmouse.io


Next question. What is the opposite of “old?"


Red assets.rebelmouse.io



I want to say, “New,” but this is clearly one of your trick questions.


Black (use) assets.rebelmouse.io



”New” would technically be correct … but, so is “current.” Most people think of resolutions as total overhauls, which has never made sense to me. Instead of major change, which is rarely a realistic goal, why not focus on improving and doing things better?


red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Now that’s an interesting thought, especially as Sawyer said to me, mere minutes into the new year, that one of her resolutions was to build on last year’s goals at the gym. So, for me, instead of using that dreaded word “diet,” I could just focus on eating better.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



“Dieting” is focused on weight loss, but eating better is about healthy choices. It may sound like a nuance, but it is a different mindset.


red head assets.rebelmouse.io


All I know is phrasing it that way already takes the pressure off. And since I love fruit and salads, it’d be easier to think about using them as substitutes vs. trying to give up the “bad stuff”.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



Exactly. Keep what you are doing that is good and get rid of – or at least reduce – what is not so good.


red head assets.rebelmouse.io



I find it interesting that you said “not so good” instead of “bad.” I like that. It puts the focus on the good. Which is a good idea! Pun intended.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



And, that applies to everything … not just eating habits.


red head assets.rebelmouse.io


Well, it’s too bad that everyone doesn’t focus on the good. There’s so much negativity everywhere. You turn on the news, and that’s all you hear. You pick up the newspaper, and that’s all you see. And to make matters worse, I often feel like the media’s stirring the pot.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



Good thing you are not on social media. It is even worse there.


red head assets.rebelmouse.io



I’d like to think people want good news, but I feel like you have to search for those stories. For example, I get CNN headlines on my phone, and there’s usually one or two “feel good” stories, but they’re typically buried at the bottom.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



Without boring you with studies and statistics, although people say they prefer stories with a “positive” message, they are drawn to “negative” stories. And, since the news media is big business, it gives audiences what they want. Maybe you should change your newsfeed to Axios, as I find its stories are not only factual, but have a human element as they explain “why” the information is important. Regardless, nothing requires you to keep up with all the news.


red head assets.rebelmouse.io


Usually it’s just background noise while I’m doing other things. But when Mom passed in mid-December, I stopped watching the news and have barely looked at the headlines on my phone. It started with me feeling like I didn’t need to hear anything negative going on in the world while I was dealing with my grief. And then I decided I didn’t miss all the negative news and preferred to focus on positive things.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



Imagine if everyone took that same approach. Focusing on positive things, not negative. The difference it could make – not only to us individually but to society as a whole.


red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Do you think, in today’s world where people are so quick to criticize and find the negative, that’s even possible?


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



You tell me. After “divorcing” yourself from the news, have you noticed any change in your behavior toward others?


red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Yes, but it also might be because Mom’s passing has made me overly sensitive. However, I’ve found myself having more patience with other people. Places where I sometimes can be impatient – the grocery store, the gas station, etc.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



You get impatient with people? So, you are not always warm and fuzzy?


red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Very funny. But if you’ll let me finish ... instead of ignoring people and/or muttering to myself that they were in my way or moving slowly or whatever, I’ve been giving people more “time”. I make a point of trying to smile or making a friendly comment. And almost everyone has responded in a positive way.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



Kindness can be contagious. So, maybe you should add that to your list of New Year’s resolutions. As I already said, resolutions do not have to be major overhauls, they are about improving and doing things better.


red head assets.rebelmouse.io



So, what do you plan to do better in the New Year? Work on your sarcasm, perhaps?


Black assets.rebelmouse.io



Actually, I have been told I already do that well. But, I guess there is always room for improvement …

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by nycshooter on iStock
What do you get when you cross Flag Day (June 14) with June being Effective Communication Month? Well, if you include Black in the mix, you get one of Red’s favorite memories … and a unique way to think about the importance of communicating – whether in your personal or professional life. And especially if you’re in a racecar!


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4 th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory . Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.
Keep Reading ...Show less
Photo by John Gomez on iStock

There’s much debate about the role America should play in world politics and standing by our allies, and we can’t help but wonder … how many people look at history before forming their opinions? Which is why we feel so strongly about remembering D-Day (and are rerunning the post below), which is about so much more than just a day …


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I still can’t believe you didn’t know what D-Day was.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

All I knew was it had to do with World War II and beaches. And, required lots of strategic planning. Remember, I am not a history buff like you.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Or a movie buff. There has been an assortment of D-Day movies, and I wouldn’t expect you to have watched the older movies, like “ The Longest Day” with John Wayne, but I figured you’d have seen “ Saving Private Ryan .”


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

The Tom Hanks movie? It was a great war movie, but from what I remember, it was about the search for a particular soldier during WWII. Although I remember the opening scene showed the horrors of war. Regardless, I do not get my “history” from movies that might take literary license for the sake of storytelling, even if Steven Spielberg’s movies are mostly accurate.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

That opening scene WAS D-Day.
Keep Reading ...Show less
Photo by Iam Anupong on iStock

Some memories fade with time, but others remain as vivid as the day they happened. Like the day my big sister and I played golf together (an extremely rare event), although the memory isn’t about golf, but about how a sister’s flippant comment can stay with you for over 40 years …

There was no way to know it would become a highly effective way of remembering the importance of sunscreen. Especially as it happened before May was declared Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and May 27 became National Sunscreen Day.

I'll never forget the day. It was an "almost" ordinary day out on the golf course with my mom and dad during the heat of a Long Island summer. Now, if "Long Island" conjures up images of stately manors on the North Shore (think "Great Gatsby") or beachfront mansions in the Hamptons (think Robin Leach and his popular show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"), you can put those out of your head. I'm not talking about some fancy country club golf course, just a regular public course.

Keep Reading ...Show less