Pearl's Paradise

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled teams yearning to breath free…"

March 27, 2009
by Steve Pearl
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facebook Reconsidered: Uniting or Dividing Families?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a debater at heart.  I love the challenge of a verbal and intellectual sparring match, especially when I think there is even the slightest chance of winning the argument.

It might seem obvious to anyone who has been married for any length of time, but when I get into debates with my bride (pictured top-left on the main page) I rarely win.  It’s not that I throw in the towel with my sweetheart just to maintain marital harmony.  No, you can count on the fact that I give her a good tussle whenever we disagree over an issue.

The reason I so rarely win when I debate my wife is that I am so seldom right.

(At this juncture I can hear the voices  of a thousand females shouting, “HALLELUJAH!  A man who knows when to admit he’s wrong!”)

The reasons I married Leah were fairly simple:

  1. There are few other women out there who could tolerate my ridiculously over-developed sense of ego
  2. There are few other women out there who would tolerate my ridiculously over-the-top penchant to debate
  3. There were no other women out there who did tolerate

The debate the other night involved “facebook.”  (Would somebody please tell me why they insist on lower-casing the name?  As someone who has been in the advertising business for a decade-and-a-half I still don’t get it.  But I digress.)

Speaking honestly, Facebook (there I go rebelling against the whole lower-case thing) creeps out my wife.  I know I won’t do her position full justice, but I think I can capture the gist of her argument.

Facebook, though ostensibly a public forum, is a method of communication that is still all about the individual.  And we’re not talking about deep communication.  We’re talking about the superficial, silly stuff that didn’t exist when people thought long and hard before penning a letter to a long-lost friend.  We’re talking about all those insipid “games” and “polls” and “causes,” some of which may have legitimacy but most of which are merely frivolous.  We’re talking about mundacity like, “25 things nobody knows about me”, that masquerade as revealing when all they are is usually superfluous.

Did you know, for example, that I had been arrested in my youth?

Now that’s not something you’re going to find on FaceBook.  (Double capitals!  YES!)

No, on Facebook (back to single caps again) we don’t get that deep.  We stay “pithy,” with short quips and minimalist clippings of the largely boring malarky of life.  It’s things like, “wishing I had another cup of coffee to get me through the day.”  Or how about, “Join the ‘What I hate about facebook’s new front page'” insurrection.  (As if I honestly cared a whit about what facebook’s (no caps this time) front page looked like.)

My wife’s point took me by surprise, so of course I battled her for more than 40 minutes until we both got bored with it and went to bed.

The next day I reflected on her point and realized just how right she was.

Let me set up the scene.  Without some background, the point I’m about to raise might come off sounding like petty jealousy or paranoia.  With some background – and some uncharacteristic depth, at least where anything about FaceBook is concerned – I think you’ll see just what it is about faceBook that can get creepy and just a little bit scary.

When I married my wife I remember making a lot of promises at the altar.  There were the usual, “love, honor, & cherish” phrases.  Tucked within those vows, though, were deeper promises and commitments.  To respect.  To communicate.  To elevate her above myself.  To never forget the importance of dialog in a marriage relationship.

March 26, 2009
by Steve Pearl
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Leadership Lessons from Real Life: “Hey, Coach!”

She said it in such a goofy, exaggerated way that at first I didn’t think she was serious.  Then she said it again and I realized it was actually a term of genuine respect.

“Hey, Coach!”, she shouted from the other end of the hallway.

“Yo, Justice!”, I called back.  “How YOU doin’?”

“Pretty good, Coach.  I’m ready to go play some basketball!”

Justice was a tall-for-her-age 5th grader on my church league basketball team.  She also had the distinct misfortune of catching me in my first attempt at being a “Head Coach.”  I had been the assistant on my daughter’s team the year before and decided, after not a small amount of internal debate, that it was time to belly up to the bar and take a swing at the world of coaching.  Poor Justice didn’t know quite what she was in for.

Neither did I.

Click to continue reading “Leadership Lessons from Real Life: “Hey, Coach!””

March 25, 2009
by Steve Pearl
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Leadership Lessons from Real Life: “Yo, Coach!”

She said it in such a goofy, exaggerated way that at first I didn't think she was serious.  Then she said it again and I realized it was actually a term of genuine respect.

"Hey, Coach!", she shouted from the other end of the hallway.

"Yo, Justice!", I called back.  "How YOU doin'?"

"Pretty good, Coach.  I'm ready to go play some basketball!"

Justice was a tall-for-her-age 5th grader on my church league basketball team.  She also had the distinct misfortune of catching me in my first attempt at being a "Head Coach."  I had been the assistant on my daughter's team the year before and decided, after not a small amount of internal debate, that it was time to belly up to the bar and take a swing at the world of coaching.  Poor Justice didn't know quite what she was in for.

Neither did I.

Click to continue reading “Leadership Lessons from Real Life: “Yo, Coach!””

March 24, 2009
by Steve Pearl
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“Dear Kate, End the show before it’s too late.”

Dear Kate,

You don’t know me.  You have no reason to trust my advice.  I am, after all, just a Christian guy who, along with his wife, has managed to stay happily married for nearly 21 years.  With just three kids (16, 14, and 11) living under the roof of our townhouse I know my experiences pale in comparison to the complexity of managing your brood.  Somehow, though, I hope you will hear what I have to say and take my advice to heart.

As I took my turn on the treadmill last night I tuned into the “season finale” of your show, “Jon and Kate Plus 8.”  Throughout the second half of the hour last night the producers repeatedly teased the “cliff hanger.”  They interspersed the cuts of the kids getting royal treatment court-side with the Harlem Globetrotters with cuts of Jon uttering phrases like, “…if we are back for a fifth season…” and “I can’t be just ‘Jon,’ I’m ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8’…”.

I knew where the trip was heading long before the train hit the station.  I have seen the rumors on the Internet.  I have seen the photos of Jon looking toasted as he visited a local bar near his parents house.  I knew there was trouble in Paradise (or whatever Lancaster area town in which you now live) months ago.  Over the past week the network made sure they milked your dilemma for all it was worth.

I am sure the ratings for last night’s show were through the roof.

There was, however, something vaguely creepy and distinctly ominous about the ending.  At the risk of speaking out of turn, I feel compelled to offer you some urgent advice.

Click to continue reading ““Dear Kate, End the show before it’s too late.””

March 23, 2009
by Steve Pearl
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Never Underestimate the Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep…

When Steve Croft had the prescience to ask the simple question, "…are you punch-drunk?", of President Obama last evening it struck me as one of the gutsiest questions ever asked of a sitting President.  It was the kind of question that made me utter an audible, "Good question!" to nobody in particular.

Obama's visit to Leno earlier in the week and his later visit to 60 minutes, still grinning oddly and uncomfortably, seemed out of character with the previously stern demeanor to which he had held firm throughout the months since his inauguration.

Click to continue reading “Never Underestimate the Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep…”

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