Category Archives: Mike Rowe

The Past Does Not Equal the Future

Mike Rowe’s comments on the Florida shooting are the best you’re going to hear.

Good Evil

Sorry I’ve been so scarce. I guess I could blame a chaotic production schedule, but the truth is, I’ve been absent because I don’t know what to say in the wake of Florida.

Like most of you, I’m overwhelmed with pity for the victims and their families, but consumed with anger for the coward who chose to murder. Rage and sorrow are hard things to reconcile, and the more such things occur, the more apparent it becomes that there is nothing new to say. So forgive me Susan, if I repeat what I said after Vegas and San Bernardino.

Evil is real. As long as humans have walked the earth, people have chosen to do evil things. This is what happened in Florida. A nineteen-year old man chose to do an evil thing. He planned it. He executed it. He succeeded.

Should we endeavor to know why? Absolutely.

Should we discuss the impact of video games, accessible firearms, single-parents, no parents, powerful medications, social media, mental illness, bullying, or anything else we think might have encouraged him to choose evil over good? Without question.

But we should also stop confusing the influence of such things, with the root cause. Because nothing in this man’s past can possibly explain his decision to kill seventeen people. If you believe otherwise, ask yourself why millions of other people with a similar past, don’t make similar choices.

The past does not equal the future.

This is the most comforting thing I can tell you, Susan. It’s also the most disconcerting. Because the facts are undeniable. People from horrible backgrounds often become the epitome of kindness. And people with every imaginable advantage, often go on to squander everything.

The past does not equal the future.

To the families of the victims I can only offer my sincerest condolences, along with my heartfelt wish that the man who killed their loved ones is removed from the planet with all due speed.

As for words, I can only repeat what others have said, and ask you to remember those who confronted evil with courage. People like Aaron Feis, the football coach who threw himself in front of the kids the killer was trying to murder.

Beyond that, I’m afraid I can offer nothing but my weekly attempt to prove that goodness also walks among us, just as surely as evil. In numbers far greater than our newsfeeds would lead us to believe.

Mike

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Mike Rowe speaks out

Mike Rowe ridiculed Massachusetts’s Hampshire College for its decision to remove the U.S. flag from campus because it instilled students with “fear.”

A better option, Rowe suggested, might be “simply educating them about the undeniable fact that no country on the planet affords its citizens more liberty than this one.”

Seems reasonable to me.  But some had issues with his exercise of free speech and Rowe responded in detail to one, Susanne McDaniel‎, in particular.

McDaniel wrote:

“How did you become so blindly patriotic? First of all, the college you were referencing in your rant about the American flag is a private college and doesn’t receive federal funding. However…the very essence of freedom in this country is our right to speak out against the flag, which is a mere symbol.

“If you take away that right, then we have lost all freedom. You really need to take a civics course, Mike Rowe. I used to like you; but, you have really become very annoying to me in recent years. I thought you were more intelligent. But, I guess appearances aren’t everything.”

Rowe responded:

“I’ve never thought of myself as ‘blindly patriotic,’ but I am a fan of the United States, the founding fathers, and the men and women who have served on my behalf. I also confess to feeling lucky to live here.

“Having said that, I think you’re correct about the flag; it’s only a symbol. So too is the Crucifix. And the middle finger. And the Swastika. And the compressed chunks of carbon that millions wear on their ring fingers as expressions of timeless love and eternal devotion…

“But if you really believe our flag is nothing but a ‘mere symbol,’ equally suitable for flying or burning, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable if the people you work with suddenly started coming to the office in pointy white hats fashioned from bedsheets? Would that be a problem for you? Or how about The Rainbow Flag, favored by the LGBTQ community? Would it be OK if people started burning that? If not, why not? I mean, it’s only a symbol, right?”

“The thing about ‘mere symbols’ Susanne, is that they represent ‘mere ideas,’ and ‘mere ideas’ are the backbone of ‘mere humanity.’ In the case of the flag, we’re talking about ideas that are wrapped into the Constitution — a document that separates us from every other country on the planet.

“Mere ideas are the reason people fight and die. Mere ideas are the reason we’re allowed to speak freely, protest publicly, bear arms, and burn the very symbol that represents those very freedoms. I didn’t suggest that you or anyone else be denied your right to fly or burn whatever flag you wish. What I failed to do, is quietly accept behavior I don’t care for. Which, if I’m not mistaken, is the same compulsion that motivates others to publicly express themselves in whatever ways they choose.”

FYI: Hampshire College is flying the American flag on campus again.

2016_12-02-hampshire-college-flies-flag-again

Source:

http://ijr.com/2016/12/748597-when-fan-calls-out-blindly-patriotic-mike-rowe-for-defending-us-flag-he-fires-back-in-true-rowe-fashion/

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Eight minutes about a pencil

Mike Rowe with pencil

From Mike Rowe’s Facebook page:

Kyle Smith writes…

Howard Dean recently criticized Gov Scott Walker for never finishing college, stating that he was “unknowledgeable.” What would your response be on college as a requirement for elected office?

Hi Kyle

Back in 1990, The QVC Cable Shopping Channel was conducting a national talent search. I had no qualifications to speak of, but I needed a job, and thought TV might be a fun way to pay the bills. So I showed up at The Marriott in downtown Baltimore with a few hundred other hopefuls, and waited for a chance to audition. When it was my turn, the elevator took me to the top floor, where a man no expression led me into a suite and asked me to take a seat behind a large desk. Across from the desk, there was a camera on a tripod. On the desk was a digital timer with an LED display. I took a seat as the man clipped a microphone on my shirt and explained the situation.

“The purpose of this audition is to see if you can talk for eight minutes without stuttering, blathering, passing out, or throwing up. Any questions?”

“What would you like me to talk about?” I asked.

The man pulled a pencil from behind his ear and rolled it across the desk. “Talk to me about that pencil. Sell it. Make me want it. But be yourself. If you can do that for eight minutes, the job is yours. OK?”

I looked at the pencil. It was yellow. It had a point on one end, and an eraser on the other. On the side were the words, Dixon Ticonderoga Number 2 SOFT.

“OK,” I said.

The man set the timer to 8:00, and walked behind the tripod. He pressed a button and a red light appeared on the camera. He pressed another button and the timer began to count backwards. “Action,” he said. I picked up the pencil and started talking.

“Hi there. My name’s Mike Rowe, and I only have eight minutes to tell you why this is finest pencil on Planet Earth. So let’s get right to it.”

I opened the desk drawer and found a piece of hotel stationery, right where I hoped it would be. I picked up the pencil and wrote the word QUALITY in capital letters. I held the paper toward the camera.

“As you can plainly see, The #2 Dixon Ticonderoga leaves a bold, unmistakable line, far superior to the thin and wispy wake left by the #3, or the fat, sloppy skid mark of the unwieldy #1. Best of all, the Ticonderoga is not filled with actual lead, but ‘madagascar graphite,’ a far safer alternative for anyone who likes to chew on their writing implements.”

To underscore the claim, I licked the point. I then discussed the many advantages of the Ticonderoga’s color.

“A vibrant yellow, perfectly suited for an object that needs to stand out from the clutter of a desk drawer.”

I commented on the comfort of its design.

“Unlike those completely round pencils that press hard into the web of your hand, the Ticonderoga’s circumference is comprised of eight gently plained surfaces, which dramatically reduce fatigue, and make writing for extended periods an absolute delight.”

I pointed out the “enhanced eraser,” which was “guaranteed to still be there – even when the pencil was sharpened down to an unusable nub.”

I opined about handmade craftsmanship and American made quality. I talked about the feel of real wood.

“In a world overrun with plastic and high tech gadgets, isn’t it comforting to know that some things haven’t evolved into something shiny and gleaming and completely unrecognizable?’”

After all that, there was still five minutes on the timer. So I shifted gears and considered the pencil’s impact on Western Civilization. I spoke of Picasso and Van Gogh, and their hundreds of priceless drawings – all done in pencil. I talked about Einstein and Hawking, and their many complicated theories and theorems – all done in pencil.

“Pen and ink are fine for memorializing contracts,” I said, “but real progress relies on the ability to erase and start anew. Archimedes said he could move the world with a lever long enough, but when it came to proving it, he needed a pencil to make the point.”

With three minutes remaining, I moved on to some personal recollections about the role of pencils in my own life. My first legible signature, my first book report, my first crossword puzzle, and of course, my first love letter. I may have even worked up a tear as I recalled the innocence of my youth, scribbled out on a piece of looseleaf with all the hope and passion a desperate 6th grader could muster… courtesy of a #2 pencil.

With :30 seconds left on the timer, I looked fondly at the Dixon Ticonderoga, and sat silently for five seconds. Then I wrapped it up.

“We call it a pencil, because all things need a name. But today, let’s call it what it really is. A time machine. A match maker. A magic wand. And let’s say it can all be yours…for just 99 cents.”

The timer read 0:00. The man walked back to the desk. He took the pencil and wrote “YOU’RE HIRED” on the stationery, and few days later, I moved to West Chester, PA. And a few days after that, I was on live television, face to face with the never-ending parade of trinkets and chotchkies that comprise QVC’s overnight inventory.

I spent three months on the graveyard shift, five nights a week. Technically, this was my training period, which was curious, given the conspicuous absence of supervision, or anything that could be confused with actual instruction. Every few minutes a stagehand would bring me another mysterious “must have item,” which I’d blather about nonsensically until it was whisked away and replaced with something no less baffling. In this way, I slowly uncovered the mysteries of my job, and forged a tenuous relationship with an audience of chronic insomniacs and narcoleptic lonely hearts. It was a crucible of confusion and ambiguity, and in hindsight, the best training I ever had.

Which brings me to the point of your question, Kyle.

I don’t agree with Howard Dean – not at all.

Here’s what I didn’t understand 25 years ago. QVC had a serious recruiting problem. Qualified candidates were applying in droves, but failing miserably on the air. Polished salespeople with proven track records were awkward on TV. Professional actors with extensive credits couldn’t be themselves on camera. And seasoned hosts who understood live television had no experience hawking products. So eventually, QVC hit the reset button. They stopped looking for “qualified” people, and started looking for anyone who could talk about a pencil for eight minutes.

QVC had confused qualifications with competency.

Perhaps America has done something similar?

Look at how we hire help – it’s not so different than how we elect leaders. We search for work ethic on resumes. We look for intelligence in test scores. We search for character in references. And of course, we look at a four-year diploma as though it might actually tell us something about common sense and leadership.

Obviously, we need a bit more from our elected officials than the instincts of a home shopping host, but the business of determining what those “qualifications” are is completely up to us. We get to decide what matters most. We get to decide if a college degree or military service is somehow determinative. We get to decide if Howard Dean is correct.

Anyone familiar with my foundation knows my position. I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

But of course, Howard Dean is not the real problem. He’s just one guy. And he’s absolutely right when he says that many others will judge Scott Walker for not finishing college. That’s the real problem.

However – when Howard Dean called the Governor “unknowledgeable,” he rolled out more than a stereotype. He rolled a pencil across the desk, and gave Scott Walker eight minutes to knock it out of the park.

It’ll be fun to see if he does.

Mike

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Filed under Economy, Education, Mike Rowe, Scott Walker, Unemployment

Mike Rowe … WAY too funny not to share!

Mike Rowe

Some loud-mouth, bad-tempered liberal peppered Mike Rowe’s Facebook page with the following:

Jim Green: It is ALARMING when we do the demographic post mortem on this election, because it is probable that it was decided by our RACISTS–voting against President Obama, who wasn’t on the ballot—that gave the Republicans their election wins—OUR GREED AND IGNORANCE

Jim Green: Why is the media avoiding that we have a U.S. Senate bought and paid for by the Koch Bros/1%–and what they want for their dollar is to cut THEIR taxes [for pure GREED], and cut regulations to increase the bottom line [for pure GREED]….in short “OUR GREED AND IGNORANCE” ruled the day

Jim Green: Why on Earth would ANYONE vote Republican? A reptile has more decency than the Republicans in Congress! Only an odious toad would pass Ryan’s budget or gut Food Stamps—and these depraved snakes made them THEIR HIGHEST PRIORITY! If only one child in America goes hungry because of the Republican’s War on Children it explains why—IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE A CHRISTIAN, AND VOTE REPUBLICAN

Jim Green: A CHALLENGE….will you PLEASE explain to the American people why you vote/are a Republican—because for the life of me I cannot understand WHY WOULD ANYONE VOTE REPUBLICAN! (NO trashing the Prez as a reason—it may make our RACISTS happy—but it is an idiotic explanation/justification.) See: “IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE A CHRISTIAN, AND VOTE REPUBLICAN,”

Rowe courteously shredded him with wit and remarkable restraint:

Hi there, Jim

Greetings, from somewhere over Colorado. It appears you’re still trying to sell some books on my Facebook page. Personally, I haven’t read them, and based on your marketing strategy, I suspect I’m probably not alone. Since part of your approach seems to involve me, I thought perhaps I might offer you some unsolicited marketing advice. I hope it’s not too presumptuous, but these tips have served me well over the years, and I can’t help but think you and your marketing team might benefit from their immediate implementation.

1. Consider starting off each blurb with a friendly salutation. In my experience, a little cordiality goes a long way, especially when you’re trying to persuade someone to give you money.

2. Think about addressing your audience as something other than “racists,” “reptiles,” and “toads.” I get that you want to be provocative, but if your goal is to sell your book, a number of well-known studies have proven it’s best not to insult your potential customers.

3. Reconsider your commitment to caps and exclamation points. These are excellent choices when warning people about a fire, a volcanic eruption, an ebola outbreak, or a looming tsunami. But I’m afraid their use in the context of a book sale implies a level of urgency that may exist only in your mind. If you really want to persuade thoughtful people that Christians can’t vote for Republicans and remain Christian, you’ll need to appear credible – not hysterical. Lower case should work just fine.

4. Consider limiting each blurb to a single entry. When you post the identical screed four times in a row, it looks very much like a broken record sounds. This will lead people to conclude that you’re either a) inept at posting, or b) deliberately obnoxious. Neither conclusion is likely to lead to a sale. Remember, most people see posts like yours as small piles of vomit that they can quickly step around. But when the same vomitus post appears multiple times, you force my friends here to slosh through a virtual lake of spew. Ironically, this will not only make more people like you even less, it will decrease the odds that someone who might actually share your world view will feel inclined to purchase your book. (I’ve deleted all of your redundant posts from this morning, but left the original. You’re welcome.)

5. Regarding your overall claim, I’m not an authority on Republicans or Christians, but last I checked, America is still populated by plenty of both. Unless you wish to alienate a majority of the country, you might consider something a tad more conciliatory. Something like – “There is no “R” in Jesus – But There’s G-O-P in Gospel!”

Finally, with respect to your “challenge,” I’m not a registered Republican, but from time to time, I have voted like one. If you really want to know why, ask me in a fashion that incorporates the aforementioned steps, and I’ll try to explain it to you.

In the meantime, GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike

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That’s nuts!

Mike Rowe sums up the Obama jobs policy

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