’tis the season to be offended.

I think the world accepts that it’s officially ‘the holiday season’ when Starbucks brings out the red cups. Well as it turns out, those cups dropped last week. This of course means that 2 of 12 months (approximately 1/6 of our lives) is dedicated to Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/whatever other holidays fall in this time frame.

The commercialism of Christmas is not what I want to talk about today though. Today, I’d like to address a trend: people seem to be way more offended by the holidays these days.

Below is a list of holidays and the reason why we can’t openly celebrate or even mention them due to fear of being called closed-minded and/or discriminatory and/or insensitive to others’ beliefs:

  1. Christmas – Insensitive because it celebrates the birth of Christ and not everyone believes in Jesus.
  2. Easter –  See above but replace ‘birth’ with ‘resurrection.’
  3. Independence Day – Insensitive to the hundreds of other cultures within our national landscape.
  4. Halloween – pagan through and through.
  5. Thanksgiving – a holiday built around the genocide of Native Americans.

How do I know that people are offended? Are all my friends and loved ones shouting from the rooftops that we’re living in an unequal world? Definitely not.

But every holiday season, news outlets talk about how “such-and-such school bans Christmas trees,” or “X workplace is having ‘picnic and fireworks day’ this 4th of July, as to not offend those cultures that may not celebrate our nation’s independence.”

To these stories, I have one reaction: Can’t we all just grow up?

To the allegedly offended people: if you think saying, “Merry Christmas” or “Trick or Treat,” is out of line, I submit that you are bored and leading a lonely life. Instead of spending energy on hating, I suggest opening up an e-harmony profile or picking up a more productive hobby than complaining about everything.

I also have a theory that these people don’t even truly exist. If I asked 100 people on the street if they are offended by any of the above holidays for any of the above reasons or more, my guess is 100/100 would say, “No. Anyone who is offended is dumb.” At least that’s my hope.

So hey, for 2014 (Christmas gets a pass this year) let’s all just agree to wish happiness upon everyone at every holiday and to say it in whatever way means the most to the person spreading the cheer. As recipients, even if we disagree or don’t celebrate that particular holiday, let’s all just say, “Thank you. You too.”

Cool? Cool. See ya out there.


10 ways to get people to share your content.

More and more these days, my Facebook newsfeed is populated by stories like these:


I don’t know what is up with this trend of ‘top 10-100ish’ lists, but in the interest of jumping on board the bandwagon, here is my take on how to get your online content shared by the masses:

10. Pick an arbitrary, but unintimidating number.

9. Pick the feeling you want to portray (i.e. romance, humor, sadness, pride, etc.)

8. Pick a ‘hot’ topic (i.e. romance = wedding proposals; humor = things ridiculous TV sitcoms characters have said; sadness = soldiers being reunited with family; pride = small town sports heroes, etc.)

7. Find a subject (often human or animal) and gather images that will communicate the proper feeling.

6. For each image, write a cute and/or clever caption that is less than 140 characters. (Twitter has shortened our attention span, so just stick to the length of a Tweet.)

5. Pick your target audience’s age. (This should range between 18 and 25. Using the term ‘millennials’ is a great catch all.)

4. Incorporate a left-to-right scrolling thingamajig like this (note the features circled in red):


*original image borrowed from The Onion article (above)

3. Determine if it’s a countdown or a countup. No matter what, make the best image the landing page.

2. Create the title by combining steps 10 through 5. (i.e. ’15 Hilarious Pictures of Cats that all Millennials Must See!’)

1. Share on social media with very vague commentary. (i.e. “This had me rolling.” or “Unbelievable.”)

And there you have it. The recipe to bring virality to otherwise mediocre content. Now get out there and build your lists!

Doing whatever it takes to stay relevant,


lessons from gta.

Many people blame violent video games for violent crimes. Some argue that there is no correlation. I’m pretty unbiased when it comes to this subject, plus I’m not that big of a gamer. However, I have played some GTA5 lately, and here are some lessons I’ve taken from immersing myself in the city of Los Santos:

  • Do not fear death. You’ll just wake up in front of a hospital tomorrow.
  • Shoot first and later. Don’t worry about asking questions at any time.
  • Cops are stupid and you can easily lose them if the situation requires it.
  • You own everything. Just take whatever you can lay your hands on.
  • Hesitate not to beat mercilessly anyone who annoys you.
  • Drive recklessly, but end by parking in your garage. Your ride will be fine tomorrow.

The good news is that I can fight the urge to carry out these lifestyle choices in the real world.

But what about that awkward adolescent who has a developing brain and a less-than-active social or home life? When he gets home from school and hangs out with his Los Santos friends all night, with no reality checks and balances – is he at risk of bringing this fictional world to life?

I don’t see how that could even be a remote possibility.

Now, if you’ll excuse me; I have a heist to prepare for.


halloween, obesity and fargo, north dakota.

Apparently some woman named Cheryl took it upon herself to be the ‘fat kid vigilante’ in Fargo, North Dakota last week. Instead of handing out candy to children she considered obese, she handed out this letter:

fat letter

Have you seen this? Have you heard about this?

Many journalists are asking questions like:

  • Is it right for this woman to set rules for who gets candy and who doesn’t?
  • What does this say about the state of our children’s health?
  • What does this say about parenting and responsibility to our nation’s children?

If you’re like me, questions like those are not even close to what I’d be asking. The questions I want to know the answers to are:

  • When Fargo kids knock on the door and have layers upon layers of winter clothing on over or under their costumes, how can Cheryl tell which kids are fat and which kids are just bundled up?
  • Did she set out a bathroom scale and adjust the calibration by 10-15 pounds to accommodate for the extra clothing and pounds of candy the kids are already carrying?
  • Does everyone in her community hate her?
  • Is she a lonely cat woman?

Why focus on big philosophical questions when we don’t even know how credible this woman is or her methods are? Cheryl, maybe your head is in the right place, but I need to know what methods are driving your madness.

I just hope Michelle Obama asks the right questions before she teams up with ol’ Cheryl.

Steadfastly reporting on the hardest-hitting topics,


singing with mongrels.

Barely over three years ago, Mark and the Mongrels dropped their first Christmas album. Last year, Mark and Peter kept the dream alive by releasing a few more songs. This year, the band is reunited and in full force.

The dream began through a discussion about the severe lack of original Christmas/holiday songs. In my recent history especially, I personally found myself avoiding Christmas music because it was always the same songs on loop. Well, we put an end to that with such hits as:

  • Christkindlmarkt
  • PBR Christmas
  • Presents (presents)
  • Toboggan
  • Santa’s Elves Form a Union

and many more!

Well we’re back at it this season and it’s sure to be a big year for this Indianapolis-based, holiday folk trio. We’ve been meeting weekly to write and practice, and we are less than a week away from hitting the studio.

No spoiler alerts here though. You’ll just have to stay tuned for song releases and concert announcements.

Or you can just wait until you hear us on the radio waves.

If you haven’t listened, or haven’t in awhile, I invite you to get acquainted and/or reconnect with some old favorites HERE.

See you when we’re famous.


100 years.

My friend Colin got a tattoo (don’t ask me where) that says, “100 Years.”

Okay it’s on his wrist.

The point is the message behind the message. This is a philosophy that guides him, and I find it to be a cool concept.

Basically, he says to approach decisions by asking the question, “How will this affect the world 100 years from now?” Generally the answer to that question is, “It won’t,” thus justifying living in the moment and doing what you want to do, not necessarily what is always the most responsible.

At least that’s how it manifests itself currently. I could see the tone of this changing as time passes. For example in 15 years, he might ask, “Should I buy a boat? Or save money so my kids can go to college?”

In theory, his thought process might be, “Well in 100 years, the boat won’t matter and my family’s education will be more important, so I’ll go with the saving thing.”


If that approach to the philosophy persists, I predict Colin will live a short, albeit robust, life.

Either way, he packages this up as, “I’m just a speck of dust in the history of this planet. The decisions I make today won’t make a bit of difference 100 years from now, so why not just live the life I want to live?”

I can sign off on that philosophy for anyone who is a relatively upstanding member of society.

Come to think of it, Colin, you should have just gotten a tattoo of #yolo.

The main point here is: moving forward every dumb decision I make is now justified.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see a man about a boat.





the couch takes wing.

I started this blog as a place to just capture whatever I happen to be thinking. Every once in awhile, among the dumb jokes, I talk about things that kind of matter. Well, if that’s your cup o’ tea, and you prefer to avoid the weird tangents I take (probably all too often) I’m pleased to report that The Gold Couch is now influencing young minds on a much more focused level.

I’m writing for The National FFA Organization- specifically the State Officer blog. This month’s contribution is about effective and ineffective management. Here is a snippet:


While I’m not a published author, and don’t have a traveling reformation conference people pay big bucks to attend, I do have a little bit of experience in working with effective and ineffective managers. My goal is to add clarity to some commonly shared tips and make ‘management’ much less technical and much more accessible.

Here is an amended list of behaviors often encouraged. Today we’ll cover the top two:

  1. A good manager listens asks questions.
  2. A good manager delegates shares responsibility.
  3. A good manager never loses focus creates and encourages distractions.
  4. A good manager is a business professional human being.


To view the entire post, click HERE

My goal here is to share with these (on average) 18-20 year-olds some tips/skills/insight that might come in handy as they enter the workforce. If I can help plant a seed or two now that will get them thinking in a way that might improve their efficiencies long term, then I’m doing them a service.

In reality, I’m sure that my posts are boring compared to other more inspirationally themed posts, but I guess I have come to terms with not being that cool.

So in conclusion, the eventual global takeover by The Gold Couch, is in full swing.

See you out there!