Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

PROFESSOR AMY BISHOP / RateMyProfessors.com

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, each other, and our own experiences. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how to be happy if…

Professor Amy Bishop / RateMyProfessors.com:

How to Be Happy If People Are Rude

First off – rudeness is in the eye of the beholder – yours, mine, and Professor Amy Bishop’s.

Professor Bishop – who walked into her U. of Alabama department meeting and shot the senior professors who refused to give her tenure,  would be considered rude (to say the least)  by most standards  – but not by hers.

As an adjunct professor who didn’t get promoted (just like Prof. Bishop), I have also considered direct action. However, unlike Amy Bishop, I’m a poor shot. I’m also practical. After Amy’s revenge on the people who didn’t promote her, my first thought was, “Well, she won’t get tenure now!”

How true that is – you can’t get tenure (or a man*) with a gun!  You can get a moose (and a Republican nomination)  – two good reasons Sarah Palin owns one.   But since academic ambitions don’t usually call for firearms (except in Amy’s fevered imagination) and there are no moose in Manhattan,  I don’t own a gun.  (I do own a mini Swiss army knife, which I use for cutting apples. I did this in front of my 8 am English classes – which woke them up – “Whoa! Professor! You got a knife?”)

Anyway, when I didn’t get my own promotion, I went to talk to my Department Chair.  I have the usual defects (I’m well past my 20’s so I can’t be counted on for a long life in harness to the needs of the department) – plus some special ones (My Ph.D. is in Theatre, and I’m in the English Department – which means I crossed turfs – a no-no in academia).  However, my Department Chair did give me some advice: “Be collegial.”

Collegial?  Must have something to do with being non-rude. I think of myself as a friendly, polite person.  What could he mean? I asked a friend who had spent many years in the halls of academe.

My friend said: “Collegial means – kissing A**.”

But whose A**?  My students? I do spend 90% of my time with them. Does that count?

RatemyProfessors.com  is a student run internet site that ranks professors on a scale of 1 to 5 based on set criteria: easiness, clarity, and the reviewer’s interest in the subject matter.  Students also award professors chili pepper icons (for hot looks).

I haven’t actually checked my rating on RateMyProfessors.com. Being well acquainted with my own vanity, I would probably count chili peppers. But I think I’m okay because I regularly get Emails from students who are friends of former students and want to be in my classes. I hope this is also because they are learning the subject matter. (Actually, I know they are – and not by my grades alone, which, according to RateMyProfessors.com could be suspect. My 095 remedial classes are entirely made up of students who failed the college writing exam – which I do not grade.  By the end of our semester, they retake the exam. Many pass – several with scores that leapfrog the passing grade into higher numbers.)

But enough about me – what about Professor Amy Bishop? Was she rude to her students?

I checked out Amy Bishop on RateMyProfessors.com,  and came up with….Zero!  Nothing! However, on another search, she seemed to get reasonably favorable ratings.  Why the discrepancy? Could this be a cover up?

The news is full of articles about the carelessness – or cover up – that wiped out her history of violence (beginning with shooting her own brother, when she was 19, and continued with her alleged link (with her husband) to a pipe bomb aimed at a Harvard professor who ticked her off, and included a stop at IHOP, where she bitch-slapped a fellow patron for not giving up a booster seat to Amy’s child. (Amy is currently in custody. But police detonated a suspicious PVC pipe found inside the Huntsville home she occupied with husband Jim Anderson, who is still running around free!

Okay – I know I just slid into paranoia-land – where my colleagues are likely to include Amy and hubby Jim-who, I am mindful, is on the loose.  But apart from the presence of  loose screwballs, there is something to be said for rating one’s professors.

Why is student opinion irrelevant to keeping academic jobs or getting promotions?

Aren’t the students the ones we serve?

Maybe RateMyProfessors.com has some silly standards. But that could be updated and include more educational criteria.  Contrary to cynical opinion, most students want to learn – not waste their time.

They also want to be treated with compassion, caring, respect and responsibility – not rudeness. As do we all.

Amy Bishop is at the far end of a spectrum of poor anger management (and probably mentally unbalanced).  But she is certainly human.

Her belief that her own needs (like getting tenure and booster seats) completely override the rights of others is at the core of rude behavior.

That driver who cuts you off on the highway – endangering your safety; that person who curses into a cell phone on the elevator -polluting your ears; that date or appointment who stands you up – wasting your time and chipping away at your self-esteem – all little bits of Amy.

And, since this blog is titled, “How To Be Happy If …, how can thinking about the meaning of rudeness help us be happy?

Happiness Habits

  • Don’t take it personally. When someone is rude, it’s usually not about you -and it doesn’t demand confrontation.
  • Don’t escalate the argument. It’s usually counter-productive – the most angry, rude person wins (if you can call it winning).
  • Do take signs of an explosive temper seriously. Major abuse begins with little tests – if you go along with it, you enable it.
  • Do protect yourself and others – speak to authorities, file a report
  • If you’re the one with anger issues – get help – before it gets out of hand.
  • Do what you love – tenure or not, I love teaching – and for that I am very grateful.

(* “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” is a song by Irving Berlin from the great musical Annie Get Your Gun. Popular songs have taught me a lot – besides, they make me happy.)

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance”

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue

Dr. Sue Horowitz is a Motivational, Entertaining Speaker, Singer-Songwriter, Professor, Author of “Queens of Comedy” (interviews with Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Joy Behar, etc.),  “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Poetry)

Web: http://www.drsue.com

Keys of Love” –  positive songs on CD Baby – http://www.cdbaby.com/drsueDr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF (https://drsue3.wordpress.com)

copyright 2010 Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz

husband Jim Anderson.

SINGLE LIVING: Challenge Dance

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, our own experience, and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

SINGLE LIVING: Challenge Dance

A dateless Saturday Night…but I decide to have a good time ballroom dancing.  First – the equipment – Dance shoes, panty hose, black  push up bra,  black jersey dress with gold trim that hugs my curves and dips into a plunging neckline – uh-oh! better throw in a modest scarf  – I am a professor (I can always take it  off  later).  Good to go!

I get to the dance studio at 7:45pm, pay $15, and check out the hustle class. The lesson started at 7:30, which puts me at the bottom of class hustling to catch up as we change partners.  I move down the line and get to the teacher- a  buff guy (who, according to my gaydar, swings for the other dance team).  As I scurry to master the pattern, he advises me to be “more feminine”  I know what he means. My feet, perfectly planted for shooting basketballs, need be more geisha-close.  He also tells us to practice our “diva walk – divas – not donkeys!”  I try.

OK. Lesson over. I remove my scarf.  Time for fun! Only…no one is asking me to dance.  However, I am resourceful- if they don’t ask, I will.  I scope out possibilities – that slim, handsome, guy, I’m sitting next to – who is ignoring me? Naaah.  That less cute, but friendlier looking guy across the room, who I may have danced with six months ago? (In the dance world, that constitutes a relationship of some depth.)  Much better bet!  I walk across the floor and ask.  He agrees. We jitterbug. Things are looking up.

Dance over, I look around for other possibilities.  Ah! a foxtrot plus a man standing alone on the dance floor! I ask, “Would you like to  try this dance?” He says, “No!”  Whoah! Rudeness rules! As I walk away he adds, “because I’m dancing with her.”  Her? Who?

I decide to console myself with food. Ah…a fruit plate! I pick up a sliced banana. It breaks in two, falls into my plunging neckline, and comes to rest on my push up bra. I pick it out and eat it. (I need the potassium. Besides, it’s not as if anyone is looking at me).

I find my seat, pull out my Blackberry. and start Emailing my girlfriend in Florida. Good! she answers.  As I settle in for a ballroom evening in cyberspace, a woman (Supatra) asks me to dance.  I admire her spunky solution to the man shortage and accept.  She turns out to be graceful, sweet, and informative.

Her daughter is a dance teacher – a pretty twenty-something dancing with a man in his sixties – so she knows all about this particular ballroom scene.  This is a guest night party at a dance studio where many people take extended (and expensive) dance lessons.

Many of the dancers are “on the clock”- paid teachers dancing with their students or students paying for teachers to dance with them. Even the people who are not “on the clock” want to dance with others who know how to do set steps, poses, and routines. I don’t.

I digest this information, dance a few times with Supatra and return to my seat – and emailing my Florida friend – who is in her sweats and on her computer.

I decide to take a  snack break  and head for the peanuts. I take one and sit down.  Immediately, a man announces, “That’s my seat!” I look up – it’s the sixtyish dance student. I jump up and start walking away.  He adds, “That’s okay. I want to dance, you can sit.” By then I am pissed off, so I say, “No. That’s the kind of dance this is, and that’s the kind of men that are here!”  Then I pull on my coat, and start walking out. Before I leave, I stop at the receptionist.  I tell her that it’s not the fault of the studio, but the men are very rude…it might be a good idea to make an announcement about manners.  Then I leave.

I still need to do something – figure out How to Be Happy If… so here goes:

Happiness Habits

  • Be flexible and persistent – if people are crazy – try bananas! If people are nuts, try peanuts! If ballrooms are a bust – blog!
  • Vent by writing – posting to this blog made me feel a lot better! You can too!
  • Focus on the positive – the bond of friendship – in life and cyberspace
  • Get accurate information – I felt better when I realized what was going on with those “couples”
  • Put things in perspective – looked at from a distance, like “as high as an elephant’s eye”* – this dance is peanuts!

*  (from “Oh What a Beautiful Morning”, by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers)

SINGLE LIVING: Challenge Dance (Continued)

Had a few more thoughts about my “Challenge Dance”.  Yes – the men at that dance studio were rude.

I handled the situation by connecting with nice people – Happiness Buddies!  I emailed my friend and danced with the lady who asked me (instead of waiting for a guy).  She supplied useful information about dance teachers who were “on the clock.”  I also made up my mind to be happy – posting to this blog helps!

I’ll also stick to other dance venues, where I am part of a dance crowd and have partners and friends – and where there is less emphasis on formal styles and more emphasis on having fun.  There are also more available men – and that helps.

I’ll also explore different kinds of dancing – like contra dancing, where you dance in long lines, and change partners during the dance – giving you a chance to meet (and flirt with) a lot of people. Contra dancing comes out of a more communal, gender-equality culture.

A communal culture puts more emphasis on sharing and less on ownership. I suspect that the dance student who ejected me from my seat had paid for his dance teacher’s time and reserved the seat (though there was no sign) – so he felt he was defending his territory.

At a contra dance, anyone can ask anyone to dance; and we are encouraged to smile at each other, be generally friendly, and encourage the weaker dancers. Of course, this is an idealized view of  the contra crowd- but this dance style  does tend to attract more people with those values.

Ballroom dancing can be exciting and fun, but before I plunk down my money and commit my time for a dance weekend, week, or cruise, I (and you) might want to ask few questions, like…

What is the ratio of available men to women?  Available means that they will dance with available people  – not couples who will only dance with each other.

Are  there dance hosts? (Usually there is an over-abundance of women, and dance hosts  fill in the gap)

Are the dance hosts trained?  Ed (who responded to my previous column) is a gentleman. Not everyone is. A trained dance host knows he should return a lady to her seat, make sure she feels good about the dance and herself, and dance with everyone.

Are there lessons before the social dances?  That’s how you improve – and find dance partners.

If I’m  thinking about going away for a weekend, week or longer, I consider the likely outcome.  Far away means exotic adventure. Closer to home makes it easier to build friendships and sustain romance.

Happiness Habits

  • Choose a supportive venue. It’s not just the activity – it’s the values of the crowd.
  • Be realistic and see things in context.  To me, those men were rude. To them, they were doing what comes naturally. If you’re paying someone to dance – or being paid – why would you worry about someone who isn’t part of that equation? … unless…management makes it a point to be generally courteous.  That’s why I spoke to management.
  • Be friendly and courteous…copy good behavior – not bad.
  • Become a better activity partner.  If doing an activity (like dancing)  is the coin of the realm – polish your penny!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance”

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF (https://drsue3.wordpress.com)

copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT(Cell Phones/Interactive Learning)

Dr. Sue's CD "Keys of Love"Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. This blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, our own experience, and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

Cell Phones

I don’t like cellphones to interfere with the lesson – or my happiness – so I don’t allow them int the classroom – but I don’t like to be a grouch about it.   I teach college so many of my students are adults – which allows for both discipline and banter.   During my last class, a young man was doing his presentation in front of the class when his cell phone went off – twice!  I asked him for the phone, and he gave it to me.  It rang again! I opened the phone and cooed sweetly into it, “Helloooo…”

It turned out there was no one on the phone  – so no trouble for anyone…and no more cell phones rang in that particular class. However, nothing changes overnight…

A few classes later, his cell phone ring again. It turned out he had plugged it into the wall socket to charge, but forgot to turn it off.  He fumbled with the phone, got up to give his presentation to the class – and it rang!  I took the phone away from him and saw there was  message from “Julie.”  As he started his presentation, it rang again!  A new name came up: “Theresa.”   I told him I would hold onto the phone – I was dying to talk to Julie and Theresa!   The student did his presentation – quite well as it turned out.  At the end of class, I gave the phone back but told him to turn it off – unless he wants me to have a chat with Julie and Theresa. His cell phone doesn’t ring anymore – at least not in my class.

I don’t think what I did with the cell phone is taught in an education course. In fact, it might get some teachers in trouble.  Teaching is a communication/art form and depends on personality, rapport, etc. Education takes place in subtle ways. I hope that I taught my students that there are ways to set limits and rules (like no cell phones) without confrontation, anger, or humiliation in a spirit of common educational goals and fun!

Interactive Learning

  • Students Participation is key to learning – they stay alert, learn better with less stress and more enjoyment
  • Find out what they already know and teach them something new
  • Give them a way to review what they know and ask questions to clear up confusion

Here a proven technique  to encourage student participation…

  • Write all the terms students need to know on the blackboard, flip chart, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Ask students to pick out terms they know and define them.  When there is a satisfactory definition, check off the term. Since it is voluntary, no one is embarrassed. If there is confusion, you can correct it on the spot. If there is a term they don’t know, you can teach it with examples. By the end of the class, you have checked off all the terms. They can measure what they have learned and so can you!  More techniques to follow in other blog posts…

Happiness Habits

  • Pay by the rules (no cell phones) …and don’t forget to play!
  • Use Teaching Techniques that are interactive, encourage students to participate and allow shine, and have measurable results
  • Review and check what they already know – and teach them something new.

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

KIRSTIE ALLEY (“My Big Life:) / OPRAH WINFREY

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, our own experience, and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

KIRSTIE ALLEY (“My Big Life:) / OPRAH WINFREY

As a blizzard blankets New York, I think about layers of meaning for the word “snow job” Besides the flakes of white stuff whirling past my window and providing employment for street cleaners, “snow job” reminds me of the blather of celebs hawking their latest products and shows. To wit – yesterday on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, Kirstie Alley – who is mainly famous for being fat – was spokesmodeling her personal weight-loss system. This system includes chicken wings with skin (where the fat is) and a green drink.

Immediately after these revelations, we broke for an infomercial, where experts informed us that obesity leads to diabetes, heart disease, and other revolting developments.  Who am I to believe? The medical experts – or celeb spokesmodels like Ms. Alley?

Ms. Alley also has a new TV reality show “My Big Life”, where, as a dateless single mom,  she raises kids, looks for a man,  and gives diet and decorating advice – like how to decorate a bedroom for romance.

Whoa! Talk about multi-tasking!  And what does this say about pop culture and celebrities?

Is celebrity itself a qualification?  Does Ms. Alley’s career as a sitcom star and former spokesmodel for a weight loss product (Jenny Craig) provide the credentials to tell people how to lose weight and gain romance?  Does her life in a romantic desert (with dessert) qualify her to advise the public?  I guess so – at least if you want to take the advice.

I know this blog post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but, staying on focus with my theme “How To Be Happy If…” here goes –

Happiness Habits

  • Do what you love  (in this case, watching talk shows)
  • Make room for the occasional treat – like dishing celebs and pop culture
  • Learn from everyone – I have to admire Kirstie’s spunk and the way she makes the most of what she’s got

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

HOW TO BE HAPPY IF…It’s Storming (The Wizard of Blizzard)

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts – and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how and practice. Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

How to Be Happy If It’s Storming (The Wizard of Blizzard)

Starting a blog about happiness on a day of spectacularly “bad” weather seems both ironic and appropriate – since I believe that happiness is an inside job. Of course, it sometimes seems to take “magical” thinking to transform the negative into positive. That’s why I call it “The Wizard of Blizzard.”  Like any magic trick, we get better with practice – so I decided to practice on the weather – and on my students.

When I walked into my classroom, one of my students looked at the snow swirling outside the window, made a sour face and said, “Look at that disgusting weather!”   I said, “Nice to be inside!” The students had to agree – it was!

Then I told them a story about two friends of mine who sent me Emails comparing their sunny, warm weather to my snowstorms. I Emailed them back – “Cold outside – warm inside!”  (I guess my friends got their happiness from a touch of schadenfreud – the German word for delight in the pain of others.)

One of my students said that when she goes on vacation, she sends her friends postcards comparing her fabulous, sunny weather with the cold back home.  I said, “Well if that makes you happy, I’m happy.”

Now, I don’t actually write my friends about how my vacation weather is superior to the cold back home – I figure they don’t want to hear it.  But I do like to think about it – so, while it’s not nice to admit, maybe I have a touch of schadenfreud too!

I think that a positive attitude takes practice – if we practice on little things like the weather, we’ll have the mental muscle for bigger things.  Also, I don’t believe in denial – the weather is cold and snowy – but we can decide where to focus – on the cold weather – or on our good fortune in being inside, having warm winter coats, gloves, hoods, hats, earmuffs, boots, etc.

Anyway, I came home to a warm cup of spiced tea and smooth jazz while the blizzard roared outside.

As the song goes: “The weather outside is frightful, but in here it’s so delightful…let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…”

Happiness Habits

  • Remind yourself that happiness is an inside job – you can’t change the weather – you can change how you feel about it
  • Shift focus – denial doesn’t work – but you can shift focus from what you don’t like to what’s positive in your situation
  • Practice an attitude of gratitude – warm clothes, warm home, warm tea – not bad in a blizzard!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance”

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue

Web: http://www.drsue.com 

Keys of Love” –  positive songs on CD Baby – http://www.cdbaby.com/drsue

copyright 2010 Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz