My Rant about Ranting: Blowing Off Steam Vs. Being a Blowhard

Oh, you mean I get to listen to someone rant?  I love rants!  They’re my favorite!

Last October I was searching for pictures of stupid church marquee signs to use as bad examples of Christianity for Holy Smoke (click title to read), which I was writing at the time.  I came across a blog called “My Rant About Religion” and made it half way through the first sentence before thinking, “Who would want to read a rant?… About anything?”  I know I don’t.

In my mind the word rant translates as “whining about something that has no real resolution”.  One of my Rules for Life is that if you’re going to present a problem to me, either provide a realistic proposal to solve that problem so that we can do something about it or be willing to listen and possibly act on my proposed solution.  But for someone to rant open-endly is to simply spread negative energy.  It does no good for anyone, except the person ranting, who lives in the illusion that he or she is actually doing any good.

But a rant is a one-way conversation.  It’s not productive nor does it help human relationships in any way.  And despite the title, which I obviously coined for ironic effect, this isn’t a rant.  Because I am providing a solution with my presented problem:

Ranters worldwide, if you feel passionate about an issue, make it clear what listeners are supposed to do with your information.  Let them know how they can help you specifically fix the problem.  That makes you a leader, a passionate idealist who rallies troops.

Otherwise, you’re just blowing off steam.  And nobody likes a blowhard.

What Wile E. Coyote, Red Pandas, and U2 All Have in Common: They Still Haven’t Found What They’re Looking For

Ultimately, Bugs Bunny got on my nerves. He was obnoxious and dressed up like a woman too much. The reason I watched his show was to see Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. After a while, I realized that the coyote would never catch the roadrunner. But I didn’t care. Just like hiding Wilson’s face on Home Improvement, and Alf never getting to actually eat the Tanner family’s cat, and never really knowing if Pat was a man or woman, I still tuned in, if nothing else, to see all the creative ways the legacy continued.

With each viewing of the coyote and the roadrunner, I became aware of more and more logistical issues with the concept. For example, where did the coyote get the money to buy all those Acme products? Instead of ordering Acme products, why didn’t he just order some Omaha Steaks instead? Or a bus ticket out of Arizona? Surely as long as he’s been trying to capture the roadrunner (since 1949), as much energy as he’s spent and effort used, he could have ran to Phoenix by that point and just bought a Tex-Mex burrito.

But ultimately, the coyote’s instincts caused him to chase the roadrunner. It reminds me of a couple years ago when I visited the Nashville Zoo. That’s when I discovered the Red Panda (a distant Asian cousin of the raccoon), which has in turn become one of my favorite animals. I was drawn to this strange friend of Teddy Ruxpin because of its looks alone. Charming little fella.

When I saw him he was crouching, creeping along a log. The exhibit sign said that Red Pandas spend 12 to 15 hours a day looking for food. I starting laughing and couldn’t stop. Knowing that the zoo keepers surely fed him on a routine schedule, still he continued to look for food. Simply his animal instincts.

It’s not easy, being a citizen of the freest and most resourceful country in the world.  Having to fight off urges to obtain more material possessions because of the subconscious motto that excess is best.  For many, that’s what “the pursuit of happiness” means.  Despite all we have, despite our daily feeding, somehow like Wile E. Coyote, the Red Panda, and U2, we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on red pandas, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog”:

dad from day one

Food Fast Companies Use Red And Yellow In Their Logos

Sometimes as an elementary school kid I would just simply luck out. An announcement would come over the brown loudspeaker in class to announce that in the afternoon in the auditorium we would be having a Snake Show. Maybe this is just a northern Alabama thing, I don’t know. But what I do know is the entire school got to skip Social Studies once a year to see The Snake Man share his crazy collection of snakes onstage.

Cobras, water moccasins, racers, and even a giant anaconda which he let a group of volunteers hold in a group effort. Every once in a while, he would purposely (“accidently”) let a snake slither off the display table onto the stage of the floor. And whenever that happened, a piercing scream filled the non air conditioned room as many of the girls (and boys) yelled in terror at the top of their lungs.

The Snake Man defined what it meant to have a backwoods country Southern accent, like the kind State Troopers have in Virginia. He had these old fashioned jokes that he thought were hilarious. And by the 4th grade, I had memorized his routine. When he pulled out the albino rattlesnake, he would always say: “The reason this snake is white is because of lack of pigment in his genes. Now I don’t mean blue jeans…” At the end of the show, he gave us all some tips on how to know which snakes were poisonous and which were not. And I will never forget this:

“Red and black, you can pet his back. Red and yella, will kill a fella.”

After the days of Snake Shows were done, I was part of DECA, a Marketing class and club in high school. I loved it. I was actually good at it. We had competitions and got to travel. In the class I learned some neat behind-the-scenes stuff about advertising. One of the things was this: Fast food restaurants usually only use two colors for their signs: Red and yellow.

A quick Wikipedia search of some of the meanings of these colors is interesting. Red: exit, energy, passion, love. Yellow: Slow, fun, happiness, friendship, hope. A person is driving along, sees the red and yellow sign, and subconsciously thinks, “I need to SLOW down and EXIT here, because I have a PASSIONATE LOVE for that food. It brings me HAPPINESS and HOPE, not to mention ENERGY. And Ronald McDonald is my FRIEND.”

It’s hard to find an exception to the red and yellow fast food sign rule. McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardees (Carl’s Jr.), Krystal, Sonic, In-N-Out Burger, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Wendy’s, Popeye’s, Pizza Hut, Bojangle’s. A Google image search will cease any doubts.

Red and yella will kill a fella. Applies to snakes and food.