Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Psychology of Color

I've noticed that some people have fancy and colorful blogs. Mine is pretty basic. I was thinking of spicing it up with a little more color. I love color and enjoy learning how it affects emotions and marketing. (Yes, I enjoy learning how to manipulate people.) As a public service, I will be sharing some information on this topic that I researched several years ago. Here is a list of some popular colors and what subtle messages are often associated with them.

Blue-Calming, tranquility, sky, water, purity, loyalty, and stability. You'll notice I use blue in Chaka's world to put my readers into a trance and make them hang around my pages longer. Okay, maybe it doesn't work after all.
Black-Elegance, sophistication, evil, death, mourning, authority, power, and the night. I chose this theme for The Movie Guy despite many people not liking to read against a black background.
Purple- Royalty, nobility, mystery, magic, and sophistication. When I hear the word purple, for some reason I always think of Prince.
Red-Hot, dangerous, passion, courage, energy, sexy, intensity, speed, and love. Fire engines, Valentines, power ties, and sports cars come to mind.
Green-Money, environment, nature, organic, growth, fertility, youth, and safety. This color has been riding a huge popularity wave recently and I'll bet the other colors are jealous.
Yellow-(Yellow doesn't show up on a white background, but you know what it looks like.) It represents sunshine, happiness, optimism, energy, being light hearted, and cowardice.
Silver-Maturity, intelligence, security, and old age.
Orange-Sunshine, warmth, endurance, harvest, and the Fall.
Pink- Femininity, innocence, and freshness. It has a tranquilizing effect. Some teams paint the opposing team's locker room pink.
White-The only color that shows up worse on a white background than yellow. It represents purity, cleanliness, sacredness, and sterility.
Brown-Labor, simplicity, earth, outdoors, reliable, and being genuine.

I'm sure you've hear most of these before, but once you are more aware of what these colors represent, it is interesting to see how professional decorators and marketers utilize color to reach and influence people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Picture of the Month February 2010

Not the best Photoshop work, but I still did a double take when I saw it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Squeaky Shoes

I am a penny pincher when it comes to footwear. I usually buy the least expensive shoes I can find. Over the past 5 years I have resorted to buying cheap $10.95 shoes from Walmart. They don't last very long, but I can afford to buy 2 or 3 pair a year, for less money than most people pay for a pair of shoes. I'm not into the status of designer brands and I don't consider myself a vain person, but sometimes I feel a little intimidated when I'm wearing such cheap shoes.

My one exception to buying cheap shoes is for running or sports. I have always bought pretty basic basketball shoes, but when I ran marathons, I invested in decent shoes so I wouldn't be permanently disabled by the time I finished the race.

Last week I saw a guy at the gym wearing a pair of what I recognized to be the Walmart cheapies which I have worn in the past. I felt a close brotherhood to him that can only be rivaled by men who have spent time in fox holes together. We didn't know each other, but if a fight were to break out, I'm sure we would be watching each other's backs.

Anyway, back to my story. The last time I bought shoes I actually splurged and upgraded to the $24.00 model. This shoe didn't look like an old woman's orthopedic corrective shoe. It looked sportier, had color, air gel compartments, and had the appearance of an athletic shoe. (see the picture above.) I was feeling pretty good about these shoes, but sometime over the last month both of my shoe's air gel compartments got punctured, so now they make a squeaky noise which sounds like a mix between a rubber duck and a whoopee cushion each time I take a step. It's not so bad on carpet, but if I'm on a hard surface or if my shoes are wet, it can be embarrassing. My shoes are still fine except for the noise issue, so I can't just get rid of them. I have resorted to walking slowly on the sides of my feet in a bull legged fashion to minimize the noise and draw less attention to myself. In case you were wondering, walking like that kind of defeats the purpose.

So the next time you see someone walking bull legged, making squeaky toot sounds with each step, don't feel bad for them. They probably saved a lot of money when they bought their shoes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I have always enjoyed comedy shows. I haven't really watched Saturday Night Live regularly for years, since it is not as funny as it used to be. My favorite comedy show was SCTV. I started watching it when I was still in Elementary school. It used to come on late Friday nights and I remember how bummed I was when it was taken off the air and its time slot was replaced by a new show called Late Night with David Letterman back in mid 80's. (Yes I am old.)

I have mixed feelings about promoting S.C.T.V. because many people I tell about the show just don't get it or don't appreciate the humor. I think it is an acquired taste. The low budget and the unnecessary laugh track never helped my cause either. Most of skits were funny, but there were also some real masterpieces.

All the performers were very talented. The cast included John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine Ohara, Rick Moranis, Andrea Martin, Dave Thomas, Joe Flaherty, and Martin Short. Why are there so many funny Canadians? Some of the more popular characters included Edith Prickley, Ed Grimley, Count Floyd, and Bob and Doug McKenzie. My favorites were: Yosh and Stan Schmenge, Bobby Bitman, Rocko from Days of the Week, Jackie Rogers Jr., 5 Neat Guys, and Dr. Tongue.

The show featured funny celebrity imitations and brutal parodies of shows like Fantasy Island, The Godfather, Towering Inferno, Chariots of Fire, Body Heat, and Oceans Eleven. I also loved battle of the PBS Network Stars and CCP1. They also made great spoofs of artsy foreign films. Before Sprockets, there was "Whispers of the Wolf" spoofing Ingmar Bergman films.
Here is a clip from Merv Griffin which also takes on 2001, War of the Worlds, and Close Encounters. Sorry for the poor quality.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Car Window Decals and Bumper Stickers

At the request of a friend, I am going to address the topic of car window decals and bumper stickers. I'm sure at some time, you have pulled up to a traffic light and seen a decal on the rear windshield of the car in front of you. There are a variety of stickers that people love to decorate their vehicles with. I thought I'd categorize a few of them for you.

The cute family stick figure decals. It is always helpful to know how many people are in a family in case there is an impending accident and you have to make a split second decision about which car to crash into. Choosing to crash into the vehicle with the fewest stick figures on the rear window is the more noble choice since it means a potentially hurting fewer people.

Calvin peeing on stuff. This decal and it's many variations have been around forever. It's usually a Chevy/Ford feud or something similar. Nothing classes up vehicle and indicates a drivers refinement like a cartoon character urinating on stuff.

The sport team sticker. These include Lakers, Yankees, Broncos, etc. Despite an abundance of College and professional teams to choose from, there is nothing too exciting about these. You either immediately endear or alienate other drivers in a split second, depending on their sporting tastes.

The tough guy/patriotic sticker. These include: I Support our troops, Marine Corps, and NRA logos. Do you think I'd dumb enough to make fun of people who are most likely packing? No comment.

Political and environmental stickers. Get us out of the UN, Save the earth, go green, etc. I respect everyones right to express their political interests, but at least keep it current. If you still have a Mondale/Ferraro or a Bush/Quayle sticker, then it's probably time to get a new car.

Proud parent of an honor student. I suppose these can provide some positive attention for their kids, but I'm not a huge fan. Maybe I'm just jealous my parents couldn't qualify for this sticker. I once saw a bumper sticker on an old beater car that said "My son can beat up your honor student". I thought it was very immature...yet funny.

Some people might wonder why decorating should stop at windows, and bumpers. One of the classic statements you can make with your vehicle are the playboy bunny or hot naked chick silhouette mudflaps on trucks. I think there is probably a high correlation between many of these enthusiasts and people who wear T-shirts with catchy messages on them like "I'm with Dummy, or FBI-Female Body Inspector. I'm just guessing.

I drive a 15 year old van that has been missing it's hubcaps for over 4 years. It is the P.O.S. model and it keeps me humble, but I am still reluctant to plaster stickers all over my vehicles. Maybe I just haven't seen the right one yet. If you are guilty of having a bumper sticker that just doesn't cut it anymore, you should be grateful that it's not a tattoo and you can still remove it or upgrade to something cool like "I love Chaka's World."

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Winter Olympics

It's always exciting when the Olympics roll around. I enjoy watching athletes from around the world compete and seeing their inspiring stories, but I have to admit that I feel a little bit sorry for the Winter Olympics. They just don't do it for me. I'm guessing others probably feel the same unless they are really into winter sports. The Winter games are kind of like a tame version of the "real" Summer Olympics. I doubt the ancient Greeks did much curling back in their day.

The Summer Olympics are like Britney Spears, and the Winter Olympics are like her little sister who's name I can't even remember. The Summer games are like Star Wars while the Winter games are like the Clone Wars cartoon movie. The SG are like Christmas, but the WG are like Columbus Day. The SG are like Fonzie and the WG are like Ralph Mouth. You get my point.

I don't mean any disrespect to any of the amazing athletes who have worked hard to be able to compete in the Olympics. I know there are great stories behind the athletes, but I just wish the events they participate in were more exciting. I'd much rather watch basketball, track and field, boxing, gymnastics, volleyball or swimming than cross country skiing, hockey, bobsledding, or snowman making.

I hope I don't offend any readers from Canada, Sweden, Germany, or other dominant Winter Olympic countries. They will have the last laugh when the games are over. At least I have the Jamaicans on my side.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mixed Martial Arts

I have never resorted to re-runs on this blog before, but I was recently looking over some old posts and saw there there was only one post that never received a comment. I guess this would be a good one to use for an "encore presentation."

I remember seeing the first Ultimate Fighting Championship fights in the mid 90's and at first I was shocked and almost appalled at how violent and brutal they were. I remember saying to myself "It's only a matter of time until they give them weapons and they fight to the death". However; I was intrigued with the concept of having different martial artists fighting each other and demonstrating what the strengths and weaknesses of each discipline were. It was pretty cool to see sumo wrestlers, boxers, Greco roman wrestlers, submission fighters, kick boxers, street fighters, Jujitsu, Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do black belts facing off against each other. During the first few years of interest I thought I was just going through a phase, but I would still have to rate mixed martial arts (UFC) as my third favorite sport behind basketball and football.

When it first started, the sport was too barbaric. The only rules were no biting or eye gauging. Besides that anything was pretty much fair game. Many of the fighters that lost got pummelled long after they were knocked out. Today the sport is well regulated, much safer, and extremely entertaining. In time it will totally replace one dimensional boring boxing matches and the stupid theatrics of the WWF which is just a soap opera with the entire cast on steroids . Mixed Martial Arts is exciting because there are so many directions a match can go. Participants can win by the judges decision, knockout, submission (tap out), or the referee or ring doctor stopping the match. Today you no longer see 175 lb. guys fighting 320 lb. guys. There are weight brackets just like wrestling and boxing and many new rules to keep the participants from being seriously injured. The fights are stopped as soon as they feel a fighter can no longer effectively defend himself or if his health is in question.

One thing that really impresses me about the sport is the respect that most fighters have for each other. There are still rivals and bad feelings between fighters, but for the most part you can watch two guys fight each other for 25 minutes, and as soon as the final horn sounds they will be hugging and complimenting each other. I have never seen so many extreme examples of good sportsmanship in any other sport, although I have noticed a decline in this area over the past few years. There are many other wanna be fight organizations, oversees groups, back alley, and underground operations which I can not vouch for, but I think the UFC rocks.

When the sport began, Royce Gracie surprised everyone by beating opponents much larger and more intimidating than him with his submission work. After years of him dominating the sport, those with better wrestling backgrounds dominated and it became obvious that you had to have good grappling skills to complete with the strikers. Today the best fighters are well rounded in kicking, striking, wrestling, and submission. UFC fighters are also some of the best conditioned and disciplined athletes I have seen in any sport. My favorite fighters to watch have been/are: Joyce Gracie, Randy Couture, Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin, and Chuck Liddel.

So this is my public service announcement for next time you hear about mixed martial arts, don't immediately dismiss it as a senseless violent sport. It is violent, but there is a lot more to it than that. Although you may be apprehensive initially as I was, you may learn to tolerate it and eventually grow to embrace it. Hmm.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Power of Words

Words are very powerful, so I am surprised, yet glad we don't need a license to use them. A dictionary can be like an arsenal if you choose your words right. Just ask a salesman or politician how important word choice is. Sometimes it bothers me to hear people dance around in circles with their extensive vocabulary and never really say anything or take a stand. This sort of hollow talk is always useful if you intend to change your position and don't ever want to offend any particular group of voters.

I don't want to get off on a political tangent so let's return to the topic of words. I have a limited vocabulary and there are some words that I like the sound of and there are also many I dislike. Here are some words that I like the sound of, but I never use them.


A name that I think is interesting, but just don't understand is Preakness. I'm not into horse racing at all, but I think the Preakness is a weird name. It sounds more like an All Star Wrestler's name than an equestrian event.

Here are some lame words I refuse to use:

I'd like to know what words you like and which ones you hate. I will now turn the time over to my valued readers and the comment box.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Groaner Jokes

I'm not a fan of Laffy Taffy. I don't like the artificial taste or the lame jokes that follow after my kids open one up. Most of the jokes are horrible. You might expect to hear something like this: What time is it when you go to the dentist? Tooth Hurty. Their jokes are so bad that they give me confidence to share an original lame jokes I made up years ago. What do you call it when several people riding in a car together drive into a tunnel and get dizzy? Carpool tunnel syndrome.

Warning: The following paragraph will make you groan after reading it. Proceed at your own risk.

Most people agree that Gandhi was an amazing man. We know that he shunned technology and often walked long distances barefoot which gave him callouses. He had great wisdom and came across as a mystical sage when he spoke. He was also known for making great sacrifices including fasting frequently, which can give one bad breath. He was not a man of great physical stature and would get sick and frail from his prolonged fasts. If you combine all of these attributes you might describe him as a "Super Calloused Fragile Mystic Plagued with Halitosis".

No offense to Gandhi, but the word play fits. I'm sorry, but I'm too busy to come up with a good post this morning.