Career businessman tying a tie close-up

4 simple tips for a successful career

This is it! Your first day of work. Soon, you’ll be the boss of this place. You’re a go-getter! You’re a jet-setter! There’s no one better!

Except, you’re none of those things. You’ve cheated your way through the job interview by simply quoting passages from Glengarry Glen Ross and Jerry Maguire. Your CV is just a printout of the first image that came up after you typed “Successful people CV how it looks need asap today lol” into Google.

Oh God, you’re a fraud! In a matter of days, they’ll uncover your clever ruse and find out that you don’t even know what a “Harvard” or a “university” is.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Following these simple tips for a successful career will help even a complete amateur like you climb the career ladder, one sham at time.

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Donald Trump speaking at a podium

Trump says “Hey! What’s going on?!”

By now, few have not commented on Donald Trump and his bid for the highest office in the US. Depending on where you stand on the political spectrum, Trump is either a messiah or the literal reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.

Some say Donald Trump is the only one brave enough to say what most people are thinking. Some point out that he’s simply exploiting deep-seated fears to score easy political points. Others think Trump is a glorified troll.

“Poppycock!” I say.

Trump is neither an evil mastermind nor a wise savior. Instead, I’m starting to suspect Trump is actually just a confused man who deserves our compassion. He often has trouble grasping basic things and genuinely fails to understand what’s going on.

This isn’t me slandering Trump, by the way. Trump always readily admits to his near-constant state of bewilderment. His earnest attempts to make sense of the world around him are the driving force behind everything Trump does.

Here are some chosen Trump quotes:

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

statement on preventing Muslim immigration.

I see why Trump would get confused. This is difficult. Many people practice Islam. Most people who practice Islam are good people. Some people who practice Islam are bad people. What does it all mean?!

I’ll try to help: What’s going on is that there are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority of whom are pretty regular human beings instead of crazy caricatures you might’ve seen in a cartoon once. They overwhelmingly despise ISIS and other terrorist groups.

There’s also a violent minority of malevolent douchebags (see ISIS) that hijack the religion for their own purposes and use it to justify murder. They’re awful.

Most of us understand this distinction and ask how we can zero in on the source of the problem, prevent people from getting radicalized, and punish those directly responsible for committing crimes.

There’s also an angry minority that believes the answer to fixing a bad tooth is bashing a person’s whole face in with a sledgehammer. They propose policies like indiscriminate, blanket bans on whole groups of people.

“We have a president who refuses to use the term. Refuses to say it. There is something going on with him that we don’t know about.”

– on Obama’s refusal to use the term “Radical Islamic terrorism”

That’s true. For example, we have no idea what Obama’s favorite color of underwear is or which character he got in the “What Star Wars character are you?” quiz.

As for why Obama avoids saying the words “Radical Islamic terrorism,” there are actually several well-articulated reasons, like not granting legitimacy to terrorists who explicitly try to paint this as a war of religions and not alienating potential US allies through clumsy choice of words.

Obama is the president of a major country and has to balance an intricate web of international relations, weighing the long-term implications of his words and actions. His rhetoric must by definition be more nuanced than “HULK SEE BAD GUY! HULK SMASH!”

I can see why someone like Jeb Bush finds comfort in reducing this complexity to three words, and why he gets outraged when Obama tiptoes around the topic by saying Muslim-friendly things like:

Americans understand we fight not a religion; ours is not a campaign against the Muslim faith. Ours is a campaign against evil.

And…

Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.

Except those quotes are not from Obama. They are what George W. Bush repeatedly said after 9/11. Man, the Christmas reunion at the Bush house will be tense!

But I do understand where Trump’s confusion stems from.

“…she responded to her friends. And you know what friends we’re talking about. Sort of an interesting friend going on there. A lot of people don’t get that.”

– on Hillary Clinton’s handling of Benghazi

You win this round, Trump. I actually genuinely have no idea what’s going on in that quote.

“You know, there’s something definitely going on. I don’t know that that question can be answered. It could be answered two ways. It could be answered both ways. But there’s something going on there. There’s something that there’s a lot of hatred coming out of, at least a big part of it. You see the hatred. I mean, we see it every day.”

– on whether Islam is inherently violent

Trump isn’t sure if the right answer is “basically impossible to answer” or “there are two possible ways to answer” or even “both answers are correct.” But he has no doubt that something’s going on and that he has no clue what it is. Some hatred. Somewhere. It’s complicated.

“I watched in Jersey City where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. So something is going on. We’ve got to find out what it is.”

– on people’s reactions after 9/11

Right, Trump, something is indeed going on. Here’s what it is:

The Internet is a place where people share information. Sometimes, that information is factually correct. Other times, not so much. The Internet makes it easy for like-minded people to latch on to any information—whether it’s true or false—and build a community around it. You may have unwittingly fallen victim to this.

The memory implanted in your head likely stems from an MTV report that talked about a group of loud teenagers who were smashing public property and chanting hateful things. Your claim of mass celebrations in New Jersey by “thousands and thousands of people” has been debunked again and again and again.

So, yeah, something is going on. That something is that Trump is mistaking a barely substantiated and greatly exaggerated rumor for an actual, vivid memory. The poor man.

“When you had the World Trade Center go, people were put into planes that were friends, family, girlfriends, and they were put into planes and they were sent back, for the most part, to Saudi Arabia. They knew what was going on. They went home and they wanted to watch their boyfriends on television.”

– on WTC attackers and their families

Oh, man, you’re doing it again! Reading conspiracy sites. They’ll get you, if you’re not careful. What we do know is that the 9/11 Commission concluded that most hijackers were single, and those that were didn’t have their partners in the US before the attack.

As you see, while it’s easy to paint Trump as some master of manipulation, he’s really just a man who doesn’t quite know what’s going on and wants everyone to stop and explain it to him. Donald Trump is the guy in the room who asks, “Wait, if Bruce Willis was dead the whole time, how was he talking to that weird kid?” when you get to the final scene in the The Sixth Sense.

This is why I posit that Trump deserves our sympathy and understanding. In fact, I suggest we change his campaign slogan from “Make America Great Again” to “Hey! What’s going on?!”

Stop giving Trump such a hard time! At least until we find out exactly what’s going on with him.

Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore

Superman figure with red cape

Search Term Roulette: “Defective superpowers” edition

I believe it was Google’s co-founder Larry Page who once famously said, “Seek and ye shall find!” People have been seeking ever since.

It’s not always clear what people are seeking, however. Google’s algorithms are good, but people’s collective ability to come up with gibberish search terms is so, so much better.

When Google can’t match people’s word puzzles to actually useful pages, it sends them to my decidedly unuseful blog. That strategy is bad for Google itself, the seekers, and humanity as a whole, but it gives me plenty of fodder for endless quarterly search term roulette posts. The winter season is here, and so is yet another installment of “Search terms that bring people to my blog against all odds and reason.”

Superpower spell must work

Indeed. Like most things, a superpower spell must work. Non-working superpower spells are a waste of money and can lead to plenty of disappointment and even embarrassment. Like that time my invisibility spell malfunctioned when I was doing, uh, research at the all-female…you know what? Never mind. But—yes—superpowers must work.

Very fucking saucy sex messages received

Congrats, bro!

Fuck nostalgia

Yeah! Freaking nostalgia, man. Getting us all depressed and homesick and all that. Nobody likes you, nostalgia. Why don’t you just go home?! The home where I grew up, where my mom made her special-recipe chocolate-and-cookie cake, where I spent days outside with my friends playing hide-and-seek. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. I miss those days so mu– FUCK YOU, NOSTALGIA!

White rapper with orange hair

Slim Top! Shady Carrot! Yes, those are the only two ways I can think to combine Carrot Top and Eminem without repeating myself.

How to respond when he says your sexy

If you want to be annoying, you can start by telling him that “your” is spelled “you’re.” If the Internet has taught me anything, it’s that everyone loves a Grammar Nazi.

How do I write about a scam?

There are many ways to write about a scam. You could pick a dialogue-driven approach and give your characters—scammer and scammee—distinct personalities and dialects. You could write a whole screenplay. You could write a serious statistical analysis of scams received by various demographics. You could even answer to scammers and troll them like this guy.

Super powers found and magic spells and money

That’s just how it goes. You’re walking around the city, when you stumble into a superpower and you’re like, “This is a good day. I just found a superpower. Nice!” Later on, you see someone drop a magic spell. You run to pick it up, chase after them, but they’re like, “No thanks, I don’t want it back.” So now you have a superpower and a magic spell, and you’re thinking, “Sweet! This day just got better!”

In the evening, you’re warming up a sandwich for yourself using your newfound heat vision, when you suddenly see something shimmer in the corner behind the sofa. So you use your “Levitatum” spell to lift the sofa in the air, and right there on the floor is a shiny new nickel! Are you the luckiest person in the world, or what?!

Wow, I really got invested in that story.

Do shamans know their father son the Antichrist?

Oh wow! He’s their father and their son?! I love The Jerry Springer Show. It’s always so full of surprises!

How to show a girl that I am also interested in sex through text messages innocently

Dark room. Midnight. Shadowy figure crouched over a smartphone, tapping at the screen.

“I am also interested in sex. [Smiley face]”

Nah. Too obvious. Delete.

“Would you like to meet for some non-sexual activities that may eventually lead to…”

What’s wrong with me?! Delete!

“My steadfast tin soldier would like to visit your army barracks!”

What the fuck does that even mean?! This is ridiculous! Delete!

“Have you seen that episode on the Animal Planet where…”

Oh my God. I am just so hopeless! Delete!

*Just a GIF of Mr. Bean doing the hip thrusting dance*

I can’d do this anymore. I really can’t. Google, help!

Ball attached to handle with barbed wire as a self-defense weapon

Handle covered in barbed wire? What are you, Silas from The Da Vinci Code? That sounds like a terrible self-defense weapon!

*Man appears and whispers something into my ear*

Oh! Oooooooooh! Spiked metal ball attached with barbed wire to a steel handle? Why didn’t you just say so?! I don’t have that specific design, but here you go.

Christmas lights

A wondrous tale of Christmas lights

We now have Christmas lights on our street!

Yaaaaaay!

Well, “Christmas lights.” They look like this:

Christmas lights on our street

Yaaaay?

I’m not kidding, by the way. That’s the Christmas setup on our street here in Copenhagen.

Look, I’m really not one to judge. My idea of getting into the Christmas spirit involves changing my desktop background to a picture of semi-nude Santa riding a baby blue unicorn. (Don’t ask.) I’m pretty damn terrible at decorating for Christmas, is what I’m saying.

But…do these Christmas lights strike you as satisfactory? Do they elicit feelings of joy and wonder? Not really, right?

I don’t want to speculate on the decision process that led to this half-baked display of indifference, but I’m quite sure it went something like this:

“So, how will we decorate the street for Christmas this year? Giant Christmas tree with a life-size Santa and lots of flashing Christmas lights and ornaments?!”

“Nah, we’ll put some lights on the trees.”

“Oooooh, great idea! We’ll cover every branch with string lights, so that at night it looks like each tree is glowing!”

“Nah, just, like, two lights per tree.”

“Uh, okay. So, big, flashing lights in the shape of a star or Rudolph’s nose?”

“Just two simple, purple lights. We’re going for more of a ‘landing strip at a deserted airport’ vibe.”

“Fine, I guess. So, two lights per tree, and–”

“Make it every third or fourth tree. Let’s not get carried away now.”

“I just…man…okay. Is there any chance we don’t have to make them look like unfeeling, unblinking Eyes of Sauron?

*Silent stare*

“No? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Whatever you say, Grinch, you’re the boss.”

Man with blue question marks

Get your trivia over here…or don’t

Hello there, fellow Earthling and occasional reader of Nest Expressed.

How are you? Oh, really? No way! He did what?! That bastard!

I’m glad we had this talk. We should do it again sometime.

Also, I’ve started a little side project on WordPress.com: a daily publication called “Gimme The Gist.”

My aim is to post a short piece of trivia every day. Then again, I once had an aim to slowly write a serial novel, and that stalled after two chapters, so let’s not get crazy here. No, seriously—don’t get crazy. Climb down from that tree, you nutter! I can’t take you anywhere nice anymore. Sheesh.

As I was saying, before your kooky shenanigans rudely interrupted my train of thought, I post daily trivia now. I keep each story ultrashort—200 words max, so you can get wiser in the course of a single trip to the bathroom. It’s the refined human’s alternative to Candy Crush Saga and Flappy Bird. But each post ends with a few links to other sources that give you more to chew on. Don’t! Put that down! I meant “chew on” as a figure of speech. What’s wrong with you?! You’re unbelievable!

This here blog continues as is. Nothing changes. We’re still friends. I’m just seeing other sites now, too. We were never exclusive.

So, if you enjoy trivia on a wide range of topics including cubic watermelons,laughter epidemics, and nitpicky rants about how Arnold Schwarzenegger accidentally helped the bad guy in Terminator 2, then maybe “Gimme The Gist” is for you.

If you enjoy sharing trivia with your friends, then maybe you should not wait for me to finish this sentence because you know what I’m getting at.

With that said, have a wonderful day. Happy belated Thanksgiving to those who celebrate.

Silhouette of a man's face

We all know who the terrorists are

I might offend some people, but it has to be said.

I think it’s time we called a spade a spade.

It’s very clear from the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, over Egypt, and elsewhere that all these terrorists have one thing in common:

They all wear shoes.

I know, I know. Not all people who wear shoes are terrorists. I’m not implying they are.

In fact, some of my good friends wear shoes. Many shoe-wearers are polite, considerate people like you and I.

But still…when so many shoe lovers out there are committing crimes, one has to wonder, right?

Worst of all, I didn’t hear any sneaker fans speaking out against the attacks. If they don’t agree with them, why don’t they make a public apology on behalf of all boot-wearing people everywhere? Why haven’t giant shoe peddlers like Nike and Adidas issued a statement about this? It’s quite suspicious! It’s as if they’re passively encouraging terror.

That’s why I don’t think footwear users belong in our civilized society. It’s obvious now that many of them are here to harm us. Our policy of embracing multishoeism has failed. We would be safer if they were somewhere else.

As such, I propose we deny citizenship to any person found wearing shoes. They should all go back to their home countries, wherever they may be.

You might hate me for saying this. You might even call me a shoeist. But someone had to have the courage to single out a group of people and point an angry finger at them!

Might as well be me.

***

I leave you with an older video of Reza Aslan, a man far more educated on these topics than I am, highlighting the dangers of generalizing:

You can help the victims of Paris attacks here. You can help refugees here.

Good and evil mask

On humans and monsters

Whenever tragedy strikes, we’re reminded that we live in a world of “us” and “them.” A world of humans and monsters.

Humans and monsters have nothing in common.

Humans are driven by love, compassion, and a firm belief that we all deserve to live in a better, more peaceful world. Monsters are driven by fear, hate, and willingness to hurt others in pursuit of their own goals.

To a human, every other life is precious and must be preserved. A monster thinks only the chosen few are afforded that luxury.

Humans heal, nurture, and open their hearts to those in need, whether it be a sick person or a refugee. Monsters destroy, murder, and bring suffering to those they despise, slaughtering innocents and setting asylum centers on fire.

Humans have the wisdom and courage to look past things that don’t matter—race, religion, gender—and see others as humans, too.

Monsters only see other monsters.

Perhaps the scariest part? We all have a monster lurking in us, waiting to point fingers and take anger out on others. The only difference is that humans have learned to silence that monster, while monsters have let it consume them.

Every day, you wake up with a choice: To give in to the monster or to continue being a human.

Keep making the right one.

You can help the victims of Paris attacks here. You can help refugees here.