93 Articles

Beer Us.

Beer Us.

Catching up

It is the 8th Anniversary of the evening Jim and Melanie met! We talk briefly about that. (For the full-blown version of the story, tune in to our Valentine’s Special on February 11!) We celebrated at Starbucks while preparing for the show.


Melanie did a full presentation on how to insert stories into presentations…to a group of storytellers! This was at a Toastmasters meeting, and it was extremely well received. She is going to be parlaying that into a series of presentations, or at least a video presentation.


Jim is continuing to write (FONTANA Episode 2 will begin soon!), and has 2 auditions coming up. Most importantly he is counting the days until he starts his new position at a company that he thinks will be a better match for him. He’s looking to upgrade his camera equipment, starting with a new lens. is happy and optimistic for the future.

Our newest ad

Inspired by a friend’s Facebook post, here is our newest ad for the CCW Bonus Beer Fund, brought to you by our newest celebrity announcer, Nelly Nuthers. In all seriousness, though, if you like what you hear on our show, please consider sending in a donation, purchasing one of Melanie’s books, or getting a shirt at our CCW Store page. We appreciate your support.

Good news

A big-hearted young boy asked his mom to pack a second lunch for him every day. The reason will inspire you.

Another “good cop” story at a time when it’s just not too common anymore.

Dog Abby

A listener’s boss overreacts to being “given notice.” How should the listener respond? Find out here.



Lead-in music by Purple Planet

Kevin Kostiner

by CCWadmin 0 Comments
Kevin Kostiner

This is a big day for little ol’ CCWise!

We get to interview the one, the only Kevin Kostiner!

…OK, the one, the OTHER only? Well…one of ‘em, anyway. Certainly not the least of them, though! Kevin is the creator and host of the new YouTube channel The Good Ol’ Days. The Past has a Story to Tell™! His episodes are not just blasts from the past, but educational and truly interesting. His Disneyland episode already has more than 5,000 views, and I highly recommend subscribing to his channel.

I met Kevin through LVIP — gotta love that networking — and was instantly taken with his Mike Rowe –esque rugged handsomeness, intellect, and humor.


Twitter: @_TheGoodOlDays_

Instagram: _TheGoodOlDays_

The Paw Stars episode we discussed:

It’s just a job – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
It’s just a job – Dog Abby

Dog Abby:

I was just offered a great new job closer to my home. When I gave my boss notice, I was expecting her to be disappointed. What I didn’t expect was for her to get genuinely upset. She insinuated (no, she flat out said) that I lacked loyalty to the company and to her. She’s a career woman, while I have always thought of my job as a just a means to keep a roof over my head. Her overreaction upset me to the point where we barely speak to each other. This is not how I wanted to spend my last week at the job. How do I make things smoother…or should I bother?

Flustered in Fullerton

Dog Abby paw print


Dear Flustered:

I know Mom and Dad have changed jobs before.  Every time they have, it was to make a better life for themselves and the family — the family meaning me and my kitties. That is more important than anything!  Even bosses they have left are generally happy for them. Even when mom is the boss and her employees leave, she is happy for them, too. It is part of being a grown-up human.

I’m sorry your boss is taking it so personally, because it really is not personal. Maybe you could tell her that. Maybe even tell her that you could still be friends after you leave. If you plan to continue a friendship with your boss after you leave, show her some act of kindness to indicate that it’s nothing personal. Maybe take her out to a thank you dinner or give her a plant or a thoughtful gift card.

When mom and dad moved to Las Vegas, everyone in Seattle was sad, but they still loved us. We were not moving away because we were disloyal or leaving anyone, we went because there were so many great things we were moving toward. All of our real friends still talk with us and sometimes even visit us! I get really excited when my friends and family come to my house, and no one is upset that we left, although we do miss each other. Those that did not care much for us, they do not call us, and we have forgotten them as much as they have forgotten us. That is OK, because we have made a whole bunch of new friends, too many to count.

If you think of your boss as “just a boss” like you consider your job “just a job,” I would not worry too much about how she is acting. After you leave, she will forget you and fade from your memory, too. Do not let her attitude affect yours or what should be a happy and exciting time for you. Congratulations on your new job, and good luck!



Paul Lirette

Paul Lirette

The observational skills of Sherlock Holmes and the lunacy of Robin Williams.”

-Dave Clark


Today’s guest needs no introduction, but I’m going to give him one anyway. He’s a personal hero and one of the world’s most patient human beings — he has to be, he works with improv artists. Paul is the director of the Las Vegas Improvisational Players. He leads the weekly workshops and performs himself both with LVIP and his other troupe, Cardio Spider. He’s a high-powered laser-focused laughter generator with a rubber face and a thought process that only Robin Williams would understand. We’ve been working on getting him on CounterCultureWISE since last July — FINALLY we have him!

Find Paul:




Catching up


It was Jim’s birthday on Thursday, and we used it as an excuse to celebrate all week. Started with buying a new phone, then dinner and drinks on his birthday, again on Saturday with Proof and his wife, and then meeting up with Washington friends today at the same place we went to on his birthday. Also got new Levis and athletic shoes-spoiled little man!


She’s giving a program on storytelling this weekend (see the schedule on for details), and then doing a webinar on leadership for introverts the following Tuesday. She also performed emergency veterinary surgery on our co-host Dog Abby. Abby is healing nicely. She and Jim also did a film shoot, playing a homeless couple.


Good news

Stylish prosthetics for kids — not just prosthetic but bionic! A young woman catches a baseball with her new bionic arm. Pretty darned cool!

A Baltimore City Councilwoman was Car jacked — and then advocated for the perpetrators. You won’t believe what happened next.

Dog Abby

Do you put people on a pedestal…and then covet what they have? Read Abby’s answer here.


Hard Hitting News

We continue with the media’s 24-hour obsession with-er, we mean coverage of- Sh!thole Gate, featuring news anchor Leslie Freaker.





Lead-in music by Purple Planet

Pedestal pushing

Pedestal pushing

Dog Abby,

Why do we as people put others on pedestals then get all jealous because of what they have and we don’t?

Khristina in Kent

Dog Abby paw print


Dear Khristina,

We dogs tend to put ALL of our humans on pedestals, but that is just because they are so wonderful. There is nothing wrong with looking up to people, as long as they are worthy of being looked up to. If you are looking up to someone because you think they are wonderful, then you may aspire to be more like them, and this is a good thing. But, if you are looking up to them because they have something you want — and you just keep looking and never do any aspiring, then that is a bad thing.

I would like to say that jealousy is a strictly human characteristic, but I understand it all too well. Most of the jealousy I have experienced is brief — like when my cat Max is getting the tuna juice and I am not, or when another dog has a ball and I forgot mine at home. I usually forget about it right away and go on to other things. Maybe this is where humans and dogs are the most different.

I have learned that people are not good at living in the moment. Sometimes I will look in my mom’s eyes, and I know that she is thinking about her best friend, Lexy, whom we lost a long time ago. This makes her sad. Other times, I look in her eyes and can tell she is worrying about what might be coming. This can make her sad, too. I do not understand why she does this, though, when we could be having a happy moment. If she would just be there with me in the moment, everything would be fine.

Take it from an old dog who is recovering from a painful surgery and has to wear the cone of shame for the next few days: you will never forget the very bad things, and you will never recognize the very good things while you are experiencing them. If you could swap those two things, life would be a lot more fulfilling.

Maybe if you really thought about people that you put above yourself, you would realize a couple of things about yourself. One, they do not have anything that you cannot have. That is all up to you. Be happy that they are where they are and appreciate the moment that you are in. When you are ready, you can be more like the good things that those people are and have those same things, also. It will look different because nobody is exactly the same, and that is a good thing, too!

The second thing to realize is that to someone else, YOU are the one up on a pedestal. YOU are the one they are watching and want to be like, so you must the absolute best person you can be.

With love,


Golden Retriever in the cone of shame


Collusion Projection

I was beyond hurt when my first husband accused me of cheating. Not only had I never done it, I had never even THOUGHT about doing it. He insisted, he swore, he tore into me every chance he got. He called me horrific names. He threw things at me. He threatened me. No amount of pleading or telling him the truth would satiate him. He took everything I did — from having a job (even though I was the one who paid ALL the bills, since he never worked) to going to church — as a personal insult. He hurt me. He kicked me out.

I. Did. Nothing. Wrong.

While homeless with a broken leg and pneumonia, and after he filed a restraining order against me, I learned that he also had moved in his mistress. So, it was not me who cheated. It was him all along. He is also the one who filed for divorce while I was in the hospital. I found out in the local paper, since he could not be bothered to tell me. Yet, he told everyone I was the “vicious” one.

I’ve seen this in countless scenarios, and now that I am more familiar with the concepts of gaslighting and projecting, I understand that the more someone accuses an innocent person of doing something heinous, the more likely the accuser is actually the offender doing that very thing.

You know, kinda like vociferous homophobes who are secretly gay? Yeah, that.

So I’m just going to say it: RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA!

Was there collusion? Oh, yes! And it wasn’t Trump.

Was there sexual harassment and/or rape? Oh, yes! And it wasn’t Trump.

Did some entity infiltrate the 2016 presidential campaign? Oh, yes! And it wasn’t Trump.

Was there rampant (and blatant) racism? Oh, yes! And it wasn’t Trump.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

~Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

I could go on and on and on…and that’s just politics. I’m not even getting started on Hollywood and the payoffs and the “victims” who allowed, condoned, and perpetuated the Weinstein et al rape culture. Oh, wait — Barack Obama, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, both Clintons, the DNC…I guess that IS politics, after all.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has received $14,200 from Weinstein since the early 2000’s; Cory Booker (D., NJ) has taken $7,800; Kirsten Gillibrand (D., NY) was given $11,800; Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) $5,600; Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn. ) $5,400; Al Franken (D., Minn.) $10,000; Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) $5,000 ; Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) $1,000; Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I. ) $1,000; and Martin Heinrich (D., NM), who has received $5,400 from Weinstein just this year.

Weinstein has contributed six-figure sums to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Weinstein has given more than $100,000 to the DNC while tens of thousands of dollars have gone to the DSCC.

red maga hat

Now, you may be reading this and thinking that I’m a MAGA-hat wearing rapid Trump supporter. Not really. I am a TRUTH supporter, and this guy is not getting a fair shake from these deflectors. I wish he would just shut up on Twitter, honestly. He does not have to defend himself (I know from experience that — especially if you are innocent — it only makes things worse). They are burying themselves. Just pop some corn, sit back, and watch the carnage. Shhh…they’ll all be locked away soon…

The louder the accusers, the more these people are coming out as offenders themselves. The only difference is they only have accusations against Trump, while there is mountains of ACTUAL PROOF against this basket of deplorables.

2018 NYE Edition

2018 NYE Edition

Personal Highlights of 2017


  • Started show! Special thanks to Proof Negative for giving us the chance.
  • Got back into stand-up comedy.
  • Finished the teleplay for FONTANA show. Proud of that.
  • Visit to San Pedro…meant a lot to me. (Both sang the praises of AirBnB)
  • Two same-sex weddings…from now on, they are just “weddings,” regardless of gender.


  • Four webinars for the Lorman Institute – the next one coming up is Management Skills for Introverts: Influencing with Confidence on January 30th (10A PST)
  • Set up the web site for CCW and got that underway
  • Tutored in a wide variety of subjects from AP Chemistry and Geometry to Accounting and American Sign Language
  • Was in TWO ballets
  • Did all 12 LVIP shows
  • Did a benefit show for a local non-profit
  • Got a tattoo. Gonna get another one.
  • Survived visits from each sister (one was fun, the other tried to have me arrested for bare feet)

Goal Setting and Gratitude

Jim talked about freeing up space in both his home and his mind.

Jim believes in the Law of Attraction and why folks are screwing us with their hatred for Trump. He didn’t even vote for the guy, but, geesh, folks — get over it already.

He mentioned Earl Nightingale and the basic concept of what you put out, you get back.

Both discussed being grateful and how it goes against our current culture. (Part of the reason we chose the name of our show.) Nothing in scripture says we should not desire and strive for good things, though some use religion as an excuse not to try. Jim also read from the 10X Rule by Grant Cardone.

Mélanie went over the S.W.I.F.T. Goals program from her books, The Sniper’s Guide to Leadership and the Battle Plan. She invited folks to contact her to start a mastermind, and she’ll send a free copy of the Battle Plan to participants.


Dog Abby

What kind of resolutions do dogs set? Read Abby’s Woofalutions here.



Lead-in music by Purple Planet

The murder of Cinna

The murder of Cinna

In his play, Julius Caesar, Shakespeare writes of Cinna, a gentle poet who loses his life to an angry mob as part of the revolt against Caesar. This story is based on historical fact, as Cinna the conspirator and Cinna the poet were indeed mistaken due to their similar names in 44 B.C. and the poet was murdered simply for his surname.

Ah, the Bard. He knew so much about what was about to come, or perhaps we are simply living up to his low expectations?

Well, it’s happened to me, so I kinda get this poor Cinna fella. I’ve been labelled a racist, a right-wing nut, a member of the KKK, and later even a Nazi. Yep. Little ol’ red-haired, married to a Jew, performs gay weddings ME is now a white-robe wearing Nazi. Know why?

My first name is similar to that of the FLOTUS.

I guess that is all it takes these days.

Let’s never mind that not a single one of these things is true about either the president OR his wife. Witch-hunts abound in this emotionally (though not factually) charged political climate. People troll Facebook so that they can post on OTHER PEOPLE’s feeds (uninvited) and bully anyone who doesn’t either agree with them or shut down in response to their temper-tantrums. This happens to me literally on a daily basis simply because I like to double-check things and look up the actual facts before I decide on something. Even just asking a question has lost me “friends.” Good riddance. I seek friends who are intelligent and grounded — they don’t have to agree with me, as I love a good challenge — they simply have to be…well…not insane.

I’m in good company, though, since every public figure in modern history since the Führer himself has been called Hitler. Literally. Anyone who disagrees with someone else is “literally Hitler.” Trump is “literally Hitler.” Alex Jones is “literally Hitler.” Everyone who voted for Trump is “literally Hitler.”

This particular exchange was so ridiculous that I can’t help but share. She began by calling everyone on a friend’s post a bunch of names…you know, so they would carefully consider her viewpoint. Then, when most ignored her for that, she let loose on the prez in her decidedly intellectual fashion.

When someone asked why she was so upset, she declared war on them. There were no names slung at this point by anyone other than her. I tried not to, God help me, but she was just so…erk! How can you say that WE are racist when YOU are the one who calls the former president monkey-eared? You say that they had class, but would you know what class was if it bit you on your own ear? Yikes.

Of course, being the intellectual she is, she quickly does a fact-check…

She then goes on to stalk me by IM. She was not smart enough to figure out how to attach whatever it was she was ranting about.

Then she pops up on my own site – even my stir-fry is eeeeeevil.

As you can see, Trump Derangement Syndrome is real. It’s perverse, intellectually lazy, and dangerous. Just like another mental ailment, folks who suffer from TDS hear voices in their head (such as CNN, Huff Post, and other propaganda machines) and BELIEVE they are real and what they have to say makes sense. Scary. Then they act out on the insanity that is floating around in their muddled brains and act as if anyone who questions them and their fantasy world — even just to compare it to reality — is crazy.

The unfortunate Cinna becomes a victim just because he has the same name as one of the conspirators. He is desperate to prove that he is not one of them, but his pleas fall on deaf ears. The crowd is driven not by reason, but by rage. Sound familiar?

How long before TDS causes these folks to start stabbing innocents due to their blinding rage? Oh, wait, that’s already happening.

Happy; Not Gay – Dog Abby

by Abigail Hope 0 Comments
Happy; Not Gay – Dog Abby

Dog Abby:

I was recently invited to a girl’s night out with a couple of co-workers. During the course of the evening, a co-worker blurted out that a rumor had been going around that I was gay. I was floored at hearing this, and managed to simply state that am straight. I held it together long enough to say goodbye, but I drove home in a rage. I realize that I am not the most feminine woman in the office, but this is ridiculous! I try to keep my personal life separate from my work life, and frankly, none of that is anyone’s business anyway! Do these people not have enough work to do? Or am I overreacting?

Angry in Altoona

Dog Abby paw print


Dear Angry:

I am always really happy when friends come to visit. When I get this happy, I get really close to them so they can pet my head and give me belly rubs. Dad calls this “getting up in their grill,” but I am not sure what he means. (I have heard them say they have dogs on the grill, but they have never put ME up there.) One thing Mom taught me when I was a puppy is to respect it when people say, “back off.” If someone does not want me that close to them, all they have to do is say, “back off” — they don’t even have to yell or explain why. I will then back to a respectable distance so my friend is no longer uncomfortable.

Because I am very red for a Golden Retriever, people often ask my mom if I am an Irish Setter. While I was born on St. Patrick’s Day, so mom says I am an honorary Irish, I am not a Setter, I am a Retriever. Mom lets them know and they usually just nod and smile, and we can still be nice to each other. I don’t get upset that they got their Setters and Retrievers mixed up, because we are just acquaintances and it was an honest mistake. If we were to become friends, then they would know me better, and it would not be an issue at all. As a dog, we get called “boy” all the time, even if we are not boys. I don’t get upset about that, either, because these are people who don’t know me yet.

It looks like your coworker got a little too close, and it is okay to say, “back off.” You do not need to be angry, though, because you already said you do not consider them friends. Friends would not spread rumors, so I recommend you don’t become friends, either. You do not need those type of people in your life. As far as protecting your reputation — who cares if people you don’t really know or care about are sure whether you are a Setter or a Retriever. When they matter to you, then it will matter to them.

Love, Abby