Monday, December 31, 2012

Free Writing - Highlights of a Bad Year

During even the roughest of years, there is somethings that shine. Grandma's 99th birthday!  Almost a year later and she's hanging on for the big one. Can't wait. Laughing with her and my father.  Old stories, I've heard 100 times and they never get old.  A text Christmas morning. One text, that is all I received, I sent probably 50.  Only two people sent to me first all day. Maybe it's me.  Good friends, lost loves. My fault as always.  Hospital bed, feeling sick, but a week away from the world was invigorating.  Unexpected people stepping up and expected people stepping down.  Seeing my kids the afternoon after a tragedy.  Tears held back, but needed to see them laughing and playing to heal.  Dancing til all hours with complete strangers. Laughing at the silliness of others taking their flirtations so seriously. Life is so simple when you don't try so hard to be someone you're not or someone you think the other person wants you to be.  Connecting with an old friend on a new, higher level.  More than a smile or a nod, but a hello or a joke.  Old friends who are always there, who know me, they are so few and so rare.  Their health scares worried me more than my own.  Trying to learn from my mistakes and I think I'm finally getting the gist of it.  A day of family, fun, food.  A fire roaring, then faintly crackling as the flames dwindled. I lay, alone, the quiet house creaking as I lay in bed.  A couch in the middle of the living room, lit by the almost auburn tinge of the snowy sky.  I glance over the sheets to catch the last ember's glow slowly fade, putting an end to the evening, the holidays and in many ways this year.  I sleep. Ah, sleep.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions - Yeah Right

Each year, we all make a list. It's a dumb list of things we need to give up or have to try.  In writing the list, we make the efforts ahead of us much bigger than they have to be.  We make the simplest things seem insurmountable, because we tie them in with major changes or accomplishments.  I have spent most of 2000-2012 doing for others. Don't misinterpret this as me complaining about not having time or chances to do things for me.  That is not what I'm saying.  What I am saying is that, while it may appear I'm carefree and do what I want, the reality is, I find myself always being the one asked for a hand to help, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.  When the roles are reversed, most times the needy are no longer there, because they have what they need and are too busy.

In 2013, I'm going to say no a lot more. I'm going to pick and choose those I am there for, with the understanding that caring is a two way street.  In the past twenty years, I have helped people move about 40 times (this just roughly off the top of my head), but when I moved, one tiny UHaul truck, I had asked a few for help.  Nobody showed. When my mother was sick and passed away, the number of people who reached out was few, but those people stepped up ten times more than I expected.  When I was going through certain things over the past two years, the people who reached out we a combination of old reliables and surprising face.  Those are the people I want to surround myself with.

So this isn't a threat or meant to demean anyone, but if you find yourself reaching out and there is no reception, please don't be offended.  Look into that proverbial mirror and ask yourself why the person who is always there, isn't.  It doesn't mean I don't like you, it just means our relationship has become so one-sided  I feel a need to balance it out.  I learned something from my parents a long time ago and that was to always give what you can and never expect anything in return. It's taken me 42 years to realize they were beautiful and wise people.  It's also taken me this long to realize, their teaching were the exact opposite from what everyone elses parents were teaching their kids.  Be the best, to the winner goes the spoils and other sickening cliches are the norm.  I'm still going to be a giving person in 2013, but to those that deserve it and need it, not to those that ask for it, never intending to be there when I need them.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Goodbye 2012 - A Look Back

2012 was in no uncertain terms, one of the worst for me personally.  Obviously, losing my mother, grandparents and a sister (sort of) was more difficult, but for me, just me, this was the worst year of my life.  I had to depend on others, I was in the hospital and way too many people I cared about died or had loved ones die. This year proved to me that getting older sucks.  I'm not going to dwell on that though. I'm going to look back on the good parts.

The best part of this year has been the time I've spent with family. I don't think I've ever been closer to my father, my brother or my grandmother.  I'm more distant with cousins and such than ever, but the core of who I am and why I'm the way I am is here, aside from my mother.  My mother would have been 70 this year and I cried a lot over her.  That being said, I laughed a lot more with family than I ever could have imagined.  I value them more than ever and they were there for me in so many ways when I needed it.

While some may see this as a negative, I also realized that we're alone in this world for the most part.  I needed to realize that.  Everyone is so concerned with themselves, but hide it behind this veneer of compassion.  I've come to realize that more people care about others to make themselves feel better than the person in need.  I won't go into specifics, because outing certain friends isn't my point, but when you need a pat on the back for showing compassion and call others out for not doing as you do, you don't get it.  Random acts of kindness aren't random if you need to be rewarded and praised for them.

Certain people, some very unexpected were truly there for me.  I hope I can return the favor should they need a lift in life. People who I thought would be there were at times, but it's a few who really showed me their true, beautiful colors that made the difference.  Should I ever need them, I'd almost feel guilty to ask, but hope they never hesitate.

My love life was put on hold in 2012 and while it hurts not to have someone to share with, it made me more aware of the other loves in life.  The platonic relationships that mean the world. I have a handful of beautiful women in my life, who I see as sisters. Women I can speak to when I need to, be there when they need and can just be near to make me feel better about my life.  Their value was strong, but stronger than ever.  I truly love them.

I'm thankful for my time.  I've learned more stuff this year through research and reading than in all my years of school. I know more about politics, religion, mental health, and various topics that most people would call a waste.  I know some have called me the King of Random Information, but when you start to know enough things about enough random information, eventually someone might just acknowledge it as not just being random.

I wont look back at 2012 with a smile, because it was a difficult year.  I will look at it as wobbly stepping stone. One that hopefully will make me see a sturdier and more enjoyable 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thank Goodness That Is Over

December 26th.  For many of us, it's a day of relief.  Even returning to work in past years has felt OK.  I actually laid off the history lessons on Jesus and Santa this time around. I kept my disdain for this time of year to myself for the most part.  Of course I threw in the occasional barb, but I respected the day for the most part and left my random thoughts inside my brain and off this blog and my social media sites.

This year I'm up in Ithaca, like last, but so different from two years ago, when I stayed home and did my own thing.  I don't like this time of year and not for the completely misconstrued religious connotations the holidays takes on, but because of the forced love and appreciation.  As I looked at so many pictures on Facebook and Twitter it made me wonder how it happens. We live in a society where we must share our family time with the world? To brag and boast about the amount  of money we spent or the amount of food leftover, which most likely will end up in the trash.  There are wondrous things we create and horrible things and this past few weeks I've seen the best and worst of people.

I've seen people devastated by a hurricane, literally bailed out by other's generosity. Facebook and social media helped in this cause, by making it real with tales and pictures littering the Internet.  Then came the tragedies, which got more media attention.  Guns, an issue and a delicate one.  Little children and firefighters losing their lives and now the media circus splashes their names and faces.  I find it ironic that the heroic, young teacher has become the face of this tragedy.  A beautiful young girl, who should be honored and remembered has trumped even the children's deaths, but I wonder the reason.  Could it be we need a pretty face to mourn fully?  The awful tragedy, where two firefighters were killed in an ambush.  My heart goes out to them, but let's not forget how many other's died at the hands of firearms or who died fighting for our country or defending it here.

This time of year is when everyone's religiousness comes out and in the meantime the Vatican is condemning gays for ruining humanity not one day before their loving lord's birthday.  An article I saw on twitter spoke of the Pope's demanding less violence, but the article goes on to say that the Vatican is the greatest shareholder of a little company called Baretta.  One of the most successful and popular guns in the world.  The irony and hypocrisy is troubling.   A time of year when we remember all those who passed, but we seem to spend so much time on celebrities.  Myself included. Of course, those of us who grew up with certain characters, feel a need to mourn, even for a second, because we feel connected with them.

During this year, I lost two very young friends.  Not great friends, but friends nonetheless. My ex girlfriend lost her mother earlier this year after a long bout with emphysema. Two good friends lost their mother just this past week.  Countless other's lost people I'm sure, but there were no news flashes or weeks of internet postings.  They were normal people.  Good people. They were all different. A beautiful and successful young woman who succumbed to some inner demons.  A young man, who I knew almost half his life, who brought so much joy to others.  Three loving mother's who loved their children more than anything.  Then there are the others, who we are reminded of from past years. Their absence takes away from the joys of this time.  The festive nature seems but a memory at times.

The past two days, I've sat and relaxed.  I've watched as my young brother, his wife and my father cooked up a storm.  I offered a hand here and there and did my duty by grabbing the never ending Christmas dishes. I laughed and told stories. I listened to others.  I shed a tear for my mother once or twice.  My father's cat, who absolutely adored me, is no longer with us.  I thought about the absurdity of this holiday.  The way it's become so much about us and not about others.  I received one gift this year. A grandmother who refused to agree to the "rules" demanded it.  I gave a few, but gave more to people that I will never know than in any year past.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  Why fake a feeling for yourself, when you can bring that sincere feeling to others. I'm not bashing the spirit of the holiday, but it's completely lost it's allure for me.  The best moment of this holiday for me was split between two moments.  One was when a friend, who has no reason to give me a gift, gave me one for my father, who he has met once and my grandmother who he will never meet.  The second was making lunch for my grandmother on Christmas day.  Just the two of us and for those brief few minutes while we talked alone, knowing this might be her last.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Free Writing - Take 15 (Christmas Edition)

December 25.  A white sheet blankets the street.  A perfect scene on the outside. Much different on the inside. A blah 24th, with a stomach ache and fatigue. Happy smiles upon arrival. A casual but festive dinner. Grandma showing her age. I worry.  She's only started looking her age in the past year.  What does 99 look like anyway.  Tree is lit with ornaments from a much happier past. The years go by and the family dwindles.  No replacements, no scampering about by children.  An average age in the mid-50's.  It all feels so weird.  A handful of present, I'm hoping of which none are mine.  A gift on order to, still hasn't been shipped.  It's been years since I've wanted anything for Christmas.  Years.  I need nothing more than to be surrounded by those who I care about and who return those feelings without question.  It's so different that last year and the year before.  Midnight texts to this one or that. Reaching out with words so kind, even if masked by something else.  Today the phone sits with a game or two played. That is all.  Life has changed for me so much.  There isn't that usual special someone.  It truly is an odd time, but maybe I should look at the bright side. It was a year ago today I had a little piece of my heart broken.  It's mended fairly well, but still hard to forget.  It amazes me it was a year.  It's over and I've moved on, but days, a vision, a smell refresh the good and bad thoughts that pop in and out of this over thinking head.  I'm thinking of a select few.  A wave goodbye and a tight hug for recipients I wish I could have switched.  I hop I told all those who I really care about deeply how much they mean.  It's 5am and they will arise in three hours at the very latest.  Oh to lay in bed until noon, with nothing more to look forward to than a hot cup of coffee and some eggs.  In my mind it's a special day.  In reality it's Tuesday without my kids.  More than ever, I am hoping their days are spent happy, smiling and full of life.  A white blanket covers the streets and I lay under one of my own.  Waiting, wanting sleep, but thoughts, those darn thoughts, just floating in my head.  Wishing I could see my mother this morning.  Nine Christmases since and it's never been the same.  Back to hopefully grab another two hours of sleep. Hoping it's enough time to for her to come visit my dreams.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How Can Anyone Have Any Holiday Spirit This Year?

First night in nearly three weeks I've relaxed and watched a movie.  A shooting took place in the movie and it was a comedy.  A comedy about a true story.  It kind of made me sad, that despite it being very good, I was so numb to the one violent scene.  This week has made me numb to almost everything.  Tuesday night, I passed on a Christmas party.  I told myself it was for many reasons, but I think deep down, I don't want to celebrate this year.  Christmas isn't supposed to be about Jesus', but in reality it is about making kids happy.  Hard to feel festive this year.  Hard for many reasons.  Newtown, Connecticut is just one.  Hard to feel festive when I'm witnessing so much hatred in the world and not even the vast world I don't know, but the world I live in.  I've been called more names in the last few months than ever before in my life. Ironically, nowadays those who are touting their belief in the second amendment, don't believe in my first amendment rights, because I'm not in agreement with them.  These same people who are right to lifers are also right to death fans.  They put up silly posts about how when they miss a train and get stuck in the rain, it was really Jesus saving them from some horrible thing that they never knew about.  Well where was Jesus last Friday?  Was he looking down and saying we need this?  You can't have things both ways people. You can't have your god be a benevolent god when things are good and then say it's man's will when things are bad.  It doesn't work that way.  He's omnipotent.  If you don't know what that means, you need to figure it out and then question everything you believe in.  I'm sorry.  I am all for someone wishing people well in time of need, but let's face facts.  We're an evil people in general.  We kill and we maim and we call people names and then we says "God Bless" when someone sneezes or gets sick.  We're a whacked out culture of hypocrites.  I can't wrap my head around this tragedy, but I do know one thing and that is, it won't be the last.  We don't learn from our mistakes.  We accept these tragedies as if the word itself is a fabrication of reality. I didn't know any of these kids personally, but the hurt I have is overwhelming.  I fear for their families, that one of them might snap.  Or that a sibling or friend might grow up with such fear, they will feel the need to protect themselves or to hurt someone back to take away their pain.. Tomorrow is my last day of the year at the school.  I have four kids. Two kindergarten boys and two 2nd grade girls. For over a decade I've walked in and out and nobody paid me any mind and now the looks from everywhere are felt.  The kids are so innocent and many do not really know what has happened.  I hope they never know.  I'll leave tomorrow and wish them a happy holidays and tell them I'll see them the next class.  I have told every kids I've ever had I'll see them tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.  We all do.  We all assume, they're are young, they aren't going anywhere.  I wish I could feel the confidence this will always be.  A little part of that was lost this past week.  It won't change how I treat them or how I teach, but it will affect how I view our futures.  Net week at this time, I hope to be recovering from eating too much, surrounded by family and happy. I know at some point of every day, I'll stop and think about those who don't have that and I'll feel guilt and pain.  Life will go on for me and for most of us.  Thankfully these types of things don't happen to most of us, but they shouldn't happen to any of us.  I wish I had some blind faith to bless those families with some kind words or scripture, but the reality is, the evil that resides in our lives is stronger at times and this time, it has truly won.  That is the part I can't accept.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why I Will Never Own A Gun

I could probably list two hundred reasons.  I could start with the fact that I am confident in my own abilities to defend myself and my property that I don't need one.  I could also state that I don't own anything that is valuable enough to shoot someone over.  I could state that while I am a cynic and a realist, I do not feel my life will be at risk any time soon.  I could tell of how my mother would write on my birthday party invitations "No toy guns, please."  I could tell of my cousin killing himself.  I could tell you about being jumped by some kids with a gun, only to luckily find out I knew them and it was a case of mistaken identity. I could tell of my friend getting his eye shot out by a ricocheting bullet while sitting in the middle of a lake fishing.  I could tell of my friend getting shot in the head (and thankfully living) by drug dealers.  Or I could simply tell you that I've been crying for five days because some kids and teachers I never knew were killed because of a man with a gun.  No, I'm going to tell you why and it's personal.  It oddly enough is a story that contains no violence and there were no guns involved.  

It was over 20 years ago.  It was a Saturday afternoon and I was lounging around watching some TV or playing video games.  My brother was about ten and was down in the park playing with his friends. I hear the door open and he comes into my bedroom.  His friend is standing behind him and he looked concerned.  My brother walks over and says "Jona, there is a strange guy in the park asking some of the kids if they want to be in a movie or have their picture taken." I jumped up, grabbed a baseball bat and flew down the seven flights of stairs and out the door.  My brother and his friend were behind me and I yelled to them to tell some of the other parents in the park.  As I entered the park the guy saw me and took off.  I chased him for nearly a mile and a half, but he had too much of a head start for me to catch him. I was incensed.  I don't know what I would have done had I caught him, but I know it would have been bad.  My anger was incredible and   the rage I felt was uncontrollable.  The man had messed not only with my brother and his friends, but with the  sanctity of our little community.  I walked jogged back home and some parents had come down and were asking me what happened and what he looked like. I never saw his face, so I couldn't tell and in my rage, I honestly couldn't recall what he was wearing. I told the kids if they ever saw him again to get an adult immediately.  I don't know if anyone had called the police, but I knew I didn't want to explain why I did what I did.

So what does this have to do with guns?  During the course of my chase, my anger grew.  Thoughts of this sick bastard doing whatever he wanted to do or had done before got to me.  In the time I was chasing him I never got closer than 150-200 feet from him. I do know this.  At that very moment, I wanted to kill him.  Had I had a gun I would have shot him.  Had he had a gun, he most likely would have shot me.  Either way, someone would have died or been very badly hurt and the other would have claimed self defense.  As the years have gone by and I think about that day, I'm glad I didn't catch him.  I know that my actions, no matter how I view them as noble or protective would have resulted in a bad ending for me.  Would hurting this human being have made me feel better?  Of course, for the moment it would, but would killing him would have changed two families lives forever.  I can only hope that his fear might have changed his choices in life.  I will never know.  What I do know is that for everyone who says "guns don't kill people, people kill people," not having a gun probably saved that man's life and in many ways saved mine.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Different Kind Of Day

Today I went to my job as I do almost every other school day.  I run an after school sports program and have been at the same school long enough to see kindergartners graduate high school.  In our society there are strict laws about what behaviors are acceptable.  I am very careful not to do anything that would ever be deemed inappropriate.  I limit all contact with the kids to high fives unless there is an injury.  Today, all that went out the window.  With the events that took place in Newtown, Connecticut still unfolding I felt myself tearing up as I walked through the front doors to the school. As my kids came in I found myself overwhelmed and holding it together took everything I had.  Obviously, none of the kids knew of the tragedy and their innocence was what got me.  That innocence which was ripped from so many earlier today.  As the class went on, I found myself making my way around the room and at some point and touching every one of them.  A handshake, a high five or a pat on the back. One kid leaned against me and I put my arm around him.  He is now eight and I've known him since he was a baby.  The rules didn't apply today.  Today I saw more kids get picked up by both their parents than ever before.  I saw more fathers at the school than I have seen in over a decade.  The kids ran to their parents, unaware and hugged them.  I saw the parents faces and the embraces they didn't want to give up.  We looked at each other and there were no words, because there are none.  There isn't a saying or a phrase, nor a famous quote.  Nobody has ever said anything so profound as to ease the pain over the death of a child.

Tomorrow I'll think about those kids and think of mine.  I'll feel blessed this didn't happen to them.  I'll feel sorrow for those who are now gone and for those who have to live with this memory.  I can't know the hurt, but I know mine.  We all lost a little part of ourselves today.  A little more of the innocence and in a way, a little bit of hope.  I know my friends will hug their kids a little tighter tonight.  I know that I'll be thinking about them too.  There are no words that convey what I'm feeling right now that come close to my sorrow for these strangers. I can't see a lesson or a gift that will come from this.  I can't see a silver lining or a reason that will justify this. I am trying so hard not to trivialize this and I refuse to make this blog into a stance.  I just wish there was a way we could prevent this from ever happening again.  So no parent will ever have to deal with this kind of tragedy again and no child has to lose their best friends, before they learn how to spell best friends.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Serious Reflection: A Strange Few Days.

Funny how the people most concerned with their shoes, aren't willing to walk in other's.
Doing laundry is something I feel the need to complain about, but I actually find it quite relaxing.
I had the least amount of fun one night out that I have had in a long time.  Made me really question things.
I had the most amount of fun I've had in one night, two nights later.  Made me question things even more.
Funny who you miss, when you always see them, then you don't for a bit.
Funnier, is who you don't, under the same circumstances.
I've noticed that the more open I am about my feelings, the more people criticize me for them.
I think that most people believe those we know are generally intelligent, but it's a huge misconception.
I wrote a Facebook status about ignorance being bliss and truthfully, nobody who commented, got it.
Physical pain, regardless of location, makes day to day tasks almost impossible.
Shame manifests shame and truly makes me understand how it can lead to depression.
Making a kid laugh after he hurts or embarrasses himself is the most simple pleasure I experience weekly.
People call me judgmental because I judge their opinions and respond by judging a life they don't know.
Young children think so much more clearly than adults and don't have to hide behind social pleasantries.
It's funny how those few of us who are always there for others are chastised when we can't be.
Procrastination is always deemed a negative, but those who do without thinking, rarely produce much.
Everyone these days is so concerned with bettering their appearance, but so few work on their minds.
I have friends who have done wondrous things for others recently and I'm proud we're friends.
Funny how those who have skated by with the help of others are always looking for a pat on the back.
Is it a reflection on me or society that my most trusted friends seem to change yearly?
One thing about being open in all facets of life, is knowledge of what people really think of you.
Prejudice is so widely accepted in our society, that those who are seem unaware at their own.
If I was younger or older, I know who I'd want to be with.  Where I am now, I am clueless.
For the first time in a long time, I can't wait for Christmas day. Family means more than ever to me.








Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Free Writing - Take 14

I had a plan.  A good nights sleep.  It was so very much needed.  Alas I was able to get an hour, maybe two.  I'm tired now at 4am, thanks to a second serving of melatonin.  My body is breaking down from this lack of rest.  Bad knees that have hampered me for 15 years are getting worse.  A hip problem and a lower leg problem have worsened.  My back hurts at times and my torn rotator cuff has started to ache.  People don't know the pain I'm in on a daily basis, because I don't talk about it often.  I walk like a zombie to the bathroom.  My knees don't bend at times.  The pain is excruciating.  So is life I guess.  I had a good class today.  Kids going crazy, but at times hilarious.  I wanted nothing of today, but to lay in bed. A rough couple of days.  Party like a rock star?  Well a rock star who is just a friend to just about everyone these days.  I wonder when I'll meet someone or connect with someone in a way that is more than the normal, high-bye, you're the best, but whatever.  I'm not that person.  The one who is willing to jeopardize a friendship or ruin another man's relationship.  It's just not my style and believe me, as much as one wouldn't expect it, the opportunities have been there.  I've really taken inventory of my friends lately.  Those who are there and those who aren't.  Those who have the time and those who make excuses.  I'm not complaining, but realize I might not be there for you one day.  I have also been thinking about the future.  Have to really get things in order for 2013.  Can't afford to have another year like 2012.  It was ugly on all levels.  It amazes me to think of the turbulence of the last two years.  The kids have kept me sane and the love of my father, brother and a few friends who have really stepped up have made things bearable.  A good laugh from someone I don't even really know made my quiet night alone truly brighter.  I need more things like that daily and someone to share them with.  Off to try and slumber, if just for another hour or two.  That was the plan from the beginning anyway.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dreams of Absurdity

Flying fish everywhere.  Not the kind that leave the water gracefully, landing back in their habitat with grace. Not the Alaskan salmon jumping upstream, dodging the eager claws of a Grizzly.  No these fish fly, with wings feverishly flapping like the hummingbird.  They pass me by as I trek down a snowy hill.  Footprints left in the soft snow.  I slip and fall. I end up in a chair, an editor for World Ttraveler invited me in.  Is this even a real magazine?  I'm escorted into a room, where a woman sits.  She looks like Alanis Morissette with hair cascading down her shoulders. She moves much faster than a normal woman, much like someone in a constant state of fast forwards.  The room is bright and she asks me how I enjoyed Rome?  The Coliseum is present in a photo framed above her.  I tell her tales of gladiator fights and nighttime excursions to Venice.  The fish reappear, but she is oblivious. The fish are there to enhance my story.  I tell of Venice and the sharks that live under the city, she smiles, admitting she's seen them many times.  "Cage diving is big in Venice," she exclaims.  I look at her desk. A baseball is signed in a case.  I can't make out the names scribbled on it, but they soon turn into bugs.  Odd bugs, with crazy shapes and sizes running around the ball like those guys on motorcycles in the steal ball you see at the circus.  I feel like I'm in some sort of wacky drug-induced weekend in Vegas with Hunter S. Thompson.  The fish are frightened by the bugs and flee.  The woman disappears and I'm left alone and the bugs start to multiply.  I start to feel uncomfortable. I shake off the melatonin induced trance I'm in and sit up.  It is dark, all but for the green glow, flashing  at my side. I reach for my phone. 3:36am

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Free Writing - Take 13

Thoughts racing as I lay in bed.  We take for granted we'll always see that person again. We take our friends, family, and every day wonders for granted but worry about such silliness as how others wish us a happy holidays. Today someone wished me a Merry Christmas and I thanked them and returned the well wishes.  I then pointed out to them that I see them about two times a week and it's three weeks away.  They nodded and said "you never know."  You don't.  I smiled at someone today.  She smiled back.  I didn't want to be rude to the person I was with, so I didn't proceed with anything else.  She smiled again. Ran her fingers through her hair.  My friend left and she ignored me.  I find this behavior strange.  I'm not good at The Game.  I don't like playing games when it comes to emotions.  I walked home, looking around.  Quiet Tuesday night. I felt fatigued.  A possible cold coming on or my body run down from a serious party weekend?  Sniffles.  I haven't had the sniffles since last February.  Honestly, have felt great for the most part since I left the hospital back in May.  Tomorrow I think I'm going to go buy some socks....or scented foot powder.  This is my one decision.  An early holiday present to myself....sorry, Christmas or is it Hannukah?  Who cares?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Weird Food Stuff

I need something to clear my head right now.  This is the best thing I could come up with.  Just some food related things that I've noticed about myself recently. I consider myself a bit of a foodie.  I grew up in a house where restaurant level meals we're a norm.  To be honest, to say you could eat as well at a restaurant is actually an insult to my mother (and father), being that I've never had anything in a restaurant that my mother couldn't make better, with maybe one exception; the porterhouse steak at Peter Luger's.  Some call it being a foodie, others call it food snobbery.  As many know, I'm critical on most subjects, but food is probably the one thing I have the most issues with.  That being said here are some weird things I've noticed recently.

I absolutely hate pot roast.  Cooking a shitty, tough piece of meat for nine hours, doesn't make it good, it only makes it a shitty, tender piece of meat.  I'm pretty much opposed to all stews, with the exception of a true boeuf bourguignon.  Anything that calls for a bottle of wine, lardons and those little pearl onions has to be good.

Last night I had a drink called a cereal bowl.  It was Baileys and Three Olives Fruit Loop flavored vodka.  The idea is that it tastes like the bottom of the cereal bowl at the end of the meal.  It dawned on me as I sipped it, that it was the first time in my life I was tasting Fruit Loops.  It was borderline disgusting.  I tasted Captain Crunch for the first time in my life last summer.  I realize I haven't been missing much.

People think that because of my size I eat poorly, but for the most part, my problem isn't nutritional value, but portion size.  In any given week, I probably eat more vegetables than nearly anyone you know who isn't a vegan.  On average I eat vegetables with about 90% of my meals.  The only time I don't is when I'm out of them or I want something simple, like an English muffin with cream cheese. I don't eat as much fruit as I should, but I prefer fruit for dessert than sweets when available.  I can't remember a day in recent memory, where I didn't have a tomato during at least meal per day.

I don't like pizzeria pizza anymore.  It's not the same as when I was a kid.  The thin crust and the mush they call cheese is terrible, not to mention I hate marinara sauce.  To me, the perfect slice is thick enough that the end droops from the weight.  The sauce should be applied sparingly and needs to be seasoned with lots of Italian seasoning, especially oregano.  Then the cheese needs to be sparingly applied, as to give a layer, but not to the point it is sliding off.  The better the mozzarella, the better the pie, so it should also be whole milk buffalo mozzarella in my opinion.  While toppings are good, a perfect slice doesn't need oily pepperoni or thawed out sausage.  Those ingredients need to be fresh too, if added.  There was a day when one slice and a salad was a meal for $2.50.  Nowadays, a slice costs you $3-5.

I had never had macaroni and cheese from a box until I was nearly 40.  I haven't had it since.
I haven't chewed gum in almost 20 years, unless it came from the center of a Blow Pop.
I have never once in my life made scrambled eggs.
I have never bought a container of ice cream to bring to my house.
In the last two years, I have had McDonald's twice, Five Guys twice, Burger King once and Taco Bell once.  Other than Subway, I have not had any other fast food in that period.
I can't remember the last time I went to NYC and didn't get a knish or a hot dog with onions.
My favorite food is lamb, which I eat about three times a year.
My second favorite food is escargot, which I eat maybe once a year.
I eat dessert less than once a month on average.  My favorite is pecan pie.
I had never had uni until last year.  It is now one of my favorite foods.
I have ordered Italian food in a restaurant once in the last three years.  I haven't enjoyed an Italian meal in a restaurant in almost eight with the exception of the one time over a year ago.  It was arguably the best meal I've had in a restaurant in almost five years.

People know me as someone who loves to go out and have a few beers or cocktails and probably think I drink all the time.  The reality is, I only drink when I'm out or at someone's house.  In the eight years I have lived in my apartment, I have drank one beer, one bottle of wine (which I bought for cooking), 2/3 of a bottle of limoncello which was given to me as a gift and an airplane bottle of vodka I bought for a bloody Mary.

I have not had moussaka, saurbraten, brisket or a decent homemade cheesecake since my mother passed away.  No offense to anyone who has made cheesecake I've tasted, but my mother's was infamous and nobody has ever come close to matching it.

One of my biggest regrets in life was not cooking more when I was younger, so that I could have made a great meal for my mother and father.




Thursday, November 29, 2012

One of the Strangest Days of Social Media

Absolutely nothing of importance happened on November 28, 2012.  If one needs proof, they just need to take a gander at social media.  Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with absolutely nothing of interest.  Try as I might, I couldn't even spark any interest in anything.  I wrote a blog, hoping to spark a movie debate and got one response.  I posted something which somewhat questioned the existence of god and our existence in general; no takers.  The closest I came to a debate or conversation of interest was when I made irreverent comments about people's posting pictures or stories about their pets or babies for the 200th time this week.

So what is happening to everyone?  The reality is nothing has changed.  The election result hasn't stirred up much, because our deadbeat congress is still playing games.  The weather continues to be odd throughout the world, but half of us refuse to admit that climate change will in the end be out downfall. So what has taken us over, both physically and mentally?  Is it that Powerball jackpot?  No.  Is it the frigid winter air?  No.  Is it the finale of Dancing with the (b-list) Stars?  I sure hope not.  It's fucking Christmas and the holiday malaise.  I'm not much of a gambler, but of my 569 Facebook friends, I predicted two of the first three people to post a meme asking us all to keep "Christ in Christmas."  I rolled my eyes, swallowed my coffee and said a fake prayer for their soon-to-be, ever engulfed in flames, souls.  I'm joking of course, they are good people in general.  By in general, I mean they do not recognize the pandering they do for their given religions and the point they are missing about their own beliefs.  That's not the point of this blog though...I'm saving that for closer to the big Birthday Celebration when Christ turns...33 again.

This time of year always makes me ill.  Traffic, edginess and basic lack of public decency is rampant.  This is entirely ironic, being that it directly follows the fake thankfulness that everyone was posting about just last week. I'm not saying people aren't thankful to have their friends and family with them, while stuffing their fat faces, but the who idea that we celebrate our countries commitment to genocide, is rather petty.  We have a lot of holidays in this country, where we eat and drink and march in parades, all in the name of killing. Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, even Easter, Passover, Christmas are all in honor of a murder.  Say what you will and twist it in any shape you desire, this is a fact.  So how do we honor these deaths?  We celebrate.  We gorge out gullets and we empty our wallets on materialistic things.  We babble incoherently about things that have nothing to do with what this time of year is about.  And we brag and boast about doing it better and having more than our neighbors.

Now I don't want to get into an argument about socialism vs capitalism or religion vs atheism, but the reality is, we've all lost track of what is important.  A billboard telling me Jesus Loves Me is wonderful, but I didn't need the billboard.  If Jesus, is in fact the son of God and the almighty and the Bible is his word, he hates me.  If he's all those things and the Bible is, as I know it is, man made, he loves me.  If he doesn't exist, there is a whole lot of money wasted on a billboard.  But kudos for stimulating the bob market.

Black Friday is an atrocity of epic proportion.  A day so disgusting in it's nature that it truly pains me to admit I share genes with other humans.  This, coupled by the other nicknamed dates are everything that is wrong with this country and our society in general.  What was spent? A billion dollars on Call of Duty and iPhones? This is what the time of giving has become?  I remember as a child seeing that $5 obviously wrapped Nerf football and being thrilled, but now kids cry if they don't get a new cell phone at age eight.  I remember when diamonds signified a commitment to marriage, but now they are the go-to gift to make amends for farting under the covers and occasionally being a man.  Ladies, you have changed and you've changed us and neither is for the better.

So let's get back to today.  I feel that the hangover left by Thanksgiving, a weekend actually having to be with family, the shopping and the overall tryptophan malaise has hit us full force.  Today was the day of rest.  The day where we roll over, look at Thanskgiving in the rear view mirror and head straight into Christmas.  We decorate our tree, our house, or pets, our children and sometimes even ourselves.  We carefully cover our contempt for others with foundation and delicately stencil a fake smile that will last us through New Years.  I for one will be happy.  I love the cool weather.  I love Thanksgiving and I genuinely love being with my immediate family.  I have a week off next week with nothing to do. Followed by about seven days of work in the next two weeks and then head up to my fathers to sit by the fire with he and my grandmother. We'll then be joined by my brother and his wife, hopefully some friends of my dad's and I'll sit back and relax until after New Years. I won't stress about Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza or any other pagan holiday. As I've aged, my family has turned Christmas into something different.  It's become about time together, not what we can give each other.  I look forward to that.

I'm not going to change who I am for others.  I don't expect them to do so for me.  What I will ask, to whomever reads this is to ponder the shoe being on the other foot.  To awake to check and see how your friends and to read the nasty messages criticizing those of us who might say Happy Holidays to encompass all of humanity, not just those who look and pray like us.  To leave the religion at the door, until your given days are upon us and then celebrate the shit out of your eight day of oil and your lord and saviors B'day. To acknowledge my happy holidays and know that while I don't believe in your false idols, I do believe in family, health and prosperity.  I do wish you well and hope your family stays safe.  If you feel the need to bless me or pray for me, that is fine, but I don't need to know about it.  That's between you and yours.  I'll think about you and yours in my own way. Know that the reality is it's the same.  You just believe someone else controls our fate and I leave it up to science, nature and chance.

I'll end with this note, in an attempt to get back to what this was really about.  As someone who has struggled as of late, both financially, physically and emotionally, I recognize one thing. I have all the basic needs and I have the love of family.  I am not in any danger that I know of and that eases my soul.  You may not like to think about these things, but in this gluttonous time, this time for warmth and love, remember that not all of us have that.  I have friends who have donated time, valuable time to helping those affected by the flooding, the winds and the fire.  I commend them with every ounce of my being.  My question for everyone (definitely not them) is why did it take this catastrophe for people to care.  Those without homes have always been there.  Those without warm clothes are ever present on our city streets daily.  Those without food is a number that is growing at staggering rates.  This is called the giving season and I know a lot of you have more than I.  I wish I lived in a world where everyone had enough.  Not everyone feels that way, but I do.   I'm wishing everyone the best of times this coming month and beyond.  Those I know and those I don't, those who have and those who have suffered.  I'm sure tomorrow will be filled with cats, kids and keep Christ in Christmas and I'll smirk and roll my eyes.  I can't change anything but myself.  I'm trying to be better and to me, that's by helping someone else.  Even if it's just one.  Ignore my rants if you wish, but if you took the time to get to this point I hope you decide to reevaluate what this all means and what really is important.  In the end, it's not an instagram of what makes you or I happy, but how we affect others.  And no comment on a picture really makes anyone happy, but ourselves, which is what seems to be all we as a society care about.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Ten Best Sports Movies of All-Time

I will preface this with two thoughts.  Despite my love of sports, for the most part, I despise sports movies, because they rarely capture the essence of the sport.  My second point is very simple.  This list will infuriate almost every sports fan who reads it.  My judgments are based on the merits of the film as cinema, not as sport.  It's those movies that capture what it is like to play, to compete, to win and to lose that make it all worth it for me.  I do not believe a great sports movie should be embraced due to one spine tingling scene.  There will be no Rudy or Jerry MacGuire.  I will not count movies that have an athlete in them, but that is secondary to the story, so there will be no On The Waterfront or Basketball Diaries.  I will not penalize a movie for its sport being an individual endeavor not seen as athletic.  And to most people's shock and awe, I will not include three films which are universally considered the three best sports movies ever.  There will be no Field of Dreams, because despite it's wonderful story, it's simply not in my top 15, let alone 10.  There will be no Hoosiers.  While I enjoyed the film, there was something just way too contrived about it, despite it's being based on a true story.  Finally, and this will knock people's socks off.  There will be no Raging Bull, for one painfully simple reason.  I didn't like it at all.  To me it was DeNiro being DeNiro, Pesci being Pesci and lost in the shuffle was Cathy Moriarti's great performance as Vicki Lamotta.  The boxing scenes were done in such a way, it didn't ever feel real.  I know everyone will disagree, but even Rocky's phantom punches seemed to work better.

Before I start the list, here is a couple that just missed cracking the top ten.  The Big Blue, The Karate Kid, Major League, Moneyball, Rocky II, The Color of Money, Rounders and North Dallas Forty, Dead Solid Perfect and Friday Night Lights.

10.  Kingpin - arguably one of the funniest Farrelly brother movies, it combines a ridiculous story of an Amish runaway with a ridiculous sport, Bowling.  Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid & the incomparable Bill Murray, portray characters so completely off the wall, it just works.  Throw in Vanessa Angel for eye candy and it's nearly a perfect comedy.

9. The Hustler - Now some may question pool getting a nod over some other sports, but this movie is about so much more.  It's a wonderful tale of good vs evil and a man down on his lucky looking for that one shot to pay off.  Paul Newman is brilliant as the troubled soul, while Jackie Gleason (a real life amazing pool player) plays real life Minnesota Fats. George C Scott and Piper Laurie fill out the all-star cast in this classic film.

8. The Longest Yard - Easily the greatest football movie, the best part of this is that the game takes place in a prison.  It's not a season or a championship, but a simple game, between the prisoners and the guards. The entire film is about redemption.  For one man to do something right, for others once in his life. Burt Reynolds is brilliant as the ex-pro Paul Crewe and Eddie Albert is pure evil as the warden.  Funny, sad, and meaningful, this movie not only delivers, but stands the test of time.

7. Chariots of Fire - The tale of two runners (and a few others) who come from different backgrounds, but desire to compete in the 1924 Olympics.  The film is about people's faith being tested and how they triumph amid great adversity.  The film, it's soundtrack and cinematography are beautiful, with a handful of scenes that are unforgettable.  Contains one of the greatest compositions for a film ever, Vangelis.

6. Breaking Away - What is so great about this film is that it's about cycling. We've all done it and these no name kids decided to form a team. We all have delusions of grandeur, but these guys come through.  When the movie came out, the entire cast was a bunch of nobodies, but nearly all, but the actual star made it big eventually.  This is the epitome of a feel good film.

5. Caddyshack - If there is a funnier movie, it'd be hard find.  That being said, there is enough golf to truly make it a sports movie.  The film is one hilarious scene after another, with some of the greatest characters in the history of comedy, portrayed by Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight and Chevy Chase.  The rest of the cast just stays out of their way and let the masters work.  No movies one liners have been repeated more while actually playing a sport than this ones.

4. Rocky - Now, if you continue reading you'll probably become incensed by two of the next three, but hold on.  When Rocky first came out it was one of a kind.  It was classic in that it had the underdog tale, but what set Rocky apart from other movies was the ending.  The hero loses.  He loses the fight but wins respect and that is the underlying theme of the entire movie, survival and making those around you proud.

3. When We Were Kings - I had thought of excluding this, because it's a documentary, but it's absolutely a perfect film.  The film looks at the 1974 fight in Zaire between the infamous Muhammad Ali and the unbeatable George Foreman.The movie is a collection of clips, spliced together with interviews of those who were witness to one of the greatest fights and strangest strategies in the history of the sport.  The movie came out in the 90's but all the filming and interviews took place nearly 20 years prior, so the perspective is fresh.  One of the greatest documentaries ever made.

2. The Bad News Bears - Baseball movies tend to be awful.  They generally lack that certain something because the game lacks that pop that say, football or basketball does. Sure some like the silly theatrics of The Natural or the laughs of Major League, but the reality is, that no baseball movie captured baseball like The Bad News Bears.  Partially because the movie is a bunch of misfit kids with a drunk manager, but mostly because it was something we can relate to.  Anyone who has played or coached, knows every character in that movie.  Even if they aren't connected to the game directly, we know all these kids and even more, we know the adults. Like Rocky, it's not about winning and losing, but coming together, when nobody expects it.  Oh, and it has Tanner Boyle, the most foul mouthed youngster in a movie until Kick-Ass came out.

1. The Fighter - Now I know what some are thinking.  The Fighter over Rocky? Yes!  This tale about Irish Mickey Ward and his half-brother Dicky is amazing.  One, it's a true story and the fight scenes have been recreated almost exactly and they are done with a balletic precision.  Mark Wahlberg is absolutely incredible in a role he was born to play and that being said, Christian Bale is even better.  Add in Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, who are so incredibly perfectly cast and you have a perfect movie.  Where it surpasses Rocky is in two places.  The realism of the fight scenes and the side stories are simply more interesting.  Where we tire of seeing Rocky train, we see the characters in the Fighter struggle to live normal lives.  Where there were not real expectations for Rocky, there were great expectations for Mickey and Dicky.  While I would rate both films five star movies, The Fighter just has that little bit extra.

I'm sure the exclusion of Raging Bull, Field of Dreams, Hoops Dreams, Rudy, The Natural and Hoosiers will have most people scratching their heads, but this is my list and I'm sticking to it.  Until something new comes out and knocks my socks off.   One side note.  It was a coin flip between including the comedy Kingpin, North Dallas Forty & Rounders, but it finally came down to the ability to watch them again and comedies always have that little extra.


Free Writing - Take Twelve

The sun will rise in a few, but will I.  I'm awake, but will I rise?  I've noticed I spend so much time trying to self educate myself.  Just spent forty minutes researching something for what will most likely one day be a four or five paragraph blog.  Unnecessary, yet necessary.  I awake morning after morning and do some sort of puzzle.  I need this.  I fear what is happening to people who are older.  A forgotten memory, some recent some from years back.  The rubber band of life snapping back into the form it was in our youth.  It scares me.  I can't remember people's names at times.  Acquaintances from years ago, some from just a week.  Today I saw two students I've had for the past three years.  They took this session off and their names escape me. It saddens me.  Another mother smiled and waved and her son's name escaped me.  I pride myself on never forgetting my kids names.  I think back to earlier today, comments made that made me question myself briefly, then realizing it wasn't the truth.  Research proves more than just stout belief.  I finally went shopping today.  Three days since I've been home and I finally got some food in the house.  A BLT with avocado was such a perfect meal.  I spent more than I had planned, but some essentials were needed.  Sriracha and Worcesterchire was needed.  $10 added to a bill, but at least they will be staples for a while to come.  Annoyed by the woman who didn't help me bag my groceries, but then looked at her, older than I, the time was 9pm, her day probably started at eight hours before.  I quickly told her I had it and bagged them quickly to give her a few moments rest before the next shopper came in, to take her for granted.  I had planned on a movie tonight, but both movies I had were well over two hours and the adult ADD is setting in. Boredom from loneliness hits hard midweek.  Ten minutes later, the sun is closer to rise.  Will I?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scenes From A Sofa Bed

It's only 1am and my eyelids feel heavy.  A different smell, feel, ambiance. I'm cold. The floor isn't warm and soothing like at home, but there is life in the house. I have the remote, but I do not press.  I have no interest in staying up watching mindless TV and suffering the next day.  I drift off into a deep sleep.  Awoken by the sound of a bird or a car, I sit up. I struggle to get out of the metal framed bed trapped inside a couch.  The somewhat uncomfortable bed, hidden inside, is a metaphor of sorts for how I feel.  Jovial on the outside, but struggling with the rigidity of life. I grab the arm and boost myself.  The chill of the wood floor is soon missed as I step into the kitchen.  Icicles pierce my toes.  I head to the bathroom and feel a draft.  I skip past the dining room table and hop back into the warm confines.  I'm restless.  I listen to some music, read some news.  J.R. is dead. The world will recognize him more than the child killed in Gaza last night.  It's how our lives have become.  Who shot J.R.?  More important to most of our lives than who shot Qaddafi. I read more about Kim Kardashian's pants and how a snow storm might hit up here in Ithaca.  I feel colder reading about the snow.  The placebo placed in my ever turning mind. I try to think of heat, but think of those in Breezy Point's fires and become sad.  I see pics on social media of people shopping on one page and people lining up for food on another. The division of our interests defines us.  Friends still posting pictures from their Thanksgivings, a montage of real and forced smiles.  Faces full of food, begging not be captured.  I watch a movie scene that brings tears to my eyes.  I watch it at least once a week. What is gained and what is lost in three minutes.  You need to see it and to know me to understand.  Those people are few and far between.  I can't get certain people out of my head.  If you think it's you, it's probably not.  I wish I looked like I did at 17, but with my mind.  I wish I had the money I had at 21, but with my frugality.  I check the tracking on a package. A gift for Dad.  We no longer really exchange, but that's a lie.  I don't.  I'm thinking selfishly.  Part of me wants to be home. Watching football with friends.  Part of me wants to never leave. Drinking coffee that cools to quickly and listening to repetitious banter from a women nearing a century.  In an hour the creatures will wake and the hustle and bustle of five people in a tiny kitchen will commence.  I better go back to bed.  Catch one more hour between the sheets.  In my dream last night was joined by a pretty face, but don't get me wrong, my dreams are not lurid; she smiled and turned, so that I'd have something to hold onto in the cold.  I long for that, if only to be warmed from the inside.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Conundrum of Care

How do you tell someone the words they speak of another are misguided?
If someone revered by two is not what they appear,
would you tell or let the facade go on?

One's pay, meek at best, but it's received
in return for a service of utmost importance.
Why does it hurt to smile?

Rolled eyes, angering me, but for once
this boat I can not rock.
It's not my place, but could it be one day?

When the tables are turned,
will I be able, knowing myself,
to turn the other cheek?

Thanksgiving: The Yin & The Yang

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It always has been. Sure, as a kid, getting presents was nice, but Thanksgiving was always my top choice. Maybe it's because my family didn't treat it like other holidays. Spending it with family wasn't a necessity and turkey, while prevalent, wasn't always a mainstay. Spiral ham? I never tasted one until about seven years ago and I've probably had it once since.

Thanksgiving was a time to spend with those who really mattered in our lives and we're an honest family; that didn't always mean relatives.  We usually took in our friends who had nowhere else to go due to location issues or simple bad breaks.  These were the people who were there for us during the year, so why not be with them on a day of giving thanks.  Most people just gather around and eat the staples, overeat, gossip, watch football and get drunk. That was never us. Still isn't really.  So here are my highs and lows of Thanksgiving.

Good: It's a day filled with my favorite pastime - eating
Bad: There is always too much food to actually enjoy everything.

Good: The results of all the cooking.
Bad: The dishes as a result of all the cooking.

Good: Most meals take me no more than a half hour to cook and take me ten minutes to eat.
Bad; This meal takes ten hours to cook and is over in 30 minutes.

Good: Dressing (Stuffing goes in the bird) with sausage, fresh cranberry sauce, bacon mashed potatoes, veggies and pecan pie.
Bad: Turkey and gravy

Good: Seeing my father, brother, grandmother, and sister in law and friends of the family.
Bad: In the past, seeing my cousins, aunts and uncles.

Good: Delicious cheeses, pate, stuffed mushrooms and wine.
Bad: Never leaving enough room for dinner.

Good: No religious connotation involved, so it's never even brought up.
Bad: That one person who makes everyone feel awkward and wants to say Grace (not any more).

Good: People truly being thankful for what they have and why we're together.
Bad: This lasting one day and people not knowing we committed genocide against the people who actually "discovered" America.

Good: The amount of food, wine, and humor taken in.
Bad: The amount of food wasted - this issue is dear to my heart.

Good: The odd dinner the night before where you try and pace yourself.
Bad: The odd day after where you try and convince yourself you actually want the same food.

Good: Hearing about reasons others are thankful.
Bad: Hearing about Black Friday.

Good: That moment when everyone is finally seated and you can really enjoy.
Bad: That moment when everyone is done and you realize you're doing the dishes.

Good: The sight of all the food waiting to be eaten.
Bad; The sight of all the food that wasn't eaten.

Good: Appreciating who is with you.
Bad: Missing those who aren't.

Today, my father handed my a 20-25 page eulogy of sorts, comprised of stories written by about a dozen people, in remembrance of a dear friend and co-worker of his.  Lee, was a quiet man, who for most of his later life, lived alone.  He was a wonderful friend to my my family and he spent countless Thanksgivings with us. He, coupled with another friend, James have since passed.  It's been many years since they shared our table, as it's been since my mother was there.  In those years, my mother would cook a feast, sometimes including a turkey, but at other times, a goose, squab, game hens or pheasant and all the trimmings.  We never started early and the evenings would run on into the wee hours. I learned more during those meals than I ever did in school.  My parents surrounded themselves and their children with intelligent people the likes I don't know anymore.  Most of them are now gone and a huge part of me has left with them.  Thanksgiving is still a wonderful time and a joyous time, but as time passes and the years take the ones we love, it gets harder.  We try to fill the voids with new face, through birth, marriage or friendship, but the bonds we grew are severed by age and disease.  It leaves us with one last yin and one last yang.

Good; Memories of those who aren't with us.
Bad: Memories because of those who aren't with us.

I hope all of you had a joyous and Happy Thanksgiving and may all those who sat with you this year, be there for next.





Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful: 2012 Edition

Three years ago I wrote about my disdain for the kiddies table.  Two, about those I've been thankful for through the years.  Last year, I thanked individuals who really impacted my year in a positive way.  This, year, and please don't run away if you're reading this.  I'm not that thankful.  I've had quite possibly the worst  year of my life.  Constant leg pain like one wouldn't believe, a hospital stay, economic woes I've never known and a falling out with nearly 90% of the people I spent most of 2011 with. I should be a miserable fuck, complaining about my life, the way I debated politics this year, but I won't.

I'm thankful for my family.  Who has helped me out emotionally, financially and quite frankly just doing little things that have really gotten me by.  My father allowing me to stay with him when money was tight, so as to save my money for bills not food.  For lending me a couple of bucks when things seemed bleak.  My brother for really stepping up and asking what he could do, even though it was an inconvenience.  For the rides he's given me, driving many minutes to get me to drive me 7 minutes away only to return right home.  Taking an hour out of his life four times a week to save me a great deal of money.  To my grandmother, for reminding me that things will be good and they will be bad and at the end of the day, that's life.

To a friend who has picked me up from work and saves me almost $50 a week.  To another, who when she can drive me home the other day.  To the friend who who forgave me for my silliness, when he didn't have to.  To the friend who reminds me it's not the time we spend together, but what we say.  To the friend who is always there in the most subtle of ways, lending a hand if needed, but being an ear.  To the friend who during a rough spot brought me food.

To those friends who aren't friends anymore.  Maybe you taught me something as friends, but you've taught me more since.  You've taught me to keep my guard up and realize that people are generally out for themselves. I know this, but forget it often.  To those who challenged me, but then couldn't face the consequences of being wrong.  To those who despite my constant work ethic, have tried to take what matters so much to me away, I won't go away.  Others have tried and I'm still there.  Go, get your professionals, you're more experienced, your names.  Give them the chance to surpass me and I'll still be standing at the end of the day.

To those I don't know who have stepped up.  To the woman who recognized my procrastinating ways, lit a fire under my ass and saved me thousands of dollars.  To the woman, who despite my not getting paperwork in on time, because I was away, pushing it through and getting me money that was owed to me.  To the gentleman who gave me a break when I needed it most...Sir I know the hammer will drop, but I think I can handle it now.

To those "new" friends.  Those, most of whom I knew, but have become closer with, I thank you.  For one, thanks for stimulating me mentally and getting me at such a young age.  You're a special person.  For my friend who arrives late at night, doesn't stay long, puts up with my drunken taunts, but at the end of the day always asks "you OK."  I know he has a rough road in the near future and while I'm not a man of prayer, I hope I can be there for him when he experiences his loss.  To my special friend, whom I see as almost a sister.  Her and her family have shown me nothing but love and our times together, I cherish. She makes me laugh and just enjoy life.  I value her so much.

Finally, to a friend, who is always there in spirit.  Who lifts me up with her kind words, that I don't deserve.  Who despite woes of her own asks of me first.  For her, I will simply say, there have been many over the years, but tomorrow, during my feast, her and her family will be the first ones on my mind.

To everyone who has made a difference. To those who have taken time out of their days to say hello.  Ask, how are you?  To those I've argued with, laughed with, cried with and just shared a moment with.  To all of you, I say Thanks, may you all have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recent Realizations

On Sunday, a friend walked over to me and asked me "when was the last time you actually wore long pants?"  It took me all of two seconds.  "I pointed to another friend and explained "June 9th, his daughter's wedding."  It made me start to think about other things, I've realized about myself.  Obviously, many of these things would be considered quirky, but they are just me.

I love cooking breakfast.  A good omelet and an English Muffin is the perfect match for a steaming pot of coffee.  I've never been that much into sweet breakfasts, so pancakes are a rarity.  It dawned on my recently that in all the years of cooking eggs, I've made omelets, poached eggs, fried eggs sunny side up, over easy and over hard, hard and soft boiled, I've basted them even shirred them, but in all the years, I've never once made scrambled eggs.  I just don't like them very much.

I grew up wearing baseball caps.  I used to be that guy who wore a cap everywhere.  I cringe now when I think about how many times I'd wear a cap in a bar, although I always took it off when I sat at a table to eat.  I don't know exactly when I stopped, but the last time, I can remember wearing a hat, while I wasn't golfing was about eight years go while going into the city. It's amazing how I never went bald from always wearing one.

I broke my TV a few months ago, when I tripped over the chord and ripped out part of the back.  So I can still watch movies, but I can't get reception from television.  I haven't watched a TV show in almost three full months and despite following shows on regular TV like Criminal Minds, New Girl, Up All Night & Grimm, I can't really say I miss them.  I'll probably end up getting Criminal Minds on Netflix after the season is over, but doubt I'll go after the others.  The one thing I really did miss was the World Series.  I actually didn't watch two of the games, which for me is unheard off.

As many know, I'm a movie fanatic.  American Movies, at least the one's that stay in the theater, have gotten so bad, that I'm just not willing to fork over the same amount it costs me to get a month worth of Netflix movies in one sitting.  The last movie I've gone to see in the theater was the perfectly awful John Cusack film, 1408.  That was about five years ago.  I could be wrong, but before that, the last movie I remember going to see was The Perfect Storm. I may buck this trend and sneak out to see Lincoln, because it looks amazing, but who knows.

This last one is borderline upsetting.  I've gone up to visit my father a lot this past year, but it dawned on me recently that I have only been to NYC once this year.  I've not been to Brooklyn since 2011.  That's all fine and good, because it's not like I love the city like so many.  Here's the truly troubling realization.  I have not been out of the state in over 16 months.  What's worse, is that the last few times I was out of the state it was for work.  I haven't gone out of New York in nearly four years for anything pleasurable.  That has got to change.  Although the fact I haven't driven a car in nearly a year, is another sign, I might not be going anywhere.




Free Writing - Take Eleven

Turkey has taken over for topics such as politics and the weather. The balmy temperatures make me feel we should be talking about Easter and Passover, but I'll take it.  Just went for a walk.  The air was cool, but refreshing.  Cooped up inside all day.  Lots to do, but haven't started.  Seven hours from now,  I have to be on a train.  Dad's Birthday. Dinner? Mediterranean I believe. I've glanced at the menu and I'm thinking something simple, but I always order seafood when dining out.  I had some laughs today.  Little kids say some funny shit. As I entered the room, they spoke of ghosts, then proceeded to shoot these paranormal entities with guns made out of fingers. The sky got dark as I waited for a cab.  My travel cost me nearly 40% of my pay for the day.  No way around it, so I accept.  Thankful for a friend and my brother who have helped me out and saved me a few hundred dollars.  Tomorrow, I'll write about what I am thankful for.  It might be shorter than this post.  It's been that kind of year, but maybe surrounding myself with the love of family will put life in a different perspective.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Random Thoughts About The Past 10 Days

The election is now 10 days passed and this week has seen turbulence and unrest on social media and in the news.  There have also been the repercussion from Hurricane Sandy to deal with as well.  In all this mess, most of us have still found time to live our lives without too much added stress and anxiety.  Below will be some statements, some opinions and some humorous observation for a ten day period that has seen some amazing stuff happen and some pretty ordinary stuff take place.  Some things might be about certain people, but don't take offense.  Your identity will remain anonymous and please remember,  you said some of these things in public.

Do republicans understand how angry democrats were when Reagan tripled the deficit and Bush doubled it? Yet, we didn't show any of the animosity I'm seeing since last Tuesday.

Why did it take a sex scandal involving a general for us to recognize the war that's been going on for over a decade?

I think the thing that has bothered me more than the arguments are the people who say "I don't know about that stuff," then go out and vote.

I'm absolutely amazed at how many people who have businesses don't understand how Obamacare will or won't affect them.  How is it even remotely possible that people voted because of this issue without knowing how it works?

In the last three months I have served double duty.  While openly fighting with people about the merits of the candidates, I've privately had to defend those people from  my and sometimes mutual friends.  I had three mutual friends of one person ask me if they were "a little slow."  I had two people I've never met call an other friend a conceited daddy's boy whose been handed everything he has.  I've had two friends who work off the books unfriend me for calling them out after they lied and said I wasn't working at all and collecting unemployment and that I've turned down jobs.  I have been working P/T, I've collected less than I should have from unemployment and I've not been offered any jobs.

I've had more republicans tell me they have been bucking the system than democrats in the last three months by about a 5-1 margin.  What's that say about what they really want?

Just one second, before I switch gears.  Romney didn't win.  Didn't come close in reality.  This was over for months.  Something I've been saying...since the 47% comment.  Which by the way, he's defending again.

Gears Switching

Can parents please stop making their kids feel like nothing they do is wrong?  Love and support is fine, but when they grow up and go shoot up their school because they got a B+ instead of an A, it will be on you.

Can parents stop handing their kids iPads and sweets when they pick them up.  Spend that time talking to them about their day.

If your kid is in an after school program, please realize that the instructor might have a class after or want to leave.  You can have your conversation about Desperate Housewives out in the hall.

I had a kid tell me he only has play dates with one of the other kids, because his mom wanted to carpool.  He said this in front of the other kid.  What you say in front of your kids has an incredible impact on them and they repeat what they hear.

If you pay for your kid's cell phone and you let them drive.  Do me a favor.  Pick up their phone one day and check how many calls or texts they made while driving around?  Then take either the car or the phone away, because if I almost get hit one more time by a 17 year old on a cell while driving, I'm pulling them from the car, taking their phone and dropping it into the sewer.  They can explain to the cops why.  Say I'm a jerk, but I may be saving your dope of a kid's life.

If your child trains their brain with intellect, they will become smarter.  The brain is a muscle and the more it's used, the bigger it gets.  So if your youngster is glued to the TV, know the consequences.  If you hear your child mimicking gangster rappers and The Situation, maybe you should be worried, because it's getting atrophied, not stronger.  This doesn't only go for youngsters, but kids who might be college age or as old as mid 20's.  Don't think I'm being disrespectful, because I tell people all the time to stop acting stupid, who I know are smart.  I'll also admit, that the person I enjoy speaking to the most these days, is in this age range, so don't think this is my war on youth.

We recently experienced a hurricane and I'm amazed at how some of my more able bodied friends really stepped up and did incredible things.  I did what I could, but I feel that I couldn't have contributed the way they did.  Those people make me proud to know them. Truly.

I'll end with this. What makes us different, is what differentiates from every other species.  It's what makes us wonderful. These differences are magical. They allow us to come together, through differences of opinion, to one common decision.  They allow us to learn from each other. I have learned more in the past few months than i have in many years.  It's people's difference of opinions that have made me strive to become more intelligent. It's also people's similarities that have led me to new discoveries. I've learned from people older than me and from those younger than me.  I've learned from people who are smarter than me and from those who aren't.  I've learned from richer and poorer, religious and non-religious and from people who are all races, creeds and colors.  I wouldn't change this for the world.  It has been tiring.  Some people are so set in their ways, they refuse to open their minds to knowledge.  I'm stubborn, but I'll fill you in on a little secret.  Whenever I argue with someone out and they are dead set in their convictions, I go home and check.  A few times I've had to apologize, because I was wrong.  The difference is.....I did.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Best Songs I've Heard Recently

This list might surprise you if you've heard the songs, because they aren't all knew songs.  These are all just songs I've heard for the first time in the past six months.  They cross different genres and there is no order.  They are just songs that touched me in some way.  Some are because of the lyrics, some the melodies or some simply because they say something to me for whatever reason.

Heart Healthy - The Forecast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p7XujdRlb4
I first heard of the Forecast on a video game. That songs was called the These Lights and is one of my favorites.  This song, just speaks to me in it's simplicity about doing whatever it takes to be with someone.  The song is literally nothing but a repetitious chorus.

The House That Built Me - Miranda Lambert  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQYNM6SjD_o
My inability to go visit my old neighborhood more and to spend time on the street I grew up, remember happier times and maybe gain some perspective on where I am and where I come from.  Even being in Brooklyn reminds me of a special time.  A time where I was innocent and carefree.  A time when my mother was at full health.

The Wood Brothers - Luckiest Man.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ObGb-xgJgc
Just a song about accepting one's fate and smiling back in times of woe and just thinking to yourself, you're alive.  Things are good.  We all need a little more of this mental outlook.  Myself included.

Lights - Ellie Goulding. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NKUpo_xKyQ
Very simply, the best disco song I've heard in the last few months.

Dance with the Devil - Immortal Technique.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qggxTtnKTMo
The most haunting beat combined by the scariest and most disturbing story in rap history.  Immortal Technique should be up there with the best. Spits like Rakim and lyrics like Scarface, but all on the underground.  Warning, this song is disturbing

Skinny Love - Birdy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT67liGjZhw
I know it's not her song, but she does a better job than Bon Iver.  Her youth and innocence adds another dimension to it.  Just says a lot about young/lost love.  Something we all can relate to.

Breathe Me - Sia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSH7fblcGWM
I posted this video online last night after hearing it again for the first time in a few months and this is the inspiration for the blog.  Such a beautiful and sad song about one's desperation to not live in the world alone, filled with hurt and pain.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Free Writing - Take Ten

Been a little distracted lately.  Feeling sick today, but I brought it upon myself, so how can I complain?  Went out for football tonight and realized it was a bad idea.  Left after taking one sip of my first beer.  Watched a Korean film and really like it.  For the first time in many weeks, I'm missing someone.  Not sure why....maybe it's because of this weather.  Looking forward to Thanksgiving and spending time with my family.  A little upset with how negative people around me have become.  I'm not the most positive person, but this whole election showed me that people are more concerned with their own interests and being right than about the issues.  It's mid-November and I'm sitting with the air conditioner on, but there's no such things as global warming.  Seventy degree weather, a hurricane, an earthquake, a snowstorm, low 30's and now mid 60's all in three weeks?  Call it what you want, but something is not right. My writer's block is in full effect tonight and this usually helps.  Struggle to keep this going for another few seconds.  Have you ever wanted to do something, but know it's the wrong thing for yourself?  I keep coming close, but don't.  I know the reaction will upset me.  I think I need to stay home the next few nights and start working on something.  I just know it will only get me down.  Needs to be done to move forward though.  Well time's up.  As I stated at the beginning, I'm a little distracted and this garbled mess should be proof.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Movies I Hate That Everyone Likes

About three years back I wrote a blog titled the 11 most overrated movies.  My number one selection was The Shawshank Redemption and I've accepted that I am the only person on the planet who despises that movie.  So in the interest of stirring up some controversy, I've decided to revisit this and make a list of movies that I believe are complete crap, but adored by the general public.  I don't mean I dislike these movies, but view them as unwatchable and gave them one star in Netflix ratings.  Enjoy and please feel free to argue.

Here is the link the original I had mentioned.
http://hopsthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/09/eleven-maybe-12-most-overrated-movies.html

300 - absolutely silly, ultra homoerotic tale of the Spartans.
Austin Powers - any of them. Michael Myers is a twat.  He's never done anything funny in his life.
Any Given Sunday - quite possibly the worst sports movie ever made.
The Cabin in the Woods - the second worst horror movie ever made. Cliche fest.
The Cable Guy - one funny scene does not make a good movie.
Dead Poets Society - the worst actor in a pretentious piece of shit pie. Not my captain.
Dumb & Dumber - yes I mean it.  If you're a grown up and shit jokes make you laugh, sorry.
Forrest Gump - one of the best soundtracks ever can't save this uber-boring mess.
The Full Monty - love the actors, but have never made it through in one sitting it's so boring.
Ghost - the only thing that came out of this movie was my disdain for Patrick Swayze
The Grapes of Wrath - hated the book and hated the movie. Felt like 12 hours long.
The Grey - Liam Neeson, you suck at action films. Get back to acting.
Hostel - if you like violence, I can show you good movies. Hostel 2 was actually better.
The Hunger Games - one of the worst movies I've seen in a very long time.
Knocked Up - the longest and most unfunny comedy ever?
Kung Fu Hustle - this cult classic is so bad...stick to Kung Fu Panda
The entire Matrix series - we get it, you're not that clever.  It sucked.
Mrs. Doubtfire - I should just put "Every Robin Williams film."
The Natural - yes, the biggest baseball fan on the planet hates this. Cue exploding lights....sigh
North by Northwest - can't wrap my finger around why, but I hate this film with a passion.
Open Water - not sure people love this, but it's the worst movie ever made.
Rocky IV - It's worse than Rocky V
Sleepless in Seattle - Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan - my personal hell
The Social Network - a bunch of unsocial pricks.  Irony?
Titanic - probably isn't fair, because the acting isn't terrible, but it's so painfully long and drawn out.
The Truman Show - see my comment about Robin Williams...same applies to Jim Carrey except one
X-Men; First Class - hailed by many as the best comic book movie. I think it's the worst, other than Hulk

Obviously there are others I despise, but these were 1 star movies.  I'd throw The Hangover in, but there are about three scenes that are truly funny and the extras on the DVD with the photos are funnier than the movie.  Feel free to comment

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

About Last Night - Election Night Final Thoughts

Bob Dylan once sang "the times they are a changin'." 

Last night proved that hate, bigotry, sexism and pushing one's religious morals onto others doesn't work anymore in this country.  Women, gays and minorities won this election for President Obama. The elderly, the rich and the haves don't outweigh the have-nots anymore and this must be recognized.  Loving your country now means accepting all those who reside in it, regardless of whether you agree with their belief system.  It's what makes us the best country in the world. 

I also noticed something very graphic and telling last night.  Every single tweet and Facebook post written in  support of Obama's victory, was filled with inspiration, happiness and was eloquently stated, with proper spelling and grammar.  Every tweet and post denouncing the victory, was peppered with hate and lies, with misspelled words and improper grammatical notations littering.  As someone who has been debating these topics for months, I can tell you this wasn't due to haste, because it's been prevalent in these posts since the beginning.  It's a telling sign of who voted for whom and why the Romney campaign failed and why Obama's was effective.

Back in the 30's, 40's & 50's we were the smartest nation on the planet.  We voted for intelligent men we could look up to.  We haven't had a president like that in many years and our country is slowly crumbling.  Intelligence isn't looked at with respect anymore.  Money is, and there lies the problem.  We covet those who have, the Romney's, Bush's and Trumps and look down on those who have less, but possess brains, like Obama, Carter and Biden.  There is a reason we've gone from watching the news every night to the Kardashians.  Walter Cronkite, one of our nations most respected journalists, in a time when there were some, once said "Whatever the cost of our libraries, the cost is cheap compared to an ignorant nation." Sadly, it's exactly what we've become.  We live in a country that will pass bills and have fund raisers to keep their sports teams alive, but the libraries and arts program gets nothing when in need.  What does that say about us?

Some of you are happy, but many of you are angry.  This happens in a country that gives us choices.  When the constitution was written, our elections were set up to be voted on by a small number of rich white men who owned all the land. Today those same men spend billions trying to tell the rest of us who to vote for. The same way the slaves were freed and later allowed to vote. The same way schools have ended segregation and women have been allowed to vote.  These same ways, are why we have the country we have.  Those wonderful moments in history happened due to intelligent people accepting change.  In time, we all began to accept those changes.  Our world is much more complicated today than it was in the 30's, 40's and 50's.  We probably have twice as many people, which means more people to house and to feed and to employ.  Like in business, with growth comes greater responsibility and what we have today is a world that is growing to fast and we don't have the intelligent minds to figure out what to do.  Like a child trying to fit a shape into a hole, we grow frustrated.  History shows we will persevere, but it will take time, patience and most of all an intelligence that we have lost hold of.  

I hope all of you who are angry, can take a breath and realize this change and need for patience.  I hope all you that are happy can recognize the job isn't done, but only started.  We will all have to make concessions, to make this country great.  Some might be financial and appear difficult, but some might be as simple as acceptance. I lost some friends over this election.  I don't know if they will harbor this ill will in a month or two, or if they too will find a way to accept me back in their lives.  Only time and patience will tell. I for one, know that I will  be waiting.  My fellow man angers me at times, but they are worth it.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Final Thoughts - Election

I have argued about this damn election for months now.  Finally, it's going to be over and we'll have nothing left to discuss other than the made up tales of who did what and how the election was stolen.  The Redskins lost, so we're supposed to get a new president. It's worked that way every election but one for seventy years.  There are other silly predictors that sway towards the re-election of our president.  So who knows.

It is silly to say anything a day before the election, because most people's minds have been made up for a long time now.  The problem I have is that many of these minds were made up four years ago, when a black man that many of us had never heard of won the election.  In 2008, Barack Obama did something, I honestly didn't think I'd see in my lifetime.  Since his inauguration he has fought and uphill battle trying to right the wrongs of previous administration and has faced obstacles from the right for the entire time.  That being said, just take a quick look at what he has managed to achieve.

Passed the Affordable Care Act - how long have presidents been promising a health care plan?
He got Bin Laden - something his predecessor stated wasn't a huge priority.
He saved the auto industry - which saved thousands of jobs and created even more.
He passed a stimulus - sounds minor, but it saved us from a second great depression.
He repealed "Don't ask, don't tell." - Which allowed gays to openly serve their country.
Kicked the banks out of the student loan game. - which will increase governments ability to give grants.
Demanded higher fuel efficiency standards - soon we will have cars that get twice the gas mileage.
Increased support for our veterans - many were hailed when they are fighting, but forgotten after.
Signed the Fair Pay Act - standing up for a woman's right to be paid equally for her work.

He's done countless other things which could be the reason for people to vote for him, but before you pull the lever on Tuesday, think of three things that don't get press.  He has done more for America's natural habitats than any president before him.  He's done more to insure our children's futures will be healthy ones.  Finally, people actually like us again.  Four years ago, with our country in financial ruin and two wars being hotly contested, people disliked us.  We were seen as the bully, who waged war based on speculation not facts.  Now, with our troops coming home, the consensus is we're not that bad.

Throughout this entire campaign, one thing has always struck me.  Barack Obama, actually cares about what happens after he's gone.  He has done more things to set us up for the future than most presidents.  All this while facing a congress that has done everything to stop this progress.  Not one person reading this hasn't made their mind up already and in all sincerity, I have had my issues with some of his policies, but at the end of the day, we're a country, not a business and I want someone who I believe truly cares about us than someone who thinks he can make us richer.  So you know who I'll be voting for on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Free Writing - Take Nine

Dreams

I make you breakfast after a long snuggle. Walks down the BRP path, something I don't love, but with you it's fun. Pictures of our hijinks. Dinner, avocados stuffed with crab meat, light pasta filled with pumpkin and osso bucco.  Tattoos and things I don't understand. Faces I know and faces I don't.  Hoping that one day someone says the words I want to hear. Making fun of me on Facebook or is it twitter? I wake and need to go back to sleep. Continue dreaming but the dream is gone. So pretty. So young, is it you now or you when I knew you. Different people, different places. I have that one, that one that keeps recurring. It's wrong. Not fair to her.  Not fair to me.  Arms wrapped around her, touching her skin...I awake, to a pillow.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Quick Thoughts: Hurricane Sandy

If you didn't see this gas issue coming, you obviously didn't care about those in New Orleans enough to be educated on what happens in these circumstances.

If you bought tons of microwavable food before the power went out, you deserve to starve.

If you thinking telling someone else to "do their part" is helping, you don't get humanity.  

If you think a person who lost their home needs a sandwich and a blanket, you've lived a much better life than most.

If you think your tiny donation to Red Cross doesn't help, remember, if everyone in not affected by the storms in NY and NJ donated $10 each, those in need would have more than $250 million.

Why is helping someone who lost their home to a storm - helping, but helping someone who doesn't have a home is a handout?

Why is it so many people are so vocal about what other's should do in emergencies, but so few actually help themselves?

I'm sorry if I don't feel for the person who lost their boat in the storm a much as I do the person who lost a week's pay.

The people I argue politics with who are still screaming about made up Benghazi stories, while many more died this week in NY, have shown me what they are really about.  

I have read more nasty things about Obama in the past four days than in the last four months.  Apparently, him doing the right thing and doing it eloquently and quietly is seen as a sign of weakness. Romney spoke to 25K supporters tonight and is STILL in Ohio.  

It's not about me, but I made my first donation on Monday via my phone and donated 10x more than I had in my bank account. I made more donations tonight, because I had some more money. 

If you don't think that the marathon isn't a symbol of NYC's greatness, you are either less than 11 years old or don't get it.  While it should have been canceled at the end of last week, before the storm, it should also be run.  Not this weekend and probably not next, but it should be run.  It's important.  It generates tons of money for small business throughout all five boroughs, and while it's not a popular thought now, it is a moral booster n that it shows how wonderful this city and it's inhabitants can be.

Please also  remember that in times of dire need and distress, patience is important.  That person who cut you off to get gas, might have young children and a job interview to get to.  While you might just be making 
sure you can get to your Zumba class. 

Finally, if you have a cell phone...you can afford to text 90999 and type Red Cross to donate a mere $10
If you have a laptop, you can go to cityharvest.com and donate. Or any others, but research them well.
If you know someone who needs assistance from FEMA, tell them they need to apply at FEMA website.
If you can afford to put someone in need up, do so, so that someone else might have that bed.  
If anyone needs anything that I can provide or knows someone who might, let me know. I don't have much, but I don't much either. 

Hope whoever reads this is safe and hasn't lost anyone or knows those who have.  Be Safe, care for one another and we'll all get through this.