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.