Sunday, August 31, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 96-97

Day 96: If most of you don't know by now, I'm soon to be giving up the title of resident of Westchester. That being said, I must at some point return home to pick up my stuff and probably attend to the legal ramifications of my leaving. That and apologize to my mailman, for having to (I assume) figure out where to put my mail.

I'm sure within that mail is another letter from my management company, who apparently has taken me to court for a third time, without warning, which under the laws in NY state, is illegal. Of course, they have a lawyer and I can not afford one, so that means they will be right and I will be wrong. I understand how the game works and money goes to money and money buys public opinion.

Before anyone blames me for letting this go on, understand that I contacted the court and they are slower than molasses and while eventually appear helpful, it took three calls to get one simply piece of information, which cost me three weeks, then to adhere to their instructions, it took another two weeks. So basically, I've had zero communication and I've added three months rent. Lovely.

Well, I'm sleepy, the sun is coming up and I'm also starving. That fish I had for dinner at 9PM, was good, but that and the two rugalach were not sufficient to hold me for eight hours. Especially since I only slept for three hours last night. This isn't my typical 100DOH, but I am a little frazzled right now and I'm not in the mood to talk about anything I deem important. Enjoy your weekend all and thanks to two of you. Sincerely. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 97: Being it's a holiday, I won't get into specifics, but it has me thinking about pettiness. A friend and I have been e-mailing back and forth and somewhat reflect on our friendship over the last (almost) 30 years. We've had long lapses, despite our close proximity, but we've remained close. There have been times in life, where we've competed for the affection of similar people, both romantically and in some ways, simply friendship. All that aside, we've remained close enough to confide in each other.

We've recently noticed that so many of those we knew have succumbed to jealousy, envy and flat out pettiness. My friend is lucky to be removed from the dark side of social media and actually sees this for himself from reading e-mails and texts from those in question and about them. The best part about this person, is his ability to describe these faults in ways I can only imagine. Sometimes it's an eloquent word and sometimes it's a four letter blockbuster. Either way, it's understood and taken with a laugh.

Think about it. In the past five years or more, I've fallen off many a guest list, for making a subtle suggestion or for a person's vanity actually having them believe that everything I say is about them. Other times, the commentary was directed at one person specifically and I've been told everything from being "retarded" to a hypocrite (I'm a lot of things, but never this) to stupid to being told to kill myself. I laugh it off as my words ringing so true that the person has no other means to defend themselves, but to sling insults.

I'm a lot of things, but I'm not a hypocrite, not stupid and definitely value my life, not in what it means to me, but what it might and does mean to others. I guess there in lies the real difference between myself and those who mock and dismiss me. I'm not here to better my life in any other way, but to see a smile on someone else's face. People will be petty and I'm not going to change that, but I will point it out when I see it, so be prepared, but yeah, I already know. I have the lists of insults written down. #100DaysOfHopper

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Random Thoughts - August 2014 Edition

I'm learning over time, that my cooking is much like my life; it goes splendidly as long as there are no directions.

Social media is a big part of my social life. From Twitter I get laughs and connections to different views from shut ins to celebs and once in a while, I'm worthy of the latter's attention. From Instagram I am reminded of life's subtle beauty, both living and not. And then there is Facebook.

I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, but I have people who care about me and have surrounded me with love. Pretty damn good spotters. I just hope I have time to repay them.

The kindest thing anyone has said to me recently, was a complete stranger, who said "You don't think like other people. Makes ME think more about stuff."

The nicest thing anyone has done for me, was simply remembering something I told them weeks ago and taking a photograph because of it. Little things like that mean more than any tangible gift.

There is someone I used to think I liked, maybe even more than as a friend, but their materialism disgusts me. I view materialism as I do racism, in the sense that both are the individuals false sense of superiority, but from different angles.

I am home alone, but not in my home. I have the ability to go anywhere, watch anything and yet I sit alone, in the smallest room in the house, surrounded by books and papers and the workings of a greater mind than I and I feel such comfort.

You ever wish you believed in God, so that you could pretend that there is a reason other than luck, fate, choice or simply life being life?

Friday, August 29, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 95

Day 95: We've all been crushed under the tidal wave of the ice bucket challenge, treated like psychological chew toys by our furry friend loving champions and had our news feeds riddled with the quick spreading cancer plugs. Every single day, I can count on being hit up or "forced" to watch or read something about these funds. I read almost every one and I wonder.

I wonder why the biggest problem in our country isn't being faced. I wonder why when I have in the past asked people to donate, as little as whatever they would have spent at the deli on lunch, I get not even a single comment or like. I wonder why we donate to a disease we don't know anything about, because the challenge is fun. I wonder how and when a shelter dog became more important than a family living in a similar situation.

One in 11,000 Americans have ALS - there is no cure
One in 50 Americans have a cancer - the survival rate grows
One of every three shelter animals will be adopted

One in six Americans  (50+ million) will go to bed hungry - this rate increases every year. The amount of food thrown out in this country each and every year could more than adequately feed one half of these people (26 million).

The contents of your garbage can is probably enough to sustain a human life. Think about that. #100DaysOfHopper

Facebook! It's Always F***ing Facebook!

How the hell does that website do it? How is it possible, that people I once thought had above average intelligence and common sense, are reduced to slobbering idiots?

Seriously folks, it's about time you think before you post. How the hell do you not know the one thing your home town is famous for? How do you not know that there is no pumpkin in a Starbucks pumpkin latte? How do you not know if you have your settings on public, that everyone on the planet can see you're an idiot?

How do you not realize that your shirt was see thru before you went out? How do you not know that your significant other is interested in the person whose page they comment on sixteen times a day? How do you not know you're a fucking idiot, when you complain about how hard life is, but three hours later you're sitting by a fucking pool, drink in hand and bragging about how you have nothing to do for a week? Do you realize most people who complain one tenth the amount of time you do, don't get vacations and further more, you don't work, you cook once a week and spend more time posting about it than it takes to make and you complain about laundry. Laundry! You put it in and push a fucking button. Then you feed your fat face with bon bons while you wait to hear the buzzer, but you miss it, because you have your computer on Pandora, the TV onto The View and your phone surgically attached to your hand. Then you complain your husband or ex-husband is a deadbeat.

Sorry, this sounds sexist. There are just as many men who sit on their asses waiting for Junior to get off the bus and somehow manage to post 500 times on Facebook how lazy black or Spanish people are.  Yes those lazy fuckers got fired and unlike you, they didn't get a severance package, because it's not offered. Their Cobra is nonexistent and they can't collect unemployment, because their old boss is screwing them. Yes, so criticize how they collect food stamps to feed their five kids, while you search Expedia for deals on your disgusting Sea World extravaganza.

Remember that scene in Good Will Hunting? You know the one, the best one in the movie. No of course you don't fucking know it, Mr. Facebooker, because you're programmed to say "them apples" and "about a girl" and all the other awful fucking scenes in that pretentious, sentimental horseshit of a movie, but maybe just maybe you at least remember it. It's when Chuckie is talking to Will and he utters this masterpiece...."Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. And we go out. We have a few drinks, and a few laughs, and it's great. But you know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, 'cause I think, maybe I'll get up there and I'll knock on the door and you won't be there. No goodbye. No see you later. No nothing. You just left. I don't know much, but I know that." That is me with Facebook. Just once. Just fucking once!!! Just once, I would like to sign on and not see four pictures of dogs beaten or cars shivering. Just once, I'd like to not see fourteen memes of Jesus posted by people who fuck their best friend's husbands. Just once, I'd like to not see some grifter trying to scam money out of people. Just once, I'd like to hear that the fuckers who complain about their jobs 24/7 finally upped and quit, because their mental health is more important than making "the man" happy. Just once, I'd like someone to publicly say what others say privately, good or bad. Just once, I'd like someone to not hit like and say "Hey so and so, I like you as a friend, but you know what? We all know you're rich and you know what else? You didn't work for that shit, so quit rubbing it in the faces of those of us who have slaved away trying to make ends meet. Stop telling us about your vacations, your cars, your jewelry and tell us about the conversation you had with your kid about life and how they want to be a scientist, because they cry when they read the paper at all the disease in the world. Then and only then will I spend a second of my life giving you the satisfaction of a like or a comment."

Just once, I'd like to wake up and find the angry worker had their comments read by the friend who needs someone in that field at their job and can offer her solace. Just once, I'd like to read that the person who spend six months a year in the ER, realized that mental health might have been a bigger issue than physical. Just once I'd like the two people who are always sad they are alone, to post "in a relationship with..." Just once, I'd like to wake up and go on and have someone say, "Thanks and it not really be about what they did."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 94

Day 94: Rosacea (although I don't think that's what it is), torn rotator cuff, severe elbow tendinitis, carpal tunnel and arthritis due to breaking each finger at least twice, some as many as four or five times, a degenerative hip, a weak back caused by hip and knee problems (and the weight gained from them), torn anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees, severe cartilage tears in both knees, almost no mobility in one and occasional goat flare ups, gall stones, diverticulitis (once) and chronic insomnia.

Above are just the physical things I deal with on a day-to-day basis. So sorry, if I don't like or comment my sympathies for each time you have to wait in line at the DMV or someone cut the line at Starbucks. Sorry, if your flight was delayed or the person at the gym smells funny. Sorry if your kid had a sniffle and you can't "afford" to get sick, because you have a dinner party this weekend.

I'm also sorry that you didn't have time, like me, to research a topic, yet you feel free to continue posting after you've been proven wrong. I'm sorry that weather is such a big deal in your life, but me talking about racism annoys you. I'm sorry, you posted that Jesus will take care of us all, but I bothered you with my post about the millions who go hungry at night. Sorry, that your 70th beaten puppy pic was interrupted by my day 94 status blog. Part 2 will be the positive (promise) side...coming later or tomorrow. #100DaysOfHopper

 Day 94 Part 2: The Good stuff. Despite physical ailments I've acquired over the years and the fact I don't "look the part," I'm actually quite healthy. Perfect heart rate, perfect blood pressure, perfect cholesterol levels, all my last blood work proved me to be fit as a fiddle....well, internally. I almost never get sick. Not even the common cold. I've usually get really sick for two or three days in November or December and that's it. I never, ever take medicine, aside from the occasional Advil. Other than diverticulitis, I've not had more than a 24 "bug" in over three years. Not bad.

I have very few close family left. I have my brother, my father and my sister in law. They are the best people in the world. They keep me sane, they challenge my perspectives and I theirs and we have more laughs than most. I have great memories of all my grandparents and especially my mother. People say that this one was this or that, but despite personal faults, they were good people. They would give almost anyone they saw in need, the shirt off their back and did so without any expectation of reciprocation. They were the glue of their families and it's something I have failed in carrying on. I may seem like it, due to Facebook or my ability to run into people I know, but I have very few true friends. I don't think I'd have it any other way. Sure there are some I simply haven't known that long who are great people, but my inner circle is minute and in fact, made up almost entirely of people I never hang out with. It's much better that way, trust me.

I have my faculties. I'm starting to notice my eyes get tired more quickly and at times, I do question seeing things (at night), but my senses all seem to be very acute. I also, despite what a handful of people might tell you, have my intelligence, which has actually been more of a hindrance than benefit in today's society, but I'll stick with it. I have common sense, but believe me, I don't confuse that for decision making. I've made many poor decisions in my life. In retrospect, more poor than wise, but I've also learned from them. I'm quick to judge, but I'm also quick to apologize, quicker to acknowledge my mistakes and even quicker to give credit where credit is due.

I'm flat broke and romantically alone in this world right now and I wouldn't have it any other way. Sure there are times I'd love to join one or two of you in Aruba or London, but it's not to be. If I was to come into money tomorrow, I'd probably blow half of it sharing with those who are in need. I'm alone socially too and have been for two months and aside from seven or eight people, nobody has been concerned. It's Facebook's fault, but believe me, I'm OK. I appreciate the simple things in life, like a comfortable chair, a good article and some fresh picked blueberries. A cold drink, a good conversation and a hot meal. This is what life is to me. I've been without a car for three years and now I have one. I have no desire to drive all over and see the sights. I want to enjoy the tranquility and embrace the solitude. Time will come again where I'm surrounded by people, arguing, debating, hugging and kissing, but I'll long for this, so why fight it? Life is about creating happiness out of the happiness you bring others. If I bring that to one person each day, they bring it to me. #100DaysOfHopper

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 92-93

Day 92: Gifts, money, cars, houses, tons of friends. Nope. Not for me. People love to say they appreciate life, but frankly, they are full of it. Anyone ever says, all they need is for you to care about them, try it. See how long they stay around. I know it sounds cynical, but I've been pretty much alone to my thoughts a lot lately and in the last two weeks, one e-mail, one message and one person who has continuously made me laugh, has gotten me through a mental rough patch.

The clueless stay clueless. The self centered stay centered. The fakes, stay false to nobody, but themselves. The new fad of the week crew is pushing their product. The woe is me crowd is woeful. The angry to be angry, as long as at least one comment of concern is made public; always public! The I'm better than you, because I have money crowd stays better than all of us Po' Folk. The Jesus loves us, even though our lives aren't any better since before we started posting those memes, keep praying. The innocent bystanders, stand by ever so innocently, waiting to spread their news and gossip of those tiny things said and done by others. The followers keep following, like sheep to the shepherd.

For all those of you who stay true to who you are and true to me, among others. God Bless you if that's your thing. Or if you're like me....fist bump...or FU. What ever you like! Just keep doing what you're doing and never take any shit from nobody...except me. You must take it from me, haha #100DaysOfHopper

Day 93: Yesterday was an emotional day. Someone reminded me of what an odd path this has been. Another reminded me of how fragile life can be. Another made sense of it all with his kind and eye opening e-mail. Simple and to the point. And then someone else, with their message to their departed father, reminded me of how few truly special people there are in the world. This man was one of them.

Very rarely do I get emotional over the thought of life and death. As so many have said, death is an integral part of life. It in many ways allows for our lives to be defined. We hesitate to do so as we live, as do others, because the chapters have not been finished. We need a conclusion. It's not always wrapped nicely, with a pretty bow one top, but it does end; for all of us.

I thought about this man and shed a tear. Then enjoyed a couple of laughs. Then I thought about how, I can only hope for that. I don't mean the manufactured distress that some spouted over the recent death of Robin Williams, but the true sadness that is felt from the loss of someone whose mere being in your life made it better. If there is one thing I long for it would be to have someone feel that way about me. Not to tell me, but to feel that way. So that as I pass, maybe just maybe I can feel like it was all made worthwhile, because someone's life was better, simply for knowing me. Wow, that's a feat! #100DaysOfHopper

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Eight Weeks

I have been away from "home" for eight weeks. If you noticed, I have the word home in parenthesis. Eastchester stopped feeling like home a long time ago. Somewhere around 1985, when I first moved there. I've never tried very hard to leave, because it's always been easier to stay. Easier, because I know what it's like to say goodbye and not realize it's for good. It's been easier to stay, because I had nowhere else to go. Every single chance I've had, I've taken to leave that place and every time I return, there is a little piece of me that is truly ripped from inside. It's an exhausting process.

Sure, I have people I consider good friends, but as I've found out, for the better part of a decade, they are a busy crew. I'm not one to beg someone for friendship, because to me, it's a two-way street that must be met 50/50. It is based on honesty, trust and the ability to always be open. Even with some of my closest friends, I've lost that. I wish I could stare into the mirror and yell at myself for this, but I can't. Things come up, people change and for good or for worse, I've stayed the same person. I refuse to be someone I'm not for someone else's benefit. I feel, even when I try, it truly depresses me.

So for eight weeks, I've lounged around Ithaca. Leaving the house, less than four times. I'm content sitting on the porch, the deck or laying in bed. Sitting at the table for long meals and longer talks. This is something I miss out on at home. Conversations surround me about some show I don't want, some song I don't know and biased references to teams I can't stand. Even at home, aside from three places, I am home almost always.

For eight weeks, I've wondered maybe twice what I'm missing out on. I miss a handful of people and even that is being generous. I genuinely miss three people and one doesn't even live near me, but often comes down to visit. Despite my confrontational personality, I doubt I'll even post this to Facebook. The off chance, someones vanity is hurt, when they believe I am speaking of them, when I am not. Here's the best about this silly blog. I used to have about 30-40 people who told me they read it all the time. How funny is it the reasons I've heard as to why they stopped. All reasons that friends would normally come to your side, are the reasons they stopped paying attention, reading, listening.

Eight weeks away. Who will notice when it's nine, ten or forever?

Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Sleepers

OK, I don't play Fantasy Football anymore and this is exactly why I have become good at it. The last two years I posted my picks for sleepers, overachievers and underachievers and I've been approximately 90% on the money.

So I'll keep it simple this year. With my top choice (1 pick at each position), my solid pick (3-5 rounder), my sleeper (6+ who will be a stud) and my bust (anyone in top five who will have a bad year or get hurt).

TC: Peyton Manning is definitely the top choice. There is no reason to think he will not be the best player in the game once again.
Solid: Andrew Luck could go top two if the league is pass friendly.
Sleeper: Tom Brady is not your regular sleeper, but with an average running game and a strong defense, the Pats should get a lot of short drives, which means increased touchdowns.
Bust: Tony Romo is a fantasy superstar and this year he has the OL Cowboys forget he had a few years ago. Won't matter, he's on the decline and with an awful defense, he'll be playing catch-up, which he's statistically (unless you're a Cowboy fan), not very good at.

Running Back
TC: Eddie Lacy is a surprise pick, but I'd pick him #1 overall in run heavy leagues. Three of the top six guys are injury risks and two are old. Lacy is a young stud and will flourish with an entire season playing with Rodgers.
Solid: Andre Ellington might be the next big thing. He only had 118 carries last year and if he doubled all his stats from last year, he'd have been 14th in carries....and 3rd in yards. I predict a 1000+ yard, 8 td season.
Sleeper: Marki Ingram isn't going to win you your league, but as a fourth RB, he might be able to help quite a bit.
Bust: Ray Rice. This is me partially hoping the piece of shit is a bust and me also thinking the pressure of away games, will be too much for him. He's a weak-minded person and it will take it's toll, especially if Pierce performs.

Wide Receiver:
TC: There is Calvin Johnson and there is everyone else and it isn't even close.
Solid: Jordy Nelson is probably a top round guy, but with the injuries to other Packers, he's suffered. This year, he should be good for 100 catches and 10 touchdowns.
Sleeper: Cordarelle Patterson isn't a sleeper on most drafts anymore, but he's not going to be a top five round guy. He may even be one of the guys taken in the last 5-6 rounds in 10 team leagues.
Bust: Tavon Austin and it's not his fault. He was all set to have a breakout year and those who drafted already probably took him higher than 7th or 8th, but Bradford's injury spells doom for his season.

Tight End:
TC: Jimmy Graham is a WR. We all know it and he knows it.
Solid: Romo panics more than any quarterback in the league, so Witten is always a safe pick.
Sleeper: Martellus Bennett will be one of the three or four best TE in the game this year. 80 catches, 1000 yards and 10 TDs.
Bust: Jordan Reed isn't expected to blow the doors off the season, but a nagging thumb injury could spell doom. That coupled with QB problems in Washington, makes this a bad pick.

#100DaysOfHopper Day 91 - The Final Ten

Day 91: Yes Cooney, Yes Smyth, there are only ten more days (well maybe).

Do you know that Facebook, in many ways, is a time capsule? It is an ever present record of your thoughts, feelings and events that you have chosen to record and allow the world to see. Do you also realize that every racist or sexist comment, every misspelled or misused word and every time you couldn't handle the simplest of life's obstacles is here forever? Do you also know that whether you like it or not, whether it is warranted or not and whether or not it is fair, your kid are judged by your actions and what you've decided to post.

I've seen a lot of posts featuring memes about being the best mom, the best dad, the best person that someone can be, but I question it all. How can you not handle a day without coffee and curse people you love, but then claim to be the best person you can be. Think about all the pictures of you on the Internet. Would you want the same pictures of your child posted? I sure as hell know I would have shut this down years ago, had I the pleasure, the luck and the honor of having a child. While we all love your pics of the little ones sleeping or laughing, remember, they are also tied to your other pictures, posts and whatever else you share.

I'm not trying to sound self righteous, but I've met some of your children. Some of them are actually spitting images of you and your husbands and their personalities are identical to you. Virtual mini mes they are, no doubt. But don't we all want better for our kids. Do we want our children making the same mistakes we made and learning all of our bad habits. Do we really want a picture of us in an embarrassing situation with forty comments saying "best night ever?" How do we teach our youth not to do as we do, when it seems so great. Do we want our kids growing up to further the racial divide? Do we want them to hate someone for who they lay down next to, because that's how we were taught? Do we want exactly what our parents gave us or do we want more.

Like I said, I do not have kids. I have worked with kids and while people who know me from here, might have a hard time believing this, I never curse, I never slur, I never judge, I never bully and I never push my thoughts on others, when working with kids. I ask only that they use their minds to make decisions and constantly ask them to think how they would feel in another's shoes. I've heard many stories about them "finding out" things about their parents on Facebook, such as "my father smokes when he gets drunk," "my uncle has a tattoo, which is strictly forbidden in our religion," and "I think mommy has a boyfriend who isn't my daddy." I kid you not, all of those were said to me by kids, between the ages of 5 and 9, this year. This was all because of Facebook.

Listen, I happen to know, thanks to the mouths of people in Eastchester, that my political posts on Facebook have cost me at least one job, if not more. They've cost me friends (although, one has to redefine a friend who ends a friendship over a post on someone else's page). They've also made relationships very stressful. I'm not judging in the sense that I am better. I'm judging in that, I'm standing next to you in line for the abuse.

If we woke up in jail and you could only say three words to me, what would you say? "No Facebook Posts!" #100DaysOfHopper

Free Writing - Take 51

A little different format attempt. I'm going to write five separate paragraphs. Each just one minute long. Based on the the most interesting word I find in the first tweet, when refreshing twitter.

HATE is a four letter word, but we all seem to embrace it so much more easily than we embrace love. We don't admit to others and many times to even ourselves, but one look at how we speak, who we speak of and the vitriol we spew makes it so evident this is true.

How often is it normal to think about one's CHILDHOOD? I think about it all the time. The playing in the street, the friends houses, the sleepovers, the first kisses, the silliness. The end of the day curling up next to mom or dad and falling asleep only to wake up the next morning in bed.

I don't really remember my first KISS, but I definitely remember the first kiss with passion. It took me by surprise as I was overwhelmed. I was 13, she was 16, maybe even 17 and she thought I was cute and innocent. She had no idea. I was too innocent apparently as the romance lasted but a week or two.

When I was younger, I took the PLANET and it's existence for granted. Sort of weird for a little kid not to be amazed, but to see the planet as a given. It wasn't for a silly reason, such as, God will take care of us. I knew that was a lie. No, it was sort of because the vastness of it all made me feel as if it were indestructible. Sadly our Congress still believes my childhood myths.

I wonder how many wish the could SILENCE me. I know there are many I feel the same about, but why? Do they annoy me with their repetitiveness or their stupidity? I wonder their reason for wanting me silenced. I might just have to ask, but I know that will only cause me to voice my thoughts even more.

#100DaysOfHopper Day 89 (Part 2) - 90

Day 89 Part 2: No lie, every day I read Facebook and the treasure chest of complaints by people who have no realization of just how boring life can be. If you're "literally" offended, upset and almost killed by someone each and every day; If you actually spend five days in the hospital a month for emergencies, If you actually have so little money that you are completely stressed by your vacation only being ten weeks....newsflash. About 90% of us want your Expendables 3, Grey's Anatomy, Donald Trump life. I, for one, will trade with you tomorrow! #100DaysOFHopper

 Day 90: We all have our friends, we have our causes and we have that which is truly important to us. Because of social media, we also feel the need, at times, to stress these views. The problem is that we don't control thoughts. Many of skip the comments or disregard them as we peruse, the often times, repetitive banter. I think that's a mistake.

I find that reading the comments gives us insight and awareness. One into the minds of those the original poster surrounds themselves with, but also into the true background of the OP and his or her mind.

The comments show us whether the OP surrounds themselves with people who are generally intelligent or generally stupid, educated or not, happy or angry, republican or democrat, prejudiced or tolerant, lazy or motivated, a follower or leader, informed or misinformed, but most of all it tells us if the OP is all of these.

As usual, I won't out the person, but someone just this morning posted something and within only a handful of comments, one could surmise many things.

1. The commenter's didn't read the OPs article, just their synopsis.
2. They commenter's responses were almost canned, or trained answers.
3. In one case, the responder was passionate and sincere, but had no insight into one crucial piece of information, thus destroying their credibility and their argument for any reader that did.
4. That the OP scared away any negative comments, by having like-minded people commend them within minutes, not for one second, ever disagreeing with even one point.
5. That the OP was unaware that some of the comments were inaccurate and/or made lazily without reading the actual item posted.

So what does one take away? It's difficult, because as someone who read the OP's initial statement, then their link and then their friends comments, I went down a slope. Their initial statement, I embraced and agreed with 95%. Their article was biased, but basically all factual, still the heavy-handedness left me at about 85% agreement. Then their prejudice, oft-bigoted friend's views left me angered and made me question my friends sincerity to seeing both sides of a coin.this left me at about 60% agreement.

Now, anyone reading this is probably saying "Yeah Hopper, but not everyone reads it all, thinks about what was said and then takes away a view based on all of the information you mentioned. Some of us just know how we feel."

And that my friends is why our world is falling apart. #100DaysOfHopper

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A To Z In 10 Words Or Less

I'm in the middle of doing something silly, but as I do it, I'm going to type things that come to mind in alphabetical order. Silly, yes, but it's more a writing exercise than anything else. For each item, I will type no more than ten words.

Arsenal - A team I'm learning not to give up on.
Badminton - I used to be unbelievable at this game.
Crab - I sadly, have never actually cracked crabs.
Dante - Sorry scholars, I thought the Inferno was boring.
Education - Something my friends who are teachers actually need.
French Fries - Haven't had good ones in so long.
Grandma - This place isn't the same without her.
Hummus - Love it all, but miss Sahadi's in Brooklyn.
Ithaca - The silence and solitude is infectious.
Jersey - Picture of other's vacations, make me not miss it.
Kisses - Too personal to share.
Laughing - I tend to produce it more than I partake.
Meet - I'd really like to meet five of my Internet friends.
Nachos - Internet sensation is my current craving.
Olives - Eaten more in the past seven weeks than ever before.
Procrastination - If only it was something to be proud of.
Quarters - A jar at home might become somewhat important.
Racism - Has me so depressed, it's tearing at me.
Sobriety - A very overrated "virtue."
Time - Sometimes I think we have too much of it.
Unemployment - Now a reality.
Venom - Filled with it when faced with bigotry and hate.
Walking - If you knew the pain I feel, you wouldn't judge.
Xenophobia - Was once our problem, but we hate each other enough.
Youth - Physically, there is nothing I miss more.
Zero - The scariest number of all-time.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 88-89

Day 88: Being wrong is a natural thing. We all are swayed by our opinions, biases, core beliefs and for many, our prejudice. But, in the real world, when we pound our chest with complete conviction, we sometimes have to stare at the floor and admit our stance, our views, our arguments, etc were wrong.
Nobody likes being wrong. Being wrong makes us have to admit the one thing we hate most...someone knew more than us.

In school we are commended on being able to correctly answer 90% of the questions. We're never told that we only got 10% wrong, ever. But what happens to that 10%? Good students are the ones who go and learn that material after the test, not satisfied with their imperfect score. So why not in life?

Facebook gives us an alternative to living in reality. For some reason, some think the real world rules don't apply. Calling someone names, lying about them or "infriending" them has consequences, yet we rarely apologize on Facebook and even more rare is the admittance that we were wrong. We ignore it, delete it or as some do, we stop arguing with those more well informed than us and spread our falsehoods elsewhere.

Why is this acceptable? Why is it OK for someone to call someone a name, they'd never dream of in person? To break a trust publicly? To throw the most heinous of all insults at someone, without any hesitation? But even worse, to not have the courage to stand up tall and admit the other person was right?

I have some good friends on here and some are truly good people, but the majority are so concerned with justifying their misinformation, that instead of admitting ignorance, confusion or simply misreading something, they stick to their guns, refuse to retract and go on and on with their rhetoric.

Isn't this the same thing most claim is ruining our country. The fact we continue to make the same mistakes over and over? So why is it OK for you or I? We need to start showing accountability for what we post, especially you parents out there. For if we don't pass down down ethics, morals, accountability and acceptanceof our own faults, how can we ever accept the faults of others? #100DaysOfHopper

 Day 89: 8PM and almost no post of the day. Somewhere Cooney and Smyth are toasting my demise.  Who knows, maybe even the people who really wish me dead. I'll keep this short, as today was used to catch up on sleep. Being that in the last 10 days, I have a grand total of 6 hours of sleep while it is actually dark outside. For all you "I have insomnia boohooers," can anyone claim anything even remotely close to this? Sure, I've caught up with naps, but my schedule has basically been sleep 7-10am and 5-7PM. A few times I've added a half hour to and hour, but basically working on five or less per day over the last seven and a half weeks.

Last night's sleeplessness was aided by a 4:30AM chat with an old friend. I have three people in my life who I can go months without speaking to and then it's businesses as usual. This person is not only one of them, but one of the people I value most, for if nothing else, his ability to give outside perspective and find a positive in what I find only negative. I think if we lived close by or spent days upon days with each other, we'd lose this. I believe that his distance is what adds to his perspective and his being completely unaware of the personalities of whom I speak is essential in his insights.

Tomorrow, actually Monday, will start the final ten commentaries and while I know some people have made fun, grown tired or mocked it, I think the results of some of it and what I've seen in people's posts and actions are pretty interesting. I also want to thank those who have privately commented. Especially now, it won't be forgotten. #100DaysOfHopper

Thursday, August 21, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 86-87

Day 86: How much does it hurt people to read, listen or watch things that don't want to hear? Honestly, I've been fixated on the news lately. Gaza, Ferguson, Ebola, Immigration, Rick Perry, James Foley, Pete Frates, etc. The thing is, even though at times it can be a little time consuming, I take the time to read as many angles of each story. Sure, I could do what 99% of the country does and tune into the pretty girl on Fox or the crazy gun hating people on MSNBC or the chronically inaccurate CNN or maybe even the better late than never local news, but the reality is, they are all skewed. So why not check sources who are on the ground? Sure they don't always have a $4000 suit on and gel in their hair, but they are a hell of a lot more accurate.

Let's take weather for instance. We all tune in to the big name, big teeth stars of the news and we watch and listen and even plan our days on men and women, getting paid millions, to be correct 40% of the time. Meanwhile we ignore the local guys, who are always going against the trends and actually updating everything constantly. In case you didn't know, weather happens at hours that are not 9AM, 6PM and 11PM. I get such a kick out of people who say "wow, snow in October....who saw this coming?" I don't know, who? Oh that's right, your local weatherman.

My point is, every morning, noon or night, whenever I happen to check the news, I like to get as many perspectives as I can. Unlike a large majority of my friends, I don't read sixteen posts saying one thing, then turn on FOX to hear what I wanted to hear. Just kidding, they don't read sixteen posts. My point is, that if you are going to use Facebook to fancy yourself as a news source, be sure you have the right information and simply the one that parallels your political, religious and lifestyle beliefs. If you think I'm preaching, let me just ask you one simple question.

If you knew your child had a chance to take one class and get 50% of the information needed to be a success or take two classes and get 100% for that success, what would you want for them? #100DaysOfHopper

 Day 87: There is absolutely nothing good going on in the world. At least that is how it seems. I have been really depressed about the events I've read about in every corner of this world. I just don't think enough of us care out there. I'm not picking on the person who posted the original post, because he's doing his thing and it's more than admirable, but it made me think. I'm friends with nearly 600 people on Facebook. There are horrible things happening everywhere, but especially in this country right now, yet a post about a mistreated dog had 150 comments.

Here's the thing that truly got me about the comments. They were all telling someone else to help, how to do it, where to go and who to call. Aside from the OP, none of these comments seemed to offer any assistance, offer to pay for taking the dog off the owners hands or to assist the OP in possibly taking the animal. We're all experts on what everyone else should do, in every aspect of their lives, but we can't once do anything we say for ourselves, especially when it's a selfless act. All these people whose "hearts broke" and were allegedly crying at their computers, all shut up when asked to actually do something. Kudos for the OP for calling those people out.

I hate being an ostrich, my head in the sand to the world, but I might truly need to embrace that cliche tomorrow. My sanity is at stake. I'm not asking everyone to take the outside world as seriously as I do. For most of you this is a vacation time or you're taking care of more important things on the homefront, but maybe take a second to be thankful beyond all belief for just how good so many of us have it when it comes to our safety. #100DaysOfHopper

A Different Perspective On Mike Brown & Ferguson PD

I'm not going to talk about Mike Brown or Officer Wilson. I'm not going to talk about the media. I'm not going to specifically talk about the events or the protests. I'm going to discuss kids.

Imagine you are a young boy or girl enjoying the last days of summer and looking forward to school. Some sirens outside your door and the next thing you know, the quiet town you live in is the center of the universe. At first, this must seem like a cool thing. "Hey, maybe I'll get on TV," might be your thought. Then you go outside and you see people crying. People you know. Maybe even your parents. You see things you've only seen in movies and then it becomes dark.

The next morning you wake and all you hear is mom and dad talking about their fears. They are worried for your safety. They are worried that the world they are trying to protect you from, is right outside your door. You turn on the TV and there are no cartoons or silly game shows, but you're watching your teachers on the television. Your school has been cancelled. "Woohoo," you think, but then your mother tells you that you can't play outside; it's too dangerous.

So all this ends. The media goes away. The destruction caused by looting is cleaned up and life goes on. Police will be back patrolling the streets and good people will go on being good and bad people will continue being bad. Hopefully nothing in your lifetime ever happens like this again. At least not in your town. But the question remains. If everything in life is a lesson, what have you learned?
Everything that you are taught changes, because of this one incident. Regardless of what legal ramifications this case holds, depending on your race, creed, color and socioeconomic group, you're going to learn something from it. Will it be the same as what your neighbor learns?

What troubles me about this and our history of race relations is that they have never improved enough to the point where the next generation can pass down more positives than negatives. I do not mean this to be only directed at blacks in America. It isn't as important as how whites view this, but how they teach their children. And this is where I get personal.

I have a friend who is a new father, who I assume is busy as can be and without any knowledge of what is going on (this proven by the post he shared), he called people savages, looters and thugs. As someone who has followed the events diligently, he is speaking of about 1-2% of a population of 20,000 plus. It doesn't confuse me as to how these terms came to be used, but why? This is a man who claims to be tolerant of all and is a god loving Christian. So who are these savages? A savage might be better saved for a masked man decapitating a helpless journalist, but not an angry confused youth who thinks they are proving a point. So how will this new father explain these types of things to his child? Will eighteen years of hearing "these people" compared to a flow of buzzards and hyenas have an impact on them?

How we teach our kids about these moments in history will forever shape out country's future. Even if the lesson isn't 100% what we feel in our hearts, we might all gain from not allowing our children to view our hate and our bias. Maybe one day, they can tell their kids about how their grandparents taught them not to make judgments based on anything other than the person simply being human.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 84-85

Day 84: For most of July and August, I've been able to share meals with my father and on occasion, some others. This is a little bit of a treat for me these days, as I usually eat most meals alone. The difference in my attitude towards the meal is completely different when dining with someone than when I'm alone. When I'm alone, it's mostly thinking about sustenance and it's not really an enjoyable process. Knowing that I can share the meal with someone means so much.

This got me thinking to others, especially kids of working parents. We always hear arguments about kids having or not having an advantage in life based on where they go to school, how much money their parents make, if they are housed or fed, but we don't hear much about this, regardless of the socioeconomic background.

Meals with and as a family are essential to the maturation process of youngsters. Think about it. We're born needing to be fed. We then graduate to a high chair, then to a booster seat and then the table. What about the kids whose parents or parent aren't there for them. Some family member or babysitter gives them their food and if they are lucky sits with them. I can't count the number of times I watched people who babysit or watch kids, plop down a plate and walk away, leaving the child to sit alone, eating. The look of defeat and sadness hit them immediately and I can't imagine that ever changes.

I think part of why so many of us, especially those of us who are single, enjoy the silliness of food photos, is because in some way, your likes, comments or just knowing you're seeing it, makes us feel a little less alone. I know when I am about to eat and I see someone I know is having a dinner for one, I like they take pride in it, even if they can't make it looks appetizing or pretty (like my awful pics).

I hope with this first week of school starting for some and the rest in the coming weeks, you make sure that after that school day, you're sitting together, attentive to their tales, showing interest and concern and enjoying the time together. I can't imagine how my life would have been had dinner time (especially dinner), not been an event each and every night. I don't think I'd appreciate food, music, family, history, books, wine or many other things, had they not all been part of the meal. I miss those days and I just hope to share some of yours, whether it be pictures, statuses or the privilege of dining with you. It matters. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 85: Last night, I read of the passing of Don Pardo. If you don't know the name right away, you know the voice. He was the Bob Sheppard of Saturday Night Live. As a child, staying up to watch SNL was a sign that your parents felt you were mature enough to understand adult humor and to not feel weird about watching it with them. I know now, that it also was their way of gaining at least an extra two hours of sleep on Sunday morning.

As anyone who knows me will tell, I'm not one to get worked up over celebrity deaths any more than I am at hearing that a friend's mother or father, whom I had never met has passed. While I appreciate the talent and skills of others, I realize that at the end of the day, they are simply people doing a job. We've recently lost actors such as Robin Williams, James Garner and Lauren Bacall. I didn't shed a tear or really have any feeling one way or the other, aside from the feeling you get when anyone you "know" dies. Obviously, the circumstances of Williams' death brought a whirlwind of emotion on, but aside from that, it was just another celebrity who had passed. I do not mean that in a disrespectful way, but I wasn't as moved by his career as others, but felt the loss of his philanthropic side would be greatly felt. For me Pardo was bigger.

Pardo, for the most part, was a faceless celeb. Someone whose voice was so recognizable that his appearance made no difference. His voice signaled something in all that watched that can not be explained. Maybe the real reason this one stings is because it brings back so many memories, of laughter and good times, spent with family and old friends. The show now, doesn't have any of the charm or the draw. I don't know one soul who stays home on a Saturday Night to watch this new version.

Since it's inception, we've lost Belushi, Radner, Farley and Carlin (the show's very first host). Hell, one of the shows first writers is now a senator. Did anyone see that coming?  As the time passed and I grew out of the novelty of staying up late to watch, the deaths of the stars meant less and less on a personal level. Radner, of course holds a place, because of the way she died, but the reality is, I never thought about it much until my mother was dying. Pardo has been the one constant though. Home sick on a Saturday night and flip the show on, almost by mistake and there he was. The familiar sound, taking me back.

While I know the Pardo family is grief stricken and the old man will never again announce the " not ready for prime time players." I will fondly remember him as being the voice of simpler, much better times. A time when I was able to sit on someone's lap and never once had to worry about tomorrow. #100DaysOfHopper

August and Everything After

No, not the Counting Crows album from years ago. A look into the future, based on the past, it makes me wonder. At least once in the last five Augusts I've endured some sort of turmoil revolving friends, lovers or just acquaintances. Obviously, this is just a coincidence. This is a happy time, why would anyone want to argue? I think the problem with August is that some see summer's finish line and they feel an urgency to make up for lost time. Lazy days spent sitting in an air conditioned house, neglecting the daily grind. Then there are those who count the days until school starts, either as a student or a teacher, this is an angry time. Not surprising, many of my woes have dealt with teachers over this time. That might just be because of the incredible percentage of my friends who  are in the field, but who knows?

September always seems to bring a little closure and by October, the thoughts of August, while still there, don't seem to really affect me the same way. The heart mends in our minds, much like a drunks liver. Saving it from what? Reality? I'd like to think that our heart heals so the mind can rest. Maybe it's my love for the falling leaves and the anticipation of the cold winter that I love so dearly. So why does this feel different? Honestly, it should. The key components of this month's episode of the late summer tragedy are much, were much, bigger parts of my life than before. In the past it's taken me weeks, even months to figure out what happened and why and then I try and convince myself it wasn't worth it. I know most of the time I'm lying to myself, but it helps ease the pain. So why does this feel so different?

Today I awoke and it wasn't like every other day. A long vitriol filled e-mail filled with contradictions, hypocrisy and flat out lies. Selective memory reminding others of the atrocities of time past, yet no memory of their much more frequent and much more recent letdowns. This didn't phase me. A text from someone I call a brother. This didn't phase me either. Why not? Why am I so pessimistic or cynical as people LOVE to tell me? Because today, I sat and I thought. I sipped coffee and reflected. Reflected on the numerous times I spent listening to two best friends bash each other and their lives. I reflected on someone I call best friend who doesn't return calls, texts or any other communications, but forgets who was there when they needed someone. I thought about 23 years of silliness and thought to myself. This is truly not worth my time or energy. Normally I get angry, respond and feel a need to have the last word. Nope. Last night I made three clicks. Today I made two. Essentially erasing people from my life. Sure, it's the technological equivalent of casting people from your life, but for some reason, there wasn't a second thought. I am still friends, from a distance with most of my August tussles. I click here and there to say a silent hello. Hoping they are happy, remember either our times together or whatever bond we shared. I used to hold grudges, but it's easier just to let go.

I have to be careful not to react. This sense of freedom I feel has me suddenly wanting to strip myself of all those who stress me, but love, in many ways is stress. We view it as positive, whether it be romantic or just a closeness, but it's the most stressful of all, because we put those people on a pedestal and we expect them to always rise to the occasion, but they are only human and we mustn't forget that. Tomorrow, I will awake, sip my coffee and instead of looking upon August as the burden I've seen it as, I'll nod my head to it and look at it as one of the signs that I've been looking for. The signs telling me that it's time to move on and escape the clutches of all that I have allowed to hold me back. Maybe I'll just make a nice omelet, drive over to pick up my father from the train and go about my day, worrying about what others think of me, but who haven't been a big enough part of my life to warrant such concern. No, I'll do as that insipid song says and "let it go."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Free Writing - Take 50

Wrote a long e-mail to an old friend today. Time goes by, but nothing changes between us. We've both had more ups and downs than we care to mention, but we've always been there silently for each other. You know, the kind of friend that no matter how far you drift apart, you come back to the same spot, pick up where you left off and that is it. No talk or apologies for the time in between. I have three friends like that. Only four friends like and they all have similar things in common. They are bright, they are viewed as "unsuccessful" but society's standard and all have achieved things none of my other friends have achieved. Peace within themselves and the acceptance that huge errors in their life path has not made them lost, but has led them to different worlds that they might have missed out on. They also have something I find important. They don't value things, but they put people they care for in a special place. They don't just have friends, but they love them. They keep those they trust close and they divulge their deepest secrets and flaws. No words, no explanations, no answer. They just do the things and I return the favor and we never speak of it. There are no public claims or cliched anagrams, such as BFF, but we are and will be. I thank these four people, not for one thing or another, but for that little thing that you do, even when nothing is done. Knowing you're by my side, in the form of true spirit. Thanks.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 80-83

Day 80: I think I need a break from this angry world. All this death, violence, hatred, sickness and overall disinterest in our world has really gotten me down.
The Little League World Series starts today. Brings back some really fond memories of when I was younger and a couple of the people I still see on Facebook and around town. To think that way back when, this was one of the highlights of their lives. To win a big game or to hit a home run and now I'm liking pictures of their weddings and the birth of their children. It's amazing.
Today, is an anniversary of sorts. Six years ago, sitting in the same room I'm sitting in right now, I joined Facebook. I immediately connected with an old "lost" friend. Since then, I've seen my friend's ups and downs and been able to share some of their highs, even if silently from a far. I remember having vinegar on my chips (fries) for the first time in Sunnyside queens and now I'm reading his hilarious and insightful blogs. I'm seeing an even older friend take his children to see the motherland and the island of Icaria. Thoughts of the fig tree that sat in his backyard and the delicious snack it offered us on that close knit street in Brooklyn.
I'm going to think about my youth and running sewer to sewer for a touchdown or roofing a tennis ball. I'm going to think about playing in a men's fast pitch softball league and coming in second on a team made up of mostly 14-17-year-olds. I'm going to think about my little brother climbing trees high enough to look in the sixth floor windows, yelling down and laughing. Today, the horrors of the world are going to have to take a back seat. I'm alone in Ithaca. The birds are chirping and I've yet to go to bed. I'm thinking about scouring the basement for photo albums of a younger, happier me. Photos of my mother, father and all four of my grandparents, still with us, my brother not even a thought yet. If I can find them, I'll share a couple, but keep most for my memories. Hope everyone can find a little sunshine in this dark world and not simply because you choose to ignore it. ‪#‎100DaysOfHopper‬

Day 81: Someone, insinuating that I'm a miserable bastard, because I too greatly care about the horrors of the world, reminded me I can't change them. They told me to breath and to think about myself and what I wanted. They then asked me to use this daily "thing" to make a list of ten things that made me happy at the end of the week, so here it is.
1. Watching a baby squirrel climbing down a tree, while it's mother watched and followed behind slowly. It wasn't necessarily very exciting, but it dawned on me that we rarely see very small baby squirrels.
2. Seeing my friend Joe's name in the TV guide's synopsis for his new reality show Cement Heads. Just plain cool seeing someone you know on TV.
3. Seeing a friend's name pop up in the events section of Facebook for her birthday. I wish her many many more!
4. Hearing my brother laugh on the phone when I busted his chops about something. Funny when the little brother tries to be the big brother. You big brothers and sisters all know...knock that shit off right now.
5. Knowing it was candlelight at Birchmont and remembering my first one. Not going to lie, but I cried when I saw the picture. Then laughed and remembered just how special it was.
6.Laying in bed, the sounds of the birds woke me up, but I quickly realized how soothing they were compared to the place I've called home for ten years.
7. Eating handfuls of fresh picked blueberries, ice cold from the fridge.
8. Listening to the care and appreciation of my father as he talked to a friend who is 93. Then being able to drop him off as he headed out to Chicago to go visit him.
9. Doing dishes after a dinner of roasted chicken and as I'm about to clean the tray that the chicken was laying on, finding the most perfect piece of skin, with just a small pit of meat attached and carefully pulling it off and plopping it in my mouth. The best bite of the entire meal.
10. Hearing from a friend who suffered a health setback recently and them worrying about me.

Hope that suffices, even though I broke the rules. ‪#‎100DaysOfHopper‬

Day 82: I'm on day four out of five listening to the birds chirp without sleep, so for those that read, I'll keep it short. Why do I care? How do you people who have that ability to shut it off, do it? I don't have a child, a wife, or a pet to distract me, but I don't think that would do it. I'm obsessed with things getting better. For the world, the country, the people I know and finally me and my family.
I just don't have the ability to stop caring about the world. I'm sorry, I'm all for the positives of the ice bucket challenge, saving kittens from kill shelters and whatever else is popular this week or next, but how do you people who get so wrapped up in those things, yet ignore Gaza, Ferguson, homelessness, food insecurity, lack of health care, lacking education funds, the fact that we spend more on weapons than we do on anything else? And I don't mean "just because I didn't post on Facebook, doesn't mean I don't know about it" caring. I mean, how doesn't stuff like this keep you up at night? How does seeing half a baby, burnt to a crisp, not have a serious impact on your life? How does a dead kid turning into a race riot not trouble you when we spend so much time honoring those who came 50+ years before us for "ending" that?
I know I'm cynical and sometimes pessimistic, but I can't just have my chakra (pretty sure that is the wrong word) adjusted by juggling some crystals or go for a run or lift a weight and forget about that stuff. Sure I can joke and I'm not obsessed to the point of the D word, but I never stop thinking about it. How can we help? You offer to work in a soup kitchen, they ask for money. You offer to volunteer at a school, we don't need that. You offer to send money to help the homeless and a skyscraper goes up as does the homeless rate.
I'm always seeing posts about how one person changes the world, but why is that change always them getting richer, giving a grant to something and 40 years later, they are a billionaire, we're no closer to a cure and everyone is sick or dying or close to it? How do we make a difference or is the difference simply the ability to shut it off? I keep saying I wish I could, but then I wouldn't be me. Everyone else would be content with that, but isn't that really the point? ‪#‎100DaysOfHopper‬

Day 83: So why don't you have a smoothie or try juicing? Everyone's answer to everything lately. Here's why? When did eating fruits and vegetables become a chore? Why do I have to drink my salad? It's idiotic and I have a little tip for's not as healthy as you think.
Let's get the store bought smoothie debate out of the way first. If there is anything added for flavor, it's not healthy. Sugar, sorbet, yogurts, etc. Anything that needs to add fat or carbs to it is defeating the purpose. And don't tell me it takes less time than making breakfast. I made eggs, sausage and a bagel in eight minutes this morning and had nothing to clean, but a pan, which took eight seconds.
So why is it not healthier? One, chewing is a huge part of the digestive process and while you may get some nutrients faster from the blending method, you also cut out an essential organ in the eating process. Your brain. When you drink a smoothie or a juice, your brain doesn't compute that you've eaten, because it doesn't secrete saliva in the same way. This also changes metabolism and actually causes you to be hungry sooner.
Then there is juicing. Please save the reasons as to why it's good. I'm glad your enjoying your feces in technicolor, but nobody really believes that's a good thing. You can get the same results by eating fresh leafy greens every day. Also, juicing takes one essential element out of your diet and that is fiber. Think fiber isn't important. Try having diverticulitis once. You'll learn quickly, just how important it is.
And here's the main reason not to do it. Apples, bananas, kiwi, strawberries, etc are all absolutely delicious. The thing that makes fruit so wonderful, is the texture. Is there anything better than biting into a peach? Why the hell would you want to extract the skin and take away from the experience? Then there are the veggies you'd be missing out on. Why would anyone want to drink spinach? It's the most delightful veggie on earth. Raw, sauteed, steamed, it's absolutely amazing. Why the heck would you want to take away from that by drinking it. Honestly, unless you broke your jaw or have an intestinal problem that can't handle solid foods, skip it and go for the real deal. Oh and if you don't believe me, scour the internet for yourself. Sure, you'll find a ton of sites saying I'm wrong, but check what they are called. Probably smoothieapocalypsedotcom. Real food! ‪#‎100DaysOfHopper‬

Saturday, August 16, 2014


How sad is it that I haven't cared about a weekend in years. I can't truly remember the last time I got excited for a weekend that didn't involve my one weekend a year going away for two days. That's my big vacation. Even the few times I did go on vacation, I despised the actual weekend, because it was all the travel aspect of the vacation.

Seriously, I'm not 21 anymore, so after work drinks on a Tuesday are exactly the same as they are on a Friday. Oh, but you get to sleep late, they say. I don't sleep late anyways. Sunday football? Nobody my age even goes out anymore and if they do, they watch one game and go home.  I've danced more on Monday or Thursday nights than I have on Friday and Saturday nights.

I'm really trying to think back to the last time I looked forward to a weekend. I don't mean one night, because yeah, of course I've had some fun individual nights planned, but not an entire weekend. I don't mean this to sound horrible, because I've had tons of fun evenings, but I've had many more on Mondays over the last few years. Before that it was Thursdays. Going way way back to my basketball days, it was Wednesdays. Even further, it was my Tuesdays. I think the last time I truly looked forward to a weekend was senior year of high school. No wait, I worked about 24 hours between Friday and Sunday nights. Hmm, yep, I've got it. 1984. I'd wake up at 8am, eat breakfast, go outside and get my friends and then walk over to the projects and play basketball. Come home for dinner and then back out to sit outside on the stoop. Saturday we'd play baseball or football in the street and then head in for the evening. I'd usually have plans with a friend for Saturday night or Sunday early, so I'd either sleep at their house or stay home, watch Saturday Night Live (when it wasn't the worst show on television) and then off to bed.

Wow, 30 years ago. Happy Saturday...I guess.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quick Commentary On Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Message Boards, Comment Threads, etc etc.

There are so many ways to have group discussions these days that don't actually need any people to be present in the same room. The Internet has become a debate forum, a recipe swap, a book club, a movie critic haven, food experts and a host of other topics. With things like Google available, people can access information on absolutely anything and find some pretty sound information if they are diligent. Therein lies the problem. What we have is a bunch of people who all have the same access to the same information, so we have a bunch of experts a variety of things and sometimes the source of the information becomes a bigger problem than the original debate topic. Oddly enough, this isn't even the biggest issue.

The biggest problem with social media and search engines is that there are some people, generally adolescents and young adults who believe that this fingertip distance information makes up for the experiences that life gives you. A perfect example is a friend who loves to discuss what they learned in school. Now, it's hard for me to argue with what this individuals professors are teaching by saying it's wrong, but I can say, based on my experience that these facts tend to change. If I hear something and know it's changed five or six times and this person does not, due to lack of age, how can I convince them, because for most of their life it's been true.

Another issue is tests. Good fucking lord do we love tests. You know why we love tests? Frankly, it's a bit of a god complex brings us such pleasure. We take great pleasure in knowing that we scored better than others. Maybe it's 93% of the country or maybe it's 97% or maybe even 99%, who knows? You know why this doesn't matter? The next time a teen or young adults tells you how well they scored on something, ask them how hard a punch they can take? I know what you're thinking. What a jerk! But really, they have this vast wealth of knowledge, but do they know everything? In one single question, you baffle them, scare the shit out of them and prove, in most cases, that there is always something people don't know.

I'm not saying tests don't prove some ability to solve problems and we do call that intelligence, but I've seen rocket scientists try and build a tree house and look as silly as a baby trying to put the round block in the square hole. The problem is that with the Internet, all these young people think this matters. What you see is a lot of them spouting off about something based on one item of information, not realizing there might be a history of events leading up to this point.

So what is the endgame? There is going to come a time, when people who gained most of their knowledge before the advent of the Internet, decide to turn on those who didn't. It's up to the parents of these children to teach them, that it's not always the right thing to argue with people who might have a vast personal knowledge of something, that you can't find in books. A perfect example was a child who posed a question based on an article and then got annoyed when I debated the validity of the article based on much more empirical information than a bunch of numbers that were crunched. The problem with numbers as anyone can tell you from debating me, is that they can very easily be manipulated to say whatever you wish. Trust me, it's not difficult, as long as you have the correct data. Joey punching you dead in the face however, well you won't find a true description of how that feels in any book. Having your heart broken, doesn't quite fall in line with statistics on dating or how it's described in romance novels. Oh and sunsets, yeah, there's a scientific reason for that and not one person who has a heart or an imagination give a single fuck why and doesn't want to hear about how you got a 93% on a test that asked it. Trust me, I'm old. I know.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Free Writing - Take 49

Does anyone really want to live in a world where the two things that bring us together are the death of a man who made us smile and the attempt to help the helpless by pouring water on our heads. Remember when we were little and we thought getting older was when the real fun would start. We call that the age of innocence, but as kids play catch with bombs thrown from faraway lands, how can we keep supporting this fallacy?  The world is coming to an end they say. They might be right. You know the crazy, delusional nuts we see holding signs, wearing shirts and promising of the reckoning. We always laugh about this apocalypse or that, but are we not smack dab in the middle of one? This one is fighting with that one over color, religion, health rights, the heat of my fucking coffee dammit! Where has civility gone? Why can't we love anymore. This wife fucking her best friend's husband, while her husband, wines and dines his coworker. Meanwhile the kids see the painted veil and follow suit. Son uses power to dominate and denigrate, while daughter uses her body as a weapon to advance, both losing their innate ability to love themselves, let alone others, handing down what their parents taught them to their dysfunctional kids. All the while we all scream about karma and turn around is fair play on social media, hoping there are none who read between the lines. Alone I sit, wishing nothing more than to wrap my arms around my Marla, facing the enormous windows, as buildings fall and we put our faith in chaos and denounce the control that does nothing but cause our demise.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 78-79

Day 78: A few years ago, I joined Facebook and within two days I connected with a childhood friend, who I had not contacted in over 20 years. I asked him about his life, his family and his career. I then asked "How is that crazy brother of yours?" His brother was no longer with us. He like so many was a casualty of depression. Last year, another friend became a casualty. in between, this time, there were others.
We who are able to cope, do so with a variety of methods, but we also need to understand that the cloud of depression comes and goes. It's not caused by being stuck in traffic or not liking someone. It is so complex that people who study and diagnose it have absolutely not idea how to treat it. So what are we to do for those people? Sadly, being there isn't always enough.
One of the most important people in my life battled depression and bipolar disorder. He was a family friend who despite his troubles, brought my family and I years of enjoyment. We tried to always be there for him and in the end, he just disappeared. The cause of his death isn't really known to me, but I know this disease destroyed someone who meant the world to me. It still stings.
The internet, for all it's wonder, is a harmful place. Today, all I've read is people's postings of other people chiming on Robin Williams death. Quotes and misquotes are plentiful and nearly all of my friends have blurred the lines of reality by posting one of Mr. Williams' character's quotes and crediting him with these profound statements. So many have claimed their life is ruined, their heart is broken in two and they have lost a piece of them. Mr. Williams has suffered from depression forever. This has been well documented and yet, in more than half a decade, I've never seen one post from any of these tormented souls about this man or his battle. So why now? Because he died, his celebrity deserves notice?
Depression is serious. It is not a bad day at work, a missed train or a bad relationship. It is a disease that affects those afflicted, even in times of joy. People battling depression, true depression or bipolar disorder are not broadcasting it on Facebook every hour on the hour. Their symptoms are not evident and they definitely are not trying to bring attention to that which plagues them. The attention seekers online only hurt those who are truly in need, because they stigmatize the disease as some drama king or queen's problem.
My family's dear friend battled his depression by becoming a perfectionist in everything he did, but the depression kept anything he did from appearing perfect. If he could only know that in my mind, he was the perfect role model. Selfless, kind, funny, nurturing and incredibly intelligent. Had I told him every day, would it have changed anything? Probably not, but it opened my eyes. Robin Williams is not the first to be claimed by depression and he's certainly not the first celebrity. I hope everyone remembers how awful they felt the day they learned of Heath Ledger's passing and how they reacted 5 days later when his name came up. William's passing will soon be forgotten, just like Ledger, Hoffman and the multitude of others. The reality is, we all know someone battling, but we only show this odd solidarity when it afflicts someone we don't know, because it's easier. Maybe if we all actually knew Robin Williams, it wouldn't be about how much we liked What Dreams May Come and how we looked forward to his next project and it would be about how much we wish we did more when he was here.
Funny, how when it comes to a life ended because of depression, it's about the only time RIP actually seems appropriate. ‪#‎100DaysOfHopper‬

Day 79: I've figured it out. If you have more than one passion in life, you can't be truly accepted by social media. Complaining about things we all deal with on a day-to-day basis isn't a passion, although I have two friends who seem to have mastered it, but I mean true passions.
It seems to me if you comment about one thing over and over, whether it be euthanized cats, doing squats, downward facing flamingos, your split times or spending money, you somehow accumulate 50+ likes, 30 comments, usually thanking you for your existence and the occasional share. Why is it if you like puppies and running, you can't speak about both and enjoy the accolades that these people who have committed their entire lives to one thing.
Now, while I'm joking about their passions, it is not meant that they aren't noble and something that I to enjoy, I just don't see how anyone else can share such enthusiasm about such boring things. To me, telling us all about a trip to the zoo and learning that this animal or that animal is monogamous is much more fascinating than know you ran 3.3 miles in 27 minutes. Also, I'm a fat bastard and before I hurt my knees, I ran a hell of a lot faster than most of you who do this daily. Back to my point. Why do we embrace people who have a solitary activity on social media, when we abhor their company in real life? I'm not just saying that, I know people who get likes and comments from people every single day who have told me they can't stand these people in real life. So why do it?
I like to think of myself as well-rounded and feel free to snicker as you read. I enjoy pretty much all life has to offer, but food, sports, cinema, discussing politics, religion, education, working with children, helping find ways to feed those without, give tips to those in slight need and educating myself on as many topics as possible are my passions. On social media, I'm a pariah, but those who have truly gotten to know me, say much different things.
I love knowing that a friend of mine has a knack for snapping the most beautiful photgraphs, that one writes poetry, another paints, while one practices tai chi, another plays the banjo. I like that a friend is a triathlete, but rarely talks about their morning trot. One is a teacher, who gave up her entire summer to tutor (for free), but never once mentioned it. That one volunteers doing what others claim is their passion, but reap the financial benefits of doings so. I appreciate that one, like me, feels that life doesn't get them, but is fine at home on a Friday night with a good meal, a book (I'd go for the movie) and the warm embrace of solitude.
I don't want this to be misconstrued as an attempt to be noticed, it's just my confusion has gotten the best of me. Why do we embrace boring people with a single vision and not variety of interests online, when we steer clear from these sorts in reality? Why is social media so far removed from reality, when we only see each others posts because of reality? I don't think I'll ever know and even if I did, I doubt I'd understand. ‪#‎100DaysOfHopper‬

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams and Depression

Sure, the title screams "look at my blog, it's like click-bait porn." Robin Williams untimely death and the cause behind it will be in the news for days to come. Already on Facebook and Twitter, everyone who ever met the man is speaking of his messianic touch or way with people. Those who didn't have a perfect day are all now WebMD classifying themselves as clinically depressed. Facebook friends are telling of woes, through stories of missed planes, asshole coworkers and that boyfriend who never listens and somehow convincing themselves this is depression. We all know this is what dime store psychologists refer to as attention whoring.

I'm not here to bash Robin Williams. I once wrote a blog about his career and it was less than pretty. In fact, I called him the worst actor ever. I still stand by that. To mention it now seems cruel, but I want those who take the time to read this to understand just where I am coming from. I disliked him immensely as an actor and comedian, but praise him as a philanthropist and human. His depression, which he fought with drugs in his earlier life, was always with him. We all knew this about him and we all knew that one day it would take his life, one way or another. He never hid from his demons, but talked about them and how he fought them. We'll never know what made him give in to them, but we'll know the pain we felt. Those who revered his talent, will remember fondly the way he made them laugh, while I will choose to remember all he did for young comics, all the while really helping the homeless, children with terminal diseases and those who fought for what they believed in, many of them our troops.

To say I understand depression would be irresponsible. Doctors who study it do not understand it. This is what makes the silly posts saying you know what it feels like to want to leave behind a loving wife and children, because of something someone posted on your Facebook wall is insensitive at the very least. Here is why I am writing this and why I am angry. Not with Robin Williams, but maybe in some way I am. Maybe he's bringing back memories of the beautiful, brilliant and sweet girl I knew who ended her life last year. Maybe it's the handful of others who battled their demons and turned to drugs, alcohol and other forms of self mutilation, that in one way or another played a part in their demise. We all want to call all of these deaths accidents, but they were not, they were tragedies.

In the past five years, I've reached out to about fifteen people who I saw crying out for help on social media. Of them, more than half simply ignored me and continued their cries for attention. Four of them told me to mind my business. One said she was fine and had just overreacted and then went on to post eight more posts about wanting everything to end in one way or another. One admitted that she considered harming herself and thanked me, saying I was the only person who contacted her privately. Finally there was one who said she wasn't sure if she did it on purpose or not, but overdosed. Thankfully, all of these people are still with us, although thirteen of them have lost a lot of my respect. I write a lot of stuff on Facebook and I know when I was hurting, exactly two people reached out to me and these two are hardly what I consider to be two of my better friends, but I did learn, they are better people. I thanked them continuously and remember it every time I feel down.

As someone who is always laughing on the outside and who has dealt with a fair share of pain over the last 15-20 years, I understand one thing. The cliche, "it gets better" isn't always true. The idea that your real friends will always be there for you is a bit of an overstatement too. I also feel that Robin Williams is proof that God, if one exists, definitely doesn't only give us what we can handle. Apparently, he gave Robin Williams and about five of my friends a little too much. While I don't suffer from depression, I have had two panic attacks and let me tell you, if that is what depression feels like, I'd never last. To be sure of yourself one second and for no reason whatsoever to lose control of you body and your bearings is absolutely terrifying. I can't imagine this being a regular occurrence.

I don't want this to be about me or Robin Williams. I want this to be about the next person who needs help. I know it seems like we're just people talking and listening, but that is all we can do. I hope every person on this earth has someone to turn to. I'll always try and be there for anyone I call a friend and I would hope they would do more than just say they would for me. We live in a very selfish world and people with this ailment can't survive in that atmosphere. Those of us who spend most of the time by ourselves understand the loneliness, but to add to that fear, hate, anxiety and an overall loss of hope is paralyzing.  All we can do is be strong for them, even when strength eludes us.

RIP to all those I've known who I have missed

Monday, August 11, 2014

#100DaysOfHopper Day 76-77

Day 76: Wow, Facebook has gone completely batty. Friends with the "perfect" life are complaining because the Facebook community isn't their for them, guys with biceps the size of my little forearms are talking smack about working out, people for Israel getting their news from the IDF, those against not getting news at all.

People writing always & forever about gf/bf they met after Christmas. People complaining incessantly on here, then deleting it. People boasting about taking care of their kids...cue Chris Rock. People complaining about travel....leaving for vacation.

And then this morning I see some asshole posting a picture of his shlong with a message for the police. Hope this moron gets his. Impressive unit though, so he's got that going for him.

So why does anyone with an IQ over 140 (see what I did there) stay on this awful site? To see a friend I haven't seen in almost 20 years smile wider than I could ever imagine. To see truly beautiful people hold their beautiful children and grandchildren. To see a wonderful uncle get "dressed up" for some turtle movie. To hear about two friend's books. To see someone I miss dearly doing what we both love.

A big change is coming in my life and I think as I leave the location behind, I'm going to have to decide if the ties that bind are positive or negative or if they were part of the misery all along. To those who make me laugh, smile and occasionally cry. You are truly blessed people, because even if I don't always, like, comment or share, you made a difference in a life. It's all anyone can hope for. Thank You. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 77: Maybe it's my Facebook app or maybe my cynicism is temporarily blinding me, but it pains me that out of so many, so few took the time. Fifty pictures of a brand new car or motorcycle; 40 of your engagement ring; 30 posts of your trip to nowhere; 20 of your daily commute; ten of the annoying neighbor, yet only three embracing the simple pleasures derived from a full moon, lighting the sky as if it is dawn. Three others took the time to share something money can't buy, that affected them deeply and made them take notice. Thanks, glad to know you three are out there. Gives me hope that all is not lost on material and moments financed by our desires. #100DayOfHopper

Day 77 Part 2: BURPEES!!! I am well aware of the fact that at 44, I'm physically a mess, but what is the deal with burpees? First off, if you're doing them correctly, they are not even remotely difficult. Yes, adding a push up and a little jump at the end expends more energy and works the arms and chest, but the actual burpee, is nothing more than a properly done squat thrust, which is a pretty easy exercise. I think why people are having problems with this, especially those who are doing crossfit, is that you're letting fatigue get you away from good form. At no time should you be using your back in this exercise, yet I see video after video of people doing this. Eventually, you will be injured and if you've ever had a back injury, believe me, you won't be doing burpees or anything else for months. I know it goes against the mindset of crossfit, but I'm confused as to when speed and number of repetitions became more important than form and execution. Anyone who has taken A&P, Kinesiology or Exercise classes understands that it doesn't, but that is a whole other conversation in and of itself. Please be careful and try and do the exercise properly. You'll see much better results, there will be less fatigue and you'll find them a hell of a lot easier. Sure those people yelling encouragement might not be impressed, but they also won't be yelling anything, while you're at home with a bad back. #100DaysOfHopper

Saturday, August 9, 2014

#100Days of Hopper Day 75 Part 2 - A Dicey Topic

Day 75 Part 2: Wow! Just read a post from an old friend about the Israel-Gaza situation (and no, I didn't "like" it) and how it is tearing friendships apart. It is heartbreaking to think about what is happening over there and how those, so far away, are affected by it. I have been almost silent on this topic, because my feelings are less than popular, but in this instance, I do value the feelings and emotions held my many of my friends.

What does bother me when reading many of the posts is this complete lack of knowledge of the situation and it's possible outcome. This will not end with any resolution. This particular battle might take a brief respite, but the reality is that this will not end until one side is completely demolished and the "collateral" damage promises to be immense. We Americans have only 9/11 to compare, but can you imagine, regardless of your chosen side or your political stance on anything, imagine dealing with 9/11 every single day for a week, a month, a year, a lifetime?

I also laugh when people end their posts with "my prayers." This to me is further proof, they simply don't get it. Other people and the way they pray and to whom is one of the main reason the world is slowly fulfilling its destiny towards destruction. #100DaysOfHopper

#100DaysOfHopper Day 74-75

Day 74: No griping today. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend and if possible, makes it better for someone who might need a little cheering up. Based on this week's Facebook posts, there are about 40-50 people who need to be talked off the bridge (I don't use that analogy lightly), so I hope they get the help or the night out they need. I have reached out to many of these people in the past and it's usually met with contempt or it's simply ignored, so I assume it's nothing more than a public scream for attention. That being said, some of you know these people well better than I do, so reach out if you have the chance.

I know some of you only really know me based on my posts and I hope you at least try to understand where I am coming from. While I'm happy for those who have found some inner peace and understanding of life, that isn't what life is about. It's about making it better for others. What is the reward in always feeling good about yourself, when those around you are suffering? Sure, telling someone what works for you is fine, but showing them, taking them out, maybe even going against your beliefs to try and enjoy what matters to them, that is what life is about. At least I'd like to think that. #100DaysOfHopper

Day 75: Why do we make so many excuses for the things we like, the people we admire and those we choose to defend, knowing (or not knowing) they are wrong? I try to be true to myself and true to those people and things that mean anything to me, but I also try and call a spade a spade. I don't do this to appear better or more righteous, but to be consistent to who I am, because to me, next to dishonesty, hypocrisy is one of the worst traits one can have.

Now these things aren't always of the utmost importance, such as one thing that irks me today. Paul O'Neill of the Yankees is being honored and the same people who bash David Ortiz and claim steroid use for his increased size during his career, his increased production and his one time smashing a telephone in the dugout are praising this asshole. O'Neill was terrible on the Reds, but comes to the Yankees and bats 50 pts higher, his arms neck and head grow about triple in size and he has fits of rage almost daily. Yet he gets a pass from Yankees fans, because he once said in an article that he's a man of god.

Why is it that I've noticed a trend on Facebook with this happiness/kindness to others. Almost everyone I know who has found happiness posts about it being the little things, but the gossip column that is Facebook and my hometown reveals that nearly all of these spiritual animals recently came into money.  Vacations, a great meal at an expensive restaurant and meeting someone who pays for everything can do wonders for your morale...but karma, spirituality or whatever you choose to call your "deepness," not so much.

I also dislike these people who post endlessly about their awful job, family, children, friends and then when I reach out to them, they ignore me or say "I was just having a moment."  I've had friends leave this world, because they were having a moment, so please save that shit for when you're serious, not every damn day. If you want to know what problems are, come ask, I have more than you can probably handle and I try and use this silly platform to point out just how silly everyone else is. Is it mean? Sure, at times it is meant to be, but I rarely make it obvious as to who I am outing, unless of course you're one of the smart ones (wink wink my friend). I just find that real problems call for real help, so the hypocrisy of just throwing it out there is that the problem isn't really that big.

Also, don't tell us all how hard it is to lose someone. If you're in my age group, we've all lost someone. I've lost my mother and all of my grandparents, so don't tell me how I don't understand, it sickens me. Most of us didn't go through a decade of watching sickness and deterioration, so please don't tell me I'm being insensitive when I choose not to dump water on my head and point out its silliness. We all have problems, yes, but telling others that yours are worse, because they don't understand is awful. Telling them those people didn't mean as much, because they don't post every time they think about them on Facebook is reprehensible.

We all have our ups and down, but as I stated in another post, if your spectrum of emotions runs the gamut each and every day, there is a great chance, you have much bigger issues than your kid not saying thank you for dinner or the ride to the mall. It might be chemical. It's also wonderful to read about people's happiness and new found life, but that drink of bananas and kale isn't what did it, so let's be honest. Let's also not pretend that being able to sit on a beach for a week, while others dream about four hours alone on in the backyard is the same type of relaxation, especially when one person isn't paying in some way for that time. Let's try and stop being hypocrites and if we have something wonderful to share, let's all be honest about it. I'm eating like a king lately and I have two cents in the bank. Why? Because my father is taking care of me and I feel guilty as hell, but you know what? It is taking me away from the past few months, when I sat in my apartment alone and wondered how the hell I am going to pay for dinner the next few months or if the mold in my apartment, which I had to go to court to get fixed, is killing me. I am thankful and I know where I came from and who to thank and it isn't because I can sit and put my leg over my head or run sixteen miles, it's because for the last five weeks, I haven't had to stare at the reason for my misery. #100DaysOfHopper