Sunday, April 23, 2017

Le chat ne sait pas qu'il est dimanche

I am awake.

There is no sunshine, gently prying the darkness from my eyes. There are not birds, singing their melodies into my ears. There is no smell of fresh coffee, wafting into my nose. There is nothingness. Dark, empty silence or as most would notice; a perfect time for sleep. Another hour would be nice, but there's slight pressure near my foot. It works its way up, with a gentle tap on my calf. It disappears and then I feel its breath. I can now hear the feint purr. My eyes open to another set of eyes. If this was another human, maybe a tender moment, a kiss, maybe even an embrace, but alas no. The serene setting quickly evaporates like the morning dew. A high pitched screech ends this moment and I realize, that my hopes for understanding are fruitless. I reach out, tenderly stroking his mane. A quick bite reinforces his intentions. My feet hit the rug, then the cold wood floor. I clean a bowl, then another. Fill one with water. Then dry the other. I lumber back to the warmth of the rug. I pour some food, then throw open the window to a dipper or stars. I stagger out, to fetch my own meal. I turn and he's there. As if I may be hiding some treasure from him. I grumble about the time, grab my plate and my cup and walk back, crawling into the warmth of the sheets. I grab the hot mug, taking that first sip, that tells me the day has begun. I place it down, reaching for a piece of fruit, suddenly interrupted by a tiny weight on my foot and a low, feeble rumble. I look down and he's asleep. I'm awake and he's asleep.

The cat does not know it's Sunday.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

OMG: The Unicorn Frappucino

We have the Internet.
We have libraries.
We have common sense.
We have the no control over our own lives.

The new Starbucks Unicorn Frappucino is proof that the average American consumer can be told what to eat, drink, wear, listen to and watch. On the same day, Fox News fired misogynistic, sexual predator, Bill O'Reilly, making it official by having one of their more well known Stepford Wives refer to him as the "king" of cable news, we had this drink emerge. A colorful, sugary, death through a straw drink.

How is it possible that people will line up to be overcharged for something they know is bad for them? How could anyone, reading the contents and nutritional information, give this to a child; one I assume they claim to love?

Capitalism? Are we really so eager to make the one percent wealthy, we're willing to kill ourselves in order to prove that capitalism still works? I've railed against Starbucks for years. Aside from being awful coffee.....and lets be honest, if you drink Starbucks, you're not a coffee lover, you're a Starbucks lover. You didn't go out of your way like this for the mom and pop shop in Bronxville serving absolutely mind bending flavors. No, you're buying the tee shirt, the logo and your name written incorrectly on a cup. You are never and have never been buying it for the coffee.

Don't get me started on the cost. One $3 coffee at Starbucks a day is $1,100 a year. Or, what I spend for coffee in five years. And I drink good coffee and about 64 ounces of it a day.

Here's what I don't understand. How can people, who have seen how cancer, diabetes, obesity, dental issues, high blood pressure and other dietary induced heath problems, buy something they know causes this? An even more confounding question...how could anyone murder their children with a drink like this? Murder a strong word? NO!

https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/unicorn-frappuccino-blended-cr%C3%A8me

Look up some of the ingredients and tell me I'm wrong.


Monday, April 17, 2017

We Turned Out OK?

An Internet meme captures our eye.
A single picture and caption, captures our imagination.
We smile and recollect about a time we experienced or maybe imagined.
We connect and we post, just knowing others will smile and share in a connection.

A shoe, a belt, or a wooden spoon.
A message of some sort of painful punishment.
A reaffirmation that we "turned out fine."

You didn't do as well in school as you'd hoped.
You didn't go, finish or attend the college you wanted.
You complain every day, with poor spelling and grammar, about your job or routine.
You're divorced, separated or privately going through something worse.
Your kids are always ill, in the ER or worse.
You've lost respect for your fellow man and woman, young and old (if not, why the meme?).
You're battling depression, anxiety or some other psychological illness.
Your general health is deteriorating, despite your youthful appearance.

You post of how your grandparents grew up hard and wanted better for your parents.
You post about how your parents grew up hard and wanted better for you,
You post about how your life is hard and how you want better for your kids.
You post about how you hope you can be just like them.
You post the meme, but do you grab the shoe, the belt or the spoon?

Don't worry, you turned out OK, right?



Thursday, April 13, 2017

2017 MLB Predictions

This will not be your run of the mill, yawn, Cubs vs Indians rematch World Series

Also, not that anyone reads this, but sorry for the delay, but my adult ADD has me out of whack!

I will also save you the full standings, but let's just say, you're not going to be enjoying this baseball season if you're an Angels, Twins, Phillies, Braves or Diamondbacks fan. I'm thinking less than 70 wins for all these teams. Oh and Tampa Bay, San Diego, Milwaukee and Chicago, you may be an injury away from this same fate.

So who is getting into the playoffs this year?
Detroit Tigers - AL Central winner and best record
Texas Rangers - AL West winner
Baltimore Orioles - Al East Winner
Cleveland Indians - Wild Card home game
Boston Red Sox  Wild Card

I had Houston and Toronto each missing the final Wild Card by one game

Chicago Cubs - NL Central winner and best record in MLB
LA Dodgers - NL West winner
Washington Nationals - NL East winner
San Francisco Giants - Wild Card home game
Pittsburgh Pirates - Wild Card

New York and St. Louis will miss out by two or three games

Wild Card Games
Boston Red Sox over Cleveland Indians
San Francisco Giants over Pittsburgh Pirates

Division Series
Detroit Tigers over Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles over Texas Rangers

San Francisco over Chicago Cubs
LA Dodgers over Washington Nationals

League Championship
Detroit Tigers over Baltimore Orioles
LA Dodgers over San Francisco Giants

World Series
Detroit Tigers over LA Dodgers

MVP - Manny Machado & Corey Seager*
Cy Young - Dylan Bundy & Madison Baumgarner
ROY - Trey Mancini & Manuel Margot

*I had inadvertently written Bryce Harper



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

When Our Differences Become Scary

I say this with some humor and sarcasm, but I was frightened last night. Terrified, to the point I wanted to flee. I instead, walked outside, watched my feline friend scamper around in the cool, moist grass and then watched a movie. So what brought on such horror?

Someone told me about their nightmare. A dream, so real, they woke up in a cold sweat, awakened their spouse, told them they could not make a purchases and told them their fears. Twelve to fifteen hours later, they shared this story with me.

So why is this scary?

Their real life nightmare and the details surrounding it, is my hypothetical goal in life.

I'm still not sure what to make of this.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Unconditionally

I do not believe in love at first sight in the romantic sense and to be quite frank, I do not believe it in any other sense. Love is something that attacks us. It warms us when we first feel it and it pains us when we miss it. When that pain subsides, we come to realize that it was never love, but some other emotion masked in out understanding of what love is. True love, that kind we call unconditional, isn't comfortable. It makes us have physical reactions to it's presence and even more so to its absence. Most love takes time to nurture and yes, it needs to be cultivated, cared for an more than anything, caressed. Made to feel as if it's as important as it should be. 

The bond between a mother and child is often misinterpreted as unconditional, but there are physical and physiological needs, which can be scientifically explained. This does not diminish the value, but it is clearly a matter of condition. Even saying the words is conditioned. No, unconditional love is something else. It's not comfortable. It magnifies time and distance in a way, we can not express to others in words, but simply hope they understand. Most do not. 

Yesterday, the first year anniversary of my only niece's birth. Was a painful one. In her first year of life, I've only spent a matter of hours with her. I've held her only three, maybe four times. She's slept on my shoulder for hours. She smiled at me in a way, I haven't experienced since her father did the same, when he was a child. She bounced on my knee, turning at times to touch my arm, pulling the hair, taking rests against my chest. A babies warmth, smell and laughter does things to us, but when it makes us miss them before they are gone, it's impossible to explain. 

I did not see her or even hear her yesterday. A cold, some plans and my situation, my distance, my adherence to some odd etiquette denied me. I thought of her from the time I woke, until the time I slept. Knowing she doesn't know me, hurts. Knowing it may be some time before she does, hurts more. I will never be able to give her the things society looks at as love and care, but one day, when she's old enough to understand, I'll tell her of her first Christmas and thank her for being the reason we are sharing the current one. Maybe by then, she'll feel for me, as I do for her. 

Happy Birthday Iliana.
Your Uncle loves you more than life itself.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cryptic Cries

I wrote something on social media yesterday and it received no attention. A rare cryptic cry. I then glanced down my timelines and saw requests for prayers, pictures inside of medical facilities, splints, casts, ace bandages and other posts, simply words telling of upcoming doctor's visits, medical procedures and various health related concerns, whether they be physical or mental. The unbelievable amount of care, concern and attention these received was astonishing. Then I noticed a pattern.

The attention,comments and responses to the initial cry out for help were all immediately recognized with thanks and appreciation. There were hearts, smiles and words conveying all of these warm thoughts. Yet, there was one thing that was not addressed, should the concerned party dare to ask.

"What's wrong?"

Isn't it ironic, that in our time of instant access, our ability to convey to everyone out there, how we suffer, that we decide to keep this private? We so desperately crave the attention for each and everyone of our woes, that a triple bypass and a trip to the allergist receive the same sympathies?

Where does debt fall in? Is owing $1,500 the same as owing $150,000? Funny how when it comes to money we're able to suck it up and not post on social media. Is it vanity? We can post pictures of scare, scrapes, cuts and bruises, but nobody dare post abut their heating bill. "At least you have heat."

This reminds me slightly of the insomnia phenomenon, where someone posts they didn't sleep, then chastises insomnia, the thread then becoming a an online version of Name That Tune, until eventually someone ends it with "I didn't sleep....yet." None of this is in fact insomnia, as one bad night's sleep is something we all experience, but it makes us feel better one upping someone's trivial complaints.

So why then, when things sound serious, don't we divulge the real problem? Are we worried that to be open will deflate the importance or make us seem petty? In today's world, have we lost all forms of empathy and compassion, unless the problem can only be imagined?

I can barely walk. I am in debt and I am broke. I was essentially homeless for two months and may be again in the next few weeks. I have other ailments I hope to get diagnosed soon. I also lost two friends to cancer this week and would never dream of competing with the pain their families face. I do wonder though. Why is it then that full disclosure of one's woes gets nothing, but a cryptic or exaggerated post gets more attention than any other?

Maybe I've revealed to much about myself within this tiny blog. Maybe I'd be better off with a safer approach to dealing with life.

Send Prayers!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

2017 Movies: January - March

I haven't watched this few movies in a three months span in years. Normally, I'm good for 25-30 a months, so 40, and not even all full length movies, in three months, is abysmal. Going to bump my top to five...just this month!

So here's my rundown over the last three months. As our president would say...SAD!
  1. Dog Eat Dog - Nic Cage in the most Nic Cage-y movie ever. Dafoe too. So bad it's good!
  2. The Measure Of A Man - Dignity and principles challenged. The acting is mesmerizing.
  3. Real Genius (re-watched) - Silly, possibly bad, but so damn likable. So 80's!
  4. Little Sister - Simple, yet complex story about surviving...life. Addison Timlin dazzles.
  5. Under The Shadow - Iranian horror blends reality, delusion and metaphors almost perfectly.
  6. The Rezort - Jurassic World meets The Walking Dead, written by the folks at Grey's Anatomy.
  7. Mea Culpa - French thriller, uses a cliche premise, but makes it work wonderfully. 
  8. Carnage Park - Solid first hour, then falters in finale. Wonderful performance by lead Bell.
  9. Victim - Short film based on Slenderman story. Felt like a live-action version of online game.
  10. Shorts: 3;07AM, JPGs, Fathom, HAM, Snap - Ham was best of bunch, with John C Reilly.
  11. Queen of Earth - Elisabeth Moss in award worthy role about woman's descent into depression.
  12. Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things - Awful, but somehow it's pure 70's fun.
  13. The Monster - Openly metaphoric tale of mother's struggle and its affect on her daughter. A+!
  14. Grizzly - 70's animal attack video. Fun, but silly. Jaws with Claws tagline is a hint.
  15. POD - Mickey Keating strikes again, Decent idea, but poorly though out with awful ending.
  16. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter - Photography helps, but film fails on too many levels. 
  17. Bill Burr: Walk Your Way Out - Strong start, but falters, when audience doesn't respond.
  18. Shorts:  Zero - Decent, but silly ending. Puzzle - Fun, but predictable.
  19. The Collector - Nice premise ruined by repetitive scenes. Silly throw-ins mean nothing.
  20. The Iron Giant - I'm late to this wonderful animated film about friendship and much more.
  21. Ataud Blanco (White Coffin) - Argentinian horror. One of the most unsettling films ever made.
  22. Stutterer - Oscar winning short. A man trapped within himself. Difficult, sad, beautiful.
  23. Shorts: Das Rad - Rocks talking and observing. Edward - Man collects what falls underground.
  24. Howl - Silly werewolf tale, that fails to grab and plays into every cliche, with no message.
  25. Short: Mr. Hublot - Brilliant film about a recluse with OCD and what makes him break.
  26. Sing Street - While not as deep as similar films, it hits every mark it aims for. Pure fun!
  27. Voice Without A Shadow - Early Seijun Suzuki. This noir, shows his style and early promise.
  28. The Handmaiden - Chan-wook Park's beautifully, bold tale excels. Chemistry is amazing.
  29. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Re-watched) - Still one of the greatest of all-time.
  30. Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre - It was that kind of night. Funny, but not that funny!
  31. American Experience: Leopold and Loeb - Well done, but nothing new.
  32. Jim Norton: Mouthful of Shame - Norton takes taboo subjects and makes them funny.
  33. The Warlords - Epic tale starring Jet Li. Starts strong, but becomes repetitive and cliche.
  34. Ten - Abbas Kiarostami allows Mania Akbari to define being a woman in modern day Iran. 
  35. Train to Busan - Rarely does a horror film surpass the hype. Nothing new, but excels.
  36. The Invitation - Interesting premise plays out almost exactly as predicted. Silly "twist."
  37. Dave Chappelle Netflix - Two parts, each perfectly crafted and somehow allowably offensive.
  38. The Phoenix Tapes '97 - Found footage stays true to footage, but boring, silly finale.
  39. Frailty (Re-watched) - A nearly perfect little thriller. Paxton also directed. He is sorely missed.
  40. Phantom Of The Theatre - Beautifully to look at, but I lost interest quickly. Just misses mark.
Top Three: The Monster, Sing Street, Queen of Earth, The Handmaiden, Ten
Bottom Three: The Rezort, POD, The Phoenix Tapes '97
Biggest Surprise: Train to Busan (which easily could be a top 5)
Biggest Disappointment: Kumiko The Treasure Hunter


Monday, April 3, 2017

Opening Day

The darkness of the tunnel gives way to the vision of the bright blue sky. The uphill climb of the ramp acts as a metaphor for our lives, our hopes and that of our team. We hit the plateau, hear the sounds of excitement and that perfect grass. The sight is unlike any other. There is not a single true fan who doesn't stop, scan the entire field, grin at its perfection and inhale deeply. In a single moment, memories flash before us and that feeling of hope, true hope for a better tomorrow, is in all of us. It builds, almost unrealistically as we wait. There a flutter in our chests. Maybe memories of simpler times, when our future was less in focus, but our desire was a clear cut as the foul lines. We feed off the energy of those around us, standing with pride and unity, for a song we attach to greatness. We wait and we wait, the time seemingly moving so slowly, we've reviewed every moment the sport has given us. We see the pitcher set and we wait to cheer or boo, as if that single pitch will define our season and then it's over.

Win or lose, there will be one hundred and sixty one more. We will wake each morning and the air won't be as crisp, the chill not as invigorating and the warmth of  the sun, seems less directed at just us. We will have our ups and downs and life will go on, win or lose, both athletically or within our own lives. We most likely will not be victorious, but maybe we shall. We'll forget all about this day. It will not once enter our minds and we shall have days of hope and days of despair, and health willing, we'll do it again the following year and there is nothing like it. There is nothing like the uncertainty of Opening Day. If hope had a day, it would be today.