Real Politicians, Fictional Politicians, and My Two Cents

I just wanted to share this with all of you because it is one of my favorite television clips to watch.  I have said for a while now that “The West Wing” is one of my favorite shows of all time.  I loved everything about the show and most fans will tell you that it was at it’s best when Aaron Sorkin was writing the scripts from seasons 1-4.  When I watch things like this I can’t help but think that this is what I wish politicians were like in general.  Of course I am not naive enough to think that Martin Sheen’s character could actually be someone who could thrive in our political system but how nice would that be?  Sorkin wrote all of his characters to be firm, caring and genuine and that is something I think we all can appreciate especially when discussing what we want out of our leaders.

I guess what brought this post on was watching our election process start to heat up and all the negativity that comes with it.  No matter what your political affiliation you have to agree that when candidates start to talk with anger and negative words it just makes us look so sad as a country. I am not saying that everything that comes out of their mouths should be sunshine and rainbows, because we as intelligent people know that that isn’t really the case, but how are we supposed to have any hope for our future  when those who are in a  position to lead  are so negative themselves?  This is the case on both sides.  Republicans say if the Democrats stay in power things will be horrible and Democrats say if the Republicans take power things will be horrible.  Where does it end?  It truly saddens me.

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Teddy Said It Best

We all have rough days and deal with numerous hardships are we go through our lives.  As crazy as it sounds one of the best pick-me-ups could be a song or a quote that just inspires you to press forward.  I was recently introduced to this famous quote by Teddy Roosevelt (I have no clue why I hadn’t seen it before because it’s right up my alley) so I thought I’d share it with all of you.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Just awesome.  I saw this quote right at a time I really needed to.  I hope it helps all of you as well. Soak it all in and use it to make it a great week for yourself.

P.S.- I realize the intensity and seriousness of this quote doesn’t match well with the picture shown above but the picture made me laugh too much to not include it.  The man who was inspiring and intelligent enough to come up with words like this is now depicted at baseball games in Washington D.C. like this.  Teddy Roosevelt- his leadership and accomplishments made his legacy, cuddly stuffed bears and sports mascots make it last. Gotta love it!!

What’s Boy Meets World?

A few days ago my 11-year-old sister heard me talking about the old TGIF classic “Boy Meets World” with my girlfriend and then looked me right in the eyes and said “What’s Boy Meets World?”.  I nearly had a heart attack.  WHAT’S BOY MEETS WORLD!!! Then it dawned on me.  She’s ELEVEN.  “Boy Meets World” and all the other shows it aired with were never really part of her generations television shows.  It was a huge reality check for me.  I didn’t really know what to say to her.  I paused for a second, and said the best thing I could so she’d understand- “It was kinda like our Wizards of Waverly Place.”  This seemed to make her happy because she now understood what we were talking about.  After she walked away satisfied with my response I just couldn’t believe how old I felt.   Getting older isn’t shocking news obviously, I guess what just struck me the most was how something that was such a big part of my childhood sounded so obscure to her. This got me thinking. A lot.

Growing up is a beautiful part of life (and an inevitable so it doesn’t even matter if you don’t think that it’s beautiful I suppose) but it can get you a little frustrated so the key to me is just to learn to respect it.  I will admit that sometimes this is hard for me. Sometimes I sit and wish I was able to send myself back to a younger age.  Things were so much simpler then and nothing seemed impossible to me.  I’m 26 now and I remember thinking about how I viewed a person in their twenties at my sisters age.  I didn’t necessarily think they were “old” but I just remember thinking “that’s so far away” and “by the time I get there, I know I’ll have done a lot.” These thoughts don’t make me angry, they just make me wonder if what I view my thirties and forties to be will actually be that way when I get there.

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Why I’m Pumped For 2012

 

2012 has a lot of great things is store for all of us.   I thought I’d give you a list of what is getting me excited for the next 12 months ahead.  Keep in mind that I am a TV, movie and sports nerd.  Hopefully this list will pump you up for things you didn’t realize were great about the upcoming year.

Here we go…in no particular order:

1) Bill Crystal hosting the Oscars.  Call me someone who likes to live in the past but nobody has done it better than him and to have him return after a long hiatus makes me very happy. When he starts to do that opening music number it just feels like THIS is the Oscars.  Thank you Academy for bringing him back, it’s about time.

2) Baseball returning.  I realize this isn’t specific to just 2012 but it had to be said anyway.  It’s my favorite time of the year for sports. Don’t get me wrong,  I love football but to me baseball is and always will be the greatest game ever played. Yes it’s slow sometimes and doesn’t pack quite the punch as what goes on on the gridiron but when I hear the ball hit the bat I just can’t bring myself to think of anything that’s better in the world of sports. My Mets are not going to be good but for some reason that never stops me from enjoying the start of a season.  I don’t need my team to be good to enjoy the game (don’t get me wrong, it would be REALLY nice if that were the case though…hey Fred Wilpon do us all a favor a sell the team already!!…alright, my ranting is done).

3) The Avengers is hitting theaters.  Iron Man teaming up with Captain America! Thor has longer hair! There’s a superhero named Hawkeye?  But seriously, the movie looks like it’s going to be pretty awesome.  The fact that they were able to pull this thing off and get all the actors together for this really has impressed me.  Joss Whedon was a great choice to sit in the directors chair.  Everything seems to have fallen perfectly into place for this to be a great superhero movie.  I am very excited to see the finished product.

4) Bryan Cranston surely receiving his fourth Emmy for his work on Breaking Bad.  He has given the best dramatic performance sustained over multiple seasons of a  series in the history of television.  If you aren’t watching his work you are missing out in a big way.  It’s acting at it’s finest. The man is about to win an Emmy for every season he has been doing this show.  That’s unheard of, trust me when I tell you. Imagine an athlete winning the MVP every year he plays.  It’s definitely not exactly the same thing but it’s very very close.  Breaking Bad is the best show on television right now and while it has a lot of great things going for it any fan will tell you that the main reason why is Cranston’s performance.  There are just not enough good things to say.

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Time to Start Fresh!!

Okay so I slacked big time.  It happens and I apologize.  2012 kicked  off and with that I am reigniting this blog.  Why? Because I love doing i t.  I have let other things in my life prevent me from just writing sometimes. Sounds stupid,  I know, but I have decided to not let that happen anymore.  I know that actions speak louder than words so I am going to stop saying I am going to keep up with the blog and actually DO it for a change.

I think my biggest problem is that I have this desire to write the “perfect post”, whatever the hell that means, every time.  I feel like it’s my responsibility to do so as a blogger.  Then I start to get stressed about it and end up putting the post off and it never gets done.  Well I’m sick of that approach.  I’m still very new at this and I have to realize I’m not going to hit a home run every single time. I love writing and I have to get this perfection crap out of my head.  It’s great to strive for excellence, I’ll always go for that, but it’s  important to know that it’s OK when you don’t.  I’ve come to realize the beauty of a blog isn’t that they are an example of perfect writing, it’s that they give you a chance to constantly say what’s on your mind to a large audience.  It’s doesn’t have to be pulizter prize winning work with each post.  To quote a great line from one of my favorite movies (Love Actually) “This isn’t bloody Shakepeare”.  I promise to give you the most entertaining and thoughtful stuff possible to read, I will work hard on everything, I just have to stop hating myself when my ideas don’t turn out to be what I originally expected.

Alright.  Enough looking back on the past and getting angry.  Time to push forward and kick some ass.  Shall we?

Aaaaaaand we’re back!

Well, I’m a few days late, but I’m back as promised. I’ve missed blogging quite a bit. There’s been plenty to report since I’ve gone dark, but I don’t think I can get a recap off before I go to work. Anyway, all is well. I’ve written next to nothing since I’ve been gone, which means I’ve failed in a sense, but given my looming unemployment, I should have something soon.

I’ll be back Tuesday to try to influence your musical choices. It’s gonna be Wavves, probably, so if you wanna get the jump, go right ahead.

Peace until then.

Story Time

Ditch

by Sam Mantell

I remember acting once as if every day were a turning point. I’d be leaving my door and I’d turn around to look at my place like I’d never be back again. I’d wander through the streets as if desperation were upon me. I can remember wanting to hear people describe me as a “wispy shadow” of my former self. I don’t know. Maybe I was thinking they’d make a documentary. I certainly hear it like someone would say it in a documentary.

I was feeling like this one of these afternoons, while I sat trying to find the best way to reformat my life. I thought it was patterns. It is patterns, but I guess I always just pictured it in block format. This is because of calendars, I guess. I always wanted to have one of those full-desk calendars so I could write down all the things I had to do and look at them in front of me. I thought about different colors for each square. Blue for mornings I’ll run. Green for nights I’ll go to Nan’s. It’ll be beautiful.

I did it and it was beautiful. I would bring my food and eat on it, afraid to let the time it had to be beautiful flutter away from me. But as soon as I would come home, I’d sit at my desk, first thing. I’d hook up my laptop and do whatever for as long as I could. The rainbow at the bottom of my peripherals anchored me for longer than I’d normally have stayed there. There was a buzz about the desk. What this meant, though, is that I would come home and whatever was in my pockets or in my hands, I’d drop it on the desk. Of course, my keys and phone and wallet would come back to work with me in the morning, but there would always be another item left behind. Mugs from coffee and plates from toast. A receipt, a pen, a cord to something, or toothpicks or something like that.  Lighters. Quarters. You know.

Eventually, with the crumbs and the pocket detritus from a week or two of come and go, my calendar disappeared. It was still there, of course, but there under all the things I’d needed to have to follow it.

It was around then that I’d start losing track of things and find despair in the consequences of that. I couldn’t see the red blocks telling me to do laundry, so my room began to smell a bit. I went to my drawer one morning and saw I was out of underwear. I reviewed the course of events that had prevented my laundry from being done. A quick call at Marla’s on Monday, when I’d meant to do the wash. Then I couldn’t find the key Tuesday, but there were other ways and I didn’t take advantage. Then Nan’s Wednesday, and last night I was too high to function. Dammit.

“Never again”, I swore, laying in Nan’s arms, “never again…”

“So go commando,” said Nan. I could tell that came from a sexual stance. “What’s the big deal?”

“That’s not the point.”

“Then what is?”

“The rampant streak of irresponsibility that led to this! It can’t happen again!”

“I don’t think it’s any big deal,” she said. She rubbed her nose. She did it the way where she puts her index finger on her nose and fans the rest of her hand away from her face, towards me. For some reason, the people that do this tend to look up as they’re doing it, and I’ve always thought that was rude. “It’s not like you got fired. Or were hurt or something.” Still she was rubbing.

“It’s just an example of me not paying attention to things.” I felt like sulking, so I sulked.

“I could have just done the laundry. I knew I needed to do it.” I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply.

“God,” she said and turned her head away, mashing her cigarette on her ashtray. “You really need to relax.”

It was easy to believe she couldn’t understand how I felt. She hadn’t been saddled with any sudden bouts of grief lately. She could just go on, ignorant to the real problems here. She didn’t see how people acted sometimes. I want to bring it up, but I know how it will go.

Nan, I’ll say. Don’t you see how people act sometimes?

            All day I do, Jerry. I do it all day long.

            But do you ever see the way they tell lies all over the place?

            What the fuck is wrong with you, you know? She’ll be filing her nails or something.

I’ll try to jerk her out of it. Hey look at me, I’ll say, and I’ll sound a little hurt. She’ll stick a tongue in her cheek and drop her hands into her lap. I’m serious, I mean this is what I think about.

Then she’ll look at me concerned and fold her arms. Then, drop her head. Then she’ll fall onto her side and crawl towards me and cuddle up. I’m just protective of you, that’s all, I’ll say as she settles in. I don’t want you around morons, you know? It sounds good to her, even if it doesn’t make sense. She likes the tenderness, so she’s back on my good side. Nan understands.

I know, she’ll say.

It’ll go like that, I’m pretty sure. And this is just something to renew her faith in my goodness. I feel like, sometimes, she’s up in the air about it. It’s hard to decide when you’re so sure about everything. I’ve trusted myself for so long I believe both of us. Poor Nan. She won’t know what we could have been and I don’t think she’d understand if I told her.

It’s alright. Soon enough I’ll be out of this ditch and back to being someone who can do their laundry. It never lasts long, just long enough for me to feel truly terrible about myself. I let this happen because I know I’m not truly terrible. But it gets there and I feel guilty about letting the people around me see me like that. Too much potential wasted. Too much time spent in the gutter, getting fat and not brushing my teeth.

I’ll just need to find a new way to remind myself, is all. Maybe, instead of a calendar, I’ll try to make to-do lists. That should work. I’ll buy a notebook and make sure I bring it with me wherever I go. If I have something I need to remember, I’ll write it down. If I color code it, it will be beautiful and I think I’ll be more likely to remember to do it. As long as I can remember the pen, I should be fine.