Going 4th with my Oval Fixation

Warhol Nixon

In honor of Independence Day, I felt like jumping into the pool of patriotism and taking a swim. And then the feeling passed and I decided to compile a list of my favorite Presidents. Which is basically the same shit, really.

Before I get to this Presidential list ‘o mine, I’ve a couple thoughts about the 4th of July that have been running around inside ‘me noggin and so Imma clearinghouse their asses before they get my straggling voices all riled up.

Beautiful funny fourth of july memes 117 best 4th of July images on Pinterest

Independent (Day) Thinking: 

  • If John Adams had a blog, it would be called Shit Happens
  • Note to all those “Buy American” peeps out there. When y’all are blowing shit up to celebrate our independence . . just know that fireworks were first invented in medieval China.
  • The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were not meant to be subverted, retrofitted and reconfigured to contemporary whims and agendas. Just. Saying.
  • Fireworks wouldn’t work in space, which is really too bad . . .
  • You say “May the 4th be with you” and I say “Go 4th and prosper”.
  • Joey Chestnut’s win in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest reminds me that I have never actually watched the fucking thing. Because it’s grosser than a Senator’s secret Instagram page.
  • I’m still hoping there will be a Nas cover to Yankee Doodle Dandy 
  • Ben Franklin be like . . “Bitches be crazy!”
  • Is it wrong that of all the things I could have given thanks to yesterday, I chose Sam Adams? The beer, not the founding father.
  • Apologies to the Cowboys and Yankees, but the real America’s Team is the Tampa Bay Rays. Many of their fans have given up, they’re always shipping their best talent away and they’re broke.

As far as my Commander and Chief is concerned, the First Dude has to be bold and decisive. My President must love sports, beer and ’80’s music. My President is tough yet compassionate; he’s flexible as per the big picture and firm as to the details. My President understands that being fair and open minded isn’t a weakness but an impenetrable strength. So with all of those qualities in mind, my favorite President will in fact be a fictional character. Of course.

I’ve divvied up fictional Presidents of tube and silver screen into three categories. There is the Ridiculous . . those Presidential turns that rival November 2016. There is the I Can See That . . those slightly more feasible renditions. And then there is the Sublime . . those fictional characters I would really vote for (and maybe, just maybe . . did).

Special thank you to my Canadian counterpart, Dale “Q-ditty” Rogerson of A Dalectable Life for helping me compile this list. And to anyone who has a problem with this list? Please direct your complaints here.

The Ridiculous: 

Kevin James- Yes, Kevin James played President Will Cooper in the movie Pixels. Yes, it was an Adam Sandler flick. Duh!

Mark Cuban- He played President Marcus Robbins in Sharknado. I mean . . in a movie that is one long commercial, how in the hell did they whiff on the name? Baskin Robbins people . . it’s not that hard!

President Machete

Lynda Carter- Not because her President-Olivia Marsdin- was an alien or that she ruled the world in Supergirl  . . nah. What makes this turn utterly ridiculous is that Lynda Carter IS Wonder Woman!

Aaron Eckhardt- I’ve watched White House Down numerous times because I love B movies that think they’re A movies. That is all.

Jamie Foxx- If quoting Abraham Lincoln and wearing Nikes make you President, my neighbor would be running things. So .  . no.

Danny Glover- Of all the names they could’ve slapped on Glover for his turn as Prez in 2012, they go with Thomas Wilson? Impeached!

Bill Pullman- Thomas J. Whitmore is a very Presidential name. Being a former fighter pilot and Gulf War vet is great stuff. Too bad it all happened in Independence Day. 

Gene Hackman- I have very few rules to which I abide with no deviation, but one of them is that Gene Hackman will never be my President.

Kevin Klein- In the movie Dave, Klein basically played a stunt double.

Martin Sheen- Sorry West Wing fans, but all I know about this show and President Josiah Barlet is that Sheen really thought he could’ve been President. A television celebrity as President? How ridiculous is that?!

I Can See That: 

Cherry Jones- She played President Allison Taylor in 24; which just so happens to be one of my favorite shows ever. (The Kiefer Sutherland 24). She falls into the middle because her character was loosely based on Hilary Clinton. Which is sublime and ridiculous. It’s sublime for its idealistic nature and it’s ridiculous because Hilary won an election. Too soon?

Alfre Woodard- As Constance Payton in State of Affairs, there really is nothing not to like. She has the name, she rocks the look and she has the Presidential vibe. But I never watched the show, so there’s that.

99 Problems

Jeff Bridges- He’s my favorite actor, so it pains me NOT to put him in my imaginary Oval Office. Couple reasons why. Jackson Evans? Sounds like a furniture store that does taxes. And another . . The Contender was totally based on Monica-gate and it wasn’t very good, at all.

James Earl Jones- His President Douglas Dilman attains the office without being elected in the 1972 political thriller The Man. The plot was eerily prescient, as Gerald Ford would so just that less than two years later when he replaced Nixon. But I never saw the flick, so outside of his magnificent voice . . I ain’t solid enough on President Dilman to elect him to my highest office.

Harrison Ford- He shows his Chuck Norris side as President in Air Force One. And that’s about it.

And now for my Fantastic Four.

The Sublime: 

4. Michael Douglas- As President Andrew Shepherd, Douglas is quite fetching as Oval Office Boss. He rocks the look, talks the talk and knows all about the science of women’s shoes. But he’s bottom four because it’s a completely unbelievable role served by by Rob Reiner.

3. Geena Davis- Okay . . I never saw her play MacKenzie Allen in Commander in Chief. But this is Geena Fucking Davis we’re talking about. So she’s in, even if I have to stage a coup to make it happen.

2. Tom Kirkman- You may notice there is a Sutherland vibe to this Presidential post of mine. Because while the current administration consorts with the “Red Menace” , I prefer the red maple leaf. Much friendlier, and they know their beer.

Designated Survivor’s President Kirkman is an idealist of the very best kind. It’s why I do not hold it against him for story lines that have little reality to them. Here’s a President who’s willing to admit when he’s wrong. He listens, and then he goes with his gut. He relates to those he disagrees with. He trusts and verifies. He ain’t against bombing your ass if you fuck with his peeps, but he realizes this isn’t a paint ball contest so he will exhaust all other possibilities first.

I hope the show has one more season in it, somewhere. Because I want me some more President Kirkman.

David Palmer

1. Dennis Haysbert- There is no doubt that Hollywood takes itself way too seriously when it comes to politics. And the idea that Haysbert’s turn as President in 24 was the catalyst for Barack Obama’s ascent to the Oval Office is a tad bit simplistic, to put it nicely.

But there is little doubt that Haysbert owned the role. President David Palmer was a Boss who understood delegation on a doctorate level. And he was so damned efficient! I mean, why mobilize a couple hundred thousand troops to a danger zone when you can just dial up Jack Bauer and get shit done in less than a day?

Palmer was eloquent without being preachy. He made the tough decisions look simple. And he could speak an apple right out of a tree and hand you a glass of ice cold juice in double time. You could argue that giving his ex-wife a key role in his administration was crazy, but I say it shows how secure an individual he was. To navigate all the sharks inside his own administration and the Macbeth-like scenarios she was spinning? That there is power used to its best possible outcome.

And you can say that writing in David Palmer was a wasted vote. And you can say I’m a dreamer. But hey . . I’m not the only one.

 

 

 

 

Winning and Misery: A Love Story

LaBron

What’s most interesting about LBJ going to the Lakers is that it simply feels like another vacation for the dude. He went to Miami for four years and then came home to Cleveland. Now he’s going to the other coast for another four years, and is there any doubt he resigns with the Cavaliers to finish out his career? Unless, that is, James plans on playing as long as Tom Brady- who plans on playing until he’s forty five . . . or until someone discovers that he is, in fact, a cyborg. Whichever comes first.

Personally, I’m thankful James didn’t drag “Decision 3” out . . because the World Cup is way more interesting news, even if most sports media here in the states ain’t shutting off the LBJ spigot till it runs dry. So we’ll get more devotionals to the King and more questions as to who might come join his posse. And make no mistake, he ain’t beating the Warriors unless he gets him some deputies . . not even close.

Hopefully all that baller business happens sooner than later, because I want me some open highway for the beautiful game of futbol. Unlike the NBA off-season gossip pages that James books passage on every four years, soccer’s four year itch is actually filled with live action; and if you ain’t been paying attention to this particular World Cup, I am sorry.

I ain’t throwing shade at us state side simpletons for possessing a drive-thru attention span when it comes to sports. After all, we are what we eat. And most sports outlets behave like hired lemmings in that they follow one story after the next over the cliff, regardless of its verity or relevance.

I hope LaBron 2K works if only because I still root for Magic Johnson, even now. And because the Lakers haven’t been likable since forever. And because I believes James paid his debt in full to Cleveland when he brought them a title. Let’s please not inject ‘loyalty’ into this when it comes to a free agent athlete choosing his work place. Owners and front office peeps don’t make bank based on being loyal, and neither should the players.

I can see the way James is playing this thing. He figures his great white whale- the Warriors- stands in the way of his title legacy either way; so by moving into their conference, he doesn’t have to worry about losing to them in the finals again. Plus, his presence puts LA in ‘win now’ mode, which means that Magic will do everything in his power to get his new stud a second, and maybe even third star. If that happens, LBJ doesn’t believe Boston, or any other team in the East, can beat him so long as he gets past Golden State.

This is a Michael Corleone move for James. He’s moving the family out West while he still has the clout whilst looking at laying down a monolithic paradigm for next gen superstars. James has always been a vocal presence and a civic minded individual, so what better spot to lay down his ascension to future NBA owner than in the land where power brokers play?

In the present, all James has to do is resurrect some agreeable facsimile of the Showtime Lakers- a team that was born inside my favorite decade- the ’80’s. Unless of course he gets his sidekicks. Because in that case . . expectations go bling.

Showtime Lakers

The Showtime Lakers were Magic and Kareem, James Worthy and Byron Scott and lemme put it this way: If Cirque du Soleil was a basketball team? They would’ve been the Showtime Lakers. And while I patterned my set shot after Worthy, he wasn’t the reason I slicked back my hair. Pat Riley was the coolest cat in the room and I fell in love with the way he coached up a starting five. Riles was style and substance. With his Armani suits and slicked back hair, he was the living breathing embodiment of a Hollywood ad campaign.

And those Lakers teams led by Riley are the reason I fell in love with the Association in the first place. They were a mythological advancement for a league they had helped save- along with the Boston Celtics- years earlier. Pat Riley put it best when he said it was an all or nothing proposition when you play for a star laden Lakers club. “There’s winning and there’s misery,”. All or nothing. Hang a title banner or get out of town. I’m thinking if Riley were to offer any advice to LeBron in the event he builds an LA ‘superteam’, it would be short and sweet.

You better fucking win it.

The Danger In Economizing Words

Can we stop being so easily offended by everything?

Why is it becoming increasingly difficult to behave like a normal human being when it comes to simple language? Why is everything we say put under such a brutal microscope, whose magnification transforms the ‘perpetrator’ into a Machiavellian figure? Can we stop that, please? Because it’s in the sharing of our thoughts that, yanno . . we learn. For the good and the not so good of this thing called life. We’re not control subjects after all, we’re people. And it’s a rather unscientific fact that we all say stupid shit from time to time.

Expecting perfection from a human being is like believing the tides will take a cigarette break. It’s never gonna happen. And I not only don’t mind that fact, I take a measure of comfort in it. What use is a world where passionate discourse and raw honesty are curtailed by individuals posing as behavioral scientists? Will we reach a day when people parse and examine every word they say for fear it might be deemed a crime against humanity? Thing is, when we start asking for perfection from a human being, we’re setting the wheels in motion for an Orwellian scenario in which human beings behave very much like mannequins.

If we attempt to erase our flaws, all we really do is invite more sinister conclusions. Because in case you haven’t noticed? We have an abundance of individuals in this world who know how to lie, really well. And it’s the people with sway and say- the people with money and power and political connections- who stand to gain the most in that kind of world. And maybe that sounds like some really stupid conspiratorial shit, but I ain’t apologizing. Seriously . . that would be counterproductive to this post.

All I know is I don’t want to live in a world where language is screened and tested and altered until it is unrecognizable from its original shape. Hell, we’re already living in a world where the majority of the people are more apt to forgive Wells Fargo and Facebook for fucking with their financial and personal information than they are a simple individual who behaves like a human being. Is it because ordinary human beings don’t have the ability to create those cozy little thirty second spots in which they dress up their ‘mistakes’ with actors posing as moms and dads? All that stupid shit I was saying earlier . . about the people with say and sway, is not quite so stupid if you stop and think about it.

Listen, I’m not saying that everyone should be allowed to go around speaking like gutter tramps. It’s just that, I just can’t warm up to policing an individual’s thoughts when educating and communicating with that individual is so much more sustainable.

There has to be a happy medium where we can coexist peacefully enough. Imperfectly, yes . . but truthfully. Or would you rather have it where dialogue becomes a thoroughly manicured endeavor in which people simply learn how to lie magnificently?

If we’re not careful about what we’re wishing for, we just might get it.

 

Celebrating Tuesday! Said no one, ever.

Happy Tuesday

I feel sorry for Tuesdays. Tuesday is like the middle child that gets left with the grandparents when the family goes to Disney World. Whereas Monday is the high profile villain we love to hate and Wednesday has achieved a low key Friday status, Tuesday ain’t got much of anything going on.

So in keeping with this unfortunate legacy, I’ve decided to loose a few observations. If you’re expecting some earth shattering, award winning shit, I apologize in advance . . .

  • Oreos comes out with a new flavor every five minutes, and it always makes me envious of those communist countries.
  • Dan LeBatard broached a topic I have often wondered about. LeBron James is getting better at an age when regression happens with the very best players. Is this nature, hard work or a science experiment? And if there is some lab work going on, is there a chance in hell the NBA would expose its Chosen One?
  • I passed a lawn sign that read “Think Snow” and I wondered if that home owner has a death wish.
  • You can get two steaks at Applebee’s for like fifteen bucks, which is the culinary equivalent of those infomercials where you buy one crappy product and they give you another one absolutely free.
  • All this time later, the fine ladies of En Vogue are still honey to my musical senses.
  • I want a job in the Trump administration. I’d work for a week or two, get fired and enjoy my sweet severance package on the other side while I did the book circuit.
  • I want to see Infinity War simply for the spectacle. But is it wrong to admit I would bag it for a good (non-Applebee’s) steak dinner with martinis?
  • That’s not a dig at the Avengers. It’s me confessing that I am incapable of dressing myself in zeitgeist.
  • Other things which do not fascinate me in the same way they seem to fascinate every one else include fireworks, bacon cheeseburgers, playlists, Comedy Central, Ed Sheeran, board games, tank tops, gadgets and reality shows.
  • Until very recently, I had no idea American Idol had returned. And from the ratings, it seems no one else did either.
  • See? I’m not always a cranky outlier. . .
  • So North and South Korea can make nice after almost three quarters of a century worth of conflict, but these assholes can’t make nice at a corn-hole tournament fundraiser? Got it.
  • Is there any doubt Marie Antoinette would’ve run a bakery if she’d been born in this time period?
  •  If you dig the eighties, you might want to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, because it is chock full of references to the decade I will always love most. And no . . I won’t see the movie.
  • It’s always interesting to note that the uproar over those anthem protests spits in the face of the same basic freedoms and liberties that the people hating on those protesters purport to believe in. It has cost talented players their livelihood while never minding the fact that the NFL was paid by our military to put on those flag shows. What? You thought the league invested their own money in those field sized flags and spectacular flyovers? Nah, the league only found patriotism after our military came to them with an offer. And the league only gave back- a portion- of the money after it was reported. The owners are plenty fine with employing criminals who beat up women and kill dogs, but they simply do not dig the optics of the flag protest. Simple as that.

Well, I could go on but the meds are kicking in and the voices in my head are getting sleepy. Apologies to Jurassic Park movies and Chocolate Twinkies for being left in the green room, but I just ran out of time. They will be welcomed back with open arms though!

Happy Wednesday Eve.

Striking out with my alley cats

Bowling

I behave very much like a cicada when it comes to bowling, in that once every few years I will make the scene. As such, my game is less predictable than a soccer mom at a male revue show. And while I could go more often in order to sharpen my bowling skills, that would mean taking time away from other more worthwhile pursuits; like my used band aid collection and my Taylor Swift fan club.

So it was that I spent a ladies night out at the local bowling alley. Imma blame Linds B for the idea, if only because she’s in love and probably won’t read this.

I saw this college team bowling championship. Each team had their own coach. What kind of strategy advice is a bowling coach giving? ‘You know what? This time Timmy, I want you to knock down all the pins.’ ‘You sure?’ ‘Trust me. Just do it son!’
–Jim Gaffigan

We decided to play three games. On the face of it, this may seem like an overreach considering our casual approach to this leisure activity. But when you take into account adult beverages were involved, three games seemed appropriate. More than three games would’ve felt absurdly long and less than three games would’ve meant that we were basically going to a bowling alley to drink.

Notice I refer to bowling as a “leisure activity”. This is because to call it recliner recreation might be deemed mean spirited. All I do know for certain is that bowling falls somewhere between a sport and a manifestation of a social disorder. There’s a lot of room for interpretation there, which is one of the most interesting aspects of bowling.

I began the proceedings by bowling a couple of strikes, after which it occurred to me that my timing was complete shit. The point of most any competitive endeavor is to finish strong, and I realized that I had dropped the ball (pun intended) by coming out with guns blazing. I was showing my Broadway right from the get, which meant that my Camden would soon follow; as in, desperate . . hopeless and just plain ugly.

I have always hated bowling, and I don’t mind admitting it.
–Hunter S. Thompson

As it turned out, my game didn’t suffer the precipitous fall I had expected and I actually bowled a decent game. I am not certain as to where that placed me, but I had more important things to focus on . . like conversing . . and adult beverages.

By the end of the second game, I was cursing the decision we had made to play three. This was on account of the conversation being quite lively and the drinks being quite friendly. It was obvious that we had crashed a bowling alley with the express intent of having fun, and the bowling was really starting to harsh our mellow.

If you subpoenaed me, I still wouldn’t have any recollection as to what happened in the third game. My goals were simply to throw the ball down the correct lane, not drop the ball on my foot and not make eye contact with the old timer at the counter who, I was convinced, was Nosferatu.

If I had been on ‘Bowling for Dollars’, I’d wind up owing them money.
–Ricki Lake

Once we had wrapped up, we changed back into our regular shoes. Amazingly, bowling shoe theft is almost non-existent, which has really streamlined the process. This cut our travel time to the bar in half . . so we were ordering up another round thirty seconds later.

I actually can’t wait to go bowling again. By then, I figure the world will be in a much better place. The Korea’s will be united . . scientists will have proven that bacon is good for you . . Kelly Ripa will reside behind bars for crimes against Ryan Seacrest’s humanity . . the Browns will have relocated to the island in that Tom Hanks movie and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be the President of the United States.

Patience really is a virtue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

manifestations

 

 

 

 

Excuse my French, but the (Pre)fix is In

Marion

Some words have all the luck.

If you shout “Fire! in a crowded theater, you’ll soon find yourself all alone. But if you shout “Bacon” in an empty kitchen, you will instantly achieve the opposite effect. No one likes a “headache” but everyone loves “chocolate”. And while “water” is great, it doesn’t elicit the same passionate response as “wine”.

And speaking of passionate responses, is there a better example of how a simple word can take our hearts hostage than the word “French”? If you live in the lower forty eight, the answer is non. Which is French for hell no.

French fries

White bread is popular, but French bread is the belle of the bread ball. And Vanilla is just a plain Jane until you give it a makeover by placing the word French in front of it. And everyone loves onion rings, but they place a distant second to french fries. If you’re a restaurateur, feel free to add a couple bucks to the menu price by calling ’em frites. Which no doubt means “swindle” in French.

It’s no wonder French is called the language of love. I actually have video footage of me in the first grade. I was talking about kissing girls with some friends of mine in the cafeteria when these two older boys brought up the subject of french kissing. Take a look . . .

Yes, I had facial hair in the first grade. Which is why I was able to inquire as to the finer points of the french kiss. Before too long, I was learning about the history of the french braid and french twists from the greatest teachers imaginable. Girls. They introduced me to hair styles that effectively transformed thousands of years of same old into something provocative and sophisticated. It was the best education, ever.

Daenerys

Upon graduation from first grade cafeteria talk, I learned first hand all about the french manicure. It’s not just any old manicure, nope. Whereas the typical manicure refinishes the cuticles and then dresses them up, the french manicure lets them go nude. Sold!

The alchemy of this lovely word turns plain old toast into a gloriously rich and sweet breakfast treat. Whereas I can eat a piece of toast on the run, I feel the need to commit to French toast. And once married, it spawns such glorious children as butter, maple syrup and yes . . . bacon!

French Toast

And let’s be honest, would you eat anything called a cruller? It sounds like something that was dredged from the bottom of the ocean. But hey . . put a French in front of this unfortunate sounding word and you have something that was dredged from the bottom of your heart. And if you want to experience what the power of the press really means, add a French to it and enjoy!

This power of the prefix is the result of the romantic entanglement we’ve always had with French. It’s so powerful a thing that the word doesn’t even have to make the scene in order to get its point across. Guldens is a spicy mustard you pass down the seats at a baseball game. Grey Poupon is a dijon mustard you pass from one Rolls Royce to the next . . . ’nuff said.

Horn is to traffic what French horn is to music. Maid is to Roseanne Barr what French maid is to Marion Cotillard. Dressing is to morning rush what French dressing is to kicking back. And while we need windows and doors, we luxuriate in French windows and doors. I mean . . it’s really not fair.

It’s like Napoleon’s Revenge, in that battles were lost in order to win the war of words. Because all this time later, we find ourselves under French rule when it comes to the most important things. Words!

Losing never sounded so good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Light Of A Thousand Points

Unity

I was a young Republican once upon a time.

In the eighties, I loved Reagan, Prince and mall girls. Not necessarily in that order. As the years went by, my philosophies would change according to the education I was getting from the world I was busy growing up inside of.

I voted for George H. in ’92. I wasn’t buying the new age politics that Clinton and Gore were selling. Having gone into business for myself the year before, I was leery of how a democratic administration might adversely affect my costs of doing business. I guess it’s true what they say about all politics being local.

My wife at the time, she was a dyed in the wool liberal girl and we would have the most animated debates imaginable. At the end of a long day, it was a favorite thing of mine to sit across from her with my beverage of choice in hand and let her know that I loved her in spite of the fact she was wrong. Her counter-punch was every bit as provocative, and we would just go. Nothing ever got solved, but at the end of the evening we knew the differences didn’t matter one bit. What mattered was the spirit engendered, the mutual respect we were able to fortify.

When Newt Gingrich and the Republicans swept into Congress during the mid term elections of ’94, I was feeling pretty good about things. I liked Newt. So much so that I went to see him speak at a dinner a couple years later at Franklin and Marshall College. He spoke for forty minutes, and I dug his wit and smarts. Even if I had swung my vote to Bill Clinton a couple weeks earlier.

Things had changed in the interim, and so had I.

In the infamous national election of 2000, I voted for George W. And within a couple years, I was suffering from buyer’s remorse on account of how he handled our post 9/11 world. While I was sold on his strength and dignity inside the immediate aftermath, I was selling on my vote by mid 2002.

I didn’t vote for history in 2008, instead giving my vote to John McCain. In 2012, I voted for Mitt Romney because I saw him as a bridge builder and financial wizard. And while I don’t regret my votes, I also do not resent the man who beat them. Because unlike certain of those right wing peeps, I always recognized Barack as my President. I respected the class and dignity and soul he brought to the office. And the fact that he loved Five Guys burgers and Guinness drafts, well . . I loved that too.

I voted for Hilary a year and a half ago, because I happened to agree with her on many points. And while Trump being in the other corner helped, it wasn’t the deciding factor. Truth be told, I had a brief flirtation with Marco Rubio before going all in on Hilary.

I was inspired to confess myself thanks to that picture. Because if those political giants can find their better angels, so too can I. And I’m thankful for the great expectations it provided me in the midst of a less hopeful time.

Because I don’t believe that progress is about making America ‘great again’. To my way of thinking, democracy is a forward thinking endeavor whose best days are always ahead of us. The verity of a unified republic is the trust it adheres to. A trust in our principles, beliefs and our differences.

If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, let’s start with that.

 

Turns out, my lost mojo was on ice

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Okay . . maybe it wasn’t lost after all. But admittedly, it has waned over the last few weeks. Blame it on the weather or James Comey’s new tome, but whatever it was . . it was getting to me.

One of the drawbacks to being a passionate individual is that the ebbs that switch out with the flows can be a real bastard. Add to this my inability to budget my thoughts into some neat and tidy semblance of organization . . . because when I preoccupy myself with something, I tend to never mind certain matters that . . yanno, need tending to. So needless to say, there’s a better and worse to this passionate side.

Both of which came out to play yesterday afternoon when I took in a Stars on Ice show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. If you’ve never been to an ice show, I highly recommend it. There are few endeavors that are able to marry sports to entertainment the way an ice show can. It’s like theater met a sporting event and they had this magnificent baby of a performance.

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The downfall of my passionate ways is that I tend to jump before thinking, and this can be problematic. So there I was, driving up to Hershey in the early afternoon when it finally occurred to me that “Hey . . isn’t it a little early? What time DOES this thing start?” to which she replied 7:30. Some quick math had me replying with “No seriously . . .” 

Seems we were taking in the whole shebang. From practice skates right up to showtime. Yes, I had bought the tickets. Yes, I had made plans for me to meet up with my sister and niece at the doors at 3 pm. And yes . . I am that oblivious. 

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After subjecting my daughter to a litany of questions, which began with “What am I supposed to do for the rest of the afternoon while you guys watch them practice?” and moved into deeper questions regarding life, mortality and beer concession possibilities . . I eventually figured out my shit once I got there.

The girls enjoyed watching the skaters go through their practice routines in front of the small audience, while I lapped the arena concourses to get in my steps whilst making phone calls and texting friends. I even met some of the skaters during a meet and greet later on. So you can say my oblivious nature could’ve done worse.

When the gates opened for the general public at 6:30, my daughter and I constructed our concession strategies. The stand alone beer concession stands were closed tighter than a drum, and this was an unnerving development for yours truly. The food concessions? Still prepping.

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This lag time, combined with a giddily excited crowd whose average age is what keeps Taylor Swift in business, resulted in the formation of lines. To everything. My allergic reaction to lines compelled me to find something to do that didn’t involve a line. The men’s restroom was a natural conclusion, seeing as how the female to male ratio was somewhere around 85-15 and there was no waiting involved. Try that at a hockey game . . .

Thirty five seconds later, the lines had grown exponentially. The concessions were still ‘prepping’ so now I had to make the decision as to which line I wanted to join, seeing as how my first, second and third choices- beer only concessions- were apparently unavailable for this performance.

If there is such a thing as hell, I gotta believe it involves waiting in lines. I hate waiting in lines. I hate it so much that if Vera Farmiga was the hostess of a kissing booth and the line was absurdly long, I’d probably ditch the idea. That’s how much I hate waiting in lines. 

The concession line I chose was straight out of Dante’s diary. But they had beer, so there’s that. While my daughter went in search of a nacho stand, I observed the staff. There were like . . a dozen peeps, most of whom were just happy to be there. I don’t like throwing shade at anyone who works with the public, but a hint of urgency wouldn’t have killed them is all I’m saying. The highlight of my fortnight in this line came when a woman old enough to be my grandmother grabbed my ass, twice. She was very nice about it, apologizing both times. I texted Linds B, who exhorted me to knock her out. It wasn’t the worst advice, considering that security personnel would’ve expedited my wait.

I returned to the seats just in time for the opening, after which I had to summon my inner contortionist in order to navigate into my seat. After which I realized that my freedom of movement had been stolen from me. I had my adult beverage, my braided pretzel and my Italian sausage, and that would have to sustain me until the show was over.

So really . . it’s a good thing the show kicked ass. From the get, this thing was a blazing blossom of boom. The entire cast got the crowd jumping to Pink’s Raise Your Glass. And lemme tell you . . there are few connections quite as simple and sweet as the connection between ice skaters and their adoring fans. It’s as if the seats are plugged in to the skater’s every move, and it never wanes. The visceral plunge is an everlasting possession, retrieved from the cradle of simple dreams gone Broadway.

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When Jason Brown jumped the place into a mercury risen froth as he skated to Hamilton’s “The Room Where it Happens” . . well, I was every bit as invested as I would’ve been with a Giancarlo Stanton at bat. If you want to know what it means to own a room, look up Jason Brown because the kid was doing it.

A top five  of my favorite Ice moments for the sake of brevity? Okie . . .

5- Anything Jason Brown. The kid is Mike Trout in skates. You stop what you’re doing when he takes the ice, because you know that when God was divvying up talent? He went overtime with Jason Brown.

4- Adam Rippon is a live wire proposition who instigates the crowd into a madness unparalleled. His skate to Adele’s “Remedy” was stronger than a ninety proof selection on a cold night. And the payback just as strong.

3- Maia and Alex Shibutani, aside from being such a lovely couple, are the definition of kismet. They light a fire to the ice, after which they sculpt a starry eyed union into your memory banks. They translate Frank Sinatra for teenagers, and Jay-Z for the old folks with the very same magic. And since it’s my top five list, Imma tuck Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue into this as well. Because their Q and A before the show was endearing, and because they shook it loose to a Rag ‘n Bone/ Beth Hart ditty that left me crushing on their love affair.

2- The boys, led by Olympian Nathan Chen, introduced me to a new song in the very best way. Admittedly, I’d never heard Portugal. The Man until yesterday afternoon during the practice skates. But by the time they cranked it in prime time, I was sold. What a way to discover a song!

1- When Bradie Tennell finished up her evening with a Patrick Doyle score from “Cinderella”, she had thrown a perfecto. Because from the practice skates to the performance, she nailed it. All of it. She is the Queen of the Triple Axle, for good reason. And believe me when I tell you I ain’t serving up no hype jam on this. Because the truth is, I teared up while watching her nail every landing. She got to me, as if I was listening to opera and chasing it with red wine. A performance that leaves you overcome with emotion, well . . you cannot put a price on that kind of thing.

When you see these kids making it happen in the Olympics and the World Championships . . you don’t often get a peek at how that kind of perfection came to be. Because it’s happening inside the quiet hours, where twisted ankles and countless spills are heaping doubt on those dreams of a roaring crowd.

To think, if I had been a little less oblivious yesterday, I wouldn’t have been reminded of all that. And so, it’s why I love my passionate side. Because even when it fails me so, it leaves me somewhere better in the doing.

I’m good with that.

If laughing at yourself is divine, then I’m a deity . . .

Because I don’t have a prompt at the ready, I’m just gonna deal up some of the thoughts that went through my head this morning whilst sipping on Cuban coffee. For those of you playing at home, I only include the thoughts that weren’t screaming at me in Pig Latin.

Enjoyway ethay owshay!

  • Designated Survivor sits atop my “Favorite Show” standings currently. It can be schmaltzy as all get out, but that’s okay. Because it has soul, characters I really love and a President I would vote for. Twice.
  • When asked for my top three zombie apocalypse ‘must haves’ that do not include weapons, I went with cigarettes, bourbon and pain killers. Just because it’s the end of the world, doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with it.
  • If Loyola wins it all, they’ll be the first true Cinderella team in the history of ‘March Madness’. Yet further proof that television knows how to sell perception . . do they ever.
  • Speaking of mind control . . .The coming soon to HBO flick Fahrenheit 451 stars Michael B. Jordan as Guy Montag and Michael Shannon as Captain Beatty. I. Am. There
  • I don’t do playlists any more.
  • And I only listen to FM radio by mistake.
  • Diana Dors didn’t get the acclaim of her contemporaries back in the day, and that’s a shame. Because this beauty brought a moody, sexy brilliance to her performances that I really dig.
  • I plum forgot I have a Cuban sammy post to deal up. Monday it is!
  • If Oprah was the host of The Price Is Right, every contestant would win a brand new car.
  • Oh I get it now. Game of Thrones is gonna return every four years, like the Olympics!
  • So Starbucks has to put a cancer warning on its java, but Cheetos doesn’t? Deep fried Styrofoam peanuts dusted in a mysterious powder . . no problemo. N’kay.
  • Vera Farmiga is the only reason I will re-watch The Departed when I catch it on the tube.
  • Sometimes I envy people who are under house arrest. Seriously.
  • Chopsticks are for when you want to carry on a conversation. Forks are for when you’re hungry.
  • I contemplated filling a Twinkie with peanut butter and jelly this morning, but I don’t have any Twinkies.
  • Fun Fact: I once stole a payphone when I was in high school on a dare. I wish I would’ve held onto it, because it’s easier to find dinosaur fossils nowadays.
  • Fun Fact 2: I stepped under the velvet rope to touch the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London. If it wouldn’t have been so dang heavy . . well.
  • If not for Google, I wouldn’t know if Larry King was alive or dead.
  • I never had an Instagram account, and I wonder if some day, my grand kids will find that remarkable.
  • If I had a dollar for every time Laura Ingraham said something really shitty, Bill Gates would be borrowing money from me.
  • Whatever happened to Bjork? And why do I care?

Welp, Imma tuck my voices into bed because they would rattle on for days if I let ’em. In closing, I would like to wish all my peeps a blessed Easter weekend. Be good to yourselves and each other.

Peace.

 

The Journey of a Million Dreams . . . (Pt.2)

This is the second installment of a three part series documenting a recent hike I took along the Appalachian Trail. It was a simple hike whose lessons spoke to me. 

As I trekked along the snow laden trail, my thoughts turned to the obligations of this age we live in. Efficacy is the watermark of this information age, where intellectualism has replaced the romance of philosophical pursuits. A white picket fence existence has been replaced with house flipping, malls have been supplanted by Amazon and writing the great American novel has turned into a need to brand oneself.

Of course, this is all relative. We are creatures of the age we grow up inside of; vulnerable to the whims and the worries, the hopes and the fears . . . just like all the generations that came before us. We oblige. And we do so out of this need to not get left behind.

The great thing is, a hike is still a hike. Venture a couple miles off the beaten path and you are walking inside a timelessness that does not give a fig about contemporaneous illusions. A hike is where Zeitgeist goes to chill. That’s because nature has no reason to play chess with the screaming expletives, it simply exists. It just is. 

Hiking is a union of simplicity and sanctity. The every day complications go small. A hike lets you in on the truths that no living soul can touch. There is a genuine sincerity in the way your steps piece together . . in the measure of your breaths . . in the silence that is busy planting you into its wake. This is where you find hope . . in the silence.

The trail I chose consisted of myriad personalities, each posing a unique challenge. There were the rock strewn slopes that possessed varying degrees of difficulty, depending on their angular disposition. The physical exertion of uphill climbs tested muscles whose utility is rarely called upon in my daily activities. The descents demanded my utmost concentration; I slinked nimbly through each focused step whilst actualizing the next once planted. There was no respite when the trail went flat, thanks to the snow covered paths. I navigated the asymmetrical configurations by marching sideways rather than straight on, lessening the heft with slashes rather than shovels.

I came across a fallen tree, its one branch extended into my path so I had to step over it. The pulpy entrails were bright and flaky and it didn’t seem possible that something so robust could go on living inside of a dead husk. I imagined what the trail looked like in summer. Pine thistles raining down silently, forming sad fragrant ponds inside the grass and dirt. Random leaves still thick with sap, getting lost inside a hard summer wind. And the brilliant facade of this fallen tree; one minute pretending like it had forever to look forward to, and inside the next, the truth of the matter was laying in front of me.

It was as if I had been dropped inside a crater whose world spoke a foreign language. A language whose unapologetic hum of mysterious appraisals behaved very much like cosmic scaffolding; to the time would come the knowledge and to that knowledge would come its time.