Debt... It's A Bitch!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Thoughts 2011

Was the Grinch as much of an ass hole after Christmas, as he was before?

Besides a shitty Ben Affleck movie, what exactly are 'reindeer games'?

If Frosty is a masochist, does he just blow dry himself?

Do you think Charlie Brown ever awoke, and asked himself, "What the f*ck was I thinking, picking that tree?"

Is Santa eating all those cookies because he's smoking weed in the sleigh?

Does Santa make 'sack' jokes? ie... Hands off my sack!

Aren't elves just short Vulcans?

Did the Little Drummer Boy ever think about starting a one-man-band?

Whats up with everyone still wearing robes? (Surely the Winter Warlock is itchin to get in a pair of Sketchers and Levi's.)

Do the polar bears ever drink anything besides Coke? Seriously, and you wonder why these bastards are going extinct, their teeth are rotting out.

How does Santa feel about Tim Allen's portrayal in the revealing biographical film trilogy?

Does Yukon Cornelius win every pissing contest he's ever been in?

Why does the Island of Misfit Toys look strangely like the Neverland Ranch?

What does Mrs. Claus think about Hillary Clinton's pant suits?

Does the Abominable Snowman (Bumble) ever wake up on the right side of the bed and grumble, 'You know what... today is my day! I'm a winner!'?

Will Rudolph ever hit puberty?

What are the elves thoughts on an Occupy North Pole, Hannukah, the Kardashian wedding and Labor relations?

Did Santa read Rumsfeld's autobiography?

Are igloos so 1990's?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Terms of Surrender

Surrender can have a very negative connotation to it. In fact before I decided to write an entry on this subject I only ever intended the meaning to throw up the white flag and flee. Then I came across a quote by the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth. Booth says, "The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender." Booth was a devout Christian who spent his time and effort travelling and preaching through post-Enlightenment England. His members grew and their evangelistic devotion found them beaten, bruised and in some instances killed. Booth journeyed over 5 million miles and preached over 60,000 sermons in his 83 years. The man was tough. But the Salvation Army earned its name for the aggressive manner in which they preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Booth, ever the zealot always believed soul-winning to be his ministry's greatest mission. That soul-winning for his organization, by contrast means surrender to a life lived for Christ. So is this surrender really servitude?

On the last day of the Civil War in Appomattox Court House, an exhausted Robert E. Lee, filled with a mixture of sadness and grief rode his horse to meet with General Grant to give up his saber in defeat. Lee's hopes lay in leniency and food for his starving army. Grant, being miles away sent a courier to deliver a letter noting the time of surrender, signed, ''Very respectfully, your obedient servant, U S Grant..." During their meeting, the terms of surrender were short. Lee did not have to give up his saber, and all his men had to do, was lay down their arms and return home. The last term was for the officers from both sides, many being long lost friends and family to meet and share stories of posterity. It was the first step in renewing old friendships and repairing a nation at war for the last five years.

Grant the victor reveals his intention of servitude to a man who once lambasted him in Mexico for looking "un-soldierly". Lee, back straight, rode his horse to and from the meeting with the rigidness and discipline a great warrior possesses. His discipline is unmatched. Even in surrender, there is pride. What these men demonstrate is the brick and mortar of relationships. The surrender er and the servant. They are a mutual dance in maintaining harmony. George Washington did this by leaving after his 2ND term of the Presidency. Puyi was the Last Emperor of the Qing Dynasty who relinquished power and went on to live the life of a simple Chines gardener.

Christ shows this as he washed his disciples feet at the last supper. He would in a few hours give himself to the Romans in surrender. That surrender pales in comparison to the one he makes to his Father. Christ knew full well what tasks lay ahead and the dismal cruelty that he'd be subjected to. He knew that the terms of surrender meant the salvation of mankind. Only through that surrender was his sacrifice sealed and our sins payed for in full. I feel this gets to the marrow of Booth's quote. What we give away, and how we give it away will determine how people will remember us... and will cement our legacy. Maybe their will be a white flag over my headstone. One can only hope.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Unforgettable Smells of New York City

They say that smells invoke the strongest memories. My Mimi (because I was a tard and couldn't say grandmother) will forever be associated with moth balls. Freshly cut grass takes me back to my freshmen football days. Sulfur and rotten eggs transports me immediately to Iraq. My arsenal of scents can take me from an ''in the moment" mentality to waxing old posterity. Having lived in New York City (off and on) for the last two years I realized this town goes big and doesn't go home. So many different sites and sounds, its a feast for the senses. Least of all.... some awesome sniffs.

1. The Bedford and Lorimer Stops on the L Train - AKA: The Hipster Quadrant - Seriously, Fuck this place. Hipsters wreak of sweat, hemp, bong resin, and organic products. Their non-conformist mentality to bathing, leaves these two stops as a painful reminder that they protest wars by protesting soap. I don't get the link either. If these grovelling revolutionaries have taught us anything, its that their evolution from Emo to 'hippy-light' is a high cost for those of us who value Old Spice over Ode de Testicle Sweat.

2. Hot Dog Carts - Whether at CitiField or roaming the roads of Tribeca, hot dogs are still the penultimate 'street meat'. Those boiling beauties smothered in ketchup and mustard leave an aroma for America. New York just has the knack of letting these vendors or culinary warriors keep it real on the street corner. The victorious vendors of hot dogs have long contributed to the overall epic fabric of this city.

3. South Street Sea Port - Oh the sea myst, the fresh harbor wind, and the scent of fish on the grill. What? Yeah, it's kind of fun. It's a charming little area to bring a girl, grab a beer and enjoy the Atlantic vibe. Be sure to wear a yellow slicker to exude your inner Gordon's fisherman. Ahhh, makes me want to live in an Alaskan fishing community.

4. Rockefellar Center at Christmas - Probably the greatest time of year to spend in NYC. The holidays have a certain bliss in the air unequalled by any other place on earth. The enchantment of the tree pine smell, the crisp chill of the winter evening, hot chocolate toasting up your mittens, and the smell of cookies lingering in the air. Not too mention some out of town fatass crop dusting because he cant find a bathroom. Seriously, all the bathrooms in the city close down after 7pm. I still don't get it.

5. Piss - Ahhh summertime. To caveat the last entry I have to say that a muggy day enhances this putrid aroma unlike anything a nostril could fathom. Homeless people love to make their mark with giant yellow puddles near their cardboard estates. For that matter so do dogs, college co-eds, and pretty much anyone who needs to release the flood gates.

6. Flushing - I'm not discussing toilet actions (tho one could confuse the two), I'm talking about the Asian/Irish neighborhood in Queens. Korean and Chinese malls dominate the streets but the Mics keep a presence with their pubs and potatoes. Its a smell unlike any other with Chinese food, Guinness and wont-tons keeping your head on a swivel.

7. Carbon Monoxide - They say "NYC traffic isn't a nightmare... nightmares are shorter." It's true.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Republican Hair Primary

Who has the best hair? It really sunk in at the last debate when I'm like, "wow... why isn't anyone balding?" Last election was a bit of a fluke. In fact, when you look back at who wins the nomination, it's usually a candidate with a scalper's wet dream. John McCain... lost. Bob Dole... lost... H.W. Bush.... lost on the basis of a wispy dew. Ford... his hair was thinning. The only real argument one could use is Eisenhower. We'll call that one a fluke. Or maybe he just had too many u-turns under the bed sheets?

Nixon, Reagan and G. Dubs all had "good to great" hair. And when you look at their competition, you can begin to develop a primitive algorithm for presidential winners. Pert Plus, good genetics or does being a supply-side thinker mean you'll live a sexier life? With former President Clinton calling Gov. Rick Perry a "handsome rascal", one can only bet what his moneys on. Despite Mitt's "Baby, I was Born to Run" look, personality may be the tipping point. But what about Mrs. Bachmann? My political crush and those Minnesota dimples....mmmmm.

Bachmann gives this sausage fest a shot of sex appeal, that Hillary Clinton left in her 20's. Intelligence, beauty, and a folksy demeanor leaving her holding her own. But with a political career of strictly legislating rather than executive experience, can we afford the possibility of another charismatic President without the ability to lead? You know... like Obama.

Legislators are career politicians. Not leaders. This includes my incredulity regarding Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and others. How do you lead? The failure of Obama has not been his hair. Actually, he has rather nice hair. Look.... a compliment. His failure has been his lack of experience in leading. Can anyone ever recall him getting his hands dirty? I mean real work, not metaphorical anecdotes of corruption. He has never owned a business, he has never been in a position of leadership in the military, or in government, until he was elected President. In hind site it's like electing Pauly Shore. Charissssssssmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.....

I digress... So looking at the Governors and executives like Huntsman, Johnson, Cain and possibly Palin and even Christie, we look to flesh out those with true credentials. Cain is funny, and intelligent, but has no hair. Could he be the black Eisenhower? I doubt it. Huntsman looks to be the alternative Mormon in the race. For him to truly do that he needs to wear skinny jeans, a Ramones t-shirt, and use eye liner. Johnson is in the race for his bucket list. Palin and Christie are remote possibilities at this point. The former on her electability, even though she's America's hottest politician and Christie has no interest thus far.

Who will it be? My prediction is Perry. The ticket will probably have Bachmann at the bottom or even Santorum. Romney still stands a chance, but the eastern vs. western Republican primary has always been a schism in the party since the New Deal. Terms like Country Club Republican and Eastern Establishment made its way into the lexicon after a tough battle between Dewey and Robert Taft in 1948. Time will only tell, but as the great thespian Samuel L. Jackson once said, "Hold on to your butts."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ten Things You Didnt Know About Paul Revere

Recently, I just finished a book called "The Revolutionary Paul Revere" (no it wasn't a coloring book). The author Joel J. Miller paints the landscape of the American revolution with the pace of a great novel and the intrigue of a recently released celebrity sex-tape. Like many who seek out biographies I found myself enthralled to absorb the events our most famous messenger went through. He in fact reminded me of an early American Forrest Gump if you will. I'm not saying he walked through life aimlessly, but he had a knack for showing up at significant times. So here I write, giving you some honest nuggets of information about a man, who tends to be famous for only one thing, yet has accomplishments that run the gambit of time and influence.

1. The Boston Massacre is best represented in Mr. Revere's engraved print, The Bloody Massacre. Paul specifically added the Butcher's hall sign over the Red Coats firing to add a potency and lethality to their aura.

2. Paul had sixteen children. The dude loved sex. Who doesn't? Anyway... He also had two wives. No he wasn't a Romney, his first wife Sarah died right before the war in 1773, and he quickly remarried that year to Rachel Walker. Only one child from the marriage to Sarah outlived Paul, who died in 1818.

3. Paul who was a silversmith made numerous chalices and goblets. He even made a silver chain for a friend's pet squirrel. I know... who the hell has a pet squirrel? Crazy bastards. But the alloy-loving man became the first American to sheathe copper to the bottom of American war ships as commissioned by President Jefferson. He also used it to create the Massachusetts State House dome.

4. Paul loved to socialize, especially with is fellow Masons. He hung out with the highs and lows in society. His favorite places were Salutation Tavern and The Green Dragon. The latter being a lodge and a den for Patriot causes. One time, Mr. Revere even got into a brawl with a distant family member. Times aren't so different are they? Thats right, he was drunk and threw punches. My man! He was released on bail and found guilty of disturbing the peace.

5. Paul took his eldest son, Paul Jr. with him to the Boston Tea Party. My dad took me to a monster truck rally. Anyway, Paul Jr. also ran the day to day operations during the war when Paul Sr. was comissioned into the Massachusetts militia as a Major and then Lieutenant Colonel. Paul Sr.'s military career was short, only having seen action once in the Maine territory at Panobscot. Paul was stationed on Castle Island for most of the war, where he no doubt probably drank and ate lobstaaaaaaa.

6. Speaking of military service, Paul also served as a young Lieutenant in the French and Indian war. His riding skills and good fortune had him as a messenger who narrowly escaped Fort William Henry before it was sacked and it's inhabitants eventually massacred. See "The Last of the Mohicans" if you're wondering what the fuck I'm talking about.

7. Paul's father Apollos Rivoire was a French immigrant who came to America because he was a protestant in predominately Catholic France. The persecution the family felt left Apollos' father to board him up and send him to the new land. "Getch yer shit on, yer leavin!", he said. While here, he changed his name and raised the family up as best he could. Paul took jobs as a bell ringer in an Anglican church (think state ordered church) and snuck off to watch the controversial Rev Jonathon Mayhew preach. Apollos was no happy camper. Paul eventually returned to his family's church shortly after his father's passing.

8. The night Paul Revere rode, he was not alone. Had William Dawes made it to warn the folks in Lexington first, we'd sing his praises, but coincidentally Revere was the faster rider. E for effort Bill. Anyway. When they both make it to warn them that the Brits are on the seas to Cambridge to land and march on the powder supply, Paul and Billiam sat down for a beer at Buckman Tavern. Drinking on the job, the American way.

9. The ride back was trickier. Revere was captured, beaten and then released. Dawes, bluffed his ass out of being captured by insinuating that there were more Patriots and that they killed two redcoats. Revere, fresh off a pistol-whipping went off to see John Adams and Hancock and warn them that their wanted for treason and that shit just got real!

10. He was a stand up dude and a romantic. Paul wrote poetry and riddles about his love for Rachel. It gets mushy and complex in parts, but the man had the makings of a true sap.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guy Cry Movies

Lets get one thing straight... they say its only appropriate for a guy to cry when his dog dies or his team wins the championship. I'd add movies to that list. No folks, its not man-o-pause. It's acknowledging the plain, simple truth that we dudes are sensitive beasts. And while were not exactly grabbing the Kleenex during "Atonement", we prefer to wear long sleeves during "Brian's Song".

Be it sports, wars, father/son opus', epic adventures, and even the occasional romance... releasing your inner Boehner is becoming more accepted. This list eliminates the need to run for the kitchen to do some impetuous onion peeling. Let em flow brothers, let em flow.

1. Rudy - If you don't shed a tear at this one, you have no heart. In fact, you're devoid of dreams, ambitions, and hope. This is more than a sports movie... it's the story we all want to live out; a young man who fights his way into everything and only at the last second is rewarded by his resiliency and grit. The music too, just makes you want to live an epic life.

2. Saving Private Ryan - When Captain Miller grabs Pvt James Ryan and whispers, "Earn this", we realize that the old man in the beginning is the title character. "Tell me I'm a good man", he says to his wife. As I've seen older men handle the end of their lives, the word honorable is a common theme. This film represents what it is to have honor, and that resonates a truly loud echo for those men that see this film both as a hallmark to the halls of masculinity, and those who have seen war.

3. It's A Wonderful Life - No man is a failure who has friends. Who doesn't shed one at this? Sure it's a Christmas movie, but it's about a man who despite his dreams floundering, finds that the quality of life lies with those who you've influenced.

4. Field of Dreams - The unspoken words between father and son can resonate for ages after either have passed. Sometimes those wounds never heal, but a few people by divine chance are given a second pass at repairing said inflictions. Baseball, while not every ones fancy has an ability to bring the most diverse of personalities into harmonious communion. When Ray plays catch with his father at the end of the film, you finally realize that despite past differences, there will forever be a bond rooted in love.

5. Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan - Spock dying, you know the scene. "You are and will always be... my friend." Shit.

6. Old Yeller - How do you not put this one on the list? Last September my parents put my beagle Margie to sleep while I was away on a training event. Upon coming home I cried at her her little plot, complete with a cross and a wreath. Yeah I cried. We'll every time you watch Old Yeller, it's like putting you're dog to sleep over... and over... and over again. Only you have to shoot it. All that to say, that dog was pretty amazing.

7. Braveheart - Sacrifice. This film has one scene in particular that tugs on the heart strings. Specifically where William Wallace rallies the army to stay and fight. "Show England that they make take our lives, but they'll never take.... our freedom." This monologue soars the heart and makes even the meekest of us believe we can take on the world. And yeah, it brings a condensation to the optics.

8. The Notebook - It's become more socially acceptable to have seen this. It's also become more acceptable to cry. Say what you want, but yeah, it's a great film, and an epic romance. I watched this film with a bunch of dudes while deployed to the middle east. There wasn't one dry eye in the midst of us. My one friend even said as the beginning credits rolled that should he myst up, he would deliver an ass whooping. What happened? He was too sad.

9. Brian's Song - Chances are you haven't seen this film. And it's your loss because this film is truly touching. A Hemingway quote leaves a tragic foreshadow saying, "Every true story ends in death. Well this is a true story." Again sports play backdrop to a very touching story of friendship, or more so, brotherhood. See this film.

10. Cool Runnings - OK, this isn't one typically associated with tears, but I loved John Candy when I was younger. This weird fact coupled with it being his last (good) movie and a somewhat touching finale of the film where the one racer's father exudes an enthusiasm in his son. A good film about a group of long shots who earn the respect of those they're trying to emulate.

11. Armageddon - Whatever.... Bruce Willis dies the way every real man wants to.... saving the world.

12. Love Actually - Don't act like this is a surprise. When the little boy runs after the "love of his life", we were all cheering for him. The better part of us was wishing him better luck than we had when our first loves slapped us in the face and stormed off.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do Things Really Come Full Circle?

Who the fuck knows. I think they do. Not because I'm an oracle or hold the baton of wisdom. The fact remains for all of us that we are the sum total of our experiences. I've seen events, opportunities, hobbies, trips, relationships, and jobs stem out of the seemingly innocuous childhood adventures. Let me give you the first anecdote. Old Man Strewn or Big Kev for the divide between friends in the arena of Strawn family exposure; once purchased his eldest child a chemical set, because my elementary years were filled with the wanderlust of one day being a world class pharmacist. I started making water turn blue and then red and then back to blue. For a solid 5 years that's all I wanted to do. I know, because my Mom bought this keepsake book. In it, with scribbled handwriting, I wrote that my future lied in khemistree. I even spelled it with a K. (That's how they taught us in Bangor). Once the novelty of color changing liquids wore off, I abandoned all hope and moved toward being the next Michael Bay. It wasn't until this year that I realized consuming the by-product of chemistry was the missing ingredient. I'm talking about beer. Is this a full circle revelation? Maybe. Time will tell.

Other hobbies like playing with pellet guns, paintball, and the scouts led a more obvious path to a career in the military. My foray into journalism though was little more fascinating. Years ago in the sixth grade I was asked to try out to be a TV anchor for our schools morning announcements. I remember those tryouts because I cheerfully read Mickey Mantle's obituary liked a drugged up child. Yankees fans be damned, I roused the audience to new heights like Sam Adams at a tea party. My signature routine was reading the schools birthdays. It was fun. I even got my picture in the paper. Damn I looked good. Still do.

Sorry. Anyway. It wasn't until I lost my zeal for making movies; coupled with an internship that I realized my passion still years to investigate the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God. I got to be an anchor for a package, write stories, and decide if this is my path. Who knows?

I discussed with a friend the idea of fighting destiny, and I'm incredulous to take a stand. However, I do believe in destiny, but I also believe there is a fight in all of us to do our hearts bidding, even if it runs counter to the ebb and flow of life. Romans 12:3 illustrates my hearts rationale. "The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us." Understanding our past is the key to making sense of the present and letting your faith guide your future. With so many people struggling to find themselves, maybe its time to look at who you were, because purpose may lie in the trail we've blazed. Rick Warren says, "Without a purpose life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason. Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty and pointless."

I couldn't agree more.

I do know that there are common themes that replay through life. Take my Mom. One time my brother and I were very little. We were little shits. Anyway. My mom went in the house to answer the phone, leaving Nate and I in the car. Back then we had no garage and our house was on a hill. And either Nate or I put the car in drive and we were creeping to the cliff. My mom ran out and grabbed the wheel... the car dragging her. Mom stopped the car but was injured. But I remember that when I think of sacrifice. Had she not stopped it, chances are my brother Nate (think Ronald Weasely) or I might not have ever had a dueling whiskey chug-off on the top of Landon's hill. Sacrifice is something that I see a lot. Whether its ideals, feelings, or serendipitous events, it seems that life will always teach us things. It's our job to watch, listen, and feel....

... and to take notes.