Debt... It's A Bitch!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The 11th Wheel: The Last Days of Being a One Man Wolfpack

I'm 26.

Let that settle in for a second before you come to realize that I should've had a quarter-life crisis by now. Well I have... it involved a bottle of Jack and me in my underware swearing at God in a hail storm on the Appalachian Trail. Needless to say that said crisis makes you realize, your twenties are damn near over and your nowhere near where you want to be in life. Sure you have some time to screw around or buckle down but the majority of your family and friends look at you like you need to un-fuck your life.

In the last year virtually all of my best friends have proposed, gotten married, or have impregnated their better halves. It is awesome, don't get me wrong. I have feelings of utmost joy for them, but I also know, that our days of crazy antics are limited (i.e. no more hopping on moving trains). All that to say, I have officially become that guy. So as I'm preparing to be the cast type man-boy, I know that going forth is an even narrower road. Weddings, and saturday night dinners, even bar outings will be conversations riddled with talks of mortgages, babies, Modern Family episodes and domestication. That word "domesticated" makes me want to rip off my shirt and run into the woods with a trout in my mouth and wear nothing but some Tarzan-esque banana hammock. YOU can't tame this burly beast!

But sooner or later I know that I'll be lured into the life of a family patriarch, a mini-van man. I get the itch from time to time, but lasting commitment to me currently is deciding which Captain Crunch flavor I want in my cereal bowl for the nest week. It's interesting how we evolve, our relationships, our choices, our lifestyles. Even now, when in the midst of good friends and family who have started their next season of life, I feel that I'm still not quite finished in this phase. They wonder and ask questions, but I kind of smile. So as I prepare to attend 800 weddings in the next year and embark on the new endeavors near the end of this season, I try to enjoy watching my friends pave the way. Their pavement, leads to my cruising.

Vagabond Americana: My 2010

I have to say, this was a banner year for me. I got to do things and see places I've never been before. Looking forward, I knew it was going to be an interesting 12 months with my trip west essentially breaking my year into thirds around a Manhattan shaped bun. In the world of The Duke, living in a place longer than 6 months means an eternity. So this being my first entry for months means I have to have some sort of powerful inner reflection to bring everyone up to speed, but It dosen't work like that...

I started my year out living in NYC working for Fox News. My Queens based apartment had me cramped in with two awkwardly social Asians, one of whom couldve been doing shady pawn shop deals. My goals were simple up until May, see one of my best friends get married, run a half marathon, and prepare for western pursuits with the Army. My buddy got hitched in a beautiful ceremony with me wathcing with a camo tie. I then ran the half, and then committed to a full 26.2 miles in the fall, and eventually packed out all of my belongings to PA. I said good bye to a lot of friends in Queens who sadly I haven't seen even still. But the next few months would stretch me beyond my normal limits.

I drove out west after a week in B-town, PA... coming across individuals who I've come to know over the years. All great people. Upon reaching Arizona I found out that Intelligence school, required, well.... intelligence. Alot of reading and briefings made my type A personality feel right at home when it came to speaking and self promoting. While out west I made great friends and managed to do a bunch of neat things; off-roading, bull riding, sky diving, karaoke, paintballing, hiking, and working on my beachnut body. I loved Arizona, still do. I even managed to find weekend trips to Santa Barbara and Austin, TX.

But sensing the tide of change has become a hobby of mine, and so too that came to an end. I then drove up north with a friend of mine through Yellowstone and Grand Tetons to Montana, then hitting up Rushmore back east. Again, my appreciation for all things America eased me into waxing patriotic. This year strengthened my appeal for Our Country. The mountains, prairies and heartland acknowledge God's sovereignty over our blessed people. My trip's revelation also promoted what I think I've known all along... that I love Pennsylvania.

I could not help to realize that I missed Rosie's Diner in Roseto, PA, or that shortly I would be walking in the woods to miss deer with my crossbow or taste my mom's phenomenal pumpkin bread. Needless to say I got the speedometer up to 90MPH with these looming thoughts. Before reaching the doorstep of my parents home, I walked over to the burial site of dog Margie who had sadly passed during my travels. I said a prayer and shed a tear. Evey man is allowed to cry when his dog dies or his team wins the championship. I tend to break these rules quite a bit because I'm such a sentimental bastard, but found myself finally complying with man rules. I miss Margie, but I knew that life would quickly become chaotic.

I spent time hunting and training for my marathon in DC. I did OK when race day actually approached. I ran a 4:51, which is the speed of a tortoise, but hey... I lived to tell the tale. I also got to see off a friend to Afghanistan and welcome another one back to my hometown. Returning to Fox News was also a welcoming return to normalcy. One known factor that has always lingered in my thoughts throughout my year was the election and on Nov 3rd I got to see a Conservative ground swell take control of the House, and see PA elect two solid leaders, Pat Toomey and Tom Corbett.

But all things change, and so with another month and a half left to go, well see what exactly the rest of 2010 holds for me. As potential changes in careers, locations, goals and ambitions mirror my capriciousness, I'm open to seeing through God's plan in my life. This was a year where I got to hurdle over many a obstacles and see great personal growth. My thoughts lead me to believe that there will be even bigger changes in the next two months. My only wish is that I can a little rest...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fabio's Nose: I Can't Believe It's Not Here... Anymore

In one month we will be honoring the memory of the world's greatest nose. That of Fabio. For those whose memory is filled with bong resin, cobwebs, and hours of Japanimation porn I'll reignite the torch of knowledge and bring light to your oh so dark world. I will paint the picture of that dark March day...

Williamsburg, VA - March 30, 1999, the man who inspired "Zoolander", THE Male Supermodel Fabio suffered a one-inch cut on his nose after a bird hit him while riding the Apollo roller coaster at Busch Gardens. It wasn't just an ordinary bird that proclaimed kamikazee status, it was the feared Canada Goose. According to a star-struck witness the winged-terror hit Fabio during the plummet down the roller coaster's first drop of 210 feet at speeds of up to 73 mph. Fabio was taken from the park to the Williamsburg Community Hospital where he was treated and released for a minor cut. Following the incident Busch Gardens Williamsburg spokeswoman Deborah L. DeMarco commented, "He's fine, no serious injuries."But we knew better. We all knew, this would divide the world... into those who use butter, and those who use margarine . Fabio wisely declined to talk after the incident and instead opted to return to Los Angeles to bathe in chocolate and swim with seals. As for the nefarious goose... he did not fair so well. According to one park guest a dead goose could be seen floating in the river below the drop where Fabio was supposedly hit. Rot in hell goose... rot in hell!

That day, it wasn't butter that knocked our poor hero off his pedestal, it was a damned migratory fowl. R.I.P Fabio's real nose... R.I.P.

Kama Sutra Obama: His Words of Love, His Politics of Rape

Our Presidente has shown of late something that makes me smile. He's angry. You can tell he's angry. Those of you who like him think its because of his desire to put "the American people" before politics. Those like me who think he couldn't run a lemonade stand without a university-backed grant, think he's mad because he's not getting his own way and is resorting to acting like a whining infant. I said it. I imagine the lefties who occasionally view this blog for a good chuckle are clutching their soy lattes with fists of anger right now. So be it. Now that we had a health care summit and boths sides got their words in, I'd like to point out two very distinct things that might make all who read this very alarmed. First, the exchange between Comrade Obama and Sen. John McCain. It goes something like this...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Let me just make this point, John. Because we're not campaigning anymore. The election is over.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: I'm reminded of that every day.

OBAMA: My concern is, is that if we do that, then we're essentially back on Fox News or MSNBC on the split screen to start going back and forth.

MCCAIN: Could I just say, Mr. President, the American people care about what we did and how we did it.


MCCAIN: And that's a subject that I think we should discuss. And I thank you.

OBAMA: They absolutely do care about it, John. And I think that the way you characterized it obviously would get some strong objections from the other side.

Im taken by this, not for the merely intellectual pursuit of asking why our President made mention of campaigning, but to the effect in why must he say something that has no significance in the present form. Did he feel the need to project his win, or his stature? Does he feel inadequate? Do people see him as weak in his eyes? I honestly don't have the answers but our President is showing classic examples of being that brat on the playground with a new pigskin football when the rest of us are sporting Nerf. I think, that despite whats happened in the town hall meetings, in the Massachusetts election, in the Tea Party movement, our President will not look at the warning signs, nor look at the will of the American people. The roads point to '94... yet their feet are not off the gas. It begs to wonder who Mr. Obama is driven by, or what he believes? If he agrees to just hear ideas disguised in the cloak of bipartisanship, the American people will see his platitudes... and this little exchange shows that he is not ready to listen. And folks, theres a big difference between hearing and listening.

Around 12:45 of the summit, Obama rebuked Minority Whip Eric Cantor for displaying a copy of the 2,000-plus page health care bill, calling it one of the "political things we do" that prevent a real conversation, saying there is honest disagreement over how much government regulation of the insurance industry there should be, but Republican ideas won't address dropping people with pre-existing conditions and other problems. What's comical about this is... well, it's 2,000 fucking pages long! The only things worth reading at that length are Harry Potter and cook books inspired by television shows (i.e. The Sopranos). Mr. Cantor had every right to bring in and make a scene because it over complicates legalities and creates loop-holes and allows for hidden language within the bill. Ive read bills, they're exhausting. The President fails to mention that Republicans believe in business bundling, which addresses pre-existing conditions. Despite what many say, Republicans want their ideas heard, but the administration won't allow a voice to be heard besides its own. While his words create the hyperbole of benevolence, we wonder if its all for the sake of the American, or if its something more motivated by deep-rooted ideological blindness. Words have power and our President isn't a fool. I don't believe he's evil, but I do believe a man unchecked by his own ambition and goals (especially one so as radical as his) will lead to a very destructive pattern. A sardonic friend of mine in a jovial manner always says that you can't rape the willing... but with America pulling the hand of power off her throat, we might be too late to act.

Friday, February 19, 2010

WWFD: What Would Frodo Do?

Flipping through the channels allows us to get some much needed brain dead therapy. Not only do we not really care what we watch, sometimes were able to tolerate something we feel totally oblivious too. Flashing pictures across the screen develop us into complete drones, but then we find something that sucks us in and steals our attention. It could be Maury reading paternity tests, or Judge Judy sticking it to a woman who kidnapped her female lover's parrot. What about the E! True Hollywood Story of Gary Busey or an invigorating Lifetime movie about a woman seeking vengeance on her abusive spouse. But the other day I saw someone who reminded me why I keep going on. God bless TNT. Sure, they may know drama... but they also know how to drive a beloved movie into the damn grave by playing it 10,000 times. They killed "The Shawshank Redemption" and now they seek to make "The Lord of the Rings" their next target. I came across the scene where Frodo volunteers take the ring all the way to Mordor. This scene struck me, as I sit with beer in hand, other hand scratching my burly chest, and I pondered....

How big of balls, does Frodo have?

Think about it... He must suffer from the Irish curse. Smallest dude in the room decides to take the ring into Mordor. How should every one of those other ass holes feel? Frodo is obviously afraid... its seen throughout the movie. He's also unequipped, uneducated, and unsure of himself, yet he decides to do it anyway. Why? Because its the right thing. I'm amazed at today's so-called leaders, or elites, entertainers, intellectuals... because much like those who gathered at Rivendell, they are unable to make the choice, to decide, to step out and take a chance and see that there is evil out there. They are not willing to put their lives on the line, but instead leave it to those who just want to return home and live a life of peace.

John Wayne once said, "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." Courage, and Frodo... are very much like the ballsack. Ugly, yes. Pragmatic, no. Painful, most of the time. But does it pay to have a ballsack? Does the ballsack get the job done? Yeah... yeah it does.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Shoe-Leather Express

A couple months back I came to a pivotal moment where I stood in the mirror and looked at myself. Normally I stare at my body and admire the physique Zeus would clearly envy, but I pondered the meaning of my God-given exoskeleton and realized it was high time I put it to good use. Should I model? Nah... Id put a lot of talentless people out of work and would feel bad about causing an economic upheaval, so I enlisted in a local half-marathon. (P.S. I hope you people know I'm full of shit when it comes to anything cosmopolitan). Since this life changing decision I've spent every waking hour on the tread mill. I signed up for it before everyone else thought it would be cool to run for Haiti, but I rationalized it by saying I would run for JWOWW. I realized this was a mistake when I knew even Pauly couldn't break up her relationship with some pizza delivery guy she "loved" on the "Jersey Shore"... damn it, I'm on a tangent. But I returned to my roots and decided it was best just to run, because I love to. However, only running can be quite the bore. Its like watching the movie "Tremors", you can do it a lot, but sometimes you need some spice... every now and then you need a little "Starship Troopers". Ive been able to supplement my training by doing eclectic exercises including speed hiking, spinning, and... snow shoeing.

Its no secret I've been longing to take my only cool Christmas present out since I unwrapped them, but what I got was a whirlwind of bliss and a challenging workout. I spent two days unleashing my inner Daniel Boone by venturing onto lakes and up to mountain tops. It was therapeutic, adventurous and it aided in my workout to run the 13.1 coming up in April. Part of the fun for me is new and interesting ways I can work a sweat. The same formulaic shit won't cover it. But running and cardiovascular workouts can be so much fun and inventive if left to the imagination.

The Guide on Getting Through Valentine's Day

You might look at the title of this and come to the natural conclusion that going solo in the sex department with Miss KY is the way to handle the foreboding task of making it through the holiday that makes single people weep, but a word of caution must be delivered to my fellow bohemians... keep your eyes open. I initially thought a list of innocuous, yet humorous tasks could fill that shitty, single feeling you get when having to live though every February 14th, but this year I can honestly say Im not bitter about being single. Im not lonely. Im not depressed. Im not shaking my fists at the heavens asking why Im not married, or busy procreating, even in the midst of all of my friends getting engaged or married. I am in fact at peace with who I am. Let me explain ass wipes.

Of late Im realizing that no encounter lacks hidden significance. We have interactions every day that shape our very being and if these interactions are valid and we believe they are, then we have to acknowledge some sort of devine intervention. Maybe Im snowballing here, but if you believe in those meetings, then Im guessing you believe in a God of some sort. Let me go further into the rabit hole and mention contentment. I feel to be truely content is to be in love with the present, the moment... embracing it as your soul mate. Each second you have the right to live how you want to, in that second.
NO IM NOT HIGH (but I have been up for 28 hours straight)

Dont try and control your circumstance this Valentines Day, instead embrace the holiday as you are. To paraphrase something that I read of late, "trying to conrol your contenmnet is like wanting Easter without Good Friday." You have to get the total package to truely appreciate the coming future, and that does not excuse you from excluding the present. So embrace it because it will make you more whole, and when that special someone does come down the line, itll make all the single V-Days seem like a great learning experience. And what the hell... have a beer. Just don't get caught urinating on venerated objects.

Monday, February 8, 2010

2010: A Conservative Punch

So, I've taken a month or so off. Sue me fans, sue me. As many of you who watch the news can attest many a pieces have been moved into place for the Republican party to regain the House, and to some speculators... possibly the Senate. With Scott Brown's on-slaught of Martha Coakley and matchup numbers across the board favoring Republican candidates, were starting to see a nation at the brink of busting one-party control. While this entry is a catalyst to future analysis, I would like to remind us how we have been inching our way toward this eventual shift in American opinion. Currently Rasmussen has our President's approval rating at 42% and while much of this might be a referendum on his policies, were seeing something else that I've seen hardly anyone comment on. An attack on incumbents, in both parties. Congress has had a 20% approval rating now since 2007, but many districts and states feel their guy is for them. In the next few parargraphs I want to very simplistically narrarate why Republicans will be winning in 2010.

I believe 2006 and 2008 taught Republicans across the board something. I remember the old proverbial wisdom of my father when he said, "sometimes you just need to get your ass kicked." Well Republicans did and rightfully so. With little to identify with and the so-called "need to moderate", many in our party felt a reallignment was needed. With a wave of anti-establishment sentiment, our countries moderates took to voting in sweeping majorities to Democrats in both houses and the WH. Many in the GOP believed they had been too conservative including Colin Powell, Chuck Hagel, Chafee Lincoln and Arlen Specter. With America's newly elected President, many saw our nation on a new course and hope to alleviate the recent econmic downturn. What Americans didnt suspect was an all out assault on capitalism.

Our President and Congress pushed the largest budget the U.S. had ever known and began to bailout companies in an effort to stimulate the weak market. With the debt growing to more than four times what it was, we raise our personal debt to 12 trillion dollars and began to increase taxes to attack the rich. The administration also looked into Cap and Trade which in itself is another tax, and the now infamous health care reform which has been an epic saga that has ignited huge opposition. Now we have the highest unemployment in 25 years, and the administration continues to blame his predecessor and the opposition party despite having super majorities in the House and the Senate for most of the year. Amidst this angst, a movement of conservatives, libertarians, independents, some liberals, and constitutionalists became increasingly impassioned by the outrageous spending and arogant management and decided to send Washington a message. That message was the TEA Parties which began on tax day last April and have been gaining speed throughout the U.S. ever since. Its no secret that the TEA Party largely supports many Republican beliefs, but plenty in the movement disdain the party for its lack of true leadership and backbone, and what many say is that theyve abandoned their roots. Time will tell.

Many simply say that the Republican party is the "so-called" party of NO, however little attention in the media has brought the fact that Republicans produced numerous reports and proposals on health care, energy, the economy, intelligence and war time protocol. The President and his administration campaigned on transparency and the public got just the opposite. Closed doors and sweetheart deals is exactly the kind of disgust voters have rejected in the past and the last year came to be much of the same stuff were used to. With this, weve seen parallel victories to 1993, by conservative victories in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts. The taking of Kennedy's seat has been the sonorous bell-weather that has Democrats quaking in their shoes.

While many have been saying that Republican victory of the House is inevitable, the Senate is another story. With several retirements in New Hampshire, Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, and several other states we find it to be an uphill battle, but running state-by-state potential matchups, Republicans may be able to bring their total seats to 51. Is this big... yes! Why is this important? Several reasons... budget control, immigration and health care reform, and yes... the future of the Supreme Court. In 2011, John Paul Stevens will become the longest serving Supreme Court Justice in history and its no secret he wants to retire shortly after the record is shattered. Not too mention Ruth Bader Ginsburg's rumored desire to sit down. This is the interesting affect a new Republican majority could have, a block on future court appointees, remember Clinton's only two seated picks were in the first two years of his administration before the infamous "Contract with America."

My cautionairy tale to fellow Republicans and conservatives... elect our own. The problem with states who have open elections is that they can nominate anyone, including moderates. When we elect RINO's, thats when we get in trouble. If we don't stand for something, well fall for anything. With the possibility of Illinois' Mark Kirk as a Senator, I'm reluctant to say I'd be pleased to have him on my team. However, when we get a Scott Brown, or a Pat Toomey or another budding individual to ebraces free market principles, strong national defense, fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, and a constitutional understanding, the Republican party can be seen as the go-to party for big ideas whose concepts are birthed out of individual liberty and unprecedented freedoms.