Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memoriam

Today is Memorial Day in the United States.  It's the major holiday of the year where we all take time to think about, thank, and reflect on all of those people who served our country in any capacity. This post, in it's entirety, is about those we wish to remember.

Maybe it is coincidence, or maybe it is because of the timing, but I found myself thinking yesterday for a new topic to make a post about.  It had somewhat slipped my mind that this weekend was Memorial Day weekend, and as per usual I was driving along as I scoured my mind for ideas. Before I even met up with my friend, whom I was attending a baseball game with, I realized I wanted to talk about remembering people who we have lost in our lives.  It wasn't until I was at the baseball game that I realized Memorial Day was today.  I knew I had to write about it at that point. There is no more of a perfect day than today to talk about remembrance. 

Saturday is when all of this started for me.  Of all things, I was cleaning my friends list on Facebook.  I came to the part of the alphabet where I knew there was a long-lasting deactivated account I would never delete. It belonged to a dear friend* whom I had known since grade school. In an unfortunate accident in 2008, a lot of us lost a wonderful friend. It was one of those things that no one would have ever expected to happen to a person of her character.  As a testament to her impact on others, the ceremony to honor her would rival any community event I've ever witnessed.  My entire High School class was there, as well as so many others whom she had touched in some way. It is something that still impacts me to this day, which is why I find myself writing about it now. 

When I came across this friend's profile I stopped what I was originally doing. Instead I took a moment to remember her again. It wasn't the anniversary of her passing, just another day in my life, but it mattered to me at that moment.  I've been in a contemplative mood the past several days, and I decided to take that moment to think about what I've done since 2008.  I came to a very heavy realization; I wasn't holding up my end of the deal. I've taken far too much for granted, and not reciprocated enough to validate myself.  I asked myself an honest question, "Why have I been given these opportunities when my friend wasn't?"  Man, talk about a really hard punch to the gut.

It was with those thoughts that I attended the baseball game on Sunday. It was a beautiful day(although hot and humid.)  But when realizing it was Memorial Day weekend, a process repeated itself inside my head. Every person I passed on the street, or at the ballpark, continued to fuel those thoughts. "Is that person taking advantage? Is he? Is she? Who has mattered to him/her?" 

Four schoolboys sang God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch. One Army veteran stood in a position of attention right next to them. It wasn't as if it was a never before seen moment, but that exact moment would matter a lot to the Veteran and hopefully to those boys too. That lead me to one final question...

What matters to you?  Do you know what made it possible? Do you know who made it possible? Today is Memorial Day. It is certainly meant to remember those who served, but no one ever said it couldn't also be used to remember all of those who have impacted our lives in one way or another.  I'd like to ask you to take a brief moment, remember everyone in your life who made some sort of contribution in your life. I know I am.

In Memoriam:
All Veterans
Uncle Casey
and many more I would list, but don't have enough time in the world...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Politics and Analogies

I have to admit that I am very hesitant in broaching this topic. It is dangerous, it affects everyone no matter their interest in it, and it is very polarizing. Therefore I am about to gleefully type away on the subject.

Also, as a warning, I honestly try to stay neutral about all of this, but I'm also self aware I lean left in my own views. This is in no manner an attempt to push my views on anyone, nor claim I am right and those who think the opposite are wrong. I will attempt to choose my words carefully, but I am still human. Consider this more of an admission, not a lecture.

What I want to talk about first is what I think of politics in general.  I realize that on a basic level in society, they are certainly needed. As much as anarchists would love to establish their social ideology, some sort of societal leadership is needed. Note I say leadership, not control.  That's where today's world of politics has it wrong. Yeah yeah, in a perfect world everything would be perfect. No shit. We aren't in a perfect world, and are actually far from it.  Human nature has some crappy qualities in it, and we aren't afraid to use those qualities against better judgment. For as superior of a race compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, we sure do suck at properly using our gifts. Imagine if dogs had brains like ours, but they used it strictly for the betterment of dogs everywhere. It'd be a world of bones to chew, crap to roll in, never a lack of things to hump, and belly rubs on demand.  Actually, that sounds a lot like what dogs currently have. Bad analogy(I know I could've deleted that and not posted, but welcome inside my head).  So what does this have to do with politics? We have so much potential to make it all work, but then we let things like greed, envy, thirst for power, immorality, etc influence our decisions which in turn causes things to become corrupt.

Yes, I'm well aware corruption isn't some new revelation. What really gets me is how the majority of human life seems to just ignore corruption, or gloss it over as something you just have to get used to in life.  There is always going to be a bad guy. At least one person is going to be sitting in utopia and realize they want a little more than the other guy. That doesn't mean you should ignore, or encourage, any person acting as such.  Maybe if more people acknowledged issues, then the issues would not be as prominent or excusable.

So in today's politics there is this dumbfounding issue of the people who are in charge happen to be in charge only for the sake of themselves.  There's no middle ground. Actually, let me rephrase that. There is a middle ground, but no one is willing to stand on it.  You either get what you demand for, or no one gets to make progress.  If you're foolish enough to move to the middle ground, you're taken advantage of. Moving to the middle tells your opposition that you're weak, willing to give in, and could potentially give in some more.  It's like an elementary school math problem.  Jimmy has 10 chocolate chip cookies, and Johnny has 10 peanut butter cookies.  Both want some of each. Jimmy thinks chocolate chip cookies are better than peanut butter, so they have a higher value.  Johnny wants 5 chocolate chip, but Jimmy demands 7 peanut butter in return.  Johnny tells Jimmy he is willing to give him 6 instead.  Jimmy agrees to the deal, but unknowingly to Johnny, Jimmy gives him the five smallest cookies in his batch.  The moral of the story? Jimmy is a fat little f***er.  (40 years later, Jimmy gets adult onset diabetes, because karma is a real bitch)

I hope that there is some sort of ethical revelation in today's society. If there isn't, we're all in for a really bumpy ride where none of us get cookies.  I don't know about you, but I really like cookies. Cookies for everyone. That should be a platform everyone can get on.

Expect more on this...

Type, Type, Type

Just a brief post here. I am currently working on a couple new posts. I'm finding myself stalled in their progress, otherwise I'd be using this time to finish them.  I want to keep this blog rolling along in it's infancy, which means that I'm about to dump a lot of randomness here for the time being until I get my more serious and insightful posts finished.

As I make each post, I've realized that I am slowly building a picture of myself to the readers. There's been a few things I haven't explained fully, and there are things I wanted to talk about but haven't found the right approach to present them. So I figure I'll just briefly mention some more about myself.

Sports. I enjoy them. There are few I don't like or know little about in the professional world(golf, tennis, NBA).  Hockey, soccer, baseball, football are in my sports pyramid. Expect a lot of references, comments, and opinions on sports to be shared. I think it's in my blog profile, but I'll admit it here. I'm from Pittsburgh, therefore it's pretty easy to figure out most of my favorite teams. Can I be a bit of a homer? What fan isn't? I'll try to be reasonable.

Technology. Oh baby oh baby. I can do what to my computer?! Sign me up.  That pocket sized thing can do what?(once again perverts, stop it

Music/Movies/Books.  Plan on reading brief reviews, opinions, etc on such matters. I doubt I cover all genres, but I think I'll manage to discuss a lot of fantasy fiction

I'm not afraid to make the very inappropriate comment/joke at the worst possible moment. I'm sure I'll find many ways to fit that into my writing. Please understand that I am no way racist/sexist/etc.  I'm very open minded, and look at all people from different walks of life in the same light.  So if I make an absurd comment, and it might sound that it is racist/sexist/etc., then it was purely a poor word/phrase choice. Leave a comment to point it out, and I'll clarify or apologize as need be.

OK, that's enough groundwork for now. I'm off to do that thing I do.