Monday, May 13, 2013
On this my 45th year on earth, I take measure–and share–what I have had the privilege to experience
After 45 (Gulp!) years on our little spinning blue marble, I have seen tragedy, triumph and wonder. (we all have, right?) Now, on this day of my birth, May 13th, I share–in no particular order or relevance–45 of some of the most memorable and moving events of my life.
1. The Fall Of The Berlin Wall (1989) – Toppling the graffitti–ridden commie wall meant the iron curtain was down and so fell the "Red Menace."
2. Getting burned out of my home (1974) –Watching our home in Boston go up in a ball of flame – arson or freak accident–?
3. The Fall of Saigon on CBS (1975) – watched over Kraft Mac and Cheese
4, Meeting George Hamilton (Actor) & Russel Simmons (Run DMC) on the same elevator in San Francisco (2004) – still processing...
5. Hoarding bottles of "Old Coke" (1985) – 27 bottles of 'the good stuff' before the launch of Coke Classic. Man I was gonna be rich...
6. The Blizzard of '78 (Really?) – 21-foot snow drifts lasted for months. National guard in the streets and no school for weeks. Wicked Pissah–!
7. Watching my first TV spot run during the 1992 Super Bowl (uhh, 1992) – Betcha' didn't see that one coming...
8. Driving cross-country (1993) – Do this and you'll see the America you see on TV and then some...
9. Dunking in the basketball Hall of Fame (1993) – Nothing says awesome like hopping the fence and dunking on rims built in 1908... Boo-yeah!
10. The Space Shuttle Challenger explosion (1985) – R.I.P.
11. Seeing Star Wars, opening Week (1977) – Age 9, I remember saying "they make movies like this?" (and once and for all, Han shot first!)
12. Watching the trade towers fall (2001) – One of the most gut-wrenching, horrific days for any of us...
13. Seeing Michael Jordan score 63 points (1986) – Dude, did you have to do that against my beloved Celtics?
14. Running the tables in Fallout 3 (2009) – yeah bee-yotch! Nailed EVERY achievement (XBOX 360) Yes Even the DLC... rocked that MoFo like a boss–!
15. Playing Hoops for the Mass Art "Easlemen" (1986) – Art school college hoops team? No problemo! Yes, the kid does hold NCAA Div 3AA standings... I got next!
16. The old Brigham's dine-n-dash (1985, 1986, 1988, 1989) – Delish and free, but only if you got wheels. Better act like you know...
17. Prank calling the operator (1979) – I thought it was sexy-time, I didn't realize she had my number and would call back. I wasn't the brightest child...
18. Watching a boot-leg of Caligula (1979) – Whoa! WTF?! My tummy feels funny... (no relation to the prank call to the operator)
19. Nearly drowning in the Bahamas (1981) – Went under twice then found the raft. What a dope. Man, that could have ruined my whole day...
20. Playing my first HALO 2 multi-player match (2005) – OMG! This rocks–! Sniping random trash-talking 10-year old kids playing online is the sh*t!
21. Playing against the Boston Celtics Alumni (1991) – Jumped Center against Dave Cowens, our backsides are still sore.
22. Downing two bottles of Flintstone Chewable tablets (1974) – Stomach-pumping goodness, in 5 fruity flavors!
23. Facing down a childhood bully (1986) – Where are your boys now, Reg?
24. Seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time (1988) – What a pretty hole in the ground... breathtaking.
25. Waking from a coma (2006) – The colors are brighter, birds are singing louder... apparently, there was a lot of praying going on for me.
26. Grabbing Spider-Man issue #252 off the rack (1985) – Cool costume but, who the heck is Venom?
27. The birth of my kids (1996, 1998, 2000) – You know, the five us make a pretty good basketball team... we still got next!
28. The death of the Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace, 1997) – Mad skills, and Ready To Die will be playing 100 Years from now... R.I.P.
29. Graduating High School (1986) – Bittersweet, cause I wanted out but not the goodbyes...
30. Graduating from Mass. College of Art (1991) – Bittersweet, cause I wanted the goodbye but not the out...
31. The Columbine Massacre (1999) – 15 shot dead in Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and no real motive - a horrifying massacre.
32. Being mugged at knife point (1985) – Man, that sucked.
33. Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) – George Peréz and Marv Wolfman rewrite the DC universe for an entire year. Awesome.
34. Layed-off on a Friday, hired elsewhere on a Monday (1993) – In the words of a local sales rep; "Wow. that didn't take you long..." that's how I do.
35. Seeing A Tribe Called Quest Live (1990) – Phife-Dog rapping about the Red-Sox on stage? Tight!
36. My first flight on an airplane (1981) – Now that was cool!
37. Watching The New England Patriots win their first Super Bowl (2002) – NOW can we stop talking about the damn 'Super Bowl Shuffle'?
38. Meeting two different guys my Mom was dating (1983) – One worked for the mob, the other for the FBI. Hey, I can't make this stuff up.
39. Totaling the car of a superior court judge (2010) – I kid you not, the first on the scene, was his lawyer.
40. Seeing the Avengers on the big screen (2012) – My favorite comic book (literally since age seven!), brought to life. Why, I could just plotz...
41. Toured Graceland (1991) – Thank you. Thank you very much.
42. Watching my son as Snoopy in a musical (2012) – The video has to be seen to be believed. Proud parent moment.
43. Sneaking in to Boston Comicon (1985) – Heart-racing as a security guard sits rights next to us tells how much he hates people who try to get in and not pay. Yeah, those guys suck! Ha ha... oh wait.
44. Meeting Miss Massachusetts (1988) – Anita Lovely (yes that was her name) walks in to the copy shop I worked at, asked for copies of her press photo, then signs it over to me (insert swooning sounds here).
45. Listening to Alabama, in Alabama, on the way to visit the USS Alabama (1993) – There are no words...
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
We've all seen it. The smokers who flick their butts out the car window that bounce in the road and send ash and burning embers everywhere. Isn't there something inherently wrong with that? I mean sure, you want to smoke and maybe you don't want them building up in your car's ashtray (and you will have to excuse me if I just DON'T understand that one). But where else in our society is it acceptable to just take something out of your mouth and throw it on the ground?
The answer is everywhere.
Now I'm NOT a smoker (though on occasion I will indulge in a cigar) but smokers–nasty as this habit is–aren't alone, Not by a mile. People spit, used chewing gum, chewing tobacco, candy, Lungys (those are my favs) and toss chicken and rib bones, soda cans, candy wrappers and about a thousand other things onto public roads, sidewalks, public restrooms and common areas.
To me, it's a sure sign that the Zombie Apocalypse is coming.
Have parents just given up? Have they stopped teaching children basic courtesies like don't spit on the ground? How much used gum that's been baking in the hot sun can my shoes take? Why are your (still lit!) cigarette butts bouncing off of my windshield? Why do I even need to ask these things?
What I find ironic, is that these are mostly the same people who roll their eyes at recycling, conservation issues and the global warming conversation. I guess that makes sense though, why complain about doing something nice and responsible like controlling littering when you're one of the worst offenders? I'm no saint, sure in my time I've tossed my fair share of gum and candy wrappers onto the ground. But never into the common paths and walkways. Come on people, that's just rude–and nasty.
So I guess, we just keep tolerrating this disgusting habit (after all, smokers don't have the most pleasant disposition) and I guess you'll just keep flicking those nasty butts onto the road and my tires can keep rolling over them. Whether you're a smoker or not, I defy you to deny any part of this observation. You can't, and you know I'm right. It just tells me our society has lost a little bit of it's credibility (and validity) as I scrape chewing gum off my shoes and watch as you flick your butts without a care in–or for–the world.
Because it appears, butt-head, that you don't.
Monday, March 11, 2013
When the Zombie Apocalypse comes,
I know who'll go first.
I know who'll go first.
Let's face it, the Zombie Apocalypse is coming. It can't be denied. Not just because really creepy (and terrific!) TV shows like AMC's The Walking Dead, movies like Night of The Living Dead, 28 Days Later or I am Legend show us what's to come but because it has already started.
You've even seen it.
Zombies are brainless, mindless beasts with no cognitive function to some 90% of their brain (see where this is going?) and can only drool, snarl and attack on a VERY primal level. They have no dreams, ambitions, no sense of civilization or damn bit of common sense. They shuffle through their sorry life, flagrantly consuming everything in their path, leaving destruction in their wake as they move on edging closer to their inevitable demise or for someone to put them out of their misery.
Sound like anyone you know?
Maybe because I am now in my forties, I see things bit differently than just a decade ago. What I see is disengaged, listless, mindless husks, shuffling about from place to place, consuming everything–like locusts–offering nothing for the betterment of the world around them.
Case in point. I recently caught a Sunday-morning matinee at a local mega-movieplex in downtown Phoenix and I was appalled by the overall state of well-being of my fellow human beings.
The man next to me–easily tipping the scales at about 350 lbs–kept falling asleep and then snoring himself awake and coughing loudly through every quite moment during the film. He slouched in his chair and was so wide he had to raise the armrests to fit in more than one seat. The family behind me kept talking at regular volume, to their two and three year olds who themselves kept kicking the back of my seat non-stop. I observed numerous undead drones carrying ever-larger BUCKETS of buttered popcorn, hot-dogs loaded with condiments and brimming soda cups so large they could bring drought relief to the Serengheti.
The whole experience was as depressing as it was sobering. As a species, the North American human is on a violent collision course with destiny. We are so... yucky, that we have forgotten all the trappings of manners, common courtesy and community.
That's why, when the Zombie Apocalypse comes, these lesser strands of humanity will be the first to go.
And to them I say, good riddance.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
A short time ago, in a place too close for comfort...
The 20th century's biggest franchise gets a new lease on life, so perplexing, so invigorating, you'll want to pull the ears off a Gundark.
In one of the most dumbfounded and bewildering moves in the history of modern business, entertainment and the human experience, legendary camp sci-fi guru George Lucas recently sold the ENTIRE Star Wars franchise to a little po-dunk, two-bit Mom-and-Pop operation called the Walt Disney company. All for a meager $4.05 Billion.
Picking up jaw, inserting eyeballs back into eye sockets.
By 1999, Lucas made close to $3 billion on licensing agreements ALONE–and that was before all those God-awful prequels. So why sell the greatest Sci-Fi fantasy franchise of all time for something that alone is worth far more, and doesn't even come close to the cumulative value of the deal. Note that Lucas also sold premiere effects houses, Industrial Light & Magic, THX, Skywalker Sound and host of other smaller SW subsidiaries.
So what does this Disney/Lucas Rebel Alliance mean? Here's my very flawed, incomplete list of fractured thoughts:
1. "Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy..."— merging entertainment's two greatest properties into one mega-conglomerate of Jedi awesomeness has got to raise the Midi-chlorian levels of the whole galaxy. If Marvel's Hans off... oh, I mean, hands off approach is policy, as demonstrated with Marvel (see: The Avengers), then this merger might be magic.
2. "I've got a bad feeling about this" – if you think the merging of these two fantasy behemoths is a match made on Mustafar, you may not be wrong. The jury is out on the effects of the merger but one thing is certain, "..this will be a day long-remembered."
3. "Do or do not... there is no try"– okay, at the core I really do think this will be a good move for Star Wars. Already Disney has green-lighted a new three-movie trilogy along with two confirmed spin-off films; young Han Solo and an as-yet-to-be determined adventure starring Boba Fett. Disney has committed to releasing a new Star Wars film every two years. Whoa.
4. "I'm getting much too old for this sort of thing" – I think we can all at least agree that it is a VERY good thing that Lucas step aside and release the tractor beam from Star Wars for someone else. After all, there was a 20 year gap between Return of The Jedi and Phantom Menace. Jeez, forget the Falcon, I could have made the Kessel Run in my family station wagon in that amount of time (she may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kids).
5. "It's a trap!" – don't be fooled into thinking that Lucas is gone. He isn't. He has signed on indefinitely as executive consultant. He won't be going anywhere. I suppose that's to perpetuate the preposterous myth that Greedo shot first (he didn't).
Finally, the brilliant appointment of fan-boy wunderkind director, J.J. Abrams to become Lucas's air-apparent means there is a new hope for the admittedly faltering Star Wars name. I honestly can't think of anyone better who could bring balance to the force. Or the possibilities.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
but the real cost may be more than we can bear.
This week, I'm putting pop culture in my crosshairs. In particular, the TV shows that highlight human train wrecks–including UFC, "Pro" Wrestling and the coveted X-Games.
Don't look at me like that.
We're all guilty. Even shows like America's Funniest Home Videos, Jackass and the strange on-again, off-again love/hate relationship we seem to have with Joe Rogan's Fear Factor.
I know it always seems funny to watch people hurt themselves but I've never really found it funny at all. Maybe because I was a klutz when I was a kid and I was the one that always seemed to be tripping falling and hurting himself growing up. Maybe it was the time when I went sailing into a 100-foot brick wall at the bottom of a hill while growing up in downtown Boston when I was learning to ride a 10-speed bike. Or even the time I put my left foot through a window pane at age nine while joking around and shredded my lower foot. Scars exist to this day.
So when I see people hitting the ground, head-first, bouncing off a trampoline or leaping off a two-story house trying to jump into a pool and hitting the concrete edge instead. That's not funny to me, I recoil.
Now, maybe it's because I'm a Dad and I'm through with paying for trips to hospitals, emergency rooms, and Next Care/Urgent Care centers. Not for sniffles or allergies or the flu. But twisted, sprained and broken ankles, pulled muscles and a near endless number of lacerations, cuts and bruises. All because one of my soon-to-be astro physicist kids thought it would be just awesome to emulate the antics of some pro-wrestler, Ultimate Fighter, par-core hot shot or X-Games dude who grew way too privileged with way too much time on his hands.
How many kids can one society send to the hospital (or the morgue) with these kind of antics–over-sensationalized on every network, website and social media outlet? Our kids are inundated by this idiocy. And while I give my kid's generation SOME credit for binary levels of common sense, how can anyone resist this stuff when it's everywhere you turn?
We're all guilty of tuning in to this crap but I sincerely have NEVER found watching someone get hurt all that funny. I know it hurts and I have spent enough time in the hospital (and footing the bill) to know that it's no laughing matter.
You can spin some lame "survival of the fittest" dribble at me but the truth of the matter is, this culture has a dark side that is a real danger to impressionable minds. The recent death of X-Game Snow mobile stunt guy Caleb Moore should prove that this stuff isn't for kids.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Maybe the fix to our health care issues is making good nutrition sound as good as a third helping.
A good friend of mine–and fellow blogger–recently blogged about health and nutrition and that seemed ironic to me given the fact that; (A) I work for one the world's fastest growing whole body health and nutritional cleanse companies and (B) that I had never blogged on this topic before.
I know what you might be thinking.
'Great, here comes another lecture about health and nutrition.' Rest easy, dear reader, I am far from qualified (or vindicated) to offer health advice to anyone. Most of my life I have been overweight. At 6' 2" I once tipped the scales at 339 lbs (years ago). In all fairness, that was as much a byproduct of stress, allergies and a genetic pre-disposition to gain weight (see Protein-S and Protein-C deficiency). But mostly, it was a fondness for what I like to call "creamy, yummy things."
Now I won't lecture here (lord knows I do enough of that for my kids) but we all know the run down... eat less, exercise more. Eat more green, eat less brown. I trust a cow over a scientist when it comes to nutrition. As I have learned over the years, seeing time and again... you can be 60 pounds over weight (the classification for obesity is actually 40 lbs or more over your pre-determined weight for height and age). You can lose that 60 lbs by eating properly, getting a decent night's rest and drinking plenty of water.
If you chose to work out, please note that you have to feed your body the proper levels of carbs, fats, minerals and a considerable influx of protein. Protein not only helps you build muscle, but when its the right type and amount, it will help you lose weight.
The recent collapse of snack food giant Hostess foods was a wake up call for me. No, no not like what you think, I didn't suddenly get healthier because the ding-dong supply has dwindled (as God is my witness, there are still quite a few of THEM in the world) but I realized I haven't eaten one of those god-awful things in, like, forever. What's more, I didn't miss them. I mean there wasn't an ounce of anything remotely resembling food in those things anyway. At best, it was a selection of chemically and scientifically concocted compounds that would fool your system's digestive process.
In America, we thrive on the taste, the gratification of the experience and the near erotic fascination with food–with the use of terms like "sensual", "mouth-watering" and "irresistible", we often sound like we're talking about porn than food. Who doesn't see those ads with a luscious young woman slowly sucking chocolate or chips off her fingers (gulp!) –kids, cover your eyes... oh, to late for my house.
Alright Arthur, get to your point or get to the corner
Okay, so anyway, to me it's evident that to be healthy means to have a healthy relationship with food. You can exercise all you want but if you are undressing that naughty bag of salty carbs with your eyes, you might as well indulge. Otherwise, we all need to re-program how we think about food. It can be tasty, but it is FIRST about sustenance and everything else second.
Putting food in it's place will make our overburdened healthcare system sigh–at east for a moment. And the next time you go for that bag of cookies, force a detour and go for the apple instead. Your heart will appreciate the extra love... and may reward you with the beating of your life.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Pet peeve rant! I'm sure to be sent to the corner for this one. This post is all about people who have the infuriating habit of talking to me in an elitist, condescending tone. Not when they are joking or being playful–but when they want to make sure a ding-dong like me can grasp their reality-altering message.
Yes, I'm talking to you.
When someone is having a conversation with you and they end every third sentence with; "...is what I'm saying making any sense?"or the abbreviated "does that make sense?" or even "can you do that for me?" or the grandaddy of them all "think you could get that done?" then you KNOW you are being pandered to.
If you talk to other people in your world like this, with any measure of sincerity, well, you're a pretty horrible person. If you talk like this to me, save yourself the drama and the trauma of waiting for an answer. And if you get a response, just know–though it might be cordial–it will take all my restraint and personal reserve to choke back a bevy of sarcastic responses and a litany of snarky comebacks. This pandering, borderline belittling and elitist corporate-doublespeak is a byproduct of the 90's institutionalization of political correctness, manager and corporate sensitivity training and lawyer-influenced subterfuge (thanks Franklin Covey and Anthony Robbins!). It has filtered into every facet of our culture... and I am so done.
Why on God's ever-green earth would anyone POSSIBLY need to ask me if what they just said to me makes any sense? Did it make sense to you when you said it? Did you arbitrarily slip into pig latin in mid-sentence? Did you layer hidden double-meanings and innuendo behind each of your statements? Did I fall asleep in the middle of your boring-ass little unimportant diatribe? No. It's simply a passive-aggressive way of talking down to someone and by showing the other party you are somehow superior.
No one with any sense of integrity would use these terms on loved ones, a significant other or any friend or person you cared about more than a fabric stain. If you do, trust me, they secretly loathe you. I know I sure do.
I'm a college-educated man who has an above average IQ, my father was a Mensa and I read, write, draw and self-educate voraciously. I've taught college-level classes and have been asked to participate on a number of expert speaking panels. I've also taken a lot of the aforementioned courses as a manager and director (I have held both of these worthless titles, BTW).
So I'm pretty damn well positive that I "understood what you were saying" the first time around. You aren't relaying some radical bio-medical theory that will change the way we understand cellular biology. You aren't drafting and engineering an architectural marvel that needs to be broken down to me and you sure as hell aren't talking in metaphysical algorithmic code translated from long-lost hyroglifics. So please, rest assured, I'm bright enough to "get" your worthless little message. You could follow up with a "got it?" or even the trite "sound like a plan?" if that makes you feel better. Then, please feel free to get over yourself.
Does what I'm saying make any sense?