I’m an Opinionated optimist. I like seeing the proverbial glass half full, yet the paper towels are always close at hand just in case :) I have lived a life that has taught me much and left me yearning for answers to the inexplicable.
Summertime, we often like to think of it as some sort of escape. We picture ourselves basking in the glory of all things bright & cheery. We pine for that one or two week getaway for the majority of the year prior AS IF it comes with some elixir that shall utterly free us for years to come. Does it? What is it about the sun, the rising temps, the crowds or the banality of travel that drives us to such extremes? Is it marketing? Is it the free flowing promise of never-ending alcohol consumption? Is it something more primal? When did it become a “thing” a must have? Why is it so rewarding? “A bad day at the beach is better than a good day at work” What really drives us to make a trek, spend ungodly amounts of moola only to repeat the cycle year after year? Are we really just creatures of habit? Do we crave that feeling of don’t worry be happy to the point of no return? How did the travel industry go from Brownell Travel, formed in 1887 (with 10 brave souls headed to Europe) to the #microsoft backed Expedia.com circa 1996? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travel_agency)
Is our need to escape innate? Is it a manufactured human response to the day to day interactions we have with each other? The alleged work life/home life balance is that really a thing? As long as humans have existed there has been a need for us to be entertained. Just try to imagine the first human hearing another laugh! Was he shocked? Was he terrified? Was he befuddled once he starting laughing along uncontrollably as we often do when faced with such laughter? Was that feeling the first real addiction mankind has had to seek out? That feel good feeling that generally is so palpable its virtually inexplicable? Or was it mankind’s first venture into unknown territory? leaving him/her so enamored that questions abound become a priority like no other! Are there more places like this? how can I see them? What lies beyond the horizon? why has no one told me? Why do we drop seemingly everything to go where we have never been or even return to the same spot year after year after year? How many instagram photos are predictably interchangeable? You’ve seen one sunset…? God knows there are only so many Ansel Adams this world has to offer. Yet our need to capture the ocean knows no limit. Can it be our thirst for beauty is blinding us to what millions of others see on a daily basis? Does our hunger for validation grow with each posting of our latest mountain view of the clouds around us? Maybe just maybe, like the ocean beneath us that vast unexplored terrain of darkness and warmth(or cold pending how far you are willing to dive) is never meant to be conquered. Its certainly plausible that our longing to explore needs no real conclusion. That perhaps answers as we know them are nothing more than a manmade construct that really only seek to provide us with numerous way to keep our fertile minds busier and busier as time marches on. With that I shall leave you with one of my favorite Tennessee Williams quotes:
It is often said that “there is beauty in abundance”. The armchair cynic will tell you (yell at you?) that too much of a good thing is anything but. This leaves a significant portion of people striving to walk/run/tepidly jog down a path of somewhere in between it all. Far be it from me to tell you to strap on the latest pair of #JimmyChoo Diamond encrusted running shoes, however, there is something rather enticing about veering off the beaten path. Let’s say you are one of the always playing it safe individuals, whom has never once thought of reaching for more. Let’s just for a moment think about branching out. Maybe quitting that job? Maybe selling that outdated ultra low tech hoop ride you’ve sinking money wildly into for years? OR perhaps you are gonna go the opposite route? You could very well be ready to take in some much needed rest & relaxation. Maybe the proverbial rat race has finally run it’s course! You find yourself seeking solitude like never before; afternoon naps? Spending time with that cousin who calls you’ve dodged for years? Hobbies? maybe you never made time but NOW, now you are ready for anything from knitting to kickball.
This time of year is the best time for change no matter how small. This time of year is when you often find hidden strengths and a passion that you thought you somehow lacked. Whatever path you choose, be sure to go full tilt. That whole choose wisely thing? Fuhgettaboutit! Now is the time to embrace ALL that is around you, all that you saw but didn’t REALLY see! Remember it was only one guy at #Nike who woke up on the right side of the bed and said just need to do it! The rest as they say is history! Be that individual, be that guy, girl, or whatever? to go where you need to be. Nothing is stopping you, nothing is in your way. Eight billion or so people roam this wacky excuse for a planet, and don’t think for a moment there isn’t enough room or options for what you want or even don’t want. With apologies to ole Bob Proctor “Abundance is all around you, so make the most of it what you genuinely desire”. Whatever it is you want its already there waiting this I promise you.
The Official Start of fall being less than two weeks away (#pumpkinspice white women & all things retail would argue differently I know, I know) has brought my favorite time of the year for reflection with trepidation. Yes, it’s customary to wait til the end of the year to somehow reflect & project, I typically find that September is much more inviting for this kind of thinking. The summer/fall change for me has always been more brutally honest. Those leaves changing colors, drifting from the safety of those branches year after year without fail, brings about a visceral set of emotions. The temps suddenly turning cool to crisp in the mornings, the smell of recently re-landscaped lawns, all are too beautiful to ignore.
This year however with so much uncertainty, with so many unanswered questions still looming, can I count on my yearly season of change to bring me that inner peace? September 22 on one hand feels so far away. Pandemic be damned, Foreign affairs growing ever more unsteady, and yet it’s coming still the same. The unpacking of your favorite sweater, searching frantically for that elusive hoodie. The online shopping for that new pair of boots, that long awaited trip to a cabin by the lake. School, studies, bus stops, and that ever growing craft beer market! (can there really be that many variations of pumpkin brews?) There are so many tried and true instances to look forward to, that surely I can forge ahead and regain my confidence! I can find that spark that shows me year after year after year whether leaves fall sooner than normal or later than I’d like, the autumn season shall never disappoint.
There are those who prob dread the shorter days, the coming angst of who to invite for Thanksgiving? People often find numerous reasons to long for anything but the changing of the seasons, but to ask for 24/7 365 days of monotony sounds more dreadful than anything if you ask me! Those limbs that crack loudly as they realize they no longer can sustain life on that 75 yr old tree, or that barn that finally gives way before the coming winter as it slithers to the ground only to stay lopsided for years to come are things of genuine beauty. Fall and all of its trappings shall always bring about joy and change for the better.
While Autumn never lasts long enough for my liking; it’s with apologies to Robert Frost that I must concur “nothing gold can stay indeed”
Someone once said it was THE final frontier… I say its the only frontier anyone actually cares about! Did you know that NASA as of the year 2020 has in its employ 17,373 individuals? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA) I repeat “17,373” individuals, & yet our #spacerace is down to three brilliant billionaires! Three!!! These three men have done what 17 thousand plus individuals couldn’t get done and are vilified for it? (yes I know My hero Elon has yet to launch his ego maniacal ass into subspace YET) Maybe Elons focus on Mars has him preoccupied? Perhaps his recent 6th child plays a role in his last place finish to reach the glories of subspace travel? Whatever the reason it saves him from the onslaught of the ALL the crying, hand wringing, whining and sniveling that The KING of internet commerce has had to endure! For the love of all things Picard could people be any more petty? The memes, the snide comments, the faux #CheGuevara armchair financial analysts!!! ALL screaming as loud as their keyboards, & raggedy android/apple twitter loving phones will allow them to pontificate on ALL things they know nothing of for hours on end! Its beyond hilarious, to think that a guy who started in “HIS” garage way back in the 94(that’s 1994 for those of your keeping track)where he went from Washington (the state) to SUBSPACE in less than 30 yrs!!! Can a brother get a Congrats? Can a Brotha get a attaboy? Can a brother get a #Godspeed ??? NOOO instead he gets torn down before he is 1/2way up to his destination! Instead he catches ALL kinds of hell as if he shoulda been dropping cash outta that capsule from the minute he took off to the second he reached subspace! Did I get a kick outta the “Dr. Evil comparison memes? heck yeah! Did I take umbrage, with the “he should not be thanking his employees/consumers/friends and whoever else” tweets/Facebook vitriol? YES I did.
Bezos may be a lot of things God knows he is never gonna win “employer of the year” or Husband of the decade? He is however nothing short of a genius! Have you bothered to think what it must have been like to slave away in a garage trying to start a bookstore online? Oh sure you take it for granted now getting your groceries within a two hour window, ordering a floating shelf for your toddlers room delivered next day with NO S&H charges(that’s shipping & handling for those of you still shopping in actual brick & mortar stores?) I’m sure many of those screaming at the top of their entitled lungs cannot begin to fathom the COLD hard truth that BEZOS is in fact our generations equivalent of Vanderbilt/Rockefeller/Carnegies.
The unmitigated gall that has permeated some parts of society, that leads us down a path of what’s his should be OURS, is at best preposterous, at worst misguided. Income equality? Homelessness? World hunger? not a single one of these travesty’s could ever be solved with one man’s (woman’s?) wealth. Amazon is without a doubt capitalism and the fruits it bears are here to stay. Anyone who postulates that Jeff’s trip to Subspace, Deep space, or MySPace is somehow a waste of time & money NOT well spent is missing out on all things past present & future. Alas as we all know #hatrersgonnahate with apologies to #TaylorSwift & #OmarNoory
They say this is it; they say we are on that bumpy road to recovery. The return of concerts, movies, and that lust for tourism! It’s easy to say life has thrown us the curveball we never saw coming. Despite ALL the changes, despite ALL the chaos, supply disruptions, and angst, rest assured some peoples’ “normal” never even blinked. Yes, one can split hairs all day long after all the wealthy missed more than one opera over the course of a year. Sure little Tommy’s little league dreams were dashed as well, but what about those who carried on? 1st responders still put out the fires, cops still made arrests. Custodians still cleaned retail establishments. The mail still got delivered! Traffic accidents still occurred. Doctors still delivered babies! Some people were not allowed to “STAY HOME/STAY SAFE.” In fact, one could argue; that the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor saw very little change over the last year. So the “push” to “return” to normal while without a doubt is long overdue, it also lacks the wherewithal to accept and acknowledge those who maintained said normalcy, whether by choice or not.
Employment, housing, and yes, even friendships have found themselves altered, and in some cases, unrecognizable. There is a semblance of comfort knowing our lives are headed towards a state of regularity. Those who never lost that sense, however, are going to have the hardest time acclimating. They will find themselves surrounded by friends/family/coworkers who have been irrevocably changed. They will have to face the doldrums of daily work/life balance compounded with the incessant droning on of those who will over-share to no end. There will be resentment towards those who were fortunate enough to play “it” safe.” There will be dismay and confusion over those who couldn’t wait it out. There will also be a sense of collective relief. While mostly it will go unspoken and possibly even ignored, the efforts of those who forged ahead, pressed on, and lived to tell the tale are going to carry on undeterred. Those who find themselves back in the game will hopefully be grateful and cognizant of what the few who persevered managed to accomplish!!! With apologies to Yogi Berra; “it ain’t over til it’s over!”
Tis’ the season! No I’m not referring to you whitetail deer hunting types. Nor am I hinting at you last minute shopping professional procrastinators! Why it’s that time of year where one should take stock of their accomplishments! (or lack thereof; thank you #covid19) As I sit here sipping on some #TennesseCider courtesy of ole #jackdaniels I cant help but to feel, a pang or two of guilt. I had made quite the list of various goals & sadly these often were relegated to being downgraded to those pesky “to do” lists in one incarnation or another. Some as of this writing still have yet to even be started! There are those in the world who will start each year with well intentioned “resolutions” only to see them disappear faster than your uncle who owes you $100.00 on payday. People will tell you on any given day they cant wait to do …(fill in the blank) Go on Vacation, start a new job, get a new girlfriend, or take a nap! The same people will both find legit and illegit reasons to skip out on all of the aforementioned with the greatest of ease!
I’m here to tell you that next year is your year! That’s right I said it! Lets face it; if you haven’t done it by now…There’s always tomorrow next year! 2020 be damned! You didn’t think you could possibly be one of those #covid15wieghtgainers ? You can’t believe you didn’t finish that manuscript you swore could be written in a month? Are you are still staring at that #peleton bike with less than 20 miles racked up? Fear not! Next year is when you kick down doors (unless you’re DEA ofc and you’ve been kickin like a mule since day one) Next year is when you learn the joys of counting caloric intake, you suddenly seeing going 10X as a reality! Next year you’ll reach for the sky grab a cloud and swing effortlessly! How can I promise this? How can I be sure you even stand a teeny tiny chance? The truth is your potential is not only real, & not only alive but after this year of chaos & disruption you have NO choice! You are the only one who can make it happen; the story you write has a beginning that will lead you to a arc that shows you the world YOU want to live in, the world you create and the world you will come to embrace no matter what obstacles show up!
I for one am looking forward to seeing your goals and dreams realized and hearing all about them in the coming months!
Two days from now some of us will find ourselves pondering what comes next. The questions will be relentless, confounding and even laughable. The culmination of the consistent onslaught of ad after ad after ad will finally leave us with a conclusion some of us totally saw coming and others…not so much. Pundits, pollsters, pranksters will have a field day & laugh all the way to the bank. This four year circus in the making is brought to you in part by those who could care less. This trainwreck of a #allamerican sideshow is unavoidable, unbelievable, and has reached an untenable place in our storied history. History has always repeated itself; for better or for worse. While it’s all too easy to live in a bubble where we feel like our emotional state is predicated upon the latest tweet, or misplaced #amazon order, lets not forget those who came before us.
We tend to forget that it wasn’t so long ago, that “The Voting Rights Act”(circa 1965) had to be amended FIVE times to be expanded to ensure protections could be carried out thoroughly. I repeat FIVE times with the latest amendment showing up in the year of our Lord of 1982 !!!(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965#Amendments) Let that sink in; “1982” That’s the year #Time magazine declared it was the YEAR of the computer? That was the year the VERY FIRST #CDplayer was sold… in Japan no less. ohhh & that Thriller album was also released. All of these things probably got 10X the attention than the way more important voting rights amendment got. My point is ALL the handwringing over the standing in line/mailing it in/showing up on the standard day of to cast a ballot is much ado about nothing. The hubris is on the ludicrous scale of disbelief. Voting is way too important to ignore its history, way to important to pretend entire segments of the population were NOT given an opportunity to cast a ballot.
So please for the love of all things #political go on and vote BUT stop telling everyone your life depends on it or worse yet your neighbors life or your grandkids life depends on it one way or the other. Because when peoples lives DID depend on it, it took ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SEVEN yrs to do something meaningful about it. Let THAT sink in: ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SEVEN YEARS!!! Do yourself a favor; do your homework, think long and hard about what got us here. You won’t regret it once the obvious becomes crystal clear. In the meantime have a coke and a smile, zoom away & remember “presidents come and go BUT #wutang is forever!” I’m Rocco Santangelo & I approved this blog.
Debates are with regards to politics on a “national level” an utter waste of time. Lets face it did anyone & I mean ANYONE actually think that somehow someway in an age of instant information, & viral tweeting that something worthwhile would be conveyed this past Tuesday? Debates are an antiquated and truly boring way to show any semblance of expressionism. For the love of thesaurus why are we being subjected to such things in this modern era? Politicians spend way more effort attempting to go viral on any given day than the average teenager who just discovered snapchat. They cant fathom not being part of the great clickbait world we live in and yet somehow they think we need to lose a couple hours of our lives to hear two geriatrics go at it? No new information, no solid plans to put this country back together, nothing but some redundant he said/he said/deny/deny/deny mantras until gaskets were blown and even a so called moderator couldn’t figure out how to even feign interest in the debacle before him.
It’s time to do away with the “format”. It’s time to realize despite being spoon fed micro bits of information with kernels of truths thrown in; that we the people deserve better. WE the people should be treated with much higher regard. Election cycles are no longer something that suddenly ramps up the closer one gets to November, they are damn near perpetual. We are being inundated with politicians bravado moments after they get sworn in. Their need to stay in the limelight has left us with the feeling of #tmi (too much information) like no other generation before us. There is nothing anyone will ever glean from a any future debates because its already out there! I don’t wanna hear about the undecideds. They don’t exist! no one walks up o the polling booth at the very last instant and grabs that pen and say “hell I just don’t know…” and NO ONE is running up to their local mail box with that mail in ballot in their nervously shaking hands mumbling to themselves: “if only there were four debates instead of three!”
We don’t need debates we NEED answers… We need someone to ask relevant questions (yes you, YOU faux news anchors and blithering talking heads: I’m talking to you! Put politicians on the spot at every level…stop asking them opinion oriented questions/ or GOD forbid how they feel about something and ask them WHAT and WHEN they are going to do about it. That is what we as a society need: action not arguing, answers not antagonizing anecdotes. It’s time politics catches up with technology & mankind’s ability to discern for themselves.
Timing is “everything” in some circles. Mankind has spent the majority its existence simply trying to contain it, control it and of course reshape it. The advent of social media has brought us closer to reaching some of these lofty goals for sure. I mean a simple quick scroll through any one of our handheld devices will almost certainly leave you in a state of suspended animation with disbelief being at the forefront. The absurdity of arguing over things real AND perceived is growing day by day. For every heart string tugging cat video there are seventeen brutal unflinching glimpses of humanity at its most depraved. The outrage, and the faux outrage that ensues continues to fan the flames of discourse. For every http://www.change.org there are countless private pages promoting the antithesis of love and compassion. The pros and cons of social media could take us down a long and winding path that would only serve to pardon the phrase: “beat a dead horse”.
The control and more importantly manipulation of social media has brought us to the inevitable sale of #tiktok . Tik Tok, is one of those classic tales of an app that was created & grew beyond anyone’s expectations. It’s a #devs dream come true on steroids! Once the merger with musical.ly happened in 2018 the app became the most downloaded app in the USA. Addiction & content concerns aside this app has managed to enthrall users the world over. But with all happy stories there are underlying factors that cant be ignored…Security being the driving factor in its inevitable sale? Sooo in the event tiktokkers go away like a sixty-nine Cadillac allow me to say kudos to ole Addy Rae, Dixie D’Amelio, and Josh Richards for not only entertaining millions of fans but ALSO landing on one of those fancy #Forbes lists: https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2020/08/06/tiktoks-highest-earning-stars-teen-queens-addison-rae-and-charli-damelio-rule/#1aa78ca05087
you know the ones that make you scratch your head & wonder how exactly did this happen? The Chinese have given us many many things over the years, #dumplings #jetli not too mention the $737.1 billion in trade we did with them waaay back in 2018. I would argue that tiktokers are right up there with the aforementioned. Never underestimate the VALUE of entertainment! Afterall it was only a short time ago when Pro sports participants found themselves much like the Hollywood Elite: all sitting at home instead of ensuring we would be screaming at the top of our lungs for more, more, MORE! Tik Tok managed to tap into a visceral nerve…some have said it’s precursor #vine did not die in vain as a result.
Full Disclosure: I did download the tik tok app sometime ago yet never bothered to create any content myself & barely bothered to watch what was made available to me. But thanks to the plethora of other apps available I have witnessed plenty of tiktokers dancing their way through their day. I’ve no problem with ole Billy Gates buying TikTok in order for it to stay (safely?) in the good ole USA. Because this is only the beginning. the internet is filled with companies mining your data for fun AND profit! The ones with underlying nefarious tendencies are going to start springing up faster than a mask on your grandma at a open air flea market. Govt has yet to keep pace with technology, & 17 yr old high school boys are hijacking twitter for bragging rights! Smart phones, smart doorbells, and the NSA have got your number rest assured! But keeping you and your data safe will take more than one firesale. So ban em’ sell em’ just dont forget em’ because like it or not they are here to stay.
The world it seems has been turning faster than anyone would like. The events that have shaped our lives over the last two plus months have been way more than plain old head-scratching conundrums. Those of us lucky enough to carry on day in and day out (those of us who haven’t lost jobs and or been temporarily laid off?) Face many struggles that still managed to upend our lives from time to inopportune time. One can’t help but wonder the standard questions:
When will it all end?
Why is this happening?
How did we get here?
Lets face it those are too easy, too… dare I say it? “mainstream?”
Yes 10/10 would agree #pandemics #riots #civilunrest are literally nothing new. I’ll go so far as to say mans inability to maintain any semblance of peace & unity overall has nothing short of an abysmal track record. These last two plus months however… feel like a social experiment gone awry. The economic fallout. (Amazon notwithstanding) The finger pointing, the lack of accountability and to say nothing of the massive disinformation campaigns ALL over social media. There hasn’t been this much discourse throughout the globe since WWII. Was it Shakespeare who once famously asked: ” To wear or not to wear a mask; THAT is the question? Don’t be surprised if a shadowy & equally sinister reverse engineering intsa-influencer isn’t trying to rewrite history even as you read this now.
The constant turmoil almost feels structured; after all allegedly it was the Assyrian Nation who created what Caesar somehow still gets credit for: “Divide & Conquer” Yes thats right Divide & Conquer! I’m not Capt Conspiracy by any means BUT…are we just the global victims of ineptitude? Could ALL our leaders the world over be dropping the proverbial ball damn near simultaneously? Or is there something else at play? #socialdistancing #restrictedmovement #we’reinthistogether mantras that have permeated our lives in ways never before seen. They are in commercial jingles and PSA’s to say nothing of storefront signage, highway signage and more! They creep into our lives under the guise of #publicsafety but is that what it REALLY is? Think about the many levels of confusion/disinformation, remember when it was you don’t have to wear a mask? Remember when it was no doubt that #covid19 started in some village wet market? Then the division escalates with the killing of #GeorgeFloyd Taking sides is nothing new and neither are those willing to capitalize on said tragedy’s. Yet the profound impact of the culmination of these events in such a short span of time begs the question(s) where do we go from here? & MAYBE more importantly; what happens when we get there?
THESE are the questions YOU & I will have to answer together, divided… or not…