A Return to Normal

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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!”

Turning The Corner

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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!

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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.

Silly Humans…

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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.

Tick Tok, Tick Tok

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.

Chaos & Disorder

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:

  1. When will it all end?
  2. Why is this happening?
  3. 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…

What’s The Move?

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The official start of spring is just over one month old & with it has come changes like we have never seen. Typically the race to selling and buying of homes coincides with the bloom of everything from tulips to azaleas. A prediction of a sales drop of up to 35% From CNBC (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-update-home-sales-could-fall-by-35percent-as-spring-market-stalls.html ) puts a new twist on that… The purchases of classic items such as sun dresses to be matched with shoes now have to be paired with a matching mask! The process of obtaining that new vehicle for your child to go off to college with suddenly, has many more hurdles than price alone. The freewheeling world we have to come love day in and day out is now frought with unanswered questions and a future that may or may not be in our hands. (pending wich lastest conspiracy you may be buying into) The return to normalcy is either a lofty dream or a #MadMax laden ugly reality show in the making. Surely there are those who have embraced the #shelterinplace orders if for no other reason than; they never left their immediate 5mile radius to begin with. Work from home types, teleworkers, entrepreneurs and their ilk have long been ahead of the curve as well. But until recently they were without a doubt in the minority. Now the masses have had to scramble and rethink every aspect of thier daily routines from that morning #starbucks run to the oft needed happyhour. How does one digest all the changes thrust upon them in record time? How does one forgo thier casual nuances that they identified with so much so that they meshed with blindly? (Think the #WashingtonCapitals jersey sporting individuals whom had nothing more to look forward to than year after year of losses only to finally see that cup come home?) Sports; its a identifier that many of us will allow to affect our daily moods with or without a second thought given to really why? Now the sports world pushes on with thier draft picks & contract negotians but the airline industry might have the biggest impact how these teams get from one (empty?) staduim to another? The world over sports has managed to define eveything from nationality to the earliest goal setting dreams of children with or maybe only a sliver of any real chance of achieving them. The olympic games, marathons and even Octoberfest have ALL been cancelled or postponed(yes there are some people that consider beer drinking a sport in case you weren’t aware) The purveying wisdom is everything from the world series to the masters will all somehow make a comeback bigger than Robert Downey Jr fresh outta rehab! I’m not so sure, Im not entirely convinced that things will be as rosy as a #tombrady touchdown pass in the great state of Georgia on opening day. Am I hoping for some semblance of a return to partisan bickering? Do I long for the days some whining & sniveling elitist freaking out over his/her half caf/doubleshot of milk with only a little ice not prepared to thier liking? Do I have fantasies of grocery stores sans thier ghetto fabulous directional arrows leading us to to safety? Maaaybe… But I digress after all its a day to day world world we now find ourselves in. It’s a world in which the questions out number the answers exponentially. Its a world where as the kids say “what’s the move” takes on a whole new meaning.

The Fragile Fabric of Life

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Death & Taxes” is often a refrain heard this time of year that either brings a shrug or a chuckle depending on your particular point of view. People from every walk of life find themselves contemplating this refrain with perhaps a touch more anxiety here in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadly there just aren’t enough meth lovin’ gun toting, animal saving documentaries to distract us from the reality of what our very new normal looks like. For some of us the change has been gradual, for others it changed literally overnight. The loss of jobs, access to schools/teachers/friends/co-workers and to say nothing of the entertainment industry we once knew has ALL forever changed. It’s easy to laugh at the memes that poke fun at the masses who once were beyond content to stay locked in their perspective offices, homes, coffee shops readily glued to their phones/laptops etc NOW are only to eager to walk, run, job OUTSIDE once given a firm suggestion that keeping ones butt planted in the house would trigger an onslaught of: “I need some fresh air” It’s harder to laugh at the 24 hr onslaught of press briefings, filled with grim stats, unanswered questions AND the ensuing chaos.

We humans are a funny lot, lets face it we wanna believe we have ALL the answers or the potential to find them, use them and make them our own, Nothing could be farther from the truth. We know very little in the grand scheme of things, in fact ill go out on a limb and say we know less than nothing. Oh sure shake your head in disbelief, wag your finger & point/laugh as you marvel at all of our collective achievements! The invention of fire, the fishing rod, the airplane! we’ve put men in space & 20,000 leagues under the sea! yet lo & behold; no cure for Dengue, Diabetes, and my fave “the common cold” NONE! We cant even figure out how to change lanes in cars we invented without trying verbally assault one another of over a turn signal, because we have lulled ourselves into somehow believing that we are superior to one another time and time again. According to www.nsc.org 38,000 people died in the USA last year due to car accidents. yes its a 2%decline from the prior year, but its a staggering number indeed. A number more often than not attributed to human error. 38,000! some of them taken away instantly others after battles to stay alive for varying periods of time only to succumb to a demise that arguably could have been avoided. Life is often taken for granted & we have always powered through one end of times scenario after another with very little regard for the next “internet breaking moment” yet somehow this world changing scene stealing pandemic has left even the talking heads/politicians and philosophers scratching their heads with the ability to pontificate freely suddenly snatched from under them. No ONE man, world leader, Doctor, or civilian can bring this thing to a screeching halt. No one woman will deliver us from the jaws of death that certainly await the unfortunate ones who shall be taken from us by this powerful invisible force. To Quote Mr. Driverless Car: “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” (apologies to Elon if i butchered that) Together however, we can work towards a solution that encompasses many more answers than questions in order to preserve, protect and cherish that fleeting span of time that is each and every one of our collective lives as we stand together albeit 6-10 feet apart to live one more day. Maybe getting outside with your kids, maybe spending time with your spouse sans smartphone, maybe seek out a career path you never thought possible or secretly ALWAYS wanted? Just remember life goes on with and without us! Make the most of it before you flick off that driver next to you, or snatch that last roll of toilet paper off the shelf…

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Vote…or Don’t

There are some of you roaming this planet carefree and happy and on any given day there are some of you whom give it your all with reckless abandon. In case you find yourself here in the good ole U.S. of A. & just happen to reside in any one of the states slated to cast a vote on this coming Super Tuesday by all means cast away! Now I wish it were only so simple…cast a vote=clear your conscience. THAT would be nice wouldn’t it? Looking back to 2016 one can only shake ones head at the sheer staggering lack of participation; somewhere in the neighborhood of 138 million people bothered to show up, vote & retreat back to their lives. OH yes you read that right ONLY 138 million people; which is around 58% of the eligible voters we have…FIFTY-EIGHT percent!!! Lets look at it from another perspective IF you only gave 58% of effort to your job day after day how long do you think it would be before you found yourself in trouble? IF you only paid attn to your spouse/significant other 58% of the time how long before they roll out on you? If you chose to only bathe 58% of your body on the regular trust me people would notice! YET for ALL the brouhaha over allegedly how bad the shape of this country is supposed to be in… there are more than enough people available to make genuine changes one way or another alas they simply choose to abstain from the very process they will whine and snivel over with each pithy tweet and Facebook rambling as if their inaction wasn’t any part of the problem at all. So do yourself and your fellow citizen(s) a favor, don’t just vote; take a buddy with you. Take a friend, a stranger, take the guy you hate more than anything and discuss the very thing that has brought the two of you together on such a monumental day! (civilly of course?) Remember if the numbers bear it out and we reach full participation (or at least 75-80%) Then and ONLY then will we have taken a real pulse on the heartbeat of this great country! In the meantime try and stay calm after all, its only a matter of time before the pendulum swings back like it always has.

 

A Decade of Dreams

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“The End Is Nigh” is often what one hears when the calendar reaches the inevitable moment of one decade rolling over in to the next. The naysayers rejoice, the optimists opine and the apathetic somehow manage to avoid. This particular looming decade feels different for many many reasons. Lets face it we are on the cusp of robots replacing workers, free college tuition for all and maybe even our very first female President? The world is changing at a pace never before seen at least since the industrial revolution? Life’s everyday doldrums we take for granted with nary a thought of how we got here. The food we eat, the jobs we hold, and yes the money we spend are ALL changing with each passing hour. Facebooks; “libra” and “the Impossible burger” and lets not forget “Amazon Drone Delivery” are just some examples of what will impact us in the very very near future for better or for worse? Oh sure for some cash will always be king, and that “Beyond Meat” will always remain just beyond reach for a few. Amazon however will not be ignored, the drones have already gotten the proverbial green light for air space from the FAA and thats just the beginning. Maybe you don’t know Crypto from Cash, maybe you can’t smell one faux beef taco from another but you will. It wasn’t that long ago you couldn’t make a friend on the other side of the globe without first actually traveling there. It wasn’t that long ago that shopping for groceries on your phone was thought impossible. The way we interact from our employment choices to our love lives is conducted thru one streaming wifi connection to another. The change has been so swift it has lost its element of surprise and given us a collective expectation of something else. The next 10 years is sure to leave us reeling with thoughts of where did the time go but also put us on a path towards unity. We will all serve the same cloud based masters and reap whatever perceived benefits that come with such adoration. One can only hope for cancer cures, the removal of extreme poverty and the chance to live in a place where simply voicing ones opinion no longer leads to online mob lynching and vitriol. In the meantime enjoy your virtual Doctor visits, thrive in your gig economy & revel in your ability to think for yourself for one day soon this could all change with or without your informed consent.