Monday, January 24, 2011

So damn cold...

"I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood" - Bill Watterson

Man, it is really, really cold. This isn't just your run of the mill northeast winter, it's bitter, face pinching cold. Yesterday the low was 2 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind chill. For anyone reading this from across the pond, that's -17 degrees Celsius.

Usually I tout the upside of winter. As an allergy ridden nerd, much like Paul from the Wonder Years, I appreciate cool, crisp, pollen free air. I love snow, it looks cool, is super fun and doesn't even make noise when it lands and blankets the world in white. I also think that people who have perpetual sun don't understand something about the world. There is a lot to say about the character of a man/woman who's survived through many winters. Waking up every morning in a warm bed and house, dressing so no inch of your skin is exposed and entering the frozen tundra to scrape and chip an inch of ice off your car just to leave for your commute will give a person, to borrow a phrase from the tribe, Chutzpa.

I once wore shorts through the winter on a bet. Granted they were my shorts in 1993, which effectively meant they were pants made for an overweight midget with pockets that could fit a gallon of milk cut a foot below the knee. But I did it, with relative ease.

Now, shit, I'm way more of a sissy about it. I guess age has lessened my tolerance. I even turned down tickets to a Giants game this year because my head told me that my couch and TV were way more comfortable and it wasn't worth the hassle. That is a 30 year old thing to do. Back in the day I would've been a 1/5th of whiskey deep before kick-off and hurling throwback NJ trash talk to unsuspecting Redskins fans all afternoon.

Maybe if they didn't build a giant, oddly colored mall with an indoor ski slope where the parking lot used to be. Then charge $25 to make people park at an office complex in Secaucus where pre-game beer and sandwiches are banned. To then take 2 shuttles to the stadium to pay hundreds more dollars for the privilege of entering a drab, gray, corporate shit box. I know this blog started about winter, but I truly hate the new Giants stadium. So sad.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bored on MLK day...

It's MLK day, which means an excuse to do nothing and watch loads of daytime basketball on TV right? I made a delicious batch of challah French toast and sat down in front of the tube, but since the Nets are so hard to watch and the Knicks can't defend their way out of a paper bag, I had a lot of time to think.

Sometimes the civil rights movement feels like two hundred years ago. I was born in the 80's and I'm from the North and the struggles I heard about in school never felt current and applicable. In reality, my parents were in their early twenties when the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voting Rights Act (1965) were passed into legislation. That was the apex of the movement and it was only 15 years before I was born!

I try to remember that timeline when I get frustrated with the state of race relations in this country and need a positive outlook. The movement is still far away from its ultimate goal, for sure. But at least it's getting better, at least some people learned, and at least things that were commonplace not more than 50 years ago are now taboo and widely considered over the line. As they should be. For fucks sake, there were separate water fountains in the south when my folks were getting married...that's super scary.

Fairly recently I read something that said the mainstream media has it in their best interest to tout the King agenda and his peaceful form of resistance. Their point was that the counter movements, particularly the Black Panther Party, played a large role in the formation of change but don't make contemporary history as often due to their progressive, and often violent policies. The whole COINTELPRO fiasco was proof positive of that, in a way. The government was so terrified about these movements organizing together and having a unified voice that the FBI intervened with dangerous, and almost childish policies to try and incite anger between the groups.

This isn't meant to degrade what Dr. King did in any way, because his perspective and ability to lead were absolutely necessary. But it's possible that completely pacifist movements often fail to cause the reaction they need to. Sometimes the mix of ideas and action might really be the only way.

I want to believe in pacifism, but I'm not certain if the entire concept is naive....what do you guys think??

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cliche part 2, dog ownership...

So to add insult to cliche injury, my girlfriend and I got a dog. A black Scottie named General Wallace. In all honesty she's been hounding me, (that's right, I did it)... for almost a year. I was fighting it due to added money, responsibility, and my general lack of interest in doing anything worthy with my free time. She also wanted a French bulldog, and I happen to have an ethical issue with their breeding and general "Williamsburg" nature. I thought they were tough, but their owners typically fill the undersized genes and over sized scarves demographic. Classic macho to sissy juxtaposition. Almost like 3 of the most famous sporting anthems being written by blatant homosexuals.

But now that the little guy is here, I'm happy we did it. In my estimation, most of the people in America have to settle for 3 things to stay sane in adulthood. Addiction, parenthood, or religion. I'm already addicted, and that only keeps me mildly sane, with a small side dish of murky apathy and paranoia. Religion, well...that ship probably sailed a long time ago, bearing some sort of awakening or rapture. And now comes parenthood. Actually being responsible for a life that cannot be responsible for itself. I had some experience with my nieces, but if this dog gets fucked up, it's on us. I guess with that comes a great pride, sense of responsibility, and hopefully some sort of warm and gushy feeling when he licks my nose or something.

As a 17 year vegetarian who typically adheres to the policy of "don't fuck with the natural order of animal and man", I begrudgingly accept the role of "master", for I don't enjoy telling once wild animals how to behave. I think it should roam, chase and maybe even kill without human intervention. But domesticity does exist, and now I sit in my living room, listening to the cries of an 8 week old puppy who desperately needs me to feed it, love it and sort of treat it like an equal...with a shit ton of rules and regulations added on. Human babies are a handful, but at least they don't feast on their own excrement. Also, they grow up and hopefully start taking care of you, dogs grow up and then die. Too dark?