How Did I Get Here?

29 Aug

In life, we all make certain choices that have a huge impact on our lives……Buy this house or that house? Take this job or the other job? Marry someone or stay single? Etc, etc, etc. Most of us weigh all the pros and cons related to these types of decisions and make the choice that we feel is best for our future, and our lives. Sometimes, down the road, we look back on these choices and feel great about the path it took us down. Other times you may have a reason to feel regret for your decision. Either way, good or bad, it is clear that the decisions of today will stay with you forever.

Then there are other life decisions that are more fluid. Not cut and dry, but gradual. In a lot of cases they are more morally or socially conscious decisions…..Do I support gay marriage? Do I believe in god? Am I a liberal or a conservative? Batman or Iron Man?

Wait. What? Who put that in there?   ;-)

What I’m trying to say is that sometimes the important choices we make in life are choices of the heart, and they don’t always happen overnight. Sometimes it takes years to develop. However, they have the same ability to change the course of your life forever.

For me, one of those choices has been my outspoken support of LGBT rights. I’m not 100% sure why it has become so important to me though. I’m not gay. I don’t have any gay relatives. I really never even had any close friends that were gay, before I became vocal on the topic. I have lots now. Yet somehow, I have made a choice to make my position known as publicly as I can. This isn’t a decision that I thought about for a little while and then said, “I want to be a booming voice for the gay community!” It was just an evolution of me, as a person, and I feel like it has put me on a path that I didn’t expect. As a result, I find that I am asking myself, WHY? Why do I feel the need to do it, and why am I so personally affected by this decision?

Most guys don’t want, or like, to admit that they are sensitive to the plight of others. Sure, they’ll say they care, and they may very well mean it, but do they cry when they think about the struggles of people they don’t know? I do…..all the time. Admittedly, not in front of other people, but I definitely cry.

Whenever I hear about another teen suicide as a result of being bullied for being gay, or for being in ‘a closet’ that they are too afraid to ‘come out’ of. I can’t even comprehend that kind of pressure. The whole world is heterosexually designed. I don’t mean designed by heterosexuals, I mean designed FOR heterosexuals. Every single person on Earth, gay or straight, man or woman, is born to desire other people. Your feelings for one sex outweigh your feelings for the other sex. These feelings begin at a very young age, even though you may not be able to put those feelings to work until you get a little older. However, before you even begin to truly understand why you are ‘drawn’ to a certain sex, you are completely overloaded with information that tells you that person is supposed to be the opposite sex. How incredibly confusing has that got to be for a gay kid? Nobody who is straight could possibly relate…….EVER!   When I take the time to imagine it, it makes me sad beyond words. Nobody should have to go through that. Most certainly not a child.

I also get angry, too. A lot. Maybe, because at the root of my support, is the utter contempt I have for anyone who hates, belittles or in any way tries to oppress any one else because they are different. It pisses me off something fierce. I know we all want a kumbaya world where we turn the other cheek when faced with ignorance, but sometimes I wonder if knocking out a few assholes here and there wouldn’t be more effective. What if every time a report came out that two bigoted jackwads nearly beat a gay guy to death, we get to round up 3 of their like minded friends, throw them in a hole about 15′ deep, and bury them in glitter, until they suffocate? You know, the whole, “You put one of ours in the hospital, we put one of yours in the morgue” thing.  A little unrealistic, I know, but you get my frustration. I know that hate is at the root of all evil, but if you hate the haters, doesn’t it cancel itself out, and then it’s ok? I don’t know, but that’s the theory I wish to endorse. However, all I’m thinking about right now is whether the glitter reference was too cliche? Probably, but guess what? I can make that joke and not get criticized because stereotypical jokes are funny when you know the person is not being malicious. Nobody who knows me would ever accuse of that. Well, maybe one guy, but he’s just an asshole.

Ultimately, there really is no clear cut reason that I have chosen this path, but it is one that I walk proudly. It is also one that I will likely walk down more loudly in the future. I appreciate the positive feedback that I get from the others out there who care just as much but are more geared to walk the quieter path. As long as your on it, you’re all good with me, and if you’re not, beware.

Aside

I Believe, But I Have No Faith

9 Jul

imageBE-LIEF

Noun

1. An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

2. Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.

Seems like a pretty simple word with a very straightforward definition. However, it really isn’t that simple, is it? As I read this definition I couldn’t help but notice the synonyms that were listed below it. Words like PERSUASION, TRUST, CREDENCE & CONFIDENCE, and of course…..FAITH. The siamese twin of BELIEF. Wherever you find one, you will almost certainly find the other, which is probably why they are the first synonyms listed on each others definitions. They are The Wonder Twins…minus the monkey. They are virtually interchangeable, although by definition, they have one big difference. That difference, is the mention of God.

FAITH

Noun

1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

As an atheist I struggle on a daily basis with the words I choose, in certain situations. ‘God bless you’, for example. I say it all the time, although usually just ‘bless you’. Mainly because I don’t want to be impolite. I did say ‘May science illuminate you’ for awhile, but it only confused people, and down here in bible thumping country it only created drama, so I discontinued that practice. ‘Oh my God’ is another phrase that’s hard to remove from my vernacular. ‘Good Lord’, ‘Thank God’, ‘God damn it’ and so on, and so on. There are so many common uses for the word God in our everyday speak, that I can’t even remember them all. I constantly find myself trying in vain, to remove the word God from my everyday vocabulary, but it is virtually impossible. It’s probably going to take ‘an act of God’……………SHIT!  See what I mean?

This brings me to BELIEF. A word that I have no intention of removing from my brain, and a word that I wish the religious of the world would leave alone. I never use the word FAITH. Ever. This is because it is always associated with God. It makes no difference if it is actually being used in that context, it still rings a tiny bell in the back of everyone’s head that conjures up the idea of God. BELIEF does not have that same effect, because from a religious standpoint, FAITH covers it pretty well. Do I need to remind you?

2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

The real interesting thing is that the word BELIEF is in the definition for FAITH, CONFIDENCE, and TRUST, Although FAITH is the only one described as a ‘strong’ belief. Why does this belief need to be so strong? Is it because it’s the one that requires the most suspension of rational thought?

“This is the craziest shit ever laid upon the human brain, and hasn’t got a single shred of evidence to support it so my belief in it is going to have to be real strong, because if I hadn’t been indoctrinated into this when I was a stupid child, I would never believe it.”

Does that about sum it up? I think it does. BELIEF is BELIEF. It doesn’t need to be firm or strong because whether you want to admit it or not, real BELIEF is something we embrace after we have established a few facts. You know what those are, don’t you? Those things you use to make an educated decision.

—-The Sox got rid of Bobby Valentine, hired John Farrell, moved some key players and acquired a few others and I believe they are going to have a good year this year.—-

See that? I took some real world facts and developed a BELIEF based on those facts. FAITH is a thought process in which facts play zero part in the decision. This is why these words need to break free from each other so that those of us in the world who like to operate in a fact based environment, can do so without using a word that the religious have hijacked. BELIEF & FAITH need to go to the finest dictionary hospital in the world and have an operation to separate themselves from each other, and be allowed to live independently of one another. We have the technology. We can do it. We can make these two words far stronger and more powerful than they have ever been before. Oh, who am I kidding. I don’t believe that for a second.

Be Your Own Kinda Fan

16 May

Flergs_SF_KIT600-3There are very few things in life that are more difficult, emotionally, than being a sports fan. The highs and lows that come from giving your heart to a team that can’t possibly live up to the burden of being successful every single game of every single season. Yet, even when equipped with this knowledge we still ignore it when we “think” the team isn’t living up to “our” expectations. We cheer success. We lament defeat. Most importantly, we share these feelings with every other sports fan we know, even if they are not a fan of the same team. It is exhausting, to say the least.

Now, with the explosion of social media, like twitter and Facebook, all the stages of emotion get expressed in real time. Your team just scored? Quick. Grab your phone and show the world, and your “followers” that you were watching. Type the name of the player who scored, in all caps, with a bunch of exclamation points. Better yet, just write GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAL! across your screen. Then sit back and watch all your peeps ‘like’ or retweet your comment. It’s a whole new level of fandom, and we ALL love doing it. It makes us feel like we are all in the same room. Perfect.

However, there is also a negative consequence to all this real time emotion being expressed on social media. The haters will use it against you every chance they get. If you brag when your team is winning, you better hope they don’t blow it or you will take a beating for it. If your team is playing like shit, you better keep it to yourself because if they come back and win, and you celebrate the victory, the criticism will be heavy. Worst offense of all is those peripheral fans, who say anything positive about a team that is having success in the post season. The hater can’t pull the word ‘bandwagon’ out of their back pocket fast enough. Which is the biggest hypocrisy of all. Calling people out for talking too much, but then name calling those who have said very little until the most important time.

In the world of “haterdom”, emotion is apparently not allowed. At least not publicly, because that means you may have to answer for your comments. Ironically, the only people you are answering to are the ones who are too afraid to let their feelings be known. That’s why haters suck so bad. They are not true sports fans. They are like Internet trolls. They definitely don’t practice what they preach. They’re just not going to allow themselves to be called out on the fact that they are thinking exactly the same thing that you are posting. If you haven’t got the balls to put yourself out there, with the rest of the sports fans, than you’re not my kind of fan.

For me, I’ll ride with the ones who wear their hearts on their sleeves……………..publicly. The ones who aren’t afraid to be wrong. The ones who truly get the chance to cheer success, or suffer the pain of failure……TOGETHER! That is the sports fan I am, and the one I want to be associated with.

Be Mindful

18 Feb

imageWhen I logged onto my blog this morning, I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to write about, because it had been so long since I’d written anything. I bounced around and looked at my stats page, which tells me how many views each blog gets. Then I looked at some comments I hadn’t read yet. Hell, I even decided to read a couple of older blogs just to see what I was babbling about a year ago. None of these things was helping, in any way, to produce a topic for me to write about. Then I clicked on a tab that showed me where, in the world, my readers were from…………I was stunned. My blogs have been read in over 80 countries worldwide, from the big ones to the small ones. I had no idea. Naturally, the bulk of my viewership is the U.S., but Canada and the U.K. are representing well, too. However, even though the bottom 20 countries may have only 1 or 2 views, the very idea that anyone in Nigeria, Lithuania or Sri Lanka is actually reading my blog is astonishing. This information led me to write this blog today.

Every single time I sit down to write a blog I inevitably ask myself, “Is anybody going to care at all about what I have to say today?” Admittedly, I don’t think I really care, but I still ask myself anyway. Truth is, I probably do this more for myself than I do for the reader. I’m not sure if that’s selfish or not, but it is the way my brain works. Of course, by the time I’m done, I usually sit back, read the thing a few times and think to myself that I really do hope I have in someway touched the person who has read it, whether through thought-provoking commentary or just plain humor and sarcasm. Either way, I am most happy to know that I have been able to express an opinion I have, and there is no denying how much I like to do that. ;-)

All that being said, this recent discovery, of where my readership is coming from, has made me feel a little different about what I should be writing, and how I should be writing it. I know that I need to continue appealing to the largest portion of my readers, but I also need to recognize the smaller portion, too. This is not to say that I am going to stop writing about things that I find funny or unjust or stupid, but it will make me more aware about the people who may be reading it and how they may view those opinions based on the culture that they live in. This may sound a little odd coming from me, but I really do think we should all be slightly more careful with the things we say or write. Yes, I mean you, tweeters. It may seem harmless to tell your buddy about the 72oz steak you tried to eat, but couldn’t, so you gave the leftovers to your dog Duke, but wouldn’t you feel a little shitty telling that story in front of a starving homeless man? I think so.

The same applies here. Making light of some things may be funny in private or similar company, but knowing that not everyone who reads my blog would be considered similar company, makes me take pause about what I may or may not say in the future. Again, don’t think that this is going to make my topics more vanilla or dull, just that they will be written with more thought, and how could that be bad? I look forward to it.

Thanks again, to all my readers, near and far. Sorry I haven’t been writing more often. I’m working on it. Much love.

Gone, But Not Forgotten 2012

11 Jan

Another year has passed and it always makes me think of the people we have lost. I think 2012 had more recognizable names than any year I can remember. From major heavyweights like Dick Clark to American heroes like Neil Armstrong. Music icons like Etta James and Marvin Hamlisch, as well as television icons like Larry Hagman, Mike Wallace and Andy Griffith. Although this is only a portion of the well known people to have died in 2012, I would like to take a minute to mention just a few more who’s passings meant a little more to me, personally.

Whitney Houston: What can I say here. This woman was the single greatest female solo artist of my generation. Her voice was magical. Whether it was up tempo dance music or slow love songs, you just had to listen. She was that good. She appealed to men and women of all ages and races. Just like Michael Jackson, her later years were filled with drama. Drug use, arrests, rehab and reality tv were all on the menu. Just like Michael Jackson, we looked past all of it, and just like Michael Jackson, we weren’t completely shocked when we heard the news. For me, I was in my car. I sat there thinking how bummed I was. Then, like every other radio station, they played a Whitney song and I shed a few tears. She was amazing. No doubt about it. She will be missed.

Tony Scott: This may seem like an odd choice but to any guy who is a fan of ‘guy’ movies, this dude was king. Top Gun, Days of Thunder, True Romance, Enemy of the State and Man on Fire, just to name a few. He made cool movies that every guy wanted to see. Next time you go on IMdB, look at all the movies he directed and see if there’s any that you have NOT seen. We may never know the real reason he chose to take his life, but it really is too bad. At least his movies will live on. They certainly will in my house.

Junior Seau: Beast. A pure beast. Definitely one of the 10 greatest linebackers to ever play the game. More likely top 5. Even before he came to New England I was a huge fan of his game. He just always seemed to know where to go to get the man with the ball, in the quickest time possible. A true leader, and by all reports, a terrific human being. Well loved by everyone who knew him. Due to his immense fame and popularity, his death kicked open a door that was only barely cracked, and 20 years from now it may be cited as the jumping off point for true improvements to safety in the NFL. Let’s hope so.

Steve Sabol: Make no mistake about it people, this guy is single handedly responsible for the success of the NFL. Steve Sabol was the Steven Spielberg of sports filming. He did something with NFL football games that was previously unthinkable….approach every game like a dramatic film. Now it’s common place in every game we watch. He had a vision, and he made that vision a reality. NFL Films is iconic and its narrator, John Facenda, provided us with such well known sayings as “The frozen tundra of Lambau Field.” He put cameras everywhere, and mics on whoever he could. He turned an NFL game into an Oscar worthy film. A pure genius and visionary. He may be gone, but his legacy will never die.

Adam Yauch: This one I still can’t believe. Not because he died unexpectedly, but because he was one of the guys I grew up with. Not literally, of course, but it almost feels that way. The Beastie Boys were one of the most influential groups in hip hop history, and probably in music as a whole. Run DMC and Aerosmith may have brought ‘the game’ to white kids, but the Beastie Boys brought white kids TO ‘the game’. Long before 3rd Base, Vanilla Ice, Y.B.T. and Eminem, the Beastie Boys were smashing down the walls of a black dominated genre. At the helm of the group was Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch. My favorite. Not sure why. Maybe because he and I share the same birthday, August 5th. Maybe because he just looked like the most normal one in the group. However, the most likely reason was that he’s the one responsible for the line ‘like a lemon to a lime, a lime to a lemon, I sip the def ale with all the fly women.’ Awesome. He went on to accomplish so much more than just success in music, but for me it will always be about the Beastie Boys days and MCAAAAAAAAY.

Aside

Real Talk, About Sex!

15 Nov

Oh my.

Another sex scandal.

Say it ain’t so.

A man of power and honor, cheating on his wife. Who could do such a thing?

I’ll tell you who……..EVERYONE! It makes no difference who you are, where you live, when you were born, what your occupation, or what so-called moral compass you think you have. Virtually every single person out there has a real desire to have sex with someone other than their spouse. That’s right. I said it. We all “want” to cheat. The only difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’, is whether we actually go through with it. Plain and simple.

Well, we all know that nobody is immune. Multiple Presidents have done it. Hollywood celebs, too. Tons of musicians have done it, and there is no need to start naming all the big time athletes who have done it. We all sit back and realize that being rich, famous, or powerful, means that members of the opposite sex are going to throw themselves at you, and yet we still pass judgement on them when they can’t resist. Why? Resisting the urge goes against a persons animal instincts. Other than dolphins, which we all consider to be brilliant creatures, human beings are the only other species that has sex for fun. We love it. We especially love it with different people.  Unless, of course, you’re a complete shrew, but that’s your problem. The other 99% of us wish someone was under our desk right now, “taking care” of us while we read this.

So ask yourself these analogous questions.

If your spouse made a terrific homemade mac and cheese, that you absolutely loved, but one beautiful afternoon,  someone else offered to let you try theirs, to compare. Would you say no? Of course not. Everybody loves mac and cheese. Hell, your spouse may want the recipe. Ok, maybe not. Point being, you would try the new mac and cheese, without fear of upsetting your spouse.

Next question. What if you and a colleague go to lunch together, and discuss your job and your home life with each other, should you be worried that you might get in trouble when you get home?  I would hope not. Unless your spouse is crazy, in which case, cheating might get you killed. :-) The fact is, you can do any one of a million things, with a member of the opposite sex, and have no fear of retribution or divorce. However, having sex, outside the marriage, is definitely NOT one of them.

I recently read an article about the 10 most important things to a successful marriage. 9 of the 10 made perfect sense. Understanding. Communication. Respect. Friendship. Sense of Humor. Common Pursuits. Shared Interests. Trust. Commitment………… No mention of a good sex life, though. Hmmmmm.

Then there was the last one. Fidelity. Interesting. This one says a lot. It clearly shows that even if sex isn’t one of the top 10 things to make a marriage successful, having sex with someone else is definitely a way to make one fail.  So, it will come as no surprise that cheating is the #1 reason for divorce.

To review:

1] Sex not important for a successful marriage.

2] Cheating #1 reason for divorce.

DOES THIS SHIT MAKE ANY SENSE?

So, the big question is why? Why does something that isn’t even considered that important to a good marriage, have so much in control over its success or failure? Quite a conundrum.

Let me draw a parallel, with some more cheesy analogies and euphemisms. Men will go fishing, with other people, because their wives may not like it. Women will go shopping, with other people, because their husbands may not like it. How many things would YOU like to do, that your spouse has no interest in doing? C’mon now. Let’s be real, people. Anytime there is something that our spouses want to do, that we “don’t” want to do, we let them go do it with someone else, who “does” want to do it. Why should sex be any different?

Is it vanity? Is it control? Or is it just the illusion that fidelity equates to good morality? “He’s a good man, who would never cheat on his wife.” Trust me, that statement has probably been made about 80% of the people who have cheated on their spouses. The truth is, in many cases, the cheater IS a great person. Great parent. Great provider. Great friend. Someone you would want to spend the rest of your life with. Yet, “cheater” is the label we give this person.

I have always hated the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater.” This is the mantra of the holier than thou. If you’ve said it, than you are either someone nobody wants to sleep with, or you’re a hypocrite. For crying out loud, who HASN’T cheated on someone, once or twice. We were all young and stupid at one point in our lives. It’s called growing up. Then we get older and fall into line, and start convincing ourselves that fidelity is somehow morally important to being categorized as a good person. I just don’t get it.

In the end, the people who stay monogamous  to their spouse, only do it because they have such a great marriage, that they don’t want to risk losing it. Imagine that, they don’t cheat because they love what they have too much. Not because they don’t WANT to sleep with someone else, but because they don’t want to be STUCK with that someone else. They would rather be stuck with you. Lame sex life and all. Not sure what that means, but if cheating wasn’t considered cheating, than the #1 reason for divorce would no longer exist. Just sayin’.

I Could

17 Oct

Wow! It’s been nearly 2 months since I wrote my last blog, and I’m not exactly sure why. I don’t think that my time has been any more, or less, tied up in recent weeks, and it’s not like I don’t have things on my mind I want to talk about, but for some reason I just haven’t had enough to say about any of the topics that have been on my mind. I hate this feeling, because I truly do get a lot of enjoyment from writing. So, what should I talk about?

I could talk about politics, but let’s face it, that is just a giant waste of time these days. Half of the people I know will agree with everything I say, and the other half will not. This inevitably gets people arguing back and forth on the comment thread, just like facebook, but it accomplishes nothing. Mainly because everyone has already made up their mind about who to vote for, and nothing anyone says is going to change that.

I could write about the fact that it’s a travesty that Ben Coates is not in the NFL Hall of Fame. For crying out loud, there has only been 8 tight ends, since 1960, to get in the Hall. In 50 years, who is NOT in, that was better? He was the second best tight end in the league for nearly a decade, and the guy who was the best, during that time, may very well be the best of all time, Shannon Sharpe. Not bad being second to the best tight end EVER. Not to mention that Coates’ best single season was BETTER than Sharpe’s. Additionally, when you compare his 6 best years to Hall of Famer, Kellen Winslow, he has more catches and touchdowns, and trails in yards by 400. Which, over a 6 year span, equates to 6.25 yards per game. Winslow was also being thrown to by Dan Fouts as part of “Air Coryell”, while Ben had Drew Bledsoe. ‘Nuff said!!!!

I could waste another 1200 words comparing and contrasting Dallas to Boston, but why bother. BOSTON IS THE GREATEST CITY ON PLANET EARTH, AND NOBODY CAN TELL ME OTHERWISE, SO GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!! See, I only needed 18 words, 2 comma’s and 5 exclamation points. I feel so much better. Next subject. :-)

I could go on and on about how proud I am of my kids. All of them. How even though my oldest isn’t doing things quite the way I would like, I still recognize all that he has accomplished, while not having it easy growing up. I completely adore his appreciation of music, especially classic rock and old school hip hop. I smile everytime he sends me a text about a song he likes. How my 5 year old boy is a star pupil, and has been since the first day of day care. Walked early. Potty trained early. Slept on his own early. Pretty much a model child. How my daughter has pretty much followed in her brothers foot steps. Only thing left is getting through the night without a pull-up. We’re close. She has me completely wrapped around her finger, and I love it.

I could even be a complete goof, and do as my friend Sue suggested, and talk about how awesome she is. That would be easy. We went to high school together and were casual friends in those days. Many years later we re-connected, and it has been terrific. We disagree on virtually everything we talk about, and she loves to call me her arch nemesis, but I can say without any reservation whatsoever that I’m extremely happy to call her my friend. She married a great dude, who I also know, and like most of us out there, including me, they wish they had a fat bank account, but they don’t let money determine how fun and enjoyable their lives are. That’s how it should be for everyone.

I could probably come up with a dozen more subjects that I “could” write about, but I guess I’m just glad that I finally “did” write something. Hopefully, this will break the ice in my mind, and I can write again in less than 8 weeks. Actually, I’m going to shoot for less than 2 weeks. See ya then.

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