Archive for Holidays

American Idiots

In a prior post I wrote that arguably the most abused power in the world is that of celebrity. 2009 has done more than justify this claim. This effed-up year has shown me (and hopefully the masses) that investing admiration and hope (or money, in that scumbag Madoff’s case) in iconic figures will almost always lead to disappointment.

Think about it. This year, we’ve been let down by President Obama (he’s still the African American Fonzie, though) Alex Rodriguez (despite his 2009 playoff heroics, his past cheating was a sobering revelation), Chris (“Bobby”) Brown,  Jon and Kate Gosselin (assholes), Balloon Boy’s parents (see John and Kate), Michael Jackson (tragic, yes…but the “This is It” comeback tour never came fruition), office pimp David Letterman, and now Tiger Woods (thats what she said).

 

Pretty shitty in pink

 

While many celebrities do use their wealth and fame to positively change the world (Bono, Oprah, Bill Gates, Lance Armstrong, Brad Pitt, etc.), the majority of our heroes end up abandoning or abusing their unique positions of influence. Leading lives of excess can certainly be difficult, but we need all of our revered public figures to lead by example. 

With so many celebrities meeting their respective demises in 2009, it’s become harder to trust those whose actions actually warrant our attention, love, and respect. Seeing Tiger Woods hit rock bottom exemplifies how there is no line separating a famous individual’s public and private lives. In an age where TMZ is now considered a viable news source, I’m frightened. I’m scared that more of the people I look up to will turn out to be just like that fragile old man behind the curtain posing as the Wizard of Oz (he actually did fly away in a balloon). 

 

Ozzy himself

 

With the media scavenging for juicy stories, I can’t help but wonder what we’ll learn about other celebrities in 2010. What’s next? Are we going to find out that heroic US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger mistakenly landed in the Hudson River due to alcohol-induced confusion from a LaGuardia Airport Chili’s Happy Hour? Are we going to discover that Adam Lambert is actually straight?

 

You can be my wingman, anytime.

 

As we near the great ball-dropping of 2010 (ha ha), I can honestly say that nothing would surprise me anymore. If in the past, celebrities have represented who we most want to embody…maybe it’s time to rethink this position. Perhaps it’s the other way around, and our icons best embody us!  We grow up believing that our favorite athletes, actors, and leaders are flawless. While this obviously isn’t true, it’s time we start viewing these famous individuals as what they truly are- extreme examples of humanity’s natural imperfection and inadequacy. My New Year’s resolution is to shed my ignorance and do just that.

 

***Thanks to all who have supported me and this site throughout 2009. While I’m going to take a brief hiatus, I look forward to bigger and better things in 2010.

Happy Holidays and best wishes,

-Andrew 

I’ll Remember My First Beer

My 21st birthday is on Sunday. Check out my column about this upcoming milestone in Syracuse University’s Daily Orange.

click here to view article

Thankful

Nothing makes you feel more thankful than a near death experience 24 hours before Thanksgiving.

I’ve just returned home from Syracuse University, and the last four hours spent on the road have truly altered my perspective on some things. While riding shotgun alongside my friend Jason, my trip home for the holiday (my favorite one) started out like any other voyage from Central New York to Long Island. This abruptly changed around 8:30 am on 81 South.

 While watching Jason manuever through some heavy fog, I was alarmed by an oncoming white or gray (it came on too fast to tell) sedan heading right at us.  The car and it’s confused (and hopefully sober) driver were headed the wrong way, and for a second it seemed like a collision (to say the least) was imminent. Fortunately, I was able to startle Jason enough for him to swerve out of the way, keeping everything but our minds intact.

After narrowly escaping this brief, but traumatic moment, I had plenty of time to think about what transpired. I couldn’t help but reflect about the nature of our trip home, and how I now have something poignant to contribute the Bank family’s annual “let’s go around the table and say what we’re thankful for” dinner  routine.

But why wait until then?

I’m thankful for my alertness in the front seat (my other friend Matt was passed out in the back, and I’m not sure if Jason actually saw the car when I did). I’m strangely thankful that sleepy Matt actually crashed his Pathfinder into a deer on 81 South several weeks prior, because I cautioned Jason to slow down and watch for these roaming beasts just minutes before today’s scare.

I’m thankful that I liked the song playing on my friend’s iPod enough to have not been looking down and changing it at this time. I’m also thankful for irony (a band named The Killers may have saved our lives).

Brandon Flowers & the Killers

Brandon Flowers & the Killers

I’m thankful that the other driver didn’t have the same last-minute reaction that we did. He just as easily could have moved left as we veered right, which would have been equally as devastating.

I’m thankful for my friend listening to me, and handling himself like Ricky Bobby at a time when he could have frozen up. And lastly, I’m really thankful for having this website. What happened today really shook me up, and it feels right to get all of my thoughts out of my head.

With my thankfulness comes regret. My friends and I stupidly didn’t call the police (I think we were too overwhelmed with fear and our own sense of luck). I hope this isn’t a decision I will regret for the rest of my life. I’m not the praying kind, but I found myself begging a higher-up that nothing tragic ensued afterwards on that highway.

So this Thanksgiving, please be thankful for family, friends, food, football,or whatever F word it is that makes today, tomorrow, and every single day special.

Most importantly, be thankful for being able to be thankful. After today, I know I am.

Today We Celebrate… Our Bill Pullman Day!

When thinking about America, several goods, customs and people traditionally come to mind. There’s apple pie, baseball, white picket fences, and of course, our greatest modern patriot-John Mellencamp. The list goes on, but one proud American is often overlooked.

I’m referring to actor Bill Pullman, whose inspirational speech in the climax of the 1996 blockbuster film Independence Day easily ranks near the top of American history’s greatest public addresses. Pullman’s sermon is so powerful, that it certainly deserves similar recognition as Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” and Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speeches.

Sure Dr. King’s commentary and actions led to significant, necessary, and long-lasting social change. And yes, Gehrig’s courageous words inspired millions to appreciate the value and fragility of life (Saturday marks the 70th Anniversary of his legendary 1939 speech at Yankee Stadium). But neither iconic orator tangibly influenced the world like Mr. William Pullman did on one tumultuous 4th of July evening.

No, my friends…Pullman wasn’t sharing his dreams with his listeners. He wasn’t telling people how “lucky” he felt to be acting in a relevant film again. Portraying President Thomas J. Whitmore, Pullman was inspiring men and women throughout the world to fight for humanity’s right to exist! And he wasn’t doing it from a podium…he was speaking from the top of a military fighter jet.

With aliens threatening to destroy our planet, Pullman gave nearby troops a pep talk that makes Gene Hackman’s Hoosiers speech look like it was delivered by Ozzie Osbourne. With incredible use of syntax and powerful expressions such as “We will not go quietly into the night,” Pullman single-handedly catalyzed the resistance that saved our world from its demise (Jeff Goldblum may have helped a little bit too).

Even more impressive than Pullman’s speech, was how he followed it up. After receiving State of the Union-like applause, he climbed into the fighter jet and joined the fight to save the planet! Flying alongside skilled pilots, such as a drunken farmer played by none other than Randy Quaid (another American icon), Bill Pullman directly put his words into action.

When celebrating this year’s Fourth of July at your respective barbecues, don’t simply pay tribute to our nation’s Founding Fathers. Give a little love where it’s long overdue. Give thanks to the man who taught us that  ”we can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore.” Think about America, and the man who helped the country (and the rest of the world) survive its greatest historical challenge.

I know I will.

Thank you Bill Pullman.

Happy Father’s Day?

Father’s Day is a great time to reflect upon all of the ways in which dads tangibly shape our lives. Fathers, especially for males, profoundly influence how we see and interact with the world. They help shape our interests by passing on family traditions and values (For what other reason would someone ever become Met fan?) and help guide us through the various stages of development (Who else had the balls to tell you it was time to shave that awkward 8th grade mustache?).

The most interesting thing about dads is that they provide you with a living example of what you can, and probably will be like later in life. Sure, every young man can grow up to be the President of the United States, but most end up living just like the overworked, overweight, and overtaxed dude who passes out every weeknight on the living room couch during Last Call With Carson Daly (I swear, this guy’s entire audience must consist of sleeping fathers who drift off after Conan/Jimmy Fallon).
But that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with becoming like your father. I’m cool with it. It’s natural…so don’t resist.
Unless of course you have a shitty dad. Fortunately, a great role model holds that position for me. My dad’s ambitious, morally-grounded, and fun…so it’s easy for me to accept that I’ll likely follow in his footsteps. But what about those who aren’t as lucky?

In order to fully appreciate the great fathers of the world, we should take a few minutes this Father’s Day to recognize and celebrate some of the worst. Hopefully this will help settle any daddy issues in your life, and help you become more comfortable with the man you’re going to be.

The list is long, but here’s a start.

1. Kim Jung- ll.

- So you want to take over the world and assume the role of a global villain? Fine with me. Your obsession with James Bond films is well-documented, so who can blame you for simply wanting to join the likes of Jaws, Dr. No, or Odd Job (You’d be an excellent choice to play this role if they ever remake Goldfinger). The only thing that pisses me off is that you’re now pushing your son, Kim Jung- Un, in the same sad direction. This doesn’t sound so much like a Bond film anymore, it sounds more like the plot of Austin Powers. Sure, the “Crazy Gene” can sometimes be hereditary, but most of the time power transitions like this happen just like they did between Dr. Evil and his son Scott (Luge lessons, anyone?).

2. Darth Vader.

-  You separate your son from his sister at birth, make him work on a farm until his mid-twenties, and then cut off his hand before telling him you’re his dad? That’s kinda fucked up…even coming from the most feared man in a galaxy far far away.

3. Cameron’s Dad from Ferris Bueller.

- The man loved the car more than life itself! He loved it more than his wife…and his son.
"You Killed The Car"

"You Killed The Car"

4. Abraham

- Did it really take a flying angel to convince you that it was a little outlandish to bind your son to an altar and sacrifice him in the name of God? Most dad’s simply enjoy a game of catch in the backyard with their boys.
There are many more bad fathers that could be added to this list. However, I’m confident that there are significantly more good ones out there. This Father’s Day, let’s all celebrate these guys.
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