Archive for June 2009

Spring Break

Spring Break 2010 is not for another ten months. So please stop sending me those weekly Facebook invitations to sign up for special group trip packages to Acapulco. I don’t care how many wristbands you can get me for exclusive “VIP” club access, and I really don’t care about how I can score a free trip by becoming a campus rep.

I’ve never been on an organized spring break trip to Acapulco, so maybe this is why I simply can’t understand the attraction. Sure, binge drinking, nice weather, casinos, and standardless members of the opposite sex are awesome, but these spring break staples can be found elsewhere. What ever happened to good old road trips, and adventures to corrupt domestic cities like Vegas and New Orleans? Don’t give me the drinking age excuse…we all know you Aculpocoers have the “illest” fake ids. No, I’m not hating on the wonderful display of self-entitlement and excess that is spring break…I’m just not sure why a bunch of primarily Jewish college kids choose to congregate in this degenerate city overcome by drug wars and swine flu.

The thing that bothers me most about these Acapulco trips is how they change those who go on them. In addition to returning from Mexico with George Hamilton-like tans, spring-breakers often come back with a smug heir of accomplishment. When I ask peers how their trips were, I often hear the common assertion, “It was amazing…but I don’t know if you could handle it.” It’s like their week of fist-pumping at Palladium equates with conquering some great natural force like Kilimanjaro.

Sometimes, my friends display brevity when responding to my inquiries about their trips. They’ll give four word answers like “you have no idea,” while showing me the bracelets still on their wrists (really?), shaking their heads, and emphatically exhaling. If I went on the trip of a lifetime, I’d want to talk about it. But no, you jerks act like you just returned from a second tour of duty in Vietnam. Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll have to be more sensitive when asking you “veterans” questions about your past experiences.

All of you past and future Acapulco champions… I know your dreams are to fly over a rainbow so high. But mine are for you to just shut the fuck up.

Finding Salvation

The musty smell. The color-coded aisles. The 50 % off sales on $2 items. These are integral parts of one of my favorite places to visit- a Salvation Army thrift store.

Technically called “family stores,” these establishments help support many people in need. They help provide low-income shoppers with wide selections of clothing and home goods that would be difficult to afford elsewhere. These stores also provide individuals with the chance to donate unwanted possessions they would likely throw away. Most importantly, however, Salvation Army stores help people like myself find sweet things with value far exceeding their discounted prices.

Where else could I find a Michael Vick jersey these days?

In all seriousness, I do frequent the “Salvo” during the school year. It’s a great place to find items that are too obscure to be found in traditional stores, and too ridiculous to be sold on eBay. You can find great bargains on anything from frosted cereal-themed pajama pants to XXXL-sized lime green sports coats. You never know when these purchases will come in handy. Screw Syms. I bring my educated consumerism to The Salvation Army.

Ever need an idea for a Halloween costume? Forget ordering that generic Captain Jack Sparrow suit and head on over your nearest Salvation Army store location. Last October, I was lacking creativity, so I made a pilgrimage to one of these great inspirational sites.  After several minutes of browsing the store, I came across a Boston Bruins hockey jersey on one of the shelves. Being a New York Rangers fan, I was convinced I had no use for this sweater. However, I quickly learned I was mistaken after noticing a random golf putter on nearby display. Juxtaposing the putter with Bruins jersey gave me the brilliant idea of being the great Happy Gilmore for the holiday. The costume’s price was right, bitch! For just $4, I had an original costume I could proudly wear.

Some people think it’s repulsive that I shop at the Salvation Army. These ignorant fools argue that because I don’t know who previously owned my purchases, they could be tainted. Come on. People receive blood donations from strangers! While careful diagnostic tests are done to ensure that this occurs safely, Salvation Army shoppers can also be proactive by efficiently sterilizing all of their hand-me-downs before use.

Look, Salvation Army thrift stores are not for everybody. But they certainly are for me. Unless you check one out, you’ll never know what you’re missing.


Initial Draft Thoughts

The 2009 NBA Draft is over and I’m okay with where the Knicks stand. After missing out on Ricky Rubio and Stephen Curry, the Knicks did as well as they possibly could’ve with the cards they were dealt. With their top guard targets gone at pick # 8, New York clearly brought in the best player available-Arizona’s Jordan Hill.

Acquiring Hill and trading Quentin Richardson for Darko Milicic will help give the Knicks much needed size and skill in their frontcourt. If the Knicks are able to retain David Lee and get any contributions from Eddy Curry (two very big ifs), they should be more competitive on both ends of the court.

Toney Douglas (FSU), the Knicks second draft choice, should be able to contribute in limited minutes as a scoring guard. After all, Mike D’Antoni has proven he can turn good point guards into MVPs (Steve Nash), and average ones into solid floor leaders (Chris Duhon). 

Just because the draft is over doesn’t mean the offseason’s buzz will fade away. Expect many trade rumors involving Ricky Rubio and the Knicks, as well as a variety of sign-and-trade proposals involving both David Lee and Nate Robinson.

With Donnie Walsh running the show, I trust that the Knicks are headed in the right direction. Despite watching my favorite draft targets slip away, I’m still confident that New York is far better off now then they were several hours ago.

Weekly Film & Music Picks #1

Every week, I’ll do my best to suggest some quality films and music for you to check out. It’s summer…and it won’t freakin’ stop raining! This combination should leave you with plenty of time to kill. You’re clearly bored enough to be reading my new blog (Thanks), so why not give some of these random selections a shot?

Falling Down (1993)
Easily my favorite Michael Douglas film. Have you ever had a bad day and thought you were just about to snap? Well, in this Joel Schumacher movie, Spartacus’s son portrays a Los Angeles everyman who does just that. Full of action, surprising humor, and plenty of social commentary, this is definitely a fast-paced and memorable film.

Death at a Funeral (2007)
How can you not want to see a British comedy directed by the guy who voiced Yoda (Frank Oz)? This film is hilarious, and quick to the point. If you have 90 minutes to pass, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this.
Post-Beatles Paul McCartney

– Everyone loves The Beatles. No rock band has ever tangibly influenced society to the degree these legends have. The Beatles are so iconic, that it’s sometimes easy to overlook the individual musical contributions of John, Paul, George, and yes, Ringo. Lennon usually gets all of the love for his solo work, but about a year ago I started getting into Wings. McCartney’s post-Beatles band rocks. Everyone knows “Jet,” “Live and Let Die,” “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Band on the Run,” yet most young music fans overlook Wings when exploring classic rock. Don’t.  And while your at it, listen to McCartney’s 2007 solo album Memory Almost Full. Critics loved the record, and it reminds us all about how the world’s greatest band lives on through it’s greatest melodist.

Brendan Benson
Known by many as “the other guy who sings/plays guitar with Jack White in The Raconteurs,” Benson’s solo music is catchy and fun. He is not shy to express his admiration of the aforementioned Beatles (Check out his cover version of McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It”), and with the success of The Raconteurs and his fourth studio album due out August 24th, he will surely gain much deserved attention in the near future.

NBA Draft Thursday

The 2009 NBA Draft is on Thursday and I couldn’t be more excited to see at least thirty of my contemporaries become millionaires over night. The draft is a celebration of young talent and the realization of lifelong dreams. It’s also, for many, a night of hope, optimism, and new beginnings. Unless, of course, you’re a New York Knicks fan.

Every year, I’ve fooled myself into believing that the doomed franchise’s savior would arrive on draft night. It’s time to be realistic. No superstar is coming to New York next season. I can only hope the organization brings in a player who will eventually contribute to making Madison Square Garden special once again.

I’d be thrilled to acquire Davidson’s Stephen Curry. I’ll be even happier if the organization somehow pulls in Spain’s 18-year-old passing phenom Ricky Rubio. While I highly doubt either will ever be up for league MVP honors, I’m confident that both could shine in the “Mecca of Basketball.” Both guards are skilled, marketable, and capable of making others better. A superstar (or two) will join the Knicks in 2010. But without players like Curry and Rubio, no team can routinely compete for championships. Knick loyalists should know this from experience.