Earlier this week, I stumbled upon r/HermanCainAwards on Reddit and have found myself looking at story after story with sympathy, yet at the same time this odd, frustrated anger.
r/HermanCainAwards is named after the infamous Herman Cain who died from COVID-19 last year after catching it at a Trump Rally. It consists of screenshots of post after post of people denying the various risks of the current pandemic, share ignorant memes and misinformation only to have a follow up post that they eventually died from it.
The night was a cool 61 degrees, much more comfortable than the 95 plus of the daytime. Liam was at his campsite in rural southeastern Utah, about 100 miles east of St. George. He started a campfire, cooked some corn, and then found himself in the comfort of his tent as he stares directly overhead to the stars above. Earlier that day, Liam hiked 3 miles up and back from the top of Angels Landing, a popular vista at Zion National park.
The first time I watched a Terrence Malick film, it was Tree of Life a few years ago and I couldn’t last any longer than 45 minutes. My problem was I didn’t understand how to specifically watch a Terrence Malick film. This is because his movies don’t follow the linear storytelling motif. To The Wonder doesn’t necessarily feel like a movie, with a plot, rising action, and an eventual climax. It feels almost like a reflection of life, it feels more like a memory, or how I would perceive my own life if I was sitting at the end of it looking backwards.
We’re witnessing something I don’t believe we’ve ever seen in American Politics. The republican party is eating itself alive and the most surprising part is that this all started a long time ago.
Over the past 20 years, the right wing political machine has continuously fanned the flames of fanatical rhetoric beginning with conservative talk radio. I know because I was an avid listener of it in the early 2000s. Rush Limbaugh from noon to 3, Sean Hannity from 3 to 6, and if I was ever in the car between 9-11pm, there was Michael Savage.
Last week, Scott Mescudi (better known more by his stage name Kid Cudi or Cudi for short) checked into rehab for depression and suicidal urges and did so with a public confession on Facebook. This started what I believe is an important, yet long overdue conversation about mental illness. I was on twitter discussing it with a friend and he tweeted at me, “Kid Cudi changed your life”. I agreed because Kid Cudi is something far beyond a pleasant sounding combination of samples and tones grouped with poetic set of lyrics.
I’ve immediately latched onto Westworld, but not for the same reasons as some of my peers. Some mentioned the action, some mentioned the acting, and some mentioned the science fiction, but I think they were all missing the core. In my opinion, Westworld is (going to be) a show about existentialism that uses robots, and the wild west as simple plot mechanics. If people think this is only going to be like watching a life like twitch stream of someone playing Red Dead Redemption, they wont be able to see the forest for the trees.
I’m writing a story with a character faced with a moment of excruciating loss of a someone close and I’ve been chewing on the concept of loss to better understand how to appropriately frame it and eventually, have that character come to terms and accept it. The simple fact that someone who was here isn’t anymore misses the wide spectrum of deafening emotions that explode when tragic loss is experienced, regardless of how it occurs.
I saw an Anthony Bourdain quote the other day that struck me at my core.
“I understand there is a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons and old movies. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid, and outwit, that guy”
We had a saying back in the day, “That’ll preach.” It basically meant that line is extremely effective in making a point.
Over the past few years I’ve made a long and slow theological transition. The whole overview of that will be in another post at another time, but in a nutshell, I’m moving away from classical theism. However, I can assure people I won’t be turning into one of those Richard Dawkins quoting, trilby wearing aristocrats everyone hates at parties. If I were to use an analogy, if Christianity was a house and every room was a different denomination(with the Pentecostals upstairs making all the racket), consider me outside in the backyard in a tank top and cargo shorts shooting off model rockets while some post-rock band is blaring on my boombox.
Loneliness is a dirty word. The slightest insinuation that you’re lonely normally brings with it a slap on the back and the stereotypical, “You need to be happy with yourself before you get into a relationship” line. Which is kind of a rude assumption when you think about it. Throwing around huge over-encompassing words like happy or satisfied with qualifiers like “with” and “by” can easily lead you into a semantic graveyard.
This is my first blog post from my new home in California. I really haven’t had time to sit down and manifest my thoughts into words until tonight. Sharing the couch with two dogs, (Roommate’s not mine) glass of whiskey at my side, neat, I finally feel the calming of the fast paced change that happened at the end of December. I went from Pittsburgh to Chicago, down through Texas to Corpus Christi, then to Houston, then off to Washington D.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of these moments with people who are considered special. Times when you feel as if it is the calm before the storm, the calm that’s often time spent preparing. When you are around those people, it feels like the best course of action is to become a sponge. Absorbing everything that’s said, they contain astronomical amount of memories and experiences that induce awe and respect.
Last night, I fell asleep listening to Manchester Orchestra’s latest LP, Hope. I then woke up at 3am, because my mind was spinning a hundred miles an hour. I’m suprised by my own reaction to it, It’s the same album as Cope, their LP from earlier this year, but every song is re-imagined differently, softer and more acoustically. Cope was heavy, perhaps too much so and many fault it for not really have any “breathing room”, but this is where I think Hope comes back with a second swipe of the audible paintbrush to paint a larger picture.
Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time. – Albert Camus
I was watching a film the other day and in it there was a romantic story arc involving the main character. Some of the interaction between the characters wasn’t what you or I would consider practical, or even remotely realistic as the two main characters embraced for a cinematic kiss.
I find the following to be profoundly true. “Life is easily simplified as the continuous struggle inside of the disparity between our expectations or desires and reality.”
Struggling to accept what is there and when it is drastically contrary to what we expect or want. The Kübler-Ross model stages of grief articulate this point clearly. Often when something happens in our lives that we simply cannot believe, we try exhaust every avenue or possibility that we can take advantage of to make it not true.
Growing up, I was never in a motorcycle family like some of my friends. I thought they were generally cool, and after watching Akira in the mid 90s I thought it would be really sweet to have one. But still, I never understood some of the motorcycle culture. Some of my friends families were decked out in anything Harley-Davidson. Hearing the Live Free radio commercials in Pittsburgh, you’d hear people trying to explain why riding was such a unique experience.
Some brief thoughts.
Not many celebrities deaths cause me to sit down and contemplate everything. I normally stop for a moment, say something thoughtful and move on. Since I don’t know them personally, it’s as if they just retired from public life and stopped making public appearances. Even though I didn’t know Robin Williams personally, this is different and I’ll explain why.
When I about 10 years old, I got a small 25 inch fat CRT television in my room and I rewired the boombox to act as a makeshift surround sound system.
I have not walked this world for long, but I already get nostalgic sometimes. When that happens I find myself zooming out and seeing the entire distance traveled. Like a pinball, I’ve ricocheted ever so gracefully into something unexpected and new multiple times. One peculiar thing has suddenly occurred to me when I sit back and examined my life this time.
The things that have altered my life the most, whether it be people, events, things, I have always been perceived them at the time to be of nothing special or of no significance.