Tuesday, April 7, 2009

But I Do Know That I Love You

Just a follow up to my previous post...

After talking to a few people/readers, including my lovely grandmother, I came to the realization that my post was written hastily and without complete consideration of how I might be coming across to those not familiar with my motivations.

I am not anti-philosophpy, per se.

I am just confused by it. I am confused why it is so significant in society and why people take such interest and comfort in it.

As my grandmother put it (I might be paraphrasing a little bit here) "your writing seems to lack a 'live and let live' attitude.

I must say, I never meant for this to the case. That is how I live my life, or try to, every single day. I have no problem with how anyone choose to life their life, as long as those choices do not impact those around them negatively. I did not mean to preach, although I guess I sort of did near the end. I was simply trying to generate discussion, as opposed to squelch the opinions of others.

When I disagree with something, I am not dismissing it. I am challenging anyone/everyone to make me change my mind.

If there is anything I do know, it's that nobody really knows anything for sure.

So I will finish this off the way I should have finished the first one... what are your thoughts on philosophy? Does it inspire you? Interest you? Do you find it deplorable?

I am interested to hear your collective thoughts.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Don't Know Much About History

Oh. I thought there was a line about philosophy in there somewhere. It's history, then biology and then... oh. Swing and a miss. Oh well
At the very least, that old Sam Cooke tune reminds me of John Belushi in the university cafeteria, in Animal House. And that is something that is always worth being reminded of. the eyebrow before the Jello is classic.

Anyways, I guess I wanted to write something deep and insightful about philosophy but I'm not feeling especially eloquent, so I will just get it out there and perhaps generate some discussion.

I don't get philosophy. I don't get the point of it, in the long run. I guess people are attempting to find themselves, to see if different ways of thinking inspire them to see themselves in different ways and then maybe they'll act differently because of this. But what is the point of that? Do you really want to be acting a certain way because of an ideology or because someone else believed something and happened to write about it?

That would be as arbitrary as if I started to preach about the health benefits of corndogs, somehow gathered some followers and was thus in charge of the corndog movement. People following me blindly, simply because they wanted to buy what I was selling.

Maybe some philosophy is supposed to prevent this, to inspire people to question ideology and the status quo. But by following that philosophy, which already exists, are you not just perpetuating the idea that someone must tell you what to do, what to think, what to be?

I know that perhaps, some feel I am trivializing great thinkers and personal growth but so what? that stuff should be trivialized. It's mental excess, and it's over indulgent. Simplicity is under-rated.

Know who you are. Know what you value. Know what will never change for you.

The rest is just gravy.

Smarten Up


1. state or quality of being vigilant; watchfulness: Vigilance is required in the event of treachery.
2. Pathology. insomnia.

1560–70; alter. ( -ance for -ancy ) of obs. vigilancy < class="ital-inline">vigilantia; see vigilant, -ancy

1. alertness, attention, heedfulness, concern, care.

Alright well, again, due to my technologial ineptitude, I'm not really sure how to get rid of all these links above, as I copy and pasted that definition from dictionary.com. but that's not really the point of this anyways.

The point is, that I do not stick with things.

Well that's not entirely true. I stick with some stuff. I stick with sports and movies and music. I stick with reading books. In fact I've rarely started a book I didn't finish, even if I hated it.

So why can't I stick with writing? I enjoy it. I think I'm half-decent at it. When nobody else is reading it, I write all the time.

I think I just need to get into a routine. I think whenever I realize I haven't written in awhile, I will remember that one time, I posted about vigilance. and I will be vigilant.

I realize none of this is groundbreaking stuff. I am just attempting to hold myself publicly accountable, in the hopes that it will inspire greatness or at least, consistency.

"vigilance is required in the event of treachery'

What a dire sentence. Who writes the dictionary, anyways? Do they use the words in different sentences for each volume? That would be wild.

I will now attempt to write something that is more relevant. Thanks for indulging me.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

So Where the Wild Things Are, has become a film. It is directed by Spike Jonze and looks absolutely phenomenal. For those who, like me, loved this book as a child, I am sure that along with excitement for the new film, you also feel a bit of relief, as it appears they have not destroyed it, a la Mike Myers Cat in the Hat and Jim Carrey's Grinch. Jim Carrey's Grinch, in retrospect, actually has its entertaining parts, but can't hold a candle to the original. If it was it's own independant movie and I knew nothing of the original, I might have enjoyed it a bit. But it's not and I didn't.

In a society obsessed with remakes and recapturing past glories (or quite possibly, one that is just out of original ideas) it is good to see that someone can infuse life and a full length plot line into a story that was fairly short. This movie, rather than being obsessed with filler, seems to encapsulate the lessons and ideals of the original story, while still having content that is all its own.

Also for the record, I really don't believe that society is out of original ideas. I just think that we are obsessed, to a fault, with nostalgia. It is all well and good to be nostalgic to the point where it makes you feel good and reminds you of fond memories. But it's a bit pandering and masturbatory to be nostalgic to the point where you stymie new and creative ideas. Jonze seems to have taken a classic idea and simply used it as a template for his vision, rather than attempting to recreate magic that he never could.

Anyways, here's the link to the trailer. I hope you guys are as pumped as I am.

Random Thoughts (are you KIDDING me, Tuna?)

So I was taking the bus earlier today and it went past/near a baseball field where I used to play when I was a youngster. It reminded me of certain people and certain people reminded me of a certain story and that certain story, in retrospect, made me utter the words 'are you KIDDING me, Tuna?'

For those that are not familiar with the Office...well get familiar with it. But also, let me explain so that you don't have to watch three full seasons of it just to understand this post. Andy Bernard is a character on the Office. On one particular episode, a more central character, Jim Halpert, brings a tuna sandwich to work for lunch. This is the first day he meets Andy. Andy thus calls him Tuna. And because Jim is reasonable and Andy is not (the magic words come about two and half minutes in, if you click the link), Jim's actions occasionally cause Andy to incredulously exclaim ' are you KIDDING me, Tuna?!... generally with that emphasis and sometimes with a variation in word order. It has become synonymous, for a lot of people, myself included, with anything absolutely ridiculous. Anyways, there is your background. Now for the piece de resistence! (French for 'piece of a Klingon. I dont get it either ').

So when I was about 14, I played in a co-ed softball league, in which I was a pitcher. The league, while it had a rotating cast of supplementary players, had pretty much the same core players each year, which was a lot of fun. This also meant that the same core pitchers came back pretty much every year as well. There was the crazy windmill pitching kid who's name I can't remember, the kid who thought he was really good but was just awful, this kid Mark who some games was awesome and some games would just lose it totally and get smoked, and there was me. And then there was Amanda O'Sullivan, who I am still friends with. She was a girl, she was cute and she could PITCH. She was a year older than me, so some years, when we were between age levels, we didn't play together, but I always saw her around and had known her since I was small.

One game, at good old Wigmore Field, my team was playing Amanda's. At some point in the game (I can't remember when but I think near the beginning), I came up the plate and promptly drilled a ball straight back at Amanda and hit her in the ankle. I found out later that I broke said ankle and that when she fell over, she did something weird to her tendons or something. I'm not sure of the specifics. But regardless, her ankle was messed. I felt terrible.

So the next game, karma being what it is, I was pitching against some team and took a comeback myself, albeit not as bad. But it did hit me in the stomach and hurt like a mother. The head umpire of the league, a dude named Charlie, who I had also known forever, was joking with me about it later on and we were sharing comebacker stories (I know of one guy who took a ball in the chest and had a heart attack on the field.. but didnt know that one at the time) and I related the story of hitting Amanda the week before.

this was our exchange

Me " Oh yeah for sure. Actually just last week I ripped one back and hit this girl in the leg, she was pretty messed up"

Charlie "Oh, that was you?"

Me "Yeah it was pretty bad"

Charlie "yeahhh. that's my daughter"

Me "What? (immediately full of dread. Charlie was an intense fellow)

Charlie "Yeah, Amanda is my daughter. Her leg is pretty messed up"

Me "Oh. that's not good"

At this point, I had to attempt to hit. I am pretty sure I struck out and was rattled for the rest of the game.

You'd think that was the 'are you KIDDING me, Tuna?!?' moment. But it isn't. there's more.

So the next week, I am goofing around with Ryan, one of the younger umpires and telling him my horrific story of my run-in with super intense Charlie and he started to laugh.

Ryan "you're the one who messed up Amanda's leg eh?"

Me "yeah yeah. and it was the guys DAUGHTER. I was terrified for the rest of the game'

Ryan "yeah eh? well that's my sister"

wait for it...

wait for it....


anyways, it turns out, in retrospect, that all the O'Sullivans are wonderful people. But at the time I was 14 or so and did not know them very well, except to see them at ball. and this was one of the more mindblowing experiences of my life.

anywho, moving onto other random thoughts...

Is there anyone other than me, who, when confronted with a crying baby, not like.. right beside you, but in your vicinity, closes their eyes and tries to send the baby happy thoughts? I did it on the bus today and I think it worked. I mean, I probably had nothing to do with it, but who knows right? Regardless, it made me feel like I had super powers and that's all I really want on a day to day basis.

I thought I had other random thoughts but I think that's it for now. Perhaps I will update this later on when I remember said randomness.

To finish up, I would like everyone who finishes this to give me their best 'are you KIDDING me, Tuna?' moment.

peace and love

Friday, March 27, 2009

Changing the World, One Compliment at a Time

I don't really have much to say about this, except that I'm fairly certain Matthew George Martinez Elliott III and myself are going to do this in downtown Toronto very soon, as an homage to these fellas.

please watch and enjoy.

(the two links are different versions of similar awesomeness)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What, exactly, are we looking for?

Alright, I'm still working on getting pictures on here, so the fact that Ovechkin's picture is so much larger than Cherry's is not indicitave of anything other than my technological ineptitude.

I know those who read this might not necessarily be sports fans, but I'd urge you to read on, as while this begins as a sports debate, it has cultural ramifications that I think are extremely interesting.

Ok, so to briefly recap, Canada's hockey icon, Don Cherry, has been engaged in a (mostly) one-sided war of words with Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin, who is a Russian.

The long standing hockey rivalry between Canada and Russia really needs no introduction. It spanned the Cold War years and even today, in international events, Canada vs Russia games always have an extra feeling of intensity about them.

Cherry as Canadian hockey's elder statesman, was one of the original detractors against the Russian style of hockey and against European hockey in general, frequently citing that 'the players over there have no heart' and it seemed, at the time, he had a point. A team of Russian all-stars that came over and played the NHL Stanley Cup Champion Philadelphia Flyers first and then the Cup Champion Montreal Canadians were beaten into submission, with one Russian squad even walking off the ice rather than finishing a game against the Flyers.
This was during the dirtiest era of hockey, where players were starting to learn about conditioning, so they were larger and more fit than they had ever been, but equipment was still in the dark ages, in regards to protecting players. The Canadians wore no helmets; the Russians nearly all did. Bench clearing brawls were frequent in the NHL; in Russia, the hockey players were Red Army soliders, conscripted at a young age to play for their national team. Fighting and misbehaving was not tolerated, nor were displays of emotion. Many members of the 1972 Summit Series team were quoted as saying that playing against the Russians was like playing a machine or playing a bunch of robots. There was no fire in their bellies and no passion in their play.

That brings us to present day. The Soviet Empire has fallen, Russians are free to play their hockey where they wish (to a degree) and are free to develop their own style. And from Russia, more than anywhere else, we have seen a devastating amount of skill come in the form of flashy speed and goal scoring. Alexander Mogilny, Pavel Bure and now Ovechkin, have scored goals, maybe not in the numbers of some of their North American counterparts, but with a sheer force of style that is impossible to duplicate.

Bure and Mogilny however, were raised in the Red Army, and while the former certainly showed passion at times, the latter rarely did. Ovechkin is the first real superstar born and raised almost entirely in non-communist Russia. His passion for the game is fantastic, bordering on rabid. He loves scoring goals to such a degree that it seems like he is never happier than when bulging the twine.

And now Don Cherry has been making the point that while he respects Ovechkins passion, he feels that his goal celebrations are downright disrespectful and have no place in the game.
American broadcasters for the most part feel that Cherry's notions are antiquated here and I can't say I totally disagree. I have long defended Cherry's principals in regards to playing hockey the right way, tough but clean, with more steak than sizzle and with respect for ones opponent. However, the heart that Cherry always claimed the Russian players lacked? Ovechkin has it. He has it in spades. He grew up as the 11th of 11 children, too poor to buy new hockey sticks, so he would tape broken ones together. If he ever got a new one, he would never take slapshots, because he was afraid of breaking the stick. He credits the develop of his lightning release to this fact. What is not to love about this kid? He gives 100 percent every single second his on the ice and nobody has more fun than he does.

I think Cherry understands this. He keeps saying things along the lines of 'Alex you're the best player in the world and I know you're a class guy, but act with some class', like he is trying to coach the young man along. Alex, for his part, seems to be listening a little bit, although whether it's to Cherry or to his team mates, who are predominantly Canadian, is unclear.And he has never been disrespectful towards Cherry, speaking of him as a popular Canadian television host and clearly knowing who he is. However, for his 50th goal, rather than scaling things back, Ovechkin scaled things forward, with a pre-meditated goal celebration that involved him dropping his stick onto the ice like it was too hot to touch. He says that a couple team mates helped him come up with the celebration and were supposed to join in while it was going on but when the time came, he was left by himself, looking arrogant and disrespectful, as he was on the home ice of another team.
If he wanted to do that at home, for his own fans, fine. But to do it in another teams building, well, I don't agree with that.

But maybe we can't have it both ways.

Do we want the robotic Russians back? I don't think we do.

We want Ovechkins heart and passion and fun-loving spirit right?

So how can we criticize a culture of players first for being too emotionless and then for being too full of vim and and vigour? It doesn't really seem fair.

What, exactly, are we looking for?