End of an Era…but does it have to be?

In my seemingly brief 31 years on this planet of which I’ve been mentally cognizant for, eh, 13 of them perhaps, I have repeatedly heard the phrases, “end of an era” or, “the good ol’ days”.  I myself, have used and probably overused these phrases though my age would suggest I am merely blowing hot air as I have not been around long enough to use either. However, this evening I report on what is the end of an era beginning well before my childhood, my Uncle Blaise’s house in Vermont, aka “The House”.

For the past two decades I have been a visitor of The House. I learned what ‘real food’ is (hint: not McDonalds), watched my first Marx Brothers movie and developed my passion for film, learned how video games are enjoyable, but can never compare to good face to face conversation, and truly fell in love with Vermont and small town living.  We cooked for the family, we swam in the river, we hiked, and played badminton. Anywhere between 10-20 of us packed into a small, three-bedroom cottage, grabbing sleeping space wherever the floor was flat, not one person crying out for an actual bed.  This summer retreat for 4th of July weekend was everything that is amazing in life. It revolved around friends, family, food, the outdoors, and pinochle.

My only potential regret is that I may not be able to bestow this type of experience upon my son as he gets older. And that is because of a trend that I am noticing on a bigger level which is there isn’t the forced family time anymore. As a kid I quickly learned you wanted to make it to the head table, and if it wasn’t your time, you sit as close as possible and listen in. Kids today aren’t interested in that. They are too involved in their technologies and faux existences to want to learn from the adults. Between bs television shows that show kids with far more independence, rudeness, and disrespect than we ever encountered, and the constant need for visual stimulation from flashy videos and games, children are growing up independent of the qualities that are essential to being well-rounded communicators. They aren’t being forced to listen and wait for their moment to contribute to the conversation.

But looking beyond just the house in Vermont, do people go on vacation or do retreats like they used to in the 60’s and 70’s? Was Dirty Dancing fake and there aren’t summer getaways with arts and crafts and dancing and socializing?  We need to have these types of vacation destinations again. We need to force interaction between people from all different geographical locations and trade stories of experiences while creating new ones.

There is far too much polarizing propaganda that is meant to create controversy and division to keep people from uniting. I’ve experienced ‘Southern Hospitality’ from right-wing, bible belt Christians. I’ve experienced a Northern small town community atmosphere where it seems like everyone is in on this secret safe haven; immune to outside hate and bullshit where everyone is accepted. Ideologically they are exactly the same while claiming to be totally different because of social belief standards set by the mainstream.  North to South, East to West, being human and having good family and friendly values doesn’t change no matter what your religion, race, or economic standing in life is.  So why are we letting this country become divided over this he said she said nonsense?

It is time for everyone to start creating their own “Vermont Houses”. It is time to create opportunities for everyone to experience positive interactions with people of similar interests from different locations. Share the plight of your neighbor and help in any way you can, even if that means just being, literally, a good neighbor.  It may be idealistic. It may be the Crown Royal talking. But I’ve never met anyone I couldn’t relate with on at least one topic.  Let’s start a new conversation today. Hi, my name is Matt. Do you know how to play pinochle?


Flag: Un-Americanlike Conduct


We can all agree there are too many bs penalties that are ruining the once great game of American football. Flags for over-celebration, taunting, tapping the guy you are trying to prevent from scoring, etc. have all contributed to the whiny nature that is now plaguing the sport while also slowing it to a crawl. I for one refused a free Sunday Ticket offer from my former provider Directv (for another post on why I left and what I am using now) because I don’t have time enough to watch that much football nor can my remote handle the constant changing of games due to inactivity. But I digress as this post will have very little to do with football, per say, and more to do with flags.

As a reminder, this is my opinion. I am not asking anyone to adopt my opinion and will not discount anyone for having their own. However, if you agree with me feel free to share this post.

As we have been beaten to death with it already, everyone has heard about the recent benching of 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Not because of his terrible play, but of his own accord to sit during the National Anthem in protest of the treatment of African Americans in this country. Cheers and outrage have poured out from the polarized country we have undoubtedly more become and continue to regress into. While I don’t condone Mr. Kaepernick’s decision to remain seated, it is his right to do so. The National Anthem is a meaningful reminder that we live in a country of resilience, and despite bombs bursting physically or metaphorically, through the night we stand unwavering unto the dawn.

There are many bombs going off in our country right now. Almost all of them metaphorical as we are much, much more fortunate than others elsewhere (see: Middle East). Continuing racism is one of those bombs. It could be the fact we are trying to talk about it more which brings about both the good proponents of change and equality while also dredging out the scum of country who perpetuate the problem. I live in Florida where I am exposed to many of these scum on a daily basis. And one of the things I see the most which sickens me is the abundant displays of the Confederate flag. For all that is right with what the American flag represents is the complete opposite for the Confederate flag.

The “rebel” flag represents one thing, sore racist losers. I grant that the spirit behind the initial secession, in which they were not happy with their government and moved to change it, was essentially what America was founded on. However, their reasoning behind it to continue to enslave people, to oppress for capital gains (something still prevalent today) are not causes worthy of ripping this country in two. You fought, you lost, give it up. Every person who flies the Confederate flag is flying a flag of treason. It is not free-speech anymore. The moment that flag was taken into battle against the United States, the moment a US Soldier was killed in the name of slavery and oppression, you lost the right of protection under the First Amendment.

The VA and National Park Service agree per this article http://wapo.st/2bwwGzV. What is ridiculous are the one’s flying the rebel flag are saying they are more patriotic because of the rebel nature of it (more like because of their love of guns, monster trucks, and not learning to read). These are the idiots trying to crucify Kaepernick for his right to protest. These are the hypocrites who fly the American flag and Confederate flags next to each other in the back up their pick-ups, who refuse to read the First Amendment or any government document unless it is paraphrased in their favor, and are blatantly dishonoring the American lives lost and troops that fought to retain and progress their freedoms.

The point to all of this is for people who are stuck in their old ways, their old thinking, need to take a second or third or tenth look at how their actions may be affecting other people, people who may be different from them. And if one of those people stands up (or sits down) to say something, the first thought should not be to chastise them for their actions or words, but find out why they felt the need to take that action. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Kaepernick probably won’t have a job in San Francisco this year. It won’t however be because he took a seat for something he may believe in. In this country we put athletes and celebrities on a pedestal.  If the people we put in the spotlight aren’t willing to speak up for the right causes, then who is supposed to speak on our behalf?  The people who are supposed to champion our causes are voted in to office. Know who you are voting for. And if you don’t like the choices, vote for someone else. It really is that easy. And instead of bashing candidates to a pulp, tell people the positive reasons you want to vote for someone else. Then they can pass on the message to their friends, and them to their friends, and so on, and so on… Get my point?  Vote with purpose not with distaste or hatred. America and its flag will make it through the night!

Purpose…What is it?

Welcome to the next installment of a needy friend or family member’s cry for attention. That isn’t exactly what this is, but I can definitely understand how it can be perceived that way. So what is the purpose of this, need I word vomit…blog…? Well, it serves a few purposes that revolve around my current neediness. (I said it wasn’t a cry for attention, I didn’t say I wasn’t needy)

First, I told my sister I was going to create a competing blog against her and her new found joy to share her life’s anecdotes. I can promise all of you that it will be proofread more closely and will follow most of the main rules of grammar. Next, my intention is to create a space in which I can ultimately have conversations with myself (and anyone wanting to comment on my topics, participation is encouraged) in a medium that doesn’t make me look like I am bat shit crazy. Although, once again, this may be the actual perception of what this is. Truthfully, we have a lot going on in this country which demands discussion before a full blown apocalyptic meltdown occurs. I am just one person with minimal influential power other than the ability to vote and post my thoughts online. This blog, in my opinion, is a more constructive way to begin those conversations than just posting internet memes. If I am to develop a following, perhaps we can turn it into a grassroots movement, but for now, I am only looking for validation that the seemingly common sense thoughts in my head are what many others are also thinking and may not be saying aloud.

And finally, an objective of this is to allow me to hopefully enhance or keep sharp my writing abilities. The ability to formulate complete sentences and effectively deliver your message to another person is being lost due to texting and e-mail that doesn’t get scrutinized by corporate policy. Be it poor receivers, a poor message, or just the entire process itself, communication is becoming harder and harder despite technology to make it incredibly easy. I am sure the foreigners working for Verizon and ATT don’t fully appreciate my well articulated e-mails explaining why they need to get their heads out of their asses and tell me why my fiber internet can’t be delivered on time, but I feel they are delivered with no shortage of professionalism and that is what matters.

I will leave you with this for now, which will probably be a focal point of what are hopefully many of these articles; part of life is about recognizing your purpose(s) in this world and accepting whether or not it is enough. I am still trying to recognize all of my purposes. Hopefully through the course of these discussions I can recognize the rest of them or accept what I know now as enough.


~ Matt ~