Monthly Archives: January 2016
In the spirit of recently deceased music icon David Bowie—whose song “Heroes” has become something of an anthem for many—I decided to start a blog series that focuses on regular people doing heroic and selfless deeds.
Most of the time, it seems as if only those serving in the military are labeled as heroes, which they certainly are. We just need to remember that regular, non-military folks can also earn this esteemed moniker. And it’s about time they got their time in the sun, too.
Today’s hero is Susan Jordan, principal of the Amy Beverland Elementary School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Yesterday afternoon, while buses were loading students to return home, one bus mysteriously lurched forward and jumped a curb. It started moving towards several children when Jordan leapt into action. She immediately tossed several kids out of harm’s way—none of whom were seriously injured—but sadly, she was killed in the process.
Jordan was a beloved principal and served for 22 years. And her sacrifice shows how much she loved those around her, as well.
“This is a great example of an educational leader in our state and our city. … Just a phenomenal individual that truly cared about children,” said Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent Shawn Smith. “This is a tragic situation that we have. This loss is going to ripple across our district of 15,000 students.”
Susan Jordan was a true hero… and one the community will never forget. May she rest in peace.
The New Year is still relatively fresh, but 2016 has thus far been deadly for music icons.
To date, we have lost David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister and now founding Eagles’ guitarist Glenn Frey, who died Monday from complications related to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pneumonia. He was 67 years old.
Frey burst onto the music scene in 1971 when he, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon formed The Eagles, a band known for producing radio-saturating hits like “Hotel California”, “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Desperado”. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Like many music lovers of my generation, I grew up listening to The Eagles on AM and FM radio—long before I ever knew the names of the band members. In fact, I first learned who Glenn Frey was in the 1980s when he released “The Heat is On” as part of the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. I always recognized the talent, though, and I assure you that he will be missed.
Enjoy that peaceful, easy feeling, my man. Always.
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today…
“Space Oddity” (1969)
Growing up in America during the 1970s and 80s was an experience that I will never forget. And memories of those eras are as fresh in my mind today as they were when I was a child and teenager living through them. Of course, nothing takes me back there more than the music I love and the artists who created it. And one of my favorite artists of the era was none other than David Robert Jones, otherwise known as David Bowie.
Unfortunately, Bowie passed yesterday after battling cancer for the last 18 months. He was 69 years old.
The first David Bowie song I remember hearing is the same one I quoted at the beginning of this post: Space Oddity. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I heard it for the first time, but I know it was on the radio of my mother’s station wagon when I was a “wee lad” of only six or seven years. I eventually heard many of his other 1970s hits—like Young Americans, Rebel Rebel, Jean Genie and, of course, Golden Years—but my love for Bowie really took hold in the 80s.
During a decade famous for hair metal, teased bangs, friendship bracelets and denim coats, Bowie truly found his place in pop culture. And thanks to MTV—a cable station that once focused on playing music videos, if you can believe that—Bowie and his songs quickly became part of the zeitgeist. I still remember seeing the video for Blue Jean for the first time, slow dancing to Let’s Dance at a teenybopper birthday party and driving my first car down the highway with Modern Love blasting from the cassette player. Those certainly were the days.
Sadly, I lost track of David Bowie a little during college and beyond—at least in terms of his newer material—but my love for the man and his music never waned. In fact, I was excited to hear he was releasing a new album, Blackstar, and plan to purchase it later today. I’m sure it will be awesome, but there’s one thing that would make it better, and that’s having its creator around to enjoy it with his fans. That obviously isn’t going to happen—at least not in the physical realm—but I know Bowie will always be with us in spirit. And for fans like me, he will always have a special place in our hearts and minds.
Farewell, my friend. And thanks for making weirdness and eccentricity hurt so good…
I know more than a week of the New Year has passed—and that theoretically, resolutions are supposed to start on day one—but sometimes it isn’t that easy to decide what to change about yourself or your approach to life. This is especially true when you finally quit smoking and complete an ongoing resolution you have never been able to complete before, as I did last year. To be honest, this is probably the first resolution I have ever completed, which makes this year’s list a bit more challenging… but not by much since I have loads of things upon which to focus in 2016.
So without further ado, this year I resolve to…
Celebrate the end of the 2016 presidential campaign. The election won’t happen until November, but at least there is a finish line in sight. And I’ll be happy when the news outlets stop reporting on every dumbass thing the GOP says and instead return to important news—like what Kanye and the Kardashians have been up to lately.
Look forward to the next Star Wars-themed film without letting it control my life. Like most nerds from a galaxy not so far away, I awaited the latest installment of the famous sci-fi epic by reading nearly everything published about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And I’m not even talking about mainstream reports, like casting decisions and potential plotlines. I’m referring instead to every rumor, set photo, fan theory and possible spoiler that ever dropped online about the J.J. Abrams-directed film. Now I have Rogue One to look forward to next December, only this time I’ll try to ignore all the hype and simply enjoy the final product once it’s released.
Exercise and start eating better. This is little more than the obligatory resolution I always include but never complete. Sure, I normally start off well, but my motivation fades with each new PS4 video game release or Netflix binge. Will 2016 be different? Only time will tell, but I’m certainly making no promises.
Live in the present. Stress is obviously a killer. And each year, I find myself stressing more and more about things I can’t control, like the future and, in many ways, even the past. It’s time to face the fact that life will never be what it once was—and none of us truly know how life will be years or even decades from now (provided we make it that far). Living in the present and letting stress roll off our backs is basically all we can do, so that’s what I’ll strive for this year, as well.
Spend more time with friends. Actually, this should read “make friends with whom I can spend time,” but there’s no point in splitting hairs. We all know how busy life can be. Once you get up, go to work, leave work, run errands, return home, cook dinner, clean up and unwind, there really isn’t a lot of free time left—at least not during the work week. And although my favorite weekend routine is to lay around wearing sweatpants, watching television and playing video games, I understand how important human interaction can be. It’s time to get me some of that!
Reinvigorate the passion for my career. Like many of you, I began my work life as kind of an idealist—ready to make a difference in the world by helping college students achieve their goals and dreams. I still do this, of course, but the wide-eyed optimism of my youth has been replaced by a darker, more pessimistic nature. And the last thing I want to become is one of those “toxic people” you read about on Facebook—the ones positive people are encouraged to kick to the curb in order to improve their own lives. I may be older and wiser—in some ways more than others—but that doesn’t mean I have to give in to all the negativity. It’s time to take a more positive approach and to remember that life is what you make it.
Find a good woman. Former girlfriends should not read this as a criticism since I’ve been fortunate enough to date some really good women in the past. Sadly, though, this hasn’t been the case recently since I haven’t been dating at all. After my marriage fell apart, the last thing I wanted was to embroil myself in another relationship, but now I’m getting tired of being alone—and being my own romantic partner. Perhaps Match.com can help me find a suitable replacement for my right hand (and sometimes my left, since variety is the spice of life).
Get creative. Writing has always been one of my greatest pleasures. Unfortunately, I just haven’t felt very creative for the past few years, so the only writing I’ve done has been here on Gnostic Bent. This year, though, I hope to branch out and start writing fiction, film treatments and screenplays again. Perhaps nothing will come of them, but at least I’ll feel like I’m accomplishing something once more.
I’m sure that I could go on and on—since there are so many things I would like to change about myself in 2016—but I have bored you enough with my New Year’s resolutions. Now it’s time for action. And with any luck, my end-of-the-year post will focus on how much I actually accomplished this year, rather than how many of my resolutions again went unfulfilled. Only time will tell, I guess, but at least I have something that I haven’t had in a long time: hope. And right now, that is good enough for me.
Happy New Year, peeps!