Category Archives: Perspectives
By now, I am sure you’ve heard that in yesterday’s New Hampshire primaries, it wasn’t Democratic favorite and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who kicked serious ass. It was the independent senator from Vermont and self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders who took home the victory by a margin of more than 20%.
In other words, it was Hillary’s ass that got kicked, but she wasn’t alone. A host of Republican candidates met similar fates as real estate mogul Donald Trump garnered 35% of the GOP votes, followed by John Kasich (16%) and Texas whack-a-doodle Ted Cruz (12%).
Other GOP hopefuls effectively had some wind taken out of their sails, the most notable of which was the repetitious and robotic Marco Rubio, who along with Jeb Bush pulled in only 11% of the Republican votes. Candidates Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson never even managed to break the 10% mark.
What does all this mean? Your guess is as good as mine since we all know politics is little more than media-fueled horse shit. However, it does indicate one very important point: people are tired of supporting establishment candidates who never seem to accomplish anything in Washington. Clearly, it is time for a change.
And don’t be surprised if we all feel the Bern soon!
Congratulations to the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos!
In a tough defensive battle against the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers—the favorite to win thanks to their dynamic quarterback, Cam Newton—the Broncos held the NFC South powerhouse to 10 points and eventually took home a 24-10 victory.
Although the Panthers limited Peyton Manning’s team to only one offensive touchdown—a one-yard C.J. Anderson run late in the fourth quarter—it was a key, Von Miller forced fumble and defensive touchdown in the first quarter that more-or-less sealed the Panthers’ fate. Granted, they were able to punch in their own Jonathan Stewart TD—and to score a Graham Gano field goal—but sadly, that was all the offense that NFL MVP Newton and his crew could muster… and it simply wasn’t enough.
The Super Bowl win was the second for future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning—tying him for bragging rights with his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning—and this could well signal the end of his NFL career as many feel Manning will retire—especially since he would be going out on top.
Yes, the Sheriff may ride off into the sunset—not on a horse, but on the back of the best defense in the NFL. Way to go, Broncos!
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!
Christmas is a magical season.
Aside from all the wonderful gifts people give and receive, the yuletide time of year generally means reflecting on the year that passed, spending time with loved ones and enjoying the cheerful nature of the holidays.
Unfortunately, it is also a season of shock and weirdness, as the following stories so clearly illustrate.
BAREFOOT BAY, FLORIDA
Police in Brevard County received a call that two suspicious men were milling around behind homes in a local community. The alleged burglars were wily enough to avoid arrest, but not for long. One of the men was eventually caught by the authorities. The other—22-year-old Matthew Riggins—wasn’t so lucky, though. He decided to hide in a nearby pond and wasn’t “done in” by the cops; he was killed by a ferocious, 11-foot-long alligator! I guess Mother Nature decided to dole out justice on this occasion, huh?
Have you ever been working or playing outdoors, only to dirty your shoes so much you had to leave them outside your door to air out? I’m sure most of us have at one time or another, but doing this in Henrico County could be especially hazardous. A math teacher from Varina High School was just arrested not for stealing shoes, per se, but for doing something slightly more disturbing: stealing shoes and then returning them with bodily fluids inside! Authorities would not elaborate on what fluids were present, but they did say the material was not fecal and instead contained “biological evidence,” so it’s pretty obvious that baby batter was the culprit. And nothing says happy holidays like semen-filled sneakers!
Some people love sports, some love television, some love cars and some even love recreational vehicles—literally! One such person is an unidentified man from the United Kingdom who was just busted for doing something unexpected: trying to make love to a camper van. Apparently, the man was seen one night on a well-lit street lowering himself onto the metal tow ball of a nearby camper. He was spotted by a 15-year-old girl—who was thoroughly traumatized by the experience—but thankfully received only a warning. RV rape simply isn’t a punishable offense across the pond… not yet, at least.
SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, OHIO
A man and his family are under fire in Ohio for displaying a rather unusual nativity scene. All the major players are there—baby Jesus, wise men, animals and such—but with one major difference: they’re all zombies! Of course, it didn’t take long for neighbors to complain and for one to leave a note that read “God frowns upon this manger scene.” I guess they forgot that theoretically, Jesus was the first zombie. He did rise from the dead, after all.
This concludes my first official Christmas post, but with several weeks left before the big holiday, I’m sure it won’t be my last. Ho, ho, ho!
I just heard that one of my favorite singers from my youth—Stone Temple Pilots’ front man Scott Weiland—passed away at the age of 48… just four years older than I am right now.
The news is depressing, to say the least, since I equate so many happy memories with STP songs like Plush, Vasoline and Interstate Love Song. Sure, I knew that Weiland was a pretty serious drug abuser, having been in and out of rehab over the years. It seemed as if he had turned a corner, though, as he sang with Velvet Revolver and his newest band, Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts. And maybe he had, but it was likely too late. The damage of drugs and a rock & roll lifestyle had already taken its toll.
Based on reports from TMZ, Weiland died in his sleep on Thursday and was found dead on the tour bus outside his next show in Minnesota. A cause of death has not yet been determined, but Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown died of a drug overdose in March, so it’s possible that drugs played a role in Weiland’s ultimate demise, as well.
Basically, this sucks, so please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers since he was a talent lost far too soon. Farewell, Scott—and thanks for the memories.
When people commit crimes against other people, news sites rush to get the stories so they can broadcast them endlessly through nearly every electronic device known to man, and even some low-tech sources like newspapers and magazines. However, stories involving crimes against animals are far less prevalent, despite animal cruelty being a huge problem in our allegedly modern world.
One such crime is known as animal hoarding—and it involves exactly what you might expect: collecting animals without having the means or desire to care for them correctly.
According to the ASPCA’s website, “animal hoarding is covered implicitly under every state’s animal cruelty statute, which typically requires caretakers to provide sufficient food, water and veterinary care. In most cases, criminal prosecution of animal hoarding can be a difficult process and may not be the most effective route, since hoarders are often emotionally troubled rather than criminally inclined.”
You may not think this happens very often, but believe me, it does. Consider the recent case of an Arkansas dog hoarder that made headlines last week.
Van Buren County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the woman’s property and found more than 50 aggressive and malnourished dogs around her home. They even had to shoot some of them just to get into her house. And when they did, they made a gruesome discovery. The 65-year-old hoarder—who suffered from Hepatitis C—was dead… and that wasn’t even the worst part.
Some of the dogs had been feeding on her corpse!
I suppose the old adage is true even in the animal kingdom: what goes around, comes around. And if there is a silver lining to this story, I guess it’s that at least some of these malnourished canines got the Thanksgiving meal they so desperately needed.