Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Limits of Love

They say that love will make a man do crazy things.

How else would you explain why The Proclaimers would walk 500 miles, and then walk 500 miles more, just to be with a loved one. 500 miles is an incredible distance to walk, unless compared to the distance Forrest Gump covered during his 3 year, 2 month, 14 day and 16 hour run across The United States a few times.

The idea of love causing people to do crazy (read: stupid) things is well-chronicled in song, film, television, literature, and life.

According to researchers at the University of London, falling in love "causes serotonin levels in the brain to drop, causing obsession. Then it increases production of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes high blood pressure and potential loss of sleep. And to make matters worse, when we look at our new loves, the neural circuits that control social judgment are suppressed. Which explains why sometimes other people can see things we can't when we're 'blinded by love.'"

Yes, love makes people nuts.

Bruno Mars has a problem. Not only does he have a complete inability to record a song that isn't completely terrible, he is in an abusive relationship. He is in love with a crazy broad who doesn't appreciate the lengths to which he will go to show his love for her. Not only is Bruno "black and blue" from the physical beatings this woman routinely inflicts on him, but he also might have to "catch a grenade," "throw his hand on the blade," "jump in front of a train," and "take a bullet right through my brain" for this lady. I don't know where Bruno resides, but the dangers that he potentially faces seem very hazardous to his health. In my neighborhood, there is a potential to get mugged, stabbed, shot, or beat up, but I am not in imminent fear of having grenades thrown at me by Nazis, or being assailed by samurai-yielding ninjas. Perhaps Bruno lives in a rougher neighborhood than I do, but it is more likely that Bruno is living in some industrial-age, post-apocalyptic dimension where trains are still the primary mode of transport and travel.

The thing of it is, that Bruno knows better. As he says at the beginning, "Should have known you was trouble from the first kiss had your eyes wide open. Why was they open?" Not only is keeping one's eyes open during a kiss incredibly creepy, but it is indicative of poor moral fiber. How else can you explain a person who would watch another person "burn up in flames" if his "body was on fire."

I just don't think he is going to make it. While he successfully navigated a crew of mocking Latin gang members, a taunting homeless man, and disapproving clergy while pulling a piano, I just don't see this working out for the young man in the long run.

Bryan Adams was in love. Bryan was so into his girl, that "Everything" he did, he did it for her. That's some kind of love. Bryan also explored the lengths to which he would go for his love, and pronounced that not only would he fight for her, lie for her, walk the wire for her, but he would even die for her. While I have no idea what it means to "walk the wire" for someone, it seems like a considerable effort with real possibility of danger. What would possess Bryan Adams to declare intent to die for another human being? Once again, love is the culprit, and the cause of a lack of sound reasoning. Unlike Bruno, who seems destined for a life of pain, misery, and loneliness, we know that Bryan (Robin Hood, played by Kevin Costner) did get his girl (Maid Marion) and the two lived happily ever after surrounded by Little John and the rest of the merry men. Would Maid Marion have taken the bait if she wasn't sure of his resolve to die on her behalf? We'll never know, but everything seemed to work out for those two kids, despite Bryan's irrational state-of-mind.

Meatloaf would do "anything" for love. Think about the possibilities of where this could lead a young man. Would Meatloaf eat a jar of mayonnaise in one sitting for love? Would he cut off his own right foot for love? Might he grow huge man-boobs and sign up for an anarchist regime lead by a schizophrenic madmen wreaking havoc on capitalistic America?

Meatloaf, like Bryan and Bruno would do almost anything for love. Almost. Meatloaf would do anything for love, but he won't do that.

Let's consider some of the things that Meatloaf will do for love. He'd "run right into hell and back," He'll "never lie to you (and that's a fact!)." Some nights he loses "the feeling," and some nights he loses "control." But, "As long as the wheels are turning, As long as the fires are burning,As long as your prayers are coming true," he will continue do anything required for love.

Even when presented with specific requests from his girl, Meatloaf doesn't shy from announcing his intent to, "Do that."

Will he raise her up? Help her down? Help get her, "Right out of this Godforsaken town?" Will he make it a little less cold? He can do that!

Will he hold her sacred? Will he hold her tight? Can he colorize her life she's so sick of black and white? Can he make her a little less old? He can do that!

Will he make her some magic, with his own two hands? Can he build an Emerald city with these grains of sand? Can he give her something that she can take home? He can do that!

Will she cater to every fantasy that she's got? Will he hose her down with holy water - if she get's too hot? Will he take her to places that she's never known? He can do that!

But there are some things that he just won't do. He won't just think of this thing as a fling and move on. And he most certainly won't screw around. No, he won't do that!

What would possess Meatloaf to do all of this for love? How can he know that he will be there until the final act? What makes him so ready to take a vow and seal and pact?
It's for love, yes, but more specifically, Meatloaf will, "never forgive myself if we don't go all the way - Tonight."

So what it boils down to is that this guy will say anything to get in this girl's pants tonight. In fact, I question the "love" that any of these fellas has for their significant other. Maybe it's not "love" that makes a man bonkers, but the overwhelming desire to have sex with a woman, leading a rational person to conclude that the entire thing is rather dumb.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Top Ten Albums of 2010

#10 - #2: Who cares.

#1: Beach House: Teen Dream

Friday, November 12, 2010

Robin Hood(s)

Last night, Kevin, Heidi and I watched the new Robin Hood (Well Kevin and I watched it, Heidi just happened to be in the same room where it was being shown for part of the evening). The best part of watching a movie with friends is making fun of the movie, and we certainly had opportunity during this one. While the movie wasn't bad, it is the worst of all Robin Hood movies.

# 1 Disney's Robin Hood is hands-down, the best Robin Hood of all time. I even rank this movie as my favorite Disney film of all time. The reasons why Disney's version is the best are many: Animated animals as human characters is always awesome, I love the voice of Friar Tuck, that Rooster playing the guitar and singing is fantastic, the fair scene when Robin shoots an arrow through another arrow is cinematic gold, and the song, "Robin Hood and Little John running through the forest, hoodalawdy hoodalawdy golly what a day" is a great song, Prince John as a lion, and i love when the whistling song gets stuck in my head.

# 2 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is so amazing, that I find it hard to come up with the words to describe it. Kevin Costner is impeccable as an Englishman (accent and all) and Morgan Freeman most likely lists this movie as "Number One" on his resume, The combined awesome-ness of Robin and Marian's terrible hair throughout this movie is something to behold, Robin splits an arrow with another arrow, and Bryan Adams sings the greatest song in the history of humanity. During the summer of my 8th grade year, I listened to this song roughly 4,354 times, and vowed that summer, that it was, in fact, true, that if I ever fell in love, I would fight, lie, walk the wire and/or die for my lady. I stand by my commitment.

#3 Robin Hood: Men in Tights is absolutely hilarious. Well, that might be an overstatement, but it's at least mildly funny. I love the fact that it took Mel Brooks about 30 seconds to decide that a parody of "Prince of Thieves" had to be made. Hell, it took the "Scary Movie" guys longer than that to make fun of Scream. This incarnation of Robin Hood is better than the latest one because it features an arrow splitting a tree (watch end of trailer below)/

4) Robin Hood is not a bad movie. It really isn't. Unfortunately, they wait the entire movie to let you know that this is a prequel. This information might have made the movie make more sense. As Kevin and I traded wits and one-liners throughout the movie about the missing fair/archer competition/splitting arrow scene, we eagerly awaited the comforts of the three previous incarnations of Robin Hood, but few were to be found. I mean even Maid Marian's hair wasn't a travesty. The best part of the latest Robin Hood was Old Man Loxley. He ruled. This movie fails to reach epic status because A) It's exactly like Gladiator, only not as good, B) it wasn't ridiculous enough to mock incessantly, and C) it doesn't have a descriptor like "Prince of Thieves" in the title. I include the trailer for this movie, only so you can enjoy Russell Crowe's furrowed brow, which remain so throughout the entire film.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Real Talk

It's been a dreadfully long time since I have offered up a blog, and it feels like the right time to start throwing some thoughts out for your enjoyment. The last time you heard from me, I was singing along with "Boys II Men" about how hard it is to say farewell, and preparing to move to Chicago.

Well, here it is, almost five months later, and I'm happy to report that I did, in fact, move to Chicago.

It's impossible to report everything that has happened in the past five months, so I won't even try. I have gone from "The College Life" of living in a dorm and eating a 7,000-calorie a day diet of poor cafeteria food, to 12-14 hour days of struggling create lesson plans and maintain some sort of behavior management system to educate students on the South Side of Chicago. In my spare time, I enjoy drinking beer with Kevin, drinking beer with my wife, and drinking beer with other people that I have met in this city (So the 7,000-calorie a day diet has been maintained).

In the time since I last posted, The Reds made the playoffs and promptly were eliminated, while The Giants are currently playing in the World Series since the torturous 2002 Series. The Bengals and terrible, and the 49ers are even more terrible-er. A World Cup happened, and I actually watched a few matches and found myself almost giving a damn about soccer for the first time in my life. Lebron made a decision, and something probably happened in hockey, although everybody couldn't care less.

There has been a disturbing amount of loss in just the past month alone. A current student was killed by a gunshot to his head on a school night because he stepped onto his porch at the wrong time of night. A former student was killed as a result of gang activity and needless violence. One of my co-workers lost her husband (younger than me) to a sudden and unexpected heart complication, and she is now left to deal with the loss of the love her life while trying to raise their one-year old daughter. Meanwhile, Heidi lost her grandfather just this past weekend. October has been a dumb month.

Moving forward, I hope to actually get back to offering my random musings for your reading pleasure. With a wealth of ridiculous slang and teacher stories, I am sure that I can string together a few things of interest. And if not, I am sure I can say a lot of menial things about sports

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Goodbye in Spanish is, "Adios."

I've been saying a lot of goodbyes over the past few weeks. I know that Brian is going to make fun of me for being "too emotional" in this post, but whatever. Just deal with it. I promise to be quick.

I should be able to teach a class in "Goodbye-ology."

Consider that I have lived in the Cincinnati area for 3.5 years, and I've met a lot of people. My job required me to make significant relationships with about 30 kids and their families. Co-workers, friends, family, church folk, etc. You get the point.

You'd think that I would be pretty good at this by now. It's not my first rodeo.

I left my hometown at the age of 22 and said goodbye to my parents and many life-long friends, and youth group kids that I had worked with for three years.

Three years after that I left Los Angeles/Orange County area and said goodbye to many friends, fellow students, co-workers, students that I worked with, etc.

Two years after that I left San Diego and said goodbye new friends once again, old friends, one of my best friends, Duane, who was also the guy I started The Resolved Church with, all the people in the church, a bunch of "foster kids" I worked with, etc.

So here I am again. Saying goodbye to all these people that I have shared my life with. I'm terrible at it. Saying goodbye is when people decide to tell you all the things about how much they appreciate and like you. It feels good, but it's exhausting.

Added to the drama of this move is saying goodbye to a new set of people: My "new" family. I love Heidi's parents a whole bunch, and we have lived next door to them the whole time we have been married. Bonnie and Carl have become my parents, too. And now I have to say goodbye.

Heck, I even had to say goodbye to Heidi yesterday morning at the airport. Sure, she's coming with me this time, but she won't be joining me in Chicago for a month or so. That really sucks.

I'm not good at speaking my feelings on the spot. I'm much better at writing my emotions and sorting everything out. In person, the goodbyes usually feature awkward pauses, strange statements that don't make much sense, forced eye contact even when one or both participants are close to tears, and tenuous handshakes or hugs.

The decision to shake or hug is one of the most difficult moves to commit to in that moment. It's best to go in prepared.

Since I'm no good at it, and since I've had the song stuck in my head for weeks now, I have decided to learn all four vocal harmonies to the following song, and let Boys II Men do the talking for me:


How do I say goodbye to what we had?
The good times that made us laugh
Outweigh the bad.

I thought we'd get to see forever
But forever's gone away
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

I don't know where this road
Is going to lead
All I know is where we've been
And what we've been through.

If we get to see tomorrow
I hope it's worth all the wait
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

And I'll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

And I'll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

If you can't read, then just watch and listen to this classic performance on the Arsenio show:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Kid Got Old

I'm not sure what to do with Ken Griffey Jr. I assume that this isn't a quandary that most face, or are concerned with, but I most certainly am.

I have never been a Griffey Jr. fan. I thought that he bailed on Seattle for more money from Cincinnati and I didn't respect that (Pacific Northwest bias. No need to correct me on the details of the contract and such).

As the guy rides off into the sunset, I have been enjoying the highlights of "The Kid" running into walls and diving around to make great plays. I am impressed by his picture-perfect swing and big grin. We all get wrapped up in these things.

Here's the dilemma in brief:

1) Every team that Griffey ever played for got significantly better after he left.
2) The whole "falling-asleep-in-the-locker-room" thing doesn't look to good on him (In his defense, I am 10 years younger and I take naps at work all the time).
3) He destroyed the Reds. I liked to call him "The Albatross" when I first moved here and started going to games, because that is what he was for this organization. For a guy who is renowned as being a "good" and "fun-loving" player, how is it that he seemed to be such a poor influence on the young guys here in Cinci? I don't know the answers to these questions.

1) Just watch the highlights (especially the Mariners ones). The dude was exciting to watch.
2) Never been associated with steroids. This is a HUGE point. The knock against Griffey has always been that he got injured too much and fell apart when his contemporaries were swinging for the fences and breaking records. What we didn't care to notice was the fact that all of his contemporaries were cramming their bodies full of illegal drugs to avoid injury and breakdown, while Griffey was "doing it the right way." I hope that he never gets busted for HGH. I really do.
3) That smile is pretty snazzy.

So I need a little help. I'm going to let the comments of this post determine the point-of-view I take regarding Ken Griffey Jr. Help me out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Power Rankings

I love Power Rankings. For those of you who don't spend hours a week on and, Power Rankings are subjective lists that "rank" professional sports teams, usually with a small anecdote to follow in order to justify the ranking of the commitee or individual.

I love Power Rankings because they are succinct, to-the-point, and easy to consume (read) in just a few minutes. Perfect! Here are some Power Rankings for a cornocopia of miscellanious topics:

Fast Food Restaurants (Yes, I know that I shouldn't eat fast food, but sometimes I do. And when I do, I have standards)

1. Taco Bell(Cheap, easy to eat while driving, and underrated when it comes to taste)
2. Wendy's (Again, cheap. That's the ticket. The presence of the Frosty on the dollar menu at Wendy's makes this a perennial stop during the warm summer months)
3. Burger King (Flame-Broiled burgers and a delicious BBQ sauce)
4. Arby's (Curly Fries!)
5. McDonalds (If it wasn't for the delicious breakfast offerings, there is no way McDonalds makes this list)

Just missing the cut (mostly because they don't exist in the Midwest): Del Taco, In n' Out, and Carl's Jr.

Breweries (I love beer more than any other thing that I put into my body. Enough said.)

1. Founders (Solid line up from top to bottom. Special brews like Kentucky Breakfast Stout, and good offerings such as the Reds Rye, Centennial IPA, and a tasty Porter)
2. 3 Floyds (Would be number one, but some of their brews are not that great special. Beheemeth Barley Wine, Dreadnaught IIPA, Alpha King Pale Ale and Robert the Bruce are all outstanding)
3. Stone (Arrogant Bastard was the first beer I truly fell in love with. It's been a love-fest ever since.
4. Dogfish Head (All of the "- minute IPAs" are outstanding, and Dogfish does some crazy stuff with premium ingredients. It's usually way too expensive, but damn, it's good)
5. Tie: Great Divide, Deschutes, Lagunitas, Clipper City, Flying Dog... (A combination of being too overwhelmed to make a decision, and too lazy to think about it anymore leads to the ultimate cop-out of a tie)


1. Apples (Apples are easy to find, easy to eat, and usually pretty solid)
2. Oranges (It's rare that you ever get stuck with a bad orange. The only detractor how messy they are to eat)
3. Berries (Straw, black, blue, cran, rasp... I love berries so much, especially in pie)
4. Peaches (When you get a good one... It can't be beat)
5. Bananas (I used to hate it when my mom would put a banana in my lunch, because everything would taste like banana in the brown paper sack. I don't really like them, but they get the job done. The most efficient of the fruits)

Sports (The order was determined by a very scientific formula that combined 'watch-ability' and 'fun-ness to play')

1. Basketball (My favorite to play, and the playoffs are always a thrill to watch)
2. Baseball (Playing catch is my favorite thing to do in the world. Going to a baseball game is the best sporting event to attend. Listening to games on radio is better than watching on TV)
3. Football (Probably the best to watch, and extremely fun to play, but my mom never let me play in a league, so I don't know what it's like to put on the pads and helmet)
4. Hockey (I only ranked this for my friend, Brian. I've never played and I can't skate, but going to hockey games ranks #2 on the "Best live sporting events" list)
5. Everything else (Golf, tennis, soccer, badmitton, frisbee golf, raquetball, cornhole, bowling, whiffle ball, horseshoes, pool, swimming, curling, gymnastics, snowboarding... If it's an activity that I can play and/or watch, then I like it)

Cars I've owned (I've owned five cars in my life, and never one that was less than a decade old. I don't see this trend changing anytime soon)

1. 1982 Datsun 4x4 (This thing was awesome. An absolute tank. Had to sell it when I moved out of Humboldt County and needed things like A/C and fuel economy)
2. 1988 Acura Integra (First car. The only one I ever put a bumper sticker on (Less Than Jake). This car was actually a pain in the butt, but it had a sun roof, so I thought it was pretty awesome)
3. 1996 Subaru Outback (Current vehicle. It has it's problems, but it's a hatchback, and hatchbacks are the best)
4. 1993 Chevy S-10 (This was the vehicle that Heidi drove around until recently. My father-in-law and I replaced the clutch and it was a terrible process)
5. 1995 Toyota Tercel (It was a good car, until my friend Jeff managed to rip one of the doors off, leading to a lot of heavy plastic and duct tape to keep the rain out)