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Archive for March, 2016

Wake up.

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Many of us tend to resign ourselves to cliché, media driven forms of happiness. Netflix. Chipotle. Everything faster. We want our world optimized to adhere to youth’s ever dwindling attention span. Yet some of us comfort ourselves and delude ourselves from this truth by saying it’s ‘the American dream.’ It’s time for us to wake up.

Some already have by altering their priorities and choosing to explore the world. However, you can’t just leave your safe American confines, head to an all-inclusive resort that shelters you from the surrounding culture and come away anew. You achieve this disconnection from the hive mindset when you truly immerse yourself in the day-to-day lifestyle, mindset, and thinking of a culture.

Exploring the world opens your eyes to the way people in other cultures engage with each other, instead of burying themselves in technology. If Champions League is on in France, the people don’t sit in their houses and watch it, unlike many America’s today who prefer to watch football games while lounging at home. The people of France congregate at a local bar with their neighbors and join in on the revelry. Experiencing these cultures fosters a new outlook on life, happiness and the validity of the ‘American dream.’

We are losing sight of the magic of exploring an unknown part of town, finding a unique dive bar, or a special spot that has an amazing view. We’d rather sit and watch the new episode of Breaking Bad while looking at poorly cobbled together gifs or memes made by strangers.

If you have a late night craving while in Spain, you don’t drive to Taco Bell. You head to the local market (familiar with the owner of course) and then make something like the locals make. You get what you want, and him and his family benefit from your business, not a corporation. They know you, and you know them.

Walk the main drag of any European city at 4:00 pm and you’ll find the area full of people at cafes and bars. Presuming the weather is nice; people are outside talking, drinking, and socializing as a community. They are not glued to their smart-phones, rushing home from work to change into comfy clothes and curl up on the couch. They may be working less, but ironically, are more efficient than Americans.

Everything has a downside, and there are some benefits to the lifestyle we have cultivated in this country. However, it would behoove us to take a deep breath, step back, and reexamine our surroundings. Do we really want all of this, or have we been programmed to think we want it?

This is not a binary decision. It is not all or nothing… We can still drive innovation and optimization. We are allowing ourselves to become consumed by the very technology we have created. We can still create these wondrous innovations. This is not a call to go back to the Stone Age. It’s a reminder to take the time to unplug, relax, and to truly be a part of society.

I’m in control.

Friday, March 25th, 2016


Dogs are people, too.

Shot by Rick Painter

A government run by memes.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

When our forefathers drafted the Constitution it was impossible for them to anticipate today’s shit storm known as social media. Over the past decade the way we communicate and share information has drastically changed. Today, social media gives a voice to every person with Internet access, whether they deserve to be heard or not – which democratically speaking, should be a given, right? But that means people of all types, whether educated or ignorant, racist or accepting, loving or hateful, have a platform to share their views with everyone including friends, family, celebrities and elected officials.

The recent Supreme Court vacancy has shed a harsh light on the way social media affects the process of government. Every move made by elected officials is suddenly shared and scrutinized. Any hothead who caught a snippet of CNN can hold their own social media press conference, despite the fact that they don’t have a journalism degree and they skipped government class in high school. Opposing political parties are unable to work together because as soon as an elected official makes a compromise for the greater good it is drastically simplified in a meme and then blasted across social media sites. Government officials are under such unprecedented pressure from voters that it gets in the way of allowing them to do their jobs. According to the Huffington post, more than 30 judicial nominees are currently waiting for the Senate to confirm them to federal court seats. Some have been gathering dust for over two years, like Susan Baxter, a Pennsylvania district court nominee, who would fill a seat that’s been empty for 942 days. In the meantime, court vacancies are rising, cases are being delayed for years on end and judges are burning out trying to keep up.

Social media can be a positive tool. It can even be an asset to some areas of politics by raising points and encouraging dialogue about important issues and furthering worthy causes. But the way social media is currently working (like a virtual circus) is causing our system of government to break down. Let’s raise the level of discourse on social media and ask ourselves, “Are we making a whole lot of unnecessary noise just to be heard, or are we truly improving the country with educated opinions worthy of sharing?”

Fire and brimstone.

Friday, March 18th, 2016


Only a stick and a stone can make fire.  

Shot by Rick Painter

I can’t get no satisfaction.

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Rolling Stones

Iconic music and movements.  Imagine a world without it.