I wrote this yesterday morning on a flight from NY to Austin, but am glad I saved posting it until now because Nicholas Kristof's piece in The New York Times is a good place to start.
There is obviously something in the water.
I’m not sure why, but there’s something in the water that is making the current 12-month cycle we’re in one of the worst in the history of public discourse.
Think about it: the NFL lockout, the budget fight that nearly led to a federal government lockdown, the latest round of attacks on Planned Parenthood being lobbied by conservative Republicans, the looming players strike in the NBA, the Libyan political turmoil, the CBS-Charlie Sheen situation and the fallout from recent breakups experienced by yours truly and several of my friends.
Must I quote Rodney King? Can’t we all just get along?
To the NFL players seeking a larger slice of the TV contract pie: Please keep in mind that the owners are richer than you and can probably afford to lose a million or two by holding out.
To the NFL owners seeking to hold onto their large slice of the TV contract pie: Please keep in mind that you are richer than the players and can probably afford to lose a million or two and still make money.
To Democrats in Congress (and the White House) not wanting to cave to budget cut demands being made by Republicans: Please realize that you can still remind Americans that Republicans have already supported hundreds of billions of dollars for two wars in the Middle East.
To Republicans in Congress wanting to slash billions from the federal budget: Please realize that the Department of Defense has one of the biggest budgets ever maintained by our federal government and that’s probably a good place to start if we’re trying to cut the deficit.
To conservatives who want those budget cuts to include cuts to Planned Parenthood and family planning funding: Please realize that 90 percent of those funds are for preventative measures such as family planning education and access to contraception so next time you talk about preventing abortions, you may want to start there, not pulling funds.
To the NBAs players and owners: Please pay attention to what’s happening in the NFL situation. If we get to June and there is still no deal in place for the NFL season, do the opposite of what NFL Players Union Chief DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are doing because if the NBA goes down the road that pro baseball and hockey did in the ‘90s and ‘00s, it’ll be years before fans come back.
To Libya’s political fighters: Please keep fighting, keep pushing, keep up the pressure on Gaddafi. It can’t be much longer, can it?
To Charlie Sheen: Please don’t call what you’re doing “winning” because you’re not. You may be too high to realize it, but you’re the talk of Hollywood (and America) because Americans are in a point in television history when we need someone to point to and either laugh at or stare at (think Jersey Shore, Real Housewives, etc.)…not relate to.
To the exes: Please. That is all.
here are some things I would've blogged about.
5. Being racially profiled by police for the first time
I'd been followed around in department stores before and experienced a good bit of racism as a young teen, but the story I'm referring to is when I was 17 and I spent the summer with my grandmother and uncle in Greenville, South Carolina. [I'd moved to Killeen, Texas, the year before.] After getting my paycheck from Pizza Hut (my high school job) my uncle and I stopped at the grocery store a couple of miles from my grandmother's house then headed back home. While driving through a green light, the light turned to yellow and then I saw a cop behind us and saw the sirens come on. We were stopped for "running a red light" according to the officer, but it didn't take long for us to be summoned out of the car with our hands up and to get onto our knees.
Another officer pulled up quickly and my uncle was arrested for "fitting a description". The car was turned inside out and I was left on the sidewalk with no cell phone or license way to drive home. When I was pulled over in Georgetown, Williamson County, Texas one year later - while meeting with a friend I'd just met at the Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo Scholarship Banquet (which I'd just won) - nearly the same thing happened. But that time I wasn't so surprised.
4. Why John McCain should have been the Republican nominee for president in 2000
Al Gore probably would've won which would have been interesting, but if McCain won I wonder if there would have been as much of a justification behind the Iraq war. Obviously McCain is a shell of his former self, as evidenced by his staunch backing of the Arizona immigration law in hopes of getting re-elected (which is crazy considering he was rumored to have only been concerned with one term as president). Regardless, it would've been a good topic to cover. Especially as a 17-year-old.
3. Why Shawshank Redemption should've won Best Picture
I'm still beside myself thinking about this one. Hate all you want, but IMDB.com is one of the most-important sources in the movie business and nearly half a million people agree that it deserved a lot more recognition. I recently watched Siskel & Ebert's review of it and I love how quick Ebert is to come around once Siskel gives it high praise. Too bad he had to die first, Siskel was always the smarter one. I fully believe that the only reason Shawshank didn't win Best Picture or Best Director is because Pulp Fiction was perhaps equally worthy, thus splitting votes and forfeiting the award to Forrest Gump, the crowd-pleaser with far less significance and replayability years later.
2. My favorite albums of the '90s
The order would've been something like this:
- 1. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders - If I were stranded on Lost, I'd want to have this before most things.
- 2. Radiohead - OK Computer - Duh.
- 3. Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt - Best album he ever did, which is saying a lot considering all the other classics.
- 4. Outkast - Aquemini - Most creative hip-hop group ever who took the South to new heights.
- 5. Dazed & Confuzed Soundtrack - One of my fav all-time movies and one of the best all-time soundtracks, filled with classic classic rock.
- 6. Wilco - Being There - I owe my love for Wilco to my best friend Colby whom I met in '99.
- 7. Roni Size - New Forms - I probably have replayed this album more than any other except Midnight Marauders over the last dozen or so years.
- 8. Dave Matthews Band - Crash - Saw them five times in concert as a result of this album.
- 9. Michael Jackson - HIStory: Disc 1 - The King of Pop reminded us why he earned the title.
1. Life in Killeen, Texas
I left Kileen in 1991 listening to MC Hammer on a U-Haul truck driving to South Carolina and moved back in 1999 listening to Outkast...hip-hop definitely grew up along with me. Not much had changed. The mall was still the "scene". The movie theatre was still the best entertainment in town. People still went to drive-thru liquor stores and ate a chain restaurants. The main difference was being old enough to drive to Austin on weekends.
I've run in so many beautiful places in American cities. I've run Town Lake in Austin, over the Golden Gate Bridge, on the sands of Manhattan Beach, the West Side Highway in New York, the Hollywood Hills in L.A., the Cleveland Park neighborhood of D.C., Charleston, S.C.'s Rainbow Row, up steep hills in Salt Lake City, along snow-filled yards in St. Paul - Minneapolis and past Army barracks at Fort Knox, Kentucky. These, and too many others, have been runs that I savor not only because they offer good training grounds for road races, but also because of the beautiful and varied scenery they provide. I've been to Memphis half a dozen times, but this week, before my Real Role Models book signing at Davis-Kidd, I went for a run in the city's Evergreen Historic District alongside Overton Park and fell in love.
Having spent part of my childhood in Greenville, S.C., I've long been a fan of those Southern-styled homes that don brick exteriors, large grassy yards and comfy porches, but I think Memphis takes the cake as far as I'm concerned.
"Getting a trim" is a landscaping reference.