I have watched documentaries on crossword puzzles, scrabble, pinball, Donkey Kong, Live Action Role Playing (larping), and other seemingly absurd subject matter all while being totally captivated. Granted, I love documentaries, but well done ones allow you to feel for the characters even if you think their goals are a little ridiculous. Case in point, last night night I watched “Pulling John” which gives an in depth look into the world of arm wrestling. Unless you follow this sport closely, or have seen Sly Stallone in “Over The Top” way too many times, John Brzenk is probably someone you have never heard of, but he has been as dominant in arm wrestling as anyone has ever been in his/her sport. At 210lbs Brzenk has been destroying people much larger than him, and he has been doing so for the past 25 years. When I look at someone like this my first thought is “What a waste. What is the point?”, but there is real meaning to him and that is the point. I am scattered all over the place, my focus seems to be on no one thing in particular, and while I have zero interest in becoming a professional arm wrestler, I do envy his passion and drive towards a singular component of his life. Everyone has their own thing, and while another persons endeavor may not even be something you agree with, it is human nature to strive for something, excel at an event. Go be a Brzenk, and if you get a chance, check out the movie, it’s pretty good.
There is nothing better than a feel good story. One in which a person overcomes staggering odds to achieve a remarkable, seemingly unattainable goal. This is not one of those stories, and I as much as I wish it could turn into one, the reality of that is highly doubtful. On October 20th Juliette Dunn of Connecticut plead guilty to feeding her children beer and cocaine, and not just once, but admitted to it on a daily basis. One of her children is 4 years old, the other is 10…months. She was caught after witnesses reported Dunn feeding her 4 year old son beer on a public playground. Some people are born into unfortunate circumstances, this is a reality of life, but having a person like this as your mother is insurmountable. I can’t help but feel a heated rage. Juliette, you are giving your child no shot at life, perpetuating the certain horrific family tree of the Dunn’s. Why can’t Darwin’s theory of natural selection remove people like this from the breeding pool? There is a quote from the movie “Parenthood” that sums my thoughts up perfectly. Shockingly, this quote is from Keanu Reeves. “You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.” …or in this case, a mother.
My friend in high school had the most interesting form of discipline I had ever encountered. His curfew was midnight. If he came home at 12:02 his mom would make him perform some form of punishment, twice. 12:30, 30 times. For instance, one time he came home at 12:12 and had to rake 12 bags of leaves. This task required him going to the neighbors because his own lawn did not have the leaves needed to fill 12 bags. Another time he came in at 12:03. The next day he had to bake 3 loaves of bread, after learning how to bake bread. The great thing about this exercise was that the punishment was always different. He had to wash 5 cars, do 25 loads of laundry, I loved it when he missed curfew just so I could hear about his adventures the next day. When we went out and 11:45 rolled around, he would get anxious. Until today, I thought this was the most unique way to instill rules on a teenager. Then today happened, and I stumbled upon this article. After going to a party without permission, Freeman Seay forced his 16 year old step daughter to dress up in renaissance garb, including armor, and fight him with a wooden sword. Sorry Mrs. Roszak, the Seay’s just trumped you. After 2 hours of “punishment”, the girl collapsed from exhaustion. What…why do…..how is it that…..where did you get 2 sets of…….There is no point in questioning the thought process here, I am pretty sure there wasn’t one.
While “Occupy Wall Street” has been getting a lot of press as of late, most of it has not been in a favorable manner. Statements have been made that their message is incoherent, the participants unruly, but anyone that doesn’t think there is a valid argument and legitimate reason to be upset is just bonkers. Corruption and greed in this country have become unbearable. I am not talking about the rich, this is not class warfare. Warren Buffet made $62,855,038 last year. Good for him. That is what America is founded on, the chance to obtain that kind of wealth. From the passengers of the Mayflower, to gold and oil prospectors, to real estate tycoons. That is America, the land of opportunity. However, the willingness of some corporations to hurt the rest of this nation for not wealth, but more wealth, is enraging. Take Bank of America for example. When taxpayer money bailed them out, it was done with the idea that BOA would continue to loan money to small businesses and home buyers in order to keep the economy moving. They didn’t. Instead of giving this money back to the public, they reduced the amount of loans granted, and put the bailout cash into savings. This bailout money, our money, is being used to gain interest from the federal reserve. In fact, BOA has actually taken out additional loans at an embarrassingly low rate from the government and is receiving interest on that money at a higher rate. Yes, it’s free money. $212 Billion of free money. It doesn’t make sense that this is a possibility, that this loophole is allowed, that the bailout money and subsequent loans were not given out with some stipulations like, “Hey, you can’t use this money to get more free money out of us, cool?”. But it wasn’t. This is of course a whole other issue regarding government inefficiency…..Anyways, the excess money BOA now has it’s grubby little hands on has been used for, among other things, employee bonuses. CEO Brian T. Moynihan was all over the headlines in January because he did not take a pay increase in 2011. Somehow he was going to get by on his 2010 salary of $950,000. Poor guy, I guess Santa isn’t coming this year. Fortunately he did receive a bonus of $9.05 million, so Christmas is back on the calender! BOA is of course not the only company pulling these types of shenanigans. Golman Sachs, JP Morgan, Capital One, Morgan Stanley….too many to name. They are all essentially taking our tax dollars and adding cushion to their already extremely padded pockets. When I picture it in my head I see Scrooge McDuck diving into his pile of gold coins. There is a message in the “occupy” campaign, one that needs to be listened to and addressed. It is not a gripe against the rich, but the greedy, and not a rage against large corporations, just against fucked up ones.