Sunday, February 28, 2016

Letter to Myself

Dear J.P.,

First off, I'm you. Or, more appropriately, one day you will be me. But right now, as you read this, you are a "skinny little boy from Cleveland Ohio" doing very little women chasing, and just a tad-bit too much beer drinking. Yes, I'm well aware that you "make love" to a Michelob keg at Romito's after work, and that you are only 16 (this being only late 1981 / early 1982 for you). But don't worry, you won't become an alcoholic when you get older - though your taste in beer will definitely improve!

I’m writing to you to give you a heads up on what life will bring your way. Before you get too excited, I'm not going to give you stock tips, or a sports almanac (you'll have to wait until 1989 to understand that reference). Yes, you will still be into time travel and all of its fictional goodness when you reach my age, so you have to realize that I'm going to do my derndest to avoid paradoxes. Because, if you change ANYTHING, I may not be in a position to be writing this letter to you, which means you won't have known about anything to CHANGE anything, which means I would be in a position to be writing to you. And no, this kind of thinking never does get easier!

What I am going to give you is more important: hope.

At your age, even though you are a Sophomore dating Juniors and Seniors, you have no desire to get intimate with anyone - saving yourself for marriage and all. I won't tell you whether or not you will be successful in that endeavor; just that "guilt" is a natural emotion that everyone experiences - warranted or not!

You are an intensely emotional person. You have a "weird" sense of humor that you will never outgrow. Oh, your material will get better (can't get any worse!), but you'll find that that humor is both a "mask" to protect and a lifeline to cling to.

You will find yourself wanting to change; to "grow up". Let me assure you, "growing up" is an illusion. Oh, you'll get older. Time marches on and all that. You will find it amazing that those around you seem to keep getting older, but you don't. You see, you will forever be looking out at the world around you through the same "port holes". From your perspective, you are the same person. And you will be right.

Oh, you will grow as a person. You will "mature" in different ways. Your ability to make decisions will develop. Your capacity to embrace hurt will expand. Your acceptance of the world, and all of its religious, political, and distinctive humanness, will go through many cycles - reaching a point at the age I am now, where what shocks others will not shock you.

Why? Because those individuals who you gather around that influence you will continuously change. Some by your own choosing. Some by theirs. And some by the ebb and flow of life itself. And that is the key: life is going to KEEP changing. If I could give you any advice, it's to embrace the fact that change happens. And no matter how much joy or pain you find yourself swimming in, it's not forever. To take a Bible verse out of context, "this too shall pass". When things are going bad, this too shall pass. When things are going good . . .

And that's the hope I want to share with you. Life is going to just . . . happen. And as a time-travel junkie, the most important thing you can do is embrace the present. The future (even for me now) is so full of hope and promise. The past should always be looked upon fondly - no matter what that may entail. It is BECAUSE of that past that you are who you are - and will become. Embrace the "now" of your life. Our life.

And J.P., I have no regrets. Neither will you.



©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Merc with the Shut-Your-Mouth

My wife and I went and saw Deadpool at the local theater the other day. First off, that was a great ride of a movie. Lots of action, humor, and visual . . . uh . . stimulation? Okay - it was high on the scale when it came to nudity and violence. In fact, it was what is known in movie parlance as a "hard R".

We walked into the theater knowing it was an R-rated flick. We were ready for it. Though, we were sure there were some who walked OUT of the theater very uncomfortable. You see, there were quite a few small children (along with what looked like parents) in the theater. We did overhear one father tell his kid prior to entering that he was surprised that it was rated R, but since they had already bought the tickets . . .

It's not like the rating for the film was hid from the public. But I think that many brought their kids because of it being a superhero movie. You know, those funny Guardians of the Galaxy, or "got no strings on me" Avengers. Apparently, even though most of us had never even heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy prior to the movie, Deadpool was a known entity in the comic book universe. The alternate title of the movie was "X-Men Origins: Deadpool". And I'm glad that the production studio kept it true to the character's . . . uh . . . character. Deadpool, whose nickname is the "Merc with the Mouth", never took himself too seriously. He KNOWS he's in a movie (like he KNOWS he's in a comic book) - constantly breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience. And he's quite violent - just like the comic.

So I had to wonder, with all of the parents with kids in the theater, what exactly IS the purpose of the movie rating system anyways?

And then I figured it out.

The purpose of the movie rating system is to have a way of keeping adults from accidentally finding themselves in a G-rated flick. The only expected "Thumper" is a topless dancer, and not a fuzzy bunny in "Bambi". Gotta protect our sensitivities, after all!

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Stuff My Brain Says #76

Never purchase the best, only the most popular. Only the most popular will be supported, whereas the best - unless it is also the most popular - will end up in the technological dustbin.

Think Zune (the iPod), or Windows Phone (the iPhone or various Android phones), or Betamax (VHS).

The list goes on and on and on . . .

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

What's a Reagan Conservative?

I haven't heard it yet, but any day now we'll hear one of the GOP (Grand Old Poopers) touting that they are the Reagan Conservative candidate. Though, when you think about it, that may not be such a Grand Old Proposition.

Before Ronald Reagan was a Republican, he was a card carrying member of the Democrat Party. He made the switch in 1962, a whole four years prior to becoming Governor of California. He said that he didn't leave the Democrat Party, but that the Democrat Party left him.

(Note: I refer to it as the Democrat Party, because that is what it is. Democratic is a type of government. For the same reason we don't call the Republican Party the Republic Party: The United States government is a Republic.)

Reagan said that his political views had not changed. The Democrats had moved farther to the left and now he found that his political views were more in line with the Republicans.

Think about that for a minute. Read that last sentence one more time. What does this mean? It means that the Republicans have THEMSELVES moved farther left as well. Reagan said his political views (which at the time were considered liberal) had not changed. And this, my friends, is the root of the problem.

During the Primaries, the candidates are not talking to the general electorate. They are talking (primarily) to their base. Once the Primaries are over, and the general election cycle starts; the candidates start talking to the general electorate as a whole. That is where a lot of the "flip-flopping" occurs.

Here's the funny thing to me. What happens is that the media convince us that the Republican candidate is "too right wing". Oh, "we need a centrist candidate" they will repeat ad nauseam. So what does the Republican candidate do? He goes about proving how he's not "too right wing".

Think about it. If you are considered "right wing" and you move more towards the center, which direction are you moving? LEFT!! Correct! So now, the Republican Party is more left (a.k.a "liberal") than they were before. And each election cycle this repeats, moving the Republican Party farther and farther left. What was considered "centrist" last year is "right wing" this year. Don't believe me? George W. Bush touted "Compassionate Conservatism". That was another way of saying "Liberal". Remember that he always said he would veto additional spending bills (that bloated the size of the federal government)? It took to half-way through his second term for him to find his veto pen. And then the GOP runs John McCain up the flag pole; a man who spent more years working across the aisle than he did with his own party. And who is (currently) at the top of the heap? Donald Trump. A man who has supported Democrats and their policies for years.

One thing you never hear is that the Democrat Party is "too left wing" and needs to move more towards the center. The media seems pretty mute on that. Yet, in order to make sure the Democrats and Republicans aren't saying the exact same things, the Democrat Party moves farther left themselves.

The results of all this side-step shuffling is that the Republicans are the liberals and the Democrats are the new socialists. (Wow! I guess this means that Bernie Sanders IS the true representation of the Democrat Party after all!)

On second thought, looking at those who have ran for office in the GOP over the last few years, maybe nobody WILL tout themselves as a Reagan Conservative. You know, he was "too right wing".

©Emittravel 2016