Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins

Now that December is here, people can no longer snarl at me when I mention Christmas, so today I want to talk Christmas movies!
I have been watching an average of one Christmas movie per day for the last month, but no Christmas movie will ever top 'ELF' in my mind. It is such a heartwarming and funny film!

I usually watch 'ELF' an average of three or four times every Christmas season, I can never get tired of it. It's also, in my humble opinion, the most quotable Christmas movie of all-time. 

Do you have a Christmas movie that you have to watch every year, without fail? What is your favorite movie of all-time?

Monday, November 24, 2014


Thanksgiving has always held a very special place in my heart. It is the holiday in which I become the most introspective because it really makes a person stop and appreciate everything they have to be thankful for. 

It is one of the most interesting aspects of the human condition that we tend to highlight and dwell on the negative as opposed to the positive. We love to focus on our have-nots as opposed to our haves. We focus on what is wrong, rather than what is right. We focus on what we don't have, rather than what we do have.

No matter how bad we have it, there is always somebody out there who has it worse. Does that negate any problems that we are going through? Of course not. 

But it definitely puts them in perspective. 

Somebody out there would give anything to have the very problems that we have. In essence, we take for granted things that other people could only dream of having
Sometimes it's nice just to sit back and appreciate the things we are blessed with. If we were to sit down and write a list of all the things we have to be truly thankful for, it would very likely blow our minds. If we could switch our focus to these things, we would be looking at life through a totally new and beautiful lens. 

So no matter how many things may be going wrong in our lives, let us never lose sight of all the things going right. No matter how many things cause us anxiety, let us never lose sight of all the things that bring us joy. No matter how many things bring tears to our eyes, let us never forget the things that bring smiles to our faces
Let us always be thankful. 

Happy Thanksgiving week to my wonderful blogging family :)

What are your thoughts? Is it the natural human condition to focus on what we don't have as opposed to what we have? Do you practice thankfulness? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let it Snow!!!

Anybody who has known me for any length of time knows that I am a snow person. I have a love of snow that is probably rivaled only by polar bears and Christmas elves (and I would even challenge the notion that either of those two love snow as much as me). 

A couple of weeks ago, on November 1st, we woke up with a dusting of snow on the ground. It's the earliest snow I can remember here in central Kentucky! Hopefully it's a sign of things to come.
Last year, Kentucky had their snowiest winter in over a decade. It was freaking awesome! I loved every second of it. Snow just brings out a childhood enthusiasm in me that is very hard to describe. 

I love spending time outside while the snow is falling, hearing the crunch of the snow under my feet as I walk on it, feeling the snowflakes fall upon my nose when I look up at it. To me, snow is one of the most beautiful things in the universe.

Do you enjoy snow? Do you get much snow where you live?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Let's Get Political

So, who wants to get political? I can see everyone running for the doors right now! Everyone avoids speaking of politics, religion, or anything else that tends to give rise to anger at normally jovial family dinners. 

I'm sure my political orientation is no secret to most people. I am a very liberal person. 

Wait! Don't automatically unfollow my blog, my dear conservative friends! After all, I have many conservative friends, and the vast majority of my family is conservative. I guess I'm just the oddball ;)

I am writing this because I don't understand why politics separate people so much. It seems as if two people could have everything in the world in common, but if they are of different political persuasions they automatically become mortal enemies. 

That's so insane to me. Several of my blogging friends are conservative, and I love their blogs every bit as much as my liberal friend's blogs. I think friendships should trump political differences. But the problem is, they too often do not. 

Why do we take it so personal when someone is of a different political persuasion than us? Why do we automatically feel the need to try to change someone's mind when their political orientation doesn't fall in line with ours? 

I think the problem arises due to the fact that we always believe we are right. I mean let's face it, when do we ever want to admit that we are wrong? That goes for liberals and conservatives both. So when someone is of a different political persuasion than us, we automatically think "I am right, they are wrong". 

But where does that type of thinking really get us? Why can't we just simply say "I have my beliefs, you have your beliefs, so let's just leave it at that, shake hands, and have a beer together". Or if beer is not your thing, maybe a martini (shaken, not stirred). 

Seems as if this approach would save a lot of friendships :) 

Why do you think we get so easily offended when it comes to our politics? Are you able to have close friendships with people whose political opinions differ from yours?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Saturday Morning Cartoons

One of my fondest memories from childhood is of getting up early on a Saturday morning, staying in my PJs, making myself a huge bowl (or three) of Lucky charms, and settling in front of the TV to watch Saturday morning cartoons.  I would watch them for what seemed to be hours on end. 

My three favorites were: Scooby Doo, The Littles, and the Muppet Babies. 

The Muppet Babies was my favorite because they got to go on all these cool adventures that took place only in their mind. No, they weren't hallucinating, they were just using their imaginations to take them far away from where they were.

I used to try my damnedest to do that, to use my powers of imagination to take me to far off places when I was a child, but alas it never worked.

Do they even have Saturday morning cartoons anymore? I haven't seen any in ages? But then again, early on a Saturday morning I'm usually not in front of the TV so perhaps I just never noticed. 

Did you enjoy watching cartoons when you were a child? What was your favorite cartoon?

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Pursuit of Profit at the Expense of Families

Yesterday Costco, GameStop, Dillard's, Marshall’s and Nordstrom said they will no longer be open on Thanksgiving and will return to having Black Friday on actual Friday. I commend them for this. 

Unfortunately, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Walmart, Kmart, and hundreds of others will be opening on Thanksgiving yet again. 

I have really disliked the recent trend of stores starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. They only do this of course to squeeze every possible penny out of the consumer. Consumerism at its worst. Sadly though, this everlasting pursuit of profit is depriving their employees of spending that time with their families. 

We as consumers have the power to change this though. We have to remove the retailer’s incentive by boycotting their stores on Thanksgiving. A pipe dream? Maybe. But it doesn't have to be...

What are your thoughts on this recent trend?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween on the Horizon!!

I have always loved Halloween. It is one of my top three favorite holidays (along with Thanksgiving and Christmas). 

The week leading up to Halloween is always a wonderful time of year. Carving jack-o'-lanterns, watching scary movies, eating pumpkin Reese's by the dozens, attending Halloween parties, and going to haunted houses! 

I really wish it was socially acceptable to go trick-or-treating as an adult, because I totally would. 

Do you enjoy Halloween? What's your favorite thing about Halloween?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Branching Out...

I came across this quote recently and it really made me think. 

The first 20 years of my life, I stayed in the same small area that I grew up in. I never ventured out of my comfort zone at all. 

But I always had a yearning...a desire to branch out and explore.

When I finally made the decision to move away from my hometown and start a life of my own, it opened up a whole new world for me. It was necessary for my growth as a person and it changed my life completely. 

I truly think that if we relegate ourselves to our own little corner of the world, we simply cannot grow. If we never expose ourselves to new places, new people, new cultures, new ideas, or new beliefs, we become stagnant. 

This is not to say that there's anything wrong with living in the same area one's whole life. But if you never travel outside of your comfort zone, or open up yourself to new things, I think that can breed a complacency which can lead to feelings of discontentment.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel it is important to branch out via travel or exploring new things? Do you have any personal stories you wish to share?

Monday, October 13, 2014

In Appreciation of the Unappreciated

I have always had such admiration and respect for people working in positions that seem to be universally scoffed at or made fun of. 

Sanitation workers, trash workers, custodians, fast food workers, mechanics, brick layers, cleaning people, etc. Few things make me angrier than to hear someone make a derisive comment about people in these professions. 

First of all, nobody should ever feel that they are above any kind of work. Nobody is "less than". Why do we think the lawyer is more important in society then the custodian? Why do we think a CEO is more important than a sanitation worker? I must have missed the memo.

If the sanitation workers, fast food workers, custodians, and garbage workers took an entire week off worldwide, we would dissolve into chaos and anarchy. Within 24 hours, everyone would see just how vital these workers are and how much we take them for granted.

Every single worker in the world, from the janitor all the way up to the CEO, contributes to our society. So the next time you pass a custodian in the hall, stop to thank them and tell them that you appreciate the job they do. The next time you're picking up your cafĂ© latte in the Starbucks drive-through, thank the barista and tell them how much they always make your morning. The next time you happen to be outside when the trash collector comes, tell them hello and that you really respect the work they do to keep the streets and the neighborhoods clean. 

All anyone ever wants is to be appreciated. And nobody deserves it more than those who rarely get to hear it.

Why do you think we devalue some jobs in society and people who do such hard work in them?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I can explain!!

Recruiting prospective students!

Hello  friends! I apologize that I have not been around to your blogs as much of late. As some of you know, I work as a college admissions counselor and I have been doing a lot of traveling/recruiting lately since it's the travel season. 

I really love the travel aspect of my job. Going to recruiting events by traveling through the scenic mountains of Kentucky is an indescribable experience. 

I will be back to visit y'all regularly again in about two weeks!

Only 85 days til' Christmas!! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Culture of Excess

“The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness” ~ Friedrich Nietzche

We live in a culture of want want want, more more more. It seems as though we just cannot get enough. Homes these days have multiple laptops, iPads, and video game consoles. Our closets are stuffed full of clothes that we don’t wear. We upgrade to a newer car when our older one is just fine. Our garages are stuffed with junk that we will never use. Our refrigerators are full of food – half of which we barely touch.

This culture of excess seems to be the norm in Western Culture nowadays. But when is enough enough? I often wonder where this culture of consumerism, excess, and immediacy comes from. It’s as if we measure ourselves by our possessions, and that is so very sad.

I personally think that we have mixed up our needs with our wants.

I am going to begin asking myself, before any purchase, “Do I really need this?” I anticipate that the answer will be “no” most of the time. This is not to say that we should never buy things for ourselves. As working people we should reward ourselves now and then. I just think we place too much emphasis on our possessions, and not enough on the more meaningful things in life.

What are your thoughts? Do you think we have a problem with excess? 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Autumn is around the corner!

Autumn is only a week away! My absolute favorite of the seasons. 

I love every single thing about Autumn. It invigorates me in ways that I could never fully describe to anyone.

I love the crisp coolness of the air, the scents that abound, cornfield mazes, bonfires with s'mores, the fall festivals going on in all the small towns, The Halloween decorations, football season (Go Bengals!!), the World Series, Thanksgiving, and hundreds of other things.

Oh, and there's also pumpkin pie :)

The thing I love the most however, by far, is the colorful foliage that the trees take on this time of year. The myriad colors of yellow, orange, red, and brown. They combine to form Mother Nature's most beautiful collage.

Have you ever stood in a forest during a sunny autumn afternoon? Have you ever seen the way the sun shines down through the colorful leaves, reflecting all those amazing colors on the forest floor below? If you haven't, I highly recommend you do so. It will be one of the most amazing things you've ever seen.

So as we begin this wonderful time of year, I wish each and everyone of you a beautiful and amazing autumn season.

What is your favorite thing about Autumn?

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Death Penalty

Last week, a death row inmate in North Carolina was released due to exonerating DNA evidence  after spending 30 years on Death Row! This made me think of all those people who say that death row inmates shouldn't get to spend years on Death Row before being executed, that there are too many appeals, that they should be executed sooner. If those people had their way, this innocent man would have already been dead.

After all, you can't free an innocent man when they're in the ground...

People tend to have very strong views on the subject of the death penalty, with some people strongly supporting it, while others vehemently opposing it. 

The vast majority of civilized nations on earth have banned the death penalty. The United States is actually among the very few industrialized nations left that still has it. 

So many questions come to mind when creating a dialogue about the death penalty. Is it a deterrent? Is "an eye for an eye" truly justice? Does a jury really have the right to decide who lives or dies? So many fascinating questions. 

What are your thoughts on the death penalty?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Are We Alone...?

Life on other planets. Does it exist? This has been debated in philosophical and scientific circles since human beings first exhibited rational/philosophical thought.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it is mind-boggling to think about the immensity of the universe. Do you ever look up at the sky at night, observing the millions and billions and trillions of stars, and just think about the immensity of it all?

I truly wonder if our brains are even able to grasp the concept of just how large and vast the universe is.

Here are some statistics I found when perusing NASA's website:

There are at least 100 billion (with a b) galaxies in the observable universe, of which ours, the Milky Way, is only one

Our sun is just one of over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone

It is estimated that there are 2 to 3 trillion (with a t) planets in the universe

Most interestingly, it is estimated that there are 8.8 billion Earth-sized, habitable planets in the Milky Way alone

When you really think about these findings, is it logical to think that not one of those 2 to 3 trillion planets have life? Is it logical to think that our planet is the only one in existence in which life exists? 

Since many of these planets are so many light-years away that human beings would never be able to travel to them (unless we develop the ability to travel at the speed of light), we may never know the answer to this question. But it is so fascinating to ponder, discuss, and debate.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe life on other planets exists?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ich liebe Deutschland

As many of you know by now, my wonderful, beautiful, and amazing fiancee is German. She is very fluent in English, but of course I want to learn the language of my soul mate. I have always wanted to learn a new language, so this is an amazing and serendipitous opportunity to do so. 

I have been studying my hiney off in the form of audiobooks, textbooks, and workbooks. I have also been using an awesome iPhone app called Duolingo. I have been devoting an average of about 1 1/2 hours a day to learning German. Plus, Beate is awesome enough to help me on the phone all the time. She is tremendously supportive and patient with me while teaching me a new language.

Let me be honest: learning a new language is difficult. Learning the dialect, the word order forms, and the grammar rules can be intimidating in the beginning. But you know what? Learning a new language is freaking awesome! I have grown to fall in love with learning German. It is truly a fascinating and beautiful language. And it is so awesome to now see German writing and be able to recognize and decipher entire sentences! That may not sound like a big deal, but trust me it feels great to be able to realize that the studying is paying off. And even if I do not recognize every word in a sentence, I can sometimes piece together what the sentence is saying by recognizing many of the words.

Ich liebe lernen Deutsch!

It is so funny how something that you may initially look at as a chore becomes something that you end up loving. Learning German is not something I have to do, it's something I get to do :)

And that is an incredibly important distinction.

Have you ever learned a new language? If not, is there a particular language that you would like to someday learn?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Exhilarating Memory

This. Felt. Amazing. 

About 30 minutes away from where I live, there is an obscure waterfall in the middle of nowhere called Anglin Falls. It’s in a very remote area in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forest. It’s so remote actually, that very few people who live in the same county even know about its existence.

It’s a relatively tiny waterfall. If waterfalls were an animal, Anglin Falls would be a squirrel, whereas Niagara Falls is an elephant.  But a waterfall's beauty cannot be measured in size. I usually go at least twice each summer. I especially love going after a few days of torrential rainfall, which of course makes the falls more voluminous.

So one random sunny day last summer, after four days of downpours, I knew the falls would be a ragin’. And boy were they ever. Of all the times I had been there, I had never seen it so alive. So I decided to do the only sensible thing - stand under it. 

Standing under the waterfall, letting the water wash all over me, and feeling its incredible power was one of the more exhilarating moments of my entire life. I will never, ever, forget that feeling. 

Is there a particular moment or memory in which you felt exhilaration? Perhaps you skydived once? Rode a scary roller coaster? Ate an entire bag of Oreos in one sitting? Please share a memory with us. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

This is why...

Oftentimes, people will ask me why I love mornings so much. Sometimes it's hard to explain to a non morning-loving person. But in moments like this I think to myself, they don't know what they're missing...

Do you like/love mornings? 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Silent Battles

When I got home from work last night, I was stunned to read the news about Robin Williams, comedian and actor, dead at age 63 from an apparent suicide.

He was the funniest actor I've ever seen in my entire life. The day after watching Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time, my abdomen was sore just from laughing so much the night before. He was that talented and that funny. 

His publicist said in a statement that he had been suffering from severe depression for the last few months.

When I was reading the story last night, there were several people in the comments section referring to Mr. Williams' suicide as a selfish act. I personally think that's a terrible thing to say. Imagine the depths of despair someone must be going through in order to take their own life. I have lost family members to suicide, and believe me they were not selfish people.

This is just another example of how the crippling stigma of mental illnesses is so pervasive and prevalent in our culture. This is also why so many people who suffer from depression are reluctant to seek help; because of the stigmatization that occurs as a result.

Depression does not discriminate based on wealth, fame, race, class, religion, gender, or any other demographic variable.

This is a time we should all lean on one another. We never know when someone is fighting a private battle. Here's hoping that they never have to fight it alone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

True Heroes...

Image Source
Lately I have been following the news about the recent Ebola outbreak that is plaguing West Africa. It is the most deadly Ebola outbreak in history.

The Ebola virus is perhaps the deadliest virus known to man. It has a mortality rate of up to 90%. To this day, virologists still do not know the origin of the virus.

Recently, a pioneering Ebola Dr. fell victim to the virus while working to save Ebola patients. He succumbed to the virus four days after becoming symptomatic. Two other prominent Ebola doctors contracted the virus and are now being treated. Several other healthcare workers have died in this recent outbreak, contracting the virus from the very patients they are trying to save.  
What strikes me about this is how heroic these doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers really are. They are literally risking their lives to help these poor victims, knowing full well that they may contract the virus themselves. The amazing thing is, this does not stop them from helping. 

They are true heroes, in every sense of the word. They are not doing this for notoriety, fame, or money. In fact, most of them are donating their time and are not getting paid a penny. They are truly altruistic souls. 

Have you been following this news of the outbreak? What are your thoughts on these doctors and healthcare workers who are putting their life on the line?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Following Their Example

You look at these two little boys, one Palestinian, one Jewish, and you wonder why we can't follow their example. Children are not born to hate. They are socialized to hate. They are born peaceful and loving. As adults, we expect children to learn from us. But in reality, it is us who can learn from them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Beautifully Powerful and Powerfully Beautiful

We had some incredible storms in Central Kentucky this past weekend. Saturday night and Sunday afternoon were full of thunder and intense lightning. 

As crazy as it may sound, I've always loved storms. As long as nobody is hurt of course! I've just always been fascinated by them, enamored by them, and captivated by them. In fact, they are my favorite thing about summer. 

Thunderstorms themselves are a unique form of beauty. They are so incredibly powerful and incredibly beautiful at the same time. I love how the rumbling of far-off thunder becomes louder as it gradually moves closer. And I love the way a summer night can become illuminated with all that magnificent lightning.

They also have a very calming effect on me. I sleep like a baby whenever it is storming. In fact, I have an app on my phone which mimics the sound of a far-off thunderstorm and I use it to help me sleep every single night.

The same cannot be said about my cat Ruby, however. The sound of thunder sets her eyes darting about and usually has her scampering under the blankets for shelter. What a wuss!! 

Do you get many thunderstorms where you live? Do you enjoy thunderstorms? Fear them? Ambivalent toward them?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Enjoying the Precious Present

“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.”  ~ Walt Whitman

I spend a lot of time thinking about the future… and by a lot I mean A LOT. Looking forward to things, counting down to things (Only 155 days til Christmas!), etc. I have so many things I want to accomplish and places that I want to go. I get so excited just thinking of these things.

However there is a down side to this. By spending so much time thinking about the future, I sometimes neglect the “present”. Sometimes there is so much beauty in simply embracing the “now”…living it and breathing it and feeling it.

Why is it that we spend so much time in the future or in the past? Why do we neglect the present moment? We are breathing the air of this very moment, but are we really inhaling it? We are living in this very moment, but are we truly alive

We are not promised next year, next month, next week, or even the next day. We should never take the precious time that we are given for granted by focusing our energy on the time we may never even have. 
Do you think it's human nature to neglect the present? Do you allow yourself to embrace the “here and now”?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


“A cat will be your friend, but never your slave” ~Theophile Gautier

Prior to 2009, I had considered myself a “dog person”. It’s not that I disliked cats. Quite the contrary actually. It’s just that most of the pets I had throughout my life had been dogs. Then, on December 29th of 2009, that changed.

That afternoon, I was at the local animal shelter looking at puppies when I saw a sign on the bulletin board there that said “free kittens”. There was a number attached and I decided to call it. A kind old lady answered and told me to swing on by and at least look at them.
Once I arrived, she led me to the garage where she had two calico kittens and two gray tabbys. I immediately focused on what I thought was the “cuter” of the gray tabbys. I picked that one out and was heading to the door when I noticed the other gray tabby would not leave my side. Suddenly, the one I was holding jumped from my arms and ran under the couch. The other gray tabby (the runt of the bunch – she basically looked like a rat) looked up at me with eyes that seemed to say “pick me!!”.
Of course I wasn't able to resist that look, so I took it as a sign that I was supposed to pick that one. And here, 4 1/2 years later, Ruby is all grown up and I love her to death. I don’t think I’ve ever loved any pet as much as her! Don’t get me wrong – she’s not without issues. She is nuts, anxiety-prone, and clinically insane. But she’s my Ruby and that’s what matters :)

Do you have any pets? What do your pets mean to you?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My All-Time Favorite Song

I am going on vacation tomorrow and I will be gone for a couple of weeks, but I wanted to post today about a song that I have fallen deeply in love with over the past year.

Over the course of my life, there have been hundreds of songs that have deeply moved me and resonated with me. I have never been able to say that one particular song is my favorite though...until now. 

"The Scientist" by Coldplay is the most amazing, deep, and poetic song I've ever heard.

I first started listening to Coldplay on a regular basis last spring (I know I know, I was 10 years late to the party) and this song quickly became a song that I simply could not stop listening to. I decided to read more about the song and learned that it was inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1846 short story The Birthmark. 

The Birthmark tells the tale of a scientist named Aylmer, who was married to a woman named Georgiana. Aylmer became obsessed with removing what he saw as Georgiana's one physical imperfection - a birthmark on her cheek. He develops a liquid treatment for her to drink that he thinks will dissolve her birthmark. Sadly, the treatment kills her and he is left to live a life of regret; regret for being so scientific in his thinking that he ultimately lost his one true love (the entire second verse of the song speaks of his regret).

Sad, poetic, and poignant. It's simply remarkable. 

I encourage you click the play button above and take 5 minutes of your time to listen to this amazing song. 

What's your favorite song of all-time?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Confessions of an Optimistic Existentialist

I think that people sometimes get the wrong impression about me. I am not always the nice, kind, sweet guy you all think I am. I have made so many mistakes in my life. I wish to atone for them. This has been weighing heavily on me, and I wish to clear my conscience today. They say "the truth shall set you free", so here are my confessions...

When VCRs were still at thing, I didn't always be kind and rewind 

I sometimes drink coffee after 5 PM

I do not always squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom

I completely zone out during work meetings, occasionally nodding my head and interjecting the random "I agree"  so that I can keep up the appearance of listening

When the Miley Cyrus song "Party in the USA" comes on in the car, I turn the radio up

When it comes to chips and dip, I have been known to double-dip

I have changed the font size on periods at the end of sentences in order to stretch a college research paper from 19 pages to 20 pages (it really does work)

When I type LOL, I'm not always literally laughing out loud

I judge people I don't even know soley based on their bumper stickers

When driving, I sometimes go 60mph in a 55mph zone. And if I am feeling particularly bold, I'll even push it up to 63 or 64 

When I was in junior high, I kissed and told once 

I have feigned excitement over Christmas gifts that I didn't really like

(related) I have re-gifted. On several occasions.

When I was little, I would sometimes put the mouth end of the thermometer on a light bulb to make my temperature seem higher than it was in order to get out of going to school

After 4pm on a Friday, I mentally check out for the last hour of work

I didn't let the dogs out, but I know who did

I do not to drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day

I was suspended from high school. Twice.

One time I had pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all in the same day 

In 6th grade, I dropped a pencil on purpose once in order to look up a classmate's skirt. I got caught.

I sometimes laugh at jokes that are not funny

If I really like an ink pen, I will sometimes "borrow" it and "forget" to return it

I feel so much better after having gotten these things off of my chest, as this was quite cathartic. I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted. The truth has most definitely set me free.  

Do you have any confessions? C'mon, you'll feel better if you get it off of your chest. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What's Your Favorite Book of All-time?

"A book is a gift you can open again and again" ~ Garrison Keillor

Last week, while writing my blog post about libraries, I found myself thinking about the power of books in general. How a story can transport us to an entirely different universe. How we can get literally lost in the pages for hours and become oblivious to anything and everything around us. I don't think anything else can do that in the way that books can. 

We all have that book...that first book that introduces us to the magic of reading. For me, that book was Mutiny on the Bounty. I read it for the first time when I was about 12, and I was simply transfixed. It follows the story of the HMS Bounty, a merchant vessel owned by the British Royal Navy in the late 1700s. 

The ship was transporting food and plants to the West Indies, but never made it due to a mutiny led by one of the crew members, Fletcher Christian. Mr. Christian orchestrated the mutiny due to the extremely cruel treatment of everyone on board by the captain, William Bligh. 

Long story short, the mutineers put Capt. Bligh, and those loyal to him, in a rescue boat, while they took control of the Bounty and set sail for a tropical island in the South Pacific. At the risk of spoiling it in case somebody ever would want to read it someday, I will not write any further. But I will say that it is an incredible book. I've never been so lost in a story. 

What about you? What is your favorite book of all-time?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Libraries are Places of Magic

"When I got my first library card, that is when my life began" ~ Rita Mae Brown

To me, libraries will always be a place of magic. When I was a little boy, I used to beg my mother or grandmother to take me to the local library. They would drop me off and I would spend hours there just perusing random books. When I found one that captured my fancy, I would find a secluded nook somewhere in the library and just read there for hours and hours...getting lost in stories.

I used to use the Dewey Decimal System to look up books. Does anyone remember that? Good times.

When I went to college, my love affair with libraries continued. I used to intentionally register for classes that had 2 or 3-hour blocks in between them so that I would have time to go the library for extended periods in-between classes. I eventually found this isolated room on the third floor that had a little reading desk by a wooden-framed window. Nobody was ever usually up there so I would always read by that window. On warm days, I would open the window and let the sunlight warm the pages that I was reading.

Amazing memories indeed.

Libraries today are so much different though. They have changed so much in the few years that I have been out of college. Everything is digital now. People just don’t go to them like they used to. And when they do, everyone is reading on a Tablet, Kindle, or a laptop. I read a story recently about libraries and how so many of them are closing.

I think that if libraries ever die out, a part of us will die out as well.

What are your thoughts on libraries? Do you, or did you, have a library that you frequented or still frequent? Please share your stories.