Friday, September 11, 2009

A lesson in being unpopular

Today is September 11, 2009. It marks the 8th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks involving 4 commercial airliners against the United States of America. For the majority of Americans, and maybe even the world, it's the day that has defined and shaped much of the 21st Century.

I say majority of Americans, but not all. Because it wasn't that kind of day for me.

Before I start on this let me say this: I love my country. I consider myself to be an upstanding citizen, and I think we here in the U.S. have figured out a pretty good system of government. I am in no-way "anti-American" and believe in the Constitution of the United States. I believe the society that has arisen from this document is special and unique and worth preserving.

9/11 simply doesn't have the impact for me that has for most people. On 9/11 I remember logging into my AOL account and seeing a news report that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and assumed it was some knucklehead from Yonkers in his twin-engine Cessna who couldn't figure out how to steer his plane. Just before leaving for work I decided to check out the news, and for the next two hours I watched the second tower get hit, heard the reports of the Pentagon being hit, and saw the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. And then I called my mom, who was at Johns Hopkins in the final days of her battle with Pancreatic cancer, a battle we knew she was rapidly losing, a battle she would ultimately lose 10 days later.

A lot of things happened over the next few days, but the circumstances of that time will always be overshadowed, for me, by the loss of my mom. We talked about 9/11 a couple of times, and she was worried about the world she was leaving us to look after. I told her I thought everything would be ok, we'd figure out who did this and where they were, and remove them from existence. I still hope I'm right about that. I truly did believe that at the time, that we would deal with this, figure out who did it and systematically remove then from the face of the earth. I think the saddest part of the whole thing is that eight years later we're still in Afghanistan chasing around the knuckleheads behind all this.

I understand why it affected so many people, why it was such an important event. Historical significance is not lost on me, it's the emotional attachment to the event that I guess is different for me than it is for a lot of people. I've never been a person to just accept what I was told and pretty much question everything. A complete cynic in many ways. And I've always felt the very best thing we can do to defeat the actions of 9/11 was to return to "life as normal", rebuild the buildings as they were, and go about our lives in a way that says "you can attack us, but you can't hurt us, you can't change us".

Was 9/11 a tragedy? Of course. Does it deserve a National holiday? Absolutely not. Memorials, Remembrances, of course, but not a National holiday. For me, it wasn't even the worst day of that week.

I realize this isn't my best blog post ever, so thanks for bearing with me.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

2009 Football Predictions

(note: Facebookies, these Notes copy over from my blog,

It's September 8, and I want to put these out for the record:

Maryland Terrapins - 5-7 (yes, I know they already got killed by Cal)
Washington Redskins - 6-10

Opinion: If Maryland goes 5-7, as I think, Ralph Freidgen should resign. You need to recruit better OL/DL/LB types, Ralph. Peer E Uhd.

Speculation: Last year for Jason Campbell in a Redskins uniform. Last year for Jim Zorn as head coach. Albert Haynesworth will remind people more of Dana Stubblefield than of Reggie White, and he'll miss at least 3 games. And hopefully, if they hire a Bill Cowher / Mike Shannahan / Jon Gruden type to come in, it means bye-bye for Vinny Cerrato. I'll help you pack your office, Vinny.

I'm down on both teams. Why? With both, it's the obvious lack of physical talent in the right areas. The Redskins will be more competitive because their defense has a chance to be quite good. I hope I'm wrong, but this is how I see it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Big Problem

I was 21 years old in 1988 when the movie "Big" came out, and I remember going to see the movie with my friends Tim and Frank. For those of you who might be cinematically impaired, "Big" is a story about a boy who makes a wish and wakes up the next day as an adult, and follows his adventures over the span of a few months as he learns to be an adult all while trying to become a kid again. At the end of the movie, Tom Hank's character (Josh Baskin) goes back to being a kid and all is well.

When the movie was done, we began discussing how each of us would have handled that scenario. Back then, Tim was 22, and Frank was probably 35 or so. I steadfastly argued that Josh made a huge mistake going back, and should have continued his life as an adult. Sure, he went from being 11 to probably 30, but, in his short time as an adult he landed a great job (toy company executive), an awesome loft apartment, and a legitimate relationship with one of the most elegant and beautiful women I've ever seen (Elizabeth Perkins) in my entire life (even still to this day).

Frank was adamant that you had to go back to being a kid, and Tim agreed with Frank. Now, over the course of the last 21 years, I've forgotten why Tim took that position, but Frank took his stance based on the idea you could still have all those things later in life. I argued that was crazy, and that Josh had basically won the life lottery and might never get those things back.

And here I sit, 21 years later, at the age of 42, having just watched the middle portions of "Big" on cable, and it started me thinking about that discussion. And while I still think did win the life lottery, I have to admit I'm reconsidering my viewpoint. Perhaps it's my age, the extra life experience, perhaps it's just a mid-life crisis, but I'm starting to think Josh made the right decision in going back to being a kid, even if that meant giving up Elizabeth Perkins. Now, was Josh stupid for not liquidating all his assets and placing them in an offshore account before he went back so he'd be able to keep all that he earned? Maybe ;-)

What I'm really curious to know is, how would you handle that scenario? Would you stay as an adult or go back?