As I sit at work trying to get through yet another day, I can’t help but reflect on the last 5 years. A week from tomorrow, will be 5 years since I’ve consumed ANY alcohol or drugs. It’s funny how events like this one make you look back and really analyze your life. Right now I feel so empty inside and somewhat hopeless, but why? I have accomplished so much in sobriety when I really think about it. I finished school, got married, improved my relationships with my family, and worked several jobs. On the flip side, I’ve buried friends and family, struggled to make end’s meat, and feel I am not anywhere close to where I should be. Just like I was taught in early sobriety, we must embrace the good and the bad, the light side and the dark, the old me and the new. I wish I felt both right now, but lately I haven’t been feeling very good. Maybe it’s my job where I work 60 hour weeks and barely get to see my wife. Maybe it’s all my financial struggles or all the new ventures I have pursued and failed at. Or maybe it’s that when you have less than a day sober and someone tells you they have 5 years you picture it as heaven. A life with no problems, all goals accomplished, and nothing to complain about. If you thought that like I did, you were dead wrong. I probably sound like I am bitching and have forgotten the hell that was my life before the accident. The accident that saw me escape my car seconds before it blew up. However, I still see that night as clear as ever. The way my car flipped in the air, the drinking that took place earlier, laying on my lace-less shoes in county jail, and seeing the look on my parents face when I got out. I know I’m in a much better place now then I was then. People in AA love to say “I still have problems in sobriety, but they are better problems”. Well I say they are still PROBLEMS!!! Is ambition a gift or a curse? Before I didn’t want to do anything and I was a loser. Now I want to do so much and am struggling to do it. The disappointment I get when I fail now is extremely difficult. At the end of the day, there is much to be grateful for. I love that me and my parents have such an amazing relationship. I love that my wife is so supportive and is willing to share a life with me. I love that I can be there for the people in my life. Though I may never get a promotion, at least I have a job. I may not get to do all the things I want to do, but a least I’m trying. 5 years is 5 years and it’s been really fucking hard. I am damn proud of the man I am today, and the man I will become in the future.
Dodgers Are Saved By the Face of Los Angeles
Last year was the first year of my life I didn’t attend a Dodger game. Why you ask? Was I worried about safety? Or was it because the Dodgers weren’t close to being a playoff team? The answer, very simply, was Frank McCourt. I refused to support such a terrible owner. It wasn’t easy. Every thing in my body wanted to support the boys in blue. However, I stayed strong in my principles. Now, you will certainly see me at Dodger Stadium this season because 2 billion dollars later, the Dodgers have been purchased by a Los Angeles legend. The 12-time All-Star, 3-time MVP, 3-time Finals MVP and most importantly 5-time NBA champion known as Magic Johnson and his group will be taking over on May 1st. The impressive group led by Magic includes long time baseball executive Stan Katsen, movie exec Peter Guber and the CEO of Guggenheim Partners, Mark Walter. Walter will be the controlling owner with a 100 billion dollar company behind him. However, Magic Johnson will be the face. Who better than maybe the greatest athlete Los Angeles has ever seen, someone who has continuously given back the city, and maybe one of the most competitive people of all time. That’s what excites me the most. Just like it was hard to imagine the “McCourt Era” would ever end, it is even harder to imagine Magic Johnson not doing everything he can to bring yet another title to the city of angels. After a long, long, long wait……THE DODGERS ARE BACK!!!!! With a MVP type player in Matt Kemp and a Cy Young award winning Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers have some major pieces to build around. Though it may take a while to get the finances in order and possibly upgrade Dodger Stadium, Dodger fans everywhere are rejoicing in the possibilities of tomorrow.
After the extremely harsh punishments given down to the Saints organization, people are now questioning the Saints Superbowl XLIV victory over the Colts. With player sanctions yet to be ruled on for the almost two dozen players involved in “Bounty-Gate”, you wonder what is next for the Saints. Will arguably the best QB in the league leave town? Will this set the Saints so far back that they are no longer in contention for a championship? Ironically, the Superbowl will be held in New Orleans this year. With so much information to digest and analyze, there is a lot to be said. First off, I don’t believe Drew Brees will sign elsewhere. Secondly, unless you are nieve, it is obvious that many other teams do this as well. To me, this in no way changes my thoughts on what I believe to be a legit Superbowl win. The Patriots had “Spy-Gate” and nobody says there win shouldn’t count……and they cheated!!!! Though the Saints intentionally tried to take players out of games, this is the nature of such a physical game. Jabari Greer said it was all about “intent”. I don’t think there is a defensive player in the NFL who wouldn’t want to take out a player to further there team’s success. The real issue is the extra incentives and the fact that the commissioner was lied to. These sanctions passed down by Goodell, which are headlined by the loss of 2 second round picks and a full year of suspension with no pay for Sean Payton, will indeed send a clear message to the rest of the NFL.
Are these sanctions too harsh? You decide and post.
Mike Napoli when asked about facing his old teammate said he looked forward to hitting a homer off of him. What did CJ Wilson do? Posted Napoli’s cell # on twitter. Oh social media…..you’re fun.
While Gary Sinise is a very well-known actor with countless movies and shows (including Apollo 13, Of Mice and Men and CSI: NY), he is most recognized for his iconic role in the Oscar winning movie Forest Gump. “I had been working prior to the movie, with Vietnam Vets for about 10 years in the Chicago area so I very much wanted to play this role.” he said about being given the task to play Lieutenant Dan Taylor. “We knew we had a good script.” he went on to say. What he didn’t know was the impact it would have on soldiers around the world, as well as, himself. After the movie’s success, Gary was approached by The Disabled American Veterans Organization to speak at there national convention. Following 9-11, he went on 6 USO tours. After 6 “handshake” tours, he asked the USO if he could bring his band to entertain the Soldiers. With a surprising “Yes” from the USO, Sinise formed The Lieutenant Dan Band with some musicians he had been playing with for fun. Knowing that soldiers would only recognize him as Lieutenant Dan he said, “It sounded catchy to me. They always call me Lieutenant Dan, so what the hell, let’s go”. Hundreds of shows later for soldiers all over the world, he formed the Gary Sinise Foundation which builds programs to help those who have served for our country. He has joined with The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation for his latest program Building for America’s Bravest, which builds smart homes for wounded warriors with special needs. April 1st Martinsville Speedway will host Goody’s Fast Relief 500 race where Sinise will be co-marshal with Marine Corporal Josh “J.B.” Kerns. Kerns, who lost both his legs and right arm when an IED exploded in April 2011 in Afghanistan, has undergone several surgeries and endured severe pain. The pain may subside a bit for two wonderful reasons. First off, he will be the honorary starter when he waves the flag to start the race. Secondly, he will be the recipient of the next smart home given by Building for America’s Bravest. This really is a fantastic story. To see how one role in a movie can affect so many, is amazing. Gary Sinise deserves a lot of credit for the hard work he has done. Though we may not all agree with the reasons for war, the men and women who are brave enough (or desperate enough) to serve for us should be taken care of upon there return. Most of us can’t imagine what they go through. Hopefully, the concert the night before by The Lt. Dan Band is a great success and raises tons of money for yet another wounded warrior.
This is a new weekly segment I will be doing chronicling what I believe to be under-appreciated lesser known movies, music, etc.
This week we are talking about THE WACKNESS. A terrific movie made in 2008, directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50, How to Make It in America). It follows lost high school graduate Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) as he sells marijuana in the summer of 1994 in New York City. His love for hip-hop is really the only thing he has, as he is a loner. Desperate for friends, and more so women, he stumbles upon Dr. Jefferey Squires (Sir Ben Kingsley). Dr. Squires, filled with his own bag of issues, exchanges therapy to Luke for marijuana. The relationship takes an odd twist as they become closer and Luke begins to like Dr. Squires step-daughter Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby). Without giving too much away, this an off-beat comedy with an undertone of sadness. It’s realistic approach to love is refreshing and the acting is phenomenal. Ben Kingsley gives one of his most captivating performances (that’s saying a lot). With excellent cameos by Mary-Kate Olsen, Method Man & Jane Adams (Hung, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), this movie exemplifies what a strong cast, witty writing and a bad-ass soundtrack can do. I find it interesting how often times, movies with great soundtracks are usually great themselves. Music is a big part of the movie and hip-hop fans especially will enjoy this mix of early and mid 90’s songs. I must say though, The Wackness really does speak to two generations through the main characters, Luke & Dr. Squires. In my view, this is a timeless classic.
If you end up watching The Wackness, please post your thoughts. I also highly recommend picking up the soundtrack.
So that’s why he didn’t go to Miami…..
“Let’s bet on it then” said my cousin David. I happily accepted, “Sidney Crosby will definitely play 50 games this season”. Looking at it now, I must have had my head up my ass. Sidney Crosby has played 11 games as of this article with 11 left in the Penguin’s schedule. I bring this up because “Sid the Kid” is the face of the NHL. The face who has been in shadows almost the entire season. And yet I wonder, if I asked a random person on the street who he was, if they would even know. This is truly sad for the sport of Hockey. A sport that has always been behind the NBA, MLB, college sports and of course the almighty NFL. I must first start by saying that I LOVE hockey above all else. I can talk any sport you want for days, but for me, hockey has always been special. Like the misunderstood child, who when you really get to know has much more to offer than the cool kids. Maybe he’s not the best at sports, maybe he has one leg or smells like boiled eggs….anyways I’m getting off the point. The real point is that maybe he just isn’t talked about nearly as much. I played hockey my whole life and have been a die hard Los Angeles Kings fan since birth (it seems like). My father has taken me to games since I was 3. I remember the good old days with the NHL on ESPN, NHL2Night, and Wayne Gretzky on SNL. I remember maybe the biggest rap group of all time, NWA, wearing Kings hats. Where did it go wrong? While I was doing research for this article, I was very surprised to find that the difference in average attendance between the NBA and NHL has been less than 100 the last 4 years. Now the NBA has had it’s ups and downs. From the rough 70’s to the 80’s where Magic and Bird had numbers skyrocketing, and the 90’s where we saw the height of Michael Jordan. And while the attendance is close, TV ratings are a different beast. ESPN reports NBA is up 30% this year. While NBA finals ratings were at a low from 05’ to 09’ never reaching 10, a number they would have been sad with in the past, they have bounced back the last couple of years. There lowest finals ratings ever were in 07’ when they reached a meager 6.2. Meanwhile the Stanley Cup Finals have never even reached a 6……EVER!!! Leaving the NFL out (it’s numbers destroy the NHL and NBA combined), the attendance and TV ratings bring up a very interesting point. While the NHL has many less fans than the other major sports, the fans they do have, are very passionate. That is the only explanation for such close numbers in attendance with the NBA. Now I understand that Canada helps these numbers tremendously. However, if you are a real hockey fan (especially a Kings fan) and you run into another hockey fan, you know what I’m talking about. It’s like you’ve known each other your whole life. Suddenly talking to them is so easy and your perception of them completely changes. For example, I was at a party last weekend where my friend introduced me to these two guys. He had a told me they were big hockey fans and so I was excited. Him saying that was like some guys hearing “Let me introduce you to this really cute girl, I think you could hook-up with her”. Sweaty palms, anxious stomach, we made introductions. For the next 40 minutes we talked everything NHL. My nervousness went away and I felt like I had known these guys for years. Now I know I’m exaggerating (by the way I’m married….to a woman), but the connection was there. Some say “I can’t follow the puck” or “The fighting is cool”. Some just watch what they see on ESPN. I just want to let the true hockey fans know, they are not alone. Just ask my wife how I act after a Kings loss. Though I love the Lakers, Dodgers, and Raiders (I know, I know), the KINGS ARE ABOVE ALL ELSE. I am not trying to convert atheists into believers. Just want to give it up for a sport where they aren’t paid the insane money other sports are, where you rarely see divas, and where a man gets 30 stitches and gets back on the ice 5 minutes later. THESE ARE WARRIORS…..and they deserve some love. Long live the NHL.