Happy Thanksgiving 2015


Thanksgiving means many things to many people.  And I would assume that our perspective on any day at a point in time can change given our circumstances at the present moment.  Never before was this more clear to me than it was tonight when I began casually watching Gone With The Wind tonight.  It had been years since I watched the movie and a movie that was at one time to me just “one of the classics” revealed to me a more startling and enveloping message that lends itself to my Thanksgiving Day Meaning at this point in time.

In an ideal world we would always seek out family, friends and the poor, but that never seems to be the case.  In a world laced with this appreciation day or that appreciation day, I think many have become so lost in life that popular culture finds a way to define our days for us in order to profit from us by tricking us into believing labels are necessary to appreciate the things we enjoy and the people we love.

Instead of writing endlessly of platitudes of what I believe Thanksgiving should or should not be, I just want to share a random thought about what I saw when I watched Gone With the Wind tonight and hope to move positively forward on another year, literally, as today is also my birthday!

At any given point in the movie, Scarlett only wants what she doesn’t have.  At one point, she had a husband who adored her, a baby, a beautiful home, amazing clothes, money… and all she wanted was an 18 inch waistline and an old crush who loved someone else.

It was only when her husband finally left, she suddenly wanted him.  I always thought that the horizon at the end of the movie was a message of hope.  Tonight I realize that the sunset on the horizon and the beautiful music at the end is not the promise of a new day or representing strength over adversity.

Rather, the sunset on the horizon represents a metaphor for how Scarlett lives.  For her, all the good things are always “out there” somewhere, on the horizon.  If you notice, she stopped crying and got a dreamy look in her eyes when she had something to long for again.  It is the thrill of the chase she wants, because there is no real responsibility.

Socrates said:

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

I don’t like to be predictable and I am not going to go through a laundry list of things that I am or purport to be thankful for.  I only hope and pray that those that have touched my life know and realize how thankful I am for them.  If I didn’t have the love and support of my friends, I would be nothing.

In my short lifetime it has been my friends that have been my heroes.  I never try to lose sight of what they have done for me and how they have touched me at moments of despair and loneliness.  If you need your heroes to be perfect, you won’t have many.  Even Superman had his Kryptonite.  I’d rather have my heroes be more like me: trying to do the right thing, sometimes messing up.  Making mistakes.  Saying you’re sorry.  And forgiving other people when they mess up, too.

May we all realize this Thanksgiving, and indeed every day, that the good things in life are not always “out there” on the horizon, but present in the simple smiles, hugs, and realizations that the people in our life care about us and protect us from the vicious realities of the world that we find ourselves living in.



May These Crimes Against Humanity Not Become the “New Normal”

champs morning HR

As I arrived home from work today, I did so as any normal Friday and then became aware of the atrocity of what had occurred in Paris by a friend messaging me.  I had become, over the course of time, immune to the news.  The tragedy that impacted the world today on such a large scale occurs every day on a much smaller scale.  True, it may not be labeled as terrorism, but senseless murders and attacks against humanity are ripe in any watch of the nightly news.

I remember studying a certain famous play by William Shakespeare in college and I immediately took interest in the lecture as it was one that characterized three communities in the play – the community of light, the community of darkness and malice, and the world of the human being, which is in middle earth and is pulled simultaneously towards both of the others.  That image came to my mind as I heard the tragic news that occurred.

As I watched the news, a spectator in Paris remarked, “this type of terrorism has become as the new normal.”  Out of any images that were presented to me on the news broadcast those words struck me silent.  My God, to think that we have degraded to such a degree in this society and our spirits silenced to a halt, to take tragedies as the one today as a normal occurrence.

I believe anyone watching the events unfold have suspected terrorist groups, and I do not believe it matters in my mind what sect has performed the terrorism.  Whether it be perpetrated by Muslim or Christian or Israeli should not matter.  I cannot reconcile these acts against the innocent in my eye.  Certainly, there are crimes against one’s neighbor that we know and recognize.  But these are acts against unknown spirits. In a typical war relationship, a war killing is not a typical murder, in that the killer and the killed are not in a personal relationship with each other.  This type of murder vexes us even more as there is no rationale for the history that occurred and continues to occur in acts of terrorism such as this tragedy in which we watch with fear, anger, and confusion.

Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures.  No one is there to accept restitution or to grant forgiveness. I am a lawyer by profession, and while I have never stood in prosecution of criminal offenses to this degree, I saw in my mind’s eye two types of murder with regards to what occurred today – murder and madness.  I believe that the acts that occurred today are the definition of madness.

Where a murder occurs between two people who know each other and to some degree have a relationship and a premeditated purpose in committing the murder, we certainly abhor, but can put on a case and tell a story about why the murder occurs and insofar as there is a story, the society that is left behind may choose to extract forgiveness or understanding to the act of murder.  They may also not choose to grant that forgiveness and understanding, but my point is that society and the individual are given a choice in the act of murder.

When madness occurs, as is occurring now in Paris by these terrorists, the actor of the terrorism cannot repent and society cannot forgive.

After the terrorism attacks that occurred in the United States on September 11, I was doing my undergraduate work and many that were my age have never experienced terrorism until that point in time in our lives.  As classes were cancelled and I watched the twin towers fall, an older man passing by told all of us gathered at the television something that I will never forget.

He said that for evil to come about, it just will.  Indeed, one doesn’t even have to act; evil will come about in the world by it’s own being.  But for good to take place, you must make a willed commitment to say I will see good and perform it to the human beings that I encounter each and every day.

If we allow these acts, such as the immense tragedy that occurred in Paris today, and other acts of tragedy even on a much smaller scale to become the new normal, we have chosen to be silent to the evil that unfolds before us.

May these acts and all acts such of these be atoned as no forgiveness can be extracted from the madness that we all bear witness to today.

May we continue to feel empathy, loss and devastation for these human lives, whether they occur in our local neighborhood or halfway across the world.

And may these crimes that occurred today against all humanity not become the new normal in our world and may we actively choose to be pulled to the community of light every single day of our lives.

Eternal rest grant unto the victims of today’s massacre, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.

Loyalty is a characteristic trait. Those who have it, give it free of charge.

I would assume at first glance you would think this blog entry to be a rant about spurned love, and perhaps in a way you would be correct, but it you would be mistaken to think it about a singular person.  No, I am speaking about a love of the beautiful game.  It has been nearly twenty-eight months since Manchester United have been atop the Premier League table and fans shouted at the victory that propelled them to the leaderboard earlier today.  Prior to this point of time, any Manchester United fan endured murmurings since that time about replaced managers, failure to attain Champions League status, and a form that has been out of place for a team that has become the thorough-bred of the English Premier League.

It is easy in any professional sports culture to remember that the men behind the uniform, and yes, the men behind the managment on the pitch are human beings.  While I don’t decry any fan a right to have their say to a club, I would question the recent culture that seems to envelop modern sports of instant gratification at any cost.  If only we had a time machine today to see how Sir Alex Ferguson would fair if he would debut in 2015 Manchester.  Would a world stage give “The Boss” 3 excruciating seasons to achieve greatness, or would fans cry for the “next best thing”?

A few years back I had been in Pittsburgh watching a baseball game where the Pittsburgh Pirates had been vying for a playoff position for the first time in nearly twenty years.  Watching the Pirates lose for twenty long years, and being in a game with a team that would obviously not make the playoffs, it was a game that we needed to win.  I said to a colleague, “Why can’t the other team just fall on their sword to give us the playoff position?”  My friend responded, “Everyone plays baseball to win… No one plays to lose.”  No matter how frustrated a team, or players, or yes, even a managers season may be, these players fight hard.

It dawned on me that this was even more true in the realm of football.  The fans of Manchester United are flying high that they are in first place.  But we have to remember to stand with them whether they are in first, second or twentieth place. The players appreciate our support now but they will appreciate it more should they falter.  The press and opposition will be there to criticize Manchester United in success or failure.  For that reason, may our applause be louder in defeat than they are in victory.

There are no environments where you’re only going to win, because life just isn’t life that. ~ Bobby Orr


Well Here Goes Again

I blogged many moons ago and really enjoyed it, but like most things in my life work took over and I had quite missed it as I had missed the community I had built up on here and since I had last written on here I of course forgotten my password and even what username I had used at that time.  I figure that is a higher power’s way of telling me to start this task from scratch.

Like many on here I write about what interests me, but unlike many, there is so much that interests me.  My thoughts vary from Shakespeare, Sartre, Soccer to Satie.  I can’t wait to get started again and meet many new and interesting people and share in their stories.

I hope that I am sustained by this effort on WordPress.  I am reminded that I miss college most of all because I miss writing.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

Much has changed from college, and much has changed from my last effort at blogging.  What brought me here at the last crossroads of my life was confusion but what brings me here this time is joy of writing.

Richard Nixon once quipped that you can step in the same river twice if it was frozen…. Only from the mouth of a politician.  May none of us step in the same river twice as Heraclitus reminds us.  I come here grateful that what brought me here the first time has not brought me here the second time but renewed that the past has made me who I am today.

Cheers and happy writing!

Rob xo