Fountain of Youth discovered in America!

Much to the chagrin of Juan Ponce de León, it seems that the Fountain of Youth not only exists, but it has been here in America all along, quietly seeping into the drinking water of the population like toxic KoolAid.  That’s my only plausible explanation for how we’ve become a nation of 5-year-olds without parental supervision.  “Are not!” you may say, to which I would reply, “Are too!” and provide the following evidence of the frightening regression of our collective behavior:

1.  We have no manners.  One example of our descent into childish behavior is the annual Black Friday free-for-all in which we have no qualms about shoving a little old lady out of the way in order to save $10 on a Christmas sweater so ugly that it’s possible to severely damage one’s retinas if viewed directly for more than half a second.  Our complete lack of common courtesy makes it impossible for us to say things like “Please, hold the elevator,” or “Thank you for holding the elevator,” or even bring ourselves to expend the tiniest of portion of our meager energy reserves to put our index finger on the button and hold the elevator for the little old lady burdened with twelve bags of blindingly ugly Christmas sweaters.  You’re welcome, Grandma, for the free cardio workout you’ll get by taking the stairs instead.

2.  We have no patience. We want everything now.  Now, now, NOW!!  And we will whine, plead, beg and throw a tantrum until we get that next generation iPhone with unlimited data, text and voice and the latest version of the app that will automatically buff your posterior to a rosy glow included at no extra cost.  Delivered.  Now.  Don’t make me hold my breath.

3.  We only care about ourselves. “It’s all about me” has become our mantra and we only think of others in terms of what they can do for us.  Unless, of course, someone we know seems more attractive, happier, smarter, and/or more financially secure than us and then we only care about plotting and executing their humiliating social obliteration in order to make us feel better about ourselves.  Why else would we be so hooked on “reality” television if not to assure ourselves that we are not as (insert any insecurity here) as THAT loser on today’s episode of “Judge Judy?”

4.  We don’t know how to share. We would rather stick out our tongues, waggle our butts and sing, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, naaaah, nah!” than let our neighbor deposit a bag of trash that won’t fit into his overflowing recycle bin into the one that we’ve never bothered to take out of the garage because we’re too lazy to recycle.

5.  We would rather play the blame game than clean up our messes. We actually believe that empty McDonald’s cups casually dropped from our Hummers while traveling at 50 m.p.h. are magically assimilated back into the environment with no ill effects simply because it’s not our fault that McDonald’s can’t figure out a way to deliver Diet Coke directly into our pie holes without the assistance of a cup.

There are a myriad of other examples of the Kindergarten shenanigans of American “adults” due to the insidious addition of fluid from the Fountain of Youth to our drinking supply and as much as I would love to list more, it’s time for my snack and afternoon nap.  Want to go to the playground later?

Necessity Breeds Creativity

I’m not ashamed to admit that I have some fairly impressive friends in the creativity department.  From artists who work in the more traditional mediums of music, oil on canvas, or pen and paper to those capable of constructing unbelievably beautiful objects entirely from recycled materials or functional items re-tasked to serve a new purpose unintended by the original manufacturer.  I even have an Emmy Award winning Visual Effects Technical Supervisor and Independent Transmedia Producer in my stable of buddies, which is amazing even though I have no idea what either a Visual Effects Technical Supervisor or Independent Transmedia Producer does.  But I do know that it’s highly creative and technical and pretty damn cool.

Creativity comes in many forms, but I most appreciate that which is driven by necessity.  For example, one of my  friends needed a dress form and fashioned one out of a hospital IV pole, old clothes, duct tape and some expanding foam sealant.  As she said herself, “Not bad for under $20 bucks!”  I think she’s being modest – I’m completely amazed.

But finding a creative solution to a problem is not something reserved only for those who make their living as artists.  My niece recently gave me a glimpse into her own inventiveness when she told me how she used a string of Christmas lights as an extension cord for her mobile phone.  Not only was she able to charge her phone and talk at the same time, but her solution was somehow able to repair the previously inoperative lights.

I’ve seen inspiration in the cockpit when flying night freight in the form of requesting reroutes, altitude changes, short approaches and other help from Air Traffic Control in order to meet deadlines, as well as steep descents and fast approaches intended to assist ATC in maintaining their flow and easing their workload.  I’ve also seen an entire fleet of aircraft diverted to a base without sufficient personnel to handle the unloading, sorting and reloading of all the cargo.  Not only did every last pilot chip in and help get the job done, they had to employ a considerable amount of ingenuity  to do it.

Everyone, everywhere has had to be creative to solve some kind of problem at least once in their lives; from the parent helping their child with homework to the theoretical physicist researching dark matter, we all have the capacity for innovation.  And that is what impresses me the most about humanity – our imaginations are truly boundless.

Z is for Zenith

Life is like a box of chocolates…No, wait. Life is like a roller coaster…No, still not right.  Life is like being airlifted to the middle of the Himalayas and unceremoniously dumped with nothing but some all-weather gear and a small survival pack with instructions in Mandarin.  Yeah, that’s more like it.

Although you have what you need to survive, the information isn’t revealed to you without some effort.  And what you do with that knowledge is entirely up to you.  Some people simply decide it’s too difficult and give up.  Some people find a nice cave in the valley and spend their time making themselves and their descendants as comfortable as possible.  Some people start climbing.

Once the climbers reach the summit, they are faced with yet another decision – complete their journey at the zenith of their mountain and enjoy the view their achievement has provided or start climbing the next taller mountain and strive to gain an even higher peak.  And in this manner, each person and every living thing contributes to the Universe, in one way or another, through actions, thoughts and simple existence and eventually returns to the ether from which everything originated.  We are, after all, comprised of the same basic building block as the stars.

If each contribution to the whole is equally valid, what will yours be?  Do you give up and serve as an object lesson for the cave dwellers and the climbers or do you start looking for Everest?  Personally, I’m thinking the view must be awesome from Mars.

X is for Xerxes

In my opinion, 300 is the greatest chick flick ever.  And don’t tell me that 300 is not a chick flick.  It is simply impossible to plausibly assert that it was geared toward anyone but women and,  possibly, homosexual men.  If by some miracle, one is able to ignore the seemingly infinite ranks of excruciatingly hot, undeniably masculine Spartan eye candy destroying all manner of hideous beasts to protect their families in much the same way my husband disposes of spiders, one could envision 300 as a love story.

On the one hand, Leonidas shows a tremendous amount of love for his family and kingdom by going against the wishes of the corrupt politicians and priests and taking his 300 warriors to defend his home from the Persians.  But he also shows love for his soldiers not only when he tells Xerxes he would give his life for any one of them, but when he denies Ephialtes a place among them that would put them at risk.

On the other hand, the love story between Queen Gorgo and King Leonidas is the epitome of Neo-classical tragedy.  In her quest to rally support for her husband, Gorgo is raped, betrayed and publicly humiliated, but is still able to draw on the strength of her love for Leonidas to brutally kill her tormentor, expose him as a traitor and unite Sparta against the Persians.  Although, like any good tragedy, the help comes too late to save Leonidas, who dies proclaiming his eternal love for his queen.

And finally, there are two lines from 300 which perfectly support my belief that it is the best chick flick ever.  The first is when Xerxes, as the personification of lust for power who can only command his hordes through fear and greed and therefore cannot comprehend the depth of Leonidas’ resolve, asks Leonidas to consider the fate of Sparta’s women to which Leonidas replies, “Clearly you don’t know our women! I might as well have marched them up here, judging by what I’ve seen.”  The second, but not necessarily lesser, quote is from the scene in which Gorgo stabs Theron while repeating to him the words he used prior to raping her, “This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. I am not your Queen!”

Of course, I could just love watching 300 because of the hotties.  I think I should watch it again to help me decide.  Will you please pass me the chocolate covered popcorn?

A is for Attitude

Well, my first blog ever didn’t go so bad. Nothing bad happened. No tears. No blood. Nothing falling from the sky. Ok…

Since I’m taking this slowly, I thought I’d do a kind of “ABC’s” of my thoughts for my blogs. That would give me a starting point and maybe even something worth blogging about each time, as I’m still a little fuzzy on the whole “blogosphere mentality” and I’m not very good at sharing. Anything. Ever.

Therefore, today will be “A is for Attitude.” This is something I know quite a bit about, since I’ve been accused of everything from having a good attitude, a bad attitude, and/or simply a lot of ‘tude. From a flight perspective, attitude is the orientation of the craft about it’s center of mass. In a way, it’s a measurement of equilibrium. I think a person’s attitude is the same – a measurement of equilibrium. If you have a bad attitude, events seem to never go your way. But if you have a good attitude, things just seem to click into place without any real effort on your part.

So, how do we keep a good attitude? It’s just like flying a plane (or driving a car, or riding a bike): you keep an eye on it and when you see it going off course, you fix it right away with a small adjustment to keep it from deviating even more. And that small adjustment can be anything. Try it. Take a look in the mirror, make the goofiest face you can think of at yourself, and smile. If that doesn’t give your attitude a bump in the right direction, have a nice glass of wine and call me in the morning.