01
Sep
14

Round 2

 

Resurrected Jesus

Like Resurrected Jesus, this blog will at first only be noticed by doubters and prostitutes. Before it changes the world.

For the last few years I’ve decreased in the amount I’ve written and when I do, I end up keeping it private on Google Docs. I wanted to start a new blog for a couple reasons. First, I want to try and be more active in the social network universe. Hopefully I can trade ideas with people, learn some things and maybe even teach something. I started by re-activating my Twitter account and have been mainly re-tweeting things I like, but 140 characters doesn’t allow for much editorializing, so I really needed a blog to compliment it. My other reason for re-booting this blog is that I want to become a better writer. Being a good writer is such an invaluable skill, but requires a lot of practice and feedback, so a public blog is really a great option.ed deleting this blog but after spending 10 minutes trying to come up with a catchy name for the new blog, I got frustrated and tricked myself into continuing with this one “in order to see my writing progress”.

In the past this blog has been a mishmash of random stuff and I expect it to stay much like that. Some short stories, sports commentary, random pictures I like, but mainly political stuff, and probably a lot of foreign policy commentary. Really, there are two very different issues that I feel like exploring; the US military’s evolving mission and how it’s structure meets or doesn’t meet that and voting reform. The first will involve a lot of side topics like weapon technology and foreign policy. The second will hopefully cover several aspects of voting reform from voter IDs to our first-past-the-post system.

Really, I’ve grown to believe that the media is in such a sad state, that I’ve also learned to really appreciate and respect journalists and media outlets that do an awesome job. Good journalists have become my heroes and I’d like to help combat the re-re-re-posts of whatever idiotic FOXNews clip that gets posted on Facebook by posting and writing about some really well written stuff. Hopefully, together, we can kill cable news.

24
Jun
12

Adventures in Disc Golfing

After watching “The Bullfrog Open: A Disc Golf Adventure” I can honestly say that I haven’t lived life as free as these 5 gentlemen have.

The story opens with 5 young adults playing a game known as disc golf. To be honest, for the first 5 years after I heard of disc golf, I thought it was some hippie side-adventure that they did in to spite The Man. This film has proved that mentality to be completely incorrect. This sport is one of strategy, logic, and skill.

As the tale unfolds, it tells a story of 2 brothers, who with the help of a few friends, live out a dream of playing “The Augusta of Disc Golf”. This trip was 3 years in the making, as The Big Tiff (one of the brothers’ friends, aka Chris Kowalski aka Emperor Tiffer of the Coastal City) explains in the opening remarks. This is a saga of friendship and competition that took years to plan and camaraderie and competition shines through. 5 friends, from 4 different cities, gather together for one momentous championship tournament. As the Brothers Williams take us on this journey, we learn a great deal about the gameplay, gain insights to how they feel as they play this strenuous 3 days, and a little bit about the future of mankind, thanks mainly to Rob Morse (King Robert of the Mountain Lake).

First off, one cannot say enough about Dan Williams’ (Chief Daniel of the Eastern Harbor) incredible camera work. To be able to finish in the place that he did in the tournament, and still be able to catch camera shots that are NatGeo worthy is a testament to living up to his last name. Without Williams’ work, we would have no Adventure and without God, we would have no Universe.

With each participant, each gave a critical component to this film. Kowalski is no different. His stunning commentary around the campfire, and his constant underhanded commentary with others made me believe that disc golf is not a black and white game. I believe he added a sense of symbolism in his Arabic headdress and attempted turkey genocide to these ends. Life is full of deceit and hidden meaning, much like the “game” of disc golf. Without him, this film would just be another well edited YouTube video.

Mike Manzella (Grand Master Mike of the Southern Shore) summed up the main point for me, in the sense of comradarie. Here is a man, a very successful tennis player, who leaves the wonderful shores of Naples, FL to hang out with his childhood friends and to sit around campfires all day, drinking and smoking while wearing fashionable hats. I believe Manzella does mean “greatest friend” in Italian.

One cannot mention the name Christopher Williams without mentioning “disc golf”, or maybe even “film editing” after this work. As a three-time Bullfrog Open Champion, and editor of several feature photo-montages in college, he is “The Guy” you’d want to put together such a project. His commentary is akin to Socrates at the Forum or Mark Cuban on ESPN. No bullshit, and everything he says is important. In terms of the editing, well, I just submitted it for the new season of 30 for 30. As my consultant on all thing musical, I had no doubt that the soundtrack would be outstanding, but when I heard Living Colour’s Cult of Personality, I almost shit myself. What a well done job.

King Robert II, of The Mountain Lake stole the show. His flute-work is, dare I say….INCREDIBLE. At each end of the day, I was ecstatic to get a new day started with Robert and his talent. I’m not going to write anything else about his work in this film because it’d be an insult if I attempted to describe it.

In summation, I look forward to seeing more work from the Williams Brothers and all films featuring anyone or anything in this piece. Outfuckingstanding.

20
Jun
12

The Patriot

“Arghhhhhhhhhh­h……” I groan.

As much as I love The Patriot, I hate The Patriot when I “have to” go there after I was just drinking at the same bar 8 hours ago. But….. it was Chris’ birthday and I promised to introduce him to Selina, a very talented bartender who works at the bar.

The Patriot is what I imagine Europeans think of when they think of an American bar. It’s dirty, there’s country music, neon lights, an eccentric group of drinkers, and very good looking bartenders who occasionally dance on the bar. Pair this yokel Americana situation with the fact that it’s a 10 minute walk from Wall Street and you have a very interesting situation. It’s located in this  strange nexus of shitty bars such as Dakota Roadhouse (which sports an asshole dog that likes to steal your food) and Raccoon Lounge (the feeling you get from the name sums up that place). For being so close to the financial heart of the world, the standards of “WoChamb” (west of Chambers Ave) are surprisingly low class. I like to go there for the company mainly. It’s a mishmash of stockbrokers or “button-downs” as my friend calls them, construction workers, hipsters, and men that appear to be without home. I’ve met the whole gambit of characters at The Patriot, from the creator of DOS to an opera singer who works sushi restaurants. It’s a pretty eccentric place with no real identity other then providing the perfect atmosphere to get absolutely smashed.

Sunday brunch at Ulysses is something of a tradition amongst my friends. It’s a great, classy place with fantastic food and even more fantastic Bloody Marys.  This isn’t a weekly thing or anything, more of a random thing to do whenever someone wakes up early enough on a Sunday to arrange a brunch. This was different though; this morning we had business in downtown. I needed to get Chris to meet Selina’s nipples.

Anyway, brunch went on without incident; a few Bloody Marys and some corned beef revived my stomach up. As we trekked up to The Patriot I realized I wasn’t quite in the mood to go drinking, but a commitment is a commitment and Syracuse (my alumna mater) was playing a noon basketball game that I wanted to watch. When I opened the door to the bar my wish-washiness washed itself away. The slightly unsanitary smell of the place woke me up and let me know it was time to get busy. ­Then I saw the exact type of person I had been told hangs out at The Patriot on Sunday afternoons. At the nearest end of the bar to me sat a man with his back turned. I couldn’t see his face but I could see the 5 plastic toy dinosaurs that were lined up in front of him. The dinosaurs varied in shape, size and origin. One was a 15” tall T-Rex that looked like it was from the Jurassic Park catalogue while another was far cuter and friendly; possibly one of the adult dinosaurs in The Land Before Time. In front of each of the dinosaurs sat a shot glass of some brown liquid and a crazy fun straw which led the booze from the shot glass to the dinosaur’s mouth. The 5 dinosaurs formed a semi-circle in front of the man at the bar giving the appearance of an alcoholic version of a 6 year old girl’s tea party. Actually, that’s exactly what it was.

By this time I’m walking myself over to the bar without trying to stare….just knowing in a few short seconds I’ll be sitting at the bar where I can observe this specimen from a less awkward place. I have a lot of hobbies; but my favorite thing to do is to watch people and fabricate little stories about their days. I could do it all day. Union Square is probably my favorite place to people-watch due to the variety of people. Get bored of watching two old men fight over a chess game? Then stare at the pretty lady who keeps looking at her phone. What’s she waiting for? Maybe a first date? Cocaine?? Sometimes I create nicknames for my observational subjects like Lurch, Porky Thunder, or Gung Ho. I’m the type of person who spends a first date by pointing out people to my date and saying“What do you think she’s doing eating alone on a Friday night?” instead of “Which part of the city do you live in?”  

So I’m sitting at this shitty bar watching this guy from the corner of my eye and he just continued on sitting there like the most normal thing in the fucking world. Don’t mind me and these inebriated dinosaurs. Nope, just sipping on this drink and watching this basketball game on TV….nothing strange going on here.

“Every Sunday this happens.” The bartender explained to me, as I clearly cannot take my eyes off the scene (alright, maybe I wasn’t viewing out of the corner of my eye). “What’s really awesome is that he takes little sips from each of the shot glasses when he thinks no one is looking so that it appears the dinosaurs are really getting wasted with him”.

I couldn’t help myself….I had to find out more of the story. My imagination is having an explosion in my head. It doesn’t want to make up a story, it just needs the details immediately. Truth is always stranger than fiction.

“So, who’s your team?” I asked as I motion up to the TV which is now (finally…) playing the Syracuse game in hopes of buttering him up for the inquisition.

“I call the one on the right Oedipus Rex. He can be a real asshole. These other ones are Waffles, Puddles, Plate, and Jeff.” He said without looking away from the TV. “Don’t bullshit me with that basketball crap. If you want to know what’s the deal with my friends here, just come out and ask, I’m not embarrassed.”

Stunned. Fuck. Shit. Fuck Shit. Here I was, trying to play it cool like I’ve done before with countless other insane individuals around this city and this guy comes back with the sane-est statement I’ve ever heard.

“How do you know I wasn’t genuinely interested in your take on this basketball game? I’m a pretty big college basketball fan myself and the viewing crowd here looks a little sparse…” I say, trying to make sad excuses for my prying. The great joy of being a people-watcher is believing that the person doesn’t know you’re thinking about them. It’s all about noting their little traits and then making witty banter about it to a friend or in your own head. This situation is more like a lioness wondering why you care about the ripping of flesh she’s doing and now suddenly her interest is on you. Role reversal. Suddenly I was a stalker nutcase.

“I’m pretty good at observing people too,” he continued as he looked at me, finally taking his eye off the TV.  “I could tell from your walk and the fact that you’re sitting here and the three guys who came in with are sitting at that table in the corner. There are other TVs and I bet you’d rather talk basketball with your buddies than me. You wanted to know what kind of quack I am. I’m not a quack or at least not more than anyone else. I’m not trying to be a scene. Not like your buddy over there that’s screaming at a TV, hoping he can influence a fucking game taking place hundreds of miles away.” In the background I hear Chris yelling “when the fuck are we gonna play some defense???” as he bashes the table.

“These toys are my son’s…Richie. He’s grown up now, but I keep them around. I used to come to this bar and hang out with my buddies just like you are. Slowly they went away. Moved. One died. Another’s too busy to hang out anymore and the other’s wife hates me. I remember my son playing with these same toys when he was a kid and how much fun he had. He didn’t need anyone else there.”

His gaze wandered off into deep into and beyond the Budweiser clock on the wall. Not only had this situation put me in “stunned” mode, but him as well. His own conversation had hypnotized him and his mind was somewhere else in space/time.  Maybe to 1994 standing in the doorway of his son’s room watching his boy play with these toys. Quietly yearning to be be able to take part in Rich’s jocund playtime but, he was an adult with bills to pay and politics to be concerned with.

3 awkward minutes of me sitting there at this bar while a bathetic montage of events played in this man’s head. Abruptly he shivered, shaking his head and bringing himself back to The Patriot.  

“Anywhat….so here I am, a 62 year old retired trash collector and I sit at this bar every week with these fucking toys. We get drunk together. People do crazy shit when they’re drunk. I like to have fun like my son used to have. To drink with someone that reminds me of old times, probably for the very same reason you drink with your friends.”

“…gggrooarrrrrrrr……” the man quietly growled to himself, apparently speaking for the dinosaurs. Then he lifted the shotglass from Odepius Rex, downed the brown drink and quickly replaced it to it’s original position.“He never lets anyone else drink until his is gone. Like I said, he’s an asshole.”

This man had just elucidated insanity to me. You can’t be alone in New York. There’s always people around and the nonstop laughter, chatter, singing, music playing, yelling and so forth is a constant reminder.  It’s too expensive to live in NY alone, so there’s roommates even in your own space talking on the phone, watching TV, or playing music. The list never stops.  There’s nowhere quiet in New York.

Two or three years ago I was having a tough night and I just wanted to be alone. So I sat, in a park, covering my ears with my hands and humming to myself to drown out the white commotion of Manhattan. To escape, just for a few moments, regardless at what cost to my own public pride and reputation. I sat there for 30 minutes, maybe an hour doing that. I must have looked crazy but that was what I needed.

I knew exactly what he’s talking about. Sometimes looking crazy is worth getting to someplace comfortable and relaxing. Bringing this full circle, I think that’s what The Patriot and to a larger extend, drinking are all about. I felt embarrassed for treating this man as an exhibit. I was the high school bitch who picks out others’ weirdness to hide her own shame and shortcomings.

“Can I buy you and your friends a round?”

20
Jun
12

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hiking

On April 26, 1336, Petrarch climbed Mount Ventoux, the French Alpine peak, for fun and kicked off the European Renaissance.  Six and a half centuries later, the British cyclist Tommy Simpson would die on Mount Ventoux during the 13th stage of the Tour de France screaming his last words, “Put me back on my bike!”. Two thousand years before Simpson succumbed to the storied mountain, Ventoux hosted the “Welcome to the Alps” party for Hannibal’s invading Carthaginian army. As he marched through Southern France gathering Gallic allies, Mount Ventoux would be the first reminder of the massive natural barrier that stood between Hannibal and destiny.

It was here on this legendary mountain that I now found myself…in the gift shop.

“Excusez-moi, puis-je vous aider Monsieur?” says the shopkeeper. I don’t speak french but if I was to make a wild guess, this woman is asking me if I need help buying the beautiful and expensive coffee table book I’ve been exploring (and probably ruining) for the last 20 minutes.

“Pardon, je ne parle Francais. Ehhhh….but no, thank you, I’m just browsing.” I say, utilizing all of my French knowledge. She gives me a little polite grimace and goes to help some bikers.

Growing up, I was a pretty outdoorsy kid. Every summer my parents provided an outlet for my adventurous whims. One summer I’d go out west to visit relatives in Western Colorado where we’d kayak the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers and another year I’d go to a summer camp in the Adirondacks for a few weeks, honing my archery, survival and sailing skills. In retrospect, I’ve never properly thanked my parents for those summers away from them…maybe sometime later…..

In addition to getting me out of the house for a few weeks, my parents’ goal was to mold me into an Evangelical Christian. For the summer of 1997 my parents sent me to a Christian hiking program in the Adirondacks. This time was spent traipsing around the woods of Upstate New York with Christian hippies. It provided me with a good foundation of reflection…. ehhh… renaissance. I not only learned about the evils of evolution, but also about marijuana and blow-jobs. There was a sense of hidden truths that seeped through the religious dogma and provided a very stereotypical “coming-of-age” experience.  We’d listen to our group leader (who was the camp director’s son), Mike, talk about his fear of death while rock climbing and it just seemed very contrary to the religious canon which we were just instructed in. One day, our group leader was trying to explain evolution and why it was wrong, and one of my friends brought up the example of the Peppered Moth to try and prove our leader wrong. Our leader, faced with an obvious example of rapid evolution/natural selection was dumbfounded and fell back on the cliche. “The Bible says that this did not happen, so it must be misunderstood.” Then he quickly walked away, embarrassed, while four 13 year olds taunted him for being a “pussy”. So, the 20 year old, who was studying “Pastoral Ministry”, ran away from a group of 13 year olds who were left laughing, calling him a pussy.

At the end of 2 weeks, the small troop of boys would have hiked half of the high peaks in the Adirondacks (23 out of 46). Therefore, if  you did it two years in a row (or even two consecutive 2 week sessions) then you would have hiked all 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks and get to call yourself a “46er”. I only did the program once and then climbed the rest of the peaks sporadically over the next few years. The Adirondacks are pretty rustic and sparsely populated, particularly around the “High Peaks Region” which is centered close to Lake Placid. Even so, we’d run into the occasional scene of high society infringing on the wilderness. One moutain, known strictly as “Sawteeth” has a trailhead that starts in a golf course.  As we walked past the 15th green, the threesome that was playing stopped putting and gave us some pretty nasty looks. As if to say, “how dare you interrupt the scenery of these majestic hills while I put this little ball in that hole.” Mountain climbing is a sport of “you vs. nature”. Nature is going to throw hot days, muddy trails, gnats, and a whole mess of other things at you in order to prevent you from winning and reaching the apex of the mountain. We were in an epic struggle with nature and these golfers were using her as wallpaper for their ostentatious game. Thankfully, the whole situation at least provided us with some scathing conversation to distract us from the mundane task of walking steadily at a slight incline.  I think I even heard the Mike drop an F-bomb that day.

Toward the end of that two week period we climbed a mountain called Whiteface. From the summit of a nearby mountain we could see the white-topped mountain and on top of it, a little building that looked remarkably like Jabba the Hutt’s palace. The day after getting this distant view of our objective we climbed that grueling bitch. Out of the 50-some mountains in NY and 13 in Colorado that I’ve climbed, Whiteface was the most exhausting. It’s a 10 mile hike to the base of the mountain and then a disgusting 2 or 3 mile rapid ascent to the top.

    Most people, in modern times, don’t realize just how good we smell on a regular basis. Since Americans tend to shower daily, we’re not only caught off guard by a non-showering person but we tend to ignore 99% of the population who smell pretty good. Well, after hiking 17 mountains over 10 days without a shower, the reverse happens. The 10 guys who were part of my hiking squad smelled normal to me; even the horse flies that lived in our hair seemed in sync with our being. The smell of old sweat and mold had replaced Irish Spring and Old Spice. Until this point in our journey, we hadn’t gotten close enough to any “normal” smelling strangers to notice the difference. When we got to the top of Whiteface Mountain the wide gap in smell disparity between us and others was more than apparent.

Whiteface Mountain is not only the 5th highest mountain in New York, but also a highly visited skiing resort,. There is a road that climbs from the base of the mountain all the way to Jabba the Hutt’s Palace. The “palace” is really a little castle that includes the ski lodge, a restaurant, gift shop, etc. At the gift shop you can buy a bumper sticker that says “This car climbed Whiteface Mountain!” and therefore, it represents almost everything wrong with society.
As we neared the top, it became more clear that we were approaching a summit. Mountain peaks don’t always look like you’ve reached the top of a natural pyramid. Sometimes it’s just a clearing in the woods with no view at all and you’re left thinking, “ehhhh….lame, Nature. Lame.” Conversely, there’s no better feeling than seeing that your goal is attainable and the rush of victory will soon surge through you. The last part of the ascent is a sharp 45+ degrees, so you can’t really see what’s at the top until you’re practically there. At about 50 feet from what I assumed to be the top I could see the top of the Palace and hats. These hats were moving and a could seconds later I could see the faces that were supporting the hats.
“Look at the people climbing up here Mommy!” one boy exclaimed to his now interested mother. We had become a zoo exhibit to the people who had travelled comfortably to the summit in air conditioned minivans.
The boy was amazed. The zoo animals had escaped from their exhibit and were now in the viewing area.
I think at that moment I began my 20 year transition into an adult. The idea that what we were doing was awesome and we were having good, clean fun. It didn’t matter that other people looked at us like we were idiots for climbing to the top of a mountain that you could drive up. We climbed the mountain not for a view or to grab lunch at it’s famous restaurant. We climbed it because it was there and we wanted to experience something, but something unknown. Like Plutarch, we climbed it because it was there and sometimes the reason reveals itself as a revolution only after you’ve completed the task. For me, it was kick-started a much needed adolescence and taught me to explore paths that I might ignore because society tells me “do things this way”. For our group leader, I think he began to reevaluate a set of long held beliefs.

13
Jan
11

Learn This

I’ve had a busy couple months, so I haven’t updated this blog in a while, but I’d like to write out some ideas about our education system and see if anyone has any comments.

This is going to be a two or maybe three part series on what I think is wrong with the education system in this country. In part one, I want to write about college and how it’s becoming a scam and will very likely lead to another financial bubble.

Everyone today is encouraged to go to college. College is great and extremely worthwhile if you know what you want to do and are driven to achieve it. College is a lot of money. After room, board, tuition, books, and any spending money, you’re looking an investment that could cost $200K+. That is serious. Most high school kids have no idea what they want to do with their lives except make money/be successful. If you were an investor, would you invest tens or hundred of thousands of dollars in a business who’s model is “be successful” without any sort of plan? Of course not. So why does society pressure high schoolers to make that same investment on themselves? There are only two reasons I could think of.

1) This is some sort of scam/ponzi scheme/conspiracy involving the university system, banks and the government. There are so many BS “universities” and “colleges” out there I wonder what sort the accrediting procedure is like. When is WikiVersity and the University of Reddit getting accredited? Every time I see a resume where “Devry” is listed, I throw it away. Sorry you wasted your money on that degree. It is not a competitive degree. It proves almost nothing other than you are able to be duped into believing it’s going to make you attractive among the masses of traditional degrees.

So, maybe these BS schools realize that their degrees are worthless and just hope their marketing campaigns are more effective than word of mouth.  The real money makers are the holders of the loans. There is about a trillion dollars worth of student debt in this country. A trillion dollars. That’s a lot of money that can be repackaged, restructured, and blown into more money, aka 2008’s smash hit; the mortgage crisis. Do you think Sallie Mae is any more ethical than Fannie Mae? Sallie Mae is both the lender and the collector. Shady.

Basically, there is a lot of money to be made and more students mean more business.

2) I think the more likely reason is that the United States knows it’s declining and we’re stuck with this idea that college=success. This is a  old, ingrained idea. Watch “The Pride of the Yankees” around the 6 or 7 minute mark. That’s how it used to be. People think if everyone goes to college, we’ll have a country full of “Uncle Otto”s, i.e. engineers, doctors and bankers. That’s because in 1942, the only people who went to college were those who were brilliant and serious about a specific path, aka today’s doctorate candidates. In reality, there are so many people in college that it dilutes the quality for those that really should be there. More students mean more money. More students mean a need for a bigger infrastructure to deal with people who aren’t ready for college. Less money for professors, more money for anti-drinking campaigns.  By including everyone in the college experience, everyone gets hurt.  Having more college graduates does not necessarily help the country. It actually hurts the country. We now have an a huge segment of the population that can’t find jobs but have huge debts to pay. We no longer have a section of the population that is willing to accept manufacturing jobs.

College is an awesome and great thing for many people, but it is a huge investment that we shun people into accepting. This needs to stop. I don’t know how we’re going to pay back that debt, but what’s done is done. Let’s not make it any worse.  It’s alright if colleges remain a business model but the government needs to stop telling people they need to go to college if they want a future. That being said, I think that takes me to Part 2.

K-12 education is designed to prepare student to get into college. That is the goal. We prepare kids to take standardized tests, encourage students to take a ton of extracurricular activities, and memorize a lot of information they’ll never need so they can have a good GPA.  Isn’t it a little ridiculous to provide absolutely no financial training to students and then demand that they make the biggest investment of their lives?

The whole K-12 experience is about getting into a good college, but shouldn’t it be about making sure students will be successful and ready to contribute to our society?

13
Sep
10

Plans

So due to some changes in my career path, I’m going to have much more time to work on this blog. This is fantastic, as it coincides with the baseball post season, football season, the election season and the beginning smells of college basketball.  I have so much to talk about! at least one a week is the goal.

I’d also like to discuss the Bill of Rights and detail what I think each one means and how they’re being infringed upon (Quartering of Troops!?!?! That’ll be a good post).  So I’ll try and make that some sort of 10 part series.

Right now, if anyone speaks with Doug Marrone, please forward my request to improve our offensive line.

Happy wedding season!

"These are a few of my favorite things..."

"These are a few of my favorite things..."

Quote of the week:

Open quoteWe want to make Google the third half of your brain.Close quote – Sergey  Brin, Google’s co-founder
25
Jul
10

Mosque Madness

First, before I start this post, I think it’s crazy that 1) my blog’s images are SEOed out for no apparent reason. When searching for “bp explosion” (in quotes), I’m one of the first images. Same for some of the other images on this blog. The real crazy part is no matter what I type into Google (even if I put in ‘carsties’ or “carsties.wordpress.com’), I cannot get that photo of the dead whale to come up in the search results. It took me forever to find, and I feel like some BP is somehow responsible for this little PR bandaid. Let me know if I’m doing something wrong!

So, I’ve been trying to write a blog post for a while. Nothing has really gotten me really that angry besides the usual bullshit like this or this or this or this (those are all great articles to check out). Lately, everyone from my friends to co-workers to my mother to Sarah Palin has been asking me “Matt, what do you think about that gosh darn Mosque down at the Ground Zero?” (that’s how Sarah put it). So, I’m going to voice my opinion on the matter and oy vey.

Great Mosque of Córdoba

This is the Great Mosque in Córdoba, Spain. Dear Architects, please replicate.

So, I’d just like to start off with a little background on the subject. First, for those of you who have not been to New York City, the Financial District is NYC’s oldest neighborhood. It’s home of the first area of European settlement in NYC (New Amsterdam), it’s where Wall Street is and where modern capitalism was invented and reinvented. Battery Park is there, St. Paul’s Chapel, Trinity Church (which was made famous by National Treasure) and of course, it was the former home of Twin Towers, which collapsed in an event that defined the last decade and will still have effects 100 years from now. This event was done by radical terrorists who identify themselves with the most extreme of the anti-Americans, Al-Qaeda.  These people also tend to be Muslims.  Just to let you know, there are radical non-Muslims and non-radical Muslims as well.

Soho Properties, a Muslim-run real estate firm purchased the old Burlington Coat Factory in July 2009 for just shy of 5 million dollars; pretty cheap (the property was damaged in the attacks and it was an old Burlington Coat Factory….gross!).  Around the same time, Soho Properties was purchasing other real estate such as this $47 gem in Chelsea (which is ironically 4 blocks away from another old Burlington Coat Factory….conspiracy!). One of the main investors in Soho Properties is “the Cordoba Initiative” which “aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions”. They decided to do achieve this goal by building a 100 million dollar Mosque/Center for Islam in the Financial District called the Cordoba House.

Before this even happened, the old Burlington Coat Factory was being used as a Muslim prayer center. From the NYTimes:

“….with the outside rumblings of construction at ground zero as a backdrop, hundreds of Muslims crowd inside, facing Mecca in prayer and listening to their imam read in Arabic from the Koran.”

Mosque NYC

Once again, people in a Burlington Coat Factory with heads down, and praying for better

No one said anytime. Sarah Palin was busy learning where Russia is. On May 6, 2010 Community Board #1 unanimously endorsed the construction of the Cordoba House (recently renamed the less-muslim sounding “Park51”).  I remember reading that article on May 7. Everyone was pretty quiet. I had some comments, but that was it. Then, the national media somehow became aware of this and it was everywhere. Glenn Beck was interested. Keith Olbermann had to respond. Sarah Palin had to add her thoughts. Newt Gingrich is talking about it. SO, here’s my commentary on the subject.

First, I’m going to attack Soho Properties because they’re the first ones to make a stupid move. Everyone involved in this debate rethink things. If I was looking to build what will be the most expensive and elaborate Mosque in the United States, 600 feet from the WTC would not be at the top of my list. I understand, we’re trying to bring understanding to the faith. That’s awesome, and great. I’m all for building a community center where people can learn that Islam is not a religion of violence (well not anymore than Christianity or Judaism), just not so close to where the biggest act of Muslim-perpetrated violence is. Not only that, but your center is going to be the future hate-crime capital. The Cordoba Center is going to be overshadowed by the WTC incident (as well as the current controversy) and people are not going to be rational enough to even listen to anything that the Koran may have to teach. It’s like building a Center of European Excellence in the Selma town square or a Shinto Temple on walkway to the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. It’s just really stupid and there are better places. How about in the East Village, which is a very liberal, understanding area that also has had, time and time again, a huge impact on the culture of this country?

Next up on my list of morons, is this Board that approved it. This should have never have been approved. I’m going to assume that everyone on this board was paid-off to approve this. No one could be this stupid.

Mosque at Ground Zero

This is the mosque that is going to be built at Ground Zero. Pretty sweet actually.

It was a unanimous vote? Come on….   No one considered that this might cause a controversy? They are on that board to make judgment calls for what is in the best interests of the residents and businesses and I have a feeling that a unanimous vote does not reflect the opinions of such constitutes. Note, Soho Properties didn’t have to get the Board’s approval.

“They bought the land; they were not required to appear before us,” says Ro Sheffe, chair of the financial district committee for Community Board 1. “They are good neighbors.”

Yo Sheffe, you could have at least voted against it, which would have given Soho Properties a yellow light instead of the a green.

Lastly, are “the patriots“. I don’t complain when you erect another idol worshipping mega-church; I laugh. So stop trying to determine the values of this country for everyone. You don’t like Muslims because of 9/11? lol. Get a fucking life. This country is supposed to be built on tolerance (continually being “perfected”) including religious tolerance. There are about 30 churches in the Financial District (do a Google Map search, I lost count around 20), the closest mosque is on Warren Street in Tribeca.

“Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesnt it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” – Palin in a Tweet

“Refudiate” is some sort of Palin concoction of “refute” and “repudiate”. I kind of like it actually. I can’t really comment on the meat of this Tweet. I don’t really understand why people in the “heartland”, i.e. the “real Americans” are so concerned about what buildings go up in a city that most of them hate.  I think Wal-Marts are pretty much town-killers and it stabs me in the heart when I see one and all the local businesses they’re killed. If we refudiate the Ground Zero Mosque, maybe you can refudiate a Wal-Mart or two.

“The former Speaker of the House [Newt Gingrich] has announced his opposition to a $100 million Islamic Center and mosque planned for a site two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan, because no synagogues or churches are allowed in Saudi Arabia and he wants to know the center’s funding sources.”

Really Newt? We’re going to go copy Saudi Arabia? Also, you want to see the funding behind a private corporation? Great, let’s take a look into some of your recent financial escapades as someone who’s looking for a presidential 2012 run.

Basically, yes Park51/The Cordoba House/Ground Zero Mosque was a stupid idea to begin with. Oh well. It’s been decided and now the argument is over. Let’s stop acting like Mohammed himself was the pilot of the plane and let these people build their mosque.

Robert Rubin, Sanford Weill, and John Reed (NYTimes)

Robert Rubin, former Treasury secretary is being welcomed "abroad" Citigroup in this picture. He would go onto take 120 million by socializing the financial risks while keeping profits private.

It’s going to have a swimming pool, theater, a library and a whole bunch of other amenities that will be open to the public. Also, it is conveniently located next to the Dakota Roadhouse, one of NYC’s finest drinking and fried food establishments. I will be able to swim, drink and read up on 12th century Muslim Imams all on the same block.

You know what is insulting that’s in the Financial District? Wall Street. You want something to be angry about? That. I want those banks liquidated. I want wall street executives in prison. That is what should happen when you willingly steal, repeatedly, from the American people. That to me is 1000x more revolting than a mosque. Let’s pay attention to that.  Let’s get angry about that, and let the Muslims build their community center to show us how awesome they say they are.




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