Free Leaf

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold..."

Location: Falls Church, Virginia, United States

I have a lot more questions than answers, but I just keep asking. I constantly want to leave, but somehow manage to stay. I am both perfectly happy and completely miserable because of it. I think I am misunderstood but that could just be a huge misunderstanding, either way I guess the best way to put it is, "I ain't often right, but I've never been wrong."


Tomorrow is always a good day to start

On the eve of yet another new year most people make it a point to make grand resolutions. But, why does it take a new calendar year to motivate people to make changes? Why Jan. 1 and not Dec. 1? The point here is that whatever we decide to do, or decide to change there is no need to wait for a new day or a new year. Whatever it is you plan on doing this new year didn't have to wait and it most certainly should not be something that put off for another year. The truth is if we believe that tomorrow is a good day to start why not today? Today is where life happens, today is where we can change our lives, today is what matters.

I once read that the key to life was finding the balance between living each day as if you would live forever and living each day as if it were your last. It seems that too many people live without any thought of their own mortality, constantly waiting for tomorrow to make a change. Recent behavioral studies have proven that it takes only five weeks of repetition to make something a habit, thats it, by Valentine's day you could be a completely different person. This is true in just about all of our actions. We all want more out of life, some of us have great careers but terrible personal lives, others have great families but hate their jobs, some have great health but spend so much time keeping it that way that they dont get to enjoy it.

So, whatever it is that you plan on doing over the next year, make this your number one resolution: Whatever I decide to do I will begin that quest today. That is my only new years resolution. It is the only one I need, because whether I plan to love more, live more, travel more, enjoy life more or just be an all around better person than I was in 2005 that journey starts today.

Happy New Year

Oh, Democracy

Here in the US we are blessed with what many believe is the best form of government in the world. We have all the freedoms anyone could ask for within reasonable limits. However, over the past couple of years the criticism of criticism in politics has grown so loud that it almost makes one wonder what happened to the civic duty of questioning your government. Specifically, the constant bashing by members of the right whenever a politician from the left speaks out against Iraq and the policies of the current Presidency. As someone whose politics lean more to the left than the right and as someone who supports the administrations moves against terrorism I find the questioning of the questioners ridiculous. What is wrong with debate? These debates need to take place, and they can not be shot down immediately by half of the political spectrum by saying that any questioning of the President is undermining to his agenda or it hurts our soldiers by speaking out against the war in Iraq. First off, I think as a country we do a very good job of showing support for our troops and I think it is in their interest that politicians speak out in such ways.

But, if it is un-American to question our governments actions consider this. In Israel, Arab members of the Knesset, similar to our house of representatives, have spoken out not only against Israeli policy but against Israel itself. One, MK Bishara, called Israel the 20th Century's greatest robbery and another, MK Barakeh, spoke out on his support of Syria and his hope that Syria will hasten the establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. The very same Jerusalem that is the Capital of the Jewish State. Bishara is a member of an Israeli democratic government speaking out against the democratic system and the Israeli state. Amazingly, the exact government that this moron is speaking out against is the only one in the world that wont't have you arrested for treason when you speak out in such a way. If you spoke out like this in Saddams's Iraq or in Iran you and your whole family might be dead in the morning.

I think what we need to remember in our great democracies is that words can be tolerated as long as they dont lead to treasonous actions. We are so lucky that we live without the fear that our thoughts will be silenced. And, so we should stop taking for granted what other people have to say or immediately silencing those we disagree with. Instead, lets be thankful for the freedom to disagree in a country where are free to do so. Because, in the end a war on words is about as dumb as a war on Christmas.

This is after all the First Amendment.


Spielberg's Munich

Last Friday Spielberg released his somewhat controversial geo-political thriller that is loosely based on the real events of the 1972 Munich Massacre. I have yet to see this movie and the decision to see it and support the film has left me somewhat torn. I have heard the criticism about this being more about today's world and Spielberg's own political motives. I have heard that it is not an endictment of Israeli policies or American ones for that matter, but in reading the Cinema Confidential review you can clearly see the motives behind the script. Even in this review from a site based specifically on entertainment you can't help but get the tone that Spielberg and Tony Kushner, noted anti-zionist and screenplay writer, want to portray. That impression is that the policies of modern day Israel and that of the United States war on terror are counter-productive. Violence begets violence, but it does not seem to them to go deeper than that. They use a historical tragedy and the greatly disputed information of the book Vengeance to condemn aggressive defense. This may be a great film, but I am not sure I can support it since it seems to speak so strongly against my political beliefs just as it is for Sam Freedman a professor at Columbia. So, I may see this movie, but to do that I will have to make a conscious decision to separate Spielberg's fiction from the facts of the Jewish States right to defend itself in 1972 as it does today.


University of Florida Sports Museum

A friend just sent me an article about an on campus museum chronicling the history of Florida Sports. I think this would be a great idea and all Gator alumni should support this effort. The article discussing the idea can be seen here.


So, thanks to Mint I finally have something to do during the day when I should be working. I am at least attempting to learn Hebrew. Learn to speak it anyway, got an audio course, I will need to find a book of some sort if I want to remember how to read and write it.

When will we have enough of Iran?

Iran is six months away from having the technology to develop nuclear weapons. A country in the hands of a mad man and its barely news. I certainly think the fact of Iranian nuclear capabilities is much more serious than the myth of the Iraqi nukes. Yet, there are no plans, no action, nothing. The UN could start with economic sanctions, it cant hurt. There are rumors abound that Iran is ripe for revolution, I am not sure I buy that but if there were any truth to it wouldn't it be in the best interest of America and the UN to foster the supposed rebel youth of Iran. Then again, people said the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms and that doesnt seem to be the case.


Happy Hanukkah

It has been quite a day. Of course I had no idea how bad the day after Christmas was at stores. But, they were a mess. After making it to the gym and getting in a pretty good workout I decided to brave Fair Lakes and try to find those Hanukkah candles that have been alluding me. My quest began days ago really, but today was the all out assault on Fairfax, I was determined to find candles. Stopped at BJ's for some things I needed then hit up Walmart.

Walmart was an absolute disaster, there was hardly room to walk through the aisles but I finally made it to the seasonal section, where they had about 8 rows of Christmas goodies but not even so much as a shelf of Hanukkah items. So, I moved on to Target. If Walmart was bad, Target was worse, there was no parking and even getting into the store was a challenge, anyway they were no better than walmart with there selections. But, they did have a noticeable sliver of Hanukkah cards, that was nice.

I tried a few grocery stores but nothing, until I got to Giant. Giant really never lets me down. On top of being the only store selling Boars Head meats in the area they are also the only store that had any Hanukkah items. So, I got my candles and will be able to light them for the rest of Hanukkah. I know its silly without family around or kids and I don't do the whole presents thing anymore but I was really upset at the thought that I could not do something that I have been doing for my entire life. And I still won't be able to have homemade latkes, which is probably for the best, but I am excited to just light the candles and remember the stories from when I was a kid.

Happy Hanukkah

My Jewsmas

Christmas has become almost as much a tradition for myself as it must be for most Christians. Granted my idea of tradition stems from a love of movies and Chinese food but what can you do. So, as I have many, but not all, years before this one I met up with a buddy and took in a movie and some bad Chinese. The only thing that made this year different from last year was there was also Sunday night football to watch.

Scott and I are the only ones in town right now so it was just the two of us who could make it to the movie. Luckily, he was willing to leave the city for once and come out to the burbs. So, we head on over to the new theaters at Tysons corner. Nice place but the fog out was nasty. We ended up seeing the Ringer, which was pretty good, and since Scott and I have messed up senses of humor we found ourselves laughing at many moments when others simply were not.

Leaving the movie, we realized that the fog had gotten even worse. I am talking about no visibility, probably the worst the driving conditions outside of a hurricane I have ever been in. Couldn't see a thing. This also made looking for a chinese restaurant a challenge but we found one. One that we definitely should not have been at. We pull up to this little plaza with a full lit chinese restaurant with there Open sign on and a seemingly packed restaurant. But, when we walk in we everyone stops, turns and stares at us. We asked if it was a private party but they said they were open. However, they were clearly not expecting anyone, that was clear by the fact that there was an illegal poker game going on at one table and whatever shadiness was going on in the back room. So, for about the first 15 minutes Scott and I just sat there debating whether or not they wanted us there. We finally decided our money was as good as anyone elses and decided to order. The food was ok but having to ask for silverware was rough. After eating quickly the dude dressed like a yakuza butcher finally got us to leave.

From there we made it back to my place to catch Sunday night football to enjoy watching the Vikings throw away their playoff chances on a weak ass prevent Defense. After winning six straight mostly on defense I have no idea how they did it because the play calling of Ted Cottrell is downright terrible. He calls a softer defense than Ron Zook did at UF. The offense was better than expected and I am as always excited for next year no matter the circumstances of this year. But, Zygi Wilf needs to get a whole new coaching staff in there and some new pieces to the offense. The coaching was downright terrible and Tice is lucky to have won the games he did, he does not deserve to be back.

Still looking for Hanukkah candles.


The Purifiers

Watched an interesting movie last night. The Purifiers stars Dom Monaghan of Lord of the Rings and Lost fame. The story line is a British take on the cult classic The Warriors. The Warriors of course is much better but this movie was still interesting. Set in a near future England, there is a truce between rival gangs that stay in there own zones. But it gets really odd when the gangs, full with cheesy names and outfits are actually made of members of Karate Clubs. I had hoped this would mean good fight scenese but they were edited so poorly and really not entertaining at all. Even the soundtrack left a lot to be desired during all the action sequences. Still, it wasn't terrible and I would recommend it if you really liked The Warriors and want to take a chance on a movie.


First post

Christmas Eve in Northern Virginia and I am running around looking for an open store to buy Hannukah candles. Unfortunately, even the stores that were open didn't have any. So, after that futile attempt I am back home bored out of my mind. Even going out is pointless, since apparently DC is dead around Christmas. No one told me that there weren't any real residents of DC, everyone is from somewhere else, sort of like Florida. So my boredom has driven me to blogging(which in this case is really just one step above talking to myself).

So, I am turning to movies, thanks to Cox cables free Starz weekend that shouldn't be a problem. Movies and a big ass coffee in my US Army coffee mug(coincidentally, made in Canada, which isn't bad considered our berets are made in China) should keep me fairly entertained. At least I hope so.