February 1

Politically Instant Gratification

Upon another running through of NBC’s The West Wing, I got exactly what I was going for: a renewed sense of civility. Ironic that it came from a source of fiction, albeit realistic enough. The tones of doing what is right and trying to be upstanding in the face of lesser attitudes reinstalled into me where true political success comes from: the practice of these virtues.

Social media has stooped to such a low point in the gallows that it continually affects my outlook on other parts of life. I think it’s smart to always see what other sides who differ from your exact opinion, even educate yourself as to how they got there and really use all your empathy to understand their point of view. But in doing this, I can’t be that dark knight and swash-buckle every annoyingly incorrect pirate that chooses to pop up, trying to squash those who I know to be on the higher road. So it’s time for a change.

I will not be engaging with those who purport to be treasonous to this United States of America that I love, and that I know has so much more governing potential than what it being utilized at the present. The small people. The racists. The xenophobes. Even the people who seem to spend more time trying to “Make America Great Again” than being a part of their own families. It’s gotten to the point of consistent nausea, and I fear could eventually turn be personally cancerous.

Political opinions will reign perennially over all those who want true justice and actual democracy, but they will be more well thought-through, and I will attempt to take the higher road when possible. This country is going through such turmoil at the moment. The arguments over what are even the facts are simultaneously astounding, heartbreaking, and angering. Instant gratification from getting in on the fight is only momentarily pleasing, and ends up being truly detrimental to being productive where I want to be in my busy day. I can do better. We can do better. So let’s get on with it.


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January 15

Dolores O’Riordan, An Appreciation

The people that we never meet in life but still hold reverence for always seem like figures that are larger than life, mostly in part because they are. The human mind allows us to put them in a box or mental space of our own choosing, as we haven’t ever shook their hand or hugged them or even seen them from at a distance from across the room. I like to think about these people doing great things and being benevolent to the lesser among us, and to those who live their lives holding reverence for them.

Dolores O’Riordan was the lead singer of The Cranberries. She and her band was on the first episode of Saturday Night Live that I ever saw. Not knowing what the show was, my sister had taped it from the night before and showed it to me on that next Sunday afternoon. The music of The Cranberries was both enchanting and haunting, leading to my joining Colombia House that day and getting their first two albums among the eight total that was ordered, all for the low price of a penny. A deal if there ever was one, the Nineties were a truly different time.

Being all of a stupid 13 years old, The Cranberries were one of the bands that I grew up with. Their song “Dreams” was played what seemed like four times every two hours on different pop and rock radio stations of the Phoenix Metro area in this time. At my 7th grade talent show (in the Fall of 1994) at Poston Junior High, our jovial English Lit teacher Mr. Weitbrecht played the drum set with three 7th-grade girls who were trying their best to Karaoke-sing O’Riordan’s voice the best they could (Mr. Weitbrecht was the best part of that song that day, I will tell you). The song was announced weekly by Casey Kasem on the America’s Top 40 for what seemed like a few years solid. They were top of the Zeitgeist as far as I could be concerned

Further and more reliable smash hits followed like “Linger” and “Zombie”, among others. The albums Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? and No Need To Argue encapsulated very well my junior high years, along with the larger mid-’90s modern pop rock culture that wasn’t drowned out with Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam, both of which also had their esteemed places. Those two albums were #1 and #2 for a few years, every song changing my DNA from an adolescent who didn’t know much about music into one that couldn’t drop finger-drumming any number of their songs, much to the annoyance of my teachers and friends.

The Cranberries were a band that touched people for many years. Today’s a day to pull out their music from your dusty cassette and compact-disc collections and hold them and O’Riordan to reverence. It’s great music from soulful people, and I don’t know that you can ask for more from talented musicians. Dolores O’Riordan was 46 years old, and she died much too young. May she rest in a peaceful place.


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January 1

The Newest Year

“Look, Max, here’s the house keys,” his wife said. “I just don’t need them anymore. All of this is yours, and I’m done.”

Max had nothing to go on. He merely watched her walk out the door, never to see his other half of 19 years return. All he could do is sit. His legs wouldn’t work right now anyways. He was too numb from the pain of the last few hours. The argument had been brutal, and it had been from out of nowhere.

An hour later, Max’s eyes were still leaking with pain of years of his life lost. Of their life. What had it all been for? Was there any fresher hell on this whole goddamn planet than what I am in right now?

Max decided a shower would be a good first thing to do. Sure, he was tired as a human could be, drained of necessary fluids and salts. But a shower, yeah, that’ll start something. And then the liquor bottle.

As Max sauntered into his bedroom, the pain was more than real. Framed photos of his life haunted him from all angles.


About two hours after Max pulled himself out of his empty shower and equally empty house, he had made his way to his daughter Vanessa’s house in Marina Del Rey. Traffic had been light that day, so at least that factor of stress was vanquished.

Vanessa heard a familiar car door slam outside of her house, and she sprang from her living room and showed herself to her father Max as he walked up her porch steps.

“Dad, it’s not a good time,” she said to him, freezing him in his tracks and taking any bit of hope off of his face. “You know what, fuck this, it’s not going to be a good time ever again. I just got off the phone with Mom an hour ago and, well, Jesus Christ, I can’t believe you. How the fuck could you think you’d get away with this! Get out of here, leave. I don’t want to see you ever again!”

In tears of her own, Vanessa blasted up her steps and slammed her front door on her father. All Max could do was stand on her front lawn.


It was just past 10pm, and Max had pulled his car into the parking lot at the Santa Monica Pier. The carnival lights were still up, if only for a few more minutes. There was rarely a place as happy in the close proximity to his purely awful day, so Max decided to take a stroll on the adjacent dark beach.

Max was in no mood to be around people, just nature. Yes, there were people around the pier, both on it and around it, but to Max, it was now between him and the ocean and the sand on the beach. This was where he wanted to reflect in his own misery at the moment.

He started off to the north from the pier, passing couples and families that were packing up for the night. People that were certainly in a much better state of mind than I am, Max thought. A light caught his eye directly to his right. It was a very tall hotel tower which overlooked the Santa Monica area. I’d love to see what the view is like from up there, he wondered.


Max’s thick hair barely moved against the course wind that blew against his whole body. Being 41 stories above the pavement usually intensifies the sensation of such weather. Jesus Christ, Max thought to himself. That’s all that Max could do at this point, as there was no one else to talk to.

The running monologue inside Max’s head had sped up as he climbed each of the stairs that led him to this point in his life. I guess it all comes down to this, went one harrowing strain of Max’s consciousness.

Max didn’t even care to peer over the ledge of the rooftop he stood on. He hardly moved from the very center of it while contemplating the very last act of movement in his downtrodden existence as a human being. It’s the very last thing I’ll be able to control, he justified.

While the very bright Southern California sun grew brighter as it rose over him, Max only briefly saw the crushing waves slapping their way onto the beach adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier. On the sidewalk, his final effort ironically concluded with resounding success.


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