In honor of my 151st post, I will write about my favorite childhood television show, Pokemon. Pokemon are those funny looking little Japanese critters with magical powers, who happen to resemble everyday creatures that inhabit our real world. I have been told that there are now over 600 of these little creatures on the show and in the video games, but when I was a child the number was limited to 151 creatures that needed to be captured and trained. The Pokemon franchise was huge in the late nineties, as the creatures graced almost every setting, when I look back on it I realize that Pokemon was more of a pop culture phenomenon than just a children’s game. I was just a kid when the series was first introduced in America so I only saw it as a fun game, but it was often referenced in comedy shows, and was also in the news for several different reasons. I have to admit, I was somewhat obsessed with these things as a child, I was always talking about the game, and looking for ways to “catch em all,” as the slogan stated, it is funny just how much I have grown out of something that I was so entrenched in as a child. The Pokemon series has lost much of its popularity in the years since its release, due to repetition, but it has shown the power marketing and visibility has on advancing a brand. Before Pokemon was introduced many product makers worked on selling their merchandise through television and radio advertisements, but Pokemon spread its footprint by being an advertisement. The television show was secondary to the games and products, which were already pushing sales by advertising the need to get all of the creatures. Pokemon changed the way people market products to children, and it was memorable enough to create a generation of adults who will never forget the hours of fun spent playing. I would love to see a new product make this kind of impact, but after Pokemon everything else seems like an imitation.
I am a Yankee fan so naturally, I despise the Mets, but I must say they have a pretty nice stadium. I try to make it out to at least two mets games each season, and today was as beautiful a day as any to get out and catch a game. I decided to head out and watch the Mets play against the Miami Marlins, since my favorite player plays for that team, and I must say I was pleased with the performance. Usually when marquee players come to New York they seem to shrink in the spotlight and play pedestrian games, but today Giancarlo Stanton showed up in a huge way as his team went on to defeat the Mets. Stanton showed off his famous power swing as he hit two HomeRuns, one of which went farther than any I’ve seen all year. I am always happy to go into Citi field and watch a great game, but I’m made happier by the fact that my favorite player played a great game and ended up beating the Mets. In the immortal words of rapper Ice Cube, “today was a good day.”
Recently, there has been much news coverage of rampant corruption in the upper ranks of FIFA, which is the organization in charge of regulating the sport of soccer worldwide. Reports show that the corruption involves bribery to the tune of over 150 million dollars in order to secure broadcast rights and possibly the rights to host the World Cup tournament. This is not the first time FIFA officials have been in trouble for corruption, but this is big news since it comes on the heals of the designation of Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup. The 2010 vote that gave Qatar the World Cup has been under scrutiny for years for several reasons, for one this country is in the desert so the average temperatures are well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and another is the fact that this tiny country has plenty of money to give out if need be, to potential voters. I don’t want to speculate that bribery was a part of Qatar’s World Cup 2022 designation, but many people are unhappy with that decision, and feel as though money was involved. One country that seems to be extremely upset with the choice of Qatar for the World Cup is the country that seemed to be front runner to get the tournament that year, the United States. I sense a hint of “saltiness” on the part of the U.S. since our country was spearheading the efforts for a revote, and not surprisingly has led the investigation into FIFA corruption. I understand that corruption is terrible, and that the currency passed in these illegal transactions was American dollars, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this investigation is personal. I can not condone the actions of the FIFA executives that took bribes, but I do think the U.S. came down with an extremely heavy hand. I guess this whole episode can be used as a lesson, if you slight a powerful adversary, prepare to face powerful retaliation. I don’t think FIFA will change much since they just reelected the same president, but I do hope they learn their lesson and act more ethically in the future.
I am on the road today so I have very little time to actually stop and write. I will just be leaving a short post about one of my favorite quotes.
It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.
– Vince Lombardi
Aside from being a huge fan of football, the sport in which Lombardi is famous, I am also a big fan of redemption. This quote is about being able to recover from the “knock downs” and obstacles of life. I love this quote because there is no way to win if you never know how to recover from a loss, Lombardi knew this so he taught his team accordingly. Lombardi led his team to five championships, and the current championship trophy is even named after him. There are many stories about the life and exploits of Vince Lombardi, but through all the stories the only highlights are his victories. If Lombardi never got over his defeats he would have never been as great as he became, so it is beneficial for everybody to try again after every defeat, because you never know what greatness is possible.
I think the Internet may have killed the hobby of collecting. Since the dawn of the Internet people have been trying to digitize everything, from currency to medical records everything seems to have a digital copy or equivalent. There was once an era when music CDs, movies, and comic books held value for a considerable amount of time, but today they are vastly devalued by the existence of digital versions. The digital revolution, though convenient to the consumer, does have its casualties, and they are mainly in the form of collectables. The value of collectable items has seen a sharp decrease due to the rise of digital downloads, and it is not because of a lack of demand for these items but an over saturation of their availability. There was once a time when people would have to search thrift stores and garage sales for their childhood favorites, but today they can just download it and enjoy appeasing their nostalgia from home, and at a considerable discount. Most items that were ever dubbed “collector’s items” are now just valuable to collectors, they are now only sought after by hobbyists looking to complete a collection, so they are no longer as valuable as they once were. The Internet makes many things easy for everyday people, but it also teaches a lesson to those looking to make money from their old trinkets. The lesson is that all new technology will inevitably bring change, but not all change is good for business.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is a famous astrophysicist who has seemingly brought the exciting world of physics to a generation that no longer cares for the subject. In this era of pop culture kings and queens, it is important to have a voice that provides education while the rest of the world seems to be running from it. Today I read an article from about a year ago, in which Tyson was asked about his stance on religion, a topic he generally stays away from. He basically stated that he is fine with it, but he just doesn’t want it taught in science classrooms. I respect the answer Tyson gave, since to be honest, science is much easier to understand than faith, but the author of the article seemed to miss the point. The article was written by an atheist writer, who would be considered a “militant atheist,” these individuals attack faith and religion as though it is hurting them, rather than ignore it like other atheists. The author stated he wanted Tyson to completely denounce the idea of religion and take a stance against it, rather than give his non combative opinion on the mater. I think Tyson gave the best response that he could have, since he doesn’t study religion, and he doesn’t want to make it his job to tell others what not to believe. The author of the article ended up sounding like an upset man looking for others to join his crusade against people who are not fighting with him. I have not read many of Tyson’s works, but I am fully aware of his contributions to physics. Tyson considers himself an educator, and the primary job of an educator is to enlighten and foster discovery by experimentation. I hope Tyson continues to educate in the same non combative way he has in the past, since there really is no reason to alienate an entire group due to small differences.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday dedicated to remembering those who died while fighting for their country. Many people see this day as a time to take a vacation or a time for barbecues, and while it is fine to have a day off from work, I believe everyone should take a second to think about the soldiers who fought for this country. Since World War 1 there has been over 600,000 U.S. Military deaths, and with the current conflicts going on worldwide that number is slowly rising. It is terrible that so many young men and women are dying everyday to defend their country, but that seems to be the sad price for freedom. I don’t like the idea of war but I am not a pacifist, I understand that in order for there to be peace, there must be a struggle. I hope this country can live peaceably within itself in order to honor the lives of those who fought to preserve it, and use today as an example that we have not forgot the bravery of those fallen troops.
Fashion is a fickle art, clothing changes so frequently that it is hard to create a lasting impact in the fashion world. In this day and age fashion is extremely cyclical with styles being taken from every era and rehashed for a modern look, but even with the slight tweaks to styles there is almost no such thing as originality. Humans have been around and wearing clothing for a long time, so it is understandable that we might have an issue with creating new looks, but it is frustrating as a consumer to have to repurchase the clothing you sent to Salvation Army a short decade ago. I have several friends in the fashion world, and while they are doing some amazing things with fabrics, it is hard to imagine that there is a profit to be made with a product that is so volatile. Many current fashion lines are created or backed by celebrities and musicians so they have a direct line to the consumer. Celebrity backed fashion lines often set the pace for and direct the path of fashion for entire seasons, so “individuality” in fashion is often based on what the celebs are pushing on the consumer. No matter how unique a look is meant to be, it is usually unsuccessful if it is not similar to the popular look of the more profitable brands. I believe the best fashion is a classic semi formal look, since a nice suit will never go out of style. The cuts my change with the times, but a suit is a look that is timeless. I understand that I can’t wear a suit everywhere, but since it is the only attire that hasn’t changed in the last 60 years I think it’s a safe bet when trying to be trendy in this ever changing world of fashion.
I love cookies, and the Oreo is arguably the king of all cookies, over the years Nabisco has given the cookie different twist in an effort to drum up publicity on the already famous cookie, but few have hit the mark like the new smores Oreo that was just released. I would consider myself an “Oreo connoisseur,” I have eaten almost every iteration of the cookie, from the terribly over sweetened birthday cake Oreo to the surprisingly delicious pumpkin spice variety, and none have managed to both taste like their target and still keep the Oreo feel like the smores version. The smores Oreo is the first Oreo to have anything other than a standard cookie shell, this Oreo stays true to the smore by having chocolate and marshmallow filling flanked by two graham crackers. I always enjoyed eating graham crackers as a child so this tiny change to my favorite cookie was easy for me to try, and even welcomed for a bit of a change of pace. Out of all the different cookies or cereals I have tasted that claimed to be smores or smores flavored, this Oreo is the most authentic to the original. The only thing that would make this cookie better is if it was possible to heat the marshmallow cream. If you are a fan of Oreos or a fan of smores I would definitely recommend picking up this cookie, it will be available for a limited time, and based on the availability of past Oreo flavors, I can attest to the fact that the company sticks to their limits.
Yesterday I was having a little debate with a friend about the role physicality plays in attraction with men and women. My friend was firmly in the camp that men are always physically motivated when searching for a mate, while women are exclusively emotionally motivated. Before I get into my rebuttal to that claim, I must state that this friend of mine is also a male, so I was somewhat shocked that he wouldn’t give his own kind the benefit of the doubt. I understand that throughout history men have been seen as only motivated by what they see, but as times have changed I have to argue that women are almost just as physically motivated as men when it comes to looking for a partner or mate. I have several female friends who have openly mused about the height and appearance of their optimal mate, and while that may not be as sexual in nature as what men dream about, I feel it is just as relevant to the argument that women care about what they see. There is a common phrase that states “sex sells,” and while I understand that many commercials and movies geared towards men prod at that factor of the male psyche, women are also the target of many sexually based advertisements. For every hooters commercial geared towards men, we have a superhero movie in which the male protagonist is inexplicably shown partially nude. The fact of the matter is that human beings, as a whole, are drawn to things and people based on what they see. With the advent of gender equality it is no shock that many women are just as open to express their sexuality as men have seemingly always been, and I feel as though that point on its own makes my argument. Both men and women are largely driven by sight, and while many may believe that women are solely drive by emotion, I think they are somewhat misinformed and their data is completely outdated.