Merry Christmas Everybody, today is a wonderful day of joy and family togetherness. I know that everyone does not celebrate Christmas, but to me the lack of a Christmas celebration would be completely foreign. On Christmas my family and I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and I know that he may not have been born in December, but this day just happens to be when we decide to celebrate the miracle. Whether you are a Christian or not, it is an undeniable fact that Jesus walked this earth and that he is one of the most inspirational people to ever live. The reason I have to say that Jesus is my favorite person in history is becomes he did what no other person could and he did it for everyone who ever lived. Jesus was able to draw multitudes of people without promising them any type of earthly treasure or amenity, and he is still one of the most quoted individuals of all time. Jesus showed the world how to love in a way that we still have trouble comprehending, and he managed to start a revolution without ever raising a sword. Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the day that the world welcomed the man who would change it forever. I believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and there are billions of others around the world who are willing to profess that same belief. It is amazing to consider that Jesus was just a baby in a manger some two thousand years ago, but today he is the hope of the world, and the promised messiah that many longed to see but few are willing to accept. This completes the series of my favorite people in history, Merry Christmas everyone, hopefully you enjoyed your day.
This past weekend I attended my fourth wedding of the year. Weddings are joyous events for family and guests, and everyone wants to be able to capture the joy of the moment, but camera phones and iPads are not the way to capture the enjoyment of weddings. One thing that was prevalent in all of the weddings I attended was the excessive use of mobile phones for photo and video taking. I know it is convenient to be able to snap a photo with your phone to save a memory, but I felt as though these devices get in the way of guests actually enjoying the wedding. Plenty of time and planning is put into making sure a wedding is perfect and enjoyable, especially for the guests, and one of the many provisions made to ensure that enjoyment is the use of professional photographers. Personal devices take away from the moment and they can even have an effect on the photographers doing their jobs. Perhaps it is just a sign of the times, but people don’t seem to understand the importance of a memory anymore. I know I have been a culprit of this “snap a photo” behavior, but once I realized how much I was missing, I decided to personally take advantage of all that is in front of me. Whenever I attend an event or visit a location, I understand that I may only get one chance to appreciate this sight, so I like to gather as much of the view as I can. Photos are nice, and it is always great to have a lasting documentation of an occasion, but for moments that only come around once in a lifetime, it is important to make sure you take the time to absorb the experience. Enjoying life is about more than just taking pictures of locations and events, whenever you find yourself in a unique experience, it is important to actually be present to fully enjoy the moment.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
― Lao Tzu
Professing your love for someone is definitely a courageous action, it takes all of your resolve to be able to lay your heart on the line in hopes that the feelings you have will be reciprocated. It is no easier to profess your love in a wedding setting, as now you have the pressure of the festivities to worry about as well. I have been to three weddings already this year, and this year of weddings will finally come to its conclusion today as I will attend my fourth of the year as a guest. Throughout all of the weddings I have attended, as different as they have been, the one commonality is the love the bride and groom have shared. The new families I have watched forming fully exemplify the words of this quote, they are both strengthened by their love, and given the courage to profess it in front of friends and family. Every one of the couples were different, and some seemed more nervous than others, but all of them were able to show how much they care for their new spouse. I know love can be shown in situations other than in marriage, but being a part of seeing something new form is an incredible experience. I wish all the love and favor to these wonderful marriages, may they be fruitful and everlasting.
The autumn season is in full swing. To many people autumn is just the season that comes between the heat of summer and the cold of winter, but to me, autumn is the most beautiful season of all. Aside from the comfortable temperatures of the season, autumn, at least in the north east, comes with the wonderful coloring and falling of leaves. I know that cleaning up leaves can be tedious and annoying, but just the sight of the fall foliage is enough to make the seemingly endless raking and bagging worth it. I find it extremely relaxing to just sit in a park and watch the trees, and seeing bundles of colorful leaves blow through the air has always been an object of my enjoyment. As a child I loved fall for two reasons, for one it signified the season of my birth, which is always a good time for a child. The second reason I enjoyed the fall was because it meant I could be serenaded by the melody of crunching leaves as I marched to school every morning. I am proud to say that my reasons for enjoying fall, however childish they were, have not changed much in my adulthood. Seasons are great because they always come back around, and while all seasons have their “haters,” I am sure autumn is the most loved and comfortable of them all.
Younger siblings are great, as kids they are playmates and living action figures, but as adults they can be somewhat annoying at times. I am speaking as a middle child, I know how it feels to be a younger sibling as well as an older one. I don’t necessarily hang out with my older siblings often, but when I am around them I kind of expect them to give me stuff, or pay for me, and as an older sibling I don’t mind doing any of that for the younger ones. It is almost as if we are conditioned to always treat the “babies” like babies even when they are older and doing pretty well for themselves. As a younger sibling, I respect the older ones and use them as a reference, I remember their mistakes and I ask them for advice, even though I rarely heed their advice. I am sure my younger siblings don’t listen to me either, but it is always a treat when they ask me for advice so I can see how their situation ends up when they ignore it. Older siblings can be seen as extra parents who often happen to be more lenient, you can speak to them about more than you feel you can speak to a parent about, and you can expect a more practical approach to life’s many issues. A younger sibling is like a “practice child,” it is almost as if you have a hand in raising them, but are less liable for the mistakes they make. I have the joy of being a middle child, and while there are many negative things said about this birth position, I am happy that I have a chance to take a step back and interact with my family in the many complex ways that are only possible when you are born in the middle.
It has been a long time since I had some great barbecue, and today I decided to head to a nice Upstate New York “barbecue joint” called Holy Smoke BBQ. I was a bit apprehensive about going to this place, since barbecue restaurants are often “hit or miss,” but after learning about their large portions of St. Louis style ribs I had to give it a try. I went into the restaurant with the intention of just trying their signature ribs, and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and size of the meal. Most people go into a barbecue restaurant strictly for the meats, but I am one of those rare individuals who has to try all of the sides. The mac and cheese was probably the best I have ever eaten at a barbecue restaurant, and considering the amount of eateries I have patronized, that is definitely quite a feat. The service was excellent and the meat was extremely juicy and well seasoned. I generally am not much of a rib eater, but for these ribs I would gladly make the 45 minute trip from NYC again. If you are ever in the Mahopac, NY area, check out Holy Smoke BBQ you will not be disappointed.
A birthday is that wonderful day that comes once a year, a day that we have been conditioned to feel prideful for our successful completion of another year of life. I love birthdays, they are a day in the year in which you can make a complete stranger feel important by simply wishing them a happy birthday. Today is my birthday, and while this year has not quite lived up to my expectations, I am extremely grateful for the life that I have, and that I get to enjoy another year. Birthdays are a great time to celebrate with family and friends, but sometimes birthdays make us start thinking of the many tasks we have set for ourselves to compete by a certain age. I have to admit, I am nowhere near where I thought I would be 10 years ago, but I have experienced and grown far more than I would have ever imagined. It is useless to sit and think if the “should have beens” in life because there are too many variables to our existence, and we can not change the past. Each new year gives new chances to set new goals and complete old ones, this year I am going to make sure that I leave no stone unturned as I march on to my goals and approach my next birthday. It feels good to be a year older, I am going to relax today and prepare for the inevitable celebrations of tonight.
One of the greatest things I have attained from growing up in the Bronx is a great understanding of multiple different cultures. Since the United States is called a melting pot, New York City should be characterized as the area with the most flavor. Many people who have only seen the Bronx on television may not know what this borough is like, but I as a life long resident, can attest that the Bronx is much more diverse than what is shown on television. What I loved about growing up in the Bronx, was being able to meet and mingle with people of many different cultures and share our inherent similarities in peace. This weekend I was privileged enough to attended, and be a part of two weddings of a couple of friends that I have known for quite some time. The weddings I attended this weekend reminded of the diversity of the Bronx. One of the weddings was an Italian wedding, and the other wedding was a Dominican wedding. Both weddings had traditional American wedding elements, and both even shared some of the same rituals, but where they differed the most was the receptions. While I had a blast at each wedding, I was intrigued by how small differences in culture, can make a seemingly generic wedding much more unique. This weekend was emotional, fun, and very tiring, weddings are stressful events but overall they are probably one of the most awarding of life’s many achievements. I love a good wedding, and I am grateful that I was able to be part of two of them in one weekend, hopefully my wedding can be just as fun for the guests, and memorable for myself and my future bride.
Today is the day that the NFL season finally starts. I know I have been heavy on the football posts as of late, but it is my favorite sport, and quite possibly my favorite pastime. The NFL season will be kicked off by a matchup of the perennial powerhouse, Pittsburg Steelers, and the defending champion New England Patriots. Tonight’s game looks like it will be a total “shootout,” both teams boast incredibly high powered offenses, while holding exceedingly average defenses. I fully expect both quarterbacks to take advantage of the holes in the defenses and I am eager to see an incredibly high scoring game. The story of this offseason was the “deflategate” scandal that involved the altering of game equipment by the New England Patriots, while it has been widely accepted that the Pats are guilty of cheating, a court order has rescinded the suspension that was once given to Tom Brady. With the “new life” given to Brady by the courts, I expect him to play the greatest game of his career tonight, and to throw for at least four touchdowns. I am going to make one of my not so accurate predictions for tonight’s game, I believe the Steelers will win this one in a high scoring thriller by the score of 38 – 31. Tom Brady will have a big game, but defense will be the downfall of the Patriots, as I just don’t think they will be able to keep up with the speed of Antonio Brown. I am very excited for the start of this NFL season, with game one being mere hours away, it is looking like we are going to be in for an enjoyable couple of football filled months.
I have posted about fantasy football once before, and about how it has nearly surpassed the popularity of actual football. With the NFL season less than a week away, I am in full football mode, and extremely excited for the fantasy season. Many people play fantasy football for money, I just find it to be a fun way to interact with the game, and to compete with friends. Fantasy football is on my mind today, because this happened to be the day my yearly live draft. In my league’s draft, we get together, eat some food, talk football, and of course pick our optimum team of players. Fantasy football isn’t merely about choosing the best player available, it takes time and strategy to pick the best team, it is also about picking any player available that can sabotage the hopes of your friends and rivals. I like to believe that I have the best team, but as with every game, it doesn’t matter how the team looks, performance is everything. I am in a full football “geek mode” today, so it is kind of hard for me to write about much else, but I really find it important to relax and play a game from time to time. I know fantasy football can seem frivolous to some, and foolish to others, but when it comes down to it, it is a fun hobby that many enjoy. I am glad that at this point in my life, I have the time to enjoy this hobby. I know that life can get crazy at times, but it is important to find something you enjoy and take a second to relax and do it. Football is less than a week away, hopefully my real and fantasy teams can both bring home championships this year.