Tag Archives: Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings (2013)


Image Credit: NASA

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a year-end post. My hesitation was not out of any negativity, but more of a feeling like maybe the concept has run its course.

This picture of Earth popped up in my news feed today and I thought about perspective. It is good to change it sometimes and it is good to document where you are at now for a revisit later.

I am not going to give some big ra-ra speech about change or making the best of your situation. That was last year, I hope your situation is better this year, and I hope it is even better next year. But that is on you and lady luck.

I am pretty damn thankful for where I am at in life right now. I enjoy my family and the thought processes that go along with raising children. Wanting them to have all of the good things that make you who you are and none of the bad… and then cringing when you see those bad traits bubble out. Genetics, aren’t they grand?

Not to soap box, but I have said this in real life a few times and have been meaning to document it on a blog somewhere. Even though I am clearly enjoying being a parent, it is not for everyone. Your parents, your religion, your government want you to keep pumping out red blooded whatever-the-hell-you-are and if that is the key to your happiness – awesome, but it isn’t the only way to lead an interesting and fulfilling life.

You have options – explore all of them so you feel good about the decisions you do make.

And that is a hell of a segue to whatever scrap of a message I do have this year. Make informed decisions. At work, at home, and in the infinite daily interactions you have with the masses. Be informed. Stay informed. Educate those around you. Rinse and repeat.

You will make the world a better place, if not for everyone, at least it will be better for me.

I will end this year with this visual… just remember where we are all sitting in the grand scheme of everything:

I hope 2014 brings you whatever you are looking for. Happy New Year!

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Seasons Greetings (2012)


Image Credit: Lifehack Quotes

Happy New Year friends! We are in the twilight of 2012, eagerly awaiting the dawn of 2013. This year has been great to me. My wife and I welcomed a son and he has been awesome. No, this blog won’t be all about the Benjamin(s), but his impact on my life will resonate throughout. I will warn you – this years post is less about reflection and more about looking forward, because the past is behind us and we have an obligation to make the right decisions for tomorrow.

I am going to omit the section of thanks all together this year. It is sort of self-indulgent and always seems to be taken the wrong way. To the friends and family I see, thank you for being a part of my life and I look forward to spending time with you in 2013.

So if I am not going to waste column space on thanks and inside jokes, what will I waste my space on? Life lessons of course!

[Do Something]

Seriously, get off of your ass and make something happen. Clean your shelves, vacuum the living room, finish that book, take that lesson, take your kid to the park. Do SOMETHING.

I have listened to too many complaints about “person x doesn’t do anything around the house” or “person y makes a mess and then never cleans up” or “I wish person z would spend more time with the kids”… so do it. No more excuses.

I work crazy amounts of hours at my job, but I am very involved with my son, I cook and clean like a champion, and I am involved in many outside activities and projects. I am not bragging because I don’t think this is unique or special. How do I do it? I determine what can and should be cut out and I make room for the stuff that is important and you are totally capable of doing the same. No more damn excuses…seriously. I am tired of hearing about it.

[Work on Yourself]

A few years ago I had an altercation with someone I knew and the situation quickly escalated out of control. I realized that I am perfectly okay telling people to f**k off and be done with them. In some circles this works but in others you just can’t do it. So I work at that aspect of my personality. Some days are hard and other days I find success. The point is – I have been successful and have been able to change my approach. A nice bonus is that the universe usually repays me for my temperance (not all the time).

If you know there is something you need to improve, identify it, and really think about how that flaw creeps into every aspect of your life, your relationships, your work, etc. Figure out small ways to change it until it becomes a different pattern for you. This is not easy, but I really think it is worth the effort.

[Take Ownership of your Future]

I work at tomorrow. I constantly look at where my family and I are headed and make course corrections. I always evaluate if the goal that was so important three years ago is still valid today.

Everything in your life requires maintenance: your home, your car, your body, your relationships with other people. It is easy to take those last one for granted. Tending to relationships is a tricky balance, you can’t expect too much from someone because the relationship will fail, but having no expectations will doom said relationship to casual acquaintance territory.

Also – burn facebook to the ground. If you are managing your relationships via Zuckerburg’s empire you fail. I am not saying you have to call, but write an email. Do better than a “like”. Also if you are getting mad because you are not satisfied with the level of interaction you are getting with your friends on social media, seek professional help.

[Conclusion]

Society is at an interesting paradox right now. The technology I am using right now to broadcast this message can be used to menace and terrify people to the point that they never want to turn on a computer again. Plug into any news source and it will probably be served with a health dose of fear: fiscal cliffs, the fall of the American empire, children being attacked at school, arming puppy dogs with machine guns…

The easy thing to do is to tune everything out.

But it doesn’t work, at least not for long. We are social creatures, and while the internet was not a part of our evolutionary design, it is now. Our society is changing how we behave, interact, and think. This is a technology that should unite, not divide. It should be used to streamline services, reduce costs (especially in education), and inform the masses (without spin). There are factions that want people to remain ignorant and fearful because we are easier to control and manipulate when we are stupid and scared.

Fight back. Get involved. Get informed. Participate in creating the future or get the hell out of the way. In 2013, overcome your fears and make your world better.

Tagged

Seasons Greetings Joey Style (2011)

( #nye )

Happy New Year friends! 2011 is slipping through our fingers and I find myself trying to conjure words to summarize what that means to me. I am going to be honest with you, I am struggling with this year’s love note. Not due to any dark feelings, in fact, just the opposite. I have been feeling pretty calm this past week, which is good for the blood pressure, but bad for writing clever things.

[Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes]

Even though times are tough and there is a bit of uncertainty regarding the future, it seems like my friends and family made it out of 2011 in one piece. It is easy to turn sour watching your 401k shrink, the value of your house decline, and services you depend on disappear. But all things considered, the Philadelphia area is breeding grounds for plucky people that take all this shit in stride and figure out how to get through it.

It is hard to focus on the negatives when I look around and see all these kids that I mention every year growing up strong and smart. The world is hard, but I am glad to see my people have their priorities straight. As far as my priorities go, I will be in good company with a baby on the way. I am not going to turn this post into “my child is going to change my life…bla bla bla” because anybody with a kid knows that as fact (a fact I have been told a million times along with “get your sleep now.”).

Jangled nerves and worry have subsided and I am looking forward to becoming a parent. Fundamentally, I really hope I don’t suck as a dad (that is not me fishing for kind words btw, just consider that line a karmic message in a bottle). It is a funny thing writing about the baby because I haven’t done it much and thanks to the holidays I am burned out on active baby conversation. I do want to mention that I feel bad about the news getting out late to certain friends. I guess people really do use social media to keep in touch (oops)…

All that being said, the quiet has been a blessing. Babies tend to bring out lots of opinions, all those voices talking at the same time can be overpowering. That brings me into a nice transition…

[Thank You]

If you have been reading these little year ends, you know that I view this section as a loaded gun… time to point and shoot. Here is hoping I don’t get a bullet in the foot:

Thanks to my wife. Outside of making this whole baby thing happen, she gets me. My odd sense of humor, my “in your face” method of dealing with…everything, my musical taste (very important in this house). Compatibility makes life so much better.

Speaking of the babies, when we told our parents, we asked them to keep it quiet for a few weeks until we got solid news from the doctors. My father-in-law was so excited, he had to tell someone… so he told his barber. That little story sort of made it all real to me. Also thank you Mr. D for making me look like I know how to pick out a bottle of wine.

I really don’t know how else to say this… I want to thank my mom for not being up our asses. My mom is at the ready to help Allison and I at a moments notice. But she never second guesses our decisions about anything. She offers her personal perspective or experience and leaves it at that. There is grace in accepting (and enjoying) your children as adults. I can thank her for a million things that she does for us, but this is the thing I appreciate the most.

I need to thank Verizon. They have made it possible for my father and I to communicate at a frequency that I did not think possible two years ago. Here is the best part… I am the bastard. If I haven’t seen or talked to my dad during the week, I get the call. “Sonny Boy, where have you been!?!” For a man that is fairly indifferent to just about everything, it is good to know that he cares.

Thank you to Tony Bombardi, the master detective – I love you, your family and your mini adventures that often lead right back to the starting point. Whenever I do freak out about this kid, I think “what would Tony do” and then you usually end up calling me anyway.

So I just went back and carved out a huge section thanking friends. This is what I am going to say instead: to the people that I talk to regularly – the people who call me to talk about music, house stuff, gear, zombies – you know who you are. I love you guys (and gals). If it were not for you, I would probably lock myself in my house and take all the phones off the hook (fine – take the batteries out of my cell phone – damn you nerds!). There are dozens of people I should mention, but nobody wants to read two pages of thanks (and then probably, rightfully, wondering why you are not on the list).

[Looking Forward]

There are times in my life, and if you know me I am sure you have been caught in this, when I want to hold everyone I know close to me. Then once that exercise becomes (inevitably) futile, I will retreat, ignoring everyone, and rethink my position. I have been in retreat mode the last few months. I have been thinking about what is right for me and my growing family. And right now I think change is good.

Instead of some grand statement of how to make yourself better in 2012, or jumping on some soapbox about the state of the world, I hope you – my friends, family, and readers – find happiness or something that smells like it.

May 2012 become whatever you want it to be.

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Seasons Greetings Joey Style (2010)

( #2011, #Resolutions )

Happy New Year my friends! This year feels like it went by quickly yet when I look back, 2010 has been a game changer in so many different way. So let’s all take a minute to stop and reflect what this year has brought us both good and bad.

[Changes in 2010]

When you wake up every morning, do your routine, go to work, come home, and then go to sleep – ddoes it feel like anything is ever different? Things change, but it is more of the same… isn’t it? Not so much. The status-quo that has been in place for the last few years got shattered by a few things (I am going to do this chronologically):

  • My nephew being born: I don’t see him nearly as much as I should and we can slot that into 2011 goals, but Luke being born changed the dynamic of my immediate family. My sister has come into her own and has matured in a very graceful way. Cobra Commander has been demonstrating admirable nurturing and protective personality traits . My mother is fully embracing her roll as “Nonna”, and even Mean Joe is starting to warm up to the idea of being Grandpa Meanness. The coming year is going to be a sweet spot for me when his mother asks me “where did he learn that word?”
  • Graduate School: It feels good to read some of last year’s goals and see that I am accomplishing them. I have my opinions about the education system, but finding WGU has been rewarding and immediately helpful in my career. I needed to do this to remain mentally fit.
  • Mean Joe’s Heart Procedure: For the outside reader – my father needed a triple by-pass this year. I was never worried that he would die, whether he had too much mean left in him or knowing that my cousin Dr. J was overseeing the whole thing – I knew he would be okay. Even though I was confident that he would survive to continue to terrorize 9th Street, his weeks in the hospital reinforced bonds with my parents and family.

There were tons of other milestones/issues this year: other family medical dramas, re-connecting with old friends (and learning to forgive and forget), more babies (Congrats to Mike, Laurie, Alex, Paul, and Aimee), becoming a semi-professional blogger… this could go on for a while….

I tend to get obsessive about how I spend my time (especially after 13 hour work days), who I haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, and worry about not doing things I feel like I should be doing, but in the end it all levels out. While there is always room for improvement, I felt like I did the best I could in most cases.

[Looking at 2011]

With school set at a decent pace and my semi-professional writing career making some progress, the thing I need to work on 2011 is my weight. If you have read this blog since the start or have known me for a while, you know I managed to knock out about 170lbs at the peak of my health kick and while I haven’t gained it all back, I have been slowly gaining weight the last 4 years regardless of my work out schedule and dietary efforts. Its time to get back on the wagon again…hardcore. Fingers crossed.

Babies for Joey and Allison in 2011? Probably, if not this year, early 2012. No point in being coy about this, I am not getting any younger and neither is my lovely wife. We have a plan in place (to everyone who says you can’t have a plan – be quiet, because you can) and now we just have to see how fate treats us.

My thoughts on everything else? If you haven’t been reading the blog weekly, you should because I cover it all there, but to summarize right now I would say focus on job creation. I had a conversation with a manager this year who said America is country of innovation and all the jobs should focus on that. While I agreed with the concept, I don’t think America is made up of 100% innovation labor force, hell I don’t think it is 20%. How do we employee the rest of the country long term? Personally, I think American companies should take advantage of the lower labor costs and refocus on domestic manufacturing while keeping the unions in check (sorry union supporters, they do kill companies over time).

For everything else – we should continue with green ideologies when they make sense, try to get away from our dependence on foreign oil, and focus on reducing national and personal debt. Politically – all of these jokers are the same; as long as we allow lobbyist groups to set direction for special interest organizations we will continue to be managed by an enormous corporation instead of a government. I will add – get involved if you don’t like what is happening to your country, town, city, village, school, sandwich shop…

[Closing Thoughts]

Once again, I respectfully request leeway from anyone that I missed in my year end thoughts and thanks. As always this is the trickiest part because people tend to get pissed when I leave them out. With that in mind – here we go…

If it hasn’t been made clear yet, I want to thank my parents, wife, and expanding family for being a centering force. Genetics is a hell of thing because as much as I cursed my parents in high school, I become more like them (or see wisdom in their “bad decisions”) as I get older.

I can’t do one of these without saying thanks to my cousin Tony because I talk to him every day and whenever I get freaked out about life (especially having kids), he puts me in the right frame of mind (unlike Slobbert).

For the friends in my life, I am thankful for you and for the experiences you collectively share. For the friends that have stepped back, I am thankful for that too because time is not infinite. Not to sound like a brown-noser, but I would like to thank my boss because even though work gets nutty – I feel like I can say what I need get the right advice, attention, and focus.

In conclusion, don’t bullshit yourself. Only you know what you are capable of doing, so if you are sitting around complaining that you need to get something done, or want to start something… Do it. If you can’t – get some help and get it done. I wish you get everything you wish for yourself this coming year.

Smell you later,
~ Joey

Previous Editions: 2009 Seasons Greetings

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Seasons Greetings Joey Style (2009)

Happy New Year (and new decade) friends! Can you believe a whole year has past since the last time I filled your in-boxes with nonsense? I am glad we are all here again this year, and I hope you are reading this in comfort and with a few moments of peace – because we are all certainly entitled to that. I struggled getting this little love note going this year – struggled not to repeat myself, but repetition helps us remember the important things. With that in mind, sit back, relax and let me kick it for you Soap-Box style….

[MOTIVATIONS]

I went back and read all of the Season’s Greetings I could find (5 years worth) and my common theme seems to be motivation. Every year I try to motivate myself and my readers into some form of self improvement. This year I have been thinking about motivations, why do we “do what we do” instead of what we “want to do”?

What makes us get out of bed in the morning?
Why do we stress over those reports that the boss wants done ASAP?
Why don’t we go all “Tiger Woods” and find ourselves a few billion extra-marital lovers?
What stops us from going on a shooting spree?

Fear. Fear is an enormous motivator for me. I am afraid that if I don’t do well at work I will lose my job, if I am not a good person I will lose my wife or friends. I marvel at how the faint smokey taste of fear flavors my decisions. How much of your routine is planned with avoiding the consequences of bad decisions – the fear of “what if”? I don’t think I am alone in the fear, but has society always been this afraid or is the abundance of information making it worse?

During Xmas festivities with my wife’s relatives, I was talking with her aunt about an article I read about the lack of freedom children have in modern times. We don’t allow children to ride bikes alone or go to the corner store (if they even exist) because we are afraid that someone would take them. But child abductions have remained constant at around 110-115 since the 1950’s. Why are we suddenly so afraid to let children have unstructured freedom? My guess would be scary media reports, internet, reports from “experts”.

Are we raising a new generation to be afraid of everything? Is that a good thing or debilitating? As technology improves, we aren’t too far from never having to leave the house. It would be like that Surrogates movie except there won’t be robots, we will just have empty streets. When I think about my own life, the best moments happened when I control my fears… fear of rejection, fear of what people think, fear of losing – sometimes what I feared actually happened, but it wasn’t too bad and I am still here, better for having gone through it.

Now I am thinking of an “olde time” commercial… “Now you too can be large and in charge* with FEAR AWAY! Just take two shots of this brown liquid that smells exactly like whiskey and watch your fear vanish! You get the complete kit for a low $99.99! (* model prostitutes not included)”

[RESOURCES]

In last year’s address I mentioned the global dependence on oil. I have expanded my thoughts to resources in general. America is a consumer and service based economy and the world is following our example. I see a short rope wrapped around our collective necks and we are getting ever so close to hanging ourselves. Let me see if I can break down my thoughts:

  • America is out of the business of production – we don’t make shit anymore – we just buy it
  • Those production jobs left this country and are helping to develop a middle class in other nations
  • As we are seeing with India, once a middle class is established, those people no longer want to make shit either – they want to sit in air conditioned offices and do non-productive corporate work like their American counterparts
  • Now there are a lot more people who want to buy useless shit, so another country – like China – is making useless shit cheaply and dangerously to meet the demand
  • As China becomes more industrialized their demand for oil and coal rises, America and other develop nations need for oil does not decline – so there are more nations in demand for a dwindling resource – this will end well I am sure
  • All of this cheap, hazardous stuff that nobody really needs eventually ends up in the Ocean, the Ocean becomes plastic
  • As the Ocean becomes a toxic cesspool with broken toys and old Clorox bottles floating in the patina, the food chain becomes irrevocably broken
  • As this is happened the world collectively realizes that clean fresh water supplies are dangerously in short supply (don’t worry America – we actually have a decent supply, you will just be paying major $$$ for bottled water)
  • Now we will need plastic bottles to ship the water – you need oil to make plastic – and someone to make the plastic cheaply – and somewhere to put the used bottles – and we are back to the beginning

America and the world collectively needs to get their shit together when it comes to renewable resources, waste management, CO2 in the atmosphere, and the careers that are considered valuable. The governments are not going to anything until we have reached the point of no return, so it’s up to us. Vote with these topics in mind and don’t get side-tracked by the bullshit issues. Encourage renewable resources in your town and don’t be one of those “not in my back yard” assholes. Make sure the stuff you use doesn’t go to waste (As I type that, I have 4 full trash bags of food I tossed from Christmas Eve festivities – so who needs to get off of their high horse?).

[2010]

I am going to repeat what I have said every year since I started doing these messages: Make next year better for yourself any way you can. Make yourself better any way you can. Last year I said I wanted to focus on guitar lessons – and I did. I got a little bit better and learned to play one of my favorite songs of all time. As an added bonus, I made a new friend and neighbor (HiGTT!). Good things happen when you try to improve yourself and get out of your little box.

This year my plan is to take the GMATs and buckle down on a master’s degree. I don’t have the highest opinion of the educational system at the moment (hmmm…. got a good rant on that coming up), but I want to give it the chance to redeem itself. Perhaps redemption should be a theme in 2010 as well. New decade, bury old grudges and useless thoughts. Can you think of something or someone you have totally washed your hands of – is there a second chance in its/their future? Should there be?

2010 could potentially be the start of my immediate family’s baby boom as my sister will have her first child. Seeing the restraint she has been practicing the last 5 months, ensuring every advantage she can for her child has been inspiring. I am excited and proud of big my sister and brother-in-law, and look forward to the changes their baby brings to their life and my own.

We have a new decade to define ladies and gentlemen. Let’s try to do better than the last ten years of vapid reality-tv celebrities, economic meltdowns, upskirt shots, war, useless people cheating on their wives, lying media, and the biggest moron ever elected to office.

The bar is pretty low to make an improvement people – but we still have to give an honest effort.

[THANKS]

The thank you section of this address has as become a logistical nightmare. Simply put: Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I usually start this off by thanking my parents, and for an outsider reading this – it is simple and perfectly disconnected. I thought I would try something different this year: My father learned to use his cell phone this year. That might not be a big deal to normal people, but for a man that doesn’t speak, this is a fascinating paradox. The first time he called me, I was in the middle of a tele-conference and actually dropped off because I thought something is wrong. He just wanted to know if I wanted any meat from the butcher shop. The man called me to see if I wanted something – old school doesn’t do it justice. My mother is no slouch by any means – she calls me every day to see if I need or want something. It is mind-boggling to me to see how supportive my parents are in their own stoic and silent way: nothing flashy, just always there in the background. So in all seriousness – Thank You Mom and Dad.

Not trying to ignore my wife by putting her in second (the story about my dad was just a better transitional sentence). Allison is the person who is saddled with anal retentive insanity 24/7. She not only handles it with grace (most of the time) but she gets me out of crazy place. She is an endless source of entertainment and laughs and I am very glad she is my wife and for the life we are building together. YAM!

I struggled with doing mass thank yous because I don’t want to take it away from people who deserve thanks. But I really don’t want to turn this into the “10 minute thank you speech at the Oscars”. Hopefully, I said thank you in person, and if I didn’t, you have my full permission to call me a ungrateful asshole the next time we talk. With that out of the way, I genuinely want to thank the people in my life for being there:

Thank you for answering my phone calls and listening to my insanity for a few minutes
Thank you keeping me company on long drives and dealing with crappy blue tooth speakers
Thank you for giving me advice that I over-analyze to the point of nausea
Thank you for our daily IM conversations that make the work day much better
Thank you for coming over and helping me move stuff around my house and off the deck
Thank you for suggesting new books, movies, and music
Thank you India (Just making sure you are paying attention)
Thank you for the recipes, the cooking gear, and finding new ways for me to destroy my kitchen
Thank you for helping to find back-splash tile (and eventually doing the tile work) – Hi “Woody!” 😉
Thank you for reading my blog because it really makes me happy that people do
Thank you all for allowing me to live a satisfying and meaningful life – because without you, it wouldn’t be.

In 2010, be the master of your own destiny.

Love,
Joey

Previous Holiday Greetings:
2008 – Click Here
2007 – Click Here
2006 – Click Here
2005 – Click Here
2004 – Click Here
(Sorry before 2004, the Greetings were email based and I lost them all – so if you have them… send ’em my way and I will republish)

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Seasons Greetings Joey Style (2008)

Happy New Years friends and casual readers! I normally start off this annual tradition with “Ho Ho Ho Holy Shit!” but I think it is time to retire that line, you can make your peace with that decision privately with copious amounts of “X-mas Cheer”. So what has 2008 meant for me, for you, for all of us? In one word: Change. While trying to resist the urge to quote political slogans, it was an evolutionary year for myself, my circle, and the country. Lets begin…

[Thanks]

I usually throw out thanks to people who have helped me throughout the year and sometimes I feel like that is all people are getting from this little love note: I curbed it last year and it chomped me on the ass. Let them have cake:
* Thanks to my wife for marrying me
* Thanks to my parents and Allison’s parents for making the wedding as stress free as possible. Weddings can be the source that start years of family strife, our parents could not have been any more supportive to us or each other, and I am glad everyone still likes each other.
* Thank you to my wedding party (Rob, Andrea, Bill, Amelia, Steve, Adriana, Anthony, Clara, Nate, Theresa, Sean, Amy, George, Ashley, Vince, and Kate); weddings are a total pain in the ass, and you all were great.
* Thank you to my cousin Anthony for coming over here and helping me fix and improve my house (I miss man day!)
* Thank you to Paul and Aimee Vedar; you two were our go-to friends the whole year, filling our house with company and laughter
* Thank you to Jack and Lorraine for guiding me through my big house purchases throughout the year and always making me feel good about what I did. PS – Jack thanks for singing at the wedding,

Lets face it, there are so many of you the helped us this year that this list can go on for pages. If you are reading this, you know me, and that means I am genuinely thankful that you are a part of my life.

[Personal Changes]

I got married this year and have owned a home for a full year. On the marriage front, honestly nothing has changed for us. We still enjoy each other 99% of the time and on that 1% – it something to laugh about an hour later. Marriage and relationships are what you make of it, and its been smooth sailing (all jinxing aside).

The house: This house has been a joy. Sure there has been a few accidental leaks, a drafty window or two, but overall, nothing major. Lets hope I find someone to redo the deck in 2009 (anybody know anybody???)

Career: I enjoy my job and hope like all of us, that the economy doesn’t change that.

[Growth]

I am going to be 30 years old in 2009 which means that (if I am lucky only) one third of my life is over. This isn’t a morbid thought, I have lived the way I wanted and I have goals that are keeping me going. When I reflect on some of the conversations I have had this year a common theme has sprung up: “I don’t know what I want to do with my life”.

I want to take a moment to address this concern coming from the almost 30 crowd:

Your life is happening every fucking moment. Your life is happening right now. A job does not define you as a person. Should you have a career? Absolutely. But if you don’t have your dream job, you have 16 more hours in a day to define what your life is. If you are happy sitting on a couch watching TV when you get home and on the weekends, that is totally fine. If you don’t like your lot in life and are just complaining about it (for years)…do something about it, and that starts with surgically removing the couch from your ass.

I am going to introduce a rude awakening to 30 somethings…
* We aren’t young anymore
* Not being able to make decisions isn’t cute, it is a sign of weakness and failure
* Think about what our parents were doing at 30 and try not to shoot yourself

Sorry to harsh the year end happy buzz. This has been brewing for a while and I feel that it needed to be said and this definitely was the place to do it.

[The Fall of America?]

I keep noticing more articles and books about how America is going to fail and how “it is over” and all I can say is “HUH?”. I don’t think the exiting administration did us any favors (I certainly was not a fan) and I am really unsure about how the new one is going to dig us out but… We are America. We are the people who buy the SUVs, the flat screen TVs, the McMansions on 45,000 a year salaries. Are we hurting right now? Yes. Are we going to roll over and die? Hell no. People need to feel the pain before the true change comes.

Energy

Don’t get suckered by the tricks that are happening right now. Gas prices are low, but they won’t be forever. Fuel and energy continue to be massive concerns and we shouldn’t let up because somebody got us a 12 month reprieve. The automotive industry is hurting because they failed to innovate and bought their way out of a problem instead of fixing it. Lobbyist will only get you so far but you can’t keep sweeping shit under the carpet, eventually you will have a shit pile.

This guy doesn’t have all the answers, and he is looking out for himself first, but it is a good start:

Also, why aren’t we doing this more: Fuel from Trash

Media

Our government failed us by allowing the American media system to be bought wholesale. How can a handful of men control all forms of news and print media in this country. There WERE laws against that. Now they create talking heads filling up hours of programming contradicting each other offering ungodly amounts of useless information. The true educators and visionaries are decried as wackos. In these dark times, think about how you get your news, think about who is controlling the mediums in which you get it. When Rupert Murdoch owns all the newspapers, tv stations, radios stations, and is trying to buy up as much internet properties as he can, can you be sure of the truth? With the death of the newspaper comes the death of true journalism. The internet may be freedom, but it doesn’t have quality, ethics, and style. Hopefully it will be given time to mature before FOX buys up the whole WWW including the service providers (so they can block “undesirable content” from the main pipe).

If you can’t get good information, you can’t make good decisions. Any country is a collection of ideas, ideals, wealth, and people, along the way something is bound to go bad, but that is when you throw it in the trash and throw down a little baking soda.

[Challenge]

I am going to throw this out there. If you have been putting off taking up a hobby or learning a skill, do it in 2009. Don’t wait. In 2008 I wanted to learn to be a real guitar player, I found a good teacher and took lessons, it was a lot harder than I thought but I keep going, embracing the failure. I also wanted to write more which is why I will always do a Sunday Leftovers in addition to whatever other inspiration I have (you can read it all at here), these things make ME happy. I feel like they are making my brain better and I will keep doing it for ME (If you enjoy my rants, awesome).

If you don’t have any goals or new things you want to learn, volunteer. If you are too scared to start yourself, call me, I will go with you. The point of this challenge is that in order for something to happen to you, you need to do something, anything.

Also – I am announcing in 2009 The First Annual “La Macelleria Film Festival”. Everyone is welcome to submit a short movie on any subject they like, the films will be premiered at the film festival which will be at my house at the JoeBQ in May 2009 at 8 PM (or whenever it gets dark enough to fire up the projector).


La Macelleria Official Web Site

[Closing Thoughts]

2008 has been a hallmark year for me. House, marriage, and thankfully no baby carriage (Happy Not-A-Father’s Day). Moving into 2009, I plan to continue to work on being a better person as I think we all should. Nobody is perfect but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to reach perfection.

I am sure some of you reading this have big decisions coming up: Marriage, Break-ups, Houses, Children, Second Child, Career Changes. Breathe. Whatever you do, so it with respect to the people impacted by those decisions, do it with grace, and do it with fucking style.

Its easy to forget to think about what we are doing and why we are doing it. We live in a world where decisions and answers need to be made immediately; resist those demands. Going back to what I said earlier about not being able to make decisions, I want to add that you have to make good ones. I have said this before: Everybody knows that the right thing to do, we just choose not to listen to ourselves. Start listening.

When I was younger, my cousin Anthony used to “kidnap” me and we would spend the day playing video games at his mother’s house. He used to have a printed sign on the door that connected his room to his sisters, it said “Don’t Be Average”. It always stuck in my mind, to try to do better than I thought I could. Over the years, I have used the line and have gotten shit (hi Drew) but I am saying it again… “Don’t Be Average”. When everyone is satisfied with just seeing the mountains, they never even bother to look at the stars.

I hope 2009 is better than anyone expected. I hope everyone is happy and healthy. I hope you do something to make yourself a little bit better than the year before.

Happy New Year
Love,
Joey

Bars & Tones from André F. Chocron on Vimeo.

[The best way to read this blog is at Joey’s Blog]

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Season’s Greetings Joey Style (2007)

Ho Ho Holy Shit! Can you believe that 2007 is over?! This has been one hell of year (can you believe I actually thought about that intro for two days…its lame, but you have to go with your gut). To say that this year was one for the personal history books would be an understatement and it has been framed by two big events: At the beginning of the year I got engaged and at the end, we purchased a house.

In an attempt to not repeat myself this year, I was thinking of a way to thank my parents without saying “Thanks for putting up with me” again. I ended up making fun of my dad (which I am fine with), but I forgot to wish my Mom a Merry Christmas. So Merry Christmas Di! Don’t worry, I may be moving out, but I am not that far away.

The theme of this year has been expansion: Growth of families, greater understanding, and an increase of debt (just kidding…sorta), and of course my father’s expanding gout issues (here is hoping Mean Joe is on his feet this Christmas Eve). Before we start, I must say that Allison has made this year extra wonderful for me – it takes a special kind of woman to find my antics amusing day in and out and I am sure glad she does for some odd reason. With that, I also want to thank the extended Delmonte family for welcoming me into the fold and say that I am darn glad to know you all. I want to congratulate Matt & Karena and Mike & Suzy on their nuptials. Also, for the second year in a row, the baby boom (or expanding the family franchise) has brought more souls into world: Merry Christmas Antonio, Marcus, Jackson, Xander, and Adam.

When you undertake large projects like buying a house or getting married, that is usually the time when people step up and offer advice and warnings. I want to take a moment to single out my sister and my brother-in-law for helping out with the mortgage, answering housing questions, offering suggestions for the wedding (even when I get annoyed). Adriana and Steve really stepped up and helped me this year even when I wasn’t listening. Thanks guys. I’d also like to thank both Anthony Lombardis for offering advice and suggesting (or booking) workers for the house. You made this process a lot easier on me. I can’t mention the house without thanking Mr. Brad Forman – the hardest working realtor this side of a Phish concert. Thanks for sticking with me buddy; it was a long fucking road.

The point of the last three paragraphs is to illustrate how important family & friends are in my life. I usually say I am going to try to see everyone on this list in the coming year, but you know what… I am going to do what I can do, and I am sure you people are out there being beautiful and that is the important part. For those I see regularly, thanks for making yourself available. If I don’t see you often, I hope you are out there enjoying your life and sharing it with people who are important to you. I am over the guilt; I am just going to focus on enjoying the time I have instead of feeling bad that I haven’t seen you in so long. For those friends and family that may have fallen out of touch or aren’t returning phone calls… it hurts people’s feelings, but that’s cool – we are going to be right here when the frenzy has faded – because that is what family does (just don’t expect sugarcoating, because family sure-as-shit doesn’t do that).

It wouldn’t be a real reflection of the year if the good wasn’t mixed with sadness. I am not going to call out people’s personal tragedies in this letter, but I want to say that in every case that I was involved with this year, I think that it will be better with time and by working at what the root of the problem was/is (and that might just mean coming to terms with what happened and moving on with your life). Friends are here to help you during the rough times, let them– it may be hard to ask for help sometimes, but it is usually worth it.

*** SOAPBOX ALERT ***

During this holiday season as I read articles about the war, people losing their homes due to the sub-prime mess, and Philadelphia’s murder rate rising (wow, I am full of cheer this year) – I want to bring attention to the “Xmas Commercialism” that I think we all fall prey to. I was going to type up some rant about people putting energy in the wrong places, but I will just say this: instead of giving someone a tired gift certificate that is going to sit in their desk drawer for a year, make a donation in their name to a good cause.

Here is one that is near and dear to my heart:
MUSIC RISING

*** SOAPBOX ALERT OVER ***

During this time of year, people like to take stock of their lives; I say leave your livestock alone. While it is important to reflect on the year, it is equally important not to dwell on what can’t be changed. I am sure the future will present both triumphs and loses, but I really want to see Mr. Wagner trashing an all night food store again! Who doesn’t want to see Tee turn white with laughter? Who doesn’t want to hear about Bert sleeping through his son’s first steps (and through his first year of college)? Who doesn’t want to hear Anthony making random Dom Deluise references? Who doesn’t want to hear Allison say “Yam!”? I want to see it all and I want more damn it!

I am walking into 2008 a very content and happy person, please feel free to walk with me; I think we could all use the exercise.

Happy Holidays!
Love,
Joey

PS: I normally end these messages with something very crass. This year, I wanted something more “wholesome”:

(No, I don’t know who Scotty is in case you were wondering)

Click here for the 2006 Greeting

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