When Was America Great?

I just finished a fantastic book called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

I learned many things but one thing stood out above the rest:

“The hedgehog concept”

The idea is simple, in order to achieve business success you must have one central idea that all your other ideas, thoughts, and most importantly actions come back to.

Before I go any further, I want everyone reading this to take a deep breath in and let it out, because for the first time in the history of nonamesnonumbers.com I feel as though I have to write about something I emphatically hate- politics.

I hate politics because it holds underlying beliefs of:

“It’s us vs. them”

“These are the ideas of the group and if any of your own individual beliefs stray from them you will be punished or worse- ridiculed”

Let me pull a fast one on all these idiots and rise to a position of power”

The 45th President of the United States won the previous election with a slogan we have heard so many times that you’re probably already thinking it in your head as I write this:

“Make America Great Again”

It’s simple, it’s easy to understand, it’s empowering! Right? What a great idea for it to be the hedgehog concept of our president.

I’d say it has a “Gee, I really liked the good old days of the past” vibe attached to it.

So why don’t we peel back the curtain and take a little peak at when our country was so GREAT? I know history tends to bore people with things like statistics, maps, and impeding thoughts of “Why does all this stuff that happened in the past matter when I can be on Instagram looking at what people I barely even know are doing in their lives right now?”

But I’m gonna try my best to keep your attention.

I have realized that one thing that captures the attention of my fellow Americans is bits. So let’s play a little game I came up with called: “Was America Great When __________?”

Was America great when (and don’t forget to sing in tune like they teach you in elementary school) “Colombus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety two” and discovered America? 

Well Pat duh there’s a whole holiday for it every year! And to be honest? I love Colombus day! I usually go apple picking and if my sweet tooth is acting up I’ll even indulge in an apple cider donut or two- I know- I know- I’m bad! It was definitely great back then.

I’m not here to argue any points I’m simply here to fill in some- well- let’s call them gaps of information with regards to the history of our wonderful (and not to be forgotten) GREAT country.

I’ll start with a question- did it ever occur to you in school when you were being taught about the colonization of America (Land of the free- home of the brave!) that it wasn’t a barren landscape with nothing but a few critters scurrying around? That there might have been- oh I don’t know-

Other humans already living there. 

Those other humans– which for some reason I feel compelled to remind you are no biologically different from any of us now- died in masses.

The estimates go up to 100 million people. 

I beg you not to look at that number and immediately start rationalizing with thoughts like:

“But most of them died from disease!”

“But there’s no way it could’ve been 100 million people”

Well- uh- well what do you know! I liked it better when you just wrote about football”

I know this is a harsh reality for you to confront because for a long time I myself tried not to. I tried to be indifferent. I tried not to care. But I realize now that is no longer an option.

In summary of this harsh truth:

  1. We came in from another part of the world
  2. We decided that we liked this place
  3. We directly/indirectly killed almost an entire population of people.
  4. We claimed it as our place

Is this the greatness that our President refers to? Because if it is then why did he run on a campaign promise of building a wall to keep the people in our southern border’s country out? I thought we wanted to return this country to the principles that made it so GREAT! 

Was America Great When Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers were murdered before the age of 40?

Well Pat, there’s no need to be so blunt about it. Obviously those were tragic deaths that resulted out of the actions of a few lunatics. People kill people don’t you know that? America made a couple mistakes here and there I’ll admit it but I’d still say it was pretty great back then!

If I asked you to tell me what you knew from your education about the civil rights movement what would be the first thing to come to mind? I’ll put good money on one event above all others summed up with four powerful words:

“I have a dream.”

In terms of communication it is one of the best delivered speeches that has ever been recorded. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks powerfully, courageously, and creates an atmosphere that will send chills down your spine and make your arm hairs stick right up. I can only imagine the electricity he provided those in the crowd that day.

But one point remains- it was just a dream. And don’t take my word for it; take it from someone who was a little closer to the situation (21:24 is in regards to the “I have a dream speech” but I beg you to watch the whole clip)

What we think we know about today comes from our understanding of the past.

I used to think “But I know I’m not racist” until one day this summer when I was listening to a clip featuring the late great comedian Patrice O’Neal and he said something I will never forget:

“Everybody agrees racism exists- but I’ve never met a racist in my life. Why is that?”

Why is that.

If we’re being honest the reason white people don’t like to acknowledge these horrific pieces of our country’s history is because they think doing so would be an admission of guilt.

When did Pat turn into the poster child  for white guilt, lmao fuckin’ snowflake

For anyone who uses the term “white guilt” as an insult I would have to counter with one question:

“Why don’t you feel guilty?”

I ask that you think about it like this:

Our justice system is based off the assumption that for every criminal case there is a burden on the lawyers to lay out all the evidence to the jury so that they can then determine whether or not the defendant is guilty based off of what the evidence suggests.

If a prosecutor were hired to convict white people of creating institutional racism in America I like to think that they would lay out evidence such as:

-Founding their nation on the blood of millions of Native Americans

-Growing their nation’s wealth off the SLAVERY of African Americans for over 200 years

-Refusing to acknowledge some of the most disgusting acts of humanity ever committed such as PUBLIC LYNCHINGS that took place not even 100 years ago.

Image result for public lynching
Look at all the white people gathered in the town square to TAKE IN ALL THE FUN! (look closely at those faces)

Pat I know those were terrible I’m not a monster but the past is in the past! Can’t we just move on? It’s 2019 after all…

Image result for charlottesville riot pictures

 How quickly we seem to forget.

-Refusing to realize that no one moment- no matter how seemingly large or significant can solve a problem that has plagued America since day 1; racism.

Which brings me to my third and final question.

Was America Great When Obama was President?

Aha! I knew you were scared to mention the 44th President of the United States Mr. Barack Obama! Who I don’t know if you heard- is black! If all of this “The sky is falling!” philosophy is true then how can you explain how the single most powerful man in the country was black?

Again, I ask that you think differently than you normally would right now:

Have you ever noticed how most people hold political views that are very similar to their parents?

I have.

I thought long and hard about why that is and I came back to something I learned reading in a book (crazy concept I know) called hasty generalizations.

Hasty generalization? In English please?

A hasty generalization is simply the idea of applying a belief to a larger population than you should based on the evidence that you have.

For example:

“My neighbor blows their leaves onto my lawn therefore all neighbors must be selfish pricks”

“My father is a conservative and he’s a good guy therefore all conservatives must be good guys”

“The crazy person on Twitter is a liberal- therefore all crazy people are liberals”

I hope you can see that all of these examples show the idiocy of making hasty generalizations. Yes, your neighbor might be a selfish prick, but surely there must be a few good neighbors in our population of 300 million+. Yes, your father might be a good guy as well as being a conservative, but surely there has to be a bad egg in the 35% of our population who identify as conservative. Yes, there are definitely crazy liberals on Twitter but should they be viewed as the spokesperson for all liberal thinkers?

Of course not.

Yet people look at President Obama as the symbol of our overcoming of racism.

“Our President was black- therefore black people need to shut up and stop complaining about racism. If he can do it you can do it.”

We are supposed to believe that one man represents 40 million people.

Just one man; 40 million people.

You can look at the election of President Obama as a step in the right direction but you have to recognize that it was merely just that- a step.

People know Obama won but many don’t know that 59% of white people (a group that makes up 72% of our total population) voted against Obama in 2008 with some outrageously low percentages in certain southern states. Meanwhile, 73% of Asian people, 71% of Hispanic people, and 93% of African Americans voted for Obama and his hedgehog concept:

“Change we can believe in”

To hastily generalize would be to say “The numbers suggest America is racist- therefore America is racist”

We have just went over how that’s a lazy argument as a whole.

But how such an important question of whether or not that statement is true doesn’t provoke people’s desire for more evidence completely amazes and even more so- horrifies me.

One of my favorite quotes of all-time was said by former first lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

Think about that and then read it again.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

And just one more time.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

The dialogue that I feel encompassed by in our country right now is one that is rooted in a small minded question; what do you think about Trump? 

You want to know what putting your focus on this one man as the reason for why our country is becoming more divided does? It strokes the man’s ego that he can cause such a stir in people and more importantly it keeps us from engaging in discussion about events as they happen and not even coming close to what great minds discuss:

Ideas.

We can choose to focus on the man Donald Trump and all that we project onto him as a scapegoat for our underlying shame regarding our nation’s history or we can simply focus on the ideas that the top of our nation are projecting:

“Make America Great Again”

I ask one final question:

When was it ever great?

NNNN

P.S- I’m not trying to tell you what to think; I’m trying to tell you to think for yourself.

P.S.S-

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”

-James Baldwin

 

 

Why Do Depressed People Sometimes Seem Happy?

On the surface it doesn’t make sense how a depressed person can appear happy but when you dig a little deeper there seems to be a reason why:

They tend to see the world as it truly is. Not what their parents have told them. Not what the media has showed them. Not what their holy books have taught them.

They just see it for how it is; a world that puts more emphasis on superficiality and completely detached irony than on what is real.

They assume that others are feeling just as depressed as them and in turn feel they feel a need to be a symbol of happiness, joy, and strength.

But this is not a healthy way to think.

I had an English teacher in high school who said their one belief was:

“Everyone should have a therapist”

In typical suburban smart-ass white boy fashion my first thought was:

“Uh oh, here comes another one of those crackpots trying to impose their crazy ideas on me. Just because you need therapy doesn’t mean I need it”

Because I’m perfectly fine.

I’m pretty fuckin’ great.

Looking back on it I think my thought process was based on what I perceived therapy to be- a treatment for the broken.

To say you need therapy would require a conscious internal belief of saying:

I’m not ok”

But I ask you to think about it like this:

If your car’s engine was completely broken- would you deny that it broke? Would you rationalize your decision based on hope alone that the engine would get better by itself? 

Or would you take it to a mechanic and get it fixed?

“But what if I know a lot about cars- can’t I just fix it by myself?”

Yes, but keep in mind that this is not an oil change- this is a total car repair.

To try and fix the car by yourself will take you months, years, or even decades. It is certainly possible but highly inefficient.

But what if you decide that instead of a solo mission this project will require a team? 

Suddenly you realize that the team doesn’t even have to be mechanics:

They just have to care.

All the members of this team probably know very little about cars on their own but together they compile their personal understandings and find out that with all the new information they can start to see something they weren’t able to see before.

This team gains momentum.

Granted, it is slow at first; painfully slow.

But then suddenly each member of the team has a thought that appears through the darkness. It is likely similar to the experience a pilot feels after emerging from storm clouds and severe turbulence to suddenly see light again.

“I think I know about cars”

But this analogy is not supposed to be literally about cars; this analogy is about life.

I can finally see the value of therapists; but I never went to one.

Because the main role of the therapist at first is simply to help you recognize how your past has impacted where you are today.

And I already knew. 

The only reason I didn’t start healing sooner is because I was appalled by what I realized.

The second role of the therapist after showing you how your past has affected your present is to give strategies for ways to move about your life going forward.

Strategies for life can be better put into one word; philosophy.

I turned to that.

I started out as the freshman guy who takes one philosophy class and thinks they know everything but shortly after the high of newfound knowledge comes the crushing realization that you know nothing about life strategies that are universal to all.

Nothing.

You only know one thing.

Your philosophy works for you.

And that is something often overlooked in our world where honest dialogue has been replaced with entertainment style debate. People tend to forget that there are actually three sides to the truth:

There’s your version, there’s my version, and then there’s the truth.

I must remind you that despite every impulse to believe it; you are not god.

You are not the moral arbiter, you are not the source of all wisdom, you are not a democrat, you are not a conservative, you are not anything other than another human being in this great big mysterious world.

You are not the only pebble on this beach.

And this realization will depress even the most arrogant and self-centered of minds.

You are not the only pebble on this beach.

You could one day become the biggest pebble there is.

But you will never be the only pebble on the beach.

If this is the case then one day you might come to an even more sinister thought that is provoked from simply watching a box office hit movie.

“If my life is so minuscule then why should I even bother to live”

It is a thought of suicide.

It is a thought that your life has become so meaningless that it won’t matter if you’re gone.

It is the scariest thought of all.

It is an emotionally understandable thought that people (especially adults) around you will say is unfounded and ridiculous to have and that you have no right to be feeling this way. They’ll probably even say the three words that in themselves don’t mean anything:

Life is good.

What these people fail to understand is that right now you are in a state where despite all logic- your brain is your own worst enemy. It convinces you that these people are right and that your true emotions are not valid.

They tell you to “just be happy”

But they don’t tell you how.

They tell you that life is meaningful

But they don’t tell you why.

I’m not saying I’m right but this is what I have found:

The pursuit of truth involves a lot of pain.

A lot.

Because when you start thinking of everything on a macro scale you have a burning desire in your stomach to change the world.

A world that you now realize is in desperate need of help.

But again, you realize something:

You are just one mechanic working on a completely broken engine. 

The odds to fix this engine by yourself are NOT in your favor.

You remember that you are not the only pebble on the beach.

Despite feeling like a pebble that has been tossed around out of violent waves and spit out into your own private corner on the very end of the beach you fail to realize that there are millions of pebbles right next to you.

You just can’t see them on the surface level.

To think about life solely on a macro level is bound to lead to insanity. We have all heard the cliché “Rome wasn’t built in a day” ad nauseum.

This cliché is true.

But it only took a day to start.

It only takes a day to start getting up at 11:55am instead of 12pm. It only takes a day to do one push-up instead of zero. It only takes one day to replace a small portion of your beloved French fries for a little portion of vegetables. Despite my hatred for clichés- it only takes one day to make your bed.

These minuscule changes show no tangible results after one day.

You will not wake up motivated to attack the day.

You will not be able to do twenty pushups.

You will not prefer vegetables and real food to grease.

But you will have made your bed.

You will have a sense that you accomplished something today. It might not be worthy of a post on social media for all 1000+ of your “friends” to see but you will know that you woke up and did something.

No matter what else happens that day:

You made your bed.

Feel free to scoff at the notion that such a minuscule action can have any impact but if you do so I ask that you question your alternative:

Do nothing.

There’s a saying wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein that says “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

Continue to do nothing if you wish but I’ll tell you that I have tried that before.

Nothing changed; and insanity started to creep in.

If you decide to change your life the road will not be easy.

Your burning desire to be better might compel you to strive for immediate change.

I ask that you keep in mind that attempting to do so is like trying to drive a Ferrari through winding hills up a steep mountain where there are no guardrails.

Doing this means just one moment of inattention will send you right back off the cliff.

I have found that there is only one way to combat the instinct for rapid overnight change and to instead start seeing real tangible results:

Drive slowly.

NNNN

NNNN Episode #14 with Liam Cullagh

Image result for thinking face meme

By far my favorite show we have done yet with topics including (in order of appearance):

-The current state of radio today

-The idea of “outrage” in regards to comedy

-Liam’s trials and tribulations of open mics and doing sets at the UPub (Did he do coke with a stranger on a bathroom railing?)

-Should General Education classes be required? (Geology STINKS)

-How America’s history is presented to us throughout the education system

-The education system in general

-Surprise guest WMUA Sports Director Colin Cronin gives us some thoughtful analysis as well as the inside scoop on all things UMass football

Enjoy (and maybe even share if you like it- no pressure though):

http://anchor.fm/s/9f00fb0/podcast/rss

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Thoughts on Comedy

Image result for dave chappelle

I’m sure everybody reading this woke up today with the same thing in mind.

“I think I need to read another non-standup give his two cents on comedy”

With that being said, the reason I feel compelled to write about it is because it feels like most arguments I’m seeing are on two opposite ends of the spectrum. I wouldn’t even bother writing this if I was just going to rant about how insane “political correctness” has gotten or suggest that a comedian be labeled the vilest C-word I know:

“Cancelled”

Call me crazy (just not to my face) but I think there is a true middle ground between the two.

A fundamental truth that I believe in is that everybody should be allowed to say anything in the game of trying to make people laugh. Race, Religion, Sex, Politics, or Raisins (if your last name is Seinfeld) should be on the table without a doubt.

However, where I find myself starting to disagree with this “anything goes” philosophy is that it seems to spawn an underlying belief  that whatever is said shouldn’t be scrutinized in any way. Comedians should 100% have the power and authority to say whatever they deem fit but the audience always holds the power to decide whether they like it or not.

That’s the beauty of comedy.

A guy like Dave Chappelle is a legend in the industry and for good reason because he has  dropped some of the best specials of this generation not to mention classic skits from the iconic Chapelle Show. He doesn’t care what his audience thinks and he is always true to himself. For those reasons- I’m a fan.

Also, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh at most of his recent special.

Ok, so you laughed at the special, doesn’t that mean Chappelle did his job?

Well, yes, but just because someone does their job doesn’t make them employee of the month.

The best specials to me are the ones that in some way form or better yet change the way in which the viewer sees the world.

Wowww- you’re one of those guys who thinks comedians are more than just clowns.

Yeah; I am.

The bottom line of comedy is getting laughs- there’s no doubt about it. But there’s something special about comedy that changes how a person thinks.

The jokes in the special about Michael Jackson and his alleged victims for example were funny to me- but definitely not mind altering.

I don’t want to ramble on too long because I have never gotten up myself and tried to make a crowd of strangers laugh but there’s just one more aspect of this whole thing I want to touch on.

You know the old cliché “No publicity is bad publicity”? Could that be any more relevant here?

The people who love Chappelle are still going to love him and probably love him even more. The people who hate Chappelle are going to call for his career to be over, write terrible blog posts about him (which I’m not intending for this to be), and do other nonsense like that which they don’t even realize encourages people to watch his “problematic” comedy special. Dare I say- these people are “part of the problem” too?

Anyways, I wanted to write this today because podcast #1 of the year is coming within the next couple of days and this is definitely going to be a topic of discussion. We have a very special guest and I’m excited to hear what he has to say about the matter (amongst other things).

So that’s that; Happy Humpday.

NNNN

P.S- Trying a new marketing strategy

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P.S.S- That should do the trick.

 

 

 

 

Worst Places to People Watch

I love people watching.

Can you possibly think of a better way to spend your time then to simply sit and judge  (judging is bad I don’t know if you heard) assess every single person walking by? I can’t.

With that being said, in order to become a master in the art of people watching you have to understand the do’s but more importantly the don’ts of how to partake in the modern day most dangerous game.

I’m assuming everybody is busy today (because I am) so- let’s get right into it.

The Gym:

Honestly, the gym is probably the worst place to people watch and I’ll explain why. For starters, let’s think about people watching someone in better shape than you. You might think “But Pat! I’m looking at them to use their Olympic physique to motivate me! It makes me feel a little bad that I’m not there yet but like you said a little shaming is important for growth; right?”

All valid points my friend, but this isn’t about you it’s about the fact that if you are caught staring into the soul of a physical specimen you are probably going to come off as a bit of a creep (and maybe even face a harassment case in 25 years)

Ok, fair enough, but what about the flip side? Can’t I look at the fatties and feel a little better about myself? I know it’s wrong- but it seems so right.

No, don’t be a prick and do the socially acceptable move of only staring at yourself in the mirror. It’s not vain if it’s done righteously.

Outside a Jehovah’s Witness Convention:

Once you lock eyes- it’s too late.

Children’s Beauty Pageants:

These are just the first three that come to me off the top of my head and I’m sure there are many more that will strike me at 1 o’clock in the morning giving me a sense of regret only comparable to that of when you go for a handshake when someone else goes for a dap:

That definitely has never happened to me.

Have a tremendous Tuesday.

NNNN