The End of the Year RANT

Dan and VinGreetings from Little Rock(that still hurts to say),

To your left is a fine picture of Vin and I during his last week at preschool in St. Louis last month. It felt good to throw in a pic of the Buffa’s for this end of the year post. A dose without pictures would only leave a lot of lonely words.

It’s time to let it all hang out. Grievances, surprises, good, bad, ugly and the rest of the things that rattled around my head. You won’t get a lot of sports or film here. I spread that around often in other places that it would be rather predictable for me to talk much about those two lovers of mine here. For the most part, I’ll choose the scope that turns around and reflects on me and the world I live in. The things that happened. Things I learned. The things I need help learning about. So here we go. Don’t expect a well established order to the following topics. I’m going old school here and just unplugging the drain. Shedding the dead with a few ounces of lead from the head.

(Warning-There may be spelling or punctuation errors in this dose. It is a rant after all. Apologies to the keyboard mafia in advance.)

Working Overnights Isn’t Ideal

In February, I worked overnights at Conway and hated it. I lasted four weeks before throwing in the towel and going back to Ronnoco. Why? Well, Conway is located in EASSTTTTT St. Louis city. Like “The Wire” of my hometown. It’s not safe and the farther you drive down on Hall Street, you feel like Rambo should be riding shotgun. It’s a dead end job full of tedious paperwork and robotic like movements. This confirmed the fact that overnights aren’t great unless you are a zombie who likes to function outside the house at night in a working environment. I am a night owl unlike any other, but this job made me realize that when it comes to making money in a 9-5 fashion, overnights aren’t cool. Yeah, and Conway sucks.

Writing Exposure’s Ups and Downs

This year, I wrote for a total of 5 websites. I wrote over 220 articles on the Cardinals this season. I wrote for Arch City Sports the most, and by November, I would be separated from them for one simple reason. Integrity. There was a time and place where everything(sports, movies, ramblings) went out of this site. In the past year and a half, I joined a few new sites. I became serious in social networking on Twitter and Facebook. I broadened my horizons from my personal friend list to people across the world. In that time, I got serious backlash, found good readers, and also learned a lesson about where to put your work. Arch City Sports broke a few ethical rules in my book. I was called out for patting myself on the back when I wrote about it here last month. In reality, I was clearing my head and trying to instruct other young writers that a scribe should never fall in love with page views and forget about ethics. I’ll admit. I got lost in the page views this past year. It’s part of dipping your abilities in deeper waters. At the end of the day, I was able to realize that ACS did things I didn’t like and I had to separate myself from there. There are good people at that site but you have to choose wisely where you set up shop in this internet driven journalism world.

The Unveiling Of A Species

Ferguson doesn’t need to explained in depth here. A young black man was shot and a city was torn apart. Cops were turned into villains because they used tear gas against heavy crowds that claimed to be protesting when they were really rioting. Last night, a young kid was shot in Berkeley and a cop once again was on the other side of the incident. A new hatred for cops will develop now. Here’s what I know. If I am a cop and I have a threat against my life standing in front of me, I am going to do whatever I have to in order to survive. If my chances of going home to my family are being trimmed in a heated exchange, I am going to be ready to shoot and defend. If I am on the other side, I must know this about the police officer and take into account what I do in the next few moments. Far too often, cops as a whole are criticized. That’s like a teacher blaming a whole classroom of kids for one person doing something wrong. There are bad cops. It’s part of the business. In every workplace, there are bad eggs. That can’t be stopped. However, it’s childish to think hating cops will solve the violence in St. Louis or any city. It’s the people as a whole that are the problem. If you ever need to realize who can do wrong at any minute, just look in the mirror. Look left or right outside. We are all capable of becoming a monster. It’s part of our DNA. I don’t immediately defend a cop or blame the cop. I read about the case and I make a decision. The minute I hear, cop was shot at, I try to think like a 5 year old and figure out what people want to hear. So, if a cop is fired at and has bullets flying by his head…then it’s okay to shoot. Yeah, right. The right answer is protect yourself at all times. In a ring or outside the ring. Protect the future of your family against others. Ferguson won’t be the last incident, but it taught us a sad but true lesson. The beast exists in all of us. We have to choose how to shut it down.

The Cardinals Have A Target On Their Back

I guess when you win consistently and you make the playoffs four years in a row and come within a win or two of participating in the World Series or winning it, you get a target on your back. I don’t believe other teams truly hate the Cards I think they are flat out jealous of how consistently they win and how they don’t jack up their payroll 20-30 million a year to do it. There’s a sweet science to the way John Mozeliak works and I believe in it.

The “I Take It Back” Crowd

I hate these people. The ones who say something cruel and try to take it back later. I have a firm belief that when you say something, a good part of you means it. When you take it back, you are merely being kind. When I say something, I mean it. It may be mean or brutally honest, but that’s part of life. It quickens the pace and wastes little time. When I hear that someone is sorry for saying something to me and they didn’t mean it, I call bullshit. If it came out of your mouth, it was somewhat honest. Also, when you are drunk, the honesty level grows incredibly large. The world would be a better place if people were more honest.

Stan Kroenke Mind Games

The city of St. Louis wants to keep the Rams here. They are trying. The fans still show up even though the team hasn’t had a winning seasons since 2005. The owner, Mr. Businessman Stan, treads water. He doesn’t reveal any plans. He stays quiet. Maybe this is the way you act when you run four different franchises, but I know 95 percent of sports team owners will level with the fans who fill their seats and make their worlds worthwhile. Maybe I am insane but Stan’s quiet nature on the future of the St. Louis Rams is infuriating. Tell it like it is, Stan. I wish the dome was empty for that last home game. Prove a point to Stan that this might happen if you keep screwing with the future of this team.

The Blues Way of Torture

Look, I like my hockey team. I love them. I’ve watched them since I was 5 years old and the Old Barn rocked. Seriously, it shook at times. These days, I am pinning for a Stanley Cup appearance. The Blues seem to have the players and the coaching and management to do it. They went out and got Paul Stastny and have found a star in Vladimir Tarasenko. They went back to basics at goaltending and brought Brian Elliott and Jake Allen(with a new friend in Marty Brodeur). So I ask, what gives? When will this team win? I don’t feel for myself yet. I feel for the older folks who want to see something special before they die. The folks who saw the Blues go to the Stanley Cup twice in the late 1960’s and now stay close to 50 years old looking for the same result. There are only a handful of teams without Cups. The Blues are one of them. I feel like this is an annual compliant. Win something, Note.

Peyton Manning Catching Hate

It’s amazing how easy it is for people to jump on Manning after a bad performance. The Broncos are 11-4, and Manning is having another fine season. The Rams seemed to rough him up a bit a few weeks ago and other teams are faring better against him, but in the NFL, you look at the bottom line. Right now, it says this.

Manning has 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. His quarterback rating is 102. His completion percentage is 67 percent. He doesn’t throw missiles anymore but he’s still one of the smartest and most accurate passers in the league. He’s had four neck surgeries and is trying to pull off a feat that Kurt Warner was literally knocked out trying to do. Win A Super Bowl with multiple teams. It hasn’t worked out thus far, but this past week, all I hear is the noise that Peyton needs to be done and retire. Look at the stats fellas. If his stats mean he needs to go, half the league’s other passers can follow him right out.

I know Peyton needs another ring to get to the top 5 of all time in NFL quarterbacks. I know he has a tendency to play shitty in the big game. Still, saying he is over and down the hill is absurd. Like Tom Brady, he carries a target on his back 24/7. I simply ask football fans to be realistic with their aim.

Is There A God?

This past year, I have made changes. For the first time in years, I have thought about the idea of God and his ways. I am not a firm believer yet, but in a promise I made to my grandmother and other people that have walked into my life lately, I am taking another look at the man we supposedly think is upstairs watching the action. Baby steps are the idea here, but what is it about this guy and his story that others so ferociously follow. It’s intriguing to me. There is cruelty and unfortunate events in this life every day, but something tells me there may be a plan in place for me. This will surprise and scare some people. It will make them ask me if my head is on straight. I hope there is a God. I hope there is a theory behind the madness that happens on a daily basis in this world. Is there a plan? What is the end game? What am I doing here? I’d like to believe in those questions.

How about that changeup? From Peyton to Jesus. Who does that?

Loving Unpopular Movies

I do this a lot. I don’t just like the movies that are forgotten about. I fall in love with them. Two years ago, it was David Ayer’s gritty cop flick, End of Watch. The brutality and heartfelt passion shown to the life of the police was so well done that at the end of the year, I picked that as my favorite. Last year, it was Peter Berg’s intense Lone Survivor, a true story about Navy Seals waging a David versus Goliath battle in Afghanistan in 2006. This year(so far), it’s Jon Favreau’s sweet edgy little food indie, Chef. I don’t fall hard for the Academy fare. I let other critics walk the normal path and fall hard. I tend to go for the movies others look over as ordinary.

Don’t Put Too Much Weight in Advice

I’ve gone through the gauntlet of emotions and decision making these past few weeks. I am homesick like a lost puppy down here in Arkansas and think back constantly to a time where I could have kept my family in St. Louis. That has forced me to run circles in my mind. It has also forced me to reach out to family and ask for their advice. That advice that came back isn’t always what you want to hear and that is the point. Sometimes, you have to understand what advice really is and how to take it. It’s recycled goods from someone else’s life. A radio advice piece that played all summer said that once. Take it for what’s it is worth. Advice is only so powerful. Family is simply here to test you and protect you. It may not be in the most wonderful methods at times, but when they appear to be slamming your needs, remember they are merely giving you advice from their own life and testing you at the same time. In this life, you have to make your own decisions.

The User Sensitivity of The Internet

Be careful before you unleash a rant of emotion of Facebook or Twitter. Be careful because the people that follow, friend or like you can spread that to other parties and create fires. Sometimes, it’s best to keep things to yourself for the time being. The internet can be a minefield for personal exposure. It can be dangerous. I believe that in this life, there are some things that need to be kept close to the chest. Those things aren’t wrongdoings or betrayals. They are simply things that if said out loud to a crowd they could weaken you. In the end, find ONE friend to trust. Don’t choose many. Choose a couple.  It doesn’t matter who that friend is. Male, female or foe. Find a couple of people you can trust NOT to judge you. It’s not easy but it’s better than finding answers on social media about your personal life.

Shall I Read Or Write?

The common theory that everybody must read books to stay alert is absurd. You can learn just as much by getting out and living or creating your own story than reading someone else’s words. Having said that, I do want to read more. One should only read more books if they want to. Once you are out of school and on your own, the urge to be told to read loses a lot of gas. If I see a book that requires my time, I shall read it. There’s enough authority in this world.

The STOP List-A list of people or things or movements that need to stop. 

  • Remakes in Hollywood. Stop it. Leave Point Break alone. Create instead of reaching into the recycling bin. It’s getting tiresome. The dollar bill is officially stepping on creative’s throat.
  • The disregard of decency in the World. Opening doors, waving when someone lets you into traffic or nodding as you walk by someone. Keeping to one’s self is fine but reaching out and being nice goes a long damn way.
  • Bad music. Turn on the radio and find out.
  • I would like politics to leave the boxing ring. Back in the day, two men got into a ring and fought each other. These days, it takes money, talks, suits, publicity and an ability to weigh fear before they step into the ring. Yes I am talking about Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
  • Parent activists. The ones who try to police other parents on how to treat your children. Since they were able to conceive a kid and raise them without incident, they feel the need to spread their advice(again a dangerous tactic) onto you without truly knowing the inner dynamics of your life.
  • Transformers movies. Brain numbing is a good way to label the experience of watching Michael Bay’s Hasbro bots wrecking cities, 250 million dollars at a time. This is where the unfortunate circumstance of money making franchises tromping creativity takes places.
  • People trying to be Nascar drivers on the open road. Remember folks, the speed is a limit and not a starting point.
  • Conspiracy addicts. People who deny realities and try to overthink every single event. This makes for fun for them but only gives me a headache.
  • Gossip hounds. People chase fake news because the real news isn’t interesting enough.Buy a newspaper folks.
  • Walmart scary people. Please keep your shopping hours between midnight and 6am please.
  • Looters. You aren’t solving anything by burning down a pizza shop, gas station or family owned business. Don’t be stupid.
  • Control freaks. Do me a favor and have more sex. Ease up. Relax. It’ll help everything.
  • While I have a nostalgic love for newspapers, the digital media/blogger hater crowd need to let up. The future is the internet. Get with it.

Closing Statement

Be happy folks. Content is one thing. Happy is another. Chase it until the dream is completely dim and gone. Tomorrow, it could all go to shit. The world may end. A bomb may drop. The end of the line may come sooner than expected. Cancer may strike. Something may happen. The only advice I truly believe in these days is chasing the idea of happiness until you no longer have feet(and in that case, find a good driver to help you continue the fight). I believe in the idea of being born with the intentions of being good and whole before the course of one’s life can lead one down a darker path. The temptations that face us every day. The easy ways out. The idea that no matter where you are, a bad decision can be made. The tiniest mistake can derail a life. That is why happiness can never be too far out of reach. Stop worrying about others. Worry about yourself. You live with yourself every day. Don’t ever forget the fact that the clock is ticking.

Writing is therapy for me folks so thanks for reading,



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