HighStakesBlog

March 10, 2009

Depression Sucks

Filed under: Crap I can't categorize — HighStakesBlog @ 9:09 pm

I hate its randomness.  I hate the fact that I think I am “handling” things and that I have an idea the specifics of the internal dialogue that send me spiraling into mental misery.  I hate the fact that it’s never permanent.  I hate the fact that when I begin feeling depression’s sufocating presence, all I want to do is reach out and yet that socialization is the first thing taken from me.  I can’t even answer the phone when it rings.

I hate that it takes me away from this blog.  It strips me of my desire to write and my confidence to write.  I hate that it keeps me from commenting on other blogs that I read and want to weigh in on.

I hate that it takes the joy out of spending time with my children.  Watching them becomes something to get through and not something to cherish.  I hate that they’re beginning to be old enough to tell.

I hate that it robs me of the anticipation that usually gives me such enjoyment.  I hate that life becomes something to dread.  I hate that my trip to Vegas seems so far away, even though it’s next week.  I hate that I am worried that it’s too soon because I don’t want to be feeling this way as I step on that plane.

I hate that it makes time seem like an interminable and indistinguishable mess.  I hate that I cannot enjoy this Blue Jackets-Bruins game and that I cannot tell you what has happened because it has all looked the same.  I hate that I no longer want to flip to the Butler-Cleveland State game.  I hate that I cannot even THINK about the tremendous basketball that is yet to be played this coming weekend.

I hate that all I can think about and all that I can write about is the depression itself. I hate that I’m not strong enough to overcome this.  I hate that you had to read this.

I hate that it won’t be the last time.

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March 8, 2009

March is the most wonderful time of the year

Filed under: Crap I can't categorize — HighStakesBlog @ 4:41 pm

I am not a poet or a lyricist (duh) … but watching Northern Iowa beat Illinois State in OT and now Duke-UNC, I felt inspired.  Here’s my quickly drafted ode to the TRUE ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  No offense, Jesus.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With the kids screaming and yelling

And everyone telling you, “go get me a beer”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s March champ-championship basketball

With brackets to fill and bratwurst to grill

And bookies to call . . .

It’s March champ-championship basketball.

There’ll be Pitino loudly boasting

Jim Boeheim imploding

And Krzyzewski’s ego

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

There’ll be Cinderella stories

And tales of tourney glories

Of Bruins long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

There’ll be much barfly groping

And spouses poorly coping

With the hot bartender’s rear

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

There’ll be Cinderella stories

And tales of tourney glories

Of Bruins long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

March 4, 2009

The Old Gray Mares…they ain’t what they used to be

Filed under: Crap I can't categorize — HighStakesBlog @ 9:52 pm

I think I speak for everyone in America when I say that there are two institutions, two images that define this country.  The New York Times and the creepy old dude in the Simpsons who shuffles along singing “The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be…”

Okay, maybe not so much the second one…but I know I can’t get it out of my head.  And it went nicely with the “Old Gray Lady” nickname of the Times so work with me people.

Thomas Jefferson’s concept of the fourth estate…the Hearst family…Horace Greeley…Joseph Pulitzer…Yellow Journalism…Muckrakers…Woodward and Bernstein…

It is almost impossible to extricate the history of this country from the history of its journalists and its journalistic institutions.  I am admittedly “old school” when it comes to many things, but I don’t think I stand alone in my reverence for the integrity and the nostalgia of the newspaper.

That said, I am not blind to the faults of the broadsheet gray newsprint.  Agenda-setting, politically motivated coverage, the blurring of the lines between the business and the editorial sides of the newspaper, “ambulance-chasing” reporting and an arrogance and erroneous sense of immortality have tarnished the image of the nation’s dailies.

But there is an important distinction between the administrators of the papers and the journalists who fill the pages with events and news critical to our daily lives.  The journalists are not the ones who have had their heads in the sand as to the evolution of news.  The journalists are not the ones who have stubbornly refused to share assets and arrogantly ignored the explosion of internet media and the influence available to columnists on PED’s (bloggers).

The journalists are the ones who ignore the financial realities of life in the 21st century and work for salaries commensurate with streetsweepers.  The journalists are the ones who are forced off of their “beats” to mundane desk jobs for the “good of the paper” … or the good of the bosom buddies of the powers that be.  The journalists are the ones forced to bend and manipulate their own sense of ethics to provide the stories requested demanded by their editors.

And as a result, when the house of cards comes tumbling down and the lack of revenue becomes insurmountable, it is the journalists who pay the ultimate price with their jobs.  This happened in my hometown this week with our local paper laying off 25% of its editorial staff.  And by editorial staff, I don’t mean managing editors.  Or even section editors.  I mean reporters.  The people who actually provide the information we need.  In many cases, it was the people who provide the only information I still read the local paper for.  The local news.

The high school sports staff.  The local business and business development staff.  The local arts staff.  Sure.  Let’s send them packing.  And explain the lay-offs as a move toward more local coverage.  Wait, what?  Let me think this through.  Nope.  Still doesn’t make sense.

I am not going to wax philosophical on the direction newspapers SHOULD be going.  I’ll save that for another rant.  But I can easily tell you what they SHOULDN’T be doing and that’s exactly what they did this week.  It is a disgrace.   It is a disservice to a newspaper’s readership.  And it is a bastardization of the history and tradition that SHOULD have been the wards and the responsibility of the newspaper leadership.

Contrary to the words of wisdom of one of the people who DIDN’T lost their job this week, this is not a “phase.”  Newspapers are not dying.  They’re dead.  And while I mourn the loss of an industry and an institution, it is those the industry let down for whom I truly grieve.

They deserved so much better.  And so do we.

October 17, 2008

I believe … I may have developed the most perfect playlist to put you to sleep

Filed under: Crap I can't categorize — HighStakesBlog @ 11:32 am

Last night was not pretty.  I will spare you the details, but let’s just say it had me downing orange juice and Airborne and begging Native American shaman for a short visit.

I hate being sick.

If it does happen, more than anything else, I am a strong proponent of sleep.  During the day, at night, during conference calls (clients, you didn’t hear that)…whenever you can rest for a few minutes I think it makes all the difference in the world.  Seriously, is there anything that makes you feel better than a 45-minute nap during the middle of a work day?  Well, I suppose there is bourbon.  And chocolate.  But still, naps are right up there.

So last night, all I wanted to do was go to sleep.  But I think all the sugar in the orange juice was causing my brain to go into overdrive.  The critical questions one faces when the lights go out just wouldn’t let go of my conciousness: Obama or McCain?  Ohio State (-3) or Michigan State? Cold apple cider or hot apple cider?  Why do all of the Real Housewives of Atlanta have to be black except for the token snobby rich caucasion?  You know…the important things.

I had nothing left to do, but turn to my IPod.  When it comes to music, please understand where I’ve come from.  In high school, my idea of music depended on the light of day.  During the day, it was Alice and Chains, Megadeath and D-Nice.  That’s pretty much it.  Classic rock was Alice and Chains’ early stuff.  At night, when the lights turned low…it was Sunny 95’s love songs.  Seriously.  I know some of you in “the Burgh” had your Delilah.  But for me, it was the dulcet tones of Sunny 95.  If it was laced with sap, I hugged a pillow and ate it up.  Some of you facebook friends may have even been theoretical recipients of a late-night dedication of a Michael Bolton song at one point or another.

So that’s my background.  But my IPod changed all of that (that and 10 years with my lovely wife who actually knew the Steve Miller Band existed…unlike myself).  As a result, I have honed my taste in music and I feel like I can legitimately tell the Beatles from the Monkees at this point in my life.

So I scanned my Nick and Nora-esque infinite playlist and developed an eleven-song run that seems to be a perfectly timed, slumber-inducing conglomeration.  I present to you, my cure for insomnia playlist (and no, it doesn’t just consist of a series of my wedding reception speeches).  I welcome your comments and thoughts on glaring omissions.

1. Red House Painters – Song for a Blue Guitar (the lynch-pin of the list…you could just play this on a loop)

2. Rufus Wainwright – In a Graveyard

3. Christopher Jak – Seamless

4. Damien Rice – Cannonball

5. Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark

6. Joshua Radin – Winter

7. Marc Broussard – Untitled Track from Carencro (lyrics posted in a previous blog)

8. Matt Nathanson – Bulletproof Weeks

9. Mesh-29 – Over the Barricade (Live, Piano Version)

10. Ray LaMontagne – All the Wild Horses

11. Tom Waits – I hope that I don’t fall in love with you (this one is optional and the “weakest” of the list, but it works for me)

September 16, 2008

Coming Soon…

Filed under: Crap I can't categorize — HighStakesBlog @ 11:18 am

I will start this blog by posting a few entries from a former venture…look for them soon.  Or don’t.  See if I care.

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