Never Give Up

never-giv-eup

Yeah, yeah. It’s cliché. Hold on! Keep going! You’ll come out stronger! What does that even mean?

Our country is the land of the free and the home of the brave because our leaders NEVER GAVE UP. Everyone listens to popular bands because the lead singers NEVER GAVE UP. Actors like Chris Pratt are now famous and praised because they NEVER GAVE UP. You see new books in print because the author NEVER GAVE UP. You have a brand-new phone because engineers NEVER GAVE UP. Never giving up is different for different people, but it follows the same pattern.

A person sees a goal, a dream, and they go for it. So far so good. Then they get knocked to the ground by (fill in the blank). Then the person does one of two things. One, they can stop while they’re ahead and find a safer goal to chase. Or they can get back up, dust themselves off, try again, then get knocked back to the ground. Yikes.

It’s the last few who end up standing, shinning, before all the world. I know I use mountains in metaphors quite a bit, but that’s because they work so well. Our lives our mountains. You can give out at a large, safe cliff and spend the rest of your days wondering what the top looks like, or you can scrape your skin, hit your head, sleep on ledges no bigger than twin sized matresses, and then see the world from the top of who you are. That’s what I think never giving up means, it means not stopping your hike until you reach the top of your mountain. It might be a degree, it might be raising a family. Heck, it might be the surviving the ACT. No matter what happens to us, let’s go down in history as the generation that NEVER GAVE UP. On anything, or anyone.

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Olympic America

 

opening-ceremony-team-usaWell, here we are. We are on the other side of the 2018 Winter Olympics. To be completely honest, I couldn’t watch all of it, so I won’t be able to reference all those ‘rewind’ moments, but we don’t even need to have watched them to know what they mean.

This year America had the biggest team ever to attend the Winter Olympic Games. 244 men and woman walked around the Olympic torch, waving our flag, and representing our nation. They were our best, and they are living proof of the American Dream. They were made of people who had fought to be there, to prove they were the best in the world. They earned every moment, every flip, every slide, every pirouette, every breath of being there. Everyone knows about Shaun White. His injury, his amazing comeback. Red Gerrard made bars and ramps with scraps in his backyard.  Lindsey Vonn learned how to ski in a cow pasture.

This is what America is; this is who we are! We are fighters. We see a goal, and we run to it, no matter what. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about us, or our dreams, we can show them what we are made of. Our Founding Fathers knew that, if they signed the Declaration of Independence, the British would kill them the first chance they got. No one had broken from the Empire before, no one wanted to help the first Americans. So we said, “Alright, we’ll win anyway.” We rolled up our sleeves, polished our squirrel guns, and went to fight a war everyone told us we couldn’t win. Look where we are now.

Every single one of us has that ability, that ability to wear gold on your chest after the world told you, “You’re crazy for even trying.” We try. We fall. We try again. We fall again. We don’t stop trying.

Then we win. We wear gold, we pledge allegiance to our flag. A flag everyone said was impossible. Look where we are now and look what we’ve done despite the world saying, “No.” What else can we do? What else can we do to show the world who we are? Let’s push our limits again and show them. Again.

The Influence of Sci-Fi on our Future

 

OsmeoI’m a huge Star Trek fan. Next Gen is my favorite, and my little brother and I sci-five with the ‘live long and prosper’ hand symbol. The stuff’s fun…… and fake. Unfortunately. But, at the same time, it’s very real. Star Trek, episode one, aired on television on September 8th, 1966. Everyone loved the futuristic technology, especially the communicators. Then, on April 3, 1973, the first cell phone graced this county. Coincidence?

In 2001, (the movie, not the year) there is a psycho A.I named Hal that tries to kill everybody on the spaceship that the movie takes place in. Presto! Siri is now available! Also, the Watson A.I is in the works, too! iPads? You can thank Star Trek again. Hard drives? Star Wars! What about robots? Pretty much every show, A-list or less, that involved the future. We are bringing Sci-fi to our day and age, and, with each step that we take in the future’s direction, it takes a step back.

Teleportation, floating cars, cures for cancer, light speed, personal A.I assistants, robots, holograms, it’s always one step away. That’s it…. just one step. We are shaping our futures in our TVs, and each time someone has looked at a show or movie and said, “Wow. That’s really neat!” we make it, then it’s no longer the future. We push our imaginations further, and then we push our minds to meet it. If Gene Roddenberry had thought of something a little different for communicators, say a wrist band, odds are that would be what we used. If George Lucas had thought of a different way for Leia to put the plans in R2-D2, we might not have invented floppy disks. Funny, isn’t it? Now, when we look at the world of Sci-fi today, we are getting a glimpse into our future. Personally, I hope A.I is a little further down the line than beaming, but it’s still coming. Now, to boldly go where no man has gone before………

Cultural Music

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMusic has gone over many changes in the last decade. I mean, lots. Rock used to be what we now call ‘Soft Rock’, and Metal has gone through growth spurts, too. Country is different, Pop is different, everything’s just…… different. Different’ s not bad, it’s cool! Truthfully, I’d rather listen to Hunter Hays than Johnny Cash. But I Want Crazy (Hays) and Ring of Fire (Cash) are the same genre, even though they sound completely different.

During the many changed all genres have gone through, I’ll single out Country for the sake of discussion, we’ve gained a lot, but also lost a lot. Over the past ten years some genres were completely swallowed into a category, such as Blue Grass. It got pulled right into Country, which was then affected by Pop and Rock artists, and so Blue Grass was left in the dust. The cultural music genres of our Nation have been swallowed into the bigger, broader genres, leaving almost no breathing space for them to grow.

But, excitingly, that was in the past. Cultural music in America is making a comeback, and it’s so cool! Our peers are learning to fiddle like Cowboy Copus, to pick at a guitar like George Jones, to find their fingers flying over a harmonica like numbers others!  And, to cap it all off, some instruments that haven’t seen a stage light in decades are being played in Talent Shows, and put into albums. The music of our past, of our pioneering days, of the Anti-Bellum South, of the Gold Rush, it’s all coming back! We’re tasting the songs and listening to the tunes that were being sung during the childhood of our Country. Even if you don’t like old music, and it’s fine if don’t, you’ve got to admit that the fact that these songs are generations old, yet still making their voices heard, is absolutely amazing!

American Opportunity

downloadHey, Americans! Do you know that you live in one of the most amazing countries in the entire world? Well, obviously you do, but still! People risk everything to find the American Dream, and our people are born with it free. You can do anything you want in your life! Anything! Make a movie? Yup! Become a government official? Go ahead! FBI, singer, artist? Why not! We American teens have one of the most amazing futures in front of us, one of dreams, of beauty, of awesomeness! I don’t mean that word in the slang tense, by the way, I mean awe-provoking. Ground-shaking, history-altering futures. At our fingertips!

We have amazing Universities on our soil, we have outstanding scientists, fabulous writers, people here who teach whatever you can think of! I mean, how outstanding is that? Our generation is growing up in one of the most amazing places in the world, we have everything we need to change our world right here. In our cities, our Nation. We can change the world by living to the fullness of our being, by throwing ourselves into our dreams, not matter what they are.

Here, in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, we can do anything. We. Can. Do. Anything. You can make your life what you want it to be, that’s the beauty of America. Your dreams are never too big, the sky is never out of reach, it’s always just around the next corner.

Lost Art

washington_leutzeHave you ever gone to a museum with artifacts from around the eighteen-hundreds? Art, furniture, dresses, that sort of thing? Did you stop and think, “Gee. It’s a pity we’re not making stuff like that anymore.”? Well, you want to know why we’re not making stuff like that anymore? We came to the conclusion that we didn’t need our things to be beautiful, or even hand-made. But, then, you can enjoy something without needing it. You don’t need to draw or play an instrument or sports, but you do it. Why? Because it’s fun, and we like it.

But art, true, beautiful, awe-provoking art, is dying in our nation. I’m not just talking about paintings, although those are included in that statement. I’m talking about welding, charcoal sketching, writing music, carving, making clothes, glass blowing, masonry, and gourd art. (Yeah, that last one’s a thing. My sister’s really good at it. Here’s a link to show you how awesome it is.) https://www.flickr.com/photos/141148183@N08/albums

We are losing our art. It’s dying. We’re killing it. You want to see stuff being made like that again? Then go find someone who knows how to do it and ask them to teach you. I’m sure they’d love to show someone their work! You know why? The people who still know how to do these things also know that they need to pass the torch on to our generation, otherwise their craft will be lost. Wouldn’t it be sad if, a few years down the road, your child’s thought isn’t “It’s a pity we’re not making stuff like that anymore,” but has turned into, “It’s a pity we forgot how to make stuff like that.”

So, try and figure out how to make hand-held fans, how to create jewelry, how to pen calligraphy. Like I said Wednesday, libraries can tell you anything. If you come to a draw, then ask around! You’ll be surprised what you can find in your community. If we want to see the kind of art you see behind glass and guards in museums return to our country, then we need to make it. You know you can, and America isn’t going to fix herself. We can bring the lost arts back, we make her a land of beauty and talent once again.

New Rome

183479649-56a3ca0a3df78cf7727f2f21No, this post is not about Percy Jackson. Sorry. But, seriously, what do you think of when you think of Rome? Flowing togas? Amazing plays? Latin? Rome was amazing, no matter what it makes you think of. They constructed revolutionary buildings, amphitheaters, they created a concrete so strong, it’s still standing. They were the height of the known world. And, guess what’s even more awesome, our nation, America, is considered New Rome.

For illustration: During Rome’s glory days, they were considered the strongest Kingdom in the world. If you were educated, you spoke Latin. If you were really educated, you got caught up in the world of Roman science. If you wanted to move up in the world, or make a new start, you traveled to Rome. It was the heart of the world. Sound familiar yet? Well, it should. That’s America.

This is a good thing, right? Well, yes and no. The beauty of Rome, her learning, her power, was all seen in America, and note that I am using the word ‘was’, not ‘is’. This is where the not so great part is. Long story short, Rome tore herself apart in the 200s A.D. She got too big for her britches, and her culture started to decay. People quit carving those awe-inspiring statues, they stopped building new amphitheaters, they quit making beautiful art.

Sadly, we can see this in our county. Look at how we’ve changed over the last hundred years, guys! We’re falling apart at the seams; can’t we see it? Movies, songs, architecture, art, it’s all become less than what it was in 1918. Our culture has started to copy Rome’s fall, and we need to do something about it! And I don’t mean watch old movies, dress in a conservative manner, and quit using swear words. Those are all well and good, but it’s not the big picture.

If you sing, sing your heart out of your chest! Pour yourself into songs, write your own! Don’t sing what the country wants to hear, goodness knows music themes have become repetitive enough to drive anyone crazy. If you dance, or play sports, same thing! Push yourself to your limits. Show America that you’re there! Writers, write your mind, tell people what they need to hear, not what they want! Musicians, you can become the next Mozart! Mathematicians, architects, artists, builders, come out of the shadows! If you don’t have a hobby or dream, go find one! Make one! Guys, just because America doesn’t look like it wants or needs you, fill your life with accomplished dreams! If we can all do this, if we can push ourselves to greatness, we can escape Rome’s fate. She’s waiting for us at the bottom of this cliff; we need to stay airborne. And, if we fight for it, we can!