Ferguson Blog Post.

What can be said about Ferguson that hasn’t already been said? We’ve all talked about it, read about it, tweeted about it, and literally watched all of it unfold on international television.

All I’m going to do in this post is copy a few quotes that I think are worth sharing. Some of these are from people commenting on Ferguson, and others just stuck out to me as relevant to what’s going on right now. I’m tempted to give thoughts and reflections about these quotes, but instead I’m just going to leave them there.

What’s better to start with than 80’s pop?

Things look so bad everywhere. In this whole world, what is fair? We walk blind and we try to see. Falling behind in what could be. Bring me a higher love. – Steve Winwood “Higher Love”

Not all cops are bad. Not all black people are criminals. And not all white people are racist. Stop labeling. It’s 2014 let’s get equal. – Kevin Hart, comedian.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. – Winston Churchill

We are doing such a grave disservice to police officers in this country by pushing a narrative that they are just going around looking to shoot and kill black people. Somebody needs to tell me why Michael Brown has been chosen as the face of black oppression. – Joe Scarborough, MSNBC.

People [are] saying one thing when the camera’s on and then saying something completely different when the camera gets turned off, because they’re somehow afraid they’ll be called racist if they tell the truth. – Joe Scarborough again.

We must find common ground, but you can only find common ground with facts on the table. – Rev. Al Sharpton

These demonstrations have been a sobering reminder that St. Louis still exists. – Stephen Colbert. Too funny. Had to add.

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America – there’s the United States of America. – Barack Obama

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails… I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing. – NFL TE Benjamin Watson

I know for sure we’re all in this together. And in a thousand years we still won’t get it right.   – Pat Green “Footsteps of our Fathers”

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. – MLK

St. Louis vs. Kansas City: The Final Argument

I grew up halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City. I went to college halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City. I played hockey in St. Louis in grade school and in Kansas City in high school. I lived in Kansas City for 10 weeks last summer. I’ve lived in St. Louis for 10 weeks now. I am the only person who can settle this argument once and for all.

Let’s get it on.

Downtown: 

It may be dying but it’s not going down without a fight. St. Louis still has Wash Ave, the stadium(s), and now ballpark village. Soulard is walking distance (trust me, it is), and I still think the drive downtown seeing the arch is about as pretty of a drive as you’ll see into any downtown. Kansas City’s is small and easier to get around, but just doesn’t have much to get excited about. And who doesn’t enjoy a little St. Louis crime to keep things interesting. Just don’t cross the river. Louie scores first.

(KC 0 – STL 1)

Nightlife: 

St. Louis has more places and better to go out, but that’s doesn’t necessarily mean it wins. Every time I’ve gone out in Kansas City, I’ve ran into people I know. Some people may not like this but I do. St. Louis has more variety and more cool neighborhoods to go out. It’s got more of the big city feel. Wash Ave and Soulard might as well be a hundred miles away from each other and that’s awesome. Kansas City doesn’t have the P&L advantage (if there is one), now that Ballpark Village is opening in St. Louis. If I’m visitng one city for a weekend, I’d pick St. Louis. I’ve been too busy to explore everywhere here, but Westport wins against Soulard and others. It literally is a continuation of college, and who doesn’t like that? For the time being at least…

Kansas City ties it up.

(KC 1 – STL 1)

Neighborhoods/Places To Live:

This is even tougher because I haven’t lived in either place long, but I had to do this post now to be fair. Here’s my take: Kansas City has awesome diverse neighborhoods of the city. River Market, Art District, Plaza, Westport, Downtown, Waldo… all are awesome and unique. But because St. Louis has the size advantage, it wins. St. Louis is made up of over 80 different municipalities . Before I lived here I had no idea about all of the areas that weren’t downtown or a place with a hockey rink. Pretty much every town has its own personality, its own little downtown, and its own charm. Kansas City is doing great with all its unique areas, but St. Louis has at least three times as many areas.

St. Louis takes the lead.

(KC 1 – STL 2)

People: 

I haven’t met everyone in both towns, but because Kansas City does have that small town feel, it gets the advantage here. It may sound crazy, but I also enjoy the amount of kU fans in KC. It makes it feel like the rivalry is still alive. I don’t feel the same pride driving around with a Mizzou sticker in St. Louis as I do in Kansas City. I love all my St. Louis friends to death, but the high school continuation is real.  St. Louis is a great place to live and grow up and come back to. It’s also a great place to move to and start a career. But the fact that certain girls won’t talk to you unless you went to a certain high school is just ridiculous and really says a lot. I’ve never had that happen to me, of course, but I’ve heard multiple times. That just doesn’t happen in KC.

(KC 2 – STL 2)

Career: 

My jobs were completely different two cities, mainly because it’s tax season now, but I’m not just talking about me. St. Louis is a bigger city with bigger companies and more worldwide HQ’s so there will be more opportunities, but Kansas City has Cerner which employs half of the midwest, or so it seems.

Push.  I know that’s lame but it’s my blog so deal.

Beer: 

St. Louis is a beer town. I don’t care who owns Budweiser or Boulevard or whatever. Boulevard and Schlafly are a push, and St. Louis just simply is a beer town in a way Kansas City isn’t.

St. Louis suds pull ahead.

(KC 2 – STL 3)

Food: 

I love love love Kansas City BBQ, but the Italian here is real. I’m not even a huge fan of Italian but it’s that good.

Kansas City by a rib.

(KC 3 – STL 3)

Stuff to Do: 

I’m not talking about exhibits at the museums, I’m talking about stuff we actually do. In two weeks we have Mardi Gras and St. Patty’s – two of the biggest parties I’ve ever been a part of. I may be just not be aware, but I can’t think of one event in Kansas City that even comes close. Manhattan, KS has some big parties but you can’t count that KC, sorry. I think there’s some cow festival that’s fun? First Fridays I’ve heard are a good time but none of my friends when I was there made an effort to attend so you don’t get it.

Not just because of Mardi and Patty’s – St. Louis just has the size and wins because of what comes with it (parks, shops, neighborhoods, events, etc.). KC does have the best antique mall I’ve ever been though. Not enough.

(KC 3 – STL 4)

Sports: 

Rams. Duh.

But seriously. I’ve had the downtown vs. suburb stadium discussion many many times, and I simply don’t know the answer. As a Cardinals fan, I think I may enjoy Royals games better because of the tailgating and the low expectations. Idk. And I can’t stand how St. Louis doesn’t stand behind the Rams and the self-anointed “best fans in baseball” crap. I’m trying to be level headed here. I’ve never been to an NFL regular season game, so maybe if I go to a Chiefs game this year it will change. But you have to look at where you would want to be if all Missouri teams sucked and if all Missouri teams dominated. The answer is St. Louis both times. The Blues might tip it East.

Speaking of, HOW BOUT THEM BLUES MY LORD!?!?!?!?!

The Greatest Show on Turf helps seals the victory.

Decision: St. Louis, 5-3.

Right now in my life personally I probably would prefer Kansas City – just because it has the nightlife and people and I have a few more friends there. But if all my randomly picked categories are weighted the same, St. Louis wins. Perhaps solely because of the size but in a bar fight I’m picking the guy who has 30 pounds on the other.  I’ve had a blast in St. Louis so far – even while studying for the CPA and working 60 hours a week. I love living in here now and I don’t see myself moving any time soon.

But if the Rams leave, that all changes.

That’s what I think I think.

The Battleground of Kansas City

Many of you may know, but this summer I am interning in Kansas City. This post is going to be part life update and part observations.

First with the life update. I am interning at Deloitte accounting firm doing tax work. “Tax” is like a curse word when I tell people that’s what I want to do with my life. Most people cringe at the thought of spending all day working on taxes. I will probably devote an entire post in the future to this topic (exciting, right), but taxes are interesting to me, and should be to you too. All major business decisions have a tax aspect, and  taxes are in the middle of most political debates. Maybe by doing taxes all day I can learn how to make great business decisions and how to run this great country. Hopefully. Really enjoying the work for now though.

I am graduating in December with an Accounting Masters, and depending on how the internship goes, will hopefully be gainfully employed shortly after. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Onto how it is living in Border War territory. I must first admit that I am living in Kansas now. Right on the border, but still in Kansas. Blame my buddy John who I’m subleasing with.

There’s a noticeable void in the Mizzou-Kansas rivalry. Blame it on Mizzou for leaving for the SEC. Blame it on Kansas for not wanting to play Mizzou. Either way, there’s something missing, and eventually the void must be filled. Throughout Kansas City and especially in KCK, there are more Jayhawks than Tigers from what I’ve noticed. That’s going to happen when the only other “metropolitan” area in Kansas is Wichita. I work with 2 other Mizzou people, 2 K-State people, a couple people from elsewhere, and about 10 Jayhawks. They’re everywhere. I am, however, learning how to have a civil argument with them. Admit they’re very good at basketball, subtly mention football, abort conversation.

I must admit I’ve never interacted with people from KU until the internship. All I can think of is Dr. Evil saying to Austin Powers “We’re not so different, you and I.”

You have all this automatic hatred for the sports teams and the university, but the people individually are just like us. We are working the same jobs and enjoying the same life essentially. We just strongly dislike opposite sides of the border. I hope we play again because there’s nothing like a friendly rivalry against people you’re around every day. One of the partners is a big Mizzou fan though so I’ll be alright even if it’s the few and the proud. Don’t get me wrong, I hate KU and everything, but I’d never say I hate all people from KU. The Jayhawks I’ve met are actually all really awesome.

mizzoushirt07

That being said, scoreboard.

That’s what I think I think.

P.S. “Jayhawks” is sending my spell check crazy. It’s not even a word.

How to Be a Better Man (and Woman too, I guess)

In my fear and excitement of entering the real world (T-minus 7 months), I’ve been taking a conscious effort to prepare myself for challenges that lay ahead. Where can you find real life advice on growing up to be a better man? The same place you find anything else – the internet.

I’ve fallen in love with a few websites that I feel have helped me to be a little better of a man. These four websites are geared towards men, but really can help anyone become more intelligent, respectful, and handy(I underlined handy because that’s what I’ve done lately. Intelligent and respectful are important too, I guess.)

The first website I started following is Primer Magazine. I love the slogan: “A Guy’s Post-College Guide to Growing Up.” Primer offers advice on everything from managing finances, dating, physical health, style, self-development, and apartment living. I absolutely love their “intentional apartment” segments. I’m a dude. I have no idea how to decorate anything. Right now my living room consists of Blues posters, pennants, and a huge Busch Light bottle. All awesome items, but not what you want in your big city loft when you’re in your upper 20’s. I am making a conscious effort to make my next apartment looks more like a professional’s than a frat boy’s.

My first project is re-finishing furniture. My parents have a TON of furniture so I’m taking some of their old stuff and making it my own.

Here’s my mom’s old college desk. My grandpa originally finished it, and my sister painted it over in all white. I stripped all the paint, stained the top and painted the bottom to a color I think will look great in a dude’s room.

Left: Original White Paint    Right: Stripped Bare     Bottom: Finished Product

Desk

Primer’s article, How to Refinish Furniture, walked me all the way through this. I completed this in about 4 days and spent under $50. I was just going to put it on Craig’s List until decided to get a little crafty.

My next projects are making Presidential Coasters (for under $10), and  a giant vintage framed map of Jefferson City (for under $40).

Primer is a great website that has a variety of ways to improve your life. It also has just plain interesting articles. The only downside is there are only a couple of new posts per week. I want more!!!!!

The next website I’ve been following is called Art of Manliness. This one is fairly popular and posts a little more than Primer does. Similarly to Primer, AoM’s segments include: A Man’s Life, Health & Sports, Manly Skills, Money & Career, and Relationship & Family. This one is geared a little more towards the middle-aged man, but the posts can influence anyone. I love there “Manovational” segments, in which they tell stories, share poems, and give advice on being all you can be. Art of Manliness I feel truly understands what it means to be a man, something all men can improve on.

And for you women, you might understand men a little more by checking out some segments. Just sayin’.

The third website is called Gentlemint. It’s basically Pinterest for Guys. I’ll admit, when Pinterest first came out I thought it was a good idea and got an account. After browsing around for a little while I realized it was literally 100% girly stuff. So I deleted my account. You need an invite to get full access to Gentlemint, and I’m happy to send you one if you want. Gentlemint is great for discovering all the manly stuff on the web. It hasn’t had the wide success as Pinterest, so there isn’t a ton of “pins” on there. But every time I go on, I stumble across something really extraordinary. Every girl ever has tweeted “CAN’T STOP PINNNNNING” at least once. Now you guys don’t have to feel left out.

Ladies: Need gift ideas for guys? Gentlemint is the first place you should go.

The final website is called Man Made DIY (DIY standing for “Do It Yourself”). Want to make modern Triangle Shelves? DIY. How about a smoked cocktail? Corn Cob Pipes are cool, too.  You never thought you needed to know how to make Bacon Pixie Stix… until now. Recipes, projects, or just random cool stuff can all be found at Man Made DIY.

The internet can be an abyss of annoying Facebook posts, political rambling, and useless advertisement. These four websites, however, create genuine, useful and interesting content. I strongly suggest you check one of them out. Might encourage you to change more than the color of your desk.

That’s what I think I think.

Great American Summer

For how boring my weekdays this summer (working, taking classes, living alone), my weekends have been that eventful. I’ve been in 4 different rivers, and every time it’s a new experience.

The first one was the Osage River to my friend Koehly’s cabin. We tried to get down there as much as we could before it flooded. The Osage City bar might have been one of my favorite times ever. The 70+ year olds (3/4 of the population there) loved when we did karaoke to “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

The next week I went with 3 friends and 20 people I didn’t know down to Steelville and floated the Meremac. We ran into a float of a Mizzou fraternity and I knew a couple of guys so I hopped on their boats and lost my train. Finished and eventually found them, however, so it all worked out. Oh, and getting offered meth from a river rat at 10 am makes me proud to be a Missourian. We declined. Don’t worry.

Last weekend, I went to Fayetteville, AK to visit my buddy Danny who’s doing an internship there. All day Saturday we went to this river close by. I drove through the water and the rocks to get to the place with the rope swing and the great beach area. We threw the frisbee and football around with about 10 of his friends. Some random dog came and we couldn’t get him to leave, so that was fun. My america bandana that said “Get ‘er done” on it was the icing on the cake. We met another river rat that may or may not be living in a cave we found that was fully furnished.

The bandana made another appearance this weekend as Pi Kapp had our annual float trip. We weren’t sure which place we reserved, so we showed up to 2 different camp sites before finding the right one and barely making it in time before we dropped in. But once I got on the water, it’s all good. Met some more river rats that hopped on our boat. No illegal drugs wer offered to us this time.

I wish I could make it a 5th river appearance this next weekend, but I have to work. So any time you get the opportunity to head to the great outdoors, please do. Nothing is more serene and relaxing. These are some of the best memories I’m going to have of my friends when we all go our separate ways here in the next year or so.

I’m going to try to just do a little “What’s New?” column at the end of every post just to keep people up to date with where I am and what’s going on that is too boring for a whole post. Here it is:

-Got into Accounting School, staying at Mizzou for 2.5 more years making my grand total 5.5. (Accounting is a 5 year masters program). I don’t mind 3 more football seasons.

-Moved bank branches where I’m working from the University Hospital up north to Smiley Lane. Working Saturdays now. Not the best, but easier to get more hours. I’m enjoying the new branch quite a bit.

-Finished a wheat beer brew batch. It’s really really good. Like better than Blue Moon and Boulevard, but only when u put an orange in it. My friend Blake is going to start brewing because he liked it so much. Doing a crisp pilsner next.

-Getting into country music for the first time in my life after the Darius Rucker concert.

So there you have it. Like it or not, this is what I Think I Think.

This is My Brain on Technology

Am I Dumb? Nah. Am I Shallow? Ehhh…. Maybe.  Two books that I plan on reading this summer sure do think so. “The Dumbest Generation” and “The Shallows” are two social commentary books about my Generation Y and how our brains have been trained to be, well, useless.

Like I said, I’m writing this before reading the books, and I’m going to give you all a review once I get finished. But here’s some of my thoughts now on the subjects presented.

The way my mind is trained and conditioned is so short term, relying on instant gratification. Because of this, it can be really difficult for me to sit down and read a book. The book I’m attempting to read for pleasure now is “The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood,” and it’s really good. I’m still about half way through it when I’ve been on it for about three months. If it’s hard for me to read for pleasure, then it’s really hard for me to read for class. My mind gets so distracted, and after a little while I can’t focus at all.  Then I just end up surfing the web. I stopped reading at night (but that’s because of Netflix). I sometimes can’t even focus on a movie. I catch myself browsing on my phone, checking Twitter, even playing Angry Birds. And that’s when I don’t have my laptop out.

It could be ADHD, but I know it’s not just me. One of my friends checks Facebook on his phone when he’s at a stoplight. I don’t think he’s addicted to Facebook, I think he just gets too bored at a stoplight. Our generation has become so easily bored because we are used to constant going, constant activity, and constant entertainment.

It’s not just the constancy of everything. We are trained to have every one of our questions answered immediately, and this is hindering our critical thinking skills. When I have an argument with a  friend whether it be about sports, history or anything else, the argument is solved immediately by Google, or there’s an App for it.

Can you imagine traveling without an iPod? I remember using a cassette walkman on trips to Utah. I would be so bored and impatient if that was today. Very limited selection and also having to fast forward to the song I want. Flights over oceans would be so long! We are truly in a new age of constant and portable entertainment, and it might be having serious effect on our ability to think and reflect.

One day this summer, I’m going to throw it all away and go back to basics. No phone, no iPod, no computer, no internet, no TV. Of course there are going to be exceptions to this (using my phone as an alarm clock, or the computer at work), but for the most part, I’m going cold turkey. I’ll read, sit outside, reflect, whatever. And try to remember what it would be like to live before the technology boom. It’s going to be rough.

After I finish my books, I’ll give a review and reflection. The big question is: Will I even be able to finish?

It’s All Mental

I ran into a great article in the USA Today this morning that had an interesting little nugget of scientific information: There is no cure for the common cold. This may not be a big surprise to some of you, and it really isn’t for me. It goes right along with an opinion that I’ve had for awhile now.

One of my two favorite sayings from this summer in Ireland was “It’s all mental.” The other was “Builds character.” A typical exchange would go as follows:

Friend: “I can’t go out tonight I’m sick”.

Me: “No you’re not. That’s all mental.”

Friend: “No I literally feel like death.”

Me: “Just go out it builds character.”

I haven’t missed a day of school for sickness in over 5 years. Before that it was only about two days a year tops. I’ve never called in sick to work. I know people that didn’t miss a day of school for sickness their whole 13 years of elementary through high school. Are we just elite? Do our immune systems just kill everything the world has to offer? I really don’t think so. If I did, then I would be an egotistic prick and I’m not. I really truly think that if you don’t allow yourself to be sick than you won’t be sick.

Now wait just a second before you x-out of this window and think that I’m a nut. I know there are viruses, bacteria, and all that junk out there. I get cancer, appendicitis, and all that real serious stuff. I acknowledge that, don’t worry. I’m talking about the common cold, the sniffles, the sore throat, the cough, and the sneezing. Those actions may exist, but I think if you mentally don’t allow them to take over your day than you aren’t allowing them to exist.

I’ve lived in dorms and frat houses. I’m around viruses that probably haven’t even been named yet (old beeritis?). I maybe have gotten those sniffles and a sore throat once a semester, but I don’t care. I go to class. I go to work. I go out. I go to… okay that’s about all I do. Some days are easy to get through and some days aren’t. Just live your life without letting these microscopic germs affect you.

Some people have this huge fear of germs that I think is kind of pathetic. I agree with everything the late great George Carlin said:

We’ve all heard those random facts about germs. There is more germs on the average doorknob than the average toilet. Handling money is dirtier than handling poop. Germs are all around us. Don’t avoid them, embrace them and use them to make you stronger so you can go to school, work, and out.

So eat food off the floor, sneeze on your friends, ignore those germ-x bottles and dispensers that the university put around every corner, don’t wash your hands after using the bathroom (you’re saving water and paper too for you hipsters). Build up your immune system and build up your character.

Like it or not (you probably don’t) this is what I think I think.

Guest quote from Max Powell: “The only defense to the common cold is not allowing yourself to think that you have one.”