A Present Built To Last

A Present Built To Last – by Jonathan Lord

No words they say can describe exactly how we feel
But without these words how ever shall we heal?

The morning after carries with it moments of deep repose
Alone and surrounded by darkness our greatest fears expose.

Bodies naked and afraid contorted in suspicion
Of an authority ruling without consent or permission.

Insecurity and anger gave rise to tragedy and power,
But be not afraid of this the darkest hour.

For failure is not the enemy, failure is a friend
Knocked down but back up again, why, how did you think this would end?

The challenge of our time must be met with courage and resolve
Together with conviction a civil society can evolve.

Let voices lead to action for a very common cause
Fighting fear and hatred and all things which tend to give us pause.

With strength and solidarity against the guardians of the gate
Armed with truth and justice for all, some things mustn’t wait.

Because love is not a theory, love is something very real
We see it in our children whose hearts we must now deal.

We see it in the friends whose hands we hold so tight
Whose help we now rely to help set these things right.

We see it in sworn enemies the very people we oppose
Those we share more in common, so the story goes.

If prejudice runs skin deep then when we pull the pigment back,
The blood that boils through our veins looks the same, neither white brown or black.

The collective core of humanity must now reveal it’s benevolent soul
Our bodies merely vessels, each of us part of a larger whole.

Young and old recognizing the fight for progress that most follow
Convictions of all colors showing that these words are more than hollow.

And once these voices of the future merge with spirits from the past,
Our legacy shall echo through all of time, a present built to last.

NFL Television Ratings Down, Networks To Consider New Programming

The Lord Line

New York, November 1 – In a stunning development, due to declining ratings several television networks have started contemplating replacing NFL games with other regularly scheduled programming. And the switch might happen sooner rather than later.

The news breaks following some surprising Sunday night results that saw Game 5 of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians on FOX outperform NBC’s Football Night in America between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys by an overnight rating of 15.3 to 11.6. The whopping 32% difference marks the first time since 2013 that baseball outperformed football in a head to head matchup.

Now executives from the networks are scrambling to come up with alternative programming to stem the tide of an overly saturated football schedule. When asked to comment on the situation NBC spokesman Arthur Tillengast said that a change to the nightly schedule is nothing more than an attempt to diversify their primetime lineup and has little to do with the sinking ship that is professional football.

“We at NBC are in the idea business,” stated Tillengast “And even though we spent billions upon billions of dollars for the broadcast rights to the NFL that doesn’t mean that it can’t easily be replaced by a more popular alternative.”

Word leaked that due to the national appeal of the Chicago Cubs’ historic run to the World Series NBC has commissioned the development of several more Chicago based dramas to compliment the success of Chicago Fire including Chicago Earth and Chicago Wind. 

When asked what he believed was the main reason for declining football ratings Tillengast was evasive and did not want to comment on an earlier report that described how some network execs felt the correct way to handle Colin Kaepernick’s Star Spangled Banner protest was to show disgruntled fans that television believes in “true patriotism” by running primetime footage of different American flags from across the country.

One Direction Down

A morning mist envelops the mountain like a heavy, damp curtain of fear and doubt. The summit remains hidden, shrouded amongst clouds carrying secrets and solitude. I, alone with my thoughts, make my way towards the base where a carriage awaits, there to lift me towards my final destination. The first run of the day. Though I hope it will not be my last.

I am swept off my feet, seated now next to strangers. Unfamiliar faces wrapped in layers upon layers of fleece and intrigue. The real estate magnate from Manhattan. The house wife from Westchester. The college bro from Burlington. All walks of life intersecting on a ski lift.

Up up and away we fly. Past snow covered pines and bald faced boulders. The elements of nostalgia are all in place. Like a periodic table from my past with molecules and memories both noble and inert. I swore I’d return. But in that time away I’ve grown unsure. Older too. My courage and cartilage worn down by years of rigor and responsibility. How will my body respond? How will my mind adapt? To the contours of the trail and the limitation of my legs. Perhaps this was a mistake. Maybe I should have stayed in the lodge where it was safe and warm.

But it’s too late. Past the point of no return. As I near the top, the silence turns deafening. Only the sound of skiers below as they turn, twist and carve through the snow like butchers in search of a prime cut of powder. I exit down the ramp and ready myself for the descent. The trail map provides little comfort. From here there is only one direction. Down below, miniature homes and towns nestled safely together between the lakes and hills of the horizon. I exist in a model. A manufactured reality created by man and machine.

My eyes need help adjusting to the altitude. The vertical has me swaying and shifting as if I were standing at the bottom of a large swale of snow and ice. It’s now or never. With the tips of my skis tilting with trepidation I fill my lungs with cold mountain air one final time. I’ll breath again when I get to the bottom.

I start slow, form following functioning. I work my way past the crowd that has congregated at the trail head, obstructing my view of the marker. A black diamond. The most dangerous of shapes. I’m fully committed now, with each turn gaining speed and confidence. My legs burn but my body doesn’t break. I’m in control, until I wasn’t. A patch of ice hiding underneath the face of freshly groomed granules. One ski up, one ski down, for a split second I teeter on the edge of oblivion. With instincts intact I regain my balance. Survival. For the moment.

I allow myself a split second to soak in the surroundings. The tall pines awash in winter white. The early grey fog giving way to a deep blue sky. As the wind whips over my head and shoulders I make sure to appreciate the majesty of the moment. The thrill of the outdoors. The serene beauty of a ski slope. This is what I missed the most.

The bottom in sight, my first trip a success. I take a deep breath and look back at the trail behind. There’s more snow to be had, more skiing to be done. Back up the hill I must go. To the top, where there’s only one direction down.

 

 

 

 

Halvin and Cobbes

Christmas came and went and after the presents had been unwrapped there was one gift remaining. A new bedtime routine courtesy of Calvin and Hobbes.

I don’t know why Santa Claus thought my five year old son would enjoy the misadventures and mayhem of a young boy and his imaginary tiger. Much of the language and irony would be lost on a child so young, so innocent. Perhaps it was the physicality, the slapstick, the exploration. The teachers turning into intergalactic space monsters or the toilets becoming bathtubs. Whatever it was, he took to it instantly. After the first night he asked if tomorrow we could read more “Halvin and Cobbes”. (I still only correct him some of the time.) He isn’t exactly sure when to laugh but finds all the crashing, falling, loud noise making to be uproariously funny. Sometimes I have to remind him to keep his voice down for fear of waking his baby brother, a reality that I instantly lament for what’s being alive if you can’t laugh out loud?

For me, reading Calvin and Hobbes again as an adult is a chance to go back and relive an important part of my childhood when I was a little older than my son is now and would stay up way past my bedtime devouring page after page until my eyes were blurry and cheeks sore from smiling. Back then I idolized Calvin. His freedom. The way he existed without fear, without restraint. I wanted a friend as loyal and honest as Hobbes. A confidant. Someone to share secrets, express fears and doubts, joys and happiness. Their world was one of a never ending daydream and I sometimes wished my childhood could be as exciting and spontaneous. 

Now as a man, more importantly as a father, I get to read along with my son as he is introduced to something that offered me such great joy. My experience today allows me to decode much of the meaning I may have missed the first time around.  Because buried beneath the whimsy of a young boy and his imaginary tiger are complex stories full of sentiment, sophistication and an earnest attempt to tackle life’s biggest questions. What happens when we die? Is their such a thing as true love? And, can a red wagon really move down a hill fast enough to defy gravity?

My five year old son is too young to carry the burden of such existential crises. But I have dealt with loss. I know a heart can break. That tigers can’t talk. 

Yet even now, as a young child, he knows what love is and so do I. And it’s not hidden somewhere on the pages of a comic strip. No the answer to life’s greatest mystery lies in the routine. The hug and the kiss goodnight. The promise that I don’t know what the future holds, none of us do, but I promise you that life has never been better than here with you right now.

Together with our friends Halvin and Cobbes.

The Wait of Gravity

A hole in space offers more questions than answers but the exploration of the unknown remains paramount to understanding our existence.

If gravity can be heard then perhaps it can be harnessed and shaped to create another dimension where space and time are relative.

Life is after all but a series of seconds. Hours. Days. Years. But what if a clock didn’t just move forward but backward as well? The hands of time bent according to the laws of human nature. Survival. Our most primal instinct. Would we choose to change our past or adopt a new future?

Perhaps our greatest mistake is assuming that we remain in control. That destiny and fate are quantifiable, logarithmic functions, downloadable and ready for consumption.

Sadly we remain bound to much more than a reasonable doubt. The limits or our knowledge too often determined by fear and uncertainty.

Therefore now more then ever we must let gravity be our guide to new worlds of knowledge and possibilities. Before time has run out and the wait is no longer.