I thought as youths we were taught to never use the words ‘I can’t’

It’s amazing how sometimes the simple lessons we learned as kids hold the most universal truth.

“There’s no I in team.”

“Do what makes you happy.”

“Trying is having the intention to fail.”

These quotes are simplified so that children can understand them, but the simplification is also what makes them so poignant. Because they’re straight to the point. Not every quote needs to be a three sentences long uttered by some brilliant philosopher. Often, it’s the five- or six-word quotes that really dig deep and remind us what life is all about.I can't

Sometimes we forget that the most profound things we’ve learned in our lives came when were still wearing money pouches to school so we could by lunch for five dollars.

Another one of those lessons we’re taught early is to never say the words “I can’t.” A specific quote about it is not coming to me, but it goes without saying. By saying you can’t do something, it’s admitting defeat without even trying. It’s a decree of failure.

And yet, on Facebook and Twitter feeds across North America — and probably the other six continents, too — the words “I can’t” are being tossed around by the second.

OK, fine, so it’s in a totally different context then I was alluding to a second ago, but it’s become common practice for people to use the words “I can’t” in a response to a link, or a comment, to indicate that they are incapable of summoning the words to form a proper reaction.

If it’s not “I can’t,” then it’s a variation like “I can’t even.”

Where did this come from? Suddenly people think these words are appropriate in conveying human thought? When people write this, I don’t know what they are trying to say, and have to guess based solely on the context of what they are responding to.

If they post a link to a sad story, and say “I can’t even,” I assume it means they can’t express how upset they are. If it’s in response to something happy or funny, then I figure it means they’re extremely excited. Essentially, when something triggers an impassioned response on any end of the emotional spectrum, that’s when “I can’t” and “I can’t even” come into play.

I have two questions. One — why am supposed to be the one who is figuring out your emotional state? And two — when did human beings suddenly become so illiterate that they are now unable to formulate sentences to describe their feelings? Has social media corrupted our brains this much?

Every day, social media gives us an excuse to become dumber. That’s all it comes down to. So I don’t blame people for taking advantage of it.

While people who do this are not necessarily admitting failure by using the words “I can’t” in this context, they might as well be. Because they are failing as intellectual beings.

And that is something that I can’t even say surprises me.

How dare Golf Digest feature a model on its cover!

There was an uproar among the Ladies Professional Golf Association last week following the decision of Golf Digest to use model and socialite Paulina Gretzky as their cover girl for its May issue.

Gretzky, the extremely attractive daughter of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, has almost no ties to golf besides the fact that she is engaged to PGA golfer Dustin Johnson.

The monthly magazine features the 25-year-old Gretzky holding a golf club while wearing white yoga pants and a matching sports Paulina Gretzkybra.

It’s unconscionable. Reprehensible. And absolutely unheard of. A sports magazine using sex appeal to appeal to readers? This never happens. What in the world were they thinking?

Let me ease up on the sarcasm now. I know my opinion will only confirm why female golfers — and women, in general — are affronted by this cover, but, this is the way the world works. Only devoted golf fans knew that Golf Digest existed one week ago. Now everyone knows.

But I, as male in his mid-20s, am the exact target audience in which this magazine cover is trying to appeal to. So me saying “I have no problem with this” doesn’t really accomplish anything.

The detractors point to the fact that in its 45-year history, Golf Digest has only featured 11 female golfers on its cover. The last LPGA Tour winner to be on the cover was Lorena Ochoa in 2008. And female golfers are naturally unhappy with the lack of recognition.

The magazine defended its decision by saying that this specific issue was its fitness issue, and therefore not as entirely devoted to golf like it usually is, while arguing that Gretzky is a “subject of fascination” in the golf world right now, and “has a compelling story to tell.”

That’s all well and good, but I think most people’s examination of the magazine will not stretch much further than the photographs.

But Paulina Gretzky is a model. And what do models do for a living? They try to look as good as possible so that they can be used by companies to draw people towards their product. Especially when that product is about fitness. This was perfect utilization.

Click here to view the entire spread, by the way. It’s pretty good. Paulina Gretzky2

If Miley Cyrus happened to be the girlfriend of a professional golfer, and was on the cover of Golf Digest, then I think that would truly be a slap in the face to female golfers. But losing out to (again) a model, and the daughter of somebody who is actually referred to as “The Great One,” is nothing to be ashamed of.

And let’s give proper due to Dustin Johnson. I think Tiger Woods is the exception to the lack of magnetism that golfers draw to supermodels. I know they’re rich, and I’m sure the elite players have very attractive girlfriends and wives, but they don’t get the grade-A, international supermodel girlfriends like football, baseball and even tennis players do.

Golfers marry their high school sweethearts. They start families that are so cute they belong as the default photo inside a picture frame.

But Dustin Johnson defied the odds. He landed a trophy wife, and now she’s on display for the world to see.

On Golf Digest.

We can all only be so lucky.


Thanks for the memories, Dave

During my high school years in the early- to mid-2000s, I got into a routine beginning at 11:35 p.m on weekdays.

My cable box would be firmly set to CBS at that time, where I would spend the next 60 minutes watching The Late Show with David Letterman. Once the final note played in the musical number’s closing act, I’d switch the channel to NBC for Conan O’Brien.

That was my late show fandom. Dave and Conan.

In a way, I grew up with these guys. Their humor, their commentary and their schtick became part of my everyday life. I David Lettermanappreciated the way they each went about their business. Which was in very different ways — but understandable considering their 16-year age difference.

Conan is now on basic cable, and Dave, at 66, is still going strong on CBS — for one more year, at least. During the taping of Thursday’s show, he announced he would be retiring in 2015, ending a 22-year run at the helm of the “Late Show.” When you include his 11 years on NBC prior, the 33 years trumps the 30 accumulated by legendary host Johnny Carson.

Now we know how both Conan and Letterman ended up on their respective networks, and both stories intersect with Jay Leno. But let’s not go there. You all know the story.

I genuinely just want to express my thanks to Mr. Letterman.

He’s had his share of criticism and controversy, but, even with his landmark tenure as a late show host, I truly believe that his humor was mostly unappreciated. In my opinion, he was a comic genius who understood his target audience, and never strayed from who he was in order to please others. He did things his way.

He’s a masterful interviewer and –unlike most other hosts — has always been unafraid to make his guests uncomfortable by asking a question that they weren’t expecting.

Perhaps his humor is something one had to learn to appreciate. It wasn’t slapstick, or immature, but more chic, and dignified. And I’ll never forget his “Greatest Moments in Presidential Speeches” bit, which, to this day, is the only late night sketch that ever rivaled Conan’s Walker, Texas Ranger clip lever.

Here’s a great list compiled by Mashable of his show’s top moments, including his amazing monologue from his first show back after 9/11. Worth the watch.

While I used to watch the show religiously at a point in my life, it saddens me to say that I haven’t much in the past handful of years. Other things have just taken priority for me at 11:35 p.m. But I’m confident in saying that it’s still been the same old Dave. The man is a legend who will be remembered with the Bob Hopes and Johnny Carsons as far as variety programming is concerned, and he’s set the bar for how future people in his position should handle the job.

And it’s nice to see him go out his own way, with class. That Jay Leno guy could learn a thing or two.

Saying that “a big part of my childhood is gone” is awfully cliché, and so I won’t, but I will say that I will always fondly remember my teenage and young adult self, curled up in front of the TV before bed, ready to watch another episode of The Late Show with David Letterman.

If there was a “Top 10” list of late night hosts, you’d be number one in my book.


My News Feed has become an endless barrage of links I don’t care about

I remember when I used to log onto Facebook and read the collection of statuses on my News Feed, only to see a wildly diverse collection of thoughts.

Suddenly, I knew who my optimistic friends were. Who my pessimistic friends were. Who my secretly funny friends were. Who my friends were where I’d read their status and say, “Maybe somebody should help them?”

I found that most statuses were more negative than positive. This is simply because negative people tend to be more attention-seeking, where as people who are more content with their life don’t need such an outlet.

Facebook LinksI called this time period the “FML phase,” when people, still in their early-20s, hadn’t quite figured out their lives yet, and blamed everything on circumstance rather than themselves.

I hated this. I’m a positive person myself, and I don’t like seeing people complain incessantly. I never told anybody that, but I always thought it. All of the whining, grumbling and bellyaching made me start to hate Facebook.

A few years later, now that most of my friends are in their late-20s, I find myself missing that time.

Because at least they were actual thoughts. Regardless of what I thought of them.

Now when I log onto Facebook, all I see is link after link of Buzzfeed posts, viral videos, quiz results and whatever other bullshit website is trying to capitalize on the social media boom. And the link is always accompanied by some mundane comment that doesn’t help the situation.

Link: “42 reasons you know you’ve lived in New York City too long”
Comment: “All of these define my life.”

Link: “I got Anna! Which Frozen character are you?”
Comment: “I wanted to get Olaf! But this is good too!”

Link: “This person’s reaction to this prank will make your day!”
Comment: Oh my God this made me cry! [Tagged friend] will love this!!!

Here’s a link for you guys: NOBODYCARES.COM.

My annoyance of these links might be amplified by the fact that Facebook’s new design makes pictures double the size than they used to be, and consequently, they take up nearly my entire screen when I’m perusing my News Feed.

It’s made me realize what I need Facebook for. It’s because I need my daily hourly minutely fix of raw, human emotion. At least I can say that about the long gone “FML phase.” Most statuses may have been immature and unflattering, but they were real.

Now checking my News Feed is equal to scrolling through a generic social media entertainment website.

I don’t want a BuzzFeed list — I want to know why somebody is pissed off at 2:30 on a Thursday afternoon. I want somebody talking about how excited they are for the weekend to come. I want a picture of somebody’s cat doing something adorable.

Bring me my old Facebook, God damn it.

Is there seriously an entire music festival devoted to EDM?

Up until two months ago, I thought EDM was some type of neurological disorder.

It turns out it’s an acronym for electronic dance music, a genre that’s been around for quite some time, but really has become more internationally accepted in mainstream music only recently.

Disc jockeys like David Guetta, Skrillex, Avicii and DeadMau5 (who until about a week ago I did not realize was actually pronounced “dead mouse”) are becoming household names. Songs like “Clarity” and “Stay the Night,” by Russian DJ Zedd are topping the charts, and people are enthusiastically waving glow sticks along with them.

There was once was a time where you had to go to a night club to hear this type of music. Now, it’s playing at bars, at your local gym, and on the radio. You no longer need to seek out EDM. It comes to you.

But if you do want to seek it out in extravagant fashion, then head to Miami in late March for the Ultra Music Festival, a weekend event devoted solely to electronic dance music. From 2009 to 2012, the festival boasted between 100,000 and 165,000 people before doubling in size in 2013 with 330,000.

Ultra 2014

Is this not appealing to you, yet?

Hour after hour after hour of loud, booming music that makes you feel like you’re having a seizure. In fact, you can probably have a seizure there and not know for 20 minutes. Even its website is hard to look at without straining your eyes.

I try my best to be open to all different types of music. And there are definitely some catchy EDM songs, like “Stay the Night” and “Wake Me Up” which feature vocals from popular artists Hayley Williams and Aloe Blacc, respectively.

But as much as I enjoy an attractive female voice encouraging me to “stay the night,” it gets pretty redundant  after like two or three minutes. Plus my ear drums physically can’t take it anymore.

So how people actually endure a weekend of it, of the music, the culture, the atmosphere is beyond me. I imagine it’s like one giant rave, and that people who go know exactly what they are getting into, but, for me, it sounds equivalent to the ninth circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno.

Just picture the scene. One song begins, with its thumping bass and hypnotic synth waves pounding through the air, thousands of people dancing fanatically around you, and then it ends. Sweet relief overcomes, only to last 12 seconds when the next begins. Repeat for 72 hours.

To each their own, I guess. Right?

But for me, the only “ultra” I associate with electronic dance music is a heavy dose of Tylenol Ultra Strength for headache and migraine relief.