Let’s face it: the New York prison escape was pretty much Shawshank

Any mention of a prisoner escaping from their cell evokes an immediate connection to the classic film, The Shawshank Redemption.

Not only is it one of the best films of all time, but it is one of the most iconic representations of a prison break. Except, in the film, it romanticizes the idea of a lowly, fed up prisoner escaping incarceration.

We rooted for Andy Dufresne. We wanted him to win. Of course, the film’s narrative led us to believe he was innocent, and the officials manning the jail were vile and corrupt. It wasn’t a very tough choice.

That being said, real life prison escapes usually are the complete opposite of somebody digging through prison walls with a rock hammer, crawling through a sewer pipe and then fleeing the country with millions of dollars unlawfully accrued by the prison’s warden.

In reality, a prison escape is a guy getting 10 feet beyond the fence before he gets shot.

ShawshankSo when two prisoners escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York — the state’s biggest prison — earlier this month, it was only inevitable that people would immediately hear about it and say, “Shawshank.”

Only in this case, when you read about it … it was pretty much Shawshank.

David Sweat and Richard Matt were on the run for 23 days after escaping on June 6. They didn’t end up crossing any borders — in fact, they didn’t get more than 40 miles from the facility — but they hid out from police in swamps and forests, and certainly caught national, if not international, attention.

But what is most strikingly similar to the 1994 film is how they escaped. After putting sweatshirts under their sheets to resemble a human body, they tunneled through the walls with power tools, and emerged from a manhole some 400 feet outside the jail before guard even knew they were gone.

That’s, uhh, pretty Shawshank-like. Not even Tim Robbins could deny it.

But that’s where the similarities end. Both men were convicted murderers. They had no right to earn public sympathy. And police were certainly not going to give them any, which was demonstrated when they shot and killed one of them, Richard Matt, on June 26. Three days later, they shot the other one, David Sweat, and detained him.

Had Shawshank ended that way, something tells me it wouldn’t have been remembered beyond 1995.

So the point is, in some instances, real life does resemble to the movies. And it gives us hope that one day our toys will spring to life, or a theme of park of dinosaurs will be publicly unveiled, or, just maybe, a secret platform in a London train station will magically take us to a school for witchcraft and wizardry.

Two murderers in upstate New York have inspired us to believe again.

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How will you spend your extra second?

On Tuesday night we will all get the chance to YOLO like we’ve never YOLO’d before.

The age-old expressions like “seize the day,” or “make every day count” will take on extra meaning. Because we will all have the opportunity to not only enjoy an entire 24 hours on Tuesday … but 24 hours and one second.

At precisely 7:59 p.m. and 59 seconds Eastern Time (equivalent to 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds in coordinated universal time, or UTC), the clock will, one second later, read 7:59:60, therefore making the day one extra second long.

It is a leap second.

Leap secondAnd if the prospect of a leap second doesn’t make you extremely excited, then you lack all fundamental abilities to ever be happy in life. Unless you have a pet that died recently. Then you’re excused.

It’s the 26th leap second since the correction was implemented in 1972, in order to keep our clocks perfectly in sync with Earth’s rotation.

Everybody is already planning what they want to do for that glorious extra second. John Oliver, always ahead of the game, has set up a website for you to watch humorous one-second video clips during it.

I say we use the extra time to get back to the basics. We never stop and appreciate time as it is passing by. Every single moment is one that we will never get back. With an extra second added to the day, think of every second that passes as one you get to relive again. Because we have an extra one.

If you let your Tuesday pass without acknowledging this extra second of time that we have all been given in our lives, then you are a legitimate asshole. Because it means you can’t even appreciate time when you are getting more of it.

And no joke, global firms are actually panicking over what impact the leap second can potentially can have on their electronic systems.

What is this, Y2K? It’s an extra freaking second. If you built a computer system that can’t handle it, then it deserves to malfunction.

For one moment tomorrow just before 8 p.m. EST, let’s forget about ISIS, let’s not think about Donald Trump, and let’s not remember that an overabundance of carbon emissions are ruining our planet’s atmosphere. If a leap second can’t bring us together, then nothing will.

And of course, let’s all keep an eye out for our one douchebag friend who will sit at their computer waiting to post “LEAP SECOND!” during the exact time that it happens.

We all have one.

A jubilant, progressive time for the U.S. of A.

Man, is it a bad time to be a conservative in America.

Earlier last week, an important provision of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was upheld by the Supreme Court. Had it not been, it might have killed Obama’s trademark legislation altogether.

At the same time last week came the calls for the eradication of the Confederate flag — long viewed as a symbol for slavery, which once divided our nation and caused a bloody civil war.

And finally, in what will probably be one of the biggest decisions in our lifetimes, the Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, that gay marriage is a right for all Americans as declared by the Constitution, no matter what state you live in.

For those who enjoy progression and equality, it’s been a pretty good last couple of weeks.

gay prideIf it wasn’t for the close call and the divisiveness in the Supreme Court regarding the latter decision, those justices would be hailed as heroes. Time Magazine wouldn’t even have had a decision to make when deciding its 2015 Persons of the Year. But the four who voted against it, including Chief Justice John Roberts, were pretty adamant, as well as most of the Republican presidential candidates.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal suggested getting rid of the Supreme Court. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants a Constitutional amendment to reverse their decision. Texas Senator Ted Cruz called it “judicial tyranny.”

It’s amazing that this line of thinking is not only still happening in 2015, but that it’s being openly promoted by people who could potentially run this country.

On a lighter note, rainbows are making a comeback.

It was only a matter of time when gay marriage would be legalized in the United States. The vocal support among the masses– particularly on social media — has enhanced exponentially in the last several years, and it was becoming too ubiquitous for it to not become a reality sooner than later.

That universal support has been exemplified on Facebook, as people are draping their profile pictures with a rainbow overlay. It’s a nice show of solidarity, but it’s also making my eyes want to commit murder. Which, trust me, is possible. (Amirite Cyclops?)

I’ve always thought it would be cool to stand at the exact edge of where a rainbow forms, but now that I’ve gotten a glimpse of what it would be like, I think I’ll limit my rainbow activities to singling out its marshmallow counterpart when eating a bowl of Lucky Charms.Seriously, if you prefer any other marshmallow in that cereal, then you you need to seriously reevaluate your life. Especially if you’re favorite is the horseshoe. I just can’t respect you.

The fight for marriage equality will no doubt become a movie one day. Which is what made it even more fitting that, on Sunday — two days after the historic ruling — the annual (and previously scheduled) gay pride parades took place throughout the country. It was a perfect ending to the story.

Unfortunately, the backdrop for all of this was the memorial service for the nine victims of the Charleston church shootings, which also happened on Friday. If you haven’t seen it, Obama’s eulogy for the church pastor, Clementa Pinckney, is pretty incredible, capped with him singing Amazing Grace. Obama’s got some pipes.

As a nation, we are far from perfect. But at least right now, I can say I am pretty damn proud to be an American.

If for no other reason that it’s socially acceptable here to deep-fry pretty much any food before eating it.

Rainbows and deep-fried twinkies.

‘Murica.

Oh no. Our black president said a word everyone has heard a million times.

The only way a word can ever be offensive is if you choose to let it offend you.

This of course is not true in every situation. If someone calls you something in a derogatory fashion, then of course it’s going to be hurtful. Because they’re trying to verbally abuse you.

But if certain words are used in passing, to prove a point, and not directed towards any single person or group … then it’s not really anything to fuss about.

Barack Obama dropped the ‘N’ word.

It’s a term you’ll find in every other rap song. A word that gets tossed around from friend to friend in casual conversation, or in a text message. And you’ll find it 219 times in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and 48 times in To Kill a Mockingbird, two books widely considered classics of American literature.

Obama podcastThe word is embedded in American history. Just like slavery is. And that’s exactly the point that our president was trying to make.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama did not plan to use the word in the interview, which was on a podcast with a comedian, Marc Maron. But Earnest added that Obama was not surprised by the reaction.

Obama’s point was that race relations have improved markedly in America, but that the majority of people don’t necessarily understand what it means to not be racist. His example was that just by avoiding using racial slurs in public — which would be a very overt and obvious form of racism — people believe that they are being tolerant.

When, in reality, avoiding racism takes a lot more than that.

That his usage of the ‘N’ word created so much conversation clearly shows that our country is still not quite ready to have a serious conversation about the true meaning of racism. Because Obama’s point was completely ignored, and instead, people are instead wondering if his use of a racist term was, in fact, racist.

It’s nonsense.

If racism still wasn’t such a slippery slope for us, then the word would have gone totally unnoticed. Plus he didn’t say it during a speech. Nor on TV. It was on a podcast — something that’s usually only reserved for people to remain entertained during their morning commute.

In fact, for people over the age of 50, the term “podcast” is probably the more confusing word to come out of the story.

Perhaps Obama, like the rest of us, is sick of hearing about racially charged incidents, and was just trying to have a conversation, man to man? For once, he dropped his politically correct guise, and just tried to make a point. And his point was completely overshadowed because we can’t get over our own insecurities about one freaking word.

It’s like trying to tell something important to a child while holding a Mr. Potato Head doll in your hand — they won’t register a word that you’re saying.

And with that, I just imagined Barack Obama delivering his 2016 State of the Union address with a Mr. Potato Head in his hand, and I absolutely cannot think of anything else anymore.

…Blackbird singing in the dead of night…

I spent the last few days attending my third Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, which was highlighted by a two-and-a-half hour set by the world’s most recognizable living Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney himself, who delivered a performance I’ll remember my entire life.

But we’ll get to that in a minute. Other things appeared to have happened in the world in my five day hiatus; some amusing, some mildly interesting, and some tragic.

Of course we have to start with the Charleston church shooting last Wednesday, in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in which nine people died at the hands of a racist, white supremacist. It’s one of the United States’ oldest black churches and is steeped in the history of the civil rights movements. And last week, it was targeted in an act of national terrorism.

It’s sad that whenever we discuss national incidents involving race, we can never say that it’s the “culmination.” Because Charleston churchanother terrible thing always seems to happen shortly after. It’s hard to believe that something worse than this can happen anytime soon, but how can you blame any one right now for being extra cynical and expecting the worst?

John Stewart, who usually reacts to the news of the day by making jokes, had none to make the following day. Instead he delivered an impassioned speech about how America’s threat is not from ISIS, or Al Qaeda, but from ourselves. Definitely watch it.

The shooting sparked the natural debates, on the likes of gun control and race relations in America, but is also ignited one less expected conversation, regarding the Confederate flag.

Much was made about how South Carolina ordered all American flags to be half-staffed, but not the Confederate flag that lies in front of its capitol building. Never mind the fact that the flag can’t be ordered by the governor to be lowered, the conversation instead steered around whether southern states like South Carolina should even be displaying the flag at all, considering its historic ties to slavery.

The question was especially a slippery slope for Republican presidential candidates, until Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, called for the flag to be removed from the state capitol on Thursday,

As usual, the political satirists said it best. This time it was John Oliver on Sunday night.

But let’s move on to women on money.

I blogged months ago about the online campaign, WomenOn20s, which was aiming to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with a woman.

The U.S. Treasury listened — sort of — by announcing last week that a woman will indeed be placed on currency by the year 2020, but on the $10 bill. 10-dollar-bill

So instead of replacing the unpopular Andrew Jackson, who no one would have minded being eradicated from the $20, we will replace Alexander Hamilton, who was actually our nation’s first Secretary of Treasury.

This is literally the worst of all worlds. People who were angry about this for whatever reason are mad that it’s happening to begin with. Those who were indifferent are irate that we’re losing good ole Alex Hams (that’s what people used to call him, just trust me). And women, meanwhile, have to feel a little disrespected that they were given the most unpopular bill.

No one has ever received a $10 bill on purpose. I think I own more $2 bills than tens. And they don’t even come out of ATMs.

But it’s progress … I guess?

And speaking of women making headlines … Taylor Swift did something. After sending a letter to Apple voicing her unhappiness with the company’s decision to not compensate artists during its “free stream” period it provides to new customers, the company changed course almost immediately after, deciding it will indeed pay up.

In her letter, Taylor said these are not the complaints of a “spoiled, petulant child,” but rather, of all the independent artists who rely on that compensation and are too afraid to risk everything by speaking up against a company like Apple.

If this isn’t further proof that that she should be the one to be put on American money, then I don’t know what is. She’s a multi-platinum selling artist, an award winning lyricist, a role model to all, and now a revolutionary for the music industry.

And she’s dating some douchebag EDM guy.

C’mon Taylor. Just think of bloggers as more literal, less noisy, more introverted DJs. We’re really not that bad of people.

But anyway, let’s get to what you call came here for. Sir Paul.

White it was never really a life goal of mine to see him, I was definitely excited at the prospect of it once Firefly announced he would be headlining one of the nights. That being said, for a festival that comprised mostly contemporary artists for an audience of mostly 20-something year-olds, I wasn’t sure how it would translate.

My friends and I got a decent view of the stage, and … Sir Paul blew away even my most optimistic expectations. Not only did he mix in plenty of classics from both the Beatles and Wings, but he was the most energetic performer I saw all weekend. And he’s 73.

My picture I snapped of Sir Paul at Firefly

My picture I snapped of Sir Paul at Firefly

It was pretty evident he got a rush of excitement to play in front of an audience of people who have never seen him before — an entire new generation of fans.

If anything, the evening proved to me that Sir Paul — and the Beatles — are timeless.

I also couldn’t help but think of my dad, a huge Beatles fan who first saw them at arguably their most famous concert of all time, at Shea Stadium in August of 1965. Who would have ever thought, that almost exactly 50 years later, I would see one of the lead singers of the same band, live in concert, singing the same songs?

It’s one of those rare times that you really appreciate it when life comes full circle.

And it’s the words penned by Sir Paul all of those years ago, like “Let it Be,’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” or “Blackbird singing in the dead of night … take these broken wings and learn to fly…” that make you wonder why the events in South Carolina still continue to happen.

Donald Trump is running for president. I … I … quit.

As if the batch of Republican candidates running for president wasn’t enough of a punch line already, it sure as hell is now.

Mr. Donald Trump, the Donald himself, wants to lead our country.

Arguably one of the most unlikable Americans — who says something offensive every time he opens his mouth — apparently thinks he can earn enough national support to be voted into the White House.

Yesterday was truly a sad day for democracy.

It’s proof that absolutely anybody can just decide one day that they want to be president, and then be viewed as a realistic Donald Trumpcandidate. Most people will look at this and laugh. They’ll call it a joke. Satirical news shows are going to have an absolute field day.

But the truth of the matter is that Donald Trump is legitimately in the race. He will be on a ballot, and may even participate in a debate. He will be campaigning state-by-state. He certainly won’t get enough votes to even come close to the presidency, but he’ll get some. People are stupid.

For the rest of his life, Donald Trump can say he was a presidential candidate. It will always be listed on his Wikipedia page.

God help us.

The worst part is that his presence gives more credence to the other “joke” candidates in the field, like Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. Compared to Trump, they all seem like real contenders.

I don’t even know how you could drop off after Donald Trump? Is George Zimmerman going to launch a campaign next? Where’s Donald Sterling at?

Even those who don’t hate Trump from real life, or in his TV show, probably have lost a lot of money in one of his casinos before. There’s seriously nothing to like about this guy.

To me, the entertainment value Trump will provide over the next few months is not worth the stain it will cause in the credibility of the presidential office.

In fact, this is the final straw. Let’s just not have a president after Obama. Because the mere infinitesimal chance that Donald Trump gets elected is enough reason to just disband the government entirely.

Screw it. Let’s dissolve the Senate and House, clear the Pentagon, bring home our military from overseas, condemn the White House and shut down the whole government.

Donald Trump as president is a worse situation than even George Orwell could have ever imagined.

Totalitarian governments common in fantasy fiction dystopian novels suddenly seem like a good idea.

Heck, I’d rather have the all-seeing eye of Sauron supervise our nation.

Because a future world in which Donald Trump is a presidential candidate is one that Frodo Baggins probably wouldn’t have even tried to save.

You can change your gender, but not your skin color

America may be ready for transgenders … but current events show we’re clearly not ready for transracials.

White people emulating black culture is something that is often explored in media. The term “wigger” started to be used sometime in the last couple of decades, referring to white people who wear baggy clothes, gold chains, pretend to be rappers and hang around black people. Or basically, Eminem.

I can’t imagine anyone has a problem with somebody saying they identify with people of another race … but to actually pretend you’re of another race, and perpetuate the deceit on legal documents while leading an organization that fights for African American civil rights, is another thing entirely.

That’s exactly what Rachel Dolezal did. And America be mad.

Dolezal was the president of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter in Washington state. After her race came under question, her parents, who are white, told reporters that their daughter has no black ancestry. She has since resigned from the NAACP, Rachel Dolezalwhich, remember, is short for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Meanwhile, Dolezal allegedly checked off “black” on recent applications as NAACP president, and also once sued Howard University, a historically black college, for discriminating against her for being white.

So that’s why people hate her.

It certainly begs an interesting question. If it’s OK for Bruce Jenner to disassociate himself with the gender he was was born as, and be legally recognized as a woman, then why can’t Rachel Dolezal identify with a race she wasn’t born as?

I guess the reason is because your race is something you’re not just born as, but inherit from your ancestors. If you’re black, then somewhere down that line you have family members who lived during a time when black people were not treated fairly. Possibly even at a time when they were not recognized as people.

Nobody in Dolezal’s lineage, however, faced that struggle. In other words, she didn’t earn her blackness.

She wouldn’t even be allowed as an extra on the ABC show Blackish. She’s less black than Robert Downey Jr.’s Australian-turned-black character in Tropic Thunder. Even Al Sharpton heard about this and said, “Yeah, I’m not touching this one.”

But in a way, I can sort of relate to Dolezal’s struggle. I personally look like a generic white, Jewish kid. But in reality, my mother is a native Puerto Rican who moved to the U.S. when she was 2, making me 50 percent Puerto Rican.

I milked the shit out of that. I check off “White” and “Hispanic” on forms. How do you think I went 7-for-7 on my college applications 10 years ago?

Except for me, it isn’t a lie. Not a single part of me identifies as Puerto Rican, and yet, I am. So it would be wrong of me to not disclose the truth when asked on forms.

Dolezal, on the other hand, is flat-out lying when she says she is black. And that ain’t cool. It gives us racially-obscure-people-who-look-nothing-like-we-really-are a bad name.

What’s next, is Gumby going to start telling people that he’s orange?

Is Homer Simpson maroon?

Before you know it, Barack Obama will start telling people that he’s really black.