It’s fun to mock Pokemon. But let’s not get too righteous.

Well, after more than a full day of outrageous denials from the Trump campaign regarding accusations of plagiarism in Melania Trump’s Monday night speech, we finally have an explanation.

It was a speechwriter’s fault.

Call this the shock of the century. In other news, the sky is blue, the Shawshank Redemption is a great movie, and Taylor Swift is writing a breakup ballad right now.

Apparently, Melania Trump shared excerpts from past speeches that inspired her to this expert writer over the phone, who jotted them down without realizing they were word-for-word recitations. She then incorporated them in her speech for Melania.Melania Trump2

The writer, named Meredith McIver, reportedly offered her resignation to Donald Trump, who refused to accept.

And that puts at least a temporary camp on #SpeechGate, though I doubt we have heard the last of it.

But let’s shove politics aside. Instead I’d like to talk a little about Pokemon. Again.

It’s been two weeks since the game was released, and the craze surrounding it has not subsided. And while many people have expressed at least a tepid interest in the game, it’s a small minority who are actually becoming obsessed.

I’m talking about the people who are traveling long distances, or camping out in fields, or storming Central Park at midnight just to fill out their Pokemon collection.

Pokemon Go2

And those are the people who are being judged. I’ve heard the commentary. They’re being told to get lives, to play more sports, to get girlfriends. Basically, they’re being bullied.

It’s one thing to make fun of the game and its players in a lighthearted way. But it’s another to actually be malicious. Why are people becoming so angry? These kids are having fun playing a game that is harmless.

Would you prefer they engage in drugs and alcohol instead?

Plus, it’s 2016. Kids and young adults are on their phones all of the time, anyway. At least with Pokemon Go, they have some sense of direction as to where they’re going, since the game uses GPS. It beats accidentally walking into traffic while sending incessant amounts of text messages.

I think people who are quick to judge Pokemon players are simply misdirecting their own insecurities. We only get one life to live. If people want to spend it playing Pokemon Go, then more power to them.

And one last note that shows that Pokemon participants are fine people. A children’s hospital in Australia actually had to ask people to stop dropping “lures” (items that attract Pokemon) outside the building, because the patients are too sick to go and retrieve them.

Sure, they may have been inconveniencing hospital workers and accidentally putting sick children’s health at risk, but their hearts were in the right place.

What have you done lately to try and help sick children?

Garry MarshallAlright, one last thing before I go. Film director Garry Marshall passed away on Tuesday night. He was apparently a beloved figure for his kindness and generosity, as evidenced by the outpouring of genuine emotion by Hollywood in response to his death.

I won’t deny that I have been a bit critical of Marshall’s recent work (he was responsible for bringing us Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and released this past April: Mother’s Day), but he also brought us iconic TV shows and movies like Happy Days and Pretty Women.

But don’t believe me, rather, read the heartfelt message written by Anne Hathaway on her Facebook page.

It’s quite a tribute.

Expect Melania Trump to express similar — if not identical — sentiments later tonight.

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The Baton Rouge and Nice aftermath: As it gets harder to be hopeful, I challenge you to try.

I really wish we weren’t at a time where recapping weekend global events is equal to recapping chapters of the Hunger Games.

It started on Thursday in Nice, France when a man essentially used a white cargo truck as a battering ram to run over and kill more than 80 people on a crowded street during the French holiday of Bastille Day.

The twisted, unthinkable act of carnage produced many horrific images and videos, some of which I regrettably clicked on out of pure interest. I have since lost my sense of curiosity.

It really does make you wonder how somebody could even contrive such a brutal, sinister act, let alone follow through with it.

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And it also can’t help make you wonder … what’s next? And where? We try to combat terrorism by proclaiming how we will not let it affect our lives. How we will not allow us to give into fear.

But people are understandably afraid. How can you tell someone to combat terrorism with joy and happiness when you’re watching footage of a truck literally trample human bodies like they’re rag dolls?

How can we have faith in humanity when, if people aren’t killing in the name of jihad, it’s because they’re acting out against a sense of racial injustice, like we saw in Baton Rouge on Sunday, when a black Iraq War veteran ambushed and killed three policemen?

One of whom, Officer Montrell Jackson, just nine days earlier wrote on Facebook: “I swear Baton Rouge officersto God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks but out of uniform I’m considered a threat… These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart.”

It’s reasons like this that make it so hard to be hopeful sometimes.

And yet, sometimes that’s the challenge in life, isn’t it? To find the light and remain positive even when it seems impossible. It’s easy to surrender to despair when things go astray, and to let fear and mayhem dictate the narrative during times of global strife.

That doesn’t take any courage.

But to still believe that good will prevail? That even during the worst of times love and hope will always outshine fear and hate? That takes courage.

When you can figure that out … you can’t possibly lose.

I mean, for Christ sake, if you can’t find optimism on your own, then perhaps consider this video from Friday night of grown men and women stampeding Central Park in search of a rare Pokemon.

Is it pathetic? Oh of course. It’s beyond shameful.

But in a strange way, it’s also extremely comforting to know that when some miscreants are trying to frighten us all into oblivion, that there are herds of people who will completely disregard these scare tactics, and instead focus every bit of their attention on something that is completely devoid of any real world significance.

All in the name of Pokemon.

How can you not love this life?

The week Pokemon reentered our lives

Earlier this evening while I was strolling around my neighborhood, I saw four young kids walking together, each wearing a different colored shirt while staring at their phones.

I didn’t need to hear one of them yell the name of a Pokemon to know what they were doing.

In 2016, it’s hardly uncommon for something to explode literally overnight into mainstream popularity. In today’s digital age, we jump from one fad to the next.

But what’s happened with Pokemon Go is quite remarkable. It has actually begun to intrude on every single aspect of life.

I was listening to sports radio this afternoon and Pokemon managed to enter the conversation. While I was in Orlando last week, people around me were comparing their Pokemon collection.

Pokemon Go

It officially has more American users than Twitter, and now the news is reporting that Pokemon Go led one girl in Wyoming to a dead body floating in a river. In another instance, armed robbers in Missouri lured game users towards them using the app.

Even the Marines are tweeting about it!

Alright, let’s regroup.

What the hell happened while I was away?

Believe it or not, but I have already opined once before about Pokemon on this blog. Even though the Japanese game was a major sensation when I was a little kid, I still never played it. Not the video game or the card game.

It just wasn’t for me. I love Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, but never have I devoted a minute of my time to anything Pokemon.

That is, until two days ago, when I downloaded Pokemon Go.

If you’ve been reading this blog since I started it almost seven years ago, and want to stopCharzar now, I do not blame you. It’s been a nice ride, I appreciate your support, and I thank you for taking this journey with me.

But seriously, I just needed to know what the fuss was about. I’ve read reports of people camping out in parks, or traveling long distances to catch Pokemon, and I just wanted to know what the hell the appeal was.

Here’s my assessment: it’s a fun way to kill a few minutes when you’re walking around outside, but I simply do not understand the people who are becoming crazed over it.

For those who don’t know, the game, released on July 6, describes itself as “augmented reality” — as in, it takes elements of technology and fuses it with real life. The game actually utilizes your GPS and camera.

Once you create your avatar, your phone’s screen will show the Pokemon world with streets that are aligned with the ones around you. You physically have to walk on those streets — which simultaneously moves your avatar — to find the Pokemon. Once you spot one, your camera will appear, and on it will be exactly what’s in front of you … plus a Pokemon. Then you throw Pokeballs at it using your phone.

Needless to say, it makes for humorous screenshots.

So I get the appeal. I really do. In fact, it would be an awesome trend if we started to see more apps that use augmented reality. Heck, if there was a real-life Harry Potter app, I’d quit my job, stop caring about anything else and just do that for the rest of my life.

But I think we’re overdoing it just a little bit.

Granted, it’s better to be obsessed over Pokemon Go than drugs. Or committing crime.

But if you get too involved with this augmented Pokemon reality, then I hate to break it to you, but you will probably delay the loss of your virginity.

And that, in itself, is a major crime.