We went to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World a few years ago and there were a couple of NBA basketball players in the park the same day as us. It was an abnormally hot day that day and standing in the lines was an exhausting affair. It was made a little frustrating when we watched these two basketball players being escorted into the exit gate at each ride/attraction to go directly in and avoid standing with the rest of the public in the line (kind of like a Super Fast Pass). It really started this thought going in my head: isn’t it odd that there are people on the planet who are deemed important enough that they are given special attention by the rest of humanity?

As I go through life and see more and more “news” programs running segments on things that happen to celebrities it makes me pause and wonder: why in the world do we have such things as celebrities? The bigger question that comes to mind is why do we care? These people are humans just like us. They were born like us, they breathe air like us, and they are going to die just like us. Why do we elevate a small subset of humanity to the level that drives news programs to spend valuable time broadcasting what they are doing, what they are wearing, and who they are seen with?

The most baffling part of this whole “celebrity” thing is that there exist people who are celebrities solely for being celebrities (i.e. they haven’t done anything to achieve that role). How in the world did this madness get started? Why do we give attention to these people? Shouldn’t we expect them to be productive members of society just as the rest of us are?

What’s even more frustrating is that there are people whose job it is to stalk celebrities to supply the glimpses into these humans’ lives. Could you imagine if we all just enjoyed the movies, TV shows, music, and other art outlets that these fellow humans produced and let them live their lives as normal people between moments of producing new art? Do we need to know what an actor is doing when they are not on the movie screen? Do we need to know who a singer is dating this week? The so-called job of being in the paparazzi is such a weird “job” when you sit and think about it. These people make a living lurking around trying to capture other people doing stuff (eating, driving, talking on the cell phone, walking down the sidewalk) with the intent of selling the pictures/videos to TV programs, magazines, or websites so that other humans can look at them and know what these people are doing on their day off. Would you like to have someone outside your house on your day off walking just in front of you or beside you taking pictures nonstop?

Could you imagine if aliens touched down on Earth tonight and we had to explain this madness? Try explaining why you care about who another human being went out with on a date the other night when you don’t personally know or have any connection to that other person. Try to explain out loud why you care what your favorite actor is doing when you aren’t watching one of their movies or shows? Try to enumerate the reasons why you need to know what your favorite singer is wearing.

Goes back to my question: why do we care? Shouldn’t we be focusing our attention on those around us with whom we actually have relationships? I believe it’s OK to appreciate the art that people create without putting them on a pedestal. I think paying them for the chance to experience that art is probably a good indicator that we appreciate them and their craft. If you want to support them by following them on social media, go to town. That is them controlling their own message.

Back to the basketball players at Disney. Could you imagine how different it would be if they were just treated like the rest of the people at the park? I imagine it would be refreshing for them (although they would have to stand in line with the rest of us) if no one stopped them for pictures or to get an autograph. I like to think that it would be a pretty cool day for them just being a couple of guys (albeit very tall ones) enjoying Disney World on their day off.


How to explain…

It’s Oct 2016 and the news about Donald Trump’s tape containing very disparaging comments about women and his apparent support of sexual molestation (he apparently thinks it’s OK because he’s a “star”) has been released and discussed among every media outlet. Hopefully as you read this you’re not asking “Which one?” (if so, it’s the Billy Bush one). As I sit here in my back yard, I have to ask myself: “If I voted for Mr. Trump in the election, how would I justify that to the young women (and young men) in our church youth group?”

I’m a Christian and I’m not certain about who to vote for because I really can’t stomach the thought of either of the candidates being our leader. I don’t identify with any political party and try my best to live my life following the example put forward by Jesus. None of the political parties that I’ve seen thus far come close to pushing those ideals so I don’t affiliate with any of them. I work with young men and women on a regular basis at our church’s youth group and doing so eventually involves the message of every person being precious and of worth in the eyes of the Lord. We aim to help the youth learn how to live a life loving God and loving others. When I hear the disturbing and disgusting opinions of Mr. Trump, that goes completely against what we are teaching and what we believe. Women are not things that are there for any man to impose his will upon should the urge strike him. That’s what Mr. Trump was bragging about doing. That is the exact opposite of what is taught about extending the love of Christ to others. He simply states that what was on tape is locker room talk between a couple of guys. He issued an apology video to Twitter but it is heavily scripted and includes an attack on a former president who is not even running against him. He refers to the whole video scandal as a distraction from what matters in this election. To me, character matters more than anything else. Character is often said to be what you do when you think no one is watching. That is exactly what was exposed on the video. It is a peek into his character. Nothing to see here, move along… Even if it is locker room talk, we as a society should be working to make that kind of talk (and behavior) disappear from society. If this is pervasive in male locker rooms across the country, then we as men are failing miserably in training up the next generation of men.

That brings me to my question: “How can any youth worker in a Christian church justify voting for such a person?” How do you go to the young women (and young men) that you work with and tell them that you voted for such a person because it was for the greater good of the country? How do you justify that? Are we seriously saying: “You’re a valuable and precious child of God and no one should tell you otherwise unless there are Supreme Court seats on the line. If so, then there’s some wiggle room.”

With every passing moment, as I think about what Mr. Trump has said and done throughout this entire campaign season and the character examples from the last few decades, the idea of voting for him disgusts me more and more.


Oct. 21, 2015

Marty & Doc —

Welcome to 2015! Things aren’t exactly like the 1980s predicted they would be. Sorry to tell you that we don’t have hover boards and flying cars everywhere. However, we do have the Internet that has the entirety of human knowledge on it and we have mobile phones to access it anywhere at an insanely fast speed. While the Jaws franchise didn’t make it past 4 movies, we finally have the sequel to Return of the Jedi coming out this year.

So good luck returning back to the 80s and waiting patiently for the next 22 years for the iPhone to come out. You won’t know that you need it until you have it.


P.S. By stock in Apple and be patient

P.P.S If you come across me back in 1985, let him know that he’s going to have a heck of a ride and things will turn out alright. Also tell him to buy stock in Apple…as much as he can afford.


Yes, the Clippers

Dear 13-year-old me –

This is the much older version of yourself writing to prepare you for a sport that somewhat resembles the NBA that you know. In the year 2015, there are now a whopping 30 teams in the NBA. That’s not even then most shocking thing about this year’s league, wait until you hear about the playoffs. Continue reading