Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Day

Ends up I might never be a prophet. Turns out that modern day prophets might not even exist. It seems as though I am a 2nd division basketball player in Israel , not sure exactly what I want from life, other than to keep a smile on my face and love in my heart.

I'm exhausted from trying to be something that people can look up to and follow.

Hopefully what I do from here on out will be something of substance that others can follow, but this will no longer be the parameter with which I will live my life. There are no parameters to life. You do what you love, keep your loved ones close, and smile because it ends before it begins.

Another revelation Zach? You don't say? Where did this one come from? Well, I'll tell ya...
(mine will come as a surprise to me, mine I'll leave to chance and chemistry...(cheers if you get this))

I looked at a picture in my apartment last night. The picture is of a window with it's shudders open. When I first gazed at it, I thought about what might be inside, first thought being that of some sort of monster.(It was actually one of the dark-seekers from "I Am Legend") Then I tried to picture something lovely, and I saw a picturesque woman in a flowing white gown step to the sill.

It struck me that this exercise was symbolic of life, in that it is what you want it to be.

All day today I walked around thinking about the word "positive". I meditated the shit out of it. Regardless of my situation, I used this word in my head as context for how to approach each and every encounter. Today I got a job for the summer, had my best practice of the year, and cooked a masterpiece...

All because of one little word.

I guess it's looking on the bright side, you can choose your cliche, but today I felt it. I was challenged constantly by my friends and people around me to fall into habit, to complain about something that really didn't matter. Today I simply refused. And it felt good. I greeted people with smiles. They responded. I sang in the streets and didn't quiet when I passed people.(which btw is a great little social experiment if you ever want to test your fortitude) I looked in the mirror and laughed at myself for being so serious, then laughed harder when I thought about how many possibilities this world has to offer, and how we sometimes don't see opportunities right in front of our faces! I joined Twitter!!! Today was a great day, and tomorrow can only get better.

Much love,

Monday, March 23, 2009


As I read Barak Obama's 2006 book "The Audacity of Hope" which outlines his "Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream", a main point that seems to repeat itself, and which I happen to agree with, is that America needs to focus more attention on the education of our youth. I think most would agree this is crucial to the bettering of our society as a whole. While Barak focuses on governmental increases in spending and the benefits of schoolteachers, my attention is drawn elsewhere, mainly towards how I learned as a child, and how this new generation is currently gaininig it's knowledge.

Sure, when it comes to technical jobs, formal schooling and education seems the logical path. But where do we learn "how to live"? Where do we learn how to make proper social engagements, and how to treat people that we interact with on a daily basis? For me, the answer was professional athletes, my parents and family, my teammates and also largely the people that I saw on TV. Yes, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air taught me that a good rhyme can lighten any situation...

I have a good friend who is an actor in Hollywood, who complains about reality shows and how they take the jobs of good actors such as himself, and give them to no-talent hacks. Besides the jobs of young inspiring actors, this new wave of Reality television takes something extremely valuable away from our culture; that being positive role models in the public eye.

We can spend all the money we want on restructuring the educational system, which will inevitably provide better books, teachers, etc(and which WILL ultimately help), but when kids go home and watch TV, this is where they learn "how to be". Unfortunately what they are seeing now is a bunch of spoiled rotten attention-hounding losers with no real skills or talents that should be learned. (Certainly learning how to "be hot" cannot count as a guiding lesson)

Paris Hilton, Kim Kardasian, Nicole Richie, the entire cast and all seasons of The Hills-at least Brittney Spears can dance!(or at least used to be able to dance) The entertainment industry has been stripped of all it's soul, in exchange for a market that sells sluttiness, extravegence, and over-indulgence. The days when Janis Joplin could be a pop star are long gone, replaced by an era that has no voice; instead a digitally enhanced recording, due to the original being an earsore.

Perhaps this is entertainment of a new age. A time when we can all put on our TV sets, Ipods and laptops and just stop thinking for 5-6 hours. A time to relax, and enjoy what we have and not worry about things. After all, this isn't like the 60's. Why try and cause a stir? We are so comfortable in our little lives that we never think of anything different.

"Shit, I voted for Barak, he'll change things, I'm gonna go grab a joint and watch survivor!"

Not the worst existence, yet I believe we can have much much better. If we really want to educate our country, I think it starts with providing the youth with positive role models. Unfortunately, it appears as though "sex sells" has become our national slogan.

Today, try turning off the TV and reading something about anything. Learn something besides how to act like a bitch. Go on Wikipedia if need be! I know, Bear Grills is eating a Zebra, it's awesome, but how many times have you seen him do it? Fuck, go find a Zebra and eat it yourself! At least there's an experience in that.

Here's to changing pace!

Much love,

Monday, March 16, 2009


Veritas, the latin word for truth, was the official credo of Harvard University. From the moment I stepped foot into Harvard Yard as a freshman, I was both enamored and frantically confused at it's meaning. At first, it seemed as though there were some ultimate truth, as if through four years of liberal arts core curriculum you could somehow become steeped in the vast knowledge of all that was true and just in this world. I have to admit, some of my classes did make my think a good amount about it...

So what then, is truth? It appears to me that we all have our individual truths, morals that we hold near and dear, in order to protect our way of living, guiding our everyday interactions in both our public and private lives. There are public truths, such as laws, that guide our actions strictly when we are in public, and sometimes even in private, for example, when we violate noise ordinances. These truths are fairly easy to come by and to understand.

As a child, like many others, I was born to parents that raised me in the same religion that they had been brought up, and I learned what it was to be moral through bible stories and the corresponding teachings. Most of these lessons were solid, as most bible lessons are-don't kill, steal, rape, etc...

However, as I got older, I began to question where these morals actually came from. It might be hard to argue against "thou shalt not kill", yet in certain circumstances today, like self-defense and the death penalty, it is perfectly acceptable. So where have these truths come from?

When Moses reach Mt. Sinai and delivered the tablets to the Israelites perhaps? I always wondered why God had to be such an exclusive entity. I mean, if he were omni-potent/powerful, why not reveal himself to the whole of humanity and settle all these silly disputes over who is right once and for all? The religious crowd would most likely argue, "It is God's test to see who truly has faith". God has been playing too many games if you ask me. It's like saying god has allowed human atrocities for millennia because he wants to test our resolve?! Really? How about some help there big guy...

I digress-the truths that I held onto throughout my childhood, such as be good to all people, and lend a hand to those less fortunate have been tested during my young adult life. Like a tattered scooner limping from a hurricane I continue to believe that people are inherently good, even though I have witnessed overwhelming evidence of the contrary. As a man who adheres to the scientific process as a grounds for truth, a part of me wants to rethink my hypothesis, perhaps something more to the tune of, "People are good, except when presented with an opportunity to better their financial or social position, which leads to the majority of people assuming the role of asshole."

But this is life, as I have come to learn. People will be assholes, and the ideals and morals that have been installed in me often times will not found in others, and visa versa. I however, will continue what has become my moral inquisition on the whole of humanity. Perhaps I need to find others like me, who think like me, in order to streamline this process. I really don't want to change anyone, and in an ideal world I would escape to some far off mountain range like in Atlas Shrugged, and live a life where I didn't have to question the morals of others. This is of course rather arrogant of me to think that I have a set of values that are worth adhering to, but this is my truth, and I do think they are worth living for.

The search continues :)

Much love,

Friday, March 6, 2009

10 years

When a person plays sports, there are certain events that stand out as the most exciting, usually eliciting a roar from the crowd. In basketball, that play is the dunk. I started dunking in the 7th grade, and had my first official(that is in a refereed game) dunk when I was in 9th grade when I was playing with the sophomore team at Hopkins High School. It was brilliant-I was guarding the star sophomore from Cooper near half court, he tried to dribble past me, and I picked his pocket, flew to the other end, and gracefully slammed the ball home. Then came the drought...10th, 11th, 12th, ALL of college I didn't see myself above the rim once. Not that I wasn't able to dunk, I simply preferred to take the sure-fire route of making a lay-up, an almost perfect percentage when compared with dunking. At times, I felt like Woody Harrelson from "White Men Can't Jump". I was fine not dunking, and instead focused on playing hard defense, making good passes and taking the shot when I had it...though deep down I always wanted to expand what I was able to do.

Now, in my most recent game, I did just that. I had sat out the previous game with an ankle sprain, but had been feeling physically dominant most of this year due to the amount of lifting and shooting I had been doing. I laced up my ankle brace, and was ready for the battle. Late in the 4th quarter my teammate drove the lane, dropped off a perfect bounce pass which I caught in the midst of drop-stepping to the hoop. I rose up above my defender, lifted the ball high, and threw it through the hoop with the full force of my body rattling the rim. Plus, the foul.

That's right, after 10 years of not dunking, I am back in the game, and it feels damn good. Psychologically this has done me wonders. The next day I went to shoot and the rim looked lower than usual. I measured it 3 times to be sure, but it was still 10 feet. My entire mentality has shifted to make the hoop seem closer to the ground!

Also, I very easily could have laid the ball up, but instead I chose to take the risk of dunking it, and it paid off. A big part of the reason I'm here playing basketball is to challenge myself to be the best basketball player I can possibly be. When I consciously take these types of risks, it makes me believe I am on the right path, which to me means everything.

Much love,