SUMMER MADNESS

June. 21st…The Official First Day of the Summer. There are so many things that come to mind when we think of the Summer. School’s out for Summer…the kids are done school until September. Graduations…the newest year class of graduates, including Elementary, Middle School, High School, College, and Graduate School. Jeans and long sleeve shirts are shed for shorts, t-shirts, bikinis, swim trunks, bare skin, and sun dresses.

Sunglasses are on, sports cars, convertible tops down, car washes and waxes, sneakers and shoes replaced with sandals and flip-flops, summer sun and heat takes over the everyday weather patterns, barbecues daily on the grill, vacations galore, trips to the shore and beach, and numerous other changes.

In the world of sports it’s another exciting time of the year. The NBA and NHL are winding down…an NBA champion already crowned, an NHL Stanley Cup Winner yet to be determined, the NHL Draft and Free Agent Frenzy, and buy-out periods. MLB is almost halfway over…the All Star Game…teams with big leads…teams with disappointing seasons…injury bug alive and well…and the sprint towards the stretch run and post season. Finally, we have the NFL rookie, mini, and training camp still to come.

Summer is also a huge time period in the world of music. Many brand new CD’s have already been released. Festivals are happening just about every weekend. American Tours are firing on all cylinders. Even bands that have not played in years are making one more go around. Anyone that is a fan of metal and sports has to love the beginning of summer. The beginning of summer is the start of these worldly passions.

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SOCIAL MEDIA CRAZE

It’s so amazing how fast technology evolves. I can remember back to the nineties, when pagers and beepers were the hot commodity. By 1990, World Wide Paging had been invented and there were over 22 Million Different Pagers in Use. By 1994, my Senior Year of High School, there were over 66 million almost tripled from four years prior. Just like Sony Walkmans, everyone had one. Of course, just having a pager was not enough. They began to make all kinds of colors and cases, also donning all types of Decorative Art.

In 1987, cell phones were just becoming a popular item and a certain particular cell phone became very popular. Fleet, which later became Nextel Communications was the hottest provider and actually invented a phone with a “Push to Talk” walkie feature. This was especially popular in the Contracting Realm of Employment. In 2005, Nextel merged with another popular carrier Sprint and at this point had over 20 Million Subscribers in the United States alone.

The next big craze was IPODS and Smart Phones. The first smart phone was actually invented by IBM in 1992. Smart phones overtook the cellular media outlet totally by 2013. Even “Regular Cell Phones” are dinosaurs today. Pagers are almost extinct and non existent. The early models just linked phones with PDA’s but today’s phones are equipped with a minimum of a digital camera, portable media players similar to IPods, and even GPS systems. Touchscreen and wifi were the next upgrades allowing users to surf the Internet at virtually any time from virtually anywhere.

In 2007, The IPHONE by Apple was introduced and now all of the Smart Phones are similar to the IPHONE in options. There is the Android, Blackberry, Symbian and many other models. There are also many service carriers with the most popular being Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and Microsoft. These carriers also provide Internet service, while Verizon actually supplies Cable TV. Everything today begins and ends with the cell phone.

It was only ten years ago where I remember having to wait until the next morning to watch the News to see what was going on in with current events. I can also remember purchasing a Daily News every AM to check out all the sports news, statistics, and highlights. Then this phenomenon became ESPN where you could see the sports news every hour. And of course, it then evolved to the “Bottom Line” on ESPN TV where all of the days sports news slides slowly across the screen. It just keeps evolving. Now you have the news or sports at the tip of your finger. They have applications on the phone that allow you up to second scores, statistics, highlights, and even play by play as well as actual simulated games that are in real time. All of these evolutions are incredible and it almost feels like something new comes about daily today.

Along with the social news media and smartphones…today we have taken it to an even further level. In August, 2003, MY SPACE was launched by Justin Timberlake. MySpace was a social media outlet on the Internet with strong music connections. From 2005-2008, MY SPACE was the most visited networking site…even more than Google. However, in 2008 FACE BOOK was created and quickly overtook MY SPACE as the Number One Social Media Outlet.

Facebook has grown to the point where it has become an actual addiction. I myself am relatively new to Facebook, having joined in 2011. However, it’s so easy to get sucked into the hoopla. One thing that is dangerous about Facebook is that it can put a strain on relationships, because of the access to whoever you want…maybe an ex boyfriend or girlfriend or coworker. It also causes a lot of drama regarding many issues.

One good thing about Face Book is that it gives every individual person the right to put whatever they may like to their site as well as control who and how many can see their material. It actually gives an ordinary person the ability to feel special. For example, a buddy of mine calls himself “The Life Coach” and he posts random statuses about life’s different trials, obstacles, etc. but he adds humor and sarcasm to the mix to get more people’s interest. Face Book can be a great tool as well as bad depending on how it is used. In my estimation, many people abuse the site including myself, which dampens its positive affect on society.

In conclusion, the Social Media Network has become the leader of everyone’s everyday lives. Cell Phones are attached at people’s body. At the dinner tables, people are more worried about what may be going on with their phone, a la text messaging, FaceBook, Internet Web, multi media players and music, etc. Believe me, I see this first hand because I am guilty of it. Also, people in record number are on their cell phones at their Place of employment, while working instead of focusing on the task at hand. And the worst aspect of this craze is the amount of people who die behind the wheel or kill others everyday, while using a cell phone and driving. There is so much more research that is being done on this phenomenon and you could write a novel. I am planning on revisiting this topic at a later date and will cover other topics. To Be Continued……

THE IDES OF MARCH

February comes to a close today as we head into the month of March. The term “Ides of March” used to represent the middle of the month on the Roman Calendar. It was a festive day and dedicated to the “God Mars” and a Military Parade was usually held. In modern day history, the term refers to the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of Senate Conspirators in 44 B.C.

In today’s society, The Ides of March marks the end of February and the transition from winter to spring. The Ides of March can truly share many meanings for many different people and many different cultures. In today’s American culture, the term can refer to many things, but mostly relates to the change of season, going from the long cold winter to the refreshing season of Spring.

My own version of the Ides of March can be summed up by sports and music etymology. First of all, this year does not have a 29th day of February meaning there is no leap year. March marks the luminous sound of balls pounding leather, bats cracking at the sound of a ball being rocketed from home plate, the smell of fresh cut grass, the chants of “Hot Dogs Here”, the sounds of fans shouting (either cheering or booing), the sight of young kids as they try to get their favorite player’s (heroes) autograph or picture, the sight of a manager scolding one of his young players for making a mistake in hopes that the player will learn from this mistake. The Ides of March marks spring training Baseball, the start of another new Season and everyone is at square one.

March also marks the beginning of the NFL combine, the rigorous tests on college football stars with the hopes of getting drafted by some NFL team, it is the hopes and dreams of young college players just waiting for the chance to display their physical skills for the entire NFL to see, it marks the numerous General Manager Meetings, Free Agency begins, Teams are finalizing their coaching staffs and making player personnel decisions based on where the team finished last season, it is the prelude to the NFL Draft which comes in April.

The Ides of March means the beginning of the sprint towards the playoffs in both basketball and hockey. Teams are jockeying for position and are making roster moves and trades to either help them now or better their future, they are gearing up for the most spirited grind in sports, coaches on the hot seat, players changing jerseys, veterans slowing down, rookies become stars, the spotlight is on in full force on both of these sports. Only one team will win the prize and March is where it all begins to come to a Climax.

The Ides of March represents the sprint to the finish line for High School Seniors. It marks the race towards the Senior Prom, Senior Trips, and finally High School Graduation. It also marks the start of many college hopefuls visiting different colleges In hopes of finding the one that best fits their needs. It also is the time where testing is done to qualify students strengths and weaknesses.

The Ides of March also marks the true beginning if the new Music/Movie Season as the Grammys and Oscars have been completed and now we look forward to all of the new material that will come about in 2013. Bands are working in new albums. Recording studios are scouring the local clubs and bars to find that next great talent. Tours begin to kick off as fans wait in line for days to purchase tickets. New Movie Releases are pouring out weekly, each week trying to outdo the last. Actors and Actresses are either coming to their end or are on the rise.

The Ides of March is a very fun time in my opinion. The change of season is always welcome and going from the winter weather to the spring and summer months is just a mile away. As we come to the end of another February, let us ponder how our new year has began so far. For many if us this year has started off terrible. Well, there is good news. March is here and it’s time for change. There is hope to turn things around. You have to want to change. You have to have the will to change. March should bring a welcome opportunity to embrace this change and come full circle.

As I conclude this blog, I believe it is very important for people to realize that this time of the year is where you can make or break the choices you will make for the upcoming year. Enjoy the change of weather. Spring and Summer Sun should lead us to happier days. They say that the Sun can “pull you out of depression”. So as the Ides of March approach, praise God that you are alive and well and that you wake up everyday to a new day. Be thankful for what you do have not envious of what you don’t have. Remain positive and always move forward. The Ides of March are here…Embrace

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