Thankful

Thankful

So being that it’s the day before Thanksgiving I figured it was time to have a reflective, what I’m thankful for type blog. The problem is with these type of posts is that I honestly don’t know if anybody else takes the time to look inward and see just how lucky we all really are. It’s a shame that a holiday has me being mindful of just how lucky I am for everything I have in my life but I’m going to roll with it regardless.

Truthfully, I feel as a generation we do a really piss poor job of being thankful. We have parents who worked their entire lives to give us every thing we could ever want. Whether it was video games, trips to Disney World, whatever. As a kid I wanted for absolutely nothing and I was still at times a little bastard. As a country, we’re all concerned with more and more and what’s new rather than being truly grateful for the shit we already have. It blows my mind. I’ve absolutely fallen into this unfortunate category throughout my life but I’ve done the best I can for a long time to remain steadfast in the belief that my life is seriously a blessing and I need to take the time to appreciate the things and most importantly the PEOPLE in it.

People just don’t seem to be appreciative of what they have anymore. We’re bred into a culture of status, of wanting to obtain as much wealth as possible. We glorify possessions like cars, houses, and luxury watches. All the while we lose the true meaning of what is important in life. You’re here for a fraction of time. A very finite, small, inconsequential period of time. If you live to be 75 years of age you’ll see roughly 27,000 days. Of those days, how many of them will you spend chasing the newest gadget or the latest designer handbag?

I’m going to stop here. I know I come off incredibly preachy and I’ve really been trying like hell not to. The truth is, I know I’m a fucking idiot and I’ve made countless mistakes in my life, and will continue to do so. The difference is, I truly reflect on my idiotic ways and try to alter them as best I can to make myself a better person even if I fail almost every day. The simple fact of the matter is that we have such a short period of time with the loved ones in our lives. With our friends, and with our families. This Thanksgiving, maybe take a moment to look around your table and realize that you’re insanely lucky. That everywhere there are people who don’t have it as good as you and might not be sitting at a table looking at people that love them.

I’m not going to preach any more, I’m just going to finish with stating the simple fact. I have a truly blessed life. I have an amazing family that I have no idea where I’d be without and I have amazing friends that will be there for me no matter what. These are the things that matter to me and I have to do a better job of showing that. And so should you.

 

Mike Cammalleri signs with NJ Devils

Mike Cammalleri signs with NJ Devils

Mike Cammalleri, he of the 45 points in 63 games last season has signed a 5 year $25 million dollar deal with the offensively challenged New Jersey Devils. While the Devils struggled to get production from the pivot position last year this move wreaks of desperation to me. Lou Lamoriello has made his name drafting and home growing talents like Scott Nidermayer, Scott Gomez, Zach Parise, and Adam Henrique. It has at times been a difficult task to add via free agency as the Ilya Kovalchuck signing can be pointed at as one of the bigger signing disappointments in franchise history. 

If Cammalleri can be a solid producer for the better part of 5 years we can look back and suggest that this was a fair market signing for a close to a point per game player. But, being that Cammalleri will be 38 once this contract is complete, you may be like me struggling to see the move as justified. I have reservations of paying an at times injured player at the age of 32 and giving him 5 years and 5 million a year average. I won’t outright say this is a panic move, but for a Devils team starving for offense here’s hoping he can fill a need and continue to produce over the next 5 seasons.

The Debt Crunch

The Debt Crunch

Close to 20 million Americans attend college every year. Of that number, 60% or roughly 12 million of those college students, borrow money to attend. I was in this 60% and to this day still have a large monthly payment to good old Uncle Sam. Today, there are currently 37 million people with outstanding loan debt, I myself am included in this statistic. Of that number of people, there is somewhere in the neighborhood of $902 BILLION and $1 TRILLION dollars in total debt. So, that leaves me to beg the question, can anyone say what they’re doing professionally is a direct correlation to your college degree? Moreover, if per say you’re in the majority of people who accumulate mass amounts of debt via college loans…do you feel it was worth it?

The first job I had out of college was for better or worse, awarded to me because the COO of the company was my friend’s father. That’s not to say I didn’t deserve the job, didn’t have the qualifications necessary, or aced the interview with the hiring manager, it’s merely stating the obvious…I was afforded an opportunity because of somebody I knew, rather than perhaps WHAT I knew. The sad reality of employment outside of highly specialized fields is that it’s often a mere matter of whom you know, not what you know. Another issue is in the form of compensation. While tuition rises greatly every year, the entry-level jobs afforded to most of the graduates each year have remained pretty stagnant over the last 30 years.

There is a debt crisis hitting America and it’s quite staggering. It has nothing to do with the government potentially defaulting on their debt obligations once every 18 months but rather, an increasing number of young Americans crushed by massive debt loads from college. I along with many, experienced what amounted to the most amazing four years of my life during college. My university was amazing, the friends I made fantastic, but with an accumulated bill of around $100k it was certainly the most expensive party I’ve ever attended. While the experiences, both sober and non were some I’ll cherish forever, it really makes me wonder what exactly was the purpose of this expensive party. The more people I asked about their feelings on the subject the more I realized that the answer to my question can not be outlined in a single box.

 My career is directly related to my degree. I don’t have debt, but I’m 28 and can’t afford to move out of my parents house by myself. Is it worth it? I’m not sure. I help a lot of people but don’t know how much I’m helping myself!” 

When you invest in a long-term solution, whether it’s stocks, bonds, or yourself, you equate that dollar figure to what the return on that investment will be. While it goes without saying that college graduates on average earn higher than those of say the same age with only a high school diploma, I must ask the question if this investment truly does pay? Considering by the time I’ve completed paying off my loans I’ll have incurred additional tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges, you begin to wonder if people like the quote above will ever be able to move out of their parents homes.

The job market sucks: Currently the unemployment rate is declining, but the percentage of college graduates able to actually obtain a job is low. Currently half of the 10.9 million unemployed workers in the U.S. are represented by college graduates. These numbers are alarming, these numbers are scary, and at the end of the day, it makes you really wonder if that $100k investment you made was a worthwhile one.

It’s true that for those people in specialized fields like healthcare, finance, and law all must obtain the necessary tutelage and degrees to practice in that arena. But for me, someone who’s working for an amazing company but doing something rather undegree-focused (made that up) it again begs to ask the question, is the debt load worth it? For the youth of America to come out of college already a slave to the dollar figures they have yet to even earn, does college as an institution make sense?

There’s no right answer here. There’s no wrong answer. I just feel its an important point to make the question be asked. From a quality of life, quality of financial health perspective, is college a worthwhile investment? For me, that answer is simple, and it’s unequivocally, No. While my four years at college were among the most meaningful of my life, the sheer burden brought upon its exorbitant cost to attend means I’ll be making a monthly payment for years to come. There has to be a better answer and a better way to “educate” the youth of America. Maybe it’s work-study programs in lieu of college, maybe it’s specialized schools more closely associated to how MBA programs work. I don’t have an answer. But the fact remains that each year, millions and millions of college graduates embark on a career simply to get even and that to me does not make sense.

The fact is that each year a new batch of financial slaves enter the work force. If you don’t come from a family with the means to afford college or are not in the small majority of students who qualify either for financial aid or athletic scholarships you’re going to spend the next 60 years of your life paying for school. For me, it appears that I mortgaged my future to attend school. I would have been better off attending a vocational school and learning a trade than accumulating $100k worth of debt. So where is the solution? What is the answer to the debt crisis effecting the youth of America?

I have a solution and perhaps it’s unrealistic but perhaps there’s a reason why it will never happen:

Maybe, instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars per year on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US government makes an investment in its education system. I’m not saying these were unjust wars, I’m not arguing against our troops or anything like that. I’m a very realistic person who appreciates very dearly what our troops sacrifice for our freedoms on a daily basis. But by decreasing the amount of foreign aid and foreign defense spend, the government could provide necessary debt relief to its own people and could drastically impact the next wave of entrepreneurs and new thinkers in the country. It’s no surprise that in schools across America, students are performing significantly worse than those of their European counterparts. Perhaps it’s time some of that money trickled its way down to the people.

There seems to me, to be a system in place designed to keep the middle class where it is and designed to inhibit the ability of perceived growth. In an ever-expanding financial gap between the haves and have-nots, it would appear to me that some sort of compromise for the debt college graduates face each year could be found. Until people in our own government are willing to take a look at the problem and actually address it, I fear nothing will be accomplished. Until then, millions of college freshmen each year will mortgage their futures in the hopes of finding jobs four years down the line that just might not exist for them.

Flight MH370: What happened?

Flight MH370: What happened?

Ok, seriously, I’ve waited long enough. Where the fuck is this plane? I mean this is just one of the most insane things I think I’ve ever seen or heard of in my life. A plane carrying 200+ people just up and disappears? Is this real life or TV? Seriously is this the season premier of ‘Lost’ themed reality series? I mean this is just bizarre. So someone has to tell me how something of this magnitude happens in this day in age. Someone has to explain to me how a 777 plane just disappears. Was it aliens? Is it terrorists? Was it a deranged/suicidal pilot?

 

I’m of the belief that it’s pretty evident the plane went down. I mean at this point it’s all but assured the plane went down. How or why is another question completely. That being said, where is the evidence? Where is the debris? Where is the parts and the luggage and the remnants of the plane? This whole thing is just crazy to me and the worst part about it is that literally hundreds of families are left wondering what the fuck has happened. I have no clue when this is going to be resolved and there is some precedence for a plane to go missing this long. An Air France flight in 2009 crashed in the Atlantic ocean on June 1st and the plane’s black boxes weren’t found for nearly two years until July 5th of 2011. So there is the possibility we’re looking at a very long and difficult time for the friends and family members of flight 370

UCONN 2014 Men’s NCAA Basketball Champions

UCONN 2014 Men’s NCAA Basketball Champions

I can’t say it enough, but this had to be a team of destiny. UCONN, who narrowly defeated St. Joes, easily dismantled Villanova, sneaked past Iowa State, handily defeated Michigan State, and blew out Florida is your 2014 National Champion. This team had heart, will, and maybe a bit of luck on their side.  Shabazz Napier lead the way for UCONN all tournament and Monday night was no different. Napier had 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, and his partner in defensive crime, Ryan Boatright, finished with 14 points.

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They made Kentucky work for every single shot, turn the ball over 10 times during the game and clamped down on a youthful Wildcat team that showed their inexperience in the spotlight on their way to losing 60-54. Kevin Ollie, in just his first NCAA tournament at the helm of the Huskies captures his very first National Championship. This team looked head and shoulders above their competition throughout the tournament and appeared so against Kentucky as well. Hats off to the champions as they earned this one for sure. Let’s not forget Geno Auriema and the lady Huskies have the opportunity to cap an undefeated season for their own National Title later this week when they take on Notre Dame. Could be a huge week for the small town of Storrs, CT.