Ambition

When considering the true definition of Ambition, let us look to Julius Caesar. The play is a perfect example of how too much ambition hurts us and hurts those around us. Brutus killed a good man and great companion in his quest to keep Rome a republic; in contrast, Caesar was killed by his ambition (according to Cacius) to be a great leader. This strong will and emotion leads us to do crazy things even if we start with good intent. It skewers our conscience, leaving us vulnerable to madness. Still, without ambition, or with a lack of it, like we see in today’s youth, we are next to nothing. Ambition drives us forward, pulling us closer to our goals, allowing us to take the next step further and higher up the ladder. So this Ambition is a tricky, deceptive mistress who is hard to contain. More often than not, a surplus of ambition leads us to our own downfall.

The good ambition
Ambition is not all bad. We must look at a world without any ambition whatsoever to know what a truly great thing it is. Where would we be without automobiles, the telephone, steamboats, even electricity itself. You can make a more common analogy to great innovators like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. These were all little men and little people at first, but with a little push forward by that human ambition which made them great: turning electricity into controllable energy, the T-bird into the Hummer (more luxurious but a bit of a step back in terms of mileage), the biplane to a Boeing 747, and cable phones into smart phones which we barely even use for calling. Through ambition, athletes break world records, new discoveries in the world and science and space are made. Through ambition we become our best and the world’s best.

When it crosses the line

Now ambition is all good and fun on a small level, but in our strive for greatness, human beings never stay small. Soon enough, being a mailman or window washer isn’t good enough. The main character in the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, J. Pierrepont Finch is a lowly window washer who wishes to achieve a higher job with higher pay. He slowly rises from Mailroom, to Junior Assistant, to Vice President! In his quest to be on top, he lies about being an alumnus of “Old Ivy”, sticks the President’s boss as head of the mail room, sets up a man with the President’s mistress, and gets the Vice President of Advertizing fired. While he had a noble cause, he did anything and said anything to get to his place at the top, which proved to be Finch’s fatal flaw when he took Bud Frump’s idea and it backfired. Ambition is really a toxin for its user once it begins to harm other people. Like the ancient Roman Empire, too much ambition will not take you down through itself, but rather through the enemies you’ve made through it.

Caesar
Ah, poor Caesar, to be stabbed in the back by people whom he thought close to him, he was betrayed in a very foul manner. One by one, he saw the faces of his friends, turned enemies, in his last dying breath. When questioned, Brutus and Cacius thought that they were not to blame: Caesar’s own ambition was his downfall. However, what was his ambition? Did he really want to be king of rome, even after turning down the crown three times already. Caesar didn’t seem to want an actual title, but rather, he wanted to be a royal figure, a local celebrity, the biggest fish in the pond. This ambition is not necessarily a murder worthy one, still, it isn’t the most noble either. Many people nowadays strive for this fame, they love it, the power and attention. Many people feel that too many children are being put into the acting system or other talent programs at a far too early age. Most people who fear this fear the thought of these child stars growing up in bad surroundings and losing their childhood, becoming obsessed with fame and keeping themselves in the spotlight. This is, like Caesar, mot a bad thing until like most children they seek negative attention rather than positive attention. An ambition to be famous or beloved is not a great one, because along the way you will keep fighting for it, never stopping to achieve it. Fame becomes your drug, and you feel like you need it to go on, and along the way it will give you some jealous enemies.

Ambition, pushing us to the moon, pushing us to the best, it just pushes us. When we take this push and instead of pushing ourselves push the limits we can fall to the other side quickly. We fall to the side that gains us enemies, flaws, and addiction. We cant stop once we are on the side of ambition which is beyond our control. Yes, let us look to Julius Caesar when thinking of our own ambition. Let us look to him as a lesson, as a caution and as a warning. We must learn from the mistakes of Caesar and his enemies so that we may not be lost in our ambition, drowned by it and addicted to it.

Marriage: Emotion vs Function

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In America today there is a very large divorce rate. Some because of abuse, others because of accidental Vegas Marriages, most because couples simply lose their lust for one another. Even with an increasing divorce rate, couples are becoming engaged and even married as young as High School! In some cultures, this is because of an arranged Marriages, which should benefit both families economically. There is growing controversy all over the world about legalizing gay marriage. Some feel like marriage is more personal, and that it is a connection between the couple and God (or simply very personal if you don’t believe in that). So in light of Valentines Day, is Marriage for the Passionate or Prudent? As a romantic, I agree with the first.

Most people can remember Marilyn Monroe’s stunning performance in the 1953 hit,” Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. She plays a ritzy girl who likes the high collar end of life, even going as far to marry a boy with a big inheritance. His father sees this and tries to steer his son away from her in fear of her gold digging characteristic. When criticized up front by the father, Marilyn’s character defends herself with

Esmond Sr.: Have you got the nerve to tell me you don’t want to marry my son for his money?
Lorelei Lee: It’s true.
Esmond Sr.: Then what do you want to marry him for?
Lorelei Lee: I want to marry him for YOUR money.

Lorelei Lee: Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045810/quotes?ref_=tt_trv_qu

Putting the humor aside, Marilyn also says, “if you had a daughter, wouldn’t you want her to marry well- a man who can support her? Why shouldn’t I want that for myself?” And, low and behold, Lorelei had a point. But, in the end, she did fall in love with Esmond, without her intention. He loved her even though everyone else questioned her and he would love her forever, and that’s what made her want to marry him. Even if the relationship started arranged and by the size of his wallet, she got the ring when she realized her true feelings for the boy as well.

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Marilyn Monroe playing Lorelei in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

In the Orthodox Jewish tradition, there is a Shidduch. It is a system of matchmaking within the community for marriage purposes. It is one of the main focuses of another classic, “Fiddler on the Roof”. The eldest daughter voices concerns to her mother over matches as the matchmaker, Yenta, arrives. She complains about the ‘last one’ being“So old, and bald… he had no Hair! To which her mother responds

A husband is not to look at, A husband is to get!

Which reminds us that marriage was not always so lovey-dovey. Originally it was for a simple family arrangement. Of course most cultures had some sort of matchmaker who would at least try to find good men, for those who could afford it. It was more of how well you could live, rather than how much you liked them. And why? Maybe because emotions don’t last very long in most cases. As we change, our minds change with us. We always seem to regret the decisions we made as teenagers, and then, marriage was a permanent thing, not a simple divorce to be had. If you fell in love with a poor farm boy and married him, and found the next day that your “love” wasn’t that strong, you’re stuck. Even if “you have to look at your husband sometime”, an old man who can take care of you, who you never liked in the first place sounds reasonable.
So,why do we take the risk of making a huge mistake? Because the reward is priceless. You can’t understand the look elderly couples have in their eyes, remembering all of the years they’ve had together, the children they raised together; the memories and lives they shared, all sealed always after years in those eyes. They have this magical ability to not even say a word to each others, but just be happy in their own presence. They know each other better than anyone else on the earth. That’s the ultimate goal. Do we always achieve it, no. But isn’t it worth it to find that kind of happiness? Most definitely. It’s a rush, and a journey well worth taking.

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Tzeitel and Motel from Fiddler on the Roof

Atheletes Doing Steroids

A rising issue in America, hidden, and lurks in the shadows, unseen, and not discussed; We see our athletes in the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL everyday, for some sports fans, its almost as if these athletes live in their own homes. Our children want to be like them and aspire to their greatness and fame; however now these athletes have taken a more infamous route. More and more athletes nowadays have been caught using Steroids, or Performance Enhancing Drugs. These are illegal in every sport in the United States and even potential hall-of-famers are taught this back in High School. This is a horrible reputation for athletes to gain, making them lose a fan-base, sponsors and even their jobs. What can we do to avoid this? It’s quite simple; Athletes should be tested more frequently, and test every athlete for Steroid or Drug use so that the games that we play and compete in are legitimate.

Most people would argue against this idea of Drug Testing more frequently. “Why do they all have to? Most of them don’t use steroids!” I find this statement to be true, most professional athletes do not use drugs; however there are those who do use them and have to take responsibility for their actions. Those who do not use drugs or steroids will come out negative in a test, so what do they have to fear? Also, some players might be offended if they are asked to take a test when no one else must. If we make this a requirement for all athletes, than they will not feel blamed or accused, it would simply be procedure. The point is, in fact, that there are honest players out there who play purely on talent, the extra precautions, extreme as they may seem, are to ensure that they are not robbed of titles or wins or simply their status in the league. It is quite shameful to find that someone who could have earned a title didn’t simply because another person cheated. In my eyes, sports are very romantic and have a very Renaissance feeling about it. It’s about pushing mankind to achieve some kind of greatness, to push the boundaries of what we thought physically possible. Why disgrace this noble idea with drugs, inhuman additions, which doesn’t prove anything except the fact that you can take a kind of medicine.

The best possible outcome for this would be to eliminate usage altogether. Most athletes don’t realize that these “Performance Enhancers” do not only make the game unfair; they’re harmful. They harm the athlete and those close to them. Athletes use steroids to increase their aggressiveness and energy; however this doesn’t turn off once you leave the field. Steroids can make a person, immediately, burst into fits of rage, harming spouses and partners. They can become more isolated, slowly sinking away from everyone else, pushing away the ones they love. These drugs throw off the balance of testosterone and ultimately damage the player, inside and out, mentally and physically.

Some athletes feel as though this is a violation of their privacy. Honestly, its not that hard to take a drug test, and if its regulation than it’s nothing against you personally, simply standard. Most athletes have been taking these tests since high school or earlier, so why do they get so nervous about this. Over the years there have been various scandals of high school football teams in situations where coaches encouraged their players to use steroids. Some professional players may have been told this and feel that it is either okay to use these or they feel like they need them. These are the rules, for safety and fairness, we only want to assure that the game is being played fairly. A message to all athletes, imagine Timmy Markhoitz, screaming his hear off in the crowd. Hes not cheering for pills and needles, he’s cheering for you. He wants to be like you. Ask yourself, do you want him to be like you?

United States Media Policy

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Many people may not know about Al Jazeera. If you do know it, good for you, way to be well informed or at least being like me and watching 60 minutes with Anderson Cooper before googling it. For those of you who don’t know, you should.

No, it is not a terrorist organization. People really have to stop assuming such things just because they hear something that sounds of Southwest Asain decent. Al Jazeera is the most incredible thing you’ve never heard of. It is a news network from Qatar that keeps their viewers informed. During the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, people would be watching this! They stream their own reporters and BBC and they hide nothing! I for one, got hooked on BBC while in the Baltic because it was the only news station in English. I was a very shocked American when I found that they had information on the Aurora shooting at the same time CNN did.

I don’t remember if I’ve ranted about U.S. media coverage before, but I just hate that I know more about the world in a minute of scrolling through my BBC app on the bus than I do after watching the news for an hour. Instead of hearing about the young journal writer who was shot by the Taliban, our news station decided to show a video of a mother dancing as she sent her kids to the school bus. I guess I shouldn’t blame them considering only real narcissists around here have even heard about that girl in the first place. As the year went on I stared to relax thinking, Well, they probably don’t do it purposefully, they aren’t forcing us to be in the dark or anything, people might just freak out and want to remain ignorant and they just want to keep viewers… Well that seemed fine until I heard the name Al Jazeera pop up.

Apparently, Al Jazeera has bought an American channel, in which they will show their news show. I was thinking Well this will be nice! Some uncensored news, a global different viewpoint, no right and left stuff. This will be good... Obviously a certain cable package did not share my views. I can’t remember but I’m fairly sure it was Time Warner Cable who dropped the channel altogether. No matter what package, you can’t get this with TWC. That was indeed a huge disappointment for me, and definitely a statement for most of United States Media… Sadly.

Here is a clip from the Al Jazeera online site discussing the topic of their buying a U.S. station.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2013/01/201311113732647954.html#.UPOCM3NClIE.gmail

And this is a wonderful segment on an incredible, free health care, tax-free nation of Qatar. Completely unbelievable and very, noble if that’s the right word, a really cool idea, I have to wonder how they figured out the Rubix Cube on this. That was a joke if it didn’t translate into written text well.

Piers Morgan on Gun Control in the U.S.

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Well, I haven’t posted in a while but this intrigued me very much. I always knew there was a reason why I could watch CNN but not Mr. Morgan… The first few minutes basically sums that up.

What I love in situations like this is that Piers is like a cat in a corner. He just starts swinging and scratching when he is feeling threatened; however he doesn’t really seem to think it through. Frankly, bravo to his guest. This isn’t his show but he certainly stood his ground and backed up what he was saying without making himself look totally ignorant, sorry I can’t say the same for the host. For Morgan this is almost embarrassing. Just goes to show, there are some people who you can trip up and others who know what they are saying and can keep a head calm enough to explain to you that you are babbling and in all honesty making no kind of sense.

I understand that Piers Morgan has many fans whom I might be offending, this is only one persons opinion based on one clip I saw. But, think about the fact that, as a reporter, you never know who is watching or when they see it. This is a horrible way to be presented and I feel very bad that this is my first impression of him, but it should be a little reminder to treat every night and day like a first impression.

No, I don’t watch Piers Morgan, but in my opinion, if you want to watch something very thorough that keeps you up to date on everything business, global, and political, check out Fareed Zakaria. An awesome show, definitely worth watching even if its only once. I watch him with my grandmother when it’s on and it really gets us thinking.

Camp 14: A Concentration Camp in North Korea

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I flipped to catch 60 minutes tonight and what do I find? For 23 years, a man was born and raised in a concentration camp. The infamous Camp 14 is located a few miles from Pyongyang and is used to hold political prisoners. It doesn’t only hold politicians, but their family members as well. Children go to school and are taught the ways of the camp. This man who escaped said “If you escape, you are shot. If you plan to escape, you are shot.” Sound familiar? This story immediately made me think of Eli Wiesel’s recollection of Auschwitz in WWII. I thought that the world had moved on from those dark times but apparently I was wrong. In this camp, the boy who escaped had been tortured so brutally that his arms are no longer straight. He witnessed a young girl get beaten for hoarding corn. Even his own parents may not have really loved each other. Their marriage was arranged for good behavior. They didn’t even see each other unless it was a reward. The man couldn’t even identify the word love when asked by Anderson Cooper on CBS’ 60 Minutes. I still don’t know how he escaped but I do know that he is the first person to be born there and escape. He is a third generation of that camp. When I describe this to people, the thoughts that come up are slavery, Nazis, all sorts of horrible things. For me I think the worst thing is not being able to comprehend love. That’s just so alien to me. I hope the best for him, many people who have met him say that he is very kind.

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Camp-14-Remarkable-Odyssey/dp/0670023329

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fcbsn.ws%2FYG4Mnb&h=uAQE-KzzoAQE0xWcz8l-xfnRhAc4o1t9WZtcyiAGxwuQH6Q&enc=AZMpy__fsHt7z5OYUTDO7dtMims5-bBZ_qO7NWI_HH_zC5_IGdLKaOR9gx4hk667nhpYWAjUFS-YisdKQn2LZxdc&s=1

Sorry I can’t get the 60 Minutes link at this time but please look for it, the interview is amazing

Black Friday

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The Victorias Secret ‘Black Friday’ sale has seen some black eyes: This year during Victorias Secret’s annual Black Friday sale, fights broke out across the country, with many malls having to call police to the spot, girls and men alike were seen throwing punches for yoga pants. Local and National news has been flooded with homemade videos of people fighting each other for these sale prices at various stores. Two women started fighting over a video game at Walmart, while two men took their fighting outside of the Victoria’s Secret where they were shopping. Crowds grew and ripped open bags with products in them at another Walmart and it doesn’t get any kinder from there. Last year many people died at Black Friday sales, especially in Walmart, being trampled by other people. The United States are known worldwide for our ‘Black Friday’ when Americans go hostile for great bargains; however, on the scene, this particular sale can be more scary than satisfying as people wait for days, run and, yes, even fight for items that are usually gone by the time you get there. Nowadays, mega-stores, like Walmart, Best Buy, and Kohl’s train their employees to be prepared for these rough crowds. ‘Black Friday’ may become more safe in years to come by losing popularity: in the U.S. this year,the total sales from the infamous Friday have actually gone down, while more people waited for what is now called ‘Cyber Monday’, a day where stores or online shopping sites like Amazon have limited inventory but incredible online sales, adding to the discount most stores already give their customers online. In the end it’s still ironic that we go through all this trouble mere minutes after being thankful for what we already have.