Friday Night Think Tank: Are We Hopelessly Trumped?

Are We Hopelessly Trumped? | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherIt’s Friday night, Modern Philosophers!

I know the Friday Night Think Tank has been closed for a long time, but it’s a gorgeous night, Def Leppard is in concert across the river, and I thought it would be a perfect night to reopen the place and fill it with Deep Thoughts.

It’s been a very long week for me, and I’m glad that it’s finally over.  Who’s up for a little light philosophy as the Heavy Metal blasts in the background?

Nothing makes me unwind more than putting on my toga and just letting the Deep Thoughts flow…

This week’s topic:  Are we hopelessly Trumped?  Can the worst case scenarios really be that horrendous?  I mean one man can’t bring about the Apocalypse all by himself, can he?

I don’t know what to think anymore, Modern Philosophers.  This all started out as a ridiculous prank and publicity stunt that lent itself to funny blog posts and an incredible number of late night monologue jokes.

I figured I’d milk the easy Trump humor for a couple of months and then he’d fade away and leave the Republican Presidential nomination to one of the actual politicians.

How did it ever get this far?  How is Donald Trump the Republican nominee?

Friday Night Think Tank: Are We Hopelessly Trumped?Of course, as easy as it is to believe that Trump would be a horrible President, is it even possible that he can actually be that bad?  Doesn’t our political system prevent one branch of the government from having too much power?  Wouldn’t people step in to shut down Hurricane Trump before it caused too much destruction?

And what about the man himself?  He can’t really believe all the nonsense that spews from his mouth.  If he were elected President, he’d tone it down and act like a normal human being with common sense and morals, right?

It’s a tough one to call, but as frightened as I am of Future President Trump, something inside me tells me that America won’t turn into a Mad Max style wasteland after Trump spends a few years in the White House.  We did survive George W. Bush if you recall…

What do you guys think?

In this week’s column on The Good Men Project, I take a deeper look at what might be going on inside Trump’s head.  Originally entitled “What If Trump Just Needs A Hug?“, it boldly goes where no one else dare tread.  Can we just hug it out with Trump?

You can find that article here:

You can also vote to follow me on Pinterest…

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Please Don’t Read This!

Please Don't Read This! | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherI hope you’re not wasting your time reading this, Modern Philosophers, because I really don’t have anything to say.

It’s a quiet night at The House on the Hill, there’s a light rain falling, and I just felt like sitting out on the porch and enjoying the evening.

Of course, my favorite way to spend a rainy night is by writing.  So even if I don’t have anything intelligent to say, I like to open up the laptop and allow my fingers to do that little dance on the keyboard that they do so well.

It occurred to me tonight, as I sat out here listening to the rain, that I now know a great deal about a particular legal area that meant absolutely nothing to me a year ago.  I had a long, detailed conversation today with a coworker, who is also quite knowledgeable in this subject, and realized that my brain has absorbed a lot of information on the topic in such a short period of time.

Life is cool that way.  We’re never quite done learning I guess.

Who knew that I’d care so much about “importing foreign valuables” this late in life?  I guess when something catches your eye, and you decide you absolutely must have it, you do whatever it takes to make sure it ends up where you know it belongs.

Of course, I’ll probably catch hell for that last paragraph, but that’s the fun of writing.  And it was all typed out with love.

.33 Reverse Gunther --- a screenplay by The Modern PhilosopherAfter a long hiatus from screenwriting, I now can’t seem to turn off that part of my brain.  I touched base with Matthias last night about progress on Gunther.

Coming up with the financing for a film is definitely not the glamorous side of the movie business, but it is essential.

Matthias’ answers didn’t shake my world to its core, but he assured me progress was being made.  If slow and steady wins the race, Gunther’s journey from screenplay to feature film is going to win a gold medal.

We also talked about some of my other scripts that he’d like to make.  It definitely got my creative juices flowing to know that he sees this as a multi-picture partnership.  There are some screenplays that I’m going to need to dig out, dust off, and put through the rewrite process in the immediate future.  I’ve ignored them for years, but now might finally be the time for these forgotten stories to live up to their potential.

Even more importantly, there’s a new screenplay bubbling over in my brain.  I can’t get it off my mind, and every day, more details fall into place.  What was a vague idea two weeks ago is now shaping up to be my next great thriller.

I can’t even describe how exciting it is to be totally consumed with a screenplay idea.  Entire scenes just play out into my head, as if I were watching them in a movie theater, with absolutely no warning.

I find the script’s characters having long, uninterrupted conversations in my mind, and I feel guilty for eavesdropping on them.  Truth be told, though, their lives are so much more interesting than mine!

Keep's an addiction!Snippets of ideas, which seemed so inconsequential a week ago, blossom into fully formed scenes and then link up with others until almost the entire first act has taken shape inside my brain.

The time is coming, Modern Philosophers, when I’m going to grab the laptop, open Final Draft, and type FADE IN.

Once that happens, I hope to tumble down the rabbit hole of my imagination and not emerge again until a first draft is done.

Please don’t read this post, Modern Philosophers!  It’s just the confused, excited ramblings of a writer who has a screenplay growing inside his head.

Isn’t it awesome?

You should follow me on Pinterest.  I’m usually right about these things…

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After Dinner Mints: When Time Doesn’t Break

When Time Doesn't Break | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherDo you ever get the sense, Modern Philosophers, that time is standing still?

It happens to me every Monday through Friday from 8:30am until 5:00pm.  My work day absolutely drags, and I swear that my employers are somehow messing with the space-time continuum to keep me at the office much longer than my paycheck actually reflects.

If my weekends would drag along at the pace of a work day, I wouldn’t mind so much.  Clearly, the time added to my work days is deducted from the weekend, and that is not at all fair.

Since there’s absolutely nothing I can do about this until I perfect my time machine, the best I can do is enjoy my two fifteen minute breaks and my lunch break, and then pray for 5:00 to not take an eternity to arrive.

To make my breaks as enjoyable as possible, I coordinate them with the schedule of my significant other.  I take my morning break when she is leaving work so that I can talk to her on her walk home.  My lunch break is planned around when she returns from the gym, and my afternoon break is usually at a time when she is unwinding after dinner.

We don’t talk on every break, but by keeping to this schedule, we optimize the amount of time we can have together during the day, and this makes my 8:30 – 5:00 daily sentence much easier to tolerate.

And nothing makes me happier than hearing her voice, regardless of how challenging my work day might be.

Today, however, it all when to $%^&.  Excuse my colorful use of keyboard symbols, but it was just that kind of day.

My morning got extremely busy right around when I would normally take my break.  I had to handle three urgent situations at the same time, and when everything was eventually resolved, it was an hour past when I would usually head outside to make the call that boosts my spirits and causes the butterflies in my tummy to rapidly flap their wings.

Shortly thereafter, I had to go into a meeting that lasted an eternity, and that made me miss my lunch time call as today was late gym class day.

After Dinner Mints: When Time Doesn't BreakBy the time 3:45 rolled around, I didn’t care what was happening.  I was going out to my car to make a call, and nothing was going to stop me.

Well, the torrential downpour actually kept me trapped inside as I couldn’t risk melting.  I made the most of the situation, though, and found a dry spot under the awning where I could reach out and touch someone via the magic of cellular technology.

Of course, my fifteen minutes flew by at the speed of light, but I didn’t really care.  It’s impossible for me to be upset when that voice is purring in my ear.

I hate it when time doesn’t break the way I want, but by taking a more positive approach to life lately, I’ve learned to better enjoy the awesome moments, however brief they may be.

Tomorrow is another day, and I’m looking forward to my breaks and the increase in heart rate that I will experience during them.

Next time you take a break, why not follow me on Pinterest?

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Monday Morning Coffee Club: 6/20/16

Monday Morning Coffee Club: 6/20/16Once again, Modern Philosophers, the weekend has gone out to the store for cigarettes and milk and not returned.

How do we keep falling for this every week?  Why do we love the weekend so much when we know it’s just going to abandon us once it’s gotten its fill of us?  Is our self esteem so abysmal that we will remain in such an abusive relationship for the rest of our lives?

I guess we all make a choice to love the weekend when we know its character.  The bad boy persona that the weekend exudes is probably what attracts us to it.

Okay, maybe I should start drinking coffee.  Otherwise, I will end up writing 500 words about this one-sided relationship we have with the weekend and the need for us to all demand that it joins us for couples counseling.

This is what happens when I write in a zombie-like state.  The first thing out of my head and onto the page is usually extremely bizarre.

Speaking of bizarre, I had a dream last night that my significant other and I were out for a run in Brooklyn.  I kept looking over my shoulder for my nephew and brother-in-law, whom we were apparently racing.

We were running on the sidewalk for some reason and constantly dodging pedestrians, who were going about their merry way at a snail’s pace.

Eventually, we made it to a street with an extreme incline.  Even though our pursuers were nowhere to be seen, I insisted that we pick up the pace and take the hill as quickly as possible.  My companion agreed, so we began our assent.

That’s when the snows came and the sidewalk was instantly covered in several inches of the white stuff.  For some reason, I was now encumbered by a heavy backpack, and my running mate latched onto it because she could not gain her footing in the snow.

Just RunNow I was trying to run uphill, in the snow, carrying a heavy backpack, and dragging a human being along for the trek.

Eventually, we fell, slid down the street, and ended up in a pile of snow on the corner.

But we were laughing hysterically, tossing snow at each other, and ended up kissing in an extremely lovey dovey manner.

I don’t even need to look up the meaning of this dream.  Clearly, it’s saying that I would enjoy running much more if I did it with my extremely attractive better half and incorporated flirty snow play and kissing in the activity.

Sometimes, my dreams are so difficult to interpret, and other times they are just like an instruction manual for my life.

I’m not sure what this week has in store for me, but I think it’s time to mentally prepare for it.  Before I head off for my moment of showery zen, I just wanted to remind you to help yourself to the coffee.  Please don’t tip the interns, though, because then they will expect money from me for doing their jobs.

Happy Monday!

Want me to interpret your dreams?  Give me the details in the comments section.  Make my dreams come true by following me on Pinterest…

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Father’s Day Can Be Hell

Father's Day Can Be Hell | The Return of the Modern Philsopher“Since I know Father’s Day can be difficult for you, I promise not to be as much of a…challenge,” The Devil finally found the word he was looking for as he stood in the entrance to the living room.

“Challenge is definitely an intriguing choice of words,” I commented with a chuckle from the couch.

“Well, I’m not a master of the language like you, but I believe that it is the best way to describe how I can be on that rare occasion that I’m not charming as Hell!” Lucifer shot back with a wink as he strode into the room.

His impeccably tailored suit looked even more expensive than usual.  Business in Hell must be really booming these days.

“Thank you for being aware of my feelings,” I told him sincerely.  “It really is a day of mixed emotions for me.”

“Because I am aware of that, I’ve taken further measures to make today pleasing for you,” The Prince of Darkness announced.

He snapped his fingers and two of the ugliest Demons ever to haunt this planet appeared in the middle of my living room.

One held an enormous tray of my guest’s world famous Hellfire Wings, and the other carried a case of Snapple in either arm.  They deposited the gifts on the living room table and then melted into a foul smelling green blob that vanished just when I thought it was going to eat through my hardwood floor.

Father's Day Can Be Hell“But wait…” Satan cautioned with the over the top excitement of a game show host, “…there’s more!”

He snapped his fingers at the television and it came to life with the Yankees game, which was not scheduled to be televised in Maine today.

“You’re definitely making this Father’s Day a Hell of a lot better than usual,” I admitted as I grabbed for a wing like I hadn’t had solid food in a week.

The Devil flashed a handsome smile and came around to take his usual spot on the couch.

“Do you want to talk about your Dad?” he asked politely as he handed me a Snapple and then took one for himself.

I wiped an excessive amount of Hellfire sauce off my mouth and reached for more wings.  “Not really,” I answered with a shrug.  “I just miss him, and I wish he were around to meet [REACTED FOR PRIVACY] now that things are progressing to a point where we’re talking about fatherhood and mini versions of me scampering around The House on the Hill.”

“I know it’s probably not much consolation, but they will have their Uncle Lucifer around to look after them and spoil them with presents,” Uncle Lucifer pointed out in a manner that was both sweet and disturbing.

“It’s good to know that you want my children to be raised with a heavy Satanic influence,” I quipped and then devoured another chicken wing.

“Well, that’s just to balance out the super sweet Irish upbringing I assume they’ll be getting from your better half.  I hope you’re praying to my former employer that they have her looks as well,” The Prince of Darkness commented with a Devilish grin.

Happy Father's Day!“You’re lucky you brought wings, Snapple, and the Yankees because there is no way I can throw you out of my house after you’ve been that generous,” I said with a sigh.

“Father’s Day doesn’t have to be depressing, my friend,” Satan informed me with a smile.  “Some day soon, this day is going to have a whole new meaning for you.  You might even find yourself longing for the quieter times of Father’s Days past.”

I knew that he was trying to make me laugh, but I already knew that once I was on the receiving end of Father’s Day love, I’d never want to go back to the way it used to be.

Happy Father’s Day.  I love you, Dad!

If you’d like to read the heartfelt letter I wrote to my Dad for Father’s Day, please check out my column on The Good Men Project.  Here’s the link:

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Dad: My Angel on the Basepaths

Dad: My Angel on the BasepathsSince it’s Father’s Day, Modern Philosophers, I thought I’d share one of my favorite stories about my Dad.

I was never very good at baseball, but I was very enthusiastic about playing it.  I was a devoted fan of the Yankees and wanted to play for the team once I was old enough to not need a ride to my games every week.

I joined Little League when I was seven and played for the Angels.  I remember being so excited the day that I got my uniform that I slept in it that night.

Weird, yet adorable, right?

Since I was only seven, my Dad would take me to the games and then stay to watch me try not to embarrass myself too much.

On one Little League Sunday, an umpire didn’t show up for the game, so Dear Old Dad, who couldn’t say no to anyone, got coerced into ump duty.

By some miracle of the baseball gods, I managed to reach first base.  Most likely, I was hit by a pitch, but there’s also the outside chance that I drew a walk.  I’d say there is zero percent probability that I smacked a line drive into the outfield for a base hit.

Once I was on first, an occurrence that happened about as rarely as Donald Trump says something nice about a foreigner, all I wanted to so was wave to my Dad, who was now positioned between first and second.

Being ever the professional, Dad did his best to ignore me and focus on the action.  I just kept talking to him, though, like we were the only two people out on the field.

Look at how cute I was!The next batter, who could actually hit since the lineup had turned over once the worst hitter in the order had done his business, slammed a ball into the outfield.

I knew enough to run from first base to second base, and once I arrived at my new destination, I excitedly yelled to my Dad that I’d made it.

The only problem was, my teammate had hit the ball deep into the outfield, and he had rounded first and was headed right for me.

We couldn’t both be on second base at the same time.  I needed to keep moving and head for third, maybe even try to score.

But all I cared about was telling my Dad that I’d made it safely to second.  I yelled this to him over and over as the other runner closed in on my position.

My Dad, who was really the umpire at the moment and not my father, whispered to me to run, to go to the next base, to keep moving.

But I just kept waving to him.

My teammates and coaches were screaming at me to run, too, but I was young, dorky, and just wanted to make my Dad proud.

Finally, just before the second runner arrived at the base, my Dad nudged me off of the bag and told me to run to third.  Confused, stunned, but thrilled to have Dad’s attention, I did exactly as I was told.

The play ended with me on third and my much better hitting teammate on second.  At this point, I started waving to my Dad excitedly from third base.

The opposing manager came out to argue with the umpire, aka my Dad, about the fact that it seemed like he had physically removed the base runner, aka me, from second base and shoved him in the direction of third.

That, of course, would be illegal, bizarre, and unprecedented in the sport.

A couple of sharp dressed men!My Dad insisted that nothing like that had happened as I continued to wave at him from third base as if I hadn’t seen him in twenty years and this was our long awaited reunion.

The other manager didn’t like the answer he got, but you really can’t argue with the umpire, so he went back to his dugout to mope.

My poor Dad, the nicest man in the world, had been forced to lie and cheat because his son was a horrible baseball player, who loved him too much to pay any attention to what was happening on the field.

I love telling that story, even though it makes me look like a total airhead, because it perfectly sums up exactly how great of a father Big Austin was.  He shouldn’t have even been umpiring that game, and he ended up in the middle of a big time Little League controversy, but he handled it in a way that allowed me to avoid a major embarrassment.

I’d like to say that my baseball skills improved over the years, but they pretty much remained the same.  What I can say, however, is that my Dad never again allowed himself to be talked into umpiring.

I love you, Dad.  You were my angel on the basepaths, and now you’re my angel up in Heaven.  Thanks for keeping an eye on me and preventing me from getting doubled up down here.

Happy Father’s Day!

I promise not to coach your kid’s Little League team if you follow me on Pinterest!

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Oops! I Went For A Run

Oops! I Went For A Run | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherWe all have accidents, Modern Philosophers.

Without them, some of us might not even be here.  I know that line was a little harsh, but numbers are down on the blog, and my adviser told me I needed to be a little edgier.

I think he’s a tool, though, so don’t expect many more rude outbursts like that.  It’s not my style, and I really shouldn’t have allowed that sentence to be published.

Like I said, though, accidents happen…

You might have noticed that there has been a substantial drop off in the number of fitness posts lately.

That’s because I’ve been slacking off again.

It’s not exactly my fault this time, though.  Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.  I did something to my leg a few weeks ago.  I’m not sure what it was, but there are times when it hurts or I get up from my desk and have to walk with a noticeable limp.

I think I strained my hamstring or groin, but I’ve been keeping it on the down low because I didn’t want to go to the doctor and have to pay for an ultrasound to tell me that I strained my hamstring or groin.

As a result, I’ve been taking it easy, allowing my body to heal, and dodging questions about why I haven’t been running or going to the gym.

This morning, I decided it was time to do something active.  It’s a gorgeous day in Maine, and I couldn’t just sit it out nursing an injury of an undetermined nature.

I might want to shave when I get back from my run...So, I decided to go for a walk.  I figured a half hour of walking, while not the same as a half hour of running, was better than no exercise at all.  Besides, how could I not be out in this weather?  Maine doesn’t get many days like this, and I wanted to take advantage of it before the snow returned.

About a quarter mile in, I decided to test my leg.  I was going uphill, which would force me to take it nice and slow, so it was the perfect time to see if I could handle a pace above “lazy walker”.

To my delight, I was able to make it up the hill and turn onto Eastern Avenue without incident.

I slowed it back down to a walk so as not to overdo it.  Plus, it’s easier to pat myself on the back at a slower pace.

After about a minute and a half, I was fairly certain that my leg wasn’t going to fall off, so I picked up the pace again.  This time, my goal was to make it to the 1.5 mile mark, and then walk for a bit as I headed back to The House on the Hill.

I’m infamous for pushing myself too hard after an injury, so I was determined to take it slow.  There wasn’t supposed to be running of any kind on this adventure, so I had already become an accidental runner, which probably wasn’t the best idea.

With that in mind, I hit the halfway point of my run, and then completely ignored my vow to take it easy.

I might not have a runner's mindset, but I do have a runner's legs...I didn’t stop running (trust me, I wasn’t moving that quickly) until I’d make it back to The House on the Hill.  Then I paused to take some selfies because that’s what runners do in this day and age.

It wasn’t my intention to run almost three miles today, Modern Philosophers.

It just happened by accident…

Of course, I’ve got to pound the pavement to keep my legs looking like that.  Sexy runner’s legs are no accident, my friends.

Oops!  I went for a run.  And I’m damn glad I did.

You know what might whip you into shape?  Following me on Pinterest!

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