December 1st

After coming out of “retirement” following the election, I’ve spent some time debating whether or not to continue writing here on a regular basis. I realize this seems like a lot of angst for a blog that doesn’t have an especially large dedicated readership, but I’ve spent a lot of time and energy on this site over the past several years, so it’s been tough to walk away for good.

I considered doing another 31 Days of Blogging this December, and treat that as the grand finale, but I soon realized that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. In past years, the task of blogging every day for a month seemed imposing, but I also looked forward to it. I didn’t feel that same sense of anticipation this year. The prospect of writing something for 31 straight days felt like more of an obligation than anything.

Did I really want to review another Barenaked Ladies video? Did I want to critique another episode of G.I.Joe? Did I want to bring back Michael Buble on Christmas? I realized that the answer was no. I also suspected that blogging in December would lead to blogging in January, and then February, and then forevermore.

Bad news for all you BNL fans (Image source

Bad news for all you BNL fans (Image source

And so, I am once again saying goodbye to the blogging world. For the few of you who really look forward to my posts (Hi, Squinty!), I’m sure this is bad news. For everyone else, you may carry on as normal.

My “unretirement” did allow me to remedy something: I felt like I shouldn’t have wrapped up the blog without giving mention to some of my fellow bloggers. Now that I’ve accomplished that, I can really end this with no regrets.

I was very satisfied with my farewell post, and thought it was a great way to end things. Therefore, I’m going to chronologically adjust the date so that when future generations study The Cutter Rambles, that will be the last post they come across. Is that “cheating?” Probably. On the other hand, it’s a blog, and I can do whatever the heck I want.

So for the second time, I wish you all a fond farewell and thanks for reading! And may your December be merry and bright!

Posted in 31 Days of Blogging, Randomness | Tagged , | 5 Comments

A Trip Through the Blogroll

I’d like to think that my brief retirement from the blogging world caused a huge void in many of your lives. I can picture you panicking when didn’t know where to turn to get your fill of opinions on random subjects.

To prevent that from happening again, I’ve decided to provide a public service and share some links to some other blogs which I’ve read and enjoyed. For many of my fellow bloggers, you’re probably already following these sites, but who knows, maybe there are a couple that you’ve missed? For my non-blogging friends, if you’ve liked what I had to say, you’ll probably like these as well.

If you enjoy what you read, please don’t be shy about clicking the “Like” button or writing a comment. Most of these bloggers aren’t making any money from their sites, and their only real reward is receiving acknowledgement that their work was read and appreciated.

I’ve tried to provide a one sentence summary of these blogs, which really doesn’t do them justice. If any of the authors take offense, I apologize and assure that you that no insult was intended.

Alice at Wonderland – An attempt to explain the chaotic world via Alice in Wonderland and other Disney stories.

Becoming Cliche – The adventures of a friendly zookeeper who loves turtles and kids (not necessarily in that order).

Bloggity Ramblings – Legos and Deadpool help make everything just a little better.

A Buick in the Land of Lexus – A former wild child tries to adjust to life as a suburban mom.

errinspelling – A collection of haikus and other offbeat poetry.

Evil Squirrel’s Nest – The blogosphere’s utmost collection of retro TV ads, random songs, original cartoons, and of course, squirrels.

Fish of Gold – A woman’s struggle to thrive despite the monsters she’s encountered.

Kevin Hellriegel’s Blog of Worthless Advice – Despite what the name says, sometimes the advice is quite useful.

List of X – Humorous world commentary presented ten items at a time.

The Matticus Kingdom – Tales from the kingdom that is America from the perspective of the friendly jester.

Mental Defecation – A Stormtrooper faces the challenges of raising twins and mental illness.

Midlife Crisis Crossover – Dealing with middle age via road trips and geek culture.

Movin’ it with Michelle – A military wife handling life one race at a time.

Polysyllabic Profundities – Self-reflection via poetry and inspiring quotes.

Rarasaur – The blogging world’s preeminent dinosaur who refuses to abandon her positive attitude.

The Return of the Modern Philosopher – Some deep thoughts about Back to the Future, Lucifer, and other issues affecting America.

You’ve Been Hooked – What kind of trouble can a bellman at a Niagara Falls hotel get into?

I’m sure I excluded some excellent bloggers. It was accidental, I assure you. But if any of you have any must-read sites, please share them in the comments!

Otherwise, happy reading!

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Giving Thanks

My last two posts haven’t been especially happy, but can you blame me? Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen racists and neo-Nazis become emboldened, the Democratic party seems to be falling apart, and in a few months time, America is going to be led by the real world equivalent of the Legion of Doom. (The comic book coalition of evil doers, not the wrestling tag team or Philadelphia Flyers line.) But I’m tired of focusing on the negative. It’s Thanksgiving, and damn it, I’m going to find something positive to write about!

Here are a few reasons why I can be thankful today:

The Philadelphia Eagles are still in the playoff hunt

Eagles fans can feel thankful for Carson Wentz. (Image source)

Eagles fans can feel thankful for Carson Wentz. (Image source)

Last weekend’s game against the Seahawks didn’t go so well, but overall, the team is doing much better than people expected. Once the team named rookie quarterback Carson Wentz the starter, this felt like a lost season. But Wentz has looked pretty good, and despite some major flaws, the Eagles have held their own.

They’re 5-5 and facing a not-too-imposing stretch run schedule. A 10-6 record isn’t out of the question. Unfortunately, that might not be enough to get them into the playoffs, but at least they’ll be playing meaningful games into December.

My friends have given me hope

My previous post was inspired by a few people on social media acting indifferent – or worse – about hateful acts. I’m happy to say that since that day, I’ve been heartened by the reactions I’ve seen from most of my friends on Facebook. I’ve seen many friends speak out against the “alt right” movement. I’ve seen friends express disgust at Steve Bannon’s appointment- and more importantly, I’ve seen them take action.

I may not be happy about the future of the nation’s leadership, and I may question why the election went the way it did, but at least I know that there are a lot of good people in this world.

It’s the holiday season!

If you went based on stores’ seasonal displays, then the Christmas season started some time in October, but Thanksgiving is when things really kick into high gear. Some people might dread this time of year, but as I’ve written before, I’m a big fan. Everything just seems a little happier in December. We get festive decorations, joyful music, and lots of parties and events.

Of course the most important reason to be thankful is my family. The world may not always be a great place, and bad things will still happen. But I’m surrounded by a loving family, and that makes everything okay. The kids may drive me nuts at times – and they most certainly will over the four-day weekend – but I’m certainly thankful that I have them.

I hope all of my readers have something or someone they’re thankful for too. Happy Thanksgiving!

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My Question to the Deplorables

Yeah, so I guess that whole “I’m not blogging anymore” thing was about as authentic as most campaign promises. The events of this week have understandably gotten me fired up, so it seems that The Cutter Rambles is back open for business. (For now, at least)

I’m here to bring you an analogy involving sports. For all my non-sports fans readers, I assure you that this post isn’t really about sports, and that you can continue to read.

Philadelphia fans do not have the best reputation in the sports world. When most people think of Philly fans, they think of batteries being thrown at opposing players. They envision fans of the visiting team being harassed and beaten. They see snowballs being thrown onto the field. Most prominently, the stereotypical Philly fan is considered to be an awful person who would go as far as to boo Santa Claus.

Some Philly fans revel in that reputation. They love the fact that other fans are scared of them. They feel anyone wearing a Cowboys jersey into Lincoln Financial Field should be yelled at and have beer poured upon them. They want to be part of the most hated fan base in sports.

Most fans do not actually fit that stereotype. Most fans in attendance at an Eagles game do not engage in any subversive behavior and act like perfect (albeit overemotional at times) citizens.

Last Spring, after Flyers team owner Ed Snider passed away, the team gave away commemorative bracelets to fans who attended the following game. Unfortunately, a combination of poor play by the Flyers and some poor calls by the refs made the fans a bit agitated. Some of them reacted by throwing their bracelets onto the ice:

Most Flyers fans were disgusted by the act. They condemned the fans who threw the bracelets and called for their peers to stop acting in such a manner.

In many ways, Trump supporters are a lot like Philly fans. (Which is ironic considering how little support Trump received in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties.)

Hillary Clinton famously (and unfortunately as it turns out) condemned a percentage of Trump supporters to be deplorable. She said that Trump’s voting base contained racists, and bigots. And sure enough, for some of them, that description was completely accurate.

My hope is that most people who voted for Trump are not actually bigots or racists. I hope that most voted for him for financial reasons, or because they can’t stand Hillary Clinton, or because they felt desperate, or simply because they’ve always voted Republican, their family has always voted Republican, and their family will continue to vote Republican until the end of time.

It was somewhat surprising to see so many Trump supporters take that deplorable tag and wear it as a badge of honor. Ironic or not, they didn’t seem to think that lumping themselves together with neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan was a bad idea. They didn’t seem to realize that by calling themselves deplorable, they were essentially telling people, “Yes, I’m a bigot and proud of it!”

Now that the election is over, there have been several stories about racist graffiti, or racial taunts at schools. While it’s foolish to blame Trump for racism and bigotry existing in America, it also doesn’t feel like a reach to say that his campaign implicitly encouraged it.

deplorable-me1Since the election, I’ve heard Trump supporters claim we need to “come together,” and move past the anger and hatred. To those people, I have a question: If you truly want to come together, then why don’t you start by condemning the racist behavior? Why don’t you make it clear that you are just as angry that it’s happening? Perhaps you can call upon your choice for president to do the same?

The president-elect made a nice little speech after his victory. He talked about wanting to unite the country and move ahead. If he’s really serious about that, why not make a few good faith gestures to the people who opposed him?

  1. Tell Congress that they need to respect the office of the presidency and give Merrick Garland a hearing.
  2. Reassure all of the people fearful of losing their health care coverage after the inevitable repeal of the ACA that they will still be able to obtain health insurance under the new system.
  3. Denounce the hate. All it would take is a simple speech. I’ll even help you out, Donald. Just say something like this:

I am saddened to see acts of hatred carried out in my name. I am saddened to see that people have co-opted my campaign slogan to make it about white supremacy and antisemitism. I am saddened to think that my victory has caused anyone to carry out an act of violence or terror upon others.

I do not stand for hatred. I stand for making America great, and part of that is to make us unified. If you truly want to show your support for me and my presidency then you will not carry out despicable acts in my name or anyone’s name. You will act in a civil manner and treat your fellow Americans – regardless of race, gender, or religion – with respect and dignity.

Do I think Trump would ever do any of those things? No. And would it really make me feel much better if he did? Probably not. But at least it would be a sign that his reign won’t be the disaster that many of us believe it will be.

As for the rest of you, where do you stand? Are you happy to be lumped in with the deplorables? Or are you as disgusted as I am?

If you are disgusted, then stop defending Trump’s role in promoting hate, stop defending his supporters, and stop telling us to “move on.” Stand up for your fellow man and denounce the hate.

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Twilight in America

That didn’t take long.

Less than two weeks after I wrote my “final” post, I’m back. I wasn’t sure I wanted to write this, because my last post ended on an optimistic note, and this one will be far less positive. But I had some things I wanted to say, and I didn’t think Facebook or Twitter were the right places for it.

Remember when I wasn’t sure if this blog was anything more than a public diary? Well, this one certainly fits into that category. I’m writing this more for my sake than anyone who might happen to read it. As I write this, I’m not entirely sure I’m even going to publish it. Even if I do, I’ll probably remove it at some point.

If you couldn’t guess, I’m writing because of the results of last night’s presidential election. As you may have surmised, I’m not happy.

Last night, as Mrs. Cutter and I watched the results unfold, she was growing increasingly upset as the situation grew more dire for Hillary Clinton. I may have handled it a little better, and that’s only because I recognized the awful feeling. It was the same feeling I got when Ronde Barber intercepted Donovan McNabb in the 2003 NFC Championship Game. It was the same feeling I got when the Phillies failed to score a run in game five of the 2011 NLDS. It’s the feeling the the team that you love and support and care deeply for is about to lose.

That’s where the comparison should end. Those were just sporting events. The world continued on, and the Eagles and Phillies both resumed play the following season at 0-0, ready to give it another try. This is different. The world will continue on, but it has changed dramatically. And I don’t think we’ll be able to start over in four years with a 0-0 record.

America has spoken…kind of. For the second time in 16 years, a presidential candidate has received the majority of the popular vote, but come out on the losing end of the electoral college.

From what I’ve seen on social media, my fellow Hillary supporters aren’t as much disappointed that she lost – although they’re certainly upset about that – but more upset that almost half the country voted for Trump. More than half the populace thought that a man who promoted a racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic campaign would make a fine chief executive.

I tried to understand what would cause a person to vote for Trump. I really did. If you voted for him because you really felt like the establishment had left you behind and you had no other hope, then I pity you. I truly can’t understand the kind of desperation that would make you turn to a man like that for hope.

If you voted for Trump because you were worried that a Clinton presidency would keep you from inflicting your religious beliefs on others, or because you couldn’t stomach the thought of a female president, or you were worried that it might be a little harder for you to get a gun, then I have no use for you. If you voted Trump because you wanted to show that America belongs to white men, then I consider you to be sad and pathetic.

Regardless of why people voted for him, President Trump is now no longer a joke on the Simpsons. Come January, it is going to be reality.

In this new reality, I will likely be fine. Thanks to my standing as a white, upper middle class male living in Maryland, my life probably won’t be directly affected much, if at all. In fact, there’s a decent chance that my taxes will be going down.

Not everyone will be so lucky. Those who were finally able to obtain health care thanks to the ACA may no longer be able to get coverage. My LGBT friends who were so overjoyed that they could finally get married are now understandably worried that it won’t be an option anymore. How comfortable are minorities and Muslims going to feel now that the alt right and hate groups have been emboldened by this campaign and victory? And as for those tax breaks…they aren’t going to seem quite as nice when the national debt skyrockets thanks to Trump’s budget.

I’m trying to hold out hope that things won’t be as bad as some fear. When discussing Trump last week, I remarked that maybe I’m not all that different from him. I can be rude, brash, and belligerent. I sometimes like to instigate trouble, and I can sometimes be a bully. When asked why I’d oppose to a man with which I have so much in common, I asked them, “Would you want me to be president?”

Maybe I’m just rationalizing here, but despite my flaws, I do have a conscience. I’d like to think if I ever found myself in the Oval Office that I would do the right thing for the people of the nation.

My hope is that Trump is not actually his public persona. My hope is that he did and said what he had to in order to get elected, and the reality of his reign will be different. My hope is that he will return to the liberal-leaning ways he used to demonstrate before he decided to run for president. It’s not much hope, but it’s something. It’s better than we would have gotten from Ted Cruz, who absolutely would have attempted to follow through on all of his campaign promises.

I somehow managed to get some sleep last night. At one point, I had a dream that Donald Trump won the election, and I crashed my car after heavily drinking. As it turns out, only half of that dream was real, so maybe this was my brain’s way of telling me that things could always be worse.

After all, I have my family. But in a way, that just makes things worse. My daughter was upset to learn that Hillary lost, but at age six, she doesn’t really understand the magnitude of what happened. When will she realize that her elders might have majorly screwed up the country for her and her siblings.

At what point will they learn that hate is still strong in the country and some people will likely hate them simply because they have a Jewish father. Would they be better off if I told them to ignore their Jewish side?

Of course not. That’s the coward’s way out. Instead, I want to teach them to fight against hatred and evil. I once joked that when the robots tried to conquer the world, my daughter would have to serve as the John Connor of the world and lead humanity to victory. It seems that the apocalypse might be coming sooner than we think. And hey, one positive of the election is that I’ll be able to easily get her any gun she wants so she can get plenty of practice with it!

I once wrote that depending on politicians to enact change and make the world a better place is foolish. That seems more true than ever. If we really want to see the world improve, we all need to do our part.

Before I sent her off to school this morning, I told my daughter to find a classmate who she doesn’t often talk to. I asked her to go up to that classmate and say something nice. It didn’t have to a grand gesture, and it could be something as simple as telling them to have a nice day.

I know it isn’t much, and one simple greeting isn’t going to change the world. But right now, it’s really all I can do.

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Hand in My Pocket

Welcome to the final post on The Cutter Rambles. After over eight(!) years of sharing my thoughts on the world, I’ve decided that I’ve rambled enough. Heck, with over 700 published posts, I’ve rambled enough for several people.

It’s been some time since I felt truly inspired as a blogger, so rather than keep the blog around like a oft-neglected fourth child, I’m going to officially close it out. I’ve said most of what needed to be said (and then some) about both my family and the world. Sure, there are still a few unshared ideas left in my head, but I’m sure everyone will manage not knowing my thoughts on abortion or reading about more plot holes in the original Transformers cartoon.

Before I go, I do have a few more things I’d like to say. And I’ll shall say them with a little help from Alanis Morissette.

I’m broke but I’m happy. I’m poor, but I’m kind

There have been times when writing this blog has felt like a second job. Unfortunately, it remains an unpaid second job, and on more than one occasion I’ve questioned why I was spending so much time on it.

What was I hoping to accomplish? Did I just want a public diary? Did I feel that my thoughts and opinions were so profound that they simply had to be shared with the world? Was I hoping to educate and change people’s minds? Did I hope to gain public notice so that I could become a world-famous author?

I think the answer to all of those question has been yes at some point.

At the very least, my blogging work did help me to become a paid editor of a Philadelphia Phillies site for a short time. I wasn’t a great editor, but maybe I would have become one if the responsibilities of life hadn’t forced me to resign.

As my fellow bloggers can attest, blogging is generally not a path to fortune and fame. There are some success stories, but I don’t know if I would ever be capable of becoming one. It feels like the most successful bloggers aren’t necessarily the best writers, but the best at self-promotion and networking.

There’s also the possibility that maybe – just maybe – I’m not as good of a writer as I’d like to think I am.

I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah

In 2015, the Cutlass was repeatedly getting sick. While we’re thankful that her health seems to have stabilized, we still don’t have any real explanation for why she kept getting fevers. We’ve taken her to all sorts of specialists, and all of them have told us that she seems like an overall healthy child with a few “quirks.”

That’s surely better than hearing definitive news that something is wrong with her, but leaves you with a little bit of doubt. Then again, health is fleeting for all of us. A “perfectly healthy” person could drop dead of a heart attack, stroke, or spontaneous combustion at any point. If a few health quirks are the worst thing that ever happens to her, then the Cutlass has truly lived a charmed life.

cutlass1

I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed

Other parents have asked me what it’s like to raise twins and if it’s that much harder than just one child. My usual answer: What do you think?

I think back to two days after they were born. We were still in the hospital, and it had been a rough day. Mrs. Cutter was still mostly incapacitated, so I was largely responsible for helping her as well as caring for two newborns. It wasn’t easy, especially considering how little I had slept. I somehow had a few minutes to myself so I excused myself from our room and walked through the halls of the hospital. As I walked, I questioned a lot of things, not the least of which was whether I was actually capable of raising three children.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter if I was capable of doing it; it needed to be done, so I’d have to find a way. Obviously, raising twins is difficult, but as long as I don’t think about the enormity of the task, I manage fine. Raising just one child can seem like an impossible job if you think about it too much. If twins are what you have, twins becomes the new normal.

And they’re growing up so fast; They’re two years old and have already started preschool! People have asked me if it’s gotten easier now that they’re older, and in many ways it has. For instance, we can go to sleep at night feeling confident that we won’t get woken up by crying in the middle of the night. We also can allow them to play on their own more without constant supervision. But extra mobility and capability has drawbacks too, and their ability to tell us “no” is a mixed blessing.

What it all comes down to, is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine

Last summer, as we prepared for our annual trip to the beach, Mrs. Cutter and I discussed how it wasn’t going to be an easy trip. We needed to bring a lot of equipment with us, and keeping track of the twins in a non-childproofed house was a difficult task.

On the other hand, I recognized that the distance between “high maintenance” and “too old to want to go on family vacations to the beach” isn’t all that large. There will likely be a day when I find myself wistful for the years when we needed to put up baby gates.

beach1

Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is giving a high five

I have no doubt that Cujo is going to play sports. Like many small boys, he seems to have endless energy. He’ll run around a room, grabbing everything he can get his hands on, and when he gets tired of that, he’ll see how fast he can run into a wall.

But what happens if he decides that sports aren’t for him? The Cutlet’s soccer career didn’t last long, but that wasn’t especially surprising. She’s always leaned towards more traditionally “girly” activities, and despite my efforts, she’s never shown much of an interest in sports.

I don’t think I’ll allow Cujo to give up quite so easily. Consciously or not, I’m going to pressure him to keep playing sports, even if he doesn’t take to them immediately, or even seem to like it. Based on the limited athletic ability of his parents, there’s a decent chance he won’t be a star. How long do I make him keep doing something he doesn’t want to do?

As for the Cutlass, I predict a future in mixed martial arts. When the twins have a physical confrontation, she usually takes the brunt of it, but I have a feeling that’s going to change. I’ve seen the way she runs around. She’s going to be athletic, and there’s going to be a day that she gets tired of her brother’s crap and just wails on him. It’s going to be amazing to behold.

I feel drunk but I’m sober

Sometimes my single friends will ask me what marriage is like. Specifically, they wonder if I get tired of being with the same person?

A large reason we marry someone is because we think we can tolerate them enough to get through the monotony of life. It’s important to go through the “Wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed” routine, and not openly loathe the person you’re doing it with. But that monotony can be dangerous, and I think some marriages fail because the couples get too caught up in it. I can understand how a spouse could become a partner in monotony, and stop being someone who you love or even care about.

Thankfully, Mrs. Cutter and I have managed to stave that off. We still make sure to have periodic date nights, and these nights usually remind me that marriage should be more than just surviving monotony. To me, true love is being married for nine years, having three kids, and still wanting to make out by the dumpsters behind Senor Tequilas. (Don’t ask.)

Maybe those nights don’t happen all the time, but that’s not a realistic expectation. You think every night for Cinderella and the Prince was like when they first met at the ball? Most of their evenings were probably spent lazily hanging around the castle or dealing with minutiae of the kingdom. But as long as they could occasionally recapture that “first night feeling,” I have confidence that Cinderella and the Prince did indeed live happily ever after.

I’m young and I’m underpaid

The new au pair is thankfully working out well, but I still find myself missing the original at times. (I realize I probably should have given her a nickname rather than just referring to her as “au pair.” So, I’ll retroactively name her “Pebbles” after her favorite breakfast cereal.) She still comes to visit, but it’s tough when someone who was essentially a member of your family for two years leaves home.

We we worried how the Cutlet was going to take the transition, but she dealt with it pretty well. It’s possible that she was too distracted by being sick to truly process what was happening. She might have handled it better than I did, and I’ve come to accept that I’m going to have a rough time of it when she eventually goes to college.

I know I still have a few years before then, but life can move pretty quick. For example, Pebbles recently announced that she is pregnant. Mrs. Cutter and I have remarked that we couldn’t imagine having a child at age 22. Then again, I couldn’t imagine leaving my home at age 20 to move to a different continent and take care of infant twins.

Her child is going to fare well. She’s now a Navy wife, so there’s a built-in support system, and if she can handle taking care of twins (with an older child around as well), dealing with a lone baby shouldn’t prove much of a challenge.

And what it all comes down to, is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet

Earlier this year, I became somewhat sad. I was worried that I had already lived the best day of my life, while it was likely that the worst day of my life was still ahead of me. But then I realized that was ridiculous, because this day hadn’t happened yet:

“Fly, Eagles, fly – on the road to victory! E-A-G-L-E-S–EAGLES!!!”

My family happily joined in the singing as the Eagles scored their fifth touchdown of the day. With only minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Eagles’ 28 point lead seemed secure, and it wouldn’t be long until I would finally celebrate a Super Bowl victory.

Less than an hour earlier, we had watched Guns N’ Roses perform the halftime show. I told the kids how most people had lost hope that the Appetite for Destruction lineup would ever get back together, but there they were, belting out “Paradise City” in front of millions of viewers.

My elation was interrupted when Mrs. Cutter looked up from her phone and asked, “Hey, did you see this?”

“What?”

“It seems that NASA has uncovered some new data on Pluto. They’re saying that it was likely a mistake to call it a dwarf planet. They’re not certain, but it looks like they may attempt to re-classify it as a full planet.”

EaglesLogo

I’m sad but I’m laughing

The Cutlet is now a first grader. I thought (hoped?) that grade school would be a seamless transition for her, but there have been some difficulties. She was a “queen bee” at her preschool – everyone knew her, and for the most part loved her. She had to adjust to being one of the smallest and youngest kids in a much larger school.

That’s not to say she has struggled. Her reading and writing are impressive, and seems to get along with most of her classmates, even if they don’t want to play Harry Potter with her at recess. (Mrs. Cutter has been reading the books with her, and she loves them. Unfortunately, they’re probably a little too advanced for most of her classmates. It’s just one of the drawbacks to being such a smart child.)

There have been times when she has been unhappy. For a while, I tried to “fix” this problem, but I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing to fix. Children are allowed to have bad days just like the rest of us. It’s sometimes tough to remember that she’s a person too, complete with moods and feelings.

cutlet1

And what it all boils down to, is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet

I just hope the Cutlet realizes that she truly is capable of anything she wants to do. If she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and work a 9-5 job with a wonderful family, she can do so. If she wants to become president of the United States…that might be a little more difficult, but the possibility exists.

And what it all comes down to my friends is that everything’s just fine, fine, fine

Is my life perfect? No. Are there things I would change? Of course. Who wouldn’t?

Sometimes I look back at times in my life with regret, and think maybe I should have done things differently. But then I realize that had I done so, I probably wouldn’t be here with my family. There might be a different Mrs. Cutter, and the Cutlet, Cujo, and the Cutlass wouldn’t exist.

When I look at it that way, I realize I wouldn’t change a thing, because everything I’ve done, both good and bad, has led me here, and here is pretty good.

Like Cinderella, I feel I’ve reached the “happily ever after” phase of my story. I’m sure there will be challenges and tough times ahead, because that’s what happens in even the happiest of stories. But for the most part, I can’t complain.

RaceCape

Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is hailing a taxi cab

I’d like to thank everyone for reading this blog over the past eight years. Perhaps I haven’t enlightened people’s thinking as much as I hoped, but at the very least, I’d like to think I provided a mildly amusing way to kill some time on the interwebs.

So what’s next for the Cutter?

I’m not planning on giving up writing. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I’m not going to update this site any more. Being my “home,” I always felt obligated to write something here on a semi-regular basis. But I only have so much time and energy to spend writing, and I think that it would be better to spend that time and energy elsewhere.

I may attempt to work on some other blog-like projects, and I’ve come to realize that I ever want to write a novel, I actually have to make an effort to do so. If you’re curious as to what I’ll get up to, or simply can’t go without reading my thoughts, please follow me on Twitter: @CutterRambles.

I also reserve the right to resurrect this blog in the future. It’s possible that one day an important (at least in my mind) thought will come to me, and I’ll simply have to express my opinion in blog form.

Until that day comes, I just want to say thanks for reading!

Posted in Randomness | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

My Favorite Posts

I’ve written over 700 posts on this site. While the majority have been ultimately inconsequential, every so often, I come up with a post that turns out pretty well. Feeling somewhat nostalgic, I decided to look back through the archives and pick out my ten favorite posts.

I’m probably forgetting one or two that I really liked, but 704 posts is a lot to sort through.

In no particular order:

Know Your People

When times get tough, it’s nice to know who your friends are. Sadly, this is a lesson that too many of us learn too late in life – if at all. I’m hoping my children can figure this out early on, but if they struggle, I can always rely on The Simpsons to help me out.

Cleaning out my Closet

It was inevitable that my parents would sell my childhood home one day. When that day finally came, I had to clean out my old stuff and wish the house – and by extension, my childhood – goodbye.

Transformers

MC Hammer vs. Vanilla Ice: A Critical Comparison

I couldn’t decide which album – Please, Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em or To The Extreme – was the greatest party rap album of 1991. Obviously, there was only one way to settle the matter: A Dr. Jack-style breakdown!

Of Mice and Men

The world doesn’t give a crap about your life plan. Nothing drives that point home like seeing two heartbeats on a sonogram.

Fortunate Son

I wondered if it was wrong to push my children to become fans of the Philadelphia sports teams when it’s caused me so much misery. My only hope is that they’ll be luckier than I was.

This post is also notable for featuring a picture of me wearing Jams.

The Movement

The first (but certainly not the last!) time I discussed one of my children’s bowel movements. I’m not sure exactly why I keep writing about my kids’ poop, but then again, I’m not sure why I write anything.

If you don’t like reading about poop, the post also talks about a really trippy Friskies commercial.

I Am Not My Brother/I Am Not My Sister

They shared a womb, they share a birthday and a bedroom; but they are two very different people. I wasn’t sure – and I’m still not – if by doing what is best for both of them, that we aren’t giving either of them exactly what they need.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance!

Not every comic book movie can be a huge blockbuster that everybody loves. Some of them are just crappy sequels with Nicholas Cage. Some say my Cage conversation is too similar to what Andy Samberg did on Saturday Night Live. Did they ever consider that Samberg was ripping ME off?

The 4th Annual Christmas Day Interview with Michael Buble

The Buble interviews are usually fun, and this time, Michael brought (a possibly insane) Idina Menzel along for the ride.

Bill, I Believe this is Killing Me

Sleepless nights, stressful days, and hallucinations; these are just some of the joys that come with infant twins. There were times when I wasn’t sure I would survive the process, and in hindsight, I’m not entirely sure I did.

Long time readers: Are there any glaring omissions?

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A Very Special Visit From Michael Bublé

Only a few more weeks until election day! It can’t come soon enough, because the longer this process goes on, the more pessimistic I’ve become about the future of America. It seems hard for me to believe that so many people support a man who seems to not only be tremendously unqualified for the presidency, but seems to be an awful human being to boot.

As it turns out, maybe his awfulness is exactly why he has so much support. It feels like this election – and Trump in particular – have made it obvious just how many people in this country have racist and bigoted views.

So what are you going to do? Move to Canada?

What the? Is that…

Yes, it’s me, pop superstar Michael Bublé!

What are you doing here? We usually only talk on Christmas.

I know, but I have something important to say, and it can’t wait until Christmas.

And so the Christmas season begins even earlier! (Not that I’m complaining!) But anyway, what’s on your mind?

You were talking about the election, and I agree: It feels like America is pretty divided; even more than usual in election years.

Sigh…I know. I wrote about that a couple of years ago, and it feels like things are getting worse.

Did you consider that you might be part of the problem?

Huh? I’m a part of the problem? How?

I know, you think you’re accepting of other ideas and I believe you are…to a point. The problem may be that you don’t know what you don’t know. For example, Hillary Clinton famously declared many of Trump’s supporters to be “deplorables.” Do you agree with that?

I do think that there are a lot of bad people who support Trump. The alt-right, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis…

I’m not going to tell you that there aren’t evil people in the world. But to automatically assume that all Trump supporters should be lumped in together seems a little presumptuous. Do you really believe that almost half the country is “deplorable?” That they’re just awful people who need to have their opinions rejected by proper society?

No, but it’s disturbing just how many people apparently share these views. I mean, it isn’t comfortable seeing just how much antisemitism is out there.

Here’s a question: What if you were poor and had been taught that Jews controlled all the money? You wouldn’t have the greatest opinion of Jewish people would you?

But that’s…that’s not true.

You never believed something that wasn’t true just because your parents or teachers said it was?

Some people believe that this is how Jewish people live. (Image source)

Some people believe that this is how Jewish people live. (Image source)

I have! And that’s why I’ve said that people need to stop believing everything they’ve been taught and think for themselves.

What would you have them do – read your blog? Why would they care what you have to say? What do you know about them or their life? You’re just an elitist who likes to talk down to them. Why would they listen to your opinion when it contradicts beliefs that have been part of their family and culture for years?

It’s easy for you to say that people should think for themselves; You had the freedom to do that. But what if thinking for yourself meant going against everything you had been taught and put you at odds with your family and friends?

Yeah…I guess that would be tough.

Didn’t you used to make a lot of gay jokes when you were younger?

What’s that got to do with anything?

Listen, I know you’ve changed, and that’s a good thing. But why did you change?

Aside from becoming somewhat more mature as I’ve gotten older, I also got to meet and become friends with gay people.

You’ve been lucky to have such exposure. You left your hometown and went to college on a diverse campus and spent years living in a diverse city. Not everyone has that opportunity.

I know I’ve been given a lot of advantages in life. I’ve openly admitted that.

I don’t think you truly understand how deep that goes. It was always a given that you would go to college. For a lot of people in this country, college isn’t realistic. For many people, leaving their home town isn’t even a possibility.

Speaking of those home towns, remember that many of them are small towns where the economy is based off of one industry. So how would you feel when politicians start talking about shutting down that one industry because it’s causing “climate change.” Even if climate change was real – and a lot of people say it isn’t – what do you care about more? The sea level getting higher in a few decades or being able to feed your family next month?

And when you’re struggling to make a living, who are you going to vote for when one candidate says he wants to lower your taxes and the other wants to raise them? They talk about helping people go to college, but chances are that money isn’t helping you or your kids go to college! While the extra few dollars in your paycheck can mean actually filling your car up with gas each week.

Okay, okay. I get it. So what are you saying?

I’m saying that you might never agree with these people, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely disregard their opinions. Understand that there might be a reason why they believe the things they do, and that to them, voting for Trump isn’t as stupid as you might think.

Everyone should also remember that even if Hillary wins the election, those people aren’t going to go away, and they’re probably going to feel even angrier than they do now. Simply writing them off as “deplorables” isn’t going to do anyone any favors.

You know, this conversation hasn’t been what I expected. I certainly didn’t expect to hear all this from you. Are you sure you’re really Michael Bublé?

After five years of talking to me on Christmas, I thought you’d have realized that Michael Bublé is whoever you need him to be at that point in time.

Yes, I suppose you are. So, I’ll talk to you again in a couple months?

I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. This is the last time we can ever speak.

What? Why?

Once again, you’re asking a question to which you already know the answer.

So what will I do with myself on Christmas?

I don’t know. Spend time with your family? Relax? Move forward with your life? You know what you want to do with yourself, it’s just a matter of doing it.

Yeah, I know.

Good bye, Cutter.

Good bye….and Michael?

Yes?

Thanks.

And with that, Michael's work was done. (Image source)

And with that, Michael’s work was done. (Image source)

Posted in Guide to Fixing America, Randomness | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Preparing for My High School Reunion

My high school class is holding its 20th year reunion this Saturday. When I first heard about it, I didn’t know if I would attend. Beyond the logistics – which haven’t been easy to figure out – I wasn’t entirely sure I really wanted to reunite with people from high school. As I’ve written before, there are a variety of reasons why I feel somewhat uncomfortable seeing people from high school.

The reunion will assuredly be exactly like this movie which I never saw (Image source)

The reunion will assuredly be exactly like this movie which I never saw (Image source)

The last time I attended a reunion was fifteen years ago, and I was underwhelmed by the experience. At that point, not much had changed for most of my classmates; Everyone was only a year out of college and either attending graduate school or just starting a career. By the end of the night, I found myself mostly congregating with the same people who I had hung out with during my school days.

But I didn’t want to let past regrets keep me from enjoying new experiences. And since – Facebook aside – I don’t regularly keep in touch with people from high school, I figure this will be a great chance to reinvent myself.

You may wonder why I want to reinvent myself. After all, I certainly don’t have anything to be ashamed about in my current life. I have a wonderful family, have a good job, and thanks to my youthful appearance, I probably look better than most of the people who will be in attendance.

On the other hand, my list of accomplishments is missing a “wow” factor. I need something to brag about that will make people say, “We really misjudged you in high school. We should have realized what an awesome guy you were and given you the proper respect and adulation.” So it looks like I’m going to have to make some stuff up.

The presence of Facebook makes this a little trickier. I count a few high school classmates among my Facebook friends, so if I make any claims that are too outlandish, people will be able to easily call me out. (I also realize that some people attending the reunion may be reading this post. If so, I ask you to be cool and just go along with it!)

At first, I was going to pretend that I helped invent a famous website or app, but I realized that I’d need to do some research on the app in question. Inevitably, one of my “techier” classmates would ask some sort of question which I wouldn’t be able to answer, and the ruse would be up. I also considered saying I was a YouTube celebrity, but I assume that everyone will have a smartphone, and would quickly be able to uncover my deception.

Ultimately, I decided that the best way to impress these people was to claim that I had sex with a celebrity.

I can picture it now: Everyone is talking, and a few people have mentioned some of the interesting things they’ve done or accomplished. And that’s when I would cut in by saying, “Ha ha, yeah. That was a terrific story, but would you like to hear about the time I had intercourse with a famous person?” I imagine I would instantly become the most interesting person in the room.

I consulted with a few friends to figure out what celebrity would be the best name to use. Here were some names suggested and why I didn’t think they’d work:

Minka Kelly – Way out of my league. Maybe if I was a bad boy (with a heart of gold!) football player like Tim Riggins, I’d have a chance, but in real life? No way.

Kristen Stewart – While believable in terms of acheivability, she’s too young. I’ve been married for nine(!) years which means that unless I was unfaithful to my wife, this encounter would have had to happen before 2007 when K-Stew was only 17. I want to impress these people, and I don’t think they’d be very impressed by either an adulterer or a pedophile.

Alison Pill – She’s a hit on the age and level of attractiveness, but I don’t think enough people have heard of her. It lessens the impact if everyone has to check Wikipedia just to figure out who I’m talking about.

Lindsay Lohan – Too obvious.

Brittany Murphy – She’s the right age, and seems JUST around the right level of attractiveness. Unfortunately, she’s deceased, and it would seem wrong to speak ill of the dead in such a manner.

Yeah, I might have a chance. (Image source)

Yeah, I might have a chance. (Image source)

Finally, I settled on Anna Faris. She’s the right age, and while she’s an attractive lady, she’s not so hot as to be unbelievable. Plus, she wasn’t that famous back in the early 2000’s, so maybe she felt like slumming one night?

I’m sure that once people hear about my tryst with Anna, they will be super impressed with me. In fact, I’ll probably be the hero of the reunion!

And if any of my classmates are reading this, once more, I ask you to be cool. If you can keep your mouth shut, I’ll make sure to acknowledge your presence, and allow you to bask in the reflective glow of my greatness.

Posted in Trips and Events | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Seasons Change, Eras End

Time passes, seasons change, and the years roll on. My Jewish readers surely know that Rosh Hashanah began last night, which means that a new year of the Hebrew calendar has begun. (Happy new year to you all!) Marking the end of another sort of year, yesterday was also the end of the Major League Baseball regular season.

Baseball’s Opening Day often brings a sense of optimism. No matter how bleak your team’s chances appear, it’s tough to not get at least a little excited when the start of the season rolls around. Opening Day is also a sign that Spring has arrived, and that warmer weather is likely soon on its way.

Before you know it, the calendar has switched to October. The baseball season is over, and you’re left with a much different feeling. Unless you’re a lucky fan of a team that has qualified for the postseason (and the Phillies most assuredly did not), you’re faced with the reality that you won’t have a real rooting interest in a baseball game for another six months. And much like Opening Day heralds nicer weather, the season finale often brings colder, Fall weather with it.

Yesterday’s game was sadder than most season finales, as it was almost assuredly Ryan Howard’s final game in a Phillies uniform. Howard is one of the greatest players in Phillies history, as he ranks second in all-time home runs and he’s also near the top of the leader board in several other offensive categories.

Ten years ago, Howard was wrapping up perhaps the greatest single season ever by a Phillies’ hitter. He hit a team-record 58 home runs and won the MVP award. Although the Phillies missed the postseason for the 12th straight season in 2006, thanks largely to Howard, that streak would be broken the following year.

The Phillies would win the National League East for five straight seasons, and that stretch included two National League titles and one World Series championship. While those teams had plenty of great players, I always felt that Howard was the key to their offense. When he was hitting the ball well, the Phillies were the most dangerous offensive team in the league.

In his prime, Howard would periodically go on extremely hot streaks, and during those times, you never wanted to miss an at bat. Every time he came to the plate, you felt like a home run was imminent.

In 2009, I was walking through a shopping mall, and came across a television showing that afternoon’s game. I saw that Howard was due to come to the plate, and I remarked to another man watching the game that Howard was going to hit a home run. Sure enough, Howard sent a ball into the stands, and I exchanged an enthusiastic high five with my fellow game watcher.

Sadly, thanks to an injury to his Achilles tendon suffered in the 2011 playoffs, Howard’s play dropped off dramatically in the following years. He has spent a lot of time on the disabled list, and his production has been greatly reduced when he was able to play. Sure, there was the occasional hot streak, but his at bats were no longer “must watches.” It isn’t a coincidence that the Phillies haven’t been back to the playoffs in the five years since.

Howard’s contract is now up, and he will attempt to revive his career with another team. He was the last remaining member of the 2008 World Championship team, and with his departure, that era of greatness is truly over.

But enough dwelling on the past. As mentioned, today is the start of a new year, and with it, I have a renewed sense of optimism. Perhaps the next baseball season will be the one where the Phillies find their next superstar and the next era of greatness can finally begin.

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