Cocktails & Dreams
I agreed to guest bartend this week on Thursday night at Bliss Bar & Lounge for friends from Party 4 Charity hosting a benefit for MVDC Program, Youth at Risk. As Doug Coughlin stated in Cocktail, “the Bartender is the aristocrat of the working class.” Being that I am a working class yuppie and that this is likely as close as I shall get to being an “Aristocrat”, I would like to help them out while also having the pleasure of serving up libations to their friends and mine. Besides since I am no P Diddy this is certainly cheaper than buying all of your friends drinks. But please do not ask me if you can have fries with that or to super size your order!!
It is hard not to see that the Times They Are A Changing. Like Jack Kerouac maybe I should go On the Road or otherwise find The Road Less Traveled. Who was it that said the more things change the more they stay the same? Have you ever been creatively inspired and then discounted the thought, only years or months later to wake up in front of your TV in front of an infomercial of some billionaire doing precisely what you passed on? Has it ever occurred to you that most of life’s answers can be found in The Godfather, The Matrix, Cocktail, (and yes sometimes even in a “cocktail”) Rocky, or even About Last Night? Yeah, the times, they are a changing.
Anyway, an interesting thing happened on my way to living my life this past month and otherwise contemplating the Survival of the Fittest concept despite not feeling so fit my self of late. Feeling rather exhausted from world events, a sluggish economy and the plight of friends going through some challenging times, it occurred to me that perhaps our “rat race” has become a little more like survival of the least exhausted. There is no doubt that the Stresses of a Violent World lead to heightened stress and anxiety levels and actually impact on your performance in every aspect of your life from athletic to intellectual endeavors. Nevertheless, I found sometime to contemplate the meaning of life or at least the meaning of what was in my cocktail glass while cavorting with the likes of the Jesters Guild, Cass World, The Networking Girl, some Urban-Republicans at Lawyer/Activist Mark Smith's fete at The Crane Club as well as a Cosmo Party. Although, it seems like all I have to spare these days is about three minutes, I certainly have not been in any HURRY to get a date but that too will pass.
There is a definitely an underlying stress to life in NYC these days, whether it is from the threat of terrorism, impending war, evaporation of your 401(k), or the never ending job search for many. In fact, one extremely accurate observation that I can make is that there is an unbelievable level of professional and entreprenuerial “talent” on the sidelines. With so many Down Out On Wall Street or otherwise jobless & downtrodden this is more of a stealth depression than a recession. Unemployment figures clearly do not tell the story because they do not account for a vast cross section of the population that does not qualify for unemployment in the first place, those who lost their benefits and those who now find themselves "underemployed"...you know the Investment Banker who is now a party promoter, personal trainer or bartender. Maybe the next reality show will be called "Who wants to be Employed."
Paul Begala quoting the Clinton Campaign Slogan from The War Room, circa 1992 ”It's the economy stupid.” Others are less diplomatic and blame our politicians and the political system itself. Or as one of my spiritual and artistic friends has stated, “Doesn’t it seem like the world has essentially been cooking the books sort of like a giant Enron and the imbalances are creating some unpredictable times?” Maybe she is right. Sometimes you do not have to have a degree in Economics (like I do) or Econometric analysis to make some accurate observations. Maybe the New Economy Index can help us better understand whether this has more to do with America's Economic Transformation and why so many Americans, particularly those in IT or "Knowledge" jobs find themselves "downsized and outsourced" by American companies who have embraced globalization with cheap foreign labor.
My pet peeve of late, however, is the ever misguided Anti-War/Peace Movement. One commentator noting that after 9//11 some Repugnant commentaries blace blame on America, predicted that "soon enough it will be a chorus, and it will say This is All America's Fault."
Shame on American Hating Liberals. As Tony Parsons, a liberal, leftward leaning English writer stated in a column recently the current “Anti Americanism” is supported by self loathing Hollywood liberals as well as European intellectuals who resent the success, wealth and independence of the United States. They have ignorantly attached themselves to an uninformed peace movement that has nothing to do with finding a non-violent way to genuinely disarm Iraq. The peacenicks have found witting accomplices in the form of support of aligned Western European Nations (and their European Union) and socialists who’s greater interest is to weaken the United States and otherwise, contain and undermine American power and influence around the world. Ironically as one writer has poignantly stated, pushing "peace" pushes war instead. It has empowered Sadam and made war more likely. Sadams Supremacy in the PR Wars Proves the Power of Evil
When have millions of Europeans ever been wrong? Frequently! They clearly have no sense of history, otherwise how do you explain that Anti-Semitism is Still Alive Around the Globe. As stated by George Will: "anti-Semitism is not directed against the behavior of the Jews but against the existence of the Jews."
Consider the view point of Dennis Prager:"Because America's and Israel's haters are ethnic and religious haters on a magnitude not seen since the Nazis. They loathe everything Israel (and its American supporter) represents -- freedom, democracy, openness, individual autonomy, freedom of religion, pluralism, women's equality and sexual freedom. They want Israel dead. Gone. Exterminated. They say so publicly, and they say so in polls. Yet, the educated fools and the Israel and America-haters of the West ignore all this and blame Israel for trying to exist and America for enabling it to do so. If America abandoned Israel, our Arab and Muslim haters would rejoice, but they would surely not stop hating us." So Which will the world's future be: Muslim, European or American? "There are now three ideologies competing to shape the future of mankind. There is no other country that claims to be Judeo-Christian and no other that has such strong support for capitalism and small government (the opposite of socialism)." --Prager Make no mistake, it is "Americanism", the values, freedom and independence we relish which is under attack. Sadly, even worse our own Democratic City Council has sponsored a bill on the Iraqi crisis in direct opposition to President Bush and Congress. The City Council's War Vote is an Embarrasment to us all.
Have they forgotten 9/11 already? As Ed Koch so aptly stated, “The response in Washington to the passage of such a resolution is likely to be “there they go again." That will not be helpful to New York City's future.” You may want to e-mail Gifford Miller and let him know that he is off his rocker and that this is not exactly the time to turn into Jimmy Carter, who while he is a nice man and a humanitarian, was a terrible President and has interests which are not always in sync with our national agenda.
Clearly these are times that test our patience and challenge us to achieve Balance in life: mens sana in corpore sano. Introspection is fine. Looking inward for solutions can be productive but these are not times to seclude or isolate your self either. We could all benefit from cross pollination and should find a way to Mix & Match. If you want to be meet up with the bar man poet, join me tomorrow night at Bliss Bar & Lounge in the Upstairs Bar and I will be sure to share some of my unsolicited thoughts and perspective about the world at large, politics, romance, sex, my quest for the ultimate truth and perhaps even lend some career or networking advice.