1. The Possibilities of imagination
As a kid growing up, I was often left alone to my own devices, and seeing someone else who turned to his imagination for entertainment was reassuring. Calvin’s only friend Hobbes was purely created in his mind, and yet they explored entire new worlds together. Nowadays, we live in a culture where children are placed in front of iPad screens and DVD players, and we pump our supposedly A.D.D.-riddled kids full of pills. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that imagination is one of the single most important factor in a person’s life. Don’t let it die.
2. Slow down and just think every once in a while
Saying Calvin and Hobbes is just a comic about a rambunctious 6 year-old is like saying Lost was just about a bunch of people on an island. During some of his more introspective and thoughtful pieces, either Calvin or Hobbes would often wax eloquently beyond the skills of a 6 year old (or a stuffed tiger). It was in this funny, articulate way that Calvin would discuss ideas which helped formulate some of the opinions I still hold now as an adult. Calvin and Hobbes has a way of making you chuckle, and then contemplate what the bigger idea actually was. Engaging a child through humor is one of the greatest teaching tools available. It’s no wonder that The Daily Show is a primary news source for so many young people.
3. Life is full of adventures
The great thing about Calvin is his full appreciation and desire for adventure. Whether it’s time travel, Transmogrifying, or tromping off into the words, Calvin’s slew of escapades are a joy to read. For the most part, we have this sort of desire for something exciting and new, whether it’s moving to a new place, taking a road trip, or simply stepping out of our comfort zones. Yet all too often, I think we find ourselves being complacent and unmotivated, and these sorts of moments are equally captured in the strip while Calvin (slack jawed and slouching) stares at the screaming TV. It is oftentimes Hobbes—the outside force to Calvin’s laziness—who motivates Calvin into adventure. Everyone should see the potential in life, and to go and get it. While Calvin never ages no matter how long he spends in front of the television, we do not share the same luxury as a cartoon character. Everyone should go for the gusto, and seek out adventure rather than feeling the vague desire for it.
4. Friendship pulls you through the tough times
Calvin’s world is a small one. He rarely plays with other kids (except occasionally with his crush Susie Derkins), and is often lambasted and shunned by other children. Truth be told, Calvin is a weird little kid, and sometimes the other kids don’t really get him. Yet Hobbes is the only buddy Calvin really needs. You never know the names of his parents, and the number of other named characters can be counted on one hand. It’s not the quantity of friends that matters, but the quality. It’s a lesson not immediately seen in the comic, but an impression that grows as you get deeper and deeper into the strip. You don’t need to be the most popular kid growing up to have the best friends. If each of us had our own stuffed tiger, think about how much less lonely the world would be.
5. Appreciate Nature
When I a kid, there was a huge briar patch in my town that spanned a couple acres. My friends and I would often carve paths through the towering weeds, creating a network of trails and larger gathering grounds for our secret meetings. Then one day, it was all fenced off, chopped down, and turned into an extension of our neighborhood with some cookie-cutter houses. Sure, the weeds were an eyesore for many who lived there, but for me, the patch’s demolition was devastating. I had waged imaginary wars in those weeds. To me, it was like someone had ruined a great piece of art which could never be replicated again. While I don’t consider myself to be a hardcore environmentalist, I do believe there is a beauty and magic to the natural world. It is far under appreciated in our culture, and it is something that should be instilled into the next generation.
6. Life is unfair, but that’s okay
As a six-year-old boy, Calvin has very little control of his life. He retaliates and rebels against his parents, teachers, babysitter, and anyone else in power over him, yet it generally leads nowhere. Anyone who once was little relates to that and wouldn’t wait to grow up. But what we didn’t realize is this: while you do gain more control as you get older, life doesn’t get any less unfair. Just like your parents told you no “just because,” all too often it seems like life does the exact same thing. But you know what? Those sorts of things will end up helping Calvin in the long run. He under appreciates what his parents and teachers do for him, and while he can’t see how it’s helping him grow, I think neither can we in our own lives. By facing tough times and unfair situations, we all grow as individuals. If we got what we wanted all the time, what kind of person would we be?
It was Saturday night and she was a friend of a friend of a friend. She was beautiful, actually truly beautiful, with the kind of face that didn’t boast but carried quiet assurance in what it was, grew prettier the more you looked.
We met at a bar in Brooklyn, in an outdoor area in the back that accommodated our whole group. It was a breezy night in mid October, a little chilly when the wind picked up, but one of the last good nights before the cold set in. We drank beers and took shots. We talked, and laughed, and danced, and kissed. There were people everywhere, all around, but for three, maybe four hours, maybe time didn’t matter, it was only the two of us at the bar, only the two of us in our own minds. She gave me her number, and at the end of the night, we promised to hang out again, soon.
I took the subway home, a waste of .50 in fare. I easily could have flown.
That night I had a dream about being with her. In my dream, she looked different, not how I remembered, less attractive. In the morning, I woke up a little disoriented. Did I drink more than I thought? Was it real? I caved, immediately jumped on Facebook, found her profile, clicked through her photos. She was every bit as beautiful as I had believed, maybe more. I did not friend request.
I think every guy is aware, on some level, of the range of girls that have a place in his life. It’s not entirely shallow, but a lot of it is.
There are the girls we take for granted – the ones we like but we know like us more. We enjoy seeing them every now and then but it always leaves us wanting more, as if we had just done something charitable and found it less fulfilling than we imagined.
There are the girls in our comfort zone, who are cool and pretty and really get along, the ones we’re comfortable with and enjoy being around, on all but our most ambitious days.
Then, there are the girls who speck the top shelves of our reach, who tease and taunt us, make us aspire to be something more – better-looking, more charming, have better hair – make us wish we were the type of guy they might end up with.
This girl belonged in that last group. In the range of girls I thought I had a chance with, she didn’t just register on the upper bound, she set the new standard, extending that range to a stratosphere I never thought was possible. I was rocked, exhilarated, confused – left wondering, is this what I’m capable of?
It seems crazy to think that women were once told they needed a man, that their primary goal was to attract a man, that their worth was tied to their prospects of marrying a man. Those days are gone. But the idea of needing validation – that piece of our psyche that stakes so much of our own identity on what others think – is confined to neither women nor the past. It is something we carry with us everyday – a sniveling, incessant hum, like the faint buzz of a mosquito that you can hear when the room becomes quiet. For better or worse, we all need validation, need it when we log back on minutes later to check if anyone new has liked our status, need it when we dig up our old report cards and read the teachers’ comments about our potential. We seek validation however we can, hold onto it tightly, and never let go.
After that night, the girl and I texted for a bit, then she never returned my calls. I was hung up on it for a few weeks, tried not to think about it, but sometimes my mind wandered and I couldn’t rein it back, the remembrance simultaneously ecstasy and torture, pure vindication of new heights achieved and unavoidable recognition that perhaps it had all been a fluke.
Eventually, I got over it, and when I did, I realized I was in a better place. The truth is, even without a happy ending, that night did a lot for me. I felt more comfortable with who I was – more accepting of how I looked, more assured in the things I said and the way I said them. As much as I don’t want to admit it – the part of me that eschews superficiality, the part that preaches “it’s-the-inside-that-counts” finds this deplorable – hooking up with a super hot girl raised my self-esteem.
But while the encounter had given me confidence, I am still the exact same person as Dan before he stepped on the train to Brooklyn that night. That Dan and I have read all the same books, we still hang out with the same friends, still have the same painful memories of Kate Brennan saying she couldn’t be our date to the eighth grade graduation dance anymore because she had decided to go with James DeGraw, a tragedy we fear may one day affect our propensity to commit.
Why did I suddenly feel so validated knowing that hot girls found me attractive back – or at least one did on one occasion? When we do this, aren’t we relinquishing control, granting power to others, people we may not even know? Confidence need not come from external sources, it should flow from an internal wellspring. So when we look at our own reflections, why do we let the mirror tell us who we are?
I’m not big on relationships. Nothing against them, I just don’t get into many. Actually, I don’t get into any… my last and only real relationship (if you can call it that) was in high school. It was real at the time, okay. Regardless, there are plenty of reasons I haven’t committed to a relationship since, but that would call for a whole blog post of its own so maybe another time. The point is, right now I can’t imagine being in a relationship but there is one person I would make the sacrifice for: Ryan Gosling.
Let’s highlight why Ryan Gosling is the most attractive 33-year-old alive. Below are 5 reasons Ryan Gosling will make the perfect husband.
5. The Notebook.
There really is no need to elaborate, but just for fun let us briefly reminisce on this motion picture. Demonstrating the perfect combination of what makes up sexy, Noah seems a little quiet and reserved until he surprises us all with his bold and romantic gestures to woo Allie. Not only does the cuteness continue throughout their summer romance, but even after he first loses her until they finally reconnect. If nothing else, proving to all the hopeless romantics out there that we should continue to believe in true love. Furthermore, at the end, we know it’s Noah reading to Allie even though she doesn’t remember… something we attribute to Ryan Gosling making him “oh so sentimental” too. There’s all too many other cute, sexy and memorable scenes from The Notebook – but you get the point.
The Notebook really doesn’t effect Ryan… but it’s such a classic and he must have learned a thing or two from playing Noah – don’t you think?
4. He keeps good company.
He always has. His roommate during the Mickey Mouse Club was another not-so-bad looking fella – Justin Timberlake. Let’s just imagine these two in one room together… yes, now you understand. I will forever cherish “til death do us part” with Ryan, but it doesn’t hurt for him to have good looking friends.
3. He’s ambitious.
He expresses interests outside of his acting career. He donates to numerous charities (including PETA, Invisible Children and SickKids Foundation). He is in a band. He owns a Moroccan restaurant. He’s a director. I need my husband to be well rounded – check!
2. He’s easy going.
Ryan doesn’t hold grudges against his exes. You bet he doesn’t wander around with an entourage. He even say she enjoys his alone time. A man who is laid back and understands, could it get any more perfect?
1. He’s committed.
Not only in the sense that he lived with his co-star and on-screen daughter prior to filming Blue Valentine just to make sure the dynamic was real for the movie, BUT he has also been committed to Eva Mendes for about two years now. I know what you’re thinking, but everyone needs a long term, committed relationship before the one they stay in for the rest of their lives… don’t they? Well, he has practice for when we get together. Look on the bright side, people.
Bonus reason: he is just genuinely so darn cute. Sure, hot, sexy, chiseled… they all apply. When you’re committing long term though, I think his consistent cuteness is something to note.
The name Jean Jacques Rousseau is hardly known today, yet for over two centuries his ideas shaped the entire world. They formed the foundation for the French Revolution, which has been called “the most important event in western history,” and have been paradoxically credited with legitimating both the direct democracy that Occupy Wall Street was based on, as well as the totalitarianism of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. He could be called both the father of Psychology, as well as the world’s first Hipster. He also coined the term Bourgeois and started the critique of modern industry that Environmentalism is based on.
Rousseau preferred “being a man with paradoxes than a man with prejudices,” and never shied away from following his train of thought wherever it led. He was obsessed with discovering the Truth, yet had nothing but disdain for “intellectuals” and their abstract, overly-scientific jargon. When his educational novel Emile was first released in 1762, it was burned by religious zealots for blasphemy and he was hunted by them throughout Europe, yet without its brilliant reconciliation of religion and reason, Christianity very likely would have been completely overcome by the atheism of the Enlightenment.
To me, his writings are the most beautiful and poetic philosophic works ever written. Below is an collection of some of his most illustrative quotes, as an introduction to his ideas. I hope they will spur you to engage further with one of the most complicated, complex, yet easily approachable philosophers of the modern world. Personally, I have found his work to be incredibly helpful in cutting through the bullshit that we are fed everyday, allowing me to get to the core of today’s most pressing issues and form my own opinions about them. And in this time of extreme and bitter political partisanship, it is a skill that is needed more than ever.
1. Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains.
2. People who know little are usually great talkers, while those who know much say little.
3. The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.
4. Truth is no road to fortune.
5. No true believer could be intolerant or a persecutor. If I were a magistrate and the law carried the death penalty against atheists, I would begin by sending to the stake whoever denounced another.
6. Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.
7. Take the course opposite to custom and you will almost always do well.
8. It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living.
9. Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
10. Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.
11. What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?
12. Living is not breathing but doing.
13. When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.
14. We are born, so to speak, twice over; born into existence, and born into life; born a human being, and born a man.
15. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they.
16. Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is.
17. Base souls have no faith in great individuals.
18. Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being.
19. You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one.
20. The happiest is he who suffers least; the most miserable is he who enjoys least.
21. The one thing we do not know is the limit of the knowable.
22. The mere impulse of appetite is slavery, while obedience to the law we prescribe to ourselves is liberty.
23. As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall.
24. Nothing is less in our power than the heart, and far from commanding we are forced to obey it.
25. I may be no better, but at least I am different.
Recently, Jay-Z posted on his blog
that, on the recommendation of a “good friend and vegan,” he and Beyonce would be taking on a 22-day plant-based challenge. Lest every hipster decry the challenge by stating that they were vegan before being vegan was cool, I would like to suggest a few simple tricks and substitutions for Mr. and Mrs. Carter, as well as anyone else who wants to be about that plant-based life.
Deep-fry cauliflower, slather in barbecue sauce. It’s so simplistic, but so, so good.
If you’re chilling at home in Manhattan, Two Boots Pizza sells great vegan pizza. Alternatively—and I realize this is bordering on blasphemy—cheese-less pizza is totally a thing, and with the right toppings, can be really good.
I know, I know, it’s not the same on any level, but ignore the mock-meats lurking in your local Whole Foods freezer and grill a nice, marinated portobello mushroom cap instead. Bread it and deep fry it, if you’d like to get crazy. Deep-frying is a crucial move in your first days of veganism.
There is no real way to salvage that sweet, smoky, life-giving force that is bacon, but tempeh bacon works in a pinch. Use it as a crumbled garnish rather than a thick slab of bacon, though. Brussels sprouts with tempeh bacon. The Sasha Fierce salad with tempeh bacon. Coconut milk ice cream with tempeh bacon. You’re welcome.
Leather Boxing Shorts
I have a feeling that you don’t actually WEAR the leather boxing shorts you curated for your collection at Barneys New York, but if Bey wants to branch out from the fabulous, cruelty-free world of Stella McCartney, there’s are tons of “vegan leather” alternatives in stores. What is vegan leather, you ask? Why, it’s nothing more than good, old-fashioned pleather plus a significant markup in price. (Though I feel like it would be a pretty clutch PR move on Bey’s part if she wore Forever 21 pleather.)
Almond, soy, hemp (not that kind of hemp), cashew, coconut, sunflower… the options are endless here. As your 22 day challenge goes on, it will probably become easier to simply take your coffee black, but hey, you did say All Black Everything when you professed to run this town, did you not?
In the mood for scrambled eggs? Puree tofu first, rather than crumbling it. Add turmeric, pour into a pan, and stir until the liquid evaporates. Don’t get me wrong, you could just break up the tofu into little crumbly blocks, but pureeing is next level, Hov.
Branch out from the Oreos and the Nutter Butters. Bake your own! Make it a bonding moment with Blue Ivy. She can eat as much batter as she wants because there’s no chance she’ll contract salmonella! Everybody wins!
There is no fully satisfying substitute for cheese. I am really, really sorry.