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Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is a former basketball player most known for his time on the Chicago Bulls. His ability to slam dunk the ball from the free throw line in slam dunk contests earned him the nicknames “Air Jordan” and “His Airness.” Jordan helped lead the way for Bulls championships in 91, 92, 93, 96, 97, and 98. Jordan retired from basketball with a plethora of awards ranging from MVP to NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Michael Jordan is undeniably one of the most recognized names in sports.

The Bulls have always had a special place in my heart. I will always remember those winter nights when I was five years old. My dad would make me sit on the couch and watch the big Bulls game. We watched every single game. Ever since then, I felt as though I was conditioned to love Michael Jordan and the Bulls. I did middle school reports on him and had numerous Sports Illustrated magazines framed on my wall that featured him in the cover. Needless to say, Michael Jordan was my first idol.

Accordingly, I have played basketball ever since I was able to join a club or recreational team. In my early years of high school, I played on the school team. However in tenth grade, I switched schools and never got back into the sport. This is the one thing I significantly regret in my life. Sports players know the feeling. Once you stop doing a sport, there feels like there is something missing. A part of you is not there anyone once you quit playing a sport. I’ll pick up a basketball here or there and toss it around. But I never get serious with it again…especially being in college now.

Currently, I am the student manager for the Juniata College Women’s Basketball team. Although I am completely and utterly unconditioned to play any sport, I still remain apart of basketball in this aspect. I enjoy what I do and enjoy watching the game itself. However, the love for the sport and the game will forever stem from watching Michael Jordan play when I was a kid. Every dunk, steal, shot, or leap into the air sent me into a state of wonder and awe. This I will never forget.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

This quote from Michael Jordan can not only be associated with the game of basketball but in life as well. Every person has experience failure whether it has been in a sport, job, activity, etc. However, the saving grace of a failure is the lesson we gain from it. Every failure is a lesson. We learn so much from something that went so horribly wrong for us. Failure essentially is what makes us great and better at what we do. Michael Jordan has had failures in the game of basketball. He is also one of the most widely known and respected players in the history of the sport. If he’s not afraid of failing, then why should we be.

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George W. Bush

George W. Bush served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He is the eldest son of Barbara Bush and 41st President George H. W. Bush. Early in his term, the Bush administration withdrew from numerous international treaty processes, experienced a series of terrorist attacks, and announced a global War on Terror.

In Bush’s time in office, he signed into law broad tax cuts, the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. However, in 2005, the Bush administration dealt with widespread criticism regarding Hurricane Katrina and dissatisfaction with the direction of the Iraq War. Although he was popular in his first term, his popularity significantly declined in his second term.

Well that’s enough background for now. Sorry for the history lesson.

At this point in my blog, I have been mainly blogging about inspirational quotes. In this blog post, I want to briefly break away from the inspiration. Instead, I will talk about a fun pastime of mine – reading George Bush quotes.

As far as my political beliefs go, I can not say I am more democrat or republican. When I sit down and think about it, I suppose I would compromise on being a conservative liberal. The point being, I do not side with the republican party all too often. I may not like George Bush as a president, but I find him endearing as a person. Bush possesses a naive, innocence that makes him appealing to me. Some of his quotes reflect this perfectly. At this time, I will share some of my favorite “bushisms:”

“And so the fact that they purchased the machine meant somebody had to make the machine. And when somebody makes a machine, it means there’s jobs at the machine-making place.”

 “I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office.”

“I guess it’s OK to call the secretary of education here ‘buddy.’ That means friend.”

These quotes hold no significant meaning other than the fact that they are funny. There have been numerous articles in Harper’s Magazine, Rolling Stone and The Washington Post claiming Bush was “the worst president ever.” We can sit here and discuss in what ways Bush failed as a president or political figure. I am sure everyone could come up with multiple examples. However, I want to make it clear I am not speaking of Bush as a president. I am attempting to speak of him as a person. This may seem odd or unusual to think of Bush as an average person and not as a political figure. But in essence, we are all just people under our job title.

I admire George Bush for his principles. Other presidents have felt pressure to be accepted in the public eye. I never thought of Bush as the type to need to be accepted however. As Time Magazine stated when they named him person of the year, “Ordinary Presidents have made mistakes and then sought to redeem themselves by admitting them; when Bush was told by some fellow Republicans that his fate depended on confessing his errors, he blew them off.”

In short, I admire George Bush for not being afraid of who he is. In regard to my quotes, they may be funny, but they serve another purpose as well. The quotes show Bush as an actual person. Even though he may come across as rather…dumb…his humility still shines through-and that is why I frankly like George Bush.

Wiz Khalifa

Cameron Jibril Thomaz, better known by his stage name Wiz Khalifa, is a mainstream American rapper. His first hit single, Say Yeah, received urban radio airplay and charted on the Rhythmic Top 40 and Hot Rap Tracks. His most known single, Black and Yellow, peaked number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and gained instant success for Khalifa.

I did not intend for my blog to be solely dedicated to books. Instead, I wanted a wide variety of quotes. This is why I decided to discuss a quote from one of my favorite music artists, Wiz Khalifa. Khalifa is predominately considered mainstream after the radio success of Black and Yellow. Many people who know of Khalifa have preconceived notions of his personality. People see him as just another rapper or “that one pothead” who raps about pot (to be frank). However, Khalifa proves to be much more. Although a majority of his songs talk of weed, fame, and money, what he says outside of music I find quite inspirational.

“We must hurt in order to grow, fail in order to know, and lose in order to gain. Because some lessons in life, are best learned through pain.”

A person can not grow without going through numerous life experiences. In order to grow as a person, we must experience the hardships of life to become a better person. We can sit down and attempt to learn everything from a book. But the only way we can truly learn the lessons life throws us is to fail. When we fail, we learn how to be better. We learn how to overcome and be on top. If we never lose what we have, we will never appreciate it. All of these things seem very obvious. But it is amazing how many times we look past the little things.

A person will never grow without failing, losing, or hurting in some way. It is the experiences in life that make us who are. The bad experiences (and the good) help us grow into a more aware, thoughtful person. Some may see this as masochistic or some can see it as reality. Either way, it is undeniable that some life lessons aren’t always the easiest.

He may not be the Whitman, Poe, or Elliot of our generation, but don’t overlook Wiz Khalifa. Everyone has something important to say, even a rapper.

Albus Dumbledore

Harry Potter is a series of seven novels written by author J.K. Rowling. The books follow the adventures of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger who are students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The stories chronicle Harry’s quest to overcome the dark wizard Lord Voldemort who aims to conquer the wizarding world and destroy those who stand in his way, including Harry.

The books have gained commercial success worldwide, immense popularity, and critical acclaim. The series of books deal with a range of elements such as fantasy and coming of age. Rowling claims the main theme of the series is death but the books also deal with other themes such as love and prejudice. As of 2011, the books have sold over 450 million copies and have been translated into 67 languages signifying the book’s large fan base.

Harry Potter made magic real for children and adults around the world. The books immerse the audience into a world of wizards, witches and make believe. Harry Potter was something the reader could become enthralled with. Reality could be substituted for a world where magic really existed.

Although I am not the ultimate Harry Potter geek (just a fan), the books and movies still significantly affected me. It would take  multiple blog posts to discuss my love for Harry Potter. Therefore, I will only talk about one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore.

According to J.K. Rowling, Dumbledore is “the epitome of goodness.” To me, Dumbledore embodies wisdom, intellect, and grace. He consistently resonates the ideals of composure and serenity. Dumbledore appears to me as the perfect, holy person. He has the purest conscience and intentions towards humanity. In all, Dumbledore exudes humility.

One of my favorite quotes from Dumbledore is:

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

I always see motivational quotes telling people to follow their dreams and never give up. I do in fact believe it is very important to follow your dreams. Without dreams, we have nothing to strive for. However, while striving for these dreams, life stills goes on around us.

Dreams are not tangible. However, in a sense, the “now” is tangible. The life we have now is real and happening all around us. It is important to recognize the world we live in currently and not only focus on the future. We can spend hours, days, or years wishing for something to happen. But in all that time, we wasted moments we can never get back.

This quote made me realize to live in the moment. Dreams are still a very relevant part of life, but don’t forget the life around you while you try to achieve those dreams.

Atticus Finch

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel written by Harper Lee in 1960. The characters and plot are based on Lee’s observations of her neighbors, family, and events that occurred near her hometown in 1936. The novel is best known for its warmth and humor despite dealing with serious issues. To Kill a Mockingbird deals with rape and inequality yet still provides moral and ethical themes and lessons. Atticus Finch, the narrator’s father, serves as a moral hero and ideal lawyer for the readers.

To Kill a Mockingbird has every theme you could possibly think of in one well written book. The primary themes involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Additionally, class issues, courage, compassion and gender roles are also discussed in the book. There are many famous quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird such as, “That’s why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird” and “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” However, my favorite quote is not as famous as the previous quotes. Instead, it is this:

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

Before I discuss the quote, I would like to explain my experience with the novel. I read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was in ninth grade. Ninth grade English class was when I decided I wanted to be an English major. It was because of this book that my fascination with literature developed.

When I read this book in high school, I absolutely idolized Atticus Finch. I wished there were more people in the world like this fictional character. Atticus Finch perfectly displays morals, intellect, character, and wisdom. He was, in most ways, what I wanted to become.

However, Atticus was not the only character in the book that affected me. Almost every character, in some way, had an impact on me. Each character had their own obstacles and dilemmas to overcome and in each case, I learned something new from them. In each lesson in To Kill a Mockingbird comes a great quote. It was difficult to choose just one quote. But the quote bolded above struck my liking the most.

Everyone has their own definition of courage. For some people, courage is crawling into the mouth of a lion or (more practically) going to war and fighting for your country. However, Lee introduced a new idea of courage to me. Courage is knowing you will lose before you begin-yet still trying anyways. This is a difficult concept to grasp. Knowing you will not succeed but still continue with the task is a contradicting idea. Referencing the book, losing (the case for Atticus and the drug addiction for Mrs. Dubose) was inevitable. But in the end, in some way, the characters won. Although they lost in the sense of the term, they won personally, ethically, and mentally.

Before reading To Kill a Mockingbird, I always viewed courage as an idealized form of masculinity. Now, I am not afraid to be defeated. Winning and courage aren’t always represented in literal ways. Winning and courage are personal achievements defined within ourselves.

Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson is the founder and creator of Gonzo journalism. Gonzo journalism is a form of reporting where the reporter involves themselves in the story to the point where they also become a lead figure in their story. Thompson is also known for his avid use of drugs. More specifically, he had a lifelong use of alcohol, LSD, mescaline, and cocaine. In addition, he had a love for firearms, a deep hatred for Richard Nixon, and sought for an authoritarianism world. In 2005, he committed suicide at the age of 67. Eccentric and crazy are not even close to describing him. Although he may seem flawed, in a weird way, I admire his attitude greatly.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

This quote does not come from one of Thompson’s books or articles. He directly said this. How did I found this quote you ask? Research. I usually research the authors I love. As I read through interview excerpts, I come across some of the best quotes from authors. This especially holds true for Hunter S. Thompson. Have you ever known a person who does not have a filter on what comes out of their mouth? This describes Thompson perfectly. Everything he says comes straight from the heart-whether it is heartfelt or not.

When I think of this quote, I reflect upon how I care too much. I care about everything, analyze every situation, and tend to only live in the future. I notice all my thoughts are dedicated to planning what will happen next and not in the present time. I have been told I can not predict the future by thinking ahead, but I have a hard time believing this.

Being the control freak I am, it is hard to let things go. But then, when I get overwhelmed by everything, I think back to people like Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson is a person who does not care what he says, who he offends, or if what he does offends you. In a way, I greatly admire people like him. No can hold down these type of people. They are truly their own person and live only for themselves.

When I begin to care too much, I think back to Thompson’s ‘f’ it all attitude. Everyone wishes at times we could be these people: the type of person who completely disregards other people’s attitudes or the individual who only makes themselves happy. If you are not this type of person, then you probably never will be. However, there are instances in life where we can briefly adopt this attitude.

Whenever I get down on life or stress too much about the little things, I think of what Mr. Thompson says. Life is a journey. You are going to get scratched on the ride. But at the end of the ride, you are going to look back at the big dust cloud and be happy you made it.

Life isn’t about ending up in one place safely as Hunter S. Thompson claimed in his quote. It is about the journey. That’s all life really is I suppose, a journey. I have learned through Thompson’s novels and various quotes to let go and be free. Hunter S. Thompson has taught me to frankly not give a crap…well some portion of the time at least.

So thank you Hunter S. Thompson for your carefree attitude and spreading that to others. RIP.

Chuck Palahniuk

Charles Michael “Chuck” Palahniuk is an American transgressional fiction novelist and freelance journalist. Palahniuk’s writing style is minimalistic yet disturbing. Invisible Monsters, Palahniuk’s first completed novel, was rejected by publishers for disturbing content. This led to the creation of his most famous novel, Fight Club. Fight Club was Palahniuk’s attempt to disturb the publisher further for rejecting Invisible Monsters. The book was written in Palahniuk’s free time and was initially published as a short story in the compilation titled Pursuit of Happiness. He later expanded it into a full novel which his publishers were surprisingly willing to publish. The sensation that is Fight Club started from there.

Rule number 1, you don’t talk about fight club.

I sincerely wish I had read the book before writing this blog post. However, I simply have not had the time. I have seen the movie though (the cop out answer of course). I can say with certainty the movie was utterly fantastic. It is one of my absolute favorite movies. But I know for a fact the book is better. It always is.

I am not ashamed to say I am enthralled with Chuck Palahniuk. I have read Invisible Monsters and Survivor. Both of them were grotesque, mind numbing, yet graceful. As I mentioned before, Palahniuk’s publishers found most of his stories disturbing. At a reading of his book Haunted, 40 people were reported to have fainted at the book’s content. Palahniuk creates his books with an intended shock and awe factor. This shock and awe aspect is what keeps me entertained and enthralled. His books tend to be stomach wrenching at times. However, there are also instances of pure thoughtfulness laced throughout the text. Mixed in between the blood, sex, drugs, and well…fighting, this quote appears in the novel:

“The lower you fall, the higher you’ll fly.”

I mentioned before I have not read the book. So how did I find this quote you ask? I was almost obsessed with Palahniuk’s work at one point in my life. I am not ashamed to say I would mindlessly search quotes from his books or speeches in my spare time. I was doing exactly this one day when I stumbled upon this quote. At first glance, the quote confused me and I didn’t care to investigate further. However, it lingered in my mind later that night. I couldn’t forget the simple eight worded quote. I went back online and searched what book the quote came from. This is when I discovered it was from Fight Club. I still intend to read the book and discover the quote’s meaning in the context of the novel. However, I took away my own interpretation of the quote.

To simply put it, life can be hell. You can let your problems and issues defeat you, ruin you, or slowly destroy you over time. This option isn’t too favorable to most people however… The other option is to push your problems aside and not let yourself fall into a self pitying/loathing routine. Everyone has a time in their life when they are down on themselves. However, the less we dig ourselves into a hole of self containment and sorrow, the more we will succeed.

Over the summer, I wasn’t happy with different aspects of my life and I tended to put off all my problems. It was at one of these low points when I remembered this quote. I looked the quote up online to search for other people’s interpretation of the quote. It is at this point I would like to shamelessly plug a blog that I came across. I found what this blogger, Isa, had to say was beautiful and inspirational. Just reading his blog lifted me out of the funk I was in. You can read his full blog now.

And in case you don’t read it, I would just like to share one of the most raw, beautiful things I read in his blog, “… a concoction of many painful realities woven to compose one beautiful consciousness. He was lucky in a sense because he had no choice. For those of us who live a comfortable life, I feel truly sorry for you. You have no scars. You’ve made no progress.”

In short, many of the problems and issues we face are trivial. But these obstacles, big or small, shape us into the people we are today. The less you let the problems in life affect you, the more you will progress.