New Counter Cultured Article: Go See ‘The Longest Ride’

I wrote a new article at Counter Cultured yesterday. Below is an excerpt:

Last Friday, several friends and I went to our local movie theater to watch the latest Nicholas Sparks book-to-film adaptation The Longest Ride. Despite Sparks’ recent shortcomings – he and his wife of 25 years recently announced their divorce – he is a masterful storyteller. The Longest Ride stars Scott Eastwood (son of Clint Eastwood), Britt Robertson, Alan Alda, Oona Chaplin (granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin), Jack Huston (grandson of John Huston), and other talented actors.

Eastwood plays Luke Collins, a stubborn bull-rider who falls in love with Sophia Danko (Britt Roberson), a child of Polish immigrants who studies at Wake Forest University. Sophia is hesitant to go out with Luke since she’ll be leaving for New York City to pursue an internship at a well-known art gallery. After initial hesitation, she goes out with Luke. They go on a remarkable first date and hit it off despite coming from different worlds. While driving Sophia home, they stumble upon a burning car that has trapped Ira Levinson (Alan Alda). Luke rescues Ira from the burning car, and Sophia grabs his box of love letters he wrote to his wife. Sophia stays with Ira and slowly develops a bond with him. Ira’s story of complicated love soon intertwines with her’s and Luke’s.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

Angling Right: Getting Jiggy With Lures

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These past two weekends, my father and I had the chance to go out to some local fishing holes here in Northern Virginia. While we weren’t fruitful in our catches – bites were minimal, temperatures were chilly, and wind conditions were less than satisfactory- we were able to test out some lures.

Now that I’ve been actively fishing for half my life – I turned 24 a few weeks ago – I have learned how to modify my technique and adapt in order to become more adept at angling.

What is a lure? It’s artificial bait and comes in the form of poppers, spinners, jigs, blades, plugs and spoons. (Learn more about freshwater and saltwater lures here.)

Normally, my fishing rod is retrofitted with a weight and live bait (preferably night crawler worms in freshwater or shrimp/squid for saltwater) but I haven’t really used lures before. To most people, lures are used for added effect and to entice game fish such as the elusive largemouth bass. Using lures is a matter of preference, but can go a long way in maximizing one’s reach and catch rate. Here’s more about the use of lures from Learning How to Fish:

When building a tackle selection one must consider the species of fish you’re targeting along with the season you’re fishing in. Expert fishermen understand seasonal locations of fish and the proper presentation, meaning the choice of lure and how to retrieve it. This builds confidence knowing how to fish the proper lure at the proper depth to maximize your catch rate, and catching fish is the quickest way to gain confidence.

I plan to incorporate lures into my fishing repertoire to improve my chances of catching larger fish. As weather conditions begin to warm up, look out for some fishing posts from yours truly!

Have you used lures? What types of lures do you recommend? Let me know below!


Sad: American Millennials Are Highly Educated But Unskilled

A new study from Princeton University concludes Millennials are highly educated but highly unskilled in the modern day.

My dad, who is a general contractor, recently lamented how hard it is to find guys around my age to hire as workers for his construction business. Most want to make a lot of money doing minimal work. Others can’t handle manual labor and refuse to get their hands dirty. As a result, vocational trades lag behind and our economy subsequently suffers. This is a troubling trend in other industries, as well. Many Millennials -regardless of gender – can’t comprehend an honest day’s work. They want instant gratification or a quick buck.

What best explains this? There’s this ridiculous expectation that a college degree will buy one success and happiness. (That’s patently false!) The quality of higher education – depending upon the university one graduates from – varies and is generally mediocre today compared to prior decades. (Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but a degree in Feminist/Gender Studies has a poor return on investment (ROI) and isn’t a marketable area of concentration.) With this inherent expectation that everyone must go to college, the higher education bubble is slated to burst. Millennials are graduating with mountains of debt and limited-to-no job prospects in sight. Opportunities to bask in prosperity are becoming increasingly dismal.

Having graduated with a B.A. from a reputable university in California, I can personally say that a college degree essentially is a piece of paper. Admittedly, I had the distinct pleasure of attending UCSD- an opportunity many still kill for today. (I earned my place there; I worked very hard in high school to get in there.) I made some great friends, graduated from a top political science program, learned a lot, and got my start in politics through campus activism there. That is a chapter in my life that I will always cherish. However, if having a college degree weren’t a prerequisite for getting a job today, I may have reconsidered college. Studying political science primarily comprised of theory rather than real-world application. If it weren’t for spending numerous hours volunteering or working part-time jobs/internships centered around conservative politics during college, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If you have a college degree but no work experience, prospective employers will glance over your application and not give any thought to hiring you. Yes, a college degree will set you apart from others – but if you can’t work hard or challenge yourself, the real world will work against you. Employers still care about quality work. If Millennials think waving a college degree in an employer’s’ face will compel them to hire them, they’re wrong.

Can our country have a highly educated populace AND a highly-skilled populace? I’d argue yes. (This is how we historically stood out from the rest of the world!) I’d also like to pose that education is a subjective term. One can be educated in a classroom or on a construction site; on a farm or in a factory; on the battlefield or on a base; in a family business or independent of the government, etc. There are many ways to be educated beyond a classroom!

It’s disheartening a real conversation on choice in education has yet to take place…

Crossposted from Facebook.

New Counter Cultured Column: Communism is So Not Hot, Paris Hilton

I’ve penned a new column up at Counter Cultured today called “Communism is So Not Hot, Paris Hilton.”

Below is an excerpt:

Paris Hilton is partying with Cuban communists? That’s so not hot!

Hilton hotel heiress and celebrity Paris Hilton recently vacationed in Cuba. This comes after the Obama administration announced its intention to bolster diplomatic ties between our two countries, while easing restrictions on travel and exports. Hilton isn’t the only American celebrity to visit Cuba.  Singer Beyonce Knowles and rapper husband Jay-Z went to Cuba in April 2013 to commemorate their wedding anniversary.

Most notably, Hilton posted selfies with Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart-son of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro-at a gala event with Naomi Campbell. She also posted, “Posing in front of the original “Habana Hilton Hotel” that my great grandfather Conrad opened here in 1958.” She called communist Cuba “beautiful” and “unique.”

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

New Counter Cultured: Take Your Valentine Fishing

I’ve penned a new blog post up at Counter Cultured today called, “Take Your Valentine Fishing This Year.” Below is an excerpt:

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Though love can be celebrated any day of the year, why not make this February 14th especially memorable?

As many couples scramble to plan innovative dates, they shouldn’t feel obligated to watch films like Fifty Shades of Grey. A film that promotes sadism, narcissism, and sexism doesn’t bring couples together. Other activities do.

On that token, I recommend all those celebrating Valentine’s Day go fishing if weather permitted.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

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Ghirardelli Chocolate Company: Decadent and Delicious

Gabriella Hoffman:

Here’s my latest post at A Taste of Patriarchy!

Originally posted on A Taste of Patriarchy:

Here at A Taste of Patriarchy, we’re big proponents of small business. One business worth profiling is Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. Though its span extends beyond San Francisco today, it started from humble beginnings.

Ghirardelli was founded in 1852 by Italian immigrant Domenico Ghirardelli, who came to California at the height of the Gold Rush. Ghirardelli is the third oldest American chocolate company in existence. It boasts 23 stores and dozens of retail partners spread across the country. Today, Ghirardelli is the American division of Swiss confectioner Lindt & Sprüngli.

Compared to other American chocolates like Hershey’s or M&M’s, Ghirardelli prides itself in using the best and most natural ingredients. That typical artificial aftertaste found in most popular American chocolate is largely absent in Ghirardelli products.

While at SHOT Show in Las Vegas last week, my friend Faith and I stopped by Ghirardelli Chocolate Company at The Linq. Since I’m…

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Counter Cultured Review of ‘Unbroken’

I co-authored an article up at Counter Cultured called “‘Unbroken’ Film Channels Respect for Greatest Generation” with my fellow CC blogger Johnny Whichard.

Here’s an excerpt of the article:

The film “Unbroken” is captivating audiences nationwide and abroad. Since its Christmas day release, the film has generated nearly $88 million in ticket sales.

“Unbroken” follows the story of late World War II hero Louis Zamperini, who died last July at age 97. The film is inspired by the namesake bestselling book by Laura Hillenbrand.

The film begins in Torrance, California, where young Louis Zamperini is disinterested in going to church and more interested in causing mischief. Much to the dismay of his Italian immigrant parents, Zamperini sneaks liquor and has run-ins with law enforcement. Though his childhood in Southern California was marked by delinquency, Zamperini would later turn his life around through running. With the loving encouragement of his brother, Zamperini trains into a powerful running machine. After years of persistent effort, Zamperini performs for the United States in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. While he didn’t receive a gold medal, Zamperini broke a single lap record time and made a shocking comeback after trailing for much of his race.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.