Netflix, no longer a stranger (pun intended) to original content (e.g. House of Cards, Luke Cage, The Crown), is entering the space that is currently dominated by American Ninja Warrior. Renewed for a sixth season on NBC and a ninth on Esquire, Warrior has become immensely popular. Adam Stotsky, President of E! and the Esquire Network, describes the significance of the show. “We are in constant awe of the extraordinary athletes on American Ninja Warrior who make the show as exhilarating to watch as it is to produce.” Aside from watching this cultural phenomenon, men and women are becoming increasingly eager to test their own physical abilities. According to a June 2016 Mental Floss article, 50,000 submissions were sent to producers for a spot on the show.
“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.” Instead of the customary hello between two strangers as they meet for the first time, I’m inclined to think that Woody would have told Buzz Lightyear to “Buzz off!” had he known at the time how this upstart space toy would create chaos in his calm universe, i.e. Andy’s bedroom. Toy Story, the acclaimed 1995 film that introduced us to the lovable toys Woody and Buzz, is a window into changing times. Call it old versus new. Or the past pitted against the present. Or as Bob Dylan once exclaimed many years ago, “The times they are a-changin.”
During my recent vacation in the Sunshine State, I managed to run every day without incident. On the day prior to returning home, however, I started experiencing an ache in my right knee. Aches like this can usually be attributed to accumulated fatigue, but I believe the culprit is more sinister, more brutal, and more unforgiving. Concrete. Miles and miles of concrete in the form of sidewalks. I’m a proponent of sidewalks from a safety standpoint as they provide an elevated buffer from automobiles, but they are utterly brutish on the bones that are housed inside of the legs and the feet. To paraphrase the Guns N’ Roses classic, “Welcome to the (Concrete) Jungle.”
Outside my bedroom window are palm trees, white sand, and miles of ocean. No, this isn’t the North Pole; this is Florida, The Sunshine State. The sun is mighty and warm and blinding. Florida is my home for the next few days, a villa in Siesta Key with stunning views. The weather isn’t much different from Georgia right now – my actual home. But I do anticipate the return of seasonal temperatures on January 2nd when I return. Actual winter weather like snow. Oddly enough, The Weather Channel website is predicting snow on the seventh of January. Snow is a foreboding word in the South, but I simply marvel at these ice crystals quietly descending from the sky with a delightful elegance. In the words of Andy Goldsworthy, “Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.” Snow stirs wonder and curiosity and the desire to run.