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Tag: New York

New York Trip Summary, and the First Leg to Egypt!!!

Well hello friends and family, and you strangers out there who have stumbled across this silly blog. Last week I went to New York to see my friend Kenneth, and to get in as much comedy as I possibly could. It was an unbelievably funny trip, and over the last few days I keep finding myself laughing about all the funny things that I did not expect to have happen. Who would’ve thought that after sleeping outside on the streets of New York City for a ticket for Saturday Night Live, and looking like a bum, that I would walk up to the FoxNews building and make friends with one of the coolest people I’ve met in a long time, Janice Dean (Fox’s head Meteorologist – who actually didn’t say anything about meteors during the broadcast‚Ķ ūüėČ ).This trip was really unforgettable.

The first thing that I did on my trip was go see “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”, which won the Tony for best show this year, and afterward I got to meet Jefferson Mays, and I got his autograph. Apparently some how he was snubbed for the Tony for best performance… Watch this and you’ll see why I say snubbed.

The next day I was scheduled to go to a taping of Dr. Oz, but thanks to some poor Apple Maps directions, and a few seemingly oblivious locals I was 4 minutes late and my ticket was given to someone else… I was sad for a few minutes, but if I would have made it to that taping I wouldn’t have had the chance to get in line in time for Saturday Night Live! I had to get in line at about 3:30 PM on Friday, and they gave out the tickets at 7 AM on Saturday morning.

After having slept on the street I decided to walk around the Rockefeller Center area to see what was going on. There was a crowd encircling The Today Show crew, so I snapped a couple of pictures, and decided to move on to something else. I walked over by the FOXNews building and I happened to stumble across a small crowd standing outside talking to a reporter of some kind. I ended up finding out that this wasn’t just any reporter, this was Janice Dean (the head weather person for FoxNews)! After standing there for a few minutes to see if I could get on Fox and Friends I heard Janice and a few of the people around her talking about her new book “Freddy the Frogcaster”. This might not sound like big news to some of you, but in third grade I was the lead of our play, and my character was Freddy the Frog! I told the old lady next to me about this funny coincidence, and she urged me to tell Janice. Apparently I was taking too long to tell her so she called Janice over so that I could tell her about this. When I told her she got very excited and ran inside to get me a book to autograph! I have my differences with certain aspects of FOXNews, but not with Janice Dean, she was outstandingly nice and professional with even some unsavory passerby’s.

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After meeting one another we struck up a fun little online friendship that even somehow got picked up by the “twitchy team” on Twitter, which has 170,000 followers!

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This all made for a very weird story to try to explain to people, but nonetheless it was great. oh, and by the way I totally did sleep outside! So let’s get back to Saturday Night Live.

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I really did sleep on the street.

If you think that you would like to have a similar experience some day I definitely recommend it! I do urgent however to get/take a blowup mattress that self inflates, and does not need to be plugged in. Also make sure that you have sufficient clothing. And maybe the very most important thing to bring his earplugs, the city is loud at night.

It was unbelievable how the whole process worked. This line is a standby line, because the season tickets are all divvied up in August. I would have probably wanted to sleep on the street for SNL no matter what, but since the host was Jim Carrey (and he was my childhood idol) there was almost no question that I was going to do it! When they come around the next morning you have to decide whether you want to be in the standby line for the live show, or the standby line for the dress rehearsal. The dress rehearsal has 30 more minutes of skits, and it’s generally considered a safer bet to get to see the show, so I went with a dress rehearsal. I didn’t regret it one bit, and if get to go you should consider doing the same.

That whole experience was truly unbelievable, and there’s just too much to say about it for anyone who might be a Saturday night live/comedy fan, so I’ll probably write a post about the whole thing later.

My next little adventure within this larger adventure was going to a taping of the Colbert Report!

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This entire trip was partially spurred on by the fact that the show will be ending soon so that he can take over for David Letterman, and I had to go to a live taping before his character “died”. Mr. Colbert it’s going to have to reintroduce himself to the nation/world once he takes over for Letterman, and I wanted to see him before that happened. After sleeping outside for a ticket to Saturday Night Live showing up to the Colbert Report about five hours early didn’t seem like a very big deal. I got the number 2 ticket, and I was put on the second row right in the middle. Right before the show I got to ask Stephen a question “out of character”, and I asked my standard comedian question of “how old were you when you realize that you were funny?”. His response was something that I had kind of heard before in an interview, he said that when he was a little boy and he wanted to watch Johnny Carson, and his parents would try to make him go to bed, so he would try to be funny and make them laugh, then slowly sit back down beside the couch to where they wouldn’t notice him. He was unbelievably fun and candid with his audience‚Ķ I really want to be his friend.

At one point during the show he was launching bracelets into the crowd, then he slowly pulled out a throwing knife and raised an eyebrow to get some laughs. A little overzealous perhaps I decided to stand up and bend over, close my eyes and open my mouth‚Ķ He looked at me with a surprised face and then started laughing! I know I was being weird, but it was one of the funniest moments of my life. I’m a huge Stephen Colbert fan, maybe mostly for his ability to make us look inward and laugh when it’s uncomfortable.

The last very funny thing that happened on this trip was that I decided on my last night but I was going to go to a comedy club, and after getting tricked into going to a very terrible club I ended up finding myself outside of the Comedy Cellar talking with a comedian who I like a lot, Godfrey. He was very nice, and I begged him to come to Oklahoma. He guaranteed me he’d be in Dallas at some point, and that he’d consider coming to Oklahoma City. I want to start a petition to get them here!

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When I got home I had the chance to work on a job that I love, and I got to spend time with loved ones!

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So that brings me to where I am right now, sitting on an airplane about to fly to Cairo, Egypt with my buddy Gavin to connect with the “old church”, and have a grand adventure!!! I am literally writing this on the plane about to take off‚Ķ I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors, I had to dictate most of this on the run.

I love you all, and I’ll will be posting from Cairo soon!

Xoxo

Saving Young People From Themselves – Steve Rattner

StevenRattner.com: Saving Young People From Themselves


Saving Young People From Themselves

Posted: 13 Apr 2014 11:38 AM PDT

Originally published in the New York Times.

RETIREMENT is a financial obligation that today‚Äôs younger generations are not handling well. That may be through no fault of their own ‚ÄĒ they suffer from lower incomes, after being adjusted for inflation, and student debt that makes it a struggle to save. But regardless of the reason, the failure to save for retirement is setting up Americans in their 20s and early 30s for financially stressed golden years.

The statistics are startling: Only 43 percent of eligible workers under 25, and 62 percent of those between 25 and 34 participate in 401(k) plans, compared with 70 percent or more of those over 45. And the young contribute less ‚ÄĒ 4.3 percent of income for those under 25 and 5.5 percent for ages 25 to 34. In contrast, Americans between 55 and 64 direct 8.7 percent of their incomes to these plans.

Skimpy retirement assets might be manageable if they were being offset by other wealth accumulation. But that hasn‚Äôt happened. In fact, adjusted for inflation, members of Gen Y ‚ÄĒ those born after 1980 ‚ÄĒ are poorer than their parents were at similar ages.

We should address this looming crisis via a radical restructuring of our retirement plans, including mandated savings.

While the saving problem may be acute for young people, it’s hardly limited to them. After rising during the financial crisis, the overall savings rate of Americans has once again declined to paltry levels. For those who have saved and invested in equities, the surge in stock market prices since the recession ended has helped, which has pushed up the value of retirement holdings.

But in an unfortunate irony, many millennials, who watched share prices collapse in 2008, then steered clear of the market, thereby missing out on its rise. Typically, these young Americans keep about half of their portfolios in cash ‚ÄĒ not a sensible long-term investment strategy.

Earlier this year, to take a stab at addressing the retirement issue, President Obama proposed a new form of Individual Retirement Account that would allow Americans with household incomes below $191,000 to put aside money that would accumulate tax free. Unfortunately, the Obama idea is only a symbolic and inadequate gesture. For one thing, its cap of $5,500 per year is too small, and it lacks automatic enrollment or mandatory employer-contribution.

For another, contributions would initially be invested at low Treasury rates. Younger workers should be investing mostly in equities, which, over time, should provide higher returns.

Under the Obama plan, when an individual’s account reached $15,000, funds would be moved into an investment offering from the private sector, which would confront people with the same daunting and unfamiliar choices that face holders of 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts.

A better idea, but still offering only marginal improvement, is the one proposed annually by the president and ignored annually by Congress: requiring employers who do not provide 401(k) programs to offer automatic enrollment in I.R.A.s.

I’d love to see the restoration of defined benefit pensions, which combined automatic saving and sensible, long-term investment strategies. But that’s not going to happen. So at the least, we should take the responsibility for managing retirement funds away from ill-equipped individuals.

To that end, Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, has proposed a plan that would offer a more certain retirement benefit than existing individual plans provide, together with automatic enrollment, universal coverage, portability from employer to employer and professional management.

However, Senator Harkin‚Äôs plan has its own flaws ‚ÄĒ it doesn‚Äôt require any employer participation, and participants would be allowed to reduce their contributions or opt out entirely.

The best solution would take up the question of mandated savings. I understand that in today’s world of stagnant incomes, forced savings mean less money for individuals to spend now. But would we seriously prefer that our children become impoverished senior citizens? The approach I like is Australia’s superannuation program, which requires that 9 percent of workers’ pay be diverted into retirement accounts. Tax incentives are also provided, to encourage additional deposits.

The superannuation funds collectively have $1.7 trillion in investment assets. Adjusted for population, that’s the equivalent of $25 trillion for the United States, over twice what Americans have parked in 401(k)s and I.R.A.s. That’s an idea worth considering.

Young Americans are on track to be worse off in retirement than their parents. Let’s not just sit by and watch that happen.

Saving Young People From Themselves.

Tired of That “I Want To Go To Church And Not Be Called Dumb Or Bigoted” Feeling? You’re Not Alone.

 

 

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In 2008 I moved to China to live with a group of Americans in China (including my sister) who had pledged to live amongst the Chinese, and teach English in their schools as a form of ministry. We of course couldn’t be overt, ¬†that would have been illegal, but we would live our lives and set examples so that they might find themselves curious why we loved so freely, and shared what we had with such ease – well that was the goal at least. While I was living in China someone introduced me to the teachings of Tim Keller, and at first my pride prevented me from giving it a shot and listening to my friend’s advice (and I think this same know-it-all mentality is a one of the biggest plagues of the human condition). ¬†Ever since I began listening¬†to Mr. Keller I have found great comfort in people having differing opinions, and in the idea that God made me curious and surely wants me to ask as many questions as I genuinely am able!!!

I just ran across this clip recently, while I recommend watching longer talks of his, I know about this “know-it-all” human condition from which all people seem susceptible¬†of falling victim, so I figured I’d post a short and sweet video as an introduction for anyone willing to listen for a hand full of minutes on this beautiful Sunday. If you are interested in hearing more from Tim I recommend watching his talks at Google, which were reported at the time to have been the most crowded lectures by an author at Google (which surprised me). I will post one of them below from when he went to Google to discuss his book “A Reason For God”. I hope you enjoy.

 

Tim Keller at Google

“Hubris: Selling the Iraq War” (Special Report)

Hubris

So lately I’ve decided to post a few Rachel Maddow segments, and I’m sure that has a lot of my loved ones in Oklahoma very worried about me. I would first like to clarify a couple of things. I don’t always agree with her, but when I do I find it worthwhile to share because I would imagine that many around me would otherwise never hear anything that she says, and I hear her often mischaracterized as just the opposite of the guys of Fox News (I don’t think that’s true, I appreciate that her shows are designed with enough information that you can refute what she says, and that doesn’t mean that I always think she’s right). Also, there are very few shows that are free on itunes as a podcast, but her show is, and while I didn’t have cable for 2 years I was very grateful for that.

Next I’d like to clarify my purpose of posting this video. I am not trying to pick a fight, or tease anyone. As a matter of policy and governance I simply disagree with the way that the Iraq War was instigated and executed. I say this with a limited knowledge of the military, so feel free to educate me if you know something that I don’t know. You are allowed to disagree and I can deal with that, although I might have questions for you. I try very hard to be reasonable, and part of that for me means that it’s important to reflect on our successes and failures. I don’t consider our troops to have failed, I am incredibly humbled that people risk their lives for me and live in the conditions in which our soldiers do, but I do consider our leadership in regards to this war to have been a failure on multiple levels.

If you find this video to be interesting, or even if you don’t, I recommend watching the documentary “No End In Sight” (which as of this post you can find on Netflix). If you are someone who has served in the United States Military I want to be clear that I am posting this with an honest concern for American lives, as well as for lives around the world, and I mean no disrespect.

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I think that it’s a complete failure on part of our media that most people I’ve talked to about the War in Iraq have no clue as to the unbelievable devastation that Iraq has experienced… This short documentary is definitely being produced by people who are unapologetically liberal, and I wouldn’t dispute that. However, I think that being partisan doesn’t disqualify an argument, poor logic and a lack of information disqualifies arguments, but unsympathetic partisanship really can kill a great conversation. I supported the war as a 16 year old boy, but I no longer think it was wise. This video explains part of my change of heart/mind:

For anyone interested in watching “No End in Sight” I will post the trailer below. Again, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings, this is in no way meant to taunt anyone on my behalf. I know that this is challenging and per usual on challenging topics I expect a lot of views, but very little interaction, and that’s ok. However you feel about this post I hope that you can accept my sentiment when I say God Bless America, and God Bless all of our brothers and sisters of the world.

How David Letterman and I Became Friends… (1-16-13, Kardashians and Buddy Guy) – YouTube

How David Letterman and I Became Friends… (1-16-13, Kardashians & Buddy Guy) – YouTube.

What a cool night. Watching the whole operation was amazing.

A post shared by Grady Carter (@gradycarter) on

So recently I had the chance while in New York City to go to a taping of Late Night with David Letterman, and it was a Great experience. I didn’t actually become friends with Dave, but we did get to chat for about a minute, and I like to think that I’ve never met a stranger (so we are friends now…).

*I’m posting the video of the introduction and my explanation right here, and also the¬†segments¬†from the show below to share my experience. I wanted to type out the experience since that is normally how I do things like this (I’m not normally a video blogger). The explanations are somewhat identical, so feel free to skip this explanation below if you’d rather read it.

*The clip of the show starts at about 2:30 in this video.

I went to the show with one of my friends who I hadn’t seen in person since summer camp when I was 13 years old (half of my life ago). But thanks to the miracle of social media he and I¬†reconnected¬†and we had some great conversations, and shared a David Letterman experience.

So, before we went to the show I had been warned by multiple people that we should try to dress reasonably well and be enthusiastic, we did both and we had great seats. Before the show started we got to watch a few minutes of standup comedy (which I loved), and then we listened to the band get everyone fired up. Paul Shaffer came out right before Dave, and then we were off for an hour long adventure filled with Kim and Kortney Kardashian, and Blues legend Buddy Guy. But, before the show started the audience had a chance to ask Dave questions, and I was ready for it. Right when he asked if anyone had any questions I shot my hand up, not entirely sure what I was going to ask. He asked me my name (I told the truth), and then he asked where I was from. When I told him Oklahoma he acted interested and asked which town. I said Norman, and he started asking about the Sooners (University of Oklahoma, for anyone who doesn’t know), and he seemed to be baiting me to explain to everyone that they were the people who cheated in the land run in the late 1800’s.

So finally I get to ask my question, and I decided on the question that I would forever remember asking David Letterman, and I asked him:

“How old were you when you realized that you were funny?”

The audience laughed pretty hard (which was about the coolest feeling ever), and he seemed to think it was a funny question. Due to a surge of¬†adrenaline¬†I don’t remember exactly what he said back to me, but he said something¬†self deprecating¬†about not being sure if he is really funny.

So he then thanks everyone for being there and heads back stage to start the show, and when he comes back out there is a¬†miscue¬†with the cue card guy, and they have to go again. On the second run something happened that I’ll never forget – he came out an introduced himself as Norman Oklahoma… To the audience this was pretty funny, but it obviously made no sense to anyone who wasn’t in the room 3 minutes earlier. It was a very small blip on TV, and meant nothing in terms of David Letterman’s career, but having a momentary inside joke with the Late Night personality of my¬†adolescence¬†and young adulthood was absolutely priceless.

After that it was a blast to watch how the show was run, and it was great to see such a different spread of guests with the Kardashians and Buddy Guy. So here are some clips from the show that don’t include yours truly.

The Monologue:

The Kardashians:

Buddy Guy:

Today I’ll Be at The Meeting to Make America Work! – No Labels

2 years ago I stumbled upon an amazing group of people, and they are now undeniably a part of my personal story. While living in Pennsylvania/D.C. I was contacted by a group called No Labels, and they told me that they were attempting to do something that I’d never heard of in real terms, conquer the growing American political divide in Washington with actual policy proposals. But with our toxic political field we needed more than just changes of the rules, we have to attack our fracturing heart with relational strategy to welcome voices of reason to talk once again, reassuring them that they have support for being responsible for all of the citizens that they represent.

In December of 2010 I had the honor of helping other like minded people from around the country speak with one another at the No Labels national launch. I met politicians and news tycoons alike, and hearing them describe the America that I dreamed of, where differing ideas are considered beautiful, but deferential representation wasn’t acceptable.

Well, it’s 2 years after the launch and No Labels is doing it again. Today I am in New York City volunteering at the second grand installment of No Labels bringing people together to propose real reforms that demand that we have a functional government. Platforms like Make Congress Work! and Make The Presidency Work! are full of ideas that can help us step forward in a time where we are constantly faced with a standoff of special interest controlled parties.

I am excited to see No Labels gain traction hosting people today such as Governor Jon Huntsman (Republican) and Senator Joe Manchin (Democrat-WV). Not to mention Governor Huntsman’s daughters… I’m glad to know the wonderful people who work for this organization.

Please examine their proposed platforms for getting us back on the right track, and let me know what you think. I realize that this sounds somewhat vague, but I have to be up in a few hours to Make America Work! (which is the theme of this conference). I will say that the proposals that seem to elicit the most excitement from my experience are: No Budget – No Pay (congress doesn’t get paid if they don’t pass a budget), filibuster reform (allowing bills to be introduced before being filibustered, as well as actually making people physically talk and filibuster like in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). But look at the lists and see which proposals most intrigue you.

And if you are seriously interested in what I’m saying I would recommend checking out their website, but also go to Netflix and look up the movie Patriocracy (it actually talks about No Labels for a few seconds).

Ok, I must sleep. Please let me know if you have questions about any of this, and feel free to watch the meeting or following allowing on twitter @NoLabelsOrg.

-Grady

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FRONTLINE | The Choice 2012 (full episode) | PBS

FRONTLINE | “The Choice 2012” (full episode) | PBS.

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Here it is… On October 9, 2012 Frontline put out this election cycle’s film about the Presidential race, and I love it… If there is one thing that you are going to pay attention to this campaign season I recommend this special. I have been open with the fact that I plan to vote for President Obama, but even though I have problems with Romney I actually respect him a lot… That might seem weird, considering that I’ve posted about him being dishonest, but I think that the reasons for him being somewhat dodgy are complex. So, I just say that to insist that this special really is as non-partisan as you are going to find… Really… Gov. Romney’s Wife Ann Romney and brother Scott Romney are both willingly interviewed, and they are very candid, and it seems like they’re having fun.

I’m sure that there are some great jokes about PBS and Big Bird to make here, but I’m not going to do that, because I very seriously want to reiterate that I think you should watch this… I love Frontline, and I love Presidential politics, because it stirs the people’s melting pot. Presidential politics can sometimes be the best way to quantify where this great and diverse nation sees it’s self now, and in the future. I hope that you enjoy it, and if you do please share it with people who you think might be struggling with the bickering, these are 2 great men…

If you enjoy the video or are interested in learning more go to the FRONTLINE website, there is a lot more information outside of this film. And if you really like it, like me, you might want to buy it on itunes to support great work like this (remember, the way you spend your money is a form of voting, and that’s why Honey Boo Boo is on TV…). So feel free to buy it for $2.99 (that’s not very much money…) on iTunes, you can just click below:

Frontline – The Choice 2012 (iTunes)

There were a lot of great pictures in this special, and I took a lot of snap shots, so I’m including them… Hopefully they’ll help tell part of the story.

Day and Night in New York City Captured in Single Images (8 Pictures)

Day and Night in New York City Captured in Single Images.

These are great


Via: Design Float

Median Household Income and Benefits By State (2010)

While I do believe in having some collectivist programs to keep this country as one nation, I understand that these gaps will really make some of those collectivist ideas on a national scale hard to pull off…

One Incredible Day….

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Only In New York

So the day that I was originally planning on leaving NYC I decided to just walk around by myself in New York City. It started out with me going to Central Park and taking a bunch of fun pictures (it was beautiful). After that I decided to go Time Square, where I stumbled across a free concert being put on by Rihanna (who I’m not really a big fun of, but regardless it was very cool). And during that my dear friend Matt informed me that the Harry Potter world premiere for their last movie was happening about a mile away, so I found my way over there and took some pictures and videos. And maybe my favorite thing about the day was ending it at the oldest pub in New York “McSorley’s” where I met up with my great friend Hayley Nichols. When it was all said and done I couldn’t believe that it had just been one day, but here is the little bit that I did manage to document.

1. Central Park
So there are a few things that I have to say about Central Park: it’s Huge, and it’s incredibly beautiful…

I went there by myself, and I just laid down in the grass and enjoyed a few minutes of the day by myself. Here are the pictures for that:Central Park

2. Rihanna’s Surprise Performance
I’m not really a Rihanna fan, but I did think that it was pretty cool to just run into a random concert of her’s, for free, on the street, hahaha. Here’s what that looked like:

3. Harry Potter World Premiere
This was very funny, and I had some really mixed up emotions for being there for this. Harry Potter holds a special place in my life because it was the first book series that I read without being required, and I really loved it. It will always be special for that reason. Now, with that being said, this place was almost entirely 10-14 year old girls, and I looked a little ridiculous. I was ok with this for the first while, but I had to go eventually. Well, anyways, while I was there these were the videos and pictures that I did get:

Emma Watson (Hermione)

Rupert (Ron)

The Facebook Album

4. McSorley’s with Hayley!

this might seem funny, but this was probably the highlight of my day. I enjoyed the rest of it, but I loved seeing McSorley’s, and I really loved seeing Hayley. As I mentioned before this the oldest pub in New York, and it has some incredible history… Here are the pictures:
McSorley’s: The Oldest Pub In New York
We met some very cool people, including this guy who works for Google, and I believe his name is John…

and the Story of The Wishbones, which was one of the wildest history lessons I’ve ever had… Here is the basic story:

The Story of the Wishbones” (please read this part…)
“When a group of soldiers left for World War 1 they had a big dinner at McSorely’s and they all put a wishbone on this light, and the one’s who survived and made it home took their bone down. So they have remained untouched for all of these years (why they’re so dusty) because the soldiers didn’t get to come back to take them down themselves… Seeing that was truly amazing.”

New York was completely amazing, and lived up to all of the hype. The one thing that I did think was different from how it had seemed to be portraid was that the people were extremely kind to me. Maybe I just met all of the nice one’s, or maybe they are generally mischaracterized. I loved the places, I loved the people, and I love knowing thinking about going back!!

Love,
Grady