Monday, October 31, 2011

10/31/11 - Hate Mail, DWD, Halloween, Serial Killers on Horseback, Interruptions

Jack-o-laternImage via WikipediaIt looks as if my last blog post is the most popular one that I have posted in a long time. Maybe I should write more blog posts directed specifically towards people I don't like. Coming up, open letters to several of my neighbors, half of the people I ever went to school with, and prick with the Bluetooth in line behind me at the Wawa last week.


I keep falling asleep on my way to work. I blame my down pillow headrest.


I'd wish everyone a Happy Halloween, but I'm not sure if my heart is really into it anymore.

I'm not sure exactly when it was that I stopped getting into the holiday spirit. It was probably around the time that parents started taking kids out trick or treating on the most convenient weekend evening instead of the day itself, or when they started doing it in the early afternoon out of some bizarre fear of having their children out after dark. Maybe it was when they started taking kids trick or treating at the mall or in parking lots instead of going door to door, legitimizing the ever-growing xenophobic fear of other people, or when schools and parent organizations started banning certain costumes to prevent the accidental promotion of witchcraft, satanism, hedonism or popular culture worship. More likely than not, I'm just bitter that I've reached an age at which wearing a mask in public is more likely to prompt the response of a panicky 911 call than a gift of free candy.


Had the "Serial Killer Dream" again last night. The particulars of the crime are hazy, but this time my actions have gained notoriety, and there is a heavy push by the police to track me down. I do not know exactly what I have done, only that I regret not having the will power to resist doing it, and that I am now desperate to cover my tracks so I am not caught. My thoughts even go to past lapses, which I can only assume is a direct reference to previous dreams.

I had driven into New York City, where I rented a horse before committing whatever atrocity I have perpetrated. The NYPD has discovered the bodies, and is assembling a dragnet to track me down. I park the horse in a public restroom and contemplate my error. If the police are looking for connections to the crime, they'll probably check all of the local horse rental dealerships. If I return the horse, they'll probably be waiting for me. If I don't return the horse, it will arouse even more suspicion, and they will still be able to track me down, as all horse rental dealerships require a credit card imprint these days.

After hours of kicking myself for making this blunder and desperately trying to figure out a way out of this debacle, it suddenly occurs to me that I did not take the horse to the scene of the crime. I'm not even sure why I rented a horse in the first place, but there is now no logical reason to fear returning it and getting my deposit back. I can now flee the city in the car I stole earlier that evening with no worries of apprehension.

Maybe I should try going to bed earlier.


Don't ask me why, but this morning it suddenly occurs to me that being talked over while I am speaking to someone else is probably my favorite thing in the world. Honestly, I can't have it happen to me enough.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

An Open Letter to Brian, Regarding the Passing of an Old Friend

Dear Brian,

We have had our differences in the past. So much so, in fact, that I find myself posting this open letter to you on my blog, as I have no doubt you have blocked my email in order to avoid any direct contact. I happen to know that you monitor my online presence, however, so I'm sure this will eventually make it to your eyes. If not... oh well. It still needs to be said.

A close mutual friend of ours passed away last week. He died young and unexpectedly, and left behind a wife and daughter. Those who knew him and cared about him were devastated.

With the service planned for the following Wednesday, I volunteered to help contact all of his old friends to see who could attend. Having known him since High School, I was able to reach out to those he had lost contact with, those with fond memories of an old friend who had tragically passed away at the age of 36. I contacted everyone I could think of that might have even indirectly known him, on the off chance that they would want to come and pay their respects.

I did not attempt to contact you.

You were one of his closest friends back in the old days - practically joined at the hip, as is proven by numerous pictures and videos the two of you took back then. Thick as thieves, some would say. But I made no attempt to contact you with the news. Not because of the animosity between us now, or out of any fear of confrontation or personal grudge. I did not attempt to contact you because, in my honest opinion, you did not deserve to know.

I was informed by some mutual friends of ours (the ones you have childishly told you can not associate with as long as they are still friends of mine), that they felt you should be informed. I disagree with their judgement, but can forgive them for the error, as they still feel some weird affection towards you, like the ghostly pains of a phantom limb. They only see what used to be there. But, their hearts were in the right place. So they informed you of our old friend's demise, and invited you to the service.

You said you were sorry to hear about his death, and that you would send a card or something, but that you would not attend the service. I predicted as much before I was told. You have spent most of your adult life isolating yourself from old friends one by one, using excuses of moral outrage and logical wariness to rationalize your disdain for exerting undue effort on behalf of anyone but yourself. But you couldn't just say you were busy, or had to work, or didn't want to travel so far. You already knew that these cop-outs would not fly, that other friends who had not seen him in years were taking time off work and traveling for hours on end to say farewell to someone they cared deeply about. So, you fell back on an old standby. You blamed me. I am much too dangerous, you explained, and you have to protect me from your family.

I did not invite you to the service because I felt you did not belong there. But you were invited anyway. And you proved me right by refusing to attend. I am not upset that you did not attend our friend's funeral. You gave up your rights to consider yourself a friend in mourning when you turned your back on him and his family, not only making up excuses to avoid visiting, but cutting off all communication with him out of some strange aversion to other people's problems, an impulse that none of your other former friends have been able to fully comprehend or explain. For someone whose family constantly rubs his old brother's successes in his face to imply his own shortcomings, you have an awful disdain for the weaknesses and faults of others.

I almost believe that our dearly departed mutual friend would agree. He had eventually caught on to your little game of Silent Treatment, and in the past years both he and his wife had expressed to me their displeasure with your attitude and judgement. But I have a feeling that, were he alive today, or if he is in someway witnessing all that has transpired since he died, that he would ultimately forgive you your transgressions and welcome you back as a friend. He was a kind person with a heart bigger than most, and a far more forgiving soul than me. To him, your presence at the service would probably have been seen as a blessing, rather than the insult that it would be.

No, I am not mad at you for not attending our friend's funeral. I'm glad you chose not to attend. You proved yourself to be as shallow and vain as I had predicted. But I take issue with you scapegoating me as the reason. Too cowardly to just say you can't be bothered to honor the memory of a childhood friend, you hide behind accusations that I am a "Dangerous" man, too wild and unpredictable to allow access to you and your family. I will admit that I am a large man, and stand strong and vindictive with my passions and beliefs, sometimes often stubbornly so (as this open letter undoubtedly proves). But you would have to travel far and wide to find those who can honestly claim they have been harmed by my hand or through my intentions. I am no Mother Theresa, but it would take a fair amount of creative enhancement of my actions and deeds to paint me as any kind of imminent threat.

Besides, what is this "family" you are so eager to protect me from? You have spent most of your adult life running away from your immediate family, rightfully eager to distance yourself from parents and siblings that have done little more than look down on you since your childhood, always treating you as an inferior and a disappointment. You've succeeded in this escape on many levels, apparently, since even your own mother doesn't have a single picture of you on her Facebook page. Plenty of your older brother and his family, but not a single one of you. She even has one of your wife, although I'm assuming that was because she liked the dress. I know this, by the way, because your mother was on our dead friend's Facebook Friends List.

If I am indeed dangerous to you, than I am a danger to your heightened self-image, and the rationalizations you use to build walls of false logic and moral superiority between yourself and others, intricate facades meant to obscure the truly selfish and emotionally lazy reasons you have for your treatment of people you somehow refer to as friends. You select and eliminate friends like a child in a schoolyard, assuming that your approval or disapproval means something about the intrinsic worth of others, that your imposed rankings and presumptuous bartering of friendship as chattel ("I can't be your friend if you are his friend.") carries an weight or substance, as if such prepubescent posturing has any place in the complicated world of adult relationships.

You turned your back on our friend as you did countless others, and always with hypocritical reasoning. You turn your back on a friend because of his less than wise personal life choices, then sink money into a house on a flood plane now worth half what you paid, at best. You reject a friend because of his educational career choices, only to drop out of NYU after a solid week because you couldn't handle it. You shun friends because they are having drug or alcohol problems, only to become a closet drinker yourself, sneaking cases of wine into your bedroom at night while your parents are asleep. You criticize friends for breaking the law and not respecting the property of others, then illegally enter your neighbor's vacant apartment on New Years Eve as a joke. You eliminate friends from your life with smug self-justification, then hold a bitter grudge when one of those friends becomes famous after forming a band he didn't invite you to join.

I guess we do still have our differences. But at least we both agreed on one thing: you didn't belong at our old friend's funeral. Too bad you had use me as an excuse. Since you weren't there, however, let me assure you that you were not missed. Get used to that.


An old, former friend.

P.S. No doubt, you will react to my communication with you as you have in the past, by threatening to submit it as evidence of some sort of ever-increasing imaginary threat I pose to the safety of you and your "family." In order to facilitate the process for your local authorities, I have included below a complete list of my alleged transgressions:

*Allegedly (without any evidence or proof to support such accusations) making copies of your wife's LiveJournal posts in which she said nasty things about her in-laws, and then mailing those unfortunate public statements to your parents via the postal service.

[I must point out that this event took place before our mutual falling out, after which I was suddenly blamed. Before our falling out, all accusations regarding the mysterious LiveJournal Copies were directed (also without evidence) at your former upstairs neighbor in the house rented to you by your parents, whose apartment I witnessed you enter illegally on several occasions.]

*Calling you two days after the birth of our dead friend's daughter to chastise you for not calling to congratulate him, and then erupting into a fifteen-minute rant in which I said many ugly, nasty, horrible things about you and your wife.

[Guilty as charged, as the audience of coworkers who giggled uncontrollably while watching me will readily contest to.]

*Inviting you and/or your spouse to a dozen or so online social networks over a one-year period, including MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and several others that are most likely defunct by now.

[Feel free to attach your itemized, dated list of these invites, which you sent me once as proof of my "harassment" of you. I'm assuming I'm not the only person on the list of unwanted invites, however, since even your mother doesn't have you as one of her Facebook Friends.]

*Writing a short parody of the Saw film franchise as a Pledge commercial, in which I inadvertently gave a character the same name as your wife.

[An honest coincidence, which I attempted to correct by immediately changing the name of the character. Later, realizing how stupid the accusation was, as there was no similarities whatsoever between your wife and the character beyond the name, I went back and restored the original name of the character in the piece, which can still be read here.] 

Add this open letter condemning you for your cowardly and selfish actions in regards to an old friend's passing to the list, and I think that brings us up to date. Wow, I really am dangerous, aren't I?
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Rachel Maddow Tears Into Mitt Romney, Does Epic Segment From 'Man Cave' (VIDEO)

Maddow's rant runs the risk of feeling a bit like an overreacti­on. Until, that is, you remember that state Rep. Scott Randolph was actually chastised by the Florida GOP earlier this year for uttering the word "uterus" on the house floor.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
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Friday, October 7, 2011

10/7/11: The Occupy Wall Street Declaration of Occupation

Day 17 Occupy Wall Street October 3 2011 Shank...Image by david_shankbone via Flickr‎"As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.

"We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

* They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

* They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

* They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

* They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

* They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.

* They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

* They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

* They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

* They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

* They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

* They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

* They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

* They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

* They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.

* They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

* They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

* They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

* They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

* They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

* They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

* They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*
"To the people of the world,
"We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

"Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

"To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

"Join us and make your voices heard!"

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10/4/11 - Jail Birds, Hummingbirds, Insiders and Outcasts

Bird CageImage by Dedlam via FlickrThe stench is palpable. It’s as hot as a Hen House, and the air oozes with a queasy combination of urine, vomit, and sweat-soaked fabric. The cell is packed with rowdy stragglers from last night’s Birds of a Feather promotion at Flanagan’s Pub. What was once a dank, grimy drunk tank is now a newly tarnished cage, displaying what happens when you give out free drinks to anyone who shows up in a bird costume on Fat Tuesday.

A threadbare chicken clutches at his red foam beak as he crouches in a far corner and heaves stale gin and bile on his wide yellow feet. Between Heckle and Jeckle, who are clearly not talking to one another, a homemade Peacock sits whimpering on the splintered bench, cradling what’s left of his papier-mâché plumage. A lone penguin with prison tattoos paces defiantly, staring down any lame duck that dares challenge the pecking order. Woodstock gets into a shoving match with Donald Duck, disrupting a flock of frat-brat Angry Birds debating the best place to cruise for chicks.

Someone’s made bail, but whoever posted it is apparently too drunk to give their friend’s real name. A weary cop stands by the cage and points through the bars in desperation. “Are you Big Bird? Are you Big Bird? Are you Big Bird” These canaries aren’t singing. A couple of dime-store Hen masks in Bermuda shorts turn the question into a chant, ruffling the cop’s feathers and riling the coop. Amidst the tightly-packed avian chaos, a sleeveless Rooster uses his poly-cotton wattle to mop the stale sweat from his flush, fevered face. His goose is clearly cooked.


Once again, Lee Camp energizes my morning commute by vocalizing the rant circling unformed in the back of my head. Thank you, Lee!


Time to turn the news off. I hear way too much punditry about who is the more captivating candidate or effective speaker, and far too little debate about whether anyone is actually sound in their logic or correct in what they are selling a factual information. The beltway and the media that covers it have become so obsessed with the political game that is Washington that they've overlooked the fact that it isn't a game. They aren't disseminating crucial information to a receptive public desperate for some comprehension regarding the way the system is or isn't working; the are merely catering their creative content towards their target audience of industry insiders and policy junkies more enamored with the intricacies of the process than the results of actions taken. Time to turn it off for awhile.


"Man caught trying to smuggle hummingbirds in his underwear."

They needn't have bothered attaching an article to the headline and photo. They stand on their own.

Hummer, anyone?
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Monday, October 3, 2011

10/3/11: Delayed Dreams, Postponed News, Lengthy Protests and Depleted Days

Computer cleaning dusters are dangerous to inh...Image via WikipediaMy use of the snooze alarm in the morning has become so routine and predictable that my dreams now pattern themselves around the three ten-minute bursts of temporary pseudo-sleep I subject myself to before finally getting up in the morning. My subconscious is become smarter than my waking self. This concerns me.


Thanks to my relatively short commute on non-school days, I am now roughly two weeks behind on my political podcasts. This morning's Best of the Left, for example, is all about Obama's failure to update smog regulations, a news event that occurred a few weeks ago. Surprisingly, I'm finding it easier to listen to distressing and worrisome news with a two-week buffer between me and the actual date of the news in question. It's like have a time delay on reality. Am I the only one who finds it easier to handle frustrating news when it can be referred to as "recent" instead of "current?"


The more coverage I see of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the more impressed I am that we are finally seeing a real response to crimes perpetrated against the country and its citizens by these soulless financial power structures. I actually feel guilty for not going down and participating myself.


A common nugget of wisdom often offered around the workplace is "Keep busy, and the day will go by quickly." Why would I want that? How have we arrived at a mentality in which speeding up the passage of time and hastening our eventual demise is seen as a positive recommendation? I don't want any of my days to go by quickly. Even the crappy ones. We have far too few days as it is to go around wishing a speedy passage to any of them. When your job inspires you to consider deleting hours of your existence as a positive attitude, it might time to reconsider your vocational choices.


I'm slowly coming around to the realization that I don't drink nearly enough. As a matter of fact, maybe our entire attitude towards recreational drug use is outdated and misinformed. Sure, habitual drug use is damaging to the individual's mind and body, and can have disastrous effects for them economically as well as socially. But these days, the same thing can be said for many of the jobs people are forced to take on just in order to survive in this economic climate.

For every person suffering physical ailments from heavy smoking, drinking, or other drug use, I can show you someone with long-term disabilities due to workplace injuries, repetitive or restricted movement, unsafe work environments, chemical exposure, or simply the constant strain from performing duties above and beyond what would normally be considered safe or acceptable. For every family torn apart by a family member's drug abuse, I can show you a family destroyed by economic realities that force both parents to work, sometimes at multiple jobs, invariably neglecting their children, eliminating familial contact and communication, and creating a weary, negative atmosphere for those rare moments that the entire family manages to assemble as a whole for a meal.

When struggling to maintain an average, modern-day existence has the same long term debilitating effects as getting high, stoned or tight, who is to say which path offers more rewarding results?
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