Verbal warfare through radical ideals

Posts tagged “travel

Immortalized

The sea churned and boiled as the Galleon lurched forward and back, seafoam being cast to the winds as the storm carried on, seemingly endless. Bodies were tossed about the deck; sailors on a final journey; not toward peaceful shores, but the solemn, sandy graveyard depths below the thrashing waves. The man at the helm gripped the wheel tight, a lone soul on the bridge of a ship, being carried through a storm in unknown waters. As the mast came tumbling down, tattered black and green banners whipped about the deck, illuminated with each bolt of lightning. As if guided by the steady hand of fate, or the careless hand of fortune, the sound of wood splintering against rock signalled to the crew the hopelessness of their situation.

Flooding immediately took hold of the bow of the vessel, the murky liquid filling the cabins, and bringing immediate darkness to the unfortunate souls trapped below. It wasn’t long before the bubbling ocean clawed its way towards the stairs leading to the deck, swallowing lives indifferently, and rushing to meet the base of the bridge.

Cries of loss, and anguish were drowned out by the howling wind; the sound of agony and despair giving way to each gust as if the sea’s pain was unmatched by the plight of man. Pulling the brim of his cavalier’s hat down, the captain leaned hard to his left, bringing the wheel spinning with considerable force. As it resisted, so did he, dragging each of handles harder than the last down to the port side. It was the only side left to rely on. Pools shifted directions, and poured off the bridge, into the ocean. This was it. No turning back now.

“Abandon ship!” declared the captain, thrusting his finger outwards at the remaining lifeboats, now being tossed about the deck. “Save yourselves, you silly bastards! FLEE!” The remaining pirates aboard looked to each other, a look of grim understanding on their rain-battered faces. Another swipe of his hand through the air as the captain attempted to reiterate his point, all the while clutching the wheel in its resting position. “There’s no saving her! Don’t you understand that?! You all don’t have to be here! I can finish this! None of you have to be here! Leave with your lives! Does that mean NOTHING?!”

The ship rocked, and they all erupted into laughter, shaking their heads furiously at the bridge. There was still a job to be done, and the hounds of death had not yet come calling. The captain’s brow softened, and in that moment, he grasped perfectly what was not just poetic, but necessary. Cupping his hand to his mouth, he called out to the sailors, “OKAY LADS, WE CAN MAKE ENEMIES WITH DEATH, ONE LAST TIME! ON MY MARK!” The men watched eagerly, awaiting the signal. As the captain’s hand fell sharply, they all rushed to the port side railing. The galleon, suddenly forced onto its left side despite taking on water, spat a series of cannons and supplies out its port bays.

Instantly, the ship lifted up by several meters, gaining speed and flushing seawater as if in revolt. The captain grinned, releasing the wheel long enough to gain stability. As the crew returned to the deck, they hoisted two long oars off each railing. Upon each was a long, wrapped emergency sail, fastened by a series of hooks. The crew held fast to the oars; there would be only one chance at survival, and it was growing slimmer by the minute. As they stared with morbid fascination at the bridge, the crack of thunder shook the wood violently, causing them to shiver in place. With every flash in the night, the silhouette of their man at the helm appeared again, hardly discernible behind a curtain of darkness and water. The captain’s hand swept upwards, and the winds blew forth his long coat as though the elements had heard his pleas. With the faith and hopes of the crew on his shoulders, he loosed his grip on the wheel. Spreading his arms far, he prepared to grab the furthest two handles, positioning himself for quick turns.

Calling out to the closest man on his right, he ordered them to the bow, as vision was key now. As the officer reached the bowsprit, they saluted the captain, knowing this was a mission they couldn’t return from. The man reached to the deck, pulling a rope about his waist, then winding it up and around his shoulders. He then brought the end of the rope to his eyes, tying a knot that wouldn’t budge. Securing it to the bowsprit, he gripped the front railing tight; it was his job to be the eyes of the ship, and he would not fail. With bolts of lightning serving as his temporary lantern, the sailor made a map in his mind, plotting a course through the field of rocks ahead. Arms shifting rigidly like the hands of a clock, the ship swayed to his will.

Hands raw and blistered, the captain pulled desperately at each wooden handle, sending the heavy ship lurching to one side. With each close encounter, the hearts of the crew rose and fell together, treating each fleeting glimpse of death as a blessing. Another show of hands catches the captain’s gaze, and he swings his arms across the wheel. It’s too late. With a grinding screech against the starboard hull, the spotter up front is thrown from his harness, the railing cracking under the immense pressure. Cries of terror fill the air, and the handful of remaining crew members rush from the deck to the bridge, knowing that he won’t be able to steer by himself for much longer.

As they rush the helm, a flurry of hands reach out, pulling the captain up from his knees, and onto the closest two pairs of shoulders. From his elevated position, he could see the enemy. In waves, large rocks came flying past the borders of the ship, coming closer with each pass. The captain arched downwards, relaying directional advice with each looming threat.

Leaning back up, his eyes caught sight of their next opponent. Preparing to warn his men on the wheel, he pulled his head down towards the ears below. With a halting gasp, he met with a shocking revelation. The rock ahead was not a rock, but the shadowy, protruding form of a reef. With grim urgency, the captain shoves off from his seat, immediately clawing at the wheel.

“REEF, RIGHT AHEAD!” he exclaims, throwing the handles to the port side. The men, knowing the gravity of the situation, force the wheel as hard as they can to the left, and then commence throwing themselves at the railing, hoping to gain a turn so sharp they miss their date with destiny. It’s not enough. The end near, the captain calls out to his men: “It has been an honor gentlemen. Brace for impact. I’ll see you on the other side.”

As per tradition, he threw his arms around the wheel, embracing death. With a deafening burst of chaos and splinters, the ship exploded against the coral reef in a triumphant show of nature over man.

Bodies soared over the opposite railing, thrown by the impact. As the shower of wood and dust came raining down on him, the captain climbed slowly to his feet. Hearing the rushing sound of the sea climbing the stairs to greet him, he removed his hat, a gesture of respect to the crew he had lost.

Looking down at the puddle growing around his feet, he stepped onto the railing of the bridge, turning backwards to face the storm, and the horizon. As he did, the bow of the ship began to sink into the depths, bringing the stern of the ship up to greet him. Resigning himself to the sea, he stared downwards at the black, swirling pool coming up to claim him. As his eyes closed, and his grip grew slack, he was tossed from his seat, face first into icy water.

He rose to his knees, wiping soaked eyes with his sleeve, swinging his head around wildly. Puzzled, he crawled to the starboard railing of the bridge. A small pocket of moonlight reflected off the sand bar on the other side of a thin reef, littered with the fragments of his ship and the unconscious bodies of his crew.

Filled with boundless joy, he wailed into the night, flinging his hat from the railing like a disc. Howling in a fit of ecstasy, he reached down, plucking a large, loose rung from the railing. He sprang to the outside wall of the bridge, reaching down over the rails to grab their crew’s banner, bathed in the green and black colors they embodied.

As it unfurled, a slot on the inside opened up, revealing a reversible white flag within. After all, there would be no use getting rescued if your ship of saviors knows you’re a band of pirates, is there?

Dedicated to The Sic gaming community. Thanks for not leaving me there.

~Jake


Devour

Dusk came, and the night brought the appealing prospect of a new beginning.

My hand gripped the wheel tight, becoming an anchor to the shaking sensation that was trying to control my every action. Trembling was not a sign of confidence, and if there was anything I desired at that moment, it was the facade of unfazed arrogance. I played an inspiring song in my head, turning the truck around to face the screen. It was another mistake in a night where oversight was determined to stomp all over my dreams.

I forced my foot to stop tapping; I knew this was a blatant retaliation of my body against my mind. The movie had already started, but it was irrelevant. It wasn’t my focus, nor did it hold the answers I sought. My eyes crept slowly to the right, more than likely in a manner less subtle than I believed it to be. Her top, a cream or pearl shade (I’m terrible with colors), held a mesh screen at its heart; the revealing neckline simultaneously alluring, and provoking to my more carnal desires. The top ended with a thick black belt, giving way to dark azure flairs of smooth cloth. Her legs, both strong and commanding, flowed down into a pair of shoes that tip-toed across my line. These devil-may-care heels were as heavy metal as you could get without stepping into evil territory. Black and studded with the softest of pseudo-spikes; it was her way of showing me she meant business. Very seldom does clothing choice inspire a sense of intrigue, but this ensemble was just good enough to fuck with me in all the wrong ways.

I sat back in my seat, attempting to lean the chair back in the vain hope that I would stop being awkward, and start being both sweet and charismatic. She grinned, the outline of her face glowing brilliantly in the reflective light of the projected screen. Whether it was a cinematic joke or an inner acknowledgement, this jovial moment struck a spark within me, setting ablaze the pyre on which I left my doubts to die.

The center console suddenly became a nucleus; a conduit that juxtaposed the chaos of my sound to the calm of hers. Fingers danced against each other in a ballet of intertwined affection. Eyes locked through lenses of plastic and acid. Her past was a cloudy mystery that gave me hope and hunger; mine, a decade of aggression that was shoved forward by haste and hatred. None of it mattered at that moment. I was lost, clawing softly for just a few more seconds of her warm fingers and delicate tendrils. The movies passed without a hitch. Stimulated by a few shared hours of epic battles and ultra-violence, I turned my eyes to the journey home, angry at nightfall for its brevity, and dawn for its swift approach.

The highway’s blur of grey flew under our feet as the soft blues rhythm of the guitar played over the speakers. Swaying melodies and soft cymbal splashes set the tone and the speed of our comfortably quiet ride. I turned my head slowly, almost trepidantly, towards her. Relaxation encompassed her in both mind and body, as she leaned her head to the side, dozing in peaceful respite. Her chest rose and sank with each breath, as an undeniable spring of relief washed over me. We had a good time, and her moment of security was the only assurance I needed.

As we pulled up to the front drive, her eyes gazed over at me. Beneath her comedic remarks about “being happy she could go to bed”, she grappled with an exhaustive look of gloom on her face. She had a good time, and I knew what she felt. I didn’t want it to pause, and it felt like an act of cruelty to do so. I just wanted her to be close. We walked slowly to her car. Inconsiderately slow. As we reached the driver’s side door, she quickly opened the door and threw her purse like a brick in a riot. Now facing each other at the end of the day’s fun, she turned her gaze up towards me. Lust met a momentary lapse of true happiness, and I graciously accepted this outcome with suppressed elation.

“Lay it on me,” she exclaimed with arms outstretched. Her scent was poison, and in that moment we locked lips for a split second. Mutually surprised by its initial display, we retracted.

“Again?” I asked with a smirk, already instigating a second encounter. She nodded, and we returned to our lock. Tongues met teeth and each other as they moved in playful repetition. When we released, all I was left with was a fading taste of her presence.

As her car slid effortlessly down the street, away from me and my newly found chasm of loss, I walked into the house, and trudged back to my room. As I collapsed on the bed, I stared up at the ceiling, clinging desperately to every single image, sound, scent, and touch of warmth I could recall. I held my phone tight. I couldn’t sleep. I knew I’d miss her if I closed my eyes.

My pain is not ashamed to repeat itself
    My pain is not ashamed to repeat itself
    My pain is not ashamed to repeat itself
    My pain is not ashamed to repeat itself
    
    I can’t sleep until I devour you
    I can’t sleep until I devour you
    I can’t sleep until I devour you
    I can’t sleep until I devour you
    
    and I’ll love you,
    if you let me
    and I’ll love you,
    if you wont make me stop…

-Jake


Invent the Truth

It never ceases to amaze me, the rhetoric that comes out of neo-conservative circles.

Without a doubt they pump out some of the most terrifying drivel ever to disgrace the Earth. That’s why I’ve decided it’s only right that they be ridiculed publicly. If you have ever wondered where the greatest congregation of sheep, zombies, and lifeless husks go to talk politics and news, you can either go to a FOX news webpage, or Yahoo. Both of these sites, offer some of the most anti-intellectual, backwards theories known to man, that will shock and amaze you at the lack of progress in our society to educate and instruct.

Complete disregard for pedigree information, absolute carelessness to adhere to basic rules of logical debate, and a paradigm designed to empower the least educated people on the planet by teaching them to shut their eyes and ears, in favor of volume, and repetition. If Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin wanted to craft an army of hardly-functioning humans that receive a single lie and attach to it like leeches, they succeeded.

Unfortunately, I do have mail at Yahoo, and occasionally I go to this blatantly right-leaning website to check on news simply out of convenience. Regardless of how far right some of their stories seem, it’s never enough for the group of right-wing extremists who comb the comments section. Their initial reactions to a story they undoubtedly had difficulties reading in the first place, are overtly hostile personal attacks that combine nonsensical remarks with petty, uninventive stabs to try and formulate some snide rebuttal. Therefore, I feel no remorse in disclosing some of these winners to you, now.

This should be the first in an ongoing series of awesome posts dedicated to pointing out morons on popular websites, who say things that deserve to be exposed.

Let’s start out with the news:

The headline reads “Marine survey lists concerns on women in combat“. It’s a simple enough title that denotes that surveys were taken by armed-forces personnel, that produced results that were unfavorable to the groups that want equal treatment for the women now capable of joining combat roles on the front lines. It would appear from the results that many soldiers are not coping well with the changes, citing groundless claims that women can’t keep up with men when their lives are on the line. It’s arguably the same inaccurate, shameless tactic used to keep black males from joining combat roles prior to World War II. However, my point isn’t to focus on the story itself. If you’d like to read it, the link is below.

http://news.yahoo.com/marine-survey-lists-concerns-women-combat-002047180.html

What I’ve come to do is take stabs at the morons who deserve it, so that’s what we’re gonna do! Up first, we’ve got this winner:

Notice, the first person speaking is me. Yes, I grow weary of reading these comments, so I took the time to add my own bit of wood to the pyre. As you can tell, it’s burning quite brightly now. They didn’t like my comment, evidently because I hit too close to home. It’s fairly easy to guess their argument, which is why I threw that plethora of ridiculous words together in order to create that monstrosity. It’s everything I’ve ever heard out of the whiny-right, and it would seem I struck a nerve. You can only push the neo-cons so far before they resort to idle threats. I’ve done just this. Forget the irony of this person’s username containing the word “intellectual”. He’s just like the rest of them; Angry, filled to the brim with hate for “lib’ruls”, and out for blood in the name of Saint Reagan.

This winner caught my eye first. Like I previously stated, he is stuck in a void of thinking that was supposed to die before the turn of the century. I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t take this guy seriously, with his immaculate knowledge of the female anatomy. Clearly we’re dealing with an OBGYN of unparalleled integrity. With quotes like “prissybutts”, who could deny that he knows what is best for our country? This mastermind of military strategy deserves an award, because he has not only managed to give us a clearly unbiased view of females in combat, but has provided us with a new catchphrase to use.

This next one is a double post, because only the coolest of the Yahoo! users can make this smooth transition from one post to the next. Right from the start, you can tell this guy is as qualified as the last to speak on the physical capabilities of women. He even cites his sources brilliantly, stating that the reason women can’t be placed on the front lines is ‘because they are inferior’. Checkmate, liberals. Then, he decides to abandon all better judgment in order to play the part of the whistle-blower. He informs us that the reason this is taking place, is because Obama is purposefully moving our armed forces towards extinction. That’s right. Only a psychological guru could understand the finer aspects of this internal revolution. It’s genius. Of course Barack Obama, the Commander-In-Chief is just trying to bring in women and gay people in order to make us softer! That way, when the Chinese invade us, they can just throw small spiders our direction, and our army will run away! Oh, that sneaky commie President and his secret agenda…

Back to our old friend, the ‘Sexual Intellectual’. This time, he is combining his data with that of ‘Maineloon’ in order to ensure that his hypothesis was correct. Of course, with infallible logic like his, who could even think of discrediting his theories? As you can tell, the sound logic that Russia and China are planning a coup d’état in order to take over the United States. Frankly, I’m surprised he is using Russia’s white-washed name, and not their underground, Illuminati codename: “The New World Order of Super-Awesome Communist Soviet Union Fascist Socialists Who Hate Freedom“. You know, because we’re still in the cold war, and the United Nations is just a cover-up organization to make us all get along for the sake of communist slavery.

…And to conclude our first round of hilarity:

Finally, we come to the truth behind the veil. The gub’ment has been working to ensure women can join combat, simply because their feeble minds are easier to control! I knew it all along! OF COURSE, the only way that they would be able to take full authoritarian control of our undeniably intelligent population, (http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/500/idiotho.jpg) is by placing those damn, easily manipulated women out in the open. At that point, all Obama would have to say is, “Please can we put you under martial law, and enslave you with our tyrannical government until you die”? They’re so weak, they would just throw down their guns right there, and go back to the kitchens and book clubs. That’s of course, going to happen anyways. The psychic medium ‘Dothemath’ has foretold of a looming gun ban, in which all firearms will be removed from the population of the United States. We should heed this warning now, lest we be torn asunder by the armies of darkness that President Blackenstein has brought to destroy the republic.

Or…

We could get a fuckin’ grip. It should be painfully evident now that the group who is opposed to women in combat, (or doing anything for that matter) is a swarm of illiterate, alpha-male, narcissistic, homophobic sycophants of the republican party who simply want the right to deny minorities, gay people, and women any rights they deem necessary when they think it threatens their identity. Of course, being stuck in a bible-belt mindset will create a generation of socially-inept neanderthals who honestly have convinced themselves that women are easy to brainwash, and that people contract homosexuality through being around gay people. Besides being a disgusting straw-man that won’t go away, it has led some of the more intellectually-challenged members of our society to treat right-wing extremism as a secondary religion. It’s a malicious faith, designed simply to create a purist society of arthritic, Caucasian males who pine for the days where they could hose down black people who stood up for themselves, or the days when you could smack a woman across the face for not having dinner ready on-time.

Hope you enjoyed this, and I hope this is the start of a glorious new series. If, however, you don’t believe the shit you’re reading now, I suggest you head over to Yahoo! Scroll down the comments, and see if I’m wrong. It’s the perfect right-wing news site that somehow even the right-wingers have found a way to paint as a ‘leftist’ community. Nothing has been altered or edited, and that should confuse and terrify you to a degree you can’t imagine.

-Jake

 

 

 


Lethe

This pale room, illuminated only by the streetlamps through the window, provide a charcoal outline to my settings.

The walls, seemingly metallic, have long since corroded; corridors leading from the room give way to rusted architecture. The ceiling is within arm’s length, yet my surroundings cast an air of reluctance on the notion to touch anything at all. While the faint, white light dimly shines into the room through a dense fog outside, an internal glow can be seen emanating from the floor. As if the entirety of the surface was a radiant source of power, a strange sort of understanding came as to the catalyst for such a crude home.

The floor, a sheet of knee-deep water, soaked everything in sight. It ran through the main room, and down a long hallway like a river. At the end of the hall, the light faded into darkness; this mysterious void seemingly devoid of all furnishings, decorations, or doors. Perhaps it was the door, and the room was just all that could be seen from where I was standing. A voice called out from behind me, and there on a small beige couch she lay. Curled up beneath a pile of black fleece, her soft, pale form could hardly be recognized. My confusion obvious, a slender forearm and hand extends outwards towards my position at the edge of the room.

“What are you doing here,” I ask from my corner. “…and where are we?”

Her hand beckons me over, as fingers one by one curl back towards her palm. Doubt, clawing at my mind for such an inviting gesture, freezes me in place. A second, precautionary glance down the long corridor allows me a moment to question the decision. Upon returning my gaze to the plush couch though, I notice a strange occurrence. The water line, previously up to the arms of the chair has now receded, allowing for what seems a safe haven from the tide. As I stride over, the ripples reflect parabolic waves of light off the ceiling and walls. I pull my legs up over hers, attempting to settle in a comfortable position closest to the wall. As I nudge my way under the covers, I place my head on her shoulder. Immediately, the familiar scent of complacency and repose penetrates my senses, lulling me into a trance-like state. While the waves and white noise churn in the background, momentarily I am lost within the confines of warm serenity. This feeling, a much longed for event that I have since been robbed of, brings me to the verge of joy. However, it becomes painfully evident that events are unfolding around me. Almost like a collage of scenes I’ve never witnessed, a story is written that consciously I’ve never recognized.

An assortment of shops, all colored in various bright hues, is sprawled before me. As I walk down the sidewalk with her, peering in all of the windows and chuckling to myself at the people inside, my face begins to fade from my body. My features, all slowly disintegrating into dust are replaced by new ones. Colorless, shapeless, soulless; the new form of myself carries with it a hooded menace who I can’t recognize, and don’t want to. It’s a distorted shell of who I represent, and I avert my eyes to the opposite end of the room, where another vision takes place.

I’m driving down a long suburban road, at nightfall. My black hoodie, zipped up high to stave off the cold only provides insulation for my frustration. As I turn my eyes towards the passenger seat, she sits with apologetic eyes staring out the window. Dead pools of limitless resentment, I struggle to comprehend why we’re angry in the first place. As I scan over the panorama, I turn towards her, seemingly ready to reiterate the same question that curses my speech day after day.

“What’s wrong?”

No information is shared. A long pause takes place, where suspenseful dread creeps up between the seats. Trees and power-lines pass by continuously, providing a monotonous canvas for me to bide my time with. She turns her head slightly, her distant disposition flickering briefly to allow me one snippet of disdainful indifference to my inquiry.

“Nothing. I’m fine.”

From my place in the chair, I’m reminded at once of the loathing of that phrase that I possess. I crane my head to the center of the room, and catch one final frame placed directly in middle of the ceiling. As I strain to properly glimpse this image, I climb up from the warmth of the couch, leaving behind my comfort in search of catharsis. I gently step into the center of these decimated living quarters, and fixate my attention into this portrait of disgrace. Of what I should view as happiness, I can feel only hatred and abandonment.

A large beach towel is stretched wide on the sand. An empty, gorgeous landscape of exotic wonder lies beyond the towel, providing what can only be considered a perfect ending to a silly romance movie. It is the stereotypical cover of a vacation pamphlet, inviting all loving couples to spend their honeymoon, wedding, or anniversary there. Upon first glance, only peace could be found here. Of course, my nightmare was yet to unfold. As the camera panned downwards, allowing a look at the owners of the wide beach-towel, I am greeted by the face of betrayal. Their legs, entwined at the knees and ankles, immediately ignite my fury. Bare skin meets bare skin, in a union of lustful celebration. This strange man, unknown to me is an aggressor in my own fantasy, raping every joyful idea I had ever imagined. Envious disgust takes hold, and as the frame begins to zoom in on their arms and shoulders locked in horrifying embrace, I lose it.

With both arms outstretched, I claw at the edges of the picture frame. Regardless of the strength of its attachment, I pry at it with all my might. It gives, almost too easily, and rust showers me from above. Water begins streaming through the gaping hole in the ceiling, flooding the room in a current that flows towards the darkness. as I watch furniture, curtains, and terrible trinkets get carried down the hall, I throw the frame. A broken ornate harbinger of pain, I feel little remorse for the destruction I’ve brought upon it. There was no truth hidden beneath, only that which I rejected the most. This room contained no meaning, only the suffering I wished to evade. With eyes now red with malice, I spun around to the couch to voice my revulsion to her. I was not met by apologetic blue eyes, nor was I greeted by a satisfied grin. There she lay where I left her, the blanket now gone from the raging waters around us.

A stone sculpture remains in her place. With tears in her eyes, and arms reaching out to me, a yearning statue was all that was left. All at once, the weight of the torrent finally dragged the couch, and with it her effigy toppled over, smashing into pieces against the floor. They were then swept quickly down the raging river, and into the void.

“IS THIS WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANTED ME TO SEE?!” I called out after her shattered pieces. I felt empty, and lonely.

Forsaken and and crippled, I sank to my knees in the water. Chilling waves of horror swept past me, and there in failing light of the room, I threw myself at the mercy of the current. Freezing comfort filled my lungs, a moment that I have feared for my entire life. This end, no longer bearing pain for me, brought me into the shadows I dared not tread before.

Then I woke up.

Hold me near, my one friend and guide
As I drown through your fingers
Drown through your love
For you are the life that I hate
You are my… You are my…

Drag me down, in passionate sighs
With the ocean above me
And flames in my eyes
And grant me a life I can live
Without
Take me away

From the life that I hate

-Jake


The Future Of Speech

Hello, children!

In the realm of the Blogosphere, there are an immeasurable amount of ideas floating around. At one point in recent history, bloggers could actually be taken seriously, and respected. The opinions and informative news posted on the blogs of the past have decayed into various chains of social circles and exclusivity, where if you check one place you’ll find what appears to be a well-versed article regarding a certain topic. However, upon the inspection of another blog discussing the same tagline, you’ll find a slew of polar opposite “facts” that they claim they’ve taken the time to research. While I understand that many topics containing words such as ‘best’, ‘worst’, or ‘smartest’, are unfailingly opinion pieces, and therefore are completely subjective; this doesn’t mean that people are entitled to conjure their own series of facts.

When even pedigree information is cast to the winds, then there is no such thing as the successful passage of information. There should be no discrepancy in replicating and reviewing easily verifiable information. Ironically, despite how often I think this, there remains a million examples of how people manage to turn a simple Q&A into an Ontological debate. Everything from “can marijuana kill?”, to “how old is the Earth?”, is contested on the web, and in the Blogosphere it would seem this is no different. It isn’t that simple, though. This misinformation manages to not just wind up on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Tumblr, Blogspot, or even WordPress pages, but now a plethora of news media outlets have decided to take up the call of freelance bloggers in order to pump out more information, more frequently. This inadvertently has led to the establishment of many pages that are devoid of not just basic knowledge, but sponsored articles that neglect even the most fundamental rules of writing, and editing. Numerous times, I’ve found typographical errors, and grammatical massacres that make me question the credibility of the author, let alone the newsgroup they were hired by. Even on a more mainstream scale, in an effort to get the information out first, various news agencies (most notably Fox News) destroyed their front page headlines with the line “Usama Bin Landen Dead Fox News Confrims” [sic]. With such neglect for even the simplest forms of editorial discretion, the big name players are reduced to the integrity level of the common YouTube video commenter.

Nothing quite compares however, to the fact that blogging as a whole has been slowly corroding itself from the carelessness of its users. The result is a large cesspool of relatively pointless, and counter-productive diary entries, designed simply to facilitate the immediate boredom of the user by informing others of their daily routines and chores. This has inherently bred a swarm of social-media obsessed attention-leeches, whose entire day revolve around the necessity of divulging excessive amounts of bland detail regarding their lives, including some of the more vulgar, or inappropriate events. With Facebook alone as our source in the spotlight, you’re punished by the walls of your friends and extended family, as they prove that the hidden truth behind sites such as this one, is to propagate an existence through the mundanities of everyday life, and the seemingly obligatory acceptance of one’s social acquaintances. Though no real information passes through this site, it is a transitional hub for the exchange of humorous material, political advertising, event scheduling, and entertainment reviews. Featuring a ‘like’ function that has lost its meaning, the approval of others has turned merely into a Julius Caesar-esque voting system of what will and will not be tolerated. Tragically enough, more critical opinions, featuring large bodies of text and sources to corroborate receive little attention, as they tend to not only confuse, but make many individuals feel insecure about their own intellectual contributions to such discussions. This leads to the stagnation of new ideas, as an endless flood of people recycle the same loathing for debates that they always do, including the “STFU” standby retort, or a series of semi-conscious neutral statements asking why people can’t get along, and how they “just don’t understand how people could be so stupid.”

This exercise, as baffling as it is disappointing, is the world of misinformation that we live in. When any dolt on the net can transmit a series of falsified, dreadfully-worded paragraphs intended to convey to an audience how “fukin gay dat one movie iz”, then the tool is clearly not being used for what its intentions were. Granted, I understand that sounds a bit insensitive to the free speech rights of people, however it does no good to simply accept it for what it is. Some people, however cruel it sounds, are not suited for the task of providing other people with useful information. Their opinions, while still valid, are only comparative to those of an infant, and should be treated as such. Many of their remarks, as people have come to recognize, are not only obscene, but incredibly hostile as well.

I may not be a fan of many celebrities or athletes, but I still respect them as people. Multitudes of vicious people have joined the social-media haven Twitter for a chance at taking stabs at celebrities they don’t particularly care for. From over-the-top critiques, to personal attacks, all the way up to death threats, many famous individuals have been astounded to see the aggression and callousness of the flocks of people participating in micro-blogging. While I support their right to voice opinions, I don’t support their desire to turn all posts into moral atrocities of grammar-deficient toddlers. What they do is not productive, nor is it a form of expression. All they’ve done, is choose to contribute to discussions with an array of disconnected thoughts, all designed to bring malice into the subject so that people forget the issues, and coerce others into forming responses defensively. Once that event takes places, blogging is finished. What remains is a belligerent chat-room, with a roving topic that only makes a guest appearance amidst a storm of profanities and condescension.

If this is what blogging has been reduced to, then what good does it possibly do to post reliable information, in an effort to become the counterweight to such blind, senseless, record-keeping? How can we be seen as ANYTHING, but a text-based, title-bearing, fact-distorting, timing-consumed reality TV show, designed to vacuum in ‘hits’, rather than challenge readers to design new latitudes on their creative map?

My prospects have become less promising
I find it hard to believe in anything
Seems I lost my world and so I lost my faith
And I can’t go back to where I’ve been

A brand new day
It can’t get worse
Hear myself say
It can’t get worse

I have no lies or truth in what I say
There is no meaning
The words are numb and I am so afraid
There is no meaning

This is another chance or so I’m told
By those who can push themselves at any cost
They bless me with their fingers crossed
My youth is stolen, transformed and sold

Mulder: Hey Scully, Check this out! Fox News says the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.       Scully: … *facepalm*

-Jake


End Of The Road

Dry leaves crunched under my feet; a friendly reminder of Autumn’s presence on Earth.

Where some people see only the death of green acres, I see a chance to enjoy the outside world. This world is different from mine, however. This sanctuary, a sprawling labyrinth of pine trees and dense vegetation, excites within me the urge to experience lands not yet known. While the uninteresting whirr of suburban life may be comforting, the sounds of the wild will always retain their ominous lure. The promise of adventure, and sights unseen carried me from the warmth of this small house in the woods, out into the bitter cold of the morning.

The street was, for lack of a better term, dirt. Mounds of dirt that had settled on top of previously laid concrete, have taken back this path for the Earth. Decades of weathering, as well as a neglect for maintenance have caused this road to be a hazard, strewn with branches hanging down onto the course. This neck of the woods could only be found by those looking for it, and without proper guidance, one would easily slip past this pocket of rural Texas.

I gazed down at the glassy, reflective surface of the lake. Located precariously on the side of a large hill near the water’s edge, my grandmother’s house boasted the finest scenery in the land, and I knew it. I turned back towards the road and began my eastward trek. Though not entirely sure of what I’d find, I made silly, trivial goals of items to seek out, and imaginary places to explore. Trees became crow’s nests, large boulders turned into waypoints, and people outside were transformed from simple townsfolk, into informative quest guides. In a new place, where danger was potentially around every corner, and magic could be viewed simply by spotting the obscure, I had found the Shangri-La of my creativity.

The symbol I finished drawing on a rock with chalk had obviously garnered attention, as I turned around to the cheerful voice of my grandmother’s neighbor.

“That’s some art you’re making there!”, he exclaimed while taking his dogs out for a walk. I smiled, and waved back at him. He was a friendly fellow, with a cheerful disposition that never seemed to dampen. In retrospect, I regret not getting to know the man better. I didn’t know many of the residents of my grandmother’s small town, but the few I did were enjoyable individuals.

I zipped up my black hoodie further, realizing how cold the wind was coming from the direction of the waterfront. As I strode further down the dirt road, I began to lose sight of my grandmother’s house. The road, fashioned in a parabolic pattern began to veer off to the right, and I was compelled to follow it to its final destination. I glanced cautiously around me while stepping ever away from my point of origin. On my left, a large hedge rose up above me. Its leaves, thick and inviting, shrouded the objects behind them so well that a curiosity arose within me. I made my way up to the front drive carefully, as the dirt road had quickly turned to uneven gravel on all sides. The yard, a neglected and shady dump, was littered with beer cans and shotgun shells. A more cliché example of the southern, poverty-stricken American home, there could never be. Inside the walls of hedges, were two double-wide trailers, both of which looked as if the forest had reclaimed them as its own. Ivy crept up the sides of panels surrounding the trailers, a sign of the longevity of habitation. Sparse patches of grass, growing unreasonably tall out of the view of the main drive gave the impression these people lived out here simply to not be noticed, and it would seem they accomplished this goal.

As I peered further around the corner of the bush, I caught a glimpse of the owners of the establishment. Three men, all disheveled in appearance sat down by the water’s edge, guzzling beers by the bottle, and turning frequently to check on a small grill. With a flick of the wrist, the man furthest from me let fly a bottle into a tree, smashing instantly to pieces. The one directly next to him, with volume and hostility, chastised him in a vulgar manner. As the third man lifted his rifle, he took aim down the hill at something that was beyond my sight. All at once, he squeezed the trigger and a deafening burst shook the silence of the forest, causing me to jump.

Having rarely heard a gunshot, let alone without warning, my hands instantly began to tremble. The sounds and sight of the firearm were powerful enough to instill a sense of supreme respect, causing me to begin my retreat from the location. As I backed up, the man who smashed the bottle got up from his chair, and staggered back up the hill to the trailer nearest him. As he got to the door, I began to peer through a side of the hedge by forcibly making an eye-hole. A woman, clad in a large suede jacket emerged from the door as he approached, apologetically handing him a large, cordless phone. As she handed it to him, the phone was swatted out of her hand by the belligerent man, and he proceeded to grab her by the neck. He then muttered something to her, which in my current position was inaudible. The woman, obviously petrified by the man, choked down sobs as he throttled her against the railing of the trailer. The fear in the woman’s eyes as she apologized once again was painfully evident, as her crying was stifled by the man telling her to “shut the fuck up!”, an inch from her face.

He then shoved her backwards and marched back down the steps towards the pier, stopping only to pick up the phone he carelessly knocked to the dirt before. As his figure became smaller in the distance, the woman sat crumpled up against the dilapidated railing, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks. Her situation, almost as tragic as her feelings of inescapable hopelessness, brought me to question the moral judgments of adults for the first time. Sheltered from the cold insensitivity of malicious beings such as this one, I understood all too quickly the difference between a functional relationship, and a broken one. There was no place for this type of individual in my life, and I loathed his existence. I had been raised thus far to never lay a hand in violence on another person, and having been exposed to this showcase of outward cruelty, I knew what standard I would set for myself when dealing with others. At this point, all the heroes of folklore and cinema who I revered became so much more; ideals that were immortalized in  my mind from infancy took form, and I vowed to never end up an ungrateful cretin who was devoid of kindness. There could be no justification for planting a sense of fear in someone who subserviently catered to your will. My childhood may have been filled with pleasant memories, but that day I lost a piece of myself in the woods.

So badly did I want to teach this asshole a lesson. So badly did I want to console this woman for the brutality she endured. However, my newly found fury was snuffed out as the whistle of my mother could be heard down the street. The world I had not known may have confused and disheartened me, but I had a long way to go, and I was merely seven years old, seeking justice for things I had yet to fully grasp. I don’t know what happened to this dysfunctional family unit. I’ve never had the opportunity to go back, and see if things had changed. I do, however, hope she gained the courage to leave. Domestic abuse should never be tolerated, and if it’s wrong in the eyes of a seven year old, then it probably is wrong in the eyes of anyone who takes morality seriously.

-Jake


Fire Above, Ice Below

Good morning, children.

I will begin by apologizing once more for the recent absence of over a month. I was on vacation in Pennsylvania, and I daresay I enjoyed the time. Thanks to the hospitality and adoration of my lovely lady friend, I was able to relax for once, as well as focus on issues not pertaining to my usual lexicon of ideas and topics. Of course, after a visit into the mountains of the Poconos, a trip to the large, and ominous city of Philadelphia, and a quiet stop at State College, I naturally obtained a flurry of thoughts to reflect upon, as well as new tales. One of those, I shall share right now.

A flood of footsteps and chattering people fill the streets in a city that has grown so large, it is comparable only to a concrete jungle of droning noise, and flashing lights. The time is early evening. The setting sun casts a crimson glare in between buildings, turning them into sheets of blinding reflection. The wind, a punishing reminder of the looming rebirth of winter, stings against my cheeks. Passing by numerous streets, the grey of the scenery forces me to contrast it with the beauty that has spoiled my eyes for numerous weeks already. Lush forests, promising continuous views of a priceless canvas lift my spirits as my heavy feet drag my weary form back to our hotel. I catch the gaze of my partner, as she weakly grins and informs me once more that she is fine, so long as we’re back soon.

Though cheery and bustling at a glance, the streets are littered with unsettling creatures. Pockets of loud adolescents crowd the sidewalk, oblivious to the intricacies of city life, and to the world around them. The fleeting sensation of youth is vivified amidst friends, and with volume even the most timid of beings can be turned into vultures. Unfortunately, these entitled children are already vultures; feeding from the misfortune of others, and caring only for the web of vanity that their lives are entangled betwixt. As I stride behind the pack of unruly juveniles, their shenanigans turn from harmless banter, into disgusting antipathy. Before crossing the street, one of the older females of the group sways the herd in the opposite direction, citing her supposed need to avoid “that nasty fuckin’ hobo”. Her sight, it would seem, was as flawed as her moral inclinations. The “hobo” she so desired to evade was actually a Vietnam war veteran who just so happened to be an amputee. His unshaven look, complimented by the tattered raincoat and hat denoting his service, clearly had given the impression to the girl that he was a degenerate, looking to scrounge change from her purse upon first contact. This tragic scene, a testament to our country’s complete abandonment of many veterans who should’ve received prime care, is one more example of how our nation has turned its back on the virtues of compassion, and generosity. Especially in a city with such a rich, patriotic origin, I fail to understand why any human being could have such an outward disdain towards the derelict.

As sweeping cold drafts whistled in the distance, the sun began its final descent. Vermilion streaks sketched a skyline above us, outlining black monoliths on the horizon, while casting our pathway into the shade of the night. The smell of multiple restaurants cloud the air, as the aroma beckons passing travelers in. Those wishing to escape the arctic winds quickly navigate indoors; opting to shove past others smoking, and conversing on the front steps of hotels and apartment complexes. Brilliant lights from nearby buildings cast a faint glow from the window to the sidewalk, granting all who paid attention a tiled floor of light and shadow. While passing near a long since abandoned store, a gentleman playing the cello serenaded those who dared to traverse the chilling evening.

We stepped onto Broad street as the light faded from the sky. Above us, a curtain of Catalina blue had been drawn, outlining the majestic eyesight at the end of the street. Philadelphia’s city hall; a sprawling citadel of granite, and marble, that will cause anyone’s jaw to drop at its sheer size and architectural ingenuity. Being not only a geek for history, but a lover of the arts, it’s easy to see how I narrowly avoided becoming a statistic for pedestrian casualties that day. As I snapped a quick photo of this palace of politics, I silently regretted not setting foot on the steps myself. Now, however, was not a time for such considerations. Catching up with my girlfriend, I scanned the now darkened streets for potential hazards. I have never been particularly at ease with a dense, urban setting. The compact, filth-ridden streets were enough to make me uncomfortable, and subjecting my lady friend to the elements as well as unfriendly terrain were not on my list of things to do.

Upon reaching the corner of the street next to ours, the group of blatantly intoxicated yuppies stood in a fit of laughter outside of a bar.  The object of their amusement: a friend of theirs, crouching at the street corner, inches over a puddle of his own vomit. While I can surely understand the humor of such a situation, it was clear that the sick individual was not having a good time. His friends, having drank away better judgment and their inhibitions, mercilessly cackled away at his plight. As he sat crouched on the curb, humiliated and disheveled, he did not notice as his social circle began to walk off in the opposite direction from him. As he turned around, a look of exasperation crossed his face. With ruffled brow, and grimace showing, he took off at an incredibly slow, stumbling pace down the street after them. The antics of the horribly inebriated have never truly amused me, and to this day I frown on people who don’t at least attempt to lend a helping hand to those who are incapable of logical action at the time. It’s irresponsible, and has been the cause of many deaths for those who were left to wander on their own in a drunken stupor. While I recognize that it is each person’s own responsibility to take care of themselves, when you’re with a group, it should fall on your friends to take heed of your activities (to a certain degree).

As we entered the hotel lobby, we climbed eagerly into the elevator. The familiar smell of the frequently cleaned chamber reminded us fondly that we were close to being able to relax. With haste, we sped down the hallway and quickly opened the door to our room. Within seconds of being inside, our clothes had been torn away and we began searching for our night garments. The sights and sounds of our silent room were a welcome relief, as we climbed under the covers of our bed. As I climbed out of bed to adjust the airflow in the room, I gazed out of our 5th floor window at the Philly skyline. There lay a sea of lights, floating seemingly miles above the ground.

While I may not love the overwhelming atmosphere of the city as much as I love the elegance of nature’s scenery and soundtrack, there is something mesmerizing about the life-stream of streets that forever echo with the sounds of the citizens that inhabit it. Some people have their birds and crickets, while others have their taxis, and construction crews. The sounds are different, but the equilibrium remains the same.

Regardless of location, I enjoyed my vacation to the fullest. I was in good company, and I look forward to many more trips with her in the future.

-Jake