The Lenghornian Revolt Returns: Pt 10

“Behold! Cedric the Everhigh has strengthened our siege weapons of old!”

Returning to the village of servers, Bobby and Norman haul the Battering Ham and Crouton Catapult into the center of the town square.

“At last! They hath returned!” Pip the Well-Bodied cries in excitement. “Come servers, let us greet our champions!”

As the servers emerge from their (drinking) straw huts, they jump and cheer in excitement at the duo’s arrival. All joining in the square, Bobby unfastens the siege weapons from Norman’s shapely backside.

“With these, Slug’s forces will be outmatched with ease.” He says with a confident grin.

As the servers gather round to observe the two massive objects, a group of dark, ominously grey clouds blocks out the sun, casting a dark shadow over the village.

“Hmm,” Ashley the Fairy quietly says. “Strange weather approaches.” She says, squinting her eyes at the darkness.

“Strange weather, indeed.” Connee adds.

“Friends, let us not allow harmless clouds to rain on our parade! No pun intended, of course. For we have finally gained what we require to end Slug’s reign once and for all!” Bobby says cheerfully, putting his arms around the visibly frightened fairies.

“Huzzah!” The servers shout in unison.

As the villagers continue to admire their newly acquired weapons of war, a black mist manifests from the group of clouds, silently creeping toward the Earth. Distracted by their weapons, the mist takes the form of Slobert, the Local Manager who fell during the epic Battle of the Servers.

“My love! Behind you!” Norman the Steed shouts at her champion.

His eyes lighting up in fear, Bobby the Brave slowly turns to face the disgusting figure that has taken shape behind him. In one fell swoop, Slobert the Oppressor lunges forward, enveloping Bobby with his foul-smelling, black mist, sucking the life out of him. The servers gasp in horror as Bobby falls to the ground, pale and decrepit.

“NOOOOOO!!!!” Norman wails.

Approaching from the East, a flock of brainless cooks swoop over the village to admire the work that Slobert has done. Diving toward the servers, the villagers duck in fear as they franticly scatter to avoid the chicken winged minions.

“Teeheeheehee!!” The cooks cackle with high-pitched, obnoxious laughter. “You are all next!” They shout, flying away to report the success to Slug the Smelly.

As the gravely black figure ascends back into the clouds, the sky clears – casting a bright ray of light upon the decaying body of Bobby the Recently Departed.

As the servers gather around him in horror, Connee the fairy kneels down before him, attempting to spread her magical fairy dust to reanimate his lifeless corpse.

“Please, my friend,” Norman pleads. “You must save him!”

“Alas, my dear, I fear it is too late. Slobert’s magic is far too powerful.”

Collapsing in tears, Norman the Steed runs off toward the hills in the East in a fit of rage, clearly toward the Tower of Management to avenge her fallen hero.

“Norman! Come back!” Xavier the rainbow-laden Unicorn shouts after her. “I shall use my Urine of Revitalization to bring Bobby back from beyond the void!!”

Refusing to heed his directions, Norman speeds up, far out of sight of the servers.

“Alas, my friends,” Xavier says assuredly, “behold the power of my urine.”

Kneeling over Bobby’s body, Xavier squats down to allow his strawberry-scented stream to flow into the champion’s mouth. After stepping back to await his return from the void, Xavier grimaces in apprehension.

“Impossible!” He shouts. “It appears that my urine is not strong enough to undo that foul phantom’s magic either!”

Stepping back in remorse, the servers gasp as they realize their leader is lost to them for all eternity.

“Gasp!

“What are we going to do now?” Rachael the Hot Host innocently asks, kneeling down in defeat.

“We fight.” Stephanie the Slant Eyed bravely says, stepping forward to take the lead. Bending down to grasp the steak knife the Bobby wielded, she points it toward the East, signaling the battle that is surely to come.

“Huzzah!” The servers shout, their spirits lifted by Stephanie’s courage.

Lifting Bobby’s corpse to begin the burial proceedings, the servers collectively carry him towards the fabled Hill of Bodies, whose soil contains the remains of their most revered ancestors – paying him the respects he so rightfully has earned.

The Lenghornian Revolt Returns: Pt 9

“What news from the West?”

Back in the Tower of Management, Kelsey asks Slug what his minions have discovered about the servers’ recent activities.”

“The simple-minded slaves think they are one step ahead of us. Fools!” Slug says, cackling to himself. “My faithful flying informants saw them uncovering the Battering Ham and Crouton Catapult of old! But they are weak, outdated machines. They will be no match for my strengthened walls!”

“Flying informants?” Kelsey asks. “However did your brainless cooks gain the ability of flight?”

“Twas easy, my dear Kelsey. I merely sewed chicken wings to their weak, spineless backs! They can now travel with haste wherever I bid! Muahahaha!!”

“You are a wise schemer indeed, my friend.” Kelsey says with admiration. “You will make a fine ruler once we rid ourselves of those weak-minded subordinates.”

“With you by my side, we can achieve anything!” Slug cackles.

“Tis true. But do not mistake my partnership for romance, my liege. For I am betrothed to the spirit of our fallen Local Manager.” Kelsey tells him with a sparkle in her eye.

“What is this you say?!” Slug exclaims. “The ghost of Slobert hath returned?”

“It is true, my dear.” Kelsey replies. “Ben the Bro has defected from the servers, as they have ousted him from their village for ignoring his side work. They would no longer bear the burden of performing his responsibilities whilst he spent time leaning on the wall sending ravens to innocent teenage girls he attempts to prey upon. He came to me with ancient wisdom stolen from the fairies, Connee and Ashley. I was able to use this stolen knowledge to raise my dear Slobert from the dead.”

“Lo! This is unfortunate, as I planned to crown you my Queen and perform unspeakable actions with you in my Keep’s chambers. But news of Slobert’s return is good, indeed. Perhaps I can use his ghostly apparition to strike fear into the Lenghornians hearts. They will surely bow to my will once they see I have spirits in my command.”

“A brilliant idea, my lord.” Kelsey cackles. “Come! I will lead you to my bedchambers where I have Slobert tucked away. We will inform him of our plans and unleash him upon the weaklings. They will never know what hit them.” She adds with a sinister smile.

“Yes. Come, my lady.” Slug says, winking at her to emphasize the dirty pun he just made.

Making haste for Kelsey’s bedchamber, an eerie wind blows to the West, foreshadowing the gloom they are about to release upon the village.

The Written Word and Our Future

It’s no secret that our society has become digitized. The days of backyard baseball are gradually being replaced by backyard Pokemon hunts or other “augmented reality” applications. E-sports are on the rise, with millions tuning into services such as Twitch and YoutTube to literally watch people play video games.

Sure, there’s still some dirt being kicked up at the local ballpark, but overall, were sliding into a digital world. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering the access to information that it brings along with it.

But one thing will always remain my favorite medium of entertainment: the written word. Don’t get me wrong, I like movies and video games just as much as anyone, but nothing provides a truly limitless experience like reading can.

When you read, you use your own imagination. You are in control of how to interpret the environment, the characters, the story, and so on. It is quite literally exercise for your creative mind. And the more you stretch your creative mind, the more imaginative you can become, much like going to the gym.

There will always be a certain degree of respect for the written word. It was our first method of recording our history and sharing our stories. As we developed technologically, we discovered new ways to communicate, but there’s something about the raw element of writing that makes it such an irreplaceable phenomenon. Words written thousands of years ago still resonate today in the form of countless documents and manuscripts.

Sometimes I wonder what a civilization thousands of years from now would find if they dug up a site of our modern society. In all likelihood, I imagine the same thing that has persevered in our own historical record would continue to be the same stuff that future humans will dig up – written words and architecture. Usually, when we find something from ages and ages ago, its the language and writings of whatever civilization we happen to stumble upon. So the written word is basically how we’ve crafted our history. Everything we know about ancient civilizations is based upon information obtained from various writers.

Its cool to think about, don’t you think? Sometimes I wonder what would happen if another species were to come to Earth after our extinction. What would they think of us? What would we leave behind? What legacies and or atrocities would they witness as they look back at our societal timeline?

This stuff matters. Unfortunately, I don’t think we get that. We’re too caught up in our assigned lifestyles to understand the bigger picture (I’m getting off topic, I know). We wake up and play the role that we’ve given ourselves. Banker, server, CEO, whatever – its become the status quo of our culture. We’re fed useless news daily by a media that’s set out to tame people, just like those tigers you see at the circus. Everything is conditioned within the constructs of this society we’ve created. Its made people predictable. I don’t know if anyone fully understands this, but our forefathers wanted us to be free. Like, completely. Free as in ole Johnny can walk his dog wherever he wants while smoking a joint out in the open.

That would be freedom. But throughout the 300 or so years we’ve spent writing and rewriting law after law after law…we’ve pretty much put ourselves back where we started. People are oppressed, people are impoverished, and people are frustrated. And we’re still sitting here thinking we have no choice but to vote for one devil or the other.

Dangerous talk? Perhaps. But its gotta happen at some point, because right now things just aren’t right. We’re so controlled and the vast majority don’t even realize it. And perhaps the saddest part is that people will read this and still think that there’s nothing we can do to fix things.

Want to create a race war? Easy! Have the news start running stories on white on black crime. I bet that’ll rile them up. Want to make people mad about civil rights?   Why don’t we just run a few stories on transgender bathrooms!  That’ll get their attention while we go do some super messed up stuff overseas. That’s not news, obviously.

At the end of the day, I think we need to realize how manipulated we all are. Its time to start opening our minds to reality.

The planet we occupy didn’t start out as some gridlocked border system. We’re animals, folks. Just like our dogs. We’re all in this together. We just happen to be smarter than our planetary cohorts.

I think we’re approaching a time where our society realizes this and has a lesser need for “leadership”. As I’ve said before, the internet has brought us all together as a collective unit, and eventually there will be no need to elect people to make our decisions for us. We can make them ourselves. I imagine this kind of revolution is right around the corner, given the ridiculously awful numbers our current candidates are showing. No matter who wins, there’s going to be millions of people that will be super pissed off either way. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some sort of uprising in the near future. Its sort of funny to talk about, but looking back – that’s pretty much how things have always worked. All great empires came to an end, and its looking like America might be next on the list for a social “reform”. I just hope it can be done peacefully.

Something’s gotta give soon, because I’m pretty sure we all feel the tension that’s just begging to be released. This political season has riled some super high tempers.

The only way we’ll get through it is together : )

The Lenghornian Revolt Returns: Pt 8

“HO PLEASE!”

“Um, excuse me?” Asks Norman the Steed, looking up at Bobby with a grimace.

“Apologies, my love.” Bobby the Brave says. “For I meant Woah, please. As in Woah! We have arrived at our destination.”

Unsaddling his faithful steed, Bobby the Brave has arrived at the one place that will make certain that the Crouton Catapult and Battering Ham will be unstoppable: Cedric the Blacksmith’s.

As the pair approaches the stone bastions of Cedric’s keep, the smell of the legendary Keep’s Kush seeps through the open veins of his stone and mortar walls. The thick, grey mist can be seen wriggling it’s way out of the open windows littering the side of the edifice.

“My dear, breathe not the seepings of the Keep’s Kush, for it will render you useless.” Bobby says to his steed. “The bards tell of Cedric’s concoctions in their songs. They have the ability to make one forget entirely their task at hand, making them instead burst out in laughter at the most menial of things. Beware, my love.”

Nodding in acknowledgment, Norman carefully approaches the vast wooden door of Cedric’s keep. Being careful to tiptoe around the misty clouds of Kush smoke, the two bang on the front door, hoping to catch the blacksmiths attention. After several seconds of nothingness, Bobby becomes impatient, looking at the open window to the right of the wooden door, shouting inside.

“CEDRIC! IT IS I, BOBBY THE BRAVE!! WE REQUIRE YOUR ASSISTANCE IN STRENGTHENING THESE LEGENDARY SEIGE WEAPONS!!”

Waiting for a response, Bobby and Norman stand at the front door, motionless. Its clear that no one has heard their call. Bobby tries once more.

“CEDRIC!!!! WE ARE IN NEED OF YOUR HELP!!!! PLE-”

“Wussup pimpin’?”

Out of nowhere, an incredibly relaxed, smiling face looks down at them from the open second floor window, interrupting Bobby.

“You need sumthin?”

Grinning, Bobby the Brave ties his steed to the post outside, then makes his way into Cedric’s keep.

“My friend! It has been ages since I last enjoyed your botanical offerings!” Bobby shouts as he climbs the stairs to join Cedric.

“Ages? Far too long my brotha. Bring it in, let’s get you right.” Cedric says, handing Bobby an enormous oblong, white paper with something green rolled on the inside.

“Alas!” Bobby shouts. “I would love to partake in your Keep’s Kush, but I have pressing matters to which I must attend!”

“Well dayum.” Cedric says. “What needs attending to?”

“The siege weapons I have stationed outside. I must use your forge to strengthen them. With the combined strength of your forge’s upgrades and the legendary forces still within, the Battering Ham and Crouton Catapult will be more than enough to destroy Slug’s oppressive regime. I have been told that he is attempting to corrupt poor Kelsey, and we must not allow that. We must oust him!!”

“You need to use my forge? You can forge allllllll you want, my brotha.” Cedric says, his eyes half open in a state of elation that only Keep Kush can provide.

“Many thanks, my friend.” Bobby says, making his way down to Cedric’s forge.

As Bobby reaches the bellows of Cedric’s Keep, he makes his way to the back of the room. Nestled in the corner is a large wooden door leading to the exterior of the keep, giving him access to the siege weapons he has brought with him. Opening the door, he hurries out to lead Norman and the weapons into the forge below.

“Hold it still, my love!” Bobby shouts, as he hammers into the nose of the Battering Ham.

Hours upon hours go by, until Bobby is drenched in sweat and unable to hammer anymore. Stepping back and viewing his work, he smiles at the gleaming steel tip of the Battering Ham and strengthened Crouton Catapult, which now is more like a T-Bone Trebuchet.

“Yes.” Bobby says, oozing with happiness. “These weapons will surely destroy anything Slug decides to put up. Quickly my love, back to the Lenghornians!”

Mounting Norman, Bobby makes his way back to the server village after thanking Cedric the blacksmith for his services.

 

Empathy: #nothingnegative

Empathy. 

The ability to share and understand the feelings of another.

According to the Google machine, at least. But I’d say that’s a pretty accurate depiction of what empathy means. 

Think about this. Every single action you make has an effect on your environment. Every word you say and thing you do. Someone will be affected by it. Be it a Facebook post, a friendly “hello” to a passerby, or a simple handshake when you meet someone – it all has an effect.

To create a positive space, we need to spread positivity. Every time I log onto Facebook, check my phone, or walk out into the world to walk my dog, it seems like there is a fountain of negativity spewing complaints and reasons for why the world sucks.

And before the keyboard warriors point this out, yes – I am just as guilty as anyone. No one is perfect. We all have ups and downs. Peaks and valleys. Stalagmites and stalactites (I still don’t know which is which). 

But I want to propose something: why don’t we commit ourselves to spread nothing but positivity for at least one week? I’m going to try it. I’m going to take the next seven days and do nothing but things that promote, uplift, help, boost, and assist. Nothing negative. In fact maybe I’ll try to start a hashtag, since those seem to catch on so quick. Hashtag nothing negative. Catchy, right?

Love love love, people. Stop the name calling, aggressive protesting, and be the bigger person by spreading the love.

#nothingnegative

An Excerpt from Coalescence 

This is a random excerpt, but in the wake of all the division lately, I wanted to put this out there to help give some perspective to these issues we’ve been having. Interpret this however you’d like, but I’m trying to maintain a theme of societal acceptance with my writing.

This is a short part of a chapter in the last half of the book.


Kick.

Kick kick.

“What the…?”

Suddenly waking up to his bed being nudged, Carson rubs his eyes as he leans forward.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” He says, seeing Squeak looking at him from the foot of his bed, her eyes as cute and bubbly as ever.

“I have to do the thing, I think!” She says, hopping from one foot to the other in the urinary dance we’re all too familiar with.

“Alright alright, let’s go.” Carson mumbles, rolling out of bed. It’s the first time he’s been woken up by Squeak, something for which he’s thankful. She’s been a relatively low-maintenance pet so far, and he’s actually become quite attached to the little bugger.

Exiting his room, he looks out at the metallic catwalks before him. Rather than crossing them to take his typical path to the Observatory, he instead walks down the steps leading to the floor below him – one dedicated to agriculture and horticulture. Xun’s ship never ceases to amaze Carson, as its many floors and webbed catwalks always portray a sense of enormity. There are constantly different types of species bustling about, doing one thing or the other – Carson hasn’t yet figured out what other responsibilities lie on Xun’s operation. Not that he hasn’t tried to figure that out, but every time he brings it up, Xun deflects the question – telling him to focus on the activities of Earth. He also hasn’t quite pinpointed the exact reason he’s been required to remain on the ship this long. Presumably it’s so his behavior can be observed and analyzed by Xun and his employees, or whatever he calls them. Yet there’s been a lingering concern in his brain that tells him there’s some other reason they’ve kept him around.

As Squeak hops over to a pathway aligned with sunflowers, he leans against the sidewalk’s metallic railing to inhale the fresh air that the many plants provide. It’s evident that Xun’s post here spans much more than simply deciding whether or not to indict humanity. Looking out at the vast fields of grasses and foliage, it’s clear that his Organization is experimenting, or at least cultivating, with various plant life that can be found on Earth. This is one example that backs Carson’s theory that there are alternate agendas being pursued than just induction. Perhaps the Organization is attempting to diversify its agriculture. Maybe it’s trying to find suitable planets to colonize. Carson wonders if everything he’s been told is actually true.

What would I do if I were an alien species capable of interstellar travel?

Hello Carson. Are we about to have this conversation? 

In the words of Squeak – I think so.

Fair enough. Well, if it were me I would probably do whatever I could to ascertain the longevity of my species. You know, family and all.

Right? It’s amazing to me that all these species are working together. How have they gotten this far? We can’t even get our own races to get along, much less other species.

That’s a good question, buddy. Let me know when you figure it out though, because we could use some of that love down on Earth.

Do you think they fought each other before figuring out they could get further by cooperating?

Honestly, I have no idea. Maybe they all started out as dumb as us. Maybe they’ve always been super smart. Who knows? All I know is that Squeak is about to take a dump on your shoe.

Snapping out of his daze, Carson looks down to see Squeak squatting down right next to his left shoe.

“Hey! In the plants Squeak! Come on now, you know better than that.”

Frowning, Squeak hops back over to the sunflowers.

“I’m sorry. I think I just wanted to be closer to you. I didn’t want you to walk off without me, I think.”

His heart caving, Carson walks over and kneels down next to her.

“Squeak, I would never do that. You and I are a team, okay?” He says, patting her on the head.

“Yeah!” She squeaks excitedly. “I think that’s a great idea! A team!”

“Let’s go.” Carson says, laughing. “I want to mingle with some of our shipmates and make some friends. We need to stop being so reclusive.”
It’s not much, but Carson’s thoughts obviously reflect my own. If I were from another planet and I decided to knock on Earths door to introduce myself, I’d be mortified by what I’d see.

Let’s clean it up, people.

America – The Beautiful

Happy birthday America!!!!

As everyone takes the day to party and drink copious amount of beer, let us all reflect on what makes the USA the greatest place to live in the world.

Sure, we have our problems – but a long long time ago a group of incredible people got together and forged perhaps the most unlikely nation that Earth has ever seen. A group of people whose values now, more than ever, resonate with the very foundation of what it means to be a human being. They hatched an idea that, against all odds, gained their people freedom from the chains that once dictated their lives. Let us remember how astronomical the odds were stacked against them – yet through grit and sheer power of will, these odds were overcome. Not only by a handful of men, but through the collective efforts of men, women, blacks, whites, and others who wished for a world without tyranny. 

There will never be anything more powerful than that of an idea. Beliefs, values, and ideas are the very things that have the ability to unite us all under one umbrella of equality and prosperity. People fight and die over their beliefs. They instill our convictions and passions. So in spite of all the evil we are seeing in the world, let’s not forget the fundamental truths that make America a place where we are free to love, hate, and everything in between.

I hope you all enjoy your Independance Day, everyone 🙂

Politics & Power

This might end up being sort of a scatter brained post, because its about something I’ve been thinking about in a general sense. And there’s not really going to be a point. So be prepared for that. This post is more of an observation I’ve been thinking about lately, considering current events.

Basically, I think the type of people who desire political office, in many cases, are power hungry egomaniacs.

I mean think about it. Why would someone want to place themselves in a position to be responsible for the lives and well-being of millions of people? Seriously. That’s an enormous burden. If you get something wrong, its on you. Does that sound like a fun job? Not to mention you have to deal with the entire political process, which we all know is all sorts of exciting.

So the more and more I think about it, I basically come to two different conclusions. The hard part is discerning who falls in which category. My first conclusion is this: some people actually want to effect positive change. Like genuine, real, good people. So some politicians I think are driven by good intentions. Trey Gowdy I would argue falls into this category. People like him. On the other hand, you have the ones who are the ego-maniacal psychopaths who just want to stroke their self-image and build monuments of themselves. Those are the ones we need to look out for.

Unfortunately, I think both presumptive presidential candidates this season fall into the latter category. I don’t think I need to explain the reasoning behind why it seems Trump is an ego-maniac. But Clinton, on the other hand, seems equally as nuts. Isn’t a sad state of affairs when the two presumptive candidates for President are two of the most hated people in the country? Something about that just seems…off.

I think my underlying point here is that the wrong people are the ones that run for office in the first place. Good people who don’t care about status, power, and control simply don’t try to gain political positions. They don’t need to. They know they’re okay and they’re happy with their lives. So the political halls get crowded with people that have insecurities, control problems, and the like.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. But it sure seems like that’s the way it is. Does anyone else think that this is sort of a fundamental problem with society? This is a short post, but its something I’ve been thinking about. Feel free to let me know what you think, because this kind of stuff bugs me.

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Shifting Focus

I can’t wait until this election is over.

This election season has produced some super strong opinions, I think we can all agree on that. On the Democrat side we’ve got people screaming about gun control, bathrooms, and so on. On the Republican side there are others shouting about the second amendment, immigration, and the like.

All are reasonable issues to be concerned about, I’ll admit. But where is the love? Honestly. Why do we continue to fight and try to undermine each other? That’s not how we move forward. We don’t progress by bashing the views and opinions of other people. We don’t grow as a society by calling people names, labeling them, and telling them they’re wrong. That just doesn’t work. All that does is create more hate.

We are living in a time where there are fundamental concerns being raised by a lot of people. The right to do X, or to stop this or that, and so on. We can’t decide what’s right and what’s wrong. This country is in serious need of someone who can step in, make people take a time out, and truly talk and reflect on what exactly needs to be addressed. Because the way its going right now is a pissing contest of who’s opinion trumps who’s opinion (pun not intended). And that’s not the kind of world we should be living in.

I think we need to take a step back, come up for air, and actually (calmly) figure out what is wrong with our society today. It shouldn’t be as hard as we’re making it. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot here. Shed the egos, shed the need to be right, and objectively look at what is going on. Then make a decision based upon what information we have. That’s how things should be handled. Not through these complicated  sit-ins and filibusters and childish constructs we’ve created for ourselves. Let’s be adults here – there’s a world that needs to be fixed.

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Fixing the World We Live In

I suppose its time to come clear about some things, considering current events.

At first I wanted to wait it out and let things develop slowly, but the more and more atrocities we’re seeing compels me to come forward about certain intentions.

I didn’t write my book to become a rich and famous author. I wrote it to try and change the world.

This is something that actually happened. When my Mom was on her deathbed, I made a promise to her. I was holding her hand, which was enormously swelled from the life support and fluid she was hooked up to, and I told her I would spend the rest of my life trying to make people act the way she acted. Which is good. I told her I would try and make people be good.

She was a good person. The best. She took a job in the school system so she could be close to her kids. She tolerated a man that treated her poorly because she couldn’t bear the thought of ripping a family apart. She worked with special ed children because it truly brought her joy to be around people she felt she could impact in a positive way.

Here’s another thing that actually happened: I was serving on Father’s Day, and one of my tables was a kid that I remembered being in the special ed program at Mt Juliet. I couldn’t remember his name, but I remembered that it was one of my Mom’s favorite students. I even told the couple that brought him that. I told them that I teared up in the back of the kitchen thinking about how happy it made Mom to talk about that class. You wanna know something else that’s funny? The kid at that table was somewhat of a leader in that class. I remember my Mom telling me that he came up with an ironically creative award – the “retard of the day” he called it. Now a lot of people would read this and immediately get offended. But to them, the kids in the class, it was a joke that they would use to illustrate something when one of them did something that was funny. They had fun. And it made my Mom SO happy to talk about. Those kids didn’t get offended when they talked about themselves like that, because they understood that the intention wasn’t to undermine them. It was something they came up with that was funny, and they took pride in having come up with it. Why can’t we be more like them? Why do we have to fight and argue and get offended over every little thing that might hurt our egos?

That’s the kind of person I lost back in August. That’s what’s driving me so hard to change the world for the better. I can’t stand the hate that we’re seeing today. I can’t stand that people are more concerned about being right than they are about being just. There are so many abundantly clear problems in the world today that we’re being forced to deal with. We need to stop letting our egos and our own desires to win arguments get in the way of what’s actually right.

Killing, hurting, harming, shaming, degrading, oppressing, and whatever other verbs you want to throw in are not good things. We need to get rid of these things. We need to stop fighting. We need to stop arguing. We need to come together. We need to coalesce. Which, incidentally, is going to be the title of my next book. Continuity: Coalescence. The definition of which is to “come together to form one mass or whole”.

This is what we need. Please, start working towards it.

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The Quran: My Final Take

Alrighty then.

So I’ve finished the Quran. It’s kind of strange because even though I’ve finished it, I still don’t know if I feel like I have all that great of an understanding of Islam, since apparently so many people interpret what I’ve read in so many different ways.

But regardless, here’s my analyses. I’m going to try and make this as simple and digestible as I can.

From what I’ve read, most religious texts have examples of heinous acts. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, you name it – the majority of religions have had terrible acts occur in their name in the past.

Here’s the fundamental difference that I think most people have a hard time acknowledging: in the Bible, for example, there are a lot of justified actions in the Old Testament. A lot of killing done in the name of God. This is paralleled in the Quran, with many beheadings, hand choppings, and the like. So there’s no argument there. Both are violent. The difference I’m getting at is this – in the Quran, there are several passages that explicitly instruct its readers to take violent action against humanity (unbelievers). Now admittedly it’s been quite some time since I’ve read the Bible, but to my knowledge I don’t recall a part of the New Testament (widely regarded as Christianity’s “how to act”) that explicitly tells Christians to kill, maim, or hurt other people. Sure, maybe it says you go to Hell if you don’t accept Christ (another thing I disagree with), but it doesn’t say to harm people.

Islam, on the other hand, does.

So that’s the simplest explanation I think I can give as to what the difference is that’s causing these acts. Islam (at certain points in its text) actually tells its followers to do bad stuff. Other religions don’t. They may justify bad stuff – but they don’t say do bad stuff. Again, if someone can prove me wrong, I’m all ears and I’ll be the first to say I’m wrong. But to the best of my memory, I can’t recall a part of any other book that says yes – kill people that don’t believe.

To be fair, there are also plenty of passages in the Quran that preach peace. As I mentioned before, there is a part that says if others are peaceful that you are to be peaceful.

So I suppose the problem lies in the wide variety of ways in which the Quran can be interpreted. Whereas the Bible and other religious texts are relatively straightforward in how to act, the Quran is a seemingly much more complex manuscript of mixed messages.

At the end of the day, I think the only thing that’s going to end this violent extremism is reform from within the Muslim community. There are plenty of peaceful, good Muslims that are ashamed at how their religion has been tainted by the actions of radicals. I think this is another thing that’s important to keep in mind – Muslims are humans, no different than us. They are, the vast majority at least, peaceful, kind, normal people that simply want to coexist in a world without violence. It’s the unfortunate minority that’s giving them a bad name. So as far as how to move forward, please keep this in mind when passing judgements among our fellow humans. Be aware of the bigger picture.

Hopefully there will be some form of organized effort to quell this violent trend. Some may argue that it’s always existed, but I doubt anyone would disagree that it’s been much worse as of late.

One day, I hope we can all get along.

The Lenghornian Revolt Returns: Chapter 7

Deep, deep in the Tower of Management, there remains a sliver of silver that can be used to reforge the Chains of Meaningless Rules. 

And reforged they shall be.

———-

“Kelsey! Come see what I have in store for our server subordinates!” Slug shouts, his voice echoing across the stone walls of the Tower of Management. 

Holding a scroll of guest satisfaction surveys, Slug reveals the low score that some of the servers have received.

“Behold, Missprissy274@gmail.com says that Emily the Nice Buns failed to bring bread to her table in a timely manner! Surely this will serve as leverage in our attempts to oust her.” He says, creepily rubbing his hands together.  

“You are right, Slug.” Kelsey sneers. “Her buns can only get her so far. At a certain point we must consider her true value as a server!”

“Yes, indeed.” Slug replies. “But alas, those are some hot crossed buns.”

“Hot crossed buns or not, we must focus on servability if we are to prevail! Do not let your Slugly desires cloud your judgment of the Lenghornians!” Kelsey shouts, obviously annoyed at Slug’s acknowledgment of Emily’s nice buns.

“Lo, you are right my dear.” Slug says, shaking his head. “I cannot allow her to use her Bun magic on me, as she has many men before. Thank you for your wisdom, my dear Kelsey.” 

“Of course.” Kelsey says. “Now, we have important issues to discuss.”

“Then let us discuss them!” Slug shouts.

“Yes,” Kelsey says. “Discuss them we shall. I fear that the servers are incapable of handling a table of ten by themselves. We must pass a Declaration that states any party of 9 or more shall be split between TWO servers!”

“But Kelsey! What if that ends up complicating things?! Surely our servers are capable enough to handle such parties alone! For we do not hire Those Without Brains! After all, it might become confusing for the customers to deal with two servers, especially when they ask for extra ranch! They always assume the other server will obtain it and it ends up getting forgotten! And these errors always end up in us having to comp a meal!”

“It matters not, my dear Slug.” Kelsey says. “For this edict has been passed down by the reforging of the Chains of Meaningless Rules! Parties shall be split whether it makes sense or not!!”

GASP!!

“The Chains have been reforged?!” Slug asks. 

“Yes.” Kelsey sneers. “And this time they are molded with an unbreakable adhesive. We have poured veggie butter over the links of the chain, allowing it to coagulate and mold into a bond stronger than ever before!! Muahahahahaha!!!”

“Incredible.” Slug says in awe. “You are a brilliant schemer indeed.” He adds, bowing before her. “I look forward to returning the servers to their rightful place.”

Cackling together, Slug and Kelsey retreat into the Tower to begin plotting their other schemes.

The Quran – #3

Quran

Well I’ve gotten through some more of Islam’s book of books, and I must say that I’m still slightly surprised by the degree of violence it calls for. I know that I’m still not close to finishing the read (and the Old Testament isn’t exactly pretty), but there are several parts that don’t leave much room for interpretation.

For example (referring to a message Allah relayed to his constituents):

“‘I am with you’, to make those who believe firm and fast, and I will indeed strike terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So smite on your enemy’s necks and above these (on their heads) and strike off all their fingertips. This punishment is given them because they have cut themselves off from Allah and His Messenger, and whosoever opposes Allah and his messenger, as its result Allah (too) is severe in punishment. That is your punishment, so suffer some of it in this life, and know that in the Hereafter there awaits the disbelievers the torment of the Fire.”

Pretty hard to twist out of context, right? I think that’s a pretty clear message. There’s another part that basically says if you kill someone in the name of Allah that you aren’t responsible for it – its as if Allah himself killed them. If that was how we ran things, there’s a few people I wouldn’t mind taking out for the good of humanity if I didn’t have to accept responsibility for it (obviously that’s a joke).

In all seriousness though, it is difficult to argue that this kind of rhetoric isn’t dangerous.

But here’s the other side of the coin, since for the third time, I am in fact trying to be as unbiased as I can.

I did read a part (I’m searching for it but can’t find it now) that said if people are peaceful towards you, then you should be peaceful toward them.

So its definitely a mixed message. I suppose the problem, as I mentioned before, is how easy it is to interpret things to fit a particular narrative.

I hope these reflections aren’t interpreted in the wrong way. Islam isn’t exclusive in terms of its fallibilities. Most religions have gone through violent phases. But we can’t ignore what’s right in front of us. The objective truth is that the majority of these killings we’re seeing today are motivated by Islamic teachings.

Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that the Middle East has been intrusively oppressed by Western culture as of late. The war in Iraq, drone strikes, and the like have undoubtedly created a lot of animosity. But as a friend pointed out earlier today, the Middle East has been at odds long before the West came along. Perhaps its time that the Muslim community reform from within, expelling the hateful rhetoric that’s so prevalent in current events.

 

The Quran – Continued

So to be fair, I think its advisable to shed some light on the good parts of Islam. Because there are plenty, and as I mentioned before, I’m trying my hardest to not be biased.

Today I read more of the holy book. And there was a passage that was somewhat encouraging that basically states that if you kill an innocent person, you are essentially killing ALL innocent persons. So just like other holy books, this one has a mixed message and can obviously be interpreted in a wide variety of ways. The aforementioned point is one that promotes benevolence and toleration, something that I didn’t see yesterday in my limited time reading. Pretty much, it seems like there are justifications for anyone to do anything when it comes to holy books, if you take the teachings out of context. Which is what everyone apparently seems to do.

I hope people are trying to read up on this, because this is an important topic and the times we’re living in are historic. Years from now people will look back and talk about what caused the killings of all these people. Why were they massacred? Well, this is why. We need to brush up on our knowledge banks if we’re going to continue the social media commentary.

Which actually brings me to another point. If you haven’t read the Quran, or the Bible, or whatever – that sort of removes you from the dialogue. I know that probably sounds mean, but honestly if you haven’t read and tried to understand someone’s perspectives, then you don’t really have the intellectual backup to contribute to the issue. So before you decide to comment on this, I suggest you read it. Otherwise your opinions are somewhat moot (no offense, sort of).

All in all, I hope this whole killing thing can come to an end at some point, because its getting way out of hand. I think a lot of it has to do with a general sense of hatred that the Eastern world holds toward America. Which, to be perfectly honest, is probably warranted. We have, in fact, invaded their land and stripped them of a lot of resources. And we’ve drone striked them to oblivion (a topic I’ve written about before). Maybe its time to try and reason with them. Because more and more violence clearly isn’t working.

If we stop killing you, will you stop killing us? Please?

The Quran – What I’ve Learned So Far

Quran.pngI posted a Facebook status about this not too long ago, but obviously a blog is a more appropriate place for elaboration because no one likes walls of texts on FB.

Basically, I’ve started reading the Quran so I can try to understand what is going on in the heads of these jihadists.

I’m not very far in, so I have to try and maintain as unbiased of a view as I can (which is admittedly hard considering recent events). I’m hoping that at some point, it shifts into a more positive manuscript rather than what I’ve read so far. In any case, here is a quick detail of what I’ve learned as of now.

I’m at the Fourth book (Al-Nisa), which apparently means “The Women”. Its essentially talking about the rules and ramifications of how to deal with women. So one of the first things I’ve noticed is that the entire book seems to be written to cater to a male’s perspective. There is an abundantly clear message that women are inferior to men. In fact, as I write this, I’m looking at Section 6 of Book 4 that states “Men are the full maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them excel the other, and because men spend out of their wealth on them.” Later on in the same passage, it talks about how men are allowed to discipline their women if they disobey them, lovingly at first, then by not sharing a bed with them, and finally (as a last resort) “mild punishment”. It doesn’t say talk it out and find a reasonable solution during conflict – its says women are to obey men. This disgusts me.

In the previous chapters (1-3) there has been a very prevelant theme of how to treat those that don’t follow Allah. At one point it even states “do not count as dead those who are killed in the cause of Allah.” Basically all I’ve gotten from the first few chapters is this: Allah is better than all the other “Gods”, believe this or else, and if you don’t believe you are a bad person and should be cast into fire.

This is an awful message to teach, I don’t care what religion you are. No religion should ever preach that just because people don’t prescribe to their doctrine that they are inherently bad individuals. All in all, so far I’ve read an outrageously closed-minded, rigid text that has no ability to accept people that deviate from its teachings. This is not a good thing.

I know this is going to be a controversial topic. Religion is always a taboo subject because its such a foundational component of our culture. But there needs to come a day when we wake up and realize that these kinds of teachings are dangerous, controlling, and manipulative. Living a good, just life isn’t a hard thing to do. We shouldn’t need a book to tell us how to treat people the right way.

But this book, in particular, is one that is causing a global problem. We need to figure out how to solve this before it gets even MORE out of hand.

Please feel free to share this by clicking the icons below. We really need to start thinking critically about this problem and how to reform before these shootings become the status quo.

 

 

 

 

 

The Lenghornian Revolt Returns: Chapter 6

Gallop gallop gallop 

The evening after Bobby the Brave’s bold quest to obtain the legendary siege weapons, the servers are out tending their crops, peacefully awaiting his return.

“Do you hear something?” Christina asks Chris, as she hoes her crops of garlic grilled corn. 

“I believe I do!” Chris responds, looking up and down at the Elvira outfit she’s wearing.

“Alas! It is Bobby!! He hath returned!!” Christina shouts, dropping the hoe.

“My friends!” Bobby shouts. “I have returned with the fabled siege weapons of old!” 

Behind him, an enormous Battering Ham and Crouton Catapult can be seen, being toted by his faithful steed Norman.

Pant pant pant.

“My Lord Bobby, I’ve never been ridden so hard in my life!”

“Tis true, my lass, but lo! We are here!!” 

“Huzzah!” The Lenghornians shout. 

Flying into the middle of the field, Connee, Queen of the House of Front has the servers reconvene to present their new weapons of war.

“Servers!” She shouts. “Your champion hath returned with the fabled weapons of yesteryear!! Behold! The legendary Crouton Catapult and its destructive companion, The Battering Ham!!”

As Connee screams these inspiring words, Blake rolls out the enormous wooden wheeled pig to show to the Lenghornians. It’s the server equivalent of a battering ram (duh), and has a metal nose that’s surely capable of destroying any door put before it. Shaped like a pig, the servers hope the irony of having their gates knocked down by a piece of bacon will put the managers in their rightful place.

Slowly rolling behind the Battering Ham, the Crouton Catapult is being pulled by Xavier the Unicorn, who’s bladder has been upgraded to save THREE fallen servers. 

“Don’t forget the Catapult, my friends!” He neighs, shoving his unicorn horn up Chris’s butt, making sure he makes haste.

“Huzzah!” The Lenghornians cheer. “Now we have the equipment to oust our oppressors!!”

God

I’ve written about this before, but lately my blog has gotten a lot more traffic so I thought it would be a good idea to revisit this topic for those who haven’t read any of my archived entries.

Existentialism. What does it mean to exist? This is my main struggle when it comes to a God. As I’ve said many times before, I want to believe in God. A lot. So much so that I keep writing stuff like this. So obviously it bugs me.

This is why I have such a hard time with it. Existence, as I see it, is our ability to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Sensory perception. Having the ability to sense is the common denominator for all living things.

Now, when it comes to whether or not a God exists, the main question would be “is there an afterlife?” Because ultimately, an afterlife is the foundation of all religion. I.e. what happens to us when we die? Despite the vast number of religions in society and all their different belief systems, they all share that one crucial element: afterlife. While many peach different doctrine in terms of morality, ethics, etc., life after death is always present in any religion’s texts.

SO. When I apply the logic I referenced above in the context of an afterlife, it just doesn’t make sense (no pun intended). When we die, we lose the ability to sense things. We can’t touch, we can’t see, we can’t feel, taste or smell. Hell, we can’t even think. We literally just don’t exist anymore.

The only comfort I seem to be able to give myself is contained in an extremely complex concept that we all know as reincarnation. Consciousness (our ability to sense), it seems, is an inexplicable energy that I don’t know if we’ll ever fully understand. So the only solace I can scrape out is the possibility that maybe one day we all come back as different humans or things. Because when a baby is born, someone has to fill its tiny little head, right? So I wonder if that energy I referred to is the answer. 

I know how hard this is to think about. And I really hope this doesn’t offend anyone, because believe me, I don’t want to think this way. If it were up to me, everything I learned growing up would be true. I just feel like once we accept this harsh truth, life becomes so much more beautiful. You start to appreciate things so much more without taking them for granted. It drives you to accomplish as much as you can, since you know you’re only here for such a short amount of time. 

So that’s the thought process behind my struggle, for what it’s worth. On a side note, I will say that I have an incredible group of people that have supported me with this. You know who you are, and I want you to know how much it really does mean to me. It’s very encouraging to be surrounded by such genuinely good people. 

Anyway, that’s all for now. Love you guys 🙂

This is What’s Next: Restructuring How We Govern Ourselves

Since I’m pretty sure not many of you are going to change your minds about Trump, I suppose it would make sense to start thinking outside the box. Because if there’s anything I think we ALL actually agree on, it’s the feeling of hopelessness for our future. So hopefully we can start thinking of how to change that rather than rolling over and just whining.

Perhaps this will spark a productive dialogue. What could be done to fix the broken system we’ve got? The Internet. It’s our only tool to connect with each other, and we need to start taking advantage of it before they start regulating and censoring it. Because it’s moving that way. Look it up. Seriously.

If we do, in fact, prevent censorship of free speech, the Internet can very easily become our new method of creating and implementing policy. Restructuring our society in a way that we vote for people to implement our policies, not create them, is the only way to assure the voices of the people are truly heard without bias or influence from corporations, industries, donors, and the like. It really is the only way to cut out the corruption and give power to the masses. And I won’t say give it back to the masses, because truthfully, we’ve never even had it. Humanity has always been ruled over by one regime or the other. And the Internet is finally our way of ending it and moving forward to a new era of human existence. 

Think about this. Really, really think about it. We don’t have to continue down the path were on, blindly hoping for someone to change things. We can change things. We’re all human. No different than the people we watch and read about every day.

The Internet and the New Era

The Internet has a responsibility. 

Its something phenomenal. Something that’s changed the world. Its given human beings the ability to communicate seamlessly and effortlessly. This has done something monumental: it’s enabled the exchange of ideas and exposure to reality. We no longer have to rely on media outlets to obtain our news. We can obtain vetted facts, documented proof, and tangible evidence of what’s going on in the world.  

And this is precisely why we must take advantage of it while we still can. As I write this, there is legislation being proposed that gives the powers that be access to everything in terms of email and online presence- quite literally. But this isn’t what troubles me. What troubles me is that the people I refer to don’t care what these laws say. They don’t care what the piece of paper that says you can and cannot do this or that says. They do whatever they want, and they expect you to follow their rules. 

THAT is the world we are living in. We are living in a world where the people at the highest positions of power and influence do whatever the hell they want, and they tell you how you’re allowed to act and behave. It’s control. It’s a natural, carnal human characteristic. 

I don’t know how much longer I can do it, to be perfectly honest. And by it, I mean live my life day to day and pretend like nothing’s wrong. Go to work, go out, get a beer, go home. I don’t know how much longer I can fake it, because it’s affecting too many lives. It’s destroying too many families. And it’s absolutely bottlenecking our progress as human beings.

For the love of God, wake up, people. Something can be done. Anything, for crying out loud. Sharing information isn’t cutting it. We honestly need to figure something out, and that can’t be done unless it’s a coordinated effort.

This is what I imagine could be a reasonable future. We have the Internet. It’s there. We’re all on it. Why not build a system based upon the public interest? I mean literally a system where the “laws” and “rules” can be rid of, and affairs are handled in the courts of public opinion? There’s a fundamental way people should conduct themselves, we all know that. Do what makes you happy, but don’t do anything that screws with anyone else’s happiness. It’s not hard. We don’t need corrupt politicians telling us how to act. We aren’t freaking sheep. 

I’ve been vocal today, I know. But I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t sit back and watch the world fall into chaos. Enough is enough.

Drone Strikes: Justified Killing or Crimes Against Humanity?

I was considering making a Facebook status regarding this topic after watching a Netflix documentary entitled “Drone”. But after watching the video I’m going to paste at the end of this post, I felt the need to write something more thorough on the topic.
The documentary is basically a take on both sides of the issue. It follows and interviews both those who feel the strikes are necessary, and those who consider them legalized murder. Many of those interviewed are family members of drone strike victims.

Now, regardless of where you stand on the moral implications of these strikes, there is one fact that neither side can argue – hundreds (likely thousands) of innocent, completely unthreatening people have been brutally dismembered and/or killed as a result. People that in all likelihood have good hearts and productive lives. While some argue that this is acceptable collateral damage, I can’t bring myself to agree.

My reason is simple. Historically, Western society has operated on a basic principle when it comes to criminal justice: everyone deserves a fair trial. This is something I doubt anyone would disagree with – and if you do, I strongly suggest you reconsider your ethical values. Drone strikes, by nature, strip this basic human right away. Rather than attempting to apprehend a “terrorist”, we simply forego that headache and instead opt to straight up end their life without hearing why they are doing what they’re doing. Don’t get me wrong, if someone is killing innocents for the sake of their religion, or simply out of hatred or malice, then sure – maybe they deserve to die. But surely there’s another way to get it done. What of the people surrounding them who may or may not have anything to do with harming others? What about the hundreds of orphaned children who will grow up thinking that living in a world of random bombings is the norm? Is that something we can honestly convince ourselves is okay?

Truthfully, after seeing the documentary and watching the video below, im shocked that more isn’t being done to investigate this issue. It’s good that there are at least some determined individuals with enough passion for human rights that are attempting to shed light on this, but it’s unfortunately not enough.

In any case, I’ll get off the soapbox for now. But please, can we for once stop bickering about the ridiculous flavor of the week topics like restrooms and cakes that the heartless, pathetic mainstream media is feeding us and start focusing on things that REALLY matter? People are being murdered out there. Let’s get our priorities straight.
The video is copied below. If you’re at all squeamish, don’t watch it. It’s extremely graphic.