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Am I a superhero? Or just a lunatic that wears a cape...and rants?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Caped Controversy 6/30

In Caped Controversy blog posts I will pit participants from controversial or media hyped events against each other and declare a winner.

Venue: THE THRILLER in MANILLA NEVERLAND

One-Handed Knife Fight, Beat It style.

Participants: Occupants on a bus in Miami who just learned of Jackson’s death.Rivals from two opposing gangs (aka The MJ Warriors vs. The Anti-Jackites) will be matched up and have one hand tied to their opponent. The rules? There are no rules. Switchblades will be swung. Blood will be shed. And Jheri-curl juice will be drippin’…We might even see a Wesley Snipes cameo.

Hype: The brawl erupted after an occupant on the bus (James Kiernan) received a text regarding MJ’s death and read it aloud to the other occupants. The bus driver, and head of the Anti-Jackites, accused MJ of being a not-so- smooth criminal who should have been in jail for being a pediatrician pedophile. An argument ensued, a knife really was drawn, and these illegitimate children of Billie Jean were all out to prove who was truly Bad…and none of them would stop ‘til they got enough. It didn’t say in the article whether the perpetrators were Black or White, but that doesn’t matter! (more ridiculous song references to follow).

The Match: After the bus driver and Kiernan exchanged words, one of the Anti-Jackite henchmen (Henry Wideman) drew a knife and began chasing Kiernan in an attempt to rock his world. Lounging back and forth at each other doing what appeared to be more like synchronized dance moves then a fight sequence, the MJ Warriors were adamant on letting the Anti-Jackites know exactly how they made them feel.

The Result: The brawl ended in the arrest of Henry Wideman who tried to explain his outburst by blaming it on the boogie, rather than owning up to his rage and looking at the man in the mirror.

There is no winner in this ridiculous battle. It’s okay to be passionate about things, but to get into a brawl with people over a difference in opinion (especially one with no real consequence to anyone’s life) is primitive and idiotic. There are much bigger and more important battles to be waged.

With the death of Michael Jackson we lost one of the most influential singers/dancers in history. His personal life was full of personal demons. Was he a pedophile? Maybe, but I know that if I were a parent of a child who claimed to be molested, no sum of money would be large enough to replace justice, so? I also know that if I judged actors/singers by their personal lives rather than their art, I’d have nothing to watch or listen to. Either way, everyone involved in this dispute on the bus is a loser. I think we all need to spend a little less time fighting each other, and a little more time trying to heal the world.

Man…how many song references was that?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Her Walls

A buddy of mine asked me off-line to post some more poetry. This one is about a girl I met back when I was on active duty that really messed me up for a while because she was a cheating cheater who cheated...a lot.


Her Walls

When I arrived in her place I could tell
her door had been left unhinged
for anyone else’s input. Even her walls
were not the same, though
she claimed she had done all of her own cleaning
while I was away humping the desert.
I drew back and pointed for a second
then shriveled like a leech on a damp basement wall
held under a lit match; fuming as I retreated
back into my clothes. With urgency in her body and wearing only
a t-shirt that wasn’t mine,
her lips tried to lure me back inside as if a fresh coat of paint
could hide the stains seeping through the cracks of shoddy
masonry work; I did not want to get trapped inside.
I stared at her walls searching for something concrete.
My eyes locked on to her waste basket where,
barely buried, beneath a swell of tissues slept
a spoiled bag of unwanted children
calling out like the North Star during Christ’s conception.

He left as I entered and we rotated
in and out of her like civilizations over centuries.
Raining death on her as she reigned over us;
She-the queen, he-the king, and I
wasn’t writing on her walls
just for the fuck.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm Interested

I consider myself to be somewhat of a movie buff. I am a big horror movie junky, but I watch a ton of movies from most genres. I'd like to know what everyone's top 3 movies from the following genres are. Here are mine:

Horror: Jaws, The Shining, Halloween

Comedy: Animal House, Ghostbusters, There's Something About Mary

Action: Die Hard, Kill Bill, The Warriors

Triller/ Suspense: The Game, The Usual Suspects, Fight Club

Foreign: Life Is Beautiful, Battle Royale, Pan's Labrynth

Teen: Breakfast Club, The Outsiders, Better Off Dead (really a comedy, but..)

Drama: The Music Within, Goodfellas, Crash

War: Platoon, Black Hawk Down, Full Metal Jacket

So...what are yours? Any other genres you want to include?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Smell Of Breakfast

Here is a short story I wrote. It's a little messed up and kinda long, but I hope you all enjoy.

The Smell of Breakfast

“Damn!” Nash exclaimed. “I never realized how cold it was in this place. I haven’t had my head shaved in years. It’s bitter cold.”

Nash’s gaze set upon the hash marks in the wall. The latex paint covering the gray cinder block of his cell was chipped and peeled away, much of which was done by him as he sat day in and day out for the last seventeen years reliving the night his life changed forever. The steel bars smoked as stale condensation landed on and then dissipated from them. Rib-eye and garlic mashed potatoes from his last meal subtly lingered from his food tray.

“I don’t know where to begin Padre”, Nash begged.

“To make peace with God, you must soulfully repent for the sin that brought you down this path my son”, urged the Padre.

“I can still feel the sting on the tips of my fingers from the first time the bat hit his head,” began Nash. He looked down at his dry calloused hands and began to rub his thumbs against his fingers. His eyes stared though the cinder block wall behind where the Padre sat, in front of where freedom stood. “The warmth of the blood that splashed my cheek…my lips”. The padre’s eyebrows cringed and Nash could see his chest rise and fall immensely as he took in a breath.

Tilting his shaven head down and leaning back against the headboard of his bunk, Nash drew back from his confession.

“My mom was a good person. I know that. It’s just…she was a bad judge of character and I think she was scared to be alone”. Like a tabloid journalist salivating at the sight of a celebrity scandal, the padre leaned into Nash’s memory.

“First it was my father; I call him the sperm donor. He left me a bastard when I was four. There were three things he loved in life: booze, coke, and women. I don’t really know anything else about him. I don’t really even know that for sure, but that’s what my mom used to tell me”.

“For a few years, guys came and left the apartment like sailors home on shore leave; never staying for more than a few weeks”.

Don’t worry”, she’d say.

“Like a fantastical bedtime story, she’d tell me; tell herself; 'Don’t worry my prince. One day I’ll marry a king. He’ll love us. He’ll take us away'”.

“Tom, the reason why I’m here…he got the job when I was about nine. At first, he seemed alright. Promising to take care of us, love us”. Nash moved uncomfortably on his bunk shrugging his arms toward his shoulder blades to crack his back. “He took care of us alright”.

“I can remember the first time I saw the bruises on her face and arms shoddily covered up with foundation. It was a Saturday morning and I came from my bedroom to the smell of pancakes and the terrible sound of my mom singing Tammi Terrell’s I Can’t Believe You Love Me. I sat at the table twirling my fork turning the pancakes into rubble. I just stared at her. She looked like she had been barraged with a shotgun full of softballs. After ignoring my stares for a few minutes she told me she was moving boxes in the attic, a stack of them fell on her late after we went to bed.”

“'It’s a good thing your father woke up because I was just buried under those things. You didn’t hear anything?’ She questioned hoping I hadn’t but acting surprised when I said no.”

“And that’s pretty much how the days passed, Padre. He’d beat her and she’d lie to protect either me or him, I’m not sure. Sometimes I’d hear it too. The fighting, the fuck yous, the echoing snap of the back of his hands blasting off of her cheek bone late at night. It wasn’t long before the beatings spread like a sixteenth century plague down to me. We were prisoners serving under his tyrannical reign and she’d keep trying to hide his hatred with make-up and pancakes. I started to hate the smell of breakfast”.

For a second, Nash winced and his hand began to tremble under the weight of his memories. The lights in the ward flickered on and off and from the smell of singed leather haunted the air. He knew time was short.

“Ok my son, its ok”. The Padre placed his hand on Nash’s shoulder seemingly pushing him back into his recollection.

“I was thirteen. I was getting ready for school that morning when I smelled- Nothing. I didn’t smell pancakes, I didn’t hear singing. I came downstairs to find my mom sitting at the table drinking what I can only guess wasn’t coffee. In the reflection of a family portrait on the other side of the table I could see her face. Her eye was bloodshot; her nose was encrusted with blood and snot. Before I could say anything to her, she stood up and hugged me. She squeezed and told me not to worry; that everything would be alright. That I had to go to school and act as I always have; like everything was okay”.

“I left the house, but I didn’t go to school. How could I? I sat under the trestle that ran over the train tracks for most of the day. I smoked Newport’s, I threw rocks at the trains, and I cried. I cried until my eyes were deserted and began to burn; until there weren’t any tears left”.
“I stayed out there until it was dark and my thoughts were numb. When I got home, both my mom’s and Tom’s trucks were in the driveway.

Inside, the quiet was deafening until I reached the stairs. Muffled crying sounded from behind my mom’s bedroom door. I snuck up and opened it to see Tom standing over my mother’s body. He was crying. He was still in his work suit. The stench of vomit smacked me in the nose causing me to tear up as well”.

She killed herself”. Tom said, kicking a pill bottle against the wall. “The bitch killed herself. She didn’t even leave a note. She just fucking killed herself and left me with you. Cops are on their way. You better keep your mouth shut or I’ll put you next to her”.

“And that’s when it happened,” interrupted the Padre with an odd breath of exultation.

“I turned toward my room without a word and went to fall to my bed when I saw it. A note: To my Prince, I’m sorry! I love you!

“They told me I hit him more than eighty times before the cops got there, but I only remember that first shot. The sound his skull made; the warmth of his blood.” Nash’s gaze set upon the barred window. Suddenly, his body spasmed and his eyes jetted wide like a soul reentering a comatose body. He returned focus on the Padre.

“That’s the first time since the trial I’ve spoken about this. The first time I felt…anything. Thank you”.

“My son”, the Padre began. “Your salvation lies with the Lord. It is his forgiveness you have sought through your confession to me. It is the Lord whose judgment you must now face.”

Nash shook his head correctively. “No Padre. It is neither God’s judgment nor his forgiveness that I seek. It is his understanding for the actions I took against the life he handed me; and an answer for why he did it... Call the guard, I’m ready to find out”.

I'm Leaving It Up To You

I feel like posting another personal writing (either a short story or a poem) at some point today and I am interested in knowing what those of you who follow my blog would rather read (or actually read). If you have an opinion, or a request, or simply don't care. Leave me a comment so I know.

Poem?

Short Story?

Neither?

Both?

Thanx.

If You Don't Go Bareback, They'll Give You A Greenback

That is the idea that some geniuses at the University of North Carolina are peddling. The University has unfurled a program called College Bound Sisters which is aimed at girls aged 12-18. The program will provide monetary compensation to all participants if they are able to follow two simple rules. Show up once a week for a 90-minute meeting to learn about safe sex, and don't get pregnant. Yea, you read that right. This program is going to pay little kids to not get knocked up. So what is the price of keeping these apparently parentless girls from accepting sexual deposits and investing in a 9-month baby brewing plan? That would be the whopping sum of $7 per week, deposited into an account for their college fund.

Is this genius or what? Setting aside ethics for a second I just want to point out that the average college cost for ONE year is $6,585. That means at $7 per day, kids would have to remain in this program for 18 years to pay for two semesters at a public college.

Ok, now back to the obvious stuff. Whose harebrained idea is it to pay kids to do what they are supposed to do in the first place? What ever happened to that silly little thing called parenting your children? Look. I dunno....maybe I'm a little out of touch...or maybe I'm just not stupid, but it seems to me that if parents spent a little more time actually raising their kids and teaching them about things like world culture, sex, tolerance, RESPONSIBILITY for your actions; and spent a little less time shrugging off these parental essentials so they can be their kids BFF's; then, perhaps, there wouldn't be room for such a nonsensical program.

Maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe we should incorporate this school of thought to get everyone to do what they are supposed to do. --DIGRESSION ALERT: by "do what they are supposed to do" I am not talking about things that can logically be debated like career paths, education options, religious beliefs, or cultural norms in countries other than my own. --

As I was saying, maybe we should start paying everyone to do what they are supposed to do:

"Hey there Mr. pedophile. Here's a dollar, don't touch that kid."

"DOPE MAN, DOPE MAN! I think that my good friend Abe Lincoln would want you to turn that stove off."

"Kids...will you do your homework? NO? Well, then how about for a nice crisp dollar bill?"

I know I am stretching this blog entry out like a pregnant teen's belly, but I think there is validity to what I'm saying. The logic behind a social program like this is completely flawed. I am all for the prevention of teen pregnancy, BELIEVE ME. I don't like seeing my tax dollars being wasted on the inconsideration and irresponsibility of others, but programs like this are ineffective and end up just wasting that much more money (which in this case equals $75,000 per year).

Lets stop constantly lowering the bar and start holding people responsible for their actions and the actions of their children.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hot Tin Roof

Here's another military poem I wrote.

Hot Tin Roof
“I've got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?”
-Tennessee Williams

From tin huts just under twice the
Size of a 19th century outhouse,
Abdali peasants rise with the sun.
Skylights are rusted into the roofs of
Their beach homes; oven vents for 145-
Degree-days. Sheep companion those
Fortunate enough to keep one alive.
Earning less than pocket change by
Kuwaiti standards, they work like
Mexican day laborers in America
Farming coffin sized plots to sustain
Their families. They see no prophet
In oil. Kuwaiti citizens make up the jobless
Wealthy impersonating Persian emperors and
Empresses; while Tectovs stranded
Beyond a civilization they’re refused,
Bombard us with outstretched
Arms as we convoy across the dunes.
Tan-quew!
M.R.E? Cold water?
Their gaunt faces, and tattered clothes
Remind us of why we are there.
We surrender the supplies we can spare.

Something For Everyone

If you scroll down, along the left hand side of my page, you will notice a section called "Shameless Plugs". Do yourselves a favor and check some out. There is a wide variety of blog-types. I'm sure you'll come across something you'd enjoy. If you find one you like, show your support and become a follower. That is all.

...And For Those Who Can't Teach? Well, They Get Paid Anyway

I read a story this morning that is just aggravating. It seems that the teacher's union in NYC is so powerful that teachers get paid no matter what their conduct in class is. Right now, there are an estimated 700 teachers and administrators who have been let go from their positions for various violations including insubordination, threatening students , and sexual misconduct; yet they are still getting paid their salaries and benefits, costing the tax payers ~65 million dollars per year.

How can this be? How can they justify paying a VERY hands on anatomy teacher or a gym teacher who spends too much time in the locker room after class? Well, because "their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire them". Feel Better now? Me too.

So what do these teachers who have been let go, but continue to collect, do all day? They are sent to reassignment centers where they can spend up to a few years and "practice yoga, work on their novels, paint portraits of their colleagues — pretty much anything but school work."

What the fuck?!

That my friends, is what our tax dollars go toward.

In true Shawshank fashion, the teachers of course all claim they are the victims and are innocent of the violations for which they've been accused. My guess is, most are probably not completely innocent. Those few who may be, still should not be collecting full salaries while they are under investigation.

This reassignment center is supposed to be a setting in which teachers can continue to hone their craft until their hearing and either be fired or allowed back in the classroom. BUT according to one reassigned high school teacher, Jennifer Saunders, "There was a bar across the street. Teachers would sneak out and hang out there for hours."

Man, being a teacher sounds okay, but being at teacher who is pending a hearing sounds better than a toga party at the Delta house.

How unions get away with these crimes is beyond me. I am so sick of our tax dollars being wasted on adults who contribute nothing to our society.

I guess the lesson here is if you want to get paid to do nothing then you should get a job as a teacher, gain tenure, and then do something like this . Seriously, if I had known that's all I had to do, I'd be at home in my draws right now eating a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles and playing Call of Duty.

Not really, but still...

Educators have one of the most important jobs in our society and it’s a shame to see positions being wasted on those who'd abuse that. There are plenty of great professionals out there who don't get the recognition they deserve. Meanwhile, those who are unfit, reap incredible benefits. A teacher should have passion for education and not for their students.

I love it when a news story gives me the opportunity to insert a bunch of random movie clips :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Caped Controversy 6/22

In Caped Controversy blog posts I will pit participants from controversial or media hyped events against each other and declare a winner.

Venue: Naked Pillow Fight (free for all) on a Queen sized bed

Participants: Sascha Baron Cohen vs. Brian Graden (President of LOGO) w/ 3rd Rail Media, and a few overly sensitive members of the gay community (AKA The G-Unit) ringside

Hype: Cohen has once again made enemies with his 'over the top' movie characters. This time, some members of the G-Unit are targeting his character BRUNO as harmful to their cause. In the height of the PC era, its safe to say that few actors have pushed the envelope farther than Cohen. With Bruno it is no different. Is he stereotypical"?- Yes. Over the top? -Yes. Poking fun at gays?- Of course. And? Well, after countless appearances, prancing around in a thong on TV to promote his movie, Cohen was finally challenged to a fight to the death... in the form of a naked pillow fight.

The Match: We pick up this match already under way and feathers a'flying as random members of the G-Unit keep skipping dandily from the bedposts onto the bed and swinging wildly at Cohen. Cohen, a highly trained master of mano-a-mano naked bed fighting (as proven in Borat) has thus far successfully dodged the limp-wristed lounges of his opponents. Until this point Cohen had emerged without a scratch. That was until, Brian Graden and 3rd Rail Media loaded their pillow with bricks....of film footage. Coming on at Cohen from both sides like a male bondage video and swinging the fully loaded pillows fiercely and ungayly unhappily. They hit him with footage of interviews with some Hollywood insiders who condemn his portrayal of homosexuals.

The Result: It appeared to be all but over for Cohen as the G-Unit had him pinned, belly down on the bed, gagging him with a wad of feathers. Just as they were about to ride Cohen into submission, a reporter on the video tried to take one more devastating swing at him by ....(are you ready for this?) comparing the character Bruno to the bigoted 'blackface' characters portrayed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But, this overeager Patriot Gay-triot (I believe I might have just made that up :) ) missed Cohen and hit other members of the G-Unit with his ridiculous and overreaching suggestion rendering them impotent. Cohen finished off the remaining members of the G-Unit with a booty shake dance to some bad Austrian techno music and emerged victorious. Not only is this outrage unfounded, it will ultimately help ticket sales. People love controversy. COHEN WINS!

This entry was intentionally politically incorrect. Bruno is obviously not a threat to the advancement of gay rights. If anything, it points out how ridiculous all of the controversy is. Frivilous outrage by communities attempting to advance their cause only end up hurting it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Few More Poems

Thought I'd throw a few more poems up here. These are some fun ones as opposed to the military ones I posted the other day. Hope you enjoy.


Sharks in a Tub

My irrational fear of
Sharks causes me to
Do a double-take into
A glass of water before
I take a drink

Thanks to Peter Benchley
And the ice in the pool fiasco
I’ve limited my relationships
With water to-

The shower
And
The hot tub

One for the desire to be clean
The other- with the hopes of
Getting dirty like they do in
All of those reality TV shows-
Cameras optional on both accounts

I did notice how fast my mind
Swims from fears to fantasies and
Not once have I checked beneath
The bubbles in the Jacuzzi for the

Jaws of a Great White,
But I guess that’s the
Power that even just the idea
Of sex has over me

****

Super Dooper

The grill wouldn’t light again.
The gas-full blast
The burners- wide open
The igniter- fucked!
Until
CLICK! And in a flash
Fireballs shot from all three
Burners at me like the
Breath of an ancient Chimera.
I didn’t move.
There was no time
And my arms,
They’re hairy, man. But
I didn’t catch.
The flames danced around me
Like the devils minions.
The answer was obvious,
I am a Superhero.
Impervious to fire-
Retardant, if you will.

I went to bed plotting
How I would fight crime-
Save lives.
The next morning I sprung up
From bed and dashed
To the kitchen for breakfast,
But what do Superheroes eat?
Chocolate Pop Tarts, of course.
I popped those suckers into
The toaster and flashed
To the fridge.
I ripped the milk out and
Took a swig with one hand fisted
At my hip like, well,
Like all the other Superheroes do.

CLICK! The Pop Tarts leaped
From the fire like they were
Ready to soar.
I threw my hand out and
Clutched one of the SuperTarts
OOOW! The son of a bitch
Burned me! The chocolate seeped
Through the top and
Burned the shit out of my hand!

…So I took off
My tights and cape,
And got ready for work.

Everyone Loves A Sale

I read a story about a cemetery in Indianapolis that is having a 'buy 1, get 1 free' sale on grave plots. That's right folks, thanks to a shipping error, the Memorial Park Cemetery is, apparently, currently overstocked on wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men...grave plots. And they are passing the savings on to you!

Good Credit? Bad Credit? No Credit? --As long as you have a pulse and don't plan on getting any hickeys from this guy -- NO PROBLEM! Don't miss out on this once in a death-time opportunity as it might very well be the greatest sale since Beetlemania 1988. Unfortunately, they do not offer a lay-away program.

Everyone loves a sale...everyone loves a gift. Nothing says 'til death do us part like a 6' by 9' eternal vacation spot. The only way they could sweeten this deal is if they threw in a couple of custom headstones. I definitely want a fun headstone. Right now I'm torn between: "I'm coming to get you Barbara!" and "Ut-Oh, there's no more room in hell."

General Manager Mark McCronklin assures that this sale is not in response to the economy, which, to me, is a strange thing to say. Are there people out there who think the economy is so bad that if they died and couldn't afford 'prime real estate' in the cemetery that they would end up being thrown out with the Monday/Wednesday trash?

Either way, if you plan on dying some day and live in the Indianapolis area you should hurry on down to the Memorial Park Cemetery 'where they do their best to provide their customers (Rest In) Peace of mind.'

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Caped Controversy

In Caped Controversy blog posts I will pit participants from controversial or media hyped events against each other and declare a winner.
( Email suggested match-ups here: capedtirader@gmail.com)

Participants: HANDICAP MATCH!!

President Obama vs a House Fly and Peta

Hype: In what 'major' news outlets are deeming 'news worthy' President Obama got into a fight with a housefly during a CNBC interview.

The Match: In the middle of his interview, The Barack layed the smackdown delivering a devastating Rick Flair-esque chop to Super Housefly Snuka putting it out of commission. The match was all but over when The Barack exclaimed "That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker." But then PETA came off the top ropes with a plea for more compassion to flies and sent him a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher.

The Result: To be determined. In a one-on-one, The Barack could take the Super Housefly with ease. He may even be able to defeat PETA if he sticks to his Barack Bottom-line, but if he placates PETAs hypersensitive nonsense and apologizes (or is featured using the bug catcher), he forfeits and the win goes to the terrible tag-team.


UPDATE (6/19/2009): Since posting this, The Barack has expressed sorrow for giving the 'President's Elbow' to the Superfly and has therefore LOST the match. PETA and the fly win in a devastating blow against logical thought.

Out Of Character

Every now and then I shift gears from News stories to something personal. Today I wanted to share some poems from a book that I wrote. I hope you enjoy and leave comments!! :) I will post more poems later today :)

Military Poems:


Watch

O-dark-thirty, as far as I can tell.
Twigs snap in cadence as the leaves double-time past
The wolves battle-cry scaring the piss from the clouds

We lie in the prone, stiff as rigor mortis
aiming out at the night from our shallow graves,
hiding in red light discipline.

Scanning out the chasm as one mound
melts into another. The moon rests upon tree canap├ęs
mockingly counting the galaxies. None of the mounds are moving.

Our ready arms rest but remain reactionary
musing over the muted stagger and lurid breath
that crashes upon us muffling our reflexes.

In a nearby hasty, sparks and shadow trails
look like comets falling through rainforest fatigues.
Their position now blown, I relax and blow mine.

Rain ambushes the seam of my shelter-half then
plummets in a HALO mission taking occupancy.
Invading from all sides like the Tet Offensive.

Whispers in the grass sing me sadistic lullabies.
If I die....box me up and....
Pin my metals.... mom I did my best.

The air clots with the carbon emissions
lingering from the spent chambers.
Narcissistic stars gaze at their reflection in the brass.

I put my cigarette in my cargo pocket and
take aim at a protrusion from the ground. It’s still-
probably nothing; I flip my sight regardless.

I wait for the onslaught wearing a cloak
of Audie Murphy with 40 rifles to pass,
but only time does.

The moon has convoyed with clouds.
The grounds rumor with tank fire
as apparitions rise in a haze.

O-five-thirty. The shadows take cover
from fiery heat-seekers. The mounds are still.
I rest upon my K-pot and count the galaxies.



Highway 80
From Kuwait to Basra

Looming like London fog,
incinerated flesh still soaks the sandbox
like a forty year flood. Two-by-two they dissipated.
None were spared as powder filled capsules exploded
like meteors compositing grains to glass and creating
caramelized erosions deep into the dunes
begetting a vaporous junkyard. Charcoaled
skin molded to the steering wheel of an overturned Chevy
flaps in the breeze; a posthumous flag of surrender.
We recon through the rusted panels for souvenirs praying
they are not rigged with explosives, looking over
both shoulders as if they are still there watching. Still
twenty or thirty clicks away from our Kabals we
felt uneasy as the incoherent whispers of fallen combatants
lingered; bouncing back and forth against rapid breaths.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Common Sense Rules

I am a big proponent of the 'rule of law', but sometimes I think it is abundantly clear that certain situations call for exceptions to be made in the name of common sense and humanity.

Last night I read a story about a couple from Darfur who, after 2 1/2 years were finally allowed to bring their 4-year-old daughter from a refugee camp in that hell hole to the states where they have gained asylum. Here is a case where the laws on the book were painted with too broad of a stroke.

Motasim Adam, a NYC cab driver, was granted asylum in the U.S. in 2002 for both he and his wife. However, his daughter, Wejdan, was not granted asylum because she was conceived shortly after his application was approved. So, rather than anyone examining the situation and recognizing the simple solution (grant the baby asylum), U.S. law makers advised the mother to make a modern day Sophie's Choice (only without the whole Auschwitz thing...or the whole leave on child to die in order to save the other thing...ok...so maybe its not the modern day Sophie's, but you get what I'm saying) -and leave her baby girl in a refugee camp in Sudan, as it would be 'easier' for her to gain asylum if both parents were here appealing.

My gripe with this whole thing is, we have people flooding into the country without any documentation or taxable identification, who start off their life-anew by breaking laws every day and many law-makers bend over backwards to protect their "Constitutional Rights" (of which they earned none). BUT then, here we have whom I see as a stand up man, coming here to work and go through the system in order to improve the lives of himself and his family members, and it takes the geniuses at immigration 2 years to secure a visa for his baby daughter. That my friends is more than a "legal SNAFU", it is more like a legal TARFU with FUBAR sprinkles in a BOHICA bowl. (enough military acronyms for ya?)

The good news is, they are finally reunited after a long legal battle. The bad news is this little girl's first memory is that her parents left her in a refugee camp for two years...she may have some abandonment issues later on in life. Luckily for her the city has a shrink for any occasion.

While it took them way too long, at least they got it right. Congrats to the Adam family.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hey! You Got Some Face on Your Tattoo...

I have to admit that this story made me smile due to the stupidity of its participants.

An 18-year-old girl, Kimberley Vlaminck, was taken by her father to get a tattoo on her face as a gift from him to her. Vlaminck said she asked the tattoo artist (Rouslan Toumaniantz) for 3 stars near her left eye, but by the end of the session her face looked like an American flag representing 56 of the 57 states that Obama said he traveled to during his presidential campaign. Apparently she fell asleep when the artist started, but woke up before he could get to the 57th. During this whole time her father, being the responsible parent he is, went out to get an ice cream.

Ok...first of all, there is no way this chick fell asleep while her face was being inked.

Second of all, what kind of terrible father takes their utterly dense 18-year-old girl to a tattoo parlor to get a tattoo on her face? Is he trying to guarantee that her only career options are either sliding upside down, down a pole in a smoky bar to a Motley Crue song or as a backdrop of a clear night sky in an off-Broadway play?

So now, of course, the dad is suing the tattoo parlor for money to get the stars surgically removed, but the artist is refusing to pay claiming that the girl asked to be covered in stars and only complained after her father saw what had happened. I can only imagine that the shock of seeing his Outerspace-faced freak of a daughter caused him to drop his cone to the ground which, in my starry eyes, is the real tragedy of the story.

In light of the fact that I don't believe for one second that the girl didn't know what was going on in that parlor AND the fact that her father took her there with the intention of allowing her to get a face tattoo, I have decided to call shenanigans on the lawsuit. The dad is a lousy one and the daughter is an irresponsible but legal adult who, if she can't stay awake while someone rips a needle across her face, should probably start drinking more coffee or stop taking Ambien.

Therefore, I am going to plug Mr. Toumaniantz's parlor right now: The Tattoo Box

Monday, June 15, 2009

Will The Real Salaam-Shady Please Stand Up!

There is no doubt that we, the living masses in 2009, are living in tumultuous times overflowing with war. Then again, in the history of mankind, there hasn't been an age where this wasn't the case. As intelligent as we immodestly boast, modern humans haven't been able to live at peace with each other for over 200,000 years, which defiantly calls into question our so called intelligence; leaving us looking pretty brainless.

Though most profess their desire for the peaceful advancement of our species, sadly, none of us will ever see the day where people from all parts of the globe unite to participate in what is our true common causality. BUT that doesn't mean that we all shouldn't try.

The one advancement that separates us from people of preceding centuries is computerization. There is literally nothing that one can't uncover if they have access to a computer. With this powerful tool we have immediate access to the rest of the world linking us in a way that makes it impossible for a person do deny that all causes have a real effect on all peoples.

The big news over the past few days has been the election (if you believe that's what it was) in Iran where Mahmoud Im-a-Douche-Inejad allegedly won with a 63% majority. If these results are true, then 63% of the Iranian voting population are what I am calling Salaam-Shady, or people who make under-handed claims that they want peace.

HOWEVER, I don't believe this to be the case. For the last few days there have been hundreds of thousands of Iranian protesters worldwide speaking out against President Im-a-Douche, his tyrannical leadership, and his utterly illogical and ignorant stances (both domestic and foreign).
A revolution, overthrowing this nutbag, may very well be in the works. Revolutions are not always a good thing, but you don't have to be Alexis de Tocqueville to realize that a movement where people in that region are uniting against tyranny and for liberty is most definitely a good thing.

There are some out there who may think that this is an insignificant event; cynics who believe that the election of Mir Hossein Moussavi will prove unimportant. I say to those people, you have missed the point. The election isn't the significant factor. The peoples' willingness to stand up for themselves in the face of injustice is the type of historic event that could begin to change the face of a region that has never seen peace.

Now, about nuclear power. I'm probably going to take some heat for this, but I really believe that you can't expect a country's leader or its followers to show respect and decency toward the lives of others, if a mutual respect and decency isn't reciprocated. Before I go too far let me clarify that I am not talking about sit-downs with terror states or rogue nations. President Im-a-Douche has no intentions of living peacefully with the rest of the world as proven by things like his denial of the Holocaust and his clear disregard for human rights; therefore, Iran under his regime should not be permitted by the rest of the world to continue nuclear development. Afterall, it is our only world and it is up to all of us to pretect it.

BUT, if a freely elected government of country has proven to the world stage that it is interested in becoming part of our global community (regardless of religious or cultural differences), then that country should have every right to develop the technologies the rest of us enjoy.

The question is, could Iran become a true partner to free countries in this experiment called life? Only time will tell. Step one-choose freedom and liberty for themselves-is underway. Step two- choose to live in peace with the rest of the free world- is yet to be seen.

As I write this, protesters are dying for their desire to live free. There will always be some who will try to stifle forward progression through acts of terrible violence. When this occurs, you must continue to stand tall against them.

We are never EVER all going to agree on everything. What is important is that we respect the beliefs of others and that they respect ours.

All we can do now is wait and see.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Wire

I thought I'd do something a little different today as my last post before my trip to Lake Placid and post a short story I wrote. I hope you all enjoy.

THE WIRE


Sweat stung Officer John Landau’s eyes like a branding from a hot iron searing a cow’s hide. The timer had already ticked down to 04:53 and he hadn’t even begun to examine the bomb’s rigs and wires. Under five minutes Landau. There were so many wires; blue, red, white, yellow, and orange all spaghetti bowled together in a clumped mass on top of the steady pace of the clock that held his fate.

04:17- Landau’s knuckles popped in his clenched hands. Unzipping his kit, he grabbed a magnifier and his 5” wire cutters. The magnifier clipped to the left lens of his glasses and the Kevlar covering his body made him look like a cyborg in blue fatigues if not for the scars on his unmistakably human bared hands. Landau traced the first blue wire to the base of the bomb, closed one eye tight and squeezed down on the clippers in anticipation of failure. Tick- the clock continued downward toward and Landau exhaled enormously- 04:05.

Leaning closer, the stench of his own steaming breath bounced off of the clocks metal plate stunning his senses but not wavering his focus. The red wire was booby-trapped with a spring loaded trigger, one cut and Landau’s career, his marriage, his life as he knew it would be over. He grabbed the electrical tape from his bag and with the gentleness of a nurse in a neo-natal ICU ward, tagged the wire and drew back his cutters.

03:36, Landau’s mind began to jitter, skipping back to his first training exam; and his second. Both ending in a puff of smoke and a spray of faux noxious gas; and then lingering on as his Achilles Heel. 03:18, a blind clip and the yellow wire falls limply like a neglected flower. BUT the clock remained and, for the time being, Landau was still around.

Remember your training, John. Personal plights blended with professional in a stew of poor self image. Two failed Bomb Squad exams; two lost opportunities to advance, three disrespectful children, and a failing marriage. 02:28, Landau stared at his reflection in the clock’s faceplate. The sweat dripped from his face like wax from a candle. Over his reflections shoulder stood his Captain, his partner Jason, and the department’s shrink. Emotionless faces, disappointed eyes.

02:02, Landau hopped off of his mind’s rollercoaster and traced the orange wire. It looked clean but couldn’t be cut. It was grounded and needed to be replaced. Each tick of the clock resonated in the background of John’s persistent thoughts. He grabbed a dummy wire and unsheathed the copper from the rubber guard using his splicer. Twisting the copper into a ponytail, he secured it near the base of the orange connection. Gently, he pulled the orange wire, but it sent a shock up his arm. A light cloud of smoke lifted from the hair on his right hand like clearing fog off of an upstate lake in the wake of a rainstorm.

01:18, John’s hand was frozen in place; clippers resting around the white wire at the ready position, but without the required pressure to snap it. The jolt transported John’s focus from the time bomb to his marriage counselor’s office. A cigarette steadily reducing itself to ashes burnt silently in a heavy clay ashtray. The faded leather chair’s arms were torn and chipped exposing an itchy filling material that gave him a rash. A half empty box of Kleenex next to his wife; rivers ran down the erosion lines of her cheeks pooling on the Oriental rug. The counselor was probing him to reveal himself, but John sat impotent and unable praying for the session to end.

Times up. John looked at the clock, 00:00. A pop sprung him from his wander and he snapped the cutters through the white wire, but it was too late. CS gas assaulted his airway like Russian MiGs. It was his third and final attempt to make the Squad. The CS sizzled against the tears welling in his eyes.

The Caped Tirader's Hideout

Hey Tiraders,
I will be in Lake Placid, New York for a long weekend starting tonight so I won't be updating until next week. But don't worry, I'll be back faster than a speeding bullet...that shot and killed a stolen movie tag-line.

-CT

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Getting a New Mattress Is A Serious Waste Of Money


Today's ridiculous news story is out of Tel Aviv, Israel where a woman literally threw out her money with her mattress...is that a saying or is it only babies and bathwater?

Anyway, as the story goes, the woman, Anat, wanted to do something nice for her elderly mother so she surprised her with a brand new mattress. As any normal person would do, she threw out her mother's old one. She also, however, threw out her mother's $1 million life savings. Now the woman is apparently in a frantic state, tearing apart the local landfills, searching for Sealy's Shekel-pedic.

Ok, a few thoughts come to mind.

First, was her mother a drug dealer or a cartoon bank robber? It had to be one of the two because no one builds a life savings at Sleepy's Mattresses, Savings, & Loans. Then again I suppose any savings plan is better than what they offer at the West Bank (eew...that was just terrible)

Second, if she did indeed have that much money in her mattress and she recovers it, I'm pretty sure that the Israeli Federal Government is going to quickly snatch her up for tax evasion and take their 46% cut.

Third, if she has been sleeping on a mattress full of cash her whole life, then this lady's back must be tied in more knots than if Irina Vashchenko and Joseph Merrick had conjoined twins. I can't imagine that sleeping one a million bucks could possible make you wake up feeling like a million bucks, though I may be ready for the challenge.

Fourth, how incredibly shitty is this lady's timing that she threw away the old mattress and it was taken by the garbage men before her mother even realized what she'd done? She must have literally been running to the curb as they pulled up...which then calls into question whether this lady has the superhuman strength (like yours truly) necessary to run with a mattress in tow.

She is now searching through a dump that receives more than 2,500 tons of garbage per day and the landfill had to hire security to scare off hopeful Landfill Lottery winners. All I know is, she better find it soon because I am dusting off my cape (on Expedia) for a quick trip to Judea to do some "soul searching". The only question now is, do I need to check my shovel or is it carry-on?

Hopefully, I will emerge a millionaire! Until my return I bid you all Good night, Sleep Tight, and don't let the Ben Franklins bite. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Wouldn't Eat That If I Were You

I love fishing! To me, there is no better meal than catching a delicious bass, bringing it home, cooking it, and eating it. BUT it all depends upon where you choose to do you fishing. For instance, I wouldn't go to any lake in my home state and eat the fish I caught there. That's sad really, but let's save that for a different tirade.

I read a news story today about a fisherman named Rodney Soloman from Florida who, while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, caught something you couldn't eat no matter where you hooked it, an air-to-air guided missile. Apparently he was fishing in an area where the Air Force tests missiles. I bet there are some tasty radiated treats there.

The crazy part of this story is that the missile was still LIVE and very UNSTABLE.

The craziest part of this story is that this genius landed the missile in his boat and then stayed out at sea for another 10 days prior to returning to shore and alerting anyone.

During a card game this weekend my uncle, as he racked a big pile of chips over to his seat after winning a hand he should have never been in, said "God looks out for the foolish." Now I don't know if that is true or not, but if it is, then that would explain how this guy managed to handle this missile and ride around with it in his boat for 10 days without becoming a fireworks show.

All of this brings me to another point. you never know what you might find in the ocean. Personally, I don't really go in the ocean. In a large ship maybe, but that’s about as far as I'll take it. You might say that oceans, and more specifically sharks, are like The Caped Tirader's kryptonite. I would lose all of my super powers other than the uncontrollable ability to piss my pants if I were to ever encounter a shark anywhere other than on a dinner plate (they eat us, so I eat them). What was my point? Oh yea...the ocean.

The ocean is so big and unpredictable that sometimes a entire aircraft can vanish and never to be heard from again, other times, people uncover military grade weapons.

I don't know what the lesson here is...I guess, if anyone out there notices an influx of shady looking fisherman in the Gulf area, they should alert the authorities as the fisherman might actually be organized terror groups looking to get their hands on some weapons on the cheap and sneaky.

In the meantime, anglers beware. You might be at risk of a little more than mercury poisoning the next time you land yourself a missile monster.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Let's Talk About Our Feelings

First, I want to say sorry for slacking off last week. -Insert excuse here-.

Ok, now that I've taken care of that, I want to discuss something I read about this weekend that is so conceptually ridiculous and utterly idiotic that it makes me want to find its creators and smack them ask them to express how they feel and work with them towards finding a common ground through our differences of opinion.

What I read about is something called Consensual-Living. According to the creators of this group, consensual-living is "a process, a philosophy, a mindset by which we seek to live in harmony with our families and community." Sounds nice, right? Doesn't everyone want to live in harmony with their families’ and communities?

BUT what this really is is some quacky, hippy-ish, LaLa Land living nutjob's way of blurring the lines between the imperative authority role of a parent and the imperative subordinate role of a child. I am so sick of brainless parents trying to make everything equal and harmonious at the risk of common sense.

We live in a society where kids can fail all of their classes and still move on to the next grade because some parents fear that the embarrassment of being left back is worse than the risk of allowing a fucking moron to move along with his/her peers. RED INK sends kids the message that they got something wrong on a test so we shouldn't use it. Competition is unhealthy and elitist so lets give everyone a First Place trophy no matter how talented or untalented they are. All of these crackpot beliefs are destroying childrens' motivation and eliminating incentive to excel and will create a society of equally mediocre individuals if they aren't kept in check. Consensual-Living is no different.

The way it "works" is everyone in the household has an equal say with regard to the decision making in the house. I don't just mean both parents (as it should be). I mean parents and kids alike. So, take something as simple as setting a bedtime. Under this method, the parent needs to be considerate of how the child feels with regard to the bedtime set and must seriously and considerately entertain any potential objections by their child to this bedtime. WTF!? My guess is that the creators of this method of parenting were raised in strict households and are trying to get back at their parents by not actually parenting.

Look, I'm not saying that a parent shouldn't be considerate of their child's feelings, but this is kind of overboard.

The site continues by stating that punishments and rewards are just "tools of manipulation" and that it is important to let your child "explore their feelings" because they "know their body and their mind." So next time you are at the grocery store and your kid is acting like a complete maniac, crying and throwing a tantrum because you wouldn't buy them some crappy toy, you should calmly and respectfully allow them to express themselves...you may come to the realization that they have a valid point as to why they deserve a new toy. I mean if the incoherent screams of runny-nosed, defiant little bastards don't make you realize that you are indeed equals in the parent/child relationship, what will?

What this whole concept really does is ensure that kids, when they grow up, are unable to function in society like normal adults because in the real world, there are always hierarchies in which very few people have a say in what goes on and everyone else needs to follow suit or file out the door.

Perhaps at my next work meeting when my boss tells me that I'm not due for a raise or that I need to go finish up some work I'll throw a tantrum about how unfair and inconsiderate he is being...that should lift me a couple rungs up the ladder and get me a new office with a view

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

American Car Company Goes From GM to BM

In the what is the latest proof that providing government bailouts to titanic-sized corporations that have hit a monetary iceberg doesn't work, General Motors has recently filed for bankruptcy protection and now the government (and we the people) own a majority share in it. What a shocker!

The once grand General Motors has been reduced to a worthless pile of BM...I don't mean shit, although my stomach is in knots over this. I mean Barack-Motors. That's right, GM is just the latest in a long list of government procurements which many say are aimed at ensuring more and more people are forced to suckle the government teet, all-the-while trying to give the appearance that they are "saving or creating jobs".

What does that even mean? Saving or creating? That is just a fluff statement with no actual facts behind it. Created jobs how? That statement is nonsensical and obtuse. Shit, I saved about 700 jobs this morning by not getting into a fatal car accident on my way to work.

But, I think its a good thing that the our government spent 20 billion of tax payer dollars to keep this shitty company afloat for a while. When you weigh the pros and cons, it was obviously the right choice and they should definitely provide a bailout for all failing companies, right?

Pros:
-Prolong a failing company's life by ~1 month by giving them $20 billion dollars of unchecked, unmonitored money to use for what they could only vaguely describe as "operating expenses" (which could only mean payoffs and light bills).

-Ummm....oddly, I can't think of any more other than the blatantly obvious sarcastic one above.

Cons:
-Adding billions of dollars to a National debt which has each and every American family on the hook for ~ $546,668 per household.

-Ensuring that future Americans are born in a stranglehold of debt for decades to come.

- Not actually regulating the ways in which the appropriated funds could be spent by these companies.

-Not actually saving these companies or the jobs within them.

I know there are many people out there who are going to immediately, and somewhat-wrongfully, take this blog as a stab at B.O. Barackus and, immediately thereafter, start screaming out something about the policies of the past, or ...of the last eight years, which has become the default response to any questions raised in an attempt to shift focus. Look, I DO recognize those past policies for what they were; terribly horrible spending habits. Bush was extremely wasteful with our money. The wasteful spending by our government at the expense of the citizens is nothing new. And that, most of us can agree on.

But then why would it be okay for this president to continue down this path of reckless spending without the same scrutiny? Where is the honesty and logic in that? There is a lot of blame for our debt to be spread around and that should be addressed, but we first need to reign in the government's spending and allow the economy to stabilize naturally. That has to start with our current administration. Then, we can debate blame.

In order to be intellectually honest, one group can't vilify another for blindly following a man down one path, and then, directly afterward, blindly follow another man down a similarly irresponsible path.

Everyone with basic brain functions can comprehend the notion that you can't get out of debt through needless/reckless spending; and we will never recover from the strain of this debt with a J. Wellington Wimpy approach of we'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a bailout today. We will surely drown if this spending continues to go unchecked.

So, here we are, Stakeholders in a major car company. I expect that our company cars, blackberries, and petty cash will be in the mail shortly.

Monday, June 1, 2009

LIMB-OH


There is almost nothing I hate more than when people file frivilous malpractice suits. They cost the public tons of money. However, legitimate lawsuits need to be handled accordingly. I read a tragic story in the News over the weekend about a Florida woman, Lisa Strong, who is in limbo awaiting a second chance trial over a series of misdiagnoses that cost her, her limbs. Strong went into the hospital with an easily treatable kidney stone, but left having to have both of her arms and legs amputated because the moron doctors there didn't treat the stone. Subsequently, the stone became infected and she went into septic shock. Where'd these doctors get there medical licenses? My guess is either online or the Cayman Islands. I am truly stumped as to how a mistake like this could take place. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself).

Strong filed a malpractice suit against these Dr. Carve-orkians for what was cited by everyone involved as "profound errors" and a series of miscommunications, and had the Docs pointing their still perfectly attached fingers at one another accusatorily. Sounds like an open and shut case to me, but of course it wasn't.

The idiocy of the doctors was matched by the jurors who were armed with a leg's length of evidence against the doctor's, but ruled against Strong. Seriously, I don't know who was more useless in that case. The jurors or the terrible prosecutor that picked these buffoons to hear it. Luckily, at least the judge had enough sense to reject the juror's decision and order a new trial.

But, the damage has obviously already been done. Strong, a mother of two, is now a quadruple amputee. She owes over $850,000 in medical expenses. And, to top it all off, her marriage has since fallen apart. I really feel horrible for this woman! Hopefully the jury for this 2nd trial won't be full of morons and this lady will receive some helpful hands.

I guess the lesson here is, I don't know...sticks and stone may break your bones, but kidney stones can cause you to go to a hospital full of shitty doctors who have a penchant for amputating limbs rather than diagnosing you properly.

Too bad we aren't newts.