How I Roll

That’s how I roll, motherfucker.  Personally?  I’d be more intimidated by the dude with the bow tie and pipe than the “zomg hardcore” teenage asshole.  English majors are some scary shit.  Have you ever been insulted by a Shakespearean expert?  You don’t want to be.  Shakespeare knew how to piss people off.

More evidence of the badassery of writers, English majors, and the like:

“I am the Leviathan of pop culture.

My strides encompass vast territories; my footsteps shaping the landscape. My thoughts will be their obsessions; my whims their rapacious desires.

I will be relentless. I will be ruthless. I will be strong. I will be unstoppable. Not because it is the option I choose, but because there is no other option.

I am of the Romantic Underground, and we cannot be stopped, because we do not acknowledge the rules of those who wish to stop us. They have no power, no authority, no influence which we do not wish them to have.

We are of a lineage that includes more than writers and artists accustomed to being beaten down, marginalized, and humiliated. We are of the lineage of Ozymandias and Alexander, and we will take everything that can be hurled at us, shrug it off, move ahead, and claim the territory that belongs to those willing to pay the price to claim it.

We’re not IN publishing. We’re at war. And I don’t intend to lose.”

-James A. Owen

“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.”
-Stephen King

“In a thousand words I can have the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the Hippocratic Oath, a sonnet by Shakespeare, the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and almost all of the Boy Scout Oath. Now exactly what picture were you planning to trade for all that?”
-Roy H. Williams

Yeah, really.  What picture would you trade for all that?  Yes, I have had logical arguments be made against that statement.  Do I really care?  No.

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Hidden Insight

My last few posts have been particularly philosophical.  That sort of got me thinking.  How much brilliant insight and thought is scattered throughout little-read blogs?  Sure, you’d have to wade through a fair amount of trash to find out, but hell, maybe it’s worth a shot.  Who knows what you’d find?

It’s the knowledge of the crowd out there.  So much is available to learn, so many people are out there to meet, so many things are right there to be seen.  And while experiencing it all through a computer screen might not be ideal, it is so much better than ignorance.

Theodore Roosevelt

…and why he’s so fucking badass.

He was a sickly little kid.  Asthmatic, got sick a lot.  But instead of staying in bed all the time, do you know what he did?  He learned to box.  He killed and caught animals to learn about them.  While he was in college, he boxed and rowed.  When he graduated, a doctor advised him to avoid strenuous activity due to serious heart problems.  Did Roosevelt do it?  No.  Obviously.

He got married.  Come on, what girl in their right mind wouldn’t marry someone so badass?  Two days after his daughter was born, his wife died.  His mother died on the same day in the same house.  Did Roosevelt do what any normal man would do and become consumed with grief?  No.  He became a cowboy, instead.

Then there was a war.  Did Roosevelt run and hide?  No.  He practically singlehandedly instructed the US Navy and said “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.”  The dude welcomed war.  That’s fucking hardcore.

He formed the First United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.  How did he do so?  He called in his old cowboy buddies.  They were referred to as the Rough Riders.  Do you know what Roosevelt did with the Rough Riders?  He took them to Cuba to fight the Spanish.  They arrived just in time to march up a huge fucking hill to go kill some Spaniards.  He led them up this hill on foot.  He was in the very lead, and I imagine he was thinking something along the lines of “If you guys don’t want to kick some ass, go ahead and stay behind, but I’m gonna go and bash some heads in.”

He was nominated for the Medal of Honor after the war.  He was declined.  Why?  Because he spoke out openly about the war.  As it is, he was awarded the Medal of Honor after he died.  His son won one posthumously, too.  His awesomeness was passed on to his offspring, clearly.

Roosevelt then went on to become the governor of New York.  Then he became Vice President to President McKinley.  You know what he said in a speech when he was campaigning for President?  “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.”  In other words, “Shut your face and grab a weapon, and you will kick ass.  Not as much as me of course.”

While Roosevelt was Vice President, President McKinley was shot, right here in Buffalo.  Sucks.  Roosevelt was told that McKinley would recover, and Roosevelt went camping with his family.  Then, McKinley died.  Roosevelt was President.

What happened during his Presidency can be summed up easily: he broke up the trusts, he started the conservation movements, he made the Navy bigger, he ended a war he wasn’t even involved in, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he cut a fucking hole through Panama, he put Lincoln on the penny, and he became the first President to learn judo.

That’s right.  He has both the Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize.  One award essentially for being violent, and the other for being peacefully.  What did you expect from Roosevelt?  Nothing less, I would assume.

After he left office, he went on a safari in Africa.  He went on a safari in the name of science, or so it’s said.  Between Roosevelt and his companions, they killed and trapped approximately 11,397 animals.  Around 300 of them were eaten.  The rest were sent to the Smithsonian, and many of them were then passed on to other museums.  You know, since there were duplicates.  Roosevelt killed shit in the name of science.

When he returned to the States, he was shot by a bartender while campaigning.  The bullet pierced his steel eyeglass case and the 50 page speech in his pocket and lodged in his chest.  Since he knew his shit, he was able to determine that it was not a lethal wound and did not go to a hospital right away.  Instead, he went out and gave his 90-minute speech, bleeding through his shirt the whole time.  The bullet ended up being too dangerous to remove and instead was left inside him.

After that, he went to South America.  He got malaria and a bad leg wound.  He was seriously fucking sick, but I don’t really feel like describing the whole thing.  Look it up on Wikipedia if you wish.  When he finally died, Woodrow Wilson’s Vice President said “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.”  Fucking agreed.

So now you see why President Theodore Roosevelt was so fucking hardcore.  What I want to know is “Why aren’t we taught about any of this in history class?”  Seriously.  I used Wikipedia for this whole thing.  I learned next to none of it in school.  PEOPLE NEED TO BE TOLD OF THIS MAN’S MOST EPIC BADASSERY.

You Get a History Lesson Today

Why do you get a history lesson today? Because I said so, and because I feel it’s important.  This is one of those awesome, interesting things of history that seems to be not taught in schools. Which is complete bull shit.

The Battle of Cable Street (or the Cable Street Riot)

London, 1936. October 4th, a Sunday. The British Union of Fascists are having a march through the East End of London, a heavily Jewish community. Lead by Oswald Mosley, the fascists march, wearing uniforms based on the Blackshirts. The anti-fascists (mostly Jewish, socialist, Irish and communist groups) form barricades and road blocks on Cable St. The police accompany the march, knowing there will be violence. The anti-fascists (over 300,000 civilians), throw stones and broken glass, fight with their own fists, repeating the mantra “They Shall Not Pass.” The police attempt to fight back using their batons. Their brutality only makes the anti-fascists fight back harder. By late afternoon, the fascists are escorted away from East End by the police. The civilians have won Cable Street.

It was symbolic. It wasn’t just the stopping of a march. It was a strike against fascism. A strike by the common people. An eyewitness of the battle said, “I shall never forget that as long as I live, how working-class people could get together to oppose the evil of racism.”

This is something that could be done now. No more useless online petitions, no more sitting back and watching as everything happens. So many people are discontent with how things are run here, particularly in America. So why don’t they do something about it instead of sitting on their asses and bitching? I don’t know. We need a revolution, a rebellion. It won’t be long.

My theory? America is the new Roman Empire. There will be a societal collapse in our future, likely soon. The glue is weakened and the stones are coming up from the streets. The French Revolution all over again. Who throws the first stone though?

OK, history rant over. I’m linking to the song that inspired this. http://www.allthelyrics.com/song/447536/ Great song, great moment in history.

History

I am a complete history geek. It has come to my attention many times in recent and not-so-recent years that a lot of people are of the mind frame of “Oh, history is boring, it doesn’t matter. It’s just a bunch of dead guys, what’s so great about them?” I heard one of the best rebuttals to that “bunch of dead guys” comment from my dad not long ago. “Never forget that those ‘dead guys’ were once alive.”

And he’s right. They were just as alive as you and me. Part of the reason, I think, why so many people find history “boring and useless” is because we’re so far removed from it. We aren’t given anything we can relate to.  The way history is taught in most places is absolutely appalling.  Being told to read out of a textbook and do definitions is not history.  History should be told as a series of stories.  How every event leads to another.  All the people as characters, all the events as a plot.  But would most teachers ever do that?  No.  Because that’s not good for the “OMFG standardized tests!”  I hate the education system.

Learn

I’m going to add something to my Live, Laugh, Love post from yesterday. Hopefully, this one won’t be as long-winded.

Learn:

This is a big world. It’s getting smaller by the day. Everyday, we discover new things, meet new people, come up with new ideas, and slowly decrease what’s unknown about our world. And even with all this going on, there’s still so much that we, individually, don’t know. We have all these excellent opportunities, and we just pass them up. I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve always wanted to know new things. I’ve never understood the mentality of those who didn’t. It just doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t you want to know more about the world, the people in it, and what goes on around you?

The attitude of ignorance present in so many people needs to stop. We need to take it upon ourselves to teach ourselves what we’re interested in, if no one else will. We’re not going to be told what to be interested in, of course, and our interests vary greatly from person to person. That’s why some people enjoy school and some don’t. I’ve always liked it because I can be interested in just about anything.

We have so many amazing resources at our fingertips. Books and the Internet are the first that come to mind, obviously. Never ever underestimate the information held within your local library. You’d be surprised at what you might find hidden deep within the shelves you’ve never explored before. And Google. I can see why Google has it’s own freaking religion. It’s incredible. You can search for anything that could possibly come to your mind and find thousands, if not millions, of results taking you to websites with what you want to learn about.

Learning isn’t all about reading books and articles. That type of learning isn’t good for everyone. Get out there and talk to people. Ask questions. Try things and experiment. We learn more from our own mistakes than we ever could from someone else’s.

Go out and learn something new. I promise it won’t hurt.

Disease

I quite frankly couldn’t think of a good title for this post.  Shush.

So, here’s what I was thinking about yesterday: how many kids diagnosed with ADD/ADHD/Asberger’s actually have it?  Before the shitstorm begins, yes I do acknowledge that they are real diseases.  Part of the problem is that the symptoms are hard to track, particularly with Asberger’s. 

  • Not pick up on social cues and lack inborn social skills, such as being able to read others’ body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Talk a lot, usually about a favorite subject. One-sided conversations are common. Internal thoughts are often verbalized. (www.webmd.com)
  • Hoshi- that sounds like half the teenagers I know!  Call a doctor, they must have something wrong with them!

    Although I admit, the teenager thing is much more rampant with diagnosing ADD.  The symptoms are so common in people, that really diagnosing it is hard.

    • Procrastination; difficulty getting started on projects
    • Excessive disorganization and messiness
    • Inability to prioritize tasks
    • Underestimating the time needed to finish a task
    • Easily bored
    • Low tolerance for frustration and stress
    • Unstable, unpredictable moods
    • Quick temper
    • Constant worrying (www.helpguide.org)

    Hmm, does that sound like a teenager you know?  Does it sound like all the teenagers you know?  Yes.  Yes it does, and you know it.  That’s why we’ve seen an increase in ADD diagnoses over the last few years.  “The results: a 500% increase in the number of children labeled and medicated with Ritalin for ADD-ADHD from 1990-1995.” (www.add-adhd.org)  Why does it seem unlikely to me that even a majority of those cases were authentic?

    Part of the problem is that parents nowadays are pushing for their kids to be medicated when anything happens.  “My kid’s moody because I grounded them?  They must be bipolar!  They need medication!”  “Oh no, little Johnny’s grade went down from an A to a B?  He must have ADD!  Give him drugs!”  Et cetera.  That needs to stop.  Like, now.  Medicating your teenager will not solve all their problems, and may in fact make them worse.  Just because they don’t conform to your idea of “your perfect angel son/daughter” doesn’t mean they need drugs shoved down their throats.  Oftentimes, the drugs A) don’t work.  B) do more harm than good.  C) aren’t proven in people under the age of 18.

    Look at Prozac, for example.  They’ve proven that it doesn’t work.  It has no more power than a placebo effect.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/feb/26/mentalhealth.medicalresearch  It’s used by more than 40 million people around the world, and it doesn’t work on the majority of them.  That’s what I call an enforced placebo.  We’re told it works by people we trust, and we naturally assume it does.  But they were told the same thing.  So we think it works, and we feel our symptoms going away.  Well, it may not be the best thing for depression, but it works inadvertently at least.  Placebos can be better than nothing.

    Another factor is that among teenagers, it’s become “fashionable” to have certain disorders, in order to get pity and attention.  Depression, bipolar, Asberger’s, Tourette’s, and the like.  It kind of disgusts me, quite frankly.  Not only are they lying/attention-whoring/uneducated twats, but they don’t actually know what it’s like to have said diseases.  It gets to the point where it’s hard to tell who’s telling the truth and who isn’t.  the only really good indicator I’ve found is that those who genuinely have it, won’t brag about it.  Those who don’t, will never shut up about it so they can form a massive hugbox for themselves.

    Another possibility (although it’s more likely with difficult to diagnose physical diseases as opposed to mental ones) is the idea of a socially contagious disease.  http://www.slate.com/id/2171214/  Here’s a news article that addresses it pretty well.  The theory is hard for me to explain in my own words, but there’s a good example in So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (one of these days I’ll stop quoting him and put things in my own words, but not today).

    “There was a garment factory in South America back in 1962.  One Friday one of the workers there got sick and said she’d been bitten by bugs while handling cloth from England.  Then two more workers had to be hospitalized with fainting and hives.  By the next Wednesday, it was an epidemic.  Sixty workers on the morning shift fell ill, and the federal government sent in a team of doctors and bug specialists.  They discovered the following:

    1. There were no poisonous bugs, from England or anywhere else.

    2. The workers’ various symptoms matched no known illness.

    3. The sickness hadn’t affected everyone on the morning shift, only workers who knew each other personally.  It spread through social groups rather than among people who had worked with the suspect cloth.

    It looked like a scam, but the victims weren’t faking.  The disease was sociogenic, the result of a panic.  As the rumors of illness spread, people thought they felt bugs biting them, then a few hours later they developed symptoms.  It really works.  Watch this: Bugs on your leg…bugs on your back…bugs crawling through your hair…bugs, bugs, bugs.  Okay, do you feel the bugs now?”

    It happened again with a well-known episode of Pokemon.  I think you know what I’m talking about.  The episode that happened to hit the right sequence of flashing lights and colors to cause seizures.  The first time the episode was showed, only a few kids actually had seizures.  Of course, the next day, they told all their friends on the playground about what happened, so when they saw the clip on the evening news, they had seizures as well.  A sociogenic epidemic.

    Have I given you enough to think about yet?  Nope, I don’t think I have.

    Do you know why it was almost all children that were affected by the show?  Yes, it was a children’s show.  But there were a lot of parents watching right alongside their kids.  It’s because the younger the mind is, the more easily rewired it is.  Some people retain this, oh…rewireability throughout their lives.  Paka-paka, as the sequence of colors that causes the seizures is called, has a much higher chance of working on minds that aren’t fully developed yet.  So therefore, more children were affected by the show.  I think I’ve mentioned before that it doesn’t take a hell of a lot to rewire me.  I’m hoping it stays that way.  It’s a good thing.