No Latina migrant ever tried to deny me healthcare
Nor taxed my meager wages to increase the corporate welfare
Who puts us in cages to suppress our voting rights
Did Iran have a hand in that and did I miss the news that night
When Syria invaded Standing Rock to dig for oil
Attacked Native Americans and occupied their soil
Tell me who bombed Bowling Green or did that not take place
Was Kim Jong-un on CNN lying to my face
Did China inspire hate crimes, did they give the Klan a voice
Are Muslims on a jihad against reproductive choice
Do Arabs bomb the clinics and assassinate the doctors
Were transgender kids the bullies shoving you into your locker
Do they infiltrate your bathrooms, are they turning your kids gay
More worried about that shit than the fucking NSA
Patriot Act and PRISM, 4th Amendment good as dead
They're cracking down on cannabis and sending in the feds
Get ready to be uninsured and hope you don't get ill
You can't afford a doctor and you can't afford the pills
Poppy fields are why they occupy Afghanistan
Hooked on tar, you overdosed, it's all part of the plan
Fentanyl-laced dope, a form of population control
Just like Reagan's crack cocaine, so many lives they stole
Same as the War on Terror, the drug war is a lie
It's how they cling to power; they don't care if you live or die
Find your heart, find your will, pull your head out of the sand
Strong in solidarity, we the people will make our stand
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No Latina migrant ever tried to deny me healthcare
There are two pertinent things about me which you must understand: I have a photographic memory, and I am a criminal. My memory means you can trust that my tale is accurate; my criminality does not indicate any deception or fabrication – it is much easier to omit rather than to lie. It is your prerogative to doubt me, for in the interest of my own anonymity I cannot provide any tangible proof of my encounter with the malevolent object (or whatever compels or creates this object) which I have named, for the sake of convenience, the Green Glass.
A photographic memory is certainly an interesting trait, but wasn’t for me a particularly useful one. This trait never got me a high-paying job, hell, it never even helped in getting me laid. I worked at a call center for a major department store taking inbound calls and processing orders for merchandise. As you could guess, I see hundreds of credit card numbers every week, complete with the expiration date, security code, and the full name of the cardholder. Sometimes I even came across social security numbers. If one were to engage in an unsavory crime involving customers’ credit card numbers, there are two ways that person would be caught. The first would be if they were spotted taking a photograph or writing down the number, and the second would be if they were stupid enough to use that number to buy something for themselves. I was more clever than that. I stored that information inside my memory and wrote it down later in the safety of my own home – even my memory has limits. Then I would wait a full year, letting the cardholder make purchases in all sorts of places so that when I sold the numbers on the dark web, there would be hundreds of suspects other than myself that investigators would look for when the cardholder reported fraudulent purchases.
It was a regular work day, and another act of future identity theft I was committing, when I first saw the Green Glass. Then, it had no such name; it was merely a centerpiece for a dining room table being sold on my company’s website. A very expensive, finely crafted centerpiece going for $3,099.99. Who spends that much money on a thing that has no other purpose but to sit on a table and impress dinner guests? This lady whom I was talking to who wanted to order it, who we’ll call “Kristin.” I’ve changed all the names here, of course, so as to not implicate myself in whatever began that day.
“Sixteen” said Kristin, “that’s the item number.” The item numbers on the company’s website are always 7 digits. I seriously doubted my customer knew what the hell she was talking about, but that’s nothing new. The site was never very user friendly, customers tended to mistake all kinds of things for the item number and then I had to find it for them. I was going to politely correct her, but by muscle memory I typed “16” into the search bar and pressed enter. And to my mild surprise, an item actually appeared. It was this centerpiece, which the site’s description told me was “crafted by the most highly skilled glass artisans in North America.” A ridiculously overpriced centerpiece. The only other thing worth noting, apart from the price, is that I saw in the image that the centerpiece had a very faint, very subtle shade of green despite the object also being described as “flawlessly clear.” But that was probably nothing more than bad lighting when the photograph was taken, and if Kristin didn’t mention it, there was no way I would and risk losing the sale.
My employer sold a few luxury items but for the most part, the department store chain catered to middle-class people, and the vast majority of callers were not the wealthy, but instead those looking for $50 items marked down to $10 on a fire sale. Still, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary at the time, and I was honestly excited – exceed a sales quota and I would earn some bonus cash. This would bring me right over the benchmark. As I half-listened to Kristin’s boring blabbering about her dinner plans and gave her intermittent acknowledgment, I thought of what I might treat myself to with my extra earnings. I explained to her that the one-day shipping she chose actually meant two days but that she would undoubtedly receive it time, and then the call was finished.
Later that night, I was at a friend’s apartment drinking beer, smoking weed, and playing Rocket League. Many of my weeknights went this way. I could stay up until dawn killing time like this because I worked afternoons and evenings. When we took a break from the PS4, I felt inclined to whine to my buddy Eric about the shallowness of my customers. He bitched about his shitty job all the time, so naturally I returned the favor. “This woman bought like, a fucking piece of glass, like a fancy fucking piece of glass, for $3100. Just to sit on a table. For one night. I wanted to tell her she wouldn’t be able to return it so I wouldn’t have to deal with that, but I mean I didn’t want her to get insulted, obviously. I earn that much in 4 months. If I had that much money, I’d buy...” but the weed was kicking in and I forgot what I would have bought. “I wanna see it” Eric said. My other friend, Jason, nodded in agreement. I pulled up the company’s website on my phone and entered 16 into the search bar. But no results came up. I don’t remember anything incorrectly, but anyone can remember 16 regardless. I tried the name of it instead. Nothing. I stubbornly went to the fine china tab and chose the price range, and still I couldn’t bring up the damn thing. “The site is being shitty, never mind” I said. For all I knew, it was just that the site was being shitty. It didn’t matter then.
Kristin called back two weeks later, and that is when things started to get strange. “Hey, I remember you!” she said in a chipper voice. “Do you remember me?” “Yes ma’am, of course” I said. “Did your dinner party go well? Did you get compliments on the centerpiece?” Kristin spared no detail in answering me.
“Oh, everything was perfect. All my colleagues were envious! The reason I’m calling though… last week I was the victim of a home invasion.” I was going to give a courteous “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that” sort of interjection. But Kristin kept talking. “I wasn’t home at the time. But my husband and Elizabeth, my 6 year old, they were both there. These thugs broke my husband’s jaw, he’s still in the hospital, Elizabeth is sleeping with the lights on. They took most of my jewelry, the cash. But that’s not what’s important.”
“Of course” I thought, but didn’t say. I kept listening. Kristin continued. “You think they stole the centerpiece, right? No, they just broke it. My wonderful centerpiece was in a million pieces on the floor. So heartbreaking. Obviously, I want another. I know you can’t do anything on your end and that’s fine, maybe my homeowners’ insurance will reimburse me, but I want to buy another today. The house looks so empty without it! Can you help me?”
Husband in the hospital, traumatized daughter, and she wants another one. I hated her in that moment. Even more shallow than I thought possible! I hesitated for a moment, but not long. I do my job, and I don’t lecture customers. Normally, I would express sympathy for her family. But she didn’t seem like she would care.
“Are you still there?” Kristin asked. “Yes ma’am. I just need a moment to pull it up.” 16. But the centerpiece still was missing. I searched in every possible way, distracted as Kristin continued to impatiently ask if I had located the item yet. I put her on hold and called my supervisor over. Since it was a valuable sale and she was a high roller as far as customers go, the matter warranted some extra effort. But 10 minutes later, we were at a dead end. My supervisor suggested that I put her on a waiting list so the first centerpiece back in stock is held for her. That usually placated the more persistent customers. Not this time. “Ma’am” I said “I am sorry to inform you that we are out of stock on this item nationwide, but I have added your name to our waiting list and you will receive a call immediately from myself or another associate as soon as we can ship this centerpiece to you again.”
“No!” Kristin protested. “I need it NOW! NOW! Don’t you get it? The house is worthless without it, I can’t stand to be in my own dining room knowing it’s gone! They broke it and I need another one! PLEASE.” I could hear her sob. This was unbelievable. “I’m so sorry” I apologized again, not sorry in the least for this woman. “I’d be happy to offer you a special discount coupon that would be valid for any other item in our fine china selection.” She screamed. Shrieked. Directly into my headset. I tore it off my head and slammed it down on the desk, and I could still hear her frantic pleas. “I WANT IT BACK!! I WANT IT BACK!! HELP ME!! WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY?!” After that, I couldn’t take it anymore. I hung up. That wasn’t allowed at my workplace, but I didn’t care.
After my shift came another night drinking and smoking with Eric and Jason, who laughed as I told them about this, as they weren’t the ones who had the weaponized sound of this awful woman’s voice assaulting their ears. Both of them speculated on what could have been going on. Eric offered that it was “probably PMS” while Jason mused on his ex-girlfriend with borderline personality disorder. No theories on Kristin’s mental state satisfied me, this was just too much. But with no other choice, I stored this incident in the back of my mind and moved on with my life. Up to this point, I was sure there was a rational, albeit terrible explanation for all this, and I didn’t think the centerpiece itself had anything to do with it. Three weeks later, this belief of mine was challenged.
Back at work, I received a transfer call from an employee in another state who sold furniture. “We’re having some sort of problem with our computers. I have a customer looking to buy a mirror, could you take this, please?” she asked. I accepted the transfer and introduced myself to the customer. “Well howdy” a man with a Texas accent greeted me. “I found a great bargain on a mirror. My family and I just moved into a new house, it’s still pretty bare bones, but I think this mirror would really add some character.” I was too exasperated with work to extol the quality of my company’s items. I apathetically asked for the item number. “That would be 19, my friend” the man answered. In that moment, I did feel uneasy. This was the second time I was given a number that shouldn’t correspond to anything on the website, and the second time it yielded a result nevertheless. It was a mirror, nothing special by my reckoning. When I examined it more closely, I felt a bit more worried. I could see the faint, green hue again on glass that shouldn’t be green.
Like most customers, this man – Greg, talked on while I filled out his order and took a mental snapshot of his credit card information. “It’s kind of new age, or modern, or whatever they call it – I’m a man, I don’t know the terminology” Greg said, laughing to himself. I wasn’t sure what he meant. Then Greg said “I mean, it’s so green, I’ve never seen a green mirror before. But my wife is into that kind of stuff. It’s a birthday present for her, a way of giving her something nice and showing her that I have good taste, you hear?” “It’s a very good choice” I said, not wanting to say anything more.
Some time passed, and one night off from work with not much interesting to do, I felt compelled to pull up the mirror on the company website and take another look. Like before, the merchandise was missing. Then I googled Kristin’s full name, and found her on a local news site for Sacremento. I read the article, and what I read made me seriously consider quitting my job for the first time. “Authorities have ruled that the death of a local business owner and her six-year-old daughter was the result of a murder-suicide.” I read on. “Last July, the Sacremento Police Department were on the scene in response to a strong-arm home invasion. One of the deputies there told reporters that Kristin Ross exhibited strange behavior at the time, apparently ignoring her injured husband and daughter while complaining about some of her valuables being destroyed by the home invaders. ‘She said “They ruined it, they ruined it and I don’t know what to do”, and she refused to answer my questions because she was gathering these pieces of broken glass. She asked me if I had superglue. I thought she was just a bit shaken by what happened, and now I’m very upset to think I might have missed some warning signs of paranoid schizophrenia, or some other condition.’ Matthew Ross, Kristin’s husband, passed away in August from a hospital-acquired infection while undergoing treatment for his injuries. Investigators have speculated that this loss may have caused Kristin’s mental state to deteriorate. Elizabeth Ross’ death was ruled the result of drowning by the county coroner. Kristin allegedly took her own life after drowning her daughter in the bathtub.”
The thought crossed my mind to call Greg. The 10 digits of his phone number were not something I had forgotten. But I didn’t call him. What would I even say? I didn’t even have any idea what was going on. But as it turned out, Greg found me a week later, on national news. An anchorman read from his teleprompter as images of a scorched house and a picture of a middle-aged man were displayed on screen. “Law enforcement officials and first responders in Dallas arrived at a house ablaze after receiving a chilling 911 call. Gregory Farnsworth called 911 on Thursday, stating his intention to commit suicide. We now know that Mr. Farnsworth was under investigation for insider trading, a factor which may have contributed to his tragic decision to end the life of himself and another person. Although police were immediately dispatched to the address the call was placed from, they found the home of Mr. Farnsworth on fire, apparently set deliberately. The bodies of Mr. Farnsworth and a currently unidentified woman were recovered from the scene. The audio and transcript of the 911 call has been withheld.”
I burned my credit card numbers in the sink that night, every last one. As far as I could tell, this thing, this Green Glass, might be something that punishes greed. Although there were many numbers I couldn’t forget, I swore to myself that I would never sell another one again. I locked myself out of my Bitcoin account by randomly generating a new password and copypasting it in to change it. Then I put in my two weeks notice at my call center job. Every day until my last day there, I dreaded every incoming call, expecting a customer to order another glass object that would now be listed under the number “21” - probably the number of victims claimed so far. That didn’t happen. I gratefully took a new job as a pizza delivery driver soon after, and I tried to forget about the Green Glass despite all of my unanswered questions. Why did Kristin kill her daughter? Why did Greg apparently see the glass as a vibrant green when I only saw a pale, barely discernible hue? Does it punish greed, or does it just want to kill as many as it can? I was most haunted by the most obvious question: Why me? Why did it appear for me to sell both times? I regret to inform you I have no answers to this day, and all I can give you now is the story of my last – hopefully, please God last encounter with this fucking thing.
It was a year and change after I found out what happened to Kristin and Greg. I had gotten in Eric’s car on a Saturday night, with Jason there too. Our group, still getting drunk, still getting high, just trying to find some joy in our disappointing lives. We planned to blaze up in a nearby park and then hit a bar or two. We stopped first at a headshop so Jason could buy a new pipe. So we perused the display case, and one pipe caught Jason’s eye. “Check it, guys. That looks gangsta as fuck, look at how bright that green is!” My chest tightened and my heart raced, but I was in for one more surprise: It didn’t look green at all to me; it didn’t even have the slightest hint of green. It was nothing more than transparent glass. “I’ll take it!” Jason declared. The guy behind the desk said “Fifteen dollars.” Maybe I was wrong. Before, I saw the green, and the item was always expensive. But then Jason paid and had it in his hands, and as he showed it to Eric and I, I saw the number 44 on the side of the bowl. I was done.
“I feel sick” I lied. “We’re still close to my place, so I’m just going to walk back. You guys have fun.” Neither of them seemed to believe me. I never told them. I still couldn’t bring myself to warn them. It’s not that I didn’t care, it’s just that I didn’t want to be a part of this. “We’ll drive you back” Eric offered, but I declined. Jason looked me over skeptically and asked “What’s your deal, man? You’re not sick. Come on, don’t be a pussy.” All I said back to him was “I don’t really give a fuck what you think” and I stormed out the door.
Eric called me later that night. Jason was dead. He got into a bar fight. According to Eric, Jason was very high and very drunk, and ended up starting a fight with a stranger over some petty insult. A fistfight broke out, and the man pulled a gun and shot Jason point blank in the chest. I didn’t talk to Eric after that night, I didn’t go to Jason’s funeral. I packed my shit and took a Greyhound to the other side of the country. Again, in vain, I’ve tried to forget about all this. The reason I’m telling my story now is because I think I finally understand what the Green Glass does. That 911 call from Greg was finally released. He was saying: “I’m gonna end it all now, you sons of bitches think I’m a criminal and I won’t ever change your minds. Miranda didn’t even like my mirror, that bitch. I’m lighting it all up now.”
Miranda was the unidentified woman who died in the fire, who I believe was probably Greg’s “other woman.” I think Kristin lied about the home invasion. I think her daughter Elizabeth accidentally broke that centerpiece, and her husband tried to stop Kristin from hurting her. Jason always felt threatened, had problems with self-confidence. Always liked to show off. I don’t think the Green Glass punishes greed. I believe the Green Glass hurts those who worry too much what others think about them. It changes them, talks to them, makes them believe that it is the best thing about them. And anyone who doesn’t appreciate the owner of the Green Glass dies for it in the end, too. That would explain why I no longer saw the color when Jason bought the pipe, because I just wanted out and didn’t care what he thought about me for leaving. That’s my theory, and you can take it or leave it. I don’t give a shit what you think about me, and that might be my only defense.
In a tl;dr world who has time to read shit? Shit is too long! I'm here to summarize things for you (read as fast as you can!)
A novel featuring violence, infanticide, incest, and a kid killed by a bear for making fun of a bald guy. It's about this dude God who made everything and his son who he just let die, seriously - issues! God made this dude Adam and Adam said "God let me get my dick wet" so he took a rib from him and made a rib woman who got tricked by a snake into eating an apple which made everything fucking bad. Then God flooded everything and this dude Noah and his family were the only ones left but one of Noah's sons got banished for looking at his dad's dick while Noah was passed out drunk. A lot of the Bible is listing who was the son of which father as if anyone cares. It's all:
Abraham was the father of Abram
Abram was the father of Isaac
Isaac was the father of Baxter
Baxter was the father of Spargle
And so on and you go from Adam to Jesus. Jesus cursed a fig tree just to show he's not to be fucked with but the Romans and/or Jews crucified him anyway, who crucified him depends on how much you trust Mel Gibson. And yup, God just up and let Jesus die, not cool. But one day Jesus is coming back and there will be angels with trumpets and four horsemen who fuck your shit right up and then Jesus will throw you into a lake of fucking fire.
The Presidency of George W. Bush
This guy named Al Gore won an election against the idiot son of the President before Clinton, but the idiot son's brother was the governor of Florida and conspired with this hellspawn Katherine Harris to throw away and invalidated thousands of votes, mostly black peoples' votes. So the idiot son became President, ruined the public education system and then some guys came along with this memo that said "bin Laden determined to strike US" but Bush said "too many big words" and didn't read it and 9/11 happened so America invaded Afghanistan to kill bin Laden but bin Laden got away cause no one does anything right anymore. Then America invaded Iraq and nothing bad ever happened in Iraq again.
The economy totally got fucked sideways by some criminal assholes on Wall Street who were rewarded for being criminals with billions of dollars. An old guy who was a lot like Bush named McCain ran for President, the only difference was that Bush liked war but McCain just fucking lives, breathes, and cums war. But this old guy chose the dumbest person in Alaska to take over if he died and America said "we don't want to have a moron President until 2016" so this tall guy with big ears became President. Americans were sure Bush would forever be the worst President but God (remember him from the Bible summary?) sent an orange failed abortion to punish America for being too hard on Bush.
Walter White has a son who won't shut up about breakfast and a new baby on the way, and teaches high school chemistry. His life sucks so fucking much! Just like God gave America Trump, God gave Walt lung cancer! Walt cooked meth to pay for his treatment because he lived in the only country on Earth where healthcare isn't a right. This guy Jesse thought putting chili powder in meth was a good idea cause he didn't pay attention in chemistry class, but Walt showed him to make really good meth. A gay guy from Chile bought his meth but the fact that he was gay was only implied because America is more offended by gay guys than severed heads on turtles and a man trying to rape his wife in the kitchen. Walt blew his face off by turning a vegetable into a bomb. Then their were nazis who killed Walt's brother-in-law for the DEA, the only DEA agent in America who was hunting down a meth kingpin instead of persecuting sick people who smoke weed or trying to ban kratom despite the fact that kratom is fucking wonderful. Walt went to New Hampshire which is a shitty version of Vermont cause they don't have Bernie Sanders, and decided New Hampshire sucked and went back to kill the nazis. Then he died but his son will get money one day and that makes everytihng okay.
Harry's parents are killed by Governor Rick Scott of Florida and then Harry goes to a magic school without one competent adult. The headmaster Dumbledore is gay but again that's only implied because gay is the worst thing you can be. Governor Rick Scott tries to come back using a magic rock and then taking over a little girl's body with a diary and then just fucks off to watch Dr. Oz for a year while Harry's godfather escapes from prison, but then Rick Scott rises from the dead and killed Harry's godfather which caused Harry to throw a tantrum in the Dumbledore's office, but Dumbledore tells Harry "go and break my stuff, I don't care, all I ever wanted was a hot guy in my bed." Doesn't tell Harry that Rick Scott's soul is anchored to his scar because you can't just fucking give people vital information or else it's no fun. Then they go to an island and Harry watches like a gaping moron while Dumbledore drinks torture water and zombies surround them. This teacher who was friendzoned by Harry's mom kills Dumbledore but it turns out he was on Harry's side all along because he thinks his mom will come back from the dead and love him if he helps Harry. Then Harry gets to kill Rick Scott because of a bullshit technicality about what constitutes wand ownership.
I was born in Florida and was an introverted kid who liked reading, video games, and just thinking about shit but my parents forced me to constantly interact with adults who I didn't give a shit about which sucks for me and for those people, because I was the kind of kid you want around when you're an adult being forced to meet someone's kid, because kids talk about bullshit no one cares about and you just hope the kid will go away and play quietly and that's the only thing I wanted to do anyway - I knew these adults didn't give a fuck about my Pokemon cards or my social studies grades so I don't know why the hell all that time was wasted. I went to a Catholic elementary school and then a Lutheran middle school but then I was like "wait, there is no god" and I started doing the shit I wanted to do since there's no hell and that means you can get away with anything. My first kiss was interrupted by a weird guy repeating 12th grade who told me I should wear leather boots instead of flip flops if I was gonna be an anarchist. I joined this Green Day forum and have been on it for I swear to fucking God 11 fucking years. I did a lot of drugs as a teenager and I quit high school after just 3 semesters because fuck that noise, but then I went to college and got a degree because while a lot of teens say they're too smart for school, I produced fucking results to back that shit up. But my degree never got me a good job since it's all a lie so I worked as a janitor and then I sold shit over the phone for Macy's, which gave me money to hang out at a hookah lounge drinking kratom and chilling the fuck out. So anyway on that Green Day forum I met this awesome German woman and we kept seeing each other a few times a year and then we were all "wait, let's get married and live together" so we got married and I moved to Germany. She's like the best fucking person ever. Then I wrote this novel about a guy in a constant existential crisis who does a lot of drugs and maybe I get that published and make money but if not I'll get another job soon and I'll probably keep posting on this fucking Green Day forum until the day I die.
Anyway. Post a summary request and give it a like and this might become a series. If not, I successfully wasted 15 minutes of my life and that's good enough for me.
about someone I knew in high school and for everyone struggling with mental health problems
Monday to Friday, crossing paths in the hallway
I went my way, you went your way like always
We weren't really friends, we weren't aware
How much of a mutual struggle we shared
Like how it feels to break when you can't bend
How much shit you can take before you pray for an end
But no one's answering prayers, there's no god out there
Can't find someone to talk to if nobody cares
And even if there's someone who will listen, you're scared
Criticized all your life, but still so unprepared
To hear them trivialize what they could never relate to
Fuck it, why bother, they already hate you
Life is a labyrinth that we make our way through
Sometimes you just need something to sedate you
Friday afternoons at school, the last bell would ring
Friday nights, getting fucked up, we each had our thing
I was popping narcotics and you were binge drinkin'
To escape from the world, like a ship that's sinkin'
Monday mornings back at school, breathin' and blinkin'
But not truly alive, so much time spent thinkin'
Our minds derailing, a spectacular train wreck
Our dreams put on hold, we gave them a raincheck
My grades were declining, you were throwing up meals
We both cut up our thighs so the wounds were concealed
Attention not wanted, won’t say how I feel
Giving up any hope that we would ever heal
Years after our teens, we were chatting online
You told me your story, and I told you mine
It's not as if everything was suddenly fine
No one’s reborn, but some things you can redesign
We’ve come a long way shedding self-hatred and fear
We were beat down and broken, but we’re still here
Now, for a genuine state of the union address,
I call for indictment, call for the arrest
Of the blight in the White House,
Remove him right now
These are fighting words
'Cause this how the fight sounds
I will now read the charges,
That Standing Rock
Is sovereign native land
But the pipeline puts cash
In the President's hand
So he ordered it built
And those who stand
In the way are oppressed
No freedom of press
Communications cut off,
Signals blocked, no less
Than gunfire, freezing water,
Tear gas, sons and daughters
Of the Sioux Tribe
Unarmed, fighting for their water
Their land invaded
For the President's
Wallet to be inflated
Freedom of assembly
You can't debate it,
But there's no question
The rich and powerful hate it,
That's the reason they made it,
A crime to demonstrate
Lock up anyone
Who defies the state
The end of liberty
By design, don't wait
To make a stand
Soon it will be too late
The people's enemy
The world can't wait
His regime in its prime
Is guilty of treason
And that is a capital crime]
A hefty debt to the Saudis
The same sheikhs
Secretly funding Daesh jihadis
Yemen bombed to ashes,
Piles of bodies
In service to the oil lobby
American tax dollars fund terror
When civilians die, it's not an error
"Take out their families"
That's the straight from
The mouth of the beast
Dead children - forty-five
Not upset in the least
That's what he wanted
Same how he has a plan
To provoke a war with Iran
That is treason, and a guilty man
A traitor from the day
His regime began
The people's enemy
The world can't wait
His regime in its prime
Is guilty of treason
And that is a capital crime]
What does it take to make a country great?
How much war, how much fear, and how much hate?
Some long lost former glory that was never there
You never knew the story or you never cared
For we have learned whitewashed history
Pretend it's a mystery
America once again gripped by this bigotry
There's a sinister synergy of capitalist power
And nationalism that gives comfort to cowards
But it was migrants making less than a dollar an hour
Who built the phallic edifice we call Trump Tower
The kleptocracy has come to fruition
To rule a population lacking courage and vision
While liberals insist we must "respect the decision"
"Respect the office", no - I choose sedition
This goes beyond opposition
Relentless resistance forever against this
White House in business for the ruling class
Not for the peoples' interest
It's perfectly evident who the government serves
And it's equally obvious what they deserve
Time to raise our fists
And demand to have answers
Trump's entire regime
Is a malignant cancer
Mike Pence wants to let HIV spread
Because he thinks if you're gay,
Then you're better off dead
Conversion therapy is torture,
There's no justification
To promote such a terrible crime in this nation
Betsy DeVos is a murder heiress
Made wealthy by Blackwater, state-sponsored terrorists
Now she wants to wage war on underpaid teachers
And indoctrinate kids as subservient creatures
Exxon-Mobil owns the State Department
Salivating to attack,
Invade another country where there's oil to bring back
The Treasury was purchased by a man from Goldman Sachs
Sean Spicer runs the press corpse - "alternative facts"
Jeff Sessions on the record sympathetic to the KKK
Ready to the lead the war on drugs
That kills more people every day
Than any other killer could pull off in any way
This is the ascendancy of fascist USA
I tore up these streets
On a shaky longboard
Not looking to go any direction
My headphones blasted
The songs of anger,
The rally cry for insurrection
I grew up in a city where
The millionaires and the poor
Were a stone’s throw away
My quiet, white middle-class
Home in the center
Boredom weighing me down each day
There was once a man
Who stood at the intersection
Held a cardboard sign up to the street
But he didn’t want cash
It said “99 percent”
He protested alone in the heat
So I brought this man a bottle
Of water and a few bucks
Joined him on the sidewalk
But I didn’t stay
To protest at his side
Though I still appreciate our talk
Because sometimes it’s hard
To find your comrades and you think
That you should give in and go home
And when I think of the struggle
With few breaths of life in it
I think of those out there alone
I met a guy who I talked to
Online sometimes at an
Underground punk rock show
He lived on a farm
Somewhere north of the city
To the city, to the shows, he would go
It was the kind of place
Where it’s easy to feel safe
And solidarity still counted for something
Those twenty punk kids
Couldn’t start a revolution
But without each other they would have nothing
See, the whitewashed, vanilla
Corporate liberal agenda
I know is poison barely watered down
And as a radical writer,
Dreaming myself a fighter
I felt alone in a pacified town
Sometimes the bills and the pills
And the cheap, easy thrills
Mean no one out there’s down for a riot
And I’m no different,
Fuck no, not in the least
Most my life spent distracted and quiet
Hypocrite, I would see
In the mirror each morning
Because I knew there wasn’t much I was doing
But I saw the lies
And the hollow disguise
On the corporate cable news I was viewing
I was born into privilege
And I squandered potential,
Still I spoke out for justice and love
In the grip of depression
It was hard to see
There was still a way to rise above
I’d sit at night in my neighbor’s driveway
Chain smoking, stressed
She’d cry and she’d vent
Hard times she survived
She felt barely alive
Relying on every last cent
So I listened to her stories,
And I told her I’d always
Be there to listen and help her out
Sometimes we’d smoke a joint
In a haze we would wonder
What the fuck is life even about
Every act of kindness
Counts I believe
Not random, but deliberate
And sometimes there are
People whose lives can be changed
If only someone was considerate
I think about my transgender friends
And the hostile places
Into which they were born
And I don’t understand
Why in this so-called “free” land
They endure this society’s scorn
I went across the Atlantic
For love, left for Germany
To live there with my wife
And our loved changed us both
For the better, and still
Shines a light on our lives
And there I met
A few refugees, they had
Fled from the horror of war
And I knew instantly,
That they were just like me
But still racists want to close that door
Whether it’s the GOP, UKIP,
Or the AFD, these right-wing
Parties say they’ll make our lives better
But their rhetoric shows
Quite evidently they
Only hate those they see as the lesser
False promises in the age
Of the capitalist late stage
Brought a monster like Trump into power
And I know that my comrades
Have never felt more alone in
The fascist storm that destroys and devours
So where is the empathy?
Where is the solidarity?
Can I feel the heartbeat of the masses?
Should I hope against
The pessimism that strangles
That we can still smash the upper classes
I say now to every comrade,
Every single one
Whom I’ve ever known
That this isn’t the end
Each other we will defend
And set fire to the imperialist throne
Every act counts,
It's not about the amount
Of people who march down these streets
Lift up your friends,
Say to them once again
We’re united; these pigs we will defeat
Dear Heartless Motherfucking Tooth,
Must I even describe the pain you have caused me? You know exactly what you have done, you shithead, cocksucking, cuntmuffin of a tooth. I will always remember how you first deceived me, making you think you were somewhere in the top-center-right of my mouth when you were really the bottom right tooth all along. It was hard to tell since the pain shot all across my jaw. You were such a sneaky little fucker that even my dentist couldn't find you, and conned by your foul deception he promised that you were nothing more than a temporary bout of sensitivity and would go away. But you didn't.
And so I tried to kill you. I tried to kill you with Listerine and Orajel. I used so much motherfucking mouthwash that it fucking backfired right on my stupid ass and burned the skin all over the inside of my mouth, and you never stopped being the vile little prick that you are for even half a second. I thought for sure I could drown you in clove oil. That burned too, and it burned gloriously, for the pain of that burn was pleasure compared to the pain you caused me. And you fucked off for a whole 5 hours before coming back without warning. You came back when I was high, and it wasn't so bad - but it was a trick. As soon as the marijuana wore off, I realized you had come back worse than ever to shower me with your torment. And I took six Excedrin and four Advil that you only laughed it, you fucking asshole!
You made me go to the ER at 1 in the morning! And in the parking lot of the ER where I ran into my old neighbor who was checking herself in at the same time for severe IBS symptoms, you were causing me so much agony that I said "Judy, not now, I can't talk now, bye" and made me look like the asshole. Of course I explained this to her the next day and she was cool about that, but you - you abscessed tooth, you unbelievable piece of shit motherfucker bag of cocks, you never had any empathy for me or anyone else. As I walked into the ER everything was flashing and I couldn't see straight from the pain. You couldn't just hurt me in my mouth, you went into my fucking ear and then you made it feel like there was a goddamned jesusfucking knife behind my eyes. At the ER, they gave me antibiotics and percocet and a CT scan revealed you for the slimy, cowardly douchenozzle that you are!
I struggled through yesterday - even the percocet barely contained you. And last night you woke me up so many times. The pain you caused me was so horrendous that you gave me nightmares. The pain built up in my fucking dreams, and before it was severe enough to wake me up, I dreamed that there were people conspiring to torture me. Yet all along, it was only you.
But you should know this you evil fuck - I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU STILL. If the antibiotics don't work I will rip you the fuck out of my mouth and throw you in a medical wastebin, and I will never even fucking miss you!
- BURN IN FUCKING HELL,
A new President is being inaugurated on January 20th. Some people love him, more people hate him, and he wants nothing more than the eyes of the world on him. My question for you is this: Do you really want to see it, or is the horrible, gory wreck on the side of the highway which you simply cannot look away from?
I have a problem. I am the kind of person who just can't look away from horror. My curiosity is insatiable. Sometimes I just can't help but see what shit they're saying on Fox News, what garbage is coming out of the necrotic abscess of a mouth on Alex Jones, or the cellphone footage of the alt-right chanting "sieg heil" in Washington DC. I watch those I hate frequently. I make myself angry. But I'm not going to do that next week. I've done it too much. I deserve a day where I'm not infuriated.
So I am not watching the inauguration of the pussy grabber-elect. I always keep up with the news. I always want to know what is going on in the world. But this is not news, this is a show. This is a pathetic spectacle of lies. There is nothing of value to see. So I'm giving myself a break from being pissed off. Not sure what I'll do yet. Maybe a leisurely walk. Maybe get muddy (that means drinking lots of kava, which is awesome). Perhaps I write a short story. But I will make January 20th a bullshit free day.
For anyone who wants to join me, here are some suggestions of things you can do while not bearing witness to the sickening disgrace which is about to occur:
- Masturbate. It feels good. What more do you need?
- Have sex. That also feels good.
- Attempt to cook a complicated recipe you normally wouldn't bother with.
- Adopt a dog, cat, rabbit, or giant capybara from your local animal shelter.
- Make a bong out of fruit.
- Educated yourself on the anatomy of Japanese Spider Crabs.
- Acquire DMT and meet the machine elves.
- Get a new piercing.
- Walk into a Walmart, sit down in the middle of the floor in a lotus position, meditate and see how long it takes before someone approaches you.
- Quit smoking.
- Start smoking.
- Stalk a long lost acquaintance on Facebook.
- Join strangers in a basketball game and take off your shirt without warning.
- Go to your family, friends, and neighbors and acquire one pill from each of them until you have a pill for every color of the rainbow.
- Take those pills.
- Call Poison Control and tell them what you did so they have a fascinating work story to tell for many years.
- Watch the uncomfortably serious episode of Family Guy where Quagmire's sister deals with an abusive husband.
- Contemplate whether the Matrix trilogy ever posed compelling philosophical questions.
- Get a slip n' slide.
- Invent time travel and warn people how fucked we are if Bernie Sanders doesn't win the primary.
- Then travel back to classical antiquity to observe the Battle of Cannae.
- Write a script for a new season of Firefly.
- Go to the gym and use a machine which is for a muscle you've never heard of.
- Hang out by a public pool with a very strong smell of chlorine.
This is the age of the great glass cage,
And the most impotent collective conceivable
The instantaneous, the effortless
Envision not how powerless you are
The revolution is not put down,
It is diluted and rendered harmless
Like some homeopathic snake oil:
A perfect formula for lazy top dogs
For we are lions comatose,
Our numbers count to billions
And count for zero
Our riot is a like and share; we care
Thunderous laughter in the board rooms,
Even outrage can be monetized
Controlled opposition made voluntary
Daily validation of action not taken
Alienated beyond reason,
Solidarity still not in season
21st century know-nothings
Who could easily learn quite a lot
This is the web of dull wonders,
Swept up in every soft breeze
To be carried perhaps anywhere
Except to somewhere that matters.
A short (relatively speaking, compared to an essay, anyway) critique of how "millennials" are stereotyped:
We do not think we are "special snowflakes." We may indeed be a generation that has realized from the onset how not special we are. Conventional wisdom would assert that many young folks' approach to social media is "like farming" and getting attention. You know what 100 likes on Facebook is worth? Nothing. And we know that. All the way back to the MySpace days, I saw me and everyone else decorate our pages with the same HTML codes and post the same songs and copypaste the same bulletins.
I don't think my facial piercings and shaggy hair are symbols of noncomformity, because a million other people have them too. I just like how they look. Maybe there is a little subconscious influence in my head telling me it amounts to "making a statement", but that's an easily recognized delusion. And by pointing out that dressing weird or getting pierced or doing something against the grain doesn't amount to individuality, I'm not "special" for saying that either, because everyone else has already come to that realization too.
When I first learned about the 1960's hippie culture and the anti-Vietnam protest and groups like Students for a Democratic Society, I kept thinking "why is there no counterculture anymore?" The truth is that there is a mainstream culture and a counterculture that has been so blended that everyone walks the line between both. And here on social media, that blending is on display in full force.
The next time you see a stranger on the internet expressing an identity of gender noncomformity or some abstract political or spiritual ideas that don't flow well in the mainstream, don't assume that person is trying to be special. Instead, consider that person may be wanting to find others just like them. Cliche as it as, it rings true that the more connected we get, the lonelier we get. I truly believe the internet is still a net positive thing, because it's very cool to find out when none of your neighbors or your classmates or peers or family quite get you, there is someone on the other side of the world who does, who you are free to talk to any time - instantly.
You see, we know we aren't special. We know originality, real originality, is so fleeting that you always miss it. Because when an original, revolutionary idea is conceived, it catches like wildfire and spreads. The rest of us are just hoping to set off the next spark, but we know the odds and we know how it is. We're saturated in the finer details of every day life. Going down your Facebook feed is much like walking down the street - you see a lot of things: most of them scarcely matter to you, fewer things still that even help you grow as a person. But all of it together is the unfolding and unending story of all of us.
Some have said my generation is uniquely sensitive. I say we have the thickest skins yet. You say "we didn't have this disorder and this dysphoria and this condition back in the day." You sure as hell did. Some of those people whose feelings and conditions were invisible are dead now. Some of them are homeless or in prison. And some of them made successes of themselves. They have a nice car and a big house and a meaningful career. But some of those same successful people are hanging on by a thread every damn day, feeling the weight of the world on their chest that presses and presses but never stops their breath.
Every life has adversity. But the point of adversity is to face it down, conquer it and grow. Life is not settling for feeling shitty. Saying "I'm miserable and I have no way out of it, but I'll just go on" and settling for that - no. You're supposed to fight. And the people around my age are the ones who are realizing these battles shouldn't be fought alone. So if you want to make fun of these support networks we make for people who feel the pain of bigotry and misunderstanding, consider that those people are healing and working in unity to overcome what they're facing.
Let me tell you something about "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" I've heard some folks laugh at. Those were around long before I was born. What the hell is "viewer discretion advised" on TV? Someone is going to say "fuck" on TV and you felt the need to warn us. That's just the status quo. A parental advisory sticker on a CD, or every time the news anchor warns the viewers that they're about to show "graphic content" - you accept that. So there is nothing unacceptable about saying "hey, we're going to be talking about racism or rape or something horrible here, and we know some of you have been personally affected by that and may not want to have to think about that right now." A courteous heads up.
You all have safe spaces. If you have a group of friends who you know you can just talk openly with without fear of being judged, that's a safe space. If you go to an AA meeting, would you want someone to come in and plaster the walls in ads for liquor? Would you want a group from the nearest bar marching in uninvited and ranting about how trashed they are and what a crazy night they're having? No, you don't want that. And that doesn't mean if you've quit alcohol that you can't a handle a world where alcohol exists and people like drinking. If you go to church, do you want someone to come up next to the priest or pastor and argue that God doesn't exist? Again - indulge me. Can you not handle realizing there is a world with atheists? Are you incapable of defending your beliefs in an intelligent debate? Of course you can handle it and you're capable, but your church wasn't the time or the place. That's a "safe space." Ours are just as valid.
You say my generation doesn't tolerate dissenting opinions. I've yet to hear a single millennial say that if you disagree with something like marriage equality that you should be put in prison or pay a fine. That's ridiculous, and precisely why that's not what any of us believe. You say university students shouldn't protest speakers with a "different worldview." Everyone draws a line somewhere with who and what is unacceptable. If Westboro Baptist Church was going to come to a conservative, Christian university, many of those conservative, Christian students would protest and say "hell no, we don't want them here." Because they, like liberal students, see a degree of hatred and intolerance that is unacceptable and they emphatically say no. Any reasonable person would understand students saying "we won't let David Duke speak here." And some of you will argue "but they protested people who aren't anything like David Duke or Westboro Bapist Church, they protested reasonable people." It's a matter of differing perspectives. But unless we're jailing these people or inviting political repression, no one's first amendment rights are being violated.
We are not sensitive, we do not think we're special. We didn't invent safe spaces and trigger warnings and we aren't the only ones who make use of them. We are definitely not threatening anyone's right to free speech. And we're not lazy either. We're doing what we can with what we have, and a lot of us are making a difference. Every day.
A tarnished badge and the grip of steel,
To save us from our fear
The oathbreakers feel safe and warm
Inside their riot gear
A hero's acclamation
Will await them all the same
This is how to rig a hopeless game
Oh, the Western star is shining on
May it show us what the great new cause is
While the city on the hill is looking ever more
Like an orchard made of rotting crosses
The eagle feasts on roadkill,
Still its wings unfurl with pride
Should nothing seem so perfect
As a wall from our side
And walls within, a fortress land
So sacred this divide
No, you can't climb the tower, but you tried
Oh, the Western star weeps for the lost
Such a price for what we have defended
The legacy of conquerors who have in turn bestowed
Freedom to the in-crowd as intended
Drink up the living waters
From the lead and methane wells
And rise now for the anthem
Since you stand for nothing else
Surely you'll walk free
Within this hive city of cells
Maintained by the benevolent cartels
Oh, the Western star is shining on
Glory never suffers short supply
And beneath the Western star you'll find a place of rest
A landfill for sterile bones bleached dry
This is the silence of a thousand insecurities,
This is forgiveness, this is the end of guilt
It seems that nothing could have been so unlikely,
But this life is mine for what it is – it’s what I have built
This is a vision that regrets can be irrelevant,
This is a declaration of the conquest of fear
I’ve heard from my worst critics and most persistent cynics
But those were voices I created – they’re no longer here
I spent so much energy listing all that’s wrong with me
Now it’s time to shred it with the boxes uncrossed
I won’t worry about falling short or dying in anonymity
This is growth and not another perfect moment lost
I know you all here on GDC expect nothing less from me than to be the trendy motherfucker who vapes and drinks exotic tea. I also know I have a problem with wanting to talk about shit that most of you don't care about. But I would kindly ask you to give me a few minutes of your time, because the US government is about to literally kill people and I hope that concerns some of you.
Kratom is a leaf very closely related to coffee which has psychoactive effects, including stimulation, mood boosting and pain relief. I have used it often for more than two years. For me, it helps me focus and diminishes my anxiety significantly. For others, kratom is so much more. Many heroin addicts have been able to permanently kick their habit thanks to kratom, I know some of them personally - they're my friends and I know their story. Kratom also has provided significant pain relief to people with fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, chronic muscle pain and other conditions. And the DEA is about to ban it. On September 30th it will be Schedule I in the US - the same category as heroin.
The DEA has stated that all use of kratom is abuse. They allege kratom has caused 15 deaths, despite the fact that toxicology reports have shown all people involved were on multiple drugs at the time including dangerous research chemicals from China. The fact is that kratom has not directly killed anyone and it is scientifically doubtful it is even possible for that to happen. It's very hard to even overdose on it because taking too much causes you to vomit. I have taken a lot of kratom quite a few times, and I was still perfectly able to drive, read, talk or do whatever I need to do because kratom doesn't impair you. It doesn't cause you to hallucinate and it doesn't make you think anything you wouldn't think while sober. If kratom is comparable to anything, it's probably how you would feel after having a very strong coffee - minus the racing heart. It's a very subtle feeling of well-being.
So what is going to happen when kratom is scheduled? Many people who quit heroin and opioids will relapse. We know this because it happened in Alabama. That state banned kratom and the year after, the number of heroin overdose deaths doubled. Chronic pain sufferers who have been able to take their kids to the park, have a job, go the gym, travel... they'll be left without their only effective medicine and have their lives ripped away from them. And anyone who is caught with kratom after this ban could face a felony charge and years in prison. Kratom saves lives, but it's a threat to the pharmaceutical companies who own the government. If you're not hooked on opioids then you aren't buying them, and that's bad for their bottom line. The DEA wants this ban in place because they can no longer justify their own existence. More Americans are recognizing that drug use should be seen as a health issue rather than a crime.
If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, then the White House will be made aware and have to respond. It's a start. Please sign if you value liberty and think recovering drug addicts, chronic pain sufferers, and depressed and anxious people who have been helped by kratom have a right to life.
I support the right of a person to breastfeed in public. I support the right of a person's breasts to be out in public. In fact, I think if a person wants to be fully nude in public, they ought to have a legal right to do so. Now, I don't mean someone can't say "you can't come into my restaurant/workplace/school/university/grocery store nude." A business or organization can make those rules. But as for walking down the street, the beach... nudity shouldn't be an issue. Don't give me that "what about the children" shit, the only way a child would be bothered by nudity is if they're socialized to be bothered by nudity. Being naked in public is a victimless crime, and I don't believe in victimless crimes.
A person should never, ever be prosecuted for possessing a drug for personal use. I don't care what the drug is. If it's heroin, if it's meth, it shouldn't be a crime to do it. Now, I don't think a person necessarily should be able to sell any drug. But personal possession and use is victimless. And on that subject, marijuana should be fully legalized. So should psilocybin mushrooms, LSD and DMT. These substances are exponentially safer than alcohol and many legal prescription drugs. It is physically impossible to overdose and die from any of them, and any indirect consequences such as dangerous psychotic behavior or even suicide happen far, far more often while under the influence of alcohol. Yes, there are numerous risks to all these substances. It's not the government's job to deal with them. Their drug policies have killed hundred times the people as drugs themselves have killed.
Radio stations and TV channels should not be forced to be censored. They can censor themselves willingly if they wish. It is the responsibility of parents to control the media their children consume. I want to hear songs as they are, unaltered.
Sex workers are not criminals and should not be charged with crimes. Sex toys are still banned in Alabama, what the actual fuck? Further, I say if adult siblings consent to have sex with each other, that shouldn't be a crime either. I think it's really fucking weird but that is also a victimless crime. First cousins shouldn't be denied the right to marry. Again, not my thing but I don't believe in taking away rights I personally don't approve of. The government should not be able to ban any porn that was done by consenting adults regardless of the subject matter.
Enough with persecuting smokers. Fucking seriously. If someone is smoking in a public park 50 meters away from everyone else, you are not getting a single molecule of secondhand smoke. The cars on the streets are filling your lungs with more toxins every day. Don't you dare fucking tell me I can't have gummy bear flavored e-cig liquids because you're deluded into thinking vape shops are trying to hook children on nicotine. It is their responsibility to refuse sale or entrance to minors, it is your responsibility to educate your child about smoking, vaping and nicotine use how you see fit. Why is chewing tobacco banned on airplanes? You can't get secondhand chew. And don't say it's because they might spit it out on the floor like an asshole because then gum would be banned too.
Americans talking about "banning" Sharia Law have no idea what the fuck they're talking about. There is no Sharia Law in the US, no government of a Muslim majority community is telling everyone what to do. The only way Muslims in the US are using Sharia is for mediation of personal disputes, and that is their fucking right, people can resolve their disputes however they wish.
And don't tell a sick person they don't have a right to physician assisted suicide, they certainly fucking do. Why the fuck are chocolate eggs with toys inside them still illegal in the US? Jesus Christ. Or if a person wants to drink unpasteurized milk, let them. That's their risk to take.
No more victimless crimes, I'm sick of this shit.
I don't want to write about the weather. Doing so makes me feel like an abject failure. I mean, fucking seriously? Out of all the cliche, trite and uninspired shit - casual observations about the weather are like the very fucking bottom of prose. But I must, so let's get this out of the way. There's a heatwave this week. Not just in Germany, of course. In fact, this last July was the hottest month ever recorded, so I invite anyone who still denies climate change to suck me off outside in August without sunscreen while wearing a North Face jacket.
Air conditioning is not in every building in Germany, and that's a hard thing to adjust to. Floridians take for granted that you can always just go inside and be fine. Even people who live in trailers have AC units. I feel the need to take a shower twice a day lately. After four hours of sitting in my language class, I fear I will stand up and expose a visible streak of ball sweat to my international acquaintances. But rather than blame everyone else for failing to install an AC unit, I must accept this problem as a personal flaw of my own making. Because one of my teachers is originally from Russia and even he seems to be doing just fine with the summer. If someone grows up on air conditioning, that's all they know. But the ones who never had this cushion adapt seamlessly. So maybe the solution isn't every building in Germany having air conditioning - maybe it's that I build a time machine and deprive myself of AC throughout my entire childhood. It's like skating. When I learned to skate, I fell on my ass and scraped my skin off so many times that it just became a part of my day. But a kid whose parents keep pads and pillows on them every day, who is never allowed to get on a skateboard, the first time that kids falls they will think they're dying. And in terms of air conditioning, I'm the kid who has been wearing pads and pillows his whole life.
On to other things. I now have enough German to conduct most of my transactions only in the German language. I felt quite proud of myself the first time I bought some e-cig juice and coils all on my own without any English. Of course, so many Germans are fluent in English that any moment of uncertainty on my part invites them to shift the conversation. If I hear a word I don't know, I usually will say "entschuldigung?" or "bitte?" in hopes that a person will repeat and it will click for me, but usually my obvious American accent prompts the person to clarify for me in English. And I appreciate that, but I certainly need the practice. Last week, I also successfully procured ibuprofen from the apotheke (pharmacy) on a day when I had a raging headache. I got everything right except for the fact that I pronounced "ibuprofen" like an American.
The apotheke is quite an interesting thing for an American who isn't familiar with Germany. In the United States, over-the-counter medicine can be purchased in a pharmacy, grocery store, Walmart or gas station and it's a simple matter of bringing it up to the register to be scanned. In Germany though, all meds are "behind the counter." You don't need a prescription, you can ask for some ibuprofen and get it, but the pharmacist makes sure it won't interact with any meds you're on and lets you know how many to take. So every headache pill, bottle of cough syrup and laxative you need requires interacting with another human being. I don't have strong feelings about it either way. I suppose it's for the best though, it's not like most people bother to read the label on their meds.
If any American expat ever misses the enthralling experience of waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles, they will be happy to know they can have that experience in Germany too. I had to talk to the Auslanderamt (immigration) and Anna and I woke up at the ass crack of dawn to get there right when it opened. We took a number. And we waited. And waited. And waited. A big screen displays what numbers have been called and what room to go to - and just like the DMV, it makes that same "ding!" sound every time a new number is called.
Anyway, I'm off to my class. If I survive the heat, then you all can expect this blog to continue.
I've been living in Germany for more than six weeks now, and will remain here for the foreseeable future. As an amateur writer and self-styled internet intellectual virtually unknown to the world, I have no choice but to blog about my experiences (from the local Starbucks). Okay, I'm not actually in Starbucks. I'm at home. There are Starbucks, though. They're overpriced and crowded just like in the US. I'm going to start with listing off a few differences between Germany and the US which don't merit a detailed analysis.
- The plastic bags at the grocery store here aren't free. They're cheap though, only 15 cents. Still, you have to pick up the bag from under the cash register and put in on the belt to be scanned like everything else.
- I make up for this new plastic bag expense by saving on tipping. Minimal 15% gratuities aren't a thing here. If you pay a €46 restaurant check with a fifty note and don't ask for your change back, that's actually considered generous rather than an insult.
- The Autobahn usually only has two lanes on each side, even in unlimited speed sections. Any self-respecting American highway has at least 3 each way. On the other hand, the speed limit signs or lack there of are often digital which allows for more effective management of traffic and for speed limits to be changed based on weather conditions.
- Tschüß, the casual German word for "goodbye" sounded for a long time to me like "Cheers!" with a German accent. I didn't even realize I didn't even know how to spell the word until a few weeks ago, but at least I was sort of probably saying it right.
- Pokemon Go attracts huge crowds to lure parties almost daily. This I'm sure is the same in the US, though the Pokemon's names are often different. Weedle auf Deutsch? Hornliu. Pidgey - Taubsi. Charmander - Glumanda.
- There is an awesome German energy drink called Relentless. It kind of tastes like a 50/50 Redbull/Rockstar mix. Very nice (Whenever I say "very nice", read it with Borat's voice).
- Crosswalks are a more serious matter here. In America, you can jaywalk like an asshole and cars will stop for you anyway. Here, I'm not so sure. I wait for green.
Now I'd like to address the German language. I'm a novice, I got some basic shit down though. Ich heiße John, ich komme aus den USA. Some parts of German are easy. Numbers? I got 1-1000 all figured out with minimal effort. Nouns are often similar to English. Verb conjugation isn't terrible, but it's only second week in the language course so we haven't moved past present tense yet.
Some things are weird for me to get used to as a native English speaker. There is a formal and informal "you", kind of like how Spanish has "tu" and "usted." In German, it's Sie, which is also the pronoun for "she" but with a capital "s." When you use Sie, the verb conjugates differently. Figuring out when to use it is another matter. I addressed Anna's parents like that until they told me I didn't have to. Would definitely use it in an encounter with a cop, which thankfully I haven't had since I've been a law-abiding foreigner since my arrival. The food delivery guy? "Du", I guess.
The worst part of the German language I've dealt with so far is learning articles. In English, articles are very simple. "A" for "some thing", "An" for "some thing that starts with a vowel", "the" for some specific thing singular or plural. German has der (masculine), die (feminine), and das (neutral). How do you learn what noun has what articles? You memorize 100 new ones every day until you die. The weird thing is that German doesn't just have gendered articles. I'll demonstrate with a simple translation:
Where is that pen from? It's from Germany.
Woher kommt der kugelschreiber? Er kommt aus Deutschland.
See, I'm calling a pen "he" - er. Trippy. Even saying years is awkward. My birth year, 1991. In German neunzehnhundert einundneunzig. See, in American English, while saying "nineteen-hundred ninety-one" would be technically correct, it sounds really, really dumb. "Nineteen ninety-one." I had to ask Anna if Germans just say the years colloquially like that, but no, apparently people actually say the "hundred." If I'm referring to the current year in German, I really want to say "zwanzig sechzehn" because that's how normal people talk. Apparently it's wrong though. Oh well.
One last thing I'd like to note is a conclusion I've come to: Aachen is the Seattle of Europe. It's a really cool, charming diverse city but it pisses down rain way too often. We'll continue this series soon as I continue to stumble through culture shock and master the pouring of a Weißbier without creating an ocean of foam.
Do any of you remember this story about a reporter, who in the aftermath of a plane crash starting going through the luggage of the deceased passengers? Body parts likely weren't more than a few meters away from him. All these people had died right there, and here is this reporter unzipping the bag and casually remarking on the possessions of all these dead people. He got a lot of shit for doing that. It was disrespectful, inconsiderate, and in incredibly poor taste. I do have to wonder though what the reaction may have been if that journalist had picked up a charred, severed leg and proceeded to eat it right there on camera.
What the fuck am I talking about? I'm not talking about people literally eating the flesh of the dead, no. But the way politicians respond to acts of mass murder and terrorism amounts to the same. They're like vultures eating roadkill. At the Republican National Convention, Trump had a big appetite and he ate up the corpses of those dead cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Those were fresh, weren't they? Even a scavenger prefers fresh carrion if given the choice. Fresh casualties serve the politician's purpose especially well - wait too long and they just don't have as much potential.
Murder is the greatest gift an authoritarian tyrant can ask for. The more bodies, the better - the tyrant can consume them all. A woman in California murdered by an undocumented immigrant - politicians fed off her for months, growing stronger as they did. To them, she wasn't a victim, she wasn't a human being with a family and her own story - she was nothing more than food. The thousands who perished on 9/11 gave the vultures and crows a feast for years. The feast was so abundant that the American people surrendered their civil liberties to the Patriot Act and consented to an endless war in the Middle East. Thousands of soldiers died in those wars and they were consumed too. Every dead soldier gave an empty suit a chance to pay lip service to a sacrifice and win some votes.
This summer has seen awful acts of mass murder. An attempted coup in Turkey cost hundreds of lives. Erdogan, one of the foulest vultures of them all, is still gorging himself. The aftermath has given him leave to eliminate every last dissident down to a person who merely changes the channel every time Turkey's dictator is on TV. The NRA loved how the victims of Orlando's Pulse Club tasted - every massacre strikes fear into the ignorant that this will finally be the tragedy that motivates the government to confiscate everyone's guns. The NRA and their gun manufacturer sponsors make a fortune as people hoard guns and ammo. Meanwhile, the government isn't feasting for the sake of gun control - they're looking for the kind of meat that tastes like scapegoating an entire ethnic group. Innocent Japanese Americans were put into internment camps just over 70 years ago, and some of you were born before our government apologized for it. You think that can't happen to Arab Americans in the 21st century? This country may elect a man who can make it happen. All Trump needs is a few more attacks. More bodies to feed off. Stupid as he can be, he's shrewd and cunning enough to pick those bones clean.
In Europe, there are bodies and there are also vultures. In France, the vultures are called the National Front. In Germany, they're PEGIDA. There are many who are feeding on the victims of Nice and Munich. They hope they can eat enough to turn public sentiment to their favor. Every refugee, every Muslim, every foreigner will be guilty until proven innocent. And on the waves of fear, right-wing vultures will ride into power and reshape the liberal democracies of Europe into their twisted image.
If you want to honor the victims of terrorism and mass murder, rise up against the vultures eating their flesh.
Patient zero, catalyst, dusk.
The shell stripped bare
To the Earth, it falls
As the soul departs from the husk.
Soar above the canopy
How the talons shine!
The prey was born
To a spider’s web,
And arranged in a most perfect line.
For a bountiful harvest,
But for a legacy ask so few.
The arsonist seeks
To cast a shadow,
As the first men knew.
To be not an entity
But an event,
To lock and load
As a sacrament,
Yet no shadow is
Are we nothing more than...?
Items on the line, dead on arrival
Fuck-ups by design
With a will for survival
Are we so easily defined?
Life on this surface
Born, bred and bled
Then force fed a purpose
One that somehow
Left us feeling worthless
No debate, no conversation
Shrug off your ideals
Or you'll never make it
If you feel too real
They'll show you how to fake it!
I was right when I was young
Caustic bite but no forked tongue
I was right when I was young
Now let the air
Rush out my lungs
I'll scream out insurrection!
Are we nothing more?
Who are we at the core?
We were right
When we were young
We were right before
I've been a flag burning, punk rock Catholic excommunicate,
Eleven: Who can I impress lighting up a cigarette?
Fourteen downing cheap wine, puking in my backyard
Fifteen always out of line, don't know why life's that hard
I've been an anarchist, communist, a who-the-fuck-cares nihilist
Was on the record saying "fuck the world", go on and file this
Uninterrupted existential crisis, for awhile this
Shit drove me so insane, my brain fired off a missile blitz
Acne-ridden face, felt like my skin deserved an acid bath
First boy I went to bed with turned out to be a sociopath
First girl I kissed in high school hated me in just three weeks
Bisexual-atheist-skater-goth teenager, just some kind of freak
Realized at age sixteen high school was a waste of time to me
Didn't study for a minute, still hit the high score on my GED
Proud? No. Ashamed? No. Bad trip with an afterglow,
I moved on and learned a lot, some shit forgot - that's how it goes
I've been a smart kid, dumb kid, aspired to be a bum kid
Cut myself, popped pills or wrote my songs to get me numb, shit
Got my ass beat down more than once, but always got off at least one hit
Changed my clothes, my words, my masks - searching for that one fit
Cliche as all hell, I'll admit, but I shit you not - got no regrets
Sum of all I've been through, seen and done not like I could reset
RIP disaster kid, you're gone but not forgotten, bro
You're in my heart, my mind and you'll be riding on some wicked flows
Won't be restrained,
Can't be sustained,
Found shelter in daydreams;
Relief from the sun,
And life under a gun
Who listened the last time
The best of all worlds is a fantasy,
Clarity born from insanity,
Accept my ideals and my vanity,
Defiant, I'll stay how I am.
With joy in disorder,
With pride in my scars,
I admire the people
Who have gone way too far.
Harmony blesses the ashes,
Debris, the wreckage,
The storm surge
Of infinite seas.
Walk away, drift away
And be free.
I’m a radical
Wear the anarchist aesthetic
I will not grow apathetic
I’m a nonbeliever
In the gods of the elite
Faith is not my crutch
And it does not make me complete
I ask nothing from the state,
I will protect myself
Consumerist plague will spread
You’ll be decaying on the shelf
But I refuse the designation
Human resource or commodity
Won’t stand for degradation
Yes, I do see how things ought to be
But I’m more than an idealist
Human nature at its realest
Begs for freedom unrelenting
It’s in these words; I hope you feel this
Without fail I am dissenting
I am questioning, not repenting
My words turn vitriolic
When the time has come for venting
Our lives are not for sale
But so much time we do spend renting
And for our tireless labor
All the laws they’re implementing
Show so much disrespect
See, the state syndrome infects
The virus subdues your will
Soon you’re glad to break your neck
For elites who won’t care less
Matters not if they’re impressed
Status quo: their throne secure
Their towers rise over the mess
So I’m a radical
If a voice can shatter windows
Hope the ruling class can hear it
The number of the day is zero.
Zero people have died from an overdose of marijuana, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms or kratom. Despite this, prohibition continues. The millions of deaths caused each year by alcohol don't seem to motivate anyone to try to ban that.
Zero cases of transgender people going in the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity to commit sexual assault have been documented. Despite this, persecution of transgender people continues. Countless assaults, rapes, murders and suicides have occurred where transgender people are the victims and bigots are the perpetrators.
Zero paid speeches to Wall Street criminals have been released by Hillary Clinton, who made hundreds of thousands of dollars off them. Despite this, she still wants your vote. Bernie Sanders has scarcely made a few thousand dollars off paid speeches to regular citizens and has donated those payments to charity.
Zero Christians have been persecuted by the United States government. Despite this, the 75% Christian majority of the USA still insists they are the victims. When was the last time secular people have ever tried to legislate who a Christian could marry or what they could do with their own bodies?
Zero scientific evidence exists that vaping is even remotely as harmful as smoking. Despite this, the FDA passed oppressive regulations which will devastate small businesses and cause many people to go back to cigarettes. Because of the Master Settlement Agreement with tobacco companies, the United States government has a vested interest in people continuing to smoke.
Zero civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan whose families were murdered by US drone strikes have been paid reparations by the American government. Despite this, drone warfare continues, killing far more innocent people than enemy combatants. Neither President Obama nor Congress have been held accountable for the bombing of a hospital last year.
Zero officers of the NYPD have been prosecuted for the murder of Eric Garner. Despite this, his family continues to fight for justice. How can any person with a conscience think summary execution by strangulation is an appropriate penalty for selling loose cigarettes?
Zero bankers and hedge fund managers in the US have been prosecuted for bringing the economy to the brink of ruin in 2008. Despite this, countless Americans are jailed for victimless crimes like possession of marijuana or peaceful civil disobedience. Our tax dollars funded their undeserved bonuses under Bush and Obama, and the people have not seen repayment by these billionaire pigs.
Zero justice happens until the people fight for it. Stand and fight.
"Explain yourself, explain yourself"
The chorus of the empty minds
"Restrain yourself, restrain yourself"
An inquisition's all you find
Since when is a person's life
Anyone's but their own
Why should somebody different
Ever have to feel alone
They can go to hell
There is nothing wrong with you
You owe that to yourself
And you owe nothing to the government,
You owe nothing to the preachers
The judgment of mass media,
Police, doctors and teachers.
Who you are and what's your name
And for what you wear, have no shame
In the starless night, you'll be a glowing flame.
There are friends you don't know,
And we'll fight for you
We have no judgment to pass
On what's right for you
We have your back
But you're strong on your own, too
You will see
You have the power to set yourself free