The Island of Dr. Moreau Review

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“The crying sounded even louder out of doors. It was as if all the pain
in the world had found a voice”

 

 

H.G. Wells is a master of science fiction. His works helped define the genre and are still heralded as fantastic. His works have been adapted into every conceivable form of entertainment and his ideas presented are still used or improved upon. I’ve read his most well-known works like War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Time Machine and The First Men on the Moon.  Wells’ ability to commit such imaginative things to paper in a concise manner is pretty astounding.

The Island of Dr. Moreau is a book I’ve wanted to read for quite some time. I’ve seen the abysmal 1996 movie and knew that the world had far more potential than presented in that film. This book was a highly entertaining read. From the very beginning the protagonist, Edward Prendick was easy to identify with. A man of science who wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is thrust into a world filled with savage heresy that he cannot fully comprehend. Wells does a great job of building the anticipation for meeting the doctor. His reputation precedes him with a sense of electric tension. When finally seen, Doctor Moreau is every bit of mad genius you want him to be. His fanatic dedication to his craft is his all-consuming goal is awe inspiring. He quickly dismisses the pain he causes as a necessary evil to his overall goal.  The dichotomy between Prendick and Moreau is a vast chasm, revolving mostly around their ideals of science. Prendick is aghast at the barbarism he sees and not until the conclusion do you see how deeply he was impacted.

There are multiple parallels between this book and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The ideas of “playing god” and creatures versus creator is explored thoroughly. The reader explores this well thought out theme and it forces them to deeply reflect upon it. I admired the way that the author balanced these thoughts with a cohesive plot. As the reader, you sympathize with Moreau’s creatures. In the climactic final struggle, you find yourself fully rooting against the Doctor. I enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it. The end is depressing, but I feel that it benefits the overall story greatly. A relatively short read, this was well worth the four hours it took to finish.

 

 

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“I must confess that I lost faith in the sanity of the world”

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Weekly Poetry Pick

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Attila The Stockbroker is my absolute favorite poet of all time. A punk poet and folk singer who has written seven books of poetry released forty albums and performed over three thousand concerts. He has toured nonstop for thirty-five years and has maintained a DIY attitude his entire career. Arguments Yard, his autobiography came out last year and if you need some sharp-tongued, high energy social surrealist poetry in your life I highly suggest you check out his work here.

USE OF ENGLISH

The phrase ‘politically correct’
is not at all what you’d expect.
But how has it been hijacked so?
I’m going to tell you, ‘cos I know.

You’d think it should mean kind and smart
Radical and stout of heart
A way of living decently.
Well, so it did, till recently.

And then some cringing, nerdy divs
Sweaty, misogynistic spivs
Sad, halitosis-ridden hacks
all wearing lager-stained old macs
with spots and pustules and split ends
and absolutely zero friends
(Yes, living, breathing running sores:
The right wing press’s abject whores)
Were all told, by their corporate chiefs
To rubbish decent folks’ beliefs
To label with the phrase ‘P.C’
All that makes sense to you and me
And write off our progressive past.
Their articles came thick and fast
The editors gladly received them
and loads of idiots believed them.

You’ll find that most who use the term
Will only do so to affirm
Sad, bigoted, outdated views
they’ve swallowed via the Murdoch news.

 

 

I giggled aloud whilst reading this poem for the first time. The line hovered between linguistic elegance and hateful bile is breathtaking. Attila’s use of a simple rhyme scheme adds a bit of irony and taste that wouldn’t be present if this work was written in free verse. He cleanly states his views and challenges the reader to step above what is socially acceptable. Very on point, Attila drives his point home in his classic style. If you enjoyed the above, I highly suggest delving deeper into his works.

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Snow, Glass and Apples Review

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“Lies and half-truths fall like snow, covering the things that I remember, the things I saw. A landscape, unrecognizable after a snowfall; that is that she has made of my life.”

 

I love re-tellings of famous stories from a different points of view. In Snow, Glass and Apples Neil Gaiman takes Snow White and turns it on the side. He reimagines this fairy tale and tells it from the eyes of the wicked stepmother.

First and foremost, this story is a blast. The skillful reinterpretation of a well known fairy tale and changing the perspective in such a drastic way truly makes this worth reading. Sure you have your traditional elements like dwarves and apples, but there were several things I didn’t anticipate to happen, including necrophilia and vampirism. More than anything the twisted tone that the author takes this story in is breathtaking. Gaiman has stated that he wanted the reader “to think of this story as a virus. Once you’ve read it, you may never be able to read the original story in the same way again.” That feat was easily accomplished and I can not heap enough praise upon this.

This fresh look at well trod material is invigorating. Just go read this. It is worth every eerie moment and you can easily finish it within a lunch break. I highly recommend this as it excels at everything a short story should do well.

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“If I were wise I would not have tried to change what I saw.”

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Halloween Matters

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“If ever there was a holiday that deserves to be commercialized, it’s Halloween. We haven’t taken it away from kids. We’ve just expanded it so that the kid in adults can enjoy it, too.” -Cassandra Peterson

 

With the thirty-first fast approaching, I would like to remind everyone that Halloween is the greatest time of the year. It’s that special, magical season when all things spooky and paranormal are embraced. When kids go door to door and solicit for candy. When horror movies flow like water and women are allowed to dress extra slutty and not be called whores. When makeshift haunted houses rise from the nothing and sell cheap jump scares. This holiday allows us all to disconnect from our daily live and to play make believe.

The most important service that Halloween offers is it allows us to enjoy the macabre. At some level, we all fight the evil inside ourselves. All of us possess inner gremlins that are held at bay by our own conscience. Halloween allows us to see that internalized terror and brings it to the forefront. In reality there are mysterious horrors lurking around corners and deplorable acts waiting to occur. There is little ways to combat these threats outside of vigilance and preparation. With Halloween, we get to read the monster novels, wear the costumes of supernatural, and make light of the devils that scurry about. Zombies, ghouls and ghosts are fantastic ways to face the fears we all have. By taking some flavor of fictionalized fiend and spinning it into art or entertainment we embrace the best parts of humanity while still acknowledging the worst.

Creativity and imagination flourish more so during the month of October than any other time of year. It is the rare occurrence when ingenuity finds a way to rise to the top, even if it is for the sake of costuming and decorating. So I encourage you to dress up, give candy to trick or treaters and listen to the Monster Mash. In the end, we should have some fun with our own dark side.

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Burmese Days Review

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“But the whole expedition -the very notion of wanting to rub shoulders with all those smelly natives -had impressed her badly. She was perfectly certain that that was not how white men ought to behave.”

 

Burmese Days was George Orwell’s first novel, published in 1934. Set in 1920s Burma it follows a timber merchant and the people that ripple in and out of his life. The motivations, while important are far less pertinent to this story than the interactions within it. This story does an excellent job showing what life was like for natives and Europeans living in imperialistic Burma.

The setting that Orwell builds here is fantastic. He goes to great pains to have the reader see what the interactions between the natives and the colonists are. It becomes clear that the colonists do not see the natives as equals, but rather tools and resources to be used to their own end. It also becomes clear as the novel progresses that Orwell loved Burma. His descriptions of the environment and the geography are so vibrant that it becomes clear that he truly loved it there.

The thing that I found most interesting in this novel was it’s ability to highlight the degrading British Empire. In this work it is obvious that years of rule by England have worn down the Burmese people. Corruption exists at a casual level as everyone is vying to gain a little bit more wealth or power. Though subtle and laced throughout, this theme shows early signs of what would become indicative of Orwell’s writing. He does a commendable job showing what a long period of rule from a far away state does to a group of people.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was simple to follow and while a bit dull in parts, the ability it had to keep the reader engaged. The infusion of Burmese culture never let you lose sight of the setting of the story and was tastefully sprinkled throughout. I read this book in about two days and found it to be worth the time spent. For those Orwell enthusiasts like myself, give Burmese Days a try.

 

“It is one of the tragedies of the half-educated that they develop late, when they are already committed to some wrong way of life.”

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

George Orwell Complete Poetry Review

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-…Nothing believing, nothing loving,
Not in joy nor in pain, not heeding the stream
Of precious life that flows within us,
But fighting, toiling as in a dream…-

 

I’ll be honest, this collection of poetry wasn’t what I expected. More accurately it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I desperately wanted left leaning, anti-totalitarian verse draped in social satire. I wanted elegant lines questioning the very intention of imperialism. I wanted first hand experiences of humanity falling into mob mentality. I really wanted to fall in love with this book.  I wanted to be as infatuated by this collection as I’ve become with Orwell’s essays and novels. I wanted this to be the shining gem of Orwell September. I wanted this to be something, it was never going to be.

For a little background, this collection was published in October of 2015 after being withheld for many years by Orwell’s estate. By the author’s own admittance, he never held much fondness for his poetry.  This book gathers some of his earliest writings from his youth  all the way to his later life. It does a commendable job of prefacing them, so the reader can more fully appreciate the events of Orwell’s life. From the standpoint of historical interest and curiosity’s sake, it is fun to see how much his style evolved, but that is about where the fun ends. The poetry just isn’t very good.  In the words of  Dione Venable, the editor of this collection, “Orwell wasn’t a wonderful poet, but in his poetry he’s gloomy, he’s funny, he’s happy, he’s sad, and in the last things he wrote, you feel his pain.” As you read through it, you see him experimenting with  various styles and rhyme schemes but few ever seem to really resonate.

Now that the negatives are out of the way, there are a few pieces in this collection that are quite good.  In particular I enjoyed Ironic Poem About Prostitution and As One Non Combatant to Another. The dark satire that reverberates in these works is familiar to the fans of his writing. They provide a glimmer of what I had hoped for when I found this book. Other than a few lines from a smattering of poems, this entire collection left me feeling a bit flat. It was eighty two pages of mediocrity. I appreciated seeing another side of such a highly exalted author. I enjoyed seeing small shades of his excellent novels in these poems. Unless you’ve read everything else he’s ever written or your inquisitive nature just can’t let this one go, I would suggest you just pass on it. Sadly, this is the first Orwell I’ve ever read that I can’t really recommend.

 

 

Pagan
So here are you, and here am I,
Where we may thank our gods to be;
Above the earth, beneath the sky,
Naked souls alive and free.
The autumn wind goes rustling by
And stirs the stubble at our feet;
Out of the west it whispering blows,
Stops to caress and onward goes,
Bringing its earthy odours sweet.
See with what pride the the setting sun
Kinglike in gold and purple dies,
And like a robe of rainbow spun
Tinges the earth with shades divine.
That mystic light is in your eyes
And ever in your heart will shine.

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Why I Write Review

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This essay is one of George Orwell’s most highly touted. With it, he uses his own evolution as a author to show the reader what makes a good writer.  He analyzes his childhood writings and through a contemplative lens, he shows what motivations shaped him. This essay is a refreshing and interesting look at a person’s journey, laced with excellent insights into one of the greatest writers of all time.

Orwell breaks down all writer’s motives into the following four characteristics; sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse and political purpose.  He states that these four exist with varying degrees of intensity, depending upon the writer’s environment and personality. I rather enjoy the notion that all literature has been penned by people under the influence of the four above ideals. It takes some of the intangible out of writing, while still pushing one to ask even more questions.

More than anything in this essay, Orwell’s discussion of his creative choices made during the process of writing Animal Farm is excellent. He made a conscious effort to blend political ideology into an artistic narrative. For an author to look back objectively at their own works and discuss their merits and failings is valuable. You see how his tastes changed and how fluidly his work reflected the environment he inhabited. This short essay is worth the read, as it provides a fascinating opportunity to see inside the mind of George Orwell and what he felt motivated a writer. 

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Animal Farm Review

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With Orwell September in full swing, how could we neglect one of his most well known works?  This novella takes place on a rural English farm in which animals begin a revolution to overthrow their oppressive farmer. Deeply symbolic and easy to follow, it is simple to see why Animal Farm is so highly regarded.

This novel was mandatory reading when I was in high school. I didn’t really understand or care for it then. It seemed highly overrated and somewhat stupid. I recall making ignorant, snarky comparisons to the movie Babe. The allegorical use of animals to the 1917 Russian Revolution and the Stalinist era that followed, didn’t do much for me. Looking back I feel this book was mostly presented as anti communist tome and the deeper issues inside it were outright ignored. I remember discussions about who each character represented, but it was taken with a misguided slant toward patriotism and not a study of political structure.

I feel one point my high school literature teacher missed was how good this book is at explaining how the state works to anyone. Written in a direct and easy to follow form, it does an commendable job of illustrating the cycle of tyranny. Showing the reader how honest, well meaning ideas are agreed upon and slowly manipulated by the powerful and intelligent over the less powerful and less intelligent. Good intentions are quickly forgotten when one group can gain at the expense of another. The social and political constructs in this book are so true to life that the reader is forced to draw parallels to the ones that surround them. 

Dystopian novels rarely show the decline and fall, instead you usually see society at the lowest form. Animal Farm takes great pains to highlight multiple instances in which you see the society breaking down. You feel the plight these animals suffer as more and more things are taken from them.Orwell pushes the reader to ask if the revolution was worth it, or if the animals were better off with the farmer in charge. It alludes to a multitude of political theories and schools of thought, plus highlights how many changes a charismatic leader can make.

This book is goddamn great, truly goddamn great. I rediscovered it a few years after high school and it has been one of my favorites since that time. You can read it in an afternoon  without trying too hard, but it is the sort of novel that stays with you. If you didn’t like it when it was a mandatory read, I believe it deserves another chance. With the upcoming election season be political, read some Orwell. I believe that you will truly enjoy the time spent. Animal Farm proves that while all books are equal, some are more equal than others.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Shooting an Elephant Review

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George Orwell is a titan of literature. He has coined concepts and ideas that are so deeply embedded into popular consciousness we forget they haven’t always been there. Most of us know him as a novelist, but during his life his journalistic writing were his most well known. Around the Bored Shenanigans studio we are rabid Orwell fans and cite his works with far too much regularity. So for no particular reason we present, Orwell September. This month all of our Adult Book Reports will be reviews of Orwell works.

The first work I’m reading this month is one of his highest reviewed essays, Shooting an Elephant. This story follows an English police officer stationed in Burma who is called upon to shoot a mad elephant. While never directly stated, It is assumed the narrator is Orwell speaking from personal experience. That fact is disputed as no provable historical account of these events exist. In my opinion this is written with too much earnestness to be completely fictional.

On of my favorite things about George Orwell’s writing style is the sophisticated simplicity. If ever there was a master of doing more with less, it is him. In this essay, the events are neither complex nor cunning but with precision he shows the tension between the locals and the British occupiers. It forces the reader to examine the two clashing cultures and the results of the British Empire’s seizure of that area. It allows the reader to see the author’s true opinion of the totalitarian rule without ever directly saying it.

The climax of this essay is something to behold. It drives home the themes throughout in both a subtle and substantial way. It cleanly states the essay’s purpose whilst still forcing the reader to ask more questions. It using symbolism in all the best ways and ends with some stellar final lines of dialogue. I highly recommend this and clocking in at less that thirty minutes it is definitely worth your time.

 

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Check back next week as we sink our teeth into more George Orwell.

 

Read Shooting an Elephant free here.

 

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Anthems Aren’t Sacred

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I really don’t care about football. I really don’t care about the Superbowls or endorsement ads or deflated gates, I don’t care. Now if you took my lack of caring for that and quantified it exponentially, then you have how much I care about mainstream media’s opinion on things. Honestly, before the last few days I had never heard of Colin Kaepernick. I’m sure he is a fine athlete and worked hard to get his job, but I was as aware of him as he is of me. This is neither an indictment nor an endorsement of him remaining seated during the national anthem. He is exercising his free speech whilst those who are outraged and offended are exercising theirs. It’s America through and through, instant controversy over a meaningless game followed by reanalysis.

This latest fiasco is just one many where someone does the unexpected during a national anthem. Even the laziest Google search will corroborate that fact. People have been getting offended during America’s special song for so long. Somehow I doubt that Francis Scott Key wrote this song knowing the ire that would be raised by non participants or etiquette breakers. Beyond that, I highly doubt that he intended it be sung before every team sports event across the land. Does the audience there, eager to be entertained gain anything from it? Do we feel more patriotic afterwards? Does anyone really care? I think not, so I say we stop using it.

The national anthem at events is just one more piece of pomp and circumstance not necessary for anyone’s enjoyment of an event. The patrons are just there to have fun. Realistically it’s use is pretty inconsistent. It is used before every tee ball and pee wee soccer game but not before a sold out concert. It is sung with gusto during a parade, but not before a car auction. So why use it at all? If it is going to be a lighting rod for controversy, why not reserve it for political events and the like. Wheel out the anthem for big ceremonial events and not every trite, third tier semi pro ball game. Everyone just cooperates out of programming and routine. We put our hands over our hearts like our elementary teacher taught us to. It is just a red, white and blue lullaby for most people ready to see what they bought their tickets for.

I’m sure the ‘freedom isn’t free’ crowd will object to this. They believe that flag ought be worshipped and the scriptures of the anthem sung. Fine, exercise your fundamental human rights. Embrace your ruler. I just don’t think it matters at all. Patriotism isn’t mitigated by participation in a song. Stop using the anthem as a tool to provoke ostracism to those with different opinions. Stop forcing political agendas into our light-hearted entertainment. Stop assuming you know the founding father’s opinions on events this trivial. Just stop. Why don’t we just let the people get their popcorn and  and stop delaying the game. Why don’t we just accept that it wastes time and drags out the entire event? No one came to hear the national anthem. Let’s keep some perspective, it’s still just a guy sitting during a song.

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

 

The Beautiful and the Damned Review

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel is a great read. It follows through the course of their relationship, from the joys of infatuation to the committed stages’ hardships. It uses the early 1900s cafe culture as an interesting backdrop and really allows the reader to see the complexity that exist with each character. Before I get rolling too deeply into this, one comparison must be made. This book is everything Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises wasn’t. As much as I love Hemingway, this story told a similar tale in a much more enjoyable and captivating way. Horrible to say, as I know these two authors had a deep dislike for one another.

This is my first exposure to Fitzgerald’s writings. He is much more well known for his masterwork, The Great Gatsby. While that novel does seem interesting, I found this recommendation on a list of most underrated books and I feel that is a fair estimate. If you are looking for a romantic comedy style story that could easily be adapted to a Meg Ryan movie, this isn’t what you want. If you are looking for a cynical and realistic portrayal of flawed and selfish people whose love for one another has to endure trials and upheaval, this is your book.

The author’s writing style is simple and beautiful.There are multiple quotable lines spread through the text I had a difficult time nailing down one. The tone is a strange poetic elegance I haven’t really encountered anywhere else. The way in which he so clearly and cleanly becomes the vessel through which his character’s speak is incredible. The effect that their environment of decadence and the social structure in which they reside becomes ever clearer as the novel progresses, but not distractingly so. The author balances the line of a morality tale and an enjoyable narrative in a way that is rarely seen, especially amongst current literature.

The major downside to this book is it really comes to a screeching halt near the middle, I actually took a few weeks to finish this one. I cared enough to return to it, something I rarely do when I abandon a book in the middle. I was grateful I finished it, because I got closure on the characters within. The committed reader could knock this out in a few days, but I think this is best kept as a bedside book. Something to enjoy a few chapters at a time over a longer duration otherwise it does become somewhat ponderous. Overall, I got a lot of entertainment out of this story. I really enjoyed Fitzgerald’s style of writing and think this is a good entry point into the man’s work. This was definitely worth the time spent.

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Your Heroes Were Human Once

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“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Those words from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance felt very appropriate for this article. It seems that in any community there are always certain people whose reputation precedes them and are held up to a godlike standard. In the firearms community, some of those demi gods are Jeff Cooper, John Browning, Massad Ayoob and Elmer Keith.

We’re going to focus on Elmer Keith here. For those of you who aren’t the gun nerd that I am, Elmer Keith was a prolific firearms writer and enthusiast. He wrote for multiple firearms publications and had nine books published. He was instrumental in developing the .357 magnum, the .44 magnum and the .41 magnum. He developed the “Keith” style bullet which offers more reliable penetration for hunting applications. Over the tenure of his life, he influenced so many people and became known as quite the polarizing figure.

These are the blurb facts that I was familiar with. I knew the hit list of why he mattered, but didn’t know how he traveled down the path. I was pleasantly ignorant until I learned of this little episode. Elmer Keith was a novice reloader and while developing a powerful load for a Colt Single Action Army, it blew up on him.  In the man’s own words;  “When the gun rose from recoil of the first cartridge I unconsciously hooked my thumb over the hammer spur and thus cocked gun as it recovered from recoil. When I turned the next one loose I was almost deafened by the report and saw a little flash of flame. My hand automatically cocked gun and snapped again but no report. I stopped then knowing something was wrong. The upper half of three chambers was gone. Also one cartridge and half of another case. Also the top strap over cylinder. My ears were ringing otherwise I was all O.K.” (American Rifleman, August 15, 1925)

These are the little things that are glossed over by those who pray at the sanctuary of Elmer Keith.  No one mentions that as the catalyst that turned the man into the myth. No one ever said this rudimentary mistake began his journey down the path of becoming iconic. If someone had mentioned this to me, I guarantee I would have been far more interested in the man.  In the last few weeks, I have devoured vintage Elmer Keith articles and fallen in love with his brash style of writing. I have enjoyed his zest for life and his take no prisoners attitude. The man was extremely knowledgeable and has a great way of teaching the reader. I see that he was worth the hype.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I like flaws. I gravitate to people who fight through the muck and fail. I need to know that you fucked up before you succeeded. I need to know of the faults to appreciate your accomplishments. If we will humanize our heroes and demote them from their gold plated altars, people might be more apt to appreciate them. They certainly won’t resent them or ignore them if they know they made the same errors we all do. I guess the takeaway is keep your idols in perspective. If you really want others to respect them the way you do, keep your starry eyed gushing to a minimum.

Need more? Ian at Forgotten Weapons has an excellent video showing the aftermath of the blown cylinder here. 

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Red Harvest Review

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How do you like your crime novels prepared? Hard boiled detectives? Corrupt public officials? Rival gangs gunning for control of a town, perhaps? If so, Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest does all those things and more. This detective story is so engrossing and the characters so interesting, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Goddamn, did I like this book.

This is my first journey into any of Hammett’s work and I was quite impressed. I don’t know the last time I enjoyed character dialogue as much as this. It was easy to follow, but still smart and witty in beautiful way. Crisp transitions allowed the plot to cruise along without any clutter or confusion and by doing so, it forced the reader to keep reading. I found myself having a difficult time leaving this book alone as I desperately wanted see how this story would end.

I really enjoyed having a protagonist with anonymity. The Continental Op is believable as a detective, I loved the intimate little details of each person encountered. It gives you a true feeling of who each character was. From crooked lawyers to roommates with breathing disorders, you start to know them the same way that the detective does.  Another thing I enjoyed was seeing how the violent environment wears on the prominent figure’s mental state. As the mystery begins to unravel and the detective gets closer to tying up his loose ends, you want to see how he will triumph over the turbulent town in which he is currently inhabiting.

Go read this book. It has an inventive and well thought out plot that is executed by good characters fueled with reasonable motives. This book is so very worth your time and energy. Though it doesn’t have the same name dropping appeal as The Maltese Falcon, I can’t imagine there being a much more enthralling example of this author’s writing style. This book was highly suggested to me by one of my readers and I must echo that sentimental with full gusto. Goddamn, did I like this book and I think you will too.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

I Stand W/ Milo

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I stand with Milo. This is not a popularity contest nor is this a trend I am band wagoning onto, I truly stand with Milo. For the unfamiliar, Milo Yiannopoulos is a journalist known for his controversial viewpoints covering the gamut from feminism to Islam to political correctness. He is currently being lambasted by the mainstream media over spreading hate speech and is one of the only accounts permanently banned from Twitter. He is a lightning rod for free speech and a social justice warrior’s nightmare. Goddamn, am I a fan of his.

Milo is what he is. He doesn’t just poke the bear, he body slams the bear.  He has become something of cult figure in the liberty movement by just being honest and speaking his mind. By daring to go against left leaning ideologies and point out the authoritarianism often represented in their actions, he has made so, so many enemies. I can’t ever remember anyone being so clearly hated by so many groups for merely using their words. People like Milo point out all the flaws in fundamentalism and encourage the rest of to advocate copious amounts of liberty.

Free speech was never meant to protect only the things you want to hear. It’s architecture was to allow those with dissenting and reprehensible ideas to bellow aloud. Those so quick to crucify people like Milo are the same ones who would defend him if he was advocating for their specific viewpoints. Honestly, I don’t really care if I agree or disagree with Milo or anyone on every single one of their ideologies. I do; however, vehemently promote their right to say whatever they feel needs to be said. I do not condone this or any other witch hunt aimed at destroying someone for voicing their beliefs. I will continue to advocate and support unfiltered expression, because it is the right thing to do. I will continue to stand with Milo.

 

Experience the controversy first hand

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Heart of Darkness Review

heartofdarkness

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a contemplative and brooding work set in the early 1900s. It follows Charles Marlow on his search for the infamous ivory trader known as Kurtz. As Marlow gets closer to finding Kurtz, his enigma grows exponentially.

It is almost impossible to discuss this novella without bringing up the controversy surrounding it. It is very of it’s time and portrays native Africans in less than a shining light. They are portrayed as savage, second class citizens who only exist to serve the white Europeans. I certainly see where this opinion comes from, yet I feel that it only adds to the brutality that bubbles under the surface of every single passage in this work. This is a morosely dense tale of a man losing touch with his humanity, so I think this work portrays a callous honesty rarely seen.

I’ve never experienced a book that does such a phenomenal job of pushing the reader’s yearning to meet a character. Conrad cannot be commended enough for the way he makes you want to meet Kurtz. His legend grows to a breaking point, then when you meet him you are not disappointed. Foreshadowing has never been more perfect than it is in this book. Kurtz steals the show and the cavalcade of insanity that surrounds him makes him both indescribably eerie and utterly fascinating.

All in all this work is very worth your time. It took me almost a week to read this book, but it is deals with such heavy subject matter breaks are very necessary. I don’t know how much re-readability there is in a novella like this, but I strongly believe that everyone should encounter this at least once. It is an enthralling tale that had been adapted multiple times to other forms of media. From films like Apocalypse Now to video games like Far Cry 2 and Spec Ops: The Line this story continues to show it has a timeless appeal that is easily adapted and still very entertaining.

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 111


Get ready to set the clocks back before the Mayan Calendar ended. Back when Youtube started sharing the first cat videos, and W. started his second term and Katrina. Cut class, forget your homework and hope for sex that will never come because Bored Shenanigans is 17 again!
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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 111: Shenanigans: 2005

Reviewing T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland

wasteland

T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland is a long form, four hundred thirty four line poem divided into five parts. Written in 1922, it is waist deep in references to other pieces of literature and in his notes the author proudly cites his influences. It tells the basic legend of the holy grail interwoven with the author’s own conjectures and themes. Eliot switches narrators and shifts from philosophy to satire, making it somewhat difficult to follow. Do yourselves a favor and get a copy of this book with annotations, without them you will be lost in the weeds and curious as to the intentions of this poet.

I feel that parts four and five, Death by Water and What the Thunder Said are my favorite sections of this poem, mostly because they are the easiest to follow. Maybe it’s heresy, but I feel the entire work would have benefited from being a collection of poems as opposed to one long poem. The loose connection maintained throughout the text makes this somewhat difficult to comprehend and causes the reader’s experience to suffer

Overall, this is a great work. My major issues with it revolve around the inaccessibility this will exhibit to some readers. It’s a dense poem, that is hard to consume in large bites and most certainly is not a casual read. I read it twice with the annotations and a study guide as to not miss anything. Even with all that it is well worth your time if you’re willing to put in the extra effort. It’s an intense book, but the author’s talented word structure is unmatched. Often touted as one of the great poems of the twentieth century, this poem certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.  

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Bookshelf Memories

poetry

My wife and I just recently moved and while reorganizing things I found an extremely important totem from the past. The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry is one of the most important books in my personal library. Not because it holds any collector’s value or even because it’s my favorite book, it is simply because it’s an amazing reminder of a chance taken. It’s one of those valued pieces of pure sentimentality.

I had a spectacular English teacher during my junior year of high school. She was one of those rare educators that honestly gave a shit and put out genuine effort. Before entering her classroom doors, I didn’t even really care to read and really didn’t see the purpose of literature. Mrs. Smith turned my world upside down by showing me the importance of it all. Her curriculum focused on creative writing and reading comprehension. She believed that everyone enjoyed reading, the trick was finding what appealed to the individual. Her approach was one that I hadn’t experienced before that and I bought in completely. 

My world was truly turned on it’s side when Mrs. Smith started the section on poetry. Seeing that everyone and everything has poetry in it revolutionized my thought process. She saw how much I enjoyed reading the works of authors like Dylan Thomas and Edgar Allan Poe. She also recognized  much I enjoyed the release granted by writing putting my feeling down on paper. She was an endless fountain of encouragement, pushing me to enter poetry contests, constantly printed off poems from a variety of authors for me to read and offered an abundant amount of constructive criticism on my writing.

One day after class, she was going over one my poems with me and she handed me Alan Kaufman’s Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. It was a vast collection with poems from the likes of Jack Kerouac to Patti Smith to Tupac Shakur. It showed me how that, in poetry there are no rules. You are given uncompromising freedom to say what you want. I’d never read anything like it and I knew from that moment on, I would be writing poetry.

This book, those authors and that teacher successfully pushed me to be a writer. I so deeply appreciate a teacher taking a chance on a misguided kid and showing me an entire world of art I didn’t know about. So many of the things I value now were heavily influenced by Mrs. Smith back then. She was a phenomenal teacher who I’ll continue to cherish. Her best intentions and eye opening lessons will continue to dwell within the pages that well worn book upon my book shelf.

 

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Statement

TheMissionStatement (1)

 

Sometimes, I think my hopes and dreams are so far beyond me that I want to scream. I can see them, but either my lack of focus or work ethic seems to keep them unattainable. Swimming upstream against a tide of daily hardships seems to keep them at bay. That being said, before you abandon this page mid sentence hold on. I know you can’t take another one of those late-twenties, who am I and what do I want to do with my life types of articles. That territory is well trod by Buzzfeed and Salon. Lord knows there are plenty of shitty indie bands shitting out their shitty post grad blues feelings all over perfectly innocent listeners right now.I’m not trying to add to their ranks but instead highlight a particular area in which I routinely fail. In reality, this is meant as a way for you to learn from my mistake.

I take on more than I ever hope to accomplish,I’ll admit it. I dream way too big, procrastinate a bit too much and then burn myself out with overzealous intentions and piss poor time management. I want so badly to be successful in a realm that doesn’t involve my day job, yet I will give the aforementioned day job the bulk of my effort. I just need to make a living, I could probably scrape by at work and actually pursue my side projects to a finish line. I have a difficult time balancing my priorities and I fear when I’m in my golden years I’ll realize that I didn’t do anything on my own terms.

Don’t get me wrong, sacrifice is a part of life and concessions must be made. Sometimes you have to work overtime instead of record a podcast episode. Sometimes, you have to be there at 5 AM to pull the lever instead of outlining a novella you promised your wife you’d write. Sometimes, there isn’t time to just make the final draft of your second poetry e-book. Sometimes only sometimes. More often than not though I find myself agreeing to this things, these distractions when I could just as easily not do them. The Earth will continue to spin and life will go on if I invested in my own efforts as opposed to laboring for someone else’s. They didn’t really need me as bad as I needed them to be my excuse.

This isn’t meant to be a statement of arrogance or legacy. I don’t expect world renown receptions nor am I’m ever going to be a Saul Williams or a Voltaire. I don’t intend to revolutionize the world, but goddamn it I should be using the few things I enjoy and have some ability at more often. I should be doing more with the talent I have instead of trying to not upset the daily humdrum. I should dedicate time to improving my abilities for me. I should have so much content for those who visit our small hovel of content distribution on the big bad Internet. I should be doing so much more.

I wrote a list of goals for the first time in my life. I have a three year plan. I have self imposed deadlines and projects. I’m going to make this work in spite of the same flaws that have haunted me my entire existence. I’ve told my wife about long term goals and am now accountable to someone for them. I’ve set meeting dates for creative collaborations. For the first time in a long time, I’m not feigning effort. For the first time in a long time I’m honestly trying.

Trite as it may sound, I implore you to do better than me. Embrace your entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. Bare your soul. Get that promotion at work, talk to that handsome fella, start or update that blog, get that certification or weave that blanket. Just go forth and grab whatever has been hanging over your head. Do the work. Trudge and struggle along with me. Don’t you dare make me fucking do this alone.

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans pod cast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his work here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

 

The Importance of Being Earnest Review

earnest

 

Oscar Wilde is a stellar wordsmith. I knew after reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, I wanted to read more of his works. This play satirizes Victorian England’s social norms by having two friends exchange lives and experiences under the pseudonym of Earnest. This play is praised for the comedy and trivial nature and has been brought to the stage many, many times. It is often considered to be Wilde’s masterwork.

This play doesn’t take itself very seriously, which makes it hard to complain too much about it. The language was easy to follow and fun. It did mindless things written in a compelling way. It was obvious through the text that the author enjoyed himself a great deal while writing this story. He truly enjoyed the characters, he created and wanted the reader/ viewer to do the same.

I wouldn’t categorize this as the greatest piece of literature I’ve ever read. It was mediocre in parts and felt a little flat, but I wouldn’t characterize it as a waste of time.  I didn’t regret the time I spent reading it. I realize this isn’t a heaping endorsement of praise, but it didn’t make me wish I had read something else. I appreciated it enough, but I don’t think my life would be incomplete by never reading it again.

I understand that reading a play isn’t the best way to get a feel for a story. Certain parts can be much more memorable by seeing a great actor or actress carry them out on stage. With that thought though, I’ve never seen King Lear as a play, but I’ve read that several times and have been entertained by it every time.  I would like to see this tale as it was intended to be viewed. Perhaps then I’ll come around on it, giving it a glowing endorsement. Until such time, “okay” is as good a review as I can give it.

If this is your introduction to Oscar Wilde, you can do better. If you’ve seen the play and need more of it, or just want a lighthearted and somewhat air-headed story written in a compelling way, this is the book for you. Otherwise, I would I would recommend The Picture of Dorian Gray or House of Pomegranates over this. Either way, only someone as talented as this author can make something so mundane, seem so interesting.

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans pod cast. See more of his work here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here  or download his e-book here.

 

 

 

 

 

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 82

A pragmatic reverend, an opinionated electrician, when their powers combine, they form Bored Shenanigans! Rejoice all listeners, Cody has returned to flirt with your ears and sexy parts. Brewer missed him, even though he will never admit it.  The agenda this week involves canceled concerts, failed social experiments and an inordinate amount of swearing. Tune in for the number one choice in on demand audio entertainment.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 82: blah, meh, who

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 73

there should be something here…

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 73: Balls to Testicles

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 53

Are you tired of sub par podcast experiences? Would you like something thick and hearty? Something that holds in the warmth, like hot soup on a cold day? Look no further, Rev. Brewer and Cody are here to right the ship. There are many issues facing America today, but one issue that shouldn’t cause undo stress and heartache is what auditory experience you should have. Here at Bored Shenanigans, we are a helping hand in the darkness, an extra rag to clean up that spill, defense against the imminent Martian invasion and the summary of your favorite TV show you missed. BS Podcast is a servant of the people, so vote BS in 2014 and do something for you and America.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.    

Welcome to Episode 53: Vote Honest: Vote Shenanigans 2014

BS-to-GO 05

We bring you a special report of a sort. Cody wants to talk about some of the issues surrounding the idea of the ability to open carry a handgun so Brewer interviews him. That’s all you really need to know.

 May I Take Your Order?

Would you like the Hot Apple Pie with that?

So that’s one To-Go Episode 05: Have Gun – Will Podcast

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 47

You know how it is some days you are doing a podcast talking about the usual topics like 55 gallon drums of sex lube, our favorite Warner Bros cartoon character Quentin Tarantino, and creative cam girls then the next thing you know you are in the middle of a rest-full episode when Justin knocks on your window.  All the wile Orson Welles is confused and angry.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 47: Pullin’ in the Rest Stop

5 Songs That Matter Most

Music matters to everyone. We all have those songs that take us back to our youth or to a specific place in our lives. A majestic art that can make us feel everything so deeply and on an almost subatomic level. That being said, I bring to you not only my five favorite pieces of music, but those that mean the most to me. So ready yourselves to disagree as Rank This! Presents Cody’s 5 Songs that Matter most.

5-Fuck Authority– Pennywise
This is a nostalgia choice for me. This is off of their Land of the Free? album and was my first exposure to anything called punk rock. This was my gateway drug into the world of three cords and do it yourself ethos that inhabit a large majority of my musical choice. Before this track, it never occurred to me that you could say this kind of stuff in a song. It opened my eyes to what self expression means and that the rules are merely what you make of them. I love this song as much now as the first time I heard it. A rebellious song that puts it all on front street and challenges the listener to make a change for the better. All in all a fantastic track.

4-God’s Love-Bad Religion 
The most recent choice on the list, this is a song I found a few years ago. This is a song that struck me at a time when I was exploring my own spirituality. God’s Love does a fantastic job of satirically yet insightfully examining one’s faith, especially in the realm of Christianity. I know this will never make a top ten list for Bad Religion songs, but being a big fan of theirs, this song just does it for me.

3-Where Eagles Dare– The Misfits
Let me be clear so there is no confusion, The Misfits are the greatest band of all time. They are far and away my favorite musical choice and cannot stop listening to them and enjoying their work. That being out of the way, Where Eagles Dare is my chosen song of their catalog. This was certainly the hardest pick for me, as I deeply enjoy so much of their music. The chorus of this song makes it, balancing the right amount of fuck you attitude with power to back it up. This song is a perfect manifestation of the horror imagery The Misfits built their legacy upon. A superior song from a phenomenal band.

2-All Apologies-Nirvana
This song is so good it almost physically hurts. Nirvana was such a deeply talented band with some real gems in their albums ,but this is the one I have to choose. Another song I found as a confused loner kid it has managed to grow with me through the years. Covering a large gamete of emotion in a single track, you follow the journey and feel it with every note. This is a necessary song for all humanity, without it who knows where we would be?

1-Paint it Black-Rolling Stones
As far as I am concerned, this is the perfect song. I really have little affinity for the Rolling Stones, but there is some kind of sorcery in this piece. A masterwork of musical arts, this one just never gets old to me. Haunting and beautiful you find yourself at one with the universe when this song plays. It reverberates the frustration and fear of the universe in a few brief moments. A classic in every sense of the word, this my friends is music.

 

Cody Jemes is the Literary Engineer behind both the Rank This and the Articulations sections @Bored Shenanigans. Stay tuned weekly for new articles, new pod-casts and all kinds of free funny. Fill your need for sports at Texas Fandom or fill that poetry void at Abuse Through Poetry.

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 46

Alot is going this episode (yes I typed “alot” on purpose, want to fight about it). Cody is in a fight with Obama on two fronts, Brewer is in a fight with the Pope’s demons, Colonel Sanders is in a fight about nothing, Turtles are in a fight with Rangers and, we all lose the fight with nostalgia.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 46: Naming things gets hard

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 44

As the title of the episode says we help crack the code of the evil that is Miracle Whip. Also, we wonder about our last episode; is it us that’s weird for Not getting offended easily? And we give you the straight dope on some movie we saw (Looper, The Dirties) and some podcast we now follow (Welcome to Night Vale, The Steve Austin Show)

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 44: Satan’s Miracle Whip

Also stay tuned after the credits for a little bit of trivia from Cody about Napoleon.

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 43

We here at Bored Shenanigans feel that we have not been doing our part to in society. So, in this episode, we propose an idea that will raise the populace’s vocabulary and strengthen communication.

 

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.    

Welcome to Episode 43: Jesus’ Cunt

We also show you our literary boners, Brewer bests Cody at quoting Star Wars, Cody learns about many different types of spinning things, and CHAD shows us the proper use for Doritos.

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 38

Get your graham cracker ready to make s’mores by the heat of hell fire.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 38: Return to Satan’s Lap

We have an update on the Bored Shenanigans most covered news stories, the Satan statue in Kansas. Also, Brewer (Emmanuel Westinghouse) gets a new hat; Cody will be starting a new business; behind the scenes of B.S.; and we ask you out there for some help in an upcoming episode.

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 36

Holy B.S.? More like wholly bs! Yeah, I am sorry that joke exists now in the world too… What I was trying to say was it was recorded on Good Friday. But don’t fret that doesn’t stop us from telling dirty jokes and talk about movies. Also a sexy study, Cody double the date night, and Brewer finally finishes Final Fantasy XIII franchise.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.     

Welcome to Episode 36: Even better Monday

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 34

Making good on our slogan a whole lot of nothing and a little bit of everything we bring you this episode that just does not have any sort of theme. There are big holes, big macs, big brains, big gripes about small things, lots of Steves, one Ellen, deities cruisin’ in style, the death of a legend, and the truth about fuzzy dice.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.     

Welcome to Episode 34: Minor Segue

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 27

This episode will fall near the top in a list of sexiest Bored Shenanigans episodes. It is nearing Valentines Day (shut up and just go with it) so it’s all about love here, except for the parts of the show that aren’t. If that’s not enough of a tease does the phrase Swiss Cheese Pervert do anything for you?

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 27: B.S. Loves You 

Also Cody brings us some, as he calls it, more important news. You be the judge of that are debt ceilings, lead smelting, and education standards lowering more important than girls named Sexy, dumb coffee, and perverts with cheese.

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 21

[audio http://archive.org/download/boredshenanigans/BS_ep021.mp3|titles=B.S. Ep. 021|animation=no]

No! You’re not in the Twilight Zone!! It’s the first newly recorded episode of Bored Shenanigans in the New Year and its turtles all the way down. And you will not be able to pronounce all the Giant Snakes we have for you so, take a seat in Satan’s lap and decide if you would rather pay for virginity or make history with sloppy 4002nd.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.     

Welcome to Episode 20: oh-fee-YOO-kuh-s

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 18

Man, we here at B.S. Productions are tired lately. New Rest-full, New Week, Same guest Cody Jemes! This week Brewer shows a range of emotions. He is happy with Drag shows. He hates new microwaves. He is sad about no Enterprise hotel. Cody is in the same emotional state as always: angry, this time about the way DC is dealing with its movies, also Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.     

Welcome to Episode 18: A Few Rests More

Also, we talk about news like Nelson Mandela and the fake sign language interpreter at his funeral. Then we debate who is to blame on the case of the girl passing out in the cold after being dropped off by friends. Oh, I almost forgot Cody talks about a prostitutes blog. I’m sure there will be a link somewhere.

Find the show notes you will be glad you did.

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 10

I have no clue about what the title means…. Anyhoo, In a world were Muppets are darker and more edgy, were distance is measured in gnomes, one man, Chad, dares to defy Batman to track down Le Loyon, mystifying monster of Switzerland’s forest. When not on the chase he has a lustful encounter with a mysterious woman in the front seat of his car.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.     

Welcome to Episode 10: BS Fail Redo

There are show notes isn’t that dandy.