The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber Review

“If a four-letter man marries a five-letter woman, he was thinking, what number of letters would their children be?”

 

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The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is of Ernest Hemingway’s most celebrated short stories. It uses thematic elements better than almost any story I’ve ever found jealousy, fear, courage, and contempt are all present in this fine work. With his visceral simplicity, Hemingway examines what makes a man and the constraints of the individual from their social structure.

This story follows the titular character on his first safari. He is put in a dangerous situation and proves himself a coward. After facing the scorn of his guide and the fellow hunters, he resends whilst on another hunt. He rises to the occasion and grows as a person saving one of his peer’s life. His wife feels her power over him leaving and then kills him. The relationship between the guide, Wilson and Francis is examined in detail. The victim is painted as neither the wife nor Francis, but as the Francis.

The depths of the interpersonal relationships in this story are fabulous. The tangled net that is the Francis, his wife and Wilson shows the growth of the main character and the flaws of the others involved. The author poured himself into the story and it provides another example of the intensity with which Hemingway writes.

 

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“Macomber opened the breech of his rifle and saw had metal-cased bullets, shut the bolt and put the rifle on safety. He saw his hand was trembling”

 

 

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Weekly Poetry Pick

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D.H. Lawrence was a novelist, playwright, and poet known for his novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover The Rainbow.  His work often centered around the themes of nature, vitality, sex, and instinct. His writing style was so controversial that he was often the persecuted by censors. At the time of his death, he was a rumored pornographer who was thought to have wasted his considerable talents.  Highly influential, his work has been honored at a yearly festival in Eastwood.

 

Piano

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past. 

 

The above work is one of the best examples of a writer showing their appreciation for another art form. The tender way he describes the music heard is wonderful. I find this to be some of his strongest work and love how his passion drips into the meter of the words.  If you need more D.H. Lawrence in your life I suggest you enjoy more of it here.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. 

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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Jackson Dean Chase is an award winning author and number one best selling author. Mostly known for his work in the genre of the young adult science fiction and horror. Chase’s signature mixture of fantasy and pulp magazines has led to a fervent following amongst his readers.  This week we present the following work to showcase the poetic stylings of Mr. Chase.

 

Replaced

The world changes

too fast to keep up.

Just when you think

you understand it,

they pull the rug out:

technology,

music, 

fashion,

morality.

All dead, replaced by newer models-

as you have been, as we all must be

until the bombs drop,

the plague hits,

and the last light goes out

forever.

 

The above work is from Chase’s first poetry book Bukowski’s Ghost.  By the author’s own admission he fell in love with poetry because of Charles Bukowski. Much of this book is a tribute to the writing style and influence of Bukowski. Jackson Dean Chase does a great job of channeling a fantastic poet without of ever losing his own voice. The desperation and nihilism expressed within the above poem show how the writer is dealing with the passage of time and his connection with society as a whole.  It transcends being an accolade to Bukowski and forces the reader to take stock of their own place in the world. Truly an excellent piece from an excellent poet. I suggest you see more of the fine work of Mr. Chase here.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Old Man at the Bridge Review

“‘Did you leave the dove cage unlocked?’” I asked.
‘Yes.’
‘Then they’ll fly.’
‘Yes, certainly, they’ll fly.’”

 

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Old Man at the Bridge is one of shortest works by Ernest Hemingway. Originally published in 1938 in Ken Magazine and republished in the collection The First Forty Nine Stories.  Often noted for the economical use of character development and the overall theme of what constitutes duty.

Written during his coverage of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the story of an old man fleeing his home town during artillery fire. Upon seeing the old man laying on a bridge the author asks about his well being. The exasperated old man tells about how he was responsible for the taking care of the animals after the town is evacuated.  He feels guilty about abandoning his duties and fleeing the twelve kilometers that have left him in his current state. The author encourages him to relocate to where the buses can take him to safety and the man reluctantly contemplates this. In the end, the writer observes that the animals may have survived, but the old man probably will not.

Sad irony and humanizing the victims of war reverberate throughout this text. You can feel Hemingway’s empathy for the old man. He doesn’t wish poorly upon him, but he cannot help seeing the situation as it is. A dark, humorous tale of survival and duty. Hemingway signature candor carries a depressing story and forces the reader to think.

 

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“It was Easter Sunday and the fascists were advancing towards Ebro.”

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. 

Weekly Poetry Pick

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Jimmy Stewart is not the first name thought of when poetry comes to mind. Known for his distinctive speech pattern and easy going persona. His acting work included such classics as Vertigo, Rear Window,  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, and It’s a Wonderful Life.  The beloved actor was known for his philanthropy work and political activism, but far less known was his dabbling in the world of poetry and writing. This week’s selection offers us a rare opportunity to hear the author reading their work.  Go here to see Mr. Stewart reading this selection.

 

Beau

He never came to me when I would call

Unless I had a tennis ball,

Or he felt like it,

But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young

He never learned to heel

Or sit or stay,

He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag

But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.

He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,

And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,

The delivery boy was his favorite prey.

The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,

He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire

But the story’s long to tell.

Suffice it to say that he survived

And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,

He was always first out the door.

The Old One and I brought up the rear

Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,

What a beautiful pair they were!

And if it was still light and the tourists were out,

They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks

And with a frown on his face look around.

It was just to make sure that the Old One was there

And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house — I guess I’m the first to retire.

And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me

And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,

And I’d give him one for a while.

He would push it under the bed with his nose

And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long He’d tire of the ball

And be asleep in his corner In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him Climb upon our bed

And lie between us,

And I’d pat his head.

And there were nights when I’d feel this stare

And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there

And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.

And sometimes I’d feel him sigh and I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night

And he would have this fear

Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,

And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead.

And there are nights when I think I feel him

Climb upon our bed and lie between us,

And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think I feel that stare

And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,

But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,

I’ll always love a dog named Beau.

 

The selected writing is from the book Jimmy Stewart and His Poems.  He reminisces over losing a beloved pet in a way that is both relatable and heartbreaking. Taking the reader on a journey, you get to know the dog and can feel the writer’s affection for the animal. His pacing and meter are excellent and I really enjoy reading the verse of Jimmy Stewart, I highly recommend that you hunt down some more of his work.

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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Garrison Keillor is a champion of literature, hosting both the Prairie Home Companion and the Writer’s Almanac on NPR. He has written over a dozen books, two poetry anthologies and starred in a 2006 film based upon the aforementioned Prairie Home Companion.  As a member of the American Association of Arts & Letters and The Poetry Foundation he strives to bring the written word to the masses.

 

Thong Song

To people raised in a railroad shack
It is known as your butt crack.
To people who are more verbally deft
It is known as the gluteal cleft.
Either way, it’s at the bottom of your back
Between the one on the right and the one on the left.

Some ladies’ swimwear of slender heft
Displays freely the gluteal cleft.
On this matter, my mind is shut:
Don’t walk around showing off your butt
Please desist at least
Until I am deceased.

Your gluteal cleft, I must insist,
Should be seen by your dermatologist
When treating a rash, or cyst,
And nobody else. No daughter of mine
Wears thongs. That’s the bottom line.

 

The selected work is from Keillor’s book Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound.  In his signature dry and witty tone, he analyzes a fashion trend that he doesn’t understand. His reflective opinion is sprinkled with his own moral values in a really enjoyable way. Without being high handed or overly negative he draws criticism to a concept he disapproves of. To hear a live version of the above poem go here. Or to see more of Keillor’s spectacular writings, go here.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Reviewing The Watchmen

“Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.”

 

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The Watchmen is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the comic book art form. Alan Moore writes and Dave Gibbons illustrates this dark and dynamic story following a group of retired superheroes. Taking place in an alternate time line, this story highlights and amplifies the cold war paranoia of America in the mid-eighties as World War Three seems to be growing ever closer. This comic examines the lives and moral struggles of a group of former superheroes when one of their own dies.

Full disclosure, I think this is one of the greatest books ever written. I have read it a number of times and find the somber subject matter fascinating. It is superheroes that are not the paragons of justice. It is masked heroes at their most human, their most selfish,most inconsiderate and most violent. It is a character study of those looked upon when the villains rise to challenge the helpless. This book has no clear cut protagonist, as it is written it show highlights the ambiguity that exists within us all.

Moore’s creation has been represented in a number other mediums. A 2009 Film, that was met with mixed reviews,a pretty stellar motion comic and a long rumored animated series and/or movie. This work has been universally praised as one of the greatest of all time. Gibbons’ art is highly regarded as it works so well with the ominous nature of the text. It blends and flows so well, it is marvelous. The Watchmen has the best implementation of the ‘story within a story’ concept I’ve ever read, with The Tales of The Black Freighter being smooth and easy to follow.

This book is well worth your time. Over and over again it is worth the effort. Even if you’re not a comic reader or if you weren’t wowed by Zach Snyder’s Film adaptation, I recommend it. This is truly one of the great pieces of American art. With a diverse cast of characters and a intriguing plot, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to give it a read.  See a sample of the graphic novel here or go here to watch the motion comic.

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“It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us.”

 

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. 

 

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Weekly Poetry Pick

 

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Charles Bukowski is a legendary poet, short story writer and novelist.  His writings about the common man and how his environment impacted him was appealing and different. The influences of women, alcohol, the act of writing itself and humdrum of work were all present in his writing. A dynamically sense of self awareness continues to serve as inspiration today.  

 

I Might Get Traded

 

They sent the veteran second baseman

down to Fresno

so a 22-year-old kid could have

his playing time.

It’s a matter of investment:

Cheaper help

With a future.

Life in baseball

is limited.

But with a little luck in the Arts

you might last

right up to your deathbed.

Unfortunately

it took me

half an evening

just to write this.

it looks like

another slow night in

San Pedro.

 

 

 

The selected piece is from Bukowski’s book The Continual Condition. This work does an excellent job of pointing out the writer’s feeling the passage of time. He examines inwardly and uses the example of team sports to dissect his own accomplishments and his place in the universe. His frankness whilst dealing with self doubt is insightful and humorous. If you enjoyed this work I’d strongly encourage you to enjoy more Charles Bukowski here.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Reviewing The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Caleveras County

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Mark Twain is one of the most enjoyable writers to ever bless the art of literature. His unique wit and unmistakable style make some of the most fun reading. His use of language celebrates the everyman in a way that few other writers have been able to. Already being a fan, I knew I would enjoy this story. This is the story that put Mark Twain on the map. This is The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County.

The most relevant thing I can relay to any potential readers of this story is the substance is the least important part. This tale is all about the journey and far less about the destination. It follows the narrator, who is a western mining town for the first time. At the request of a friend, he meets a man named Leonidas W. Smiley. As opposed to giving the narrator the information he needs, Smiley weaves this overblown tale about a frog jumping contest.

The narrator suffers through the long winded tale of Smiley and interjects his opinions about it along the way. Presented in a clever way, Twain manages to capture the humor and suffering experienced when someone just won’t stop talking. Being a victim of your own courtesy can trap you in the wake of a windbag. The ending really makes this story and without ruining it, I must insist you take the time to read it. A short read, this provides a good escape and can easily be completed during a lunch break. I feel this is a great introduction to Mark Twain for new readers and a fantastic time killer for old fans. Enjoy this story here.

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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Thomas Hardy was a celebrated writer. Known primarily for his novelized critique of Victorian society in England. His most acclaimed novels were Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd.  Hardy was also known for his dynamic poetry. His experimentation with style and his ability to manipulate language and stanzas in an unconventional way is powerful. His themes of loss and disappointment reverberate throughout his poems. His poems relating to the Boer War and World War One are amongst my favorites. I present to you one of my favorites.

 

 

The Man He Killed

“Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

“But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

“I shot him dead because —
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That’s clear enough; although

“He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,
Off-hand like — just as I —
Was out of work — had sold his traps —
No other reason why.

“Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You’d treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown.”

Seeing the way the narrator interprets his enemy causes the reader to truly examine the humanity of both men involved. Hardy forces you to see that these are just two men who happen to be from different places. Others have declared them enemies, not the soldiers themselves. It delivers it’s point quickly and concisely without belaboring the point. If you need more of Thomas Hardy’s work you can find some examples here.

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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Sabres Of Infinity Review

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Do you want to play a game and read a book at the same time? Would you like to explore a fictional world that involves gunpowder and sorcery? Do you want something that is well written and original all at the same time? If so, Sabres of Infinity is the experience for you.

The creator, Paul Wong weaves a unique setting that has the player assume the role of a member of an aristocratic family who in deeply indebted. In order to relieve the debt, your family has sent the playable character to serve in the military. Through a series of options, you are allowed to chose the stats and characteristics of your character.

The story follows the character as they complete their training and interact with several of their peers. By selecting certain actions, your peers either become allies or rivals. After completing training and being assigned to active action you really get to see what an interesting setting the game provides.

The thing that really impressed me with this game was the writing. I found that I really began to care about the main character and his plight as he navigated the effects of battle. You find yourself dealing with hostile natives and questioning the motives of the war itself along with the manner in which your countrymen conduct themselves. It pushes the player to ask some deep questions whilst allowing you to immerse yourself in the character and the world presented.

I feel this game provides a great deal of replayability and I cannot wait to play it again and see what other options are available. I cannot wait to play the sequel Guns of Infinity and I feel that for the purchase price was well worth the price. All in all, this is worth the time and if you need a unique game with a great setting this is your choice. Check it out here.

 

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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On Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, I felt it appropriate to select some of his work. I believe that Poe’s reputation has preceded him.  He was a master wordsmith who contributed greatly to the genres of science fiction and the detective story. His signature macabre style and vast vocabulary still stand out amongst the throngs of written word. So in celebration of the man, I present to you one of my favorites.

 

 

 

Alone

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw — I could not bring
My passions from a common spring —
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow — I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone —
And all I lov’d — I lov’d alone —
Then — in my childhood — in the dawn
Of a most stormy life — was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still —
From the torrent, or the fountain —
From the red cliff of the mountain —
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold —
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by —
From the thunder, and the storm —
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view —

 

 

 

The above work was never printed during Poe’s lifetime. He signed a fan’s autograph book with it and after a stringent verification process, it was confirmed as his. I love the panache of Poe to sign an autograph with an original poem. Alone does a fantastic job of capturing the feelings we all have when we are by ourselves. It seeps through the words and highlights the small things that he has loved by himself. All that he loves, he loves wholly by himself. It mirrors each of us, as we have those things that we hold dearest but do so by ourselves, alone. For more of Poe’s excellent poetry, I suggest you go here.

 

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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Bucky Sinister was the pseudonym, of David Lerner.  He was a renegade poet active in both the New York and San Francisco. He embraced the bohemian life and published a large number of articles in a variety of publications. He cofounded Zeitgeist Press which focused on publishing poets involved in the Babar Cafe. Affectionately known as the T.S. Elliot of the underground.

 

 

 

I Was With Her Long Enough To Change Brands of Cigarettes

We had split a bottle of wine and a pint of rum
before we went into the fair.
It started with a kiss on the ferris wheel.
I didn’t know that actually happened until then.
One of my favorite days of all time…

Six months later
I gave her money that she referred to as “fetus money.”
We were long over as a romantic couple.
That day she listed why she hated me.

I had told her that I was sorry and I said so again
but those words can’t take away a clumsy fuck.

The way she talked to me
it sounded like her mistakes
never hurt anyone but herself.
My mistakes have bad aim
and always seem to hit those near me.

This work oozes with the sarcastic wit of a failed relationship. It shows the rapid decline of infatuation with a candor often left out most writings. A cocktail mixing sinister dark imagery and profanity with a self-deprecating humor.  The above poem makes me wish that much more of Bucky Sinister’s poetry was collected and published before his death. Several of his works are featured in The Outlaw Bible Of American Poetry.  If beat poetry in the style of Ginsberg and Pablo Neruda are your thing, you will love his writings.

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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A Haunted House Review

“Nearer they come; cease at the doorway. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken; we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak.”

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Virginia Woolf’s A Haunted House is the perfect holiday short story. Being the time of the year for warm fuzzies and loving family, this one will surprise you with the way the story flows. I believe that this work would fall into the realm of unconventional Christmas fiction. So if you are a Die Hard and A Nightmare Before Christmas as holiday material kind of person, I think this would be a good choice for you.

I thought this was an excellent jump off point to Virginia Woolf’s writing and if you find yourself enjoying this you will enjoy Mrs. Dalloway or The Waves. This work follows a narrator who resides in a haunted house in which two ghosts are searching for something. As the story progresses, the author discovers what the two spirits are looking for. The imagery used is both hauntingly playful and ends on an upbeat note.

Overall, this is a good way to spend thirty minutes. A quick paced, upbeat story that finds a way to both be eerie and uplifting. The author leaves the reader in an era of suspense throughout. In a world saturated by the same Christmas stories, I think this would be an excellent addition.  This is most certainly worth your time. Read it for free here.

“Death was the glass; death was between us;”

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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Susan Firer is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she teaches women’s studies and creative writing. She has published six books of poetry and has been honored by her home city with the poet laureate.  Utilizing a vivacious and imaginative writing style she builds truly memorable poems.  You can view a  sample of her works here.

 

 

The Transit of Venus

The poppies start as aliens
end as husbands, a pause
of light, a dull scatter.
Transports dandelion clouds.
Venus passes between sun &
earth. Exceedingly rare, Transit,
have you noticed how close
the ode & elegy are?
(In the United States someone
dies every sixteen seconds!)
Husband, Supermoon, Venus
come & go. Death says there
is no you at the end of weather.
“Among the rarest of all predictable
astronomical . . .” Husband
presented me. The weatherman
says we are locked in the clouds.

The above is a great piece from Firer’s Transit of Venus.  I love this poem,  the way in which it connects all aspects of life so neatly. Successfully swirling wondrous mysteries and cosmic imagery into an elegant eighteen-line poem.  The final lines, in particular, resonated with me most of all. I will own this book, based solely on this poem and I hope that this writer continues to craft excellent verses for many years to come.

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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Reviewing Man Vs Snake

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I am a sucker for documentaries. Anything from the tsars of Russia to how a paperclip is made. I’ll watch deep thinking and downright stupid. My favorites are those without agenda bent on sharing a narrative for the sake of that narrative. This film did that better than any I have seen in quite some time and could easily be a front runner for on my favorite documentaries of all time.

Very much in the vein of King of Kong or Chasing Ghosts, Man Vs Snake delves into the world of vintage arcade game competition. It follows Tim Mcvey, who set a record score on Nibbler in his youth. When his score is beaten he comes out of retirement to reclaim his record.  Throughout the course of the flick, you find yourself really pulling for Tim. He seems like such a genuinely nice person, you really want him to taste success and reconquer his record score.

I’m not much into team sports movies that tell the tale of a miscreant group getting it together in the end.I am; however, a sucker for stories of people overcoming themselves and becoming victorious.  So if you need a nerdy, inspiring documentary this is the one for you.This movie hit me at a really good time. I needed motivation and it was delivered in spades. I related with Tim as he struggled to become a better person and it ended in a very uplifting way. Well directed and laced with little flourishes that really make it stand out, I highly encourage you to give Man Vs Snake a watch.

 

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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Reviewing War Is a Racket

“Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket. 1) We must take the profit out of war. 2) We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war. 3) We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.”

 

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Major General Smedley Butler wrote this work in 1935 after retiring from the United States Marine Corps. It is an expansion of a speech of the same title. Butler, a career military officer served from 1898 until 1931. During his tenure, he received two Medals of Honor, A Marine Corps Brevet Star, an Order of the Black Star and twelve other awards or medals. He was highly praised during his career and upon retiring he became an outspoken critic of the military system.

I am so glad that I was turned onto this book. Having someone so decisively and drastically critique their entire profession is astounding. He examines the way in which the United States wages war and breaks it down into five easy to follow sections. His sarcastic demeanor really adds some personality to this work. His heart is truly in the pages of this book. He sees war as a crime that is paid for by innocents in lives lost and money taken, as the title suggests he compares the war system to organized crime. He is brutally critical of the ‘military-industrial complex’ in a enlightened and refreshing way.  These were some of the best fourteen pages I’ve ever set my eyes on.

This book should be read in every history class. While some of the solutions presented are not the most practical or realistic, it could open a dialogue that could lead to some true answers. I believe that Butler’s wit and candor would really push even the most staunch military supports to reexamine the way in which foreign entanglements are conducted. This work reached fame when published in the Reader’s Digest in the thirties. I would really like to see another major publication take a chance and reprint this. I hope that all my readers will take a minute to enjoy this, I’ve included a link to the PDF here.

 

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“In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn’t join the army.”

 

 

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Weekly Poetry Pick

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Jim Morrison is a rock and roll icon. His dynamic songwriting and piercing vocals helped propel The Doors to the legendary status they enjoy amongst music lovers. Easily one of the greatest frontmen of all time, Morrison’s charismatic way with words is something to behold. His collections of writings and poems are compelling and moving. I’d highly recommend any of them to fans of his music or just fans of surrealistic poetry, these are for you. There are a few examples of his poems on the following link.

 

Power

I can make the earth stop in

its tracks. I made the

blue cars go away.

I can make myself invisible or small.

I can become gigantic & reach the

farthest things. I can change

the course of nature.

I can place myself anywhere in

space or time.

I can summon the dead.

I can perceive events on other worlds,

in my deepest inner mind,

& in the minds of others.

I can

I am

The above is from Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison. While some have claimed this book is inaccessible, I never found it as such. I enjoyed this poem and the vast journey the reader is taken upon with it. The vastness and mental imagery are excellent and this could easily have a been a portion of a song. I found the transitions well done and you sort of waft through the entire piece until arriving at the end. All in all, this is a great bit of writing by an incredible writer. Truly Jim Morrison’s verses are some of the humanities’ finest.

 

 

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Reviewing The Communist Manifesto

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“The proletarians have nothing to loose but their chains. They have a world to win.”

 

Of everything I’ve read in the Adult Book Reports, this is probably the most notorious. Whether it is looked at as gospel or heresy,this is the book that inspired both revolution and McCarthyism. This is one of those banned books that I’m sure the purchase of puts me on a government watch list. This is Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels most well-known work. This is The Communist Manifesto.

This book was very difficult for me to read objectively.  I am diametrically opposed to almost every idea held within it. I do not believe that private property, free markets, and minimal government are the evils presented in the text. After I was able to disconnect my own personal views with what was presented within the manifesto, I partially understood its appeal. To throw off the oppressive overlords and have working class unite against them. To give the power back to those who sell their labor to merely scratch by. To get away from the oppressive hierarchy and have an equal share. Written in a persuasive and almost motivational manner, this book really pushes its points home through the writing. Marx and Engels obviously are true believers in their dogma and it reverberates throughout the text. They genuinely want everyone to have an equal shot at the surrounding and feel by uniting the downtrodden, this will be achieved.

When originally distributed this was a pamphlet. It is also presented in a way to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The target audience is obviously the poor and uneducated who will tear down the oppressive hierarchy. Those who are underfoot by tyranny will see this as a guiding light and begin to establish the ideas within. Divided into four parts, it can be easily recounted to others and broken down into small blurbs. It is an amazing piece of propaganda on par with something from the Civil Defense Corps or radical religious material. It is a powerful, persuasive and incredibly well-written text. It pushed me to think and examine my own politics, but never in any real way to convert me. If anything, whilst reading this I often found myself questioning the purpose of the state at all. This was an interesting read, if only for its historical significance.  If you feel the need to read this, take it with a grain of salt.

 

 

“WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!”

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

Hellboy: Makoma Review

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Typically these adult book reports revolve around a piece of classic literature. Typically they are a new author or long heralded book that I’ve never read. Typically they involve something with a reputation for literary greatness.  Other times, I just read a really good Hellboy storyline and feel the need to share it.

For those unfamiliar, Hellboy is a well-intentioned demon who works for the Burea of Paranormal Research and Defense and fights off dark forces. Written with the perfect mix of Lovecraftian horror, folklore, alternate history, and quick wit these stories are excellent. For the most part, each story arc is self-contained and very friendly to new readers. The creator, Mike Mignola has crafted a universe where anything is possible and will whisk you away at a moments notice.

Makoma, or A Tale Told By A Mummy In The New York Explorers’ Club On August 16, 1993. Is a two-part story in which Mike Mignola teams with comic legend Richard Corben. The artwork throughout this book is superb, but I feel that this particular arc shows everything Hellboy does well. It features a traditional fable and incorporates the humor and horror elements that are a staple of the series. The dueling elements of Hellboy’s destiny as a demonic tool in the apocalypse and his good intentions are prominently displayed in these comics.  The African folkloric theme was sublime and did an excellent job of immersing the reader into the narrative. An easy to follow and exciting story make this an extremely enjoyable read. I’ll admit that this is a bias review, I love Mignola’s work and Hellboy is one of my absolute characters in fiction. If you need a quick read or an introduction into the series I highly recommend this comic. I’ve included an Amazon Kindle link here where you can pick these up for a few dollars. This is money and time well spent, so I encourage you to give them a try.

 

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Weekly Poetry Pick

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Saul Williams is a force of nature. A prolific and prophetic poet who emerged onto the slam poetry scene in the late nineties. He was the star of the films Slam and Today, was the lead in the Broadway musical Holler If you Hear Me, has released five records and six books of poetry. His spoken word performances are some of the most powerful that I have ever witnessed and I highly suggest you enjoy more of his work here.

She

We sleep
In the same house
But it is we
Who have a
Long distance relationship

I presented
My feminine side
With flowers
She cut the stems
And placed them gently
Down my throat
And these tulips
Might soon eclipse
Your brightest hopes

To aim
Is to take oneself too seriously
By focusing without instead of within
re arrange and re member
Aim…I am
The right letters are there
It’s the wrong composition…

 
The above excerpt from Saul’s slam masterpiece She. This is some of my favorite writing of all time. He is one of the few authors who can still send a shiver down my spine with every time I read his work. This poem explores the plethora of thoughts, emotions and feeling experienced during the relationship with the mother of his son. With vivacious and poignant imagery he shows how two people sometimes no longer fit together. This is one of his finest and if you enjoyed the above sample, I hope you will seek out his other work. There is truly a plethora of greatness authored by Saul Williams.

 

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

 

Excuse Me While I Disarm

 

 

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“Remember the first rule of gunfighting … have a gun.” – Col. Jeff Cooper

 

 

Concealing a firearm is a pain in the ass. I mean a royal pain in the ass. Those who choose to conceal carry know this all too well. There is a sadomasochist nature in trying to keep a piece of steel and/or polymer hidden. It is an abusive relationship between comfort and concealment. It is a balance of concessions, as the gun you carry is often not your favorite nor the one which you shoot the best. You will find yourself constantly comparing your current carry gun to others on the market and debating the merits of the two. When you do choose a firearm you then find yourself cycling through holsters to find a reasonably cozy and practical option. You are in a constant state of flux and always open to selecting a better option.  

After you have chosen the combination of gun, holster and carry method you become fiercely loyal to it. Once your functional layout becomes a habit, it becomes second nature to equip it each day. Without any additional thoughts, you find yourself putting on your gun each morning along with fresh underwear and deodorant. It becomes a necessary part of your life. It is a tool you dare not go anywhere without. You feel as ready as you can be if danger comes. You train as much as possible with your chosen tool and have developed a relationship with it. You may own multiple firearms, but that one is your go to carry gun. You’re always aware that it is there, but it doesn’t consume your every thought. It is an old friend that is ever present.

Then it happens. You arrive at a location where due to local laws or regulations you are not permitted to conceal carry. Standing outside of that location an internal dialogue erupts. Do you ignore the sign and rules or do you proceed? Does the current situation and environment allow an easy and safe way to remove your firearm? What happens if this is the day you really need that gun? My friends and family usually know what it means when I go to back to the car before I enter a facility. If questioned I usually utter the phrase “Excuse me while I disarm.” I remove my handgun, secure it and return to the party I came with. As we proceed I try to not make a big deal out of it, but it is. Not getting into the politics involved, I hate being unarmed. If I am awake, I generally have a firearm on me or close. It is my choice and I do it safely. When I am forced to remove it, I feel exposed. I am very aware that I do not have a pistol on or near me. I find myself hoping that this is not the day I will desperately need an effective means of defense. The day is overshadowed by “what ifs” instead of “what ares”. The entire experience never as enjoyable as it could be. I would feel much better if this place allowed me to carry and I know I am not alone.

My final thought is this, if you own a business maybe you should rethink that no guns allowed sign. It has an effect on your customers, but many will never voice this. Most will quietly cooperate, but I highly doubt they will frequent a place that doesn’t allow them to conceal carry. It is a heavy decision for me to remove a firearm and enter any establishment, no matter what wonders lie behind those doors.

 

 

“Carrying a gun isn’t supposed to be comfortable, it is supposed to be a comfort” -Clint Smith

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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 by downloading his latest e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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.

Electioneering and How I Learned the Limits of Free Speech

 

It was two o’clock on your average early voting day. People standing in line in a state appointed building. Filing through the line and answering question about their voting status.  I stood amid the throngs, holding my voter registration card, my state ID and my diligently researched sample ballot so I could chose the best representative who coincided with my beliefs. Oh, and I was also wearing this.

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As the line spiraled toward the actual booths, one of the volunteers said that I couldn’t vote in the shirt I had chosen. It was a violation of the Texas polling place laws, where your intentions of which candidate you choose cannot be displayed. I was a bit shocked at this, but I was offered alternatives. I could either turn it inside out or they had an apron I could wear over it. I declined both methods of being controlled and quietly left. Over the last few days, I have voraciously read and researched the regulations around what is called, electioneering.  To the best of my knowledge I had violated the following.

Sec. 61.003.  ELECTIONEERING AND LOITERING NEAR POLLING PLACE.  (a)  A person commits an offense if, during the voting period and within 100 feet of an outside door through which a voter may enter the building in which a polling place is located, the person:
(1)  loiters;  or
(2)  electioneers for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.
(a-1)  The entity that owns or controls a public building being used as a polling place may not, at any time during the voting period, prohibit electioneering on the building’s premises outside of the area described in Subsection (a), but may enact reasonable regulations concerning the time, place, and manner of electioneering.
(b)  In this section:
(1)  “Electioneering” includes the posting, use, or distribution of political signs or literature.
(2)  “Voting period” means the period beginning when the polls open for voting and ending when the polls close or the last voter has voted, whichever is later.
(c)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.”

This article is not intended to be a woeful tale of how my voting rights were violated, I went back several days later and cast my ballot in attire that was acceptable for the state mandated dress code. I am of the belief censoring the political intentions of anyone, especially at the place of voting is heresy. To determine that these freedoms are benign in designated places baffles me. When I recounted this tale to family and friends, I was met with confusion that I didn’t know this rule as law. The most cursory Google search corroborated their opinions. It also revealed that every election cycle a handful of people are either removed from polling places, arrested or fined for electioneering violations.

If voting is performing your civic duty or patriotic responsibility, shouldn’t fundamental human rights be observed during those actions? Applying a wide allotment of restrictions to a place, simply because it has a voting booth is counter productive and wrong. The bureaucratic process of voting is already a hassle, but only the stupid or determined will persevere through the gauntlet of inconvenience to cast a vote. It seems with every passing moment, additional limitations are placed upon your ability to merely exist. The hardest ones for me to swallow are the ones buried so deep in rhetoric, you discover them only by unwillingly defying them. Land of the free, indeed.

 

 

I found the following to be of great use on this subject

http://law.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4685&context=expresso

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/EL/htm/EL.61.htm

http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/electioneering.asp

 

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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Dorianne Laux is an award winning poet whose free verse poetry has a simple and elegant meter to it. Her ability to draw the reader into the beauty of the everyday is astounding. Laux has taught creative writing at the University of Oregon, Pacific University, and North Carolina State University and lives in North Carolina with her husband.  I strongly encourage all my readers to visit her site.

Ray at 14

by Dorianne Laux

Bless this boy, born with the strong face
of my older brother, the one I loved most,
who jumped with me from the roof
of the playhouse, my hand in his hand.
On Friday nights we watched Twilight Zone
and he let me hold the bowl of popcorn,
a blanket draped over our shoulders,
saying, Don’t be afraid. I was never afraid
when I was with my big brother
who let me touch the baseball-size muscles
living in his arms, who carried me on his back
through the lonely neighborhood,
held tight to the fender of my bike
until I made him let go.
The year he was fourteen
he looked just like Ray, and when he died
at twenty-two on a roadside in Germany
I thought he was gone forever.
But Ray runs into the kitchen: dirty T-shirt,
torn jeans, pushes back his sleeve.
He says, Feel my muscle, and I do.

 

 

I found the above poem thanks to the Writer’s Almanac Podcast with Garrison Keillor. I truly enjoyed this work. The writer does a commendable job of paying tribute to the deceased while showing the love she holds for Ray. It pushes the reader to connect with their own life and draw the parallel that when someone passes, they are never truly gone. I found a lot of comfort in the message from this poem and look forward to reading more work from this poet.

 

 

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.

 

Reviewing Black Mirror Season 3

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I love anthology series with twisted themes and dark satire of the modern society. From Twilight Zone to Outer Limits to Tales from the Crypt, these are the shows that appeal to me most. The first two seasons of Black Mirror were easily some of the best television I have experienced as a viewer. Charlie Booker’s ability to create such well written scenarios pushes you to a explore emotions and thoughts rarely examined on your own.

I’ve looked forward to the new releases via Netflix for some time now. My anticipation was pretty high going in and this season did not disappoint. Thematically this season focused more heavily on the culture’s relationship with technology and communication than the previous two seasons. I particularly enjoyed how it dared to peer into the future and make some startling predictions about what will become societal norms. From the open of episode one, this season was exemplary. Each episode felt more connected than they had in the past, but I think that thread helped the overall journey.

Outside of the fourth episode ”San Junipero” , season three of Black Mirror was stellar. I’ve rewatched them all and as always the finale was one of the strongest episodes of the season. I find myself eagerly awaiting the next thing this show has to offer. I cannot recommend this show highly enough and it was easily the best thing I saw all of the Halloween season. Go watch it now.

 

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 Witch Review

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Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

 

 

Occasionally as an adult, you lose touch with the mystery and wonder that fairy tales bring. You find yourself mired in the reality of life and forget what is lying just beyond sight. What is lurking in the darkness, just out of reach. The Witch does an excellent job of bringing those fears to the front.

First off, this is a fantastic horror movie. I mean fantastic. It goes all in by shoving you into the atmosphere of early 1600s New England. It envelopes you in a world that forces you to believe in witchcraft. Aided by well executed dialogue and some stellar child acting the viewer sees the zealot nature of the protagonists. The earnestness of their convictions make the threats presented become all the greater to the viewer. The tension is built consistently and evenly until it reaches a highly compelling climax.

The thing I enjoyed about this movie more than anything else, was it’s return to classic tropes. In this movie, witches worship the devil, seduce and eat children, sacrifice animals and bathe in the blood of virgins. It builds on the legends from childhood stories and makes them genuinely scary. This movie gives you second thoughts about walking in the woods alone. A great addition to any Halloween.  

 

 

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.

 

 

Nosferatu The Vampyre(1979)

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Time is an abyss…

 

During the month of October our tradition is to watch a horror movie every night all thirty one days. I usually don’t have a plan or a theme, I just snatch films at random. I always try to sample some of the newest offerings or at least enjoy a few that I haven’t ever seen.  As with most traditions, I have a few I favorites I’ll rewatch every year. No Halloween is complete without The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Omen, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and my personal favorite, Nosferatu.   

Nosferatu is a silent film horror classic. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula the iconic imagery of this film is deeply embedded into popular culture.  Max Schreck’s portrayal of the monster was so convincing, rumors of him actually being a vampire still circulate. Nosferatu is so great on every level it physically hurts, I will always enthusiastically recommend it.  During my searching for movies I came across the West German remake from 1979 called Nosferatu the Vampyre. I have seen the title before, but I assumed it was just another recut of the original. There are several edits that have added different styles of music and whatnot trying to increase the experience. As I looked into this movie, it is highly reviewed. Extremely highly reviewed. Everything from the set design to the acting were giving shining, 5 star marks from all critics. How can I not watch such a marvel? How could my Halloween not include such a masterpiece?

Maybe I am not the target audience or I am too dense to appreciate the subtle artisitc nuiances employed in this movie, but this movie sucked. This movie fucking sucked and I don’t mean a little, I mean a lot. It was so goddamn tedious to sit through and managed committed the most egregious sin of all, mediocrity.  When a remake is so boring it makes you question the quality of the original and the source material simultaneously, you have truly achieved something. I really don’t understand how this thing was given the golden crown of cinematic achievement by so many people. I didn’t do anything for me other than make me wish to watch the original. I didn’t see the point of this remake at all, when a movie as stellar as the 1922 film exists.  Save yourself some time and the only enjoy the Nosferatu worth knowing.

 

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Death is not the worst. There are things more horrible than death.

 

 

 

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.

Antigone Review

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Sophocles’ Antigone has sat, unread and ignored upon my bookshelf for at least four years. Written in 441 BC it continues the story of Oedipus Rex’s children. Seeing the next saga of the famous story always intrigued me and I couldn’t think of much more frightening and disturbing this Halloween season than being the child of such an infamous man.

I tried to understand and enjoy this story. I honestly tried.  Knowing the language gap would be a challenge I read the historical context and used a study guide to help me digest the contents of this play. I went into this one with genuine effort. I wanted to complete this book and feel like a smarter and more well rounded person. I wanted to know the continuation of the story and be able to discuss it in detail. I wanted to revel in the merits of ancient Greek writings. I was unable to do so.

This book took so much effort to complete. It was a slow, ponderous read and I felt more like I was reading it out of obligation than out of enjoyment. Without knowing what happened via summaries, I would have never been able to follow the plot through the text. Perhaps I lack the depth of intelligence to appreciate this particular work, but this was not something I can recommend. This just isn’t worth the investment of time or energy.

 

 

 

-My nails are broken, my fingers are bleeding, my arms are covered with the welts left by the paws of your guards—but I am a queen!-

 

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.

 

 

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.

1984 Review

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If you want a review of George Orwell’s 1984, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

The setting is of no consequence and the characters are irrelevant. Unless, of course the Party deems it to be.

In that case it would take place in London, England part of Oceania around the year of 1984 roughly 30 to 40 years after, what appears to be, a world wide revolution that followed an atomic war. A world that started diverged from our timeline near WWII. We follow the daily life of Winston Smith who’s job is to rewrite history, a younger girl, Julia, who’s rebellion is purely of self interest, a man of privilege and orthodoxy and both ally and adversary, O’Brien, and finally the true protagonist of the story, Big Brother, the omnipresent embodiment of the world in its totality. Or, if it was recast today, a blogger, a millennial in every hipster of the word, a priest (perhaps either Catholic or Scientology), and Steve Jobs.

People have said that Orwell was afraid of our privacy being taken away by force and had no idea that we would willfully give it away with things like Facebook and other social media sharing platforms or through voting and accepting security measures to “keep us safe” that forfeiting privacy and freedom But, I think, THAT was exactly how he thought it would happen. That they would be tricked and rewarded and scared into giving up what they hold dear and not just by their leaders but also by their friends that were duped as well.

For what I think of it as a book, for a deep subject it should be an easy read but that might be because it repeats it’s self a lot. So, if you don’t understand a concept you will have a second chance to wrap your head around it. But if I had do give any big criticism it is that when talk about Winston’s life as it does not relate directly to the rest of the world, it can drag a bit. Lucky, Orwell is more interested in the world than the characters and almost seems to have wanted to write something akin to Plato’s Republic but did not know how to do that so he did it in a more stranded novel form. Or maybe thought Winston, Julia, and O’Brien would be a guise in which the the message could exhibit itself to act as a focusing point for love, fear, and reverence, emotions which are more easily felt towards an individual than towards an idea. I personally like the book within a book style of writing. Something about a fictional nonfiction book really appeals to me. It happens in the book version of Starship Troopers, and in a movie called the Confederate States of America (it is done as a BBC documentary about a the south winning the civil war)

This is part review and part analysis because I do tend to ramble on. So if you do not want that here is your jumping of point.


The world of 1984 would be described by us a totalitarian, but by O’Brien as the exact opposite, English Socialism, and by the writer of a book within this book, Emmanuel Goldstein, as Oligarchical Collectivism, which I personally think is the closest. The politics, morality, and economics of Oceania are the main interest of the story of 1984. So much so that it required there to be another books within it; the above mentioned manifesto of Goldstein. One thing to note is that everything in 1984 is unreliable. Winston’s memories of his childhood before the revolution, news broadcast, O’Brien’s speeches on Party doctrine, and Goldstein’s accounts of the rise of the Party and how it appears to function; there is not outside the Party. Even the Victory Gin is not gin; it is Saké! It is also conceivable that Oceania is not bigger than England and the rest of the world is carrying on in the usual manner, similar to the North Korea situation.

There are three levels of society: the Inner Party about 2% of the population, the Outer Party about 13%, and ’the proles’ about 85%. Only Party members have the constant monitoring by the telescreens (a TV that watches back) and the Inner Party are the only ones “permitted” to turn them off for brief moments. The Party views the proles as energy to run society at best or slaves at worst. But it is not the kind of slavery that has chains. Throughout the book it is said if there is any hope to bring down the Party and Big Brother it lies in the proles, but it is also pointed out that the proles are kept too busy or otherwise entertain and preoccupy to revolt. They just don’t want to because from their view nothing is wrong. They go to work and get paid, come home, read a book or go to the bar, go to sleep and do it all again the next day. They live. Sure the conditions are not that great to our modern day western standards, but its seams that they live about an average life for someone in say, the industrial revelation or, well, Europe in the early ’40.

It actually looks like, to me, that the prole are the most free and it is the Outer Party that is the most oppressed and the Inner Party is somewhere in between. If anything can be believed there is no Capital of Oceania, and other than Big Brother (who I doubt is real) there is no true leader, and there are no laws. But as this is a Dystopia, something is wrong with all this freedom. It is an Idea that is in charge. I think at one time the revolution was a good thing and meant a lot of good for the world, a lot like in Animal Farm , it got perverted and out of hand. I think there is not government at all. I think it is everyone collectively, out of an imagined fear made manifest, doing what they think they have been told to do. Like the Borg or ants they do what they do because of the Collectivism part. I think the early years of the Party were so effective that they did away with there own founders and laws and now the Party only exists to exist.

O’Brien said the Party is “interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.” I don’t think that is true particularly because of what he says later “the individual is only a cell? The weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism. Do you die when you cut your fingernails?” it exist to exist and power is a byproduct. Your liver does not have high morals of keeping you alive and functions to do that; your lungs aren’t striving to impress your heart. They all are doing their own thing, oblivious to each other, and it happens to keep you alive. In the same way I think the various Ministries and organization do what they do because that is what they do. The Inner Party is no better off than the Outer Party in any meaningful way. And the proles care just as little about the Party members as the Party cares about them. If they are in hell, it is one of the Twilight Zone ironic hells of their own making.

I know this was long winded (this is actually the shorten version) and I apologies for that. Let’s just say that I am overcompensating for the fact that Cody does all the article and political ramblings on the website. I have more I could say, maybe there will be a tie-in segment in an upcoming episode?

I don’t know what all this says about me but I will leave you with a revelation that Winston had about the book he read that is both profound and one of the best and scariest things to think about when you read a book yourself or hear people talk about books they liked:

” The book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it had been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in order. It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.”

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Ryan S. Brewer is the co-host and editor of the Bored Shenanigans podcast (when he releases one) available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of Brewer’s Shitty Writing very sporadically here or as episode descriptions. Also he has nothing else to enjoy anywhere else, but you can find Cody’s poetry blog here  or download his e-book hereBe sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or the Faceyspace. 

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.

Moments Like This Never Last

 

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The Misfits are the greatest band of all time. I can state this with utmost sincerity and fervent devotion. Their ability to blend horror themes with fast paced punk rock have made them musical icons. The fiend skull logo has become quite familiar and has snuck it’s way into multiple venues of pop culture. Even the those unfamiliar with the music will recognize the brand. As with any long lasting, group they will go through multiple incarnations. I’ve caught a lot of heat from purists for not decrying one “era” over another but honestly there is nary an “era” of their music I don’t enjoy. From the early 70s to the rebirth in the late 90s to the latest incarnation featuring just one founding member. They strike a part of my person that few other artists seem to. As the lineups have changed, I’ve followed any former member’s current project with interest simply because of their association with The Misfits. This band is infectious and fantastic.

Last Sunday, Denver’s Riot Fest was big news for any fan of The Misfits or any fan of punk rock in general. For first time in thirty three years the founding members of Glen Danzig, Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein ascended the stage. Accompanied on drums by Dave Lombardo of Slayer fame, the anxious crowd was stunned as they flawlessly performed twenty songs spanning their ‘77-’83 catalog. One of the most influential and charismatic punk bands of all time had returned to fill the world with their signature brand of macabre music. With this concert in Denver going so well there are already rumors of a full scale reunion tour happening.

This performance makes me exceptionally excited. I’ve followed the hype surrounding this reassembly with the kind of glee only a gushing by a punk rock fan boy can. Years of lawsuits and personal barbs thrown by band members at one another made any sort of reconciliation seem highly unlikely, yet here I sit glowing in the happy aftermath of a reunion. I desperately want a nationwide tour and a studio album and am I am giddy with the notion of seeing the original crew live on stage together. So few truly quintessential musicians pass through a given time period, but with such positive news coming from this year’s Riot Fest, the opportunity may be closer for us all.

If you find that your current music choices are lacking songs about vampires and Martians perhaps you should start growing your devil lock, get your fiend club membership card ready and enjoy some mighty fine Misfits here and here.

 
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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.

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.

The Four Dollar Pamphlet

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Fuck you, Michael de Bethencourt. Fuck you for calling Thirty Eight Tips For Better Snub Shooting a book.  Fuck you for not mentioning anywhere within that it is for new shooters. Fuck you for offering sparse technique, while still having an introduction talking about your skills and qualifications for writing such a pamphlet.

I don’t claim to know everything about shooting, if I did why would I purchase this literature? As a competent shooter looking to improve skills and hone the discipline of my defensive weapon, I expected more out of this. It spent more time on firearm and holster choices than on tactics. I wanted sight alignment tips, hand placement suggestions. Outside of an excellent page on reloading under stress, this was a terrible disappointment. All of the information in this booklet could have easily been found online. Thanks to a few videos from Jerry Miculek and Tom Gresham, I actually got the information I was seeking.

I tried to be objective about this, but as recommended as the author came I couldn’t help but be annoyed. I’m believe that my next foray into this type of information will be from the likes of Ed McGivern or Ed Lovette who actually offer true advice. I should have been more wary, but somehow I still have a naive hope when it comes to the firearms community. I suppose from here on out, I’ll have to be far more selective. It surprises me how small the selection of things for those trying to move from intermediate toward expert. I just wanted to get real tips on trigger control and increase my accuracy on follow up shots, but instead I wasted my time and money.

Moral of the story, pick your advice and educators with more care. Remember that book apparently is open to interpretation. Remember that just because you enjoy a certain hub of information doesn’t mean you will not get conned. Remember that just because something comes from a website called snubtraining.com, doesn’t mean it will offer any skills on snub nose revolvers. Most importantly remember, fuck Michael de Bethencourt, because he’ll charge you four dollars for a pamphlet.

 

 

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

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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.

 

Whiskey With Kerouac

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I got shitfaced with Jack Kerouac last night. Home alone and with no real desire to accomplish anything, I drank neat rye whiskeys and read Scattered Poems. For those unfamiliar, Scattered Poems is a collection of vulgar and visceral poetry from the author’s travels across America. It is excellent in every meaning of that word, but I’m not really here to discuss that. I am here to encourage you to remember to live life in your way. I want you to stop and enjoy the whole experience. To remember to be more than just be acquainted with what sings to the muse within you. To taste the entire encounter complete with inspiration, love, joy and rage.

Sometimes, you have to spurn responsibilities and follow your own agenda. Sometimes you have to do the impractical thing that feels right in that moment. Sometimes, you should make that last cocktail when you’re already on the edge of drunk. Sometimes you should eat that last piece of cake. Sometimes you should make conversation with a complete stranger. Sometimes you should walk barefoot in the grass and look at the stars. Sometimes, you should make some decisions in the now and enjoy life for the luscious mystery that lies within.

 

Reality will always be right there waiting for you when you return from your chosen sabbatical. It vigilantly stalks you eager to present you with a new list of demands. Ii will meet with higher tolls and more stringent responsibilities. It will take your spirit and rob your very essence if you allow it. It is imperative that we realize that we are so much more than our agendas and professions allow us to be. We are a vast conglomerations of hope, dream and desires. It is vital to the human condition that we feel and question and contemplate. It is vital that we do not lose touch with the impulses of our imagination. We must continue to wonder, or truly all is lost.

 

 

I encourage all of my illustrious readers to enjoy some of Mr. Kerouac’s fine writing 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewing T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland

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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.

 

The Snows of Kilimanjaro Review

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Sweet hell is this story depressing. If you’re in the mood for a light hearted romp filled with laughs and joy, look elsewhere. Even with saddening subject matter this short story by Ernest Hemingway is absolutely superb. The book follows Harry, a man dying of gangrene who is on safari with his wife. As death approaches he reflects on key moments in his life.

It is clear that the author sees himself through the protagonist’s eyes in this story. He has had a good life, but wonders deeply of the choices he has made in the past to deliver him to his current status. He highlights a series of regrets and decisions that are so specific, they must have deeply plagued Hemingway. By pouring so much of himself into the text, the author shows his own humanity. Though the lead character is permeated with flaws he is instantly relatable. His intentions are good, he just didn’t always show nobility in their execution.

My favorite part of this short story was the relationship between Harry and his wife, Helen. It shows how messy and chaotic long term love is. Though the time the reader spends with them is brief, it is apparent that their compassion for one another is genuine. No line of dialogue is wasted between these two, even when quarreling they still deeply care for one another. It shows the kind of bond that exists only in a long term, loving relationship.

Even if it is a downer, this is the best way I’ve spent a lunch break in quite some time. I was genuinely saddened when this was over, but the candor it showed at someone’s final moments was extremely powerful. It elicited tears from me and I have no shame in saying that. This might be the finest gem I’ve discovered during this series. I encourage you all to read this, I’ve attached a link to it 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.

 

Rip Van Winkle Review

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Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle is embedded deeply in the fabric of American culture. Along with Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, this character has been referenced in popular media for nearly two centuries. This story takes place during the time of the American Revolutionary War and follows a man after he drinks some home brewed liquor from a mysterious stranger and awakens eighteen years later.

The changes experienced by the protagonist during a relatively short period of time are cataclysmic. The status of the world he knew is spun out of control. He is forced to quickly try to understand the manner in which his surroundings had changed. In short order, he learns his wife had died, his friends are gone and his children are adults. Along with these revelations, he is also declared a traitor as he supports the government that he knew to be in power.

This story plays on your emotions and you see the drastic shift Van Winkle must digest. Though the evidence is there, he has difficulty accepting how different everything is. He has missed multiple family moments and memories, time forgot him. Van Winkle must also digest the stigma of his own reputation. Having just disappeared without explanation his family and neighbors assumed thought the worst of him for almost two decades.

The most enjoyable part of this story is easily the political implications. The average man, ignorant to current events unknowingly supporting the former regime is met with violent rebuke. The idea that in a few years, someone can shift from a loyal patriot to an enemy is fascinating. It further highlights the consequences of having missed so much in a short period of time. This forces the reader to capitalize on the time they have and not waste it. Irving does an excellent job pushing so much thought into such a short story. This is well worth your time clocking in at under thirty minutes, it is deserving of reading and continual adaptations.

 

 

 

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 Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

The Hanging Stranger Review

 

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This is cheating, I know it is. I have tried with this series to explore authors I don’t have a lot of experience with. I feel I’ve done a decent job at that, but sometimes I just want to read stuff I know I’ll like. Philip K. Dick’s Scanner Darkly and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? are some of my favorite stories. I pretty much knew I would enjoy this going in.

The Hanging Stranger is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. It follows a man who sees a hanging body on a street corner and slowly discovers some strange race is overtaking humanity. This reminded me of an episode of The Twilight Zone or maybe They Live! In other words,this work garners very high praise.

I finished reading this in about thirty minutes and desperately wanted more. The setting developed raises questions and the reader has to know more about it. The panic and terror felt by the protagonist is real and reverberates with every line. You question your narrator, your sanity and the validity of proposed conspiracy. Any story that pushes you to doubt all this things simultaneously is, excellent. The author rides the edge of keeping this story clear and taught whilst still pushing you to ask questions. It could have easily have been confusing, but the skill exhibited in this work shows why he is revered as such a pillar of science fiction.

If you’re a fan of suspenseful, mind bending stories and have some time to kill, go find this now. This is well worth the effort and you won’t regret it. This is a great introduction to Philip K. Dick’s writing style and if you enjoy this I imagine you’ll soon been looking for more of his work.

 

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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick, Everyone Chime In!

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The tragic part of a tragedy is the victims seem to take second place. Nobody really gives a fuck about those affected. Sure, we all feign solidarity, we all wish well, political figures stand in front of podiums and make claims and legislation. Leaders of communities demand action for whatever has happened all the while those who really suffer seem to get lost in the shuffle.

The incident in Orlando has saturated conversations, social media, and all forms of news. Things like this just magnify everyone’s agenda. These things just make people do more of whatever they do. Whatever sacred cow those people or agencies possess, they just do more of that. Anti groups do more of that, disenfranchised groups push to be more accepted, all members of a certain faith are expected to answer for the actions of one individual and any number of other assemblage condemn or begin to fight for their own agenda. Not to mention the multitude of radical fringe organization that will condone the architects of the tragedy.

I can’t claim perfection, I have dabbled in hindsight just as much as everyone else. I have piggy backed on travesties for the sake of proving a point. If only this or if only that, the situation could have been different. I’ve encouraged people to read these statistics and facts that reflect my opinions and beliefs.

During this cavalcade of lobbying and motive pushing people still are suffering. Families, friends and those directly impacted are experiencing unfathomable loss. They are not comforted or allowed to grieve in peace. Their own personal hell is analyzed into a million of “what if?” scenarios. When lives are taken, we owe it to one another to find a solution to the problem. Not the kind of solution that pushes legislation, reinterprets laws and ultimately limits freedoms.

The focus during some type of disaster should be far more introspective. We need a renaissance that allows us to mourn the dead and comfort their families simply because it is the right thing to do. To objectively look at the situation and find a way to teach the next generation that hate only causes problems, it never solves them. We need to foster an environment where differences are tolerated and critical thinking is promoted. More than anything, we need to stop making reactionary judgments and instead just try to be better people.

 

 

 

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.

 

Review of Catcher in the Rye

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I’ve tried with this series to look at things objectively and from a entertainment mindset. I am not able to do that with the following review and my bias is clearly shown. With that in mind I present you with my review of Catcher in the Rye.

J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is one of the only books I’ve ever vowed to never read again. Now I’ve read it twice. I’m a sadist. This book has to inspire more whiny emo band lyrics than any other source. It is dreadful. For those of you who weren’t forced to read this book in high school, it’s about Holden Caulfield and the days following his expulsion from a prep school. It is often praised as a love letter to New York City, showing the vibrant and colorful nature of the city. Holden is often referenced as a symbol of teenage rebellion and angst, capturing the feeling we all had in high school. This book has been banned multiple times for the language and its’ reference in several crimes.

I’ll start off with the positives, I love the style of writing Salinger implements here. The narrative, places you precisely where the protagonist is and allows the reader to see through their eyes and understand their handling of every situation. The author’s concise and well executed methods keep the book easy to navigate and allows the reader to quickly digest every instance.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, fuck Holden Caulfield. As a matter of fact, fuck anyone who claims this as a piece of art that shouldn’t be besmirched. This book is one of the most arduous and least enjoyable things I’ve ever read. If it is meant to be an indictment of adolescents or force you to hate all spoiled teenagers, job well done.

I cannot be alone in this, as a point of experiment, I had my wife try to read this book and she was done after about three chapters. It is a ponderous read, filled with self indulgent whimpers by the main character. He is a walking buzz kill, unhappy by every single aspect of his life and when presented with an opportunity to improve it he just complains all the more.

I hated this book. I found little enjoyment from it outside the narrative used the brevity in which I was able to complete it. What confounds me more that anything is how this book is held in such high esteem. The pedigree of excellence heaved upon this work blows my mind. Maybe I’m too dim witted to understand the implications inside it’s covers, but this goddamn book holds no enjoyment for me.

I cannot and will not recommend this book. If it were just a story I didn’t enjoy, I’d happily tell you. Literature is subjective, I understand that. The amount of universal praise this work finds itself in is misguided and I do not consider it a classic or even an enjoyable read. I almost find it offensive this book is held in the same regard as works of Hemingway and Chaucer. If you must read something I’d reach for the instructions on your toaster oven before cracking the cover on this drivel.

 

 

 

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.

3rd Party, Please Don’t Fuck This Up

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Holy shit, another option. Holy shit, the Libertarians are actually being mentioned outside of chat rooms and their own circles. Holy shit Gary Johnson and Bob Weld are polling at eleven percent in national polls. Holy shit, the citizens are looking for choices outside of the GOP and DNC. Holy shit, I hope these two make a good showing and open up an express lane for others to campaign and be taken seriously.

I am actively advocating something to disrupt the establishment and push for liberty. We need a mindset change in this country. We have been mired in the left or right paradigm for far too long. The current mainstream candidates appeal to the lowest common denominator and only offer the illusion of choice. Whether the Democrats or Republicans win this election, we will end up in another war, we will have more laws passed that limit freedoms and the national debt will only rise. This things will negatively impact all of us. The people not politicians will be forced to reap the consequences.

Americans need this shift in the political spectrum. They need to see an alternative to the status quo to care again. I just want to liberty to prevail and people to actually be able to chose what works for them. I desperately want the third party to make a good showing this election, so people will stop choosing lesser evils and start moving towards good. Something to uproot career politicians whose only real goal is to stay in power and continue to exist comfortably. So many people are so vocal about how broken the system is, yet they refuse to hear any voice outside of what is easiest.

I plead with you, third party do not fuck this up. The Perot campaign in 1992 is the last time anyone took something different, seriously. We need this to work, we need this to do well and most of all, we need you to not abandon your principles for the sake of fitting in. Candor and truth stand tallest in the forest of mistruths and lies, so please just tread lightly and act with some civility so you don’t ruin fringe candidacy for the next guy.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Call of Cthulhu Review

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I don’t think I possess the ability to discuss literature without invoking the name of H.P. Lovecraft. I’m sure the term ‘classic’ isn’t always one attributed to pulp horror writers, but I’m pulling rank here.  Settle back as I present you, The Call of Cthulhu.

For the uninitiated, The Call of Cthulhu is a short story about a man named the inheritor of his uncle’s estate. While performing these duties he discovers his late uncle’s obsession with an ancient cult. This is easily Lovecraft’s most well known and highly regarded work, though his short stories have been adapted to multiple forms of media.

Before I get too deep into my passions for this book, I know from the get go you’ll either love or hate Lovecraft’s style of writing. It’s dark and complicated, a kind of sludgy gothic concentrate not for the faint of heart. He will build the atmosphere off the page and pile it up around you. It’s a bit inaccessible for some new Lovecraft readers.

Flaws noted, this is such a fantastic book. Call of Cthulhu is the story that began my love affair with Lovecraft’s work. I’ve read it multiple times and always gotten enjoyment from it. In my opinion, it is some of his finest writing. This book is worth the hype. It has inspired multiple adaptations and expansions to the myths, from tabletop RPG games to novellas to animated series. There is so much to enjoy in this story, it appeals to lovers of horror and mystery in all the best ways. I don’t really know of anything that compares to this tale, so for lovers of foreboding suspense  or for those who want a tale about ancient occults worshiping long forgotten gods, this is one for you.

 

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.

 

Late…ntines Day

I realize that this post is far too late for Valentine’s Day. It was meant to be posted early, yet at posting it looks closer to almost being a week tardy. I would make apologies for such; but, fuck that I wanted to stay this. 

I know that I am a flawed specimen. I hold no infinite knowledge nor amazing insights. Personal shortcomings notwithstanding, I was asked what my best decision was. When asked I could not help but think of the multitude of good choices I have made have orbited around my wife. From deciding to talk to her for the first time to asking her to dinner that time to pursuing her to asking her to marry me. Those have been some of the smartest moves I have ever made. I believe only those who have experienced that depth of feeling and sheer fascination with another human being can appreciate it when I say this. You know who you are, those of you currently enraptured with a someone in whom you literally place your entire self. To put it simply, when She and I are together, We feel bad ass. We feel invincible.  It is a primal and visceral feeling of need and compassion and desire.That is what Valentine’s Day is meant to be. A celebration of that level of love and commitment. It is more than some lame flowers and a half-ass’d card. It is beyond candy and stuffed animals. It is a reason to embrace that devotion shown and set some time aside to enjoy it.

Also, get your grandma or mother a little something. She did deal with all your shit, a little something will remind her you care.

 

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.

That Time of Year

Alas, we have all survived the holiday frenzy that is the Christmas rush. You may have braved the box stores on Black Friday, you may have fought your way through the hordes of last minute shoppers, or you may have wisely planned out your X-Mas shopping all year long. Whatever the case may be, you have endured and arrived at the day. Kick back and relish in your victory. While you are relishing, remember to take a moment to send your thoughts, good vibes, well wishes and prayers to those who cannot be with their families. I know this message is beaten to death this time of year, but it is the goddamn holidays so just do it.

So as we move forward from one season toward another, maybe we can take a token of the manufactured holiday charity we are force fed and apply it. I don’t expect any of you to go forth and save the world or anything, but perhaps just try a be a little better version of yourself. Whether it is the clichéd New Year’s resolution or just a personal goal to cover up that horrendous halitosis it is defiantly achievable.  Here at Bored Shenanigans, we would like to thank all of our listeners for their support, all of our rouges gallery for their participation and last but not least I would like to thank the almighty technical adviser and editor for his tireless effort making our jackassery sound mildly intelligent . We are striving to bring you a better and more classy Bored Shenanigans experience, you know with bigger tits, twice as many explosions and more fucks than you can shake a stick at.  Stay tuned for new developments and remember to keep your mistletoe hung this holiday season.

 

Cody Jemes  is the head writer of the Bored Shenanigans Articulations. Need more of him and don’t know where to look? Check out his articles on the Dallas Mavericks at  Texas Fandom, leave snarky comments on his  poetry blog or if tired of reading? Listen to the podcast he co -hosts.