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.

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.

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.