Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Story Time 002


Up this week you meet the first of the protagonist, the cowboy in dingy armor, a scraper of the old world and relic of it; S.E. Archer. A history teacher in his old life who has survived the many decades between the once was and the here now to see a new generation that has forgotten its past.

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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Chapter 002: The Life and Times of S.E. Archer

We go through a character cheat sheet to determine all the things we need to know to understand were he is coming from and why he acts the way he does.

Bored Shenanigans Podcast – Episode 116


It’s the end of the Podcast as we know it (It’s time I had a new show)
It’s the end of the Podcast as we know it (It’s time I had a new show)
It’s the end of the Podcast as we know it, and I feel fine.
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Welcome to Bored Shenanigans.

Welcome to Episode 116: The LAST BS Episode: Please Stand By.

Well, after this episode it is a new show. We are up to our old shtick for the most of this episode, including finding a real life video game map point and talking about the walking dead but, stay tuned till the end for an exciting announcement.

This is NOT our Goodbye, Farewell, Amen. No solemn ending but an excite leap to something the same but different

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.

Animal Farm Review

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Shooting an Elephant Review

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Read Shooting an Elephant free here.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Anthems Aren’t Sacred

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

The Beautiful and the Damned Review

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

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

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

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

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