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.

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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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cody’s Most Embarrassing Moment

A bet is a bet. For those of you who haven’t listened to Episode 110 of the Bored Shenanigans Podcast(Available via iTunes, Stitcher and this very website), a wager was made on the last episode. The details are in the episode but I, Cody Jemes lost. In doing so, had to publish an article retelling my most embarrassing moment. It is hard to imagine how such could exist.In co-hosting an online talk show for almost three years, I have revealed many shameful truths that long time listeners are too bashful to recall. I have retold many a tale of my face palming failings and moments of unfiltered stupidity. Those are mere child’s play to what I have for you here. Without further ado, Bored Shenanigans presents Cody’s Most Embarrassing Moment.

Let me take you back to a simpler time. A time before smart phones and reliable wifi signals. A time before tablets and net books. A time when one was forced to download their desired media onto a hard drive if they wanted to take it with them. A time when bulky laptops occupied college students back packs and their battery life was paltry at best. Now in these bygone days of yore, I was a full time overnight employee and a full time college student. I drifted in and out of poor decisions with great regularity, but truly on this day I would out do myself.

The campus I went to opened at seven AM around the time I was finishing my overnight shift. I would often arrive right as the doors opened and the halls were often quite vacant. On this particular day, I felt a need to release some tension before my classes and I secured a safe spot in the men’s room. After some quick reconnaissance work I realized that I was truly alone. I was a man alone with just his lust and downloaded library of erotic entertainment. What could possibly go wrong?  I set up my station, selected my finest adult video, plugged in my headphones and began to enjoy myself. As things escalated and intensified I proceeded with the normal course of action. My fatal flaw was the volume of the video overpowered the volume of my surroundings.

Whilst I was engaged with myself I didn’t hear a knock on the door of the cleaning woman. I certainly didn’t hear her ask if the bathroom was empty. More importantly than that, I was so overcome with my initial desire, I neglected to close the stall door. All these thing culminated in a quick and sorrowful turn of events. As I looked up I saw this poor woman, having just discovered me mid coitus with myself. She exclaimed “Sorry” as I violently shuffled to hide my shame. My laptop crashed to the ground, my headphones pulled out to reveal the sounds of hardcore pornography, I struggled to gather my belongings and my dignity in a losing effort while I vacated that bathroom.

After the woeful event I went and found a quiet corner to hid in my humiliation and in a futile attempt to collect myself. The cornucopia of poor judgments overflowed onto me with unrelenting ferocity. I was a moron. I tried as hard as I could to allow time to pass with some semblance of normalcy. I assumed my foolish behavior would be forgotten as there were only two witnesses.I thought things would be forgotten. Not so much.

I attended that college for two more years and would sporadically see the poor custodian who caught me in the act. I tried with all my might to avoid eye contact with her, but when her eyes found mine she would shake her head with disgust. There is no escape from chagrin so loathsome. To that woman, I am that harrowing tale of what to fear when walking into a men’s bathroom. In her eyes I am perpetually that slumped over pervert who was jacking it for all I was worth in the public restroom.

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast listen to more of his botches on iTunes and Stitcher. Read his not so self deprecating articles here. This deviant also writes poetry, see that here  or download his debauchery filled e-book hereBe sure heckle him on social media via Twitter or Facebook.