Posts Tagged ‘they tell me i’m the bad guy’

Thanks to a movie now in theaters (Skylincoln or something), interest in our 16th President has grown 7000% in just two months. Those numbers are shocking and would be even more so had I not made them up. Consequently, Abraham Lincoln’s name is getting slapped onto all kinds of television shows and internet articles in empty attempts to generate profit, ratings, and web hits. It is my opinion that this exploitation of his life and untimely death ultimately cheapens us as a country and spits on his grave of a great man for money and attention. It is borderline desecration and would not have found favor with such a humble man from such humble beginnings . . .

Lincoln: Portrait of a President: In Words, Not Pictures:

Abraham Lincoln was born in a hollow log in Cabin, Illinois. He grew to manhood under the yoke of poverty, having only an ax and faithful blue ox, Babe. Lincoln held many jobs and was held in high esteem for his hard-working attitude. But when Babe died from the ox flu, Lincoln wrote in a letter to friend Joshua Speed, “… [I] have no more use for the soul my companion’s departure has left withered in me…” Despondent and inconsolable, Lincoln became a lawyer and, later, a politician.

The original opening of Gettysburg Address was to be 'Haters can't see me/Bitches want my jock,' but Lincoln felt the solemnity of the occasion instead called for a math problem.

The original opening of Gettysburg Address was to be ‘Haters can’t see me/Bitches want my jock,’ but Lincoln felt the solemnity of the occasion instead called for a math problem.

In politics, however, he found renewed purpose. Lincoln’s keen, affable mind and gift for clever story-telling were put to use in Congress, where the president not only garnered respect and admiration from colleagues, but a collection of nicknames like “The Rail-Splitter” for his early job splitting rails, “Uncle Abe” for his friendly demeanor, and “The Ancient One” for his worship of Y’golonac the Defiler. On his first bid for the White House, Lincoln won a landslide electoral victory. But while the newly-elected president had proponents in Washington and throughout the country, his election did provoke controversy in some corners. For example, it’s alleged by many modern historians that Lincoln, a married man, may have engaged in a homosexual relationship with friend Joshua Speed, and that the resulting gay panic was one of the major contributing factors to Southern Secession. Even Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd, perhaps also suffering from gay panic, drew criticism for spending what some felt was an excessive amount of the country’s money on renovations and improvements to the White House. When questioned on the matter by a reporter, the always sharp-tongued Lincoln replied, “Women be shopping.”

Soon after the Illinois lawyer took office, the Union split. Southerners who had vowed to relocate to Europe or Canada were he elected decided to just make their own country so they didn’t have to move. The Civil War began in earnest not two months into Lincoln’s term in office. Though he projected confidence to the public, years after his death, close friends would reveal that the president was in fact not fond of the war. Despite this aversion, Lincoln ran a successful war presidency that ultimately pulled the Union back together even with his absence at an unknown point post-Gettysburg when he aided two young time-travellers in saving the very future of human civilization (these were not, however, the same time-travellers who prevented his assassination by John Brown’s men prior to the Civil War).

Tragically, these dick time-travellers did not give Lincoln any warning of the violence that would befall him. After the South’s surrender at Appomatox, the president was assassinated by noted American leading man John Wilkes Booth, the first actor to inject himself into politics because he felt his views were ‘important’ (also originator of the industry term ‘headshot’). Lincoln’s murder shocked a populace that still had the horrors of war fresh in its mind, and at least half the nation mourned his passing. Upon his death, he was succeeded by his then Vice President, Andrew Johnson, who narrowly escaped impeachment and then died (way to reach for the stars).

President Lincoln would die unaware of the length and breadth of his achievements but hoping that he had put his country back onto a path that cherished freedom. It is unlikely he ever imagined himself one day being so revered as to be memorialized forever next to our greatest presidents (also Teddy Roosevelt), being the first president to have his likeness on U.S. currency, having a clone that would hook up with Cleopatra, or that a Lincoln android would help the crew of a mining spaceship escape space-execution by a robot (space) Caligula. And while these four things alone would be enough to transform any ordinary man into a figure of legend, they are only bullet points in the mind-blowing legacy of a President ahead of his time.

Nine inches. Honest.

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Yes, I’m as shocked by this as you are, mainly because I didn’t know Canada had the Internet. Strangely enough, I see a lot of hits on my site from the Great (debatable) White (racist) North (they are, in fact, north of me). I’m not sure why, but I can only assume my once-passionate love for the Red Green Show somehow comes through in my writing. So, in tribute to our Canadian cousins, here is a timeline of canuck facts to educate and enlighten your American asses:

– The first Canadians cross over from Asia via the Bering Sea land bridge. Weak Canadian immigration policies at their finest.

– Canadian Indians do their thing for a while. Invent syrup and hockey (both originally derived from baby seals). Maple leaf is deified.

– Europeans come along and shit gets real complicated, real fast. I think Canada is still part of England or something; they like the Queen a lot, at any rate, which I don’t get. I don’t have pictures of the Queen in my house since we kicked her to the curb in Revolution Days. Canadians = Redcoat Sympathizers

– Newfoundland is formed. Trouble starts brewing.

– My Acadian ancestors are kicked out of Canada. Canadians = Buncha Bitches

– 1776: Canada takes backseat to the U.S.A., where it remains to this day.

– Custody of the Great Lakes region is worked out. We get Lake Michigan, they get Georgian Bay. Lakes Superior, Huron, Ontario, and Erie are with Canada on weekdays and with the U.S. on weekends and three weeks out of the summer. Holidays are alternated. We’re cool with it, though, because we get to be the ‘fun’ country.

– 1864: Canada copies the American South and confederates.

– Sometime around the turn of the century, I guess, Wolverine is born.

– Canada enters WWII before the U.S. does. Thanks for making us look bad, dicks.

– Canada combats Beatlemania with Trudeaumania. Though fervent in their enthusiasm, the trend does not catch on outside the country, although a U.S. version is made in 2008 starring Barack Obama.

– Toronto finally succeeds in becoming the clean, boring version of New York City. Way to go, guys.

– Late 20th Century: Celine Dion, Mike Meyers, Kids in hallways, drunk guys in earflaps. Due South star Paul Gross makes me question my sexuality for a couple of confusing years.

There. You’re welcome, Canada. I think we’re now all a little more comfortable with the thought of your weird country being right beside ours and your people’s ability to look just like one of us (like The Thing). As payment for this public service, you can mail my father some twenty-sixers of Canadian Mist, and I will take a moose head of whatever size you have lying around. I assume you guys have a postal service. Probably a ‘Royal Canadian’ one or something.

First step toward the extinction of mankind: Magic Legs.

First step toward the extinction of mankind: Magic Legs.

“Scientists,” the people who brought you such discoveries as Phlogistons and the planet Vulcan, have come up with their latest so-called boon to mankind: robots that move like we do. On feet, knees, legs, and other miscellanea. Forget the days when you could easily confine your Roomba in a vacant bedroom where it would bang around in a bloodthirsty rage (true story). Thanks to “Scientists,” these fuckers will now be all terrain.

These “Scientists,” people driven by sadistic urges and childhood traumas to create technology and concepts that shatter the world view of a populace they loathe, would have you believe that creating human-like devices to do menial jobs in the middle of an economic crisis is a good thing. Tell that to the guy who used to put on car doors on the Ford assembly line (you can’t; the robots already killed him) or the guy who used to tell people to press 1 for customer service (you can’t; he probably didn’t exist). People gotta eat. Robots don’t. Give a robot my job, and what’s he going to spend all that disposable income on? Robot porn and getting blasted on Duracells. This is allegedly progress.

So, everybody grab your ankles and say “Thanks, Scientists!” Thanks for the next phase in derailing human civilization, as if a thousand TV channels and texting weren’t enough. In ten years, we can all look out of our liquid nutrient cocoons at a new Mt. Rushmore of Johnny Five, Hal, a fucking Dalek or something, and that creepy abomination from iRobot.

Uncanny Valley, my ass. Just look at this thing. Nightmare in a can.

Uncanny Valley, my ass. Just look at this thing. Nightmare in a can.

Dade County Sheriff Deputies unable to cope with the stress of zombie apocalypse, befriend undead attackers.

Dade County Sheriff Deputies unable to cope with the stress of zombie apocalypse, befriend undead attackers.

Seriously. Just what the fuck, man. If you’re like me, you’ve been preparing your family to survive underground through the December apocalypse the Mayans will bring upon us “With great revenge and furious anger” — Montezuma 3:16. Out of the blue, however, the apocalypse has come 6 months early in the form of Gulf Coast Zombie Armageddon 2012: Assignment Miami Beach. Those trick-ass Mayans got the jump on us, and nobody paid attention to George Romero’s Reefer Madness-style cautionary tales. As a result, we’ve been caught flat-footed, and I’m in full-on Doomsday Crisis Mode (different vest than prep mode) awaiting the inevitable collapse of society. The CDC says there is no zombie outbreak, but don’t trust them. This is the same government responsible for MK Ultra and chasing a bunch of kids at gunpoint to capture a defenseless asexual alien. So it’s up to us to prevent a Mad Max-ish future but with zombies and hybrids instead of muscle cars and Masters and/or Blasters. To this end, I’ve adopted the following modus operandi (Latin for ‘Take Care of Business’). Fair warning:

1) No Shambling in my vicinity. You’re asking for a headshot because I will not ask questions. I don’t converse with the dead unless it’s through approved channels like gypsies or TV static.

2) If I even suspect you’ve been bitten, be prepared to get a headshot. Immediate family members will be given a running start.

3) I will leave your ass behind. I don’t know if zombies can smell blood. My gut says they can, so you’re one paper cut away from being an ejected party member.

4) Do not play pranks or try to surprise me. There are fucking zombies out there; that shit’s not funny anymore.

5) No more baths, no more salt. Period.

I highly suggest you all update your Zombie Emergency Preparedness Home Handbooks and desecrate as many Mayan ruins as you can in retaliation for this and the last Indiana Jones movie. If you don’t, those smug, asshole, dead Mayans win.

Some trick-ass Mayan

Some trick-ass Mayan

Barack Obama wins Democratic Nomination from Hillary Clinton - Artist's Interpretation.

Barack Obama wins Democratic Nomination from Hillary Clinton – Artist’s Interpretation.

It’s that time again when we finally turn our attentions to remembering there’s a government that has a good bit of control over our lives and decide whether or not we may actually want to have some kind of say in that. Some of us might even educate ourselves on what’s going on if there’s nothing else good on TV or if somebody mentions a talking point on Twitter. Yes, it’s that time when the right our ancestors bled for is exercised by a full fraction of the American People: election time.

Don’t be fooled, though, while following these campaigns that you’re picking a Republican or a Democrat. That’s a fallacy. You’re not. When you cast that vote, you’re most likely not even voting for the person you pick. If you are truly voting for that person, then their publicists and campaign managers have failed at their tasks. Because voting is not about a battle of men, it’s about a battle of mythic figures. Without fail, every U.S. election comes down to one thing. The decision between Robin Hood and King Arthur (I’m totes stealing your myths for this, England — we won the revolution, so suck it)

You can probably figure out which figure is which. Robin Hood redistributes the wealth of those he believes doesn’t deserve it, occupies Sherwood Forest in a commune with a bunch of people who probably sing songs and don’t bathe, and he’s a savior to those who believe the powerful are corrupt. King Arthur fights for and at the will of God Almighty he says, believes he and his drinking buddies should rule all the land with good Christian honor and decency, and to his followers is a warrior-king and the only one capable of defending their homeland from constant monstrous threats.

You see what I’m talking about.

Now the thing about mythic figures, and we see it every election, is that you can’t poke holes in them, you can’t argue the logical, linear points of them even when those points are mutually exclusive. Myths are bigger than that, bigger than logic. Myths are capable of being born rich but also coming from humble, poor roots. Myths can rub elbows with the intellectual or social elite but can still relate to the common man over a beer. It can be claimed that myths were in two places at once for the purposes of an anecdote, or that they said completely opposite things but still meant the same thing. Like the myths of old, they will take on different twists depending on the region. Robin Hood may adopt the cadence of a preacher on Sunday morning. King Arthur may suddenly have an inexplicable southern drawl. The myths are made our own wherever they go, and you can’t attack what conflicts about them because myths are bigger than that. They are symbols to their base; they are what their believers believe them to be at any given moment, changing with the winds and tide of opinion like a rudderless schooner. Reality has no purchase over these candidates.

So remember that the next time one of them stumbles for something to say or completely dodges answering a question they don’t want to. They’re not meant to be about those things, those little real-world problems we want to force upon them. They are larger-than-life figures of legend created by teleprompters, body language coaches, and focus groups; simply the fleeting vessels for the myths we desperately want them to be for the next few years.

So I’ve got this website now. I have yet to figure out how to write an article that is somehow not me talking about myself or talking about crap I have no business talking about. I can’t imagine anybody caring about my writing process or any of ‘tips and tricks’ to coming up with what I throw on a page. That, however, leaves me with few options. I do like history, though, so what I will talk about is the history of the medium of writing. Specifically, the short story.

Visual approximation of first story-teller.

Visual approximation of first story-teller.

The short story originated in the Middle East, the same place that gave us written laws, which is no coincidence. The history of the fictional short story is really the history of the lie itself, and when did lying become more necessary than with the advent of law enforcement? The first short story involved a man (most likely shirtless) explaining the murder of his neighbor to Babylon 5-0 (Not the show). You see, once upon a time, he had come home from a late night of helping lepers and totally found his neighbor that way in a pool of blood. And also, before the neighbor died, he said it was a group of Hittites who had killed him, so go find them and stop wasting time. ‘I swear that’s the truth, El Officor’ (Translated from the Middle Eastern) was the first ‘The End.’ It was all a lie but the police bought it, and his statement, the first short story, was written by dictabird into stone and into history.

Unveiling ceremony of Hercules wax statue (Plato pictured behind), Delphi, Greece.

Unveiling ceremony of Hercules wax statue (Plato pictured behind), Delphi, Greece.

Short stories stayed mostly as ridiculous self-serving lies forwarded to friends and family to entertain for about fifty years until Ancient Greece happened. Then it was on. Hermaphradites, Dudes turning into rain and geese to score, islands full of lesbians, the Greeks took short stories and ran wild with them. One day, a Greek writer named Plato (Not the toy) came up with the next advancement in short story-telling. He was on a deadline and ripping off Samson for his ‘Hercules’ story but he needed something to make the character different so he didn’t look like a hack. Then, boom, he invents the tragic hero. Hercules killed his own family. Intense. Then Hercules went on to star in twelve action-packed sequels, thus, crediting Plato with the invention of the serialized pulp hero as well. People went crazy for the stories, as crazy as when Hercules killed his family. Plato had found success, and Sophocles’ art-house indie crap could suck it.

After that was the Middle Ages, when short stories were outlawed by the Inqusition. The Templars tried to bring them back but were banished to the Middle East, where short stories began, and kept there by Vatican blood magic.

Several years after that, a holly farmer partnered short stories with moving pictures and birthed what he called ‘films.’ These ‘films’ are still around today as movies. Movies helped make short stories more palatable to depressed audiences by removing most of the words and adding pratfalls and pies in the face. Soon even that got boring, which led to the next short story innovation: the twist ending. Invented by Alfred Hitchcock (Not Batman’s butler), the twist ending was a giant middle finger to the audience to prove the storyteller was smarter than they were. The Twilight Zone guy (Not Edward) perfected this giant F You, and people loved it because they liked surprises and finding out it wasn’t really heaven, it was hell all along! The twist ending device enjoyed a resurgence recently thanks to American Indian filmmaker Midnight Shyamalan.

People put on glasses to watch stories rather than to battle illiteracy.

People put on glasses to watch stories rather than to battle illiteracy.

Nowadays, short stories are a thing of the past and can only be seen in documentaries on PBS. People still tell lies, but “It was a dark and stormy night” has been replaced with “What had happened was,” so it’s not really the same. Perhaps when future humans dig up our lies of today, they will truly be unrecognizable from the lies of the past, and their alien overlords will scratch their heads and demand an explanation for the incongruity. Then, some shirtless guy will step forward and reinvent the short story so that they are all not whipped to oblivion by plasma flogs. And that shirtless guy from Babylon will smile in liars’ heaven and know his legacy lives on.

If you’re interested in learning more facts about history, consult your local internet message board

In keeping with the constant and unending multimedia bombardment and sense-numbing pop saturation, I bring to you, undoubtedly some lost individual who clicked an unfortunate chain of links, this website. Yes, it will be rife with run-on sentences. Yes, it will be more than likely updated infrequently and look as professional as a grandmother’s attempt to fill her twilight years learning web design, but it’s here. Check back in to see what nonsense I channel that is longer than the 140 characters allowed me on Twitter but too short or pointless to find its way into anything I write.

Speaking of writing, I’ll try to have some updates on that front as well. They Tell Me I’m The Bad Guy has been picking up slivers of steam in sales here and there, and I’m currently eleven chapters into writing what will be my second novel; a 1920’s hardboiled detective novel that I’m bringing my own what-I-loosely-call-‘flair’ to. With luck, it will be finished late summer and forced upon unsuspecting publishers, one of which will hopefully be drunk enough to put it in print. After that, well . . . Donnie’s story isn’t exactly done.

Apologies in Advance,

R. D. Harless