The Midwest (a poem)

A short podcast episode featuring an oc poem about the Midwest.

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Consensual IQ

Dating and other unfortunate topics discussed with Not Seb.

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My Journey Out of Toxic White Privilege

As a white male, I realize I have privilege. I never struggled for anything. I always had macaroni with Velveeta. The first time I tried the powered variety at a friend’s abode, I made sick all over myself. You guys don’t know the burden of privilege. Me, I personally hate it. It makes me sick. It makes me so disgusted to have done well in school, and to have had friends, and to have been voted “Most Attractive and Successful” in my graduating class.

Yes, I got laid in high school, but now I realize it doesn’t matter. Alma Mater this, sports championship that, where’s the soul? There’s more to life than how many cheerleaders you copulated with, how many times you had to call up Verizon customer service to block their phone numbers afterward.

I have marked my territory enough as a white man, on the faces of cisgender females and in the business world. Looking back, reading on the struggles of minorities, I realize now that kind of thing means nothing. I am disavowing my parents for raising me with privilege. I have begun self-flagellation. My trust fund has gone to charity. I decided that, despite my knowledge and intelligence, someone better deserved my CEO position. I gave that up, too, and took to the streets.

Since then, I have experienced the hard life, but still, all the dirt I can accumulate being homeless is never enough to make the whiteness go away. I can see there’s a gender pay gap, people give me 100 cents in my cup for every 70 cents the homeless woman next to me gets. It’s hard to live life completely without an edge. Even having given up all my possessions, just wandering naked into a public park that first day of homelessness, I still had the keen intelligence of my sharp mind. So I did what any sane, rational person would do: I smashed a stray hammer upon my head, to undo the years of repressive intelligence my Caucasian background of privilege gave me. Found naked in public, thankfully I was arrested and given a permanent record, so I could stand in solidarity with my new street friends.

In prison, I experimented with same-sex relations. I will not stop until I have experienced the pain and horror the non-rich suffer everyday, including non-binary personhood, same-sex relations, and questions of gender identity. I began identifying as a woman that day named “Shiva,” I am also Indian-American as you certainly have guessed. Without parents, I am now comparable to my cohorts, my esteemed colleagues that come with me to the soup-kitchens, my friends who work the same shifts at the corner. No, not the corner store, the corner.

From there, not only did I beg, but I began sex-work to show solidarity with sex-workers. I do not wish to make light of the subject, but unfortunately I have not yet experienced even the slightest sexual assault of any kind. I am still working toward that end. Still, I faced many harassing looks and comments. Even slurs. Derogatory. They tell me to get a real job. They say get a real gender identity. That say this all screaming from Escalades blaring the comforting rap music I used to enjoy.

One night, I grabbed a rubber tube a friend had given me. I opened up a leather case with a zipper and pulled out a syringe. The tube was on my arm. I spotted the vein correctly just as I was shown. My dealer, Timid Larry, had given me the right stuff. The brown-ish liquid hit my body and I knew relief, but more importantly, I knew suffering. I knew then immense pain, what people go through, and how they cure it with a little bit of black tar. I sunk into the ground. I kept at it for weeks, yearning for the day I would no longer be a majority. I applied for jobs in bars, at McDonalds. It felt like no one would have me.

Luckily, I began to suffer mental illness, I was further from the majority, closer to a minority. Just a few months ago I was “Jacob! The college grad! Mr. Going Places! CEO of his own start-up!” But no more of that, those false lies, that false life. No more silver spoon. No more hand-me-down Cadillac SUVs. I drove mine into a Gap one day, after burning off the VIN. I left a gap in Gap. That’ll show those white pigs. Those snowflakes. My silver spoon became black as I torched it up with freshly cooked heroin, instead of relishing it with Kashi GoLean.

One day I realized my mental illness wasn’t enough. The doctor I got for free under ACA said there’s something wrong with me, but it’s being self-afflicted out of guilt. He refused to give me medications. That’s when I took an industrial saw to my own leg at a construction site. The last thing I remember was a construction worker looking at me with his yellow hard-hat on, he had a baloney sandwich stuffed in his mouth with a befuddled look. His co-worker stared as well and said, “You save him if you want to, I’m not touching that tranny fag.” You’d think I’d be hurt, but I smiled wide as ever as I coughed up blood. I finally felt the sublime pleasure of being discriminated against. No one can take that away from me.

I alternate now between a wheelchair and a wooden leg. I am popular in my part of the block. I found some army fatigues on a discarded, dead body and adorned myself. I now identify as ex-military. As a vet, the denizens of my county are extra generous. When people ask me my division, I say, “War, man, that’s one thing I don’t talk about.” They pity me with dollars and cents. Life on the streets cuts deep. I don’t have any dog tags, they are burned into me.

Eventually, I got hired on during the overnight shift at my local Target Megamart. I met so many great friends, just like me. I changed my gender and sexual identity back to male for simplicity. That’s when I met the love of my life, Rosamarie. We were both helping unload a truck and I saw her beautiful greying golden-brown hair, I saw her sexy Catholic Virgin Mary necklace and knew I would convert. I saw her smile. I could tell she was a grandmother.

Things are so passionate. It doesn’t matter I’m 40 years her junior. She has no cheerleader body, but she’s got a cheerleader soul. I don’t understand anything she says except her vague references to the lord and a few words I’ve picked up as a white American, such as “zapato," it means either "Thursday" or "shoe." How ignorant is the white race that we know so little of these people, from which we’ve taken all of their native land? That’s why it feels so great to be inside of Rosamarie. I feel complete, finally. I thrust in her like the motions of the waves. I thrust and we melt into each other, her sexy, multi-layered tan skin. Her bigger, non-comformist curves. “Oi, dios mio!” she loves to say, to which I understand is a reference to god. It should be. What we have is holy. We sweat, our bed creaks, it makes the birds on the roof of our room fly away when we climax together before turning on Univision.

Her children diabetes 1 and 2, somehow, her doctors say, a first of its kind case, of course the cause is the Standard American Diet. First we wiped their people out with small pox, now this? These people don't give disease like Columbus, Rosamarie cures me. She has me off the heroin. The only smack I need now is the one she gives my tush before calling me “Pappi.” From where I was only a few years ago, I’ve become a human being and shed the identity politics of being born white with privilege and have experienced a life like no other. I have truly now become a rags to riches story. As it turns out, true riches are when you go from riches to rags.

The other day an old friend saw me in the grocery store. He couldn’t recognize me at first, but I said hello. He said, “What are you doing with that ugly old bag Jacob hahaha wtf?” You should’ve seen the look on his face when I uppercutted him into a nearby display of mangoes. The name’s Shiva now, asshole. I can’t fucking stand gringos.

The tale is almost over, but it continues in my real life. I share my lover’s extended family. She doesn’t want to get married again, for now, but I’m trying to sway her, to change her mind. Regardless of that, long after this story has expired from the memory of the internet, me and her will be taking care of our first child, due November. One thing’s for certain, boy or girl, we’re going to raise her right: by making sure she never falls into the dishonest flesh of the white male.

Finances and Judgement: Everyone’s Lot in Life Is the Worst

Warning: serious post. For the non-serious version of these ideas, see the next journal entry.

Everyone’s lot in life is the worst. That means, you, specifically. You’re a victim. If we go through your family history, you’re the victim of a victim of a victim of a victim two-hundred thousand times removed until that lizard thing walked out of the water and started what would become humankind.

Everyone’s life is the worst, everyone wants to complain. You’re a minority. Your sexual orientation is this. You witnessed a murder that. You were abused this. The problem is, problems don’t matter anymore. We’re too informed now. We understand they’re universal. Still, your lot in life is the worst.

Why move on in your life, when you can judge? It’s more fun in the short-term. Someone’s always better off than you. You’re always better off than someone, but let’s ignore that. This is your life. You can choose to live it like a movie where you’re the hero, even if on the outside people can see you’re pretending to be it. You’re not maybe being honest with yourself, but I’m sure you’re selling someone. And most of the time, it may only be yourself.

Some fucker’s definitely better off. That someone. That fucking no-good someone. They had life handed to them. They had a trust fund. Me, yeah, I’m better than that. I suffered and worked hard. The well-off, they’ve never known true suffering. They chose to be born that way, somehow, I just know it. They got lucky. Me, no. No hand-outs here. And if I got lucky and won the lottery, I definitely wouldn’t accept it. No, my right to complain and my righteousness, that’s more important. Never would I catch or take a break.

Everyone’s got it good. Me, shit. Those gangs on wall street. That’s the problem. I mean, white privilege or something. There ain’t privilege in the first world. I mean, sure I make more in my part-time minimum wage job than 90% of the globe but that doesn’t count. When you consider they get free bananas on the fruit trees right outside their house, it evens out.

The rich don’t have problems. No rich ever suffered loss. No rich ever cried. No rich ever committed suicide. No rich ever thought about the plight of the poor. I have running water but my toilet ain’t gold. How could anything you say help me sleep at night?

Everyone’s in their own head twenty-four seven. There’s little chance to be human and not have a myopic view point. There’s little chance not to think your own personal woes are the world’s. Someone’s heartache is nothing to your toothache. Everyone suffers tremendously and it’s no contest, whether it’s the starving poor or the crippled rich.

Scholars With Disproportionately Attractive Wives

Above is a photo of intellectual heavyweight author Salman Rushdie and his former wife Padma Lakshmi. Look, ain’t no one trying to fuck Salman Rushdie, plus he writes books about magic realism.
The question is, is it responsible and moral for public intellectuals and scientific minds to fuck far outside of their league? The answer, is no. It’s legal, but so is adopting a pet pig and cooking it into bacon. But is right?

Inquiring minds the world over aspire to improve mankind with invention, insights, experiments, and progress. Poor children in Sudan blood sacrifice their moms for a shot at learning in M.I.T., or having access to a keyboard, or a book, any book, a Bill O’Reilly book, or Jewel’s poetry. Good young girls and boys everywhere are not just starved physically, but intellectually for higher thought. And the world’s leading figures so often let these would-be geniuses of tomorrow down by having incredibly fuckable supermodel wives.

Did Salman Rushdie deserve the holy murder sanctioned against him in a Fatwa? In my opinion, yes, but not for anything he wrote in The Satanic Verses. Now, fucking that pristine woman out of his league is a true holy crime. In no reality other than an extremely corrupt capitalist society could Mr. Rushdie achieve a turgid erection and pound it repeatedly into the living Indian Disney princess that is Miss Lakshmi, porking her sloppily like a chef stuffing garlic, spices, and onions into a never-ending line of turkeys. And don’t get me wrong capitalism is great but come on, something must be done to curtail its most grandiose excesses, such as Salman Rushdie defiling this most remarkable of God’s endless creations.

Personal appeal: You’re smart, Rushdie, stop abusing your power to copulate with top shelf babes despite your Best Buy assistant manager looks. You’re making reality stranger than magic realism.

Who is this? The name’s Lalla Ward. She’s the type of beautiful 70s girl too pretty for even the Manson family to try to kill. Supposed moral beacon and public intellectual Richard Dawkins exercised his selfish genes, and probably propagated them, roping in this top notch babe. How “intellectual,” Dick. Why don’t you try humping someone in your own attractiveness bracket? Much like his study of the genome this guy played his environment for the highest statistical advantage to bag this divinely-ordained woman whose entire perfect, intelligently-designed existence casts doubt on every argument in The God Delusion.

How do you mend intelligence with disproportionate attractiveness? Only with sinister evil you try to justify with references to chromosomes and high science.

Even smart man Stephen Fry does it. Come on, Steve. You have this half-your-age eye candy, is it really right? Is it proper for an elderly man to have at his side such an undeniable, delectable twink? Here you have a poor young man and comedian, who anyone, gay or straight, would without question douse in whipped cream and various berries before achieving untold levels of orgasmic bliss and you think your excellent docu-series Stephen Fry In America makes it alright? No, Stephen. Bad Stephen.

Last is philosopher Slavoj Zizek. This man committed crimes against humanity upon marrying Analia Hounie. He is ordinarily seen as an under-dressed panhandler with corn oil and sweat-stains permeating most every inch of his attire. He cannot speak a coherent sentence and seems to have the world’s most brutal cocaine addiction. When not writing insufferable commie ramblings he is putting to suffer women of all types, convincing them with his absurd arguments or perhaps more likely, his wallet book.

Personal appeal: Show some ethics, Zizek. I know you’re already divorced most likely, but have you paid a penance? An attractive young women had to do for you what not the most depraved pornstar would do in exchange for pain-killers and the down payment on a Hollywood bungalow.

More than anything, social reform, feminist and racial issues, we need to address the epidemic of public intellectuals and others fucking far out of their league. How are we to trust Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners if they don’t display the bare essentials of ethics and not fuck the free-will out of scantily-clad ravenous U.S. minted arousal-inducing fuckmachines? They must be held to their own standards, re-calibrating these psycho-sexual forces onto their fellow colleagues in their own age group and of similar intellect from the abundance of options available in the STEM fields.

Windows vs. Apple: A Convincing End to the Argument

After the end of World War 3, fire and fumes still breathing life into the sunset, as only radiation-deformed humans and polio victims roam the planet scrounging for food in endless piles of rubble and refuse and debris, someone will pick up a Windows CD. They will look down and peer in wonder, and consider how we ever thought for an instance of a moment how this was not the backbone of civilization and the great grandchild of Alan Turning’s vision.

The poison knowledge of Eden is represented in the inferior Apple product. Sure, they’re good, they’re okay, but Windows is the patchwork, the high watermark of American ideals and Americana. We are a melting pot, and that’s why we need a computational system so bio-diverse and allowing for everything. We need it to work not just with the best materials, but the materials that poor third world folk salvage from the piles of rubbish that wash up on their shore. What other mainstream product is so diverse? What else made the internet aside from Al Gore? It was Windows.

Before Windows societies lived in a box cut off from the rest of the world and suddenly the light shined in and we were able to see. It’s a cheap product that runs most the computing productivity all over the world. So why is the comparison even brought up? You know how they build Apple Mac computers, my guy? They build them and do Research & Development by using WINDOWS supercomputers all tied together in their prowess and processing power and messiness to create the most basic Apple apps. Sure that’s a theory I made up but it’s probably true.

Apple is good for the simple-minded, the computer-retarded, and artists. It’s good for artists who don’t have the patience to trial-and-error potential problems with writing programs and music programs and directing programs. Go to any doctor’s office, or CAD-centric field like architecture or medical testing or that is involved in the making of prosthetics and you will find offices littered with Lenovos and Dells. They’re not always cheaper, either. They don’t have the flashy design, they have the utilitarian design that allows for efficiency. They have a software that’s more compatible with what came before it. There is no premium with Windows, it’s making things work with the tasks it’s presented with like it’s Oskar Schindler.

So while Mac fans masturbate in their grandiosity to their paper-thin, increasingly ineffective computers, like Spiderman they cling to the ceiling by excessive amounts of their own spunk inside that Starbucks. Comfortable, they can finally, by design, forever look down on everyone. Hopefully their Applepods stay in place with a Dave Matthews Band soundtrack throughout the entire ordeal.

It is also worth bringing up Demigod Bill “Humanity’s Savior” Gates, obvious heir to the throne of Christ. He suffers for our sins, cures African water poisons, and used Beam me up, Scottie technology to ghost into the body of Antichrist Steve Jobs and kill him from the inside out. Good riddance.

We must learn to appreciate our diversity, our ugly and pretty, our white and black, the patchwork of Lego design that is the lifesblood of the planet. The Origin of the Future is by Means of Microsoft Computational Selection. Gene design isn’t the pretty, vapid, false poetry of Apple. Life is a gritty poetry of blood, harm, violence and even death of competing ideas and an innately fascist operating system can’t handle such a task. Alan Turing created software to fight such fascism (WWII), and promote global unity via computational and coding freedom. It’s sure to say today he would see this fascist closed Apple eco system for what it is... the technological-spiritual sequel to Mein Kampf!

The Orgazoid Is a Sexual Predator - Peep Show Theory

The Orgazoid is a man out of control, a man with demons. That’s why he’s presented as an unassuming, bland character to start. Quickly we see he’s been out of control, a now cleaned-up Superhans off the smack and the party powder. He’s been as high and low as there is to go, and is reduced a partying night out of only Coke, diet at that.

This musician takes an obtuse, predatory route to acquire his groupies. First, he grooms them. As he suggested to Jez, “My place has gone to shit since I split up with my ex.” He plays into the gender roles and alludes to their typical behaviors to throw victims off, e.g. he is the sloppy male, his presumptive ex-girlfriend is no longer around to do household chores.

If it was one-off this might be forgivable, but it’s clear the setup is to find someone needy and vulnerable and soften him up with cash and other expensive gifts. Jez gets paid a lot to basically do nothing, getting a nice sweater and a squash racket in return.

Once the Orgazoid has broken Jeremy and revealed the full details of the “handyman” position, he doesn’t want to pay anymore. The game is finished for him. “I’ve never had to pay before,” he says. But if that were true, and if he really enjoyed Jeremy’s company and had to leave the country to get his head together, he wouldn’t have paid his best friend Superhans to do the same.

With this in mind, the Orgazoid is one of the most manipulative, predatory Peep Show characters, probably matched in evil only by Natalie.

Thoughts on Taxi Driver

Few films have aged better than Taxi Driver. There are films that are old and timeless by virtue of being vague. It order to do it right, though, you have to have a contemporary film set in modern times about contemporary issues. It’s the time capsule of a depraved era, when the now tourist trap of NYC was a seedy place of high crime and porn theaters.

Of course the world you see is that of the protagonist, Travis. One scene has always stood out as the most important. After he commits his first slaying, Travis watches a dance television show completely unaffected as the juxtaposition of uplifting music highlighting his despair, and indifference to his crime. He sees shoes on the floor which subliminally suggest the loss of life, but he only cares about his own. The score in general does its job as a counterpoint, highlighting his loneliness with its beautiful, charming, calm notes by Bernard Herrmann. Re-viewing it there’s another scene, acted by its director Martin Scorsese, that foreshadows the event. Describing how he will slay his wife, Travis remains more or less disaffected.

Counter-intuitively, as its director put it, it’s a feminist film because it dissects the pathological aspects of the male ego. Travis is a man forgotten by society. He is depressed and only worth what he can produce. After his understandable rejection by Betsy he does the most he can do as a man emotionally, and seeks help not from an institution, but the older, experienced mentor figure from his work. It turns out not to be enough.

Despite the film’s dark turn, Quentin Tarantino is right to call it a profoundly funny film. The scenes with a low-key Albert Brooks, DeNiro’s portrayal that completely lacks in awareness, a few moments with Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel. Travis’s self-defeating nature might be funny to subjectively criticize, but for a young man it might be the closest thing to a celluloid psychological mirror of depression.

The ending has lead to a lot of speculation, a large number of people speculate that it’s a dream. This is because of the surreal quality of the final battle’s scene, and the return of Betsy into the life of Travis. More plausibly, the ending is written implausibly. Less understood is the fact the final fight sequence had it’s color de-saturated to avoid an X-rating, leading to its surreal quality. Betsy’s turn at the end is her revelation. She’s no longer the untouchable Madonna, like Travis driven by lust, she seems driven by Travis’s new-found “hero” status.

What stands out more than anything is the quality of the film to represent what otherwise would be unimaginable. Correctly adjusting its 70s environment for the bleak, cynical eyes of its character provides a realism most might not have been brave enough to live, let alone examine and record.

Free Weights vs. Machines: The Ultimate Guide

There is a rift in the weightlifting community. Since the collective brain-matter of the bottom 97% of enthusiastic lifters is about 143 to 144 ounces, the issue has become one of much ill-informed debate. It is the matter of free weights vs. machines. And I’m here to tell you, only pussies champion free weights.

Now, any rationally inclined gym-rat would say of the matter: do whatever workout you feel comfortable with that gets you to the gym. That’s the hardest part of any difficult activity: getting out of the car, getting on the treadmill. But as such, the protein shake-addled brain has a relationship with logic like Sisyphus does with that rock. It ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Free weights are for tedious tribalists competing in a battle of oneupsmanship against similarly dull-minded individuals. They egg each other on to gain muscle mass to further build brain muscles to constrict the painful thought-processes in their heads suggesting they may be wrong about something, or considering an easier logical alternative.

So they compete in a more dangerous method of lifting to prove their manliness as measured by who can dead-lift the most weight, and wager the top performer will get to bang Kelly the Towel Girl. It’s not going to happen, and may be simply an excuse to have a squatters crotch near their face. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that except to say just be honest about it.

These people compete with their free weights, like watching Nascar, secretly hoping for a game-ending injury. “Did that 550lb. barbell just fall on your chest? I’m Top Dawg now,” they’re commonly known to say. Even the injuries they brag about. When doing squats it’s common for lifters to suffer a prolapse, and go, “Wow, look at that, 13 centimeters extended!” and never long for another lifter to say, “That’s nothing! I prolapsed 27 centimeters last winter!” before reaching to his phone to show him the photo on Instagram.

Free weight lifters are arguably the biggest pussies on earth. Sure, it’s tough to lift 400 pounds, because there is nothing in our genetic history that involved this idiotic task. So, you do these risky stunts to impress other dudes because deep down inside you really don’t want to be their for your daughters birthday party. “Where’s daddy?” she asks in a solemn voice. A mother, distressed, must tell her the truth. You are in your thirties but succumb to peer pressure like it’s a bathroom cigarette in eighth grade. Real men, they don’t run from responsibility. Real men, real men use weight machines.

Machines are the way forward on the planet earth. Everyone knows it, but who dares admit it? What is an automobile if not an exoskeleton? What is a cellphone if not an exoskeleton for the mind, compartmentalizing it and informing it and making it easier to articulate thoughts?

Machines are the way of human progress. People argue for free weights by saying, you can never work the proper amount of muscles you get by balancing free weights vs. machines. You’re forgetting there’s machines for everything now, and machines also allow for an all-around balance of lifting power, start-to-finish during your routine. Could you look at two lifters, one of each type and tell the difference? No. You could measure them against different exercises, but you’re forgetting the convenience and time-saving machines can potentially provide. With this extra time, you can work those muscles in realistic, real-world scenarios such as dressing up as a bat and fighting crime. Tell me free weights can cover nearly a robust set of muscles as that and I’ll call you a fucking liar.

Machines mainstream our basic physical needs to empower us in the real world. Sure, the world’s best bodies, intelligently, use a mix of both free weights and machines for the best advantage. Is that your percentile? Is that what you’re going for? Or are you some sad dick holding a Larabar in one and mediocre ideology in your head. Machines move society forward, not this, “I’ll churn my butter by hand!” bullshit. With travel, farming methods, the safety of shelter, and even our bodies, machines make everything better.

I really kinda doubt if you don’t work out that elbow-muscle no one needs or knows the name of shit is going to hit the fan. Free weighters are a hierarchy of try-hards trying to seem tough. Then they complain their flux capacitor muscle is broken and they’re out of the game for 18 weeks when they had a safe alternative that was easy to adjust. Machines are perfection. Science. They will lead us to becoming the √úbermensch. They will only improve.

If working obscure, secret hidden muscles really was your task, you’d become Nathan Drake and start swinging from vines and work as a navy seal on the side. Let it be clear now and forever more: free weights are for gullible, peer group-grovelers and sissies too scared to spend time with their daughters.

Automatic Vs. Manual: Should Manual Drivers Be Shot on Sight?

Time has proved my hypothesis right. Manual transmissions are a way of the past. They belong at your grandparent’s house, or the United Kingdom, our nation’s grandparent’s house.  Of course, this excludes European outliers, people too stuck in their old world ways, or some sort of legislated benefit for smaller engines.

Now, most educated people realize automatic transmissions are better. Now, that in this most affluent nations of the world the United States, all but a paltry single digit percentage of cars are made manual, we know who has won the war. The future may be autonomous, but we know what the world needs now.

Dead now are the persistent myths.

People say manual transmission gets better mileage. Back then they did. With modern, 8-gear, computer-assisted automatic transmissions it’s a moot point. Even in less sophisticated new cars using 20-year-old tech the savings won’t be much.

People say the cars cost less and are cheaper to fix. Yes they are less complicated systems, but does not include your expensive and inevitable clutch repairs. As they become a thing of the pass, the antique notion will fall from norm like it has already in the U.S. And, let’s not forget with a cheaper expense, comes cheaper resale values. Automatics are worth more. The majority of cars now being made don’t even have a manual option.

People bring up expensive sports cars. Even these cars are making the change, or at most giving you the option for both so you can pretend you’re Tokyo drifting in your overpriced, middle-aged sadness unit on wheels. This also addresses the poor argument that manual transmissions allow more control over your auto. In the high-end, manual sports cars will not stand a chance against the precision-crafted automatic transmission systems.

No, the world hasn’t caught in. Worldwide, manual transmissions maintain their reign. Also, most of the world lives in abject poverty on less than two dollars a day. We need fuel efficiency for a better world, and the better world needs to catch on that doesn’t happen with the overpriced lawn-machines that are your average two-door manual sedan.

There’s also a matter of comfort. More than 80 percent of people live in congested cities. They’re congested with humans, cars, and worst of all traffic. The stop-and-go driving is hellish and tedious with constant shifting and clutching. Learn to let go quite literally of that gear shift and give in to the way of the new world. Plus, it leaves your center console free so you can receive roadhead from the transient you picked up before dropping them off at the shelter.

A manual transmission also means you are groveling at the chance to have you car stall on the highway. Happens all the time, guys. The only plausible justification is the lifestyle. If you would like to pretend that you are Speedracer and want the illusion of automobile freewill by all means, go for the poorer option. But the rest of the informed freewheeling world prefer the rationale of safety and simplicity.

Disclaimer: this article is informed only by prejudice and Reddit comment threads.

Why Wouldn't You Collect Jars of Your Own Urine?

A lot of people ask me, Tim, why do you collect jars of your own pee? And I tell them all the same thing: it would be crazy not to, it’s healthy, rational, and keeps my schizophrenia at bay.

Now I should say I’ve been collecting my own urine in jars regularly since I was a wee (lol) young lad, since I was 18. Actually, since I was 14, but within a couple years my jealous step-dad found out about my collection and had the bottles smashed and disposed of. Eventually he and my mom divorced as she was more tolerant of me, my lifestyle and decisions.

You’d have to be out of your right mind not to collect your urine, especially in this day and age. Constantly, the media bombards us with lifestyle images and what to do, what to consume, how to be the “cool” kid on the block. We are too detached from natural human nature and natural bodily functions. That’s just one of a plethora of reasons.

Reason #1 you know who your friends are when you collect jars of your own urine

The moment you tell a person your religious backyard, sexual identity, political affiliation, there’s always a risk of it being a conversation stopper. Multiply that by 10 and you’re scratching the sticky surface of what it’s like to be a pee-collector. People are either with it, or they literally turn on you at that moment. Now I have a curiously cultivated core group of friends of only the highest and most open-minded intellectuals.

Because my collection is rather large, in the early nineties I bought a disused airplane hangar to store my vast collection, which I keep catalogued perfectly and in order. Like a library I have a ladder for the high shelves, and even a Dewey Decimal-type card system to help me find rare bottles, though I’m thinking of bringing data of my collection online for simplicity. Quite dewy, indeed, hahaha.

Now, imagine the smile on the faces of your guests when you break open a corked, wax-sealed copy of your DNA from 1987. You tell them, “I remember expelling this quite well. Michael Dukakis was still running for president.” This is the distilled essence of life. Yes it is unpleasant, but are not humans? The acrid aroma fills the air, reminding everyone within nose-shot of their youth, those happy days before life was a chore, before toilets were a prerequisite and the awful precursor to domesticated life.

The Infamous Timothy V., guest contributor
Reason #2 reasons of mental health

Now, nobody wants to go crazy, or become schizophrenic. Now I have a long line of schizophrenics in my family. Our family tree looks like it was drawn by Picasso if you catch my drift. I have what my psychologist Terry calls, “A extreme genetic predisposition to psychosis I’m not even sure I should let you leave my office right now or call you in for a 72-hour evaluation.” That’s what the quack said the one time I visited a doctor, but maybe there’s some truth to his words. So how much crazier would I be if my memory salts weren’t keeping the demons at bay?

Ever heard that saying, “If a tree falls in a forest, how can you see the forest through the trees?” It’s a brilliant saying. If you don’t have a collection of your pee, is there any proof you ever existed? Without pain there is no pleasure, without waste there is no treasure. It’s earthy, it literally rejuvenates the soil. When in 1979 after my grandpa died and my bully peed on his grave to “spite” me, I gave him thanks for helping the grass and beautiful flowers that would eventually manifest as the result of his gesture. We’ve been best friends ever since.

Reason #3 it’s hygienic

Every year, a metric quadrillion-ton of human urine makes its way through the sewer system where it is repurposed as fresh, distilled drinking water for babies and cats and the rest of the sentient life-form spectrum. Disgusting. By putting our pee into “sanitation” systems (that’s a LAUGH), we’re actually aiding and abetting its consumption.

I am clean with my storage. Pee is only stored in glass bottles. Yes, it’s caused a few problems with regards to breakage, but it’s the most hygienic way to store decades worth of your urine. Pee as I’m sure you know is also sterile, so it can be used effectively as a disinfectant and made into soaps and other household cleaning products.

Reason #4 it’s mysterious

No one can doubt the magical properties of pee. It changes color. When I think of its beautiful amniotic sac appearance in those moonshine jars, its visual charm is prehistoric, it looks like a honey, a nectar, an amber, it is the color of its own energy, it’s the golden-rose tinted sunglasses spice of life that rarely stops giving. It reminds me of poetry. I love poetry. I love Allen Ginsberg’s America, Silvia Plath, the words of Cornell West, it reminds me of the films of Ingmar Bergman, Autumn Sonata specifically, Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy, or A Short Film About Killing by Kieslowski.

In Conclusion

Everyone knows gravity is in charge. Only once we destroy the evil peril of gravity will the mind-reading satellites in space come crashing down. My hangar is coated and lined with tinfoil, inside is a never turned on wireless network, I am wired-in to report to you. Like the jar of urine after my first date with my first love... I drank the white Flavor-Aid, and so many years after the fact I have that memory saved like a
liquid message in a bottle. That’s what life’s about at the end of the day, is it not?

Timothy V. is a staff writer for The New York Times

On the Abortion Debate

This was initially written as a response to a Facebook share in what is possibly the worst argument I have ever come across, to the extent it is almost a parody of right-wing pathology and thinly-veiled political hysteria. My reply to the sharing party of said content I feel is an accurate summary of the correct approach to the subject. Here is the initial obtuse remark:

Censored to not promote the stupid
First I will point out I generally agree with you. It’s basically a tragedy, that certain people don’t view it as a heavy situation rather than another option of birth control. This is a common attitude I’ve witnessed in people. What changed my mind was reading something written by Roger Ebert roughly paraphrased as, “I believe in a woman’s right to choose, but could never advocate it for a child of mine.” It gets more complicated.

If a child is a child is a child, there can be no exception for incest and rape. I’m aware of these are rare occurrences, but there are occurrences. Someone who is pro-life without exception I can take more seriously. Otherwise you’re saying killing is wrong, unless the rape of a third party is involved. The problem with this is, it would be immensely amoral to force someone to bring such a child to term because I have half an ounce of empathy and moral integrity. It was not planned and carries a heavy physical, psychological, and financial burden. On the other hand if you allow an exception for rape and incest, it’s hard to take you seriously. Since this scenario is uncommon it will only weaken any other argument. Let’s put it aside.

Look at the phrasing used. You imply something unborn is being murdered. This is problematic. Not just for you, for everyone. What else is alive that is a part of humans? Do germs count? Sperm? The strange organisms that make up every person’s molecular biology? Or is it only a fertilized egg? Is there any line at all to be drawn? For example, some people are against stem cell research which uses a cluster of cells about the size of a bug’s brain to study and try and create life-saving technologies. You kill more scratching your nose. At what point is life created? This also brings up a very important point, which is how much do we value a person’s agency over their own body? A childbirth is always a threat to someone’s physical well-being. We have no problem with transplants, excising tumors, and body modifications. I do not feel comfortable dictating what dangerous physiological changes can happen to a person’s body. I can only leave that choice to the individual. If abortion were replaced with, say, safely removing a fetus and hooking it up to an effective artificial womb, raised to term and adopted, would you be okay with it?

We legislated these decisions and now we don’t have back alley abortions by impoverished mothers. Yet despite what I’ve argued, I am disturbed by the cultural indifference. I posited this to a friend and would to everyone if it weren’t so incendiary, “Would you be friends with an abortionist?” No. Because it’s not just about these rare situations involving the threat of a woman’s life, or extreme cases, or miscarriages. Abortion, by and large, is nothing more than Plan C. It would be better to change those attitudes. But it would be better if argued from a polemical, moral stance instead of saying it’s the equivalent of shooting a baby in the face. Too many people, from pastors to politicians bring this up showing little empathy, respect, or recognition for a woman’s agency. I believe that shift could go a long way in changing minds, just the acknowledgment that it is indeed a heavy and complicated question with gray areas.

It would also be better served if it wasn’t so deeply entwined with a religious connotation, because otherwise you’re losing the secular segment of the population. That is a whole other issue in itself. When you are arguing on religious terms and by intelligent design, it’s easy to point out the apparent design of women allows for more death by miscarriage than abortion. When you make this case, Mother Nature is the greatest abortionist. How do you reconcile this as a Christian? I don’t believe it can be. It is completely physiological, it is not the wickedness of man, it is not a yarn to be spun with religious themes of good and evil.

Now to counter the false equivalency of the initial, preposterous shared post, why aren’t you doing something about it? I don’t like the toxic aspects of the abortion debate where it becomes about identity. Conservatives are actually more politically malleable with two exceptions: gun rights and abortion. The initial post combines the two with something almost beyond a parody. Let’s say the laws changed tomorrow and you had a three-day grace period, where you could have a doctor throw a rag over your newborn and euthanize it. I imagine, tomorrow you would be at any clinic that supported this with weapons and I might be right there beside you. If what you are claiming is the murder of a child now, however, and not a fetus, how do you sleep at night?

The point is, fetuses are not alive. If they were alive, their bodies would not be entirely physiologically dependent on another human being. They would be able to exist on their own. Perhaps instead we can acknowledge this and have an intellectually honest discussion. In the 50 years time we’ve wasted on each other, fighting and creating picket signs, we could have mutually decided this problem is too complicated for a simple solution or an us-versus-them mentality. If you want to be a good person, instead, support scientific solutions where abortion wouldn’t be necessary. Perfect contraceptive measures and concede that contraception is necessary and important. Create a fetus-extracting, womb-simulator. Otherwise it’ll be another 50 years and the problem won’t go away, each side will dig their heels in further, and discussions on abortion will continue to only be useful for signaling virtue.