Tuesday, July 31, 2007


George Orwell was ahead of his time. he'd written Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949. his dystopic story was the advent of "Big Brother" and a continuation of a style which later became the dictionary entry of "orwellian". at the time, he imagined a future England in which a totalitarian regime had risen to power and controlled every aspect of the lives of the citizens. the book was a 300 page nightmare of power gone wrong. the absolute corruption of absolute power .

after war breaks out, revolution overthrows the existing government. the newly instituted government, or Inner Party as they're called, takes over and reigns for nearly 40 years. they've established 3 classes of people. themselves being the Inner Party. the outer party, which carried out the orders of the inner party. and the proles, or the lower, uneducated working class. the outer and inner party were under constant surveillance by big brother. language is being rewritten to utter simplicity, to rid the world of emotion and expression. no one was ever permitted to speak against or even think ill towards the government, represented by the imaginary figurehead of "Big Brother". the children are raised as obedient spies, turning their own parents over to their deaths if they sway from the straight and narrow. doing so would lead to their certain abduction by the thought police, followed by torture, an inevitable confession and their eventual public execution. every home was fitted with a telescreen that watched and listened to its inhabitants at all times. the government figured out that the best system of control was a perpetual state of war. it ensured a need for constant labor, producing materials of war which were forever in demand yet had no benefit to the people quality of life, and forced a sense of patriotism.

our protagonist is Winston Smith, an outer party drone. he works each day changing history, correcting newspapers and books to reflect the views of Big Brother. without history, the people lose their memories. Winston, though, remembers some things differently. things that can't be which Big Brother claims as absolute truth. he begins posing questions in his own mind, thinking for himself, doubting his programmed hatred, and even begins writing in a journal he's acquired from an antique shop in a part of town he had no business being in. an act punishable by death. he's slowly waking up to the reality that's been hiding behind a mask.

amazingly, nearly 60 years ago, this book was viewed as a nightmarish fantasy novel. an impossible future but with its roots buried in the events of the time. Orwell was a socialist but condemned Stalin's totalitarian authority in Russia. much of his work, most famously in Animal Farm, dealt with that topic. a revolt to rise above the muck created by the leadership, only to create a more oppressive quagmire in the disguise of freedom. the scariest thing is how relevant this book is presently. the perpetuation of ignorance, political spin, big brother around every corner. using war as a means of distraction, fear and patriotic fervor.

its a pretty astounding book and a really quick read. its fairly terrifying and quite capable of opening an eye or two to the parallels happening in our own world's current state. there was a film made of it in 1984 in England, though its pretty difficult to track down. if you can find it, its worth your time. John Hurt gives a great performance and Roger Deakins' cinematography (known best for his camera work on some of the best Coen brothers' films) is breath taking. its also the most accurate book to film translation i've ever seen.

its most definitely a nightmarish novel, but i'm beginning to question the "fantasy" label attached to it.

Monday, July 30, 2007


in this corner, in the blue and red cup, weighing in at 22 oz. and hailing from the Wawa convenience store chain and superstores such as K-Mart and Walmart. the polar bear with flair. ICEE!

...and in this corner, sporting the enormous transparent cup and weighing in at hefty 32 oz. coming all the way from your local 7-11. the brain freezer. SLURPEE!

let's get readyyy to ruuuumble!

the main event tonight is scheduled for 3 rounds. by the looks of these two opponents, this should truly be a brutal brawl. each fighter tonight is using the cherry fighting style. Icee is supported ringside by his manager Coca-Cola, and his sparring partner and former champion, Blue Raspberry. he's smaller than his adversary at a tight 22 oz. but boasts much more experience in the ring as a consistent flavor. Slurpee has assembled an enormous entourage on his side. i'm counting about 82 flavors, over there. the Slurpee team is notorious for debuting new fighters and it looks like its assembled the whole squad for tonight's main event.

and there's the bell!

Slurpee explodes out his corner. we've witnessed how the Slurpee management team treats all its flavors with equal attention so it really has been quite a while since Cherry Slurpee has shown us his moves in the ring. Icee, on the other end, saunters out with focus. he's been their star fighter for nearly 40 years and the Icee crew obviously knows when they've got a champion in their mitts. let's see if all that experience pays of against his rivals more sporadic record.

Icee is choosing his shots wisely. he bobs and weaves like the veteran he is, waiting for the opportunity to slip in some nice jabs. he's connecting with some regularity but Slurpee is taking it. he's dancing all over the ring and though his punches meet with a lot of Icee's blocks, when he's able to get his trademark brain freeze uppercut to connect, you can see Icee reel back. without a doubt, he's feeling it. and that'll bring round 1 to an end. i'm giving it Slurpee.

Icee took some punishment in that round. he's a bit wobbly as he makes it to his feet and Slurpee seems to have lost some of that speed he had earlier. both contenders have depleted a little over 1/3 of their contents. Icee still looks red and vibrant, but Slurpee's getting flush around the top. from here at the announcers' table, it looks like much of his flavor has seeped to his feet.

Icee stays with his traditional attack strategy. Slurpee's stamina has definitely dropped considerably. he taking a lot of shots out there. i haven't seen a fighter abandon his defense like this since the last Rocky movie. he's trying to turn it around with his devastating brain freeze, but with mostly super sweet juices and little to no ice behind it, its having a minimal effect. he's having some trouble finding the mark as well. Icee keeps backing Slurpee into the corner where he delivers body blow after body blow. this could be it for Slurpee. he's got a deep gash in his spoon straw. whoa. saved by the bell. the referee separates the two just in time. the crowd is going crazy out here. i'm clearly giving that round to Icee.

here we are. the deciding round. Icee still has nearly half of his contents reserved and a healthy pink color. Slurpee isn't fairing as well. his coach tried to mix him up but the effect won't last long. all his flavor has dropped to the bottom of his cup. he's hurt and all that ice is proving to be a heavy load of dead weight. Icee is brushing off Slurpee's blows. the syrup has lost all the icy force. it seems like more of a nuisance to Icee than a threat. he's really unleashing out there. a beautiful combination from Icee! Slurpee pulls his straw out a few times and stabs it into his own ice, trying to find some overlooked strength. he literally grasping at straws in a real desperation attempt. he somehow maneuvers an uppercut that forces Icee back onto his heels but he's too dazed to follow it up with an effective offense. Icee pauses, makes a quick stir himself, and charges in. a pair of jabs. a hard left hook! Slurpee is against the ropes! he appears to be out of flavor, unable to muster anything out of the glob of white ice still inside his cup. he takes an overhand pummeling from Icee's vicious right, sending Slurpee's domed lid into the crowd...and he's down!

Icee is teetering over him with only a couple sips left. if Slurpee can make it to his feet, i'm not sure Icee can keep up with his pace. Slurpee looks to be getting, wait, no, it's over!

Icee wins!
Icee wins!
Icee wins!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


about 6 months ago, my excitement was birthed over the news of the new Pixar animated movie, Ratatouille. there wasn't a release date at the time. i didn't even know what the story was about. the lure for me was the name of the man at the helm - Brad Bird.

i saw it tonight. its the story of Remy. a simple, French, country rat with a culinary gift. his talents go overlooked by his garbage consuming family, but he finds opportunity at Gusteau's Restaurant in the bustling city of Paris. it was once the greatest restaurant around but has been struggling lately under the new overbearing, uninspired chef. its here that Linguine, the garbage boy, spills the soup pot. he attempts to fix it with his own touches, but only makes matters worse. its Remy who saves the day, not only fixing the soup, but making it a crowd pleasing favorite. Gusteau's begins to buzz with customers demanding the soup, and Linguine, who was credited with the recipe, is forced to repeat it. to keep his job, he teams up with Remy, who plays him like a puppet throughout the kitchen from beneath his toque. under Remy's manipulation, Linguine quickly rises to be a great chef.

that's just the gist. there's much more going on, and some great subplots.

the movie succeeds thanks to the writer/director, Brad Bird. he makes it what it is. his direction garners some of the most amazing sequences in animation and his craft in storytelling and visual style are truly superlative.

the appearance of this film is unique, as is the look of all Brad Bird's films (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles). 3-D computer animation has grown to a fine art. photo realism is attainable. we've seen the amazing capabilities of CGI in the Lord of the Rings, 300, Spider Man, King Kong. etc. Pixar, in this case, keeps the characters as caricatures. their faces and proportions are stylized and cartoony, yet they are animated with brilliant accuracy. the rodent fur is perfect. the movements of scurrying rats and lanky old men are executed perfectly. each character carries themselves in a different fashion, adding a subtle boost of life into these artistic imaginations. he designed The Incredibles similarly. i think this is a great approach. everything moves and behaves in a reasonable manner so the audience can relate to them, but the exaggeration of their appearances allows the artist to tell a lot of the story simply through expressions and mood.

i'm starting to see themes emerging in Bird's work as well. all of his stories tend to focus on a character realizing that he can be whatever he chooses. be that a friendly, child-like robot. be that an earth-saving superhero. be that a talented rat chef. his tales all bear embedded morals. the fulfillment of potential. following your heart and your dreams. they do so with inventive plot lines that never seem trite. they have social, political and historical undertones with seeming patronizing or confusing for kids. each your has heart that stirs emotion. the scene when the dreaded critic first tastes Remy's dish will make you smile.

i can't wait to get excited over the next Brad Bird project. hopefully, the gears on it are already turning.

...and if you haven't seen The Iron Giant (Bird's first feature as writer and director), see it tonight. seriously. go rent it now. better yet, buy it. its about a giant robot that crash lands in a small new england town and befriends a small boy in the midst of 1950's cold war paranoia. it's like E.T. meets Terminator with all the heart and action of each, and then some. it went under the radar when it was released but it is, in my opinion, one of, if not the best animated movie ever.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


i made a few little changes to The Combustible Engineer lately and i wanted to keep you all informed.

i created an account with feedburner which provides me with consolidated feeds and stats. to you, that means next to nothing, but they do offer some nice little widgets and banners that make subscribing to my blog a little easier.
its never been more simple. in the side bar to the right are two ways to do so. click the little orange button to subscribe directly to the feed. you can also enter your email address into the box. whenever i publish new posts, you'll get a notification right in your inbox. i think you'll also receive the full content as well. easy as pie. go for it. you can do it. i believe in you.

as always, leave comments if you're so inspired. they let me know that people are actually reading what i'm rambling. plus, it's great to get feedback, good or bad. maybe a comment will spawn a conversation or new topics to discuss in future posts. maybe it'll encourage more frequent blog entries. maybe i'll make new friends. maybe i'll invite you over for chinese take-out and a heated game of Risk.

thanks for stopping by.

SIDE NOTE: i recently wasted an hour googling random things. my name. my town. www.paperstreetstudio.com (my artwork website). when i googled my blog, i found that some entrepreneurial site had copied one of my posts, The Ink Diet. the website was all about get-rich-quick schemes and ways to make millions while working at home. there in the midst of it was my mock-infomercial post about losing weight by getting ugly tattoos. hilarious. i'm finally making it big.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


i've had a penchant for super heroes since childhood.

i imagined myself flying through the sky or breaking through brick walls with my fists. using only my mind to read other's thoughts or psychically lifting things and sending them spinning across the room.

i prayed that my DNA would be altered.

now, a full grown adult, i'm beginning to question whether i'll ever be transformed into a crime fighting superhero. it's getting harder and harder to be "accidentally" exposed to a focused beam of gamma radiation, to be fortunate enough to be hanging around during a dramatic miscalculation in a chemical laboratory or being abducted by the government for top secret military experimentation.

since the likelihood of a lucky accident isn't looking good, i may have to take the first steps myself. i've thought about hanging around outside the x-ray room at the hospital on my free time. maybe i could sneak in and find a good place to hide out. absorbing all that sweet radiation that's wasted in the atmosphere. or possibly i could track down a prime illegal nuclear waste dump site. if i had the funds, i'd be bionically altering myself as we speak. it can't be that hard to jam a few microchips and a WiFi modem into my brain.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


the newest harry potter book, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows, was released to the public last night at midnight.

i got wind of the preparations that Barnes & Noble was making in anticipation of the release. curiosity drove me to swing by to see how crazy it could possibly be and i snapped these photos. these were taken at about 12:30 am.

the bookstore itself was flooded with kids and their respective guardians. overflow went into the parking lot, where people were on the verge of Attica pandemonium. there were a few older people eager for the next Hogwarts tale, but for the most part, it was boys and girls between 12 and 16. a lot came in costume. robes. lightning bolts sharpied on foreheads. catholic school uniforms. i hoped to finagles some pictures but i was getting some odd looks from parents nearby.

say what you will about the Harry Potter series, but i for one am happy that a book, any book, can incite this kind of excitement in kids. i know fundamental christians have been protesting the series from the beginning for its pseudo occult support. whatever. its a fantasy novel. personally, i wasn't that interested in the book. my top ten of must reads don't include many teen wizards. still, i had my Lord of the Rings period.but hey, that's just me. just be happy your kids are enthusiastic about reading books and not about pokemon or gangbanging.

i, for one, say kudos to J.K. Rowling. she's the first author to become a billionaire by the power of the pen. we need more billionaire artists. i support that 100%.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


fear is a funny thing. not so much for the people who have it, but for the rest of us. i recently came across a huge list of recorded phobias. some were outright ridiculous. still, they're legitimate fears that a least someone has had to endure.

as i read of the list, i began to imagine the origins of these terrors. and they are terrors. crippling, heart pumping, petrified, scared into a cold sweat horror. so i formulated possible scenarios for make-believe people in my head that could lead to these lifelong phobias. where there's a scarring traumatic event, there's bound to be at least a kernel of a phobia hidden deep inside it.

little Herbert Rockwell was born a normal kid. normal in all physical respects but one. his tongue was enormous. 5 times typical girth. this wouldn't have been a problem if not for his normal sized mouth. the void which makes up the airway that most of us take for granted was diminished quite considerably for poor little Herbie. the tongue just took up so much space. Herbie, though, was a trooper, and got by just fine in spite of his condition. other than a fairly profound lisp and the inability to eat anything but soft food, his life was remarkably similar to most of the other kids. the speech impediment was a much bigger problem for him than his actual deformity. relentless teasing and ridicule from both students and teachers forced Herbie to eat his lunch outside, alone, behind the cafeteria. on one particular day, Herbie discovered his mom had packed something new in his A-Team lunchbox. 'peanut butter', she had called it. it smelled delicious. much better than his usual carnation instant breakfast packets. he scooped up a plastic spoonful and wedged it into his already full mouth. the taste was wonderfully sweet and salty, but after a few seconds, it was still there. the gooey treat had adhered to the top of his mouth. the little space Herbie had available for breathing was sealed by the peanut butter. gasping, he hurried to his feet and dashed back inside as his face turned a darker shade of indigo with each passing second. he made it to the lunch lady and slapped a quarter on the counter in a panic. the cold milk hit his lips just as his oxygen less brain gave up. he collapsed while shaking his fist at the sky, cursing george washington carver's name. he awoke a few minutes later to find everyone huddled over him, pointing and laughing. apparently, the small sip of 2% was enough to dissolve the peanut butter and send it into his belly. he tried to explain but his words were unintelligible. ever since, little Herbie has had ARACHIBUTYROPHOBIA, a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of his mouth.

Clyde Honesdale was serving the end his life sentence. he spent his days pacing the tiny cell that confined him, counting the seconds of passing nothingness. he knew he'd be facing his own execution soon and the thought of those final moments never left his mind. his nervous pacing, once a daytime activity, spilled over into the night. he wasn't sure when the end would come. he only knew that it would. so he paced. back and forth, wall to wall. without rest for days, Clyde's mind began to lose what little grip on reality it had. he'd imagined the last seconds of his life for so long. hood over his head. sit in a chair. zap. hood. sit. zap. sit. zap. sit. dead. he would never sit. sitting would be his demise, or at least in Clyde's psychotic head. as tired as his feet got, he never got off them, not until his surprise lethal injection. that's because he'd developed KATHISOPHOBIA, a fear of sitting down.

Kim Carpenter was accepted for the position as assistant editor for a large publishing company. it was her dream job. she'd been a book worm her whole life. she grew up in a time before attention deficit disorder diagnoses. before ritalin. books, so long as the stories were fast paced and the sentences concise, were the one thing she'd found able to keep her focus. to be around them everyday was like shangri la. that was until she was assigned to a book dealing with the biology of the animal kingdom. the first chapter was about bacteria, more specifically, e. coli, broken down to class, order, phylum, genus and species. in the first paragraph alone, the e. coli was referred to as gammaproteobacteria enterobacteriales enterobacteriaceae escherichia 7 times. she spent four weeks on page 1. her boss had been on her case for a while to pick up the pace. there were deadlines to meet. she just couldn't maintain the attention span needed to make it through words with such high syllable counts. she had nightmares nearly every night of words that stretched endlessly. her boss had soon grown quite angry with Kim's performance and brought her into his office to let her go. in hopes of holding onto her dream, she confessed her fear of long words. now, unable to terminate an employee because of a medical condition, he sent her to the hospital for an evaluation. she's still there. she went comatose when the psychiatrist told her she suffered from HIPPOPOTOMONSTROSESQUIPPEDALIOPHOBIA, a fear of long words.

Blue Eye, the scourge of the sea, was one of the most dastardly pirates plaguing the waters. he achieved this status on account of his prowess with a sword. he had no equal in combat and having the security of Blue Eye on the ship let the others rest easy. their only concern was dodging scurvy. they did this by reporting to the galley every morning for grapefruit breakfasts. one morning, as Blue sat with his crew enjoying some ruby reds, the first mate gouged into his fruit, causing a spray of juices to shoot across the table into Blue Eye's left eye. the acidic burn hurt. it hurt bad. Blue Eye rubbed it relentlessly. he rubbed it over and over. after some time, the rubbing irritated the skin around his eye so much that an infection took hold. the pirates were convinced it was the work of demons and removed the eye with a dagger. Blue Eye was ironically left with one blue eye. the right one. the left side was blinded from there on out. the same side he's been attacked by the grapefruit juice. the same side that suffered the only injury he'd ever endured. the left terrified him. he discovered that he was vulnerable from the left and now he couldn't even see an attack coming from that side. Blue Eye had LEVOPHOBIA, a fear of thing on his left side.

Walter Chesney had been afraid of the number 8 for as long as he could remember. it seemed all the horrible things in his life were attached to it in some way. he was in intensive care as a newborn as a result in his premature birth at 8 months. he had the black plague when he was 8. drug dogs came to his elementary school and when some scallywags saw them approaching, they jammed their reefer in the nearest locker. Walter's locker. locker #8. he was expelled from 8th grade. his wife divorced him after 8 years of marriage. he lost custody of his 8 children at 8:00 on August 8th. his new car was stolen on the same day, the following year. it only had 8 miles on the odometer. what started as simply an unlucky number grew into and omen of frightening proportion. he avoided it any way he could. he called out on the 8th day of every month. he never watched channel 8 on his television. he even scratched the number off the faces of all his clocks. if he saw the number, he ran from it as fast as his feet could carry him until it was safely out of sight. until one afternoon, as he walked home from the store, he passed a construction crew working on the sign of a new movie theater. he paused in front, and looked up at the marquee. the men were driving rivets in the huge blocks letters that read "Cinemaville 8". Walter jumped back in alarm, crashing into the ladder holding the workers aloft. all eight of them grabbed the giant number 8, but as they'd only secured the bottom 8 rivets, it swung horizontally before snapping free and landing squarely on Walter. he was pinned under a giant sideways 8. rescue teams arrived promptly and were able to remove him from the downed signage. it wasn't until the ambulance ride did Walter realize that he no longer had OCTOPHOBIA, the fear of the number 8. now he had APEIROPHOBIA, a fear of infinity.

it was in the early 1980's when Rachel Gleason had her first big birthday party. she invited all of her friends for a birthday blowout. pony rides. pin the tail on the donkey. ring toss. the whole nine yards. the biggest moment was when Rachel's favorite McDonaldland character made a special appearance. it was Grimace, the giant purple thing. Rachel beamed with excitement as he stumbled in, smelling of cheap wine and old socks. he seemed friendly enough at first, until his sawed off shotgun emerged from behind his back. other McDonaldland characters sprinted forth from a van at the end of driveway. Birdie collected wallets and jewelery while Mayor McCheese ransacked the house. the police and FBI arrived promptly, faster than Grimace had expected. it was Rachel that he grabbed as a hostage as they darted into the house. the police nervously kept their distance as negotiations went into the night. it was late when she heard the first clap of thunder, almost immediately followed by a torrential downpour. taking the weather as a distraction, Grimace tossed the bound and gagged Rachel under his arm and escaped out the back and through the woods. he zig-zagged through the trees, but the moonless night proved to dark and the big purple boots too clumsy. stumbling over a fallen tree trunk, the pair hurdled into a drainage ditch. Grimace, out cold, held Rachel beneath his heavy purple mass. she sunk deep in the mud as the rain beat down, seeing only purple. rain slowly filled the ditch, little by little. it began to creep into Rachel's nose when Grimace came to. he propped up onto a knee. it was then that a trained government sharpshooter took him out. a bullet of precision entered the violet cheek, exploding his purple brains all over Rachel's frilly new birthday dress. physically, she recovered fully. mentally, she was stricken with PORPHYROPHOBIA, a nearly incapacitating fear of the color purple and OMBROPHOBIA, a fear of rain. later that year, she saw the most terrifying film of her lifetime, Purple Rain.

Monday, July 16, 2007


my friend recently sent me an invitation to participate in his fantasy football league for the upcoming season. i'm not really that much of a sports fan. i know enough to get by in a bar room conversation, but that's about the limit of it. i've never done this "fantasy football" thing that all the kids are raving about, but i think i'm ready for it. i've already begun formulating the perfect fantasy team in my mind. i hope i can get all my picks in the draft.

QUARTERBACK - Clark Kent. i'm hoping that the nerdy first impression that this little go-getter puts out keeps him under the radar of my competitors. the kid's got moxy, i tells ya. i've seen him throw a 47 mile hail mary like it was a carnival bean bag toss.

RUNNING BACKS - King Kong & Moses. i feel pretty secure that a 30 ton gorilla will be able to rush his way down field without to much impediment. in the event of an injury, i can still count on Moses. he lacks brute strength and youth, but his sea parting skills might give him an advantage in finding the hole in the defense. plus, that beard could garner our franchise a multi-million dollar endorsement from gillette.

WIDE RECEIVERS - Dr. Octopus & Speedy Gonzalez. i need receives who can excel in two ways, ball handling and speed. Doc Oc is a huge target for any passer and a great multi-tasker. he can move, block, catch, talk on the phone, play a clarinet and dole out high fives, all at the same time. Speedy Gonzalez can hustle into the end zone on every play, so long as i can sneak him over the border and establish a new identity.

TIGHT END - Inspector Gadget. i want this position filled with a jack of all trades, if you will. need a blocker? go, go gadget steam rollers legs. need a pass reception? go, go gadget fishing net hands. need a pocket opened up? go, go gadget helicopter blade head. gadget gets things done. no nonsense.

THE DEFENSIVE TEAM - "The Fridge" Perry & a herd of disgruntled unicorns. i'm not talking about the real William "The Refrigerator" Perry. i'm referring to the fictional G.I. Joe version of The Fridge. he carried a big steel pole with a cinder block mounted on the end. once the opposition sees i've combined his unquestioning blood lust with weaponized horses of magic, their quarterback will be quivering in his reebok pumps.

KICKER - Kathy Ireland. she's just really foxy and drafting her onto my team would make for a nice icebreaker. she did well enough in Necessary Roughness, i guess. it's just kicking a ball.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


the 13 colonies of the new world adopted the Declaration of Independence just over 231 years ago. having grown more and more irate at King George III's rule and the eruption of fighting in new england, they wanted out. an end to the tyranny of the monarchy.

though the document isn't actually broken up into sections, its commonly viewed as consisting of 5 parts. the introduction, the preamble, the indictment, the denunciation and the conclusion. it is in the indictment that our qualms with King George and our reasons for secession are stated. this past week, i re-read this historic artifact. here are some currently relevant passages from "the indictment", for your consideration, courtesy of our fore fathers.

"Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them...
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected...
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices...
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us...
...Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

here we are. 2.3 centuries later. there's a new King George (this one's the II). what is listed above is what we fought against to become a democratic nation pursuing life, pursuing liberty and pursuing happiness. we fought for it on our own turf. we shed our own blood in our own back yards for freedom. we did this to put an end to the injustices of the all-powerful king.

here we are. 2.3 centuries later. habeus corpus is no more. anyone at any time could be apprehended and imprisoned indefinitely without charges, trial or legal representation, without even a reason. that is entirely legal now. so are wire taps, search and seizures without warrant (which you never need even be informed of under the law), and governmental access to our medical records, tax records, and even the history of books bought or borrowed. these are all things which have become legal practices in the past few years.

here we are. 2.3 centuries later. we're 5 years and jugular deep in an unconstitutional, illegitimate and illegal invasion in the middle east. a war supported by a political agenda and perpetuated lies. facts deliberately falsified to garner the support of the people (google the "Downing street memo") by our elected officials. we are being led by an administration that knowingly coerced us into a long term, large scale war under false pretenses. think about this. take a minute and really think.
how far have we come?

declare independence.

Monday, July 2, 2007


"Why do guys like you and I know what a duvet is? Is this essential to our survival, in the hunter gatherer sense of the word?" ~Tyler Durden

last weekend, as i sat around the chest high flames of our campfire, life seemed so stripped down. just brass tacks. four of us in the woods and for three days, we had no jobs. no families. no bills.

its a feeling of living simply to live. its the antithesis of the beaten down routine of normal day to day life. its escape from the talk of celebrity gossip, and television, and the highs and lows of consumerism. without that, when all the mass advertising and entertainment around every corner is taken away, you get to the heart of matters. its like being in a foreign country and not knowing the native tongue well. you stop caring about trivialities. luxuries become apparent and unnecessary.

maybe there's still a little primordial ooze deep inside me beaming with pride. for building fire from nothing. for cooking food over open flames & keeping warm in the chill of the night. for sleeping on the uneven terrain with little more than a sleeping bag separating my body from the leaves, twigs and dirt of the earth below. for clearing my mind in a hypnotic, fire induced trance. for bringing perspective back into focus. for reminding me of my youth. for becoming unhindered, without obligation or distraction. for balancing everything on center.

i am jack's primitive footprint.

the ooze inside me would smile if it could.