Joke of the Day, The Stupidity of Hard Work

The biggest mistake I’ve ever made was proving to myself that I’m a hard worker. I should have been lazy. I could have been an office jockey or a McManager by now. Hard work is a bad idea in the corporate world like being honest during a job interview. I was honest during a job interview once. It made the lady trying to get me the job look bad. I guess things like hopes and dreams and aspirations aren’t allowed anymore.

I once said to a friends mom that “it was Confucius who once said a man has a hobby to pass the time and stress of working all day. But a man who makes a career out of his hobby never works a day in his life”. She said “that’s great but that’s not how things work”. Which is an encouraging life lesson coming from a woman whose parents helped finance her business.

My father is the same way. I once asked him if he wanted to invest in my writings. He scoffed. I asked why? He said “because I don’t see any returns out of it”. A great Philosophy from somebody whose parents financed his business.

And for a man who has never even read one of my posts. He had the audacity to tell me to start censoring myself. Dude. Really? I’m a Independent Writer. The only luxury I have is lack of censorship. I find it insulting that someone who runs from responsibility like Harrison Ford in the Fugitive has even the audacity to suggest this in the first place.

The worst part is I go to work and deal with the same kinds of people everyday. It’s a bunch of bosses and like three people trying to mind their own business that the rest try to get fired. I happen to be one of those three people. I don’t mean to make you look bad. We all go through those mental stages; and a rare few have the ability to transcend beyond even those.

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Fictions Favorite Monster Types

The monsters of our ancestors still remain along with their legends except for the dynamics which have changed. Like how mankind once feared giants: man-eating Cyclopes, Sea Beasts, and Radioactive Dinosaurs which are now starting to turn more and more towards the friendly side. Other monsters have evolved while still many others remain the same. Here’s a rundown of the best.

Witches

The Witch in drama circles is a psychological monster created by the hysteria of paranoid Christians; while in horror, the witch has a tendency to lean towards magic and Satan worship. This stereotype has always plagued the witch from Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

But the Witch has evolved to include Satanists, Templars, Gnostics; and any other cults and alternative religions persecuted. In horror, this includes stories involving human sacrifice and ritualistic murder.

The Mad Scientist & his Monster

The mad scientist is one of the oldest of villains that dates back probably to the time of wizards and alchemists. It has taken on many different forms and still exists today not as much in modern horror but in thrillers and action films that deal with elements of computer hacking whose monster is the computer virus. The exception to this rule in modern horror deals with the Zombies and the creation of a Zombie Virus.

One of the oldest mad scientist stories is the German folktale of Faust, the Scientist who sold his soul to the devil. The problem with Faust is that it played on the mystical side of the Mad Scientist (Mad Wizard). This would change with Mary Shelly’s Novel Frankenstein whose monster shifted away from the mystical and more towards modern science.

Zombies

Zombies are relatively new in horror. The folklore surrounding zombies comes from Haitian Voodoo magic in the form of a tonic that turns its victims into mindless slaves. This is far different than the modern day zombie, however, the fear of being enslaved was all too real back in those days.

The modern day zombie myth often deals with a mad scientist or laboratory creating a virus or cell mutation that leads to an all-out outbreak and collapse of society. Rabies has also been used as a substitute for the zombie virus. But the idea of a disease turning humans into mindless cannibals shows our continuing fear of a global plague.

Shapeshifters

Werewolf legends are found all over the world including in Native American Folk-Lore like that found in the Twilight series. Like the mad scientist, they’ve always been around and like the Mad Scientist, are flexible. Dr. Jackle and Mr. Hyde is a great example that fuses both man and the beast within. Playing off our fear of our animal instincts out of control.

But werewolves have been replaced by aliens in recent years who use humans as hosts or take on different forms like that found in the terminator movies. The fear of our animal instincts replaced by forces at work far greater we then we can understand has come to dominate this traditional monster.

Cursed Items

Cursed items especially dolls but also paintings, old texts and other objects will always capture our imagination. The cursed ring of Sigfreud in Germanic mythology or the Ouji Board will always play off our primal fear of trying to manipulate forces we don’t understand.

The Cursed Item is unique because it can itself be powerful and even intelligent, or it can be haunted like the Genies lamp or the puzzle from Clive Barker’s Hellbound Heart. The magical aspects of the cursed item are boundless because it is a magic item, a common characteristic found in heroic mythology.

However, the cursed item as pure magic hasn’t slowed down its evolution. The cursed items of today are robots found in stories like 2001: A Space Odyssey and I, Robot; and computer software in movies like the Terminator.

Ghosts

Ghost stories are common the world over from every time period imaginable. This is probably the reason why we have such an obsession with ghosts. We want to believe them, but don’t have the scientific evidence which makes it that much more mysterious.

Ghosts are one of the most common monsters in fiction and also it’s most flexible. Ghosts show up in any genre. Their role in horror even varies. The ghost can be the hero, a villain, an obstacle or even an object. The ghost is universal.

Supernatural Differences between the Ghost Family.

Ghosts are non-physical entities that affect our physical senses. Haunted are places and objects controlled by ghosts. Demons are powerful ghosts capable of physical harm.

Haunted Places

Haunted Places, Haunted Houses, and Ghostships being the most common, are like cursed items you visit instead of put in your pocket. Cursed items also don’t have to be haunted, unlike haunted places.

Haunted places were a common belief in ancient times where palaces were built for kings in the afterlife.

Haunted places include castles, houses, Ghostships like the Flying Dutchman and even Battlegrounds like Gettysburg.

Neglected buildings with super technology gone awry or spaceships unmanned by a heartless death machine would count as the Science Fiction extension of this.

Demons and Devils

The deepest one dares to tread in the realms of dark fantasy and supernatural terror is the world where magic and reality merge into psychological chaos. The most dangerous are the ancient evils whose names we dare not speak. This includes demons, Satan, etc.

These powerful entities of evil can be found in the magical texts of many religions and cultures. The middle ages saw a growth of these texts, and grimoires or dark books of magic were common by the late Renaissance.

They show up in fiction later in stories such as Faust. H P Lovecraft was one of the great horror writers of this type of Demonology and created the Cthulhu Mythos and the famous Grimoires The Necronomicon.

Serial Killers

Serial Killers have probably existed for a long time but don’t really show up until modern literature with the success of Novels like Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and American Psycho. Yet, the serial killer hits close to home because it’s a real life monster.

Vampires

The most popular monster of all time is probably the vampire. The story of the vampire farther back than Bram Stoker. One of the first Vampire stories was written during a stormy night to entertain the Shelly’s. It was the same night Mary recited her first draft of what would later become the novel, Frankenstein.

Bram Stoker would immortalize the vampire legend with his famous Dracula novel. However, vampires have sustained a mainstream following ever since and have spawned novels such as Interview with a Vampire and movies like Let the Right One In.

This endless success in all areas of fiction from literature to movies to comics books and art for the past two hundred years makes vampires histories greatest monster who prey not on your fears but on your desires

Bosch, Between Heaven and Hell

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Bosch painted a lot of religious works especially dealing with the Passion and crucifixion of Christ. He’s most famous for his chaotic Triptych’s, such as his famous depictions of revelations. However, why all the violence, lust and demotic imagery for such a devout Christian?

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We must understand that Hieronymus Bosch’s hell’s had a point. They symbolized the torment one would receive in the afterlife for a lifetime wasted focusing on earthly pleasures instead of purifying the soul. It should be apparent that Bosch’s chaos is a direct effect of the black plague. The dark images are remnants of a nightmare reality caused by the atrocities of disease.

Looking at the Garden of Earthly Delights

In the center is life after the fall of Eden. Here, men and women are seen indulging in the finer things in life- love making, dancing, feasting and unity with the beasts of this world. However, that type of living had consequences.

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The famous Triptych known as the Garden of Earthly Delights painted by Norwegian artist, Hieronymus Bosch.

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Here, we have a depiction of hell. Bosch sees hell as ironic, where the pleasures of life becomes the downfall of character. Demons feast on the souls as if for substance, the games of chance are held over the heads of the damned and the instruments- tools of the party slowly crush it’s most beloved goers.

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Here, we have God welcoming Eve into the Garden of Eden. In this image, man lives along side the beasts where they are separated by their devotion to God. Also, God is present on earth; which seems that Bosch was associating the Garden of Eden as a kind of Heaven on Earth before the fall of innocence.

Neighborhood Ghosts

The sound of pressure released momentarily filled the air. A hissing sound followed by a pop. It was another beer being opened. I sat around with several of my buddies. We went way back. I remember how we used to get in so much mischief. It seemed like those were the days. “Man, I missed you guys” a said with a heightened sense of enthusiasm.

Now days, I hardly drink. To be honest, I never really cared for the buzz. I did it because it was cheap, legal and something to do. I retired when I moved to the city. Found a decent job as a mason. Felt the drinking was getting out of hand. Then, I found myself a good woman. We had a couple of kids. I wanted to leave a good impression. But right now, it was “down the hatch”.

This was because tonight was different. I was hanging out with the old crew. They were veterans when it came to parting. The alcohol was elementary to many of these old boys. Most had graduated to meth, crack or even heroin. Fortunately for me, I never graduated from this school for hard knocks. Three beers in and I was already feeling buzzed.

Personally, I enjoyed some weed from time to time and even experimented with psychedelics when I was younger. Now, I sat drinking with buddies I knew since elementary school. They’d been working on rehabilitating this house for are buddy Joe. He sat there in the circle with us feeding beers to the boys as a favor of a job well done. He always loved to keep his friends fat and happy.

They liked to tell Drunken Horror stories. Sometimes, they were for laughs. Stories about the people we knew and the stupid shit they used to do. Like the time one of us got stuck on the Mississippi as a child. But, it also got serious from time to time. Like the UFO experience one of my buddies had. Mostly, they just liked to tell stories and share their experiences. It was something to do.

“Yeah, said ole Louie. We nicknamed him Lucifer. He used to be quite the hell raiser back in the day. Now, he lives a quite life with his wife and three beautiful children. He was one of the good ones. Smart as hell and funnier than most. He loved to talk in third person. ” Man, Louie would love to meet some ghosts”. We sat quietly to here his outlandish exclamation as to why he would love to encounter a specter.

“Ole Louie always wanted to meet those wandering bastards. I wanna know how thy do it! Because, when I come back Ole Louie’s gonna wanna haunt some hot college slutty’s”. You know, watch over them like an angel. “Yeah”, I replied. “When, their showering”. Everyone had a good laugh. He nodded his head in agreement with his tounge sticking out. He wife Melody stood next to him rolling her eyes.

“Hey”, replied Joe. Pointing at me. “Hey, Jay. Don’t you remember that haunted house on Chestnut?” “Kinda. Wasn’t it the one with the creepy cellar door. You couldn’t go down there because the branches from the bushes hung over like arms guarding the entrance?” “Yup” replied Joe before taking another chug of beer. “The one and the same”.

“Hey, Joe” shouted Louie. “You know me and some buddies of ours went up there in the attic and performed a Ouija board experiment drunker than a skunk on Halloween”. “What happened?” asked Joe curious to know. “Ah, pond scum. I ended up going home with Cheryl Matthews that night. You remember that hot blonde from high school?”

“Lucky you” exclaimed Joe. “Not me. Hey, Jay! Did you ever go inside that place?” “Nope” I proclaimed. “I didn’t want any bad karma on my record”. “Good for you” responded Joe. “I’m the one that started bringing a bunch of people over there. I stirred that old couple up! They pushed my car down”.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” I asked. “The house was weird, Jay. When I first heard about it, I couldn’t believe it. Some couple just abandoned that house for no reason at all. All the stuff was supposedly all there and easy pickings. It was to good to be true. That was back when I was really into breaking in entering. I had to know for myself. I knew it was a trap but I took the risk”.

“Now that you mention it Joe. The only thing I ever broken and entered into was my last girlfriend” announced Blondie.  The group busted out laughing. “No, this is serious” demanded Joe. “I cased the place out first. No one came or gone. So, I opened the door and went in. The house had been ransacked before. Nothing of much use was salvageable on the first floor”.

The others stood silent. They must have heard this story a hundred times before. Yet, each retelling added a new spice to the same fable. Joe went on without hesitation. The story was as much apart of him as he was the story. “The second floor had brand new Marshall amps and Gibson guitars”. “What did you do with all that equipment?” I asked.

“Oh, you know. I pawned it”. The others starting hollering and high fiving him. “But, in all seriousness” he went on. “I shouldn’t have messed with those ghosts. That couple was actually the elderly couples children”. “Yeah” said Louie. “They probably wanted some peace and quite”. Joe took another sip of his beer.

“How do you know this?” I asked . I didn’t quite believe him. “The thing I remember most is the letters left untouched on the coffee table downstairs. The last names were both the same as on the will. The will was also left on the coffee table. They left in such a rush. Their cat’s corpse had burned a hole in the couch in its final resting spot. It reminded me of burnt jerky”.

I sat nervous by this revelation. The others sat silent in anticipation for the ending to the story. “Then one night, weeks after we all partied in that house. I was coming home drunk from the bar. That’s when, crash! My whole car stalled. I thought I hit someone! I got out to check and found nothing, not even a paint scratch!

That’s when I looked over and saw that house. I knew it was those damn ghosts. They were so made at me. They smashed the whole front end of my car down. That’s when I was driving that little red Honda at the time. Remember that Blondie?”

“Oh, yeah” agreed Blondie. “That was a beautiful car”. “Well, anyways; I was so scared Jay. I was so scared. I drove around town until the cops picked me up. I didn’t know what else to do! The cops thought I hit a parking meter or something after they impounded my vehicle. They found nothing, not even a dent! They had no choice but to let me go”.

We all sat dumb founded. “I never heard that story” I told him. The only story that comes close is one my buddy once told me. He looked around at the others for interest. The others sat attentive to his words. They were generally interested in hearing what it is I had to say. I froze for a moment trying to quickly put the story back together in my head.

Then finally, the story started unraveling in my head. I had to speak slowly in order to keep up. “Apparently, when he was younger. His house was haunted. Books would show up missing. Locked doors would mysteriously open. Voices would call and everyone in the house would come running.

However, he thought it was a good ghost. Because, one day him and his sister were playing with some friends in the living room. They played tag, colored in coloring books. You know, little kids shit. The whole time they were playing, their mom put on a video of an elderly man smiling at them.

A few hours later, the kids got tired. They sat half awake coloring. The room now quite set off the mother instinct. The moms of these kids were in the other room having a cocktail party. They knew something was out of place. One of the mothers from the party went to investigate. She had a tipsy look on her face.

Walking in she asked them, “so, what have you kids been doing to be so quite?” My buddy said to her, “we were playing games and watching the nice man on television. She was stunned. She asked her son and he lifted up a drawing of a smiling face coming from the tv set. “Why?” he asked. “The electricity has been out all day” is what she told them. Truth is, you never know”.

Haunted by the Living

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“Man, Louie would love to meet some ghosts”. We sat quietly to hear his outlandish exclamation as to why he would love to encounter a specter.”Ole Louie always wanted to meet those wandering bastards. I wanna know how they do it! Because, when I come back Ole Louie’s gonna wanna haunt some hot college slutty’s”. You know, watch over them like an angel. “Yeah” I replied. “When, their showering”.

Deep Diver

As I dive deeper into the abyss.

I come upon hidden secrets in lost chasms.

For I have dove where few wish to dwell.

That I begin wondering if I’m drowning?

For no one seems to care about the treasures I seem to surface.

That I begin to sink deeper into despair.

But you will keep your white lies and false prophets.

Follow the herd that feeds you only kernels of the truth.

For a grain of truth is useless in a field of lies.

Especially when one has dove the very oceans floor for answers.

That your land locked clichés seemed to grow from dirt.

The suspicions grown from the seeds of bad apples.

That I must swim or sink.

For I dive for questions.

With no drive for answers.

The ocean becomes my cup.

I sip for knowledge.

I drink for truth.

To quench my thirst.

My mind is parched.

I seek hydration.

Stranger in a Dream Land

tumblr_nm2guimZM91tzp6sfo1_500Shortly after that books disappearance. I began to hear voices. As if, supernatural forces were trying to speak to me. I remember one dream where I was face to face with a strange sentinel being.  It took me for surprise. Because, this fantastic person carried the knowledge and wisdom of ten men inside a living body that couldn’t have been bigger than  that of a number 2 pencil.

I remember, it spoke fluently in a language outside my level of understanding. Its tiny mouth surprisingly muscular with jaw bones chiseled  into a near perfect isosceles triangle. The words it spoke were surprisingly  well articulated but meaningless without proper interpretation. I simply watched, trying to understand.

Than it stopped, reached over and touched my forehead. I woke up only vaguely remembering this dream. But, than the voices disappeared. So, I wrote it off as a bad dream and went on being a kid.  I was young and naïve. I had neglected omens significance. It would become a mistake I would later regret.

I did acquire to a small degree, a level of extra sensory perception after this experience. Once, I stared at a light socket in my room. I imagined it starting on fire. Without a second thought, it started a fire that nearly burned the house down. I lost a lot of memories in that fire.

But, I did find buried under an old painting of a crying child. The book in the corner perfectly preserved. Its musty pages barely singed.

Celestial Projection

I remember one night,

While meditating in bed,

I ascended from the earth.

Touched the surface of the moon,

Before floating past the sun,

I floated beyond the Milky Way.

Straight into the center of the universe,

Through a celestial vortex,

I fell into another dimension.

I met malevolent outsiders,

Enraged ethereal bodies,

Who are these spirits?

In fear and panic,

I found myself in bed,

Under my blankets I hid.

As four golden bodies,

Lurched over my head,

I feared for my death.

Lock and Damned 13

My father got a used River Fishing Boat after doing a roof for one of his friends neighbors; and decided to test this beast out on the Mississippi River.

Why he decided to test it out on such a behemoth of a river is beyond understanding. We lived near several shallow rivers including the Rock which has spots that even I could walk across. It must have been all of that Milwaukee’s Best Ice those guys were scarfing down.

When we dropped that boat in the water. It sunk to the bottom of the river. Its plug for the sink hole had dry rotted. This was a bad omen. We had to go buy a new one. So, we rushed off to Wal Mart where my dad spent like $500 on everything except a plug. Thankfully, he remembered to buy the most expensive anchor. Just strong enough to hold a yacht.

Then, we get back out on the river. Now this isn’t any ordinary river. This is the Mississippi River. Thankfully for us, my dad brought me and three of his buddies along for a trip that already proved to be potentially life threatening. We could have just as easily tested her on a far less powerful body of water. But nahooooo, he insisted on not taking practical advice from a ten year old. He wanted to embark on quest of Mark Twainian proportions.

So, he gets the motor pumping and we’re headed off onto an adventure of a lifetime. Imagine Tom Sawyer as Rush’s Tom Sawyer plays in the back ground. We rode up and down the main stretch of the river making big waves in our little fishing boat. Then, my dad decides to go river cruising. So, we went exploring up stream. An hour later we reach damn 13. Now, their’s a side channel for fishing boats. This main lock is for Yachts and Big River Ships.

I pointed this fact out to my father but he wanted to do things the crazy dangerous way. We headed into the main lock. Imagine this dinky river cruiser surround by some decent sized ships in a giant pool of water slowly rising. It’s pretty neat. We got through just fine. Then the motor stalls about a football fields distance from the damn. We were stuck there with only a dinky electric trowing motor as the damn started sucking us in.

After all, the turbines underneath the water are only the size of a small mansion. I remember standing their frozen in time as the reality began to sink in. Slowly, the boat crept closer and closer to the damn. For a moment the boat stop. Than it got closer again. We got about 100 feet from the damn when my dads buddy took charge. He tied the knot off on that brand new anchor as the rest of us cried out for help.

Soon, two Coast Guards heard our distress and shut off the damn. Those guys looked more scared then we were. They had a small river fishing boat which they  frantically dropped into the water. They made their way out to our boat and shut off their motor to talk to us. We explained the situation and they tied us off. Then, the one in charge told my dad to cut us off. My dad handed the blade off to his roofing buddy that sat closest to the anchor.

He told the Coast Guard he wasn’t going to cut us off until the motor fired up. The man agreed as his gave his motor some torque. It quickly sputtered out of existence and for a brief moment we were both tied off to the same anchor. But, they got the motor running and they brought us to safety. When we finally touched land, one of the coast guards said to the other “Holy Shit that was scary”.