Monday, April 25, 2011


Reading and writing occupy a large space in my life, and while these two activities are not the be all, end all of what it means for me to be a human being, and nor do I think the participation in such activities is a sure sign of intelligence and wisdom, but I do value reading and writing as forces mobilizing my thoughts into mystical battles of creative combat…  That said, it is kind of ironic to be reading why you should read.  Oh well, here you go.

“Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.”
-Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

"Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own"
-Charles Scribner, Jr. (1921-1995)

“My Alma mater was books…  I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.”
-Malcolm X (1925-1965)

"The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more you learn, the more places you'll go."
-Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)

“I find television very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
-Groucho Marx (1890-1977)

“Reading makes immigrants of us all.  It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.”
-Jean Rhys (1894-1979)

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them.”
-Ray Bradbury (1920 – present)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pondering Hitler and Human Nature

This man, Hitler, has come to stand for the personification of evil, the worst of the worst, and rightly so considering he was responsible for an inordinate amount of pain and suffering.  I wonder though, did he think that he was doing evil deeds?  Did he believe that he was an evil man?  Or did he think he was doing good deeds?  Did he believe that he was a good man taking the necessary steps for the greater good of humanity?  (And if he did think he was doing good, if he thought he was a good man; he must have some extreme rationalizing skills.)  Does anyone in this world decide that they’re going to be an evil bastard hell bent on doing as many cruel things to harm others as much as they possibly can?  Does anyone set out as their life mission to do their best to be malevolent and hateful?  Or are people labeled as “evil” simply misguided beings thinking that they are workers of good, letting the intended results of their behaviors obscure the means by which they attain those results? 

These matters are tricky because (in an obvious statement of reality) it’s difficult to know for certain what’s exactly happening inside the mind of others.  We do our best to figure it out by making conjectures and hypotheses based on the internal investigation of self and the external observation of others, but even then we’re ultimately guessing, no matter how strong that guess may be.

And to take this pondering in a somewhat different direction, what if we were to use a time machine and visit baby Hitler?  What would be the proper way to approach an innocent little baby that would go onto to become a villain to humanity?  Should we pull a Minority Report and convict him before he commits his crimes?  Or should we take it upon ourselves to try to teach baby Hitler a different way, an alternative lifestyle based on the principles of love and kindness?  How far can teaching go?  Was it written into his DNA to become a diabolical force regardless of circumstance?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No Place like Home: A Texas Story

The below is an account from the mind of a lost boy…

Jerry Stone was a boxer. A hard nosed fighter, whose teeth did the tango when he smiled. Jerry was my father’s best friend and adoring my father the way I did, anyone he loved, so did I. On April 13th, twenty years to the day tomorrow, Jerry was sentenced to twenty years in prison for abiding by his moral code.

You see, Jerry had the heart of a mother seeing her newborn child for the first time, the loyalty of a golden retriever, and the mind of a front line solider at Normandy, and unfortunately, that combination of characteristics doomed him from the start.

Jerry and my father were in Houston, Texas cruising the city after one of Jerry’s fights. He had just won via KO in the first 30 seconds. They decided to pull into to a local country bar, cowboy hats, big trucks, and boots galore. Keep in mind Jerry was born in New York, so this atmosphere was as close to Martian as could be.

Two young Dolly Parton-esk women approached Jerry and my father.  The younger of the two Dollies asked (with a thick Texan drawl) if they were from around those parts. They went on to explain why they were in town, and sensing the opportunity to create some excitement, she sought out the bar bouncer, Bubba.  He walked over to them, assuming that Jerry and my father were starting trouble and asked what the problem was. This was right around the time the younger and bubblier Dolly exclaimed that Jerry was a New York boxer and she was sure he’d kick the shit out of Bubba, who happened to be young Dolly’s ex-boyfriend. Immediately after she said that, she whispered in Jerry’s ear, “I’ll show you the time of your life if you knock him out.”

Again…Keep in mind, Jerry had been boxing for 10 years and his face looked the part. Along with his Christmas light teeth, his face looked like droopy play dough, so the female opportunity at hand didn’t come along very often.  Jerry turned to my father and said, “Bo, I know ya havin’ fun over there, but we gotta get tha hell outta here.” As soon as the words came out of his mouth, BOOM, a wooden chair exploded on his back. Instinctually, Jerry turned and Bubba the bouncer was tucked in for the night with a left, right lullaby.

Jerry and my father left the bar, and young Dolly followed in pursuit. As they were in the parking lot my dad opened the back door of the car to let the young lady into their vehicle. She was overjoyed with amazement and gratitude as she began to make out with the two guys. Jerry cracked a smile as this was the first action he has ever had. His whole life had been dedicated to boxing and obeying the golden rule of no sex before a fight and with Jerry always training for the next fight, he never had sex.

During the long ride home, with Jerry driving, the girl’s lips seemed to be more focused on my father. They finally made it back to the Hotel and all three made their way into the room, with my father and young Dolly going at it. Keep in mind this is a tiny room where a cockroach couldn’t find a place to hide. Jerry, being the selfless man he was, left for the lobby to give those two some privacy. It couldn’t have been 15 minutes later and Jerry saw the girl storming out of the hotel. He went back to the room confused and asked my father what happened, to this he replied, “She couldn’t handle the meat I brought to the table.” One thing I failed to mention earlier, if it wasn’t already clear, is the girl was totally wasted at the hillbilly bar. My dad then left and so Jerry was all alone, still sexually frustrated, he rubbed one out and then fell asleep.

6 AM.  Jerry couldn’t have been sleeping longer than an hour and BOOM, the police crashed through the door. Jerry still with his pants down didn’t know what was happening and before you know it he was fighting the officers. 15 cops and 4 cans of tear gas later, they hauled Jerry into the precinct.  They informed him that he was being charged with rape. With Jerry’s DNA all over himself and the bed, things weren’t looking good. Young Dolly entered the holding facility with the bottom half of her skirt drenched in blood and spotted Jerry being processed, and screamed “That’s the man! That’s the man that did this to me!”

Jerry, still confused, sat in a holding cell for the next 48hrs. After learning what happened from the hotel bell hop, my father picked me up early from elementary school and drove over to where they were holding Jerry. Sitting in my dad’s arms, I heard the whole conversation but as a kid I had no idea what it meant. “Jerry,” my father said, “This kid is my life and all I have to live for.” He continued along that path and Jerry looked at him with a smile on his face, and said, “Bo, take that boy back to the howse and don’t look back.” Jerry, being the guy he was, could never have it on his conscience that he was the reason for a child to be without a father. As we left I turned and said in a sweet innocent voice, “Bye uncle Jerry.” Not knowing those words signaled him being put down for the count of twenty years.  Jerry confessed to everything.  The woman had been so heavily under the influence of alcohol that she never knew the difference.

So here I sit…twenty years later, reading the follow up article in the town paper for the first time, analyzing every word with my adult brain.  My father sits across from me, unaware of what I have stumbled upon. I ask nonchalantly, “It looks like Jerry Stone is getting out of jail, weren’t you two best friends?” His response stunned me. “Ya, up until he raped that girl. Don’t you ever go near that guy after he gets out, he’s an animal.” However, I know there is only one animal in this room…

Written by a friend who wishes to remain anonymous
Edited by Aguilar Elliot

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Sticks and Stones,
Words and Hate,
Bows and Arrows,
Greed and Pride,
Swords and Shields,
Ignorance and Racism,
Guns and Bullets,
Injustice and Corruption
Matches and Gelignite,
Communism and Capitalism,
Chemicals and Buttons,
Politics and Fear.

Atomic bombing of Nagasaki - August 9, 1945

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Liberator: “To the Public”

Oppression!  I have seen thee, face to face,
And met thy cruel eye and cloudy brow;
But thy soul-withering glance I fear not now --
For dread to prouder feelings doth give place
Of deep abhorrence!  Scorning the disgrace
Of slavish knees that at thy footstool bow,
I also kneel – but with far other vow
Do hail thee and thy hord of hirelings base: --
I swear, while life-blood warms my throbbing veins,
Still to oppose and thwart, with heart and hand,
Thy brutalising sway – till Afric’s chains
Are burst, and Freedom rules the rescued land, --
Trampling Oppression and his iron rod:
Such is the vow I take – SO HELP ME GOD!

January 1, 1831

"Broken Chains" by James Reade