There, I said it. Someone had to. There is nothing to be learned from the Sandy Hook shooting, we don’t need to take any preventative steps, and banging on about it is utterly pointless. At this point, a good portion of my readership is most likely searching for the proper words to condemn me as some flavor of demonic taint, so I should probably clarify: I’m not saying that it wasn’t sad, or that the lives lost were meaningless, simply that there really isn’t anything to be learned that we didn’t already know — namely that nothing can make life completely safe, the world will continue to surprise us, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t be prepared for everything.
And it’s true. Gun control? Against a group of unarmed teachers and children, improvised weapons could have had just as much of an effect. Ban violent video games? There’s no evidence that Adam Lanza played them (initial reports that he was a Mass Effect fanatic turned out to be incorrect). Arm teachers? Then you have to worry about properly training millions of teachers, plus the cost of the guns themselves, the risk of accidental discharge deaths, and the fact that armed personnel onsite don’t actually prevent spree killings from taking place.
Sandy Hook was a month ago. It’s over. We can’t fight that battle after the fact, and, sad as it may be, we can’t predict the unpredictable. There was no reason to think that a gunman would target that school, and there is no reason to think that another gunman will target another school, except by random luck of the draw. The victims did die in vain, because they weren’t martyring themselves for a cause, and trying to turn them posthumously into a crusade implies that just being children and teachers wasn’t enough.
So stop your meme-posting, your emotionally-charges political flames, your endless mudslinging and blame-throwing. That isn’t how they would want to be memorialized, and it isn’t helping anything. Shut up, focus on things that actually can be made better, and get on with your life.
it’s not real motion
so why am I motion sick
fuck my inner ear
Your eyes see motion
your inner ear does not.
Take a break, kiddo.
[Image: 8-piece orange-colored background with an aardvark head centered. Top text reads: “Forgetful because you didn’t take meds” Bottom text reads: “Didn’t take meds because you’re forgetful”.]
Dear Mr. Nugent:
As you have no doubt noticed by now, it is 2012, the election is over, and Barack Obama has another four years of presidency ahead of him. And that means that we need to discuss a certain promise you made:
Now I certainly don’t want you to end up in jail, but I don’t want you to die painfully either. As such, I have a suggestion on how to make good without hurting bad: Do it with food. End your life with dignity, honor, and lots of grease.
And so, without further ado, here are my top heart-attack-inducing recipes for your artery-clogging pleasure:
�2 cups of shredded potatoes or hash browns
�1/2 cup diced onion
�2 tsp white wine vinegar
�3 tbs flour
�3 tsp salt
�Oil. Lots of oil.
Combine the potatoes, onions, and vinegar. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, salt, and flour, then combine with the potato mixture and stir thoroughly. Pour enough oil into a pan that you have about 1/4 inch at the shallowest part, and heat over high heat until a drop of water “jumps” out of the pan. Drop latkes onto pan by rounded forkfuls (dinner fork, not salad fork) and use a spatula to flip them when the bottoms are solid (if you’re not sure, try sliding the spatula underneath. If the top starts to come apart, it’s not ready to be flipped.) If you aren’t using the latkes as a suicide weapon, place them on a folded paper towel to leach out the grease.
�1 large russet potato per person served
Wash the potato and cut it into matchsticks, and leave them in a bowl of cold water for ten minutes. Heat your fryer to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the potatoes out of the water, shake off any excess, and dip them into the frying oil until they are mushy and soft. Shake off the oil. If you want to freeze some for later, now is the time. Heat the oil to 375 Fahrenheit and dip the fries in until they are completely crusted over. Press several folded paper towels into a tossing bowl, dump the fries in, press the corners of the paper towel over the fries, and then pull the paper towels out of the bowl by one corner, leaving the fries in the bowl. Grind sea salt and black pepper into the bowl and toss until well seasoned. Serve with…
�1/4 cup ketchup
�1/4 cup mayonnaise
�1 tsp garlic powder
�1 tsp salt
�1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
�1 tbs white wine vinegar
Mix well and serve with fries.
�1/4 cup Chevre cheese
�3/4 cup cream cheese
�1 Red Onion, julienned
�30 spinach leaves
�15 won ton wrappers
Caramelize the onion in a sautee pan over low heat. Place in food processor with spinach, chevre and cream cheese and pulse blend for five to ten seconds. Put about a tablespoon of the resulting mixture into each won ton wrapper, seal the wrapper by pinching the edges together with a fork, and fry until wrapper is a deep golden brown. Serve with a sweet-and-sour sauce.
Raspberry Filled Dark Chocolate Ganache:
�2 cups sugar
�3/4 cups cocoa powder
�1 cup boiling water
�1 1/2 tsp baking soda
�1 1/2 tsp baking powder
�1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
�1/2 cup melted butter
�1 tsp salt
�1 cup milk
�2 tsp vanilla
Mix dry ingredients. Stir in water, butter, and milk. Allow to cool for fifteen minutes. Mix in beaten eggs and vanilla. Make a round tray out of tin foil, and pour mixture in Bake at 350 Fahrenheit until toothpick poked through center of cake comes back without liquid but with some cooked cake bits.
�2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
�1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
�1 tsp vanilla
Boil the cream, take off heat, add chocolate, let sit for five minutes, then stir until smooth. Add vanilla, stir for five more minutes.
�1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
�1 tbs cornstarch
�1/4 cup water
�2 tbs lemon juice
�1/4 cup sugar
Mix Berries, lemon juice, water, and sugar and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens slightly and raspberries are dissolved. Add cornstarch, mix until thickened.
Pull foil out from around cake halves, place raspberry topping onto one followed by the other cake half. Using a wax spatula, coat cake with ganache topping. Garnish with raspberries, strawberries, and vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately. For maximum heart attack potential, eat at least three pieces.
It is shocking how clever the designers of a 1990’s minivan were in ensuring that it would be utterly impossible for a grown man to stretch out fully inside it. I don’t know whether this was simply an attempt to maximize its toddler seating capacity, or whether they wanted people to subconsciously think this is a family vehicle; nothing questionable will be happening here, but whatever the reason, sleeping in a 1998 Plymouth Voyager is an exercise in nocturnal Tetris.
For the past two months, thoughts like the one above have dominated my existence. I’ve been in western North Dakota since May, seeking a high-paying job to support my chronically ill wife, and contending with the region’s high housing prices and hostility toward what they perceive as an invasion of out-of-state labor. I was hired onto a rig in June, but lost my job in August due to inexperience and unfamiliarity with the process of working in the oilfields. September saw me coasting aimlessly, trying to find another job while at the same time worrying that doing so would rob me of my one chance to see my wife within the next six months, and October marked the end of our savings. October gave me the promise of a very high-paying position at a wireline company, only to immediately run up against an industry-wide hiring freeze through the elections which the oil companies would swear up and down was not politically motivated. I will at some point have this job, they insist, and it will be the answer to my financial woes, but I must wait god-knows how many weeks or months for this to happen. The last few weeks found me working petty labor in order to pay my bills and have enough cash left over to eat and shower, but that leaves me unable to afford a place of my own up here.
So I stay in my car.
As I noted earlier, it is impossible to achieve anything resembling a comfortable sleeping position. In addition, sheets have to be propped against the windows and towels placed against the bottoms of all of the doors in order to hold in the heat I generate before shutting down the car for the night. I cover my sleeping bag with an air mattress inflated one quarter of the way to act as a second layer of thermal armor. In Minot I park in the Wal-Mart parking lot; in Williston I stay in the parking lot of a laundromat. I have to be careful not to leave my car in one spot for too long, lest people know me for the vagrant that I am. The police have to be avoided at all costs, as they do not appreciate the presence of anyone who doesn’t have a warm bed to return to.
The days when I am not working usually find me in the library or a coffee shop, mooching a Wi-Fi connection and trying not to look like a vagrant. I bathe and shave regularly, and my coat and hat make me look far more prosperous than I really am, so mostly I go unnoticed.
Driving through a residential neighborhood can be hard sometimes. I remember that there is still a home out there for me, but that returning there would cause such financial ruin that I would lose it again almost immediately. Florida has no real jobs to speak of, at least none for the likes of me which I could use to support myself and my wife. The cruel irony of having a home and not being able to return to it gets to me. The memories of a warm, spacious room,a fully stocked kitchen, and a beautiful woman waiting eagerly for me to return will rise up to taunt me. Men don’t cry, I sometimes remind myself. It doesn’t matter if we’re cold and alone in the dark, our eyes stay dry and our upper lips don’t move. We are stoic creatures who are brave even when there is nobody to see us be brave.
But I’m not completely alone. When I can’t sleep, I pull out my notebook and I write, and devise, and calculate. Descartes did his best work trapped in a tiny, freezing cottage in the midst of a petty war between petty rulers. Newton created calculus as a means to cope with being trapped on the family farm. Sophie Germain had to sneak through her family home, clothed only in a clumsily wrapped quilt, to learn mathematics, all the while confined to her home due to the riots occurring during the Reign of Terror. I huddle over a legal pad and frantically try to reverse-engineer the mathematics that govern the function of the human brain, and to refine the method of tuning a solenoid to react against a moving rotor. It’s a comfort, knowing that when this ends, I will have something to show for it.
And it will end. I have the promise of a job which will offer housing, and the ability to survive and make ends meet until them. Bravery is required, and more strength than I have ever had to show before, but I can do it. Because there is something much better in store for me. I’ll be able to sleep in a warm bed again, and fly home to my beautiful wife on my days off, and see my family and friends. I’ll make enough money to put together savings, and for the first time, possibly in my entire life, I’m going to have a future worth looking forward to. It’s worth a few cold nights, to know that soon I’ll be financially safe and able to get on with living instead of just surviving.