Reguarding Freedom

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment

“Ryan, it’s your turn to sit,” said Shauna.

“What? No, make Kelly sit.” Ryan sat reclining in a beach chair in the sun, shirt off, reflective aviators and a red hat pulled low.

“Ryyaan,” said Shauna, drawing out his name for emphasis. “Go Sit!”

There was already a kid sitting on the lifeguard stand near the edge of the pond. He squirmed. His back was sweaty and sticking to the white plastic coating on the seat. He adjusted his aviators, a bit too big for his face, twisted around in the lifeguard stand and shouted up the beach.

“Hey! Is anyone gunna’ get me down?”

“Go Ryyaan,” said Shauna, annoyed having to repeat herself.

Ryan grabbed his whistle, and twirling it around his finger he shuffled his bare feet through the dirty, dull tinged sand that the town had to import to make the beach.

George looked down from the stand, “Finally dude, I’ve been baking up here for at least 45 minutes.”

“Yea right,” squealed Ryan, “It’s exactly 11:30.”

“I’m gunna’ leave you up here for sooo long.”

“Yea, a’right asshole. You comin’ down or what?”

George stood up, adjusted his sunglasses, turned around and backed down the ladder on the front of the guard stand. George watched the four little girls play in the water while Ryan climbed up.

“Okay dude, all good,” said Ryan.

“A’right man. Here,” said George, placing his sunglasses and whistle on the stand, “Watch these for me?”

George went darting into the water, causing such a ruckus and splash, he yelled as he ran, that the four little girls turned to look and were silent for a moment.

The other two lifeguards sat at a picnic table up near the grass and oak trees at the top of the beach. The head lifeguard, Shauna, was reading a magazine while her younger sister sat opposite of her, staring at a blank notebook.

Shauna looked up from her issue of People, “You supposed to be writing something Kel?”

“Yea,” said Kelly, “remember I was telling you about those summer classes?”

“The ones you turned Jamaica down for?”

“Yea, because I want to graduate on time. But yea, I have to write five pages about free will.”


“Yo. Hand me my shit?” said George, rubbing his hand in his close cut hair to get the water out.

Ryan handed down George’s whistle and sunglasses. George said thanks and started walking up the beach. His blue and yellow beach towel was crumpled in the sand. He picked it up. He gave it a few shakes and watched the wind blow the loosened sand right at a mother and her two youngsters. They were sitting on a beach blanket making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The mother threw George a disgusting look and he muttered something inaudible about breasts.

George wrapped the towel around his shoulders and sat in the sunlight next to Kelly, across the table from Shauna who was under a floppy sun umbrella.

“Hey guys.”

“Hey George! How was your swim?” said Kelly.

“Refreshing, very. It sucks sitting up there in this heat.”

“Yea it does. Wanna’ help me write my paper?”

George looked down at the blank notebook and rubbed his hand through his hair. Drops of water fell on the page.

“Geooorge!” went Kelly.

“What’s the paper on?” he asked.

“Free will,” she said, “but I don’t know what to write about.”

“How about your freewill to be stupid?” Shauna said, laughing to herself and still looking at her issue of People. Then George started laughing, wildly, shoulders heaving beneath the blue and yellow towel.

“Fuck you Shauna. Why do you always have to be such a bitch.” Kelly had a firm fist on her pencil.

“I’m just kidding Kel,” said Shauna. She flipped a page in her magazine. George started working on a crossword puzzle, a cut-out from the newspaper piled on the wooden picnic table.

Shauna looked up from her magazine, “Why don’t you write, like, about how people have more freewill than bugs or something?”

“I don’t even think freewill exists,” said Kelly. “I mean, what about ‘go with the flow’ and God’s plan…” Kelly trailed off, she was looking at the sky. Clouds had rolled in and the four little girls were playing in the sand.

“Then it’s like were not making our own decisions?” added Shauna.

Ryan got down from the stand and was making his way up the beach, leaving the empty pond behind him, the two abandoned docks floating gently in the dark water. He was kicking his feet in the sand as he went.

“I don’t like religion,” said George. “You know a six-letter word for arbitrary?”

Shauna put down her magazine and was reclining in a rusty beach chair in the grass next to the picnic table. Her hands were folded behind her head.

“What do you have against religion George?” she asked. “ What d’your parents make you go to church too much?”

“No, it’s not that. I just don’t, like the idea that someone’s already planned our lives for us. That’s all.”

Ryan was kicking around a soccer ball, “Anyone want to go for a swim?”

“You can’t Ry,” Shauna pointed towards the water. The four little girls had jumped back in.

“Aw shit. What the hell are they doing in there, it’s all cloudy. How much time do I have left Shauna?”

“15 minutes.”

Ryan walked back down to the edge of the water where a recent storm had washed up a layer of pond weeds. He didn’t get on the stand, just walked along the water’s edge twirling his whistle and watching the girls splash around.

“Well I can go for a swim,” said George. “If anyone else still wants to.”

“I can’t George, I gotta write this paper.”

“Kel, you gunna’ let this class run your life? Didn’t you already miss Jamaica for it?” said George. “Forget about it for a little while and come swimming with me.”

“I can’t. And yes, I did, because I want to graduate on time, that’s what I decided.”

“Oh. Well there ya’ go,” said George. “Write about that.”

“About what? Jamaica?”

“Yea. Like how you chose to take summer classes because you want to graduate on time. That it’s out of your own freewill you’re actually writing it – and not ‘cus your teacher or your god wanted you to.”

Shauna was making a paper football from the cover of her issue of People. “But what if that’s the only decision she could’ve made?”

“Shauna, I’m pretty sure if I really wanted to go to Jamaica I wounldn’t’ve taken this freakin’ class.”

“No, I mean like,” Shauna was sitting up in her beach chair, “what if your personality, like your genetics and stuff, made it so that you only could’ve chosen the class, and not Jamaica?”

“But what if I decided I didn’t care about graduating on time?”

“You would’ve had to want to graduate early because of your personality,” said Shauna. “You’re a work-a-holic.”

“I am so not.”

“Yea you are.” Shauna flicked the paper football. It spun in the cool air and landed on George’s crossword puzzle. He picked it up.

“But then life’s just a bunch of predetermined bullshit,” George said. He flicked the paper football back to Shauna. “If our genetics and personalities determine our actions, then we have no control over them because we can’t choose our parents. It’s like the bullshit about God choosing our paths.”

“God doesn’t choose our paths George!” Kelly almost shouted it. “We have the choice to choose right or wrong.”

“Either way, I can’t believe that life’s predetermined. Ya’ know that Einstein once said God doesn’t play dice?”

“Yea I heard that,” said Shauna.

“But do you know what it means? And why he’s wrong?”

“I don’t know, I think it makes sense,” said Kelly. “Do you really think everything’s just random?”

“Not random,” George took off his sunglasses, damp clouds still covered the sun. “Okay, so it’s like this, I’ve been reading this book about theoretical physics, I had here a couple times. Anyways, it says how there’s this wave-particle duality, that all particles are waves until we look at them. Umm, particles, like electrons for instance, we don’t know where they are until we actually look at them. We always know the probabilities of where we can find an electron around an atom, but until we look at it we don’t know exactly where it is.”

“Okay. Sooo…,” said Kelly.

Shauna put down the paper football, “I think I get it. It’s like this, I think: okay, so we called mom to bring us lunch. So she’s driving somewhere between here and the house but we wouldn’t know exactly where, until we see her.”

“Is this the whole thing about things not really being there until we see them?”

“Yes! Yes! It is!” George jumped up off the picnic table bench and became wildly animate, the crossword puzzle and pencil falling into the sand. “The whole Universe is completely subjective to us,” his arms were motioning to everything and everybody. “We are the freaking Universe and it is whatever we want it to be!”

“George, it’s your turn to sit on the stand,” said Shauna.

“Aw shit.” George left his whistle and sunglasses on the table, grabbed a notebook and walked off to the guard stand.”

Kelly had spun around in her seat to look at the water and was moving sand around with her foot. “You really think everything’s only there when we look at it?”

“I don’t know Kel, you tell me,” said Shauna, reclining in the beach chair in the grass.

“Okay, so like, I know you’re there, even though I can’t see you, but I hear you. So how do we know there aren’t people walking in the woods right now?”

Shauna glanced to her left where the woods came down and surrounded the pond, “There probably is, there’s always people back there.”

“Yea, but like, we don’t know where, or even if, until we actually see them. Or hear them.”

The four little girls ran out of the water and started playing in the sand. George jumped off the guard stand and ran back to the picnic table.

“Okay, here’s what I think about all this freewill and what you should write for your paper.”


“Everything’s just probabilities. Simple. Probabilities that this can happen or this won’t happen. And we get to influence these probabilities. But there’s boundaries. Some people can’t influence certain possibilities because, say like they’re handicapped or something.”

“I think those girls are going back in,” said Ryan.

“Doesn’t matter, I finished my 30 minutes.”

“Okay then Kel, you’re up,” said Shauna. “If they go back in.”

“Anybody want to go for a swim?” asked George.

“Nope, I got to stay up here in case I have to check beach badges,” said Shauna.

“No one else is coming to the beach today Shauna. It’s cold and cloudy, c’mon let’s go.”

“I can’t George, I’m the head guard, I gotta keep a watch out.”

“Whatever. What about you Kelly?”

“Can’t, I might have to sit.”

“Well good for you! What about you Ryan?”

“I gotta’ run home real quick to let the dogs out to shit.”

George threw off his shirt and ran down to the edge of the water. He hung his towel on the guard stand and jumped in. He swam past the docks and out to the middle of the pond. He floated on his back, slowly drifting in the current, looking up at the cloudy skies and the hills of evergreen trees rising from the edges of the pond.


Categories: Short Stories

Guantanamo Bay and Military Tribunals

President Obama has decided to try 9/11 suspects in military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay (Here’s a CNN article about it).

At first I was all gung-ho about trying these terrorists in military tribunals because afterall, what these terrorists commited was an act of war. But upon further consideration I came to the conclusion that these terrorists, these Islamic Fundamentalists, should be tried in a civilian court.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the four terrorists he is being tried with perpatrated 9/11 because of their deep-seated hate towards what America stands for — Freedom and Liberty.

It is in my opinion that as a final insult to these radical islamists that we bestow them with the very rights they sought to destroy. This is what Attorney General Eric Holder should have announced today:

“We will try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court where he will be appointed an attorney and bestowed all the rights the people of this country enjoy. Khalid mohammed has fought to destroy the rights and liberties this country fights to protect, and to deny anybody, including khalid, these basic civil rights, would be a victory for Islamic radicals who seek to limit the civil rights we believe in.”

After the Boston massacre John Adams defended the British troops who fired upon civilians. He did this because he was fully invested in upholding the rights and freedoms he believed in, even if it meant giving these rights to the people who try to destroy or prevent them. We should do the same.

Blog Assignment #2

March 27, 2011 Leave a comment

1. In the first case, you have a story about people protesting a proposed ban on key chains in the shape of guns, and one of the protesters, a private citizen named John Smith, makes the following comment about the lawmakers trying to pass the ban: “These politicians have more important issues to tackle, and I think they’re being assholes if they think banning key chains will bring down the violence in our communities.”

1. I would run this quote in a newspaper only if there weren’t any other quotes I thought would be better to use. If I didn’t have any decent quotes to replace this one with I would run it in the newspaper using as*****s instead of assholes. This way if a child picks up the paper they won’t understand the expletive but adults still will. If I were to publish this quote on the internet I wouldn’t have a problem running the expletive spelled out. The man who said the quote is a private citizen so it’s not going to affect him if people know he thinks certain politicians are assholes.
2. It is election season before the 2000 presidential election and during a campaign appearance, candidate George W. Bush is on a podium waiting to give his speech and, unaware that the microphone is on, comments to an aide next to him: “There’s that asshole from the Times.”

2. I would not run this quote, or even this story. I don’t believe a presidential candidate’s personal opinion of a certain news reporter is pertinent or at all important. If Bush was making a generalization about all reporters than yes, it would be important to run the story. Also, Bush wasn’t aware the microphone was on. I wouldn’t have this quote in any of my publications.

3. It is the early 2000s, and Larry Brown has left his job as coach of the 76ers and winds up days later as the coach of the Detroit Pistons. In his first mass news conference as he is introduced to the Detroit media, he is asked why he chose to leave Philadelphia. After describing his frustrations at not knowing his role with the team regarding personnel acquisitions, he adds: “I also got tired of coaching assholes.”

3. This quote gets run. Larry Brown was at a press conference where he knows everything he says will be made public. He knew reporters would run the quote and if he didn’t want people to know he thought the players were assholes he could’ve not said it. Again, in print I would run as*****s and online it would be assholes. I believe the internet should be open and uncensored.

Categories: Copy Editing

Congressional Budget Office and Taxing Drivers

March 27, 2011 Leave a comment

According to this article I found on, the Congressional Budget Office is considering taxing drivers per mile. That’s right, our government wants to tax us not only for gas and fuel for our cars but for how many miles we drive. The CBO wants to require that every vehicle have an electric meter in it so that the government can know how far each person in the countries drives, and then send us another bill.

Hey government, how about you just stop spending our money, then you wouldn’t have to think so hard about how to come up with new ways to take our hard earned dollars.

Here’s a golden quote from the article:

“Any given driver’s highway use also imposes costs on other users, on nearby nonusers, on the environment, and on the economy in the form of congestion, risk of accidents, noise, emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants that affect local air quality, and dependence on foreign oil,” CBO said.

The CBO is completely correct. This is why when I drive down the road I shout sorry to everybody. “Sorry everyone, I’m just going food shopping, sorry to negatively affect the environment, and the economy. Sorry to increase the risk of accidents, oh and I’m sorry about the noise everybody, and the greenhouse gases and pollutants my car is introducing to the environment. Also everybody, I’m sorry my drive to the grocery store is causing you to be dependent on foreign oil! Sorry!”

Can I say fucking government? I guess so. It’s a blog not a newspaper. When will we rise up and tell these liberal hoarders who want to redistribute all our money because they know how to better spend it that enough is enough, that this isn’t what America is.

When will we tell the government we founded America to get away from ridiculous taxes? I hope it is soon, because it seems our “leaders” have forgotten.

China and Rare Earth Metals

     From electric cars to smartphones, today’s technologies depend on rare earth metals such as neodymium and lanthanum. These elements aren’t rare though, it’s just that China produces 97% of the world’s supply (

     It is against our best intentions to let a country monopolize the materials that build our most advanced technology. What if China decided to keep all the REMs and only export a minute about? What if China was to declare war on the U.S.? Would our military be able to operate without the Chinese supply of rare earths?

     Giving this control to China hurts our economies as well. It would be wise for our government to lessen restrictions on REM mining. If we were to open REM mines it would be a healthy boost for our economy. Sure it might be dangerous and evironmentally unhealthy but at this juncture, with China rising and our economy stalling, anything that would put Americans to work is a good idea.

  • Rare Earth Metals and Military Awareness
  • Rare Earth Deficiencies in U.S.
  • The Genocide Behind Your Smartphone
  • U.S. Reserve of Rare Earth Elements
  • China Moves to Strenghten Grip Over Rare-Earth Metals

The river of knowledge is burning; will you drown in the aging waters or burn in the flames?

Categories: Journal


Ok, so I’m having a real problem here. When I post a poem I lose the line breaks between the stanzas. Even when I go to edit them and put the spaces back between the stanzas, they disappear as soon as I post them. Does anybody know how to fix this?

Categories: Uncategorized