Wild Wild Words

Social Commentary
by
Christopher Wilde
Politics, Movies, Television, Current Events, Pop Culture, Opinion, Future Philosophy

Future Philosophy

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Click below for additional articles by Christopher Wilde

Politics

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Television

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Short Story: The Wait

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

An End to the Housing Crisis

By Christopher Wilde

Tonight on 60 Minutes the television news magazine reports that there is yet another wave of housing foreclosures and defaults on the horizon.  Experts are predicting three to five years before we are close to bailing out of this mess.

It's time for the obvious solution.  The solution that no one is talking about.  MARK MY WORDS, they will. 

Sooner or later if the problem gets deep enough and the pain gets hard enough  America will do what it has always done.  Open up the borders and bring in a  massive new wave of foreign immigrants.

Make no mistake.  This is a good thing.  I'm not talking about the huddled masses of poverty stricken individuals of the past.  All around the world millions of people who have enough money to come to this country, buy a house, and start a business are ready to come.  The only thing they need is a visa, a promise of eventual citizenship, and open arms from native born Americans.

We should make that possible.  Chances are our future president will make that happen, but quietly so as not to inflame the xenophobic ignorance of our own masses.

By inviting foreigners to our country who can afford homes  and open small business no one need fear losing jobs.  Jobs will be created and property values will increase as the glut of homes are purchased by our foreign brothers and sisters.

The alternative would be to take advantage of the weak dollar, pack up all those houses, and ship them overseas.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

O'Reilly Factor: Pathetically Defends Palin

 

 

Please consider this a testament to how desperate O'Reilly is to toe the party line.  Don't ever be fooled Bill O'Reilly is not "for the people" as he tries to claim.  He's deep in the pocket of the Republican party.

 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God Bless the Yellow States of America

by Christopher Wilde

 

Dear Mr. Obama,

Thank you for your efforts this election season.  Your campaign has been the galvanizing force behind more voters registering and participating than at any other time in my life.  I am so grateful. 

When I look at the polls and the electoral maps I see multiple states that are neither red or blue.  Tonight the nation will collectively hold its breath waiting to see how our country men and women have voted.  If only every state in this nation could be a swing state it would be a better country.

Many Republican minded individuals have participated to oppose you.  Young, minority voters, and the apathetic have stepped forward to vote for the first time.  John McCain did not inspire this fervor.  You did.  In doing so you have done more for the country than either you or John McCain have collectively done by passing legislation.

It is my fervent hope that politicians everywhere have been paying attention.  Our nation's future should always be dictated by close elections that drag into the wee hours of the morning.  That means better candidates in the future.  Our choices should be made up of candidates that inspire and motivate people to be as active and involved as they have been in this election.

Mr. Obama, win or lose, your contribution to the American election system is perhaps the greatest act of patriotism I have ever seen.  Getting millions of people, who have never voted, to turn out for elections is a far greater act of patriotism then spending time in a prison camp. 

Specifically I'm speaking, of course, about John McCain who has without fail utilized the politics of victimology to get elected and stifle criticisms of his continual failures as a leader.

While I am rooting for you to win the election what I most desire is to see a close race.  I'm hoping to see states that were thought to be red and blue completely swing in an different and unexpected trajectory.   I'm hoping that tomorrow American's will wake up energized and realize that they are a strong and powerful force than can alter this country's direction by their continued participation.

Perhaps this day can be a major turning point in ending the reliance on the red state blue state paradigm. 

 

Thank You,

Christopher Wilde

Monday, November 3, 2008

Brain Power

For those of you who didn't see it there was a fascinating story about brain computer interface on Sixty Minutes last night.  Take a look at the video below.

 

 

Now think about the possibilities.  It will be interesting to see, as the technology improves, how quickly this is adapted to video games.  For myself I'm looking way beyond video games.

The Wait

A short story by Christopher Wilde

 

As the twelve-year-old rushed along the path his footfalls were punctuated by the strident zip of gray corduroys.  Fists clenched he came to a halt.  Wearing some stranger’s clothes brought dirty angry feelings.  He ignored the sound and increased his speed.  There was no time to jealously dwell on his brother’s new wardrobe.  Stewing in silence only relinquished his lead.  He must get to school. Tardiness would gnash open vicious painful wounds.

The air he whisked through smelled scrubbed clean.  Later in the day it would feel like sticky summer.  Bart liked this time of morning better.  At this hour a cool mist hung along the wood, making the overgrown weed grass between the trees and the black asphalt path swampy with dew.   

The middle school was a lonely mile from the townhouse.  Over the summer he’d made the walk once with his older brother.  Then a few times alone to be sure he knew the way.  Nearly in sight of school, an overloaded notebook slipped from under his arm.  Fresh ruled paper scattered everywhere.  Responding to this new alarm, he scooped and stuffed with frenetic urgency.

            At the end of the path there was a crosswalk that traversed the sole road leading to the school.  A few steps further and the path declined onto the walk.    This hour of the morning, fog filled the gullies and depressions of the landscape.  The road was covered.  The fog blocked his view of on coming cars. 

Fearing headlights would rush through the fog and take him down, Bart stopped in a pant.  His sides ached.  Up and to his left, he could see the school on the hill.  The busses were absent.  Only a few cars sat coldly in the parking lot. 

He looked hastily at his empty wrist.  The time for caution had passed.   With no guards to yell at him he held his breath, clasped the notebook tightly, and frantically ran across the street.

Before long the black asphalt turned into the smooth concrete of the plaza outside the school building.  A pounding between his burning lungs, pumped a sharp pain into his temples.  Bart took a seat on one of the red brick planters that lined the front walls.  He was not late.  Many teachers had yet to arrive.   

 Ten minutes washed by without the face of another student.  Bored of sitting, Bart started walking the tops of the planters.   A door to the school opened.  Out stepped a tall, older man with deep lines that wrinkled his forehead. 

            “Don’t do that!”  He shouted, using the sharp imperative voice meant to keep children from cutting off their hands.

Bart trembled and sat down. 

Mr. West grimaced and softened his voice.  Looking at his watch he said, “You could fall.”

Then, coming closer, narrowed his eyes. “Did your parents drop you off here?”  Bart clenched his jaw answering in a mumble.

“No.”

“You shouldn’t be here this early,” He said, trying to decipher whether that expression was fear or anger.

  The sound of the first bus cut between them and drove the shop teacher back into the school.

Unfamiliar faces stepped down to the plaza.  These children were bussed in from some other part of the county.  A place called “rural.” The kids from the busses knew each other, were from all three grades, and clung in familiar circles.  He felt invisible, a stranger to these students, and when the others gave him an occasional look he felt conspicuously out of place.

            Ten minutes later when the other children came, the walkers like himself, he saw the first familiar faces from his elementary school and realized that in the year he’d lived here he’d not made a single friend. 

Eventually his brother arrived amongst his own friends.  Bart hopped down and stood by his sibling.

            “What do we do now?”

            With a touch of annoyance his brother said, “When the bell rings the doors will open.  Inside on the wall there will be a list, find your name, and go to the room listed next to your name.  That’s your home room.  They’ll tell you what to do from there.” 

            “Will you walk me to the room?” Bart asked, somewhat timidly under the eyes of his brother’s friends.  His brother was two years older, two grades ahead, and a foot taller than Bart.  The friends looked at one another.  His brother rolled his eyes.

“No,” he said with distain, “Go ask one of your friends to walk with you.”

Bart felt as if he was being mocked.  His brother added.  “No one was here to help me on my first day.  You’re lucky I told you that much.” 

            Bart grabbed his notebook from off the planter and left his brother in the crowd of students.  He slipped over to the door and peaked in the long thin rectangular window.  The glass was pressed with wire, but he could see the wall across from the door.  Lists hung there, lined with the names of all the students.  He felt some relief that his brother hadn’t lied to him.  It was getting close to the bell, and the other children began pushing forward squeezing Bart against the door.

            The first day of school was not as difficult as he’d feared.  He liked that the day was broken up into periods with different teachers for each subject, and that he had his own locker for his books.  By the end of the first week he had homework, and Mom had been forced to buy him his own backpack.

            On the tenth day there was a strong chill in the air.  Bart sat shivering on the planter waiting for the busses to come.  They would not arrive for another ten minutes.  Had other’s shown up early, even on one day, he might not have felt so tormented, nor would he have suspected that it was anything but natural for some people to feel this panic.  He could have written it off, in the way he understood that some people had blue eyes, some green, and some, like him, rich brown eyes the color of soft stained wood.

He’d forgotten his jacket, and until he stopped moving hadn’t needed one.  It looked like rain, dark powerful clouds swung over the school.  The wind swam through his hair and raised goose bumps over his flesh.  He hopped off the planter to take cover under the roof that lined the plaza in front of the school.  A drop of rain touched his nose.

            The silvery rain transferred its cold loneliness into his body as if it had been a single drop of poison mercury.  He had been ignoring a terrible sadness for days now, the creeping feeling of absolute stupidity brought on by his solitary wait.  The shadows of the clouds, the chill of the air, and the far away rumble of thunder made it impossible to ignore these feelings.  It was time to deal with whatever it was that drove him to be here this early.

              He would not have used the word anxiety.  There was an emotion that swelled within from the second he opened his eyes.  It forced him to hop out of bed and sprint through the morning routine until he arrived at school in a pant. 

Panic was the only word he could think of to describe this feeling.  That his panic controlled him only heightened the natural inferiority he felt as a middle child.  On this morning it overwhelmed him. 

He did not want to cry, feel pain, anger, or be consumed by love because when he felt these things he felt them too deeply, too irrationally, and with far more passion than any situation deserved.  When he displayed his grandiose emotions he’d been called stupid by his older brother, reckless and hyperactive by his Mom and relatives.  He did not want to be “emotional.”   

            He had worked hard over this last summer to try and calm his emotions, inspired by reruns of Star Trek and the green blooded Vulcan called Spock.  He’d realized that with some meditation, deep breathing, and intense reasoning believed he could silence the storms that raged with in him.  He could most of the time.  On a day painted with all the hallmarks of a ship lost at sea staving, off emotional squalls was close to impossible.

Across from the school, the woods began to shake with a fierce wind and a slight drizzle of rain began to fall.  The first school bus approached.  In the back of his mind, he was irritated by a memory from his earliest days of school.

            The next Monday was surprisingly warm and spring like.  The woods across from the school were filled with birds chirping and hopping across the uppermost branches.  Bart had spent the weekend pondering his problem and ignoring his homework.

The act of trying to remember highlighted his deficits.  Other children his age could remember the names of their entire first grade classmates.  He could remember five or six, maybe eight on a good day.  Often, he mixed all the names and faces from first to fourth and could never really be sure of anything.

An elastic fog stood between him and his oldest memories.  He would push against them sinking into wisps of sights, sounds, and smells.  Only to meet with a growing resistance that inevitably snapped him back to the present.  These forays into his ethereal past left him exhausted, sometimes dizzy, and always bewildered.  At best he could squeeze out one or two attempts per day; more if he kept his head to a pillow.

Each time he pressed against the membrane, it stretched a little further giving him a glimpse into the memories of a few years ago.  Not far enough to understand his anxiety.

  “Why was it so difficult to remember?” He thought, hot and angry with himself.  “Why does my mind not work like everyone else?”  Then to force, perhaps punish, it into working Bart raised his hand and slapped himself in the face.

The slap was a sharp hard bite that whipped his cheek with a “crack.”   It was loud, and hurt.  Any benefit he’d hoped to gain was disrupted by the expressions on the faces of half a dozen children, who witnessed him as they piled off a long yellow bus.

 At the forefront of this crowd was Lauren Shoenfield, the eight grade girl with whom his older brother flirted.  Lauren, with the dark silky threads of thick black hair that fell to her shoulders, and swooped over her head forming a heart shaped widow’s peak.  The point of which drew attention to her beautiful porcelain face in a way that said, “I’m here, I have arrived.”  She was dressed in a blue top that accentuated her growing bust-line. Her blue green eyes caught the slap, and then narrowed on to the red mark burned into Bart’s olive cheek.  She looked at him and wrinkled her brow in a thoughtful expression that was not mean, nor overly pitying, but certainly curious.

Bart’s face turned red, a separate shade that did not drown out the mark.  He dropped off the planter and disappeared behind the crowds of students who had poured from other buses and puddled between Lauren and himself.  Later, while peering around a group of tall boys he caught Lauren speaking to his brother.  Sure to have embarrassed him, Bart felt certain his craziness would lead to a good whooping, if not some verbal abuse when he returned home.

After school Bart raced home ahead of his older brother, dropped his school books, grabbed his jacket, and hid out on the playground, for four hours until his mother returned home from work.

At the playground he lay on his back with a single foot draped over the merry-go-round.  He gently tapped at the ground, stirring the planet counter clockwise.  The eastern sky was spotted with thick puffy, low hanging clouds, but the sun was bright to the west.  He closed his eyes, just enough to clasp his long lashes, looked toward the sun and imagined himself an insect caught in the mouth of a Venus flytrap.  He understood this helpless feeling better than he knew his own memories. Bored, he turned toward the clouds hopping to see some shapes worth dreaming about.

“Cu-mu-lus,” He sounded out, priding himself on his ability to identify them.  He remembered the storm clouds from the other morning; they were cumulonimbus clouds, heavy and dark.  It had rained profoundly that day, and then was bright and sunny the next day.  He suspected today’s evaporation assisted in the forming of the puffy clouds.  Questioning himself he wondered, where did this knowledge of clouds come from?

There were pieces of construction paper- green, yellow, blue, brown, gray, and white to be glued to a poster board.  Bart remembered the pain of cutting out the pictograms using a pair of right handed scissors that cut into his fingers; causing them to swell.  Blue construction paper was shaped into a lake and river, green for grass and treetops, a bright yellow sun, and gray clouds producing rain.  Big purple arrows were cut to show the cycle of transpiration.  Vapor from clouds fell to the earth, entered the ground water, and floated back up again powered by the fervent sun.

The start of Bart’s cloud knowledge began with this first grade science project.  Visiting parents would see his work displayed alongside his classmate’s work.  He had picked it from the stack of projects offered by his teacher Mrs. Jones.

First he’d studied the water cycle with tremendous interest, then carried that science in his head, and compared it against his observations of the natural world.  In his minds eye he could see the truth of it in his experiences with rain, clouds, and sunlight.  It tickled him to know this knowledge wasn’t just something someone told him he had to remember.  It comprised a fundamental truth he could see and feel.  With this project he hoped to prove himself to his new teacher.

He cut the construction paper shapes with clumsy hands, that could not cut on the lines any more than they could be constrained to color with in them.  His seeming lack of concern over the quality of his work irked Mrs. Jones.  She saw the small child as deliberately insolent.   Frequently her disapproving shadow slid across his arms, as if her ethereal dark visage could grasp the scissors and force him to do it right. 

Bart had transferred into her class in the second month of school.  His family had moved, from the county seat into the small town of a thousand residents, after the purchase of their first home.  He was blissfully unaware that two months made him an outsider.

His time in Mrs. Jones’ class had been pocked by mild embarrassments, like when the teacher asked everyone to sit in their seats while she went to the restroom.  This sounded like a good idea to Bart.  For fifteen minutes he’d been visibly bouncing in his seat.  No one had shown him where to find the bathroom.

“Mrs. Jones, I need to use the bathroom too,” He said standing and running to the front of the classroom to follow her.  Mrs. Jones stopped him with a condescending snicker that poured down on him like the stinging tendrils of a jelly fish.

“Bart, she said, first grade students are not allowed to use the bathrooms in the halls.  You must use the bathroom in the back of the room.”  Bart had never noticed the door at the back of the room and found this an interesting idea.  At his previous school, when he’d needed to go to the bathroom he’d just raise his hand.  His teacher would let him walk out into the hall alone.  Things were now different; he felt demoted.

“We are clean here, so don’t make a mess in the bathroom, and always flush the toilet.  Do you understand?” Her voice squawked with the sort of loathing he’d only heard from adults who didn’t like children (the kind of people with the plastic still on their furniture).  Her attitude toward him was not missed by the other students.  They laughed at him as he walked timidly to the back of the room, opened the door and stood inside looking for the light.

Mrs. Jones flicked on the light switch next to the door.  “When you turn the light on inside this red light comes on out here,” she said pointing it out to him.  “That’s how you’ll know if someone else is in there.”  Hands on hips, Bart turned around to face her, leaning forward so he could see the light she was talking about. 

Mrs. Jones thought he was about to pull down his pants and expose himself to the class.  She slammed the door in his face with such ferocity it startled him.  Bart gave out a loud whimper heard by the other students.  He stayed inside until the flush of his cheeks had died down.  Long enough, he hoped, to avoid the stares of his classmates.  When he returned to his seat Mrs. Jones had not come back. 

The sandy haired boy who sat next to him, David, tapped him with his elbow.  Then, speaking secretively as if imparting deeply valuable information said, “You know if you take your pointer finger and point at the desk.  It’s the same as saying a curse word.”

  Bart though this was a strange lie.  His mechanic father had used every curse word known to man.   He knew them all, and knew not to say them. 

“That’s not true,” Bart responded knowingly.

“Yes it is,” David sneered.

Bart was used to the tricks of his older brother.  He knew enough to question anything that might be in doubt.  Bart spoke with a practiced defiance.

 “No it’s not, I know what a curse word is and that’s not a curse word.”

“Oh yeah then I dare you to do it.” 

Bart did not regard it as a challenge.  He took his fist and extended his pointer finger down until it tapped at the desk.  The whole room gasped.  David was silently furious.  Bart ignored them and focused on his work.

Mrs. Jones walked into the room.

“Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones!” Barked David “Bart said a bad word.”  Bart looked up in shock.  His lips began to form the first words of protest.  He was cut off by a unanimous nod of agreement from every student in the room.

Though he hadn’t “said” or gestured a bad word, he was never given a chance to explain himself.  His punishment was an angry and fanatical lecture from Mrs. Jones; a continuation of the vague theme that he was “unfit” to be a student in her classroom, at their school, possibly even to live in their community.  This was delivered while he stood in front of her desk, the rest of the classroom behind him, their treacherous stares at his back.  Afterwards he was sent into the hall for an hour.  While there, in a bold act of unnoticed defiance, he slipped off into the hallway bathroom and dreamt he was back at his old school.

            Outside the building David came up nosily behind Bart and attempted to shove him to the ground.  Bart turned around just in time to sidestep the push.  Behind David stood Julie, the cute brown haired girl with ribbons in her pigtails.  She was a favorite of Mrs. Jones. Protecting himself, Bart took up an angry fighting stance.  David, unsure of Bart’s capabilities continued past him at a run.  Julie, alone with the new boy, looked down nervously and then ran after David crying out for him to slow down.

            A few weeks later the tension in class had died down, and Bart worked proudly on his science project.  He did his best work, trying to comply with Mrs. Jones’ constant suggestions that he do a better job.  His hands hurt from the scissors, but he pressed on with enthusiasm that sprung from his innate interest in science.  Simply understanding the process of the water cycle made him feel special; a keeper of one of natures many secrets.

            Mrs. Jones found his work unpresentable, exasperated she assigned David and Julie to “help” him with his project.  

Julie, using all the tight precision of a girl who always wore dresses, and never got them dirty, started from scratch and neatly cut out new clouds, a sun, drops of rain, and the terrain on which they fell.  David pasted the shapes onto the poster board and both listened with interest to Bart who enthusiastically explained the science behind the process of transpiration.  David and Julie responded well to Bart’s excitement, and he wondered if this was the start of a friendship between the three of them.

            Four days later they stood proudly next to the poster-board as the parents came through the classroom.  When Mom came through the line flanked by Mrs. Jones he excitedly pointed to the project.

            “Look Mom, I did this one.”

            “No you didn’t,” Mrs. Jones said, “Julie and David did all the work on this.”

            “I’m sorry,” Mrs. Jones whispered sympathetically to his mother.  “Bart’s project wasn’t done on time and couldn’t be displayed.”

  His mother frowned at him, as if this was a reasonable explanation.  Mrs. Jones ushered her down the line.  Bart wanted to cry, but dared not in front of the other students.

            Remembering it all, he stood up from the merry-go-round with a fierce surge of anger.  He raised his foot, and kicked into the small pebbles that covered the playground.  Dusk had crept around him.  The chirp of crickets filled the air but did not drown out the rise of his voice.

            “Why was she so mean to me!” He kicked harder at the pebbles.  Some flew over the back fences of the townhouses.  The pebbles sprayed, rapping on the backs of sliding glass doors and aluminum siding.  Several porch lights sprang on; he ran behind a large pine tree and used it for cover to make his way home.

            Bart moved briskly along the black tarmac path, enveloped in a thick fog and unable to see more than three feet in front of him.  The fog was intense, eerie in the faint morning light.  Each step yielded a small space of vision in front of him that quickly filled in and pressed him from behind.  He felt brave to be marching forward at his usual pace, shrouded by nature, and so completely alone.  It seemed apropos to have real life, thick fog just days after he’d thought of it as a metaphor for the weakness of his recollections.  He took deep breaths of the sweet vapor, hoping this fallen cloud would purify his mind.  Staring into the swirling blankness he saw patterns that tickled forth a remembrance.

His entire life he’d walked to school.  Last year had been easy.  He lived in sight of that school.  This year’s walk was reminiscent in distance to his first grade walk.  Despite the painful reception of first grade, Bart remembered those long walks as happy, spring filled steps along paths filled with flowers and butterflies.  He was so much younger.  Back then everything he glimpsed in the natural world filled him with wonder and distraction. 

Walking through the dull gray of the morning fog he felt a pang for the sunny spot of childhood where he imagined the flowers and butterflies roamed.  He was now weary and resentful of the anxiety that drove him to arrive to school early.  He’d continued daily to fight with his mind, and felt as if he were making progress.  It was clear to him that there was some event, some thing which had happened that created this urgency.  He was determined to uncover it.

The fog crowded the plaza and hid all but the tops of the school busses as they pulled into the school.  Their exhaust now tinged the freshness of the mist with diesel fumes.   Bart sat on the planter and sighed over the loss of the morning’s purity, then turned his attention to making out the identities of the ghostly shapes of students mulling through the fog.

 “Is your brother coming to school today?”  Bart turned his head sharply to the left, and found himself peering down into the deep blue eyes of Lauren Shoenfield.

“Um…sure.” He squeaked out.  Lauren twisted her face, causing her lips to plump out in his direction.

Sounding slightly sad she said, “Because when I spoke to him last night on the phone he said he was sick and wouldn’t be coming in today.”  Lauren looked out over the parking lot as if watching for someone to show up.  Bart hid his surprise.  This morning when he’d left home his brother was hanging around the house, with his friends waiting for some girl to come over.  In a rare moment of restraint, he decided it was best not to impart this information.

Bart joined Lauren staring into the fog.  It was beginning to dissipate in the bright light of the morning sun.  She placed her hand on his arm and he found himself again staring into her eyes.

“Are you okay?” She asked, with what felt to him to be a sincere but undue concern.  He knew she was asking because of the slap, but didn’t understand why she would care.  He didn’t understand why such a beautiful girl would want to know about a nothing like him.  A wave of suspicion washed over him that must have expressed on his face as anger.  Lauren looked away in shame.

She let go of his arm.  The sleeve of her shirt fell to her elbow revealing several small scars including a thin, fresh razor cut recently scabbed over.  She saw him staring, quickly covered it up, and began to walk away.

Bart blurted out, “I’m okay.” But Lauren ignored him and disappeared into a nearby crowd of students.  His brother never came to school that day.

 

Lauren gave Bart so much to think about.  He spent the next two days of school in deep thought missing every word of instruction.  Between classes he tried to look for her in the halls but each time he glimpsed her she would spot him first and slip away.

Bart viewed Lauren at a distance and through the lens of her beauty.  He’d seen her as strong, himself weak, and she as popular as he was invisible.  Suddenly nothing seemed quite as he’d imagined.  Lauren’s exposed vulnerability plucked something deep inside him that resonated through his whole being, and touched him at his core.  He felt differently about her.  If his feelings before had amounted to a crush, this new feeling was more like a longing, commingled with a desire to unravel her inner secret.  Perhaps, he wondered, if he understood her, he could protect her from herself.

That night he lay in bed unable to sleep, dreaming romantic thoughts about Lauren.  He put his head against the bedroom wall and could hear his brother talking on the phone using the soft voice, the voice he spoke to girls.  Bart cringed at the thought that his brother was chatting up Lauren.  Suddenly he remembered his place, his difference in age, and that Lauren would never look twice at him again.  Compared to his brother he was a child.  In the next room his brother was laughing.  Then he heard a name, “Cathy, Cathy, Cathy,” followed by more of his brother’s laughing.

Cathy was the reason his brother missed school.   Lauren would be getting a cold shoulder from now on.  Bart felt sad for Lauren and slightly sick to his stomach.

He did not sleep well, tossing and turning through a variety of helpless dreams in which he could not free himself from the oppression of a large pair of winged eyes that discovered him everywhere he hid.

The next morning Bart felt as if he woke up on the red brick planter in front of his school.  It was still dark outside, about six thirty in the morning, the earliest he’d arrived so far.  He could walk back and forth from home four times, and still be at school before the bell.  Instead, he just sat determined to wait.  Stretching his body along the planter, he lay on his side facing the parking lot, and thought about the cuts on Lauren’s arm.  There were parallels between her cuts and his panic, they were both scars.  Lauren’s were self-inflicted and Bart considered that slapping himself in the face was virtually the same thing.  He wondered how much pain he might inflict upon himself if he did not resolve this dilemma.  Hitting himself had been the wrong thing to do, and he figured it could lead to worse forms of self-destruction he intended to avoid.

It was now obvious that some event in his past was controlling him.  Uncovering that event was the path to power.  The power of his choice to hit, slap, or cut was dependent on his ability to settle the panic within and overthrow the control that gripped him.  He had to remember.

Bart sat up, jumped off the planter, and began to pace back and forth across the plaza with his head down.  He stared at the ground and tried to drive his thoughts back in time, but quickly found himself absorbed in the lines between the slabs of concrete.  The lines ran vertically to the bricks of the planter and channeled his vision like water.  As he approached each line his eyes shifted down the length of the crevice until it was stopped by the solid red brick.  However, there were exactly four junctions where the lines from the pavement connected perfectly with the mortar spaces between the bricks.  Every time he hit one his eyes were drawn to the planter until he followed the mortar along a natural pathway to the top. 

Bart found this type of distraction very familiar.  There was always some diversion that seemed to draw his attention away from the problem at hand.  Again he remembered the place from his childhood where he imagined the flowers and butterflies existed.  He wondered if what he was remembering wasn’t so much a reality but simply a point of distraction on his way to the first grade.  Bored with the lines in front of him he focused on reconstructing a vivid memory of walking to school in the first grade. 

Closing his eyes he pictured the tiny six year-old Bart he used to be and entered his body as he left home for a typical school day.  Down the front steps of his old house he walked onto

Main Street
.  He looked behind him at his childhood home.  It was teaming with an oppressive dusty darkness of complicated expectations.  It contained all the emotions he’d ever felt living there, but not the answer to his problem.

There were no sidewalks in this small town, only an ever deepening gutter formed from the flow of water and filled in with gavel by the city once a year.  Heading south on main street his feet turned West, up hill, onto

Hampton Road
.  The houses were set far apart on Hampton and just to the south, to the north of Hampton stretched a grassy ravine. 

There was a huge sense of freedom associated with this spot.  Bart looked around but did not see the flowers or butterflies he’d expected.  His view of the houses to the south was blocked by bushes and to the north the nearest houses were obscured by several small hills.  This didn’t make sense.  This walk had been made in snow, rain, and in the chill of fall but here in his memory it was always sunny, bright, and safe on

Hampton Road
.  He looked into the ravine and remembered more than one time in which he nestled down into the grass and drifted off to sleep.

Bart continued walking as

Hampton Road
turned into
Longstreet Avenue
.  Twenty feet down Longstreet was intersected by
Pickett Road
.  From the intersection he could see his first grade elementary school along a narrow path squeezed beside the first house on the south side of
Pickett Road
.  An old man use to live there that cautioned the children to stay on the path and out of his yard.  There was no sign of him today.

Bart looked on toward the school and began to feel an intense cloud of dread overhead.  The cloud descended, filling the space between him and the school with a wall of darkness that threatened to thwart his understanding.  He found himself retreating to the safety of

Hampton Avenue
, imagined himself tucked into the warm grass of the ravine embracing a tender sleep.

From here he could not see or be seen by home or school.  This was the only point along his walk in which he could avoid scrutiny by any authority.  This was the only location in his childhood memory which could be called idyllic.  Bart looked in the direction of the school and realized that unless he was willing to shatter his idealism he would be trapped here.

He approached the cloud.  Beyond it was the school, and the painful memory that drove him out of bed and filled him with panic.  It was here that Bart stepped out of the child, pushed through the cloud, and walked across the parking lot. 

Standing on the sidewalk he looked up at the double doors.  The hallway beyond held the first through third grade classrooms.  He looked at the lines in the sidewalk, this was the place David tried to push him to the ground.

Bart entered the school.  Each grade had two classrooms one to his right and left.  First were the third grade rooms, then the second followed by the two first grade classrooms.  Beyond those were the bathrooms, main office and auditorium. Fourth and fifth grade classrooms were in another hall at the other end of the school.  The hallways were empty but in this memory Bart could feel the presence of four years worth of people.  They hid just beyond each door and around every corner.

His footsteps made no sound.  The door to his first grade classroom sat open.  The cold, berating voice of Mrs. Jones poured into the hall.  Bart continued walking.  The faces of his first grade classmates came into view.  Most had their attention turned toward Mrs. Jones’ at the front of the room.  Some of the girls held their hands over their ears, wincing with their faces to their desks or their heads turned away.

  Bart felt anger, resentment, and bile rising within him.  He could not yet see Mrs. Jones, but was no longer afraid.  His hatred of her propelled him into the room.

 

 The tiny boy stood at her desk, his dirty face lined with channels of tears.

 Her thick forearms flattened along the desktop, a fulcrum to forward her pug face at him.  She screamed at the child with an innate revulsion to his very existence.

  A sign on a billboard next to the clock indicated the start of class.  The little boy was late to school.  Bart remembered this was an incidence of repetitive tardiness during the first three months.  Viewing this retrospectively, no transgression by a child merited the castigation Mrs. Jones spewed.

With her every syllable these memories became clearer in Bart’s mind.  Fear, shame, and humiliation emanating from the child washed over him.  A small puddle began to form under Bart’s Buster Browns.  The young boy looked down, Mrs. Jones’ eyes followed.  Her right hand clenched a ruler but was constrained by law.  Instead her voice gave rise to a fiery new tirade branding him under a cascading volume of disgust.

 

Outside his middle school Bart fell to his knees in a cold sweat.  He held his hand to the pavement, vomited breakfast milk, bits of hastily chewed yellow colored cereal, and then collapsed.  He hyperventilated.  His first successful gasp of air brought the unusual smell of oil, saw dust, and a faint odor of cologne.  Mr. West knelt beside Bart looked him over with sympathetic eyes, then helped him up, and ushered him into the nurse’s office. 

  It took a scientific effort and careful measurements, but Bart managed to work out the time it took him to walk the distance.  He calculated when he wished to arrive and worked out the precise time he must leave the house to attend school appropriately. 

He now waited at the beginning of his journey at home, on the couch, watching the clock.  He did this for weeks until his internal sense of time adjusted to the routine and he no longer needed to watch the clock. 

Later, in his twenties Bart learned Mrs. Jones had died, denying him a long sought confrontation. Over the years he’d gained a sense of balance between his anxiety and the effort to control it.  As a rule he was punctual, but could and did on occasion simply show up grossly late by choice.  He regarded his forced tardiness a well deserved act of vengeance, not just for himself, but on behalf of anyone who has ever sought to understand exactly why they wait.

 

Copyright 2008 Christopher Wilde

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Story Update

By Christopher Wilde

Many months ago I started a fictional short story and promised to post it on this web site.   It's now complete and will be posted shortly.  This story is called The Wait.  It's not very long, and should provide a good twenty minute read.   Feel free to post your comments (especially about punctuation and grammar).

Worst Postcard Ever!

 

 

worstpostcard

 

Found in Park City Utah and produced by Post Cards America.  This qualifies as the worst postcard ever. 

The caption on the back of the card reads. "Homeland Security Protecting the United States since 1492"  

Really?  Since 1492?  Protecting?  Really?  How's that working for Native Americans?

I don't know if this card was made by morons or made by people trying to corner the ultra-valuable moron market.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vote Early

By Christopher Wilde

 

Early Voting in Murray Utah Yes the line was long for early voting.  Many people came looked at the line and started to leave.  Myself, with the backing of the crowd, we urged them to stay.  The line moved quickly.  I was in and out in half an hour.  It was so much fun I wish I could go again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama assassination plot thwarted

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Law enforcement arrested two men in Tennessee who had plans to rob a gun dealer to shoot Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and "as many non-Caucasians" as possible, an official said on Monday.

An official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said police found the men in the Jackson, Tennessee area with a number of guns, including a sawed-off shotgun, in their car.

"They wanted to go to a place where they could shoot as many non-Caucasian as they could," the official said, noting that the men first planned to rob a gun dealer. "They also had a plot to assassinate Sen. Obama."

Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, is leading Republican John McCain in opinion polls ahead of the November 4 election.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles, Editing by Sandra Maler)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Times Backs Barack

By Christopher Wilde

 

For weeks now I have sat by and written very little about the campaign.  It's been painful to hold my fingers but I've endured.  Fortunately the New York Times has come to my rescue by saying everything I've been thinking.

 

CLICK BELOW - READ CAREFULLY

Barack Obama for President  -

a New York Times Editorial

Saturday, October 18, 2008

As Good as an SNL Skit

 

 

If you've been following the election closely you should get all of these jokes.  Obama roasts McCain while displaying a graceful self-deprecating humor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Final Presidential Debate 2008

 

8:31 PM MST The best close yet, "Go vote now it will make you feel big and strong."

8:24 PM MST John McCain advocates George Bushes No Child Left Behind.  Hmmmm

8:12 PM MST  Bla abortion the only interesting thing about this debate is the complete separation of the opinion's of men and women in CNN's polling group. 

7:59 PM MST John McCain has consistently come out of these debates lower in the polls.  He's completely blown the opportunity to come out strong with ideas that resonate with people.  Instead he has wasted it on attacks and appeals to "Joe Six-Pack."

 

7:50 PM MST  For those watching CNN the ticker at the bottom of the screen of undecided votes tends to go up the longer Obama talks.

7:45 PM MST  It's nice that both candidates want to do all of these great things but in the end we are going to be paying for this war for a long time to come.

7:40 PM MST  It's profoundly sad to see John McCain looks so absolutely desperate and pathetic.  

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mormon Bigots Get What They Deserve

 

By Christopher Wilde

I happened to be working in the home of a Mormon supporter of Mitt Romney on a day when the Salt Lake Tribune reports that a new book claims Mitt Romney's presidential campaign "exposed an undercurrent of anti-Mormon bigotry in this country." While working at his house my client was bemoaning the choice of Sarah Palin over the choice of Mitt Romney to be John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate.

Myself deeply disappointed with McCain's pick I added that I found Palin to be a dangerous choice.  I see her as a woman ill prepared academically, emotionally, or by experince to handled the White House should something befall McCain in office. 

What my client said next should not have been unexpected.  He said, "I'd take her over Barack 'Hussain' Obama."  Clearly this was a continuation of the slanderous lie that Barack is a Muslim.  He is in fact  a Christian, and I believe that my gated community living client knows better but, lacking a substantial criticism of Barack, reverted to this slur.

Saddly in all the years I've lived with and around Mormons my experience is that such bigotry is the norm not an aberration.  Mormon's more often than not pay lip service to tolerance while superbly playing the victim when they don't receive absolute tolerance for themselves. 

Mitt  Romney  is a sterling example of this kind of bigotry and jackbooted fascism.   Here is an excerpt of his speech from the Republican National Convention:

"Last week, the Democrats talked about change. But let me ask you — what do you think Washington is right now, liberal or conservative? Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitution rights? It’s liberal! "

What Romney is saying is that if you have been picked up and are held at Guantanamo you are a terrorist.  Never mind that you haven't had a trial, never mind that you've had no due process, attorney, or any opportunity to have evidence presented against you with an opportunity to defend yourself.  Never mind that the very nature of what it means to be an American, the thing we fight our wars for, are those cherished constitutional rights that Romney would deny to anyone he points his finger at and calls a terrorist.

Apparently the idea that someone could be falsely accused and end up in Guantanamo is beyond anything Mitt Romney and his fellow Mormon's could believe.  Truth, Justice, the American way don't seem to mean anything to a man like Romney.

Let me give you a scenario: in an Afghanistan village the son of a tribal leader rapes the daughter of a farmer.  The farmer starts to complain that no one will arrest the rapist and thus this makes trouble for the tribal leader.  This leader then plants evidence and has the daughter's father arrested, sells him to U.S. forces as a "terrorist" and the farmer ends up in Guantanamo.  According to Romney that man does not deserve a hearing, a fair trial, to be safe from torture, or even an attorney.

Nothing at the Republican National Convention was more chilling than to hear Romney make those comments.  Nothing more disheartening than to hear the bigotry and ignorance of one of his followers.  Sadly having lived in Utah for over ten years none of it is surprising.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ted Kennedy and Maria Shriver

By Christopher Wilde

It was amazing to watch Ted Kennedy speaking at the Democratic National Convention given his very ill health.  Though he was positive, upbeat, and sounded strong with little hint of frailty you would not have known it by watching Maria Shriver's face.

Her expression was so tense and pained I expected Ted Kennedy to fall over at any moment.  She wore the expression of someone holding a deep secret of grave news.  It makes me wonder, will Ted Kennedy make it to see the next President of the United States?

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Skins" on BBC America

By Christopher Wilde

The BBC does it again.  "Skins," dirty, sexy, a seemingly random and crass show it is actually quite tender, sweet, and serious.  You definitely don't want your teenagers watching this show.   It is part British Outsiders and part Risky Business-it has a well deserved mature rating.  This show is going to catch on with a young crowd especially those who might appreciate the Breakfast Club not just as a teenage snapshot of high school cliques but on the level of an in depth character study.

There's lots of sex, drugs, and nudity to titillate but in the end it's a show about nine friends who really care about each other, deal with a diverse set of personal and social problems, and who struggle to fit in on the edge of a society that is more self-absorbed clock work than genuinely human.

Phelps - Time to Call Bullsh*t!

 

By Christopher Wilde

During a televised press conference Olympic swimmer and multiple Gold Medal winner Michael Phelps had this to say:

"First of all, records are always made to be broken, no matter what they are. Anybody can do anything they set their mind to. I've said it all along: I want to be the first Michael Phelps, not the second Mark Spitz."

Anyone can do anything they set their mind to?  Really?  Are you serious?  Has the glory of winning gone to your head already?  

Anybody can do anything they set their mind to?  Like win eight gold medals in swimming?  Anyone can do that?  How about someone with dwarfism?  Can they compete against you and win just by setting their mind to it?  How about anyone without your gigantic arms and other genetic luck can they do what you've done?  Most likely not.

But what about those statistical few who do possess your gifts- can they do it?  Yes, if someone can support them financially, athletically, and emotionally from a young age through the many years of training and failure to get to your level of performance. 

If they can do all of those things and have the will then yes, yes they can do anything they set their mind to.   The rest of you can just forget it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Driver Reportedly Consented to a Search

By Christopher Wilde

I say bullshit.  I don't believe someone trafficking in 200 pounds of marijuana is going to consent to a search of their mini-van, as is reported by KUTV News.    Pictures of the van shows the driver has invested in a heavy duty stereo system.

I'm torn between getting drugs off the street and what appears to be a gross violation of civil rights. 

Drug traffickers let me make a suggestions.  Spend just a little money to place some hidden cameras in your vehicles.  Then when the Utah Highway Patrol pulls you over and "allegedly" get's your consent to search your vehicle, not only will your drug case get thrown out, so will all the drug cases they've ever worked on.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nitrogen Tire Inflation

By Christopher Wilde

I just spent a small fortune for desperately needed new tires.  They filled  my tires with Nitrogen.  This is the first time I've heard about nitrogen tire inflation.  Apparently it's suppose to provide a major gas saving.  Which cause me to wonder if the savings is so profound why doesn't everyone just run out and get their tires inflated with Nitrogen?

 

You can read more at www.getnitrogen.com

I IMAXED All Over the Place, It Was That Good!

By Christopher Wilde

Girls will want to sleep with him, men will want to be him.  Yes, I just saw the most recent installment of the Batman.  Christopher Nolan's the Dark Knight is far better than the first.  This version of Batman is even darker and the themes more philosophical.  Ledger is brilliant as the joker, sure give him the Oscar.

Now, it's not that I'm not capable of giving some killer review and telling you all about it, but I believe a good review should be it was good, it was bad.  This is good, very good.  Go see it, have fun, get good seats or get a bad one like I did and sit in the handicap section.  What, what?  The guy in the wheel chair already had a seat.  That's true but the seat was open. 

 

Go, go have fun.  Go now!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dear Direct TV,

By Christopher Wilde

Please create a few channels that play nothing but music videos.  The way it use to be in the beginning.  No VJ's, game shows, cribs, or other crap.  Please separate these channels into categories and for each have a station for old videos and current videos.

You may want to consider partnering with XM to add visual content to match their play lists. 

 

Thank you

 

P.S. Do it yesterday.

 

Why this letter, well because I just watched RadioHead's new video on my computer screen and thought it would be nice to watch it on my TV, but where exactly would I go to watch it?  Well I suppose you could just squeeze it into your new On Demand service. 

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gas and the Utah Driver

By Christopher Wilde

As you might have guessed I'm working more this summer and writing less.  Anecdotally I can tell you that despite four dollar a gallon gas prices, throughout the day, drivers on Utah roads still travel well in excess of the speed limit, singularly occupy and barrel down the road in pristine SUV's, and generally do not seem inclined to change their ways.

The one exception to this is the tremendous amount of motorcycles I see on the road distinct from the usual summer riders by their grotesquely corpulent body's plopped onto the seats and dripping to the road.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dear Ginger Hair

By Christopher Wilde

 

Dear Beautiful Red Headed Girl,

Who kept smiling so sweetly at me Saturday night at the Salt Lake Art's festival.  You caught my eye while listening to Atherton and then disappeared while I was buying my CD's.  It's not that I didn't want to talk to you, or that I'm too shy, (I'm not).  It's just that if I talk to you the first time I see you then it's only a chance meeting, and if I  ever bump into you a second time then it's fate.

Don't take it personally I ignore a lot of flirtation this way.  I did come back a second night but I didn't see you anywhere.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer of Gun

By Christopher Wilde

My summer is slammed but it's hard to not take a few minutes and say something about the Supreme Court decision striking down D.C.'s long standing gun ban.  While I am liberal on a lot of issues this is not one of them. 

The colonists of this nation were not the good people, they were just people.  In England and in many parts of the colonies they were viewed as rebels and traitors.  Nobody in England wanted these pathetic Americans to have guns.

For me gun ownership has been about self-protection and, should we ever need it, the right to overthrow our government.

In listening to various debates about yesterday's decision I continue to hear about the escalation of violence in America's inner cities.  One pundit was saying that in his day they took away zip guns, but today things have escalated to automatic weapons.

What I hear in those statements is that we have failed our inner cities.  We have failed our poor.  We want to disarm them.

Were it not for the sounds of automatic gunfire the poor in this country would all but be ignored.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hydrogen Infrastructure

By Christopher Wilde

There are only twenty hydrogen stations in California to refuel Honda's new hydrogen car (the FCX Clarity).  There is a catch-22 in which providers don't want to invest in refueling stations until they see more cars capable of using the fuel. 

A possible solution to this problem would be to give special permits and tax incentives to auto dealers to enter the refueling business.  This would drive more auto manufactures to produce a greater number of hydrogen vehicles and apply greater pressure on oil and gas companies to make a switch.

An even better solution may be Honda's home energy solution, a plan under development at Honda to create a hydrogen generating plant in your home (just add water).

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Vasectomy We've All Been Waiting For

By Christopher Wilde

Researchers at the University of Adelaide, Australia led by doctor Said Al-Sarawi have been developing a radio controlled vasectomy.

The device (at right) is a size of a grain of rice and placed in the vas deferens.  Using a coded radio controlled remote the device can be turned on and off at will by the user.

The device is ready for lab testing but is still a few years off from human trials.  Still it is the most promising and innovative idea for male contraception ever envisioned.

Sign me up!

Men will run to get these- hopefully in secret.  Just imagine all the sex a married man can get from his wife while she thinks she's trying to have a baby.

She doesn't even have to know.  Later when she forces you to the doctor to have your sperm count checked, just turn it on and "poof" there's nothing wrong.  Your boys can swim as easily as you lock your car door.

Because the device is so small it can be inserted into the body with a hypodermic needle, virtually undetectable.

Just imagine men what it would be like to never ever fear an unwanted pregnancy from a crazy, baby hungry ovulating woman.

Best off all a responsible man who keeps knowledge of the device a cherished secret may have the ultimate fidelity testing machine!  You'll have the last laugh the day your wife or girlfriend tries to foist someone else's baby on you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Moroni's Horn Looks Like a Beer Bong

By Christopher Wilde

This May the Utah Hospitality Association began spearheading an initiative to end Utah's private club membership scheme.  For those of you out of state the current law requires that when you go to an establishment serving liquor (what you know as a bar) you are required to pay a membership fee.  The fee consists of purchasing a temporary or year long pass to the specific "private club" before entering.

Use of the membership scheme is an unusual practice to those living out of state, and for those of us in state who choose to go to a private club to drink, or socialize, it's just an annoying reminder that this state is predominantly run and controlled by a statewide, majority population of Mormons.

It is admirable that the Utah Hospitality Association would like to bring us more in line with other states.  That would be a good thing for the image of Utah, and it's something are Republican Governor has voiced some support for, however it's really going to come down to the leadership of the LDS church.  There's the rub, because while state conservatives would have you believe the law exists to promote safety by cutting down on bar hopping, under the theory that this will help eliminate drunk driving, the reality is that is not why the law exists at all.

The purpose of the law is so that every time someone, whether a Utah native or a visitor from another state, goes into a private club they are reminded that they are not a Mormon.  It's a subtle way of saying, 'since you won't join our church we want you to know we (mormon's) despise you and your unholy practice of drinking alcohol'.

Mormon's generally have a lot of fear when it comes to private clubs and drinking.  Since they don't drink they don't understand why anyone would want to, and can not understand or appreciate the subtle pleasure of having a single glass or two of red wine with dinner.  They are, as a result of their fear, unlikely to support the measure.

Despite what anyone will say in debate leading up to a vote on this issue, the reality is that when Mormon's walk up to the voting kiosk they will, regardless of the facts, vote against the measure.  In their minds they will see this as an us versus them issue and will vote to put a mote in the eye of their non-mormon brethren.

 

...Wild Wild Words