Bonus Poem of the Week: Dried-Up Cash Cows

Dried-Up Cash Cows
April 12, 2017

Many a person with backbone and tons of imagination
Sharing their vision of the future with millions across the nation—
Sometimes admittedly ugly, but even then, plenty of fun
With many an original character out to send trouble on the run
As he or she goes on adventures, frequently enough through lands
So bizarre and fascinating that one look evokes an “Oh, man!”
From the mouths of those who perceive them and all the denizens
That dwell within the region, even when evil comes to bring an end
To the realm’s peace and prosperity with deeds and actions so depraved
That it takes a hero with grit and gusto to burst on into the fray
And bring the villain and his or her mooks to their knees with tenacity
To the gracious relief of the locals. That’s what the ‘80s meant to me.

Alas, though, what’s happened to those franchises we used to know
And love for their vision, no mater how we’ve ridiculed them so?
What else? We’ve dared to reinvent them, knowing just how much power
They have over those who remember them, recalling every hour
They’d spent watching and listening to their glory back in the days,
Only now, their current incarnations often fail to amaze,
As they rarely capture the spirit that made the originals great
And feature heroes we once knew, yet to whom we can no more relate,
As they’ve been reduced to shells of what they were once upon a time,
No longer the charming, gung-ho type with a passion for fighting crime,
But rather morose and moody, as “gloom and doom” as we are,
Just stock brooding bruisers like other protagonists today, which, by and far,
Makes them only blend in with all the others and not stick out at all—
Something they used to do quite well, even ‘mongst their kind ‘fore their fall.
The villains don’t fare much better and are just ramped up a thousandfold,
Turned into murderous schmucks as charmless as the heroes, truth be told,
And are every bit as dark as the plans they hatch against the world
As well as generic and depressing—so much so that they make me hurl,
For the flair that had made them brilliant at the risk of making them “cheesy”
Is no longer there, thus making them bland and lifeless, which makes me queasy,
And with the fun gone from these characters, so is the fun from their plot
Leaving us with lazy, unimaginative stories sloppier than snot
That follow the same tired formula as most modern shows I know,
Mostly unrecognizable in more ways than one, much to my woe,
Save for the occasional swerve or plot twist that only serves to derail
The story as we once knew it, hence furthering the fall of the tale
And further driving us away from that which those running the industry
Wants us to reinvest our time and money into. Yeah…not for me.

Don’t get me wrong. The franchises I knew from my younger days
Entertained me thoroughly back then, but I’m ready now to part ways
And embrace something new that’s equally well-written as that which I once knew.
As for this soulless, recycled, cash-grabbing hash…no thanks. I’m through.
Start getting some new ideas, Hollywood, if you want to survive,
For living on dried-up cash cows is no way to stay alive.
New generations need new stories. That’s how it’s always been,
And you’ve been able to do just that without issue way back when.
Recently, though, what have you given today’s young folks to hear and see?
Mostly inferior versions of what you’d once made for kids like me
That haven’t done squat to take you out of the rut you’ve put yourself in,
And quite frankly, you’re nuts if you think I’ll stew with you in your own sin.
Get with the times, then! Otherwise I’ll just create my own thing
And change the tide while you keep failing and survive the bitter sting
The masses have already been suffering for far too long as things stand.
Goodbye, then, dried-up cash cows, for a new day is at hand.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: The Toxic Stuff

The Toxic Stuff
April 7, 2017

I’m cutting out all the toxic stuff
I’ve bothered with over the years
That’s caused me more pain
Than netted me gain
And led me to wallow here.

No more caving in to my fears,
For doing so brings no gain.
Time to screw in my heels
And spin the wheels
In my mind before I go insane.

I’ve so much yet in my life to gain.
Why should grief anymore make me squeal?
Enough is enough
Of this dramatic stuff.
Seeking inner peace is my new deal.

I want to know again how happiness feels,
So good riddance, negative fluff!
Get on out of here
‘Fore I kick your fat rear
And cast you from my life in a huff.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Short Story of the Week: The Conviction of Charles Donovan Gregory

The Conviction of Charles Donovan Gregory
by Dustin M. Weber
April 7, 2017

March 25, 2017

Dear Vices:

It’s over.

At long last, I’ve decided to move on from you all and focus on that which I should have kept at the forefront of my mind this whole entire time. In fact, I’m actually pretty disgusted at the notion that I’ve succumbed to you for as long as I have—disgusted, that is, but not surprised. After all, with my will having been so weak for so long, why would I be surprised that I’ve leaned on you all the way I have? It wasn’t as if I’d had a broken leg, you know. I could have easily stood on my own two feet at the time, and quite frankly, I would have been much better off for doing so. In fact, if I was suffering from anything, it was from a slow, dull mind and a poor sense of self, and looking back nowadays, I’ve come to realize that the more I tuned to you, the worse each of these things got. Well, no more! I’m putting my foot down against it all. Starting today, I’m stepping away from each and every one of you so that I can put my life back together, get myself back on track, and finally earn for myself that which I should have earned years ago.

First off…video games. Now, don’t get me wrong. There have been plenty of times when I’ve drawn inspiration from you. Heck, the idea for this one book I’m working on right now came to me in part after I’d played one of you, and even in recent months, I’ve been laying the groundwork for whole entire franchises based on what I’ve made using whatever character creation mode some of you have offered your players. That being said, don’t expect me to be as into you as I used to be back in the day. Sure, you were a great diversion for me when I was a kid, and even when I was working my way through college, you were one of the best ways I could think of to blow off steam. Sadly, that was then, and now that I’ve got more pressing matters to attend to, I have to set you off to the side from here on out. You’re a hobby, after all—a diversion—and a very expensive one to keep up with as well. Take it from a guy who hasn’t bought a new console since college, save for when I replaced my PlayStation One once upon a time, which I rarely even play these days. Besides, being a full-grown adult who’s long been eager to accept the responsibilities expected of someone my age, I don’t have nearly as much time to spend on you as I did during my younger days. Then again, there have been times when I’ve felt that I should have focused more on my writing even back then, especially considering how much help I needed in that department. I don’t care if I was just a kid at the time, either. The fact remains that I loved to write then, too, and honestly, had I the mind to put more of my focus on my writing and less time piloting some person made of pixels or polygons across my TV screen and making him beat other people up, I could have very well made a prodigy of myself…or, at the very least, something more than what I am now. Ah, but who am I kidding? I am what I am, and I have only myself to blame for letting myself get as wrapped up into you as I have. See you later, then, video games, when I need a break…and only when I need a break.

Oh…and all you flash games? Don’t even get me started with you and all your mindlessly repetitive yet ironically charming and addictive glory. No disrespect, but seriously, consider yourselves dead to me from this point forward.

You’re next, pro wrestling…and no, that wasn’t meant to be a pun on Bill Goldberg’s catchphrase. All unintentional wordplay aside, I’ll be brutally honest with you: I’ve actually been done with you for quite a while. Yes, I still respect you as an art form, no matter how stupid you can be at times in your execution. Sure, there are still morons out there who love to crap all over you for being sports theater as opposed to a full-fledged sport, and as far as I’m concerned, they can all take their infantile, narrow-minded, condescending ignorance and shove it right back down their throats until they choke on it. Truth be told, though, their moronic mentality isn’t why I’ve turned away from you. Rather, it’s your own idiocy as an industry, as you just haven’t been that great since the spring of 2001 when Extreme Championship Wrestling went bankrupt and good ol’ Vinny Mac bought out World Championship Wrestling. Ever since then, the World Wrestling Federation has become World Wrestling Entertainment and hasn’t faced any major competition for the past sixteen-plus years—not even from Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, which was once the closest thing WWE had to a serious rival since WCW. Trust me, too, when I say that even I can’t begin to tell you the number of fans who’ve been predicting TNA’s ultimate demise to the point of placing bets on when it’ll at long last go out of business. Then again, my doing so would distract me from telling you about just how many other promotions have risen and fallen over the century as we all have known it so far as well as about those that had promised to launch, yet either a) have failed to do so or b) actually have, yet have turned out to be little more than independent promotions. All this in mind, I hope you can see part of the reason why WWE’s long been struggling to put on a consistently good product, even with the talent they have now and have had over the years on their roster and even when they try to give the fans what they want. Of course, I don’t envy the bookers—or writers, whichever they’d rather be called—one bit, seeing as no matter how many honest-to-goodness fans you as a business still have as a whole since your decline, there’s always going to be that one portion of your fanbase that’s full of nothing but screaming, cursing, fickle malcontents who are never satisfied with what they see from any wrestling show, yet are far too stupid to walk away, no matter how bitter they’ve become towards you. Then there are the mindless fanboys, fangirls, and trolls who constantly cause drama amongst the community for whatever excuse might come to mind who are no doubt making others’ enjoyment of you every bit as much a chore for your fans as the soreheads are. Hell, they’re probably just plain assholes, pure and simple, and nothing more. Whatever the case, pro wrestling, I’m glad I’ve stopped caring about you as a business before I ended up becoming one of these schmucks, as I know well enough at my age that it’s better for a person to leave what he or she loves when it doesn’t love him or her back rather than stick around and let it burn him or her. Come to think of it, I’m even gladder that I never became a pro wrestler myself. Otherwise, I’d have had to put up with a lot of the terrible mismanagement and general ignorance with which today’s wrestlers must cope—not that they’re wholly innocent when it comes to your overall product’s current lackluster state, but really, when even the wrestlers who have been stepping up their game are still struggling to get over with the masses, then honestly, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.

Good luck, then, pro wrestling, for I may never come back to you as an industry, even though I still appreciate you as an art form and still hope you survive so that the next generation will get something out of you as I had back in the day when you were arguably much easier for me and so many other people to enjoy.

Finally, there’s you, YouTube, and all the videos I’ve seen on you, which have long been by and far the biggest distraction I’ve ever given myself throughout the course of my writing career. Now, I’ll admit that just like I’ve said about video games, having become familiar with you hasn’t been the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. After all, how else would I’ve ever found out about some of the things that have inspired some of my work? I can only begin to tell you, for instance, how nice it’s been listening to some of the videos on your website that have music that I either remember from my younger days or hadn’t heard before but have come to love—both of which have made for some okay background music for when I’ve been working on my writing. I’ve also learned to enjoy some of the old movies and television shows that I’ve managed to watch on your website, thanks to the users who’ve uploaded them. I’ve even seen video game footage that has brightened my day on one occasion or another, both with and without commentary from the person who was recording it. Unfortunately, even with all this in mind, you’re not exactly all peaches and cream, if you know what I mean. For one thing, just looking at some of the videos you’ve hosted since your inception in 2005 has reminded me in the worst way that it “takes all kinds,” as the saying goes, as a good handful of your videos have shown me some of the most discouraging archetypes of humanity I’ve ever seen: fried-brained conspiracy theorists, small-minded political loudmouths, embarrassingly macho e-toughs, perverted dark humor aficionados, oversensitive drama queens and other blatant pot-stirrers, screaming lunatics, narcissistic brats, potty-mouthed troglodytes, droning deadheads, over-the-top “comedy” acts and other desperate wannabe celebrities…you know…the pride and joy of the Internet (sarcasm). Sure, I know better than to stupidly click on these videos myself and give these waking examples of humanity’s grotesque imperfection the benefit of a view, but there have been times when I came across a video that I was hoping to like, only to discover that the person who posted it was more of a fool and/or scumbag than I’d previously assumed. I’m not even talking the blatant click-baiters who use false titles and thumbnail pics to draw in unwitting audience members, either, but rather simple guys and gals who make videos similar to the ones I’ve come to like over the years, only to prove themselves inferior in comparison to the examples with which I’d become familiar. This is especially true when the narrator of a given video happens to present his or her opinion on a given matter in a decidedly snobbish or ill-tempered tone or with information that he or she clearly pulled out of his or her derriere. Seriously, am I really that unreasonable to expect reviews and rants on the Internet to be honest, straightforward, unbiased, and sensible as possible, regardless of the presenter’s disdain towards the topic he or she is discussing? Don’t even get me started, either, with these reviews in which the presenter is attempting to portray himself or herself as a “character” of sorts. I’m sorry, but I listen to reviews to be informed on a given item rather than entertained, and the steeper the precedent that entertainment takes over information, the less worth the review in question has to me.

Needless to say, YouTube, I’ve learned the necessity of being picky when it comes to listening to and watching videos on your website. From now on, then, I’ll be using your music videos as background accompaniment for my writing sessions and saving the TV, film, gameplay, and similarly themed videos for after I’ve completed my daily writing objectives. Not only that, but I’ve promised myself to be especially selective when it comes to videos from the later category, as I’m more or less done with all the negativity that I’ve absorbed from those that I’ve watched already. Trust me…my work will benefit in the end when I adopt a more positive attitude and cut out all the nastiness I’ve taken on in my life at this point.

So that’s the scoop, vices: I’m moving on, and I’m doing so for my own good. Please don’t take it personally, either, for even though I keep calling you my “vices,” I’m the one who’s really at fault here, as I’ve said before. All this time, I should have squared my shoulders, put my nose to the grindstone, and taken care of business like a man rather than bury myself in each of you whenever I would so much as have the slightest bit of writer’s block. Alas, such was not the case, and it wasn’t until recently that I’ve finally come to terms with the problems I’ve been causing for myself by wallowing in each you, falling behind in my own deadlines and all. It’ll take me a nice long while before I’ll be able to forgive myself, too, but hey, if Roy Knable can come to terms with his TV addiction in Stay Tuned, then I, too, can come to terms with my overreliance on you three things. Better sooner than later, yes, but better later than never, and from now on, as was the case for me during my schooling days, it’s going to be work before pleasure and not vice-versa. Otherwise, I’ll never get anything done to save my soul, and I’ll only further drown in my own stagnation.

Thank you all for your understanding, and for now…goodbye.

Regards,
Charles Donovan Gregory

*****

PS: All credit for the pics used in the above article goes to as follows:

MoveMeQuotes.com
PlayStation History Collection 1 – Takara Tomy 1/6 Scale Gashapon Video Game Systems! by INVISIGOTH
10 Things Pro Wrestling Fans Hate about Pro Wrestling by Ben Flanagan (AL.com)
YouTube.com
Success.com/Shutterstock.com

The short story above, however, is the author’s own.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: A Somewhat Poetic Rant about 21st Century Brats who Find Humor in Others’ Pain and Suffering

A Somewhat Poetic Rant about 21st Century Brats who Find Humor in Others’ Pain and Suffering
April 3, 2017

For too long I’ve been angry. For too long I’ve learned to hate
The people in this messed-up world as they further degenerate
Into immature, spiteful narcissists all wrapped up in themselves,
Mocking others’ misfortune while wallowing in their self-made hell,
Peeved over often petty things, unable to adjust
To a world that’s always changing, whether for benefit or bust,
Concerned with material crap, not giving a single damn
About any altruistic virtue, and outraged I still am,
For I’ve been taught since I was born to show consideration
Towards those other than myself, no matter the situation.
Sadly, many have proven themselves inconsiderate
Of those less fortunate than they are, which throws me into a fit
And makes me want to lock these fools all together in a cell
A thousand leagues beneath Earth’s crust, hoping they suffer hell
Away from all their precious toys and other material gains,
Having none but each other with whom to cope as they drive each other insane
With the same childish, disrespectful behavior for which they’re known,
And should they turn on each other and cut each other to the bone,
Leaving a mass of corpses soaking in their own blood and waste,
I’d show no surprise when even their families show no haste
In mourning their losses, for honestly, why the hell should they?
These heartless, selfish bastards and bitches should all be made to pay
For ridiculing the beleaguered and the situation
That put them in their place without thought or consideration.
After all, would it have killed these twits to have opened their eyes
And put themselves in the others’ shoes and come to realize
The pain with which they’ve had to cope from Day One up to now?
It seems so, judging from their careless words, though I don’t know how
These brats find humor in others’ pain on account of tragedy.
Alas, such is the case of certain kids these days, apparently,
Only caring ‘bout the here and now, no matter the weather,
Not giving a rat’s ass ‘bout trying to change anything for the better—
Not even for themselves, which I find to be irony.
Well, fine, then! So be it. Redefine the term “tragedy”
So that when you take the world over from us, it’ll just all the more
Suffer from whatever stupidity you have in store
For it and whatever denizens it may still have by then
Who’ll only be wishing all the more to traverse to Way Back When,
When life was simpler and stupid brats weren’t so blatantly PI
Smearing their heartless “humor” all over to reach all ears and eyes.
Keep dreaming, though, all you little creeps, for your day to come,
For we grownups still have a chance to save Earth from becoming dumb
As in dumber than it already is, no thanks to twerps like you,
And we’ll work hard to put it back together and see it through.
Who knows? Maybe a new golden will happen to rise
In which morals as corrupt and ass-backwards as yours are cut down to size
And the just can live in peace and harmony ‘til the sun burns out.
Until then, enjoy your says in the sunshine, you infantile little clouts,
For rudeness and disrespect can only take you so far in life
‘Til they finally catch up with you, and soon the pain and strife
Of growing up will at last sink in one way or another
And you’re forced to adapt or perish in the name of your divine mother.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Bonus Poem of the Week: Another Rant about 21st Century Human Stupidity

Another Rant about 21st Century Human Stupidity
March 15, 2017

Some say we’ve lost our soul. Some say we’ve lost our body…
Hence why our entertainment media’s long been shoddy,
But if you ask me, I’d say we’ve also lost our minds,
For how stupid must we be to not choose to leave behind
All the crap that’s been in the world now for so long?
What else can make us believe that we’ve got nothing wrong
On our bookshelves, radios, game consoles, and TV and film screens?
‘Cause guess what—it ain’t perfect, if you know just what I mean.
That’s just the tip of this iceberg, though, for look at what else
Is wrong with us, such as just how wrapped up in ourselves
We’ve become over the years with these days being worse than ever.
For example, look at what happens when people get together
On the Internet, and one moron acts out his or her inner child
Against something quite innocent, being anything but mild
With an illiterate, long-winded tantrum either void of punctuation
Or riddled with exclamation points and poor capitalization
As he or she batters the poor soul with whom he or she disagrees,
Spewing out insults and accusations with the greatest of ease
Peppered with death threats, name-calling, and (of course) profanity,
Thinking such a display will make him or her look like a tough S.O.B.
When reality proves he or she is naught but a spiteful brat
Who really ought to clean up his or her act soon or just scat,
For such behavior in the real world doesn’t fly with most folks.
In fact, acting childish and self-entitled often blows up in smoke
And lands people in the doghouse, where other folks come to see
Just how infantile, deprived, and pathetic we humans can be.
Alas, too many are the places human foulness rears its head—
So many, in fact, that I’m surprised my soul isn’t yet dead
From having come across so many assholes gathered in one place
Relishing over foolish crap as humanity they further disgrace
With lies, both in word and in picture, of people better than they
Will ever be, not to mention all the tacky words they say;
Racial, sexist, and homophobic slurs; curses galore;
Celebrating innocent people’s deaths; and more trash talk in store
For all morbidly curious enough to read such crap themselves
With even more warped reality waiting for them the deeper they delve.
To think such scum exist in the real world never sits well with me.
“It takes all kinds,” I understand, but honestly, why should it be
That unprovoked hatred should run so rampant in this day and age?
Will we ever move forward in this world or forever stay on this page
And never progress in the story of the human race as it can be?
‘Cause really, I’ve had it up to my brow with such stupidity.
To think, too, that I’ve only scratched the surface of how braindead
Humanity can be with all the words I’ve already said.
The problem is, though, if I were to go on with this gripe,
I’d be here all day losing my own mind reporting all the tripe
I’ve seen and heard in all the years I’ve come to know it, friends,
So please forgive me for bringing this rant to a premature end.
The point remains, though, that we as a people have a ways
To go before we can claim that we’ve grown up in any way,
And I hope that day comes soon while I’m still alive to hear and see
Humanity reach its moral potential and prove how great we can be.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Stupid Media, Stupid People

Stupid Media, Stupid People
March 10, 2017

Stupid media
Stupid people
People without standards
People with dead morals
Morals gone down the toilet
Morals and values
Values we all should have
Values we’ve all given up on
On TV
On movie screens
Screens filled with bleakness
Screens filled with gratuitous crap
Crap like brazen sex
Crap like excessive violence
Violence already rampant
Violence without levity
Levity from toxic stimuli
Levity that we all need
Need and want
Need but don’t have
Have we no spine
Have we no mind
Mind to reject this filth
Mind to demand better
Better for tomorrow’s generation
Better from media creators
Creators with more cash than credibility
Creators with more praise than talent
Talent elsewhere being ignored
Talent elsewhere being rejected
Rejected for little to no reason
Rejected at the gate
Gate locked tightly
Gate locked shut
Shut on new ideas
Shut on fresh ideas
Ideas that could reinvigorate
Ideas that could revitalize
Revitalize a scene so stale
Revitalize a scene so deprived
Deprived of vitality
Deprived of human interest
Interest from a new generation
Interest in something different
Different times
Different measures
Measures to be taken seriously
Measures to be taken now
Seriously!
Now!

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Bonus Poem of the Week: The Misguided PC Missile

The Misguided PC Missile
March 6, 2017

Living in a PC nation
Is a snowflake generation
Making all endure
That which is “pure”
Against certain stimulation,

Not stopping to understand
How they’re getting out of hand
And how their crusade
Has actually made
A mess across the land.

They claim to fight to end
The evils around each bend
In society
For you and me,
But truth be told, my friends,

They’re so blinded by their plight
That they can’t tell left from right,
And what lies in store
Hence becomes a war
That they wage day and night

Against all they see and hear,
No matter how vague or clear
Something matches the ill
That they’ve deemed to be swill
That others tend to steer clear

Of incurring their great wrath
And having them cut them in half
Or elsehow be rude
And blatantly crude
To garner from others a laugh,

Not bothering at all to show class,
But instead be spiteful and crass,
Trading in rapier wit
For clubs with which to hit
Us on our heads ‘long with their sass,

Not thinking for a minute that we
Have ears to hear, eyes to see,
And brains with which to think
And tell such humor stinks
‘Cause it’s lazy and dumb as can be.

Their arcs, too, are all the same trash
That make many yearn for the past
Back when we all had brains
And hadn’t gone insane
‘Nough to settle for any old hash.

The dramas aren’t much better, though,
Stemming from minds just as slow
And are as such just dull,
Derivative hulls
So alike they fill me with woe

With acting so painful and trite,
Dialogue so lacking in bite,
Blatant violence and sex,
And plots that leave me vexed
With acts so grim, they’re out of sight.

To think, too, we all eat this crap up
These days with little guff—
This mental junk food
When we already brood
Over all the world’s other bad stuff!

Could it be this filth fuels our rage
In this bitter day and age
When we go all out—
Rant, riot, and shout—
And demand the world turns a new page

Rather than directly counteracts
Social justice seekers’ acts
And their search to clean
This world once pristine
Of all smut and its constant attacks

On our morals and values today?
Then hey, I’ve something to say:
Instead of being blind
To who’s behind
Needs hurting in a major way,

Why not turn your eyes and ears
To what you right away can hear
And see is truly
Tacky as can be
And rip that crap a new rear?

Why not focus all your time
And energy on the slime
That’s long been killing
In a way so willing
What we all once held as sublime—

Stuff that’s long been such raw trash
That it’s been begging to be thrashed
Since it first appeared
Simply out of fear
Of it rending our morals to hash,

Which they’ve pretty much already done?
Wake up! Let’s all send on the run
The mediocre tripe
That’s long sponged all the hype
From what could otherwise have been fun,

Enjoyable, and nourishing,
Leaving even common folk wishing
That the god old days
We had not cast away
Into the past with our “Psh!-ing.”

Better yet, let’s stop being numb
To all that we know to be dumb
And take it to task
And send it to the past
‘Fore it makes us all mindless bums

Who’ll settle for anything
That the world’s clueless hacks will bring
And seat ‘fore their eyes
In high-qual disguise
That which the world will feel some sting.

That’s what’s long been wrong, you see—
Our own rampant stupidity
And if we don’t, friends,
Bring it to an end,
Where exactly shall we be

When our morals and values die?
What will happen to you and I?
Will we all stand together
And change things for the better
Or be forced to say goodbye

To all that we once thought of as nice
As the world falls to sin and vice,
Where all hope is gone
‘Cause we sang the wrong songs
Back when we all skated on thin ice?

The time to wise up is now
While we can pull things through somehow
And put to and end
The real trouble ‘round the bend,
For the future is bleak—and how!

Our ignorance is all to blame,
For it’s humanity’s greatest shame,
And come high water
Or Hell, we oughta
Get our heads back in the game.

Our pride and hate have done us squat
In escaping this nasty plot.
Now, come on, people. Think
‘Fore we further sink.
Otherwise, we’ll completely rot.

*****

 
Author Pages: Smashwords.com
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Poem of the Week: Books DON’T Suck

Books DON’T Suck
February 19, 2017

“Screw books! Books suck!” so I hear so many say
From my generation downward since YouTube’s younger days.
It’s all about video games with them and other electronics
Upon which they derive their usual entertainment fix.
Now, sure, I like my V-games every once in a while.
Hell, I used to buy older ones when they were already out of style.
I also like the occasional movie and television show,
But does that mean I hate books or should have to? Hell no!
Sure, they might not be as interactive as games can be,
Nor are their visuals as animated as those from films and TV,
But guess what: My imagination still works and can easily
Visualize any story that one’s written for you or me,
And when I want to put my mind to use during my downtime,
I’d rather spend it reading a book than watching whatever slime
The networks have slapped on my TV, from insipid comedies
And by-the-numbers dramas to artificial “reality”
And have it thrown in my face with all the grace and tact
Like a potty-mouthed “alpha” male bragging ‘bout his soulless sex life, jack.
Let’s not even talk about movies, the gamble that they are,
Which can sometimes be enjoyable, yet other times leave a scar
Based on how poorly written and acted they often can be
With shameless violence, sex, profanity, and nudity
Thrown in for good measure by clueless writers who think
Shock value adds something to bad scripts when it just makes them stink
More than they already do, no matter the topic at hand,
Even though many a trashy movie’s made millions across the land.
Even video games can be a pain in the neck at times
With the many microtransactions, shoddy game designs
And glitches galore that have plagued the industry for so long,
Amongst a slew of other flaws that still need to say “so long.”
Not only that, but books don’t cost any electricity,
Nor do they need a special monitor to read them, you see—
Unless you’re talking e-books, but then again, I like to be
Away from my computer whenever I can, I hope you see.
One especially doesn’t need a special console to read a book.
Just have one in your hand and open it up to take a look
At whatever’s on its pages. Who knows? You just might like
Whatever tale it’s telling and how it takes you from the tripe
Of the cold, harsh reality with which we all must deal.
I can certainly tell you how a good book has often helped me heal
By taking me out of whatever nasty situation I’m in
And giving me someone else to root for whom I hope will win
In his or her own struggles, which might often even parallel
The spot I happen to be in myself—my present private hell.
Even when that’s not the case, a good book can entertain
Me with interesting characters and a moral from which I can gain
Knowledge and wisdom from which I can apply later on in life
To whatever circumstances I might face that bring me strife.
Sure, not every book’s like this, but I could say the same
For anything else out there, be it a film, show, or video game.
Besides, why should I let one crappy book or another
Prevent me from enjoying a different book altogether, brother?
Not every piece of entertainment, no matter the form it takes,
Can live up to our expectations, and I can’t help but want to make
This point real to every person who dares call all books crap,
As that’s not the case at all, for most books don’t deserve such a rap—
Just like not every film or show’s a load of violent smut
That’s aimed to appeal to idiots and leave smart folks in a rut
In their search for honest entertainment that’s been crafted with care,
Which is why folks like me keep searching for whatever’s out there
And never settle for one form of entertainment or another.
Such is the mindset I believe should be adopted by others,
Even if they’ve been forced to read utter crap in school,
Or otherwise came across a book that simply wasn’t cool,
For defecating on literature only cheats one in the end
From options in how to spend one’s time outside the grind, friend.
That being said, no matter what any naysayer might say,
Give books a chance, for you’ll never know how they’ll make your day
‘Til you actually pick one up and give it an honest read.
Who knows? You just might be doing yourself a noble deed.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
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Bonus Poem of the Week: Minooka…Again!

Minooka…Again!
February 16, 2017

10:28 this morning, just trying to do my thing
And get things done when suddenly, I hear my telephone ring.
Ring-a-ling-a-ling! Once again, ringing off the hook.
Damn it all! Can’t anyone simply let me finish my book?

So I check my Caller ID, and what else do I see?
The name “Minooka” flashing mockingly right back at me
With an all-too-familiar number beneath it, making me think,
“Oh, hell no! Not this crap again. Boy, does my luck stink.”

After all, over a month ago, these bastards called my home
To demand money from me, threatening to not leave me alone
Until I donated to one of the countless charities
They claimed to represent, to which I said “And their names, please?”

The fact that I also had to say “Hello?” multiple times
When I answered them to get and answer back boggles my mind.
Hell, they even hung up a few times when I dared to answer their calls,
Which I’ll admit was dumb of me, but here’s why I did so at all:

Picking up to tell them to take me off their calling list
Was the only way they’d back off—the only way they’d get the gist—
As calling them later on to tell them that very same thing
Would only lead me to an automated lecture or something

That wouldn’t connect me to a live person whose ear I could chew
Off in my mission to tell them that when it came to them, I was through.
Instead, their robot gave me an earful ‘bout their exemption from
The Do No Call list just ‘cause they’re “charity collector” scum

Who probably keep the lion’s share of whatever money they make
And give only fifteen percent to those whom they collect for. Those fakes!
I’ve been wise to that crap for so long, it isn’t even funny,
Which is why if I feel at all compelled to give any of my money

To any organization, I first see if they’re legit,
And only then, once I see that they are, do I see them as fit
Of a direct donation to their cause—never over the phone,
Especially via unsolicited calls that won’t leave me alone—

The kind of calls Minooka’s made time after time after time,
Even when I ignore them completely and they’re not on my mind,
Yet they kept on coming back in the day, and I hoped in vain that they
Would take the hint from my silence and they would’ve gone away.

Clearly, though, that wasn’t the case, and I’ve come to decide
That maybe investing in a call blocker would’ve helped save my hide—
Assuming, of course, that good ol’ Minooka didn’t have a second number
To work around such a defense, thus making such a move a blunder.

Here they are again, though, calling me in the middle of the day,
Demanding money from me as though it’s my obligation to pay.
I thought this crap was over and done with, but clearly, I was wrong,
Else I’d be singing at this moment a whole different kind of song.

Looks like I’ll need a call blocker after all now. Son of a gun!
Then maybe I’ll contact the FCC if I want this battle won.
These unwarranted calls, after all, have got to stop somehow,
Fr the harassment I’m getting now has really got me having a cow.

Enjoy tormenting me ‘til then, Minooka, for it won’t be long
‘Til you finally get your comeuppance and I prove to you how wrong
You are to keep asking the same target time after time again
For cash to fill your own bank account. It’s all just a matter of when.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
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Poem of the Week: Talent is NOT Overrated

Talent Is NOT Overrated
February 12, 2017

“Talent is overrated.” Such is what certain insiders say.
“So long as the concept is catchy enough, people will come to pay.
It makes no difference how stupid, forced, contrite, or insincere
A story is, so long as it brings us the dough we hold so dear.”

“I’m sorry…what?” I demand in the face of such BS,
For talent indeed means something, so allow me to address
This point in this poem for the sake of encouraging
Ambitious, intelligent authors to at last seek their chance to sing
As well as publishers everywhere to give these folks the chance
The fame and fortune that others ‘fore them have gotten from the dance,
Be said prize deserved or not, for these days, more than ever,
Folks deserve to read material that’s bound to last forever.

So talent’s overrated? Then what can you really expect
When folks pay for, read, and have their brains befouled by some hack’s dreck
And discover the hard way just how sloppy it’d been thrown together
And that it can’t hold a candle to the greats in any kind of weather?
What do you say when shock value’s the only “merit” upon which
Said story can stand itself? Can you really praise it without a twitch
Of your lips or nose or eyelids, or will you end up giving away
The objective truth that said work never should’ve seen the light of day?

Now let me tell you what you can gain from a book that’s well-written:
A tale that can stand strong ‘gainst the competition and leave folks smitten
With characters worth investing in, a plot that can last through the ages,
And a feeling of satisfaction once one’s done flipping through the pages—
That is until years pass and one feels compelled to read it again
And the tale ends up being every bit as good as it did back then.
Not only that, but word of mouth and recognition can spread
Like wildfire about such genuinely good stuff until it’s been read
By the masses far and wide who, in turn, will sing its praises
Of the work year after year ‘til its legend lasts throughout the ages,
Which eventually leads to more copies sold and hence cash earned
For author, agent, and publisher alike, leaving to be burned
Only the fools who can’t write and any agent dumb enough
To scoff at the one work’s writer and claim it hasn’t the stuff.

Many is, after all, the agent who hasn’t the brains or the spine
To support that which has value in these messy , troubled times
Who’s time and again turned down such stuff for irredeemable crap
To sell to publishers so that said suits could have cash in their laps
From feeding the desperate masses whatever they could shovel out,
Which in turn has dulled the masses’ senses and made them mindless clouts
While those who’ve demanded better for so long have been made to starve
Or to look elsewhere to sate their hunger and avoid the barbs
Of the tainted crap that’s had no talent or love put into it.
Now, tell me: When it comes to change, don’t you see the world as fit?

Because if you ask me, then yes, the industry must change.
For too long have we been fed crap. Things must be rearranged.
Talent is not overrated. Stop shoving that mantra down
Our throats because at this point, we need more talent to go around,
And not just talent, either, but also effort and love—
The kind of passion that fits talent like a hand in a glove
And has made many a classic in every industry you can name.
It’s a tried-and-true method from the past that surely can do the same
In this era, should we all at least try to make the effort to
Promote the works of talented writers to be read by me and you.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
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