Guilt Free Diamonds At Last!

We here at Congo Genocide Diamond Company know that it is important for you to pretend that ethics and morality matter, so we are proud to announce that we are now selling Blood Free Diamonds.™

Our Blood Free Diamonds™ are guaranteed conflict free and are available in most shops right next to our fine assortment of regularly priced diamonds: because we know that you are just that fucking stupid that you will pay a premium for the illusion that you are someone who does the right thing.

In related news, our subsidiary, Genocidal Chic, will soon be offering a stunning line of African-toddler-leather furniture. Of course, for those customers who do not wish to be on the cutting edge of fashion, we will also be offering the same line in the less premium calfskin package.

Congo Genocide Diamond Company cares. And we listen. Because how could we continue to blow smoke up your ass in exactly the way you want if we didn’t?

Reading List

I normally shy away from recommendations, since I feel I have no right to tell anyone what to do with themselves, even to the extent of how to entertain and/or enrich themselves. But since I’m generally so liberal with my notions of what sucks, I thought I should expend a little more effort in rendering my notions of what doesn’t.

For this exposition, I’m limiting myself to books. If you haven’t figured out that these are the best form of entertainment, then there’s no helping you. Be on your way, and have fun arguing with each other about the best kind of telephone or video game console. If you keep at it, ya’ll are sure to find the best arrangement for all those deck chairs!

This is by no means an exhaustive list either; it’s simply those works that have profoundly entertained and enlightened me.

Keep in mind too, that I read very slowly. I can’t bundle words, and have a hard time recognizing words by sight, so I have to read read things word by word. (I also spell very badly.) If I had gone to school just a little later, I no doubt would have been pegged with some learning disability or another. As it was, I think they just took my learning difficulties and profound boredom as mild retardation and left me to my own devices; so I have to say it all worked out rather well for me anyways.

The byproduct of my slow reading is that I have not read as widely as I should have. But, on the plus side, what I do read, I retain. I have time to think about what I’m reading, as I read it, and I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, as to my recommendations:

For light reading, you really can’t go wrong with Terry Pratchett. Any Diskworld novel is fine, in whatever order, but anything with his name on it is sound stuff.

His collaboration with Neil Gaiman in Good Omens is a must read.

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, is as well.

Anything and everything by Douglas Adams. Reading all of his works are not an option for native speakers of the English language. Required.

I would love to recommend Tolkien on this list, since The Lord of the Rings did blast open my mind at a very impressionable age, but I have never been able to reread it. It’s an immersive world that shaped me, no doubt, but it’s also not a very well told story. Lots of walking. And elvish poetry. Then more walking.

When I was about eight years old, my grandfather read my sister and me Watership Down, by Richard Adams. It may have fucked us up, sure, but it also changed me in so many other good ways. This is one I have to return to every few years. In fact, I think I’m just about due for giving it another read.

Charles Dickens is always well worth picking up, if you have a month or two to really dig in, but if you were to limit yourself to David Copperfield, I would call you well sorted. If you haven’t read David Copperfield, then I would say you have done yourself a profound disservice.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Not light. Not easy. But this work changed how I think about the world. Not what I think; how I think.

If we’re going “not light or easy” but that which fucked my mind into an exciting new shape, dig into Socrates, if you can. This shit aint easy, and I required plenty of guided interpretation with it, but when I got there with it, it changed my life.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. Don’t expect cohesion or any kind of sense and just hold on for dear life. Oh dear lord, is it ever worth it, though.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. If you have even half a heart, this one will fuck your shit up. You can sense it coming too, laid down in such a deceptively simple way. The prose is stark and unpretentious; accessible even. Yet the whole time you feel this tectonic weight moving underneath it, and when it delivers it is crushing. Just brilliant.

To get back into slightly lighter fare, Ian M. Banks is an all time great for me. Either Player of Games or Use of Weapons are a good place to start. Dynamite stuff.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This may be the one and only time this work has been included on a list with Naked Lunch, but so the fuck what? I can’t enjoy a charming, post-Victorian tale of a precocious orphan girl who charms her way into a quaint Canadian village’s life? This shit is funny too, in a way that has been lost to us. G rated, kids book, as vanilla as Disney, but funny, funny stuff. And she’s a lesbian, so that’s a bit hot.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. An extremely entertaining mystery that is composed with breathtaking proficiency and skill. If you want to talk about the craft of writing, you can’t get any better than this.

Back to some pulpy fun: The Stand by Stephen King. Goddamn, this is a fun book. And if you’re in the United States these days, you’re basically living it!

There are plenty more I’m forgetting, no doubt, but this is a pretty good start. If I feel up to it, I’ll add more to this list, and may do a list of my favorite movies and TV.

Turd Tornado

This morning, in her truncated press scolding, Sarah Huckabee Sanders read the following statement:

“I can assure the American people that, fake news to the contrary, there are no velociraptors roaming free within the halls of the White House or the Capitol.

“I might add, that even if there were such dinosaurs roaming free and consuming members of government at their leisure, this in no way should be regarded as anything but a failure of the Democrats.”

Following this, the White House Press Secretary exited the briefing room with more than her usual haste and could be overheard muttering something about how, “it’s always the wrong ones that done get et.”

Band Name

Now, “Manic Street Preachers” is an awesome band name, don’t get me wrong. But the first time I heard the band on the radio, I misheard the name and spent a couple of days thinking it was, “Manic Tree Creatures.”

I’ve never been entirely able to shake the disappointment that it isn’t their actual name.

However, this means that “Manic Tree Creatures” is up for grabs as a potential band name. Feel free to use it, because I have already decided on my future band’s name:

“Embryonic Yak.”

Our first album will be called, “Dreams of an Embryonic Yak.”

I know! Don’t injure yourselves, ladies, in a rush to throw your panties on my stage; there’s room enough for all of them.

On Work

Okay, kids! Let’s talk about work.

Many people have already told you that you can do anything you set your mind to so long as you work hard at it. While this is completely untrue, it is important for you to believe it. However, when bandying this platitude about, what most people don’t tend to think about is: “What is work?”

This is not a simple question. How you choose to define the word makes all the difference in the world.

To be successful, one has to stop regarding work as being the expenditure of time and energy. It isn’t.

As to your time: if you sit staring at your phone in front of an open textbook for four hours, you haven’t studied. This should be obvious. The faster you lose the childish notion that the appearance of work is as good as the real thing, the quicker you will start to achieve your goals. When you get out into the world, your boss and coworkers are not substitutions for your parents. They have no reason to keep you around other than your output of real work. This is not an economy for slackers.

As to your energy: this is more in regards to your own personal goals. Once we’ve figured out not to waste our time, a lot of people make the mistake of believing that expending a lot of energy is working hard. This is the mentality of a wage slave. “Boss told me to move this pile of heavy shit over there and it took me eight hours and was really hard. Boy I did a lot of work today!” This is fine if earning a wage and getting physically strong is your personal goal at that point of your life. If that’s your outlook, then you did do a lot of good work. However, if your goal is to write a screenplay, and you go home too tired to do shit except eat dinner, have a wank, and go to bed, then you didn’t do shit. When your energy output is running counter to your goals, it’s time to change one of them.

Work ought to be viewed as productive output in pursuit of a clearly defined goal. This is not to say that you won’t have to take some shitty job to pay the bills. But even when we do get stuck doing this, how we approach this work means the world. Are you just putting your time in like a pylon, or are you learning new skills? If you have to clean toilets, then at very least learn the best way to do that. Cultivating a work ethic, learning people skills and how businesses work from the ground up, and impressing people that might offer you a slightly less shitty job: these are all admirable work goals in a shitty job.

Developing skills and good habits is never a waste of energy. Wherever you wind up, just make sure you aren’t spinning your wheels; or, worse yet, sitting idling in a garage of your own making.

Puffy Reenactment

I like how historical military reenactors are completely obsessive about getting every detail of their kit right but then don’t bother to lose weight.

I’m sure there were a couple of portly Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War, but modern reenactments looks like they’re put together by a balloon animal artist.