Population Control – Emanuel Fidalgo (guest blog)

GUEST POST by Emanuel Fidalgo

The British have always known what’s best for the world. They knew English would become the most important language. They knew to separate themselves from the Roman Catholics and to rewrite the Bible, making the King James Bible the most read. They knew to conquer Native Americans and turn their land into the most powerful country in the world.

Well, they’ve done it again. The same people who brought you Romeo & Juliet. The very same people whose history made ‘Braveheart’ possible. The UK has now mainstreamed the greatest phenomenon since the Spice Girls.

Population Control.

They are actually paying prostitutes to effectively “spay” themselves by swallowing a pill, in order to prevent unfavorable births. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Go to whatever news source you trust and use, and look that shit up.

This is going to catch like Randy Moss. Like Mono. Like 22.

God save the queen.

They’ve done it again. They’ve figured out that in order to eliminate hunger, we must eliminate the possibility of kids being born into hunger. What happens when only parents who can feed their children are allowed to have children? No more world hunger.

What happens when only parents with high moral standards who are fit to teach wrong and right are allowed to have kids? World peace.

I know, I’m starting to sound like a beauty pageant, but doesn’t it make sense?

Obviously we would never personally see the results. It would take at least another 100 years for our “undesirables” to die out and even then we would have to allow another couple of decades to ensure everyone from the old ways are dead and gone. Just imagine India, China, Kenya, Cape Verde, Angola (OK i could probably name 90% of African countries) all without issues of poverty and war. What would immigrants even need the U.S. for? Wouldn’t that make you all very happy, white people?

I’m not saying to force feed this thing to people. We could always just hide it in their water.

And don’t think America is exempt from this pill. Oh no, we are in dire need of it. In the United States, child support is a $500 billion industry. Yes, billion. That means women who have no business having kids will try anything to get pregnant just to collect child support. And child support is just a small piece of the Divorce industry. Go reread Peter’s blog about the divorce party, that could really help us get this shit under control.

I could probably write a book on this, but since it’s a blog I will stop here and urge you to urge 10 of your mostly incapable friends to fly to London and take this pill. Hopefully we can work something out with the US government to pay for their airfare. Let’s spread the word, and make #populationcontrol a trending topic. You will be helping to save our planet.

Instead of going green, go eggless. How about that for a trending topic, #GoEgg-less

And don’t forget to visit GoEgg-less.org and you could help save the world one needless baby at a time.


Where Are All The Dead People

“Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is—for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know.” – Socrates, from Plato’s ‘Apology.’

[No, the quote cannot be applied to the belief in “god.” I know he doesn’t exist!]

Death is a taboo and frightening topic. In the past, I was terrified of dying but once I came to grips with the fact that death is out of my control, it became easy to deal with my own inevitable expiration. No one truly knows whether, or not, there is life after death; we are free to believe as we please. One of the most interesting classes I have ever taken was ‘The Anthropology of Death’ with UMass Boston Professor Alan Waters. Studying the different ways cultures handle death, gave me a new perspective on the subject; I no longer fear death. (I’m actually looking forward to discovering what happens. *No, I’m not suicidal!*)

To me, the funeral practices of Christians borders on the ridiculous. (Yeah, I said it.) I don’t understand how people can spend their entire lives believing in “god” and heaven, but as soon as someone dies, it’s the worst thing that ever happened. Reason would dictate that death should be celebrated; the family member is in a better place, RIGHT? They definitely got it right in New Orleans. *I recommend that you, yes you, look up the different ways death is handled throughout the world…AMAZING!*

I don’t want to seem insensitive, but I can only voice my true opinions. (Anyone who knows me understands that I will give my honest opinion, regardless of feelings. I know there are those who think I am a jerk, but I’d rather be an asshole then fake, any day of the week. **I never care about hiding my opinions, which will be evident during next week’s ultra-controversial post.**) I tend to leave emotion out of most circumstances, it serves no purpose other than to cloud judgment. (Unless I’m drunk, but that’s a different story.) I can understand how losing a close relative can be devastating, and life changing, but it is a natural part of life. Obviously, the emotion of the actual funeral is too strong to be denied, and I have even broken down in the past, but I can’t see myself crying on any other day. Spending days, months, or even years, weeping over someone seems nonsensical. If you honestly think about it, people are either, in a better place, or they no longer exist. Wakes should be parties in which family and friends get together and celebrate the memory of the deceased persons’ life. When I die, I want family and friends to throw a party and play nothing but Cash Money Records. If there is no life after death, I won’t be able to witness the bereavement process, and if there is, I will haunt anyone who doesn’t at least listen to one CMR track. Oh yeah…No Mass please; that would just be offensive!!!

I admit that my way of thinking may be the result of me being heartless but I might just be right, and maybe those who oppose my views, do so because they lack reason…you never know! I just can’t see the point of missing someone, dead or alive; people need to learn how to just move on. With my late cousin Kevin, there are times when I am watching Sports Center and I’ll reach for the phone after seeing that Notre Dame suffered a loss in football. That’s not missing someone, it’s simply something that is routine. Like most beliefs, people refuse to change because that’s what they’ve always done. (I understand that some people who have lost loved ones may have a problem with my way of thinking, but I will not change my beliefs to avoid being offensive. In fact, I am offended that people allow emotion to block their ability to use reason. I guess the fact that I am an atheist and my background in History causes me to see the world from a unique perspective. ***Again, this will be evident during next week’s controversial post!***)

Losing a loved one can be a difficult situation to deal with, but everyone has to go through it at some point in their lives. The afterlife differs by culture but, for the most part, people agree that there is some form of an existence after death. I guess these beliefs continue because no one wants to think that they will cease to exist. It is comforting to think that our ancestors are watching over us from some unknown realm, but the more I think about it, the less I am inclined to believe in an afterlife. (Plus, isn’t the thought of ancestors watching over you all the time a little weird. If you say “No,” think about your dead loved ones watching over you the next time you are having sex…that’s creepy. Same thing goes for “god.” He is supposed to be omnipresent, right? To me, that’s perverted; “god” is nothing more than history’s biggest peeping-Tom!)

I previously wrote about my belief in spirits, but I can now understand that the mind is capable of altering our perception of reality; we see and hear exactly what we want to witness. This is not a topic that I am completely certain of because, although I understand that logically there can be no afterlife, part of me still wants to believe that one exists. (I can just picture meeting up with Kevin and boasting about the many accomplishments of former Gator’s quarterback Tim Tebow.)

The more I understand that my previous belief in the afterlife was based on the fear instilled in me by the teachings of the Catholic Church, the more I recognize my beliefs were false and founded on the weakest foundation.  The concept of an afterlife is ingrained in people through religious, and cultural beliefs. The fear of death, causes one to believe in an alternative in which he or she is able to continue living. Mortality is real, and immortality cannot exist; it is unnatural. Generally, most people who believe in life after death do not believe that insects, or plants, share the same fate as humans. I’ve never heard anyone say, after stepping on a spider, “May your spirit be rejoined with your ancestors.” ***That would be ridiculous, right?*** I find it amazing how culture can turn the absurd into fact. Can you just imagine a world without religion? We would all be forced to question conventional thought, instead of simply believing what is told. [I apologize in advance for this tangent, but I’ve always wondered about something. Religious belief usually is passed down from parents. Does anyone ever imagine how their lives would be different if the people who conquered the land which you originate from, belonged to a faith other than yours? I am Cape Verdean, which means that my family is Catholic because the Portuguese colonized the Islands. What would life be like if the Muslim armies were able to conquer CV. Isn’t it amazing that people believe so strongly in a faith that they didn’t even choose? I would be more inclined to respect the faith of someone who studied different religions, before “believing.” There is another question which has always fascinated me. How does a woman, strong and independent, agree to believe in a faith which views her as a second class citizen? Funny, the things people learn once they begin to ask questions! Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I will borrow from him and say, the unexamined faith, is not worth believing!]

The brain is a powerful organ which has yet to be fully understood. If our belief in something is strong enough, we can convince ourselves that it is true. The mind will actually create “hallucinations” to validate our desires. People see ghosts and experience unexplainable occurrences, but I believe they are just a figment of the imagination. People will pray for some result, and when the prayer is answered their belief in “god” is strengthened. As far as prayer is concerned, I think there are many instances in which people pray and get zero results; they seem to forget those prayers, or they explain them away with ridiculous claims such as, “it’s not ‘god’s’ will.” I think that anyone who believes in "god" will actually be affected by that belief; it has the ability to change their lives, but that doesn't mean he actually exists. The mind is great!


     When I studied Haitian Vodun (voodoo), I learned that the people of the culture are truly affected by the practice. It works because Haitians believe in Vodun, and scientists cannot explain the phenomena. Victims will go into trances and can be controlled by others; it's basically a form of hypnosis. All of these unexplainable cases have to do with the mind not "god." When humans reach a point that we have a better understanding of how the mind works, "god" will no longer exist; there will be no fear of the unknown.


     I have had many occasions in which I blackout after drinking too much. People tell me all of the things that I did, and at the time they were under the impression that I was coherent, but I clearly wasn't. I think there has to be some correlation between belief and mind stimulation; people can trigger the part of the brain that alters perception. This is evident in the cases of stigmata, which happens to people who are ultra religious. They believe in Jesus with so much conviction that they experience what they want. The brain's power over the body is far greater than we can comprehend. A hundred years from now, humans will have a better understanding of how the brain works.

Sometimes people can hear and see things that are not there. I know that those of us who come to rely on our cell phones, tend to hear the phone ringing whenever we leave the room. Or we hear the ringer, even with the phone at our side; it has to do the fact that people judge their level of importance, by the number of calls they receive. I can remember being a child and often hearing my mother yelling my name, when I knew she was at work. There are also the occasions in which I think I see something but, when I look again, it disappears. It is easy to misconstrue these instances as proof of a spiritual existence, but the fact remains that they are simply the result of the mind creating exactly what an individual wants to experience.

I hope dead people continue living in another capacity, but I honestly doubt it!


Was I Expelled From Seton Hall

**Due to unavoidable circumstances, the guest blog will be posted on a different day**

[Some names were changed to protect the innocent!]

I lived on campus, in Aquinas Hall, during my third year when I was a student at Seton Hall University . (I know what you’re thinking and the answer is…YES. The dormitory is named after Saint Thomas Aquinas. I find it ironic that the Catholic Church, with it’s clear hatred of free-thought, has a patron saint of Universities!) In mid-February, a friend of mine, “L” joined me in my dorm room and we did what we always did; we drank. L let me know that two of his buddies from high school were planning on visiting the campus and he asked if I would sign them into the building. I didn’t have a problem with that and said, “sure,” oblivious of the impact the decision would have. Before I neglect to mention, Aquinas Hall was a dry-dorm.

Later on in the day, L’s friends, “Lebron” and “DWade,” arrived on campus and I signed them into the dorm. We agreed to hangout in my friend Shawn’s room, which was located at the other end of the hall. A liquor store run was made and drinks were enjoyed while we watched our favorite DVD, ‘American Pimp.’ (This was the time in my life in which I knew that I would be a great pimp. Why do I have morals? Damn Catholic upbringing! Yes, I can have morals and not believe in “god.” Who knows maybe one day I’ll revisit the pimp dream! Ladies, feel free to contact me in any manner that you deem appropriate, and we can get this money! “A bitch with no instruction is headed for self destruction!” – D.C.’s Kenny Red)

The alcohol had to be smuggled into the building, but this time the degree of difficulty was raised. We Bought a 12-pack of Corona, a liter of Hennessey, and six twenty-two ounces of Steele Reserve. We drank in the room and prepared to attend an on-campus party, held at the student center.

Shawn and his roommate, Dave, had to change before the party, so they agreed to meet me, L, Lebron, and DWade in the cafeteria. In our drunken state, we decided to walk over to the campus center with the half-finished Hennessey bottle, and the beer each of us had in our hands. (That’s all which remained of the alcohol.) The campus had security guards, but they didn’t really bother us. We weren’t allowed to have any opened alcoholic beverages, but we knew most of the security personnel so drinking on campus was never a problem; if an administrator happened to walk by us, we would just conceal our drinks.

In our inebriated condition we stumbled towards the  Aquinas Hall exit. I strolled alongside L, and his buddies lagged behind. I noticed someone headed in our direction and immediately warned L to hide his beer; he didn’t hesitate after noticing the person was “Oprah.” She was the assistant to the Head of Housing for the University. Her office was inside Aquinas Hall and she was the second in command in the housing department. Oprah was in her early thirties and she was very attractive. L was well acquainted with her, so we were forced to stop and shoot-the-shit for a few seconds. Luckily Lebron and DWade were lost, so they didn’t join us, and we eventually make it by Oprah without her noticing our drunken state. (Shoot-the-shit. What a weird saying. I don’t know about any of you, but I have yet to witness anyone shoot shit. What would be the point of that?)

Fifteen minutes later, Lebron and DWade finally exited; they came out running at full speed. They continued right passed us, and we immediately knew to get away from the building, which was located near the back entrance to the campus. Outside of the gate, Lebron told us that they ran into some lady who was asking for their IDs, because she did not recognize them as students. Needless to say, they did not cooperate. In fact, the two geniuses managed to disrespect Oprah to the point she wanted to call the police and press charges. Lebron and DWade called her a “bitch” and said, “Fuck you, we ain’t giving you shit!”

It turns out they didn’t make any effort to hide their beers. Oprah mentioned campus police, which caused Lebron and DWade to run towards the exit, firing off as many expletives as they could; the two were wise enough to exchange their guest passes for their IDs before exiting. They also signed fake names on the visitors passes, making it almost impossible for Oprah to identify them. Outside of the campus gate, and drunk, I found the entire incident to be extremely hilarious. I was too wasted to grasp the severity of the situation; I didn’t realize what actually happened, and how there was a possible paper trace leading to me. (“If you want an off day bitch, go be a secretary, I ain’t got no designated off days!” — Hollywood’s Rosebudd *Sorry, this pimpin’ thing is seriously in my blood!*)

Lebron and DWade decided it was best for them to stay away from the campus, so I walked to the student center with L, and we met up with Shawn and Dave. The party was a great event, and I returned to Aquinas Hall in the early morning. I completely forgot about the incident, until I handed the security guard my ID and he returned it with a note. (Reality sets in quick) Obviously, it was from Oprah. “Please call my office tomorrow morning, I need to speak with you.” I spoke to Oprah’s secretary and informed her that I was going home for the weekend, and wouldn’t be back until the following Tuesday; an appointment was scheduled. Lebron and DWade’s account of the incident was incomplete, but Oprah knew all of the remaining details; she gave me the full story, in her office.

Oprah’s version: “After I walked by you and L, I ran into the other two guys and noticed that they had drinks in their hands. I didn’t recognize them and knew they weren’t residents. I wanted to let them know that we had rules which applied, not only to students but, to guests as well. I was going to take the drinks and allow them to go on their way, with just a warning. And as I reached for one of the bottles, the first boy slapped my hand away and said, ‘What the fuck are you doing bitch?’ His friend was laughing and said, ‘This bitch is crazy! Bitch, don’t you know that you don’t try to take a niggas’ drink? Shit! Try to take my shit and see if I don’t slap the shit out of you’.” (Yeah, real gentlemen.) “I was stunned that they would talk to me in that manner. I let them know who I was and the response I got was basically what I came to expect from them. The taller kid said, ‘I don’t give a fuck who you are bitch, we do what the fuck we want.’ I asked for their guest passes and of course they said, ‘no.’ They ran passed me and, as they did, I tried to grab the shorter guy and I was knocked to the ground. By the time I got back on my feet and made it to the front desk, I found out that they had already retrieved their IDs, so the only way I could identify them is to have your cooperation.”

I realized what happened wasn’t just something innocent. Lebron and DWade showed complete disrespect for Oprah and for the University. I knew this wasn’t a matter in which they would be let go with a warning. The fact that she was threatened and intimidated by the two of them, was serious; they also knocked her to the ground. It clearly states in the student handbook that students found with open containers of alcohol on University property, will have the beverages confiscated. I know that she was doing her duty and they crossed the line by knocking her to the ground, but I didn’t want to be responsible for the guys being arrested, which was the main reason I had reservations about cooperating.

I did my best to distance myself from the offenders, but Oprah was adamant about that fact that I was responsible for any guests who I sign in. L was also found at fault and, because he was a commuter, she banned him from campus housing for lack of cooperation. He made it clear to Oprah that Lebron and DWade were his friends, and not mine. She felt completely disrespected and wanted the boys punished. “I would like you to help me identify the two boys who you signed in, or else your non-cooperation will probably force me to request that you are expelled from the University.” I didn’t even have to think about it. “Sorry, I can’t help you.” She was stunned, and continued to threaten me. I let her know that I understood her position, but I would rather be expelled, than cooperate. I don’t think Universities should have policies that force students to turn on one another. (This may seem crazy, but the way I looked at the situation was pretty simple. I was involved in the rule breaking activity, and I was the one who was caught. Anyone who breaks a rule, or law, has to understand the risks involved. This is a case of not snitching. Some people confuse the word snitching. They think if you live in a neighborhood and you tell the police about criminal activity, that you are snitching…DEAD WRONG! Snitching is not something that can be done by a bystander. Snitching can only be done by people who are involved in the law breaking. If someone chooses to break the law, he or she has the duty to not get caught. If a bystander witnesses your crime, that’s your problem. It’s not about snitching at that point, it’s called slipping!!!) I apologized for my involvement in the incident, and I was prepared for whatever punishment she deemed fit.

Thankfully, Oprah decided not to have me expelled. (There’s the answer to the big question!) She felt that I was never in trouble prior to the incident and was willing to give me an opportunity to make amends; it also helped that I waited until Tuesday to have the meeting, giving her time to calm down. Oprah’s decision was for me to attend an alcohol awareness workshop. The event was being presented by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and I quickly agreed. I also promised not to sneak any more alcohol into the dorm. Of course, that was an empty promise, which I felt was necessary, to make her feel better about the situation. I was over the legal drinking and didn’t feel it was right for me not to be able to drink un the dorm. After all, we were college students! I really wanted to attend the workshop, in an effort to show her that I was taking the episode seriously.

The workshop was to be held in the Campus Center, and was scheduled a month after the incident. The weeks went by and I totally forgot about both, the incident in Aquinas Hall, and the workshop. On March 18th, while drinking with L, he asked, “Yo, how was that alcohol thing you had to go to?” It turns out that his simple question was an extremely important one. I let him know that I hadn’t gone yet, and the more I thought about it, I was pretty certain that I had missed the date.

I called Oprah from my cell phone, knowing that I was probably in more trouble. She answered, and as soon as she realized that I was on the other line, she assumed I was calling to make sure that the event was not rescheduled. It turned out the workshop was scheduled for that evening. (I kid you not.) This was both good and bad news; I was happy that I hadn’t missed the event, but there was a slight problem. I had been drinking all day. It wasn’t the greatest idea for me to continue drinking, but I really didn’t make the best decisions while at Seton Hall University. I was in a party-all-the-time frame of mind; partying was my main priority.

The MADD workshop was scheduled to start at six O’clock. I arrived shortly after six, and was very much intoxicated. The first part was held in the hallway, just outside of the conference room. It consisted of different tables, with information about the pitfalls of alcohol abuse. One of the tables was blank except for a funny-looking pair of glasses, and on the floor, next to it, was a ten-foot line made of tape. The idea was for people to walk a straight line while wearing the “drunk goggles,” which was designed to simulate a drunken state. Students were trying to walk the line, but they found it too difficult. Oprah was stationed at this table and she waved me over; wantung to see me walk the line while wearing the goggles. Hiding the fact that I was inebriated wasn’t a big challenge, but I kept my distance to ensure that she wouldn’t smell the alcohol.

I put on the glasses and realized there was no way I could walk the line. I tilted them slightly and peeked out of the corner, in order to see the line. This adjustment allowed for me to walk the line perfectly. Everyone was amazed, and I was quick to boast that I could handle my liquor. The ironic thing about the line walking was the fact that Oprah said, “You’re probably drunk, which is having a reverse effect.” I laughed it off and she was clearly joking. I hung around the table until it was time to enter the conference room for the main part of the workshop; she seemed to warm up to me.

Inside the room, everyone was seated facing a stage. I sat next to my friend Luis, who was an RA (Resident Assistant, for those who have never attended college.), and another RA, Kim. Luis was not surprised to learn that I was forced to attend; he sat close enough to notice that I had been drinking, and he let Kim in on my little secret. They were both a bit shocked that I would drink before this event, but I let them know it wasn’t planned.

This part of the workshop was basically just different testimonials from people who had their lives altered because of alcohol abuse. There were different stories told, mostly by members of MADD who had lost children in various alcohol related tragedies. I don’t remember much, but one story will always stay with me. One of the mothers walked up to the podium carrying a poster in her left hand. Her eyes were filled with tears and she did her best to keep her composure. She was talking about her son Mitch, who was killed by a drunk driver. As she was speaking, everyone in the room was teary-eyed, and she had to take pauses in order to find the strength to continue. I was very saddened by her story, but I couldn’t stop laughing; I had to keep my head in my arms so no one noticed. I didn’t think anything she was saying was humorous, but I was so drunk that her story wasn’t registering. I had random thoughts entering my mind and I couldn’t stop them; I really can’t explain why I was laughing. At the time, I tried my best to focus on her story but I just couldn’t; I’m just glad she didn’t notice me, because that would have been traumatic. (Kids, don’t drink and attend any MADD events, it will kill your buzz! Wait, that’s not it! I guess I mean to say, don’t drink!)

Oprah met me in the hallway after the workshop, and actually thanked me for attending. I assured her  she would not have to worry about me, and that there would be no more incidents. We became pretty good friends after the incident, and I kept up my end of the bargain. Not that I stopped drinking in the dorm, she just never caught me! (FRIEND ZONE like a motherfucker!)

~>Obviously, MADD is a great organization. I could never imagine what it would be like to lose a child because of a drunk driver, but I do find it interesting how quickly people are to judge the guilty. Each night, millions of Americans drive to bars, clubs, and restaurants; they drink themselves into a stupor, then drive home. In the morning, most of those people, who were guilty of driving drunk, will judge the few who were involved in fatal accidents. I’m not saying the killers are justified, but anyone who has ever driven drunk is just as guilty. (Just a thought!)<~


This Actually Happened – July 9th, 2011

My recent decision to switch from Comcast, back to DirecTV, reminds me of the first time a technician from the dish company came to install the satellite. The guy was from the Caribbean and he had a thick accent, I had to really focus in order to understand his English. I don’t remember his name, so I’ll call him “Barack.” [If you get through this without picturing the President, every time you hear his name, I will send you a check for 100 Billion Zimbabwe Dollars (ZWD)…don’t spend it all in one place!] For those of you who don’t know, the house is surrounded by trees, so the optimal location for a dish is on the roof. Barack wasn’t too happy about the spot, but he had no choice in the matter. There was a major problem involving access to the roof. A ladder had to be used, since the opening is in the hallway ceiling. The ladder, might I add, is wooden and from the 1970’s; it definitely added to the degree of difficulty. Did I mention that it was November, and I live in Boston; it was a particularly chilly day, and Barack didn’t have on any gloves. Initially, I accompanied him to the roof, but it was just too cold for me, so I returned to the comfort of my heated apartment and allowed Barack to take care of business on his own. Twenty minutes later, the satellite was ready to be connected. A nearly frozen Barack, returned from the roof. I neglected to add the fact that there were near gale force winds, which made the conditions less than ideal. I did my best to understand Barack and the installation went smoothly from then on. All of the wires were connected and Barack was about to program the remote when, I asked the one question that probably still haunts him to this day. “Is that the DVR box?” He looked at his clipboard. “Oh SHIT!” (perfectly enunciated!) “What?” I asked. “The DVR box needs another wire; I have to go back on the roof.” He shook his head. I have to say I felt sorry for the guy. He returned to the “North Pole” and stayed another fifteen minutes; Barack was trembling. The funniest part of the incident was when Barack had to call for technical assistance to complete the install. He had a Nextel phone and the conversation was on speaker. Picture this scene and imagine yourself trying to keep a straight face; I still can’t believe I held it in. Barack had a thick accent so the lady on the line was having trouble understanding him. Furthermore, the woman had a thick Indian accent and Barack was having trouble understanding her. I couldn’t believe it; they kept saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that.” There were a few times when I just kept my head down and turned away from Barack. It was the most hilarious conversation I have ever witnessed. The incident happened a few years ago so, regretfully,  I don’t remember any of the dialogue, but it was hilarious. BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

Check back tomorrow for a preview of next week’s blog entries.

On Monday, I will post an entry from a guest blogger…GET READY!!!


How Writing Helped Me Escape The HALO

I always knew I had a high tolerance for pain. I just never knew how high. In September of 2009, I was involved in a hit-and-run car accident and the vehicle ended up being totaled but, luckily, I escaped without any injuries…or so I thought. (I have no idea who hit me, but I know that “god” will deal with him. Just kidding! It’s not that big a deal; I honestly look at the incident as a good thing…No, the crash did not lead me to atheism. That can be blamed on education!)

I woke up the following morning and could barely lift up my head from the pillow, due to the excruciating pain. My hatred for the hospital almost rivals my hatred for Comcast. Did I ever mention I hate Comcast, because if I didn’t, I want to be very clear…I HATE COMCAST! There was no need to get checked out, because I knew it was just a minor case of whiplash; my neck would be fine in a couple days.

On the subsequent Monday, the pain had yet to subside, so I compromised with my mother; I agreed to see a Chinese natural healer. (Anything to avoid the hospital.)

The experience was unique to say the least. We walked into his office, which is located across from Wonder Bar; totally different place during the daytime. It wasn’t the Harvard Ave I had come to know and love. Where were all the drunk people? Why did everyone have on a suit and why were they all being productive? I had the urge to scream out, “WOOOOOOOO,” but my neck was killing me. (Oh yeah! I didn’t take any painkillers, because I hate taking any type of pharmaceutical pill. Let me explain before conspiracy theorists create outlandish tales about how I believe aliens are responsible for medication; I know how people love creating foolishly fantastic fabrications. [Yup, alliteration again.] I don’t take pills because I don’t want to develop a dependency on them. If I train myself to deal with the pain, I will develop a stronger tolerance. You never know, I might be taken hostage and hidden in the jungle, while on vacation in Colombia. {I chose Colombia because the FARC has the reputation of kidnapping people. I would like to thank NATGEO for that bit of info.})

**For those of you who have noticed how I often veer off on the plentiful road of tangentry! {No, it’s not a real word! I just want credit when it shows up in the dictionary.”} This happens because of my self-diagnosed ADD. Please do your best to deal with the tangents; I apologize if they are  a PAIN IN THE NECK, I can’t help it!**

[Fuck! I just googled tangentry and someone already made it up, before I did. Will I have no shine in this world? Why has thou forsaken me, “god?”]

Let me start that paragraph over; that has to be a record for tangentry!

The experience was unique to say the least. We walked into the office and I noticed various jars, filled with…I have no idea; I couldn’t even guess. We sat down and waited to be called by the Guru. (That’s not what he calls himself.) After only a few minutes, the holistic healer walked over and introduced himself. He already knew my mom, who swears that anyone with any ailment NEEDS to see him.

The consultation was weird. He sat at a desk and I was seated across from him. He placed several napkins on the desktop and asked me to place my arm on top of the stack, with my palm facing upward. He felt my pulse with his left hand, and scribbled little notes in Chinese characters with his right, each time asking me to take a deep breath. He said I had a stiff neck, (I know, Nostradamus right?) and that my breathing was weak. The notes that he wrote, turned out to be the recipe for a special tea which would heal me. He handed the list of ingredients to an assistant and she mixed…I have no freaking clue, into a pot.

The remedy was complete and the liquid potion, if you will, was poured into individual bags, and I was told to keep the tea refrigerated. The directions were pretty simple. Place the bag into a bowl of hot tap water and when the tea is warm, pour it into a cup and drink. Simple, right? HELL NO! The tea was god-awful. It was the strongest, nastiest drink I have ever had. Each time I took a sip, I felt like I was on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. The pungent smell, which singed my nose hears every time, added to the degree of difficulty.

As crazy as it seems, the tea was working. The pain lessened each morning, but I could still tell that something wasn’t right. Wednesday of the following week, I finally contacted my cousin Milena, who is a nurse in the emergency room at Tufts New England, and I agreed to turn my self in on Thursday morning. (Yes, I purposely used the phrase “turned myself in,” because hospitals might as well be jails…or something like that.)

Low and behold, the x-ray revealed that there could be a serious problem. The doctors needed a CT Scan to be absolutely certain. I wasn’t worried, and I felt the soft neck brace, which was most uncomfortable, was completely unnecessary. Thankfully, Milena was able to pull some strings and the process didn’t take too long. Turns out the CT Scan wasn’t enough so I had to have an MRI and another CT Scan. (In the second one, I had to drink a contrast liquid…for what? I don’t know!)

Let me take a moment to discuss the MRI. I have no idea who invented that machine, but I’m pretty sure it was Hitler’s top doc, Dr. Josef Mengele; it’s a torture chamber! I was in a room with two of the evil apparatus. The technician strapped me to the table and rolled me into the tiniest space; I never knew how claustrophobic I was. The machine was turned on and random dreadful noises began to emanate from the speakers. A light moved back and forth, I guess taking pictures, and the experience lasted forty-five minutes. When it was over, the technician was assisting another patient, so I remained in the death chamber for ten more pointless minutes; I literally almost fainted. In an effort to ease the “suckiness,” my soft brace was replaced with a hard brace, which was more comfortable, but I had to lay flat on the bed. Rolling around a hospital, while laying flat on a bed, SUCKS! (Suckiness raised!)

The neurosurgeon revealed the results back in the room…fracture in the C2 bone in my spine. (That’s at the top of the neck) He also mentioned some minor detail…something about how I could have died while laying in bed, waiting for the injury to heal! [I won’t mention who but, prior to me going to the hospital, someone was in such a hurry to go to the bathroom that he gave me a forearm shiver and knocked me into a wall. That hit alone could have killed me.] *Dionne Warwick – ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ playing in the background.*

The doctor did have some good news; there was a possibility I would not need surgery! “Yippy,” I thought. All I would require was a brace. Great news, right? NO! I later learned it was a HALO brace.

When the HALO brace ”expert” explained the procedure, I honestly wished I was dead. I mustered up all of my mental toughness to keep from crying. It was an extremely low moment, but as soon as I was by myself in the room, I thought about the entire situation and a calmness set in. There were plenty of people who had the same procedure so it wasn’t a big deal anymore. (I try to find the positive in any situation. Except an HIV test, of course!) The next morning, they sat me up on the bed and the procedure began.

First, the brace was set into place. There were two pieces, one around my torso, and the other around my head. The torso piece was simple; it was a series of straps and clips. The head piece was another story; it attaches to the skull, using four screws. That’s right, the screws are inserted directly into the skull. The worst part, I was wide awake. The only anesthesia came form a long needle, which was inserted into each entry hole before a screw. It wasn’t too painful, but I could feel and hear the screws as each one burrowed into my skull. The process was repeated four times; needle, then screw. This contraption was the most uncomfortable experience. The nurse was surprised by the fact that I didn’t even flinch during the entire installation; she said people usually scream, “bloody murder.” It wasn’t too difficult. The only thing I was worried about at the time was the fact that I wanted them to be finished before the evening’s big football game, the Gators vs. LSU. (Gators won and everything was fine.)

The following day, I went home and did my best to adjust. The most difficult aspect of the HALO brace was the fact that I had to sleep sitting up. I’ll admit, the first two weeks can only be described as the woe-is-me period. Everything changed after my first follow-up. I was in the waiting room when a young lady wheeled herself in. We talked for a little while and I learned that she was also involved in a hit-and-run accident. Her’s was more life-changing; she became a paraplegic, yet was still able to stay positive.

I returned home a new person. I was over the sorrow and began to write. I wrote every single night for several months. (Well almost every night. College Football fans will remember that the Florida Gators were the National Champions in 2008 — in 2009, the team was ready to repeat. It was shaping up to be a great season. When I wasn’t writing, or sleeping, I was following the gators. It was college football, all day, all the time. On Dec 5th 2009, the undefeated Florida Gators played against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Unfortunately, the Gators lost. I was crushed. I turned off the TV and went to sleep. I woke up and watched movies all day, avoiding any sports highlights. I didn’t write anything that night either. On the third night, following the BIG LOSS, I attempted to write but I could only manage a measly thousand words; I was extremely depressed. It was on the fourth day that I finally composed myself; that night, I wrote for nearly twelve hours. I was back!)


I slept during the day and wrote while everyone was asleep. Some nights, I would write for eleven hours and others it would only be six. I also read and researched. Writing became my escape. I would honestly forget that I was wearing the HALO brace. The days flew by and a part of me was a little sad when the brace was removed; it had actually become normal. One thing I learned from this experience is the fact that I will be able to make it through any situation. Regardless of the challenges!

Writing has always been an escape for me. I hope everyone finds that one thing that gets them through any tough situation. Even today, I felt no desire to write, but I knew I had to. The funny thing is, as soon as I began typing, I couldn’t stop and the words just kept flowing. I truly appreciate everyone who takes a few minutes out of their day to read this blog, but I honestly write for myself; it’s my passion!

This afternoon, I was discussing the blog with Jose (JOZAY, that’s his nickname…*Rick Ross voice*), and he made the statement, “You write everyday? That’s a lot!” I disagree! That would be like telling an athlete that playing his favorite sport, everyday, is a lot.

To understand me, is to know why I write!


A Conversation With God

I know what you’re thinking. How can I have a conversation with God, if I declared myself an atheist? Have I changed my mind? Did I get a vision during the night? NO! I am still an atheist but, after several comments about my imminent trip to hell, I decided to write about what would actually happen if the “God-fearing” people are indeed correct.

**In no way do I question the fact that “god” doesn’t exist! This post is entirely facetious.**

Here we go: That awkward moment when an atheist realizes that there is a God. Yikes!

The year is 2014. It’s September 26th, I am at an all time high because I just returned from my trip to Brazil to watch the host nation win it’s record sixth World Cup. It’s a significant day, the fifth year anniversary of my car accident. I sit down in front of the computer and proceed to write my reflection of the tragic event – the piece is amazing. (Humble, I know.) I prepare to post the finished product, but I am startled. Out of nowhere, thunder begins to roar in the sky. I quickly run to the window and lift the blinds; I marvel at the site. People seem to be losing their minds, running recklessly, trying to escape the massive lightening bolts which continue to strike the city. Cars are destroyed, trees are split in half, and telephone poles are knocked down; it’s pandemonium. For some unexplainable reason, I feel the need to have an unobstructed view of the sky; I climb on the roof. The thunder roars louder and the crackling lightning bolts strike closer. The only explanation I can think of is, Mother Nature must be on her period. (Honestly. That is exactly what I will think!)

In a dramatic show of defiance, I yell out, “come and get me ‘god!’ I do not fear thee. For I am your equal.”

Instantly, the sun zigzags in the sky. “This must be what Lucia, Jacinta, Francisco, and the people of Fatima, Portugal must have seen while standing in the field near Cova da Iria in 1917. This is my Miracle of the Sun.” I assume.

The sun moves closer, but I can’t feel the heat. I do my best to look away, but my eyes are fixed on the center. Slowly, a face begins to appear. I can see the mouth begin to move, and I hear a strong authoritative voice, “As the dog returns to his vomit, so the fool repeats his folly.”

I don’t even have a moment to take in the words. A massive lightning bolt, larger than any other that has been witnessed on earth, strikes me directly on the chest. There is nothing left of me…I no longer inhabit this realm. {You didn’t really think I was going to write about my death and not make it EPIC, did you?}

An incalculable amount of time elapses. I find myself, completely intact, standing on what I can only ascertain to be a nimbus cloud. There, directly in front of  me, is a giant. I roughly gauge his height to be six cubits, and he looks like he is obviously on the juice…and I don’t mean Natraburst! (The world’s best and most natural super foods blend!)

[I stare into his eyes.]

Me: “Who are you?”

God: “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

[I look down.]

Me: “What the heck. Sandals? What happened to the Jordans I had on?”  (Shameless plug #2. Hey Mike, if this blog grows a massive readership, I want to get PAID!)

[I look back up.]

Me: “And why are you quoting from Exodus 3-5? This is some freaky shit! First, the sun quotes from Proverbs 26-11, then, I meet a Giant who is also quoting from the Bible?”

God: “Quiet you imbecile! I am that I am.”

Me: “WHAT?”

God: “What don’t you understand? I’m God, you fool!”

Me: “God? Oh! You look taller in person.” [I can’t keep a straight face; he grows even more agitated, but I press on.] “Why didn’t You just say that? *Mocking God* I am that I am…what’s all that about?”

God: “You are already headed to Hell. Do you think it is wise to mock me?”

Me: “I’m going to Hell? What the Hell? What did I ever do to You?”

God: “Is that a serious question?”

Me: “Why do You keep asking me a questions? Shouldn’t you already know the answers…I thought you were all knowing?”

God: “I allow people to have free will. You make the choices and I will make the judgments. The fool’s mouth is his ruin; his lips are a snare to his life.”

Me: “Ok, You definitely need to come up with new material; that’s Proverbs 18-7. And why do You keep calling me a fool? Do You want to go to Hell with me? Need I remind His Highness of what you said in Matthew 5-22? ‘…And whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna’.”

God: “Clever! You’re laughing now but, he who laughs last–laughs best.”

Me: “That’s not from the Bible.”

God: “But I did invent it. It is I who is the inventor of all.”

Me: “What is all this, anyways? Why am I here? I thought I was going to Hell?”

God: “Oh, but you are my child! Before I send people to Hell, I like to converse with them.”

Me: “This is messed up! If I’m your child, why are you sending me to Hell? Can’t I go to my room, or be on timeout or something?”

God: “It is too late for forgiveness. I have already made my decision. So it shall be written, so it shall be done.”

Me: ”Really? You’re seriously going to quote Ramsey’s the second from the movie ‘The Ten Commandments?’ He wasn’t on your side, he was against Moses, remember?”

God: “Well, my good friend Charlton Heston is here and he always shivers when he hears me say that line.”

Me: “Hold on. If you have a sense of humor, why am I going to Hell? Didn’t you find some of the material funny? You have to admit, that Virgin Birth was hilarious.”

God: “Let me see. *tapping his index finger on his jaw and looking off to the left* You created a story in which Mary, the virgin-woman who I personally chose to be the mother of my son, is a common whore. I wonder why I don’t see the humor in that?”

Me: “Ok, I get it – you were pissed. Fine, send me to Hell; I don’t even care.”

God: “Before you go, I want you to answer me this? Why would someone who knows so much about the Bible, decide to be an atheist?”

Me: “Did you read that book? C’mon!” *Shrugs shoulder* “Why would you give me the ability to learn so much about the contradictions in the Bible, and the fallacies of the church, then expect me to still believe? You entrapped me, if you really think about it; isn’t that illegal or something?”

God: “I’ll look into it.” *a piece of parchment appears in his right hand, and a fountain pen in his left. He writes down some notes, then crumbles up the sheepskin and tosses it into a campfire which also appears.*

[I shake my head]

God: “You grew up in an extremely religious family; I gave you all of the opportunities to succeed, but you decided to leave the church. Why?”

Me: “Because you gave me the ability to use logic; how was I supposed to believe in your existence? There are people who grow up in remote jungles all over the world and they have zero ability to learn about you; how are they supposed to get into Heaven?”

God: “Easy…they’re not! The people who grow up in remote jungles are the one’s who commit unimaginable atrocities while they are on earth, yet stand before me and beg for forgiveness. In an effort to show mercy, I give them a second chance to gain entrance into Heaven.”

Me: “That’s cold, but I guess I understand now. But wait! What about all of the missionaries who risk their lives to teach the native people about the ‘Word of the Lord;’ doesn’t that ruin your plan?”

God: “Yes! Indeed it does. Those missionaries are always sent to Hell. Well, almost…I’m not going to send Tim Tebow to Hell!”

[I laugh]

Me: “Of course not! Everyone on earth knows Tebow is coming up here.”

God: “Yeah, St Peter is getting tired of being the gatekeeper; we’re just waiting for Tebow to come and replace him.”

Me: “Makes sense. I must say, you make it so difficult to get into Heaven. That’s one thing I’ve always wanted to ask…does the devil win most of the souls from earth?”

God: “Basically…it’s about 90-10.”

Me: “90-10? Wow! I knew it was bad, but I didn’t think it was that bad. So all of those people who went to church every Sunday and judged me for being an atheist, yet, lived ungodly lives…HELL?”

God: “Do you even have to ask?”

ME: “I guess I can at least take solace in that. *I nod my head approvingly* Since I’m here, I might as well make a suggestion. I’m going to throw this out there, if you don’t like it, you can throw it right back. The reason I think the devil is killing you, in the soul-gathering game, is your strategy; you need to rework your whole approach. I would say the main thing that you are lacking is a guarantee.”

[Crosses his arms and shakes his head.]

God: “Is that right?”

Me: “Yeah! Let me explain. You see, the devil doesn’t mess around. He comes out straight with it, ‘follow my example and I GUARANTEE you entrance into the kingdom of Hell.’ He doesn’t put any stipulations on it or anything. Straight up, real talk. It’s plain as day. You do evil, and he will accept you. You on the other hand, what’s with all the rules? I mean, someone can live a pious life, but make a few mistakes and not gain entrance into Heaven. People might as well be bad…at least you know what the outcome will be.”

God: “Sounds good to me! You chose the devil’s guarantee, so you know where you’re going.”

ME: “It’s OK; I don’t mind. Heaven seems boring as Hell. Excuse the pun. I’d rather be in Hell anyways, that’s where all the fun people are at! I’m sure it’ll suck at first but, after a while, I’ll adjust to the flames. Eventually, it’ll be on and poppin’.”

God: “I’d be lying if I said this conversation wasn’t amusing, but your time is up. Enjoy the heat! Oh yeah, watch your ass – they separate the men from the women down there!”

Me: “WHAT? That doesn’t seem fair for straight guys! You mean to tell me that I have to spend an eternity with a bunch of sweaty men? How come gay dudes get to be together?”

God: “What can I tell you…the devil’s gay! You should have considered that before you followed him.”

[I slowly begin to descend.]

Me: “Followed him? What are you talking about, followed him? I was an atheist, not a devil worshipper! Hey Big G! Stop this thing…we have to talk!”

God: “Have fun!”

Me: “FUCK!”

God: “Literally!”


Back to reality. That would suck ass! Too bad it’ll never happen!!!

“Thank “god” I’m an atheist” – Salvador Dali

Isn’t it ironic *Alanis Morissette singing in the background*


Are Ghosts Real?

Paranormal activity can scare anyone, regardless of faith. The thought of seeing a ghost was bloodcurdling, but I always had “god,” and guardian angels watching over me; I was constantly protected.  My evolution to becoming an atheist was a slow, educational process which lasted many years. The more I understood the world, the less I believed in “god.” Oh what a momentous occasion it was, the instance I was finally able to free my mind from the shackles of theological mind-rape.

So ingrained in me were the ways of the god-fearing man, that I can only compare my freedom to the release date of a convict. One who had been sentenced to life in prison for a murder he never committed. Thirty years of failed appeals caused him to give up any semblance of hope, until that miraculous day; the DNA evidence revealed that he is not a killer…UNBELIEVABLE! I felt a big weight lift off of my shoulders and I wanted to scream “free at last.” The process of removing oneself from an embedded belief is an arduous task. My personal journey to becoming freed of my faith was an eighteen year excursion, filled with consternation.

Free as I was, I never completely understood the life of a non-believer. The world of the atheist man is not without its challenges. I never concerned myself with the mystical unknown realm until last night, standing on a bridge, watching the fireworks explode over the Boston skyline, with a group from the Barros clan.

Somehow, the conversation shifted to poltergeists. There were several stories of first and second-hand accounts in which people had encounters with ghosts. I would share the stories, but they are not mine. The only such questionable event that happened to me, occurred deep in the woods of New Jersey. A group of my friends decided to ride out to the middle of the woods and hang out. Of course, that means drinking was involved. We sat on some large boulders and I listened intently to various accounts concerning the “haunted woods.” At the time, forty ounce bottles were the trend. (I guess you can blame it on Dr. Dre’s ‘Dre Day’ video. I’m sure everyone remembers the party scene with the fridge full of forties. **For those of you who are either young or un-cool, youtube it!**) I was the first to finish my bottle, and I heaved it down what appeared to be a relatively deep cave. That’s when something strange happened; we didn’t hear any noise. There were several jokes about the haunted woods, but I assumed there was probably some water source inside the opening. We forgot about the incident and empty bottles crashed against rock walls. There was no hurry to return to campus, so we just relaxed and enjoyed the calm atmosphere. An hour elapsed, but we were content to remain in the woods until it was too dark.

That’s when we experienced the paranormal activity. Like every other group conversation, an awkward silence occured. Out of no where, we heard the loud sound of breaking class coming from the opening. Scared out of our minds, we left immediately. Like Ripley’s, you can believe it or not! I may not be a believer in “god,” but the existence of another dimension, I dare not question. (I know what you are thinking. Isn’t Atheism the absence of belief in any form of spirituality? No! It’s simply a disbelief in “god.”)

Back on the bridge, I listened to some weird episodes, never questioning the validity of the tales; I have always believed in spirits. The one fact that bothered me was the method used to combat the ghostly activities…holy water and prayer. I DON’T HAVE EITHER. I couldn’t help but think, how would I handle such a challenging situation.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was unprotected. No guardian angels, and no “god.”

I know myself, and I knew that I would have a rough time falling asleep; I am terrified of ghosts. (The movie ‘The Exorcist’ caused me many sleepless nights.) The night was shaping up to be a long one. I was prepared to be faced with some of the very paranormal activities which were mentioned on that breezy Boston bridge. (Yes, you guessed it…alliteration is my favorite.)

I laid in bed, my mind was creating ridiculous scenarios that I was fully prepared to face. Scared as I was, victim I would not be! I was prepared to deal with any ghost who dared show up. (I have no clue why I am trying to be so fearless. No matter how much I reason, I will be terrified once again tonight.)

For those of you who do not know, I like to have my room pitch black. There is nothing I detest more than being awakened by the sun. (Insert vampire jokes here!) I actually reached the point of blacking out the windows…it was wonderful. I would never know what time of day it was. The movie watching experience was enhanced, and I could take a nap whenever I felt the need. Things had to be changed after an incident with one of my exes. I woke up in the middle of the night to urinate, and when I walked out of the bathroom, she was standing in the hallway with the light on. “What are you doing?” I asked. She was scared, because my room was so dark. I know I’m a jerk, but I did the right thing…windows were no longer blackened. The room remains fairly dark nonetheless, so it definitely lends itself to horror. (I propose that a change be made. The word restroom doesn’t seem appropriate. Who the hell would want to rest in there? It smells like excrement and urine. If anything, we’re all in a hurry to get out. I believe public toilets should be called “reliefrooms.” Speaking of toilets, I understand the word urinal, because it makes perfect sense; urine goes into them. Toilets, on the other hand should be called shitinals, or fecenals! Just Saying!)

Another reason I feel  my room lends itself perfectly to be the setting for horror, is the paranormal activity that has been occurring with more and more frequency. I kid you not. Inexplicably, and for no apparent reason, my cable box will shut off. It will then reboot itself and turn back on. I wasn’t sure what was happening until I researched the phenomena online. Ghost? Exorcist? Demon? Devil? No! Fucking Comcast. I discovered that many customers were experiencing the same problems. The Comcast boxes are malfunctioning all around the country. Regrettably, there is nothing that can be done; no quick fix. A technician would have to be sent out to replace the entire box. Thankfully, I have found an appropriate solution. Directv, here I come. Pardon the tangent, but I hate Comcast with the Passion of the Christ. (This one is free. Great idea for a television show. ‘Pardon the Tangent.’ Guests will be encouraged to  steer the conversation on weird tangents. The more irrelevant the better! Take it an run with it. I just only seek 5%!!!)

Getting back to the topic of ghosts, I have discovered a resolution. I don’t need any religious support. I have come to the conclusion that, because the mind is so powerful, people can have experiences that are unexplainable. I have decided that these instances, with the paranormal, are simply the creation of the mind. A hallucination if you will. Obviously, this solution is completely bullshit because I still believe in ghosts. But, how else am I going to deal with the unknown…whatever helps me sleep at night!

I challenge anyone to sit down and converse about the subject with the man I know as “2-Joes.” You will become a believer.

In summation, I can only state that it is undeniable…ghosts are real!


Why I’m No Longer Exclusive With Johnnie Walker

Anyone who read my last post understands how I feel about the Fourth of July. The holiday is an emotional time for me, but this year was extremely nerve-racking, due to my blog. There are parties to attend, almost daily, and the amount of drinking that occurs is completely unnecessary. Why do we do it? I couldn’t tell you.

July 4th, 2011 was extra stressful for the simple fact that I didn’t have anything prepared for Tuesday. I do have ‘My Conversation with God,’ but I don’t want to post that entry until later on in the week. (The conversation is completely hypothetical and is what I think would happen if, upon my death, I discover that there is a “god.”) Left with little time to write, due to all the cookouts, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to add a new post for Tuesday.

I wasn’t inspired to discuss any subject in particular, so I sat in my room and waited for a story to come to me. Thankfully, my procrastination paid off.

Johnnie Walker has been the exclusive drink of…Me (I refuse to speak in the third person), up until last summer. I no longer have the same dedication to the “World’s best tasting whiskey.” In recent months, my drink of choice has been Ciroc. I especially enjoy the Red Berry. When it comes to drinking, I prefer to  fill up a glass and sip slowly, gentlemanly if you will. This is the reason why Johnnie Walker was so perfect…I like the taste. (In no way do I want anyone to think that I no longer drink Johnnie Walker. I still love being a Striding Man!) My problem with Johnnie Walker can be summed up in one word — CONSISTENCY.

Here are the events that led to me breaking the vow of exclusivity that I swore to Johnnie Walker:

Sometime in 2005 – I was introduced to Johnnie Walker by “Zep.” (We drank the Red Label, which I preferred over Hennessey)

Three weeks later – We decided to try the, more expensive and longer aged, Black Label. (There was no going back. It was as if the gods of intoxication had specially concocted the drink for us.)

A few weeks elapse – We tried the Green Label. Are you F-ing kidding me. Why isn’t this the only alcoholic beverage that existed in the world. Green Label is so smooth. I honestly believe that if a bottle of Green Label is personified and chooses to become a pimp, he would shut down the game; his bottom bitch would have a bottom bitch.

Two more weeks – We bought the Gold Label. Not what we expected. Back to the Green.


We began to buy the Green Label exclusively, but noticed the inconsistency from bottle to bottle. This was a completely new experience for us; nothing like this ever happened with the Black Label. What do we do? We only had two options, we could either buy a Green Label and risk getting Black Label quality, or we could just buy the Black Label and get our money’s worth – no point in spending the extra money on a bottle of Green Label we decided.

Decision was made. Green Label would only be for special occasions. (We knew the risks involved!)

Everything went swimmingly UNTIL…one random weekend in September 2009. That Friday was the day that will forever be remembered as the “Green-Red.” The night started innocently. We purchased a bottle of Green Label and poured it into glasses, as was customary.

Zep took the first sip. “What the FUCK!” He yelled. “This taste like a Red.” He continued.

“Yeah right?” I challenged. I picked up my glass and took a sip. “No fucking way!” I blurted out. “This shit has to be expired, let’s take it back.”

We tried another sip each — SAME RESULT.

The unimaginable happened, after realizing that we couldn’t return the bottle, we added coke to the Green Label. (When it comes to Johnnie Walker. It is imperative that you never mix it with anything – unless you’re drinking the Red Label.) We stopped drinking the Green and called for someone to bring over a bottle of Black. That was the last time we bought a bottle of Green Label.

I never felt so helpless in my life. How could we make the situation right? A few months went by and I discussed the incident with Emanuel, who suggested that I write a letter to the company.


Here is the actual letter that I mailed:

December 9, 2008

Johnnie Walker Consumer Relations
903 West 143rd Street
Plainfield, IL 60544

Dear Diageo,

I am writing as a loyal customer.

Recently, after a long absence from drinking Green Label, and after semi-enjoying a bottle of Blue Label in August, my cousin Joe and I decided to go ahead and purchase a bottle of Green Label. It was probably the worst bottle we have ever had. It really was Red Label quality. We were certain someone at the factory made a labeling error. After half a glass, we put the bottle away and called for a friend, who was on his way over, to bring a bottle of Black Label. The rest of the green label, which was determined un-drinkable, was used in glasses mixed with coke. Using a bottle of Green Label to be mixed, is something we thought we’d never do. We don’t even allow people to mix the Black Label. Even using ice is frowned upon. We only share our drinks with people who appreciate the quality. We honestly almost returned the bottle to the liquor store, but realized they could not help us.

My friends and I began drinking Hennessey, Grey Goose and cranberry, and the occasional E&J or Courvoisier. Towards the end of 2005, Joe brought over a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label. He said it was a better alternative to Hennessey. We all agreed that the taste was better and there was no hangover, because we drank it straight. For three consecutive weeks, we continued to drink only Red Label. The more we drank it, the more we enjoyed Johnnie Walker. We all had stories of trying Hennessey at different events and we just didn’t enjoy the taste, and could never drink it without taking shots. Joe then told us that he tried the black label, which was a little more expensive, but worth the cost. The taste was a remarkably upgrade from the Red Label. Upon trying the Black Label, we were sold and from that day forth we haven’t looked back. Since then, we’ve purchased the Green Label, Gold Label, and Blue Label. We really look forward to drinking the King George V bottle on the next special occasion, hopefully this New Years.  

This letter is the only way we could attempt to rectify the situation by reaching out to anyone who would be able to understand our frustration. We are looking for some kind of guidance as to how we can be able to determine the quality of a bottle, prior to purchasing one. Maybe there is some secret we don’t know about. We just feel like it’s unfair to spend the extra money for a Green Label, and not get the extra quality that we seek. It’s not a big deal when the Green Label is just not as good as we expect, but it should never taste like a Red Label. People at bars often tell us that Jack Daniels is more consistent, but we enjoy Johnnie Walker and are reluctant to change. When we get a great batch, we are completely satisfied but we just don’t like paying for something that we are not getting. With the holidays coming, green and blue label season, we would love to keep walking; we just want to enjoy every stride.


Peter Teixeira

Actual response from the company:

January 27, 2009

Dear Mr. Peter Teixeira,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Johnnie Walker. Your feedback is important to us.

In regards to your communication, please note that we do recommend attending a Johnnie Walker Journey event. You can now be informed on upcoming events in your area by visiting and signing up at http://www.johnniewalker.com.

We value loyal consumers such as yourself and we appreciate your enthusiasm. Therefore, we have sent you a complimentary Johnnie Walker tray set. Please allow 10 business days for delivery. If there is anything else we could help you with now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-877-272-4009 seven days a week 8.30AM to 11.00PM CST and mention your case number: ###### (You didn’t think I would actually give out the case number did you?)

Once again, thank you for contacting Johnnie Walker.


Adriana P.

Johnnie Walker Consumer Representative

Keep Walking at www.johnniewalker.com please drink responsibly

I actually received the tray set. I am thankful that the company took the time to respond, but I feel as if the letter was generic. There was nothing in there about the inconsistency, which is why I wrote the letter in the first place.

I still can’t bring myself to buy a bottle of Green. Neither can Zep.

I must say that on July 3rd, 2011, I attended a cookout and enjoyed a bottle of Green Label which was up to standards.

Who knows? I may actually call the number and follow up!


Why I Cry On The 4th of July

I’m not sure if I will be able to complete this post because it’s such an emotional day for me. In fact, I’m going to try to keep this as short as possible.

Nearly everyone looks forward to the Fourth of July. Well, everyone in America that is. The holiday is one of the most anticipated celebrations of the year, and there are those who plan well in advance. Flights are booked, hotels reserved, and for those who stay home – it’s cookouts galore! The night is capped with masterful displays of fireworks in almost every metropolis throughout the nation. For the life of me I can never understand what all the hoopla is about. Why is everyone so jubilant?

Celebrate? No, no…not I! I do not partake in the merriment of Independence Day. A different emotion is triggered inside of my chest cavity. The pang that strikes me is indescribable.

The way I see it, the Fourth of July has a different meaning. It’s the word Independence that gets me teary-eyed. My how foolish are the youth, for they know not the ways of the world. I wake up on the fourth day of the seventh month, and I can’t help but shake my head. A sense of loneliness washes over me, and I wipe away the tears.

Why are we not home? What were they thinking? (No, it’s not what you’re thinking. The reason I cry on Independence Day is not because I have a former girlfriend, who was my fourth, named Julie. That’s just silly.)

There hasn’t been an Independence Day in which I fail to remember Chapter 15 in the book of Luke in the New Testament. You know what I’m talking about – The Parable of the Lost Son, more commonly referred to as the Prodigal Son. Young America was given all of the support that it’s little heart desired. Then all of a sudden, in 1776, America decided that it was grown. No longer did the new country want to be under the watchful eye of wise-old Great Britain.

America knew all that was needed to know and was ready to venture out on it’s own. Big mistake! Here we are, a measly 235 years removed, and America is lost. Oil is almost four dollars a gallon. The National Debt is reaching the stratosphere, the USD is only worth 60 pence, and there is no hope in sight. Independence turned out to be a sour-sugarless lemonade, not the sweet-godly ambrosia that the forefather’s thought it would be. If only we could go back and do it all over again.

Nowhere to turn now but home. With tears in our collective eyes, Americans should suck up our pride, swim across “The Pond,” and crawl on our knees – begging Her Majesty to take us back. Will she welcome us with the open arms of the father in the Biblical parable? She need not. We don’t desire a warm homecoming, we just want to rest under her plentiful bosom once more. Lucky is the generation who has a President wise enough to be the Prodigal Son. Hopeful was I, when Obama spoke of CHANGE. Oh to be a Briton again. I desperately weep to return…accent and all!

But why would you want to go back home, you ask? There is no Fourth of July in England, you say? Yes, my good man! Indeed there is, I respond…it’s between the 3rd and the 5th of July.


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