The Art of Recovery

The Art of Recovery

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (like any criticism that I suck as a writer, because I know it, let’s move on), the courage to change the things I can (learn how to write well) and the wisdom to know the difference. The Serenity Prayer is something that is spoken in almost every Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other anonymous 12-step recovery programs, and for good reason. It is such a simple lesson, and addicts like simple; we just choose to complicate the shit out of everything along the way. Learn how to accept what life throws at you, learn to take charge of life when you can, and learn when NOT to interfere. Pretty simple right? Now, if only we can live by it. Because as an addict, and speaking from my personal experience, anytime I tried to do things my way, or manipulate things to work in my favor when it was so painfully obvious that wasn’t in the cards, shit got fucked (as they say). So let’s back up and see where it all began and where it all went wrong… No, we’re not actually going to do that, because teacher said this only has to be a 500 word essay. Besides, that story is too long. What I can say is that I am the product of an alcoholic family, so I was doomed from the start. That’s not necessarily true. Did I mention addicts tend to lie a lot? Anyway, there’s always a chance that children of parents who are addicts can turn out perfectly “normal.” However, that was...
Are humans going to go extinct?

Are humans going to go extinct?

It’s pretty common these days to think about the human race going extinct. From the doomsday clock sitting at 2 and a half minutes to midnight, to Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Sixth Extinction, to dozens of novels, movies, and soothsayers calling for our demise, it’s a pretty dark time to be a human. But is going extinct really something we should be worried about? We’re a fairly resilient bunch, and the short answer is no. Not anytime soon, at least. But how? With so many terrible things out there trying to kill us, including ourselves? Let’s take a look: Giant asteroids are a common villain in the story of humanity’s demise. But it’s extremely unlikely (more or less impossible) that something like that is going to wipe us out. Plenty of species survived the Chixculub impact about 66 million years ago (though not the dinosaurs), and humans, being more adaptable (more on that later), and with technology and tools, would likely survive as well. Plus, the solar system calmed down about three billion years ago, so we’re not going to see any asteroids worse than that one, or even of that size, coming our way anyway (as we have learned from studying the cratering record of the inner solar system). And, just to help you sleep even more soundly tonight, we have technology now to see asteroids coming and take care of them long before they make impact with earth. Then, we can just send Bruce Willis up to save us (though Ben Affleck won’t be joining this time, he is too busy with Batman). Other popular ways doomsday...
A brief history of Black Lives Matter

A brief history of Black Lives Matter

The murder of Philando Castile has placed tragedy on St. Paul’s doorstep once again. Marcus Golden was shot and killed by police in January of 2015, and, in the seemingly short year and a half since, there have been a startling number of black men and women across the country killed by police. This is not a 2016 phenomenon; this clip from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, for example, dates back to 1991: There are two ends of the spectrum. On one, those who offer unequivocal support. On the other, those quick to cast aspersions; those who don’t think the officers did anything wrong, believe that the black men and women who lost their lives perhaps “deserved it,” or simply don’t believe something like Black Lives Matter should exist. It has been called a “terrorist organization,” it’s been accused of inciting violence, and it’s been dismissed by anyone upset that protesters haven’t stayed out of the way when protesting. Okay, so maybe it isn’t that simple. There are plenty of people unsure of what the movement is and what it stands for. Few know the actual story, the philosophy and the goals of Black Lives Matter, and the reason why it is so necessary.   Black Lives Matter: More than a hashtag, more than a disruption of your daily commute, and certainly not a terrorist organization.   After the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in the summer of 2013, and the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman, the movement began with a simple hashtag: #BlackLivesMatter. Co-founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, community organizers and friends from San Francisco, it began as a...
Jeff tried homemade Viagra (now you don’t have to)

Jeff tried homemade Viagra (now you don’t have to)

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is probably the only nightmare worse than balding that keeps men of a certain age up at night. There are several multi-million dollar industries dedicating to helping men “fix” the problem, and many of those fixes can get pretty expensive. But recently there have been rumors of a new, natural, cheap, and homemade remedy that is supposed to work just as well. Italian doctors have been saying for years that simply eating watermelon will turn you into a stallion. Citrulline and Lycopene, found in watermelon, are supposed to relax you and allow more blood flow downstairs, as well as acting as an aphrodisiac. Basically, it’s supposed to work the same as Viagra. The recipe we found after a quick Google search has you boiling watermelon juice, adding lemon once the mixture has reduced to half, letting cool and taking on an empty stomach. So we asked Jeff, who works in web design and has helped us out on more than one occasion, to try it out for us. He did make us promise to say that a.) his name is not really Jeff, b.) he isn’t really bald, and c.) he doesn’t actually have ED, but agreed to give it a shot. Jeff hit the farmer’s market, blended up slices of watermelon at about 4 p.m. on a Friday (about three hours before Mrs. Jeff gets home from work), added lemon and put it into the fridge. After the “potion” had cooled, he sat back on his brand new leather couch and took a long drink. “It’s good,” he says. “Tastes exactly as you would expect it to. Watermelon....
Be responsible with the internet

Be responsible with the internet

The internet has made information accessible to almost everyone. We now turn to social media to get our news, as platforms like Twitter and Facebook are often the quickest way to get information when tragedy strikes. These platforms can also seem more real and honest, without the bias and agenda of major news outlets. But the rapid influx of (mis)information can also quickly run amok. In 2016, we are all citizen journalists when we post something online. We have the ability to send and receive information quicker than ever, and while this is not inherently a bad thing, we have to hold ourselves accountable. We have to hold ourselves to the same standards of integrity and accuracy that we demand from our sources. When tragedy strikes, it’s important to put aside previous notions and look at the situation objectively to avoid jumping to conclusions. Avoid the internet bandwagon It’s far too easy to latch onto virulent posts and rants and opinions you agree with online. Emotions run high, especially when it’s a situation that’s personal, unjust, unaddressed, or simply wrong. And social media can offer a voice to those who might not normally have one. Or, more than that, it can give us information we can’t get elsewhere. In the heartbreaking case of Philando Castile, for example, social media was the only way to cry for help (read more about that in the Wired article: For Philando Castile, Social Media Was The Only 911). Far too often does mainstream media ignore those with strong facts and important points of view, and social media is the only outlet we have....