Friday, June 29, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday #1 - Three Sentences

Over at TerribleMinds, the online home of Chuck Wendig. He posted a challenge for a three sentence flash fiction story. And since I don't have the time to do a full on Freaky Friday post, I give you this:

The housebot analyzed the patch data, detailing her new emotional output and sensual capabilities. The first feeling of excitement fluttered through her system. The second, dread, as her salivating owner undid his belt buckle.

The three sentence structure is interesting and pretty intense. You have to make every word count, and somehow get a beginning, middle, and end.  I'm not a great judge of my own work, so it may suck, it may be alright, but there it is.

If any of you tried this challenge and want to cross post it here, feel free to hit up the comments section.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Weird Wednesday #6 – Not So Famous Last Words

“I have come here today to die, not make speeches. Today is a good day for dying.
Est Sularus Oth Mithas (My Honor Is My Life).”

These were the last words of Delbert Teague, Jr., a death row inmate in Texas. It isn't uncommon for me to stumble upon last words in my internet wanderings, but usually they limited to famous persons or celebrities. Tonight, I found that the Texas Department ofCriminal Justice has the last words of every inmate executed since 1982. There are a total of 482 accounts from these condemned men, along with their crimes. Many of their last words are uttered as the lethal injection cocktail begins to pump through their veins.

The most common themes of these are expressions of forgiveness and claiming to be a changed man. Most said that they loved their families and said goodbye. Many addressed their victim's families and tried to offer closure.

One of the more unusual but common statements was saying that they could “taste it.” I had to look this up to see what it meant, but apparently with this cocktail, and with saline solution, once it enters your veins, a taste of rotting onions or garlic surfaces. For many, I imagine this is their last thought before fading into oblivion.

“Tell my son I love him very much. God bless everybody. Continue to walk with God. Go Cowboys! Love ya'll man. Don't forget the T-ball. Ms. Mary, thank you for everything that you've done. You too, Brad, thank you. I can feel it, taste it, not bad. “ - Jesse Hernandez

Without surprise, about one in every seven or eight entries is a desperate plea of innocence. I can't speculate on this, as desperate men will say desperate things, but you have to wonder how many might be telling the truth. So far, the only one that I have evidence as being suspicious is this, followed by the write up here.

“You're not about to witness an execution, you are about to witness a murder. I am strapped down for something Marcus Rhodes did. I never killed anybody, ever. I love you, Mom. I love you, Tali. This is wrong. This whole thing is wrong. I can't believe you are going to let Marcus Rhodes walk around free. Justice has let me down. Somebody completely screwed this up. I love you too, Mom. Well Warden, if you are going to murder someone, go ahead and do it. Pull the trigger. It's coming. I can feel it coming. Goodbye.” - Steven Woods  

Some men die harder than others as well. Many will plea for mercy, or speak highly of meeting their God. There are a select few who meet it with defiance and a desire to get it over with. Check out these:

“You all brought me here to be executed, not to make a speech. That’s it.” - Charlie Livingston

“I’m an African warrior, born to breathe, and born to die.” - Carl Kelly

“No” - Peter Cantu [editors note: Was this a troll job by the TDCJ?]

“Let’s do it, man. Lock and load. Ain’t life a [expletive deleted] ? “ - G.W. Green

I'm not going to get into death penalty advocacy one way or the other here. That is a separate issue, and one for which my opinion is still mixed on. It is hard to see men with arecord like this being allowed to live, but the chances of an honest man being put to death make the argument hard to make.

If you took the time to read through some of these, let me know what you thought in the comments section. Which ones were most intriguing to you? What are your thoughts on this in general?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Podcast Party

I know I'm not the only one, but I simply cannot listen to the bullshit that is on the radio anymore. The ads are repetitive, new music is mostly garbage, and the DJs, especially the morning shock jocks, are awful. I cringe every time I hear some caller thinking they have an awesome story. These dipshits are barely literate howler monkeys that need to learn how to tell a damn story.

I understand that the shackles of corporate radio bind deep, but their content is weak and generic. I want real conversations about interesting shit, not a regurgitation of pop culture headlines with an added “Oh no you didn't” attitude.

So I opted out. I might miss a little bit of the days news, but I switched to podcasts in the car, or while I'm cleaning at home. The uncensored and less commercial format appeals to me, and there are thousands of podcasts to fill any niche. Here are a few I listen to religiously:

Startalk Radio: My favorite astrophysicist, Niel Tyson, heads up this podcast about space, science, and the future of the human species. My only nag is that they only put out an episode every few weeks. He usually works with a small panel of comedians, and has guests like Morgan Freeman, and a few former astronauts.

Hardcore History: Dan Carlin busts into your deprived brain with the real low down on history. I am currently six hours into his series on the fall of Rome, and I have rarely been so captivated by an audio program. The most recent episodes have turned to my favorite conqueror, Genghis Khan.

The Joe Rogan Podcast: Although he can sometimes verge on the shock value entertainment, Joe Rogan's podcast is often enlightened, profound, and worth every minute. The uncensored format works better for him than any radio station ever could. I will give a warning that Joe's show can be very explicit, and NSFW. If you want some very interesting episodes, look up his interviews with Graham Hancock, Jason Silva, or Freeway Rick Ross.

I might add some more in the comments section, but I want to know what you are listening to. I'm always looking for new and interesting content, especially when it is free.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grinnin' Like a Krokodil – Weird Wednesday #5

Connoisseurs of the worlds finest injectables, this post is for you.  Picture from

The ingenuity of addicts is often understated. Chasing down the next score can be a full time job, but what happens when poverty is so deep, it keeps a person from even the cheapest of drugs?

They create new ones. Enter the Russian born krokodil.

The drug itself is simple enough. A few codeine painkillers (purchased cheap at any 24 hour pharmacy in Russia), some iodine, a bit of gasoline, and some red phosphorus allows for the intrepid (or destitute) person to make krokodil. When the process is finished, you have a bastardized verison of morphine called desomorphine.

He just wanted to be a ninja turtle.
Beyond the stereotypical squick factor of dirty needles in dirtier apartments and still dirtier veins, krokodil brings about a certain transformation in humans. The skin starts to turn scaly. Scabs form, and for a little while the body can handle it. After that, if even a little drop of the serum misses the vein, it causes under the skin abscesses. A bit after that, gangrene,rot, and much, much worse. Please, do not click that link if you have a weak stomach.

It's okay to close the window and pretend you didn't come here. I wont blame you. Krokodil is insanity in a syringe. I've been trying to wrap my head around it, but I don't think I can ever understand the desperation. I have never battled all out addiction. I haven't dealt with crushing poverty. Even still, how does a person wake up in the morning, and think that some back alley morphine related poison is their best option?

I lack the ability to understand, but it must be clearer in urban Russia, where 21% of the world's heroine is consumed. There are places in Russia where entire blocks of urban centers are filled with abusers of hard drugs, and as desperation grows, so will the use of Krocodil. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 people are currently using desomorphine. If the addiction, or the societal reasons behind its use aren't addressed soon, then the use of the drug will surely increase.

I was first made aware of this from the Vice documentary Krokodil Tears. It is free, so I would suggest checking it out, as well as many of the other Vice documentaries. Start with the Travel Guide to North Korea. It will blow your mind.
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