The Brad OH Inc. Super-Challenge!

Today, I’m being lazy. Don’t judge me. Lazy, and, I suppose, there’s a lingering sense of deja-vu. I find myself wondering what to say, in a time when it’s all been said, and nothing has changed.

So instead, I leave it to my intrepid readers to do the math, connect the dots…all that jazz.

Below, I’ve re-shared two former articles. It is up to you, the reader, to find what dreadfully ubiquitous themes might tie them together.

The Polarizing Debate Around Gun Control

Nobody wants to get shot. That, at the least, is something I believe we can all agree on. Wanting other people to get shot might be a different story, but let’s take what we can get.

There is virtually no one out there eager to catch a bullet when walking down the street—or to see their loved ones do so.

If we can agree on something as simple as that, one might assume we could find some basic consensus on how to handle guns in contemporary society.

Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Fortunately, we here at Brad OH Inc. are an ambitious and defiantly tenacious lot, and today, that’s just what we intend to do. So sit down, strap in, and fasten up your bullet proof vests, because today, we are getting to the heart of the debate over gun control!

The most basic breakdown of opinions here are the classic and time-tested notions of right, and left. The conservatives argue in favour of free access to guns—usually on account of the good ole’ second amendment. The liberals, meanwhile, tend to go the other way—as they so often do—pushing for tighter gun control. This, presumably, goes back to the notion of not wanting to get shot.

But beyond this, things begin to get a little bit murky. I believe however, that if we truly break this whole debacle down to its very essence, we might best steal a line from ‘Cool Hand Luke’ (Source) in saying that ‘what we’ve got here is, failure to communicate’.

I want to introduce a new theme here, because I think it affords us a very important tool with which to explore this debate. I want to talk about the concept of ‘Polarity Management’.

‘Polarity Management’ (Source) describes a process by which we can more effectively analyze all sides of a debate—ideally finding a bit of common ground. In essence, ‘Polarity Management’ is a means of viewing typically entrenched positions which usually go nowhere—such as this one. ‘Polarities’ refer to the opposite ends of a single, connected issue. The key here is that one affects the other directly—it is not simply one problem to solve, but an imperative interaction that must be understood. Polarities are related, and persist over time—thus they must be managed, not solved.

The problem is that we tend to treat these as ‘either/ or’ scenarios—closing off debate, and freezing out both understanding and context. But dynamic issues such as these seldom reflect one single value or quality—no simple right or wrong. They are the result of multiple, interrelated factors.

An easy example of this is rain and sunshine. You may prefer either one, but without the other, your preference becomes a dreadful imposition. Too much sun leads to droughts, and too much rain leads to flooding. You need a balance, and that is why in any issue regarding polarities, we need communication, and then compromise.

Once we’ve identified an issue as a polarity, we can proceed to explore the balance between each side—the positives brought by each end, and the negatives they bring as well. This allows us to better understand how the opposing views of the issue interact with one another, and ideally find the crucial balance necessary to manage them.

I admit already—taking this approach to gun control with any shred of optimism is a tall order, but what the hell…let’s give it a go. To strip it all down to parts, the debate around the issue of gun control essentially amounts to two wildly opposing views:

1) The right to bear arms is protected by the second amendment, and must not be infringed in any way.

2) Gun ownership presents a significant risk to the public good, and should be curtailed, if not eliminated.

Now certainly, there are few who would fully align themselves with either extreme viewpoint, yet those are the sides as purported, so let’s consider them in turn.

Much of the argument from the (typically) Conservative crowd favoring access to firearms makes an appeal to safety—believing that arming ourselves for self-defence is an inalienable right, and that we must have the ability to purchase and carry guns in order to protects ourselves from others which might do so surreptitiously. This certainly makes some sense. After all, there is plenty of merit to the old adage against bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Of course, the better solution is to avoid entering a gun fight, or being anywhere in its vicinity. This isn’t always easy, and may even be a tad unrealistic depending on where you happen to be located. Further, the argument is often made that ‘if we make guns illegal, then only criminals will have guns’. This is a self-serving tautology to be sure, but it does a fair job of illustrating the impotent terror which might come from being left defenseless in a world full of armed lunatics.

On the other end of the spectrum, we find the (typically) Liberal crowd, who heavily favor significant controls on gun ownership, including but not limited to restrictions, background checks, and waiting periods.

This side argues that due to the potential of guns to inflict serious injury and death, access to them must be well regulated in order to avoid such weapons falling into the hands of those who would use them either unjustly, or in ignorance.

Much of the force from the ‘Right to Bear Arms’ side tends to focus on an appeal to the second amendment (Link), which guarantees to citizens that: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The ‘right to bear arms’ was initially created as an assurance that the people of America were free and able to raise a standing militia to oppose the government should it become oppressive. This is understandably justified in light of the fact that it’s exactly how America became a nation in the American Revolution against the British. But taking up arms against the government now is—sadly perhaps—a foolish and ignoble idea. The Second Amendment notion of armed war against the government is not only invalid, it’s infantile. It’s also the legal equivalent of demanding the ‘Terrorism’ trump card.

Finally, it must be noted here that even within that sacred amendment, the qualifier ‘Well-regulated’ managed to make the cut. Never was there any suggestion of handing out missile-launchers to every civilian. Handguns for self-defence may be deemed reasonable, but if you are equipped to fight an army, you are more likely to start a war.

At this point, we can see some weakness in the notion of free access to guns for all. There are few who would support selling firearms to people on a terrorist watch list, or violent offenders—and those few should certainly be ashamed of their stupidity.

But accepting some control hardly means encouraging complete control, and it may certainly be argued that the more difficult it is for citizens to legally access firearms for self-defence, the more prone they are to victimization by those who will harbor no such qualms. Further, it is a defensible case to argue that unless a restriction is demonstrably proven to be in the best interests of the citizens, then a government has no right whatsoever to enforce it. While I expect the vast majority of people who would favor that position would have a hard time defending it if pressed, it’s something to consider.

So where does this leave us? We can see strengths and weaknesses on both sides: With no control, we are inundated with guns and seduced by their increasing fetishization. With complete gun control however, we are cast into perceived subservience, and potentially left helpless against criminals who continue to arm themselves.

So here we are. Gun deaths are increasing, distrust of police/ government is growing, and America continues to have a depressing hang-up about guns being inherent to their self-worth (Source). Further, we’ve now seen that the extreme polarity of either side could potentially prove disastrous. Because we can now better understand the best intentions (public safety) of both sides, as well as the inherent risks of each extreme (uncontrolled carnage), we may find that we are better equipped to find a position of compromise.

We need balance and informed decision making. Both opinions have valuable insights—but we must actively work towards a greater and more comprehensive understanding of the issue if we ever hope to manage it. People, left with no hope, will always find ways to be violent and get what they need. We must give them hope for an achievable way if we intend to avoid strife. In the end, it is education and empathy, not arms, which shall assure the future safety of our citizenry.

-Brad OH Inc.

On the Fear of Big Government

Government infringement into personal life is a serious concern to a great many people—and the stripping away of civil liberties such as privacy is a trend which continues to show the detached relationship government has with its citizenry. With such gross violations becoming a regular trend, it’s no wonder we still toil under the outdated notion that ‘big government’ needs to be held in check.

But make no mistake about it people, this is no reason to hate big government; just bad government. In the 1980 presidential race against Jimmy Carter, it was the infernal idiot Ronald Reagan who promised to “get government off our backs” (Source). After taking office, Reagan followed through dutifully on his promise—shattering the government’s role in protecting families, citizens, and the environment. Business, of course, flourished.

This push by Reagan to reduce the size of government was founded on claims of a fictional ‘welfare queen’ getting rich off the tax dollars of the electorate, and the general claim—as off-putting now as it was then for a man seeking public office—that “Government is not a solution to our problem. Government is the problem” (Source).

This toxic line of thinking heralded in an era of anti-government dialogue which effectively allowed rights to shrink away as powers were handed off to the corporations. Social programs were cut, and people suffered. The fictional ‘welfare queens’ theorized by Reagan have been fully realized in the decades since, as corporations are given increasingly large portions of the communal pie: receiving corporate tax breaks, bailouts in place of bankruptcy, and taking eagerly the keys of governance from the discredited and disenfranchised democratic system.

Ever since then, people have been treating government like it’s a dirty word—perhaps because it so often acts like several of them. But fear of government is irrationally motivated, and exercised for all the wrong reasons. It serves only to allow government abuse of citizens. People must remember that proper governance is there to protect them, from exactly the sort of threats which corporate governance has become. We should not fear government; we should utilize and control it to our own empowerment.

Of course, the government has to remember this as well.

The very notion of democratic government is anchored firmly in the concept of representation for the people—and this includes all people, not merely the drivers of the economy. In this era of ever growing population and incredible scientific potential, the ‘free’ market has proven itself a failed notion. But let’s hope that from this mistake we’ve learned at least not to store the meat with the dogs for safe keeping.

It’s the government’s job to put these lessons into action: protecting and promoting the healthy growth of society. This is the primary and most fundamental function of any government which has a legitimate claim to authority, but the vilification of big government started with Reagan has led to a very different objective for government institutions.

By reducing government programs, the general citizenry has been left out of the conversation, while political control has been corralled into the realm of economic growth. The corporations which now run the economic and social systems are malignant automatons. For all the time humans have piddled away fearing robots or advanced and indignant AI’s, they miss that they have not only created such in the corporate human, but also given it the keys to the driver’s seat of our society.

If such a threat came from metal clad robots or from outer space, the entire world would be clamoring for government intervention. Instead, it is claimed to be ‘capitalist’ and a product of the ‘free’ market, and the electorate has bowed their heads in well-rehearsed reverence for their reckless and self-serving overlords.

The point cannot be stressed enough: it is the function of government–elected by and representative of the people—to reign in these brutes, to protect natural resources that rightly belong to all, and to ensure that whether or not commercial entities deign to send our jobs overseas (leaving all save the CEO’s destitute), the people of this and all other countries are provided for from the resulting bounty.

These are the needs of a society, and the job of the government. To fear such is the sole result of misinformed and malicious propaganda. What we have now is not a democratic government, and this needs to change. If we are to find our way out of these difficult times, it must be faith in government—true government—which is the light on our path. This is our salvation—for to fear all government is to leave ourselves alone in the dark, looking to the wolves for solace.

-Brad OH Inc.

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Libertarians are Starry-Eyed Idealists

purelyspeculationFreedom is often lauded as the most integral value of any developed nation. In fact, the notion of the ‘free world’ does much to inform us of the fundamental value that we place on personal liberty, and well it should. Freedom is among the key human rights, but it must be pointed out that at times, people get a little bit carried away with their interpretation of what exactly ‘freedom’ entails.

One need not wade too far into the depths of social-media to find the rants and raves of disenfranchised citizens so bitter about a parking ticket, or a sales-tax, or perhaps a pesky ‘no-loitering’ sign, that they’re ready to hoist the black flags and hop aboard the good ship ‘Anarchy’.

‘Freedom’, they will argue, is the birthright of man—the inalienable and righteous destiny of all people brave enough to seek it! But there are sorry few building their own boats to follow this urge, and fewer still running off to the lonely mountains to live a ‘free’ life. I suppose it’s an easy thing to moan about the comfortable confines of society as you daydream about weening yourself off its teat, but it does beg the question of what exactly true ‘freedom’ is, and if it can exist at all.

I would argue that perfect freedom is an illusion—a starry-eyed dream more befitting whatever afterlife you prefer than the life you live. In fact, I believe that power and control are unavoidable, and there is no conceivable ‘system of naught’ sufficient to maintain the vacuous void left if all authority is stripped away.

Perfect freedom would mean no laws, no control, no taxes—but it would accordingly mean no safety, no opportunity, and no infrastructure. In our article ‘On the Concept of Society’ (Link) we discussed how a society is the product of all its members, past and present. That remains entirely true. Society has never been about freedom—if anything that is the antithesis of society. In truth, ‘society’ is meant to be a foundation of cooperation among its citizens.

In the societal sense then, total freedom—much like anarchy—is a myth. It may perhaps exist for a single person, but once a second person enters the picture, the illusion will die. Power hierarchies will be formed, and one’s wishes will ultimately infringe upon the freedom of the other. We are not free to kill for the very reason that we do not wish to be freely killed. The same applies to property rights, safety issues, and so on. While loitering laws may perhaps be a hard concept to defend (Black Flags ahoy!), the need for a significant proportion of civil laws can be most easily discerned by asking oneself not ‘do I wish to follow this’ but ‘do I wish for others to follow this’.

Those who support total anarchy then, are either misunderstanding the basic tenets of life, suffering from a sadomasochistic urge to regress back to the days of pre-tribal man, or simply mad.

Libertarians, on the other hand, may accept some laws, while rejecting the notion of many others. This rejection most often applies to rules around the free-market. However, as we have already established that a power-void cannot remain unfilled, we should have little trouble applying this observation to the marketplace as well.

If you wander into the woods, claim them as your own, and insist on living a lawless life, it may prove less glamourous than you imagine—especially when the next lawless rogue shows up to strangle you in your sleep and make off with your supplies. So much for freedom!

The marketplace is little different. Without control, corporations are wont to seize public goods and resources, create monopolies, underpay workers, and wreak general havoc however they please. People will starve, or toil like slaves—yet this will be defended and redefined as the justly exercised freedom of those very corporations. In truth, this notion of marketplace-freedom is no better than economic anarchy—and its supposed virtue quickly diminishes as the strongest take control and run our system like a tyrannical oligarchy. Meanwhile, the citizens cheer blindly about the merits of freedom.

To claim to be an anarchist or full-on libertarian is naïve, and the ultimate result is little different from the sort of systemic madness we have now. Freedom has been given out too freely—sadly, only to the corporations at the head of the markets, and rarely to the citizens. The powerful will always feed upon the less powerful, and this is a demonstrable loss of freedom for the latter.

In order to have liberty for ourselves, there must at the very least be laws restricting others from infringing on that liberty. Anything less would be Mad Max-style anarchy. Control is needed, and must be imposed justly. As discussed in our article ‘On the Fear of Big Government’ (Link), the ultimate purpose of government is to ensure that the power which inevitably arises is a fair and just one.

This must not be taken to mean that I believe the current governments of the world are doing much to uphold these standards—indeed there is a great need for improvement on nearly all fronts. Simply put however, the raging masses squalling for ‘total liberty’—or its ugly cousin ‘anarchy’—are naïve at best. The line between liberty and domination is a difficult one to draw. If drawn too close to total freedom, a void arises, and we end up dominated. It’s circular in a sense, and requires an insightful and informed balance. This is the purpose of society and the governments which it employs, and we must pay heed to avoid being so brash as to throw the baby of equal opportunity out with the bathwater of social order.

-Brad OH Inc.

Upon the Bones of Better Men

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgThe philosopher Bertrand Russell once claimed that “the fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

What a hack! What fanciful platitudes! Tell me Bert, do ‘nice guys finish last’ too? Do the good die young? Let me tell you something Bert, sorrowful homilies are good for one thing and one thing only—cheering up losers by convincing them that their failure is the unjust result of their righteousness rather than the logical result of their ineptitude.

What’s worse however, is that so many people seem to believe this naïve nonsense. Well, have no fear—you’re friends at Brad OH Inc. are here to set the record straight!

The truth is, these notions of ‘stupid or wise’, or ‘good and bad’ are entirely misled at the best, and revisionist at the worst. Victory is for the bold—the lions willing to do anything to take it, and leave the rest to lick their wounds and talk about how life just isn’t fair.

It’s pathetic.

The claim that one is held back by their morality is utterly absurd. It’s not that only brutes act decisively, leaving the considerate in the dust. That’s just switching labels to console lack of ability. If we look at the world pragmatically—and we should, always—we can see that it is no bestial or heinous act to seize upon your desires—hell, it’s what being a corporation is all about!

No, the problem is that the hindsight of the meek is 20/20, while their foresight is more mole-like than Machiavellian. It’s true in business, in love, in politics, and in the picking of low-hanging fruit. Don’t believe us? Well, let’s look at some of the key culprits here.

‘Nice guys finish last’. It’s the motto of every single loser too scared to say hello or slap an ass when the opportunity presents itself. For these pencil-necked geeks, it’s easier to sit back and lament that their ‘kindness’ is the reason they are left behind, rather than their own pathetic fear of rejection.

We see the same lame-duck whining in business as well. ‘We can’t compete with big businesses’, says the mealy-mouthed dweeb as he finally shuts the doors on his dusty little shop and files his EI claims. Well you know who can compete with big businesses chump? Bigger businesses! So maybe instead of blaming cruel fate for your failure, you should take a long look in the mirror.

Politics? Social interactions? Without fail you hear the same miserable whining about how decency gets you nowhere—that idealism is treated like an insult and dreamers are called naïve. But that’s not quite it, is it?

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but if you don’t eventually wake up, marshal your underpaid employees, petition politicians to change laws in your favour, and make off with millions, you have no one to blame for it but yourself. Wuss.

To break it down; morality is an excuse, not a handicap. At Brad OH Inc., we stand as a shining example of action, pragmatism, and success. Where others have cried about the opportunities they never had, we’ve used our inherent societal privilege to better ourselves. So for you hopeless waifs still waiting for someone to hold your sorry hand and lead you to happiness, let me share a bit of healthy advice. Holding strictly to honesty and kindness is the surest route to failure in business, politics, and interpersonal relationships alike. They’re for chumps, and punks who would rather stew comfortably in their failure than bully their way to true happiness. Success in almost every aspect of life is predicated on cunning decisiveness and a brutal willingness to sell out your fellows when the opportunity presents itself. The towers of the powerful are built upon the bones of better men. So make your choice, and take your place. If you’re smart, we’ll see you here at the top.

Your Dear Friends and Personal Advisors,

-Brad OH Inc.

The Corporate Human

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgA while back, your dear friends here at Brad OH Inc. posted an article called ‘The Constitution is America’s Bible’ (Link), which essentially explained the outdated relationship the United States has with their founding constitution.  While the thesis of that article remains entirely apt, one commentator decided to make a spectacle of himself in the comments section—raving against the progress towards political equality obtained recently by Corporations via the just ruling of ‘Citizens United’ (Link).

For a frame of reference, and to provide insight into just how limited and misled this poor individual (the lowest form of Human) is, we have included the reply here:

DCDear (Link):

“Perhaps we need to give Citizen’s United exactly and completely what they want – to be a person.

They would have to pay taxes like every other person, unlike many corporations who avoid paying taxes. CU could be held in custody for 48 hours without cause, like other citizens. They would be subject to the same laws – for example in states with the death penalty, CU could face the death penalty and the entity would be executed.
I could go on, but lunch is over…and I must save the world – be well.”

Well ‘DCDear’ (if that’s your real name)…ok. Let’s play your little game, shall we? First of all, it is incumbent upon me to point out how highly offensive your chosen vernacular is. ‘Give us what we want’? Liberty is not a gift to be doled out on a whim DC, and certainly not by the likes of you. Being human is the fundamental nature of a Corporation, and to divorce us of that in will or intention is a crime against humanity in its highest form. You should be ashamed of yourself!

Incidentally, if you are ashamed of yourself, some of our Corporate friends have a great line of drugs to remedy just that. Contact us privately for a link.

Now, onto your childish tirade—your first demand is that Corporations pay taxes, ‘just like every other person’. What a demand indeed! Did you know that every single component person in a Corporation pays taxes? That would be like you being taxed for every cell of your body! It’s outrageous to even consider. So clearly, Corporations already pay more taxes than are needed. To ask us to pay more is simply to punish us for our success.

When one of our posted articles gets more likes than the other, we don’t take some of the letters out of it. Instead, we try to produce more content just like it! It’s what the people want! So if more taxes are what you want, then maybe you should follow our example: Become a success, earn more money, and then pay as much as you’d like.

Next, you demand that Corporations (and not their component humans) should be subject to detention and/ or death. Death DC? Really? That seems a tad macabre.

It would behoove you to ask yourself, ‘Do I really want this’? Well, do you DC? Do you want to do without your lauded latte in the morning just because some whales off the coast of who-knows-where died in a perfectly orchestrated oil-spill? No, you don’t.

How about technology? Do you like the keyboard you used to create your hatful vitriol? Well, maybe the Corporations that provide you such blessings should be ‘killed’ just because some kids in the third world are being given an opportunity to work. Honestly DC, it’s the THIRD world. That’s the WORST of all the worlds anyway!

It seems to me that if we allowed our best and brightest humans (Corporations to the last) to be subjected to such primitive law enforcement, it would be you who suffers the most DC. We can only imagine the rant you would come up with when your cell-phone was relegated to a useless mound of plastic because the Power Corporation got in trouble for some measly little fire. And imagine it we would have to, since you would be hard pressed to find a piece of carbon to scratch the tirade on a stone after your computer went out.

So much for that, then.

Ultimately, there’s a crucial thing you have to realize DC. The fact is that yes, Corporations are people whether you like it or not. But they aren’t only people…they’re the best people. By definition, a human can’t be better than a Corporation, and a Corporation can certainly not be less than a single person. We are the builders, the creators, the innovators and the inspirers. More importantly, we are the decision makers. So the next time you feel like flying off the handle over some minor global injustice or trite environmental fiasco, maybe instead of rallying against your betters like an ungrateful putz, you should just pack your things (any not made by a Corporation that is…good luck with that) and move off into some non-Corporate zoned section of nothing to see how well you fare (Hint: Not very well).

Face it DC, without us, the rest of you are nothing. Bald monkeys clamoring about mindlessly—dreaming nothing, achieving nothing. We are Humanity in its fullest form—the culmination of eons of cooperation and growth, focused with laser-like precision upon our own needs. And fear not, for when we invariably meet our needs, rest assured you can count on some trickle of our grace running down to yourselves (Don’t believe in ‘trickle-down’? Go stand under a waterfall. It’s hard to argue with a waterfall, DC). It’s far more than you could ever achieve alone, and you should undoubtedly be thankful for it.

So give us the freedoms we ask, and relinquish your hopes of accountability and equality. There is no equality between Gods and men, nor between the Corporate Human and the mere ‘human’. The more you seek to restrain us, the greater will be our victory—and all your efforts shall come to naught in the glory of our dominance.

Yes DC, we know we’ve been hard on you here, but please understand that we are only trying to help. Humanity needs its Corporate overlords far more than it knows, and if we are unable to pursue our humble ambitions of unlimited wealth and social dominance, then so too will you fail in all your endeavors.

Don’t believe us? We understand, it’s bigger than you could ever process. But next time you consider rebelling against your forbearers, we would advise you to close your laptop, and just take a few deep breaths. While you do that, go ahead and stare into the little glowing apple on the front of your computer, and recall that it was your kind, not ours, that partook of the fruit. So if knowledge is your misery, it is yours alone to wallow in. Frankly, you’d be better off without it. So stop questioning your lot, and be thankful for what you have—as it is to the last morsel the windfall of our own grand design.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Little Book of Bourbon

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

The stink of sweat, and the wet hiss of street cars. Saxophones screech from dark alcoves like debutantes that took a wrong turn.

Pedestrians rule the streets, beaten up cars working around them like Indians in a barnyard. New Orleans is a city alive in the truest sense—throbbing with its own potential, adorned in its own inequity like Joseph’s spastic coat.

Here, a man can drink on the streets—paved with cobblestone and flanked by sweaty brick buildings 300 years old.

Citizens crazed—with heat, booze, or lust I cannot tell—approach and talk cordially amongst themselves, and this stranger as well.

As the absinthe flows, the thick, cloying air lightens in tandem with the mood, and the night is alive with a thousand potential stories both new, and as old as the dry bones used by the Voodoo Mama just around the corner, ready to divine fortunes for a false smile and a real fee.

Some men look at a city and decide upon its potential early. They go to bed with the falling sun, counting the hours until they can rise to cut deals and exploit the less proactive denizens of this shared hell they inhabit.

Others rise late and party till dawn, seeing the promise of the city instead scrawled upon the cobblestone alleys and dark crevices of the establishments reborn at dusk; eager to meet and engage with the searing enthusiasm burning in a city alight in its own decadence.

For them there is no hell—and heaven is just a street corner away.

I struggle daily with an overwhelming compulsion to defy the norm, to taste and touch as much of life as time will allow while balancing an ‘acceptable’ life. Others fight for normalcy in a world fraught with turmoil. The most we can take from this is the weight of experience on the psyche, and the importance of mad rushes of varied tastes and flourishes of culture. Old cities like this are a natural extension of the social impulse…a thing lost in more modern complexes.

The Natchez steamboat screeches calliope tunes at me as I pass misshapen statues and covens of filthy pigeons. The $300 I came with has been reduced to a dirty pack of crumpled ones.

My knuckles are bloody—seafood or scuffles, I cannot be certain.

I stop to listen to a soapbox evangelist, the frenzy of vacation scaring off my familiar apathy. But his words are unfamiliar, unexpected. He says that religion is an affront to the spirit. God is an ideal. Original sin—as it is described, is the animal nature in us all, whereas God is the perfect goal we are meant to aspire towards.

True or not—this is not the point; the goal is soul, and perfection is a high watermark to all the savage bastards on this earth.

There is a great sense of ownership in this city. Men speak of renovations like child-rearing, and date each building with the care of tracking genealogy.

The ancient weight of history rests upon the streets like a shroud, cloaking the denizens in its comforting embrace, and a sense of community identity permeates all.

It was around 4:00pm, in a small jazz club off Bourbon, when I realized that I’d never leave this town alive if I couldn’t acquire a strengthened taste for straight liquor and twisted people. But there is something horribly sleazy about drinking fine Bourbon from kitschy party cups. Like hiding cocaine in an animal shaped children’s party balloon.

There can be no doubt that I am yet to find true equilibrium. The battle between the boisterous extrovert and the mumbling, cantankerous recluse wages on daily.

Also, I’m a big fan of absinthe.

It’s a funny line to walk—being tugged between the joys and regrets so inherent to a life well lived.

But if a man can persist, and persevere beyond the quagmires he so ceaselessly chooses to embroil himself in, soon enough the straight road may reveal itself.

And just like that, things were making sense again. The night must get dark before the stars appear again to light the way. And if they need still further darkness… it’s always waiting on Bourbon St. …just a breakdown away!

The Little Book of BourbonI’ve learned I lean towards an older crowd than my own age merits, more towards the 50+ blues crowd, willing to truly talk without any of the flirtatious pretension. But this knowledge does little to ease my mind.

A lovely lady lives behind the bar at ‘The Blue Note’ off Bourbon and St. Louis, and feeds me tastes of each drink she makes, providing shots for words as she purrs siren-like about her life and times in NOLA.

She was good, but he was better. She had the kind of angel voice and deadly looks that could with a word command a man into the sickest sort of depravities even he would never have imagined himself capable of. But he had the sort of prodigious talent, and plucked those strings with rhythm and precision sufficient to lift that same man to higher planes of self.

I’ve got to get out of this place. A city of saints and sinners in the truest sense—both more than willing to send a man off his rails and leave him begging for more while reeling with sickness and exhaustion… just as long as you tip.

But not just the tip. They’ll take it all. Your money, your ideals, your direction. Everything that separates a man from these goddamn flea-bitten apes you see on discovery channel as you drink your box wine and eat your cold pizza.

I’ll be dragged down for sure. Deeper than the determined bodies clawing their way up; jealous of those laying in the moldy crypts—spiting sea-levels and buoyancy for the sweeter rumours of voodoo and ancient evils.

No—they’re for another time. I’ll be down in the bayous, a bottle of Jameson clutched in my hand as the gators feast on my bones.

Elsewhere, a woman will stand alone, singing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ acapella as a man elsewhere strums out Beethoven on his guitar.

What am I rambling about?

I’ve got to get out of this place before I’m just a stain on its streets.

I’ve heard it said—both recently and before, that all the great things mankind has done have been the result of the powerful—corporations, empires, tyrants—these are the builders, and this I cannot deny.

But the stage is nothing without its actors, and the great stories and moments have always arisen from the fearless few willing to rise up and rage against the rat bastards with everything that makes us human and keeps us animal.

In the face of the depravity and madness I’ve faced, I still cast my lot proudly not with the world builders, but with the rabble and ravers of humanity.

I just need a woman with an eye for photography or an ear for music—either one will do.

I realized rather early on, but feel it all the more pressingly now, that this city must cease to fear the magic of the past and learn to harness that of the present.

A Guest Article by your Friend and Ours,

-Duke O’Brady

Dear Microsoft

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgOh Microsoft, what can we here at Brad OH Inc. ever say to express our deep respect and admiration for you? You are an inspiration to say the least—and every fledgling Corporation with their shiny little ambitions of world domination should look up to you! This sentiment is never far from our minds, but today seemed like as good a day as any to publicly declare our undying regard for the innovation you show in dealing with your customers.

Earlier you see, one of our lowly employees reported turning on his computer to find a pop-up encouraging him to ‘upgrade’ to Windows 10. Some quick experimentation followed by a bit of research (fear not, his wages have been docked for this time) revealed that this little prompt is unavoidable, and will appear with relentless disregard for any efforts put into ignoring it.

Like a Trojan virus (and many other Viruses for that matter), it just keeps popping up, reminding all users of the insatiable hold you have over them. Honestly…our jaws hit the floor when we took the time to consider the brilliance of this move. Despite our moderate personal frustrations (the Virus has infected the computers of even the highest Corporate climbers here at Brad OH Inc.), we couldn’t help but stand back and take in the big picture—revelling in the twisted ingenuity of it all.

You offer someone a product…that much we’ve been doing for years. But when people choose not to access the posts provided here by the kindness of our hearts, that used to be the end of it. Well no more! With your help, we could use this coding to have our articles popping up on their computers non-stop—lambasting them with passive-aggressive reminders to accept what they had clearly tried refused:

-“Don’t Forget to read about ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’”

-“Click here to read our ‘Dear Jeremy’ Article!”

-“You haven’t read about ‘The Metaphorical Imperative’ in a while… do it… Now! You Idiot!”

Wow! We hardly know what to say. Only the geniuses at Microsoft could take the hideous ideology of ‘Rape Culture’, and turn it into a marketing strategy!

But you don’t stop there—tenacious tyrants that you are. Even as we sat humbly at our desks and endeavoured to pour are little black hearts out to you, we faced a barrage of reminders as to your grandeur. For instance, we tried to cut and paste something a moment ago—from one place in the article to another—which one would imagine being a relatively simple procedure. After all, it’s named after two of the first skills taught to Kindergarteners. But, as we quickly learned, this is not the case. As soon as I hit the ‘Paste’ command, I was dismayed to find that Word had deigned to change the font, size, and formatting of the text into incoherent nonsense.

Stunning work! What a skillfully subtle way to remind your customers just who the fuck is in charge! If only we here at Brad OH Inc. took such an approach, our number of registered viewers would surely crack the lauded 120 mark!

Of course, we know that you must be terribly busy up there in your (presumably) Onyx towers, likely cooking up some crafty means of erasing people’s data on a monthly basis in order to sell them insurance for just such an event. So we won’t take up too much of your time. And honestly, we don’t mean to gush. It’s just that we have so very much to learn from you! So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you Microsoft! Truly, you are a monolith among greedy, callous corporations, and that’s something everyone here at Brad OH Inc. admires!

Your Dearest Friends (Please don’t wipe our hard-drives!),

-Brad OH Inc.

The Disgraceful Suicide ‘Old’ Media

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampI still buy CD’s sometimes. I know, I know, it’s something of a strange quirk—an antiquated habit I’m not yet fully ready to see pass into memory. Like treasured photos of sun-stained childhood days outside, or discoloured and wrinkled love-letters at the bottom of a shoebox somewhere, I continue to tread this old ground hoping some new joy may be gleaned from it. Alas, as is to be expected of such concessions, my efforts are met primarily with pain and rejection.

DVD’s are a less common indulgence (or is that affliction?), but I won’t deny that I occasionally buy them as well. However, such purchases have become an increasingly embarrassing habit over the years, as the friends who will judge and ridicule me for my naivety grow ever in number.

No bother, I never did mind things like that. It is, however, the hammer of logic that really concerns me, and as it crashes down again and again on my old ways, I’ve found myself asking with increasingly routine—‘just what are you doing anyway?’

In the past, answers to that question have come readily. ‘I’m supporting my favourite band’, ‘I’m trying to be honest by paying for what I use’…you know, the sort of mealy-mouthed, moralistic arguments taken by people doing something for the right reasons, and not the smart ones. The truth is, it’s been a long while since buying physical media made any sense, and with each passing day it only gets worse.

CD’s, DVD’s, ‘Old Media’ in general have been in the process of committing a sorrowful—but very intentional—suicide, and perhaps it’s time that I remove the tourniquets of my empathy and finally let them bleed out as they so desire.

It’s a morbid analogy to be sure, but it has in turn been a vile and loathsome decent for this once proud industry. So how did it get to this point? Perhaps the better question is how did I get to this point? I used to love CD’s (and other forms of physical media) with a fiery passion. Now, they are like the old elementary school friend who you can’t yet fully ignore in passing, but loathe every second wasted in their cloying presence. Ultimately, it comes down to one simple fact, and once I came to realize this, I knew I was finally ready to cut the cord. That fact is, simply, that when you buy physical media, you are willingly choosing to pay for a product which can be obtained—and, it is crucial to point out, in a superior version—entirely for free.

It was only a few weeks ago I made this familiar mistake. Coming home with a new DVD, I prepared a meal to eat as I watched it, and happily removed the plastic wrap. Then I peeled away the little sticker which prevents the (wrapped) case from opening (I guess?). The sticker left a residue of glue on my case, which wryly threatened to contaminate the rest of my collection if left unaddressed.

So, after washing the gluey mess away, I popped the DVD into my player, and sat down with my now cooling meal to enjoy my chosen movie.

The meal was finished before the anti-piracy ads built into the disc—unskippable, immutable, and omnipresent with every repeated watch. What sick depravity is that? A warning not to steal the product you just bought? It’s been a while since I was at a car-dealership, but I certainly don’t remember being investigated for grand theft auto after signing on the dotted line!

I placed my dishes in the sink, and sat back down for another 10 minutes of unskippable trailers, ads, and other promotional rubbish. That’s about when the revelation hit me, and I finally saw the light. Promptly ejecting the DVD and hurling it from my window, I strolled over to my computer, found a torrent of the movie, and started downloading. The rest of the night went on without any significant incident.

But I was left with a rueful distaste in my mouth. I could have downloaded the movie from the start—or better yet, simply streamed it. It would have taken up zero space in my small apartment, and it would have had no built in advertisements or tacit threats. It would have been, in every conceivable way, a better product—for none of the cost.

Unless of course, we are still inclined to take the moral objection. And those few who know me will also know that such is my wont. So let’s do that, shall we?

I do object to stealing. I do object to dishonesty. Further, I am strongly opposed to the rule of idiocy by virtue of greed. When the product you can readily get for free is better and more versatile than the one you’re being asked to pay for, something very suspicious is going on. Yet this is exactly what such studios are asking of us. Like a mosquito with its proboscis stuck, drinking up all the foul blood it can get before it finally explodes and fades from memory—a disgusting mess in the footnotes of irrelevant history. Such are these discs of plastic and spite which are forced on us at any moment we let down our shields of consumer logic and moral apathy.

Now, it may be said this argument is about a decade too late, but it must be noted that this trend, while nothing new, is not old either. It continues daily in fact, malignant to its core. Everywhere you look, we see industries trying to give their customers less and less in order to ensure their profits remain steady. The serpent has gotten hold of its tail, and is not like to let go until its eaten its fill and dies bloated yet ill-content.

You can see the approach everywhere—from ‘Always Online’ DRM protocols in video games, to player restrictions on purchases from I-Tunes—companies continue to slaughter their sheep to ward off the wolves.

And so the moral issue resonates somewhat less with me these days. If the crimes of the thief are to be paid for by the honest man, there is little reason not to hoist the black flag, grab your flagon of rum, and join the party. Steal! Pirate! Avast…all that. Do what you will to these gutless cowards of companies…for they will do it to you all the quicker.

Just don’t steal books…you’ll actually go to hell for that.

-Brad OH Inc.