Early Morning Thoughts At A Coffee Shop

I'm sitting across from a girl who is barefoot in a coffee shop.

I want to reach out and tickle her feet. I want to show her the inherant dangers of doing such a brazen thing in such a public place. I want to make her laugh while being thoroughly disgusted and angry.

Interesting how tickling works. It makes you angry and annoyed, and you laugh the entire time. It's such a strange reflex.

She's pretty. She keeps catching my eyes as I look up and scan the room. I wonder if she's attracted to me. It doesn't matter, honestly - a zero sum game, no win and no loss either way. If she is, there's nothing she can do about it - I'm happily married. If she isn't, who cares - I'm happily married. But it's still a thought that crosses my mind when I see a woman I find pretty or attractive -- do I come off as attractive to others?

I always think not. I always see myself somewhat akin to the grey Hulk. Big flat wierd head on a gigantic body. But not grey. I guess that's where the difference lies between me and Dr. Banner. Well, that and the radioactivity, and the genius. But other than that, yeah, I'm like grey Hulk. Yet, I sometimes am told I'm cute or attractive. Usually before I open my mouth. That particular act has a way of thoroughly disrupting that notion.

I can't get over her bare feet here on the coffee table with my tennis-shoe-clad feet. I wonder which situation is more intolerable to prudes, or if the footwear even changes the equation to people who find feet on furniture abhorrent.

I want a donut.

If you're reading this and are confused, bored, or some mixture of the two... Well, that's what you get when you read someone else's journal.


Praying For Obama's Death? You're A Shitty Christian.

I have seen a few folks on Facebook with a status suggesting that they are praying for the death of Barack Obama. I was a bit unnerved by it, but figured it was just a localized thing, spreading to the dyed-in-the-wool southern Christian contingent amongst my contacts. But I've come to find out, it's a much, much bigger thing than that.

The size of the movement is actually irrelevant - even one person doing it invokes a simple sentiment within me: this person claiming to be a Christian is praying for the death of someone. And that makes them a shitty Christian and a hypocrite.

In fact, it's not Christ-like at all, so it makes you exactly un-Christian. And if you do it, you can go fuck yourself.

It's obvious this Christian hasn't read their bible, because if they had, they'd know about Romans 13, which states:

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

Not reading the book that your entire faith is built upon? Well, that's pretty pathetic, I think. But not practicing what you preach? That makes you a hypocrite. Advocating that others do the same, especially in the name of your religion... Well, that sounds an awful lot like fundamentalism to me, and we can see by the gigantic hole in the ground in New York City what that gets us.

This is not exclusive to Christians, by the way. Anyone practicing any religion where peace and forgiveness are cornerstones of the faith, who then pray for the death of someone, are fucking hypocrites, and can go fuck themselves.

Feel free to share this with your friends if you agree. And if you disagree, well... The line to punch me in the face starts around the block. Anyone who feels up to it is welcome to try. But I'm not one of you, so don't expect me to turn the other cheek.


"Freedom Of Speech" Means Videos Of Hurting Animals?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court made it once again legal to create and own videos of animals being tortured, hurt, fought and killed. They struck down a law enacted in 1999 that made it illegal to film or possess film of animals being harmed, tortured or killed. They cited the 1st Amendment in the ruling.

This is wrong. And it kills me to say that, because I staunchly believe in and defend freedom of speech. But it is wrong, and the truth is any measure taken to actually change this stance endangers other forms of communication.

We've long heard that yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater does not fall under the 1st Amendment. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said in his ruling on the matter:

"The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent."

To me, the allowance that acts of animal cruelty -- rooster fighting, pit bull fighting, "crush" videos depicting mice and kittens being stomped on by women in high heels (seriously, don't click that if you get even the slightest bit angry at animal cruelty... I'm still shaking with anger) -- is the very essence of creating a clear and present danger that brings about substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. Allowing the video depiction and subsequent sale and possession of such material is allowing the recording and trade of an illegal act.

Under this same 1st Amendment ruling, we should also allow child pornography, snuff films, alcohol commercials to be played during the daytime, billboards and ads depicting cigarettes and smoking to be played on television and placed near schools, and other things that depict illegal acts in a video, picture or other form of media.

The act of harming an animal intentionally and maliciously is illegal, but free speech now protects people who film and trade such materials depicting it. Same goes with pit bull fighting, rooster fighting, lighting a kitten on fire...

I find all of the acts disgusting. And I find the difference in opinion regarding something like child porn and videos of animal cruelty even more disgusting. And it's really, really hard for me to ever have an opinion that smacks the hand of the 1st Amendment - I'm a dyed-in-the-wool free speech advocate, and I believe very heavily in the right to be free to express yourself. But I don't see any artistic, conversational, or periodical merit in videos of animal cruelty. Or child porn. Or any other illegal act that, when filmed and distributed, provides commerce for scum.

My hope is that this ruling will force states to take much harder stances against animal cruelty, such that making a video of, say, a pit bull fight would be so risky as to make it not worth it.

Just how I feel. How do YOU feel?


Poll: "The Chair Game"

Okay, what would you do?

Regard the following chart, imagining that the numbered blocks are chairs:

You're in a doctor's office with your spouse. Your spouse is in chair 1, and you are in chair 2. Chair 3 is empty, chair 4 is filled, and other chairs are open in the lobby.

Your spouse gets up to use the restroom, leaving chair 1 vacant. A man who was at the reception window goes to sit in chair 1. Do you:

A) let him, knowing chair 3 is open and your spouse could take it when they return, or

B) tell the stranger that the chair is taken, and suggest another chair?

Part 2)

You're the spouse and return from the restroom to find your chair filled by a stranger. Do you:

A) ask the stranger to move or

B) sit in chair 3?

I'll tell you why and what happened later. First, I need to know if my answers are socially normal or alien.

-- Post From My iPhone


Hey, Guess Who Got Censored?

As you all know, I've been writing for AOLNews for a bit. And so far, it's been great. Until today, when I found out that my column from Thursday regarding an artist's strange crucifix image of Jesus and the way she drew his abdomen looking like a penis was censored.

Due to outrage from readers, they yanked the following image:

The reason AOL - parent company for AOLNews, and the ones who actually pulled the image - decided to yank it was not because of some ethics-based issue. This isn't like the Janet Jackson nipple slip... Do we publish the image because it is actually news, or do we censor it because it's a nipple? That's a legitimate discussion that should be had at the editorial table at a news organization. But this? This is an artist's depiction of Jesus that resembles a pee pee. And it only resembles a pee pee because our monkey brains are juvenile and we like seeing penises in things that even barely resemble a penis.

AOL was pushing hard to become an originator of news; dumping aggregated content and hiring journalists (even Pulitzer winners) to generate content and report on things worth reporting on. But then they yanked this image because they couldn't handle reader complaints.

The major thing is that it was an editorial decision not made by the editor, or even the news department. I feel like AOL should have deferred to AOLNews, and I really wish they'd have come to me.

(note: the first version of this blogpost was a lot more furious and whatnot. I've since realized that my anger is due less to OMG SAVE JOURNALISM and more on the fact that I (and my editor) never got the chance to defend myself or the piece.)


Dear Cleveland International Airport

From: Joe Peacock
To: Cleveland International Airport
Subject: Getting to Terminal D

Dear Cleveland International Airport,

As a traveller using your fair airport right this very second, I'd like to very quickly address the logistics involved in getting from the front doors to Terminal D, which must be something like two miles from where the cab let me out. It is where I currently reside, soaked in sweat and slightly winded.

I don't have a lot to say about it - in fact, I only have one word to say, and that word is, in and of itself, a suggestion which I think could greatly enhance the traveller experience when using this terminal. And, should you take this one word suggestion, you will also avoid people being cranky, hostile and downright smelly in your Terminal D (well, maybe not - but you'll avoid those who normally aren't cranky, hostile and smelly from venturing into that territory unnecessarily).

Okay, are you ready for your one word suggestion? Cause here it is:


That's it. That's all I've got.

Yours, ever cranky, hostile and stinky,

Joe Peacock


Career Day At My Mother-In-Law's School

It's been a little while since I mentioned that I was speaking as an "Author" at my Mother-In-Law's Elementary School's "Career Day," and a few folks have asked for an update. I meant to post this sooner, but hey, I'm an "Author" which means I'm "busy" (which actually means Just Cause 2 and Splinter Cell: Conviction just came out on XBox 360 and I'm a slacker).

So, my day started with Andrea (who came as an "Animal Welfare Professional") and I being greeted by the guidance counselor, who was a really nice guy. He walked us out to the "bus lanes" where all the tables were set up. 

First was the fire truck, loaded with hoses, ladders, cool fire guys and a dalmation (not pictured): 

Then, the exterminator who had a truck with an angry mouse in the shape of a fumigator:

Then, the narcotics agent and his K-9, Rambo (who also isn't pictured - by the time I got to taking pictures, Rambo was sick of being acosted by kids and had to be put away):

Then, the Power guy and his power truck which was loud and obnoxious:

Then, my awesome wife and our blind-yet-adorable dog, Ray Charles. She also had the Atlanta Humane Society PuppyCam playing on the laptop:


Yeah... Drug and fire and blind dogs, big ass powerful trucks, and me with my stupid laptop bag and a can of Red Bull.

I was absolutely no competition whatsoever. 

The kids wanted to know what it took to be a writer. My answer: Caffeine, and lots of it. I was tempted to also bring a bottle of bourbon and a bottle of aspirin, the TRUE tools of a writer, but the school wouldn't have that. 

The kids were mostly interested in the laptop and my tattoos:

They were asking questions and starting to get into my little spiel about how the internet makes everything possible, and how if they want to be writers or singers or actors or anything ever, all they have to do is do it and put it out on the net, and how no one can ever hold them back except themselves... Until this asshole cranked up his stupid lift truck and started offering rides to the semi-hot teachers:

I really couldn't compete with either the noise or the spectacle of the kids' teachers going up in the bucket. But once he knocked it off, I got back to yammering to the chilluns about doing anything they want and not being afraid to be creative, even if everyone in their lives tries to shut them down.

Some of the teachers even approved of my message, except one who got PISSED at me for not lying to one little girl when she asked "Do you have to go to college to be a writer?" I told her "Absolutley not. I didn't. All it takes is a willingness to be heard and the time spent writing things down." This old bat of a teacher started chastising me behind my back to another teacher, until I called her out. "You went to college?" I asked.

She nodded.

"What for?" I asked.

"English Lit," She responded snidely.

"And when we're done here, I'm going to go play video games and sell books, while you wipe noses and force kids to line up alphabetically and eat shitty cafeteria food... So who got the better end of the deal?"

She shut up. 

Anyway, the kids were really fantastic. Two of them, Shay and Jacob, even draw comics and showed me their work. They were SMART little guys, with fully-fledged universes and some really great humor in their 4th Grade level drawings. They have a future, and I told them so. I even gave them a brand new Moleskine sketchbook I'd just received the night before and planned to fill with scribbles of my own.

They're somewhere in the picture below: 

Overall, it was a fun little experience, if for no other reason than I finally got to tell a teacher that, why yes, I actually DO have a future.


It's Asshole Day At Starbucks!

Whenever I have a lot of work I need to power through, I head to a coffee shop. Long time readers will remember that I used to go to a very special Starbucks over in Fayetteville. It was special because the oddest crap kept happening there, including one of my favoritest stories ever.

But I've since found that a few other Starbucks in the area have their own special qualitites - and today, since it's sunny and warm and nice out, I went to the McDonough Starbucks due to its superior patio and friendly staff. 

And when I pulled into the parking lot, this is what greeted me: A car double-parked.

And it's not an especially nice one, either - it's just a Honda Accord. But the asshole felt so superior, he had to take two spots. And while I was grumbling about that walking up to the place, I began hearing over and above the light jazz playing on the speakers a loud, obnoxious voice that could only belong to a conservative talk radio host.

I look around the corner, and sure enough, there's a car with its windows down, doors open, trunk open, blaring the finest thoughts coming out of the fringe right this early morning:

Now, I really wish I could have gotten a picture of the guy whose car this is - pink polo shirt which didn't cover his beer gut entirely, white kahki shorts, blonde Glenn Beck hair, and a fucking porn stache.

I went inside and ordered my coffee, then grumbled to the very kind clerk about the guy bumping the talk drivel in the parking lot.

"Oh, he's here every morning," she said. "It's a little strange," she added with a grin.

I walked out fully intent on getting my Flip HD camera and Gorillapod to film myself driving up beside the car in my truck blaring "Deciple" by Slayer, leaving my doors open, and sitting down next to him and just drinking my coffee - but as soon as I grabbed the camera, he began walking to the car.

Mark my words, dear readers: THIS. WILL. HAPPEN.


Finally Recognized As A Writer

Yup. My mother-in-law teaches elementary students and asked me to come speak to the 3rd - 5th graders at "Career Fair" about being an author. So tomorrow, to 3-5ths of a southeastern suburban elentary school, I'm going to finally get the credit I deserve as a writer.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have arrived.

I was asked to bring props that represent the tools I use as a writer, but they probably won't let me bring either the bourbon or the aspirin on campus grounds. But hey, I can still bring plenty of frustration and self-doubt!

I'll let you guys know how it goes.

-- Post From My iPhone