Category: Featured

The Pulse 49

This is my tribute to the victims of the Pulse massacre. I drew them all in charcoal on 18×24 art paper, and then embellished with vinyl framing to add the colors of the Pride flag.  The stories of the victims are below, in the same order as they appear on the piece (alphabetical).

1. Stanley Almodovar III, age 23. He was originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, and worked as a pharmacy technician. His mother described him as a happy man with a big heart; he would have turned 24 later this month.
2. Amanda Alvear, 25. She was a nursing student at the University of South Florida. Alvear was at Pulse with her best friend, Mercedez Flores, 26, who was also killed. Amanda’s Snapchat captured the sound of shots ringing out, the first such footage to emerge from the massacre. “I love you baby girl,” her sister, Ashley said. “You were and always will be my baby sister. I’m so heartbroken.”.
3. Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26. was with Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31, when they were both killed. Montero’s cousin wrote in Spanish in a Facebook post, “Today is and will be as long as I live the most devastating day of my life. The day when, by the decision of another, my beloved cousin is no longer with me.”
4. Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33. He worked at a blood donation center and earned enough to buy a home almost exactly one year ago, the Sentinel reported. “He loved to dance salsa and all kinds of Latin dancing,” a friend told the paper. “He didn’t even drink because he had a long drive home and always wanted to be safe.”
5. Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21. Friends posted on Facebook that the Orlando Cuban community had suffered a huge loss. “He was a very special boy, like a brother to me,” one friend wrote.
6. Martin Benitez Torres, 33. He was a student in San Juan and was just planning to visit Orlando for a few days to see a friend. He loved to share videos with his family on Facebook and was known for his beautiful smile.
7. Antonio D. Brown, 30. He was a former student at Florida A&M University. According to the school, Brown had been a criminal justice major and a member of ROTC before graduating in 2008.
8. Darryl R. Burt II, 29. He was a financial aid officer at a local college who worked with military service members. He recently finished a master’s degree, friends said. “He definitely leaves an impression and had a big personality and he is missed,” the president of Keiser University’s Jacksonville campus said.
9. Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24. He was an assistant producer for Telemundo in Orlando. According to Chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, Cesar Conde, Camuy most recently worked on audience development for the show “La Voz Kids.” He was killed alongside another NBCUniversal employee, Luis Vielma.
10. Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28. He was a ophthalmic technician and studied in Puerto Rico, the Miami Herald reports. He described himself on Facebook as “an adventurous, easy going but responsible man that would like to live the life completely.”
11. Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31. Carrillo and his partner had recently purchased their Kissimmee home, she said. Just weeks ago, they celebrated Aracena-Montero’s birthday there. He never forgot a birthday. For his McDonald’s co-workers, he brought in cakes and made sure to snap a photo to memorialize the moment.
12. Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25. He worked at Reunion Resorts where employees including a housekeeper said he was “very kind and loving,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
13. Luis D. Conde, 39. Killed alongside his longtime partner, Juan P. Rivera Velazquez. In his social media posts, Conde showed off a joie de vivre and sense of humor; he also changed his profile picture in solidarity with the Bataclan victims last November.
14. Cory J. Connell, 21. He was a student at Valencia college studying sports journalism and broadcasting. His brother described Cory as being the family “super hero,” and an “amazing soul.” CNN reports Connell was at Pulse with his girlfriend, who survived the attack.
15. Tevin E. Crosby, 25. He was from Statesville, North Carolina, and studied business administration at Strayer University South. Described as ambitious and hard-working, he owned his own firm and inspired his siblings and family with his dedication.
16. Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50. He traveled the world as a professional Jîbaro dancer. Originally from Puerto Rico, he lived in Orlando. A family member noted on Facebook, “What happened in Orlando affects all of us because it is an act of hate against the freedom to be who you are.”.
17. Deonka D. Drayton, 32. She worked at Pulse, according to an aunt who called her murder “senseless.” She is survived by a three-year-old she was helping raise..
18. Mercedez M. Flores, 26. She was there with her best friend, Amanda Alvear. She is described by friends as an “amazing woman”.
19. Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22. Gonzalez attended several schools in Orange County, including Liberty and Colonial High School. He worked at UPS in Orlando. “No matter what kind of day I was having, he always made me laugh,” wrote a former teacher.
20. Juan R. Guerrero, 22. He died in the arms of his boyfriend,Christopher Leinonen. Guerrero had come out to his family two years ago. His cousin said Guerrero was initially afraid how his family would react. “They were very accepting,” said Robert Guerrero, 19. “As long as he was happy, they were OK with it.”
21. Paul T. Henry, 41. A Chicago native and father of two—his daughter just recently graduated high school—was an expert pool player and loved to dance.
22. Frank Hernandez, 27. He had a younger sister. When Julissa Leal got a frantic phone call from Hernandez’s boyfriend on Sunday morning saying he’d been shot, Leal drove 12 hours from Louisiana to Florida to see her older brother, the Miami Herald reported. When she arrived, he was dead.
23. Miguel A. Honorato, 30. He was married, a hardworking father of three children, and lived in Apopka, Florida. He and his family own four restaurants in the Orlando area. He was at Pulse dancing with friends at the time of the shooting.
24. Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40. He was a supervisor at Gucci and studied tourism at Academia San Antonio de Guayama in Puerto Rico. In November, he updated his Facebook profile photo in solidarity with Paris after it was struck by terrorism. Jorge-Reyes’ coworker, Leonel Melendez, was also at Pulse, shot in the head, and is in a coma.
25. Jason B. Josaphat, 19. He called his mother from Pulse early on Sunday. She told him to hide in the bathroom, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Josaphat recently began taking classes at Valencia College and was interested in studying computer science. He was an Orlando native with two brothers and a sister. His family described him to the Sentinel as being quiet and helpful, and “high on life.”
26. Eddie J. Justice, 30. He was an accountant who lived in downtown Orlando. In a GoFundMe page to support his mother, the family describes him as “the life of the party,” and a “momma’s boy at heart.” Justice sent text messages to his mother during the attack on Pulse, saying, “He’s coming,” and finally, “I’m gonna die.”
27. Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25. He went by Alanis Laurell on the drag scene. “Alanis Laurell was a amazing performer and a beautiful person inside and out. She will be missed deeply. You are now a angel looking down at all of us,” Drag Around the World posted..
28. Christopher A. Leinonen, 32. He started his high school’s gay-straight alliance. He died in the arms of his boyfriend, Juan Guerrero.
29. Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49. She raised 12 children and beat cancer twice. She was dancing at Pulse with her son, who is gay, when the gunshots began. McCool died, her son survived.
30. Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35. He met his boyfriend, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon at their place of work, Perfumania. They both were killed.
31. Akyra Monet Murray, 18. She is the youngest confirmed victim in the attack. Murray was hiding in Pulse’s bathroom and was on the phone wih her mother before the terrorist entered and later killed her. Murray was a standout basketball player at Philadelphia’s West Catholic Prepatory High School, scoring more than 1,000 points last season. Murray earned a full ride at a Pennsylvania university she was to attend after she graduated the Monday before she died.
32. Kimberly Morris, 37. A bouncer at Pulse, she had moved to Orlando from Connecticut. A former college classmate wrote in remembrance on Facebook, “KJ Morris you always lit up the room with your smile..
33. Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27. He was a great person inside and out,” according to friends. His cousin’s wife wrote on Facebook that the families are are devastated by the loss. The general manager of a local store, he just recently bought his first house. “He was just a caring, loving guy,” one of his best friends told the Orlando Sentinel. “Just like a big teddy bear.”
34. Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20. He was a dancer. In November 2015, after the massacre at Paris’s Bataclan nightclub, he updated his profile picture to show solidarity with the French victims. A former teacher remembered him as “a ray of sunshine every day.”
35. Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25. He was in town from Puerto Rico for a Selena Gomez concert in Orlando. Known to friends as Drake, Ortiz-Jimenez was a huge fan of Gomez and often listened to her while working out. “We only got ONE LIFE!” he wrote on an April photo. “So let’s go hard ’til the day we die!”
36. Eric I. Ortiz-Rivera, 36. He was originally from Puerto Rico and studied at the Univercidad Central de Bayamon. Ortiz-Rivera was visiting Orlando from Miami and went to Pulse with a large group of friends—at least three of whom died in the shooting. His former roommate described him as “always willing to help everybody,” “always generous,” and someone who “sacrificed himself a lot for his family.”
37. Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32. He went to Pulse to dance just as he had many times before. A Mexican immigrant who moved to Florida at the beginning of the century before briefly returning to his native land was described by friends to the Sentinel as humble, cheerful, and religious. “He was loyal. He was always trying to do stuff to make you feel better,” a friend who met him at church said.
38. Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25. He flew from New York to Orlando for his friend’s birthday. Now his family is raising money to retrieve his body. When he wasn’t attending nursing school, Rios was working as a social worker for the elderly in east Brooklyn.
39. Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37. He was the owner of D’Magazine Salon and Spa. He was at Pulse with his partner of 13 years, 39-year-old Luis Conde, as they celebrated the birthday of a friend; both men, who were natives of Puerto Rico, were killed in the shooting.
40. Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24. In a GoFundMe set up in her sister’s memory, Natalia Canlan wrote, “We went there for a night of fun and instead she paid with her life.” Sulivan is survived by her husband, Pito, and her two babies.
41. Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24. He worked at JP Morgan Chase in Tampa. “He was so strong, and was my rock through everything we ever went through,” his brother Junior posted on Facebook. “He was the light of my family and I know that he will continue to bless us and his light will be radiating down from a better place.”
42. Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, 35. He had a son and worked at Disney Live! His little boy just graduated from pre-kindergarten this month. “I have no words to express how proud and happy I am of my little boy,” he wrote recently on Facebook.
43. Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25. He went to Pulse with Cruz, his friend, and was originally from Puerto Rico. Menendez was studying health-care management at a local university. “He is my older brother’s only child, and he was the light and the life of all the family gatherings. This all feels like a dream, and I’m going to wake up and he will be texting me or calling me to tell me he is OK,” a cousin told the Orlando Sentinel.
44. Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34. He was the national brand manager for Al and Chuck Travel, and known to friends as “very outgoing, very friendly.” One friend described him as “one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met. He touched so many people’s lives because he’s such a positive person. He would do anything for anybody.”
45. Shane E. Tomlinson, 33. He was the manager and lead vocalist at Frequency Band. He describes himself on Facebook as an “ordinary guy living an extra-ordinary life using my God given gift to navigate through this journey.” They could not find a church that would host his funeral.
46. Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25. He was a leasing agent in Orlando who loved to dance, sing, and dress as Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez for crowds. “He sang Adele in the office until we couldn’t take it anymore,” his manager told the Orlando Sentinel. “It just feels very quiet, now.”
47. Luis S. Vielma, 22. He had visited Disney World hours before the shooting and posted a photo there with several people. “True friends who become family,” the caption read. Mourners on social media described him as “always happy and a joy to be around.” At some point, the vivacious young man had worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal Theme Park, as J.K. Rowling noted in a tweet honoring him after his death, adding, “He was 22 years old. I can’t stop crying.”
48. Luis D. Wilson-Leon, 37. Died with his long-time partner Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, On Facebook, a family member of Wilson-Leon’s announced, “It is with a broken and heavy heart that I share the sadness the loss of my cousin, my love, Dani or Lestat Wilson and his beautiful light Jean, Naej Mendez. I don’t know what else to say. Just heartbroken, devastated, broken and feeling like this is some awful nightmare from which one will awake … Please hug your loved ones tight. Stop this violence. This madness. Love one another. ‪#‎Pulse‬ ‪#‎onelove‬.”
49. Jerald A. Wright, 31. He was a seasonal employee who worked at Walt Disney World. He went to Pulse to celebrate his friend’s 21st birthday, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Co-workers described him as “one of the kindest people you could meet,” and noted that he went out of his way to make international visitors feel welcome.

Remember the 49.

 

The open hand.

The first time I called a suicide hotline was when I was 12.
 
They were clueless and ended up soliciting me for donations, and I couldn’t explain to my parents why they were suddenly receiving literature on depression in the mail for the next few weeks. The hotline’s ineptitude actually angered me enough that I was able to externalize my feelings away from myself long enough to see the next day. I’ll have to admit that their failure yielded an accidental success.
 
At 20, I hooked up a vacuum hose to my car exhaust and snaked it into the bathroom adjacent the garage. I was maybe an hour in when I was interrupted and taken away. Recovery from CO2 poisoning is brutal, to say the least. Imagine your worst hangover ever, then multiply it by a thousand and add in endless dry heaving.
 
At 22, I took every pill bottle in the cabinet and combined them in a 32oz cup from Taco John’s. I walked around the house, casually drinking them down and then laid in bed. Since my Major wasn’t in chemistry, it’s inevitable that I didn’t get the right mix to do as intended, so I ended up laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and feeling my body tingle for a few days. I vaguely recollect people standing over me, berating me, but I was high as a kite and didn’t process them nor care.
 
There were false attempts a couple of times as well, but those never any real danger. Those were simple cries for help that I wouldn’t have gone through with. The good news is that I never went that route ever again. It’s been over 20 years since, and I know myself better than ever. Suicide is just an unthinkable solution for me, and I don’t even bat a single eyelash at Death, much less court her anymore. I’m happy to say that I have a lot of wrinkles to grow, hair to lose, and eyesight to diminish before I check out, and when I do, Death will need to drag me away kicking and screaming. I plan to watch the 100th Star Wars film, listen to whatever permutation of Heavy Metal exists in the 22nd Century, and hopefully play hacky sack on Martian soil. I don’t have time to die.
 
Do these facts shock you? Good. I really want your attention for this part.
 
The point of all of this is, I UNDERSTAND.
 
Do I know your specific circumstances? No. Have I been lost in the same labyrinth of hopelessness? Maybe. I may not have followed the same road, or been made victim the same way, or experienced anything like what you have, but I’ve been to those dark and bumpy places that roads sometimes go. I’ve stared down the barrel of oblivion, and survived. Not through strength or willpower, but mostly just dumb luck each time. My outlook changed with age, thank goodness, but it was very touch-and-go there for a long, long time.
 
Last night I lost another friend to suicide. He was a friendly, sweet guy, and nobody saw it coming. He had plans, jokes, and dreams, so we didn’t know what demons he wrestled with inside. He hid it well. This makes 4 friends to kill themselves just in the past 2 years. The total family and friends I’ve lost in that way has become more than I want to think about.
 
I can’t offer solutions. I’m not a fount of wisdom. I can only offer perspective, and an open ear to listen. I might not agree with you, but I’ll always be here when you need that voice on the other end of the line. But no matter what, when you’re that deep in a hole, and you think no one can hear you, call out. Call me, message me, email me, whatever you can do. And if not me, then call someone else. Say hello to a friend from high school, or check in on a distant cousin. Try a hotline. It might be a good one, or if it sucks, then at least it keeps you talking. We may not have a cure, but all you need is to see the next dawn, and then one more after that. It’s always just one more day, and before you know it 20 years has flown by, and you stopped counting..
 

Just please, reach your hand up. I promise, someone out there is waiting to pull you up.

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The Song and The Sword

There was a beautiful princess. She grew up in a world of pink petunias, mauve moons, and fuchsia fireflies . Her hair trailed like golden mist while her laugh chimed like silver bells. She had a smile that outshone the stars and eyes like slivers of sky, with grace and humility to match.

Her father was a kind man, but was busy overseeing his kingdom. Her mother, as well, shared in courtly duties, so the princess was left under the tutelage of a strict etiquette teacher, with only the best of intentions for her. The Princess learned to act as a Lady, to curtsy, nod, laugh, and agree at the proper times. She was taught to be the perfect bride for the most handsome Prince, moving with angelic grace in the finest of layered silks and brocades.

None of this would save her.

She walked to her tutor’s cottage each day, singing and skipping along the way. She would traipse through a field of sapphire lilies, where the Riley twins would wave from the window of the flour mill. She would dance through the verdant grove, where she’d exchange pleasantries with Miss McMillan, whose sweetbreads would fill the air with the smells of berries and compassion. Children would weave her tiaras of daffodils, while the susurrus of the crystal waterfalls cooled the air. She would sing to the lonely endless canyon, hearing her voice echo back in perfectly timed harmony.

There was a part of the path, along the rocky edge, where she would see the amber skies push the sun below distant mountains. That burning sun seemed so far, as the dusk brought the fireflies to guide her way.

This was her routine, since was a wee little one, so far back she couldn’t remember not waving to the Riley’s, or talking to Miss McMillan. But this change of seasons brought a chill to the air, and from the Hills descended the wolves. Their cries carried through the dead of night, and came ever closer to the village.

She would walk the path, but the windows of the mill were shut. Miss McMillan no longer came out to collect berries, nor did her sweetbreads fill the air. The children weren’t let out to play, and the coldness took the skip from her step. She could hear the wolves, growling from the shadows, watching from afar. Her bright and beautiful dresses only drew their predatory eyes, and her song only drew them closer. She started walking hurriedly in silence, scared of the lupine threats.

Along the edge of the canyon, she found herself surrounded. Wolves at the front and the back taunted her, making her feel vulnerable and afraid.  They advanced, drool dripping and claws scratching stone, breath hot and lewd, and she knew her song, her grace, her etiquette would not save her. She suddenly saw The Lie.

She needn’t be any Princess. She needn’t curtsy, pirouette, nor smile when called upon to do so. She needed no Prince, no man, nor woman, nor lover to rescue her. And upon realizing this, her dress fell away to reveal the scarred armor beneath. She found in her heart a sword, and chopped away her hair, and her song became a foreboding dirge of battle, echoed in haunting minor by the canyon’s abyss. The fireflies became a rain of flame, striking the ground around her, and the setting sun burst into explosive tendrils of doom. Her dark eyes fell upon these wolves, her smoldering fury and tempered strength palpable in the smoke-filled air.

The wolves backed away, fear evident in their eyes. Glancing at each other, tails between their legs, they realized they no longer held power over her. They could not look her in the eye, seeing the shame of their own sins reflecting in her blade. They suddenly seemed so small and meek, and beneath notice. She wondered why she ever noticed them at all. Her fire burned away the darkness and cold, and the wolves ran back to hide in their hills, never to be seen again.

And with a smirk, the little girl’s dreams of swords and songs kept her brave, and the cacophonous din of predatory bullies and catcalls by the abandoned grocery fell behind her. With a thought, she had grown from the princess she was told to be into the woman she knew she could be. And she held her schoolbooks close, held her head high, and never thought about them again, until the wolves, unheard and forgotten, disappeared back into the woods from which they came.

She became her own hero, and her sword lived within her for the rest of her days.

Song and Sword - web

This Speech is Free.

I’ve seen the term “Freedom of Speech” thrown around haphazardly lately, mostly by people that obviously don’t have any grasp as to what it means. This is mostly a response to the recent debacle regarding Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, and his suspension from A&E Networks. I’m here to make the facts clear.

the-princess-bride-clip-01

First, let’s look at the allegations. On the record, in an interview for GQ Magazine and in other videos and interviews in recent years, he has said the following:

  • “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,”…“Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
  • “Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil. That’s what you have 235 years, roughly, after your forefathers founded the country.”
  • (regarding Muslims and Socialists) “Why do they murder and why do they hate us? Because all of them … 80 years of history, they all want to conquer the world, they all rejected Jesus and they’re all famous for murder. Nazis, Shintoists, Communists and the Mohammedists. Every one of them the same way.” (Nazis were openly Christian, by the way.)
  • [A good woman is] “hard to find. Mainly because these boys are waiting until they get to be about 20 years old before they marry ’em. Look, you wait till they get to be about 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You gotta marry these girls when they’re 15 or 16, they’ll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that, of course.”
  • (implying that African Americans had it better before Jim Crow laws) “Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word!”… “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

 

Now, remember, Phil Robertson’s primary job was as a hunter. A&E Networks gave him an opportunity to further his financial career and raise his profile by giving him a reality show to front. This being said, ANY AND ALL such arrangements include the star signing contracts, part of which outlines their responsibilities as a face for the corporation. Gilbert Gottfried was fired by Aflac for Tsunami jokes, Lil Wayne was fired by Mountain Dew for his offensive lyrics, and Justine Sacco was just fired by IAC for a racist tweet. Phil Robertson’s job was to promote his show, and conduct himself publicly in a way compliant with A&E’s desired social image. It is understood that if at any time, he can no longer fulfill those duties, he can be let go by the corporation. They have an image to protect, and have to distance themselves from the backlash of negative affiliations, of which his statements clearly make him. They have gone on record in the past as being supportive of LGBT issues, and see themselves as a socially progressive company. The last thing they want is to be represented in the media by a bigot, nor having their logo become synonymous with exclusionary ignorance. They have shareholders to please, and a responsibility to protect their image. After all, ignorance has a channel to watch. It’s called Fox News.

Freedom of Speech entitles Americans with the freedom to speak their views and opinions without fear of government harassment, either by detention, fines, or execution. NONE OF THESE REPERCUSSIONS HAVE HAPPENED. Freedom of Speech does not, however, free you of any societal consequences nor exempt you of any contractual obligations to your employer. If you want to share negative views, expect not only to become a pariah, but also be sure you know your employer’s policies on negative publicity. This being thoroughly explained, let me illustrate the differences between the United States (with Free Speech) and countries with limited speech.

Spoiled 16

In the USA…

While in Malaysia...

While in Malaysia…

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the USA...

In the USA…

While in Iran...

While in Iran…

In the USA...

In the USA…

While in Nepal...

While in Nepal…

In the USA...

In the USA…

4 North Korea

While in North Korea…

In the USA...

In the USA…

While in Myanmar...

While in Myanmar…

In the USA...

In the USA…

While in Nazi Germany.

While in Nazi Germany.

I hope the differences are clear enough. But here, let’s simplify the issue.

PD

PR

A&E Networks is a privately owned company. They do not belong to the public, and do not owe a pulpit to any individual wanting to espouse a litany of racist homophobia. They have a responsibility to their shareholders to protect their company image and to distance themselves from those that speak against the company’s political stances. Every private company has that right, no matter which side of the politics they fall on, and risks the outcome of taking a stand.

Any person that throws a fit over cold fries forgets the obscene gluttony we as Americans are afforded.

Any person that complains about the quality of their entertainment forgets that we are privileged to have uncensored access to the web, books, and film.

Any person that takes it upon themselves to preach against what consenting adults do in their own bedroom, has forgotten the basic human rights our forefathers gave their lives to leave us as a legacy. They have forgotten all of the freedoms and liberties that blood bought them, and they take this nation for granted. They are the worst patriots of all for wanting to enjoy freedom while consciously robbing other citizens of it. How dare they pick and choose convenient Bible verses to support their backwards bigotry and use the American flag as a disguise for xenophobia.

HOW. DARE. THEY.

They dare, because speech is free. Just as mine is. And that’s how Freedom of Speech works.

Besides, I know of at least one company that would appreciate his "Christian Values".

Besides, I know of at least one company that would appreciate his “Christian Values”.

Scary Christmas to all, and to all a good fright!

The Krampus is an old European Christmas tradition, in which Santa had a devilish sidekick, the “Krampus”, who would punish the naughty children, ofttimes in horrific ways. I thought it was about time he had a Christmas poem of his very own. For more Krampus information check out this National Geographic article. For more information on the Yule Lads, and other Christmas monsters of history, see Mental Floss’ 9 Legendary Monsters of Christmas.

 

T’was the Night of the Krampus

by Chris Holland
 

T’was the eve of the Krampus and black as the night
Santa’s dark helper was up to a fright
The stockings were hung with ill-fated hope
For Santa’s great list marked these children “NOPE!”

So down swept the Krampus from razor-cold wind
To whip at the wicked and sentence the sin
Upon his hunched back a basket was perched
Laden with switches and branches of birch

His hooves were a-cloven, his horns like a goat
All covered with blackened & matted fur coat
He slithers and slinks, smelling of dung
He sniffs at the air and uncoils his tongue

As long as your arms and red as your blood
Dripping saliva, a venomous flood
He skitters through windows and cracks under doors
He crawls down the chimneys and claws up through floors

He stalks the impertinent, bullies, and thieves
He finds all the children that Santa’s sleigh leaves
The ones who are naughty or who disobey
He scoops from their beds and he carries away

Those who are foul and cause parents grief
Those that deny any Santa belief
He pulls at their ears and drowns them in ink
He uses a pitchfork with hellfire stink

He hands them each off to the elves of the mad
The Jolasveinar, the impish Yule Lads!
“Go Stubby, Door-Slammer, Skyr-Gobbler, Window Peeper,
Meat-Hook, and Pot Scraper, take them to the reaper!”

“Bowl-Licker, Doorway-Sniffer, Gully-Gawk, Sausage-Swiper,
It’s high time these children pay tithe to the Piper!
Spoon-Licker, Candle-Stealer, and last Sheep-Cote-Clod,
Tonight without mercy we shall spare NO rod!”

He’ll take his birch branches and with them he’ll beat
And hang their young corpses up by their small feet
He’ll swing them around and choke them with chain
He’ll wake them back up and do it again

And when he is done, he’ll send their damned souls
To do painful penance by mining hot coal
Found in Hades’ depths, to serve as a warning
Stuffed in a stocking to find Christmas morning

Absconding in darkness from which forged his heart
He growls and he cackles, his toothy grin parts
“Saint Nick and I listen! Your lies will be caught!
So Merry Christmas to all, or else, Krumpasnacht!”

 

The Pulse 49 This is my tribute to the victims of the Pulse massacre. I drew them all in charcoal on 18×24 art paper, and then embellished with vinyl framing to add the colors of the Pride flag.  The stories of the victims are below, in the same order as they appear on the piece (alphabetical). ” order_by=”sortorder” […]
The open hand. The first time I called a suicide hotline was when I was 12.   They were clueless and ended up soliciting me for donations, and I couldn’t explain to my parents why they were suddenly receiving literature on depression in the mail for the next few weeks. The hotline’s ineptitude actually angered me enough that […]
The Song and The Sword There was a beautiful princess. She grew up in a world of pink petunias, mauve moons, and fuchsia fireflies . Her hair trailed like golden mist while her laugh chimed like silver bells. She had a smile that outshone the stars and eyes like slivers of sky, with grace and humility to match. Her father […]
This Speech is Free. I’ve seen the term “Freedom of Speech” thrown around haphazardly lately, mostly by people that obviously don’t have any grasp as to what it means. This is mostly a response to the recent debacle regarding Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, and his suspension from A&E Networks. I’m here to make the facts clear. First, let’s […]
Scary Christmas to all, and to all a good fright! The Krampus is an old European Christmas tradition, in which Santa had a devilish sidekick, the “Krampus”, who would punish the naughty children, ofttimes in horrific ways. I thought it was about time he had a Christmas poem of his very own. For more Krampus information check out this National Geographic article. For more information on the […]
…was once New Amsterdam… Triton Festival is a three-day music festival of Industrial/EBM/Synthpop/Gothic bands in New York City. It was filled with top names, and the tickets were cheap, so it didn’t take a lot of arm-twisting on Kelsey and Christina’s parts to convince me to attend. I wanted to rise to the challenge of living out of a […]
When the toys go winding down… I spent my childhood in a never-ending cycle of escapism from the world around me. In the daytime I was at school, where I was ostracized for being a weirdo (which, by all accounts, was an accurate description of a kid that pretended he was a werewolf and drew zombies). My evenings were spent either […]