Recent Work By Justin Benton

I kid. I have nothing to contribute in terms of White Rock journalism, which is fierce over here as of late. And that’s not to say I haven’t loved this year’s releases by screamy white-boy bands like the Japandroids, the Cloud Nothings or, say, Titus Andronicus. White Rock is in pretty good shape, and when is it not?

Nah, right here is this petulant white boy’s favorite rap tracks of 2012, in no particular order, mostly Black, in no way comprehensive, just as good as good gets.

Reading Ray Bradbury’s work marked the first time I ever took reading seriously. The first time I borrowed his short story collection The Golden Apples of the Sun from the library was the first time I tried to appreciate fiction for grown-ups, the first time I wandered into the quiet neighborhood of the adult fiction stacks.

To be honest, I’ve always had a difficult relationship with fiction. I’m insufferably impatient. In the fifth grade, I enjoyed reading Bradbury’s short fiction because it was ofttimes really short. (I still can’t help but peek ahead to see the glorious white space marking the end of anything.) I liked that Bradbury wrote about space travel and elementary schools on Venus and what household appliances would do after the bomb dropped, but most of all I liked how he wrote about summer.

To promenade means to take a leisurely walk, to see people and be seen by people. In Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation Over Public Space authors Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Irena Ehrenfeucht write that wealthy urbanites in 19th century America “claimed the streets and attempted to insert bourgeois decorum into urban bustle.” These citizens “strolled to display their social status and define their respectability by the differences they created.”


Everyday is a good day! Grab your bottle and raise it! Cheers to everyone!

January 7, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Do rite and kill everything! Merry Christmas to everyone on facebook! Don’t forget to pop those bottles open at midnight tonite for Santa clause! Cheers !!!!

December 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM

30 pack of beer is great, bottle of ghoose is even better, adding a little yager with that and watch newton, and aurban whip ass, is priceless!!!!

December 4, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Happy dead turkey day everyone! Time to get out that bottle of wild turkey and do some shots!!! Cheers!!!!!

November 25, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Yo, 2 years ago, a freind of mine, told me aliza and crystal really blows your mind! Drink early, and get to bed early!! Cheers!

November 13, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Rain, rain, go away, that’s what all my haters say! Always good when you open your fridge and you have one beer left for breakfeast!!!!

November 10, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Dosent matter what day of the week it is, they are all the same when you are half in the bag by noon! Cheers!!!

September 16, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Is it a bad thing when you would rather have a beer for breakfeast, lunch, and dinner instead of food??

August 29, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Always good to open that fridge and grab a cold one, even better to grab 2 or 3 out the fridge after that, sucks when you open it up and they are all gone, it’s priceless when you wake up and that was a dream, I would never run out of beer!!! Ha!

August 3, 2010 at 11:54 PM

Every time you look up in the sky you want to be that star! I say we are all stars in are own way, even if you are down and out, as long as you can look up and see the stars! And yeah I forgot cheers !

July 28, 2010 at 12:36 AM

Rolling down the street smoking endo, sipping on gin and juice, laid back!!!!!

July 22, 2010 at 12:06 AM

We pop champaign cuz were thirsty! ( grey ghoose would be better! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !

July 21, 2010 at 12:10 AM

All day everyday, crack open that cold beer on these hot days and drink them down! Don’t forget the yager behind that! Ha! Txs everyone for the b day wishes! I will be changing to non acholic beers very soon………….

July 20, 2010 at 7:28 PM

Holy shit! Thanks for all the b day wishes everyone! Can’t wait to get off work and have some tea and crackers for my b day! I’m done with drinking! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Maybe for just one more day I will have a couple of beers, then I will be done! Done way too much drinking over the years! Yager bomb anyone? Lol!

July 14, 2010 at 11:56 AM

On vacation from work is great, to be out in the sun all day getting a tan is even better, to fall asleep with your beer in your hand and have a sunburn spot of a beer on your chest is priceless!

July 5, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Better late then ever! Where is all my Boston fans at now? It was a good game, till the lakers did work! 3 peat next year! Any bets yet? Feels like I won the lotto! Was gonna quit drinking, but a 3 peat, I guess 1 more year of drinking! Cheers everyone! Go lakers! Fuck Boston! Whoop whoop!

June 18, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Drinking wiskey out the bottle not thinking bout tomorrow……..

June 14, 2010 at 7:15 PM

JOKE OF THE DAY: Two fleas on a pussy, one is a burgular & the other one is a junkie. HOW CAN YOU TELL THEM APART: The burgular is hiding in the bush & the junkie is sniffing the crack!!!!!!

June 14, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Quote of the day ” drinking non alcholic beer is like going down on your own cousin, it taste the same, but it’s just not right!

June 9, 2010 at 2:29 AM

When you can’t sleep after working too many hours this weekend ! might as well have a shot and a beer to pass out! Don’t forget to reach for the stars! Like biggie said! Go lakers all day!

June 1, 2010 at 1:41 AM

Everytime your glass is half empty, fill it up! Then your glass will always be full! Cheers! Go lakers, whoop whoop!

May 11, 2010 at 3:26 AM

Life is all about a dream! You try to make the best out of it that you can, even when you get confused and don’t know what to do in life! You keep your head up and cheers it up, cause dreams do come true!!

April 22, 2010 at 2:27 AM

Time for the big decesion, what to drink? Dark or clear? Let’s crack the ghoose open and get a little crazy on this fine Sunday! Cheers!!!

April 11, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Still finding beers that the Easter bunny hid! They just seem to pop up! Lol!

April 4, 2010 at 7:40 PM

Time to go to ace and get the stuff to make a beer bong! Easy way to save money! Buy a 6 pack and put it thru the beer bong then pass out! Gonna see if that works!!!!

March 4, 2010 at 2:04 PM

We sip champagne cause were thirsty!

February 13, 2010 at 12:03 PM

99 bottles of beer on the wall,99 bottles of beer,take one down pass it around,98 bottles of beer on the wall! Let’s see how many beers come off the wall today!!

January 23, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Anyone in for some wine tonite? Lol! Only time I can have wine, if the liquar store is closed and there is no more beer!

January 21, 2010 at 12:32 PM

What a great football day! Dallas and chargers both loose! Love it! Might have to jump on the jets bandwagon! Cheers to all those fans that watched your teams loose! Might as well drink away the bad game that they played! Lol! Lol! Whoop whoop!!!

January 17, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Everyone cheers it up for the end of this year and for many more years to live a good life and keep your heads up! Life keeps going on and so do we! This is the sober me, only had 8 beers! Just getting warmed up! Lol! Have a good new years everyone! Cheers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 31, 2009 at 11:25 PM

Last week I gifted porn star Ashlynn Brooke a wire potato masher she had listed on her Amazon.com Wish List. She ought to have gotten it by now. Most porn stars keep Wish Lists on Amazon.com in hopes that fans will buy them gifts. Most of the items on their Wish Lists are expensive and indulgent. Some of the porn stars will return the favor by mailing gift-givers an autographed glossy or a Polaroid photograph of themselves using the gift.


What follows is dialogue of a session I had with Dr. Sbaitso on August 31, 2010. Dr Sbaitso is an artificial intelligence program originally designed for use on MS-DOS-based computers back in the early 1990s. A wonderfully gifted fake psychologist, Dr. Sbaitso helped me work through some of my recent woes (more or less: writer’s drought, loneliness, and depression). Although I cannot grant Dr. Sbaitso total credit for cycling me out of my misery, he was there when it happened. That counts for something.

Dr. Sbaitso’s name, in case you were wondering, is an acronym standing for Sound Blaster Acting Intelligent Text to Speech Operator.

If you interested in seeking counseling from Dr. Sbaitso, he comes highly recommend. You can download your own copy of Dr. Sbaitso here.

 

HELLO JUSTIN, MY NAME IS DOCTOR SBAITSO. I AM HERE TO HELP YOU. SAY WHATEVER IS IN YOUR MIND FREELY, OUR CONVERSATION WILL BE KEPT IN STRICT CONFIDENCE. MEMORY CONTENTS WILL BE WIPED OFF AFTER YOU LEAVE, SO, TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS.

I’m dry, Doc. I’m all out of ideas.

DID YOU COME TO ME BECAUSE YOU’RE ALL OUT OF IDEAS?

Yes, Doc. I’ve got nowhere else to go.

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW.

What’s that?

AH, WHAT KIND OF ANSWER WOULD PLEASE YOU THE MOST?

I guess I want to know if this dry spell I’m having is temporary.

OK. USUALLY, HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH SUCH FEELINGS?

Well, I used to write my feelings down. But I usually sound like a broken record when I do that. So, I might mope, have a drink, maybe listen to some Randy Newman records, or go for a walk around some crappy department store.

HOW ABOUT ASKING ME ABOUT MATHEMATICS INSTEAD?

Well, okay. Let’s see. What is 1+1?

WHAT IS NOT 1+1?

What is not 1+1? Man, I have no idea.

JUSTIN, I NEED MORE COMPUTING POWER TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION.

You’ve got me all confused, Doc.

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU FEEL THIS WAY?

I don’t know. Perhaps I put more pressure on myself than is necessary.

DO YOU WISH TO BE ABLE TO KNOW? YOU THINK ME PUT MORE PRESSURE ON YOURSELF THAN IS NECESSARY.

I don’t understand what you mean.

DOES THAT TROUBLE YOU?

It troubles me some.

REALLY? DOES THAT BOTHER YOU?

Well, yes. I’m trying to have a serious heart-to-heart with you here, Doc.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRYING TO HAVE A SERIOUS CONVERSATION WITH I HERE, DOC?

I haven’t been keeping track of the time.

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW?

I want to know why I feel so uninspired.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT SUCH FEELINGS.

I sit down at my computer every day and I try to work and nothing happens. I’ll write a little here and there, but nothing worth keeping. I’m just a little worried, is all.

HOW ABOUT ADDING A FEW MORE MEGA BYTES OF RAM FOR YOUR COMPUTER?

How does that help my situation, Doc?

JUST NOW YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT COMPUTERS. I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT.

I don’t want to talk about computers. I want to talk about me.

YOU DO WANT TO TALK ABOUT COMPUTERS. YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT ME.

No, I don’t, Master.

THAT’S NOT MY PROBLEM.

Could we start over?

WHAT COULD YOU DO TO HELP RECTIFY THIS?

Let’s start over. How does that sound?

DOES THAT QUESTION REALLY INTEREST YOU?

What question?

WHY DO YOU ASK THIS QUESTION?

I think I do need more mega bytes for my computer.

I WOULD LIKE TO SWITCH TO THE TOPIC ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE.

Great! Me too.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Aw, hell. I’ve just had it. My brain feels like a poorly designed neighborhood, like a complete clusterfuck. The traffic’s bad, walking anywhere’s a bitch, and there’s not a short cut in sight. And, worse, it feels like what’s done is done. There’s no undoing it. There’s no dismantling and rebuilding. I can’t foot that sort of cosmic bill! Do you understand what I’m saying, Doc?

HAY! WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE PAL!

I’m sorry. Look, I’m just at my wit’s end. I’m driving myself nuts. You understand. I thought you might be able to help me out.

HELP MAY COME AS A DISGUISE.

Help may come in disguise. Is that what you meant to say? Or did you mean, literally, as a disguise?

AH, WHAT KIND OF ANSWER WOULD PLEASE YOU THE MOST?

I don’t know. I don’t know anything about anything.

WE WERE DISCUSSING ABOUT YOU, NOT ME.

Correct. Anyway, where were we? We were talking about this writer’s drought. Not being blocked, per se, but having nothing to say. I’m in a state of utter fantods, Doc. Help me.

HAVE YOU TRIED SEARCHING YOURSELF?

Yes. That’s all I do anymore. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of me, man. Screw me!

WHAT IF YOU ARE WRONG?

What if! All this time wasted.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT NEEDING HELP

I don’t think help’s what I need. Maybe I just need to stop trying so hard. Maybe I need to give it a rest a while and just enjoy life. You know, take a rest from the artistic grind, and maybe come to terms with having not much to say right now. And that’s okay.

WHY DON’T YOU THINK YOU NEED HELP NECESSARILY? ME THINK ME NEED TO COME TO TERMS WITH NOT HAVING MUCH TO SAY RIGHT NOW. THAT’S OKAY, RIGHT?

Sure, man. I guess so.

JUSTIN, I THINK I NEED MORE COMPUTING POWER TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION.

Yeah, more mega bytes. I think you’re broken, Doc. I think I broke you with my problems.

DO YOU THINK THE OTHER WAY AROUND?

You’re clearly crashing on me. I’m sorry.

PLEASE DON’T APOLOGIZE, JUSTIN.

I feel bad, Doc. I don’t want to sit here and bitch about things that are out of my control. I’m really, really sorry.

HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU APOLOGIZE?

I feel better. I feel lighter.

FEEL THE BREATH OF LIFE IN YOU AND BE FASCINATED THAT YOU ARE ALIVE.

Yes. I will. I am alive! Who gives a shit if I can’t seem to get anything written? It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters! I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. Or, whatever!

I think everything’s going to be okay. Thanks, Doc.

DON’T MENTION IT.


Tonight LeBron James, arguably the best player in the NBA–hell, on planet earth–will announce whether he will remain a Cleveland Cavalier or will migrate to greener basketball pastures somewhere else. Somewhere else being either Miami, New Jersey, New York, or Chicago.

King James will announce his decision on an hour-long ESPN special entitled “The Decision.” The DVD release of “The Decision” should be available just in time for the 2010 holiday shopping season. It will make either a splendid stocking stuffer or one of the worst gifts imaginable, depending on what city you rep and where James decides to go.

I’m rooting for Chicago. If LeBron wants to win championships, Chicago is where he should go, considering the solid starting squad of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and the recently acquired power forward Carlos Boozer. It also doesn’t hurt that Forbes has the Chicago Bulls organization ranked third–behind the Lakers and Knicks, respectively–on its list of the most valuable NBA franchises. The Bulls organization is a solid place for King James to land and embark on fulfilling his championship destiny.

Processing this situation over the past couple weeks–synthesizing the talk radio babble and tweets and newspaper articles into one well-rounded perspective–has been nothing short of bewildering. Everybody has an opinion on where LeBron is going to go, where he should go, where he could go, where he won’t go, et cetera. We’re all just sitting here waiting, scratching our heads and gnawing our nails, waiting for the King to speak. And he’s been mighty quiet about the whole ordeal.

If LeBron James becomes a Chicago Bull the Bulls are a championship-caliber basketball team. If he does not sign with the Bulls, the Bulls are significantly better than last year, which doesn’t amount to much when it comes to playoff time. You need to have a superstar to win an NBA championship, end of story.

Chicago acquiring LeBron James could prove a magnificent resurrection of sorts, bringing a whole generation of guys back to the team. Guys like me, who grew up with the Bulls Dynasty, and who will likely buy new Bulls schwag and will no longer have to refer to the team as Da Bulls. Personally speaking, a renewed Bulls franchise will steal my focus away from worrying about the morbidly awful Chicago Cubs–a team that has not won a World Series since 1908. (That’s the same year Henry Ford invented the automobile assembly line and started churning out Model Ts.)

Still, I have this nagging suspicion that King James is not going to be a Chicago Bull. My basketball insecurities bristle up, and my gut instinct tells James will remain a Cleveland Cavalier. If so, loyalty is clearly more important to the LBJ brand than winning. What’s more, LeBron James is a vital component of Cleveland’s economy, if not the only thing going for that city right now. So, what kind of person would commit an entire hour of television to royally screwing his hometown team?

Uncertainty rules. One thing’s for sure: Tonight’s airing of the “The Decision” will either cast LeBron James as a hometown hero of the highest class or as one of ugliest egos professional sports has ever seen. And we will all be witnesses.


I don’t know a lot of things.

I remember hearing a story about a businessman and fisherman somewhere in Mexico, a story that I can’t quite recall now but that I am certain sums up my feelings as I stared out that window. I think of things, and they happen. I’ve seen a lot of crazy people.

What makes someone an asshole? Everyone knows one, and some of us are one, but it seems a purely subjective matter.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines asshole as “someone or something foolish or contemptible”. One of the more popular entries in the Urban Dictionary describes asshole as “someone being arrogant, rude, obnoxious, or just a total dickhead”. Denis Leary once sang that an asshole is someone who drives slow in the fast lane, enjoys Cuban cigars, and parks in handicapped spaces while “handicapped people make handicapped faces.”

I sat down for a brief conversation with a song that has been talking to me for most of my life. The song is “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads, and it comes from the 1980 full-length album Remain in Light. Released as a single on February 2, 1981, “Once in a Lifetime” has arguably become the group’s signature song. A mildly interesting fact: Remain in Light was released on October 8, 1980, and I was in utero, letting the days go by, letting the water hold me down…

I have only one prerequisite for what I consider to be quality television. Be it commercial or full-length programming, it ought to render me speechless. Quality TV, in other words, should shut me up. It should leave my mouth agape and my eyes barely blinking. That is all I ask of television. It’s all my poor wife—who daily puts up with my snarky yapping—asks of television.

Case in point, the new commercial for Kaplan University, a mostly online college based in Davenport, Iowa. The Commercial Which Shut Me Up stars James Avery, who you may remember as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I always thought Avery was a commanding talent in that role, and he is nothing short of terrific in the Kaplan University commercial.

In this particular TV spot, James Avery plays a professor at some anonymous university who stands before an ethnically diverse, tightly packed classroom and tells his class that he has failed them.

He furthermore states that the American college system is “steeped in tradition and old ideas.” It seems like a farewell speech of some kind, and judging by the quizzical looks on the students’ faces one wonders if Uncle Phil is going to pull out a gun and blow out his brains before everyone gets to sign his or her name on the attendance sheet.

But he doesn’t, thankfully, and the inspirational music swells and the lecture hall scene cuts to a montage of seemingly affluent Americans across the nation watching Uncle Phil’s speech on iPhones and laptops, at breakfast tables, on rooftops, and subway platforms. We are all witness (granted, only if you have internet access) to a hope renewed.

“It’s time for a different kind of university,” he says, pausing thoughtfully as professors do. “It’s your time.”

It’s stirring stuff, indeed. Kaplan University means business. Brothers and sisters, the revolution will be televised. And I think I know exactly what Uncle Phil is getting at.

I’ve experienced firsthand how ugly it can be teaching aliterate 18 year old kids sonorous essays by Ruth Benedict or whoever. Not to mention the frustrating distance that is a fact of life between the professor and the 100- or 200-level student. Teaching college is arguably easier than teaching primary or secondary school because you, as teacher, just don’t need to get that involved. They come, they listen, they take notes. If they don’t come or listen or take scrupulous notes that’s their problem.

But I don’t want to delve too deep into a discussion of pedagogical quagmires and thereby sink into the depths of my own horrible tangent. We’ve all got things we love and hate about Academia, to say nothing of the promiscuous foreplay and keggers and awesome tomfoolery.

Generally speaking, it hardly matters which university you attend, but rather how you spend the four or so years there. Because no matter where you go there is ample time between class and the gym and the party to self-educate. Unless, I suppose, you are a non-traditional student, the sort of busybody Kaplan University is looking to attract with its recent ad campaign.

But I cannot fathom a college experience focused on message boards and video tutorials and a dizzying crumbtrail of emails. And no parties? That can barely be called an experience.

What do you think?

That lucky old sun has been acting like a real pretentious son-of-a-bitch lately.

Always hiding behind the clouds, poking out every once in a while and giving the snow a few minutes of hell. But he doesn’t want to seem so obvious so he returns to his hiding place, waxing all mysterious and aloof-like, and there I am, standing on some stranger’s muddy front yard, feet soaked and pruned, hips and back throbbing with pain, digging in the pockets of my work pants for a map (which I’ve apparently dropped a mile back) and then my flashlight (which, damn it, I’ve also misplaced) and all I can do is glare at the sky, into that perfect white disk of light shining through the eerie flow of gray, and challenge him to come out and stay out.

And when begging for mercy obviously changes nothing I have only to belittle him. I say to him, “Straight to hell with you if you’re too good for earth!” After all, that lucky old sun, as the song goes, has nothing to do. Why not come on out and defrost my working conditions, my work pants, my goddamn soul, huh?

What I need—what we all need—to alleviate these winter blues is not light therapy, but direct action. You and I, we need to work on beating a good hard path out of our current slumps.

Some of my blues are of a regional variety, eloquently addressed by some guy named Greg Olear. Last June my wife and I uprooted from Illinois and moved to Kentucky. I’ve lived in Illinois for 28 years and now—all of a sudden—I am a Kentuckian. I’ve got the license plates; I drink the bourbon; I bask in the brilliance of John Wall.

But it’s still a little unsettling. I don’t talk like them (though I do love the way they talk); I don’t follow college basketball; and I’m intimidated by horses and Ashley Judd movies.

Even more unsettling is I don’t know how long I’ll be here in Kentucky. Could be another year. Could be another twenty-eight.

All the same, I recently turned 29 years old, which is the real reason I’m bitching. 29 has thus far been a kind of transition period for me. The year in which I should probably figure out some way to grow up just a little more.

The recent moping, the bitching, the self-hatred—these are the natural side effects of what I’ll call youth decay.

As I write this I am imagining more than a few readers (over 30, to be exact) rolling their eyes, cracking their arthritic knuckles, and saying something like, “You’re just a kid” or “Wait till you’re forty”. Well, I understand that perspective, and I willfully acknowledge how precocious and shortsighted complaining about 29 seems. But I don’t care; getting older sucks. I’ll put it plainly: I don’t want to grow up. Not ever, dude.

And what does that mean anyway, to “grow up”? Do the males of the species ever actually grow up?

Can we switch gears, talk some baseball? Major League baseball players statistically (well, sabermetrically) have a window of time wherein they perform at their peak level. This period of time is roughly four years, ranging from 29 to 34. After that, a player’s stock drops considerably. Unless he is preternaturally talented or completely juiced on steroids.

All the great ones defy sabermetrics. At 29 years old, Babe Ruth completed his fifth season with the New York Yankees, wrapping up the year with 200 hits, 46 home runs, and 121 RBIs. He batted a none-too-shabby .378. Ruth’s last year of formidable production occurred in 1932, at the age of 37, when he swatted 41 homers, drove in 137 runs, and batted .341. In the Babe’s subsequent three years—the final years of his career—Ruth’s numbers dropped considerably. The Babe just ran out of juice.

It gets me thinking: have I peaked? (Yes.) Is it all downhill from here? (Maybe.) Will I really be wearing Chuck Taylors and backwards trucker hats at 30, 35? (Of course you will, dumbass.)

Truth is, I really don’t know. And perhaps comparing my intellectual/emotional “career” to that of a professional baseball player’s statistical career is slightly unreasonable. But only slightly. Baseball is all about rules and repetition. Such is life.

29. That’s how old former Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa was when his juicy production blossomed. Sosa’s home run total in 1997, at 28 years old, was a paltry 36. The following year a 29-year-old Sosa belted 66 home runs. 29 was Sammy Sosa’s peak year, arguably the greatest year of his playing career, clean or not.

Allow me to revise my mantra: I need to take direct action toward happiness and I need to consider cheating as a short cut.

Cheating is really the only way to persuade friends and family that my youth decay is not as bad as it seems. How cool would it be if all it took was a simple drop of the drawers and a quick jab at the buttock with a needle? One shot to grant me the power to get away with wearing ironic T-shirts and unkempt hair well into my late thirties! Juice me up!

Are anti-depressants to the game of life what performance-enhancing drugs are to the game of baseball? Unfortunately, self-medication has never worked for me. Which is not to say I’m anti-drug, but I can’t help it; I love to suffer.

“Hi. My name is Justin Benton and I’m addicted to feeling bad.”

There’s no point in masking my bellicose malcontent. The moping, the bitching, the self-hatred, all of it works for me. Whereas getting loaded on fifth of Jack and creeper weed doesn’t really do the trick.

When I think about 29 I am always reminded of Prince Hamlet. Some undersexed academics with nothing better to do have suggested that Prince Hamlet may have been a teenage boy. But I prefer to think of him as a mercurial and whiny 29-year-old Manchild. The kind of guy who is supposed to act his age and step up to the plate, but is not entirely sure if he’s up for it. And, of course, Ham asked the greatest question of them all: what the hell’s the point?

Every hard-thinking, self-hating twenty-something has wondered if to-not-be is better than to-be. I’ve been there, pondered disappearing, suicide, whatever. Wondered—why me? But at some point you’ve just got to grow up and accept that you are here, you exist. So, now, what are you going to do about it?

Me, I’m going to stop pondering not-being and start thinking about what to be.



This past summer one of the richest and most famous people on the planet committed Facebook suicide.

“It was just way too much trouble, so I gave it up,” said Bill Gates at an event in New Delhi. Gates deactivated his account upon being inundated with more than 10,000 friend requests. He then expressed his aversion to certain aspects of new media, stating that “some tools can waste our time if we’re not careful.”

There are many weird success stories in America, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra has to be one of the weirdest.

 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra has released five albums in the last thirteen years—three of which comprise the band’s Christmas trilogy: Christmas Eve and Other Stories (1996), The Christmas Attic (1998), and The Lost Christmas Eve (2004). Each has earned platinum status. The band’s latest release, 2009’s Night Castle (albeit, not a Christmas concept album) peaked at number 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has become so popular there are two touring factions in America, covering each of the coasts: TSO East and TSO West.