A Two-Way Mirror of Events

People like me, that have a life desire of pursuing the near infinite answers of the universe, often sit bored on the couch or in front of the computer on Google and think like a philosopher, wondering about the alternative, parallel side of father time, where events in history took a different path. Bizarre scenarios such as one where the United States doesn’t even exist or where humans have built spacecraft in the 1800s and colonized on Mars.

So in the midst of time it is always nice to think…

What if?

This is the type of question that the world begs to know the answer to but, sadly,will probably never find the answer to, unless we can find a Doc Brown who can supe up an old station wagon with a Flux capacitor. Which, to tell you the truth, is not worth the effort. If time travel were possible, wouldn’t it have already been invented, in the future? We should have people from the future in our time right now, telling us of events to come, helping us avoid tragedies. And if they are here, they sure haven’t helped the world much seeing that all of the what ifs we bring up haven’t been reversed,for better or worse. It’s kind of like asking Santa for that toy you’ve always wanted but never getting it at Christmas, even if he does promise you. And let’s be honest, there is no man in a red suit traveling to millions of houses in 140 countries dropping into random peoples houses in the middle of the night to deliver rather expensive presents that are seen on the shelves of Wal-Mart and other stores year round. Even Superman couldn’t do that. Shoot, I just ruined Christmas for a bunch of kids…oh,well…they need to be taught young.

Okay, enough of my ranting. Here are some frequently asked about what if scenarios and my best answers as to what would happen, leading to the present day:  

If the attacks on the twin towers on 9/11/2001 had been avoided…

Pro: About three thousand lives would have been spared and the kids today would still have living family members and friends.

Pro: George W. Bush’s presidency wouldn’t have been remembered as so much of a joke but the man could have been respected and even gotten to speak at the 2012 Republican convention (where he was heavily shied away).

Con: America wouldn’t have beefed up security at airports and elsewhere and wouldn’t have been more prepared and aware against future attacks.

Con: Bin Laden would still be out there, America unaware of his devious plans, probably cooking up something even more destructive seeing that his “master plan” had been defeated.

Con: America would sink into total destruction and nuclear fallout, with severely mutated humans and animals (according to an episode of Family Guy).  

If John F. Kennedy had not been assassinated or Lee Harvey 

Oswald was caught in the act…

Pro: JFK would definitely have been reelected to another term, but…

Con: The Civil Rights Act wouldn’t have been put into action by Lyndon B. Johnson, making it quite tougher for blacks to win the racial movement (and JFK was not for equal rights).

Pro: The Vietnam War might have ended sooner.  

If Abraham Lincoln had cancelled his trip to the Ford theater on that fatal night and was still alive…

Pro: Lincoln would have gone on to teaching as a professor at a college after his presidency.

Pro: He would have likely lived into his 80s.

Pro: As a mentor, Lincoln would have stayed in the White House with his son Robert.  

Con: He would have wanted to ship the slaves back to Africa or to a small remote island, taking an emotional stand for the blacks being his strategy to win the people’s approval all along and to keep the Civil War under control.

If the Titanic had cleared the iceberg and not sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic…

Pro: The passengers, especially the steerage, would have gone onto America to live their hopes and dreams and find good paying jobs

Pro: Many of the well accomplished would have continued in their fields and gotten more fame, such as John Jacob Astor IV. Some of these people could have had fledgling businesses over in America, that might have continued on today

Pro: Perhaps the ship could have been sailed again and could have survived to this day and be put into a museum, fully intact

Pro: I wouldn’t have sat through a pointless 3D version of the film.

Con: Obviously, there wouldn’t have been a movie about the disaster, and we might not have heard of Leonardo DiCaprio for that matter.

If the Challenger space shuttle had not broken apart, and had successfully gone into space…

Pro: The teacher/astronaut Christa McAuliffe would have been celebrated for being the first teacher in space, not mourned for the loss of her.

Pro: NASA would have taken the developmental successes of Challenger and have applied them to future space shuttles

Pro: There wouldn’t have been a 32 month hiatus between missions, maybe allowing for another mission (possibly to the moon again?).

Con: Since there would have been no disaster, NASA wouldn’t have known how to react against possible future failures and wouldn’t have known what works and what doesn’t.

If the Internet existed a long, long time ago (Jesus’ time perhaps?)…

Pro: What we think we know now we would know for certain (If Ben Frankin really did fly a kite in a thunderstorm or if it was Christopher Columbus who first discovered the land that was to be called America.)

Pro: Things could have been done a lot quicker and efficiently, such as searching on Google for how to treat infections (not bleeding them out)

Con: People’s privacy and freedom would have been severely limited, especially back in the days of powerful empires. No one could have hid and the most powerful figures could have controlled and influenced people over the Internet in ways unimaginable for those days.

If dinosaurs had not gone extinct (damn you, meteorites or whatever did it)…

Pro: We could do more research on the dinosaurs and find ways to breed different types, leading to scientific advancements but…

Con: We surely wouldn’t be living like we are now because dinosaurs would have us literally backed up into a corner and…

Con: Other mammals (such as us) couldn’t have evolved and wouldn’t even exist  

If Steve Bartman had kept his hands to himself in 2003…

Pro: The Cubs would have been 4 outs away from the Promise Land.

Con: They would have made it to the World Series against the New York Yankees, but the curse would still have rung true with the Cubs being overwhelming over matched. Yankees win series 4-1 and Bartman is still unknown.

These are basically edumucated guesses, and rather pointless, but it is fun to paint a picture of an alternate history where everything is turned upside down. And until some crazy scientist comes up with a way to travel back in time we will never know for certain whether Galileo was smoking weed while gazing at the stars or if curiosity did kill the cat.

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Zombies for President

It is the year 2109, the world has sunk into disarray and destruction. The zombie apocalypse has taken over, destroying nearly a third of the Earth’s population. Left behind are soulless, flesh-eating creatures that mindlessly roam the streets in search of brains, human kinds being the specialty. The few that were lucky to survive the outbreak have been forced to board up their houses, carry weapons, and stockpile as much food as possible. Learning how to defend oneself against a zombie attack is the key to surviving in this wretched world. Hope for a cure is small, super expensive, and highly unlikely.

Does this sound familiar to you? It’s the typical way in which the zombie apocalypse is pictured. Zombies are usually thought of as vile, disgusting things that never sleep, move with a shuffling style unless agitated and can only speak with moans and groans. These zombies are ruthless and anyone that crosses their paths unarmed is in for a real fight.

Of course, everyone knows zombies are not real and the chances of a huge zombie outbreak happening are minimal. First of all, and I got this from a documentary, a major zombie outbreak like the ones described in many television shows and movies would require such a lethal amount of viral infection, the likes that have never been seen anywhere on Earth. The documentary said the only virus that could possibly spread and infect billions in a small amount of time is a highly modified rabies virus, and even then it would still be very unlikely since a normal virus takes a few hours to days to incubate. A normal rabies virus takes a few hours to run its course on one human body, most of the time ending in death, and spreading to not just one but billions of people quickly to create a major zombie population would be highly unlikely, but not impossible if the rabies virus existed in many countries at once. The zombie population would have to survive long enough for humans to really feel like there was a challenge on their hands, not one that can be wiped out so easily. Also, to create a zombie some portion of the brain has to be retriggered from the disease, leading to a dead body that is basically a walking shell of its former self running on minimal brain power. It would sort of be like stripping a computer of all the main programs and files that make it work and leaving only the most basic things like a calculator and a place to write in codes. Not much to live on, eh?

So, what if zombies were possible? Would they be just like the ones portrayed in pop culture or would they be, shall I say it, more human-like ? What if they weren’t the kind that feasted on humans, but were just misunderstood creatures? Zombies are basically dead bodies reanimated with only the most basic brain functions still available

English: A zombie
English: A zombie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(walk, eat, make incomprehensible sounds). So what if the zombies could somehow learn things and return to human form, living normal lives again, like being resurrected?

The movie Warm Bodies showed the journey of a zombie that was half-human and, unlike his dead counterparts, found love on the street, and came “back to life” with this person. Warm Bodies tells the story of how the once flesh-hungry zombies turned into functioning people again with emotional connections to one another. It was one of the first “zombie romances” I had ever seen, completely flipping the zombie genre on its head and spinning it around a few times, crashing it into a wall. Of course, zombies are sub-dead human beings, so how can they speak English and have emotions and attractions when those traits are supposed to have been long gone? They can’t just come back just because a zombie looks at himself in the mirror or sees two people holding hands. It’s a comedy/drama, I know, but some things were so farfetched. Zombies don’t have full control over their muscles so how could R, the lead character, move the needle for the record player, open the door to the plane, or even drive a car? Again, it’s a comedy and shouldn’t be taken seriously. It’s based on a book and I imagine the writer was simply trying to put zombies into a different light because, believe it or not, they were once humans like you and me. Did I mention the film was hilarious by the way?

Anyways, if people really could come back to life as zombies, maybe they could live among us, just with different needs and styles of living. Maybe the virus that makes them zombies wouldn’t make them so much like monsters but more like a person that came back from the dead to start a new life. If we could somehow speak to these zombies and make them understand, maybe they could be taught how to speak again and learn things. They could eat the same things as us, and do the same fun activities,developing that human part of their brain that had been lost. Or maybe…the zombie could be like a pet dog or cat, and roam around the house keeping us company, doing things a regular pet would do. We could even take the zombie out for a walk once in a while. I’m just speculating, ha ha.

If I was a zombie I would feel, if possible, very angry at the way my kind have been treated even if we have to be shot down because we get out of hand. I would be thinking, “Damn, these humans think they so big and bad and they treat us like garbage, they deserve our revolt against them”. I would tell all the other zombies to stand up for themselves and at least prepare a little better against human attacks (wear some body armor or head masks or find a way to carry and use firearms).

If zombies had their own country, they would want equal rights just like everyone else. They would like to hoist their own national flag to praise and honor. They would like to watch their own TV shows and listen to their own zombie music (if groans and moans could be made into a tune). Instead of Hollywood, there would be Zombiewood where famous zombie movie stars and the like hang out at exclusive clubs and parties. Instead of zombies being the villains in every film about them, in Zomb they would be the things everyone is rooting for! The humans would be the enemies and what a great way to turn the tables. You know the video game Plants vs. Zombies? Well, in this case, it would Zombies vs. Plants since the zombies would be the heroes being controlled by the player. Different customizations and items could be unlocked to build an army of anti-plant fighting creatures. Other video games could follow this same path, where the villains are now the heroes and vice versa.

Plants vs. Zombies
Plants vs. Zombies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What about zombie politics? Every four years or so there would be an election for the next zombie President or whatever the leader would be called. Or maybe there wouldn’t a true leader and it would be a free for all, do whatever you want country.

Imagine zombies having their own sports teams to root and play for. Like the Corpsetown Zombies or Hellside Undead. They could participate in the Olympics too and would probably win a lot because all the real human competitors would get scared and run away – except the ones with shotguns!

If zombies had their own dance it might be called the Creepy Shuffle or Graveyard Step. Hey, there’s a new kind of music in town, it’s called Dead Rock! I would so be a fan of the sensational Deadman Balmer or the hit band Zombies at War. The living dead would have their own Zombipolooza where all the top undead acts come together to groan and moan in celebration of a great day of music.

And I almost forgot the fashion industry, if zombies ever had any interest in that sort of thing. Just imagine a zombie shuffling into a store and grunting at the owner that he wants to buy that new tattered, blood stained shirt on sale. Who cares about money in Zomb? If the zombie doesn’t get what it wants it will just eat the thing standing in its way!

I know, this is all silly talk and not realistic but it’s still fun to think that zombies could have their own culture and society if they were ever smart enough to have one. Zombies should have a chance to be the good guys, er…once in a while at least.

So sign the petition today to give zombies equal rights! It will benefit the world in great ways and help cut down that dividing wall between the living, the living dead, the living masquerading as dead, the dead, the not-so-dead, the some-what dead, the deader-than-dead, and the deader-than-door nails kind of dead.

Zombies: Support the Cause!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Fun Platform.”

If you were the new leader of your country and had the chance to transform something that’s currently an annoyance (or worse) into a very fun activity, what would it be? How would you go about the change, and why would you choose that particular thing?

The Elephant in the Room

You may have heard of the idiom ‘elephant in the room’, used to describe a controversial situation or problem that everyone knows about but does not want to discuss or acknowledge, for particular reasons. The meaning probably originates from the fact that an elephant in a room would take up so much space that it would be impossible to miss, even under a blanket. Though everyone knows the elephant is there they don’t want to mention it to stay out of an unwanted discussion that could be risky.

One example was tonight: Charles’ alarm went off at two in the morning and it continued constantly for about 20 minutes until Sandy got the nerve to go turn it off. It was an elephant in the room for a while because no one was acknowledging that the alarm was going off, even if they were trying to get some sleep and it was loud as fuck. It became very apparent at 2:10 am when it was still going. I began to think that Charles doesn’t have the sense to turn it off or is too fast asleep to even notice it. I just wanted to go into the room and turn off the damn thing for him.

Beep beep…beep beep…beep beep…the same monotonous tone over and over again, like a heartbeat only louder. It would be a great torture test. Lock a person up in a padded room with the annoying alarm going constantly also along with nonstop Justin Bieber music. It would surely drive them insane.

My next thought was that there was no one in the room but where would Charles go at this time of night? I knew my mom was surely at work so there could only be one person responsible for this ruckus in the wee hours of the day.

How about I just go knock on the door to get his attention? It wouldn’t be rude since everyone else is trying to sleep and it makes sense to take care of the situation.

I guess it would be a great way for someone to sleep; it could put them in a dream state.

Is Charles trying to set the Guinness World Record for longest continued alarm clock beeping?

Finally, Sandy, who was sleeping right within earshot of the noise, finally had enough and went to turn off the alarm. Problem solved. No big deal and it isn’t remembered the next day.

Some better examples of the elephant in the room idiom:

There was some road kill on the side of the highway today as we were driving by. It just lies there and even though it’s apparent to everyone, no one is going to mention it because it’s disgusting and not worth bringing up. There are far more better things to talk about than a dead deer on the shoulder pass.

At the university library one day, someone was printing off about 500 copies of a large picture of Peter Griffin, in between important schoolwork papers and such. Though a lot of students and faculty saw the Family Guy character bright as day as it was shooting out of the printer constantly, it was passed off as such as they searched for their own papers within the mess.

That hideous green shade of wallpaper you just put up in the house? Everyone knows it hideous, you just realized its hideous, but since it was so difficult to put up no one is going to argue or say anything and figures to just let it be.

The fat guy at the China Buffet that takes the saying “All you can eat” literally? He’s been there for hours and the staff knows it, though they aren’t going to be discriminating and rude to the man by asking him to leave. They just wait until closing time when the buffet line is shut down and the man is forced to go home, watching in horror as the man eats everything AND the kitchen sink.

The Elephant in the Room has many cultural references. It is seen in politics, movies, TV shows, music, books, and other forms of media. All hail the elephant.

One example of its use in comedy involves someone who has on some ridiculous, outlandish clothes that are noticeable in a group of people who are all dressing formally. The man walks around the town in these clothes, people look at him and the man acts as if there is nothing unusual about his outfit. He walks into his office job, and everyone sees his outfit, do not ask why he’s wearing such ridiculous clothes, and eventually they just go back to their normal routines. The guy goes to the company meeting and sits down, clearly out of place with the business suits, but everyone acts as if this is a normal thing and greet the man in the same professional manner as anyone else there. Of course the people at home watching the show would be cracking up but the business people keep straight faces and continue on with their work.

The sitcom ‘The Office’ has a great habit of employing the elephant in the room idiom. Such as when, right after Michael Scott (Steve Carell) had left the show, and a replacement was being looked for, everyone is lying or sleeping on their desks or the floor for no known reason. No one walking around asks whats going on and leaves the viewers of the show thinking ‘What the hell?’ And of course Dwight Schrute always has his logical wisdom, of which has turned into a popular meme on the Internet.

Before I do anything I ask myself  “Would an idiot do that?” And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing. – Dwight K. Schrute

Debt is often treated as an elephant in the room.

It’s such a sticky situation that bringing it up would cause head aches. No one wants to risk being blamed for or having to take charge of it. If a company is severely in debt and is on the brink of going under most employees are going to keep quiet about the apparent problem, since addressing it usually means that it must be dealt with instead of being “swept under the rug” or left to someone else. In politics, the idiom points to Obama and everyone else in the government not panicking about the national debt problem (in the far trillions), and choose to treat it as a back-burner issue, instead focusing on spending more money on programs that they think will be beneficial to the country, putting us farther in debt. It’s pretty obvious that we can never get out of debt, unless a magical reset button is pressed and everything turns back to zero (someone please come up with this, it’s only logical).

This idiom is a fun one to talk about, as it has many possibilities in the world. In fact, I have an elephant in the room with me right now. It’s the fact that I’m writing this article to inform you of the elephant in the room idiom and provide examples but I’m actually wasting my time and life writing this and you have better things to do, but I don’t really want to confirm that belief. Or have I already?

This video on YouTube offers a great example of the elephant in the room, which actually features an elephant…in the room.

Amateur Tent-Makers

With constant reminders that we, the mix and match bunch from Michigan, will be going away for about seven days to live like village people, I have been wondering just how we are going to survive. Yes, we will have tents and lots of other gear such as bug spray and flashlights but actually living in the great outdoors without the magnetic force of a computer nearby is rare. Sure, I have been camping before, at Mystic Lake in fifth grade, but I got to stay in a nice heated cabin with electricity and a bunk bed, not lying on the ground as a huge thundercloud rages over. There was also a nice bathroom near the cabin that I visited frequently during the night. Where we are going, there won’t be those luxuries, which is a challenge I like and am ready to face. Of course, it is not going to be true wilderness – the place is going to be regulated – but being out there with nature is something a lot of people should invest part of their life in.

A lot of people waste their summer, though, sitting in front of screens playing mindless computer games or banging on plastic toy drums that sound like (censored). Of course, not everyone has a readily accessible pool right near their house that they are not responsible for keeping cleaned and maintained (which becomes such a chore that you feel like giving up and wonder why you bought the damn thing). Our Windham Hills pool is great because it provides a place for the community to cool off and relax after a hard day. It’s open to just about anyone nowadays – the check in/check out list isn’t enforced very well and there isn’t always a hired pool attendant/supervisor down there who even cares. Still, there is some control. Kids that are wild and rambunctious will be told to stop or get kicked out. I find it really annoying when a kid makes a huge cannonball jump in the water and I get the full force of the splash. There is hardly anyone of my age group down there also, since it’s mostly kids who barely know how to count and are still in the early stages of elementary school.

Most of the clan came up to the water hole today as well as the rest of the neighborhood. I like to have room to spread my arms out and do a few laps around the pool but with it looking like the Atlantic Ocean during the aftermath of the Titanic sinking I mostly stick to one spot, near my odd but loving family. Yeah, they are all misfits in their god-given ways and wouldn’t come within twenty feet of Hollywood but my folks are simple, easy to get along with, and live their life without caring what others say about it.

The Nokia girl comes back to my uncle Jack and I and reminds us that the cleaning job she was offering us is still on, albeit strangely. Its seems legit and I have been waiting for a steady paying job for sometime now. Maybe the answer lies with a woman who has a friend nicknamed Goober and swims around in a pink inner tube acting just like a little kid. Business woman…hmmm….I guess anyone can own a business these days. Is this woman serious or just psycho? I’ll see but I’m leaning more towards the latter just to be smart about it.

The sun is hot so sunscreen is a must. I try to once again get that illusive tan and am actually more successful today. Lying on the chaise lounge is relaxing. I am able to wash away my worrisome thoughts and regain focus on things I want to accomplish in my life. And one of them is definitely not getting that stupid bike of mine fixed.

Jack said he had a present for me when I got home from swimming. Like in most cases, I was like “okay, it’s probably something cheap or silly that will probably be gone in a few minutes and I won’t care about it”. But when I popped open Emily’s trunk and saw a medium sized duffel bag, Jack said it was a tent for our camping trip. Well, that’s good. I will not be forced to sleep in the same tent as Charles and mom, which would be a nightmare. We immediately went to getting the tent set up in the yard. It seemed simple at first but then trouble set in. I have never set a tent up before and getting those pesky poles upright to support the tent was difficult but not torture. With a little bit of help from Charles, the bearded man with the know-it-all attitude and technology that could rival the U.S. Government, the tent went up in no time. The result was a 10 by 8 foot tent with enough room for about four to five people, depending on size. Jack and I would have probably been out there longer if it wasn’t for Charles. He helped us fix some mistakes, like the knot in the roof I tied wrong, and gave us advice but I believe I could get the tent up by myself next time. The secret to getting the ruddy thing up was forcing the flexible poles into their foot slots when it felt like they wouldn’t budge anymore. The tent had to be moved left and right and the stakes adjusted in the ground, stretching the tent out.

Of course I wanted to sleep in the tent the first night so that’s exactly what happened, with the addition of Jack. With a few blankets and a small, uncomfortable pillow, along with my phone that I call my extended arm, I made it through my first night under the stars. I have stayed in a tent one other time in my life, up in Cheboygan while on visit to John Wrosch’s sister’s and family’s house. My sisters and I shared it since it was large enough that we didn’t have to sleep right next to each other (which would have been awkward).

It was different back then. I was thirteen and going through the tough sledding of adolescence while going to a school full of hard-knock ghetto kids who would knock you down and make you feel like the most worthless, terrible thing in the world. Now I am twenty-one and free to take on the world as I choose with no one to stand in my way and tell me I cannot do anything.

Okay, I’m being too dramatic. I’m just in a tent outside my house with the ever so talkative, spieling Jack Draffen keeping me company. It’s nice to have someone on my level, though, who I can have a conversation with without them being too overbearing. Jack has always been that way to me, a kind of friend who I can talk to whenever I want without feeling scared. We are probably the biggest goofs when it comes to things like pitching a tent, moving furniture, making a garden, fishing, playing sports, or meeting women. Whatever Jack says I usually listen to and respond with simple answers, even if I am not totally interested. We usually have simple conversations, such as one tonight where he is going on about what we need for our camping trip and the prospect of learning to fish for the first time and if we will even catch anything. He pitches in ideas and I pitch in ideas – like a tandem bicycle working towards the same goal. It’s this kind of bondmanship/team work that makes us a great pair and I would like to see that continue on but I know it will be hard since I want to move on with my life and Jack won’t be here forever. He was actually the first person that I felt comfortable having a good conversation with. Before him, I was usually confined to a shell, occasionally saying a few hellos or asking a question. I have really opened up since then and am better at conversing with anyone in general. I don’t mind Jack stating the obvious, the fact that with every piece of new technology he encounters he needs my expertise to show him how to use it, or that he needs help spelling any word in the English language longer than 4 letters. He has his quirks, like naming objects such as his radio (Chauncey) and his newer radio (Chauncey Jr.). He’s had some of the same problems as I’ve had in life – being trapped in a lonely box with no way out and no one who understands how to help you. Thankfully I got help and found a way out, and it’s been a struggle or failures and successes. From my first day of school to now being an amateur tent-maker I have learned the ropes and have experienced life. There is still a long road unwinding for me and where it takes me I will soon find out. Only I can decide that. Right now though, I am lying on the floor of a tent, listening to the wind and rain pattering the roof, the cars rumbling by, and the sound of water dripping and splattering into the mud pit we call a garden.

our mud pit is not exactly like this but close