2016: Year of the Wheel

2016: Year of the Wheel

The grinding wheel of American politics has once again turned towards the primary season. A time where hopeful politicos start burning through piles of cash in an attempt to whip the the fervor and fury of base supporters in arbitrarily important states. The media, smelling blood and gristle, begin their rise from the depths and charge up to a quadrennial feeding frenzy.

This year isn’t all that different, except that everything is different. Everything except for the media, that is. They’re still thrashing around in the red water, giddy at their own incompetence and sway. What is different, what will and is changing everything, are the two possible dark horses, Sanders and Trump. And while I understand the challenge and folly of making any direct comparisons between the two, but there is one real truth behind their rise, and possible victories… the electorate is becoming a fractured steamroller, ready to smooth out the tar of the broken political class. Sander’s popularity comes from the rejection of a broken system of bank schemes and play favor for favor politics. And, to some degree, the millennial imagination, which is a bit frightening in it’s own right.

Now, I don’t want to play my hand on my own personal politics too heavily, but in the interest of full disclosure, I would be happy to vote for an unholy hybrid of Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul. But that’s not what what we have this year (or likely to have anytime soon). What we do have is one long term senator, who I fully believe is probably one of the more sincerest politicians in operation. Then there is the daddy-made, self-branded rich guy, whose popularity is partly a combination of the direct and overshot reaction to the silly, annoying, and disingenuous PC crowd and whatever is left of the rag tag tea party groups. That and the normalization of the abomination known as reality television culture. Of course there are a handful of republicans wondering what in the world just happened and Hillary Clinton, who must be spinning with deja vu.

Enough words have already or will be written, dissecting what his election means, but I’m a bit more interested in what it will mean. It seems there are three possible scenarios that could play out. Trump wins, just south of half the electorate refuses to recognize him as president. If Sanders wins, a bit less than half the electorate panics. If Clinton or a not Trump wins (the primary), large scale dissent within the party ensues, very possibly guaranteeing victory for the other side and bringing use back to the first two scenarios.

In years past, this would have only meant a bunch of angry posts, some semi-clever memes, and protests that are virtually ignored by the media. However, these are different times, uncharted waters. A totally polemic world where communication is instant and emotions are bleat out of every shivering finger. And beyond that, a collective desperate undercurrent. For a country that seems to place everything on the symbolism of the executive office, a country cranked up on quick memes and easy slung slogans, it’s anyone’s guess what the song will end up being. But we can say with certainty, it won’t be quiet.

Maybe it’s time, or well past time for drastic changes. I’ll touch on the that sometime down the road. Until then, the best you can do is vote your conscience as best as the current crop allows, or don’t. Apathy has it’s own voice. Listen, and be careful not to mistake the sound of the wheel finally churning to capacity for Nero’s fiddle.


Frosty Girl is Awesome

About a year ago I opened the mail box to discover that someone had thrown a half eaten frosty in it. Granted, we were a bit peeved that someone splashed our junk mail with the frozen dairy… whatever it is, but we just wrote it off as some kids mistaking our giant mailbox for the cop’s that lives next door. It wasn’t a big deal. A couple of weeks ago, we checked our mailbox and found a un-stamped envelope. I told my wife not to open it, because anything that comes in the mail like that is either a chain letter, death threat, or full of earwigs. My wife, being the less paranoid, opened it. Inside was about the coolest thing we’ve seen in quite some time. Seriously, the girl who wrote this deserves kudos for not being swallowed up by cynical forces, but rather showing some much needed self reflection and empathy. The kids are alright.

Dear Resident,
I wanted to apologize for putting a frosty in your mailbox. Writing it on paper makes me realize how stupid it was. I’d like to apologize on behalf of my friend and I. I’m not even sure you really remember this incident, or if it mattered much, but I wanted you to know I felt guilty as heck. I even contemplated whether or not to confess it to my priest (hehe). Well, I didn’t, but after a year or so, I thought this would be a good idea. I’m so sorry it took me this long to make an apology. I hope you forgive my friend and I.
[name redacted]
I thought I should give back to you, so I added this drawing I had been making in class at school when I got bored.
I also enclosed two dollars so you could get your own frosty. 🙂 It’s on me.

Seriously, Frosty Girl is awesome!

The House in Orange and Blue pt. 1

The House in Orange and Blue  by Jess Boldt

Part One

     The basement was still.  Every object, every particle was at rest, comfortable in a motionless landscape of machinery and pipes.  Heat and cold were absent and every shadow that was cast from the small amount of light stood steadfast, as if painted onto the rust covered floors and stone walls.  Then there was motion.

     The motion was slight at first, barely noticeable to any observer.  The one source of light was a hopper window that watched over the cellar.  An orange mechanic’s rag was draped over the window, further denying the light from outside.  Slowly, a corner of the rag began to slip from the brown nail to which it was hooked.  Particles of dust moved tentatively into the surrounding air.  As the right side of the rag dropped from the nail and swung below the left, millions of dust particles danced into the newly exposed light beam.

     Shadows that had held their staunch positions instantly retreated from their post.  At this point a leg, covered in red flake and dirt, took its part in the chain of events.  A knee rose to the chest of an elderly man in a blue custodial uniform.  The other leg followed and both were wrapped in the man’s right arm.  A tattered half sleeve of blue material dangled where his left arm had once been.  He sat on the floor, squinting at the beam of light for a few minutes.  He then took his hand and ran it through what appeared to be reddish brown hair until the brown and red bits of spent metal fell in streams, revealing a yellowish grey color underneath.

     The man dug his hand onto the ground.  He placed the weight of his body on his arm while scrambling his feet to center himself and stand.  Every joint was audible as he straightened his body.  His feet shuffled through the corrosion coated floor.  He brushed the red from his uniform, revealing a stained tag that read, “Carvy”.

     Carvy gazed around the basement.  Bottles with time worn labels were scattered on the concrete floor.  Metal shelving racks that held various tins and bottles lined the walls.  To his right was a wooden stairway that led up to a closed door.  To his left was a large rounded furnace that had not functioned for many years.  For moments, Carvy gazed at the stairs.  His right arm reached over to where his left once was.  His eyes dropped to the floor.  He sobbed dryly as he stared at an old brown bottle.  Inhaling, he turned to the furnace.  He exhaled in shallow bursts.

     “How many years have I been down here,” Carvy asked the metal beast.  “How many years ago was it?  When did you win?”

     Carvy walked underneath the hopper window.  He grabbed a nearby steel stool and balanced himself on it.  With his arm, he grabbed the hanging corner of the orange rag.  He began lifting it to the nail that it hung onto just moments earlier.  His eyes averted from the light.  That light dimmed as the rag came closer to the nail.

     A flash of blue swept across the remaining bit of exposed window.  Carvy stopped.  The blue flash appeared again, this time going right to left.   He dropped the cloth and covered his eyes with his hand.  As he brought his face towards the light the blue flashed again.  Left to right.  His pupils adjusted painfully but he would not look away.  Again the blue came across the window.   He watched it pass again and again.  With each passing, his face grew brighter.

     “There’s something!” He shouted.

     As he began step down when his foot slipped on oxidized stool.  His body hit the cement hard.  He lay there, staring at the blue running past the hopper window.  He turned his body and cried out in pain.  He didn’t even attempt to stand but crawled towards the furnace.  His arm stretched and pulled his body past bottles and glass until he was underneath its red metal.   A circular door sat in the middle of the face.  The bolts attaching the various layers of metal had long been rusted.   The original lettering of the manufacture was no longer readable, chipped and eroded away by time and oxygen.

     Carvy pushed himself to a kneeling position.  His arm banged hard against the circular door.  His face conveyed the pain in his arm.  He slammed his arm against the metal again.  Bits of rust and dirt shook loose from crevices between the door and body.  Each hit brought more pain to his arm until he could no long lift it.

     He knelt there for a few minutes.  When the pain began to subside, he gripped the red handle of the door and pulled.  The noise of metal against age filled the cellar as the door slowly opened.  One the door was open enough; he wedged his left shoulder behind the door.  Bracing the furnace with his right arm he pushed until the door was open completely.

     Carvy slid his arm inside.   After a few minutes, he pulled out a soot covered arm clutching the remains of its mate.  The large pipe that jetted from the top of the furnace began to rattle.   The belly of the furnace went from void to bright orange.

     Carvy felt the warmth on the back of his neck as he made his way up the wooden stairs, towards a door he had not passed through in sometime.




Jess Boldt’s 2009 Gallery

no off-ramp no off-ramp

soft sound chemical alright, okay
gravity alleviated
gravity alleviated
tuning static
tuning static
collision theory
collision theory

Monday Morning

What a beautiful morning for a walk!

What a beautiful morning for a walk!

Jen and I love our morning walks!

Jen and I love our morning walks!

We find a CD laying on the ground a few roads over.  What could it be?

We find a CD laying on the ground a few roads over. What could it be?

Tony Danza?!?!  This could be fun.

Tony Danza?!?! This could be fun.

This is not fun.  Shitty scream rock fills the apartment.

This is not fun. Shitty scream rock fills the apartment.

Jen is very displeased.  (Stock Photo)

Jen is very displeased. (Stock Photo)

The bunny goes into a fit of fear and faux rage.

The bunny goes into a fit of fear and faux rage.

GreGrey Kitty is taken over by the demons of crappy music. Grey Kitty is taken over by the demons of crappy music.
Mr. McFluffington is transformed into a menion of talentless rock.

Mr. McFluffington is transformed into a minion of talentless rock.

Enough is enough.

Enough is enough. I toss the abomination away.

The end?

The end?

Thursday Morning

The kid sitting next to me in the neurology lab looks like he is waiting for a bus that is driven by the Grim Reaper. His eyes are sunken behind locks of stringy blonde hair. The only real signs of vitality come when my brother, who is sitting in a blue wheelchair, reaches at me to claw my face. I push him out of the office, the entire time he is screaming, and he is out for blood. I can’t blame him for this, and not just for his autism. The night before was spent thwarting his plans to break dishes, piss on the carpet, or ring the life out of the various cats that showed the bad judgment to stalk around the house.
Time to drive home. 22 hours is a long time to linger in pure consciousness by anyone’s eternal clock. Goddamn circadian rhythm. I decide to skip the usual egg and cheese bagel from McDonalds. It’s too late for false comfort. I stop at the liquor store. The girl with the skull and cross bone hoody eyes me suspiciously. Who can blame her? What kind of deviant buys a short bottle of Smirnoff No. 57 and a tall bottle of Mr. Pure orange juice at 8a.m. while sporting fresh wounds on both hands? I imagine the mixture of pity and justification in the eyes of previous lovers if they were to walk in at the moment I show my identification to the disgruntled liquor store employee.
I’m home. I re adhere the duct tape back over the vent that has already cost me one neighbor. I proceed to pour myself a stiff Screwdriver. I don’t forget the pinch of salt. I knock two frozen waffles together; this is food? I check my messages. Nothing. I sit down. I answer the phone. I took out school loans for this? I suppose having a college degree adds some credence to a morning like this.
The new upstairs neighbor is getting up. I hear his footsteps above the cigarette smoke. Must have been a late night at the A.A. meeting. Time to turn off MSNBC. Time to spin a record. Something nice. With enough luck and pluck, I will be asleep soon. Thursdays have always been my lucky day.