This site is under maintenance. Sorry for the inconvenience

Since 2009, I’ve been hosting thewisesloth.com on WordPress.com, but I finally got fed up with the lack of control it gives me. So I transferred my domain to Bluehost.com, which lets me use a lot more widgets, plugins and free themes. However, the move broke most of the links to my blogs and taught me that I’d made a lot of search-engine-optimization mistakes. So I’m going through all 627 of my posts and manually moving them to the new site and fixing them up. This will take about a week. In that time you’ll find a lot of “page not found” errors on my site. I apologize profusely for this inconvenience, and I’m working to fix it as fast as possible.

The Wise Sloth

Travis Haan


I made a book of my Tweets called, “Tweets by The Wise Sloth.”

I’ve been blogging on thewisesloth.com since 2009, and I’ve never really had a strategy about what topics I write about. Mainly, I just ask myself, “What’s the most important topic I can write about?” Sometimes I ask, “What’s going on in the world that pisses me off most today?” It’s not that I want to scream and scare people. I want to solve the problem that’s affecting our lives. The way I approach issues comes off as cynical sometimes, but I try to come from an angle that reveals deeper negative truths with a positive call to action. I want my readers to come away from The Wise Sloth thinking, “The world is more messed up than I thought it was, but I feel like I understand it better now. As overwhelming as looking into the chaos can be, I see why there’s hope for the future.”

In 2014 I joined Twitter.com as @the_wise_sloth. I didn’t have a plan there either, and I was skeptical about the platform in the first place, but it has helped me profoundly in real life and allowed me to gain 2,100 more followers. Before Twitter, I carried a notebook with me everywhere I went so I could write down blog ideas and quote-sized bits of wisdom I’d come up with through the day. Eventually the ideas would get lost in old pages I never found the time to look at again.

Now I just Tweet all my quips, which shares them instantly, stores them permanently, and are easy to retrieve. I still carry a notebook to write in, but it’s a lot more organized since I don’t have one-liners scribbled all over the margins.

After posting 1,700 Tweets, I decided to go back and see what I’d written. I exported my Tweets to a document and took out all the links and pictures until there was only original content left. Then I organized them into categories and put them into a book. To my slight surprise, the table of contents is very similar to my blog’s, focusing on advice, motivation, inspiration, religion, politics, economics, philosophy, culture and sex.

This book represents my collected wisdom from the past four years, which is based on a lifetime of trying to figure out what the hell is going on around me. It’s often irreverent, funny and controversial, but always enlightening. I hope you enjoy it, and it gives you good food for thought in your search for wisdom.

If you have Amazon prime, you can download the E-book for free from September 19-23. The paperback version will be available on Amazon in a few days for $5. You can subscribe to my Twitter feed for free, and I’ll be posting chapters here as well.

See “Tweets by The Wise Sloth” on Amazon

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Self-Help
  2. Happiness and sadnessFulfillment, purpose and meaning

    Maturity, adulting, and growing up

    Parenting

    Being mean vs. being nice

    Arrogance and insecurity

    Arguing

    Excuses and complaining

    Practice, failing, and determination

    Writing, art, and creativity

    1. Health

    Eating and hydrating

    Exercise and stretching

    Addiction

    1. Sex, Relationships and Friendship

    How to love and succeed in a relationship

    Communication

    Dating

    Cheating, breaking up, and exes

    Masturbation, oral sex and lust

    1. Philosophy

    Knowledge

    Wisdom

    Problem solving and thinking objectively

    1. Religion

    Religion is mythology

    The Bible is messed up

    Faith vs. reason

    Churches and clergy

    Religious hypocrisy

    Religion’s negative effect on the world

    What if God exists?

    1. The 2016 Presidential Election

    The nomination process

    The campaign trail

    Trump’s victory

    Obama’s presidency

    Trump’s presidency

    1. Politics

    Political corruption

    Political incompetence and inefficiency

    Political freedom

    Economic freedom

    Voting

    Immigration

    Guns

    Racism and xenophobia

    Education

    Political reform

    1. Police and Law Enforcement

    The industrial prison complex

    Abuse of power, harassment and fear

    Quotas, tickets, fees and fines

    Drug laws

    The NSA and TSA

    1. War and The Military

    War is about money

    Enlisting is not helping

    Wars in the Middle East

    1. Social Justice Warriors

    Modern Feminism = Misandry

    Racism against white people

    Gender

    Fat acceptance

    Privilege and hypocrisy

    1. Economics

    Poverty and poor people

    Capitalism and rich people

    Communism and Socialism

    Hurting customers

    Hurting workers

    Investing

    Real estate

    Healthcare

    1. American Pop Culture and Mass Media

    American culture

    Television and movies

    Ideas for shows and movies

    News

    Music

    Sports

    Popular products and brands

    Celebrities

    Advertising and commercials

    Pets

    Internet porn

    Failing at the internet

    Ideas for apps and sites

CHAPTER ONE

SELF-HELP

HAPPINESS AND SADNESS

The more time you put into thinking about things that make you sad and angry, the sadder and angrier you’ll probably be.

Thinking about good things generally makes you feel good. Thinking about bad things generally makes you feel bad.

Holding other people accountable for how you feel disempowers you and burdens them.

The more effort you put into thinking about things that make you happy and inspire you, the happier and more inspired you’ll probably be.

The longer you drink because you’re depressed, the more likely you’re still depressed because you’re still drinking.

The sources of people’s unhappiness are usually found in their lifestyle. If you’re unhappy, that’s where your life probably needs change.

If you cash a lottery ticket and use the winnings to buy cigarettes in lieu of payment, that’s a metaphor for your level of hope in life.

The people I know who have been depressed the longest tend to have spent the least amount of time actively engaging themselves in treatment.

If you hate yourself, your life is going to suck no matter what… until you deal with why you hate yourself.

When things are good, tell yourself they’re good. When things are bad, tell yourself good things are possible.

You can overcome the punches the world throws at you. When you beat yourself up, you don’t have a fighting chance.

If someone pushes you down, it’s their fault you’re down. If you don’t do everything you can to get up, it’s your fault you’re still down.

If you think about solutions to your problems more than the causes, you’re going to have a better time.

Your day will probably be as wonderful as you are.

It’s harder to appreciate life when you’re poisoning your body every day.

Your life won’t improve until you improve your thoughts.

If you’re ever feeling bad, try thinking of something good.

You won’t find peace outside of you until you find peace inside of you.

Don’t expect life to just calm you down, center and focus your attention every day. If you don’t consciously do that yourself it won’t happen.

You could hold on tightly to all the regrets, grievances and pains of your past forever… but what would be the point?

You’d think the pickier you are, the sweeter life will be, but the less picky you are, the less difficult life will be.

With everything wrong in the world today, you’ll explode if you don’t master the art of being mad without feeling mad.

You are not the sum of the way people have treated you.

You deserve more kudos than the world gives you. Don’t resent it. Just know it.

Everyone could eliminate at least half their problems by just shutting their mouth and not bitching and complaining about bullshit.

If you don’t think happy thoughts when things suck, then life is just pretty much always going to suck.

The more you tell yourself the world is on your shoulders, the more it will feel like it.

It takes less time to be calm than it does to panic.

If life doesn’t give you excuses to be happy, you just have to do it yourself or be miserable forever.

Step one of everything you will ever do is to love yourself.

FULFILLMENT, PURPOSE, AND MEANING

The meaning of life isn’t to have the thing you want most. It’s to become the person you want most.

You can spend today fretting about what was or is… or you can spend today creating what will be.

If you don’t have a plan how you’re going to make life better for yourself, it won’t happen.

If you’re not making time to do the things you love, the reason it feels like you’re not really living is because you haven’t started.

If you haven’t worked towards your goal today, then having fun and playing games isn’t rewarding yourself. It’s how you’re failing.

If you’ve never asked yourself what you would do with your free time if you won the lottery then you may not have defined your destiny.

Obsessing over how much you’re worth squanders time you could spend getting on with your life.

Trying something new is usually preferable to doing something old. Even if you don’t like it, you still learn something new. That’s winning.

Life is more about what you do than what you have.

Life is more about who you are than what you do.

The people who hurt you in the past don’t exist anymore… and neither do the people they hurt.

Learn something new every day and it’s only a matter of time until you become a better person… especially if you learn important things.

If you drink and smoke every day… that’s probably all you’ll ever be able to afford to do.

If you could learn anything, what would you learn? If you’re not already learning it, why aren’t you?

Control your thoughts and you control your destiny. Or did you have something better to do than control your destiny?

Doing things that improve your life = worldly success. Succeeding at the expense of other people’s quality of life = existential failure.

The future matters more than the past.

Every city in the world has opportunities that only exist there and nowhere else. Take advantage of yours.

Constantly listen to old songs that your brain already associates with previous experiences and thoughts? You may be living in the past.

If you’re hyperactive and can’t stay still, and you don’t have a hobby, you’re leaving money and meaning on the table.

MATURITY, ADULTING AND GROWING UP

Think of humans as wind-up chimps on autopilot who don’t realize they’re on autopilot. Everything everyone does will make much more sense.

Everyone is: 1.Insane 2. A child 3. So lost they don’t know how lost they are. When you understand that, dealing with people gets easier

If you can find out where a person came from and where they want to go, then you can predict what they’ll likely do in-between.

How to be an adult: Don’t get hurt, defensive and belligerent when someone informs you you’re wrong about something. Instead, say thank you.

The dumber the individual, the dumber the whole. We all have a personal and civic responsibility to not be stupid.

Part of growing up is learning to bring closure to bad memories without the involvement of the people who gave you those memories.

If you call me, “sir,” I won’t think you’re respectful. I’ll think you’ve been brainwashed into subjugating yourself.

Responsibility is doing what you need before doing what you want.

FYI: Just because you had a child doesn’t mean you’re an adult.

To better understand why you are the way you are, ask your parents to explain in detail what your life was like between ages 1-5.

Adulting consists mainly of fulfilling contrived responsibilities that exist only because governments, bosses and bankers are exploiting us.

Kids, don’t get too excited about getting into the adult world and being treated like an adult. You never stop getting treated like a kid.

Statistically speaking, you should be gravely concerned about your inability to accept responsibility for your actions.

Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re right. More likely it means you’ve been wrong a long time.

You can’t pretend you’re not old anymore after you start meeting kids who are too young to remember the things that defined your childhood.

How to be an adult: Realize that your age has no bearing on how much other people should respect you or how much you should respect them.

PARENTING

Hurting someone all the time trains them to feel hurt and angry all the time.

It’s baffling how few parents have written instruction books for life to give to their children.

Your kids will freak out over the same size problems as you, to the same extent as you. Don’t show them how to be a spoiled, whiny bitch.

If you had shitty parents, you should seek therapy. If you know someone who had shitty parents, they should seek therapy.

Children need and want answers just as much as adults, but all they get from adults are mythologies and psychotic cartoons.

The way you make your children feel when they’re young is pretty much how they’ll feel when they’re old.

BEING MEAN VS BEING NICE

Unless your goal is throwing away allies, you’re not winning anything by being mean to strangers.

If you want to turn a bad person good, educating them is far more effective than scaring them.

Don’t expect people you’re not nice to, to be nice to you.

If you value life, then treat it with respect. Boom. Morality explained.

Justifying hurting people is always justifying being one of the bad guys.

Nobody has to be mean to you because you did something wrong. When someone is mean, it’s because they’re mean.

It’s amazing how bad of a person you can be when you convince yourself you’re an ideal person.

If you choose to bail someone out every time they screw up, their problems will always be your problems and yours alone.

If you can’t figure out a better way to respond to anger than with hatred… you’re obviously not trying.

You’d be surprised what people will give you sometimes if you just ask.

If you have a good reason to be mean to someone, it doesn’t mean you’re justified. It means you’re great at justifying being an asshole.

When someone asks for forgiveness for something they’re not really sorry for, they’re really asking for permission.

The more dogmatically you label yourself the good guy and someone else the bad guy, the more capable of evil you become.

You can measure how horrible of a person you are by how small an inconvenience it takes to make you mean.

There are 2 kinds of people: ones who treat others well because they care and ones who treat others bad because they only care about themself.

If you’re the only person in the world you care about, then why should anyone care about you?

Anytime you send food back at a restaurant, assume whatever you get back has spit in it, even if your complaint was valid.

If you only care about yourself, you don’t give other people much reason to care about you. In fact, you give them good reason not to.

An apology is not a substitute for changing bad behavior.

Everyone deserves a second chance, but be aware that almost nobody ever changes.

The better you are at making people happy, the more the world will be your oyster.

Everyone is partly good & bad. You can choose to focus/dwell on either side. Both are right, but beware where both paths lead you.

Having a bad day is not a valid excuse to be hurtful to other people. But any 10 year old could have told you that.

Everyone loves freedom until you do something they wouldn’t. Then freedom is offensive and frightening.

Everyone has hurt someone. So we may as well either preemptively hate everyone or forgive everyone.

Every time you feel you’ve won an argument, there’s a 50/50 chance you just dogmatically defended your completely wrong self-serving delusion.

Whatever tone of voice you use with someone, they’ll probably use the same one back.

You can only be mean to someone so many times before they act mean back to you. Same goes with being kind.

You’ll almost always be swamped with important, pressing issues. Festering over people who wronged you ages ago is never a priority.

Every time you’re rude to someone you burn a bridge to an ally.

You can measure how horrible you’re capable of being by adding up all the situations where you believe being mean to others is justified.

If more than 2 people have called you an asshole, it’s probably because you are.

There’s a direct correlation between how much a person looks at things from others’ point of view and their tendency to kindness/hurtfulness.

If you have time to bitch about other people, you have time to do anything else that doesn’t waste your time being petty and negative.

No one but you is responsible for you throwing a tantrum.

Making cars wait as you walk across the road all slow and gangsta lets strangers know you’re selfish, petty and insecure, not tough.

Crushing people’s hand when you shake it is a great way to let people know you have to make a dick waving competition out of everything.

ARROGANCE AND INSECURITY

Everyone knows something you don’t, even the greatest fool you loath.

People will respect you more if you act like their equal than if you grovel at their feet and give them higher honors than you give yourself.

The more you think you know, the less it proves you do.

If nobody gets you, it’s more likely because you’re an arrogant idiot surrounded by rational people, than everybody else is evil and stupid.

90% of the times you apologize for your flaws, people would like you more if you just owned them.

Everyone knows more about something than anyone else. Nobody knows squat about everything. Our minds are as unique as our faces.

The bigger the ego, the smaller the mind.

You don’t over apologize because you’re obsessed with other people’s comfort but because you’re obsessed with projecting your insecurities.

The amount you are more or less stupid than anyone else is fractions of a degree.

Everyone detests arrogant people. Know that when you walk around acting like you’re better than everyone…everyone is looking down on you.

Everyone whose opinion of you, you worry about will die one day. Then their opinion won’t matter one damn bit, as it never did.

Everyone is smarter than the average person about at least one thing.

Bragging is far more likely to convince people you’re a pompous ass than a bad ass.

The difference between confident and cocky is that the first means, “I got it covered.” The second says, “I’m better than you.”

The more often you brag about how smart you are, the more wrong you probably are.

The more you tell people how much smarter you are than most people, the more likely you’re just dumb and arrogant.

Every time you try to sound smart, you just sound like you’re trying to sound smart, which smart people know smart people don’t do.

Nobody you knew yesterday is the same person today.

Nobody wants you to impress them. They just want you to entertain and flatter them.

Patting yourself on the back is like shaking your dick after peeing. If you do it more than twice, you’re jerking off.

When anyone starts jerking themselves off about how smart they are to you, stop them and say, “Hey, we all got supercomputers in our heads.”

ARGUING

Just because someone says something you disagree with, that doesn’t mean they’re against you. They may just be for facts, and you’re wrong.

Getting mad at people when you don’t get what you want usually indicates you’re the selfish bad guy, and your enemy is the real victim.

Proving to people you’re right all the time is more likely a symptom of your insecurity and shortsightedness than strength and genius.

People only argue semantics when they don’t have a real argument.

Step 1: Give someone advice. Step 2: Listen to why they’re not going to take it.

I’m not saying don’t help people. Just be aware that giving people constructive criticism is more likely to piss them off than help them.

Someone who isn’t thinking rationally won’t come to a rational conclusion even if you serve it to them on a silver platter.

If you meet a dragon, don’t have a fire- breathing contest with it.

The more times you use the word “fuck” in an argument, the less favorable the outcome is likely to be for you.

The only person who really wins in an argument is the one who learns something.

You wouldn’t be arguing if your opponent were willing to listen. Arguing is just a test to see who’ll shout loudest and who’ll give up first.

Life’s tough. Life’s tougher when you get furious over semantics.

The more you don’t want to hear you’re wrong, the more you’re probably wrong.

If you’re always angrily proving you’re right, you’re probably actually angrily defending your misconceptions.

You learn and grow more from listening than from talking.

There is no problem that can’t be solved without being an ass hole.

Getting defensive and arguing every time someone tries to correct you or give you advice won’t get you as far in life as you seem to think.

Science is just drawing conclusions from evidence. The only time people hate evidence-ology is when they’re refusing to admit they’re wrong.

If you’re always bitching it’s because you’re always looking for things to bitch about.

If your loved ones never call out your flaws, they’re either too horrible to want to help you, or they know you’re too horrible to listen.

There’s no point arguing with people who value winning more than truth, which in my experience, is most people.

Disregarding useful advice just because the person giving it is a fool or a hypocrite is foolishness. You can learn something from anyone.

Everybody who knows you knows what’s wrong with you, but they won’t tell you because they know you won’t listen.

If someone accuses you of doing something bad and you get aggressively defense, you’re not looking at the situation from their point of view.

If someone tells you that you fucked up, there’s more than a 50% chance they’re not completely wrong.

If you contradict everything I say, then I’m going to give up trying to talk to you.

EXCUSES AND COMPLAINING

If you’ve got time to come up with excuses, you’ve got time to come up with solutions.

By all means, complain when life sucks, but complain while you’re doing something about it.

At some point you have to stop bitching about the hand you were dealt and get on with playing the game the best you can with what you got.

There tends to be an inverse correlation between the amount of time you spend complaining and the amount of time you spend doing something.

“I did the best I could,” is usually an excuse used by people who didn’t do the best they could.

It’s surprising how many times you can have an excuse that sounds perfect on paper but doesn’t really apply or mean shit in reality.

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who have an excuse for everything, and those who don’t have to make excuses.

You can’t move your life forward by making excuses dismissing action, but you can by making excuses dismissing your excuses against acting.

The more you complain about a problem, the less you’re probably doing anything about it.

Nothing was ever built on excuses.

Your dreams are waiting for you to stop making excuses.

I’ve watched excuses ruin more people’s lives than anything else.

Today’s excuses become tomorrow’s regrets.

You don’t hear maggots at the bottom of trash bags asking why life isn’t fair. Well, we’re maggots at the bottom of a cosmic trash bag.

PRACTICE, FAILING AND DETERMINATION

Experience has taught me that you only have two options in life: 1. Kick life in the balls. 2. Get kicked in the balls by life.

Focus on what you’re doing, not what you want. You climb a mountain by taking steps, not by obsessively staring at the peak.

The fastest, easiest, best shortcut to climbing a mountain, still usually involves climbing a mountain.

Failure = practice.

Failing is practicing, and practicing is succeeding.

When you’re learning a skill, don’t worry about failing. Just worry about not quitting.

All things are possible to those who turn off the TV, get up off their ass, go do something and never quit.

Growing experiences tend to come with growing pains. Accept it. Embrace it. Get on with it.

If you’re going to spend the next hour or so feeling depressed about how empty and hopeless everything is, do it while exercising. #LifeHack

You can’t become a pro until you’ve made all the rookie mistakes.

The more mistakes you make doing something, the more qualified you become to master that thing.

Just because you haven’t done something doesn’t mean you can’t do that thing.

When you feel bored and uninspired, clean your house. You need to do it anyway. You have the time, and you’ll feel good about it afterwards.

Whenever I fail at something, I imagine myself as a young Babe Ruth striking out.

If you do one thing all day, every day, it’s only a matter of time until you become professionally good at that thing.

Success requires energy. Does your lifestyle boost or drain your energy? There might be a correlation.

Sticking to a decision requires a reason, not will power.

You can get your video game character to level 60 or your real self in real life to level 60. Pick one.

The best competitors show up to very few competitions you compete in. Sometimes bad competitors win because they’re the only people there.

We’re born with potential, not talent. Abnormally high talent comes only from abnormally frequent, persistent study and practice.

WRITING, ART, AND CREATIVITY

Writer = idea maker + communicator.

Each thought only comes around once a lifetime. Unless no part of you cares about them being lost/remembered, write them down. Last chance.

You’ve learned something everywhere you’ve been. If you don’t write it down, it’s only a matter of time until you forget.

You’re more likely to succeed as an author by writing 100 books that are 80% perfect than writing 1 book that is 100% perfect.

Hero + need + opportunity + condition + plan + decision… drives hero to fulfill condition requirements to get that which satisfies the need.

Writer’s block is just anxiety and panic attacks. To master the art of getting through writer’s block, Google “steps to overcoming anxiety.”

Every writer should Tweet on Twitter to gain experience condensing sentences to the bare essentials.

Writers have two choices: 1. Write about the most important topics they can 2. Write things that distract people from more important topics

You can’t come up with good ideas without coming up with bad ideas in the process.

Stories are like Celtic knots. You can make good ones without planning, but there’s a limit to the elegance you can achieve.

By expressing yourself, you create yourself.

It’s an inconvenient truth that the quality and quantity of art produced by a nation increases with the quality and quantity of drugs available to its artists.


The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

The last week of August 2017, Hurricane Harvey dropped 33 trillion gallons of water on Texas. 9 trillion of that landed on Houston, where I live with my twin brother, Eric, in a humble trailer house. We didn’t try to evacuate, because Eric did that in 2008 during Hurricane Ike. It took him 36 hours to drive 30 miles in bumper to bumper traffic before he gave up and turned around.

So we fled our trailer to spend the next five days of rain at a friend’s house, in a neighborhood with good drainage. The lawn flooded, but it never made it to the house. So we just had a morbid vacation, and we didn’t think the flood was that bad until the rains stopped and we finally ventured out.

What we saw was surreal. Most of the roads were open, but they were littered with abandoned cars at odd angles, and flood waters still blocked off random access points. So finding routes could be tricky or impossible.

If I had to summarize the nature of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction in a few words, they would be, “random and polarized.” One street would be completely underwater and inaccessible. The next road over would be completely fine. One house may be sitting in two feet of water, and their neighbor may have gotten four, or none. Some businesses were open pretty much throughout the storm, and some won’t ever open again.

Even if you can’t see a waterline on the buildings, you can see how bad each neighbhorhood got hit by the amount of trash on the side of the road. Blocks that just have carpet and drywall set out by the curb only got a foot or two of water. When you see a yard covered in furniture, you know they got it bad.

Keep a good sense of humor and carry on, Houston.

The house I stayed in through the storm didn’t suffer any problems. It never even lost electricity or internet. Technically, my trailer house didn’t get flooded, since it’s propped up on cinder blocks, three feet above the ground, but the water came all the way up to the floor boards, soaking them, the carpet and the air conditioning ducts underneath. So now the entire house is an unlivable toxic mold trap.

This was the street in front of my friend’s house, where I sat through Hurricane Harvey. No problem.

This is the street to my house. Big problem.

My house after the first day of flooding.

My landlady and brother looking at fish on our front porch a few days after the rain stopped.

Eric and I moved out of our man cave, and now we’re staying with our girlfriends, who are ecstatic to have us closer to them. Thus continues Hurricane Harvey’s Twilight Zone-esque theme of polarized randomness. Everything is a cursed blessing or a blessed curse.

Disaster seems to have brought the best and worst out of the people here. When Harvey was still sitting on top of Houston, the owner of a furniture store opened his doors to anyone who needed a place with a bed to sleep on. At the same time, the owner of a mega church, Joel Osteen, locked the doors of his stadium-sized church until he was publicly shamed into letting refugees in. Then, he asked the refugees to give him donations, even though his $10.5 million mansion  weathered the storm just fine.

This is where Joel Osteen lives (tax free).

This is where the people Joel Osteen is asking for money live.

My landlady is just as greedy and sociopathic as Joel Osteen, and she has the permanent disposition of a drunk biker in a dive bar at 3am looking for stupid shit to fight about. She won’t let me break my lease, because she says my house is livable. She told me when we moved in that if we didn’t have rent on the first of the month, she’d throw all our stuff out on the curb by the end of the night, which is illegal. I could fight her on this, but I’d pay $900 to not have to spend months fighting her in court over $900.

So we paid rent like little bitches, but we get to take our time moving out and figuring out what to do with all our stuff. Most of it came from flea markets and estate sales anyway. We’ll probably just put it out by the side of the road. There are a lot of people driving around in trucks, grabbing all the free stuff they can. For the next year, Craigslist is going to be exploding in Houston with great deals on expensive furniture and household goods with mild to severe flood damage. A lot of people are going to die from mold.

On a lighter note, both my electric company (Summer Energy) and internet provider (ATT) let me cancel my contracts with them without punishing me. I didn’t expect that, since the whole point of early termination fees is to fuck you in the first place, and ATT didn’t let my older brother, Stephen, out of his contract when he deployed to Afghanistan. Apparently corporate greed isn’t completely bottomless… when the public is watching.

It seems if you’re more than 50% bad, disaster makes you worse. If you’re more than 50% good, disaster brings out your best. For example, an Army Ranger veteran’s house got F.U.B.A.R. flooded in Dickinson, TX, on the outskirts of the Houston metroplex. So he made a post on an unofficial Army Ranger Facebook page asking for help. Stephen and a bunch of other Ranger vets and their friends and family, drove down from San Antonio to help him fix his house.

This is the first time Stephen has been to Houston since I moved here. He never got to see my old house, but he got to see my new one, where he got to spend the night instead of. sleeping in a stranger’s home with nine other people. You can cut yourself to death with all the silver linings in Houston right now.

My twin brother, Eric, is helping our old neighbor gut his mom’s house, which flooded badly. I feel guilty, because I haven’t been volunteering, but my boss put me back to work before the rain stopped. He didn’t even give us one day to pick up the pieces of our lives before sending us back to the salt mines. The joke’s on him though. He didn’t get any customers the first day or two because they were all busy picking up the pieces of their lives, unsurprisingly.

One of my coworkers asked our boss if we’d be getting paid for the time we missed, and he sent us the link to the FEMA website to apply for benefits. I hope he’s not surprised by the loyalty his employees show him in the future. I have a feeling half of them already lied to him and said they were cut off by flood water and couldn’t come to work for a few days, just so they could have a few more days of their lives to themselves.

I started back immediately, mostly because I was bored. Since I choose to work nights, my mornings are free. So I had time to drop Stephen off at the house he was clearing. My jaw dropped when I saw the next door neighbor had a sign in his front yard, facing the main highway in town that said, “You Loot We Shoot.” When I went to take a picture of it, the owner came outside and glared at me. So I took the shot real quick and left him alone, just like all the police who drove by and didn’t tell him to take it down. They didn’t turn a blind eye to it. Texas has “king of the castle” laws, which let you shoot any threatening intruder on sight.

I hoped the sign was just being dramatic until I picked Stephen up at the house where the rest of the volunteers were staying, which had a gun in every room, literally. As I got out of my truck, a lady in a minivan stopped me on the street and asked if I’d seen two young, dark haired men run by. She said they just stole all her computer equipment. I told her I was sorry for her loss.

I’ve even heard rumors thugs have just started knocking on doors and robbing people at gunpoint. I don’t know anyone who that’s happened to, but I do have a Mexican friend who found out the liquor store next to his house got flooded. The owner couldn’t sell cases of beer in water damaged boxes. So he just put his stock on the back porch and told passerbyers to drink at their own risk. Low class people of every color lined up to help him clear out his damaged property.

Since the boxes were water damaged, a lot of beers fell out the bottoms and smashed on the concrete. After the frenzy, my buddy helped clean up the broken glass. So the old Asian guy gave him an extra three cases of top shelf Texas honey whiskey. He doesn’t even really drink alcohol, but he took it because it was free. Then he showed up at my new house with a truckload of random beer covered in a thin layer of mold, which washes off easy with soap and water… hopefully.

I gave a few cases to Stephen to give to the Rangers in Dickinson, but for some reason he didn’t. Maybe they didn’t want it. He ended up giving it to a random black who was also repairing flood damage.

21230866_1613441088697897_4413538774256201150_n

I hope Stephen warned him to wash the bottles.

This is what I kept. It’s about 1/5 of the original truckload.

In the blog I wrote during Hurricane Harvey, I said this disaster would make me think twice about cussing at shitty Houston drivers, and I hoped our shared experience would teach us all that we’re on the same team. Now that danger has passed, Houston drivers are shittier than ever. If they don’t care about anyone on the highway but themselves, I see no reason why I should care about their feelings. That’s a horrible way to look at reality, but that’s the Houstonitis. Everybody’s shit rubs off on everyone until we’re all covered in shit and angry about it. If everybody’s guilty, is anybody?

Yesterday, a man asked me to help him settle a debate he was having with a coworker. He said the mayor should have ordered an evacuation and issued better instructions. His opponent disagreed. I said it wouldn’t have made a difference, because nobody cares what the mayor thinks. Most Houstonians don’t even know his or her name, including me.

The guy I was talking to went on to complain about how flood victims didn’t do enough to evacuate and prepare, themselves. He was angry that some people could have left but didn’t. Then the government had to waste resources rescuing them. I explained to him, if you’re too poor to go out to eat, you’re too poor to go anywhere but work, ever.

If any human is to blame for the cost of Hurricane Harvey, it’s the same city planners who saved us all with the world-class drainage systems woven through the Houston metroplex. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t need a multi-million dollar drainage network  and disaster response teams hopscotching in and out of flooded areas, if the city was built efficiently in the first place. Houstonians wouldn’t be rabid with Houstonitis if the city wasn’t a clusterfucked maze of economic dead zones connected by congested streets.

The supreme inefficiency of Houston’s city layout makes it necessary for humans to consume tons of resources to survive. Now that flood waters have destroyed half of the infrastructure in town, it’s going to have to be thrown into a landfill and replaced, depleting more of the earth’s resources and creating more pollution, leading to more global warming, leading to more hurricanes, which will lead to more flooding and more waste until we’re all dead.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from Hurricane Harvey, it’s that we need to build more sustainable megacities if the human race is to survive and thrive. It’s not that complicated. I can draw you a picture:

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Saving the world

 


My experience being in Houston during Hurricane Harvey

My name is Travis, and I have an identical twin brother, Eric. We were born in Bryan, TX and spent our childhood bouncing around different small Texas towns. Having grown accustomed to the nomadic lifestyle, we spent our twenties and early thirties hopping cities around the world, sometimes together, sometimes solo.

No matter how far we ran, somehow Texas kept sucking us back in, like roaches trying to climb out of a public toilet. A year ago, we moved into a house together in Houston. Three days ago, God decided to take the metaphor of our lives to the next level and give us a Hurricane Harvey-sized swirly.

If you’ve seen the news, you know I’m not exaggerating when I say God didn’t just take a piss on Houston. He waterboarded it. Major freeways are underneath lakes that are still expected to double in size. Two million people are under self-imposed house arrest, huddled behind boarded up windows, living like there’s a full scale zombie apocalypse going on outside. The meaning of life has basically been reduced to one goal: Don’t go outside.

You may be wondering, why we didn’t just evacuate when we had the chance. The answer is, evacuating was never a realistic option for most of us. Eric was here for Hurricane Ike in 2008, and he tried to evacuate, but after sitting in traffic for thirty six hours, he finally turned around and came home. This time, we knew it’d be safer staying in a brick house than getting stuck on a sinking freeway, and we weren’t wrong.

Eric and I have family and friends all over Texas. So if we could have left, we would have had a lot of free options, but most people in Houston don’t have contacts all over Texas. Anyone living paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to go out to eat, can’t afford to drive a hundred miles and stay at a hotel while they miss work at their hourly-wage job. I believe the main reason most people didn’t leave was because they were too poor.

We didn’t leave Houston, but we did flee our home, because we live in a trailer house. Even if it could survive a flood, it wouldn’t provide any protection from the tornadoes created by the hurricane. So we packed up our most valuable possessions immediately and went to stay with a friend who owns a brick house.

The entire Houston area is in a flood plain. So over the years, the city has spent millions of dollars building a vast maze of drainage channels that you can see everywhere. Until a flood tests them, you don’t know if the ones near your house are reason for alarm or relief. By sheer luck, we ended up in a neighborhood with a fantastic drainage system. If the rain continues at its current pace, our host’s carpet won’t even get wet. Honestly, for us, this week has been a morbid vacation, which will be followed by lots of work opportunities.

Friday Night

Saturday Morning

Saturday Afternoon

Sunday Morning

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Evening

Tuesday Morning

Part of my subconscious feels like I should have survivor’s guilt, but I didn’t ask for this. It is what it is. Plus, I have no idea if my house still exists. We tried to drive over there today to check on it, but the road into our neighborhood was completely flooded, and rescue crews were boating people out. So our week of white privilege may end with us discovering we don’t own anything anymore. At least we didn’t have much to lose because we perpetually own barely more than will fit in a truck since we’re constantly moving.

Another reason not to panic is that our landlady is a psychotic bitch who lives across the street and spies on us, looking for any excuse to take her anger out on someone she knows can’t give her the punch in the face she deserves. She overcharges us to live next to a railroad track, where train horns scream at 150 decibels all day and night like the souls of the damned being dragged to Hades at 60 miles per hour. If our “home” got swept away, it would set us free more than set us back.

Even after the rain stops, which won’t be for at least another three days, water levels are still expected to rise in low areas as it drains down from higher grounds. It’s a good thing I had the foresight to bring my work clothes with me, because I’ll probably have to go back to work before I get to go home.

In the meantime, we, and most of Houston’s residents, have nothing to do but wait. The endless monotony is torture to some people, but I’m an extreme introvert with a passion for writing. I already cut activities out of my schedule to spend more hours typing in solitude. I work at my day job as few hours as I can afford, not because I’m lazy, but because I’d rather spend my life working on my passion than making the rich guy who pays me the bare minimum, richer.

I still have to keep my nose to the grindstone at least twenty-three hours per week. I can do this financially responsibly, because my job pays well, but it’s also very physically demanding. So my body always hurts. Since American workers get the least vacation time of any first world country, Hurricane Harvey has been a golden opportunity to have my life back for a full week. I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands of wage slaves in the Houston area who are suffering worse than me but are still relieved to get a break from working themselves to death in 100 degree weather at a thankless, soul-crushing job.

The novelty has probably already worn off for Houston’s extroverts, who are going mad with cabin fever. The past few days have taught many of us that in a long, slow, scary situation like this, you have to find ways to stay active and positive or you’ll go insane.

There are already Youtube videos of people swimming in the streets, which is life threateningly dangerous. The water is infested with flesh eating bacteria from human sewage, a hundred tons of pollution, sharks, and alligators, which makes the idea of your house filling up with water a whole lot scarier than it already is.

Once all the flood water drains into the Gulf of Mexico, it will be weeks before it’s relatively safe to swim in the ocean again. Most Houstonians who lived through Hurricane Ike, Katrina, Alicia or Rita already know this, and television news reporters have been warning the Hurricane noobs to stay out of the water. Hopefully they have better luck convincing Americans not to hurt themselves than they did last week when they urged Americans not to look directly at the solar eclipse.

I’d be surprised if by next week, there isn’t a Youtube video of red necks slaloming downtown on jet skis, weaving around gangsters on inner tubes. Texas already has a, “Hold my beer, and watch this!” mentality, and the only major city I’ve been to with worse drivers than Houston, is Cairo, Egypt. There are a million bad decisions made on Houston’s roads every day, and two million tigers aren’t going to change their stripes overnight just because of an apocalyptic flood.

Over a dozen helicopters and fifty boats are working twenty four hours a day rescuing people stranded on top of cars and houses. Fortunately, since Houston is right on the Gulf of Mexico, and Texan culture has a fetish for buying really big toys you don’t need and won’t use very often, like boats, every middle class neighborhood in the entire metro area has at least one driveway with a boat parked in it.

For such catastrophic flooding, it’s amazing the official number of deaths hasn’t reached double digits yet. There’s no telling how many lives have been saved by Bubba down the street ferrying his neighbors to safety. This is a blessing for Bubba too, since he gets to take a break from the rat race to be a genuine hero while simultaneously getting to live the dream of running red lights in his speedboat and doing donuts in parking lots.

 

I have this theory that the reason Houston drivers are so reckless, aggressive and violently entitled, is because you can only sit in demolition derby traffic for so long before everyone else’s stress rubs off on you. Well, Mother Nature put a stop to all that madness for a week and reminded us we’re not at war with our neighbors. We’re in this together.

I predict for the next month, we’ll be able to feel the same buzz in Houston as New Yorkers did after the Twin Towers collapsed. They were in pain, but for a short while, it brought the most notoriously rude city in America together. People who used to flip each other off and shout, “I’m walkin’ heeear!” put aside their differences and treated each other like family.

The post-traumatic euphoria will wear off sooner rather than later as everyone files back into the rat race and re-experiences the same stress and disrespect that turned them into road warriors in the first place. The first major tear in the social fabric will come when insurance companies remind a million home owners and another million renters that our economy is designed to take more from its customers than it gives.

When insurance claims officers start telling their customers they care about them as much as Houston’s mega church pastor, Joel Olsteen cares about the poor, they’ll have to direct their pain somewhere, and since they can’t fight the system because they’re too busy working to pay off all their debt, they won’t be able to direct their anger at the source of the problem. So they’ll take it out on the first person who cuts them off in the morning. It won’t take long before we all go back to force-feeding each other rage pie.

I’m not a Houston native, and if you didn’t catch it, I hate this city. The only reason I’m still here is because I’m waiting for my girlfriend to be in a position to move away with me. I’ve cursed the people here almost every time I’ve driven on the freeway, but so do they. Hurricane Harvey taught all of us different lessons. For me, it put my metropolitan stress rage into perspective.

I’ve made a surprising number of life-long friends in Houston in a very short amount of time. It’s full of good people, but there are a critical number of bad apples in the basket. A lot of those assholes were flood victims.

After driving around town (such as you can), and seeing the cosmic indifference and hopelessness of water covering all our accomplishments, possessions, goals, opportunities, like God just took a dry erase marker and wiped away everything with an indifferent flick of the wrist… I saw a punishment nobody deserves, no matter how big of an asshole they are. But it did happen to them. That’s a mind fuck I can’t unsee.

As much as I hate to admit it, I feel like this experience has made me more of an official Houstonian. For the rest of my life, anytime I meet someone who also lived through this watery nightmare, we’ll be able to nod at each other meaningfully and bond over the fact that we were both there when the shit went down, and we pulled through together.

Having said that, I’m getting the hell out of this death trap as soon as humanly possible, and God willing, never coming back.

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If you want to teach people about the Bible, start with Exodus 21

Exodus 21 

New King James Version (NKJV)

The Law Concerning Slaves

21 “Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

And if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her. And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10 If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights. 11 And if he does not do these three for her, then she shall go out free, without paying money.

The Law Concerning Violence

12 He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13 However, if he did not lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee.

14 But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die.

15 And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

16 He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.

17 And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

18 If men contend with each other, and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but is confined to his bed, 19 if he rises again and walks about outside with his staff, then he who struck him shall be acquitted. He shall only pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for him to be thoroughly healed.

20 And if a man beats his male or female slave with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. 21 Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property.

22 If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

26 If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for the sake of his eye. 27 And if he knocks out the tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free for the sake of his tooth.

Animal Control Laws

28 If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, then the ox shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be acquitted. 29 But if the ox tended to thrust with its horn in times past, and it has been made known to his owner, and he has not kept it confined, so that it has killed a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 30 If there is imposed on him a sum of money, then he shall pay to redeem his life, whatever is imposed on him. 31 Whether it has gored a son or gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him. 32 If the ox gores a male or female slave, he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

33 And if a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls in it, 34 the owner of the pit shall make it good; he shall give money to their owner, but the dead animal shall be his.

35 If one man’s ox hurts another’s, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide the money from it; and the dead ox they shall also divide. 36 Or if it was known that the ox tended to thrust in time past, and its owner has not kept it confined, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal shall be his own.”

This chapter of the Bible raises at least four serious questions Christians should be asking themselves before trying to convert nonbelievers:

1. Did you even know these rules were in the Bible? 

I hope you didn’t know these instructions were in the Bible. If you made a conscious decision to tell people they need to base their life on “The Good Book,” knowing the full details of Exodus 21, then you’re a terrifying human being.

If you know the Bible includes commandments on how to properly buy and sell men, women and children, and you don’t mention it’s part of the product you’re selling, then you’re marketing your brand unethically.

You’re running a bait and switch scam. You lure recruits in with tales of love and peace. Then you pressure them to make a commitment before they have time to read the fine print. Only after they’re invested, do you tell them the book they just agreed to follow includes rules on how to purchase and beat slaves.

It would be impossible to convince anyone to believe in Christianity without using the bait and switch technique, because if the first verse you share with nonbelievers comes from Exodus 21, nobody will want to believe in your stone age god or his psychopathic teachings.

If you didn’t know you were trying to convince people to base their life on a book that says the punishment for letting your ox gore your neighbor’s slave, is to pay them thirty shekels, then you need to stop preaching immediately. Don’t start again until you’ve read the entire Bible and highlighted every rule so you know exactly what you’re getting people into.

2. Have you doubted your own arguments enough to be sure it’s safe to bet your soul on them?

I’ve asked Christians to explain Exodus 21, and they said human hands corrupted the original texts in some places, which explains the inclusion of obviously flawed morals. So we don’t have to take the barbaric stuff seriously.

But Exodus 21 isn’t an isolated incident. It’s par for the course in the Old Testament. When you put all its commandments in context, they paint a picture of a primitive, tribal theocracy that wrote its existing cultural values into their history, government and religion.

To put Exodus 21 in context, The Ten Commandments are in Exodus 20:1-17. God’s commandment that slave owners have to set their slaves free if they beat them so hard it crushes their eye, is just a few pages away, in the same list of rules, written by the same author, which, given the culture at the time, was probably a slave transcribing the words of his king/high priest.

If the scribes who wrote the Bible really did make mistakes, then how can you be sure you’ll know them when you see them? Obviously, the stakes are life and death. If you didn’t catch this hole, you could have easily sold your daughter into slavery.

If you believe the Holy Spirit will help you and your converts catch the rest of the men’s mistakes in the Bible, consider that Hitler, David Koresh and the entire Westboro Baptist church all believed the Holy Spirit led them to the truth. The Holy Spirit tends to guide Christians to their preconceived beliefs so often, it could be evidence the Holy Spirit doesn’t guide you anywhere; it could just the feeling you get when you use your subconscious to make decisions.

There are hundreds of religions in the world. Billions of people have felt their own version of the Holy Spirit lead them to different conclusions, which they’re dead certain are true, and they use the inexplicable realness of their experience to justify believing in whatever mythology was most popular in the society they were raised in.

Statistically, you probably believe in a dubious mythology for selfish reasons. If there’s even a 1% chance you might have fallen for the same trap, you owe it to yourself to question your conclusions more than your opponents’ evidence.

3. Can you be 100% sure Jesus abolished these rules?

If you ask enough Christians to explain Exodus 21, sooner rather than later, a smart person you respect, will quote Jesus’s words from Matthew 5:17:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” 

Then they’ll wave their hand dismissively and say something like, “See? This passage means the pre-Jesus laws are obsolete, and God made a new covenant with man. So you don’t have to literally make blood sacrifices on a stone altar to please God anymore or follow any of his laws that bear a shocking resemblance to the cultural values of an ancient tribal theocracy.”

This settles the issue nicely unless you put the passage in context. It goes onto say in Matthew 5:19-20:

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

It seems pretty clear Jesus expected all the rules to stay in place, with the implied exception of the few laws he specifically reversed Yahwe’s original stance on. Contrary to the creator of the universe’s original commandments, Jesus said communities are no longer supposed to form well organized lynch mobs to beat adulteresses to death with rocks or ranchers who try to rescue an ox that’s fallen in a well on the Sabbath.

I could be misinterpreting this passage, but so could your Christian mentors. You owe it to yourself to get a thousand different opinions on whether or not we’re all supposed to follow all the rules in the Old Testament.

Even if everyone you ask agrees the only requirement to get into Heaven is faith, they could all still be wrong. Biblical scholars have been arguing for centuries if God still expects Christians to obey all his laws, including the ones about slavery.

If you’ve ever told a non-Christian it’s safer to believe in God and hope you go to Heaven, then to stray and be wrong, then you should be enforcing the Bible’s rules on slavery just to be safe. Or you should be questioning why you believe in a book that encourages selling your daughters and kidnapping foreigners.

Even if Jesus did retire some of the Old Testament rules, the following verses from the New Testament indicate slavery wasn’t one of them:

Ephesians 6:5

 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”

1 Peter 2:18

“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”

Matthew 10:24

“The student is not above the teacher, nor a slave above his master.”

1 Corinthians 7:20-25

Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. 21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person;similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.”

4. Why don’t you obey Exodus 21?

If you truly believe the Bible is 100% divinely inspired, then you should be honoring all of Exodus’s laws and many more like them. But you don’t, and you never will, because they’re in direct contradiction with everything you believe about right and wrong. If a Jewish or Christian dictator enforced these laws in a real country, you’d support America bombing it out of existence.

You don’t, won’t and can’t obey Exodus 21, because your sense of right and wrong were already well established before you ever read the Bible. Every Christian has to cherry pick which passages to believe or make excuses for, because at least half of the morals in the Bible are obsolete.

If you don’t believe me, put yourself and your fellow Christians to a test. Show this list of Bible verses to the Christians you respect most. Ask them which passage’s moral values they agree with and live by, and which ones they disagree with and don’t obey.

The passages they don’t take seriously will be the ones that conflict with modern culture, which proves they cherry pick the teachings in the Bible they’re willing to accept, based on what they already believe. Chances are, you’ll accept/reject the same values, which should make you question how much you really believe in the Bible and whether you should continue coercing other people into accepting it as the ultimate authority on reality.

 

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The Wise Sloth Explains Foreplay

What is foreplay?

The dictionary defines foreplay,

“erotic stimulation preceding sexual intercourse.”

Wikipedia defines foreplay,

“a set of emotionally and physically intimate acts between two or more people meant to create sexual arousal and desire for sexual activity.”

Urban dictionary defines foreplay,

“touching/kissing/licking each other in a stimulating manner, in order to become ‘turned on’ before having actual sex.”

Basically, these definitions say foreplay is stuff that happens before sex, but they don’t say what to do, how to do it, or why. To answer those questions, you have to understand a little about how the human body works.

Humans are basically brains connected to a mobile stimulation detector. The reality you experience is the sum product of a bowl full of chemicals in your skull. If you change the chemical composition in your brain bowl by adding a new chemical like L.S.D., you’ll change how you experience reality.

Every time your body experiences sensory stimulation, it changes the chemicals in your brain, which changes how you feel and what you want to do. When you get hurt, your brain produces endorphins that try to numb you. When you’re scared, it secretes adrenaline that sends you into a fight-or-flight panic. When you’re touched softly, it releases cortisol, which makes you relax. When you have sex, it produces oxytocin, which makes you feel high.

The more sexual stimulation your body experiences, the more sexual chemicals your brain releases. You have an orgasm when your chemical composition reaches a tipping point.

If foreplay is getting ready for sex, and people are bowls of chemicals attached to stimulation detectors, then my definition of foreplay is, “stimulating a person’s senses to produce the brain chemicals most conducive to sexual pleasure leading to orgasm.”

How long should foreplay last?

Redundant studies have found it takes men 1-11 minutes of sexual sensory stimulation to prime their body chemistry enough to give them an erection and be able to orgasm. It takes 10-20 minutes of stimulation for women’s bodies to complete the hormonal changes necessary to relax/moisten their vagina and get them sex-drunk on oxytocin.

Everyone’s biology is a little different, but apparently 10-20 minutes is a good amount of time to fool around before penetration. The consequence of not putting in the time is, you won’t have as strong of an orgasm as possible. If both partners are fine with this, and they just want to have sex and get to a quick boom at the end, that’s fine.

The more time you spend stimulating each other’s senses and minds, the stronger your orgasms will be. There’s an art to delayed sexual gratification. It’s called edging and/or tantric sex. Having nuclear orgasms is ideal when you have time to prepare them, but it’s not always necessary or practical to put that much time and effort into foreplay.

If you’re a high achiever, then aim for 30-40 minutes tops, but also consider how much chafing and boredom can happen in that time. 15-30 minutes is a much safer time frame.

However, mental and emotional foreplay can last all day though. If you stimulate your partner’s brain with positive words, sounds, smells, tastes, images, and physical stimulation throughout the day, you’ll pump sexual chemicals into their brain. So their arousal level will be higher than zero when you first touch them.

What do you do?

During foreplay, you should stimulate your partner with sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Common sense can tell you how to do that. Wear nice underwear, light some scented candles, turn on some mood music, and brush your teeth. What you might be having trouble understanding is, what to do with your body? Here’s a list of options:

Ask your partner what they want you to do

Everyone is different. What worked best on your last partner might not work at all on your next. The most consistently successful lovers aren’t the best at reading minds. They’re the best at asking their partners what they want.

If neither of you know what you like, then experiment with different techniques, modalities and fetishes. Afterwards, talk about what you did and didn’t like about them. This will help you discover each others’ passions and create new ones together. That will keep your sex life burning bright, but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t communicate.

Make out and dry hump for twenty minutes

If you have no idea what to do during foreplay, you’re overthinking it. You need to stimulate your partner’s skin so their brain will produce sexual chemicals and increase blood flow to their genitals. All you have to do to accomplish that, is make out and rub their genitals for a while. It may not be creative, but it’s intimate, and it gets the job done.

There’s no single right speed or intensity. The more you use your best technique, the more boring it will get. Alternate between being romantic and ravishing. All that matters is you’re in sync. So read your partner’s vibe, and go with the flow.

This advice applies to taking each other’s clothes off as well. How do you know if you should take your clothes off, or let them undress you? Should you undress them, or do you undress each other? Does one person go first, or do you do it together? Do you do it slowly or aggressively?

Do whatever the situation calls for. If you need help, then turn on some sexy music, and move your body with the tempo, like you’re dancing. If it’s slow music, go slowly. If it’s fast, be rougher. Don’t think. Just go with the flow and do what you feel.

Give your partner a full body erotic massage

The most effective way to prep your partner’s body for sex, is to give them a full body erotic massage. If you caress their entire body, you’ll stimulate all their nerve endings, and it’ll take at least twenty minutes. That covers everything you need to warm up their sexual engine to cruising speed.

You don’t have to be a massage expert to give a good sensual massage. Just use soft, flowing, rhythmic movements, and glide your hands all over their body. You don’t need to impress your partner’s mind with fancy techniques. You just need to stimulate all their nerve endings.

My one suggestion would be to not focus too much on stimulating their genitals. Brush by them every once and a while, but don’t focus on them. Waiting and teasing will result in delayed gratification. It’ll make your partner want you to get to the sex, and the more they think about it, the more their body will respond by producing those sexual chemicals and increasing blood flow to their genitals.

There are tons of books, sites and videos on the internet about the art of sensual, erotic, tantric massages. The more you teach yourself, the more confident you’ll feel when giving a massage. Then your partner will feel your confidence through your touch.

Particularly in women’s brain chemistry, safety equals sexy. When a man demonstrates he’s confident having sex with her, then her body will feel more comfortable having sex with him and send messages to her vagina to relax and get wet. If a man demonstrates insecurity and awkwardness leading up to sex, then her nerve endings report that to her brain, which may respond by chemically inducing feelings of insecurity in her, which can cause her body to shut down sexually to the point it won’t allow her vagina to get wet. So do your homework. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

Caress each other

In foreplay, you need to stimulate your partner’s skin, but you don’t need a full body massage. You don’t even need to take your clothes off. Just reach your hand over, touch them, and move your hand around softly. You can caress them lightly, tracing your fingers up and down their body. Or you can hold and squeeze them. If you focus on impressing them with technical proficiency, then your touch is going to feel mechanical, impersonal, and self-indulgent. Your partner doesn’t want to be impressed by your technical skills. They want to feel needed. So touch them in a way that communicates desire.

If you want to spice things up a little more, you can caress them with something that feels good to the touch, like a feather tickler or rose. You can take this to the next level by caressing them with ice or drip melted wax on them. If that’s too intense or scary, find something that’s silky smooth. Then put it in the freezer or the microwave long enough to make it tantalizingly cool or warm.

Practice tantric sex

If/when you want to have foreplay that lasts a really long time, you can use tantric sex. There are lots of instructional books and websites. You should read, share and discuss them with your partner.

It’s ironic that so much has been said about tantric sex, because the point of it, is you don’t do anything. Just sit in the yab yum position, and nuzzle your partner for an insanely long time.

Buy a sex game

If you constantly worry that you’re doing foreplay wrong, then try not being in control. Instead, buy a sex game that tells you what to do by picking cards, spinning wheels or rolling dice. This way, you don’t have to make any decisions. You’ll both have fun. Plus you’ll be able to practice foreplay techniques and learn what your partner likes.

Watch a sexy and/or scary movie

Watching a movie about a person accomplishing a goal stimulates the same regions of your brain as experiencing real world success. In the same way, watching a sexy movie stimulates the sexual regions of your brain.

Since movies last longer than twenty minutes, you know your partner’s brain will have a lot of time to pump their veins full of sex hormones. If you caress each other and make out a little during the movie, you’ll accomplish everything you’re supposed to during foreplay. At that point you can jump straight into sex, or pick another technique from this list to do for a while. If you’re both already pretty warmed up, you don’t have to worry about foreplay lasting a whole twenty minutes.

It might seem counter-intuitive to watch a scary movie to get someone in the mood, but there’s a logical reason why it can help you get laid. When you experience fear, your body produces adrenaline, which heightens your senses and makes you feel the need to fight or flight. You get a big rush of motivation to do something to release the tension. Your brain’s reaction to fear, is to find safety and protection. If you hold your partner in your arms while they’re scared, their body chemistry will naturally respond to the fear by associating you with protection and comfort. That will make them feel good inside, and their body will want more of that positive feedback, which will make them want more of your touch.

This doesn’t always work, and it’s guaranteed to fail if you watch something gross and disturbing like “The Human Centipede.” For the best chances of success, pick a show that’s sexy and scary, like a slutty vampire flick.

Practice BDSM

If watching scary movies makes your brain produce adrenaline that can be rolled over into sexual excitation, then it stands to reason that you can accomplish the same affect by scaring your partner in real life.

There’s an art form to BDSM that takes years to master, and you shouldn’t attempt it without reading several instructional books, websites and watching videos. You can start by reading my blog, “Advice to men on sexual domination and submissiveness.” If you really want to jump into the world of BDSM, then make a profile on fetlife.com and talk to some real aficionados.

The idea behind BDSM, is that one person pretends to be domineering, and the other pretends to be submissive. The “Dom” tells the “Sub” to do things like, “Take off your clothes.” “Kneel.” “Touch yourself.” “Touch me.” etc. When the Sub does something they’re not supposed to, the Dom punishes them with light amounts of pain by spanking, whipping, pinning, pushing, choking, scratching, burning , etc.

The point isn’t to be cruel. It’s to build trust. You begin by caressing the part of their body where you’re going to inflict pain. Then you administer a very tiny amount, followed by caressing the same spot. You alternate stimulating emotions of fear and comfort, which opens Pandora’s box of sexual chemistry. Then, after the BDSM session is over, you engage in aftercare, which means you snuggle lovingly for as long as it takes to confirm the Sub is with a Dom who truly cares about them and isn’t just a selfish, sadistic jerk.

Oral sex

You don’t need to have oral sex every time you have foreplay, and you don’t need to bring your partner to climax every time you go down on them. When should you do it, and for how long? There’s no wrong answer. Just do whatever feels good.

Having said that, there are some guidelines to consider. First, oral sex is one of the fastest ways to stimulate blood flow to your partner’s genitals. So it might seem like a good place to start, but that’s like starting a car engine and then slamming the gas pedal to the floor. This would be effective when you know you don’t have a lot of time, and want to get to the sex quickly, but oral sex is most pleasurable when your sex organ is already throbbing with passion, particularly for women.

During the first 1-10 minutes of foreplay, a blowjob is a great way to rev up a man’s engine, and for women who enjoy giving head, it warms them up as well. Once a man is fired up, he’s not going to lose his momentum if you switch to something less stimulating.

For women, the best way to prime their body for orgasm, is to start your foreplay session soft and slow, then build up speed and intensity to a crescendo without ever losing momentum. If you start fast and heavy, then slow down and speed up, over and over again, then she’ll ride a wave of hormones towards orgasm, then lose it and have to build it back up again. The more times she has to start over, the more frustrated she’ll become until her body just gives up. So, you might not want to play your strongest hand first.

It’s typically not a good idea to fellate a man all the way to orgasm before sex, because he’ll need to take a break for at least five minutes before he can get hard again, if at all. With women, it depends on her mood. Sometimes she’d rather get her orgasm first, so she can sit back and enjoy sex without having to wonder if she’ll get an orgasm today. Other times, they prefer saving the orgasm until during or after sex, so it releases all the tension from foreplay and fucking at once. The best way to know which kind of orgasm she wants, is to ask. Though, guys wouldn’t have to, if girls would just tell men what they want.

For a basic foreplay session, try making out and caressing each other for 10-15 minutes, then go down on each other. You can do it one at a time, or in the 69 position. Sometimes foreplay should be about both people pleasing each other, but it’s also good to take turns making it all about your partner. When you’re having a worshiping session, go down on your partner and then proceed to the sex without expecting anything in return.

For more information on oral sex, read these two blogs:

How to go down on a girl

How to go down on a guy

Manual genital stimulation

Hand jobs and fingering follow slightly different rules. Penises usually aren’t overly sensitive when they’re flaccid. So it’s okay to begin foreplay by stroking his cock. It’s a fast and effective way to get him in the mood and stoke his desire for you.

Before a woman has been properly aroused for at least ten minutes, her vagina will probably be sensitive, dry and tight. So if the first thing you do in a foreplay session, is cram a bunch of fingers inside her, you’re going to hurt her and trigger her body’s defense mechanisms.

Fingering a woman after she’s been warmed up, is a good way to loosen her up a little bit more and make her body want deeper penetration. There are women out there with fingering fetishes, who enjoy getting finger banged for 5-10 minutes straight. Most often, when women are turned on and yearning for penetration, she’s hungry for cock. Fingering is just teasing, which is erotic, but only in small doses. If you’re a virgin and don’t know anything about vaginas, don’t finger bang them at all. You’ll probably do more damage than good.

When fingering a woman, start slow, and penetrate her deeper gradually. Don’t push in until she’s wet enough for your finger to slip in fluidly. Virgins who assume all women love big cocks, also assume the more fingers you can cram in a vagina, the better it will feel. There are some girls who like getting fisted, but 99 times out of 100, women would rather you just use one, or two fingers at most.

A vagina is a sex organ, and the best way to stimulate a sex organ, is to massage the part with the most nerve endings. On a woman, that’s the clit, which is outside the vagina. So you should be stimulating that with your tongue, a toy or your other hand, while you’re fingering her.

On the surface, the clitoris looks like a tiny nub, but it extends inside the woman’s body another inch or so, right above the roof of the vaginal canal. If you push up on the roof, you can stimulate the clitoris from the inside. This area is known as the G-spot. Every girl likes their clit internally massaged differently. Ask her, and experiment, but understand that less is usually more. The simplest way to hit the G-spot, is to stick your finger all the way in, press it against the roof, and draw it all the way out, slowly. This will guarantee you hit as much of it as possible. Just keep doing that rhythmically, and it will have a positive effect.

Self-stimulation

Instead of stimulating each other, you and your partner can watch each other stimulate yourselves. It may seem awkward and embarrassing at first glance, but that’s exactly why you should do it. You get to see a side of each other most people won’t. You get to share yourself laid bare, while simultaneously experience the rush of voyeurism.

Your partner knows you feel vulnerable. That’s part of what makes masturbating in front of them so hot. It shows courage and trust. Plus, seeing you experience pleasure stimulates the same regions of their brain as when they experience pleasure. You’re basically mind fucking them, and they love it. Best of all, it shows them how you like to be pleasured.

If you liked this post, you’ll also like these:

Sex Positions and Techniques

Dating and Relationships

Philosophy of Sexuality


“Safe Houses” A zombie movie script I submitted to Amazon Studios

I submitted a movie script to Amazon Studios titled, “Safe Houses.” If it gets enough good reviews, it could get made into a movie. You can read and vote on it, on its Amazon Studios project page.
“Safe Houses” is a psychological horror about eight survivors of the zombie apocalypse, who are trapped in safe houses around the world. On Christmas day, they hold an online video conference to share their hopes, fears, theories, secrets, and stories. They all lie, and some die.

I wrote this story as an experiment to see how low budget of a script I could create. I wanted the story to have a lot of characters, but be filmed in one location, like “Tape, ” by Stephen Belber, starring Ethan Hawke.

Instead of having eight characters in one place, I decided to have them in separate locations, but never leave. Originally, my goal was to make this movie myself with eight friends, but I have too many writing projects to have time to make movies. When I heard about Amazon Studios, I figured, why not float a balloon and see what happens?

To plot the story, I started with eight blank characters and gave them opposing personalities. Then I gave them goals and conflicts based on their personalities. The story follows the Hollywood formula plot progression: Introduce characters, state goals, conditions and plans. Then insert complications, show reactions, state new goal, conditions and stakes. Make a new plan, and then enact it. But instead of having all the characters directly involved in one central conflict, they each have their own, but they have an emotional connection to the other stories, and they can influence events by talking.

Since the whole movie is one, long recorded conversation taking place simultaneously, in eight locations, the logical way to film it, is to set up eight cameras on eight sets. Then record the whole conversation in one take, like a play, while also recording the eight video feeds from the webcams the characters are speaking to. The cameras in the rooms should be able to see the monitors, so whoever is speaking can be seen there.

If someone did this, then you could splice the scenes together thousands of different ways. You could even release a special feature disk with all the footage, so people could watch eight different versions of the same movie.

The story format is artistic, and the big risk in a movie like this is, audiences might get bored from the lack of action. But I believe the risk analysis of developing this movie adds up, given how cheap it would be to produce, and how many different versions you could offer.

 Below is a full synopsis of the script:

In the near future, the zombie apocalypse has decimated the human population. On Christmas day, eight survivors trapped in safe houses around the world, log on to a video chat site they found on the internet that only turns on for a few hours at a time.

The first act introduces all the characters, and shows where they are in life. Sal is a recluse veteran living in a spider hole in Oklahoma. Benton is a suburbanite in a boarded up house. Carly stays at a hippie a commune in California. Detroit is a gang leader who scavenges high rises. Hallux is a red neck from Texas with a drinking problem and a loose mind. Gracy is a an elderly lady who has taken refuge in her church. Esmeralda is a spoiled, rich woman living on a corporate floating island. Alim is alone in a sports stadium somewhere in the Middle East.

After the introductions, Benton tells the story of how he scavenged his Christmas dinner from a retirement home, but mistakes he made a long the way result in him being eaten alive by zombies in front of his webcam.

The survivors react to Benton’s death and give him a eulogy before discussing the scope of the zombie apocalypse and speculating how and why they’re able to communicate on the internet.

Unable to find definite answers, they turn their attention to discussing plans to improve their own safe houses, the risks, and the stakes of failure. They offer their expertise to Gracy, who is in the direst situation. She refuses help, just as Esmeralda’s flaws bring dangerous guests to her room.

Halux then tells the story of how mistakes in his quest to catch zombies in a hog trap, led to his farm being overrun by a horde, forcing him and his family to split up and hide in their basement and barn. Detroit gives Hallux a lesson in clearing zombies from buildings and boasts of his success building an empire in the sky.

Carly opens up about her love life, and reveals her commune has devolved into a fascist cult that tells its members who to procreate with. The group tries to talk her out of leaving the safety of her walls, despite the dangers inside.

Alim tells the group about the haunting loneliness he experiences every day, living in an empty sports stadium with a view of a city with no signs of the living or the dead.

After discussing the cause of Alim’s silent city and the zombie apocalypse at large. Esmeralda reveals she knows more than everyone else. She claims the military is clearing islands and resettling survivors, but she also reveals herself to be an unreliable source of information. Alim argues they shouldn’t hope for rescue anyway, lest their saviors become their masters.

The team discusses how to find meaning in a hopeless life, and Sal inspires them by revealing he’s writing a manifesto on the meaning of life. They discuss their hopes for the future, but the conversation is cut short, when the lights go out in Esmeralda’s room long enough for someone to cut her throat.

When the lights come back on, the room is full of first responders, and Alim has to use his signature skill, logic, to deduce the identity of the murderer. Unfortunately, when the island’s security team arrives, they reveal motives for a cover up and then cut Esmeralda’s camera off.

After giving Esmeralda a eulogy, Detroit confesses he’s not as successful or respectable as he claimed. Gracy’s priest interrupts the confession when he gives Gracy a glass of poison to drink, making her the second to last member of the church to die in a mass suicide.

Carly excuses herself and hangs up in tears. Moments later, a mysterious figure appears behind Alim, and his video feed shuts off. Knowing their time to talk is practically over anyway, the rest of the survivors say their good byes.

When the video feed ends, Sal opens a door and reveals he’s not alone. He’s a military leader who is using video chat feeds to locate survivors and study them. Detroit makes plans with his lover to travel North to Canada. Hallux hears a helicopter approaching his farm house, and the movie ends with a moderately injured Alim, running towards the silent city.
– The End

Click here to download a PDF of the full movie script from Amazon Studios.

If you find my story intriguing, you may like these:

Formula Plot Templates

Plot break downs

Tips on being a writer


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