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Author: Mike Maples

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mike's Guide To Civil Rights: Protesting

OK, OK. I know that I recently posted a blog issuing my full support for those protesting the law enforcement system. In light of that, this post may seem like me doubling-back on my words. Trust me; that is not the case at all. But between protesters tearing Missouri apart with rioting, looting, and violence against their own community and people blocking roads near malls during the holiday season just to get someone to listen to them chant the same seven or eight words ad nauseum, I think it is safe to say that we as a nation have entirely forgotten how to protest.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mike's Guide To Civil Rights: Law Enforcement

In light of the most recent police shooting of an unarmed person in Orlando, I think it's time for an overhaul. By this, I mean a nationwide overhaul of the way we police our citizens: the technology, the procedures, the protocols, everything. Across the US, we are seeing an unprecedented level of violence and harsh tactics being used by police against the population.

The escalating use of excessive force, as well as outright police militarization, has reached an apex. This is the kind of stuff that starts revolutions, people. But we don't need a revolution. We need to change police culture, and American culture while we're at it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Love Letter

I have wanted to write to you for a few weeks now, but couldn't really figure out the right words to say to you. You are the only woman that I have ever loved, but have never met. I had never seen a woman is beautiful as you are, and the only picture I ever saw of you was on an ultrasound.

Now, I hope that I have found the right words for you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Audacity

I have to give it up to my Facebook friends for inspiring this post, as well as contributing to it (knowingly or not). It all started with an article that I read about recent scientific findings related to religion. The article, which you can read here, discusses a recent issue in the journal Cognitive Science, in which it was found that children subjected to religion have a difficult time differentiating reality and make-believe. Surprise, surprise.

I'm agnostic at best, but was very pleased with the discussion that took place between my Facebook friends when I posted the article there. The main players in the conversation were myself, a close personal friend for more than 20 years named Bryan, and a brilliant local comedian that I hold in high regard for his humor, humility, and powerful intelligence: Bill Kilpatrick. I am on the anti-religion side, Bryan falls on the pro-religion side, and Bill is somewhere in the middle, too informed for his own good. Here is how it went:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tough Guy Yarmulke

Approximately 200 people, including 40 children, have been killed in the last week with the recent uptick of violence between Israel and Palestine. The brutality in Israel's counterattack is highlighted by an assault on Palestinian children playing on a Gaza beach that killed four kids and hit none of the strategic targets located on the beach. And by that, I mean there were absolutely no strategic targets on the beach, only families and journalists. This is another example of Israel's growing boldness against its enemies in the region, and one cannot help but think that one day, the region will get tired of the shenanigans.

I, like so many others, am really exhausted by religious violence in the Middle East, particularly because religion is a goofy thing to fight over. If we could just get over all of this religion that is holding us back, we'd finally see one another as human beings, not Jews, gentiles, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and all of the other make-believe magic ghost stories that only divide us. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Least-Valuable Prisoners

OK, I'll make this quick because it is stupid that it is getting this much attention and heat. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is likely a deserter.

That said, American soldiers should not have had to give up their lives in trying to rescue him, if that is indeed the case (see Reality Check #2). He very likely walked away from a war that he didn't agree with, which is illegal according to the UCMJ, and should be punished in a measured manner for it. However, death is not an appropriate punishment for that crime, according to the UCMJ. Nor were his feelings uncommon with members of the military, then and now.

Republicans are currently shitting kittens because the White House made some backdoor deal with the Taliban to release five Guantanamo prisoners, senior Taliban operatives, in exchange for Bergdahl. Speaker Boehner's usually bright orange skin has taken on a reddish hue in response to this outrage. Let's take a breather and remember a few things.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Troubled Spider Man

WARNING: MAJOR SPIDER-MAN 2 SPOILERS AHEAD

The entertainment industry has collectively decided that we're all out of ideas or cares about what we watch and has rather successfully rebooted a franchise that wasn't even a decade old yet. We got "The Amazing Spider-Man," which was admittedly pretty great and re-established Spider-Man as a franchise. That said, the sequel to that movie had many problems, primarily that is wasn't good at all.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Therapy, vol. 4: Adulthood

Adulthood. It sucks unilaterally. I know that in my heart, but then why does everyone need me to control these things? It's like, "Hey, Mike, I could help you with this, or just do it myself. I know it is really my responsibility, or at least our joint responsibility, but I'm going to go ahead and leave it to you." And that's not about marriage. It's everything. I'm an ambitious, hard-working bulldog that gets shit done. Everyone sees that and lays more bricks on the pile for me, knowing I'll take care of it or die trying.

It would be nice to just drop the fucking bricks. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Therapy, vol. 3: Crux

I'm a big sissy when it comes to being alone. That said, I have entered many relationships in my life and considered "the M word" with a few of them (only pulled the trigger twice... just to be sure). Here is what I've collected about marriage over the years.

I am the product of divorced parents. My parents were only married for a few years before calling it quits when I was four years old. Both went on to marry the people that they are still married to today, more than 20 years later. 

So why do people stick it out in horrible, unhappy marriages? I got advice from someone one time, and their words were as follows:
"It will work out. [It] just takes strength and trust in yourselves, and everything will fall into place."
Followed immediately by a quick bit about their own relationship:
"I am just waiting until his family dies before I make my final decision [on divorce] as the amount of money I will get half of. Sounds sad, but I won’t have to worry about money again and could retire earlier than 65. That’s for sure."
So basically, fuck it. It's a crapshoot, anyway.

Monday, March 10, 2014

American Homeowner

This is a letter that I just sent to my HOA. I am posting it here as a sample of what to expect for all of you would-be home buyers out there, as well as an example of how you probably shouldn't respond to an HOA.

Simply put: don't buy a home in a neighborhood with an HOA. What they purport to contribute to the neighborhood almost never outweighs the personal freedoms (and money) that they strip from you. Mind you, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Read on...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hero

"They're gonna rip you apart; you're going to burn at the stake. 'Cause when it's time to collect, it's only heroes that pay." Hero by Ministry.

When I was very young, somewhere between 7-10 years old, my grandmother took me to a fair in Lafayette, Indiana, also known as the glorious place of my birth and spring break capital of the world. As dusk approached, we finished off an elephant ear and made our way through the droves of corn-fed white trash and Purdue students towards our car. Near the exit, I was quick to notice an old Chevy S-10 with a camper shell and a homemade sign that read "FORTUNE TELLER & TAROT," tacked to the side. When I think of a legitimate business, I think "vehicle-based" and "county fair," in that order.
Seems legit.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Perceived Imbalance

"Why does the government give poor people big refunds while charging others more on their federal taxes?"

It is tax season, and you know what that means: endless bitching. You are guaranteed to encounter tweets, posts, blogs, and quotes like the one above related to how much of someone's paycheck that the government is keeping, how unfair it is, and how people are "doing their part to support the lazy Americans."

I have posted about welfare before, but a fresh round of bitching by middle-class white people beckoned me to continue. You see, I don't think of welfare as simply helping lazy people. Do I think that this happens? Yes. Do I think it is a majority? No. But even if it was a majority of welfare recipients that were abusing the system, I'd still support it. To me, it is not an issue of giving to those undeserving of it, but rather contributing to our society; the poor, the broken, the underprivileged, the disenfranchised people who haven't had all of the opportunities that I have, which has not been many, to be sure. This is called optimism.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dutch Amnesia

While perusing the dregs of social media article links, I ran across an interview with Ann Coulter on Piers Morgan's show, which you can see here. As always with Ms. Coulter, it was mostly an argument stuffed with some Ross Perot-like "can I finish my sentence" moments in the place of valid counterpoints in sentence form. However, it made me reflect on the legalization of marijuana argument, and each side's take on it from the point of view of a non-smoker pot-sympathizer (which I am, I promise) (prospective employers). 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Therapy, vol. 2: Pumping Brakes

Someone I know simply loves being in relationships. So much so that I call her "Shoe Horn," because she will force anyone kind of reasonable into the position of boyfriend as quickly as possible just to avoid loneliness.

This is an excerpt from a conversation we had a while back.

Me: So you guys are boyfriend/girlfriend already? Monikers and everything?

Friend: Yep.

Me: Good thing you eased into that one.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Therapy, vol. 1: Masochism

I used to think that people came to me for advice because I am easy to get along with and talk to. I'm just like one of the girls! Meaning, I'm gay. Just kidding, mom and dad!

Now, I lean more towards the idea that people come to me as much for advice as to confirm that when they might be having a problem, there is someone out there who has a knack for bad decisions, good insight, and communication. See also: someone who has a more disastrous path through life than they do. Me.

This is the first post in what will be an ongoing collection of conversations with friends bouncing shit off of one another so that we can better understand ourselves. I should have done more with my life.

(sigh)

The following is the middle of a conversation with a friend who, at the time, was having a hard time getting over an ex. Texting, calling, etc.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Meek Shall Destroy The Earth

Here in Florida, the gun-friendliest state in the south and home to the weirdest goddamned criminals ever, a man was recently murdered in a movie theater during a heated argument about texting. I have already written a post on what I think about gun control but was compelled to do so again.

Needless to say, social media has exploded with liberal and conservative cries for gun control versus vigilante justice. Having accidentally taken part in one of these arguments, I had a few reflections.

By reflections, I mean gloats that read as such: "You are wrong. Asshole."

Reading these Facebook comments makes me sad for our future, as in Floridians, Americans, and humanity in general. Our romanticization of gun culture in combination with our soul-depleting, media-soaked xenophobia has led to everyone basically losing their fucking minds. Obviously, this case in question is a one-in-a-million event and immeasurably retarded, so the gun control issue is not as obviously attached to the issue as much as one would think. But people are jumpy and want a soapbox, and who am I not to oblige?

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014

Since there are never too many posts about New Year's Day about people's resolutions on social media, and because I know you are just dying to hear mine, I thought I'd throw this post together. You are welcome.

I introduced myself to 2014 by performing at Latitude 30 in Jacksonville, FL. I did a 30-minute set as a feature for my friend and headliner of the evening, Jersey. It wasn't technically supposed to be 30 minutes, but I was on a roll, everyone was having a great time, and Jersey had more time to comb his chinstrap.

I had a good time and got to talk about comedy and whatnot with some new acquaintances, all the while wishing I was home and already in bed (because I am so cool, a new year can wait until morning to see me). So it was a great night, needless to say.