For Giving

10 Gifts Shy
Of a Big List

Here’s our much anticipated – by no one – annually compiled, peculiarly picked, and praised often, End of the Year List. A favorite three-years-in-a-row (not really), it’s for someone with a particular set of tastes – or a Web search engine – such as yourself.
From family fare or affair, to smart-ass kids, for bored adults, and to friends or foes, there’s not nearly a thing for everyone. But the best present will be the – uninsured – reaction, or face, the gifted may express at the gifter, or the grifter.
Full disclosure: lists are atrocious. Holidays too, though one mellows about them before going mad. But giving gifts is nice, people like it. Receiving? not so much. Don’t dare mentioning landfills are on their way out, not without looking like one.
Even for the obscenely wealthy, it can a be a chore, but to hell with the lot of them. The poor always finds ways to give some, just not in cash; the other lot has all of it. Either way, to gift loved ones can be fun. And a pain in the butt.
Full disclosure too: no one sent these to the mailbox downstairs, and to some of us, shopping is hideous, no matter how much is the discount coupon. None will ever touch our open hands – or carbon footprint. It’s all for a laugh or chuckle, no adds or sponsors.
FOR FAMILY & FAKE COUNTRY
Nothing says family like an old-fashioned, vicious card game. Or insulting stickers, to have a saying in the nasty show that follows. Load your stuffings with Stick to the Man decals, or Cards Against Humanity. Hear your phone suddenly stop ringing.
Or you’d rather go higher, and choose instead some choice tree ornaments. Those marking that day when a giant octopus swallowed whole the Staten Island Ferry, in the New York Harbor, are great conversation topics. Oh, you can’t remember that tragedy? That’s odd.
Fear not: Playboy Trump’s Make America Great Again for White Folks With Guns is the perfect alternative to an intelligent conversation about the Long-Playing’s cover model. Yup, time to replay, Go Tell it On Fox News. And have some smocking.

FOR THE SCREEN & ADDERALL CROWD
Children are good (arguably). Bundles of joy, or electroshocks to the privates of single people, and psychopaths. Yours, of course, are adorable, but the miniature kind, you know, wee human parrots, silver spoon in the mouth, can all beat it, pardon the Newyorkism.
We’re all biased, though, to the earnest kind, inquiring little big minds, asking questions but having the sense of shutting up in time. For them, the Book of Religions. It’s like a secular tour through naves and catacombs of the earliest form of mass opioid.
In fact, they’ll learn so much, they’d want to create their own, but discourage them immediately. Threaten to place the chainsaw by the tree side; it should do it. Maybe. Or let them be filthy rich pastors, and bad mouth them on social media. Good parenting.
FOR THE HALF-BED PARENT SET
There’s a progression on this section. Start by the Coloring Books for Spicy Adults, a 50s-ish set of ‘ironic’ drawings, inviting you to spill some color on lifeless silhouettes. Hey, when was the last time you were asked to paint the town red?
For the grey hair confident, get the conversation going when the gifted unwraps that 55-Gallon Personal Lube. Rehearse some best-practices about consenting adults having mature exchanges, and go for broke: suggest a party when everyone is doused with it. Get lucky.
For the truly Breaking Bad Series-afficionado, few things spell, I’m ready, than the miniature Meth-Preparing, Lab-Van, Incense Holder. Get those masks going and, while the fumes fill the room, stream the episode when they cook it in their underwear.
FOR FRIENDS WITH FRIDGE BENEFITS
The Instant Underwear is the default Plan B for those already acquainted with Depends. Now it’s your chance to show that you care about your old sofa, just as talk veers towards (more)
_______
Read Also:
* Present Time
* The Gifter’s Referral
* Crappy Holidays

Continue reading

Rainforest Rundown

The Amazon’s Ancient Wonders,
Current Misery & Its Worst Foes

When Colltales started, seven years ago this Earth Day week, the environmental disaster du jour was BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve survived that, but many species haven’t. Now the still living, breathing, exuberant Amazon Rainforest may be where our next big screwup will take place, as proof that little has changed.
We’re still as likely to discover a Stonehenge-like monument, or 2,000-year old earthworks, or a 3,600-square-mile coral reef where the Amazon meets the Atlantic, as we’re to find that our taste for burgers is killing the jungle, deforestation rates are again on the rise, or that the Brazilian president is actually out to to cash in the forest.
Did we mention the neck-breaking pace of murders of green activists? Or the river of flowing boiling water? Nothing in the Amazon is mild or accommodating; it’s either an explosion of millions of still unknown species, or the soul-crushing wildlife and climate change indifference, shared by many Brazilians.
That’s why scientists fear the worst: not just that we won’t get to learn all that’s there for millennia to be discovered, but that today’s staggering beauty and power of the Rainforest will be reduced to a vast desert of its sandy soil, unprotected by the canopy and terminally exposed to the elements.
It’s ironic, then, that a deranged Brazilian conspiracy theory, dear to xenophobic and fanatics alike, is about some secret society of wealthy individuals, that’s supposedly been working to yank the forest out Brazil’s control and ownership. Suddenly, that prospect seem better than the current reality.

STONEHENGE, GEOGLYPHS & REEFS
Think about indigenous tribes? think again, for it was a cattle ranch foreman who stumbled upon some rocks piled up on a curious position, in what it’s now known as a thousand-year Stonehenge formation, probably built for the same purpose as the one in the U.K. And just as mysterious.
Just like the even older miles of earthworks, geoglyphs as deep as 16 feet and wide as a mile, proving the forest as home to some busybodies centuries before Europeans came to loot it. The discovery opens a new chapter into the history of the Amazon, one that unfortunately we may not get to finish reading.
Nature kept pace with all this human activity, and in unexpected ways too. Where the mighty Amazon reaches the sea, the crash of two powerful forces is long known as the Pororoca. That’s where lies miles of previously undiscovered coral reefs, coated most of the year by the river’s thick mud. Ready for swim?

BURGERS, MINERS & SLAVES
Not so fast. That juicy staple of American cuisine, now massively popular all over the globe, has something else questionable about it, besides being made of slaughtered cows: its smoky, ashy, scorched-earth rainforest sauce. No other way of putting it: cattle in the Amazon was always a bad idea.
But the meat industry is not the only woe helping clearing the forest: mining projects may deliver another blow to the entire region, if environmental regulations are eased as the Brazilian government plans. Even as is, (more)
______
Read Also:
* Rain (Forest) Check
* Amazing Zone
* Damned Project

Continue reading

Time Off

When Calls Drop
& Streets Go Quiet

People who never turn anything off, including themselves, may not understand, but there is such thing as doing nothing. In fact, if so-called power naps reset the brain, then dropping everything and just staring at a wall could do wonders to anyone. Not us, though; no time. Check back tomorrow, say after 5:30pm?
It’d help if we could freeze the city over and walk the empty streets as if survivors of a cataclysmic event. Such moments of eerie stillness, with not a soul on sight and the hum of urban machines quieted down, are still possible. Just don’t be long or you may turn into a slaughtered lamb on the nightly news. You know, evil loves shadows.
We suspect that even authors of best sellers about the virtues of dropping out have a hard time turning off their own phones. For when computer cameras and mikes are covered up, we may still carry on, afraid we’re missing out on something on Facebook. Thus our every second is filled with white noise.
Yet, there’s so much poetry in catching the automated world existing by itself, while its switch can still be turned off. Like when lights turn green and there’s no car in a hurry to go anywhere. Being sleepy and bored used to be equated to being lazy and spoiled, but new research changed all that. They are now deemed essential to genius.

TURN ON, DROP OUT, TUNE IN
Dreams are often a source for original ideas, popping up right after we open up our eyes from a minutes-long slumber. And the restlessness of having nothing to do has launched many a revolutionary take on the very concept of creating something out of thin air. Or we may always choose to just roll over and, well, nap.
Sides have argued over this since forever, and the likely reason we’re now convinced that we need to be on 24/7 may be because one of them hasn’t slept a wink in centuries. Then again, the very idea of having a non-stop society, to optimize productivity and increase efficiencies, was likely dreamed of by someone who’d just woken up.

STRANGER IN A STRANGER LAND
I once went back to a city I’d lived before, without telling anyone I was there. I’ve checked into a cheap motel and wandered about like a tourist. It was exhilarating. I walked and walked, (more)
_______
Read Also:
* Field of Dreams
* Counting Electric Sockets
* Spinning Wheels

Continue reading

Empire of Only One

When You Build in Solitude
That Which Will Outlast You

No man is an island, wrote John Donne, in what’s now a big, fat cliché. Yet, there’s David Glasheen, living alone on a island for 23 years. And Jadav Payeng, who planted a whole forest on his own. Or Justo Gallego, who built a cathedral by hand.
Then, there’s a man who’s surely envious of the solitude all three find comfort on. Accused of bilking people of their money, his victims found a way of placing his face all over the world, as a casualty of various acts of terrorism, even as he wasn’t near any of them.
Undue exposure as an act of revenge is certainly a modern phenomenon, with social media, and news report manipulation, replacing the shame of standing naked in the public square of Donne‘s times. But each man plays an unwitting, and extreme, role in contemporary society’s drama.
While Glasheen has just about enough of all of us, Payeng has dedicated his life to leaving us a legacy. As Gallego was erecting his monument to devotion, others devised a devilish prank as the only alternative to denounce and get something back out of a con man.

TO WALK OUT OF IT ALL
Not that many would’ve noticed, or cared about it, but when the stock market crashed, on October of 1987, the world lost a few millionaires. Most got quickly back in the saddle, as financiers are won to do. Australian businessman Glasheen took the hint to drop out, and instead, moved to a desert island.
But his is no epic tale, all heart-warming quotes of inspiration and non-conformism. For starters, like most hermits, he’s not very fond of the likes of us. Which is a feeling that comes in handy if  (more)
_______
Read Also:
* Off the Grid
* Hot Water
* Going Under
Continue reading