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world-weary, by Odysseus Yong

Though years of separation stand between,
You and I, dear, are not hopeless.
We are not a little broken, no, only a little,
resigned — and too far away.

Distance is factor, you reckon,
One that most certainly will
Render our passions impotent:
Scarlet sails furled in closet,
Curfew imposed on our selves.

We are, dear —
just slaves to schoolboys’ maps.
Silk Way’s withered with tracks of your tears.

’86

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lovers at large, by Odysseus Yong

dear,

how would you know
that planet earth, the home,
is beautiful not for its life
but for your living on it?

what came after the flood,
how life rolled before it,
is as unimportant as the sound of
our future lawnmower’s blade.

your eyelashes call tornadoes,
the tears overflow the penitence,
your tight embraces are gravity per se
what say you to our flying together —
tonight?

over the roofs; and flat hats, we
with eyes bleak as moon’s shades,
will utter remarks claiming to be
what we are utterly not.

*86

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Life

What happens to your facebook after you die?

Every time I go to the bathroom I meet people tweeting, updating their facebooks and even chatting with their loved ones while doing their business. Even though few years ago I would have been (at least) confused if I had seen anything like that, nowadays it’s typical. Sometime in the future, I guess, you’d be considered lunatic if you don’t Instagram your Starbucks coffee every morning.

But have you ever wondered what’s going to happen to your facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. when you die? I mean, they claim that there are about 30 million dead people on facebook and someday you might as well join the army. Of course, after your friends would find out, your wall would be filled with cute and tear-squeezing posts, memorable pictures and Bible quotes. But soon, after singling you out, life will go on… and your facebook page with 1000+ party pictures and some dirty posts would still be there. Maybe even forever?

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But no panic, few years ago facebook instituted a policy regarding how to deal with deceased individuals. After your family proves your death – a requirement to make any changes in your profile – your facebook account could be deleted or converted into memorable account. Basically, you’d be a dead friend, always on the bottom of somebody’s friend list. As for me, it sounds funny, especially if your younger brother (or sister) decides to go “online” from your account. Online zombie? Hm, why not!

Luckily, after you die only your facebook friends would be able to access your account; you (or, realistically, your online grave) would be excluded from the global search and prevented from trolls and ex-girlfriends.

Believe me or not, there are some ways to prepare your online life for death! Of course, you can write down an old-fashioned letter with log-ins and passwords, but it’s way too sentimental. Instead, try Legacy Letters, a service providing online messages delivered to designated recipients after your death. It will cost you 25$ annually or one-time fee of 300$. You can store all your private data on Legacy Letters server and leave all wishes regarding your online after-life. There are other companies that will store your personal information and release it after you die only.

 

Thinking about death is hard, but thinking about your online death is even harder. You never know when you time comes. So, maybe you should take some time to rethink your last-minute speech, include some passwords and log-ins, accept last friendship requests and – as an option – post a last selfie on your Instagram.

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Life

The Roast of Religiosity

Religion is overrated. It has been like that from the very beginning, when man had found his first stone and praised it, until today. Although experiencing different religions, digging into them and talking to religious people brings up the question: “What had happened that religion and evolution went the opposite directions?”

I believe that there would be a lot of controversy here, so if you’re afraid that your religious feelings might be hurt, simply press the cross on the right hand side of your screen.

Back in 20th century (and even earlier) philosophers treated religion and philosophy equally for it was disputable: you could either accept one idea and make your mind up to fit it, or simply make an argument. Same thing with religion that – at some point – allowed a concept of critical thinking to mix with the whole theistic multiplicity. And it stayed that way for a while. Society, at the same time, has been developing rapidly and, having no answer to any of upcoming questions, had tried to find them somewhere.  Like…in the church or mosque or synagogue. And that was a moment when religion had turned back to its ancient times. Rome was founded by Romulus, and – the funny coincidence –  the last emperor’s name was Romulus as well; religion was, too, a man-made creation, so it was a man who flushed it down with his ignorance and stupidity. Don’t get me wrong, not one man, of course, but the whole bunch of them, we call them monks, priests, rabbis, etc.

Few months ago I was sitting in Tel Aviv on the beach, sharing thoughts with a good friend of mine. So, eventually, we started talking about religion (note, back then I was bachur yieshiva – religious college student) and after a while she shared the idea that made me re-think and re-read everything that I’d known before. Back in the ancient times people needed an example, a real world story or something else just so it make them believe in some kind of supernatural thing (or creature) above. And, as you might have guessed, Bible had served their needs flawlessly. Unfortunately, the world is way more complicated right now and sometimes connecting a particular need with a “real source” gets impossibly hard. Of course, we should have elevated high enough to get rid of ol’ day’s mentality and needs…but, oh well, what can we do.  So, for all of you, who have suffered from illogical and complex explanations from the Bible point of you, I’d like to confess: I would have been religious… only if they hadn’t spoiled it for me.

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When people start to over-think religion and forget that it is a belief and not a weapon, the bad things start to happen. Like praying for gay people (in hope that they turn right again) or saying prayers because your 14-year old son is masturbating, or writing AMEN under the Facebook pictures, or force people to believe, or bless them every time something important is coming. So, when you talk to any of these “believers” you start to feel a bit irritated simply because you are not accepting the rules of their game. Unfortunately, there are no winners in that game. And, the most important, there is a really strong barrier between believers and atheists and it will never be destroyed – the unquestionable faint in God which will not allow any religious person even start considering other side’s arguments. And that’s it.

The-Myth-of-Sisyphus-225x300Well, I strongly believe that 90% of so-called religious people are just scared for their life (or soul?) and, by practicing the religion, they’re just paying off their afterlife insurance. There are no atheists in the foxholes, they say. You better be prepared. As for me, though, I like to chose my own path. After reading Camus’s “The Myth of Sisyphus” I was simply fascinated by the image of Sisyphus Camus had pictured. A man who had made his own decisions throughout his life, a man who had fought with gods, a man who had built his own happiness carried his stone with a smile, dignity and respect. It was deadly heavy, but it worth it. His life was worth the punishment he was sentenced to.

Amen.

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Life

“to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”

I had to write something today. At the beginning, I thought about typical “happy September” post with few cool autumn pictures attached. But something was bothering me. One single thought had stuck in my head and didn’t let me move any further. And now, after few hours of thinking about it, I finally want to share it with you.
I’ve been traveling for the past 3 months, visiting Israel, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Thailand (good list, huh?) and, honestly, I enjoyed talking to backpackers more than meeting the locals. The thing is that every one of them is totally unique with his own life story and philosophy. I have spent hours talking to them about their life and their personal experiences they had had while traveling. And there was only one thing they had in common; only one idea we all  shared: never stop, never settle down, never stop exploring. It is your life and only you can make it count. Life is not easy. It is not easy to give away all you have and hit a road. But the payback is still much greater: you are not only living your life, you’re living it the way you want it.

We all know the story of Odysseus and Nausicaa, and his decision to come back to his family and home. I like to think that myth doesn’t tell the whole story. I like to think that after coming home he realized that something went terribly wrong. I like to think that he escaped a life he had been given. Because the only mistake a human being can make is make nothing at all.

And I challenge you, guys, to live a good life.
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Life

No time to explain – JUST PARTY

I don’t really like partying. I am not a big fan of getting drunk either. But at the same time I feel like I am not missing anything at all. For some unknown reason people (mostly, young guys) forgot that having fun is not about getting wasted and laid, but more about experiencing something new. Like… personally I’ve never felt like doing all that crazy things while travelling, but the very first week in South America changed everything.

I’ve traveled enough to realize that there are a lot of ways to entertain yourself while visiting a new country. You can simply stay in nice cafe in downtown and meet people there, or go around and see what people usually do at night. But during my very first day in Bogota, Colombia I realized that things work differently here. As usual, I had checked in the nice hostel in the morning, but I took me 5 minutes to notice that safety was a big deal for everybody there. No need to tell all those stories, because the main idea remained pretty much the same: DON’T GO ANYWHERE ALONE! DON’T GO THERE. THERE. THERE. AND THERE. Besides that, they said, Bogota is a great place to live and party in.

At first I was scared to death, even though life wasn’t that safe back home, in Russia. At daytime Bogota looks like any other big city in the world: whole bunch of beggars, tons of cheap fast food and street performances every now and then. I have to admit, I got really tired of that already, also I never have enough money to do any shopping. So the first day I was wandering around the center of Bogota, trying some local food. The next day… I did the same. And again. And again. By the end of the week the rhythm of life in Bogota had become very clear for me: if you are a tourist, you just go out and drink at night, meet new people and get laid. And you repeat it every single night.

I was frustrated. Of course, I’ve seen it many times before, but, I guess, Colombia is the first country (or the first country I’ve traveled to), that doesn’t give you any other choice. Either you party or go home. I wish I could have gave you some non-partying ways/ideas to spend your night, but I believe there are none. At night Bogota turns into something else, filled with music, cheap alcohol and drugs, and anybody who cannot cope with it (so-called pussies) are forced to stay in their hostels or rooms.

Now I am sitting on the hammock, while others are leaving somewhere to party all night long. Soon I will get some hot chocolate and finish a book I’ve started few days ago. No, Colombia is definitely a wrong place for me; not only for me, but for everybody who doesn’t like partying, spending nights out with random people and watching your back wherever you go. Gracias, Colombia, but I think it’s time to move on.

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Look around

Unfortunately, most of the people don’t try to look around when they look for something. Sad but true. Tourists pay money to experience new emotions, but they spend their time making pictures. Rich people donate money to charity, but they don’t see poor people right next door.

I can bet 10$ that everything you’re looking for is just one step away from where you’re standing. Of course, not literally. But if you think, you’ll realize that there is no need to start a Great Search before you carefully looked at the most common places.

You can argue, that we are dreamers and even use F. Rabelais’s verse: “Don’t know who’s walking under the window, but see the stars in the sky”. Well, still…if you want a fast result, try to shut Dreamer-inside-you up for a second.

There is a reason why I write this. Just today I saw a couple goy kicked off the train because they didn’t have tickets. It happens, nothing serious. Next 5 minutes I was watching then counting money to buy a ticket. Before doing so this young lady decided to “clean” the screen of the ticket machine where I had put a new ticket just few minutes ago. Believe me or not, they bought 2 tickets and took the next train to the Center. My ticket was still on the screen. “free ride to the stranger”, I wrote on it with black pen. My random act of kindness remained unnoticed.

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