A Council of Coffee & Cigarettes, Part 5

Here we are again. A moment of truth. Another reckoning of self discovery—on success and sacrifice. 

Raise your bitter cups of life, Espresso on the rocks, stirred not shaken. Kiss your smokes with the lips of death, the soldier’s cigarette, drawn not dragged.

Welcome to the Council.

In Anhedonia, the Sinless City, a citizen will never amount to anything without sacrifice. Know that there is no joy to a life with no fulfillment and we don’t get it around here unless it involves an intense case of self-loathing.

I hear people arguing on how loving your faults and self-acceptance are the key elements to a productive life. The very same people who can’t go to sleep because they now it’s nothing but a charade. A facade of self-worship where I’m supposed to love myself to feel better, feel better to get shit done, get shit done but shit is shit and all shit is nothing but.

I go to sleep hating my self, hating my shortcomings and hating my faults. In Anhedonia we forge ourselves in the fires of self-loathing because love makes the world go round but hatred changes it.

In Anhedonia, all members of the esteemed Council live the sagacious life of self-deprecation. You can’t live with a broken mirror and you can’t love it. I hate the broken mirror but at least I know that’s who I’m looking at. A fragment self of selves with a shattered sense of existence but a cemented self of being, in Anhedonia only the broken can be. Only the broken are accepted.

Because only the broken can ever change the world.

In Anhedonia, it’s not about who you are. It’s about what you are.

What are you?

Operation #Skinhead Complete, I Want To Punch My Classmate & What’s Next!

Hello children…simmer down now, papa is here and he’s got a brand new bag.

Ok, that was kinda creepy but at least I’m not touching you the way your uncle did…

I just finished my reporting project about skinhead music, white nationalism and social media effects. Let me tell you, good God in heaven was this project draining! Although it was tough talking to former neo-Nazis, who by the way are amazing people with a sense of wisdom that resonated so effortlessly, I had such a crazy sense of fulfillment working on this story.

That Soldiers of Odin guy? Yeah, he kept deflecting…meh. Funny thing is though, when I went back online to check on their Facebook page, lo and behold every single racist, profane thing was deleted. The dude even posted a mission statement saying the group respects and allows entry to all people regardless of religion, creed, sexual orientation…..etc.

HAH! The power of the press, people!

I’m thinking of pitching this story to a music magazine (undecided) and flip the angle to how skinhead music is dead because it no longer serves the white nationalist agenda any more. Even though I like Greenday, yes I do so fuck off, perhaps it’s a good thing that we have pussified punk rock, you know, just in case some hate group decides “oh, these guys sound super angry, let’s bastardize an entire art form for our regime of division.”

That basically sums up what happened between white supremacy and the skinhead scene.


Image result for the irishman
Al Pacino and Robert Deniro in The Irishman, Scorsese’s Netflix movie set for 2019. 

I added a random picture again because, like I’ve bitched before, God forbid your shorter-than-Trump’s-dick attention span is ever shocked into just reading with no visuals. FUCK!

As for the classmate I want to punch, this pathetic excuse of a future journalist lost all his interview material. So instead of redoing the interviews, if he actually did them in the first place, leans over to me mid-class and whispers:

“Dude, I totally recorded my own voice for the interviews…bahahah.”

If you thought that was insulting to the ethics and ideals of journalism, the insolent cur and I had to exchange papers for some peer editing (which I loathe). Two sentences in reading his report about gun reform opinions by police officers, written with the skillset of a 3 year old, I stop and just imagine myself throwing this guy, and any other shithead sullying the holy institution of journalism, off of a cliff.

As for my future plans, I’m going to D.C. for Spring break and hopefully cover the student march happening on the 24th. Should be quite a thrill as it’s bound to be a historic moment, one that’ll hopefully ignite legislative change on practical gun reform. One that’d appeal and appease to both side.

Buuuuut, this is America after all. I don’t think compromise has been in the vocabulary of this country’s politics since World War 2. We’ll leave these fired shots for another time.

Ok, you can all go away now. Seriously…scram, kids.

A Council of Coffee & Cigarettes, Part 4

Here we are again. A moment of truth. Another reckoning of self discovery—on time and complacency.

Raise your bitter cups of life, Espresso on the rocks, stirred not shaken. Kiss your smokes with the lips of death, the soldier’s cigarette, drawn not dragged.

Welcome to the Council.

leave me alone stop GIF by Phantom ThreadYou know that feeling? The one where you’re trying to fall asleep but one pestilent voice keeps ringing. Nagging.

“What did you do today?” It screams.

A surge of flashbacks takes over your mind and you remember every single detail of the day. Every single mistake. Every single thing you did—or didn’t do.

Time waits for no one, yet most of it is spent waiting on it….on time! I’ll be better tomorrow is a thought that is easily crowned the king of all self-deprecating thinking. It is repugnant and I am repugnant. This insinuated advice is repugnant, too.

Stagnation is repugnant and agitating when we can do so much more.

We don’t want to change and we especially don’t want to be told to do something about it. It’s demeaning, the whole confrontation amplifies the self-loathing. So we go to bed and we sleep it out, we slumber until the confrontation is no more. Until time runs out and nothing but death awaits after time running out.

If you did this in Anhedonia, you would be punished publicly. Shamed to death, and shame is worse than waiting. Waiting is worse than death.

In the Sinless City, actions don’t always speak louder than words but words, definitely, have no value without an action. Put your money where your mouth is, your actions where your dreams are. Change.


I need to change. Because waiting is a special kind of cancer, a cancer that goes uncaught in the bodies of those who are too blind to act. And to think that shadows are clearest in the day light. No, not when the light is blinding and not when we’re fools.

Irony is the most prevalent theme in life…well, for those who wait.

Don’t wait.

Clown; noun; a comic entertainer.

Her Majesty.
“That’s what you always do, you confuse love for admiration!”

Photo Credit: Sarah Anthony of Durango, Colorado.

Email yousef.alshammari@colorado.edu with your best pictures and a random movie quote for a chance to be featured in the Wry Ronin’s Scribeshot category.

More #Skinhead Trouble, A Conference In Vegas & Writer’s Block

Hey, gang!

God…hey, gang? I grow whiter by the day, I swear…

In any case, here’s a quick update on my journalism.

First of all, I have never, ever, ever, met or heard of a person who’s less punctual than a white nationalist. This dude’s been sidetracking me for weeks now and it feels like decades! Word to the wise, to those of you who want to be journalists or investigative writers, choose your sources wisely.

Then again, if you’re looking for sources to use in any story, make sure you contact at least 10 to 12 people. Chances are only 3 or 4 out of 12 are going to reply, let alone agree to an interview.

I’ve been mentally preparing to talk to a white nationalist for quite some time and all these hypothetical conversations I’ve had with myself for the sake of this report is now mostly going to waste. I’ve researched his hate group, their rhetoric and activities, and even shamelessly stalked him on Facebook…

The point is, don’t be an idiot and pick an overly ambitious topic like I did. It’s a great topic which if all works well, will hopefully get published somewhere when I’m done with it, but if I had to redo things, definitely choose something a bit more accessible.

On the other hand, I have an interview with another former neo-Nazi today and the first one was super easy and the lady I talked to was super nice and articulate. This guy however, barely types back a complete sentence in our emailed back and forth. Oh well…journalist, right? Society’s most overlooked and most unsung hero…or bitch…depends on the situation, right?

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Terron Moore, dude’s got impressive biceps and an even more impressive resume. 

On the other hand, for my Social Media and Storytelling class, I get to work with Terron Moore next Monday. This dude’s apparently a social media genius who reworked Teen Vogue’s image from a girly fashion magazine to a politics driven powerhouse. Hopefully he helps me out with my PR project where I’ll be working with this kick ass local band, The Jive Tribe.

In April, I’ll be in Las Vegas for the National Broadcasting Association conference. I have no idea where that’ll take me as a writer but fingers crossed anyway.

As for my other projects, I’ll be in D.C. for the gun reform student march. Hopefully the journalism department here lets me borrow a camera, otherwise I’ll be using my crappy Samsung phone. Still better than Apple, though.

Stay tuned, folks. The Wry Ronin’s got this!

An Ode to My Mother | International Women’s Day Appreciation Post

mother lion and cub
Mama put us to bed, it doesn’t matter how, she just did. (Credit: CutestPaws.com)

There is an ocean of cliches that we could be swimming in when describing the awesomeness of women. A dimension even, if it’s women we love like our mothers. I could tell you about the time my mother taught me how to fight, or how to be a good man, or how to tie my shoe laces, but I’m not going to.

Instead, I’d like to share with you a defining moment in my life when things weren’t exactly all blue skies and sunshine. What time is life truly like that anyway?

I was 20 years old, a year into my college studies as an engineer. Yes, my first two semesters were spent slowly but surely spiraling downwards with the ever so relentless agony of studying mathematics, physics and chemistry. All subjects that I hated, a phase in life which I blame on a plethora of reasons but that doesn’t matter at all. God is good, always. Time, on the other hand, fluctuates between good and bad, between excellent and dreadful. That’s just the way it is.

Nonetheless, I hated that point in my life because I had no idea what I was doing with my it. Like a meaningless flame dancing in the daylight, everything seemed so redundant and stagnation seemed to cloak itself with the arrogant denial of reality by my often deluded youth.

I was depressed. Clinically. Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, suspended from university and down on my luck in almost every category of life. And no one believed me.

Except my mother.

The only light in the darkness that consumed every corner of my mind, my then-apartment and my journey in life. I had straight F’s, a GPA of 0.46, a failing body and an exhausted mind. I had no will because I had no aim, I had no aim because I had no guidance, and I had no guidance because I didn’t know my passions that well. I knew myself but I didn’t know my passions, and that my lovelies is a special kind of hell.

I was going to drop out, go back home to Kuwait and join the army. A star student in high school who had fallen with no grace at all in a bottomless well of self-loathing.

In December 2013, I broke down and called my mother. I told her everything. She cried. We shouted at each other about my mistakes, about her disappointment and nothing mattered after the phone call ended. I just wanted to slither away into a hole and die.

My mother, a tougher than leather kinda woman, called me the day after. This is a woman who would defiantly out-drive Saddam’s soldiers during the 1st Gulf War, the kinda woman who taught her two boys a warrior ethic, and the kinda woman who beat breast cancer. By the grace of God, this is the kinda woman who’d look an 8-foot ogre in the eye and smirk unflinchingly. Maybe even slap it silly if she wanted to.

As soon as I answered, she said “here’s the deal, you’re going to get out of this stupid slum that you’re in or die trying.”

She was always like that, a one shot one kill approach is usually the first resort. She said “no more wallowing, no more weeping. We’re gonna face this as a family and you have a year to fix your shit or else you’ll have to live with yourself as a failure.”

It was a moment where I couldn’t feel my cheeks from smiling ear to ear and a moment where my eyesight was constantly blurred by agonizing tears. It was particularly confusing to hear my mother speak in a continuously breaking voice, I knew she was trying to be tough and delicate at the same time but it’s always hard to see her be both. My mother is of Persian descent, tough? Sure. Delicate? I don’t know.  I don’t think anyone can get used to seeing their loved one tormented by anything

Her bloodline comes from a small Iranian town dating back thousands of years, even though she’s a third generation Kuwaiti, longer than my full-blooded Arab father’s family. The town, Tangsir, is said to contain the children of Cyrus the Great and Xerxes, the ancient emperors of Persia or Persepolis. If you think she’s tough, you should meet my grandmother, she was Mike Tyson before Mike Tyson was Mike Tyson.

My mother continued her Braveheart speech of life and death, success and failure. She said “I’m with you, I believe you. Whatever you have or feel, I am your mother, my first obligation is to take care of my children and there’s no way a son of mine will live life defeated and crushed.”

She said “if you object to anything, if you want to be weak and allow these pathetic circumstances to consume you then you’re better off dead.”

She was right. As usual. No life is worth living in defeat, no body worth having with a broken spirit.

And that was it, it was that simple and mundane of an event. One phone call, one conversation. Her toughness transcended hemispheres, relocating itself from her heart of hearts, through the phone, all the way to my soul. From a middle-aged elementary school superintendent to a 20 year-old kid, trying to keep his chin down in the 9th round with life.

My mother picked me up like a florist saving the last rose that had managed to grow on arid soil. And no other man, nor woman, could have done what she had.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. My mother is a dimension of fortitude with one successful battle after the other, since birth until this very day, and never have I, or my brother, or my father, or anyone else, has ever heard her grunt the slightest oomph of a complaint.

A proper warrior. My mother. My woman of the year, of every year.

May God bless mine and yours.

A Council of Coffee & Cigarettes, Part 3

Here we are again. A moment of truth. Another reckoning of self discovery, on body and mind.

Raise your bitter cups of life, Espresso on the rocks, stirred not shaken. Kiss your smokes with the lips of death, the soldier’s cigarette, drawn not dragged.

Welcome to the Council. Our topic today is: to be an honorable man, think like a woman. 

Bugs Bunny And Tweety Show Coffee GIF
I guess Tweety’s become quite the problem.

I am a firm believer in physical sanctity and an absolutist when it comes to male whoredom. I constantly judge and police my mental and physical behavior when it comes to interacting with my being, with others and with the world.

I am a Catholic school girl, minus the skirt.

As I puff and sip, remembrances of times when I caught myself wallowing in lust currently fill me up with shame and self-loathing. I ask for forgiveness and I cross my legs.

To be a man is to keep the engine running. This motor is high maintenance, constantly in need of oiling and affection. My mother, my most beloved woman, taught me manhood. She said “son, don’t you ever dare think for a moment that you are exempt from the rules we’ve placed on girls just because you’ll be a man one day.”

I said nothing. I didn’t understand at first but when puberty kicked in like a sledgehammer to the knee and the sharp teeth of time ensnared my conscience, self-respect transformed from mandatory catechism to indispensable truth.

That I, like any other sexual being, had a sanctity to be preserved. For the sake of elevating my humanity than anything else. For the sake of preserving my noble manhood, lest I descend unto barbaric whoredom where the wells of self-loathing run deeper than ancient poetry.

The world of values is so abstract that to translate the divine into man’s word would be more than blasphemous, it would be hazardous. But I can show the world my values and I can respect myself.

I can look away when a defenseless gazelle trots by and quench the inner tiger with the remembrance of God. With the remembrance that I, too, am a weak gazelle being preyed on by the same tiger dancing in my chest, waiting to pounce on any powerless target.

I am a target too. A target of my own toxicity before anyone else is, I am the prey to my own predatory self. I am the woman I degrade with my eyes and thoughts.

I am a man. Because a woman lives inside of me and she is my mother, she is my sister, my cousin, my friend, my wife…

I am a man. Because a woman lives inside of me and she is human.

The 2018 Oscars: Lowest Ratings, Highlights & Commentary

This year’s Oscars ceremony was many things. To some, it was a delight, a ceremony that celebrated and awarded the marginalized. To others, it was a bore, the comedy was drier than a popcorn fart and Hollywood culture is often repelling.

And to many, it was nonexistent. Only 26.5 million viewers, the lowest rating yet!

I personally blame that on the slow death of TV. Who owns cable these days? Everything’s Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, you know, all the digital happy meals we’ve grown so accustomed to with the rise of the digital world. Except it’s not your body getting lumpy, lethargic and ugly, it’s your mind and character.

Sure the ratings dropped, 25.6 million is a really low number in comparison to the U.S. population of 330+ million, let alone all the people watching from other parts of the world, but why should we care? It’s simple, this year’s Oscars was a clear glimpse to the future. One that promise wonderful changes but at what cost?

Let’s take a quick walk through the most important parts of the 2018 Oscars.

The ‘Inclusion Rider’, Politics & Social Justice: 

Frances McDormand’s speech was witty, intelligent and necessary.(Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“It’s a stipulation that actors and actresses can ask (or demand) to have inserted into their contracts, which would require a certain level of diversity among a film’s cast and crew.” Writes Colin Dwyer in a thorough NPR report on the subject.

What’s striking about this moment is the call-to-arms approach for inclusivity and representation, even if the “Inclusion Rider” suggestion is so far a hint at a policy and not a real one. Yet. Contract-based resistance would be the starting point; actors, actresses, sound directors…etc. would all have the proper legal language within their contracts to enforce the need for a multi-representational environment in the film’s production. Whether in cast or crew or both.

And we all know who this needs to start with, right? White men.

Anyone in a position of privilege and power would be a good start. Trickle down economics doesn’t work but perhaps trickle down resistance will. In any social situation, those in power have the voice and the ability to be heard.

On to the next. My man Common, once again, kills it with his trademark subtle and minimalist lyrics that hit harder than my mother with a belt. One of the many disciplinary methods of a Middle Eastern mother.

While performing the Oscar-nominated song Stand Up For Something from the movie Marshall, Common and Andra Day invited 10 activists to share the stage.

Here’s the list:

Common, Andra Day and Bana Alabed, the 8-year-old author of Dear World, a detail of her struggles as a modern day Syrian.
  1. Alice Brown Otter (Standing Rock Youth Council)
  2. Bana Alabed (author and Syrian refugee)
  3. Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative)
  4. Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood Action Fund)
  5. Dolores Huerta (Dolores Huerta Foundation, United Farm Workers of America)
  6. Janet Mock (#GirlsLikeUs),
  7. José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup)
  8. Nicole Hockley (Sandy Hook Promise)
  9. Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter)
  10. Tarana Burke (Me Too).



“On Oscar night, this is the dream we tell/ A land where Dreamers live and freedom dwells/ Immigrants get the benefits/ We put up monuments for the feminists/ Tell the NRA they in God’s way/ And to the people of Parkland, we say “ashay”/ Sentiments of love for the people/ From Africa, Haiti to Puerto Rico.” Common opened up with a quick freestyle, keeping Hollywood a bit more woke than usual on Sunday.

Common kept it real and classy as has become expected of his artistry. With references to the rise of women’s rights (not there yet, I know, I know) and Colin Kapernick’s #TakeAKnee stunt that shook President Trump into calling him a “son of a bitch,”, caused an uproar among republicans and conservatives alike. Trump regularly took to Twitter, jeering the ceremony’s low rates along with Tomi Lahren and Joe Walsh.

Another important moment throughout the ceremony was Weinstein’s accusers sharing the same stage. Salma Hayek Pinault, Annabella Sciorra and Ashley Judd presented a montage about women in film. A powerful and historic moment for women across the globe.

There were many other similar moments throughout the ceremony, moments where political statements and social commentary added to the overall tone of this year’s Oscars. At one point Kumail Nanjiani sent his support to DACA recipients saying “to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you,” and at another, presenter Jimmy Kimmel aimed a joke at Vice President Mike Pence, Putin and rigged elections.

There were several occasions where political, social and racial commentary was the prime subject which leads me to what you’ve all been waiting for.

The Yousefian Rundown: 

Hollywood is facing an ideological shift towards the ideals of what many would label progressive liberalism. I think if Hollywood changes, its powerful impact in the shaping of other cultures will provide a mimicked result. Hollywood tells you blondes are hot and desirable, you believe so; Hollywood tells you blacks and minorities are comic relief, you believe so; Hollywood tells you to jump, you say how high?

It’s that simple. What troubles me, as always, is approaching a problem with an undefinable solution which is why I think Francis McDormand’s “Inclusion Riders” commentary is so important. Talk is cheap and policies are hard to implement, let alone the evasive nature of thinking of a valid policy.

We have many social stake holders to consider, many issues to address and many voices that are unheard, often silenced by the status quo. Before my attempt at a plausible commitment for social change, I’d like to share a few thoughts:

The world, for the last 10 years at least, has been twisting and turning with our human affairs. We’ve seen regions shift their social ideologies, we’ve seen regions slowly deteriorate from political turmoil and we’ve seen populism come out the sewers in retaliation to unorganized change. These views are my own but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you can easily relate.

During the Oscars, I couldn’t help but think to myself: what are the long term effects to the changes all these privileged liberal celebrities are fighting for?

Change comes at a price, I believe, if the change itself is poorly organized and is assumed to take place of the previous status quo simply because all these angry plebiscites may very well be the majority voice. And I believe every decent human regardless of identity would argue all the changes hinted at or spoken about in the Oscars are necessary in the modern world.

Say for instance, we implement a policy that encourages more diversity in film making. What could possibly go wrong because what’s so bad with more representation? I think with the rightful entitlement of the oppressed, an entitlement that’s once recognized and fought for results in an atrocious treatment of said oppressed, can and will go wrong if concessions aren’t made.

It’s a horrible thought, isn’t it. Mr. Reformist wants more inclusivity by any means necessary, the admirable but mistaken Malcolm X approach. That reconstruction will go haywire in no time, I promise you that. If we don’t include those who oppose us and flat out reject us, often in an uncivilized manner, we will lose the long term sustainability of our desired changes. 

Those are my two cents on the issue. It’s sad, I know. Mama said I can have all the candy and I’m gonna eat it all in the playground tomorrow, every bully is gonna die of jealousy. It doesn’t work that way. The bullies will eat you and your candy.

With any new policy, especially one that challenges the very beliefs of the old ways, compromises must be made and concessions must be made. Keep the enemy’s hunger satisfies as to not upset the gradual reign of the new ways. Visit Rome’s history and the assassination of Julius Caesar if I’m not being clear about this.

Feed the bully, just a little bit. It’ll keep you and your candy safe in the long run.

Until next time, my lovelies.

So I’m Covering #Skinheads Now…

How goes it my beloved subjects, I mean readers…

If you had a shred of humanity left, out of pure pity, you would’ve read my recent update report about the Wry Ronin’s new direction: a behind-the-scenes approach to my life as an aspiring journalist!

How…exciting. For me, at least. Sigh.

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Random image of my favorite comic book character. God! I love Batman so much.

In any case, I wanted to give you guys a glimpse of my latest news feature project. It’s about social media usage, white supremacists and how the internet age is slowly dissipating the ‘allegiance’ these people have to their causes.

It all boils down to their use of anonymity. You can’t really “fight the good fight” when you don’t have the balls to fucking own up to your ideologies, can you?

It’s simple really: more social media use means more anonymity for these folks, and more anonymity means less accountability. Less accountability, thankfully and ironically in this case, means white nationalist groups experience less brand loyalty.

And that, oh beloved royal court of the Yousefian empire, means less organization in hate groups. Good fucking riddance, eh?

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Colonizers weren’t welcome, either. Ye eejits.

I’ve been trying to contact different branches of the Soldiers of Odin, an anti-immigration white supremacist group that thinks Islam is taking over everything and anything it touches. Ummmm, you don’t see any irony in that, Mr. Colonizer?

I’ve also had the privilege and honor of talking to Shannon Martinez, the U.S. regional coordinator of the Against Violent Extremism Network. She is an absolute angel and a former neo-Nazi. Her story of redemption and reform will hopefully serve as a juxtaposing addition to this report. It’ll show how anti-hate groups use social media in a much more effective and organized fashion.

It is not easy at all though. One Soldiers of Odin member, who claims to be the Dixie region director, has been rescheduling like mad crazy. With pathetic excuses that we used to escape detention in high school: “I’m sorry, I had a family emergency, can we talk on Thursday?”

Mother. Fucker. It’s been 2 weeks now, you’re out of this report, whitey. Psht, good luck with any publicity, ye racist pig.

Also using my name and profile picture wasn’t a wise idea on my behalf….I’m brown, if you haven’t realized yet, dearest subject. Like, mocha latte brown. But I prefer cafe con leche brown, way sexier.

That’s pretty much it for now, you blog readers wouldn’t stand a chance reading over 500 words, would you? Lowest attention span humanity has ever seen. Fucking social media, what a bittersweet dimension it is, right?

If you have anything to say, please comment? I rarely hear anything from my readers.

K, bye.

P.S. not all skinheads are bad, I love punk music. Remember kids, if you think religion ruins things, you haven’t paid attention to what politics has done. Ok, time for me to go listen to the Exploited.

A Council of Coffee & Cigarettes, Part 2

Here we are again. A moment of truth. Another reckoning of self discovery, on body and mind.

Raise your bitter cups of life, Espresso on the rocks, stirred not shaken. Kiss your smokes with the lips of death, the soldier’s cigarette, drawn not dragged.

Image result for coffee and cigarettes art
Artist: Michelle Dunaway

Welcome to the first official Yousefian Council. Sponsored by my two best friends, coffee and cigarettes.

Council 1: The Importance of Self-Punishment

When the mind plateaus, only by punishing the body into further discipline will evolve you. When the body plateaus, only by pushing the mind into further madness will evolve you. Progress demands retribution.

Funny, isn’t it? You’d think a smoker and caffeine addict would have no interest in taking care of his body or his mind. Even enjoyable toxicity must be cleansed.

In Anhedonia, all members must subscribe to the virtue ethic of a modern day samurai. Here in the Sinless City, we reforge the malleability of weaknesses into the Katanas and maces of redeemed iron. Of renewed strength.

Say, for instance, your body is weakened by negligence. You’ve been eating too much or too little and you’re favorite jeans don’t fit anymore or you’re favorite shirt now looks like a Dashiki. You’ve let yourself go because life is busy, not good or bad, just busy. With that negligence comes the decadence of the mind, your physical inability to endure and sustain itself is relegating your mind into a lower, weaker self.

Weakness is not the inability to be triumphant but the inability to simply try.

To be a citizen of Anhedonia, you mustn’t be weak. We only accept the strong here. To be strong, you must do the following:

  1. Self-evaluate: recognize and acknowledge your shortcomings. If it is physical, rely on your mind to plan and execute a search and rescue mission. 
  2. Act Soon: If you are too late, one column’s collapse can lead to another and that will have you crumble all in due time. Get a gym membership.  
  3. Never Look Back: once you’ve renewed yourself, the old self should be kept in the vault of remembrance, for referential purposes. As for its being, burn the body. There is no need to revisit an eliminated weakness because you ‘miss it’. 

The body and mind must be in tune, even if they are made of different material. Like salt and pepper, completely different yet both are the seasonings needed for your main course, for your life. And just like these beloved seasonings, you must be ground as well.

Grounden, reforged and perfected. Bruce Lee said be like water. I say, be like salt and pepper. Finely grained, like an intrusive rock taking its time to form in the belly of a volcano, only to be spat out with a marvelous shape and beautiful structure.

Like the inhabitants of Anhedonia, like my thoughts. Finely grained, unhurried. Ready when they need to be. A trait donned by the elite League of Anhedonia, who are the Councilmen, who are my principles.

The Council continues next week.

Until then, I leave you with a quote to contemplate on:

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” —Sydney Harris

A Council of Coffee & Cigarettes, Part 1

The weekly chronicles of a frantic, sleepless, and overworked chronic insomniac’s mind.

Read at your own risk.

Jason Todd, before the Joker got to him, who knew he was a smoker? Artist: Phil Cho

It all begins in the morning. Every morning.

A bitter cup of life; a handful of sugar twirling in circles, dancing with and embracing four shots of mayhem. Espresso on the rocks, stirred not shaken. Twelve ounces of manic energy, courtesy of the Laughing Goat.

A sweet kiss of death; a handful of Parliaments in need of tender loving care, waiting for my lungs and lips. The ‘soldier’s cigarette’ , drawn not dragged. Three coffin nails of malefic evils, courtesy of my addiction.

All councils, as mandated by my melancholy, are to be undertaken in beautiful areas of nature that are vibrant with color and resonant with serenity…for juxtaposing purposes.

For a poetic oomph or an intellectual hmm, place both feet on the pedal of pessimism on the highway of self-righteousness. For added mental clarity and conclusive thought processes, detach the brakes of false objectivity. Keep hand-brake available for sudden and often tight bends as the highway does cross multiple intersections of impractical hatred and bigoted rejectionism.

Drive safely.

‘Drive Safely’ is my co-pilot’s precaution, my mind’s warning sign,right before me, myself and I embark on this mental journey towards—Anhedonia. Where all the magic takes place. My imagined and, might I add, well constructed mental getaway where I live most of my thoughts.

The Sinless City, dubbed by the inhabitants, my deepest of thoughts, is where said councils take place. Where I, and all that is me, assemble to silently discuss the ills and terrors of life as well as the wonders and joys of living. Where I, and all that is me, administer the faculties of my being to their designated functions.

Within these faculties, the ministries of my existence, my self as a sovereign polity governed by nature, nurture, the selves and God Almighty, are put to work. These mental agents, all the networking in the state of me, rule collaboratively and collectively in the aim of maintaining my sanity. Sanity is also the name of my bicycle on which I ride a thin line between desolation and triumph.

Triumph, here, isn’t necessarily to prosper but more of a barely-get-by life mission with the state’s slogan and first line of the national anthem being “someone put a bullet in my head but not now, I’m busy”. However, the logistics of the nation is a topic for another council.

Stay tuned, my lovelies, the council continues next week.

Until then, I leave you with a quote to contemplate on:

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. — Dante Alighieri

There Gone Be Some Changes ‘Round Here!|Regime Change

I have decided to reformat the message of this here blog, my blog. The Wry Ronin will no longer sporadically post random journalistic, academic and poetic works.

MADNESS MUST HAVE A METHOD…this is how people scream in the digital world, right?

Image result for best batman pictures
Here’s a random picture of my favorite superhero and super villain. Also, BatFleck is the worst…I hope that offends you.

3 things all you lovelies have to know about the Wry Ronin’s new regime:

  1. Once a week, my philosophical-memoir series A Council of Coffee & Cigarettes will have a new entry.

  2. Every Monday, a ScribeShot photo entry will be posted.

  3. Every Friday, a Journalism Post about my adventures as a journalism student. I’ll take you through the rabbit holes of the stories I cover and the Public Relations/ Journalism work I do on a regular basis.

We need accountability journalism now more than ever — The Columnists

We often neglect reading a journalist’s name on an article, we may even neglect to remain informed and not read the article at all. Throughout daily life, the name Ronan Farrow means nothing. In my adventures as a journalist, on the other hand, that name means a lot. But why should you care who he […]

via We need accountability journalism now more than ever — The Columnists

Review|No Oscar For You, Daniel Day-Lewis!

Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock.

Recently, I was forced to watch Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread.

At first, I was reluctant to go because I had seen the trailer and read about this old man in a relationship with a young woman. Never been a fan of Woody Allen either. I thought to myself “eh, creepy…not seeing that” but my girlfriend said she’d skin me alive if I don’t go. I’m just kidding, it was worse. She threatened to burn my Batman comic book collection.

So, like the poor, cute baby cow that I often resemble, I was dragged into this cinematic slaughterhouse.

The Rundown

Final call for SPOILERS!

Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a well-established tailor who specializes in creating gorgeous and extravagant dresses for the female bourgeois demographic of 1940s London. His clientele includes European royalty, so, yeah, unless you’re a hotshot fashion designer or a coke dealer, he’s not a character many of us can relate to. He also lives with his sister Cyril, played by Leslie Manville, who is also his right-hand-woman.

Manville…white people, must your names be as colorless as you?

Reynolds Woodcock, stop imagining that you sicko, meets and eventually falls in love with Alma, played by Vicky Krieps.

Fun Fact: Day-Lewis, whilst mocking Reynolds’ character, used the name Woodcock. Anderson supposedly cracked up so hard, he decided that would be the final surname for Reynolds.

Reynolds has severe mommy issues, control issues, toxic misogynistic tendencies, and most likely erectile dysfunction.

Alma is worse.

Vicky Krieps krieped her way into the plot by foolishly catering to Reynolds Woodcock’s curiosity. He first saw the WWII Jewish refugee in a diner and, at first glance, began to salivate like a Pavlovian dog to the sound of bells.

She walks over, asks for his order and flashes her ever so innocent smile — one that attracts old men and pedophiles alike.

Woodcock then pulls a macho big boy move by ordering a fatty banquet for breakfast that would even make Chris Farley shake his head in disgust. Rest in peace big guy, without your comic genius we’ve all been stuck with Kevin Hart and the roided Samoan equivalent of David Spade, Dwayne Johnson. What a horrible duo!

Woodcock asks her for a date, she replies with a written note on a napkin that reads: “for the hungry boy, my name is Alma.”

They date, she moves in, sister Cyril also has mommy issues, so it becomes a series of annoying moments for all characters…just like this sentence, where I’ve exhausted the best conjoining tool in the English language, the comma, you’re welcome.

The unholy trinity of Reynolds, Alma and Cyril becomes all too complicated when Alma falls in love with Reynolds. It slowly but surely becomes a psychological hellhole for everyone involved, especially enthusiastic movie buffs in the audience. Alma, in her master plan to break through Reynolds’ ‘I only love my mommy and no other woman’ barrier, asks Cyril for the house to be emptied for a romantic dinner.

When all the seamstresses and Cyril were out and about, hello Canada, Reynolds returns from his Thursday night walk to the eager welcome of Alma. She had cooked for him asparagus with “too much butter”. Reynolds and Alma fight over dinner where they both express their frustrations about their horrendously toxic relationship.

“You are incapable of loving me, why are you being like this?” asks Alma, or something more subtle as to move this sorry plot.

“I want my privacy to work on my dresses, I don’t need you, this is my house and I hate butter.” screams Reynolds, or something less subtle as to shit on the art of screenwriting.

Alma picks some poisonous mushrooms — and serves them to Reynolds in tea form. He gets terribly ill. She gets a power trip. He becomes pitiful. She offers a lending hand.

Gaslighting via mushroom…genius! Genius, I tell ya! Give them 6 Oscar nominations!

Why do you persist Mister Anderson, Why do you fight? Because the Oracle fooled and I’m stuck with this shit.

Reynolds, now like a punted puppy in need of severe affection, is coddled by Alma who makes sure this fragile maniac remains fragile.

Reynolds knows what’s happening and he fucking enjoys it!

He falls out of love and into enamorement, instantly recanting his closeted ways and jumping into marriage. The cycle continues, this on and off reclusive cowardice, and so does Alma’s habit of poisoning him.

I won’t spoil the ending for you and I’m tired of thinking about the overly minimalist plot. It is unclear if Reynolds dies or not…I dunno, you watch it and tell me what you think.

Fun fact 2: this is the second movie where Day-Lewis plays a character who marries a waitress.

What I Wanted To See

Simple. It’s fucking simple. Just one thing is all. One teeny-tiny thing and all this woe could’ve been avoided.

One thing: — A better movie.

Instead, I had to suffer through the movie whilst pretending to like it so that my girlfriend wouldn’t get mad at me. True love and sacrifice.

However, I must say that the dialogue was a great redeeming factor for me. There were parts where my smile or laughter was organic and the acting itself was superb on everyone’s part. The plot, I felt, lacked in its hard hitting themes despite those themes being there. There were plenty of times were it was just nonsensical subtlety that left the movie too open-ended and too loose for it to be memorable.

It wasn’t memorable.

And I hope this isn’t your last movie, Daniel. What a shame that would be.

Score: 6.5

What does that mean? It means I enjoyed it enough to be haunted by it and to write about it. What else does it mean? It means I wouldn’t lose any sleep if I go on with life without ever revisiting Phantom Thread.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with my psychiatrist.

Alexa, call mother.

Opinion|Black History Month Ain’t Nuttin To F***k With

All the closet racists come out of their hobbit holes this month. What? The other 11 aren’t enough?


I’ve been noticing a trend lately in social media comment sections, even opinion pieces in respected news outlets, that aim to behead the African-American spirit. These methods of derailment come from one thing and one thing only: pure filth in the heart of every racist.

Not to mention the idiotic outrage about Black Panther. You thought kneeling in a football game because trigger-happy cops go buck-wild on minorities was controversial?

Try having an entire reality, in the comic and film worlds at least, where a self-sustaining black nation in Africa has scientists, entrepreneurs and an entire organized society emitting nothing but success. Also, where the bloody king is the masked vigilante, a super intelligent scientist and probably the main reason your mother got tickets to the movie.

You will find no apologies here. Not when most of you are out of your minds cause a black man is portrayed just as, or even more powerful than a whitey. (The same people who cried themselves to sleep when Wonder Woman came out? No doubt.)

In Wakanda, or your gentrified neighborhood, hell is empty and all the racists are here. Not even lurking about. In your face with the ever so articulate rhetoric of “Why do we need a black history month? Slavery is over so racism is over, duh…no one sent you the memo?”

That memo probably originated in some white dude’s mother’s basement after his girlfriend left him for the Idris-Elba-looking adonis on the football team…sucks to suck, bro.

I am a brown, Muslim man in the United States of Amerikka.

There has been no other non-white group in the US or the West, in my not-so-humble opinion, that has fought for the rights of minorities as much as black Americans.

A most despicable history of a people whose struggles have not ended despite all the unspeakable hardships they have lived through, and continue to live through.

Black Americans started the fight, enabling all the other misrepresented and oppressed minorities in this nation, to one day live together as brothers or perish as fools. In doing so, despite the fight being no where near over, they have empowered people like me by the simple proxy of standing against what is unarguably and undeniably wrong.

It was either Nelson Mandela or Maya Angelou who said “once we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.

I don’t know who said it but I know they were black and beautiful.

The Wry Ronin’s First Year.

On this day last year, I decided to enter the world of blogging. To practice writing in all the forms I love; poetry; reports; essays; memoirs…etc. and share it online to the masses.

It’s the first year, so it’s nothing special to me yet. Perhaps that’s not good advice to new parents but it is what it is. I have a blog, whoop-dee-do. You have a toddler, it’s uglier than you.

But I am thankful and grateful for the reception of everyone who has encouraged me and enjoyed my posts.

As a writer, better yet as a realist, I don’t give a shit if you like what I write. I don’t give a shit if you don’t. I do not care whatsoever if something I wrote made you laugh, cry, sad or get angry. I don’t care if you found it informative. I don’t care if somehow through reading a piece you had an epiphany of sorts.

I could not care less about the type of reaction that you, my dear reader, have had.

Reaction. Of all types, sorts, manners…that’s what I care about. Just a reaction, not how and what it is.

You can’t proudly call yourself something, claim to be something, and then do the opposite of the character you claim to have. You can’t be something without doing all what your something entails. I am a writer, I write. Not for approval or disapproval but to be heard and reacted to. Nothing more, nothing less.


This world. This digital wonderland of likes, hashtags, follows and blocks. A world that I’m still so confused about, has been fun at times and frustrating at other times. But I will continue and I will learn more.

And I will conquer it.

We are a species dependent on communicating. I wouldn’t be here if we weren’t. You wouldn’t be here if we weren’t. So let us communicate. So let us be.

To all of you who have reacted, to all of you who have supported and encouraged me, to all of you who follow this blog and read it when you can:

Thank you.