December 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

A man.

He stands in front of a QuikMart off a local transit route.
In his right hand is a quarter, well-worn on both faces. In his left, a lottery sheet.
Flakes of silver cascade like a shower of precious metal.

The man is biting his lip.


The sun stands sole witness.

Sweat drips off his nose.
He takes notice, only long enough to hastily swipe it away.

His lip has grown whiter than his teeth.

Abruptly, his teeth release their violent hold.

He sighs. It is a sigh he is familiar with.
It is a sigh brim-full with emotion; a mosaic of disappointment, futility, and self-loathing.

He pulls out his wallet; glances inside.


It strikes him like a punch to the gut. His lips squirm.
“Broke…” he mumbles.

His eyes roam aimlessly as he rubs his worn quarter betwixt his fingers.
He pauses; his eyes, they focus.
He flips the coin thoughtfully.

Takes a step. Another step. And again.

He is suddenly upon it.  The coin is inserted, the lever twisted.
Washington’s unsuspecting bust is lost amidst the mechanism. Gears mesh. Disks turn.

A candy drops into a miniature slide; tacky lights herald its arrival.
A cheesy jingle serves accompaniment as the candy follows the path of the slide down and around in a spiraling descent.
Finally, it reaches the dispenser.  The man retrieves it zealously.

He chews; a bubble pops.

He walks away.

Finally, content.


ben, on new beginnings.

February 8, 2010 § 4 Comments

I’m involved in my school newspaper now.

I’m going to try and start blogging again.

I need new ideas.

Comment with your ideas.

Any topic is legitimate!

Tell me what you want to hear about!


ben, on those four-letter words.

August 12, 2009 § 27 Comments

i’m going to be frank.Cursing

i hate cursing.

i’m going to be honest.

i’m not perfect, and i’ve certainly been tempted more than once to curse. i have cursed before, and i’m not proud of it in the slightest.

a big problem with cursing is the lack of weight placed on it these days.
people throw around the words like they’re nothing, blending them with their day-to-day speech like some kind of spice meant to make what they say more meaningful or pointed.
or maybe they just curse because their friends do.
or maybe they just curse because their parents tell them not to.
or maybe they just curse because they don’t see a reason not to.

i’m thoroughly convinced that cursing is motivated entirely by selfishness, a desire to “fit in,” immaturity, or blinding ignorance.
some people think that by cursing they are asserting their independence and maturity.
cursing is merely ascribing directly to what our culture says is “cool” and “accepted.”  it’s the antithesis of independence. rather than asserting yourself as an individual, you are announcing your assimilation into the growing pool of easily-influenced humans.

cursing is crude. it is primitive. it is entirely unnecessary. people think that curses are needed to drive points home. they think that without obscenities their speech is weak, watered down, or uninfluential. this thinking is embarassingly simple-minded. curses are rarely used to drive a point home – what is, actually, more common, is that they are used to cover up gaping holes in logic or to distract from glaring errors. powerful points are made with a skilled command of rhetoric, not an extensive vocabulary of obscenities.


cursing is not only hypocritical and useless in the manner of rhetoric, but it is, in my own opinion, extremely unattractive.
this is mostly about girls.
the moment i hear a curse leave a girl’s mouth, they instantly look different in my mind. it’s a crude, unfeminine, unbearably ugly thing for a girl to do. i won’t deliberate, because my point here is simple. cursing repulses me, normally – but when coming out of a girl’s mouth, it disgusts me.

i’m not going to be self-righteous about this.
i’m not going to say that only stupid people curse.
i understand the allure.
i’ve cursed before, and had a habitual problem with it online some time ago that i had to fight to break .
through that entire time i understood what i’ve written above, and yet i still wrote what i wrote.
why? even now i couldn’t tell you. it’s terrifying, the senseless attraction.
every time i speak there’s a battle in my mind. i could slip ‘fuck’ here or ‘damn’ there. but there’s no reason to.
it’s rude, it’s crude, it’s stupid. it’s just plain juvenile.

cursing (1)

i don’t need the help of these imbecilic words to make my points or style my rhetoric.
as an independent thinker i understand the uselessness of cursing, and am committed to resisting its temptations with all the will i can manage.

i challenge you to do the same. if you disagree with me, let me know. click the comments link at the top of this post, and i’ll be happy to hear your philosophy on the matter. you can remain anonymous if you wish – i would just love to hear some opposing arguments.
and if you can’t think of any? then why not join me in my stand of “cursing abstinence?” why not?

my challenge is on the table. should you decide to meet it, best of luck. should you reject it, i’d love to hear why.

cursing (2)

ben, on collective musings.

August 1, 2009 § 5 Comments


after experiencing deep loss, i’ve moved from shock to bitterness, bitterness to regret, and regret to a mere sadness. what intruiged me was how seamlessly i moved through these emotions as the weeks passed. i couldn’t tell you how right now is different from the day after i had the loss. but it is different. interesting how indistinguishable, yet how radically different, these emotions are. at least, for me.


my indifference to death fascinates me. the idea of dying doesn’t scare me at all. when i play games of “what if” with myself, i find myself comparing being alive and dying, and i can’t find myself desiring either one any more than the other. not that i’m suicidal. anything but. i love life, i love living, i love being able to breath and i value the life God had given me. but imagining, “what if” i died tomorrow, or tonight…it doesn’t bother me. as much as i enjoy the thought of living out my life and influencing this generation and having my presence known in this world, and my voice heard…death fascinates me almost as much as imagining what i could do with my (corporeal and fleeting) life on earth. its not a sick or sadistic fascination. but it is a fascination nonetheless.


i wonder what it’s like to have real, evident talent.


i wonder how much of me is made up of everyone else, and how much of me is who i really am.
i wonder how well i’ve managed to stay true to myself and sincere to others.
the more i examine myself in the latter, the more disappointed i become. i wish i could be more me, and less what i want me to be.


i don’t think i’ll be pleased with where i end up in life unless my words and actions have extreme influence over many. otherwise, what good was my existence on earth but to live my life and die?
if my existence makes no lasting impression, why should i have existed at all?


the song “dont worry, be happy” never fails to calm me down and grant me serenity of mind. it doesnt justify its philosophy with reason or  proof. it just insists, after listing struggle after struggle, to not worry – to be happy. it makes me happy. because sometimes, there is no reason to be happy. but at all times, it’s better to be so.


how do you make money on a philosophy major?
attach a price tag to your five cents on life?
eh, i guess andy warhol did it well enough.


i wonder who actually even reads this?
honestly it bothers me that i get so many hits but only one or two comments.
it really is an encouragement when i get feedback on posts. even if it is only a few words.
otherwise it feels like i’m just talking to myself here.
if you don’t think my posts are interesting enough then tell me what is interesting enough and i will write about it.
pinkie promise.


did you know that mice and giraffes have the same number of neck bones?


i think it’s interesting how i simultaneously want to meet everyone in the world but also live as a hermit in a driftwood hut, and never speak to another soul again in my life.

ben, on the hill.

July 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

as i said in my last blog, i went to the political debate camp city on the hill for all of last week.
amazing experience, but rather than telling you about it directly, i’ll explain it through other means – every night before going to bed i forced myself to write a “journal” entry, at least a legal pad-page long. so i’ll just type them up and let them explain the week themselves.
i find the fluctuation of my thought’s attitude to be fascinating as the week progresses and things continue to occur.

the following entries were written the night of the day indicated, unless identified otherwise.


day 1, sunday (july 19th)

realized i’m not quite the same person as last year. more mature, but quieter and more reserved. there’s one – chad – who reminds me of the me i used to be. i guess there can only be one.  one day in, and i feel strangely at ease. it’s an uncomfortable apathy, i think.  maybe.  it’s the kind of calm i wish i could break out of, into…anything else. some kind of enthusiasm.  i feel helplessly defiant.  the day i fully understand myself with be a glorious day. at lesat the food is good. i hope elijah and katie are enjoying themselves. what i need is something big – something major.  some kind of epiphany or grand enlightenment. something powerful enough to get me back on track, and hopefully headed in the right direction.  what more can i do but pray and wait for God’s call?

day 2, monday (july 20th)

so i was really thinking about the lack of enthusiasm i’ve suffered.  after a lot of thought on the matter i linked it to my lack of initiative.  i originally planned, this week, to lay low and just enjoy myself and my week.  what i discovered through self-examination is that i cannot stay enthused while maintaining such an attitude.  so i challenged myself. i’m running for the office of president pro tempore!  the moment i first decided this, that familiar passion from last year filled me again.  i’m very, very excited.  this is what i’m supposed to be doing, i’m sure of it.  the most i can do is grab hold of every opportunity presented to me, and i’ve made a committment to do just that for the rest of the week.  no more laying low. no more crippling apathy. i’m on fire, baby, and i love it. i’d like to see someone try and hold me back.  the people here are amazing. i’ve remembered why i love this place so much.

day 3, tuesday morning (july 21th)

up early. bob flowers: awesome name, awesome man.  i’ve got a lot to do today, none of which i’m sure of what it is.  all i know is that i’m going to barrel into any challenge head-on.  lots of politicking to do today. i hate politicking.  i just want to meet people and be friends, and when i politick i feel insincere and slimy. yuck yuck yuck. at least the food is good. i’m still exhilarated for what’s going to happen this week and what’s already happened. i’m starting to gain a true understanding of what’s really important. and especially what’s not.

day 3, tuesday night (july 21th)

i won! …the nomination.  i’m officially the majority party’s presedential nominee.  elections are tomorrow morning. woo! i don’t have time to sleep. i’ve got three bills to research (and three arguments to write,) a nomination speech to compose, an election to campaign for, and a resolution to propose (along with a second to co-ordinate through another senator.) and…i’m being forced to bed. nyugh. tomorrow’s schedule is packed up to the elections. this calls for some illegal after-hour studying and writing.  jeepers…and if i win the election, then i have presidential duties to worry about! organizing bill order, nominating chairmen and vices, and moderating the senate floor at the end of the week…it’s gonna be some heck of a ride. but no regrets! i’m committed and passionate. this whole look before you leap thing…it’s invigorating. i’m running out of energy, methinks. hopefully i can get enough momentum that i can carry myself through the elections, then i can crash. yeah. i’ll tell myself that.  this week is going better than i could have ever planned. the people i’ve met i know i’ll have a lasting friendship with at the end of the week. and my fellow alumni…we’re closer than ever before. i like the way this is going.

day 4, wednesday (july 22th)

i did it! the real thing this time. i’m the newly-elected president pro tempore.  i can feel my hairs graying already. updated to-do list: finalize one resolution, compose another, organize arguments for two bills, and, well, stay awake long enough to argue them.  all by noon tomorrow, with a capitol tour in the morning to boot. i guess i’ll be up at 6:30 again, write until breakfast, and hopefully be able to finish up on the ride to harrisburg. after committee hearings tomrrow i’ll have to organize the bill order for the senate floor on friday, and make sure i’m wise to the necessary political jargon before i take the podium. great thing today: even though the legislators are still working on the state budget, they’ve agreed to adjourn for the weekend so that we can use the committee rooms tomorrow and the senate floor on friday.  thank you, Lord! i’m so excited, i’m giddy. tomorrow, suit and tie…finally in my element. i’m losing my ability to think straight thanks to lack of sleep.  it’s about 1am. i’m hoping for 5 hours of sleep. that’ll be great. almost got homesick today. i never get homesick. yech.  i do miss my family and my friends. i want a good, long hug from somebody. but no time for that. i’ve got bills to dissect. committee hearings are at 1pm. i’d better be ready. i’ve gotta concentrate. stay focused, passionate. like i told myself and everyone else i would. responsibility can be exhausting. what else is new. good night.

day 5, thursday (july 23th)

dead tired. it’s 2:30 or 3. just finished some final preparations for the senate tomorrow. the big day is finally here. up at 6:30 to do more prep work. my eyes are bloodshot. 😦 good. night!

day 6, sunday (july 24th)

with all said and done, this was an amazing, incredible, phenomenal, enlightening, humbling, invigorating week.  senate today was smooth, i am happy to say.  my back is still sore from standing up for 6 hours, though. but it was great. the harrisburg capital – and the senate floor – truly is a spectacular place.  afterwards was the awards banquet and all related pleasantries.  right now it’s a bit past 4am and i guess getting some sleep before breakfast at 8 would be a good idea.

i’m happy with this week. but…even as president, i felt it wasn’t good enough – that i could have done better. there had to be more i could’ve done, i keep thinking. maybe my insatiable desire to do something greater just doesn’t know when to let up. maybe it’s just my paranoia, but i felt there were some people who thought i either didn’t deserve what i had or wanted it for the wrong reasons.  this frustates me to no end, but i refuse to let it get in the way of the fact that i had an absolutely life-changing experience this week. i love these people so much. leaving is going to be the hardest thing i’ve done in a long while. …good night.

ben, on maybe.

July 19, 2009 § 1 Comment

i guess i have to post a new entry here since i said i would before i left for city on the hill.

since i have no plan for this post – what else is new? – i might as well ruminate on some broad topic and spout empty rhetoric in a blind attempt to perhaps catch your interest.


popularity is a mysterious thing. what is it that makes one popular? i understand the definition, but not the basest essence. what qualities attract people to any one person? is it kindness? some kind of “cool” aura? or maybe it’s ingratiating behavior. or a great sense of humor. could it be looks? insight? loyalty? understanding? indefatigable optimism, perhaps? what draws the public to a particular individual?


maybe it’s a very natural and attractive combination of all these qualities – good and bad.
or it could be just one.
or none. maybe  it’s some kind of undetectable and yet irresistible charisma that results in popularity.

i wonder who sacrifices more: the popular one or his followers?

  • (interesting note: in above “the popular one or his followers?” it is better to use “his” rather than “his/her”, according to The Elements of Style by E.B. White. i’m such a nerd.)

initially i thought that it would indeed be the popular one’s friends. i’m not sure why.
it then occured to me that there is not one type of popular, but several.

there is the type that initially comes to mind (for whatever reason): the hollywood cliche of a guy with many admired talents, made popular by his many fawning sycophants. there are so many other forms, when a bit of thought is put to it.


one that especially comes to mind is the kind that is popular due to his appeal to the interests of others in order to gain approval.
in this case, it’s evident the “popular” one has suffered the greatest loss in becoming what he is, gaining popularity but losing what makes him real: his interests, his personality, his opinions, his very state of mind. in molding oneself to others’ likes and dislikes, one loses touch with his own true perception of the world.
then again, is not our own “true” perception simply what we have gathered from the opinions and influences of others?
is there such a thing and a pure and un-influenced perception of the world?
are our opinions our own, or merely thoughts imposed on our minds through our lives by parents, teachers, and (most influentially, i believe) our friends?


in other news, kelsey and julia finished my Where the Wild Things Are hoodie for the movie (10-16-09!!!)
i wish i could show it to you but they have made me promise to keep it hidden until the movie comes out. 😦
go to the midnight premiere at regal and be one of the first to see the masterpiece of an overgarment!

i think i’m addicted to Hall’s.

i got my Puma Free Rider III’s and i love them.

i ordered my Kicker Zune dock and speaker tonight – it’ll probably be here when i return from city on the hill.

girls continue to fascinate, befuddle, surprise, and frustrate me. i echo the complaints of every man on planet earth, i am sure.

gotta finish packing.
i dont even know why i keep this thing up
who even reads this 😦

ben, on new.

July 1, 2009 § 1 Comment

new. this is a new post.

what is new?

people strive to become a new person, to meet new people, to go new places, see new things.  what is it about new that so attracts us? or, is it more the old that repels us and drives us towards what is not itself? new has brought us great things. without new we would be a simplistic, unadvanced civilization, barely subsisting.  with it we have achieved our dreams.  however, it has also brought us less desirable things. new has given us the dangerous two-edged sword of intellectualism.  it has led us into dangerous new territory of thought and action, territory better left untouched by our curious selves.

too often we doggedly chase after what is new, without understanding why. our better judgement is, these days, ignored more than it is regarded.  one is lucky if he has enough insight to question his own motives. even luckier of he holds enough willpower to care.

i can’t say i had a plan for this post. i rarely do.