Welcome to my mind.

There are writings on here from several writers who enjoy the freedom of publishing their work under a pen name. Feel free to send your own sample (if you feel it compares to the content on this page) to info@nukesofknowledge.com. Please limit initial submissions to <500 words.

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If this is your first time here, I would recommend starting with some of my Short Stories before diving too deep into my Political ramblings. Four out of five of those stories are true and will give new readers an idea of the type of person you’re dealing with. People are just people; anywhere you go. The differences between us are very small and trivial; generally we all seem to struggle with the same type of shit on a social level. Humans are resilient and they adapt. Humans adapt to their environment.

Generally speaking; the differences between people break down to language, diet, and mythology. Whether economic ideology or religious rhetoric; it’s all hypothetical brain-storm type stuff that I’m going to classify as “mythology”. Diet is largely based on ones local environment. Finally – we have language; which is also pre-determined based on where one happens to be born.

All of these things are just interesting ideas that one or a few of us came up with at some point during our 200,000 year evolution. One-at-a-time nuggets of societal evolution.

Each of those things are cultural; and cultures should be shared. We shouldn’t kill each other over silly cultural and tribal differences. There’s no need for violence in 2014. The level of globalized interconnection and shared media present in our world should be enough for us to see how human everyone else is.

The point I’m trying to make is that if you take the extremism out of a fifteen year old bible thumper from the belt; and the extremism out of a fifteen year old mujahid; you’ve got two average, male, teenage brains thinking about tonight’s game or about the girl they like.

Take ten people from each of the habitable continents and put them on the same roller coaster. They’re going to have a great time together.

We’re all riding on the same cosmic roller coaster through the universe. Our species has spilled a lot of blood over this marble we all live on. From far enough away, we’re indistinguishable from ants. If you’ve ever watched a video of an ant colony; you most certainly will have noticed how well ants get along.

There are exceptions to this of course; there have been wars between ant colonies; intercontinental invasions; and competing factions fighting for control of limited resources.

I guess ants get along when they have to; but completely destroy a competing tribe for control of property and resources when they deem it in their best interests.

Perhaps ants are a lot like us.

Sincerely,

JG Oblivious
NoK Contributing Editor

P.S. Enjoy the page.

Fear and Loathing at Stephen’s House – Part 1: Prologue

Originally Written in 2013

Puppeteering your cabinet-cronies and back-bench pawns into canned and practised sound-bytes from the sidelines of a war is effortless. Organizing a cookie cutter reel of propaganda and manufactured situations; not a problem. A few hours of film and then we can all fly home in time for the game.

If only inspiring your countrymen were so imperative to you, Mr. Prime Minister. To inspire those who will grow to replace you; instead of focusing on the theatrics and temporary impact of your performance, insofar as it ensures job security for you and your friends; requires much more tact, precision and craft of mind.

According to your “Government’s” commitment; we’ve pledged a little over forty-two million in aid to the Syrian crisis in October of 2013.

Source: Canada Outlines Humanitarian Assistance in Response to Syrian Crisis

That’s a little more than a dollar per Canadian citizen. One dollar came off of each of our pay-cheques last week; and a little bit more next week; to pay for that.

One extra coffee; doesn’t sound like much does it?

If America contributed that amount of money; it would be closer to thirteen and a half cents per person.

If China contributed that amount of money; it would be closer to three cents per person.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be helping people; I’m saying maybe there are people in Canada that could use that 42 million dollars before we hand it over to someone in Syria. It’s our money after all.

A dollar from each of us for the better of us all.

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PART 2

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 11

JFK Airport; New York, New York.

The delays in Dubai caused me to miss my connecting flight. The kind old man in Dubai who changed my flights warned me that this was a possibility.

We land; de-plane, and start going through customs. There are hundreds of people in front of me; many families, many children; all brown.

This is what I worried about; I didn’t want to believe that racial profiling exists. Unfortunately it does; and at this particular airport; it was in full force. Hundreds of non-caucasian people lined up ahead of me.

At customs; there were three lanes starting on the right; US Citizens; Diplomats; Non-US Citizens. There were almost no Americans on the flight; nor diplomats. While travelling; I always wore my NATO badge and passport around my neck. The Department of Homeland Security agents started at the front of the line and began working their way back. I watched them checking the identification and bags of children and families. It didn’t appear friendly; at all.

One of the men makes his way to me. “What’s that?” he says as he grabs my badge. He reads it.

“Where you coming from son?” he asked.

“Kandahar, sir.”

“How long?” he asked.

“Three months so far, first trip home.”

“Where you headed?” he asked.

Halifax, my flight’s in about 30 minutes.

“Go there, someone should be there in moment. Tell her you’re connecting to Halifax and she’ll show you where to go. You’d better hurry.” he pointed to the Diplomat queue, which was empty.

I go over; she doesn’t even look at my passport. He must have called someone to meet me there. She knew exactly where I was headed and who I was.

“Go down there, quickly.” she points, “Take a left and check your bags. You’re going to have to get on the airport subway.” she says. “When you check your bags; ask for directions.”

I thank her and start running.

Turns out that travelling through JFK Airport while on leave from a theatre-of-war is a pretty smooth experience; despite the racial profiling I’d witnessed.
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Lost on the airport-train; I missed my flight. Two flights missed in two days; I’m quite good at this.

I get to the gate and have to go through security again after slipping outside for a cigarette. There are uniformed US soldiers; armed to the teeth; standing by some of the exits.

Little extreme, no?

I’ve got hours laid over; to sit and wait in this airport. This trip home was only for a week; really only five days.

I search for a power outlet to plug in my laptop. I find one beside a series of elevators; no benches or seats in site. I set up camp with my back against the wall and my legs across the floor; beside the electrical outlet.

Can’t get on Wi-Fi; pain in the ass.

I give up, get up; and walk through security for one last time in search of food.

Coffee; Sausage ‘n’ Egger, hash browns. A feast fit for champions and scholars.

Part Twelve

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 9

Sitting in an Irish pub; in an Emirati airport, drinking Scottish whisky and American beer. In come some soldiers I know.

We have a few drinks; they’re on their way to Thailand. Thailand I thought; oh the possibilities.

A bunch of Canadians, just being Canadian. Havin’ a time; havin’ some drinks. They take off one way; I down the other. I’ve still got many tens of gates to walk past. I walk into a drug store and tell the guru behind the counter that I feel sick.

He no doubt can smell the whiskey and the fatigue. He sells me a package of strange red capsules. The guru assures me that the ginkgo biloba gelatin inside was just what the doctor ordered; all that I needed to cleanse my mind and body.

Fifty dollars later and he’s cleansed my pocket change; bloody persuasive hippie.

He also sold me some Tiger Balm. I’ve only ever heard the term on Seinfeld, but that was all the credibility that a purchasing decision at that point required.

Fuck it; you only buy ancient-mystical-Asian-healing-balms once in a while.

Give me some Viagra too.
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I take a seat further down the airport beside a man wearing a shalwar kameez. I love Islamic culture; it’s beautiful. Unfortunately I knew that my stench of liquor and debauchery would offend this man; but he was very kind to me anyway. Just as everyone I met in Dubai or from Afghanistan was. Kind, peaceful, respectful and honest. They always seemed more concerned that I was okay; than anything else. 

He was from New York; visiting family back in Pakistan.

Drunkenly, and with the utmost honesty, I ask the man, “They must give you shit at the airport in New York, eh?”

You have no idea.” he said.

I sit at the gate with this man as we watch the people gather for our flight; conversing casually. He eventually excuses himself to go grab something to eat.

People-watching with strangers is the oddest thing. If we didn’t happen to be sitting beside one another; we very well could have each been having an oddly similar conversation with other people – observing one another in some perverse alternate dimension.

Part Ten

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 8

We spend several hours at the ‘tourist village’.

We eat atop cushions in the sand, sitting around a circular stage. I drink cans of Budweiser – as per protocol.

A female belly dancer and a man dancing in the Sufi whirling fashion take turns on the stage entertaining us tourists.

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We finish our meal; take photos with the entertainers; then load up in our vehicles to head back into civilization. I, relatively full of Budweiser; take my spot in the front – beside the driver. Because, why not?

The night is dark and humid; the stars are bright. I am drunken and near-sleeping as we rip and roar through the streets of Dubai. Flashes of neon signs and the night life of the city are burned in the back of my brain. My eyes half-cocked; taking in a small percentage of the visual stimuli present around the vehicle. I’d really like to spend more time with that man’s wife. Nice lady, I thought.

The couple and their friend get out of the SUV at some uncertain location; the driver tells me we should be back to my hotel within 20 minutes.

We get there; and I disembark to the warm embrace and welcome of the friendly security guard who arranged my impromptu adventure. He was delighted to hear I had such a good time. I thanked him warmly and repeatedly for suggesting the tour.

A quick chat with Salazar; and then up to my suite to shower and pack my things for my flight. Drunken and ridiculous, I make my way to the lobby. Beautiful and dark walls of stained wood fill the elevator and reception area.

They give me back my passport; and they hail me a cab. This was no ordinary taxi, there wasn’t a meter or a rooftop sign. This was some guy’s car who said he’d take me to the airport. Most of the rest of the past 24 hours had transpired in a similar fashion; so why not?

I make sure to take a business card from the hotel. This is the best way to ensure you make your way back to a place you have once been.

He takes me to the airport; I thank him and make my way through airport security. I check my bags; get my boarding pass; and make my way through the endlessly commercial international circus that is the Dubai International Airport.

Diamond stores, electronic stores, fashion stores, drug stores and liquor stores; a shopping plaza primed for international travellers. Inflated prices (though the booze was moderately priced) and exclusive designer clothing filled the miles of commerce.

I locate the general direction of my gate; and stop at one of the many pubs along the way to have a stiff beverage – the undying friend of a weary solo traveller.

Part Nine

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 7

The perfectly matched convoys of SUV’s, full of tourists, rolled around the sand dunes; somewhere on the outskirts of Dubai. We stopped for photo ops at picturesque and scenic spots that only locals could find on their own.

Wild camels; a goat farm; a high ridge from which to look off and enjoy the endless red hue of the desert sand. The lady riding with us was beautiful; she said she was from India. Her husband wasn’t a fan of mine. All I did was make polite conversation; I asked her to use my camera to take a picture of me.

Unfortunately a gust of wind came along. I got a brilliant picture of my gut; on a background straight out of Lawrence of Arabia. After basking in the late-afternoon heat of the Arabian desert; our convoy loaded back in to our white Range Rovers and were told we were headed for supper at the “tourist village”.

We drive in a straight line. Up and down; up and down the dunes. We hit a perpendicular strip of pavement; turn ninety degrees; and head down a two lane highway.

Suddenly we take a sharp-left. A path clearly beaten by other vehicles; we were on our way down. We arrive at a sand-bottom parking lot that leads under an arch and into a bazaar-like atmosphere with a stage in the centre.

“This is where we eat.” the driver said.

Families; foreigners; couples; and camel rides. In hindsight I should have rode the camel.

I walk under the arches and into the ‘village’. To my left; kiosks and mini-shops with trinkets and souvenirs. To my right; a hookah bar and a regular bar.

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I approach the hookah-master and ask what flavours he has. He says, “Double-apple is most popular. If you want to use hookah; use double-apple.”

He gives me a plastic contraceptive mouthpiece and instructs me to pick a seat. I choose the back wall of the circle de smoke. Having my back against the wall allows me to fully observe my surroundings; spotting danger and having multiple exit strategies – just in case.

This caution wasn’t a result of any sort of conditioning I gained while living in theatre; this was an introvert defensive strategy. I also enjoy people-watching. Observing people, while acting natural outside of their natural habitat, is infinitely intriguing and interesting. The way they interact with one another and their environment; I’ll never understand. I’m fairly certain that I’m not of this planet. I think that a lot of moderately-insane people feel this way.

It’s not us that are strange for being different; it’s all of you that are strange for being so alike.

Part Eight

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 6

From hoards of cars and people; to a lonely two lane highway in the middle of endless miles of sand.

Plenty of room; sitting in the back of a beautiful white Range Rover in mid-afternoon. There was a couple, a dude; the driver; and myself.

We stop at a strip mall beside a white-and-blue billboard in the middle of the fucking desert. There was a restaurant; clothes shop; and a shoe shop.

After ordering coffee, I try on some local clothes (which, in hindsight, should have been purchased); take pictures of the shoes, and take a picture of the white-and-blue sign. I then wait for these slackers to eat.

We’re met with a whole convoy of similar Ranger Rovers.

Oh fuck.

After a moment I realized that this is not dangerous at all; I’m over-reacting. This is a tourist destination.

Neat; it’s relaxing not to be doing stupid, dangerous shit.

The drivers of each of the white Range Rovers take out tire-gauges; flip them over; and start letting a bunch of the air out of the tires. I learned something very valuable that moment; if you’re ever stuck in sand… let some air out of your tires.

Not all of it. Just a bit. More traction.

For the purpose of trying to drive hits to the site. I’m going to post some of the pictures that I took that day under this line of text.

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I’ve been to Dubai six times.

The city of Dubai is beautiful. It’s industrial and it’s a ‘boom-town’; but it’s beautiful. I’ll contrast it to another oil ‘boom-town’ that I’m familiar with as a Canadian – Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Both cities built on the back of the oil industry; one of them a beautiful tourist destination – the other is an industrial wasteland. Maybe we just don’t hear about the cancer rates in that part of the world.

It struck me as the Vegas of the Middle East. It was the place to go; it was the place to be. Flights land there from every country within the distance of an air-plane-gas-tank.

We scale sand dune after sand dune. Our convoy of white SUVs; other convoys of SUV’s.

Idiot locals on quad bikes. I hate loud noises; can’t handle them at this moment in history.

Loud noises.

Safe mode

Cover mode.

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The problem with loud noises is that for the past three months I’d lived with air conditioners; generators; planes; helicopters and vehicles running around the clock. My auditory system had adjusted itself to the beautiful and constant, military-flavoured white-noise that was our existence while in-theatre. Anything aside from the constant hum of the ebb-and-flow of life on a military base was not something my mind was prepared for.

A sudden, loud, and unexpected noise was usually bad.

Most of the time it meant a rocket.

Many times I could feel the impact; we all could. Then we took cover. Then we heard the alarm. Then we heard the voice over the loudspeaker, “Rocket Attack! Rocket Attack!“.

The rhythmic wailing of the alarm became the most exciting time to be alive; knowing that there was a slight chance that all could go wrong; right then; right there.

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Part Seven

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