QOTD: "Taco Bell launched a new menu item with a giant Cheez-It inside." Two things: 1. This is exactly the kind of ingenuity I am looking for. 2. If feels unfair that the general population has no direct access to these so-called giant Cheez-its.
Some things: The Associated Press released data stating that 1 million people in 43 states switched to the Republican Party while only 630,000 switched to Democratic Party. That is a big net gain for elephants, and a bad sign for the donkeys ahead of the midterms in November. The NFL opened a camp in Africa, similar to the NBA league where 12 teams compete and players can be picked up for the NBA. Pretty cool. Singer R. Kelly received 30 years in prison for sex trafficking. He and Ghislaine should be put in the same damn cell.
In Texas, distant cried lead a local worker to an abandoned truck. When authorities got there, they were horrified to find a stack of dead bodies. The migrants had been trapped inside the truck in sweltering heat, making this the deadliest human smuggling incident in U.S. history. "In the past, smuggling organizations were mom-and-pop. Now, they are organized and tied in with the cartels. So you have a criminal organization who has no regard for the safety of the migrants. They are treated like commodities rather than people." 53 confirmed dead. An absolute tragedy.
Updates from the G7 Summit. Biden announced that the U.S. will ramp up their military presence, "land, air and sea", across Europe and NATO announces "fundamental shift" towards increased involvement in the war in Ukraine. Also Finland and Sweden have been invited to join NATO. Russia's pissed about all of the above.
The Time Machine Part III:
The 1900s to the Early-1930s
Welcome to the third installment of The Time Machine! This month, we’re going to take a deep dive into the early 20th century, or as I like to call it: the awkward teen years of the science fiction literary genre. No longer a cute baby, but not yet a fully formed adult, the period of time between the start of the 1900s and the early-1930s is often treated simply as an uncomfortable precursor to the Golden Age of science fiction that followed.
But fear not! While the decades leading up to the Golden Age may be somewhat neglected in the annals, this period, referred to by some as the “Radium Age”, ultimately produced a collection of proto-science fiction stories that had an undisputed influence on the genre. Of particular interest to us here is one of the most well-known (second only to George Orwell’s 1984, in my opinion) dystopian social science fiction novels: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
The Radium Age
During the first three decades of the 20th century, science and technology were advancing in ways not seen since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th century. A large branch of the global scientific community was focused on exploring the nature of the atom with the intention of harnessing nuclear fission. Additionally, during their exploration of radioactivity, Pierre and Marie Curie had discovered radium and polonium, which revolutionized the field of medicine. The West was alight with scientific optimism. But as is with all great advancements, the world seemed less prepared, or willing, to address the potential pitfalls of such rapid change. During this time, the global political landscape was fraught with conflict. Nations were struggling to recover from the First World War and the continuous Russian revolutions set the rest of the world on edge.
In tune with this political strife and the potential hazards of unfettered technological change, the science fiction literature that emerged during this time period did so as a direct criticism of this scientific optimism. American writer and editor Joshua Glenn coined this period the “Radium Age” of science fiction:
“Radium-age sci-fi tends towards the prophetic and uncanny, reflecting an era that saw the rise of nuclear physics and the revelation that the familiar — matter itself — is strange, even alien. The 1896 discovery of radioactivity, which led to the early twentieth-century insight that the atom is, at least in part, a state of energy, constantly in movement, is the perfect metaphor for an era in which life itself seemed out of control.”
By JL Snyder
A Party at the Pond
Everyday at just past dusk I bundle up to peek the ducks.
The days are splaying slightly longer, lighting stronger, the blossoms taunt us as pollen drops dust,
I stop to watch
at a tree
and prop my bag
by the leaves. Freezing and breezy,
the sun withholds her rays, ya know the old saying says: early bird catches the - but
I’ve learned the hatching chatters,
discerned the snatching patterns
Observed these birds are just as active
in the late afternoon when the air’s still wet and groggy, foggy and I’m probably
the only one bored enough to witness this cacophony
even though this brisk cold is generally not for me.
Anyway, it’s late May with a looming view to June,
Most days it’s rainy gloom, but the sun should pop out soon
And like I said the days are getting longer
the leaves sway, the birds swoon and ducks wander
to the edge of the bank for the party at the pool.
Having done fine that day,
displayed the self described “fun time” and “kids play”
stalking and mocking and slaying his prey,
the hawk retires to his perch,
plopped atop the spired pine,
biding his time, trying to unwind, he nurtures his finds.
Cooper stoops, lurches forward to catch a view, to check his spewed loot won from days grind.
Rustled feathers, muscle fragments of tussled lessers litter the floor,
the bones and scraps of eaten meals, he steals a glance to the distant shore,
ignores the noise, nestled and poised, he enjoys the festivity from afar.
By Emily Menges
30 DAYS DEEP....SOMETIMES 31
Choose Your Mind
The Inspiration: Two forms of distraction are generally available at our finger tips in every second of every day: our phones and our minds. In each split second of down time - at a red light, on the elevator, in line for coffee, and in a million other brief moments throughout the day - we often reach for our phone to fill that "unbearably boring" two seconds of silence and stillness. By filling those small moments with unoriginal content and thought, we are stripping our own brains the opportunity to settle down, make an observation, or reflect. In economics, we call this Opportunity Cost - "the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen." In this case, the alternative usually chosen is turning to our phones looking to fill time with some sort of content (generally not overwhelmingly beneficial) under the guise of productivity or entertainment. But what we're really doing is losing the more important alternative - our own thoughts.
The Commitment: Go a few places every day and leave your phone at home. Try to notice every time you reach for it and in each of those moments, look around and notice something you wouldn't have noticed if you had been looking at that little brick in your hand. Hopefully, by the end of the month, you'll stop reaching for it.
/THE WAY WE SEE IT
A Father's Love
By Lisa Finegan
MEET THE CHARACTERS
People make art. You knew this.
Casey appeared in the first ever edition of Bel Esprit and has been a constant source of beautiful poetry every since. He has written four poems that have appeared in the paper and has promised us many more (I'll keep bugging him). Casey is someone who gets excited on everyone's behalf, a loyal friend and emotional soul, an original member of the Writer's Guild, and has been an important sounding board throughout the creation of Bel Esprit. We're so lucky to have him.
Read about Casey in his own words, then go back and read his work here.
As you knew all along, there are hilarious and quirky and extremely intelligent people behind the art you receive each month on Bel Esprit. Read about them in their own words here!
WE ARE CLEARLY NOT THE EXPERTS.
The Queer Experts:
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.”
- Walt Whitman
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
- Oscar Wilde
"I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past."
- Virginia Woolf
"It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much, doing nothing, really doing nothing."
- Gertrude Stain
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
- James Baldwin
"Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot."
- Truman Capote
ESPRIT OF THE BEL VARIETY
Writing Prompt 21
He referred to himself as a father, but there were none of the normal qualifications - children of his own nor ordination - known or obvious to any of us as to why he did so.
(Become a possible contributor, send us your work on the Letter the Editor page under contributions)