Political correctness or a more sober view of history?

If you’ve read my postings for any length of time, it should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of the writings of one H. P. Lovecraft.  To me, he along with Edgar Allan Poe are the two most influential authors to delve into the field of horror.  Their works are poetic, lyrical, and burrow deep within your head.

H. P. Lovecraft’s work is greatly admired, though the author never enjoyed that admiration while he was alive, something I find rather tragic.

However, having said all those nice things about Mr. Lovecraft, he was also a racist.  So much so that I’ve written about it before (you can read one such posting here).  In that posting, I take the position of separating artist from art.  The fact is, there are works of art out there that are incredibly good and were made by people who were/are, at best, not all that nice at all…if not terrible.

Distinguishing one’s “work” from the person they are is now seeping into, of all things, politics and universities.  Recently, Princeton University students protested Woodrow Wilson’s name on residencies and academic units as we know he displayed a strain of racism that even in his time was startling.

Now, students are turning their attention to Thomas Jefferson, whom students feel was not only a racist, but also a rapist.  This article, by Scott Jaschik for Slate.com, goes into the details of what’s happening at The University of Missouri-Columbia and the College of William and Mary:

Why Honor Thomas Jefferson?

I’m of two minds here.  The fact is that Thomas Jefferson was a GIANT of his time and was one of the most influential of the founding fathers.  Much of what we have here in the United States today can be attributed to, among others, Mr. Jefferson.

On the other hand, there is no denying he was a slaveholder, a racist, and had affairs (which we can label non-consensual) with his slaves.

I don’t pretend to offer answers here.  I can certainly see, just as I could in the case of H. P. Lovecraft, why some would shun the idea of having awards or places named after a person who, in “real life,” espoused/displayed reprehensible ideas.  On the other hand, I still enjoy H. P. Lovecraft’s works though I know the man behind them wasn’t a great guy.  I also relish the country I live in and it is in no small measure to the works of Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers…many of whom were hardly saints in their personal lives.

Perhaps the middle road is the one best taken: Acknowledge the good a person does but do not ignore the bad.

In some cases, we are dealing with different times, and in Jefferson’s case the times were indeed very different.  But it doesn’t mean we should excuse his failings nor should it be a reason to ignore the positive legacy he left behind.

The Mystery of China’s Levitating Cars…

If you’ve been spending any significant amount of time on the internet of late, you’ve probably seen this video from China:

Pretty damn weird, eh?  Levitating cars?  How?  Why?

Looks like the mystery’s been solved.  From The Telegraph:

Mystery of cars “levitating” in bizarre accident solved

Though I urge you to read the article to get a better understanding of what exactly you’re seeing, it has to do with this…

Yup, a cable got caught in a street cleaner’s vehicle and that’s what had those cars levitating.

You can’t make this up!

’tis the season for…

…oh my…

Bloomingdale's Apologizes for Maybe Encouraging You to Date Rape Your Friend

The above is an actual, honest to goodness ad for Bloomingdale’s.  This is not “new” news, just new to me and I found the article (originally posted on 11/15/15) at Jezebel.  The headline alone tells you everything you need to know about this very wrong very bad ad:

Bloomingdale’s Apologizes For Maybe Encouraging You To Date Rape Your Friend

Speaking of the sordid topic of rape (and also found on Jezebel)…

Porn Star Stoya Accuses Her Ex-Boyfriend James Deen of Rape

followed by…

Porn Star James Deen Vehemently Denies Ex-Girlfriend Stoya’s Date Rape Claim

I’m certain there are those who will read this and say/think somehing to the effect of “Well, they’re Porn Stars!  Their career is screwing!  Given those circumstances, how can anyone in the industry accuse anyone else within it of rape?!”

Which leads me back to the last post I wrote before the whole Thanksgiving holiday hell (the reason, by the way, I haven’t posted from that point until now has nothing to do with me “enjoying” the holidays.  Unless, of course, your idea of “enjoying” the holidays entails working longer hours and much harder than before because several people chose to enjoy their holidays and left you severely short staffed):

I’m referring to the frightening sexual/physical assault against porn star Christy Mack by MMA fighter “War Machine” aka Jonathan Koppenhaver (you can read about that here).

The fact is that regardless of your profession, even if it involves sexual performance before a camera, your “real” life is a whole other matter.  Though Mr. Deen isn’t accused of the life-threatening physical beating Mr. Koppenhaver allegedly delivered to Ms. Mack, rape nonetheless is a heinous act and it should -it seems too obvious- not be tolerated.  It seems too obvious to say that in any relationship, one should respect one’s significant other.


In this world, there are obviously all kinds of people and they run the gamut from good to not so good to the downright…terrible.

War Machine, aka Jonathan Koppenhaver, may well fall into that later category.  Mr. Koppenhaver was a mixed-martial arts fighter who a year ago allegedly sexually assaulted and severely beat his ex-girlfriend, porn star Christy Mack.  This is what she looked like afterwards:

Porn Star Posts Graphic Pictures of Brutal Attack by Fighter Ex-Boyfriend

Mr. Koppenhaver fled the scene and was eventually tracked down and arrested and has been in jail ever since.  He is now in court and facing trial and while there…

War Machine Blew a Kiss to the Prosecutor During His Trial For Sexual Assault and Attempted Murder


I don’t know.  Does this man think he’s living in some kind of WWE cartoon where its “fun” to play the role of the crazed villain?  The crime he’s accused of committing is shocking enough but to show such contempt for those who will work to put him in jail for the rest of his life…well, that’s crazy taken to a whole new level.

Chilling, to say the least.


We’re a little less than a year from the presidential elections and, frankly, its been nothing short of a horror show.

There was a time I could look at a Republican or Democratic candidate and, because back then I wasn’t fixated on parties, consider each for their own merits and choose which felt like the better leader of the free world.

This was a very long time ago.

There is no chance I’d consider any of the current crop of Republican candidates for the presidency.  Well, maybe John Kasich but the way he’s polling, it’ll be a really cold day in hell when he becomes the Republican candidate.

That’s not to say the Democratic side is looking all that much better.  While I’m perfectly willing to support Hillary Clinton (considering the Republican alternatives, she’s looking at this moment like a combination of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt), it bothers me that in a nation this large and with so many people willing to serve we have only one legitimate counterpoint to her candidacy in Bernie Sanders.  Now, I like Bernie Sanders.  I like his passion and like many of his ideas, but I never felt he’d have a chance of snatching the nomination from Mrs. Clinton.  In the end, I like to see competition as this brings out the best in others and offers us choices.

So at this moment in time and obviously subject to change, we’ll likely have Mrs. Clinton as the Democratic candidate for the presidency, and TBD as the Republican candidate.

The Republican party, quite unlike the Democratic party, have a surplus of candidates.  I’m thankful for this because we are seeing all kinds of opinions…almost all of which run the gamut from just plain idiotic to Texas Chainsaw Massacre frightening.  The good this creates, of course, is making my choice all that much easier regarding who to vote for when the elections come around.

At this moment, the TBD candidate for the Republican party is Donald Trump, a man whose greatest superpower is his ability to zing others (his takedowns of Jeb! Bush, IMHO, are the sole reason Jeb! has languished in the polls and his candidacy is, to now, stillborn).  And just like almost all the other Republican candidates, he’s presented us with plenty of soundbites and, of late, some outrageous lies, none greater than the amusing one Brendan O’Connor for Gawker feels is his most “outrageous”…

In His Most Outrageous Lie Yet, Trump Suggests His Supporters Are Smart

Ok, I only presented this link for the headline.

Trump supporters may not find it quite as humorous… Oh well.


Does the above word, the name of a now defunct software/gaming company, ring any bells?

It sure does for me.

Infocom was an early software developer/gaming company perhaps best known for classic fare such as Zork and its sequels and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy game.  Here’s Zork, in all its glory:

Scintillating stuff, no?

Well, for early gamers such as me, it was for its time.

Back then graphics were at best rudimentary in both computers and video games and to develop an involved, “deep” game, it was sometimes better to eschew graphics completely and design a game that worked as Zork did, with words alone.

Anyway, if you’re curious about the company, which closed its doors in 1989, you can…

Dig Through the Archives of Infocom

By the way, I found this link at the below article, by Luke Plunkett and for kotaku.com…


Interesting, at least to me!

Sometimes they look for a story when there may not be any…

So I’m going around CNN.com and I come upon this article:

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Opens to Franchise Low $101 Million

Ok, let’s take this step by step:

The last film in the Hunger Games series was split in two.  Mockingjay Part 1 and 2 are both sourced from the third and final Hunger Games novel, a book many fans of the series feel was the worst of the three.  Further, there were many who read the book and who wondered why, other other than to make more money, two films were created out of it.  They felt there wasn’t enough in that third novel that merited making two films out of it.

Second point: Viewer fatigue may be setting in.  As much as we may like a series of movies and/or characters, there inevitably comes a point where we grow tired of seeing them.  It’s part of the reason I’m determined to conclude my Corrosive Knights series.  Though I’ve introduced many characters and there isn’t one “big” central character in the lot and the books’ various settings/stories are vastly different, I’m well aware that there’s danger in treading the same grounds.

To take one example: I loved the works of author Clive Cussler until I realized he was essentially writing the same novel over and over and over again.

Third point: A $101 MILLION dollar opening is considered, based on this article and its headline, bad?!?!  Sure it may be a “low” opening versus the other films in the franchise, but for Gods’ sake, the film scored $101 million dollars…on its opening weekend!

If I could make one one-hundreth of that on my novels I’d be a damn happy camper!

As I said in the headline, sometimes they look for a story where there may not really be any.  Yeah, Mockingjay Part 2 made a little less money than the other Hunger Games movies.

Nonetheless, I seriously doubt the studios are crying over the results.

It’s all about timing…

Consider me an Adele fan.

When “Hello,” the first single from her new album popped up on the radio and I first heard it, I found myself choked up with emotions.  She really knows how to hit a nerve…

But as with just about every artist struggling to get their works known, talent is but one ingredient in the mix and sometimes success is just as much about timing.

Which brings us to this seemingly oddball article which notes how…

Sarah Palin Sends Very Mushy Thank You Note to New BFF Adele

So you think: What in the world could Sarah Palin (an at best ridiculous figure, IMHO, in politics) and Adele possibly have in common?!

Turns out in 2008 Sarah Palin, during her failed run as the Vice Presidential Candidate to John McCain, appeared for the first time on Saturday Night Live, in the cold opening, to considerable -and massive- audience interest/viewership.  And who do you suppose was the guest musical artist for that particular episode of SNL?

You guessed it: Adele.

At the time she was an almost complete unknown and promoting her first album, 19.  Because of the large viewership of that episode (the episode had one of the largest in SNL’s history), Adele snagged a very large audience to hear her sing and, clearly, they liked what they heard.  Even more luck was on her side as the Billboard ballots were due two weeks from that date and many clearly her songs in mind…

The rest, as they say, is history.

While it is very conceivable because of her incredible talent Adele would have achieved her success anyway, one cannot and should not discount the benefits she reaped from her well-timed appearance on SNL all those years ago.

Doctors and the right care…

Reading this article by Lorraine Boissoneault for Salon.com brought back a frightening memory of my own.  Please, read this article.  Though it focuses more on how some Doctors may react to female patients, the lesson here is one everyone should learn:

My Doctor Told Me It Was All In My Head; I Might Have Died If I Believed Him

First, one shouldn’t lump all Doctors and their relative level of competence/incompetence together, but if you take anything away from this story, let it be this: If you feel there’s something wrong with your body/health, something you feel is serious, and you go to a Doctor and s/he tells you its nothing, get a second opinion.  If need be, get a third or a fourth.

Trust me on this.  Your very life and well being depend on it.

My experience?  (Perhaps you shouldn’t read if you’re eating…at least for these first few paragraphs)

A number of years ago, when I was in my early-mid-30’s, I developed what appeared to be a very serious sinus cold.  Usually colds work their way on me like this: I get a sore throat and feel low energy.  After a day or two, the sore throat disappears and I get a very runny nose and phlegm/mucus.  This will last a few more days until my nose dries up and the cold is gone, usually within a week’s time or less.

During this particular “cold”, the runny nose/phlegm/mucus lasted for a very long time.  I can’t remember exactly how long but it was far more than a week and I was constantly blowing my nose and releasing inordinate amounts of mucus.  But other than the mucus, I really didn’t feel all that bad so I didn’t think much of it.

I probably should have.

One day, I felt something strange in my nose and, quite suddenly, out of my right nostril a large amount of yellowy liquid rolled down my nose.  It was the consistency of water/blood and felt like a nosebleed but, as mentioned, the liquid was a dark yellow color.  Once the liquid “bled out” that was it for the mucus and, I thought, I was fine.

Not so by a very long shot.

Over the next couple of years, I developed a strange malady in that right side of my nose.  At night, while lying down and sleeping, a pressure would build in that nostril, somewhere deep within the nasal cavity, a pressure so strong it would choke off my breathing and awaken me.  At first it was every other night but soon enough it was quite literally every night.

Further, I slept only on my left side because if I slept on my right side gravity would instantly cause that pressure to appear within my right nostril and awaken me.  However, even while sleeping on my left side, I could do so for no more than 4 hours before the pressure in my right nostril built and I’d be awoken.

Once awake, I had to get out of bed and walk around or sit upright until the pressure/swelling was gone.  Sometimes this would take well over an hour.  As I usually went to sleep around 10:30 each night it meant that every night –every night– at about 2:30-3:00 AM I was awake and would stay that way until close to 4 AM.  When I went back to sleep, I again had maybe a 3-4 hour window before the pressure once again built up and forced me to awaken.

But there was even more “fun” to be had.

I also developed extreme sensitivity to dust (especially in construction areas) or cigarette smoke.  If I detected even a small puff of cigarette smoke, in particular, I would often feel my nose “tingling” and, soon after, I might come down with a very serious migraine headache.

Up until that point in my life I had never had any problems with headaches.

These headaches were so bad that at times I had to lie in bed (always on my left side!) for over an hour with my eyes closed and all lights off (I was light sensitive as well) before the headache eventually left.  Sometimes these headaches were even worse than usual and they’d upset my stomach to the point where I was vomiting.

After a year/two years of this, I went to see an ear/nose/throat (ENT) Doctor.  He listened to what I had to say and took a look into my nose and said I had a deviated septum in my right nostril (If you are unfamiliar with this, you can read about deviated septums here).

He sounded so sure of his diagnosis that I was instantly up for getting an operation to straighten my nasal passage out.  We did it and, some three weeks or so later, I was “healed”.

But my problem, I found, remained.

At first my sleep was better but after a few months time I was once again getting that terrible pressure in my nose while sleeping.  I was again waking up each night after only 4 hours of sleep and had to stay up an hour or longer before the swelling within my nose was gone.  I still suffered from those terrible migraine headaches.

I returned to this doctor perhaps a year after the surgery and told him I was still having the same problems as before.  He took another look at my nose and said that the deviated septum was gone post-surgery so, obviously, what I was suffering from now was some kind of allergy.  As it so happened, he shared his office with allergy specialists so I went to see them and they did tests on me and determined I was allergic to dust.

So I started a regime of injections, one each week (I believe) which were meant to ease my allergies.  I did this for a year but there were no changes.  I was still suffering and gave up on the allergy shots.

My problems, of course, remained and, after yet another year or two of not being able to sleep a whole night and suffering that damned swelling in my nose and the migraine headaches, I went to see another ENT Doctor.

This Doctor was an older gentleman who looked into my nose and shrugged and said “Sometimes that happens when people get older”.  He nonetheless told me he could operate and cauterize some veins in my nose, thus making the passageway smaller, which would ease the pressures I felt.

By this point I was at least five plus years into this and I was desperate to get some -any- relief.  So I had the operation and, after a week or two of healing, I was better.

But not cured.

Maybe three to five months after the operation I was effectively back to status quo.  I had the same swelling in my nose, same 4 hour sleep, same migraines, and this second doctor’s words “It happens when you get older” kept repeating in my head.

Two doctors saw me.  I had two operations.  And in the end, I was experiencing the same crap.  I gave up.

So a couple more years passed and I tried my best to carry on.  By this point I was approaching 10 years of this misery and I was starting to lose it.  How does one live when he cannot sleep a full night and at almost any point can be hit with an extremely painful migraine headache?

One doesn’t.

I was miserable, constantly tired, and depressed.

No, not just depressed.  More than that.  I feared I was losing my mind and, yes, I even thought of suicide.

I know, it sounds like I’m exaggerating.  I’m not.  Try to live nearly a decade of your life, each and every single day without exception, unable to sleep a full night, always able to go 4 hours before being forced awake and then having to spend an hour and sometimes much more alone and upright until the swelling within your nose comes down enough to allow you to go back to sleep…but only for a little while before its back.

Yes, I actually thought of suicide.  That’s how bad things got.

Luckily, it was at about that time I started seeing a general practice Doctor.  Though I felt nothing could be done about my nose (after all, two ENTs did nothing for me), I nonetheless told him my symptoms and what I had gone through.  He looked into my nose and said:

“Have any of those doctors told you about ‘turbinates’?”

Illu nose nasal cavities.jpg

Turbinates, or nasal (mid, inferior, etc.) concha are found within the nasal cavity.  My previous doctors, of course, hadn’t mentioned them at all.

This general practice Doctor, who didn’t even specialize in the ENT field, nodded and said that my turbinates, especially on the right side, looked irritated.  He recommended I see an ENT he knew.  Desperate, but for the first time in a very long time seeing a glimmer of hope, I set an appointment for this ENT.

I went into that Doctor’s office and, when I was before him, gave him a rundown of what I’d gone through the previous many years but made no mention of turbinates.  I was curious as to what he’d say and I didn’t want to influence him one way or another.  After a few seconds of looking into my nose, he said:

“Your right turbinate is eight times the size it should be.”  He then recommended I get operated and the turbinate’s size reduced to what it should be.

Very long story short: It turned out that was exactly what was wrong with me.  To this day I’m certain that that strange sinus infection I had years before somehow blew my turbinates up (I never had this problem before).  Imagine having something just past your nasal cavity and under your eye that is eight times the size it should be and when irritated it swells up even more.  It blocks your breathing but also presses against other tissue.  It caused my eyes to water (I wasn’t even aware of this!) and produced all those nasty migraines.

Yet two -let’s be honest here- fucking idiot doctors -supposed specialists in the field!- didn’t see it.

At all.

I suffered tremendously for nearly ten very long years with this swelling but, after having a third operation on my nose, this time to reduce the size of the turbinate (you can read more about turbinates, or Nasal Concha, here), I was all but cured.

I still get a bit of swelling in that nose now and again, but its very, very minor and doesn’t awaken me or keep me from sleeping.  I can sleep on either my right or left side.  Those horrible migraines and super-sensitivity to dust and smoke are completely gone.

For all intents and purposes, I’m cured.

Please, please, please don’t be like me.

If something bad is affecting your life, get yourself checked.  And if the doctor you see doesn’t help you with your problem, don’t hesitate to get a second, third, or fourth opinion.

As I discovered, ten years is a very long time to suffer for nothing.

Because you had to know! Part the Eighth

This is something that never occurred to me until I saw this article/video posted on Huffington Post:

Why People In Old Movies Seem To Talk Funny

Not interested in clicking the link?  Don’t worry, the article essentially presents this video by Brainstuff, which examines the above question and offers a fascinating explanation:

What is most intriguing, to me, apart from the fact that the accent was something created during that time and was not a “real” accent/form of speech, was how it may have been used because speaking this way allowed announcers/actors to overcome the technical limitations of audio equipment (in radios, theaters) of the time.

Fascinating stuff!

And now you know.