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Monica Lewinsky, Survivor

So I’m still on my YouTube kick, and recently discovered John Oliver’s “Next Week Tonight.” Just hilarious. Yeah, yeah, I know–just call me a late bloomer. Anyway, the show was about public shaming. When I think about it, it seems public shaming has become an American pastime. Oliver portrayed a woman who’d been publicly shamed and she said she had to basically reinvent herself because she couldn’t do the simple things, like find a job.

But the star of that episode was Monica Lewinsky. Remember her from the 90s? Remember what she went through? The sordid details of her affair with Bill Clinton laid bare in Attorney General Kenneth Starr’s report to Congress? I felt so sorry for her back then. To have your life cut open and dissected like a frog in a high school biology class. And she was only 22 years old.

On his show, Oliver aired various clips from speeches she’d given about her ordeal. In one, with tears in her eyes, she talked about the horror of having her name dragged through the mud and her reputation tarnished “on a global scale.” Can you imagine that? Everybody in the world knows your name, and though they might not know what you did, they knew it wasn’t good. Oliver also shared an interesting tidbit. Monica Lewinsky’s name has been mentioned in 193 songs by various artists. Gah.

The jewel, though, was an interview he did with her. Nearly 20 years on, she talked about what the… Continue reading

What About Charles Dickens?

I like Charles Dickens. No, really. Granted, I have to be in the mood for him–all those run-on sentences, you know? But I do like him, and that’s because he tells it like it is (was). I’ve read any number of books romanticizing Victorian London. Perhaps that’s because the stories were told from a certain point of view. The reality, though, is that Victorian London was a horrible place to live unless you were among the elite and could disappear to your country estate, or at the very least, middle class. The poor? Forget it. Children as young as six sent to work in the factories, usually in jobs that were so dangerous it would make your eyes bug. How would you like to have a job where you had to squirm between the jaws of these giant looms to clean the bits of cotton that had gotten stuck in the teeth? Horrific injuries were the norm, as it was for all factory workers. And their pay was a pittance. If they were lucky, enough of the family worked so they could at least afford to keep a roof over their heads, and some food in their bellies.

Being in service wasn’t necessarily too bad–the pay was better, at any rate. Better to be a live-out servant than a live-in, though. Live-ins were at the beck and call of the family 24/7. And accommodations might not be all that great if your family was cheap. Like your quarters might have… Continue reading

Do You Believe?

Do you believe in the paranormal? Aw, c’mon–don’t be embarrassed. We’re all friends here.

*Crickets*

Okay–would it help if I told you that I do?

Yes, I’m a firm believer. I’ve never seen a ghost, shadow people, or anything like that, but I’ve had too many weird things happen to me to chalk it up to my imagination. I mean, I’ve got a fabulous imagination–after all, I write fantasy and science fiction. These events, though, went just beyond the pale.

I’ll tell you about a couple of them. I used to live in a place called Silver Spring, a city in Maryland located right on the line dividing Maryland from the District of Columbia. One night, I was supposed to attend a retirement dinner (I was supposed to speak) in Annapolis, also in Maryland. Annapolis is about 40-odd miles from DC, with some of the busiest highways in the region. Anyway, I was late (as usual). I hopped into my Corvette and high-tailed it out of Silver Spring. I reached the highway and got underway. As I drove, I noticed there was hardly any traffic, which was seriously strange as it was only 6 PM, when it should have been really busy with commuters. I took it as a sign of good luck because that meant nobody would be my way. I reached the venue and pulled up to the valet parking station. Rolling down my window, I asked the valet the time, since I wasn’t wearing a watch. He… Continue reading

Atlas Shrugged

If I was a character in the Atlas Shrugged world, I’d be a taker, and not a doer (I forget how Rand characterizes them). I would know how to operate things, but not how to fix them. I would not be in the ranks of the Hank Reardons or Dagny Taggarts of the world. I would be one of the huddled masses cowering in the cities with no electricity and whatever other staples of life I take for granted once the people who actually run things take off and join John Galt in that hidden valley, waiting for people like me to die off or otherwise disappear so they can make a triumphant return and get the world going again. On their terms, of course.

I pulled up my blog last week and discovered a note from WordPress telling me I had to update my current version of PHP for, among other things, security purposes. Okay–I get that. WP was kind enough to provide more information about PHP and what I should do to update it. First, it said, I should back up my page. A list of back-up plugins was presented, from which I should pick one. I chose the first one because, well, it was there. So, following the directions given, I start installing the plugin.

My blog disappeared.

All I saw on the screen was a string of random-looking numbers, letters, and various symbols, two lines of this gobbledegook. The rest of the screen was white. Yes,… Continue reading

YouTube Is My Friend

Okay, so I’m spending waaay too much time watching YouTube, but I find it fascinating. Mainly, I’ve been watching documentaries and such on ancient and lost civilizations. Well, the aliens did it. They did everything–built the pyramids all over the world, built this, built that… Well, the people on these shows did seem sincere. Then I’ve been watching weird stuff, like videotapes of the last moments before people disappeared, ghosts, and whatever.

The one I just saw on the Titanic was intriguing. Yes, all sorts of theories abound, but this one…

Well, it seems the Titanic didn’t sink–it was her sister ship, the Olympic, and the switch was made for the insurance money. Seems that Olympic had been damaged in a collision, and so they pulled a few tricks like switching the names of the ships and other hijinks. So when the “Titanic” went down, White Star got all that lovely insurance money.

I’ve also been watching shows on astrophysics and the like. Those are fun, too–though I confess I don’t always understand it. Anyway, lots of fun!

WTF??

So while waiting for my head to unscramble, I’ve been looking at stuff on YouTube–you know, creepy videos, lost civilizations, government and mainstream science conspiracies, ancient aliens–twaddle like that. Anyway, I came across this lecture given by this guy David Icke, so I decided to have a look. It was about Gnosticism. He explained what it was about, the gnosis, or knowledge and so on. Watching it, I thought “well damn–no wonder the Roman Church persecuted the hell out of them!” It was all very interesting, and after it was over, I did a ‘net search on Gnosticism, and that was interesting, too. I’m going to delve into it in more depth–my curiosity is aroused. Then I looked up David Icke.

To use the British parlance, David Icke is a nutter.

Too bad, really, because on the video, he seemed to be such a sane man. He believes that many of the elite in the world, like Queen Elizabeth II, George W. Bush, etc. are lizard people, or something like that. There was something about these lizard elites and red dresses, too. Don’t ask. White supremacists apparently love him, Holocaust deniers, and other idiots of that ilk.

Maybe this guy should get a lobotomy.

The things you find on YouTube…

Creativity and Mental Illness

Is there a link between creativity and mental illness? Some in the psychiatric profession and other mental health practitioners seem to think so. Of course, this doesn’t mean one has to be mentally ill in order to be creative. Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison wrote a book, “Touched By Fire,” that explored this connection. She examined the lives of several famous artists–poets, writers and visual artists–such as Samuel Coleridge, Lord Byron, and the like. Her research delved into the letters written not only by the artists, but also from friends and such. Her conclusion was that these artists had various mental disorders. You should read it–whether you agree with her or not, it is quite interesting.

I’m an author, in case you haven’t noticed from the postings on this blog. I’m also bipolar. I don’t talk about it because I’ve found, through bitter experience, that mental illness still carries a stigma in our society. Does being bipolar help my creativity? Sometimes I think so. I wrote the first six chapters of my latest book “Invasion” in three days during a manic phase. I didn’t sleep at all during that time.

My mania is pretty low key as far as manic episodes go. I mean, I don’t get naked and climb on statues. I have grandiose, unrealistic ideas, some of which I’ve acted upon to my detriment. And I spend money, lots of money. It’s like there’s this other person doing things that make no sense. Like blowing through my IRA. Almost… Continue reading

And Now, For Something Completely Different…

As Monty Python would say. Love those guys. Wish I could have seen their last show, even if Graham Chapman was there only in spirit.

So. What’s so different, you ask? Well, I’m now a rock collector. No, really. Rocks. Or, perhaps I should say, gem rocks. Emerald, sapphire, ruby…you get the picture. Mind you, these aren’t “gemmy,” that is, suitable for being cut and polished into jewelry stones. But an emerald is an emerald, you know? I bought a huge, 5-pound chunk of obsidian that I’m going to put goodness knows where. I also bought a Herkimer diamond. These are crystals that are found only in Herkimer County, in upstate New York. This one has a water bubble in it. I mean, there’s water in there. And that water would be 400 to 500 million years old. But I would dearly love to have a blue garnet. Very rare, these stones. They’re blue in fluorescent and sunlight, but purple under incandescent light. They are wildly expensive, too. I found a site that sells them, and they have some lovely specimens at lovely prices. I hold myself back because even though I have the cash, I’m not certain I have the money. I mean, I’m trying to promote my books, and I’ve got a third one coming out. I dropped $1200 just yesterday to promote The Moreva of Astoreth and The Underground on ONE site.  And who knows what’s coming down the pike?

At any rate, I suppose this… Continue reading

Bling

For once, a post that has nothing to do with writing.

I’m not sure what’s come over me. I’m collecting jewelry–earrings, mostly–at an alarming rate. I’ve filled up one jewelry box, about to fill another, and the last one is so huge–it’s a ring/earring display box, really–it scares me just to think about filling it up. And I’m not buying shit, either. Some are lab grown, some are not, but none of it is what you get at your local Wal-Mart. I’m not going to say how much I’ve spent, but it’s a lot.

Back to jewelry shopping…

Random Thoughts

There’s nothing quite like looking at a blank page and wondering where to go next.

Yes, I’m working on The Underground: Invasion. I know what has to happen, it’s really a question of how I’m going to get there. The between stuff. Part of the problem is that lately, I feel like I’m being pulled in ten directions at once. It seems that everything and everybody is clamoring for my attention, and it’s impossible to prioritize. It’s been really hard to get my head into the book. It’s been really hard to find the time to even try to get my head into the book. I should probably just put it aside until things calm down, but I don’t want to do that. I’d truly like to have the novel out by next summer. But current reality says putting it aside would be the best course. And I’m resisting.

Speaking of books…The Underground Second Edition is with the editor, who by contract will have it back to me just before christmas. And my cover artist sent the initial rendering of the cover. It’s going to look good. Might end up even looking like an illustration, rather than 3-D modeling. The Moreva of Astoreth continues to get five and four star reviews. It might have its flaws, but it really is a damned good book, if I say so myself. Let’s hope the marketing/publicity people can help make it into a bestseller. And interestingly enough, the people who’ve seen the book… Continue reading