Do You Really Want That Knee Replacement? Maybe Not! Here’s Why:

I write this from a bed in a skilled nursing facility, where I landed after being released from the hospital. I have no bone nor metal in my right knee and down to my shin, and I will be on a 24/7 antibiotic IV for at least six weeks. After that I’ll go off it for two weeks, provided the infection–which was simmering for at least 18 months and probably at least two years–is not in evidence. The doctors will check again after that and if the infection has not returned I’ll be given a new metal knee. In the meantime, I cannot bend my right leg or put any weight on it at all. I met another woman who had gone through the same thing about a year ago. The facility I am in has two other people in the same boat, and the therapists tell me they have seen others.
You have seen the pretty pictures–the happy people with their new knees riding bicycles and playing tennis. Doctors X-ray your leg and spend about five minutes looking at the X-rays before the nurse comes out and tells you your osteoarthritis has reached a condition such that you need a new knee. This is widespread and at times absurd; a friend told me that a 97-year-old neighbor of hers was told he needed a new knee. After studying the matter, he decided to continue to walk up and down the twelve steps to his condo with his arthritis and “return to his maker with his original equipment.”
Unlike him, I did not check the matter out. I wish I had. Why don’t those cheerful pictures warn you that a single fall on concrete or another hard surface can break your implant, leading to another surgery and more bone loss? Why aren’t you warned that a small cut or scrape that you might not even notice can lead to an infection like the one I had? I have been warned that if I get another infection the next step is amputation. I refuse to take that step. I am 72 years old. If it is time to pass the baton to someone else, so be it. I have fought a good fight; I have stayed the course; I am ready to return to the Lord.
Of course the majority of knee transplants go all right. My daughter’s has not given her any trouble, and the only problem with my left leg is a discoloration on my ankle. But I wanted to warn you about the possible serious consequences, so that you can take them into account in your planning. If I had known then what I know now, I would have been like that 97-year-old man: I would have gone on with my osteoarthritis, walking with a cane instead of risking landing in bed and a wheelchair for at least eight weeks. Be warned. It isn’t as risk-free as the surgeons would have you believe.


Then Where DO You Wanna Be?

Sarantos’s novel NOT WHERE I WANNA BE defies classification. I can’t call it a graphie novel, because there is enough narrative and conversation for the reader to get by without the illustrations. But I wouldn’t want the book to not have the illustrations. As I began to read it, I kept thinking, “I am not the intended audience for this book.”

It has a comic book feel to it. I am partial to correct punctuation, grammar,  and word usage, all of which this book lacks. But the characters and plot are strong and engaging, as people keep falling or magicking themselves and others from one world to another. Each world is different, and the characters in each world are different, as are the characters in the book.

Nevertheless, I went on thinking, “I am not the intended audience for this book. My son and daughter-in-law are, and I will send it to them eventually.” I went on thinking that until I reached the end, at which time I instantly wanted the sequel. So I suppose I AM part of the intended audience for this book.

If you enjoy fantasy and comic book style pictures, only glossy instead of pulp, I recommend you read this book. However, although I generally prefer Kindle, I strongly recommend that you buy this book in paperback. It just would not be the same without the vivid color illustrations.

A Galaxy of Immortal Women: Chinese Women in Myth and Fact

Chinese Women and Goddesses, Stone Age to Today
Posted on April 3, 2015

My husband has two degrees in Chinese history and is writing a nine-volume novel set largely in China and San Francisco, and I have been a fan of Judge Dee for at least fifty years. So as you may expect, we have Chinese art in our house, a large floor to ceiling bookcase full of Chinese history, and a plastic crate holding all the Judge Dee books. We watch Chinese movies (especially when they star Gong Li, who can play a peasant or an empress equally convincingly). So when I was asked if I would accept a book about Chinese women’s history in return for my doing an honest and impartial review, I jumped at the chance and then ran as best one can on a walker, to tell my husband what was on the way.

I have just finished reading it, and am gobbling up the bibliography. Always read bibliographies; you never know what you can find there.

After reading A GALAXY OF IMMORTAL WOMEN: THE YIN SIDE OF CHINESE CIVILIZATION, I feel that I understand the Chinese mentality far more than I did before. It begins with archaeological discoveries that take Chinese culture back at least 12,000 years, when the last Ice Age was just ending and the sea level was rising. It goes through to the present day. It seems to me that the closer we get to the present, the worse the condition of women becomes. But part of that is because so much of very recent Chinese history has been monochrome.

I enjoyed this book very much. If you are interested in ancient history, or goddess worship, or women’s history, or Chinese history, or the entire human cosmos, I recommend you read this book. I have rarely learned so much from a book I enjoyed so much. Now I am going to go and put it on my husband’s desk for him to enjoy.

Good Book, Complex Main Characters

The Witch of Napoli
by Michael Schmicker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.21

This review is from: The Witch of Napoli (Paperback)

Thirty years ago, in connection with a book I was writing but didn’t, I did a lot of research on mediums. Of course Eusapia Palladino’s name came up frequently. But when I was reading this book, it never crossed my mind that this was a highl fictionalized story of her life.

I found THE WITCH OF NAPOLI impossible to put down. I read it in less than one day. Have you ever eaten chili beans microwaved with shredded cheese, followed by orange sherbet, without putting your book down? That is the kind of book this is. Its fictional narrrator is now grown up and has become the editor of major newspaper, after starting out at sixteen as a photographer. He writes as if he were speaking to you and you alone, telling you why he personally buried Alessandra without a funeral mass, without even a prayer. Then he returns to his study, taking you along. Apparently he gives you some vintage port, and then he begins to tell the tale, reminding us just often enough that he is speaking to you and you only, knowing that you will keep the secret.

Need I say that I loved this book? I recommend it for anyone who believes in, or is interested in, survival after death and all forms of psi powe

I’m an Amazon Top Reviewer!

Yep, I have finally made it into that coveted group that I have been working toward for so long. But I want you to know that because of Amazon’s rules, there are some things I am not allowed to post there, such as reviews over 500 words. So I hope you’ll continue to follow me here, or if you haven’t been, begin to. I’ll be posting mainly reviews of both books and items, as I won’t have enough time to do anything else. For starters, back up and read my review of SocialCide. It’s well worth reading for the protection of your home, family, and country–as my husband said yesterday, horsing around, imagine the old Superman stripping the clothes he was wearing and apparently throwing them into hyperspace so he can rush out to defend “truth, justice, and the American way.”

I would be feeling a little giddy at having achieved a goal this major, which would not have been possible without companies and people sending me what they want reviewed, were it not for the fact that I got out of the hospital two days ago and have a pile of work stacked up.

Books Through the Garden Window

Socialcide: How America is Loving Itself to Death
By Leo J. Battenhausen

The author asked permission to send me the book for review. When I was about three-quarters of the way through reading it, I emailed him that I would be writing the longest review I had ever written. He was gracious enough to send me three more copies of the book, to share with loved ones. By that time I had made 21 notes to myself about things I wanted to be sure to get in.

I shall begin with an extended, truthful, metaphor showing a situation in which Mr. Battenhausen’s definition does not apply.

Narcissism is love of oneself to the virtual exclusion of anyone else. As I write this, my daughters will be here to visit in just under two weeks. I have not seen them in more than three years. Some months ago I met a woman who instantly became my closest friend. I had not had a best friend since Elizabeth Linington died more than 20 years ago. Now I have Shalana, and I love her more than I ever loved my birth sister. She and I are giving a reception to introduce my daughters, and Shalana and Dan’s daughters, to our neighborhood friends. After the reception and the cleanup—Shalana, Faith and Liz, and the teenagers do the cleanup while I go and rest, because I am long-term ill—the women and girls are going out for dinner. None of us could have afforded this, but a relative gave Faith and Liz a princely gift to cover all the costs of their trip. My husband, Thomas, Shalana’s husband, Dan, and her son, Veshon, if he is up to it—he has two stress fractures in one foot—will serve as ushers, to take the guests to sign the guest book. Homemade bread (my work) and homemade cookies (Dan and Shalana’s work) will be spread on a table, and Shalana’s daughter, Naija, and Dan’s daughter, Katie, will be presiding over the guest book and the punch bowl. If Shalana were narcissistic she would resent cleaning my kitchen while I lay in bed. But as it is, if I did not go to bed she and Thomas would send me there. Thomas, 5’11” and white, will also rest, while Dan, also about 5’11” and white, takes his stepson Veshon, 6’6” and black, home so he can put his injured foot up. Dan thinks of Veshon as his son. Thomas calls Veshon “honorable nephew.” Naija and Katie are everybody’s daughter, or niece, or cousin.

This is not narcissism. It is a love fest. It is two families that have begun to think of themselves as one family, introducing loved ones to good friends. A narcissistic person loves himself or herself to the exclusion of everybody else. He or she—I will use the pronoun “he” through most of this review, to avoid repetition—thinks he is the most important person in the world. What he wants goes, and what he doesn’t want goes out. He would not think of spending many hours cooking for strangers to enjoy the work of his hands. His wife would not dream of loving his daughter; only her daughter would count, but she herself would be far more important than even her own daughter. We have become a me—me—me generation.

But in the situation just described, there is no me, me, me. Martin Luther King’s dream has been realized. America’s check is good. The members of these two families judge one another by the contents of their characters, not by the color of their skin. Veshon, 16, is regarded as a young gentleman, not as a n–. Katie and Naija are not the same color, but if someone tried to tell them they were not sisters he would find himself with two thirteen-year-olds trained in the martial arts all over him. Shalana and I refer to each other as Sis or as elect sisters, from the end of the third epistle of James. We do not have the same skin color, but we are sisters. Thomas asked for, and got, permission also to call Shalana Sis.

Over two hundred years ago a founding father of our country quipped, “Gentlemen, we must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.” Now too many of our citizens are unwilling to die, or even be inconvenienced, for their country, and they are incapable of understanding the very concept of hanging together. They are, ultimately, a loose collection of individuals, each of whom regards himself as the most important. That way lies the destruction of the individual and the destruction of our country. Dan is in his fifties and Thomas is in his sixties, but both of them are prepared at all times to give their lives for their country. They both miss, and mourn, a man who would be there had he not died recently. He was a general in Special Forces. Nobody in either Dan’s or Thomas’s family has risen higher in rank than master sergeant. But that didn’t matter to Carl. He spent his entire adult life ready to die for his country. He never understood the concept of me—me—me—. He resisted being promoted to general, because he wanted to be with his men. Thomas, Dan, and Carl were together in Thomas’s living room executing a legal document the morning before the afternoon Carl died. They were friends. More important, all three were ready to live or die for their country. That is not narcissism. Narcissism asks only, “What’s in it for me?”

Battenhausen points out that “[n]arcissism is actually in a category by itself. When people who cannot love, empathize, feel compassion, feel guilt, have a conscience, or contribute to anything good in society grow in number and become accepted and normalized by society. Society will not much longer exist. Those who are not of a narcissistic mind must always be on guard. . . .” Among the things about which they must be on guard are violent television shows and video games. It is easy to say, “If you don’t like them, don’t watch or play them.” But what does it do to those who do watch it—and to their victims? “Before the inception of these brain-washing devices there were no reports of children going on murderous rampage.” [I am an ex-police sergeant. I am sorry to say that in this sentence Mr. Battenhausen was not correct. But there were far fewer than there are now.] ”It is far more than just a cause-and-effect problem though. Addiction to video games is an essential component of Socialcide’s goal to manipulate youngsters into becoming self-absorbed monsters.” Speaking of the murder of “a grandmother by her eight-year-old grandson following his extended playing” of a violent video game, “the judge said he was ‘too young to understand the law and what he had done.’ Why in the world then was he allowed to play a game that has an M (Mature) rating in which players kill policemen and prostitutes in order to get what the players wanted? Besides being extremely heinous and violent the objective of the game sounds very narcissistic to me.” If the child had not been allowed to spend hours playing a me—me—me game, would his grandmother still be alive?

Battenhausen goes on to say that when we were teenagers, “we watched Wile E. Coyotes constant attempts to blow up the Road Runner . . . we watched Heckle and Jeckle, Tom and Jery, and Popeye and Bluto . . . But at the end of the cartoons all was back in place. We were not doing the killing, the characters did not look human, and we were not rewarded with extra points or privileges other than a laugh or two at the end of the show. . . .[N]arcissists are true charmers . . . This charming rouse [sic] is standard operating procedure . . . but is especially creepy among the . . . sexual predators. . . . I believe . . . that mass killings would at least be reduced if media ceased the advertising of such evil behavior. If potential killers knew they would not become instant celebrities . . . part of the allure of committing the crime would be gone and maybe—just maybe—the crime would not be committed.”

I could go on quoting for pages, but I would rather you bought and read the book. One thing that is important is that the author is not afraid to say that he believes in God and in the existence of Satan, and Satan is going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it. At the moment he thinks he is winning, and for this moment he is. We must take a stand against him. To do so, we must not believe in me—me—me—and we must not permit our children to do so.

We have a neighbor who has a Ph.D. in medical engineering. His wife has an M.A. in helicopter engineering. They have six children, and when they are with their children they are doing and thinking nothing else. By the time the children were two years old, they had little snow shovels, and when their father went out to shovel neighbors’ walks, the children were out there valiantly shoveling too. Those children will not grow up to be me—me—me people. Instead, they will grow up to do whatever they can to help others. Their mother does not feel she is wasting her education by homeschooling six children; she feels she is using her education in the best possible way. They chose homeschooling when their third child was ready to enter first grade, and already reading on a third-grade level. Their father said to me, “Why should he waste two years learning what he already knows?” The mother is greatly enjoying teaching. One day I called and asked if the two oldest boys could come help me with something when they had finished their school work. She told me they would be here in about an hour. When I asked them how they liked homeschool, two pair of eyes lit up. They loved it. They were learning. They were not using half their time doing nothing while the teacher did government-required busy work.

If more families were like that family, this nation would be back to what it was intended to be. Socialcide would be defeated. Satan would be very angry. But who cares about his anger? I’ve tangled with him before and undoubtedly will again. But God is stronger. And that’s part of what this book is all about.

For the sake of yourself, your family, your nation, and your world, read this book.

Writing an Adventure Story by L. Ron Hubbard

“Adventuring is a state of mind. If you adventure through life, you have a good chance to be a success on paper.

“Adventure doesn’t mean globe-trotting, exactly, and it doesn’t mean great deeds. Adventuring is like art. You have to live it to make it real.”

L. Ron Hubbard Reviews – Stories from the Golden Age ePulp

Just since I got my first ebook reader (and fell in love with it within about thirty seconds), the advances in electronic reading and sound have been astronomical. On its way to me is a 160 GB iPod player containing all 80 of the Stories from the Golden Age audio dramas. These remind me of the radio shows we used to listen to before we got television, except that they’re better. They also include glossaries and illustrations exactly as they appear in the printed books, actor cast lists and bios, video trailers, and the behind-the-scenes documentay “The Making of a Golden Age Audiobook.”

Even in the age of pulp–generally considered to be the 30s and 40s–one man might wear  dozen hats in a month. So far as is known, the most Hubbard ever did in one month was 17 stories (100,000 words, yanked off the typewriter and sent to the publisher without editing or rewriting) under 17 different pen names. Nobody knows for sure whether all of Hubbard’s work has been tracked down.

Unlike most pulp writers, he didn’t create one or two characters and reuse them constantly. He created new characters every month, and his use of voice was masterful. Each character had a separate voice and the voices were so distinguishable that the listener or reader can visualize the character. As we listen to the excellent actors on the iPod, it is hard to remember that these stories originally came out on paper so flimsy that it was lucky to survive two months.

There were dozens of genres of pulp, though the most common were spy stories, flight stories, science fiction, cowboy stories, detective stories, pirate stories–I could go on quite a lot longer.  Most writers picked one or two genres and stayed in them. Hubbard wrote in all of them. He didn’t go into great detail as to how he went about living. The picture of him as a young man is that of a smooth-faced man in good health with a good outlook on life.