Thursday, July 20, 2017
Change.org is discriminating against the version of Google Chrome I'm using, so the comment below failed to show on this petition:
To Angel J. Colon:
Se dice que tantos veteranos jovenes necesitan ayuda con problemas mentales que no se puede soportar los mas viejos tambien. Tonteria. Es lo que Glenn Beck ha llamado un "Gambito del Washington Monument"--cuando los burocratas no reciben todo que desean, intentan destruir cualquier programa que la gente creen mas indispensable.
(We're told that so many young veterans need help with mental problems that (the V.A.) can't support both (them, and the older veterans with physical injuries, as discussed in the petition). Bosh. This is what Glenn Beck has called a "Washington Monument Ploy"--when bureaucrats don't get what they want, they propose to destroy whichever program the people think is most indispensable.)
Budget cuts need to be made...and contractual obligations to guarantee the most appropriate, efficient, and cheap way to provide for older veterans' retirement, which were a major reason why young men volunteered to fight in the twentieth century wars, are so not one of the things that need to be cut. Better the federal government should start by cutting out any federal department created after 1976, on the grounds that the states managed certain things adequately for two hundred years and can resume doing so.
The contents of Beck's book Broke are no longer Breaking News, but they've been fact-checked and found accurate...and the explanation of the Washington Monument Ploy is timeless. The Ploy probably worked before George Washington was born.
There's no Spanish edition of Broke but there's a Kindle edition; I suspect Bing or Google will translate it about as well as either translates Change.org petitions. (Some people gripe about those who comment on an English-language page in Spanish. I'm more likely to reply in Spanish-as-a-Second-Language...but seriously, Gentle Readers, these days a lot of Google-hosted sites, apparently including this one, open in whichever of several languages a reader's browser is set to use. People who type Spanish comments into English forums may be reading the forums in Spanish.)
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
The extent to which our thoughts really control the level of stress we suffer has been a matter of some debate. For some people, using angry energy in a nonviolent way helps build cardiovascular resistance and fight cardiovascular disease; for some people, the feeling of anger can become a physical addiction that increases hypertension, overall dissatisfaction, felt levels of anger about various provocations, and the chance that these people will abuse others, often family members who can't fight back. When Carlson and I (and all those movie stars at the IMDB site) were growing up, psychologists were encouraging people to get in touch with our anger, "Shout! Let it all out: These are the things I could do without!" Now there's more of a perception that, even if that was a healthy approach for some people (especially women) to take, to "rehearse" expressing our anger to adults rather than dumping it on children, that was just too dangerous for the anger addicts, so we should all focus on just releasing the emotional feeling of anger. For those interested in releasing the feeling through meditation, which really does work for some people, there are books on that specific subject. This web site recommends:
There's also valid cause for concern that too much focus on the feeling of anger may distract people from addressing the things that God gave us angry energy in order to help us change, because those things are doing harm to other people as well as us...I'm not saying that sweat, a flushed face, or clenched teeth are in any way necessary to address societal problems such as crime, but I am saying that anything that actually prevents or reduces the incidence of crime does crime victims more good than merely trying to feel something other than anger.
So, in conclusion: if Richard Carlson did take the time to tell his children he loved them and write letters of appreciation to service people, that was good, and undoubtedly made his last years less unpleasant for everyone...but if he'd paid more attention to the advice of someone like John McDougall or Stephen Sinatra , he might be as fit and healthy, today, as most people our age are.
If you are hypertensive, there is nevertheless a stage, as you begin to fix the facts of your hypertension, at which the psychological and social exercises discussed in Don't Sweat the Small Stuff can be useful. So go ahead and buy the book, why not? It's a small, thin book and would fit into a package with Anger and Lower Your Blood Pressure and even this web site's trademark T-shirt from Zazzle. For that you'd pay $5 per book (yes, each of the three books is only $5, and the other two are Fair Trade Books!), $20 for the shirt, $5 for the package, and $1 per online payment.
(Will three books and a T-shirt really reverse cardiovascular disease? The answer is yes...for some people, if those people use the information in time. This does not, however, imply that three books and a T-shirt can take the place of a doctor.)
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Monday, July 17, 2017
It has, in fact, been reprinted as a "classic," and is even available as an "e-book," so copies aren't hard to find unless you insist on a really old book in excellent condition. If you're willing to take a reprint, we can offer this book for $10 per copy + $5 per package (two to four books of this size fit into one package) + $1 per online payment.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
How to Survive the Loss of a Love is not exactly a Christian book. It does discuss "spiritual" matters, and has been marketed as a Christian book, so it belongs in the Sunday Book Review category. Although this web site reviews religious books from a Christian perspective, this one was written with the hope of being inclusive for readers of any faith or none.
Friday, July 14, 2017
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Length: 219 pages plus index, bibliography, chronology, and genealogy
Illustrations: black-and-white photos of portraits
Quote: “Although he loved the clang of battle and danger’s bright face, he almost never killed coldly or cruelly. To his contemporaries his knightly prowess and his chivalry may have seemed a little old-fashioned.”
Did the reference to “glory” make you expect this to be a book about Francis of Assisi? (Perhaps absurdly, it had that effect on me.) Sorry. It’s about François or Francis I, born 1494, crowned King of France in 1515, died 1547; considered worthy of, if not preeminent among, a peer-group that included Henry VIII of England, Maximilian of Germany, and Ferdinand of Spain; admired by the artistic set that included Leonardo, Michelangelo, Erasmus, Titian, Clouet, Cellini, Machiavelli, Marot, Rabelais...and his sister, Marguerite, whose Heptameron is still in circulation today.
U.S. schools don’t teach even our own history with anything near the attention it deserves, still less the history of the countries our ancestors left. Many allegedly educated Americans don’t recognize Francis’ name or picture and have no idea why French people remembered 1515 as a great year for France. Burke Wilkinson set out to fill that academic gap, describing the achievements that allowed Francis to be described as a “Good King.”
Well...as Kings of France went, anyway.Europe was nominally Christian, and the more enlightened monarchs (including Francis) were even beginning to learn how to read and write for themselves, but Europe was still a mess of feuding tribes who expected their leaders to be warriors first, strategists second, and thinkers or diplomats or even decent human beings only if they had energy left over. Francis, as portrayed, seems to have been an excellent fit for that job description. He found time to write some poems; the ones he let Clement Marot whip into shape were considered reasonably good. He paid enough attention to his religious instructors to carry out their wishes and banish Calvin to Geneva. He respected the women in his life—notably his mother, the one who negotiated his release from prison—but did nothing to improve the disgraceful status of women under French laws (or customs, which Francis failed to correct even by example). He admired the art of architecture, and designed a fabulous 400-room “hunting lodge,” Chambord. Mostly he was remembered for battles, not all of which he even won; during a civil war against some of the French provincial aristocrats Francis spent some time in prison in Italy, but he was considered a fair fighter and generous winner.
Were Francis and Henry friends? Wilkinson presents them more as colleagues who found it advantageous to behave like friends. All the European royalty called each other “cousin” if not “brother” or “sister,” as in fact most of them were. That Wilkinson found reports that Francis and Henry, in particular, envied each other’s looks... well, look at their portraits for yourself. (Wilkinson also shares some pictures of their allegedly beautiful female relatives, which serve to emphasize the point that, before modern medical science, “handsome” and “beautiful” often meant merely “not obviously very ill—yet.”) Despite a nominal alliance sealed by the betrothal of their younger relatives, Wilkinson reports that, after having spent some time with Francis, Henry muttered something about how, if he had a subject like that, that subject “would not long keep his head on his shoulders.” The context of this remark is not given. It may have been merely aesthetic. Francis’s head certainly did nothing to improve any view, though Francis deserves some kudos for allowing so many artists and artisans to agree so emphatically that he had a strange face. Henry merely looked like a heart attack waiting to happen. What Francis’s eyes were “saying,” the world probably prefers not to know.
Wilkinson mentions, but rejects, the claim that Leonardo actually died in Francis’s arms. They were close. Wilkinson thinks what they did was talk, especially “about the creation of a fabulous castle...Chambord’s turrets and pinnacles bear a striking resemblance to the sketches in Leonardo’s notebooks.” Leonardo da Vinci wrote, drew, and said quite a lot about a lot of things. Whether he was homosexual, asexual, even heterosexual but more discreet about it than most of his contemporaries, or simply postsexual, was not one of those things. (His will was outrageously generous to a younger man, but that may merely indicate that the younger man helped draw up the will.) Francis was heterosexual. The society in which they lived was not so homophobic that a man needed to be ashamed of lifting a sick patient “in his arms,” and at some other time during Leonardo’s illness Francis might have done that, but on the day Leonardo died, Wilkinson concludes, the two seem to have been in different places.
There is some debate about exactly what caused Francis to “age” and die at such early ages. Sixteenth-century medicine was the immediate cause. He apparently seemed old at forty, and died, after a heroic intervention of purging and bleeding, at fifty-one. Wilkinson mentions theories that Francis had either a sexually transmitted disease, or cancer. Wilkinson tersely tells us that what he had read about Francis’s symptoms supported the cancer theory. For those who really want to know, there’s a long bilingual bibliography at the back of the book.
Francis in All His Glory could have been a much longer book than it is. It was written to be accessible to European history buffs of all ages. The presupposition beneath Wilkinson’s terse and tasteful writing is that either you already remember what all the famous historical figures in this book were famous for, or you’ll want to read the other books that were already available (in English) about them. When Wilkinson mentions Anne of Brittany, Pope Leo, Diane de Poitiers, Andrea Doria, he expects those names to mean something to you that, if you’re a typical U.S. teenager, they don’t yet mean. This is probably why I got my copy so cheap from a school library that had given up trying to persuade fifteen-year-olds to read it. This is regrettable, Teen Readers, because many of the characters in Francis I’s biography have interesting biographies of their own.
If you like a good reality-based story with royalty and chivalry in it, this is that kind of story. You’ll enjoy it most, though, if you either have done or are willing to do all the additional reading about all those other characters. If you know the songs about Bayard and Anne and La Palice, this book will sing to you...“Vous plait-il d’ouir l’air du fameux La Palis-ce? Il pourra vous rejouir, pourvu qu’il vous divertis-se...”