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Thursday, April 29, 2021

12 Simple Tips For Dealing With Sociopaths and Narcissists When Avoidance Isn't An Option

 12 Simple Tips For Dealing With Sociopaths and Narcissists When Avoidance Isn't An Option

  1. Operate with an eventual goal in mind. If you don't set one, they will. 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Coronavirus: Is It Just An Overblown Cold?

Hey you!



The person I just shared this link with.

That’s right.

I wrote this entire blog post for you, in the hopes that perhaps you’d take a gander.

 If I sent this link to you, it’s because I care about you, and, because I care about you, I am going to try and address some of the misinformation I may have seen you post, heard you say, or seen you “like,” share, or retweet on social media.

 Firstly, I’d like to start by saying thank you.

 Thank you for taking the time to read this.

 Thank you for understanding that I genuinely care about you as a human being, and, thank you for being the type of person who considers points of view which, let’s be honest, are probably different than your own.

 You’re the type of person I know cares—about yourself, and about others.

 Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother to reach out to you.

 I took the time to write this, because I do care about you, I do respect you, and I probably like you.

 Heck, I may love you.

 You may even be someone close to me—a friend, a family member, or a colleague.
 That’s why I’m sharing this data with you.

 That’s why I’ve taken the time to put this together in a way I hope you’ll understand.

 Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

 You may not even bother to read this.

 You may read a sentence or two, and then discard
The sad fact is, that  I can’t make you look at it.

 But, and here comes the hopefulness—the potential for some real positivity here...

 I hope that you will.

 I hope that you will look over the data I’m sharing. I hope that you will look at the original source material I have painstakingly researched and shared, right here.


 Let’s  talk. 

 Let’s start with what COVID-19 isn’t.

 COVID-19 is not a “bad cold.” It’s not “a flu.” It’s not fake. It’s not planned. And it’s not overblown.

 I know, I know. This is exactly what you THOUGHT I’d say.

 Typical, right?

 What else can you expect from a stubborn know it all with a science degree? Ugh.

 And I agree. I can be very stubborn. And it would be 100% understandable if, given the sheer volume of data and information I’ve been sharing on COVID-19, and on science in general, you called me a know-it-all.

 Point taken.

 But that doesn’t make it wrong...

 While colds are DIFFERENT coronaviruses, this coronavirus is SARS COV-2, which is nothing like the common cold, and the various and ever-changing strains of seasonal influenza are not caused by coronaviruses at all.

 COVID-19, which is caused by a virus called SARS COV-2, is something totally different.

 SARS COV-2 is an rna transcription virus, which causes lifelong complications in those who have it, and kills many outright.

 It weakens the lungs and the immune system. We haven’t seen anything like it before.

 It spreads via respiratory droplets, which can spread up to 6 feet and hang around for up to three days, on surfaces and in the air.

 Its most common means of transmission is through talking—the louder you talk and the closer you stand, the more likely the disease is to be spread.

 The spike proteins bond with the ASE-2 proteins within the cells inside of your body, which triggers mutations in your cells, which causes your body to signal your own immune system to have an extreme reaction, causing the tissue in the lower part of the lungs to become inflamed and prevent oxygen from entering your lungs and reaching your bloodstream and brain properly.

 This, coupled with the severe inflammation and constriction of blood vessels often causes strokes and heart attacks, and if you’re lucky when you get it (oxymoron, right?), and it doesn’t cause either of those potentially fatal complications, it often causes pneumonia, which has killed many COVID-19 patients, and has been directly brought on by COVID-19 ie those who get secondary pneumonia weren’t just going to get pneumonia anyway.

 They didn’t pick it up from a secondary source. It developed directly because they had COVID-19.

 The inflammation in the lungs often causes this characteristic secondary pneumonia infection, which often ends up being the cause of death in COVID-19 patients.

 The origination of this particular mutation of the SARS virus happens to be bats.

 SARS COV-2 mutated from this reservoir species to be able to be transmitted to humans.

 This is what viruses do.

 SARS and MERS are NOT the common cold. They are not the flu.

 They are extremely contagious, horrifically painful, deadly diseases.

 After initial infection with this virus, scar tissue forms in the lungs, often times reducing lung capacity and efficacious transmission of necessary oxygen to the blood and brain for the rest of your life, causing complications you may not even be aware of until later on—though if you’re like many COVID-19 patients, you may find out upfront when you experience hypoxia, and pneumonia.

 Because it is transmitted so easily, it is IMPERATIVE that you wear a mask when and where appropriate.

 Who should we trust for information?

 I totally understand the urge to not trust government, but in this case, we really must trust our governors, who are making decisions which are in our best interests, based on the input they are getting from scientists who study the spread of viruses.

 These folks are known as virologists or epidemiologists, and they follow the scientific method, to gain important knowledge and insight into viruses, and their effects on humans and animals.

 They specifically work on laboratory studies, including rigorous peer reviews (duplicating and attempting to disprove the research of other scientists, which is what the scientific method is about—attempting to disprove, so that what we’re left with is the truth, and continuing that process ad infinitum), as well as and initial research. These folks then publish their findings in scientific journals and journals of medicine.

 Contact tracers and data aggregators also play an important role in public health, sharing up to the minute data with open source data platforms like the two I’ve linked here, and assisting government officials in making decisions which will benefit their constituents (us).

 What can we do to protect ourselves and others?

 Well, we can listen to the experts, and check out firsthand data sources.

We can also wear masks, wash our hands, and use hand sanitizer in between washings. We can generally up our hygiene game, so as to protect ourselves and others.

 We can consider what trips are really essential during a pandemic. Do we need to go to the bar? The clothing store (I shop online right now)? To parties where appropriate personal protection and social distancing may not be observed? On vacation?

 In short, the social and societal aspects of this pandemic will show us what kinds of people we really are, and whether we’re capable of working together for the good of all, or if we will end up acting selfishly and impulsively. For the most part, I’m seeing people acting like decent human beings, and that gives me some hope, but when I see people clinging to misinformation, in order to support their own comfort and privilege, it concerns me, because, like it or not, we truly are all in this together (no hate—that’s how the human brain is designed to work, and, thankfully, we happen to be capable of overcoming that, with some good old higher thought and executive function).

 But back to protection. I know there has been a lot of concern about wearing masks. So, why masks? Are they really that important?

 Masks prevent against ingress AND egress. In other words, they protect you from picking up or spreading the illness. Asymptomatic spread is an issue, and even picking up and transmitting the virus without actually becoming ill yourself is an issue. There is no herd immunity against SARS COV-2. None. SARS-COV-2 evolves and changes so fast, that even if there were herd immunity, it wouldn’t last for long.

But aren’t there treatments?

What we really need, and are currently working toward, is a vaccine.

 A vaccine will be the best way to eradicate SARS-COV-2, and the subsequent COVID-19  illness, that it causes.

 But what about some of the medications we’re hearing about?

  Hydroxychloroquinine and zinc, two of the much hyped supposed preventative/treatment options for COVID-19, have been found, after PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH, not only not to be effective treatments or cures for COVID-19, but hydroxychloroquinine has been found to be dangerous, and even fatal to those who take it.

 Zinc, on the other hand, while not an effective means of treatment or prevention of SARS COV-2 (again, that’s the name of the virus which causes the illness known as COVID-19), although it *MAY* help to prevent you getting COVID-19, if you come into contact with SARS COV-2 viral particles.

 It does not in any way prevent you, however, from spreading the illness to others. Incubation period is between 5-14 days, so even if someone is infected with the SARS COV-2 virus, they may not develop any symptoms until 5-14 days have passed. Please—if this is difficult to understand or seems confusing, ask an expert, or heck, ask me.

 I’ll point you toward, or any of the other trustworthy open source data platforms, where up to the minute statistical and scientific data can be found.

 This is very serious.

 Normally, when a pandemic strikes, there are three waves. The first hits quickly, the second is larger, numbers wise, and the third is sort of the dying gasp of the pandemic. But if we do not take appropriate action, this pandemic will last for longer, sicken more people, and kill more people. I know it’s hard to consider that a simple virus could hurt of kill or permanently damage you or someone you love, and I know that because of how it’s wired, the human brain will automatically turn to emotional defensive like confirmation bias (I haven’t died yet; this must be blown out of proportion; it couldn’t REALLY be this bad; the media must just be trying to scare us; law of attraction will keep this illness away; but I eat right, but I exercise; but I take supplements, and so on and so forth), but I assure you that this virus doesn’t discriminate.

 It doesn’t care if you don’t believe it could hurt or kill you or someone you love. It doesn’t care if you practice law of attraction. It doesn’t care if you’ve never been faced with something like this before and you don’t know how to handle it. Viruses are equalizers. They don’t care who you are or what you believe. They just enact the programming they are designed to enact, and do so in a deadly efficient fashion. Please—me disagreeing with you about this is NOT a personal attack. It’s the opposite. I don’t want you to die, to become ill, or to inadvertently cause harm to someone else. I hope you’ll choose to turn a critical eye toward the data I am sharing here. It may save your life.

 Still don’t believe me?

 Please feel free to leave any questions below, and I will do my best to research them and provide answers to them, in as analytical a manner as is possible.

 I would respectfully ask anyone who has read the verifiable, firsthand data and subsequent information that I, and others, have shared, whether, after weighing the facts and the actual data, outside of the personal feelings and positions of those who may be sharing it with you, and outside of their and your own personal biases (which we all have), if your disagreement is truly with the data, or whether it is at least POSSIBLE that your brain is simply doing what human brains are built to do, and protecting you from information which could leave you feeling vulnerable.

 If you’ve asked yourself that question, and your answer is no, then your brain is doing it’s job, and enacting one of it’s many defense mechanisms.

 It’s so tough to step outside that, especially when your brain is telling you not to, but that’s what critical thinking is. I’d like to invite you to engage in some critical thinking with me.

 What specific data points do you disagree with, and why?

 Is there any possibility that you may WANT what you’ve read/heard/watched to be true? If so, is it at least possible that you may want the things you’ve read, heard or watched to be true, because it seems kind of big, frightening, and unfathomable that the data and scientific interpretations of same which I am sharing with you to be true?

 I get it. It’s so scary. It’s unfathomable to some, that something like this could happen in today’s world, and believing that it’s a hoax, a conspiracy, or not really all that bad is super comforting, and is a super convenient and emotionally satisfying explanation, that your mind may literally beg you not to do any further consideration on the matter, because if you did, you might have to consider that some of the things you’ve been living your life believing—wanting—BEING might not be true, and that would be too much.

 Again, that’s what human brains do. They protect our emotions, our sense of safety, and our sense of self, at the risk of causing us physical, mental and emotional harm later. They protect our worldview and our privilege (yes—we all have it) at the expense of ours and others’ safety. This becomes more prominent when we actively seek forms of mental and emotional refuge, in order to keep from accepting shared reality.

 A gap like this between personal and shared reality, however, is both harmful and unsustainable.

 It’s harmful to ourselves and to others. Gaps between our personal reality and shared reality are often tied up in things like privilege, the instinct to either fight or run away from uncomfortable or i convenient truths. Gaps like these, between personal and shared reality are responsible for all manner of wrongs in this world—from racism, to sexism, to classism, to various and sundry forms of tyranny and oppression, both systemic and individual.

 These gaps are responsible for conspiracy theories, whitewashing, gaslighting and avoidance. I would like to invite you to step outside of that paradigm with me. If I can do it, so can you. We are all capable of that. It’s a daily struggle for myself and for everyone else, and it won’t be easy, but it WILL do you and those you love, and pretty much everyone else good on a level so large-scale, it is almost impossible to consider—just as staying in these comfortable mental shackles will cause irreparable harm—even death to many, possibly us—possibly right now.

 If what you’re taking away from this is “Dominique thinks she is better than me, smarter than me, or superior to me,” I want to assure you that, flawed and entirely imperfect individual that I am, that is not my intent. My only intention is to try and help in some small way, by enumerating processes taking place in our brains and in our bodies on a daily basis, that some people may not be aware of. I am far from the final authority on this, or any other matter.

 The beauty of the scientific method is that you don’t have to trust me. You don’t even have to like or respect me. It’s not about the source; it’s about the information.

 Thank you for taking the time to read this. Be well.

 Source material: here you will find data, with no bias and no spin:


Sunday, May 10, 2020

COVID-19: What To Believe In Times Of Crisis

What to believe about coronavirus and what to discard:

 There has been so much new information coming in on COVID-19, and SARS COV2, the virus which causes it. 

 I know it can be confusing to try and make heads or tails of a situation which is developing at the speed of science itself. 

 But here are a few good tips on how to remain sane while engaging your critical thinking. 

 Let's get right to it! 

 There have been several folks who have come forward lately, submitting COVID-19 conspiracy theories. 

 Shiva Ayyadurai, Donald Trump, and Plandemic lady are just a few of those who have submitted conspiracy theories to the general public, which were pretty much immediately debunked.

I know it's comforting to believe things that make us feel a sense of power, but what good is a sense of power when it isn't connected to actual...ya know...power? 

 What good is a sense of power when all it does is give us confidence to boldly forge ahead down the wrong path with misinformation, as we strut along it, inadvertently harming ourselves and others?

 It's okay not to know things. 

 It is. 

 In cases like this, if a pandemic could be solved by the ruminations and speculations of everyday people, it would already be behind us. 

 This is why we have experts. 

 People who have gone to school for many years to study specific aspects of specific scientific fields are uniquely equipped to advise us and our leaders on what to do during situations related to their fields of expertise. 

 I get it. Admitting that we don't know something can be scary. 

 There's a lot about science that I know, but science is a huge field, and there is much more that I do not know. 

 I'm okay admitting that. 

 To that important point...

 If you don't know what's happening or why and you're having trouble figuring out what to believe, use firsthand sources. 

 Source your information from .gov .edu .org websites. 

 Use clean thinking and tools to help preserve your critical thinking skills (I'll list a few below, for good measure).

 And if you still don't understand what's happening, or only feel that you have reached an amateurush level of understanding about this brand new illness that's been developing so fast that even scientists have to work to keep up, that's OKAY.

 Even if you'e struggling with the specifics, you can still follow the instructions being put out there for all of our protection.

 You can read up on suggested precautionary steps at 

It's okay not to know the ins and outs. 

 What's not okay is pretending we have expertise because we're scared, and harming not only ourselves, but others. 

 You don't have to understand virology in order to be able to trust experts who do.

 But who are the experts?

 If you need help distinguishing sources or basic information in terms of what to consider, versus what to discard, use Occam's Razor, and remember to keep in mind the fact that science seeks to find truth by way of disproving things that aren't true, so that we can be certain that what we're left with is the truth. 

 Pseudoscience actually cherry picks facts after having come to a conclusion, which is why it can and should be discarded.

 That's why conspiracy theories come off as convoluted. 

 They are. 

 True experts in their field will never promote any ‘information’ which fits the parameters for the description of pseudoscience . An expert will always admit not only to knowing what they know and being willing and able to show their work to their peers and the public to scrutinize, and duplicate, but a true expert in any field will be the first one to cop to what they don’t know. 

 But what IS the truth and what isn’t, and how do we figure that out?

 The truth is always going to be arrived at by way of letting the facts lead us. Conspiracy theories include characteristic twists and turns (ie convoluted explanations that usually end in some shadowy group of people--"they" don't want you to know, "they" want you to think thing a, when the answer is really bscjdluo and z), whereas the truth will only take a few short points to reach, starting from the beginning. 

 So use your critical thinking skills, watch out for logical fallacies (ie flaws in your reasoning), use helpful ethical tools, such as Occam's Razor, and if you still don't personally understand after all of that, it's generally okay to trust science and to trust experts--especially in a situation like this, where we all need to work together, based on a common understanding of a particular situation and a shared goal.

**For those who may be wondering why I didn't share a bunch of links debunking conspiracy theories, two things: **

 Firstly, that just isn't how the scientific method, or reasoned argument, or even debates are supposed to work. The scientific method posits that the burden of proof lies with those making claims, not those arguing against those claims.  

Secondly, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Claiming for instance that this virus was callously released on the unwitting public (why? by who? what would make this the best method to accomplish whatever goals were in mind? Etc...) is extraordinary. Without irrefutable proof, there is no reason for us to discard the most likely assumption, which is simply the one science backs up—that this is an unfortunate global pandemic which was bound to happen.

 Clean thinking and following the scientific method always win the day. And if you’re still confused, or you have some more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to firsthand sources (see above) for information. 

 I’m just an everyday person, and if I can wrap my brain around this, I promise that you can too. It just takes some practice. But even if that’s tough to do, you can and should trust the experts who are here to lead us during this critical time. 

 An expert isn’t an expert by self pronunciation, but because of their actions.

  Let’s recap. 

•Experts in their field let the facts lead them
•Experts in their field don’t make extraordinary claims
•Experts in their field allow their work to be scrutinized by their peers
•They follow the scientific method and they submit their work for publishing in scientific journals 
•Experts in their field don’t pull you in with clickbait titles like “the things they don’t want you to know about coronavirus” or “why the media is blowing covid19 out of proportion. 
•Experts in their field do share their work. When they come to a conclusion, they want their peers, and you, to be able to get there too. 

 I see folks out there doing great work, buckling down and doing their part. That’s amazing. The choices you make which impact the lives of others in a positive way matter. You matter. And you’re appreciated and loved. You are. Believe that. 

 Let’s work together to get through this in a way that benefits the overall health and wellness of us all. 

 Any questions? Ask me below, and if I can’t answer them for you, I’ll pass you over to someone who can.

Friday, April 24, 2020

COVID-19: What You Need To Know

Let’s talk briefly about COVID-19.

 I recently did an episode of my podcast on the subject of coronavirus (this is contextually relevant. I’m not trying to baldly self-promote). I’ve been researching the data since this pandemic started, and I MAY be able to shed some light here.

 While I can’t encapsulate the entirety of months worth of research here and now, I will say this. As a research, data, and biology wonk, I happen to know (as many of us do) that it is of grave importance that we get over this curve (which IS currently happening! As long as we follow this directive to stay at home for just a little while longer, we’ll be golden).

 This is not the common cold, nor is it the flu, though, fun fact, the common cold is another coronavirus, which happens to mutate and return regularly to invade our bodies, seasonally, in a normally much less serious manner.

 What we are experiencing now is a coronavirus called SARS COV-2, which bonds to the ASE-2 proteins within human cells, via the spike proteins which stick off of the SARS COV-2 cells, and the cells of all coronaviruses, for that matter (this is why it is called a “coronavirus.” The spike proteins sticking off of it give it the look of having a halo or a crown, when looked at via a microscope.).

 The way that this virus, which happens to be what is called an RNA transcription virus, bonds to the human body via the ASE2 proteins inside our cells and the RNA information which is transcribed therein, upon first contact between the virus and the cells within our bodies, before they self-destructs and send out information, telling other cells inside of us to reproduce, based on the information received upon first contact with those coronavirus cells (SARS COV2), ends up sending the virus, and, consequently a later immune response it to a specific area of our bodies—the lower lung.

 This is what makes this particular coronavirus—SARS COV2, which, again, for posterity, causes the illness known as COVID-19, to settle in the lower lung. That’s not all it does, though.

 As I touched on a moment ago, the real one-two punch this virus gives to our bodies is that it kicks our immune reactions into high gear.

 While this might sound good, it isn’t, because just like humans who hadn’t experienced novel influenza viruses when the Spanish Flu hit, our population has no established experience with, and therefore no frame of reference for, and no immunity to SARS COV2 (aka the icky virus which causes COVID-19), which means that our immune systems often fight the virus off inappropriately, causing inflammation in the lower lung, rather than efficiently and effectively fighting off the virus before things get to that point.

 Then, the third act of this story begins. Due to the inflammation and the ham fisted way our bodies, caught unaware, are trying to fight off the virus, and the inflammation in the lower lung and fluid leakage and build-up caused, we often develop secondary pneumonia infections, which can be deadly.

 If that sounds good to you, and you’re willing to risk the lives of yourselves, your family whom you could end up carrying the virus home to, and others, then go for it. Go on out there without masks.

 If we don’t blunt this curve before we reopen businesses, then those I mentioned (seniors, babies, immunocompromised folks—even some healthy folks) and untold others will be put at risk as a direct result of your actions. If that doesn’t sound so hot to you, and you’d like to act as a if you’re a decent and caring person, then your path is clear. Wear your personal protective equipment. It makes a substantial difference in transmission rates and contagiousness of the virus.

 SARS COV-2 (the virus which causes the illness we call COVID-19), while not a strictly airborne pathogen, CAN be aerosolized briefly when we talk, walk past each other, cough, sneeze, and even when we breathe. Masks help to prevent us from both passing on and receiving SARS COV-2 (i.e. they seriously restrict our chances of giving or getting COVID-19).

 I feel like this information gives us an opportunity to help ourselves and each other.

 While it’s no fun to have to do things we don’t like, it feels like a no-brainer to follow life-saving measures and to think beyond our own noses right now.

 In the long term, doing things like staying mostly at home and wearing masks won’t be a necessity, but right now, it’s the most important thing we can do. Blunting the curve is the most important first step measure we can possibly take, while we are working on vaccines, improved testing, and treatments for the SARS COV-2 virus.

 The great news is that we are doing it! We’re effectively turning the corner. We need to hold on a little longer, and we’ll all have gotten through this.

 In the long term, there are two possibilities, regarding our relationship with SARS COV-2 (the cause of the COVID-19 illness).

 The first is that we will end up living with this virus, and that it will become seasonal and much less life-threatening, which would mean that RT-PCR testing (what we’re doing now to see if people are currently ill with COVID-19), and serology testing (immune testing, which happens to be something we’re starting to do, to see how people’s immune systems are fighting this off, and, essentially, what works, vs what doesn’t within the human body, which will help us to advance our research toward a vaccine AND treatment options) will be key components in moving forward with a solid seasonal treatment and prevention plan. This will include the possibility of symptom treatment which we are currently in the process of working on R&D for, and seasonal vaccines like those upon which we currently rely to prevent us from falling ill with the seasonal flu.

 The second future possibility is a complete vaccine which eradicates this illness in it’s entirety. To get there, however, we must first blunt the curve, before we do anything else, and it will take awhile to see whether this will end up being a seasonal and less harmful visitor (scenario #1), or something we can eradicate and put behind us (scenario #2).

Let’s touch briefly on vaccines. No matter what sort of vaccine we develop, whether it ends up completely eradicating this virus, or whether we need to develop a new vaccine on a seasonal basis, vaccines are extremely important.

 Vaccines establish herd immunity and disease eradication, and are a major reason why human life has been extended and improved in quality and quantity in modern times. This, combined with the fact that they help to reduce the effective R factor (i.e. make the virus less contagious over time) means that vaccines are crucial in this case, no matter which of the two possible scenarios I’ve described above plays out.

 I hope that this has helped answer any questions that folks may have on the subject. I’d be happy to answer any further relevant questions or at least to direct anyone who is concerned to the appropriate data sources.

 It may sound hokey, but we truly are all on this together, and we’ve got to get on the same page here, in order to save lives. I know—staying at home and being afraid sucks. It’s stressful. It’s upsetting. It frays our collective nerves. But this isn’t just about our own egos or personal wishes. This is about what’s best for all of us. So, as I said, we really are all in this together, like it or not. Let’s all educate ourselves and let’s do our best to be decent people.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

“John Adams” by David McCullough #BookReportSunday [review]

 It’s been a long week, and I’ve decided to reward myself by focusing my next #BookReportSunday book review on my Dominique Does Life blog and podcast on my all time favorite book, “John Adams” by David McCullough, which, incidentally,  just so happens to have given birth to my favorite HBO miniseries of the same name, based on the McCullough biography. Below is my review of “John Adams.” Please feel free to let me know what you think about the book and the series below. 

“Our obligations to our country never cease.”
-John Adams (“John Adams,” David McCullough)

        “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study paintings, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”
David McCullough, John Adams

If that quote doesn’t sum up the animus of John Adams, I can’t imagine what does, or what ever could. 

  An intimate portrait of possibly our most influential founding father, “John Adams” portrays the life of a dutiful, studious lawyer, a man of spiritual and educational excellence, a dedicated husband, a formidable debater and an effective, if unpopular (at the time) U.S. President.

 John Adams, son of the well respected family of Adams—the Adams’ of Braintree [Massachusetts], to be exact—early settlers of the nation we now know as the United States, future member of both continental congresses, future president, and father to United States president John Quincy Adams, is first presented in this epic biography in large part when he successfully defends the British soldiers accused of igniting the Boston Massacre.

        “You've got to marinate your head, in that time and culture.
You've got to become them."
(Speaking about researching, and reading, and immersing yourself in History)
David McCullough, John Adams

 Adams, it soon becomes clear, is an expert orator, a cantankerous genius, a straight shooter and an ever-devoted and loving husband to wife Abigail and father to children Abigail “Nabby,” Susannah, John Quincy, Thomas and Charles. While John Adams is the main character in this eponymous biography, one might go so far as to say that Abigail is as much of a main character in this book, and in contemporary American History, as is Adams.

 This book covers John Adams’ job as a lawyer, the American Revolution (though of course not as extensively as David McCullough’s “1776”), the continental congresses, Adams’ jobs as ambassador to several countries in Europe for the newly formed United States, Adams’ time as vice president, president and then father of yet another president of the United States of America in John Quincy Adams, through the lens of his friends, enemies, loved ones and other contemporaries, ending, obviously, with Jefferson’s and Adams’ deaths on July 4, 1826 (with a mention of Madison’s simultaneous passing).

        “So, it was done, the break was made, in words at least: on July 2, 1776, in Philadelphia, the American colonies declared independence. If not all thirteen clocks had struck as one, twelve had, and with the other silent, the effect was the same.

It was John Adams, more than anyone, who had made it happen. Further, he seems to have understood more clearly than any what a momentous day it was and in the privacy of two long letters to Abigail, he poured out his feelings as did no one else:

The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”
David McCullough, John Adams

 If you enjoy this book, which I believe you will—I couldn’t put it down—I would also highly recommend checking out the HBO miniseries “John Adams,” which was based on this book, featuring career making performances by already beloved actors. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney head the all-star cast of performers in this miniseries, which is produced by Tom Hanks and Brian Grazier, with David McCullough acting as consulting producer.

 I can pretty much guarantee you that if you watch the miniseries based on this book, you will basically always see John Adams as Paul Giamatti—that’s how good the series is. I enjoyed seeing the companion HBO series very much, in addition to reading the book (about a million times), and I’d love to recommend that everyone who has the chance to do both does just that!

“The source of our suffering has been our timidity. We have been afraid to think....Let us dare to read, think, speak, write.“
—John Adams (“John Adams,” David McCullough)

 In this book, you will find an intimate portrait not simply of a United States founding father and it’s first vice president and second president, but of a man caught up in a revolution, striving to make his world a better, more just, fair and kind place for all to live in. I award this book a hearty and enthusiastic five stars, both as a whole, and in all pertinent categories of review!

 According to Adams, Jefferson proposed that he, Adams, do the writing [pf the Declaration of Independence], but that he declined, telling Jefferson he must do it.

Why?" Jefferson asked, as Adams would recount.

Reasons enough," Adams said.

What can be your reasons?"

Reason first: you are a Virginian and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second: I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third: You can write ten times better than I can.”
     —John Adams (“John Adams,” David McCullough)

 “John Adams” moves along at quite a clip, especially for such a hefty volume! I am always surprised all over again when, upon rereading it, I finish “John Adams” in just a day or two.

 “John Adams” has the tense, import laden suspense of an action movie, the drama of a period piece, and the pace of a Hitchcock movie. It is an easy volume to read, and all of the situations and relationships which play out in this book, as well as the personalities of the characters are both perfectly historically accurate and eminently relatable. After reading “John Adams,” one can easily see why even the likes of King George III of England came to respect Mr. Adams, and, once you have finished with this book, you will too!

 Our obligations to our country never cease”
 —John Adams (“John Adams,” David McCullough)

While you’re here, I’d also love for your to check out this fantastic piece on why “John Adams” was the precursor to “Hamilton,” and why both “John Adams” and “Hamilton” should be looked at as seminal biographical historical pieces.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Iowa Caucus Live Tweets: Updated Information Minute By Minute


While I tend to like to keep my blog and podcast free from too much political commentary, I figured I might release a bit of a photoblog on the subject of the absolute cluster fuck that is the Iowa Caucuses.

Below is some pertinent information (sources are included in the images themselves, so feel free to follow these folks on Twitter if you like), AND some much needed snark.

You’re welcome, America!

Precinct captains weigh in with consternation and concern...
While results are in their hands, they seem to be having a tough time reporting to the state democratic party...

Even caucus officials are feeling the frustration

Awarding delegates based on a coin toss...?

Apps, phone calls and middle schools gyms ftw! Paper ballots are so passé...

Ah, the good ol’ US of A, where grown adults sit around arguing past midnight in a middle school gym, in order to determine who will get the keys to the nuclear football...

Even the politically savvy have a tough time when it comes to caucuses...

I think we can all agree that this is nerve-racking.

Can anyone relate? 

Shadow, Inc...

Tuesday morning updates: 

Suggestion: we find the cylon resurrection ship and destroy it!

Still no news on who actually won the Iowa Caucus...


12:22pm 2/4/2020: 

Apparently Jeff Weaver of the Bernie Sanders campaign (the only campaign to release numbers just yet) has stated the following: 

Via the CBC:

Curiouser and curiouser...

Shana East, local Chicago celebrity and avid Bernie supporter weighs in from Iowa

Nearly a day after the Iowa Caucus debacle, Shadow, Inc. weigh in on the havoc they have apparently helped to create.


Pete Buttigieg wins by narrow margin

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Bill Murray Comes Back To Woodstock: A Photo Blog

The Residents Of Woodstock, IL. Were Stoked This Past Weekend, When They Received A Follow-Up Visit From Local Hero And International Comedian And Dramatic Actor Bill Murray!

*Update: the commercial Mr. Murray was filming in Woodstock is linked below*

*Below is a photoblog of some of the up-close and personal action, credit to my best friend and candid photographer, Carrie Callery.*

Why all the fanfare, you might ask (particularly if you’re not from Woodstock)?

 Well, it appears that Mr. Murray made an impression on the locals with his kindness, his attitude of gratitude toward the town of Woodstock, Il., and his folksy and down-to-earth ways.

I’m sure his killer sense of humor didn’t hurt, either.

Coupled with the fact that Bill Murray is an absolute icon, AND with the box office numbers and critical acclaim “Groundhog Day” was met with, it’s easy to see why residents of Woodstock fell for Bill Murray while he was in the area, filming.

 Mr. Murray, a local hero, and legend to the residents of Woodstock Il., since Groundhog Day started filming in 1992.

 While he was [apparently] going through a fair few personal struggles at the time, that didn’t stop Bill Murray from showing his kindness to the residents of Woodstock, and, because of that, throughout the passing years, Woodstock hasn’t forgotten!

Every year since, from the beginning of the holiday season to just after Groundhog Day in February, Woodstock, Il. shows it’s appreciation by opening up the iconic Woodstock Theater for free showings of the classic movie.

 Observant viewers may notice some of their most beloved features from the historic Woodstock Square featured prominently in a variety of scenes throughout the movie.

 It appears that Mr. Murray was back on the Woodstock Square not for sentimental reasons, but to shoot a very special Superbowl Jeep commercial, that Woodstock area viewers might like to keep their eyes peeled for, this Superbowl Sunday.

 Woodstock, Il., and McHenry County, within which Woodstock resides, is pleased to be able to work once again with Mr. Murray.

 As a Chicagoland native, myself, I too am stoked that Bill Murray came back to Woodstock for this project.

 Having Mr. Murray back in Woodstock, Il. has not only bolstered the local economy but has created an absolutely bustling atmosphere at some of the Woodstock Square’s most popular sustainable local businesses, including Mixin Mingle, Double Yolk Cafe, and Ethereal Confections!
                                    (Local event hall/party space rental business, Mixin Mingle)
Visit Mixin Mingle at:

Local chocolatiers and artisan coffee shop, Ethereal Confections:

Visit Ethereal Confections on Facebook:

With the way folks respond to Mr. Murray’s presence, it would be understandable if those who live elsewhere thought this was the only significant event in Woodstock’s long history, but history savvy Chicagolanders know that’s not the case!

 Woodstock is an important historical landmark in United States history. That’s right! Sleepy little Woodstock, Il. was home, for awhile (to be exact), to Eugene V Debs.

Woodstock is the seat of McHenry County.

 It has hosted actors of renown at it’s historic opera house, including local actors and transplants alike. Geraldine Page, locally born actors Orson Welles and a young Paul Newman are just a few of the actors who got their start on the Woodstock stage. Welles formed and continued throughout the years to support the Woodstock Players, which allowed students of the Goodman School some much needed professional experience. Dick Tracy's creator, Chester Gould, also moved to the Chicago area, making Woodstock his home for a time.

Woodstock, Il. is also iconic for its labor organization history, particularly since the old Woodstock Courthouse and jail was home, for a time, to early railroad organizer, Eugene V Debs, who was sentenced to jail time in 1894 for inciting a large-scale strike of all union railroad workers working on any trains in which there were Pullman cars present. This strike was mainly in solidarity with workers who demanded a living wage and were being denied that by George Pullman himself after Pullman cut their wages by one-third.
Visit Patrick Murfin's (Heretic, Rebel, A Thing To Flout) blog post on the subject at the link below:;_ylu=X3oDMTBtdXBkbHJyBHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmw-/RV=2/RE=1580291669/RO=11/

  At the time, and mainly due to Mr. Debs’ involvement in the matter, President Cleveland’s hands were tied. Since the railroad was the main impetus for mail delivery and the postal service had been all but shut down during this broad railroad strike to ensure workers’ rights, the president declared that all trains MUST run, and he sent federal troops to ensure that they did.

 During Mr. Debs’ trial, Clarence Darrow acted as his attorney. Woodstock Sheriff George Eckert, however, moved as he was to follow the letter of the law, agreed with Mr. Debs and offered him comfortable accommodations, even allowing him to dine with his own family upon occasion.

 During stay in Woodstock, Mr. Debs received distinguished guests, like the chancellor of Germany and the governor of Colorado, and other well-known labor leaders, including Victor Berger, who, during his visit, offered Eugene Debs a copy of the book “Das Kapital,” by Karl Marx. Acclaimed journalist Nellie Bly (around the world in 80 days) also visited Woodstock to see Mr. Debs during his six-month jail sentence.

 Eugene V. Debs was beloved by the hard-working citizens of Woodstock, and was, it is said, carried all the way to the train station by its people, once his sentence was served. Whether this was, strictly speaking, factually true, we may never know, but the story is quite powerful.
                                              (Credit: Heretic, Rebel, A Thing To Flout)

 Eugene Debs credits his stay in the Woodstock jail as the reason why he became a democratic socialist (or, strictly speaking, at that time, a “social democrat”). Sadly, this wasn’t Debs’ last visit to the Woodstock [McHenry County] Courthouse and jail, as, in 1919, Debs’ outspoken criticism of WWI landed him back in the courthouse to serve out yet another jail sentence.

 With Woodstock’s history of hard-working residents and their love for those who they felt represented them, it makes perfect sense that they would embrace Bill Murray for his art, his down-to-earth sensibilities, and his contributions to Woodstock’s local economy.

Photos of Bill Murray during his Woodstock, Il. visit, photo credit: Carrie Callery:

*The full commercial:

 If you’ve enjoyed the photography in this blog post, I’d love for you to visit local photographer Carrie Callery on Facebook (Carrie Callery) and Instagram:

 If you’ve enjoyed the historical information in this article, I’d like to recommend that you check out “The Historic Woodstock Square: An Illustrated History Of The Woodstock Square.” You can download this beautiful and interesting historical record of Woodstock, Il. for free at

I also used the following historical piece on Woodstock, Il. as well, to help fill in the blanks in my personal information:

Woodstock Public Library:

McHenry County Historical Society:

I also highly recommend taking a gander at Mr. Patrick Murfin’s blog: “Heretic, Rebel, A Thing To Flout,” at;_ylu=X3oDMTBtdXBkbHJyBHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmw-/RV=2/RE=1580291669/RO=11/