Luddism – a hatred of technology – takes its name from a group of disgruntled nineteenth-century textile workers who rebelled against new factory methods that threatened their livelihood. Although the original Luddite Revolt was swiftly quashed, fear and distrust of new scientific advances continues to play a role in politics and has colored contemporary debates about a variety of topics ranging from computers to genetically modified foods.

The original Luddites took their name from Ned Ludd, who may or may not have been a real person. According to legend, Ludd broke into a house sometime in the late 1770s and destroyed a pair of stocking fames, recently invented knitting machines that were blamed for putting textile workers our of work. Whether or not this event actually occurred, the phrase “Ludd must have been here” became a common refrain in English factories whenever a piece of newfangled machinery was found damaged.

By 1812, a group of textile workers who had crowned Ned “King Ludd” began destroying stocking frames and weaving frames all over England. The first organized Luddite Revolts occurred in 1811; it took 2,000 troops to quell the violence. Soon thereafter, “machine breaking” was made a capital crime. (After one 1813 trial in York, seventeen men were hanged for breaking this law.)

Although the original Luddite Revolt faded away, the term Luddite entered the political lexicon as a way of describing opponents of the relentless onslaught of technology.

Currently Reading “Killing Lincoln”

I am currently reading Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. It’s an easy read. Each chapter is about 4 or 5 pages long and it is written on about an eighth grade reading level. I got the book for my birthday. I’m almost finished with it.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter Forth-Five

Working quickly, Leale straddles Lincoln’s chest and begins resuscitating the president, hoping to improve the flow of oxygen to the brain. He shoves two fingers down Lincoln’s throat and presses down on the back of the tongue, just in case food or drink is clogged in the esophagus. As he does so, two other doctors who were in the audience arrive on the scene. Though far more experienced, army surgeon Dr. Charles Sabin Taft and Dr. Albert King defer to Dr. Leale. When he asks them to stimulate the blood flow by manipulating Lincoln’s arms in an up-and-down manner, they instantly kneel down and each take an arm. Leale, meanwhile, presses hard on Lincoln’s torso, trying to stimulate his heart.

Then, as Leale will one day tell an audience celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, he performs an act of great and urgent intimacy: “I leaned forcibly forward directly over his body, thorax to thorax, face to face, and several times drew in a long breath, then forcibly breathed directly into his mouth and nostrils, which expanded the lungs and improved his respirations.”

Dr. Leale lies atop Lincoln, his lips locked with Lincoln’s, offering what looks to be a lover’s kiss. The theater below is a madhouse. Men in the box around him look on, recognizing that Leale is perfoming a medical prodecure, but struck by the awkward pose nonetheless.

Dr. Leale doesn’t care. Every bit of his energy is poured into accomplishing the impossible task of saving Lincoln. Finally, he knows in his heart that the procedure has worked. He will later recall, “After waiting a moment, I placed my ear over his thorax and found the action of the heart improving. I arose to the erect kneeling posture, then watched for a short time and saw that the president could continue independent breathing and that instant death would not occur. I then announced my diagnosis and prognosis.”

But, Dr. Leale does not utter the hopeful words the onlookers wish to hear. They have seen the president breathe on his own. They know that the heart is functioning. Clearly, they think the president might survive.

Only Dr. Leale has seen the dull look in Lincoln’s pupils, a sure sign that his brain is no longer functioning. “His wound is mortal,” Leale announces softly. “it is impossible for him to recover.”

The book is divided into 3 sections. The first section is about the end of the Civil War. The second part is about the conspiracy with Booth and the actual assassination. The third section is about the manhunt for Booth. There are a lot of eyewitness accounts and testimony, which makes it interesting.

I See Dead People (watching NASCAR)

Normally, most stories that I come across on the Yahoo page are boring. They’re about Justin Bieber and his woes, or Taylor Swift and about how allegedly fabulous she is, or that Wacky Tom Cruise. Today I came across one that was kind of fun… well, actually creepy, but fun, too.

Some lady named Linda Chase lived with this guy named Charles Zigler for 10 years. Anyway, Charlie died. I guess that Linda didn’t want to be alone because she just left him in his chair. For about 18 months she cleaned him and changed his clothes. According to her, he didn’t stink. She would talk to him and they would watch NASCAR. She said that he was the only guy who was ever nice to her and that she didn’t want to be alone (I’m guessing buy a dog or a cat lady. They’re good company. They actually move around and make noise and stuff).

Linda admitted to cashing his social security checks. I guess she didn’t want to use her own money to buy him new clothes and deodorant and stuff.

Zigler had family who eventually became concerned about him (after 18 months) and called the police. The police checked it out and found him in his chair. Linda said, “I’m probably going to prison”. IDK Linda. My guess is the nut house.

Hey Linda, change the TV to the NASCAR channel.

10 Thoughts – A Semi-Tragic List

  1. This morning, the lady at the EZ Mart tried to tell me that 1/2 of 34 was 16. I was like, “No, it’s 17”. She said, “No, I’m pretty sure it’s 16”. I said, “No, it’s 17”. She was emphatic. IT”S 16! Finally she got it. Lady, just how many people do you cheat with your bad math?

    Hmmmmm, you must know that lady from the EZ Mart.
  2. I bought 2 books this morning. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak and Caribbean by James Michener.
  3. Last night, they interrupted The Biggest Loser with a ‘Bobby Petrino got fired’ press conference. It’s all over the local news and ESPN. Shut up! I’m over it.

    Just stop talking about it!!!
  4. Last night, when I watched Body of Proof, the last 5 minutes made me laugh hysterically. Not because it was funny, but because it had the most contrived Deus ex machina ending.
  5. Tonight is pizza night.
  6. I ran out of body wash, so I had to resort to a back-up bar of Irish Spring. Sure it’s manly, but I like it too. In 1986, the soap changed its formula, including a different scent, and adding skin conditioners. OMG, I HAD NO IDEA!!!
  7. The manager at the David’s Hamburgers place is SO WEIRD and creepy. The last time I went there, he kept shoving free samples of gelato in my face. I was like, “I don’t want it”. Then he saw my hat. “You’re an Alabama fan? No dude, it’s an Arkansas hat. He kept smiling and staring at me. Kind of like he was trying to induct me into his cult or something. They try too hard to be friendly there. There IS such a thing as being overly-friendly. Be attentive but know when to back off.
  8. I need to buy more light bulbs for the ceiling fan in my bedroom.
  9. It rained last night.
  10. I hate when I can’t find a song I want on itunes. I thought they were supposed to have everything.

    I'm sorry, but we don't have that Andy and David Williams song that you are looking for.