Fearless Friday Memes

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Lincoln’s Little Blue Pill

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Photo via whitehouse.gov

“Here, where the lonely hooting owl
Sends forth his midnight moans,
Fierce wolves shall o’er my carcase growl,
Or buzzards pick my bones.

No fellow-man shall learn my fate,
Or where my ashes lie;
Unless by beasts drawn round their bait,
Or by the ravens’ cry.

Yes! I’ve resolved the deed to do,
And this the place to do it:
This heart I’ll rush a dagger through
Though I in hell should rue it!” – “The Suicide’s Soliloquy” published in Sangamo Journal August 25, 1838

Abraham Lincoln is thought to be the author of this poem, and his lifelong struggle with depression is a well documented issue. He reportedly said, “that intensity of thought, which will some times wear the sweetest idea thread-bare and turn it to the bitterness of death” illustrates the straights of despair he held off and fought in bouts until his death.

Lincoln fought valiantly against the depression by keeping in the company of others, telling jokes (sometimes at inappropriate times), reciting mournful poems, and wept openly in public. His law partner and biographer was quoted as saying, “His melancholy dripped from him as he walked.”

Of course, we know little could be done for depression back in the 1800s. However, one physician prescribed a commonly known substance called “blue mass” or “blue pill” to ward against the effects of depression, otherwise known as “hypochondriasis.” Prescribed for an assortment of ailments ranging from toothache and apoplexy to constipation, child-bearing and tuberculosis, the dose prescribed for Lincoln required one pill two to three times daily, and he took them for quite some time, although no one knows for certain the duration of which he took them.

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So, what’s in the tiny “blue pill,” you say? Glad you asked! As a pharmacist, I have to say I was more than curious to find out. Crushed inside a mortar and pestle, pharmacists/physicians combined licorice root, rosewater, honey, sugar, dead rose petals, and… mercury. I’ll give you a minute to take that last one in…

Mercury is a well researched neurotoxin even in small quantities. Of course, back then the physicians were unaware of mercury’s toxic profile, and it was determined that there were approximately 750 micrograms of mercury absorbed into the bloodstream with each pill taken. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deems 21 micrograms to be the most an adult should consume in one day. So, you do the math😉

The side effects of mercury include mood swings, nervousness, cognition problems, irritability along with potential for kidney issues and even death. Lincoln’s outbursts and rage were recently studied through written accounts by his friends and lawyers who traveled with him on his circuits. One cited, Lincoln became “so angry that he looked like Lucifer in an uncontrollable rage.” Another associate stated Lincoln’s face displayed anger as “lurid with majestic and terrifying wrath.” He was also noted as jumping up and leaving the room or house abruptly for no apparent reason and laughing and inappropriate times.

All signs of neurological mercury poisoning, the researchers can not definitively test for it without a hair sample. However, the symptoms fit according to some physicians, and in my medical background, his symptoms smack of mercury toxicity. The most remarkable point to make is Lincoln’s complete turnaround when it came to his demeanor during the U.S. Civil War after he was elected into office.

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you…. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it.” -Lincoln’s Inaugural Address via whitehouse.gov

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Photo via slate.com

Known as a man carrying the weight of the U.S. on his weary shoulders, Lincoln exuded strength, calmness, and perseverance in the most tumultuous of times. Born February 12, 1809 to a Kentucky frontiersman and raised doing backbreaking work, Lincoln self-educated by voraciously reading any books he could get his hands on. Unable to afford books, he would borrow them. George Washington became a hero of his, and Lincoln even walked twenty miles to borrow a book on the United States.

Intelligent? Yes. Empathetic? Yes. Insightful? Absolutely. Lincoln realized that the little “blue pills” made him “cross” and decided to quit taking them a few months after his inauguration. I, for one, am grateful he did.

Abraham Lincoln was a pained man held up by the empathy for others and love of his country. The weight of the world may have been on his shoulders, but he calmly strode ahead. While no one is perfect, it’s been great to read about this historic figure, and I look forward to my future research on him. How I love the writer’s life!

Sources: theatlantic.com, news.nationalgeographic.com, faculty.washington.edu, whitehouse.gov, lib.niu.edu, and emedicinehealth.com

Happy reading,

KD

“Elementary, my dear Watson”

My blood pumps wild for books written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His crime solving hero, Sherlock Holmes, defunct of tact at times and brimming with unrivaled intellect, except for Moriarty of course, works like a blood hound on a scent to unveil the machinations of criminals before they can strike again.

I fell in love with Doyle’s works as a young child, loving the brilliance of Holmes and his famous sidekick Watson, and I’ve appreciated all the movies based upon this character, including the like of Robert Downey Jr. However, the CBS production of “Elementary,” starring Johnny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson, introduced an intriguing partnership that’s never before been seen with the dynamic duo.

Watson, being a woman, piqued my interest, and I dared to watch the season with a sense of trepidation. I must admit to being skeptical of how this scenario would play out, and I found myself believing this show would fail like so many others launched each year, falling into the black void of cancelled programs, never to be seen or heard from again.

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Photo courtesy of Alvinology.com

The show taunted me from the persistence of Hulu to continually show “Elementary” on my feed as a show I’d probably be interested in watching. Of course, it took two whole years before biting the bullet, grabbing the popcorn and drink, and making my resisting finger press ‘play’ on the remote. Of course, my hesitation in watching the series was partly due to Watson being a female, as I’d grown rather fond of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s remarkable works, and partly because I love Lucy Liu as a movie actress and wondered how she’d handle the grueling process of being in a weekly series.

Alas, my worries gradually faded away within a few episodes, and I was hooked. Binge watching has become something of a regularity in my life. While writing and reading are my daily adventures, being a busy parent and holding down the fort of my own business interferes with my ability to watch TV or movies, I’m afraid. So, taking the time to watch anything is a treat, and I don’t like wasting my valued time in something that turns stale in a hurry. Imagine my surprise when the characters not only stand on their own, but the producers/directors didn’t fool with any romantic trysts between Holmes and Watson. Although, if trysts are what you’re looking for, trust me, Holmes has plenty of them along with past demons to add fuel to the blazing fire.

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Photo via imdb.com

“Elementary” is among my absolute favorite shows with the mixture of quirky, dramatic, and funny all rolled into one, and I had the pleasure of binge watching season 4 over the past weekend, and the plots get stronger with each passing episode and season. Of course, now that I’m all caught up, I admit I’m sullen at the thought of having to wait for this delightful, amazing and talented crew to pick up again in the Fall, but I’ve not watched Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, yet! Oh, my heart is full again;-)

So, if you’ve waited to watch “Elementary,” or you’ve never heard of it, and you like crime solving sleuths, please check out “Elementary.” You won’t regret it!

Happy watching,

KD

Hi Ho, Hi Ho The Writing Life for Me!

Books, books everywhere! It’s the fantasy from childhood which I refuse to relinquish, and the only thing better than books??? Where to read them and/or write them!

Eureka! Entrez…innovative reading and writing desks meant for the super, fantastical and most avid readers and writers on Earth;-)

I found the following desks insightful, inventive and sometimes out of this world, but a desk to suit the likeness of any person is within reach of Google!

First up, the all-in-one office desk for those who like a little bit of the corporate feel when they read or write…

Next, for $239 this sleek convertible can be yours for the taking…

If you’re looking for an ergonomic reading layout, then try…

Of course, this little getup is great for holding a beverage or two…

Or how about a more laid back approach?

And what about this $40,000 baby???

Of course, I don’t know if I’d be going to battle rather than to read or write:0

And finally, here’s one to crow about;-)

However you like to read or write, this goes to show there’s something for everyone!

Happy reading,

KD

Rick Riordan: From Teacher to Author

If you’ve heard of Percy Jackson, The Heroes of Olympus, Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Trials of Apollo, Tres Navarre, or the 39 Clues, then you’re probably familiar with Rick Riordan. His rise to authorhood wasn’t a straight one, but thousands of children and adults thrill in his adventures. The writing world wouldn’t be the same without him.

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Photo via amazon.com

Born and raised in Texas, Rick Riordan graduated fro the University of Texas at Austin with a double major in English and History. He taught  history and Greek mythology in the San Antonio and San Francisco area for fifteen years to middle school children, receiving an award along the way.

While he enjoyed writing from a young age, it wasn’t until after being a father that he fell into writing due to his son’s ADHD and dyslexia diagnosis. His son enjoyed Greek mythology and would often ask him to create stories which birthed the character of Percy Jackson. After his son’s encouragement, Riordan wrote down the stories into a book form, making sure to include the aspect of dyslexia in his main character of Percy.

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Photo via blogs.wsj.com

“Making Percy ADHD and dyslexic was my way of honoring the potential of all the kids I’ve known who have those conditions. It’s not a bad thing to be different. Sometimes, it’s the mark of being very, very talented. That’s what Percy discovers about himself in The Lightning Thief.” via scholastic.com

Riordan currently resides in Texas and keeps churning out stellar series. Great for children and adults alike, you won’t regret cracking open one of his award winning books!

For more information about Rick Riordan and his books, please visit his website.

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Photo via scholastic.com

Other sources include famousauthors.org and scholastic.com.

Happy reading,

KD

And the Winner Is…

On Friday, I posted a poll and asked if you would be on Team Charlie or Team Noah, and I want to thank everyone who voted!

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about the results. The winner with 67% of the votes was…

Charlie

Team Charlie!!!!

Charlie’s fair-haired persona and good looks do more than wreck havoc on poor Anna’s life. A top governmental agent, Charlie is Anna’s/Alex’s partner on assignments (yep, she’s two in one;0) always with a smart quip or innuendo. His high intellect, one of the reasons he was recruited, works beautifully with Anna’s tenacity and workaholic attitude. He is the Yin to her Yang, and they go on death defying missions, stealing artifacts of ill repute, rescuing governmental figures, and tasked to capture threats to the United States, all without the knowledge of governmental oversight; not even the President knows of their existence.

Flying under the radar, Charlie and Anna traipse across the globe earning the respect of their organization and each other until it all turns topsy turvy. When a failed mission destroys Anna’s recent memories and places her out of the view of the Department, Charlie’s task of not only finding her but restoring her memories turns from bad to worse.

Check out The Protectorate for a titillating ride of adventure, espionage and a two thousand year old rite of passage which threatens Anna’s very existence and pushes Charlie past the brink of despair and leads him questioning his feelings for her as well as the Department.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Protectorate! Feel free to message me your questions or thoughts, and reviews are always appreciated;-)

Thanks again for voting, and Happy reading,

KD

 

Team Charlie or Team Noah?

In my book “The Protectorate“, sides must be chosen. Who will you side with?

Team Charlie?

(If I were able to choose who would play these roles, Liam and Ian would be perfect!)

Charlie

Courtesy of usmagazine.com

OR Team Noah?

 

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Courtesy of Georges Biard

 

Happy voting!

KD