I know a lot of y’all have statcounter or other trackers on your blog so you can see who’s visiting and what they’re doing and crack the identity of anons and whatnot. I ain’t got time for that (and I ain’t got time for anon questions either, which is why I have it turned off), but I am interested in where my blog’s visitors come from and why—so seeing this tonight made me really happy. If someone does a google search to learn what Hemingway’s famous writing edict means, they get my post as the first result.

This thrills me to no end because I don’t advertise my blog at all, and it’s certainly far from SEO. Apart from that, I have a creative writing blog, so probably 98% of the time, people who come to my blog from google didn’t find what they were looking for, and that makes me sad—especially in regard to a humor piece I posted years ago that has been consistently the first result when people hit google looking for job interview tips for introverts. This has been the case for so long, in fact, that I went back and added a disclaimer to the top of the post.

But this one makes me happy, because it means I’m doing my part to rid the world of the obnoxious and facile belief that Hemingway was saying writers should be alcoholics.

 I have seen a few posts on Circumcision and here is the thing. 

In the Bible God directed his people to do this to themselves and their son’s to differentiate the people of God from the non-believers. I think Jews and most Christian’s still follow this edict. It isn’t done to women because we don’t have an extra flap of skin. Also, I hear, it’s better for cleanliness but I think that’s also up to the person washing themselves. *shrugs* 

But. I think what some of these posts I read are misunderstanding is that possibly the Doctor doing it, just doesn’t do it very well or something along those lines. 

Don’t criminalize something just because a few Doctor’s haven’t done it right. You don’t criminalize Doctors who open you up thinking they’re going to go in and fix a hernia, but find a Sis instead. That’s what happened to my mom. She got sent to a different doctor and the sis was taken out. The size of a fucking grapefruit. But everyone before kept saying it was a hernia. 

So there ya go. Sometimes people don’t do things right but ya know. Shit happens. no one died. We’re fine. It’s a story to embarrass your kid about when his girlfriend is over. 

[ADMIN NOTE: “Bad Writing” is subjective. Understand that the title of this post reflects only Michael Bradley’s opinion on writing. This post is not an edict from on high; it is a resource from which to learn (or not).]

by Michael Bradley

Neck breaking – If I had a dollar for every time I see a movie or read a book or watch TV and someone with their arms or legs snaps the neck of a bad guy and kills them…  Sometimes they just put a hand on either side of their head and jerk and you hear a chiropractic snapping sound and the person falls limp and dead.  We would all be dropping dead regularly if it were so easy to break our necks.

In reality, a broken neck is much harder to achieve as the neck can flex easily.  Even crushed vertebrae would not be an instant kill.  If you lift and rotate the Atlas joint you can damage the spinal cord through spiral tear or at worst sever it, very difficult the latter.  Still, the victim would most likely be paralyzed but not die immediately.  Even severing an artery will cause death only after a few minutes.

It is unlikely even the strongest man can snap the neck of a bad guy and kill them instantly.

Knocking Someone Out – Even people with a “glass jaw” can rarely be knocked unconscious with a single punch or blow to the head.  Look at boxers.  After a long fight, they often succumb to a rain of blows.  A kick to the head on the other hand, may do the trick.  However, the heroes punching a guy in the jaw, not likely to do the trick.

Recovery from Being Knocked Out – If you are knocked unconscious from a blow to the head, most likely you have suffered at least a concussion if not a traumatic brain injury.  You do not get up, rub your head, and then act functional and remember what happened.  When knocked out, you lose the last thirty seconds to few minutes of memory.  If you were knocked out quickly, you would wake up not even knowing why.  You would also experience headache, vision issues, and nausea.  This state would continue for some time and you would need medical assistance.  If you had bleeding on the brain, cerebral swelling, or organic brain injury, simply ignoring it will cause the damage to be permanent, worse, and perhaps fatal.

If your hero is good, and does not kill anyone, they simply knock them out.  In reality, there is a good chance that hitting them over the head hard enough to cause loss of consciousness will not only cause severe damage but maybe death as well.

Sleeper Hold – The good hero often does the sleeper hold.  This again is easy, simply holding them gently with an arm until they pass out.  In reality, this can often damage the trachea and cause suffocation and heart attack, even in trained professionals.  How many times have law enforcement been sued over choke hold related deaths?  Also, it takes a long time to make someone pass out, in which they turn blue, eyes bulge, and they fight like hell to stop you.  I get so tired of “don’t fight it” being said during a choke hold to make it easy.  The truth is that when you are suffocating, you WILL fight it whether you want to or not.  It is a primal instinct.  These scenes would result in about four minutes of horrible struggling, blood vessels popping in the eyes, mucous forced from the nose, and not very heroic for our good hero.

Temporary Amnesia Caused by Blow to the Head – If you have physical trauma induced amnesia, it is likely permanent due to the severe damage to your brain needed to induce memory loss.  Psychological trauma, such as PTSD can result in temporary suppression of memory or memory loss.  Sometimes these memories can be regained.  However, a physically damaged brain causing memory loss is unlikely to recover.

Regaining Memory from Another Blow to the Head – In Three Stooges tradition, you lose your memory from a head injury, then you regain it from another blow to the head.  Each time you get hit, your brain will take more damage.  All brain surgeons know the best way to heal damaged neurons is to smash them with a blunt instrument – NOT!  And yet this mythos endures, even on famous shows.

Psychological Trauma – The hero’s base is attacked and half the people die.  They fight back, overcome and end up defeating the enemies.  They have a tearful funeral, talk to the family of the dead, and get drunk.  Next week they are all back at work as if nothing happened.  In what world does your office place have several long time members killed, you kill others, then you return to work for more.  Likely that whole unit would be faced with 90% absentees due to leaves of absence, transfer requests and people quitting.  Even in the military no unit in wartime withstands 50% casualties and continues to function after that.  Even with ten percent casualties, the unit would have severe personality changes and replacements would be viewed as outsiders for not having shared the trauma.

Capillary Bleeding – The head bleeds like the dickens.  In the military we are trained to avoid people going into shock.  Scalp capillaries will cover the entire head and face with blood very quickly from even a minor scratch.  The injured will often think their entire head has been blown apart.  A tire iron to the head or a grazed bullet to the scalp does not produce a smudge of blood in the hair that one puts their fingers to and shrugs off.  They would instead be unable to see for blood in their eyes and if they clear them to look in a reflective service they would see themselves covered in blood and usually freak out.  In these situations, the brain often sends them into shock, shutting down their ability to function and possibly causing death as it shuts down thinking it must preserve blood.

For more on literary wound descriptions, see my earlier post –http://mbtimetraveler.com/2013/05/18/writing-realistic-injuries-warning-graphic-images/ 

[Can Pope] Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change?

It looks as if he will give it a go. In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions.

The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope’s wish to directly influence next year’s crucial UN climate meeting in Paris, when countries will try to conclude 20 years of fraught negotiations with a universal commitment to reduce emissions.

“Our academics supported the pope’s initiative to influence next year’s crucial decisions,” Sorondo told Cafod, the Catholic development agency, at a meeting in London. “The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.”

[In March 2015] the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners.

According to Vatican insiders, Francis will meet other faith leaders and lobby politicians at the general assembly in New York in September 2015, when countries will sign up to new anti-poverty and environmental goals.

Republicans could easily embrace the Pope’s call to address climate change

Première page de l’édit de Fontainebleau, Archives nationales (Paris)

The Edict of Fontainebleau (22 October 1685) was an edict issued by Louis XIV of France, also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Edict of Nantes of 1598, had granted the Huguenots the right to practice their religion without persecution from the state. Though Protestants had lost their independence in places of refuge under Richelieu, they continued to live in comparative security and political contentment. From the outset, religious toleration in France had been a royal, rather than a popular policy.


March 31, 1492: Ferdinand and Isabella issue the Alhambra Decree.

The Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim rulers who had conquered it in the 8th century (and called it al-Andalus) ended when the Emirate of Granada capitulated to Ferdinand and Isabella. Under the terms of the 1491 Treaty of Granada, the monarchs granted some rights and protections to Muslims and Jews - under Muslim rule, the latter group had seen a cultural “golden age” that lasted several centuries. In 1492, however, Ferdinand and Isabella issued the Alhambra Decree, also called the Edict of Expulsion, which ordered the expulsion of Jews from their dominions. For a sense of the extent of these dominions, their titles were:

King and Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Sicily, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, the Balearic Islands, Seville, Sardinia, Cordoba, Corsica, Murcia, Jaen, of the Algarve, Algeciras, Gibraltar, and of the Canary Islands, count and countess of Barcelona and lords of Biscay and Molina, dukes of Athens and Neopatria, counts of Rousillon and Cerdana, marquises of Oristan and of Gociano.

 A decade earlier, the monarchs had established the Spanish Inquisition to help uphold the Catholic orthodoxy of the realm; under the influence of Spain’s first Grand Inquisitor, the notorious Tomás de Torquemada, the monarchs were compelled by their religious duty to expel from their dominions all Jews who had not yet converted to Catholicism (called, along with Muslim converts, conversos). This was not the only or earliest incidence of Jewish expulsion in Europe: in 1290, Edward I of England issued his own Edict of Expulsion, which stood until the 17th century; French monarchs expelled and re-admitted their Jewish subjects several times throughout the late Middle Ages; and during the Black Plague, which devastated Europe during the mid-14th century, Jews blamed for spreading the diseases fled persecution by their neighbors. Under the Alhambra Decree, around 200,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, emigrating primarily to North Africa and Turkey. While tens of thousands of conversos remained in Spain, they were not fully protected from the Inquisition by their conversion. 

The Alhambra Decree was revoked 476 years later on December 17, 1968.