Quimby’s Bookstore

Quimby’s Bookstore has Marie Kube’s books and zines!

Dearest Readers,

Quimby’s Bookstore has our books and zines for sale now! Quimby’s Bookstore sells the most progressive, forward-thinking publications. Please stop by Quimby’s and ask for Marie Kube’s books. Our goal is to offer our books for sale at bookstores for the same price or much less than on amazon.com online. This is because I have a special understanding of the need for independent bookstores since my grandfather owned a bookstore in Berlin, Germany that was destroyed in World War II.

Please visit Quimby’s Bookstore at:
1854 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773)342-0910
http://www.quimbys.com

“Unusual publications, aberrant periodicals, saucy comic books, assorted fancies…plus tons o’ zines”

And if you are in the Detroit, Michigan metro area, then you can also find our books for sale at the Book Beat in Oak Park, Michigan (click here for more information).

Thank you for your support!

Love,
Marie

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Three Centimeter Incision

WARNING:  This story contains graphic descriptions of medical procedures gone wrong!

Most Intimate Reader,

Most people get PTSD from an event.  It was the circumstances around the second surgery on my right Bartholin gland cyst that caused my nervous breakdown and the biggest challenge I have faced yet in my quest to survive and make this world a better place.

Sure, I got drugged and raped starting when I was 15 until I got married at 28 years old.  And I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Sure, I got beat up by a gang of kids in grade school and ended up with a concussion.  That’s typical.  Sure, I got beat up by the first boyfriend I lived with when I was 18 years old.  It was so bad that the police came, thankfully.  It happens all the time.  Sure, I was impregnated against my will when I couldn’t even take care of myself let alone a baby, and he paid for the abortion.  Again, I am far from alone in that hell.  Sure, I got laid off, along with myriad others.  Sure, I woke up during my hysterectomy because they had to yank so hard to get my uterus out it was so riddled with fibroids after they waited too long and let me bleed until I was anemic before they finally removed it.  But it was the circumstances around the 3-cm incision in my vaginal mucosa years later that really pushed me over the edge and ended my marriage.

When I finally got together with the Archangel Michael himself, I fell so madly in love with him that I stayed with him and only him for 20 years.  Extreme circumstances finally broke us apart, and that’s what this story is about.

When Michael and I started dating, neither of us had had enough sex for way too long.  We, therefore, had a lot of sex together for extended periods of time.  He was a bicyclist and I was a dancer.  Even though Michael was quite ill and had profuse sweating and gastrointestinal distress, we managed to have as much sex as two graduate students could have, which was a lot for such a young and physically fit couple.

Just as Michael was becoming too ill to sustain our active sex life, I woke up more than a little sore after sex the night before.  In fact, it hurt to walk.  I went to the student health center on campus.  The doctor examined me and told me to drive myself directly to the hospital where he would meet me to perform surgery to save my life.

“But I have a final exam,” I informed him.

“You’re not going to be taking any exams today,” he assured me.

We didn’t have cell phones in those days, but I was able to leave a message for Michael with the technician in the laboratory where he worked.   

As graduate students, we did not have health insurance, for all practical purposes.  I remember the burden of paying a mandatory $300/year fee (that was a lot of money in the 1990’s), but that fee only covered the part where I saw the doctor on campus and he told me to drive myself to the hospital, which I did.  He met me there and he, or his resident (trainee), performed an incision and drainage of my right Bartholin gland cyst.  Michael showed up just as they were taking me into surgery, and I loved him even more. 

Have you never heard of a Bartholin gland before?  Well, don’t feel bad because neither had we and we were graduate students working on our PhD degrees, and Michael had already completed the first half of medical school and passed the boards.   

Bartholin glands were first described in the 17th century by the Danish anatomist Caspar Bartholin the Younger (1655-1738).  The Bartholin glands are two pea sized glands located slightly posterior and to the left and right of the opening of the vagina.  Bartholin glands secrete relatively minute amounts of fluid when a woman is sexually aroused.  The fluid may slightly moisten the labial opening of the vagina, serving to make contact with this sensitive area more comfortable.  It is possible for the Bartholin glands to become blocked and inflamed resulting in pain.  This is known as a Bartholin gland cyst.  A Bartholin cyst in turn can become infected and form an abscess.  Marsupialization is the surgical technique of cutting a slit into an abscess or cyst and suturing the edges of the slit to form a continuous surface from the exterior surface to the interior surface of the cyst or abscess.  Sutured in this fashion, the site remains open and can drain freely.  This technique is used to treat a cyst or abscess when a single draining would not be effective and complete removal of the surrounding structure would not be desirable.  Wikipedia 

What I am trying to explain is that I sustained a life-threatening injury from sex due to the nature of his anatomy together with mine necessitating special care and extra lubrication, especially during prolonged sexual activity.  We rubbed each other the wrong way, you could say. 

We had no idea. 

The surgeon gave me a special deal of only $500 to pay for the surgery, since he had a penchant for dedicated graduate students like me or felt sorry for me, however you want to look at it. 

I soaked in the bathtub, refrained from sex, and took care of my wound until it was all healed up.  I arranged to make up my final exam and I got an A+.  I married the love of my life.  Everything was fine, or so I thought. 

What the surgeon only told Michael and not me is that all of the cyst could not be removed.  It would inevitably, eventually become inflamed and infected once again and require another surgery once we had enough sex to irritate the gland again sufficiently so that the remaining cyst could be visualized and removed.   

Maybe Michael tried to tell me what the surgeon had told him, but my mind rejected the horror.  We lived under the threat of irritating my gland forever after.  It hurt, it was sore, it was festering.  We would wait for the angry gland to settle down before having sex again.  Sometimes we waited a long time.   

It was 20 years before I had to have the second surgery of my right Bartholin gland cyst.  My gland finally got taken care of for good, but in the process, I ended up with a whole new problem:  PTSD.  It’s like taking your car to a crooked mechanic who fixes one thing and breaks another to make sure you’ll be back soon, especially if you are a girl, and even more especially if you are a cute girl.   

Once a Bartholin gland cyst gets really bad, it gets really bad.  You cannot even imagine so much pain in the part of your body that’s the most sensitive and intimate.  We went to the emergency room after speaking with representatives of our insurance company, the state employee group insurance program.  We also spoke with a representative of our insurance company’s preferred provider.  We asked them to send us to a hospital where we could have same-day surgery.  Instead, they sent us to the hospital with all the homeless people loitering around in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota.   

I was violated in the emergency room (ER) after they forced Michael to leave the room so I could be questioned about rape.  At the same time, the ER doctor shoved a speculum into my inflamed vagina, pressing the cold steel hard against the painful cyst on the right side.  Then he torqued the handles to open my vagina up wide.  I didn’t give him the satisfaction of screaming, even after he poked and prodded around in there just to make sure I understood exactly how much medical doctors hate philosophical doctors.   

Even though we requested same-day surgery, the ER doctor treated me like a drug-seeker.  He refused to prescribe me morphine, even though they would make me wait 10 days for the surgery.  Michael and I both thought the cyst was way larger than the ER doctor claimed it was.  Perhaps he did so in order to justify the wait while I had to take antibiotics to see if the cyst would go away.  I wonder if the doctors get paid a bonus based on how well the healthcare organization does financially? 

The ER doctor told me there was no such thing as morphine that was not tainted with acetaminophen.  I told him I discovered drugs at pharmaceutical companies and of course there were pills that were only morphine, without acetaminophen.  I cannot tolerate acetaminophen because it is very damaging to the liver.  But he refused to prescribe me morphine and would only prescribe morphine tainted with acetaminophen.   

During the 10-day waiting period, I quickly became so desperate that I took the prescribed morphine poisoned with acetaminophen.  Then I suffered from liver poisoning, with nausea and vomiting, for days afterwards on top of the already unbearable condition I was in.   

After 10 torturous days, Michael drove me to the hospital for my surgery.  He had to work.  I had to wait all day and then a different surgeon finally showed up because the one who was going to do my surgery was sick that day. 

Description of operation:

Patient was met preoperatively (for the first time).  Consent was signed.  She was taken to the OR where satisfactory anesthesia was established.  She was placed in dorsal lithotomy position using Allen stirrups ensuring proper positioning and cushioning.  A time out was performed. 

A 3-cm incision was made in the vaginal mucosa down to where the cyst was.  The cyst was incised and straw colored thick clear fluid was noted.  A culture was obtained.  The cyst was then irrigated with betadine and normal saline.  A small piece of the cyst wall was sutured to the vaginal mucosa with interrupted 4.0 vicryl.  Approximately 8 stitches were placed.  The site was noted to be hemostatic.  The procedure was then completed. 

There were no surgical or anesthetic complications. 

When I awoke from the surgery, I had difficulty talking because my lip and tongue were so swollen from being bit so hard during the surgery because it was so incredibly painful even under full anesthesia.  The surgeon did not even talk to me afterwards.  The nurse told me she had had a Bartholin gland cyst, too.  Michael took me home.   

During the follow up visit with the surgeon who was originally scheduled to perform the surgery but didn’t because she was sick that day, she shoved her finger deep and hard into my wound while saying to me that maybe I could at least refrain from having sex for the next two weeks.  Almost two years later now, it still hurts when I think about it.  She also emphasized nastily to me that it was two different cysts, not the same one for 20 years, although that is so rare, even by her own admission.  It seemed like she was bullying me because they were so afraid of a lawsuit about this case.  Now that’s hitting below the belt! 

From the perspective of a PhD, who trained even longer than MDs and worked more hours for less pay and no job security, it seems like what doctors really care about is their large incomes and any threats to them, like malpractice lawsuits.  They don’t really care about you so much.  If they do, then why don’t other medical care practitioners who have as much life-or-death decision-making responsibility get paid almost as much?  Or maybe it is the ability to perform emergency work under pressure, in which case it is not understandable that first responders get paid so little or are even volunteers, especially when they are putting their own lives at risk far more than virtually all doctors.   

When I was first diagnosed with PTSD not long after the surgery, no one believed it, least of all me.  I thought I was being insulted, as usual.  I was shamed and blamed.  I thought, see, I’m fine.  I started reading the literature to prove them wrong and eventually had to face up to the fact that I do have PTSD.  I was badly injured.  I needed help for the first time in my life.  That was perhaps the hardest part for me, especially since the only one who ultimately could or would help me, Michael, was the last person I wanted to be dependent on because he was a primary trigger of my PTSD! 

It has been rough, to say the least.  People with PTSD kill themselves every day because it is so unbearable.  I have stayed alive because I believe that consciousness survives physical death.  Death would, therefore, take away only the physical pain and not the mental anguish.  I decided that the way out is the way through.  It’s working!  I am just fine and can still enjoy sex just fine, too, thank you! 

I believe I am still alive because I love God above all, because Michael and I are doctors, because our love is true, and because of dancing.  I am also alive because medical marijuana is so helpful for PTSD as well as chronic pain, especially pain with underlying neuropathy, which I also suffer from after being hit by too many cars and drunk drivers.  I was t-boned one Christmas, I was hit by a speeding vehicle and knocked into the air while walking across the street in Basel, I was rear-ended by a drunk and drugged driver in Brooklyn Park and again by an antique driver in Denver, none of which was my fault!  I found chiropractors (even a specialist in PTSD), physical therapists and massage therapists who help immensely.  You can check my first blog post for more advice about how to survive PTSD.   

Mary is free of original sin because of immaculate conception but still must deal with all the same temptations of this evil world as everybody else.  I need a savior as much as anyone or even more. 

Thanks for reading my story.  May God bless you. 

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Ever wonder how real estate developers got so rich?

When I met my ex-husband, Michael, in Indiana, we both had a house.  Mine was half burned down, poorly patched up, and cleverly covered up, it turned out.  It took four PhDs, including a rocket scientist, plus a dentist and his old, left-over steel I-beam to fix that one.  It was like a crash course in home inspections and home ownership and homeowner’s insurance.  I find that men who are handy and do real work are hot, and I love to work with them.

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Why not just rent?  Because I had pet dogs until recently.  In retrospect, I am a long-term sufferer of PTSD even if I wasn’t diagnosed until it got so bad that I finally had a nervous breakdown.  Now there are lots of service dogs that are recognized as such.  In the past, it was much harder for me to keep dogs.  Nevertheless, I loved them all dearly and they helped me as I helped them. 

Over the more than 20 years we shared, Michael and I owned and worked on five houses together.  We also shared five different apartments in five different cities in two different countries.  I had to borrow the down payment from my father for the last house we bought in St. Paul when I moved there from Rochester.  I’m so grateful that I could pay him back before he died.  Michael was still working in Rochester and living in the house we had bought there.  Eventually, he found a job in the twin cities and we sold the house in Rochester at a significant loss. 

I will never forget the first day of my new job in the twin cities.  My new boss asked me where I was living.  When I told him where I had bought my house, he said I should not have done that because I may not be able to do the job to his specifications, in which case I would be fired.  In fact, he seemed quite sure that I would not measure up as there were several examples of others who hadn’t.  He thought I might lose the house if the job didn’t work out.  I told him that surely that job was not the only job in the whole twin cities area!

As my gift of writing became apparent, things only got worse for me.  Perhaps it was jealousy that attacked me.  It’s not that the greed and exploitation weren’t sufficient, but that jealousy seems a more accurate description as it is a form of hate.  I worked until I was hospitalized for the second time before I managed to quit. 

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We bought the house after the old, sick guy died there after his wife died there before him.  The old man could not take care of his yard as evidenced by the overgrown trees, bushes, and weeds we spent years rehabilitating.  Indeed, the house was barely visible from the road it was so covered up with overgrown bushes full of mold and bird shit that were planted way too close to the foundation of the house.  Then there was the rotten awning and an enormous, rotting Russian olive tree threatening the whole structure.  That the old man had not make it downstairs for some time was obvious by the rodent infestation and dog stains.  Apparently, he wasn’t good about letting the dog out the back door anymore either.  The packets of artificial sweetener I found stuck behind the built-in revolving spice rack really solidified the realization that PhD-level scientists were now living in houses ruined by blue collar workers who assembled motor vehicles at the Ford plant beginning in 1925. 

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They kept a shed adjacent to the house full of feed for geese.  It was a dream come true for rodents even long after the feeding of the geese finally ceased.   Still, we had already looked at 21 houses, and this was the best one by far.  We had to bid against two other couples for the right to buy the place at the peak of the housing market, but like I mentioned, we had already visited 21 houses that weren’t even worth working on. 

It truly is remarkable how many messages we leave behind, even unwittingly, for the astute observer. 

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Another legacy of the Boomers is to sell condemned properties to anyone who can afford to tear down the old houses and build huge new houses covering the whole lot that are supposedly worth more money.  Sadly, to increase profits, some builders build new houses on rotten old foundations.  This means that the “new” house is already infested with the rot from the old house, including infectious agents like molds and bacteria that grow and spread all the time.  Nobody should have to live in such unhealthy conditions, especially not children.

Michael and I spent more than 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars renovating our property inside and out into a much healthier sanctuary.  We got used to the trains hauling the newly assembled Ford Rangers out of the neighboring plant via the railroad spur behind our backyard.  We endured severe and relentless increases in property taxes and huge levies for the school systems for things like one-time purchases of iPads for every student that year only. 

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When the Ford plant finally ceased its operations in 2011, enormous industrial buildings were torn down and jack-hammering of concrete foundations and pads and parking lots pounded my head and triggered my PTSD all day long for years towards that inevitable nervous breakdown I suffered around the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016.  Cleanup of the toxic waste that caused this Superfund site is still going on, yet has only scratched the surface. 

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After all, Ford has been contaminating this site and the Mississippi River with toxic waste (like car paint) for 86 years!  They even housed a dump site, a landfill, next to the Mississippi River and stretching from Hidden Falls to the dam.  This is all not so far from the mouth of the mighty river, especially from the perspective of someone in Arkansas, for example. 

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As many as 1800 auto workers were employed by the Ford Motor Co. manufacturing plant sitting on the bluff alongside the Mississippi River.

No one should have to live there.  What are the risks, especially for children and those who want to have children?  Cancers and tumors?  Autoimmune diseases like MS?  Deformities?  Executive function disorders?  Learning disabilities?  Thyroid disorders?

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They are still hauling out toxic dirt by the truckload from the site.  Plus, there are buried drums of toxic waste.  How can they not be rusting out and leaching into the river by now?  Wasn’t that the plan all along – to get rich by exploiting natural resources, making a toxic mess, taking all the profits, and leaving the mess for others to bear the consequences of?

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The problem is that these sorts of business practices have inevitably led to the principle of mutually-assured destruction, or MAD, or the Apocalypse.

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Instead of finally cleaning up the mess and the precious river as best as it can be, the plan is to levy additional property taxes on current residents to provide $275 million in corporate subsidies to private developers to build 10-story high-rise buildings along the Mississippi River. 

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The existing infrastructure cannot even support the current traffic load, let alone up to 10,000 new people on less than 135 acres, not even 0.2 square miles!  Ridiculous! 

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The footings of the bridge over the river and into the neighborhood are getting washed out!

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The city just wants to increase its property tax base without providing the necessary infrastructure! 

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Ford is going to put a restriction on the sale of the land so it can’t be single-family homes, according to City Council member Chris Tolbert.  Why?  So people can’t dig there?

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Nine percent green space is the maximum the city can require, also according to Tolbert.

I declare, by eminent domain, a transfer of this land from poor stewards to good stewards.  The river and the land should be cleaned up by the responsible parties. 

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever (Psalms 37:29). 

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Eugenics Therapy

How to Get Away with Murder Ivy League Style

Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (Revelation 12:12).

There was no preventing the death by gene therapy of 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger.  I tried.  Free will was exercised.  I am not the judge, and neither is any other person.  The Lord is the one and only Judge.

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Scientists wish to genetically engineer people and plants.  In people, this means replacing or compensating for a defective gene by introducing a functional version of the defective gene into the body to treat, if not cure, the disease.  Usually the correct DNA is introduced into the body via a genetically-engineered virus.

Gene therapy was first attempted in 1990 to treat a genetic disorder called adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID), or boy in the plastic bubble disease, which results in vulnerability to infectious diseases so extreme that the patient may be forced to live in a sterile environment.  The first gene therapy patient only experienced a temporary benefit.  Several patients in France developed leukemia after receiving gene therapy for an immune deficiency during the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Leukemia was easier to treat in young children than SCID, they said, if they survived.

In September of 1999, 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger ended up sacrificing his life in effort to advance gene therapy from an experiment to a cure for those to come after him with the same genetic disorder resulting in a liver disease.

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These setbacks could only hold back the field of human gene therapy for so long.  Today, more than 2300 clinical trials using gene therapies are in progress, according to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, July 1, 2017.  On July 12, 2017, it was announced that FDA Panel recommends approval for gene-altering leukemia treatment.

I ended up in the field of human gene therapy during the pursuit of my PhD degree during 1993 to 1997.  Really, I just went to graduate school to find out how something we cannot even see can kill us, like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  To earn a PhD degree in a hard science field, you must discover new knowledge, take courses, teach undergraduate students, publish or perish, and pass demanding comprehensive examinations (written and oral).

During the oral portion of my qualification examinations to determine whether or not I was even qualified to continue pursuing my PhD degree, I was unexpectedly interrogated as a Nazi by all but one of the then-members of my thesis committee.  They questioned whether it was appropriate for them to allow someone like me, genetically German, to be in the field of human gene therapy.  They asked me questions about which genes or characteristics I felt were superior.  It went on to the point where I began crying hysterically during the exam and could not stop crying for days afterwards.  I was crying in the bathtub.  I seriously considered quitting with a Master’s degree.  But my husband said, “I think you should finish it.”  When I asked him why, he replied, “because you started it.”  He was right, and I got out of the tub.  The one member of my PhD thesis committee who was absent during my qualifying exam turned out to be a real scientist and a real friend, and I somehow managed to change who was on my PhD thesis committee.

After I gave my thesis defense (oral presentation in the big auditorium, I was so nervous), the professors who had been the nastiest to me along the way approached the podium with tears in their eyes to tell me it was the best defense they had ever experienced.  As my PhD advisor taught me so well, success is the best revenge.

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Once I earned my Doctor of Philosophy title, I thought I knew a thing or two.  And then I received a lesson in coercion.

Jim came to Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis to give us a lecture.  He came from the Ivy League on the east coast.  I could get in to Harvard University when I graduated high school near the top of my class, but the cost of attending was out of my league.  Too bad, I thought, because only the people who have that pedigree can make it in this construct.  But now, finally, my redemption had maybe arrived, or so I thought.  Jim was one of the most famous gene therapy researchers in the world.

The Ivy League has connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism.  It is a collegiate athletic conference comprising sports teams from eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States, but the conference name is commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group beyond the sports context.  Seven of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution are Ivy League institutions.  The origin of the name lies in the ivy-covered older college buildings long revered by the students.  Indeed, it was customary for students to plant ivy at university buildings each spring in the 1800s.  Wikipedia

Jim’s real motive was to scout out a new slave to bring adeno-associated virus technology to his lab.  I despised his weak character immediately, but he wanted me.  If I agreed to go to his lab, then I could graduate.  If not, then I would have to be a student for at least another year.  Jim wanted my PhD advisor’s vector, and I think my PhD advisor wanted something from Jim’s lab, too (maybe a vector, but I seem to remember shipping him something).  Also, I think my PhD advisor, from India with short, bald, brown man syndrome, wanted in the old boys’ club.  Apparently, I was needed to bridge the relationship between the labs and ensure material transfers, which seems pretty ridiculous if all were simply on the up-and-up.  But this is the pattern of how things are done – not in writing, not provable, no data.  And that’s why when you’re in that situation, you’re fucked.

I went to Jim’s lab with my PhD degree.  There were 20-30 people in his lab, mostly PhDs and MDs.

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It was an “open space” lab concept (one giant open lab with row after row of work benches) to promote collaboration, but it was not a collaborative environment.  Well, what do you expect when 1,000 of you are going to compete for the same job?

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What was the definition of success?  Dr. Ho, for example, published a very high-profile paper on HIV resistance.  Turns out it was a contaminant.  That’s the nature of science, they said.  And it won’t hurt Ho’s reputation at all.

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Peer-review is too political.  It’s hard to be righteous in a system where the self-serving are in power.  Righteousness is feared and gets punished.  The system favors those who make decisions based on politics rather than right versus wrong.

Jim was smart, but only in the sense of memorizing and copying.  He was not at the level of creating new and unique contributions.  Jim played the intimidation game, but I wasn’t afraid of him and that made him nervous.  I think he wanted to fuck me, and that made me nervous.

He asked me where I was living.  When I told him where I had rented an apartment in a huge, old house, he freaked out and said that I could not stay there under any circumstances because it was too dangerous!  He was right about that.  The only twist is that my animal spirit is the puma who travels back and forth between the light and dark places, everywhere, anywhere, at will and by nature.  Fuck his unfunded mandate.  Philadelphia is outrageously expensive, complete with an extra 10% city tax.  My annual salary was about $28,000 before state, federal and city tax.  My husband lived in another state, and we had to pay a lot to visit each other.  At Christmas, Jim invited his laboratory workers to his mansion house for a party.  Others swooned with envy of his wealth and status while I fought back the nausea.

I carried my S&W Tactical .40 cal semi-auto pistol with me everywhere to keep those crack addicts at bay lest those eyes glowing a sickly yellow in the dark shadows decided to jump out at me from behind the bushes.  Maybe it was the confidence I had in my ability to defend myself (I got several guys off at the shooting range, which I took as a good sign), or the bulge of my gun at my side, or the hard look in my eyes, or all of the above that made it clear I would not be an easy victim.  It is surprising how lazy people are, especially criminals.  And so, the puma jumped from perch to perch to take in the views.

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I didn’t believe the data I saw every Monday morning during our 8:00 am lab meetings.  Jim would tell the Chinese Research Associate what he wanted, and the Chinese guy would ALWAYS produce it, without fail.  Clearly this was not science.  The data were too clean, too fast, too perfect, and they always confirmed the predetermined hypothesis.

I spoke up during lab meetings and asked fundamental questions.  The data were not generated by conventional, accepted methodologies or presented in the standard formats, so direct comparison was not possible and the data were not convincing.  There was intense opposition to doing it the standard way.

One of the MDs had been a neuropathologist, pathology specialty.  The “health maintenance organization (HMO),” a medical insurance group, said we don’t need so many doctors and cut his job out.  What an oxymoron HMO is.  The MD had a wife and kids and needed a job, so he, too, worked for Jim.  The MD did gene therapy experiments on monkeys.  He was deeply disturbed about the monkeys’ hematocrits.  I know this because the MD’s lab bench was adjacent to my own and he was suffering right along with those monkeys he was using.  The monkeys were sick, and I got the feeling some were even dead or dying.

A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation or decision-making of that individual or organization (Wikipedia).  Jim started Genovo, a for-profit biotechnology company funding the clinical trial.  Both the university and Jim had financial interests in Genovo.  Jim also chaired the department of molecular and cellular engineering at the university.  In his university lab, research was being done for Genovo, which paid the university for their services.  Jim’s lab received $2.8 million a year from Genovo.  The ties between Jim’s lab, the university, and Genovo were so entangled that the university created a conflict-of-interest committee to oversee the Genovo relationship.  A fox in charge of the hen house, clearly.  If the gene therapy trial would have worked, it would have meant company money and university money, patents, and maybe even the Nobel prize.  Ambition and drive to make a breakthrough are also sources of conflicts of interest.

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Science is set up to encourage over-specifying.  There is always a desperation to publish or you will surely perish.  And in this context, science works you to death, robs you of friends and family, and still it’s never enough.  You don’t have time to think.  You’re pointing the finger, and they are wielding clubs.  It is a real-life David and Goliath situation.

“Do you think my lab is bamboozling me?” Jim asked me during a meeting between the two of us in his office during which I confronted him.

“Yes!” I replied, emphatically.

But he wouldn’t slow down.  Egomaniac.  Sociopath?  God complex.

The rationalization to go too fast is that we learn the most the fastest by making mistakes.  And yes, some people will die, but it’s for a good cause and, indeed, that’s the necessary sacrifice to potentially benefit others.  A fundamental, philosophical issue is the risk-to-benefit ratio.  Assessment of the risk-to-benefit ratio is very subjective.  The benefits also include huge profits for certain stakeholders, and I have no doubt that assessments of risk versus benefit would be different if considerable financial incentives were taken out of the equation.  Unfortunately, you probably also must think about removing fame and glory to avoid recklessness behavior of unchecked, selfish, immoral and unethical egos.

Risks of human gene therapy include the risk of generating novel recombinant viruses that are virulent and that threaten us all!  It may sound far-fetched, but it has likely already happened.  A novel virus was certainly generated inadvertently during my experiments.

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I discovered wild-type AAV-like virus particles, but my PhD advisor did not believe me.  Nobody ever believes anything I say!  I finally convinced him, though.  And then he took the discovery from me and gave it to a co-worker to sequence the viruses and bury my name in the least important position in the list on the front of the publication.

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Some argue that the origins of HIV are from SIV in monkey cells used to make vaccines for Africans.  Some even argue it was purposeful versus accidental contamination.

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The problem is that everyone is afraid to speak up.  Like during our orientation at the Mayo Clinic, it was made clear that if you make accusations, for sure it will go in your file and then an investigation will be conducted.  Plus, when people are bullshitting and being rewarded for it (e.g., Dr. Ho above), it encourages more of the same.

I was in Jim’s lab for 5 months, from Oct. 1997 to March 1998.  I left because I saw the inevitable train wreck coming and could not be a part of it since I am not a Nazi.  Sure enough, about a year and a half after I left, Jesse died (Sept. 1999).  Everyone told me it was career suicide when I quit Jim’s lab, especially once they heard my ridiculous and crazy reason for leaving.  My husband, the Archangel Michael, was the only one who understood and believed me.  Even the head of the department where I had earned my PhD degree made it clear that I was not welcome to come back there.  He was the same guy who begrudgingly nominated me for the Kinsley Award (only one nominee per department), and then I won!  He wanted to nominate a Korean guy who did research overlapping his own, but that guy’s thesis was too poorly written.

“No one could have predicted such a response as was seen in Jesse,” they said.  Yet, immune responses to viral vectors were being studied in Jim’s lab and results were being published.  Immune responses elicited by viral vectors were destroying infected cells, thereby diminishing expression of the “therapeutic” gene.

I think that Jim gave Jesse too much virus in a desperate measure to achieve therapeutically efficacious levels of recombinant protein OTC (ornithine transcarbamylase) and prove efficacy.  I think Jim figured that Jesse was young and strong and could handle it.  The 18th subject enrolled in the study in 1999, Jesse was dead four days after receiving the experimental treatment.  His immune system reacted fiercely in attacking the adenovirus vector.  Following an adenovirus-induced fever, he suffered jaundice and was comatose by the second evening after receiving treatment.  A cascade of organ failures ensued:  a blood clotting disorder, a catastrophic rise in ammonia levels, kidney failure, lung failure, and ultimately brain death.

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Too much virus means more virus administered than could be justified based on pre-clinical safety studies in monkeys and rodents.  Later, it came out that monkeys died and those deaths were not reported to FDA and were not disclosed to human subjects in the process of gaining their consent.

Informed consent failed as evidenced by the fact that Jesse’s parents did not even accompany him to Philadelphia for the trial.  They thought the risk was lower than it actually was, and didn’t realize that the potential outcome of the experiment could be death.  Of course, the possibility of death was probably mentioned somewhere in the fine print of the consent form, like on forms you sign before horseback riding, rafting, or entering an amusement park.

FDA only knows what they are told!

Protocol violations included: (1) double blood ammonia level than original level and enrolled anyway, (2) four prior patients in the experiment had adverse events, (3) monkeys died and were not reported, and (4) risks were downplayed to the parents.

Robert Erickson, University of Arizona, Tucson, also raised concerns, also to no avail.

“Don’t be driven out of the field,” an ethics professor told me.  Ha!  Leaving Jim’s lab was deemed career suicide.  When I told my PhD advisor I feared that Jim would kill someone, he scorned and said, “if that were going to happen, then it would have happened already.”  He regarded me as crazy and told me he would lock me up in an insane asylum himself if only he could.  This was the same man who had repeatedly told me that he saw it written on the side of a bus in India that “it’s nice to be important, but it’s even more important to be nice.”  Consider small colleges, the ethics professor advised me.

I remain disappointed in Jesse’s father that he took the money in the end (undisclosed settlement amount).  Ironically, Gelsinger became guilty of the same flaw that killed his son.  I think Paul Gelsinger raised a lot of awareness because he is super smart and quite verbally eloquent.  Therefore, I believe he could have raised even more awareness if he had continued the fight versus settling.  But I am not the Judge!

Another very interesting aspect of this case is that there was no perceived benefit to Jesse himself for participating in this trial.  The patients this therapy was ultimately meant to cure were infants born with a more severe form of OTC deficiency, which can result in death within the first days of life, or coma, developmental delay, mental retardation, progressive liver damage, etc.  It was considered unethical to perform the gene therapy trials in infants, so people like Jesse with a less severe form of this rare metabolic disorder were enrolled in the trial.  This is in interesting contrast to proposed pesticide trials.  In the case of pesticides, it was considered unethical to conduct formal trials in humans to determine safe levels of ingestion over time, because there was no benefit to the subjects.  A conundrum, for some.  Instead, most people are unconsented subjects with no monitoring or follow-up.  So, how is it ethical to test gene therapy in subjects like Jesse, but not ethical to test pesticides in willing subjects? It’s not!

I am telling this story now in fulfillment of my duty as an artist to reflect the times because now is the time described in the Book of Revelation.  Now is when it is most important for you to know the truth.  And what is the truth?  God is the truth.

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I have achieved the highest level of education and great success as a scientist against great odds.  At times, I have not had enough to eat.  At other times, I have eaten the fanciest meals in the fanciest castles with the fanciest royalty.  Still, I have found nothing other than the Lord to believe in.

How do we know that this is Armageddon?  The necessities of water, food, shelter, clothing, and footwear have been taken under the control of evil forces.  “Big business and science are run by selfish individuals who see nature as objects to be exploited,” said Mae-Wan Ho as a senior research fellow at Open University in England.

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Genetic engineering of crops has been going on even though scientists have submitted strong cautions and evidence substantiating their concerns.  People opposed to genetic engineering are concerned about the risks of altered genes escaping into non-crop plants and the risks of pests, such as insects and viruses, developing a resistance to genetically modified plant pesticides.

We need to be moving away from unsustainable food production back to sustainable food production.

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The corruption is so widespread that I believe this is the time described in the Book of Revelation.

FDA approved AquaBounty Technologies’ application to sell AquAdvantage salmon to U.S. consumers on November 19, 2015.   The decision marks the first time a genetically-modified animal has been approved to enter the U.S. food supply.  To create salmon that grow faster, AquaBounty Technologies added a growth hormone-regulating gene from a Pacific Chinook salmon with a promoter from an ocean pout to the Atlantic salmon’s 40,000 genes.  Wikipedia

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This frankenfish does not even have to be labeled as such in the grocery store.  There are concerns that the wild salmon population could be driven to extinction by relatively few AquAdvantage salmon.  There are also concerns about the genetic stability and the long-term effects on consumers and the environment of this risky and unnecessary technology.  Cheating often comes with dreadful consequences.  Forgive them for they know not what they do.

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What if it is Armageddon?  It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man (Psalms 118:8 KJV).

Therefore, I am a huge proponent of organic marijuana and hemp, even though I hold patents on synthetic cannabinoids.  I should know what I am talking about because I am a medical marijuana patient.  I have chronic pain from being hit by drunk drivers, from surgeries, from a nervous breakdown and from many other causes.

Pain has a purpose, which is to let you know to stop it, or you will die.  So, pain is a good thing.  It is like realizing that you were wrong and feeling bad about it.  Otherwise, you would just go right back to being wrong again. 

Repentance means acknowledging your sins, praying to God for help and refraining from sinning any more.  Salvation requires repentance and acknowledgement of one God.  Salvation is conjunction with God.  The ultimate self-help book is the book that helps you connect directly with God so that you learn the truth for yourself.  Constituting the ultimate self-help book, the Instructions for Helping to Improve the Human Condition are freely available on this website.  Reading the Instructions for Helping to Improve the Human Condition is guaranteed to make you sexier.  So, be heart-healthy, y’all!  I love you!

Medical Mold

The original doctors in medicine were to keep soldiers healthy and return them quickly to the battlefield during war.

When Mary, mother of our Lord, finally found Archangel Michael in this lifetime, they were both graduate students at one of the greatest medical research centers in the heartland of the then richest and most powerful country in the world.  The baby boomers had taken over and, like locusts, they were devouring every last resource in the greediest rush.  Even worse, they were ever fearful that the next generation would do to them what they had done to those before them; namely, knock them down and walk over their bodies to get what they wanted.  And what they wanted was to dominate others because of their infernal self-love and pride in their own intelligence.

Fearful people are not leaders because fear is a strongly negative emotion that causes mistakes.  In life-or-death situations, mistakes result in morbidity and mortality.  Most scientists are riddled with fear because they suffer from an illusion of being separate from God.  This is scary, indeed.  But love of themselves, love of money, and pride in their own intelligence lead most scientists into opposition with God, also known as hell.

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Having taken virtually complete control of research funding, the boomers were intent on keeping it all to themselves unto their deaths.  In fact, they demanded double-digit increases in their prosperity every year.  If they were ever going to let anyone have anything, then it would be their children, competent or not, bypassing the entire generation in between that they crossed out, fittingly known as Generation X.

To prevent the meritorious from rising up, the boomers played god to change the natural order of things.  Since scientific research and medicine fall within the military industrial complex in the most modern world, aspiring doctors were subjected to the most common and ancient military tactics to break down, brainwash, and control people.  Those most recalcitrant to the brainwashing were dismissed as insane.  In perhaps the greatest assault on science ever, the baby boomers implemented the divide and conquer strategy to maintain power.

They spread falsities about a great need for scientists in the United States of America.  During the 1990’s, the boomers flooded the USA with immigrants mainly from India and China who supposedly had equivalent PhD and MD degrees, albeit earned under developing-world conditions.  On the medical side, the Chinese MD degrees were considered similar to the Bachelor’s degree in the USA.  On the research side, however, placing them above American graduate students and scientists generated resentment from undergraduate students who now had teaching assistants for whom English was a distant second language.  More falsities were spread that Chinese and Indian scientists were more qualified and competent and intelligent than American scientists.  Racial stereotypes of intelligence and industriousness goaded the hiring of people who could not even answer the interview questions.

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We were all treated poorly, but the immigrants had the extra motivation of getting a green card after a number of years of loyal servitude.  This would allow them permanent residence in the USA and the chance for their children to be Americans.  Atheist immigrants working as scientists were far too quick to bend to the wills of the malicious narcissists who were our white male bosses.  Don’t forget that the original purpose of medical doctors was to keep soldiers fighting on the battlefield during war.  Atheist immigrants also wanted to get themselves and their kind in charge.  You see, immigration policies are designed to turn people against each other, not to achieve cultural integration.

As the boomers filled their laboratories with more and more indentured servants, holding everyone back and relentlessly increasing the competition for an insufficient number of jobs, scientific fraud skyrocketed and production of junk data published in junk journals made it increasingly difficult to sort out any truths among the lies, corruption and grandstanding.  New pathogens were created purposefully, inadvertently and recklessly and unleashed upon the world in likewise manner.  Mind-boggling quantities of the most hazardous waste in the world were generated in a mad rush to get the results that could confirm the boss’ hypothesis and that could be published in the top journals, all of which was required to get and maintain jobs.  Sometimes thousands of experiments had to be done to get an anomalous result that would please the man with the biggest god complex, who the new system was rapidly advancing to the top of the pyramid.

It was this grim setting that produced a love as delicate and unexpected as a magnificent flower arising out of a mound of waste in the aftermath of a devastating war.

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Most people do not seem to think of Mary and Michael as scientists, but who else would they be these days?  After all, science purports to be the most noble profession.  And it stands to reason that such prototypical figures of humanity would be most interested in the truth to unite with good to help make the world a better place so that there can be heaven on earth.

In a world where science was the most accepted side to be on in the God versus science debate and just about anyone could fancy themselves as a god, there was little to no danger of Mary or Michael discovering their true selves, in spite of all of their past anomalies.  But then, even climate change can be swept under the rug!

When Mary was entering the laboratory where she performed the research for her doctorate degree, she had to share a bench with another scientist who was finishing his degree and preparing to leave the laboratory.  Upon his departure, she would also assume his former position as the only white person in the laboratory, like the “Jolly Green Giant,” only white.  He went to work in another laboratory in another building across the same campus, which just happened to be where the Archangel Michael worked.

Michael had gone to high school with Mary’s former lab mate, and they had other fundamental characteristics in common, too.  As a most notable example, they both loved black women, which was absolutely taboo in those days and in those places.  Somehow people with certain commonalities, while not overtly apparent, find each other and recognize each other nevertheless.

For Mary, it was oppression that squashed her down to the bottom of the human race where she looked around to see who else was there and fell in love with black man.  But it was almost impossible, obviously, for mixed couples in those days, particularly in their world.

And the Archangel Michael, sadly, was in the process of failing in his attempt to take on the challenge of a white man dating a black woman in a red state.  His high school buddy, seeing a chance to swoop in and rescue the broken-hearted African queen after the impending breakup, recognized that Mary could facilitate the process by attracting Michael’s attention away from her.

Michael’s high school friend organized a party at his house and made sure that Michael and Mary would both be there.  The Archangel Michael was dreadfully ill, and he was not the only one.  In fact, Mary was becoming sicker every day, too.  Sick people feel terrible, which makes it hard for them to be nice or happy.  The Archangel Michael did not act at all like the person Mary was expecting based on the mutual friend’s description of someone who could be perfect for her.  But most people were already married by then, and the left-overs were becoming apparent.  So, Mary asked Michael to lunch before leaving the party, and he said no.

To make matters even worse, the African queen had plans of her own.  Not to be so easily displaced from her chance at marrying a doctor-in-training, she set Mary up with another man in place of Michael.  Group encounters were horribly awkward in such a small world while Michael tried to convince his friend to give him Mary’s phone number despite his unfortunate behavior at the party.  When Michael finally called Mary weeks later, she should have said no.  But instead she said, “I thought you’d never ask.”

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They rode bicycles along the river and they lived along the river, always.  He had water to drink, apples to eat, tools to fix a flat tire and so much more.  He had plans that fit nicely with hers; namely, to try to make the world a better place.  His hair was long, his brain was powerful, and his thighs and gluteal muscles were enormous from riding his bicycle hard up and down hilly landscapes in preparation for annual races.  She was a dancer and a waitress, likewise in the process of sacrificing her fitness and, ultimately, virtually everything to greedy, insatiable science.

They fell madly in love, only to be ensnared in many, many more webs woven out of the conspiracy of evil to destroy love and to hold back most those who are most ahead.

None of the doctors could (or would) figure out what was wrong with Michael et al.  This was surprising since Michael was the “Golden Boy” of the research university and medical school campus.  He was first pick for grooming into shoe-shine boy of the top dog with the biggest god complex.  Michael’s hazel green eyes shining on the cover of the medical center’s magazine just made you wonder what he was up to.

He was in the midst of an educational program to earn a medical doctor degree and a philosophical doctor degree.  He felt this combination was essential to achieve his goal of practicing preventative medicine and performing scientific research.  He had completed the first half of medical school and passed the first of a series of examinations required to become licensed as a medical doctor by a government agency.  The remaining half of medical school consists of clinical training, which he was to complete after performing research to earn his PhD degree.

Mary and Michael were both working on their PhD degrees when they met.  Technically competitors, they envisioned a future where they could combine the cells he was making with the viruses she was making.  Other men had told her that it was too dangerous, that she couldn’t do math and that their wife would never work.  But when Mary told Michael that she would be home from the laboratory at around 9:30 pm, he said, “okay, if I don’t hear from you by 11:30 pm or so, I will start to worry.”  He understood.

He did research in a building that doubled as a medical clinic where very sick patients were seen.  Housing biological research and patient care under the very same roof was one of those asinine ideas that could only have come from someone in charge of things they know nothing about.  Ironically, people were once again falling ill in the name of medicine.  It was reminiscent of the “holy” war oxymoron.

Graduate students work day and night, every day and every night, at least in the hard science fields.  The women have always been severely outnumbered, not to mention severely oppressed, by the men.  A female Korean post-doctoral researcher had to serve tea on her knees to the Japanese men in the laboratory where she worked.

A constellation of symptoms was emerging in the students, staff, and patients alike that included fatigue, headache, cancer, difficulty breathing, skin irritations, chronic diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, irritation of mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, throat, and gastrointestinal tract, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and so on.  Some even died.

The cause of these illnesses was elusive to say the least.  The non-specificity of the symptoms, the variety of the symptoms, the differences in the reactions of individuals depending on factors such as their health and fitness and age and how much they worked, and the unthinkability of the culprit kept the secret safe for far too long.

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The most unlikely hero of this story was the heating and cooling guy.  It was the heating and cooling guy who saw Archangel Michael working in the building day and night and warned him that there were problems that adversely affect health and could even be deadly.  Michael showed the heating and cooling guy the incubator he used to house the stem cell cultures he was growing.  Such experiments routinely suffered fungal contaminations, and the incubators had to be sterilized at regular intervals.  The heating and cooling guy freaked out because he knew that molds which grow at 37°C, human body temperature, are the most dangerous ones because they can eat you.  Even he knew that.  And he lost his job, too.

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By the time Mary met Michael, he was so ill that she worried he might die.  Everyone made fun of him, including even his ex-girlfriend.  Everyone, except Mary.  “It’s all in your head,” that’s what they said.

He was so sick that he had to wear a charcoal filter mask over his face to make it through the day.  His gastrointestinal tract was suffering from continual inflammation due to non-stop irritation that resulted in diarrhea so bad it was difficult to maintain enough calories in the body.  The accompanying flatulence was so devastating that no one would dare to ride the elevator with him.  But they did ask him for aspirins more and more, and they were experiencing gastrointestinal distress of their own as judged by the smells and messes in the bathrooms, not to mention the difficulty finding a free toilet on a really bad day.  This, of course, just prompted the janitors to install air fresheners that automatically sprayed toxic chemicals into the closed spaces of the bathroom at regular intervals and made matters so much worse.

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Young people were having entire portions of their colons removed.  Some would end up with colostomy bags.  But the show had to go on.  Anyone who couldn’t handle it was deemed weak, unfit, unworthy, even insane.

Michael took Mary to the symphony one weekend.  Future pillars of society, they were interested in culture in addition to culturally interesting.  But Michael’s face was particularly pale, with tinges of green on the sides.  Maybe the music will do him some good, she reasoned.  They were all dressed up and with tickets in hand.  They settled into their seats, and the overture began.  But then he ran and ran and ran.  He had to run as fast as he can.

She sat there alone.  She waited for him to return, but he never came back.  At the intermission, she found him in the lobby, trembling sick and barely able to stand.  “What happened today?” she asked him.  “Today we opened the ductwork,” he said.  She took him home and nursed him back to health, over the next twenty years, against violent opposition.

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The ductwork, which carries the air throughout the building that people breathe, was insulated on the inside with fiberglass insulation.  Humid air and roof leaks made the insulation wet.  This allowed a carpet of various molds to grow on the fiberglass insulation lining the ductwork.  As the air was forced through the ductwork to heat and cool the building, the air picked up spores of molds growing inside the ductwork and blew them all around the building for everyone to breathe and be continuously blasted with.  Some of the mold spores blowing around in the air that happened to land in growth medium in the incubator grew like crazy.  There were even molds growing in the cold rooms.

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The budding young scientists knew just what to do.  They sent samples of the different colored molds out to an independent testing laboratory to be identified.  They also found a medical doctor who was able to demonstrate Michael’s allergic reactions to various specific types of mold.

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Immunology is like war.  Your body has an army to protect it from invaders.  Every time an enemy has to be fought, there is collateral damage (inflammation) to the battlefield (your body).  Further, the army in your body is so sophisticated that it remembers every enemy in great detail and customizes and amplifies the response more and more each time it faces that same enemy.  It takes weapons like hydrogen peroxide (grenades) to neutralize enemies.  The more the weapons must be used, the more the collateral damage builds up, especially if the war is non-stop and the same enemy persists.  Winning the war usually comes down to a game of numbers.  One enemy is easily defeated, but a continuous onslaught of great numbers of enemies can defeat.  Thus, avoidance is the best policy when it comes to allergies.

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They made an appointment to confront the Dean of the medical school.  Michael couldn’t believe how brave Mary was to offer to go with him.  He knew she was serious by the way she said it, and he was instantly more in love with her.  And when she actually showed up to the appointment, then he really started to believe all the crazy stories she had told him.  She had no fear.  It was so unsettling.

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The Dean met Michael and Mary in his outer office.  They presented him with the data they had put together showing that the buildings were making everyone sick.  The Dean’s big, fat, red nose became purple.  Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead.  His abdomen, enlarged in the liver area, made it obvious that he was an alcoholic and had been for some time.  Unable to practice medicine, he had assumed purely administrative duties.

He lied and said they had already removed it all.

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But in reality, they had only shoved a vacuum hose through portions of the ductwork that they accessed by cutting holes into it here and there.  And that is how Michael got a piece of it.  The mold was growing back as they were speaking.

Decades later, Michael and Mary opened the time capsule containing the pieces of ductwork given to him by the ductwork cleaning company:

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The Dean threatened them.  He said they would never work in that state again, or get a good recommendation for any position elsewhere, unless they kept their mouths shut.

“I came to do preventative medicine, so if you are going to do that, then I am going to the press,” replied the Archangel Michael.  And he did.  He launched a class action lawsuit against the medical center, too.

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And that was the beginning of how Michael and Mary both ended up banished to Switzerland.  But they did a lot of talking to people, convincing people, the smartest people.  They tried anyway.  And there was a lot of positive change during the succeeding time.  Indeed, sick building syndrome is so well-known by now that the insurance companies have already done their best to avoid paying for it.

Molds eat chemicals.  Since you are what you eat, molds are a lot of chemicals.  Perhaps this explains why over-exposure to mold resulting in allergies is also associated with multiple chemical sensitivity.

Poor graduate students threw away all shampoos, conditioners, lotions, hair care products, cleaning products, detergents, perfumes, and scented products containing synthetic chemicals.  They could not afford it, but they filled many trash cans with virtually all of the contents of all of the closets of the house.  They bought natural products made with plants.

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Michael ate only potatoes for weeks until his gastrointestinal tract settled down enough to add back one food at a time, rejecting any food that caused any sort of adverse reaction, which was usually acute.  Only whole foods that were organic were added back, no processed foods, no bread, no flour of any grain, no sugar (including fruit), no salt, no preservatives, flavors, gums, colors, thickeners or stabilizers.  The discipline and motivation that it takes to resist so much temptation forever is simply unfathomable to most, obviously.  For Archangel Michael, however, the task is not too great, even though it is a lifelong battle, and even though he had to sacrifice his career as a medical doctor.  But that never stopped him from practicing preventative medicine!

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Before high school graduation, all students should learn about indoor air quality, environmental health, microbiology, nutrition, first aid, interest rates, amortization, and so on.  Let’s make America literate again!

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CenturyLink Cancelled

Unbridled greed spurs societal collapse.

Most Faithful Readers,

The CenturyLink trilogy ends here (see part one, CenturyLink Triggers My PTSD, and part two, CenturyLink is Damned, posted earlier in this blog). 

I received this bill and that is when I knew:

CenturyLink, I don’t need you!

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And here’s what else is true:

They sold me a modem, they charged me an installation fee, and my monthly charge went from $59.00/month to $79.00/month (minus the sweetheart deal of $10 off/month for 12 months for being a loyal customer) when all I asked for was (1) the first name on the account to be changed from Gunda to Marie and (2) the sweetheart deal they promised.  How can you give a Loyal Customer Credit on an allegedly new account? They even charged $5.00 for the name change.  This now $296.09 bill is in addition to the previous bill of $219.08 I paid just 16 days before, which equals $515.17!

I used my comcast.net email to email CenturyLink and let them know that they charged me $219.08 to cancel a service I never ordered.  Further, I cancelled within the first 30 days, in accordance with their cancellation policy.  I received a response on March 16, 2017, stating that my account has been credited in full.  However, I have not received even a single penny back from CenturyLink as of April 3, 2017. 

I cancelled all of CenturyLink’s services to my address, both by email and phone call, and within the 30-day guarantee period.  They promised to send me a mailing label to return the modem they sold me without my consent, but I have yet to receive anything but bills from CenturyLink.  [Note added later in the day on April 3, 2017:  I finally received the return packet for the CenturyLink High-Speed Internet equipment.  Now I have to mail the equipment back and hope I get my $99.99 back someday for that.]  [Note added on April 22, 2017:  I received a check from CenturyLink for $219.08 in an envelope postmarked April 11, 2017.  I tracked the receipt of the modem, which was successfully delivered on April 6, 2017.  I am still waiting for the refund for the modem and additional unused services.]  [Note added May 11, 2017:  I received a check for $47.03 from CenturyLink, dated April 17, 2017, in an envelope that was postmarked May 2, 2017.  This is a credit for account # 303 936-  647, but I have no idea which part of the erroneous $296.09 bill this is a reimbursement for.  An 800 number is listed on the check stub for any questions.]

Monopolies are forbidden because absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I am publishing this story online by tethering my computer to my T-Mobile cell phone service.  So cool!  And as you can read, it works, too!

I love you!

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Sexy Miami Beach – Florida Keys Pictures

Blessed Mary turns 50!

My Dearest Readers,

Enjoy Southern Florida while it lasts (before it is immersed in the rising ocean waters)!  I know I did!  Here are some pictures from my 50th birthday in sexy Southern Florida (plus one of my ballet pictures from a long time ago).

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If you liked these sexy pictures, then you will love my new book, “Sexiest at 50: PTSD PhD Marie” with even more sexy pictures now available on amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1974551415/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_P8yNzb3X1E93Q

I love you!

CenturyLink is Damned

For part one of this story, see the previous blog post entitled “CenturyLink Triggers My PTSD” on this website.

Most Spiritual Readers,

I promised to do my best to keep you updated on new developments of the previous story “CenturyLink Triggers My PTSD,” and do I have news for you!

When my sister got a new job and moved to another city, I asked CenturyLink to put the bill in my name.  Instead, CenturyLink chose to violate me multiple times.  They opened a new account for me but did not close the old one.  Then, service was upgraded from copper wire to fiber-optic because copper has become so expensive.  The new service was connected to the new account.  Meanwhile, the old technology was disconnected, but the billing was not.  I was double billed and over-charged, and when I asked for the new account that I never authorized to be closed, my internet service was cutoff.

I talked to four people on the phone to get a technician out to the house to re-connect my internet service and try to straighten out this mess.  Apparently, though, the consumer is to bear the cost of upgrading the technology against their will or need in a futile attempt to satisfy malicious narcissism and rapacious greed.  In reality, the technology should be getting cheaper over time.

CenturyLink now sent me a bill for $219.08 for early cancellation of a service I never ordered or authorized or even wanted.

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Even worse, CenturyLink set up a third account for which I have no idea what the terms or conditions are because I never asked for it or authorized it or ordered it or wanted it or anything.

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This seems criminal because I called 866.450.6152 to cancel within the first 30 days as detailed in the cancellation policy below and my previous blog post entitled “CenturyLink Triggers My PTSD” on this website:

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CenturyLink Triggers My PTSD

And here’s how…

Dear Believers,

You are the future.  You are the leaders.  Keep the faith.  I love you!

As you know from my previous blog stories, I got divorced last year and was living with my sister.  I am so proud of her because she finished her master’s degree and got a job as a special education teacher in another city.  I have been paying the internet bill since last August.  When my sister changed her address, I had to change the internet bill into my name so it would not get forwarded to her new address with all the rest of her mail.  Luckily, I got this nice letter from our internet provider:

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As you can see from my handwritten notes on the letter above, I first spoke with Greg when I called 855.320.0472 as the letter says to do.  I asked Greg to simply change the first name on our account from “Gunda,” my sister, to “Marie,” myself, since my sister had to move to another city and, therefore, had to fill out the change of address form with the United States post office.  I wanted to make sure I would continue to receive the bill so that I could continue paying it.  Unfortunately, Greg could not change the name on our account, so he transferred me to Chris in customer service and I had to tell my story all over again.  Unlike Greg, though, Chris assured me that our account would be switched to my name, that there was no term agreement or commitment, that I would not be charged a deposit, and that I would receive the sweetheart deal detailed in the letter above.  Chris seemed so very nice over the phone, and I thanked him sincerely for the great service I had been receiving that I was happy with.

I did not share this with Chris, but I will let you know that I do think that $50 a month is plenty to pay for internet service.  In fact, since the internet was dependent on public funding, it should be available to every citizen, just like healthcare and education.  But I am not like a Jehovah’s Witness who goes around trying to force their beliefs on others.  I feel no need to, and I think it is wrong to knock on doors on Saturday morning, especially to tell people that gay is not okay.  That is all wrong, and that is another story.

Imagine my surprise when, a few days after calling CenturyLink, a couple of CenturyLink contractors were banging on my door, upset that I was not expecting them, and insisting they were there to fulfill an order.  I have PTSD and the whole incident scared and upset me a lot.  I told them I did not order anything and did not know anything about it and did not need anything because my service was working fine.  They called CenturyLink and we told them the same thing over the phone.  Finally, the contractors said they would leave but that I should not be surprised if an actual CenturyLink employee showed up.  That was nice of them to give me the heads up.  They seemed to recognize how upsetting it all was for me.

Sure enough, it was not that long before the CenturyLink man himself was knocking on my door.  As fate would have it, he was a very fine example of a very appealing phenotype to me:  tall, not white, not too old or too young, very sharp, a soothing temperament of one who at least understands even if his hands are tied, very physically fit and very handsome, at least to me.  His whole presence stunned me so that I had to focus on his wedding ring and the 10 commandments of our Lord, particularly the one forbidding adultery.  He said my service had to be upgraded to the latest, greatest technology, even though I assured him it really was not necessary since everything was working so well.  Also, I was looking to pay less, not more.  He didn’t really know anything about billing and such, he said.  He was just trying to follow his orders.  And why should I obstruct him?  He gave me no reason whatsoever.  On the contrary, I liked him.  My service was virtually uninterrupted the whole time he worked.  When he was finished, I connected to the Wi-Fi without a problem.

Then I got a letter entitled “Your Order Confirmation”:

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On February 8, 2017, I called Customer Service at 1-866-450-6152, as it says to do in the letter.  I did not order any of these services; I just asked for the first name on account # 303 936- 647 to be changed from Gunda to Marie.  I spoke with Elizabeth.  I told her the whole story you just read.  She transferred me to William and I had to start all over and tell him the whole story you just read again because he did not even know who Elizabeth was.  I guess William could not help me either because he transferred me to Sandra in Financial Services.  I told the whole story for the third time to Sandra, who said she could help me if I wanted to pay my bill.  I tried to explain to her that my bill was incorrect.  You see, my previous bill looked like this:

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Why were they now charging me $74 plus a $9.99 modem lease fee for the same service I was paying a total amount of $62.99 for?  Even with the mysterious one year discount of $34.05, the new bill for $66.82 was more than the $62.99 that I had been paying:

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Look, they even changed the account number from 303 936- 647 to 303 922-9 75.  Sandra transferred me to Ivory, and I told the whole story for the fourth time.  By now my PTSD was triggered pretty badly once again by CenturyLink.  Thankfully, Ivory was the best customer service representative by far.  She made the corrections I requested and gave me a new balance due amount, but she was unable to issue me a new bill for my account # 303 922-9 75.  Why not?  The bill was not due until February 18, 2017.

Then, believe it or not, I received another bill for account # 303 936- 647.  Now CenturyLink is sending two different bills under two different account numbers to the same address for the same service.

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Receiving this bill in the mail on Saturday evening triggered my PTSD and upset me so badly that I had to call my ex-husband and have him talk to me over the phone and help me make it through the night.  Neither one of us slept that night.  I could not stop crying once the mental trigger released a cascade of signals throughout my body that could not be turned off.  I sweated until my whole bed was soaking wet.  I cried a river of tears.  I probably said terrible things that I do not really mean to my ex-husband, and for sure he was upset too, and we prayed and prayed and prayed.  I could not sleep.  I felt like my livelihood and ability to work were once again being cruelly, greedily, and unjustly threatened.  All my muscles tightened up and every one of the myriad injuries I have sustained screamed in pain.  I felt oppressed and frustrated and violated and fucked with.  At times, I could not even walk.  PTSD is a nervous breakdown, an injury from too much stress and trauma.  It is extremely painful when triggered.

This is what PTSD looks like:

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During the worst of it, it is not certain whether or not I will make it.  PTSD sufferers kill themselves every single day.  During the worst of it, I just want it to stop.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  (Luke 23:34 KJV)

We made it through once again.  In fact, I am getting much better all the time.  All the hard work and faith and love are paying off.

I was pretty unsuccessful at getting any customer service on the weekend, so I sent two emails to CenturyLink through their website.  I have received no record of either of my emails so far, let alone any response or indication they have been received or anything so far except the boilerplate message that appears after you hit the send button assuring you that CenturyLink will get back to you in a few business days.  In the first email, I asked that account # 303 922-9 75 be closed, since those services were never requested nor authorized by me.  In the second email, I once again asked for the first name only on account # 303 936- 647 to be changed to Marie as was agreed on January 23, 2017.  If they cannot apologize to me and make it up to me and fix their errors of over-charging and double-billing me, then I asked that their service to my address be cancelled.

I will keep you informed as best I can, my beloved readers.  There may be some upcoming interruptions in my internet connectivity, but you know how ingenious and tenacious I am, so keep the faith!  The Lord always lights the way for us…