Published Articles

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Caesar — Let the Dice Fly (1997) is the fifth installment of the Masters of Rome historical novel series by author Colleen McCullough. This tome encompasses the period from 54 B.C., when Julius Caesar invaded Gaul and Britannia, and ends with the heinous and treacherous assassination of Pompey the Great in Egypt in 48 B.C. The book opens with Caesar leading his legions in the second expedition into Britain, "the land at the western end of the world," accompanied by allied kings, Mandubracius, King of the Britannic Trinobantes, and King Commius, leader of the Atrebates of Gallia Comata ("Long-haired Gaul"). The campaign is directed north of the Tamesa (Thames) river against the undefeated Cassi tribe led by King Cassivellaunus. The Cassi fought valiantly using archaic chariots, reminding the Romans of the Homeric epics.

Although far away in the northwest, Caesar has kept himself informed of events in Rome by his paid agents as well as letters from his son-in-law, Pompey Magnus, who now married for six years to Caesar's lovely daughter, Julia, has contentedly improved his grammar and his manners. But then suddenly Julia dies following childbirth and his political link to...

Friday, October 4, 2013

With President Obama and his Democratic partisans in the Senate at loggerheads with the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, an impasse has arisen of troubling proportions. The House, though, has the constitutional power of the purse, and the funding or defunding of the flawed ObamaCare law, unwanted by the vast majority American people, falls within its purview. The House has indeed the right not to fund a calamitous and burdensome law. In anticipation of its dreaded implementation, the deleterious effects have already been felt among the senior citizens, those who have Medicare or even Veteran benefits. Let me explain.

Frequently, I read “Viewpoints,” the electronic version of my local newspaper, The Macon Telegraph (MT), which often has heated discussions in response to printed letters to the editor. On September 5, a discussion centered on a MT reader who stated that although in good health at age 75, his doctor would not perform a PSA test or a colonoscopy because "it was not needed," and besides, the doctor added, " given your age, something else would kill you before colon or prostate cancer does."

It is very unfortunate that physicians out...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Recently, Bill Ferguson, a local columnist in The Macon Telegraph, opined it is "time to call for a new constitutional convention." To make his points, he tells us about the public's general dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in our nation, and then tries to scare us to death with the frightening scenarios of a government shutdown, the U.S. defaulting on the national debt, and the gridlock in Congress, so that "these once-unthinkable situations could come to pass."(1)

No blame is placed on President Barack Obama (photo, right), who is at the helm of the ship of state navigating the "unchartered waters." But that is not all: "The stock market could collapse. Your cash and investments could become virtually worthless overnight. Government benefits like Social Security and Medicaid might be dramatically scaled back or not paid at all." And so Mr. Ferguson writes, "I think it’s fair to say that our government is fundamentally broken at this point, and I don’t see it getting any better unless we somehow shake things up and change the status quo. But how could we do that?" His solution is to call for a constitutional convention to set things right. That idea, of...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In his three-part series on psychosurgery in America entitled "Violence, Mental Illness and the Brain," my friend, Dr. Miguel Faria, has written one of the best published summaries on the history of neurosurgical treatment of psychiatric disorders by selective sectioning or abolition of specific parts of the behavioral brain. Within those pages (originally published this spring and summer 2013 in Surgical Neurology International), Faria discusses the anatomy involved and the interrelated nature of brain nuclei in altering human behavior in such a way as to bring clarity to a very difficult topic.

As a historian, Dr. Faria understands the social forces faced by men when dealing with a very sensitive subject, which in the third part of his article he brings to us in very sharp focus. Today, psychosurgery is mostly a thing of the past. Much of the pressure to end psychosurgery not only came from the American left but also from the fact that better, less invasive methods became available.

I feel at this point compelled to relate a story told by a visitor traveling with a group of leftist Americans to communist Cuba, which is told in a collection of experiences in the...

Monday, August 19, 2013


In George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984, the leader, Big Brother, used perpetual war and police state terror to maintain control of a portion of the globe. He also used “Newspeak,” the manipulation of language to more subtly control the people and preserve his dictatorship of submission. By curtailing language, destroying literature, and reducing words in the vocabulary of the people, Big Brother and his Ministry of Truth sought to control thinking and behavior: “We’re cutting the language down to the bone…Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year.”(1)

Newspeak and the Ministry of Truth

Orwellian Newspeak also used doublespeak, defining political terms by their complete opposite, and deconstructed the meaning of words to more easily subdue the masses. Reducing words and distorting their meaning limited politically “wrongful” thoughts.  Big Brother's ministry of propaganda and disinformation was called the “Ministry of Truth.” Likewise, the Ministry of War was called the “Ministry of Peace,” and the official slogans were quite instructive: “War is Peace,” “Ignorance is Strength,” and very apropos, “...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A recent article appearing in the magazine Scientific American Mind caught my attention as a perfect example as to how science (scientism) is being used to demonize those who disagree with a particular issue. The article, “What a Hoax,” appeared in the September/October 2013 issue. In fact, the article goes far beyond just demonizing dissenters of the orthodox opinion; incredibly, it classifies them as mentally ill and a danger to society. This of course reminds one of a similar methodology used in communist countries, such as the Soviet Union, Maoist China and communist Cuba.

Recognizing that the gulag had its limitations and was somewhat embarrassing when discovered by the West (through Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s three volume Gulag Archipelago), the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev switched to the use of the psychiatric prisons. Not only were dissidents marked as “enemies of the state,” they were reclassified as dangerous psychopaths and delusional. Incredibly, that is exactly what a group of psychiatrists and the author of this article, one Sander van der Linden, a doctoral candidate in social-environmental psychology at the London School of Economics, are proposing.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Caesar's Women (1997) is the fourth installment of the Masters of Rome historical book series by novelist Colleen McCullough. The complete series spans the period from 110 B.C. to 27 B.C. This tome covers the eight years of the Late Roman Republic from 67 B.C. to 59 B.C., including the revolt of Aemilius Lepidus; the Conspiracy of Catilina and the passing of the Senate's Ultimate Decree; the curious episode of the Consul Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus (also an augur) withdrawing to his house to watch the stars and cancel the legislative acts of his very active fellow Consul Julius Caesar; the sacrilege of Clodius Pulcher, and Caesar's consequent remark that his wife must be above suspicion, etc. The main characters are Julius Caesar (not unexpectedly given the title of this volume), who is mostly in Rome, intriguing and womanizing, while ironically presiding over Rome's civic religion as supreme Pontifex Maximus; Marcus Licinius Crassus, the plutocrat; Marcus Tullius Cicero, the great advocate who becomes consul at the time of the Catilina crisis; Marcus Porcius Cato, the unyielding politician and stoic philosopher; Publius Clodius, the young iconoclastic rogue; Marcus Junius Brutus...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Abstract — In the final installment to this three-part, essay-editorial on psychosurgery, we relate the history of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in humans and glimpse the phenomenal body of work conducted by Dr. Jose Delgado at Yale University from the 1950s to the 1970s. The inception of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1974-1978) is briefly discussed as it pertains to the "determination of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare regarding the recommendations and guidelines on psychosurgery." The controversial work — namely recording of brain activity, DBS, and amygdalotomy for intractable psychomotor seizures in patients with uncontrolled violence — conducted by Drs. Vernon H. Mark and Frank Ervin is recounted. This final chapter recapitulates advances in neuroscience and neuroradiology in the evaluation of violent individuals and ends with a brief discussion of the problem of uncontrolled rage and "pathologic aggression" in today's modern society — as violence persists, and in response, we move toward authoritarianism, with less freedom and even less dignity.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Fortune's Favorites is the third installment of the fascinating Masters of Rome series of historical novels by famed Australian novelist Colleen McCullough. The 878-page book opens in 83 B.C., as the triumphant general, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, returns from the East after his successful campaign against King Mithridates VI of Pontus. The book ends with events taking place at approximately 69 B.C. surrounding the rivalry and rise of Pompey the Great and Marcus Licinius Crassus, while young Julius Caesar is biding his time and foreshadows a political and military career superior to them both, a worthy descendant of Venus and Aeneas!

In this novel McCullough continues to enhance her work with magnificent maps, a useful glossary, and realistic, hand-drawn sketch portraits of many of the main characters. Her well-researched novel, written in crisp and eloquent prose continues to enchant and makes us marvel at the ancient Roman world, which draws so many parallels with our own. Outright mistakes or errors of fact are few and usually minor. For example,  she claims that after the first century of the Republic most consuls were plebeian, when in fact most consuls in the...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The magnificent "Masters of Rome" series of historic fiction by novelist Colleen McCullough continues down the annals of the Roman Republic with the notable careers of Gaius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Aemeilius Scaurus, Metellus Numidicus, Metellus Pius, and Marcus Livius Drusus. This second tome at 894 pages also contains magnificent maps, improved glossary, and sketch portraits of many of the main characters. The scholarship still astonishes as does the crisp writing and exhilarating reading in this historic drama. The informative and elegant correspondence to and from Rutilius Rufus, now expanded to Scaurus and Sulla, continues in The Grass Crown.

Nevertheless, we are still obliged to point out deficiencies in this second historic novel as we did with the first one for the same reasons. The apotheosis of her main protagonist, Gaius Marius, continues to the detriment of other historic figures, despite the author's claim to historic veracity and her outstanding scholarship. Her politics and her prejudicial bias for the Populares faction at the expense of the Optimates distorts the personalities, motives, and true attitudes of the historic figures and detracts...

Fransini Giraldo is a Colombian girl who dances her own style of Salsa. In this video, she dances to the rhythm of Sonora Carruseles de Colombia, presumably in the Colombia countryside. Published July 16, 2013.