Lou’s Diary – Entry 7 (Text version)

I cannot tell you how much I hate the wind.  After what seemed like hours and hours of trying to force myself to get some sleep, I finally dozed off.  I could feel myself drifting down into a place where my brain doesn’t think about everything and nothing all at once.  I was just starting to feel at ease when, BAM!  I heard a noise outside on the deck of the fire tower.

I was going to let it pass and get back to my struggle with sleeping, but it came again only this time it was followed by the door of the cabin flying open.  Snow shot through the doorway like smoke escaping a chimney.  By the time I made it to the door, the floor was covered by the white stuff all the way to the opposite wall of the room.

I bundled up and stuck my head out the door.  Looking to my right there was nothing, all I could see were the tree tops fluttering in the wind.  To my left, there were two thick tree branches lying on the ice covered deck.  The trees beyond the deck were doing a little more than fluttering on that side of the fire tower.  They were practically bending to their limits.  I heard a crack and watched as a smaller tree branch hit the railing of the deck before falling to the ground.

I was relieved that it was nothing more the wind shaking dying limbs from trees, but I was also furious that it was nothing more the wind shaking dying limbs from trees.  I could have been sleeping.

Walking back to my “bedroom” corner, I noticed something on the floor that I hadn’t seen before.  I’m not saying it wasn’t there before.  I’m saying I didn’t notice it.  It could have been there all along.  It had to have been there all along.  It must have been there all along.

Far from the pile of body parts, was a hand with about three inches of jagged bones extending past the blotchy, leathery skin at the wrist.  I stared at it for several seconds, feeling the blood rushing through my body.  My mouth went dry.

I was being silly.  It was there before.  There had just been too much going on to take notice of it.  Plus, there was so little light in the room.   I could have walked past a whole other person and not notice.  I was just letting being alone in totally creepy world get to me.

I found an old broom near the row of lockers and pushed the hand over to the pile of body parts.  I did my best not to look at it.  I was afraid if I did I’d ruin any chances of getting sleep in the near future.  The hand jammed against the other bits and pieces of people, I ran to my sleeping corner and quickly sat down, pulling my legs in tight and resting my forehead on my knees.  I was hoping if I wrapped myself up tight enough I’d eventually disappear.

What I wouldn’t give to just disappear.

Finding Megan Sharpton’s killer

Help bring Megan Sharpton’s killer/killers to justice.

I’m setting aside the normal tone of  the blog today to talk about a real life horror.  A young nursing student by the name of Megan Sharpton was killed by blunt force trauma to the head on July 2.  Her body was dumped on the side of the road and set on fire.  She was 24-years-old.   Her family is shattered not only by the loss, but by the fact that the person or persons who did this to Megan have not been caught.  In fact, the police have virtually no leads.  Can you imagine the utter anguish her mother must feel?

Her mother, Kelly Sharpton, was a high school classmate of mine.  That’s one reason I’m bringing this to your attention.  Megan’s body was discovered on a rural road in Franklin County, Tennessee.  For those of who aren’t familiar with that area of Tennessee, Franklin County is adjacent to Coffee County.  The towns of Tullahoma and Manchester are in Coffee County.  Megan lived in Tullahoma.

Some of you may be surprised that Tullahoma is a real place if you’re only familiar with it through my books.  I count it as my childhood home, and that is another reason I’ve taken an interest in this case.  I know a lot of Oz readers and parents of Oz readers live in this general area.  Megan’s family needs your help.  They’ve set up a Facebook page called Peace For Megan Sharpton.  They’ve started a reward fund for information that leads to the arrest of Megan’s killers.  If you have any information on the case, contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

This was a cold, despicable, cowardly act that can’t be allowed to go unpunished.  The Sharpton family deserves, at the very least, closure.

Why Dr. Ketchum’s paper is taking so long

For those of you keeping up with Dr. K’s paper and hoping for its publication any day now, I found this little tidbit of information in Nature today that may answer why the process is taking so long.

Considerable hard data have emerged on the scale of misconduct. A metastudy (D. Fanelli PLoS ONE 4, e5738; 2009) and a detailed screening of all images in papers accepted by The Journal of Cell Biology (M. Rossner The Scientist 20 (3), 24; 2006) each suggest that roughly 1% of published papers are fraudulent. That would be about 20,000 papers worldwide each year.

Considering the subject of Dr. K’s paper, I imagine unprecedented caution is being taken, especially given the fact that 20,000 papers on so-called mainstream topics are “fraudulent.”  It’s bad enough to be fooled on a “legitimate” topic. It would be journalistic suicide to be fooled on a “fringe” topic.  I’m not saying Dr. K would commit fraud.  I’m just saying the journal that’s publishing her paper is making damn sure everything’s in order before they proceed with publication.

You can read the entire Nature article here –  The time is right to confront misconduct: After a generation of denial, research leaders are finally treating scientific fraud with the seriousness it deserves, says  Colin Macilwain.

My six step plan to reach total bliss

Never be sad again by following these six simple steps.

1. Buy a Yonana.

2. Freeze a bunch of fruit.

3. Wait 24 hours.

4. Put frozen fruit in Yonana.

5. Eat the Yonana’d fruit.

6. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed in order to repeat steps 4 and 5 daily.

Never has eating fiber and vitamins been so yummy! BTW – I’m not being paid to endorse this product.  Frankly, I feel like I should be paying them for the magic they’ve unleashed on my taste buds. It’s like ice cream, but it’s all natural and dairy free.  It’s just fruit!

RIP Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal was by no means perfect.  By most written accounts (that’s all I have to go on at the moment), he was a cranky old fart (even when he was young) that feuded with nearly everyone he knew.  One of his most famous feuds was with Norman Mailer.  Vidal reviewed one of Mailer’s books for the New York Review of Books, and he wasn’t very kind.  He managed to work into the review that Mailer stabbed his wife.  Did I mention that Mailer was no prize on the personality front either?  The two men had a couple of physical confrontations as a result.  It is said that after ending up on the floor after being punched by Mailer, Vidal responded by saying, “Once again words fail Norman Mailer.”

But Gore Vidal was a fantastic writer.  I count his book Lincoln as one of my favorites.  RIP Gore Vidal.  If nothing else, you kept things interesting.

I leave you with one of Vidal’s and Mailer’s verbal altercations.  This is a clip from the Dick Cavett show.  I’m sorry to say I don’t know the woman in the video, but it is safe to say that Mailer didn’t have many friends on the stage or in the audience.

UPDATE: The woman is Janet Flanner.  She’s described as a journalist and friend to Ernest Hemingway.  Obviously, she was adept at dealing with raging assholes.  🙂