A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

June 28, 2017 | 6 Comments » | Topics: Answers, Interesting

What is life like on Death Row?

Nothing in your previous life prepares you for living on death row. You’re like a head of cabbage in a garden: planted, forced to lead a static existence, every day exactly like the last and the next. Unlike the cabbage, though, your life is without purpose. You are a cipher merely holding a place, awaiting your turn in the execution chamber. Until that day comes, perpetual misery is your condition in life, and your reward for surviving today is that you get to suffer tomorrow as well.

On April 11, 1962, I was cuffed, chained, and transported to Louisiana’s death row. There were twelve other men living in the fifteen available cells. Roaches scattered as I entered Cell 9. It was about the size of the bathroom in a typical middle class American home: six feet wide by eight feet deep.

Restlessness went with living in such a small space. There was room enough only for push-ups, sit-ups, and squats, insufficient to exercise all the body’s muscles. We were allowed out of our cells and into the hallway — one at a time — for only fifteen minutes twice a week for a shower. We spent years like this, always indoors, with no sunshine.

Worse than the physical toll exacted on our bodies was the toll on our minds. Death row was bedlam — an unending chorus of flushing toilets, curses shouted across the tier by feuding inmates, petty arguments over virtually anything, and competing radios trying to out-blare one another. Most of the pandemonium on death row was a result of men being driven mad by monotony, severe emotional deprivation, and the lack of normalcy.

We were like human animals in one of the old-style zoos, before society realized it was inhumane to confine a large beast in a cramped cage. And like the tiger that obsessively bobs from one side to the other of his barred cage, we would pace back and forth over the small patch of floor beside our bunks. Four steps, turn; four steps, turn; four steps, turn, for hours on end, stopping at the bars of the cell to stare out at nothing. On occasion, a man might bang his head against the steel bars so he would draw enough blood to be sent to the hospital for the criminally insane, where conditions were better and the insanity label protected him from execution.

We were a motley lot with little in common save that each had committed a crime. We were lumped together against our will, and life devoid of the pleasantries that prop us up in the outside world was disorienting. Most people seldom think about the trivial social interactions that fill our everyday lives: from the clerk in the grocery who wishes us a good day, to our fellow passenger on the bus who nods a morning greeting, to the co-workers or cleaning crew with whom we routinely exchange small talk. But these “meaningless” social relations are part of the glue that holds us together, that lets us know we have a place in the world. Cut off from them, and often abandoned by friends and family, men can become unmoored.

That is what happens on death row. You lose the sense of yourself as part of a larger whole, a context in which your being has meaning and makes sense. You begin a struggle to keep your sanity. You must be on guard against magical thinking, the temptation to indulge in non-rational cause and effect, like thinking that the prison served red beans twice this week because you willed it, or that a judge will reverse your conviction if your horoscope continues to show the stars in a favorable alignment.

On death row, where there is no meaning, your mind tries to create meaning out of nothing, and this can lead you to confuse fantasy with reality.

Besides fighting to stay sane, every day you must justify your existence to yourself, justify why you continue to live when you’re merely waiting to die, when the whole world wants you dead.

Books were what saved me. I turned to them just to kill time and to give my mind something to fasten onto so I wouldn’t go crazy. It turned out that reading connected me back to the world in a more positive way than I had ever been connected before.

Gradually, I grew and matured and shed the ignorance that had driven me to death row.

I wasn’t unique: Most of the guys on death row took up reading or studying or corresponded with good Samaritans and became better than the worst thing they had ever done.

I realize every day just how fortunate I am to have survived death row. Stanley “Tookie” Williams wasn’t so lucky: The co-founder of America’s premier street gang, the Crips, reformed himself in prison and wrote books to deter youngsters from following in his footsteps. No matter. California executed him in 2005 after he’d spent twenty-five years on death row.

To the state, Tookie was less than a head of cabbage.

– Wilbert Rideau

 

 

Why do women love reading romance novels?

Reading a general fiction book is like a five course meal with dessert afterward. A romance novel is like a tub of ice-cream eaten when no one’s looking.

All women do not love reading romance novels but most do. I do. For me , it is a form of entertainment and escapism. It may be stereotypical and hackneyed but it is comfort food. 
Romance novels are centered around the same few themes that (writers and publishers believe) women enjoy.

1. The Comfort Fact – Romance novels rarely, if ever make one think. Reading a thriller puts me into high-alert mode and reading literature makes me think, question and even underline at times .But reading a romance novel is a bit like eating potato chips while watching your favourite show. Yes, it’s unhealthy, it’s unrealistic as a source of genuine nutrition for the body , but a part of you loves it and cannot resist it. Once you’ve had some, it stirs cravings that you have doing guilty pleasure reading more often.

2. The Main (i.e. Male) Aspect – Real men are often duds. Even when they are very attractive, they are taken or they simply don’t know how to talk to women. If they know how to talk, they have control issues. If they don’t have control issues, they have annoying mothers or too much work at office. You get the picture? I am not saying that men should be perfect but it’s so interesting to see how heroes in romance novels always have time – to be at the beck and call of the heroine, to rescue her, to talk to her, to suitably annoy her and advise her. Romance novels are completely make -believe . The important thing about men in these books is not that they are always gorgeous or rich but they do know exactly what to say and what to do. A quality which men in real life lack. 

3. Other issues that women deal with – Most contemporary romance novels are chick-lit. There are bosses to contend with, angry parents to appease, friends to go shopping with, ladies night outs, pimples to pick, body hair to remove. A lot of women enjoy reading romance novels because they speak to them.
 Imagine, you lead a monotonous life full of paper-work, you have colleagues who gossip incessantly. You are pretty but not pretty enough. Your parents want you to marry.You have a little tummy you can’t get rid of, Your friends , though they support you have lives of their own. Sounds like your life , right?
Now imagine, you run into a very cute guy while having an embarrassing moment, he turns out to be your boss. He’s snarky to you but nice too. Your heart flutters a bit. Isn’t that what romance novels are for? A little thrill in the mundaneness of everyday life?

4. Plots and Variety – I have read hundreds of romance novels. Though people criticise them for being a corny, sappy bunch of sameness, there are a lot of romance novels  with diverse , thrilling and different plots.
There are romance novels that deal with espionage, murder, regency england, heiresses, royalty, sports (SEP’s NFL series is my favourite), courtrooms, schools, colleges, workplaces. For every kind of woman there is, there is a romance novel that would appease to her at least in terms  of lot and setting , if not in the romance at least.

5. Sex – In my school, when boys snigger over porn clips, girls were busy with books like Forever by Judy Blume which had as much sex as the porn clip would but would also have plot, build-up and deal with issues like contraception. No romance novel today is without a few sex scenes. My first romance novel was a Mills & Boon (written by Betty Neels) about a Doctor in a small village. That had one kissing scene. Now, I can’t find one book that tame. Women are ready to atleast talk about sex quite openly, many find porn distasteful and romance novels add a bit of spice to life. A bit of illicit reading is fun, just like stealing liquor from your dad’s cabinet.

6. Good Writing – Regardless of what people say, many romance novelists are fantastic authors. They are humorous, witty, easy to read. If you could find a bunch of authors who led you to a make-believe , exciting world with hot men , romance, sex while writing elegantly, why would you not want to keep reading them?

7. Love – A lot of romance readers are in love with the idea of love. That keeps them hooked. 

If you think about it , every book has a little bit of love and romance, which readers look forward to or are engaged by, romance writers just expand on it. They have a very large demand to do so. Where there is demand, supply will come.

Personally, I don’t think you should read a lot of romance novels if you build unrealistic expectations in relationships. There is no Prince Charming. And I draw the line at three fictional boyfriends. 

– Ayushi Mona

 

 

 

How is Disney’s marketing strategy is so successful?

I am a Florida escapee who used to work for The Rat, so I’ve been all up and down and around the nasty underbelly of the Disney thing. I’m not anti-Disney. I’m just saying that because they think of it as a kids thing, as you seem to do, they absolutely miss the fact that Disney has been cultivating itself as a lifestyle brand for almost a CENTURY.

Disney is absolutely a total lifestyle choice for those who are willing to be caught up in it. What they sell is “magic”. How many parents do you know that sit their toddlers or infant children down in front of Disney movies EVERY DAY? I want you to know that that sort of infinite-rewatch Disney experience has been carefully curated since the origin of VHS back in the early 80s. The argument can be made that the “Hero’s Journey LITE” Disney story has been the primary means of teaching American and other children how life works for decades.

I think it should be equally telling that Disney has purchased Marvel and the Star Wars franchise. If it is a narrative universe that can be used to structure the lives of its children viewers, and therefore can be a lifestyle choice that makes Disney money, it is EXACTLY the kind of intellectual property they want. How many superfans do you know? Adults who collect figurines, who watch superhero movies over and over, who play the games, etc, etc, etc?

The simple answer to your question is this: Many modern adults learned what they know about life from their Disney childhood, and will do ANYTHING and spend ANYTHING to continue to be swaddled in the sterilized, perfect, “magical” Disney environment.

Do you know what it is like to work for the Rat? To work in one of those parks? Disney’s magic is actually just a form of perfection. They sell control over your environment. Every flower is perfectly in place. Every surface sterile, a cast member at every corner, carefully pointing with the WHOLE HAND, not the finger, so as not to ever cause offense.

And they KNOW it. That’s why there’s a place called Celebration. You know about that place, right?

http://gizmodo.com/celebration-florida-the-utopian-town-that-america-jus-1564479405

You’ll see a link on that Gizmodo page to a shot from The Truman Show. Disney is champing at the bit, hard-core ready to sell you EVERY BIT OF YOUR LIFE IN A DISNEY EXPERIENCE. Yes, you can get married in Cinderella’s castle. Yes, you can have costumed cast members show up to celebrate your birthday. And out of all of this, I think what it is is a comfort that these superfans get out of their ability to spend their money. They spend, and spend, and spend, and all the while, they know that they are spending money on something that is unquestionably world-class. Everyone knows Mickey Mouse. He’s more recognizable than Jesus.

And let’s not fucking forget! If your poor, benighted ass happens to live in a state that is NOT Florida, god forbid, in a place that snows, Disney has an ad campaign rooted deeper than a stage 4 brain tumor in your state to remind you of how much it SUCKS TO LIVE THERE. I moved to Pennsylvania, and people looked at me like I was fucking CRAZY to leave Florida! Then I started watching the TV, and it was just Disney ad after Disney ad. Ads showing the kids crying, snowplows, fighting couples, and then SUNNY FLORIDA AND DISNEY AND EVERYONE IS HAPPY. I was SHOCKED.

Disney has sold themselves as a status brand. If you live in fucking Minnesota, and you collected the $10,000 or so for a really good Disneyworld trip, what are you going to do, hide that as a secret? FUCK NO. You and your kids are going to get a suntan and expensive Disney shirts, and you’re going to parade your asses around Duluth or whereverthefuckever WEARING that shit so everyone else knows you escaped the frozen hellhole.

Disney owns the fucking world, basically. You’re confused by adults TODAY. Sheeeeiiiiitttt, Disney is now buying up all the superhero intellectual properties and the Star Wars shit… they are working to corner the ENTIRE childhood fantasy market. Just give it 20 years, man. Disney is a total lifestyle brand, and they are NOT content to have just 80% of the market.

I swear, travel around the country, and look at the Disney ads, then spend ONE SUMMER in Orlando, working for the fucking Rat. Visit Celebration. Get on I-Drive. See the sheer global power of this brand. Talk to the locals. You’ll get your answer, and it will shock you.

– foodnetwerk 

 

 

 

What would the world be like if Nazi Germany had never lost the war?

Having studied World War II for nearly a quarter of a century now, I find questions like this always interesting to answer and people are often surprised to learn that the world where Nazi Germany won the Second World War wouldn’t be too far off from the one we know today, at least in theory.

To better understand, take a large rock and row to the middle of a lake, then drop the rock over the side. Where the rock hits the water is a very noticeable splash and a crest, however as the wave moves farther out, it gets smaller and by the time it reaches shore it is almost non-existent. Such is the same with Nazi Germany winning World War II in 1945…by 2016, the effects of this would not be as great, compared to the world we know today..

The alternate world of 2016

In reference to the above map, take each continent.

EUROPE

The aim of Nazi Germany’s territorial expansion was the concept of Lebensraum (“Living Space”) with Hitler’s stated goal being for Nazi Europe to extend to the Ural mountains. In a world where Nazi Germany wins, Hitler’s armies have achieved this aim. The territories of the east are now “Reich Commissions” under the direct control of the Nazi government in Europe. Life in the east would be harsh for the locals who would exist under ruthless Nazi rule, racial policies, and extermination directives. Comparing this to Soviet Russia it would have been worse, but not by that much.

Great Britain of course has fallen, but Hitler had no desire to annex this country since he felt the British people were equal to the Germans in terms of superiority. A Fascist England, led by an extremely subservient pro-Nazi government would most likely have come to power to enforce Nazi rule.

Poland as a state ceases to exist, as do the smaller countries of Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. Germany’s allies Finland, Romania, and Bulgaria would survive and be rewarded with territory and “protection” as long as they remained client states to Nazi Germany. Hungary would most likely have been occupied and annexed, given that country’s lukewarm reception to the Nazis to begin with. Norway would also have remained under direct Nazi control given that country’s desirable natural resources and access to the North Sea.

Yugoslavia would be annexed by both Germany and Italy and it is likely that Greece would have been taken over by Italy as well as part of a new Italian Empire. Thus by 2016 the Balkans crisis and genocides of the modern age might not have occurred, but Nazi racial policy would have killed just as many victims.

Vichy France controls West Africa and has been allowed to continue to exist as a vassal state under Nazi control in Europe. The fate of the Low Countries and Denmark is hard to determine. Many in the Nazi government saw occupation of these countries as temporary, but Hitler wanted full annexation. The more likely outcome by 2016 is a type of confederation, possible called “Burgundia” (a name Heinrich Himmler suggested) which exists as a Nazi protectorate.

Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland as neutral countries would have remained untouched; however, the Nazi government controls the Straits of Gibraltar and strict access to the Mediterranean Sea.

THE MIDDLE EAST

At Europe’s frontiers lies Turkey untouched, having been neutral during the war. Saudi Arabia, receptive towards Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish policies and her authoritarian ways, dominates the Middle East and controls all oil in an Israeli-free world. There is no Islamic radicalism as we see today, the Iranian revolution never took place in Persia (Iran), while Iraq and Syria are controlled by the Saudis in a fundamentalist Caliphate-type government confederation with little freedom.

AFRICA

North and Central Africa have become colonies of Nazi Germany, Italy, and Vichy France. The decolonization movements of the 1960s were stamped out and local natives live under oppression. It has been speculated that the Nazis would have attempted to exterminate blacks in Africa, but racial policy classified these persons as animals rather than sub-human. Thus, more likely, would have been an apartheid-type system, in which South Africa would have been a strong ally of Nazi Germany.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

A weak Russia exists but the Soviet Union collapsed when they surrendered to Nazi Germany. Stalin and his henchmen were arrested as traitors and a second Russian Revolution took place to purge the hard-line communists who had lost the war. What exists today is a pseudo-democratic nation with questionable politics much like we see in the real world. The communist Chinese also took over just as we know today, however there was no Korean or Vietnam War as Russia never moved in to the region to establish communism.

Japan has still lost the war and exists as we know today. Atomic bombs were still dropped, the Philippines liberated, Indonesia and Malaysia restored, and American forces have a strong Pacific presence. The British empire survives in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, while some Vichy France colonies continue to exist in the South Pacific.

NORTH AMERICA

Nazi Germany in fact never intended to invade America and would have had a very hard time doing so in any event. Thus, America survives and is locked into a Cold War except with Nazi Germany instead of the Soviet Union. Canada, where the United Kingdom government relocated after the fall of Britain, is the new heart of the British Commonwealth.

Of interest is that it is highly likely that during the 1970s and 80s, after the death of Hitler and the top World War II Nazis, something very similar to de-Stalinization would have took place in Nazi Germany and perhaps brought about better relations with the US. The Nazi leaders of the 1990s may perhaps have admitted to the Holocaust as well as offered reparations for the victims. Going into the 2000s would have perhaps seen a Gorbachev-like Nazi leader, seeking better relations with the United States, and a Nazi version of perestroika.

CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

Very little change here from what we know, except that Nazi Germany has occupied Cuba to have a western hemisphere base of operations. South American governments, with perhaps the exception of Brazil, are receptive to the Nazis having similar authoritarian-type governments.

ANTARCTICA AND THE MOON

Unlike the world of today, where Antarctica is off-limits to military activities, both Nazi Germany and America would most likely have established military bases there. Other Antarctica territorial claims, as we see today from Chile and New Zealand, would probably also exist.

Nazi Germany and America would both have reached the moon, but the establishment of permanent bases there would still be several decades away, even with the enhanced technology of Nazi Germany’s weapons program.

A world where a Nazi Germany exists in 2016 would certainly be different to what we know today and there would definitely have been high death tolls in the 1950s and 60s as the Nazis finished their racial programs and extermination of populations. But we also have no Korean or Vietnam war and little strife in the Middle East with Al Qaeda and ISIS non-existent. Time perhaps has a way of leveling itself out as the ripples in the pond are barely noticeable the more time passes. But, I still prefer the world we live in today.

Anthony O Hughes



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