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Was J. Edgar Hoover really a Crossdresser/Homosexual and does it really matter? [Jul. 12th, 2009|12:50 pm]
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Hoover has been on my mind lately because he's a character in John Birmingham's Axis of Time alternate history trilogy and the movie "Public Enemies." I'd heard rumors about and seen references to his cross-dressing my whole life, but I had never bothered to investigate them for myself until now. So I checked out his Wikipedia page and some other online sources and it seems there is alot of uncertainly as to whether or not he was actually a crossdresser. The main open source for these rumors was sued for libel in another matter and had an axe to grind against the FBI and Hoover. Depending on how good a job Hoover and his cronies did covering-up the details of his life, we may never know for certain one way or the other.

But I can certainly see why the rumors would take hold. Hoover never married yet worked closely with Clyde Tolson (who also never married) and also ate dinner with him almost every night and even vacationed with him--for 40 years. They didn't live together, but that kind of relationship had to raise questions in our more conservative past. It would raise questions these days, although hopefully there would be more acceptance of it.

In my opinion, the big deal about Hoover's sexuality is how it may or may not have affected his job. There were rumors that the Mafia was blackmailing him about it, but that probably never happened. But if Hoover was gay, then I'm sure he was paranoid about the fact becoming public. That's probably why he gathered all that dirt on powerful people--he was practicing his own version of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).

If Hoover was spending so much of his time protecting his image and gathering dirt, then I believe he had to have been neglecting other areas of his job and ultimately the security and well-being of the nation. In Birmingham's books, time travelers use their knowledge of the crossdressing rumors and sophisticated eavesdropping tools to expose Hoover's private life. It wasn't because of homophobia, but because Hoover was an implacable political enemy to them and they also believed he wasn't doing a good enough job of protecting American's national security during WWII. So they used a sophisticated "modern" media and political campaign to bring Hoover down and he eventually lost his job and killed himself because of it. I think the same ultimate outcome is probable if any post-WWII President had been willing to weather the resulting political firestorm and fire Hoover.


On a related note, here's an interesting article about the US's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and how it compares to the "Openly Serve" policies of our allies:

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The PIT Maneuver; or how police stop bad guys on the road [Jul. 11th, 2009|02:41 pm]
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I was reading an article http://www.wtoc.com/global/story.asp?s=10709601 about the police chase of a bank robber (which took place just a few miles from where I live) which used a term called "PIT Maneuver, which I just had to google.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PIT_maneuver was the page that it lead me to, which lead me to this very cool video of it being used in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDSxxr9XKck

I wasn't familiar with the term before, although I had seen the technique employed in an episode of "Boomtown" several years ago where the police driver (Gary Basaraba) said something like "I can't believe I actually get paid to do this job" before he used it.
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Some things I liked and disliked about Michael Mann's "Public Enemies" [Jul. 11th, 2009|01:30 pm]
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Warning: Some mild spoilers follow

Things I liked:

--Mann's use of actual locations whenever possible like the Little Bohemia Lodge

--The realistic gun battles

--The interesting supporting cast (including two veterans of "The Wire")

--The powerful, foreboding musical score

--Marion Cotillard's portrayal of Dillinger's girlfriend. She gets the best scene in the movie

--The effort to show how both the FBI and organized crime evolved in response to the actions of Dillinger and the other flashy, violent "Public Enemies"

--J. Edgar Hoover's and Melvin Purvis's authorization and use of extreme interrogation methods certainly echoes the mood of our post 9/11 world

--Mann's continued use of his pet "two warring tribes" theme

--How Mann used scenes from the movie Dillinger was watching right before his death to illustrate themes from his own movie

Things I disliked:

--The mannered "hollywood smooth" dialogue employed as opposed to the more naturalistic speech and body language Depp used in the re-creation of the newsreel footage from when Dillinger was captured

--The half-effort to blend historical accuracy and a riveting storyline. I think Mann should have either tried to be as accurate as possible or decided to be even looser with the facts so that he could have constructed a better dramatic plot a la De Palma's "The Untouchables"

--The scene at the end of the movie where Dillinger walks into a Chicago police station and then wanders around the office space of a squad assigned to capture him. It struck me as being too surreal and sentimental in contrast to the rest of the movie
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3 Questions Meme [Jul. 1st, 2009|11:50 pm]

Because all the cool kids are doing it....

Ask 3 questions about my fandoms or really anything I've posted about and I reply with some form of answer.
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WoW is exciting me again [Jul. 1st, 2009|08:09 pm]
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A couple of months ago my World of Warcraft Raid Group kind of imploded due to personality issues and various other pressures. I basically became a hermit after that and only grouped with other players when absolutely necessary. I played solo for a few weeks, but the game got kind of stale for me so I took a break.

But the last few days I've started to get excited about WoW again. Its due partly because I want to complete the Mid-Summer Fire Festival Achievement (don't want to have to wait a whole nother year to get it done) and partly because I'm been reading detailed info about the huge upcoming 3.2 patch. It contains alot of neat stuff and should give me alot to do even if I don't end up doing many raid dungeons.

The things that excite me most at this point are:

--Enginering changes/upgrades--this is the biggest non-expansion patch ever for my long-neglected favorite profession. I look forward to having fun with my gadgets again.

--Paladin class changes--Group healing will be easier/more flexible now that overhealing (including Holy Light splash heals) will count on Beacon of Light Heals. I won't be stuck having to just heal a tank so often. Illumination is getting nerfed but mana regen from items is getting buffed, so it will be interesting to have to worry about running out of mana again.

--A new Battleground and sensible changes to old ones--Isle of Conquest looks very fun and AB/Eye will be shorter now and Warsong will have a 20 minute timer (finally no more endless games!). And flag defenders will get a 50% honor buff for kills, which are all very good changes. Plus you will be able to earn xp from BGs, so it will make leveling more interesting. Also Wintergrasp will be limited to 100 players per side which should result in me facing less tenacity stacks and lag DCs. And Blizz is talking about adding rewards like green and blue items for winning a BG and also implementing so kind of rating system. I look forward to the day when I don't have to feel so frustrated because I enjoy BGs so much more than Arena.

--Other Stuff--The new Argent Tournament stuff should be interesting and the new epic gems gives me added motivation to level my Death Knight Jewelcrafter. And the Chef's hat will become epic in quality and also epic because wearing it will allow you to cook faster :)
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Another instance of medicine catching up with science fiction [Jul. 1st, 2009|06:40 pm]


The stuff they can do these days to bring back people close to death is not all that different than what I've been reading in science fiction the past 30 years. Hopefully this knowledge and technology will become widespread and save more lives in the future.
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Brainstorming some interesting Master's Thesis topic ideas [Jul. 1st, 2009|07:37 am]
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Thankfully the library administration was able to figure out a way give me a full-time position again (which officially begins today) so I should be able to get free tuition at my university if I decide to work on another master's degree. I already have a master's in library science and my undergrad majors were history and French, but literature would interest me the most now or maybe popular culture studies, but I'm pretty sure my university doesn't have that.

So I was thinking about possible subjects for my master's thesis if I do work on literature. I hope to take some creative writing classes for my degree so maybe I could finagle my way into doing a fiction project for my thesis. But all my fiction ideas these days are fanfictional so I don't know how that would play with my adviser. Or I could do a non-fiction piece on some aspect of fanfiction, probably in relation to science fiction. Another idea I've kicked around for awhile is a study of the military and war experiences of SF authors like David Drake, Joe Haldeman, Jerry Pournelle and John Ringo and how it affects their writing. Maybe I could compare them to "mainstream" literature vets like Tim O'Brien. Or perhaps I could do something about how the political views of certain SF authors (Orson Scott Card, Pournelle, Ringo, Larry Niven etc) do or don't affect their fiction.

I probably won't start working on my degree for at least a year (I have to take care of the admissions stuff and probably study for and take the GRE again) but I wanted to write this down so I could come back to it when its time to actually chose a topic. What are your thoughts on this and do you have any stuff you personally would like to do a thesis on or see someone do a thesis about?
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Hundreds of teachers paid to do nothing in "rubber rooms" [Jun. 23rd, 2009|08:23 pm]
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I trained to be a high school teacher and two of my ex-girlfriends were high school teachers, so I found this to be an interesting article. As far as I know nothing like this exists in South Georgia. We don't have any teacher's unions down here so if you get charged with a fireable offense, you almost always get fired pretty fast. What's more common is not getting your contract renewed.

I have to wonder why NYC only has 23 arbitrators who only work five days a week to handle the cases of the 700 "rubber room" teachers. It would seem logical to increase the number of arbitrators or the number of days they work on teacher cases, but I'm guessing the overall strategy is to force a good number of the teachers to quit because they get tired of waiting. And for the ones that stick it out, I'm sure they are cowed by their experience and won't do anything that will get them sent back to the "rubber rooms." This whole set-up is just one more symptom of the illness that plagues the education system in the U.S.
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Another shameless banner plug to help me get credits in an online game :) [Jun. 13th, 2009|07:55 pm]

Virtual human development game

free human development game


Its actually an interesting game and doesn't take too much time to play, although you need to log in once a day.
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New Miley Cryus movie to be shot in my old stomping grounds [Jun. 7th, 2009|01:54 pm]
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I haven't been back to Tybee Island in 15 years, but its still my home in my heart. Maybe the movie will be bad enough that Mike Nelson will make a Rifftrax from it :) No matter how big this movie turns out to be, Burt Reynold's "Gator" will remain the ultimate Tybee movie for me.
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