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Some Of My Favorite Books…

Some Of My Favorite Books…

Some Of My Favorite Books…

I just saw a tweet by Alexis Radcliff a fantasy author who had this to say.

I thought it about and as someone who has written a book but can’t afford to have the book edited I think it’s a great idea. I can only imagine how amazing it would feel to have someone I don’t know praise my work in a review.  I have written a few words of praise on some authors Facebook and Twitter feeds but I don’t do it nearly enough.  So I thought today I would take some time recommend some books that I loved.  Not just liked but loved!  Books that are so good the words and characters in them have stuck with me over the years.

There is no order to this “list.”  These are just few works that pop into my head when I think about my favorite books.  And, no matter how accurate and detailed of a list I make I know that I will later remember other works that I liked just as much that I just didn’t have time to add to this list.  This isn’t a list of every single book I loved.  Besides, if I did that, I could never come up with “Some Of My Favorite Books… Volume II”

On a side note, even though I love a book there may be things I didn’t like about it and yet I consider it a favorite so I might rant a little about it.  I’m already looking at you Uncle Stevie…

So how about I quit rambling and get on with the list already?!

Memnoch The Devil By Anne RiceAnne Rice’s Memnoch the Devil. It’s an interesting story how I discovered this book.  I was walking through the mall and was passing a bookstore.  I noticed out of my peripheral vision the phrase, “The Vampire Chronicles”.  I stopped in my tracks and backed up a couple of steps to double check what I had just read.

You see I had just recently seen Interview with a Vampire with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.  I loved that movie.  I watched that movie and was drawn into it like it was a documentary.  I knew it was a based on a book, I had no clue the book was the first in a series.  I had to investigate.

I went into the bookstore and picked up the book, read the back of it and learned it was part of a series.  I bought the book on the spot and started reading it.  I will have to admit that I wasn’t impressed at first.  I had stopped reading it after about 50 pages or so. Went on to other books and then for some reason, one day I decided to give the book another chance and picked up where I had left off.  I couldn’t put it down.  Page after page I was enthralled.  It was written so well that you really believe Lestat de Lioncourt is really talking to you.  Back at the time I wasn’t so much of an atheist.  I just didn’t think about a god or god’s much.  However, as I read the book, it told an amazing tale of a Christian god and devil.

It was the first time I read anything dealing with religion that actually made sense.  I didn’t sell my possessions and go barefoot or anything.  Didn’t join a church either and I didn’t suddenly start to believe in any god’s. I will say that the world the book had created made the concept of a god and a devil make sense.  The book was absolutely fascinating!  Because of that book I went went back and started reading the series from the beginning.  That was almost 20 years ago to the day and Memnoch the Devil still stands as one of the most interesting works of fiction I’ve ever read.

The Stand By Stephen KingStephen King’s The Stand.  Uncle Stevie will be on the list a few times I’m sure.  This book was read at a time in my life when I literally had no possessions of my own.  Even the book was borrowed.  I ended up reading it twice.  The book took me on a journey.  The characters were so rich and fully developed.  I love the way Mr. King tells a story.  I’ve never read a book of his that I didn’t like.  Well, that’s not true. To be completely honest, and I know this is going to offend a lot of people, but, I didn’t care for the Gunslinger. I just couldn’t get into it. I was listening to it on an audio CD while making the long drive home from Vegas and the book was putting me to sleep.  I had to put on something else to listen to.  However, should I ever get the chance for another road trip I plan to give it another try.

Getting back to The Stand, I even enjoyed the TV movie with Rob Lowe though the book was infinitely better.  I remember as I read it feeling like I was part of the group of survivors.  Every time I had to put the book down for one reason or another I couldn’t wait to get back to it.  It’s a long book and certainly not for everyone but it stands out as one of the best post apocalyptic books every written.

The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert CraisThe Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais.  I think it was on page two when I actually had to back up and re-read the last sentence because I was positive that I had read it wrong.  I hadn’t and I actually laughed out loud.  I won’t say what the main character Elvis Cole said as I don’t want to ruin it.  All I will say is that it has to do with chocolate.  The book is simply a must a read.  It’s funny, it’s smart with a dry sense of humor that many, I am sure, won’t get.  But, for the those of us that do, every Elvis Cole mystery is pure joy.  It has heart pounding action, emotional moments you can feel with wit and sarcasm that is always perfectly timed.

Most of the books I “read” I don’t actually read.  I listened to a lot of them on audio as I used to drive cross country for work once or twice a year.  That being said, The Monkey’s Raincoat is a book that I actually read.  In fact so far all of the books I have listed thus far I have read.  Not all of them on this list will be books I’ve “read”. But, I’ve read and listened to enough of them to know that a good book, is a good book no matter the format.

World War Z Max BrooksWorld War Z by Max Brooks.  This is one of those books I listened to.  I was on my way from the High Desert in Southern California to Hollywood, FL.  I started this audio book about an hour into my trip.  I had stopped at a McDonald’s to get some food to go, got back on the freeway and started the book.  It was absolutely fascinating.  The audio book was read by a great many well known celebrities.  Award winning celebrities.

It was about 3pm when I started the book.  I remember being on the 10 FWY between the middle of nowhere Arizona and the middle of nowhere New Mexico when it came to a point in the story when a soldier is stranded on a FWY forced to walk.  It was like I was there, in some ways I was.  The way that the character described the zombies stuck in cars that couldn’t get out was eerie and yet tragically sad at the same time.  I can’t express how into it I got.  I mean it had me looking over my shoulder as I drove.  Expecting at any minute to see the walking dead meandering on to the FWY as I traveled along with our hero in mind as she made her way along that freeway.

The audio for the book is about 6 hours or so and is plays out over 6 CD’s.  I was so into the book that I couldn’t believe when I ejected CD number 5 that not only was I about to play the last CD already but that I had been driving for more than 6 hours already.  I had stopped for gas once already it didn’t even phase me.  The book was just that good.

Side note, whatever idiot decided to make the movie World War Z and have it not have anything to do with the book is a complete idiot!  Look it was a descent movie but it should have been called something else.  The only thing the movie had in common with the book were the zombies.

Zombie Fallout By Mark TufoZombie Fallout by Mark Tufo. Another book I listened to on audio.  It stands as one of the best, if not “The” Best zombie books every written.  There is an amazing sense of comic reality to this book.  The book has heart, suspense and the writing is so wonderfully crafted in wit and irony that the pleasure of reading it just oozes over as if you’re carefully being dipped in a vat of warm butterscotch.

The Zombie Fallout books are narrated by the amazing Sean Runnette.  He brings the words to life unlike any other book I’ve listened to before.  I could go on and on about how much I love the Zombie fallout series.  Sadly I am stuck at book six.  I have it on audio and haven’t been able to afford a serious road trip in years.  I have no idea when I will be able to get back to the series.  I miss it dearly.  I wonder what my friends up to and how they are doing.  I am a few books behind now in the series.

The Cell By Stephen KingThe Cell by Stephen King. I loved this book as well. Another book I listened to on one of those cross country drives.  It’s been years since I listened to it.  Sometimes when I see cute teen girls, doing cute teen things, I think of “pixie light and pixie dark” from the book.  The Cell is another post-apocalyptic story that just grabbed me from the start.

My only disappointment with it has nothing to do with the writing per say. It has to do with something Mr. King does a lot in his books that I hate.  He always takes at least one character that you love and then kills them towards the end.  I had always thought he did that needlessly for dramatic effect.  However, at the end of one of his audio books, maybe it was at the end Bag of Bones?  He discusses this issue in an interview on the audio book.  He says the best way to solve a moral conflict or dilemma in writing is to kill the character.  For example, in The Cell (SPOILER ALERT). the main character who is 30 year old guy, now widowed is obviously starting to fall in love with the another main character.  The problem, she is just 15 years old.

I had no problem with it.  It was the end of the world as we know it.  The rules have changed.  She was a strong and mature character.  But, it’s what our Uncle Stevie likes to call a moral dilemma and because of it, one of them must die.  He’s done this in a few of his books and it pisses me off every time.  I think it’s a cop out.  Stories need to be free to go wherever they go.  If we simply end those “moral dilemmas” by killing a character then we aren’t being true to the characters or the story.   Great literary works have always challenged or questioned societal norms and doing so for no other reason than not wanting to offend narrow minded people is simply wrong.

But, hey look at me getting all uppity and I haven’t had a single word published.  Uncle Stevie is one of my absolute favorite authors.  My point is that I think it’s shame he feels the need to sensor his work to appease a group of people that probably would never read his work to begin with.

Once again I have gone off on a tangent here.  The Cell is in my opinion one of Stephen King’s best works.  And, even though he once again solved a moral dilemma by killing a character he did it so well and with such shock and emotion I actually shouted out “Noooo!” as the tragic events unfolded in the book.  Brilliantly written.

Pillars Of The Eath By Ken FolletPillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.  I read this book a few decades ago and loved it.  It’s a long book that takes place over about a century as I recall.  I haven’t seen the mini-series that was made a couple of years ago though I do have the DVD.  I started to watch it but just couldn’t get in to it.  I don’t know why?  I do plan to give it another try someday.

However, the book was great and I can’t even begin to tell you why.  As I sit and think about it, I don’t know what makes me love this book so much other than it’s just a really good story that takes you back in time with the most vivid mental imagery.  I often think of Tom Builder and the pride he took in his work.  The book takes some work to read.  It takes place about a 1000 years ago in England and surrounding areas and there’s a lot of characters in it. But, it has a beautifully written grit to it that just sticks with you.

Dean Kontz's Life ExpectancyDean Kontz’s Life Expectancy. What an interesting a fun book.  It has one of the best endings of a book I have ever read.  I got a little choked up at how wonderful the ending was.  And, though it’s been years since I read it there are times when I am feeling of proud of myself for something and I exclaim, “Konrad Beezo, the greatest clown of all time!”  I don’t recall the actual quote said but that’s how I remember it being repeated by the crazed son of Konrad Beezo.  Just a fun, fun read.

I have read so many of Koontz’s books and have loved many of them.  This one stands out the most to me because the ending was just so perfect.  After all the tragedy our protagonists went through, the last moments made it all worthwhile.

Homebody by Orson Scott CardHomebody by Orson Scott Card.  One of his few books or maybe his only book that wasn’t science fiction.  It’s about a craftsman in the process of flipping a house.  He doesn’t really have a home, he lives in the houses that he restores until they are completed and then moves on to the next.  While working on his most recent house he discovers a young homeless woman has been living there.

It’s truly a magical story. It’s starts off based in reality and then slowly builds into a supernatural murder mystery.  I was almost cheering for the characters at the end of the book.  Another fantastic ending.  Just a great, great book.

Afraid By Jack KillbornAfraid by Jack Killborn. This book is by far the most suspenseful book I have ever read/listened to.  To give you an example of how amazingly suspenseful this book is.  Several years ago I started listening to this book on the 3 and 1/2 hour drive to Laughlin, NV.  Now, by the time I get to Laughlin I am always beside myself with excitement.  It’s all I can do to contain myself long enough to get checked into my room before I get to the blackjack tables.  However, on this trip when I pulled into the Colorado Belle’s parking lot I was right in the middle of another heart pounding moment in the book.  I actually drove around the parking lot for a good 15 or 20 minutes until the scene in the book I was listening to was over.

Afraid, jumps from character to character and each one’s story line get’s more and exciting as the story goes on and it was all I could do to pause the audio before I got sucked into the next characters storyline.  What a fun and intense book that was!

Well, I have come to the end of the list for now.  I just logged into my account and was reminded of dozens more that I wish I had the time to mention fully in this post.  So many favorites like Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz.  Extraordinary book! Hater by David Moody was simply fantastic.  Crota by Owl Goingback is another book that caught me by surprise.  I’ve listened to this one twice.  Nightmare House by Douglas Clegg is the first in the Harrow House series.  Loved it!  Brian Keene’s Castaways was great and it had a scene about fish that had me grossed out and laughing out loud at the same time.  So many, I could go on for hours.  Even now as I type this, more and books are flashing through my mind that I want to mention because they are every bit as good as the ones I’ve mentioned.

I can see already there is going to have to be the “Volume II” I joked about earlier.

That Time My Parents Thought I Was Digging Their Graves…

That Time My Parents Thought I Was Digging Their Graves…

That Time My Parents Thought I Was Digging Their Graves…

I was about 12 years old at the time and my parents had done something to piss me off.  I have no idea what it was.  I went to my room, mumbling the usually stuff under my breath that all kids do and then slammed the door.  After a few minutes, I was still so pissed off that I went outside and  into the backyard.  We had a pretty big backyard that was mostly weeds I had to mow every so often.

I wanted to build an underground fort with a tunnel!  I thought it would be cool so I started digging!  I got one hole started and then a few feet away I started to dig another.  I had no idea that my parents had taken notice of what I was doing.  I was just a kid trying to make a cool underground fort with it’s own little tunnel. But, they saw something completely different.

I had always been a huge horror movie fan.  I was into special effects makeup and I was always “killing” myself or doing other gruesome effects to surprise my parent when they came home.  So when I ran past them to go outside and started digging two holes side by side they looked at each other and thought, the same thing.  “Great, he’s digging our graves.” and then they laughed about it.

It’s funny how times change.  Back then, I was just being a kid and completely unaware of how my actions looked to others.  My parents never had any real concern that I was going to kill them but it did make for a good laugh at the time.  However, if I was a kid in today’s world, I think my parent’s response would be of shock and concern for my mental health.

There’s been so many cases of kids killing their parents, kids shooting up schools that it’s just instilled in us now.  Times were just different then.  For example, I recall many times as a young child, just 8 years old and being allowed to walk around Disneyland by myself.  My kids are college age now but even back when they were that young, I would never have let them walk around by themselves.  I don’t care how safe Disneyland is.  I just wouldn’t even consider it.  And yet, when I was a kid, it just wasn’t even a consideration that it might not be safe.  It was Disneyland, the happiest and safest place on earth.

Anyways, I never finished the tunnel.  It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be and after a couple of hours of diffing in the hard, rocky earth that is Rialto, CA, I had had enough of digging and went back inside to watch another horror movie.  As I recall, I think I was going to watch Friday the 13th part 2 or maybe it was the Howling for the 100th time? I think about trying to dig those tunnels a lot because always wished that I had finished them.  Now, knowing that my parents had for a second thought I was digging their graves, it really would have been nice to have been able to show them a tunnel instead of just telling them that’s what I was doing.

On the other hand, had I known at the time, that they had thought for a moment I was digging their graves, I would have gone with it.  Not with the intentions of harming them of course.  But, the creepiness factor alone of digging graves in the back yard would have been priceless had I thought of it.

When My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me See Jaws…

When My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me See Jaws…

When My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me See Jaws…

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws came out 40 years ago today.  When it came out I was 4 years old.  We lived in Okinawa because my dad was in the Army and stationed there.  Everyone I knew as a kid had seen the movie but my mother wouldn’t let me see it.  I was so pissed off.  My parents never treated me like a kid so I was shocked that I couldn’t see it.  I watched scary movies with them.  They took me to see every Bruce Lee movie and they were all rated R as I recall.  Jaws was just PG. I may have only been 4 years old but I was offended!

My mother, in an attempt to appease me, promised that if it ever comes out in the theaters again that she will take me to see it. She new that once a movie comes out in the theaters, it never gets re-released. It would be years and years before it was shown on TV.  That’s just the way it was back then.  There were no VCR’s, Cable TV or Pay Channels.  But, I didn’t know all of that. I did however remember the promise she made and a few later Jaws got re-released!

Jaws 2 was coming out and the studios decided to re-release Jaws prior to the sequel’s release to boost ticket sales and give those who hadn’t seen the first one a chance to see it.  I was one of those people and I wasn’t about to let my mother forget that promise she had made me. It had been nearly three years later but I was all over that promise.  She was good to her word and reluctantly took me to see it.

To say I loved the movie would have been an understatement.  It started a life long fascination with the sharks.  I read books about them, saw every movie I could about sharks.  The movie scared me but in a good way.  It made me think twice before I went to the beach and to be honest, it still does.  In fact I can’t think of time in the past 40 years while at the beach and in the water that someone has mentioned Jaws in some way.  I still go in the water but there isn’t a second that I am in it that I’m not looking around for a shark.

I remember some people saying the shark looked fake and I thought, bullshit!  I had seen photos of Great Whites, it didn’t look fake.  They said, sharks don’t jump out of the water.  I said, yes they do.  Years later we have amazing videos and photos of sharks breaching their wet world when chasing prey.  We’ve seen them swim to one side, just enough so that they can look around above the water line. So many of the things shown in that movie that were thought to be fiction about sharks behavior tuned out to be fact.

Though immediately after the release of Jaws, the film did more harm than good for the sharks.  We killed millions of these beautiful creatures for sport.  People feared them.  The only good shark was a dead shark.  It’s the typical idiocy of the human condition to fear what we don’t understand.  Smart people want to study the unknown.  Stupid people either want to kill it or ban it.  Tragically, there are more stupid people in this world than smart ones.

However, after the initial fear of Jaws passed a fascination began to emerge with the public.  We started to protect them.  Hell, now we take a week every year to celebrate them.  “Shark Week” has grown consistently bigger every year.  And, they certainly deserve the praise and tribute.  They’ve been the top ocean predator for 450 million years.  They outlived the mass extinction and will probably outlive us.

So, in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Jaws, here some fun shark facts and film facts.

The famous Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) quote, “We’re gonna to need a bigger boat.” is actually not what he said.  He exclaimed, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

The safest time to swim in the ocean is midday.   Sharks typical feed from dusk till dawn.

Quint played by Robert Shaw re-wrote the “Indianapolis” speech he said in the film and it’s to this day, one of the speeches in film history.

If attacked by a shark, it’s better to go after the sharks eyes or gills than to try hitting it’s nose.  It’s eyes and gills may not be as sensitive but sharks are more protective of them and you have a better chance of keeping your hand if you go for the eyes instead.

Peter Benchley who wrote the Book the film was based on was disgusted and saddened by the senseless slaughter of sharks after the film came out.  He spent the rest of his life trying to educate people about sharks.

In some of the scenes when Richard Dreyfuss’ character was supposed to be in the shark cage, they used a little person so that the shark would look bigger in comparison.

Sharks attack roughly 100 people every year.  Of those attacks about 5 of them will die.  We kill an estimated 60 to 100 million sharks every year.

Jaws was the first summer blockbuster.  Summer had always been the slow seasons for films.  Jaws forever changed that.

The Anti-Vax Cult And Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych…

The Anti-Vax Cult And Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych…

I posted a rant yesterday about the anti-vax cult and I planned on being done with it.  But, no sooner had I posted my rant, I receive a twit notification that someone mentioned me in a tweet.  I check it out and it’s a story about an anti-vaxxer.  Not just any ant-vaxxer but an “Immunologist.”  She’s so anti-vax that she’s written a book about what she thinks and I have to tell you it has these cultists near orgasmic with joy.  I could tell by the amount of favorites her tweets got. They love it when they find someone official that agrees with their delusions.  And, this one is an actual Immunologist so that is like the Golden Ticket for them.

Sadly though, it took me less then a minute to find her book demolished and debunked.  One doctor, I will post a link to below, pointed out how Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych cherry picked data to make her point.  I’ve a got a couple of links that debunk Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych I will post below.

What made me decide to jump back into this is my outrage out how blinded these cultists are.  They are so excited to get someone on their side that they simply don’t care about the truthfulness of a study, a report, a blog post or a book as long as it coincides with their ideology.  They don’t care about it being peer reviewed.  All they need is someone claiming to be a doctor.  There is no fact checking involved with these people.  And, Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych’s book and recent “Open Letter” is a perfect example of this.

Here’s the thing, if Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych had anything to say about the vaccines she’s against then she needs to have her work published in a legitimate medical journal so that it can be peer reviewed.  She hasn’t.  Instead she wrote a book about it.  Why?  Because her data is flawed and doesn’t stand up to the kind of medical scrutiny she would receive had she published in a respected medical journal.

Also, does anyone have any idea how many allergists / immunologists there in the world? I don’t either. However, in the united states there are roughly 5,449 Board Certified allergists in the United States alone.   Of all of those there seems to be only one of them that is anti-vaccine.  One out thousands!  Of course there could be more, I just haven’t found any.  But, one is all that it takes for these anti-vaxxers to keep believing in the idiocy of the anti-vax movement.  Seriously, think about that.  All the research and data that is available and this one Immunologist is the only one who has determined that Vaccines don’t work all that well.

This is why the anti-vaxxers are so dangerous.  They refuse to look at all the data available.  They ignore every bit of science, every study that doesn’t agree with what they want to believe and they keep preaching and praising each other for their fear and ignorance.  It is the epitome of denial.

The simple facts remain that the overwhelming majority of the medical community agree that vaccines are safe and effective.  There is no evidence reliable evidence to suggest otherwise.  There are only opinions based on cherry picked information and debunked studies.  There hasn’t been a study released by an anti-vax doctor confirming their claims that hasn’t been scientifically debunked.  If there was, there would still be a debate.  The debate is over and the cultists need to understand that until they can provide science based facts published in a legitimate peer reviewed journal that says other wise there is no debate.  Their cry is nothing more than opinion based on half-truths and bad science.

As always, this is just a rant.  I am not a doctor and have never claimed to be.  Don’t take my word for anything.  Talk to real doctors and ask them good questions.  As them why they believe that vaccines work.  Educate yourself.  I can post links all day proving my point to a scientific fact but the internet is no place to get serious medical advise. Trust your doctors, ask more than one of them.  Get a consensus only then can you make a truly informed decision.

Once again, here are my references for this post.

Number of Board Certified allergists in the United States

Appeal to false authority – who is Tetyana Obukhanych

Why Does This Immunologist Reject Vaccinations?

The Anti-Vax Cult…

The Anti-Vax Cult…

The Anti-Vax Cult…

a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.



Yes, a lot of the anit-vaxxors have become cult like.  When you refuse to accept any explanation other than what you want to believe, you are not a skeptic.  You’ve gone from being a skeptic to a fanatic.  These are important distinctions to keep in mind.  You have to ask yourself honestly, when you are provided with evidence that goes against what you believe, do you consider it openly?  Or, do you just reject it because you think you already know the truth?

The other day I saw a fear mongering tweet made by a celebrity known for being part of the anti-vaxxer cult.  In her tweet she said, “Again…Im not ANTI vaccines but we MUST take responsibility 4 choosing which ones WE give OUR children & ourselves.They aren’t ALL harmless“.  I wasn’t going to name the celebrity out of respect but as I just went to get the exact quote and couldn’t find it, I discover that she has blocked me from her twitter. I wasn’t rude or disrespectful and only responded to her a few times.  Since she has blocked me it means I can’t see any of her tweets now.  Because she has not shown the slightest bit of respect towards me I see no reason to show her any respect in return. Respect, is earned not given and I wasn’t even given a chance.  I even had commented to one of her fans who suggested that her and I were fighting that I didn’t believe we were. I was just asking to her to post her facts.  I was completely civil towards her.

It was Kirstie Alley doing the fear mongering.  And, her tactics are working.  I was inundated with responses from one cult member after another.  She lights the fire and then runs away and let’s her minions do the work.  Brilliant but cowardly.

Now before I get into the meat of the rant, let me explain why her comment is fear mongering and ignorant.  First, if you don’t fear vaccines you would never say that you need to take responsibility for choosing the ones to give your kids.  It’s like saying, “I’m not anti-carseat but not all of them are safe.”  There is no reason to make the statement if she wasn’t trying to promote a fear of or concern for vaccines.  Whether she’s bright enough to understand that’s what she’s doing or not, she is promoting an agenda of fear.

She even went on to say, “Google it…Many physicians disagree with certain vaccines…some will actually speak up.” What kind of conspiracy logic is that?!  Seriously, if they haven’t come out against it than how does she know they are against it?  The complete lack of logic and basic understanding of how science works coupled with a complete ignorance of risk versus reward is simply staggering. Furthermore, any doctor that has actual evidence or research that they feel proves a serious risk of side effects is a coward for not saying so.

You have got to remember that everything has possible side effects.  Vitamin C can have them and so can eating an baked potato.  Take for example, Motrin.  It can have some very serious side effects that can include, ash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin, blistering, peeling, loosening of skin, coma, seizures, vomiting of blood and sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth or on lips to name a few and yet it’s sold over the counter.  It can be sold over the counter because the risks are very low.

Another thing I was confronted with were people pointing out lists of doctors that claim to be against vaccines.  One one such list had Dr. Nancy Banks listed first.  I clicked the link and watched her video.  She ignorantly tries to make the argument that since the diagnosis of autism has risen over the years that it must be the rise in vaccinations.  She should know better than that.  First of all ask most doctor that treat autism and ask them how has the diagnosis for this has changed over the years. They will tell you that because they have become better at diagnosing it.  The medical definition has changed over the years so thus they have naturally seen a rise in diagnoses of it.  The better doctors become at recognizing the sings of autism the more it’s going to be diagnosed.  And, it’s diagnosed at tremendously higher levers than before based on science and testing.  Not due to an increase in MMR vaccine.  There is no scientific evidence to suggest otherwise.

One person whose child developed some life long illness believes it’s because of the MMR vaccine.  She is sadly mistaken.  She actually said that she wishes her daughter had just had the measles instead.  Really?  Chances are her kid would be every bit as ill today and possibly dead if not for that vaccine.  But nope, this person is convinced that it was the vaccine.  She has no proof at all, just the baby got the shot and then some time later got sick.  She simply can’t accept that sometimes bad things happen and there is no excuse.  It’s natural to want to blame something or someone but sometimes bad things just happen.  If she had any facts that vaccines caused her child’s illnesses, she certainly didn’t say so.

The problem is that the actual evidence just doesn’t support the conclusion some of these wacko doctors like Dr. Nancy Banks are preaching. Her video on YouTube ran about a minute forty-five before I was able to debunk it and I’m not even a doctor.  How do I know what I have said is true about doctors knowing more about autism now?  Because I have talked doctors.  I had a friend whose child has autism and I asked my doctor about it.  I’m always asking my doctors questions because I know that no matter how much I can Google this and that, it doesn’t take the place of years of eduction.  I know that my doctors know more than I do and when most of them agree on something, I’m gonna go ahead and take the odds that they are right.  To do otherwise isn’t ignorant, it’s stupid.

I mentioned risk versus reward and it seems these cult members can’t understand it when it comes to vaccines.  It can be looked at it this way.  Every year in the United States there are roughly 30,000 people that die in car accidents.  There are roughly 2.35 million injuries from car crashes every year.  Think about these numbers.  We all drive, are passengers or cross the street.  Hell sometimes a person can just be sitting in a restaurant having lunch and a car can crash into the store.  These numbers are huge but most of us don’t think twice before getting behind the wheel of an automobile. That’s because whether we it’s a conscious act or not we all have decided that driving is worth the risk.  Even if it’s just to go for a Sunday drive.  We don’t even think about the risks and they are by far greater than that of getting a simple vaccine.  We all risk death and series injury every single time we get behind the wheel and most of us do it every single day.  For the most part, we feel totally safe going for a drive.  Statistically, most accidents happen within 5 miles of our home. Our safety behind the wheel is just an illusion.

Let’s say the most dire anti-vaxxor stats are true as to the death tolls and illnesses causes by vaccines.  Even if all of it were true, owning a dog would be a bigger risk than getting vaccinated. Yet for some reason when it comes to vaccines the same people that risk death or injury by going for a drive every single day refuse to give their children vaccines or even flu shots because of an unrealistic and unsupported belief that these vaccines are harmful.  They simply are not and study after study confirms this.  Why do they believe this?  Because a very few amount of doctors and celebrities have come out against them.  They have provided misleading stats and studies designed specifically to show the outcome they want to see.  It’s just that plain and simple.

Every single link I looked at posted by one of these cult members I was able to look at and see the error in their way.  This is why it’s so hard to not call anti-vaxxors stupid.  If they looked at what these doctors were actually saying, they could see how these doctors are obviously promoting an agenda of fear. Their arguments do not hold water when put to the test.  They are constantly being debunked because they are promoting ideas not science.  Or, they use what’s called pseudoscience.  The pick and choose real things that sound bad and ignore the things that sound good.

A perfect example you hear these cult members talking about the chemicals used in some vaccines.  A big one is formaldehyde.  When you hear that can be in some vaccines it’s sound horrible!  They fill the veins of the dead with that stuff, who wants it in their body?  It can’t be healthy?  Well, news flash.  Formaldehyde can be naturally produced in our bodies.  If you’re a actually educated you should already know this.  Yet, once we read that image our friend posts on Facebook that lists the ingredients of vaccines it’s not hard to see why so many people get tricked into believing vaccines can pose a danger.  Add to it the celebrities like Kirstie Alley that drop shit bombs for their fans and then cowardly run away, it’s easy to understand how these people get mislead.

When I mistakenly responded to Kirstie Alley i got hit with a shit storm of anti-vaxxor cult members.  They came out of the woodwork to throw bad studies and bad science at me to prove their misguided point.  I couldn’t respond to every attack and it was seriously frustrating me that I couldn’t.  One of the first people to come after me posted several doctor names that supported the anti-vax movement.  I took the first name on the list, reviewed it and gave a link right back showing why that doctors opinions had already been debunked.  No response to my post. Just a barrage of links to more studies and doctors that back up their irrational fear of vaccines.

You can tell when people are blinded by ignorance by the way they respond to things.  An easy way to tell is when they bombard you with links that back up their ignorant beliefs.  You can’t respond to everyone, you just can’t.  I found myself searching for responses by medical experts and as soon as I’d post one there were 5 more links thrown at me.   This is a tactic done by people who are usually on the wrong side of an argument.  They don’t want to hear what you have to say or what your response to it is.  They just want to beat you down their stupidity until you give up and walk away.

Another way to tell you’re dealing with people who have weak arguments.  When they ask a question and don’t give you time to answer it.  This coincides with the reason I just mentioned but it’s more than that.  This is because they are asking questions that they have no interest in hearing the answers to.   For them, their question is more rhetorical in nature because they don’t respond to answers.  All they do is just keep asking more questions or posting more ridiculous links to things that back up their ignorance and stupidity.  It will never matter what facts you provide them, they will always find an excuse to not believe them.  “The site is pro vaccine site” or “The CDC has lied before” or “My kid got sick after getting a vaccine shot so I know better than all the pro vaccine doctors.”  These people are sad and ridiculous but most of all their ignorance is dangerous.

These signs tell you they don’t want a conversation or a debate, their minds are made up already and there is nothing you can say or do to change their minds.  It’s why I stopped responding to the tweets the other day.  After wasting all day on these idiots I was getting nowhere.  No one took a moment to respond to any fact I posted.  I was just continually attacked with a mass of stupidity.

One of my personal flaws is that I don’t handle stupidity well.  I don’t care if I say or do something stupid or someone else does.  No one rides themselves harder than I do. If I make a mistake or get something wrong, I mentally beat the crap out of myself over it and I try to learn from my mistake.  The nicest thing I could say to these people was that their opinions were ignorant.  And, that was as nice as I could be because their opinions were, in reality, bat shit crazy.  They weren’t ignorant, they were stupid and paranoid.  Their fear is irrational and they apparently have problems with being wrong.

And, I almost can’t blame them when irresponsible doctors like Dr. Nancy Banks go on YouTube rants spouting this kind of idiocy.  She’s a doctor and she should know better.   But, just being a doctor doesn’t make you right.  What makes you right is when you publish your findings and everyone else can conduct the same study and come up the same results.  Everything else is just an opinion and as she just proved, not all opinions are worth the breath taken to utter them.

I read almost every single link these people threw at me and tried my best to respond with facts that can’t be challenged.  Real facts spoken by real doctors.  What they kept throwing at me was misleading information masked as facts.  They simply just have their minds made up and they are going to ignore or discount any thing that disagrees with what they want to believe.  They have gone from becoming a healthy skeptic to members of a cult.

At one point a lady brought up the “Vaccine Court.”  This is something a lot of anti-vaxxors like to bring up as if it is proof to them that vaccines are harmful because the court has awarded money to some people who claim to have been victims of vaccines. This is proof of nothing! This court came to be in the early 80’s and the standard for proof needed to prove someone suffered an illness from a vaccine is far less then what is required from to prove from a scientific standpoint. A win in civil court is not proof of guilt and anyone that says or implies otherwise is misrepresenting the facts. Vaccine court is a civil court, not a criminal court.

I am a what the scientific community would call a healthy skeptic.  When I hear the word “study” I don’t outright believe it for a few reasons.  One reason is because a study doesn’t mean it’s a fact.  Studies can show whatever you want them to show.  It’s all about how objective they are.  The more objective a study is, the more likely it is to represent the truth.  For example, the primary study that many anti-vaxxers still quote is one that has been debunked for about two decades now and the doctor that headed that study has lost his medical license.  Most of the doctors involved in the study have had their names removed from it.

Andrew Wakefield’s debunked study is still causing people to fear vaccines.  And, to prove how irrational the anti-vaxxer cult has become, many still follow the man even though he is no longer even a doctor.  To these people it’s all a big conspiracy.  The sad part is they’re right, there was a conspiracy but it wasn’t to discredit Wakefield.  It was Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent attempt to discredit the current MMR vaccine because he wanted to market one of his own.  If he could discredit the current vaccine then he could introduce his and make his own “Big Pharma” money.

Think about that.  So many of the reasons people fear vaccines, and a big one is “Big Pharm” as they like to call it.  A lot of these anti-vaxxers believe they make their money from these things when they simply don’t.  The irony being that the study these people believe in was actually part of a conspiracy to make Andrew Wakefield millions by releasing his own vaccine.  Yet, these cultists keep on believing this guy.  It’s insanity.

So when it comes to studies, you have to keep an open mind.  And, the problem with the anti-vaxxer studies is that they are shown to be either inaccurate or purposefully misleading and yet they still continue to believe them. These people have lost their objectiveness.  They just want to believe what they want believe.

I have researched the anti-vaxxer delusion several times.  Every single time I look for a reason to prove that vaccines aren’t safe, I can’t find one.  What I find are tons and tons of articles out there provided by the anti-vaxxer community and I have yet to find one peace of information that hasn’t been debunked, in one way or another by the majority of real doctors and scientists.

Like any community there are going to be good and bad.  However, when it comes to the medical community the overwhelming majority support vaccines.  As I recall it’s something like 81% of doctors support vaccinations.  However, that’s just one study I have read others that claim a much higher rate.  I posted the 81% stat because it was the lowest one I had ever read. I want to show that even being generous of the number of anti-vax doctors that when I say the “overwhelming” majority I am not exaggerating. Seriously, how can you ignore the majority like that?  What level of delusions must one suffer from to reject the more than 80% or the medical community?

It’s excuse after excuse with these people.  No matter what evidence is shown to them, they come up with more nonsense and paranoia.  It’s truly sad.  One person started coming at me saying I wanted everyone to be required by law to get vaccinated.  I absolutely don’t want a law requiring that.  I never once said that I did.  I don’t believe the government should be making vaccines mandatory.  However, to enter public schools, the military and so on, they should be required, absolutely.

I only wish the anti-vax cult would use an open when they do their Googling.  I read so many responses by these cult members that were simply illogical and completely delusional.  Several times responses I posted went ignored because the “site” I linked to had a pro-vaccine reputation.  How insane is that?  Of course it does, when the vast majority of doctors recommend vaccines what do they expect?  But, it’s no reason to ignore the data.  These people find the most ridiculous reasoning to avoid accepting the truth.

For example, I have been in a lot of political debates with right wingers and every single time they end up posting a link to FOX News or a right wing blog.  In my mind, I already know that the information is probably going to be biased and misleading.  But, it doesn’t stop me from clicking the link to read what they have to say.  I do this because I can’t respond to them it if I haven’t read what they have said.  I always keep at least enough of an open mind to hear a person out if I have entered a discussion with them. If I have engaged the person then I owe them a complete response.  I just wish they would return the favor.  Kirsty Alley is a perfect example of this.  She makes her comments, then refuses to hear anyone out that disagrees with her.

Below are some links that support a lot of what I said here.  If you’re anti-vaxxor these probably aren’t going to mean much to you but if you haven’t stepped over the edge yet and still consider yourself a healthy skeptic then all of these make for good reads.  If you’re short of time I suggest the video in the New York Times article.  It pretty much sums everything up.

And, one last thing, if you’re some anti-vaxxer and can’t sleep without telling me how wrong I am, feel free.  Just don’t expect a response.  Chances are I am never going to read your response anyways.  This is a rant.  My rants are by nature opinionated but I try very hard to post facts supporting my opinions.  If you disagree with the facts, that’s your problem.  Not mine.  This is rant is not an invite to a debate.  You will gain nothing by debating me.  Even if you are successful and get me to join the cult.  It changes nothing.  What you need to do is convince the doctors and scientists, not me.  Because, they are who I listen to.

Annual United States Road Crash Statistics

Ibuprofen Side Effects

Majority Of Autism Increase Due To Diagnostic Changes, Finds New Study

This link has a great video that helps to explain not only what happened with the Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent report but how this idea of vaccines being dangerous has really begun to take root…

A Discredited Vaccine Study’s Continuing Impact on Public Health

7 Biggest Lies Spread by the Anti-Vaccine Movement, Debunked by Science

Journal Club Debunks Anti-Vaccine Myths

Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Is there a cure for the anti-vaxxers?

Debunking the Anti-Vaccine Pseudoscience

How To Argue With The Anti-Vaccine Crazies: A Guide

15 Common Anti-Vaccine Arguments and Why They are a Load of Crap