All posts for the month August, 2022

Van Gogh

Published August 31, 2022 by Nan Mykel


In December, 1888,  while with Paul Gaughin, Van Gogh’s left ear was cut off.

Image:  Vincent Van Gogh with his bandaged left ear missing.  What?  The bandage is over his right ear!  But it’s a self portrait and he was looking in the mirror, I guess… The artistic genius was a troubled man….

Vincent Vab Gogh’s Biography:  Mental Health   Source:   Hundreds of physicians and psychiatrists have tried to define Van Gogh’s medical conditions over the years. The following are some of the more probable mental and physical diagnoses.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Van Gogh suffered from seizures which doctors, including Dr. Felix Rey and Dr. Peyron, believed to be caused by temporal lobe epilepsy. Van Gogh was born with a brain lesion that many doctors believe was aggravated by his prolonged use of absinthe causing his epileptic condition. Dr. Gachet, another of Van Gogh’s physicians, was thought to have treated his epilepsy with digitalis. This prescription drug can cause one to see in yellow or see yellow spots. This may have been one of the reasons why Van Gogh loved this color.

Bipolar disorder

Due to Van Gogh’s extreme enthusiasm and dedication to first religion and then art coupled with the feverish pace of his art production many believe that mania was a prominent condition in Van Gogh’s life. However, these episodes were always followed by exhaustion and depression and ultimately suicide. Therefore, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or manic depression makes sense with the accounts of these episodes in Van Gogh’s life.

Thujone poisoning

In order to counter act his attacks of epilepsy, anxiety, and depression, Van Gogh drank absinthe, a toxic alcoholic drink popular with many artists at the time. Thujone is the toxin in absinthe. Unfortunately, the Thujone worked against Van Gogh aggravating his epilepsy and manic depression. High doses of thujone can also cause one to see objects in yellow. Various physicians have differing opinions on whether or not this is what caused Van Gogh’s affinity with yellow.

Lead poisoning

Because Van Gogh used lead based paints there are some who believe he suffered from lead poisoning from nibbling at paint chips. It was also noted by Dr. Peyron that during his attacks Van Gogh tried to poison himself by swallowing paint or drinking kerosene. One of the symptoms of lead poisoning is swelling of the retinas which can cause one to see light in circles like halos around objects. This can be seen in paintings like The Starry Night.


Hypergraphia is a condition causing one to need to write continuously; this disorder is commonly linked to mania and epilepsy. Some believe that the massive collection of over 800 letters Van Gogh wrote during his lifetime could be attributed to this condition.


Because Van Gogh strived for realism in his paintings he was often painting outdoors especially during his times in the South of France. Some of his episodes of hostility and the nausea and “bad stomach” he refers to in his letters may have been the effects of sunstroke.  From <>

Vincent cut off his left ear on 23 December 1888. It was the first of several serious breakdowns that plagued him until his tragic suicide a year and a half later. We don’t know precisely what his illness was, but it had a huge impact on him.

Are There MAGA Poets?

Published August 31, 2022 by Nan Mykel

The poetry I read and attempt to write feels like it is inspired by –what would it be called?–a creative, almost spiritual source.

Suddenly I try to imagine what kind of poem a MAGA devotee would write, so I looked it up on Google.  First I came up with The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump by Rob Sears.  Since it was “unauthorized,” I decided that wouldn’t be fair, so I persevered in my internet search.  Under a search phrase of Poetry by Conservatives I found Rob Sears had authored another book,  Vladimir Putin: Life Coach, which had no customer reviews but earned a 4-star rating.  “Be the dictator you’ve always dreamed of being, with this handy guide to life inspired by everyone’s favourite autocrat.”   You’ve got to know that I wondered if this was on the level, or a spoof, so I looked further.  Maybe poetry wasn’t indexed by the political leanings of the editor, or even the poet?  I tried some more:  Oh, I see…I got a peek under the first poem’s title and it wasn’t written by Donald Trump, I can tell you!

So, how about looking up conservatives by their name and see what poetry they’ve written?  I looked–surely there are some MAGA folks who wrote poetry before Trump tricked them?  If you look, and find them please let me know….This can be continued in a subsequent blog.  I’m really curious.


1. William Wordsworth, ‘London, 1802’.

2. Percy Shelley, ‘England in 1819

3. Ambrose Bierce, ‘A Political Apostate’.

4. Emma Lazarus, ‘The New Colossus’.

5. Rudyard Kipling, ‘Recessional’.

6. W. B. Yeats, ‘Easter 1916’.

7. e. e. cummings, ‘next to of course god america ’.

8. W. H. Auden, ‘September 1, 1939’ 
9. Audre Lorde, ‘Coal’.  Since Lorde was a self-described ‘Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, and poet she appears not have been a conservative, nor was number 10:.
10. Nikki Giovanni, ‘Rosa Parks’.

(This may have been a thankless research project but– under the Google entry “Political poetry” is the definition:  “poetry that is related to activism, protest, and social concern, or that is commenting on social, political, or current events. Read poems for social justice, politics, Black Lives Matter, and protest.”  (Doesn’t sound real conservative…)

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Published August 29, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Offering paper towels to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico…


OH OH!  All that’s left in my Media Library

of the photo of other candidates on CNN crossing their heart while the National Anthem

is playing, except Donald Trump.  See my blog for September 24, 2017


No Comment…

What Over the Hill Looks Like

Published August 28, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Three years ago the following  (by me) was published in The Avalon Review:

RELAX — the image is not really me


Smooth sailing,  that’s what it’s like.  If you get old enough folks don’t expect much out of you anyway, so take out your hearing aids and get comfy.  Finally, you can just ignore the aches and pains that aren’t the real you, and  enjoy what’s been bubbling up inside all these years.

Honor yourself and let the creative juices flow.  You’re free to mix up the years, even the people if you want.  Get out the crayons, the paints, scoot up to a computer and let ‘er rip.  You’ve seen a lot, got good stories under your belt.  Get them on paper and even if they won’t listen, they can read them some day, or you can sneak them out of the house  and tell others.

When you kick the bucket you’ll be the center of attention.  O the tears, the lament!  They’ll be interested then. They’ll realize they don’t know the stories of their own family.  Too late now to ask.

Don’t get bitter. Did you behave any better yourself?  Let it all go.  Make collages out of pictures in magazines!   Try playing with words.  You’re a poet and didn’t know it?  Now you know.

Have you heard that they’re encouraging folks to get into music, if they haven’t when growing up?  They say music keeps you young–if you want to be young.  Remember those old-time fiddlers and washboard musicians? And the foot-tapping?

I say “you” when I really mean “me,” or “us.”  We’ll write down our dreams and share. Don’t have to tell the young everything!  Just in time, they’ve invented flash fiction.  It’s the new style and it comes in handy when you start doing things in spurts.  Remember it’s not over until the ice man cometh, or  some such thing.

My Emotions This Week

Published August 27, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Image:   Johnson Tsang



DISMAY — For two months now China has been enduring a prolonged heat wave.  The New Scientist reported that hundreds of places have reported temperatures of more than 40°C (104°F), and many records have been broken. Subway stations have set up rest areas where people can recover from the heat.  On 18 August, the temperature in Chongqing in Sichuan province reached 45°C (113°F).

APPRECIATION —  Finished reading an enjoyable and exceptionally well-written book, Entwined, by Joyce Wallace Scott, whose Down Syndrome twin sister spent more than three decades in a state institution.

FRUSTRATION — Having spent more than fifty dollars on a new bird feeder, two days have passed and not a single bird has visited to peck at the new,  easy-to-reach bird seed.

ENJOYMENT —  Spent time at a local thrift store with super wonderful, unusual items, including an illustrated book of myths.

EMBARASSED  — to realize that my state of residence is so reactionary, especially in the areas of abortion, gun control, gerrymandering and public schools.

WORRIED — A Trojan virus tried to invade my computer but I knew what to do: unplug the computer immediately.  Then I had to wrangle a bit to get my computer and phone working again.

RESOLVED — To continue working on my 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, which I’ve been working on for a good two weeks now.

CHAGRINED —  I read the truth about Woodrow Wilson and the extreme censorship he condoned by his segregationist postmaster, the former Rep. Albert Sidney Burleson who, in the era of World War I,  declared certain newspapers and other publications “undeliverable,” and confiscated them.  A Justice Department special agent seized one periodical from the Wells Fargo Express company.  An early version of the Espionage Act  allowed Burleson to declare 44 American periodicals entirely “unmailable,” followed later by an additional 30 more. The in-depth article, “The Censor,”  is by Adam Hochschild in the current Mother Jones.  I had always thought well of Wilson.




Published August 24, 2022 by Nan Mykel

First, what’s the story behind the ads selling U.S. postage stamps?  I can’t imagine.  If it’s a scam, why is it advertising itself?  The more I wonder about it the crazier it seems.   I’m stubborn and don’t like to Google everything!


Second is not so much a wondering as it is a sharing.  Acording to Mother Jones, Martin Luther King Jr. was refused a gun license despite credible threats to him and his family.  The article refrained from pointing out that he was eventually killed by a white man’s gun.


The following is not so much a wondering as it is an answer to questions tht arise when reading the daily news.  I’m educating myself as I share.  For instance, what are the recent generations’ definitions?  Oh, alright, I used Google:  Currently, five generations make up our society.

What are the primary generations today?

  • Generation Alpha, named but not characterized except by some politicians…It hasn’t happened yet…
  • Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born 1996 – 2015.
  • Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 – 1995.
  • Generation X: Born 1965 – 1976.
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964.
  • Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before.

So what happened after 2015?  And who says the Silent Generation is silent?  I reckon 2015 to present and beyond might some day be dubbed “End of the World As We Know It.”  Or–might 2022 forward be the generation “That Saved the World As We Know It?”  I keep on reading…Generation Z (or Gen Z for short), colloquially known as zoomers, is the demographic cohort succeeding Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha.


LOL…I’m never sure what that means.  Lots of Luck?  Lots of Love?  Via Google I learn it also can mean Laughing Out Loud,  even “I hear you.”


I think by now we’ve all learned the meanings of  Woke  and Cancel Culture


MAGA – “Make America Great Again,”  Trump’s slogan

Antifa – Antifa’ is a shortened version of ‘anti-fascist

WASP –  White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: an older descriptive acronym for a racially prejudiced person

KKK – Ku Klux Klan,  with its long history of violence, is the oldest and most infamous of American hate groups

Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and the Proud Boys are only three of a number of  US terrorist groups.  Google has an apparent hesitancy in listing many of the paramilitary groups across the US.


That’s enough for today…


Published August 23, 2022 by Nan Mykel




My family thinks I’m paranoid, but I’m thinking I’m Miss Pollyanna and too trusting.

I just put two and two together and got four, instead of five… I never realized that mankind/womankind has tipped the scales so that dark colors are associated with death and dying. And age.  The symbolic slur occurs even in gift giving of new clothes.  Somehow, folks seem to feel more comfortable easing oldsters out of tbe limelight by relegating them to the dark side.

The first time I realized this (okay, suspected this), was when one of my children warned me not to give my young nieces any jewelry with brown stones in it.  (I often gave fossilized jewelry of the darker kind),  “because they won’t wear it.”

Then I looked in my closet.  Am I molded (thanks, Darwin!) to dressing myself precipitously in the colors of the cold, cold ground?  Quoth the raven (and me) “Nevermore!”

(Image is of Granny D, who completed her 3,200 mile walk for campaign finance reform, from California to Washington D.C., arriving in 2000 at the age of ninety.  I’m pretty sure she selected her own color in which to march for campaign reform.)


Published August 19, 2022 by Nan Mykel


I’ve been criticized (by my family) for using this blog as though it was Facebook.  I reckon that’s justified, because I try not to use either Facebook or Amazon.  (It’s a moral kind of thing).  So, I’ve been wondering how I’ll know if my Word Press friends have passed on into the great unknown or just gotten lazy…sick, maybe?  That’s why I’m suggesting that we ready an obituary to be posted on our blog when we pass away [never say die!]   A lucky-to-be-alive person could be appointed (before we die) to post it for us.

I’ve already written mine.  It’s complete but for the date.  Not that I’m rarin’ to go….



Published August 18, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Irreparable harm appears to lie in wait for us if the Republican shenanigans take hold in our country.  The situation gets wilder and wilder with the passage of time and the approach of elections.  I speak of what is being done to the ragtag of our public schools and the profession of medicine.  I don’t refer to the Mir-a-lego combustion.  Hopefully that is being attended to elsewhere.

My first concern is the eradication of sex education in the public schools.  Why did we ever begin sex education?  All those issues will become caustic again.  What is this?  Along with forbidden abortions  we’re not going to warn children?  How dark! Not only did unwanted pregnancies cry out for sex education, but also vulnerability to child sexual abuse.  “A third of sexually abused children are abused before the age of nine.” (Finkelhor, 1986, p 229).  “Stranger danger” wasn’t a joke.

Equally as nervy and destructive is attacking the physician’s time-worn oath to “do no harm.”  If recently passed state prohibitions prevail,  some states will find themselves with a crippling doctor shortage. (I’m trying not to say, “and it serves them right.”)  “If you see a fleeing of providers from states that have severely restricted their ability to practice in line with their moral compass and medical ethics, it will be a huge loss to public and community health,” said Jamila Perritt, an abortion provider in Washington, D.C., and the president and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health. “We don’t have to guess what’s going to happen. We already see the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in places like Louisiana and Mississippi. But we’ll see much more of that as these bans continue to sweep the country.”

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