One-Eyed Chuck and the Dolphins Cheerleader

There comes a point in every guy’s life to make a decision.

OK. This has nothing to do with mid-life crises or turning 50 or any of that shit. This has to do with facing down a whole different kind of fear. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My moment happened the other weekend when I swatted a gnat away from my head. I inadvertently hit my reading glasses (which I was wearing) and broke them.

An international crisis by no means, certainly. But when you’re in the reading and writing business it ain’t a good thing. So there I was, broken glasses hanging halfway off my nose.

In a sense, I didn’t mind so much. Because I really hate my glasses. I don’t mind that I can’t read without assistance anymore. Can’t do anything about that. The things I can manage, I do. I can do about 40 or so push-ups. About 11-1/2 pull-ups. My blood pressure is somewhere in the 118/77 range (YA HEAR THAT BLUE CROSS!!!!)

The things you can fix, ya do. The rest you deal with.

Thing is, I just hate my glasses.

Let’s see. I’ve got them on reading. Then I have to do something so I push them up on my head. Then I put them on my desk. Then I want to read something and pull them down from my head only to realize they’re my sunglasses. Now where the hell did I put them? Got to get up and go back to the kitchen.

Just too much fucking trouble.

The only alternative is the chain around the neck. A stylistic abomination. Some guys can pull that off. BUT I AIN’T GOING THERE!

Hanging my glasses around my neck would be crossing an invisible line for me. Like becoming Coleridge’s ancient mariner.

(Albatross! Albatross!!! Course you don’t get bloody wafers with it! It’s a bloody sea bird!!! Albatross!!!)

No, the neck chain is where I draw the line.

My options were limited.

For a while, though, I’d heard of this ocular miracle called the mono-vision contact lens. They correct each eye individually – long and short – and your brain simply adjusts. Wow. If I knew my brain could do that…

That means, since my distance vision is fine, I’d only need to deal with one contact lens.

The only problem with one contact lens is, few people are as big a wuss about their eyes as I am. I blink anticipating the flash on a camera.

No shit. Quick story…

There’s a test they do where they photograph the back of your eye. It involves looking into a dark field and then BLAM! Blinding light. I had this test 5 years ago during my last exam.

Got the first eye. Took about 20 takes for the second eye with all the blinking.

So I’m at the optometrist for this exam (5 years later) and something in the back of my brain remembers the other experience as I was looking into the viewing field — which, may I remind you, is DARK. The technician is looking through her end of the machine and says she could see my pupil actually CONTRACTING. In the dark. That’s how much of a wuss I am.

So sticking something like my finger with a piece of plastic on the end of it in my eye is not an appealing thought.

Still, I hated my glasses.

Anyway, I’m at a crossroads. It’s face my fears, or the albatross.

So I get on the interwebs and start looking up optometrists in the area. I find Dr. Stefani Martin. Let’s check the credentials.

Doctorate in Optometry from Nova Southeastern University, College of Optometry. Check.

Fellowship, College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Check.

Member of the American Optometric Association, the Florida Optometric Association and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Check. Check. Check.

Former Miami Dolphins cheerleader. Che… Huh???

It’s true

No matter. My loathed glasses were broken. Time to man up.

I make an appointment, telling Cheryl, the office admin, I’m in the market for contacts.

D-day comes.  I suffer through the torment of the exam… flashing lights, drops, glaucoma tests… And then came the moment of truth.

The fitting.

Dr. Stefani informed her assistant my eyes would be dilated when we came out so she would have to be fast.


I sat down with Caitie who gave me preliminary instructions on how to open my eye lid. Then she peeled back the foil lid on my new eyeball.

“OK,” she says. “Stick your finger in and take it out.”

“Take what out?” I reply.

(There’s a strange absurdity about fixing a VISION problem with an INVISIBLE prosthetic lens that had been lost on me before…)

“You just hold your eye open and bring the lens toward your eye. It will stick itself on,” says Caitie to me.

Strike one… Strike two… Strike three… But wait!!! Fourth time’s a charm!!

“You got it!!!”

“I got it!!!”

I felt like the bike kid in the video!

Rock and Roll!!!

Now how do you get it out?

“Well you have to reach in your eye with two fingers and kind of squeeze it off.”

“WHAT? You mean there’s no magic way to have it pop off back on to my finger????”

Strike one… Strike two…

I think the fifteenth time was the charm.

Anyway, I passed the test and am on day three (up to 10 hours of wear time.)

I go back for a follow up fitting in two weeks.

So far so-so. We’ll see what the next two weeks holds.

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Movie time!

I’ve never liked a movie where I read the book first.

The problem is you always create your own movie in your head. Mental images of the characters, the scenes, the direction. Rarely does a directors vision live up to yours. (Hell, I should direct!)

Anyway, they just announced the release of Atlas Shrugged the other day. And given the amount of time and sweat I put into that monster, it’ll be a tall order for director Paul Johansson…

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1,200 Words on 1,200 Pages


Quite a ride. Great book, although the romantic aspects of this baby leave something to be desired. As far as drama goes, I don’t know. She has some good dramatic spins in the book. But tends to crush her own efforts under the weight of her prose.

Anyway, Lots of thoughts to cram into 1200 (or so) words. Let’s go.

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“The road is cleared…”

Atlas Shrugged – Day 104 – pp. 1160-1169

This is it!! (Apparently I miscounted.) The final installment!

“The locomotive of the eastbound Comet broke down in the middle of a desert in Arizona. … Eddie Willers called for the conductor…”

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The Great Escape

Atlas Shrugged – Day 103 – pp. 1150-1159

Now we get a little hokey.

Francisco grills the subdued guards. How many guards are there? Where? What are these rooms?

It’s military precision. (You wonder, when you’re an expert at one thing, it would seem, in Rand’s universe, you’re an expert at everything. Read More »

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The “Passion” of John Galt (or the end of Jim Taggart)

Atlas Shrugged – Day 102 – pp. 1140-1149

No it ain’t.

“Long coils of wire, like the twisted arms of an octopus, stretched forward across the stone floor, from the machine to a leather mattress spread under a cone of violent light. John Galt lay strapped to the mattress, He as naked; the small metal disks of electrodes at the ends of the wires were attached to his wrists, his shoulders, his hips and his ankles…”

Sounds like an impressive creation. Wonder where Dr F bought the kit for that?

They turn on the machine and hear the buzz from the generator and the amplified sound of John Galt’s heartbeat.

Now he makes a fairly ridiculous sounding demand of Galt.

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Project X and Project F

Atlas Shrugged – Day 101… – pp. 1130-1139

Rushing to the end….

What did Dr S see???

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The “Galt-Stadler” Plan

Atlas Shrugged – Day 100 – pp. 1120-1129

“The elevator stopped on the mezzanine floor.”

The group was surrounded by soldiers as they approached the door of the WF ballroom.

Chick Morrison opened the door.

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The beginning of the end?

Atlas Shrugged – Day 99 – pp. 1110-1119

What does John Galt want?

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Mr. Thompson’s private lesson

Atlas Shrugged – Day 098 – pp. 1100-1109


Does it always take this long to read the last 100 pages of a book? Or only when you run into the holidays?

OK, I’m still waiting on some threat to the entire world by the Thompson Harmonizer / Project X thing. What a POS red herring that would be if Rand didn’t follow up on it.


John Galt is being held in the Wayne-Falkland Hotel by the band of looters and presently being interrogated by their leader. Mr Thompson has just offered Galt the position of Economic Dictator of the world.

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Atlas Shrugged – Day 097 – pp. 1080-1089 + pp. 1090-1099

Guess what? It’s two-fer Thursday. The story between 1080 and 1089 was pretty stock stuff. If it was a movie, it’d be some kind of juxtaposition of scenes with a bit of dramatic background music.


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Aftermath of the broadcast

Atlas Shrugged – Day 096 – pp. 1070-1079

A Christmas Miracle! I got to go home for a few days for the holiday. I didn’t pack my book. Figured it would put my luggage over some arbitrary airline weight limit. Besides, I really didn’t have the time to write what with all hugging and partying and catching up.

Weather in Chi-town cooperated. Stayed above zero (actually almost above freezing) and treated me to a pleasant layer of the white stuff I haven’t seen for sometime. It’s amazing how you miss the things you take for granted — or even learn to bitch about.

Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday whether it was Christmas, Hanukkah or another celebration.

And now, on with the show…

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Ladies and Gentlemen – The John Galt Show!

Atlas Shrugged – Day 095 – pp. 1009-1069

Holy crap!!! John Galt has just taken the stage.

Actually he’s used his hulking intellect to commandeer the broadcast.

Hulk Galt say, “Puny looters!”

Certainly, a mind of this superior capacity would obviously have something to say. But Ayn Rand goes nuts. I mean freakin’ nuts. His broadcast, her — what? — diatribe?, lasts for SIXTY pages. SIXTY!

Now, I’m on page 1,009 here. You’d think Rand has gotten her point across by now. I mean, if you can’t deliver a message in this many words… Figure roughly 11 words per line with, pretty consistently 40+ lines per page means 440 words per page times 1,200 pages is in the ballpark estimate of 528,000 words!

If, as a writer, you can’t make a point in over half a million words, maybe you need to find another job.

On the other hand, that’s probably why she leaves a dissertation like this for the very end. We’re all in for a dollar by now.

Anyway, I’m not going to go ten pages at a time for this. I believe (hope) I’ve got the gist. I’m guessing I have an idea of what JG is going to talk about. So I’m going to try to point out some of the highlights of what he says over the course of the broadcast.

(Deep breath) Here we go…

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Broadcast interruptus

The news reports that reported Hank’s disappearance told everything but the story.

They said things like it was “social treason to ascribe too much importance to Hank Rearden’s disappearance.” Some denied his disappearance entirely. Others reported his untimely demise.

“It was strange she thought, to obtain news by means of nothing but denials…”

But the denials weren’t having their full desired effects.

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Best chapter in the book – pt. 4

Atlas Shrugged – Day 093 – pp. 992-1001

“Listen, kid,” said Rearden sternly, “I want you to do me a favor. …make up your mind that you want to live — just as you did down there on that slag heap…”

Time for a quick comment.

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Best chapter in the book – pt. 3

Atlas Shrugged – Day 092 – pp. 982-991

Hank has a solution.

“If it’s production hat you want, the get out of the way, junk all of your damn regulations, let Orren Boyle go broke, let me buy the plant of Associated Steel — and it will be pouring a thousand tons a day from every one of its sixty furnaces.”

Oh, can’t do that. That’d be a monopoly.

“Well then, I’ll offer you another solution. Why don’t you take over my mills and be done with it?”

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Best chapter in the book – pt. 2

Atlas Shrugged – Day 091 – pp. 972-981

“You can accept our repentance,” said Lillian in a voice glassy with caution. “I only want you to know that whatever I’ve done, I’ve done it because I loved you.”

Hank ain’t listening to that.

Mother Rearden is approaching panic mode.

“What’s happened to you? What’s changed you like that? You don’t seem to be human anymore!”

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Best chapter in the book – pt. 1

Atlas Shrugged – Day 090 – pp. 962-971

D’ja ever read something so good that you couldn’t stop?

That’d be Chapter VI – The Concerto of Deliverance.

Rand’s finally got it going. Far as I’m concerned, this has been the best chapter in the book so far. Made the 962 pages leading up to it all worth the effort.

Plots uncovered. Schemes unraveled. Vengeance. Fight scenes. Heroic deaths. Lives saved, snatched from the jaws of death. And even a rather hokey ending for which I gladly suspended any and all sense of reality. (And, in reality, not even too hokey.)

Yeah, I read it all. But I’m still going 10 pages at a time, so suck it up. Let’s get busy.

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The tunnel affair

Atlas Shrugged – Day 089 – pp. 952-961

They’re going to the main signal tower. She consults with the tower director. He starts making calculations.

How are they going to move the train?

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The looters next plans

Atlas Shrugged – Day 088 – pp. 942-951

…And without the necessary transportation in MN, the shit starts flying.

“…farmers who had waited in the streets of Lakewood for six days with no place to store their wheat . . . had demolished the local courthouse. . . While the flour mills and grain markets of the country were screaming over the phones and telegraph wires. . .”

Dagny and Eddie worked round the clock to get any transportation to MN. It wasn’t enough.

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