Victor Hugo on Balzac’s Death

How Honoré de Balzac died:

La Comedie Humaine by Balzac

The Death of Balzac
By Victor Hugo

On the 18th of August, 1850, my wife, who had been during the day to see Mme. de Balzac, told me that Balzac was dying. I hurried to him.

M. de Balzac had been suffering for eighteen months from hypertrophy of the heart. After the revolution of February he went to Russia, and there married. Some days before his departure I met him in the boulevard. He was then complaining, and breathing noisily. In May, 1850, he returned to France, married, rich, and dying! When he arrived, his legs were already swollen. Four doctors held a consultation. One of them, M. Louis, told me on the 6th of July, “He has not six weeks to live.” It is the same disease that killed Frederic Soulie.

On August 18th my uncle, General Louis Hugo, was dining with me. As soon as the table was…

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R.I.P. E-Mail

Remember When E-Mail Was Really Great?

Remember When E-Mail Was Really Great?

When I return from Peru, I expect to find approximately 2,000 e-mails on each of three accounts that I have. Approximately 80% will be outright spam, and most of the rest are offers I will have no difficulty in mass deleting. How is it that such a fantastic communication medium has become so spoiled by hackers, hucksters, spammers, and others. When I scan my e-mail, I really am not really interested in enlarging my penis, ordering lookalikes of popular prescription drugs, or taking advantage of 20% sales (when I could save 100% by just deleting the offer).

Thanks to advances in viruses and malware, I find it safer by far to just delete—especially when the e-mail contains links or file attachments. Even some e-mails from my friends are suspicious: They could be used as bots for the distribution of virus payloads. The safest thing is to call the friend before following that link or loading that file.

Even when my inbox is filled with legitimate offers, merchants frequently feel that they need to hit you every day, usually with limited time offers that are invariably extended. Just because I ordered some printer toner from one vendor two years ago, I hear from them every day. Far from being appreciative of being reminded of their existence, I go out of my way to get my toner from other suppliers that don’t bug me to death.

Technology is always that way, it seems: For every three steps forward, there are two or three steps back. And it’s all because of human nature being what it is.