Texas Hold'em

I've been playing a weekly poker game with close friends for about three years now. This past Monday I won the tournament for the first time. Of course I've gotten second and third numerous times before, but I've finaly won. All I hope now is that it becomes a habbit.

Pie Night 2008

Every year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Portsmouth Judo Club has Pie Night. Basically, Judoka come and work-out in the evening, then we all go to Sensei's house for pie and beer.

One of the specialties of this event is the 'sampler'. Imagine having a slice each of 10 different pies on your plate. This was my third year attending Pie Night, but I have yet to try the sampler. I'm not particularly all that partial to sweets.

My brother, who's serving in the Army and also an avid Judoka started a satelite Pie Night with his Judo club in Alaska.

Pumpkin Fest 2008

For the first time this year, I attended the annual Pumkin Fest in Keene, NH. This event served me beyond my expectations and will remain a fond memory of mine.

I caught up with friends from high school. I met up with them at a huge party and it was like a who's who of New Hampshire. Everyone was there.

At some point walking around town I stopped in a comic book store. I later learned that you can't buy comic books on the internet because the comic book store industry is protected from that.

A Personal Anecdote on the Complexities of the Computer Industry

This is an open ended paper I wrote during my first year of college. The topic must have been about science in someway. I tackled this assignment with humor. Enjoy.

The Complexities of the Computer Industry
By Matthew Pitaro
March 23rd, 2006

This past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work for my dad at his office. My dad is an electrical engineer at Sonetech Corporation. God bless nepotism because if I wasn’t the VP’s son, I never would have gotten the job. Though after the summer was over, my experience in the technology field was adequate for the position I held, or positions as it were. Being the son of an electrical engineer, you are exposed to technology at a young age. From since I could remember, I was always using a computer. I became confident and self sufficient when it came to solving the many technical problems with them, especially with Windows. Actually, I remember using Windows 3.01 and making the transition into Windows 95. I remember it well because everything became much more difficult from that point on. In addition to always being around computers, our family time TV show of choice was Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Getting the job at Sonetech wasn’t as simple as it seemed. My dad decided that the best way to do it is to employ me under his home-based business called Clear Valley Systems, a website development company. Clear Valley Systems was contracted by Sonetech to build their website. My office was a three sided cubical that was accessible either from the main lobby or one of the doors to my dad’s adjoining office. However, his office was not a cubical; it was an actual room, with magnificent walls connecting to the ceiling.

Each day of the summer I was given a task. The first day’s task was to clean off the table in my cubical so a computer can be put there. I then went into the laboratory and salvaged for all the basic computer parts to set up in my office. There were hundreds of drawers with labels which in theory made finding everything efficient, but the system was ineffective because items in the drawers were misplaced.

After I finally set up the computer and started it up, I came to a detour. I don’t remember exactly what the problem was, but I needed to figure out a password. The person who used the computer before me is no longer with the company. I then decided to use a technique known to computer geeks called “The Back Door”. Basically, I had to put myself in the shoes of that person and figure out what password he would have used. After randomly typing several words like, “Sonetech”, “EE”, “Eienstien”, “Engineer”, “ENGINEER”, “Engineering”, “ENGINEERING”, “Electrical Engineer”, and “Electrical Engineering” I stopped and reevaluated my situation. After pondering for five minutes, I tried the former employee’s first initial followed by his last name. I tried his last name followed by his first. And I tried several variations based of this particular case sensitive password designation. Eventually, with one of the name variations I used, I gained administrative access. I sat back in my chair and said, “Wow, I can’t believe that worked!” After all, how many words in the dictionary, with any possible combination of uppercase to lowercase letter were possible passwords? The first thing I did after I gained access was change the damn password to something I could remember. Sadly, I don’t remember what that password was. It’s irrelevant though, that computer crashed two weeks later and went back to the lab, which might explain why it was there in the lab in the first place.

In desperation, Sonetech issued me one of the ten state of the art Laptop computers they received from a project contract. I remember spending one long day at the office setting up the laptop, mainly because they’ve been in the boxes so long that they were no longer state of the art. Apparently, when I opened up the box, the laptop was already prone to viruses because taped to the plastic wrapping was a CD that read something to the effect of “Insert This CD Before Startup. Contains Virus Definitions”. I stared at the label and wondered how I was going to get the CD in before I started it up. It would need a power supply first, to eject the CD tray. Well, I took my chances and plugged in the computer, started it up, then put the CD in. Nothing bad happened and things started to look like the laptop was going to avoid the lab for a while. After I finally got Windows XP going, I installed Service Pack 2. I believe that took somewhere in the neighborhood of five hours. I’m not complaining though, I was still getting paid ten bucks an hour to sit there and watch those green rectangles crawl along the progress bar.

The work I did at Sonetech for that summer wouldn’t make for an interesting story, but the process of going about that work would. I could write hundreds of pages about the methodical process of problem solving in the technology industry, but the last thing I want is to publish one of those 500 page reference manuals. Scott Adams has the right idea about publicizing the industry; he makes a daily four-celled comic about it.

A Consumer Science course should be required in a public High School curriculum

I wrote this essay for a composition course during my second semester of my first year of college. In this persuasive memoir, I point out some of the valuable points of why to make a consumer science course a requirement in a public high school. In today's world, the skills needed to succeed in personal financial success are becoming more and more prevalent. Issues pertaining to credit, savings, investing, and spending habits are a must for any high school graduate.

Persuasive Memoir
by Matthew Pitaro
April 23, 2006

A consumer science course should be a requirement for high school graduation. Many students decide not to continue their education after high school because they may be obligated to go to work fulltime. These individuals, who are fully capable of their work, may not be prepared for the conflicts and issues that arise from living alone or away from home. Primarily, my proposed consumer science course would go into great detail on how to save money, how to budget your money, and credit responsibility.

Saving money, or having a rainy day fund, is an important aspect of living independent in our society. Many of those who only have a high school education may have to live paycheck to paycheck. Living this way is a gamble. If an emergency arose and you needed money fast, you wouldn’t have any to access. Someone’s personal savings may not be for just rainy days though, it may be set aside for some sort of goal. Everybody wants nice things. Maybe you need a new car, a nicer apartment, or cable. Though saving money is good, it also good to live happily for the time that you are on this earth. How can you do both though? You can through budgeting.

Every person I know has a different method to budget their money. Some of the budgets work well, and some don’t. The ones that don’t work are ones designed by people who get greedy. For example, if a person wants to save a lot of money for the short run, they would give themselves less allowances for movies, dinning out, and entertainment. But realistically, this person would be is making an unreasonable sacrifice into things outside of work that would pass the time. After all, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” The consumer science course would tech you to be reasonable in your budgeting and leave a little bit for several venial aspects that keep your life interesting. Living life is good and healthy, surviving life is not.

What happens if your car breaks down and you need to get a tow, or worse, rent a car? In this case, and in many similar cases, you will need a credit card. In other ways too, it is good to have a credit card. Everyone will need good credit to get loans to buy cars, or someday, a house. Many students who turn 18 years old receive applications for credit cards. For the most part, they know that credit cards have high interest rates and that you could very easily get into debt with them. But even with this common knowledge, students continue to get themselves deep in the hole. My proposed Consumer Science class would teach students responsibility with credit cards. But for this aspect is not enough to simply tell the students what they do and how they are dangerous, you have to physically show them. For this part of the unit, I propose a project in which students decide what purchases to make with a credit card.

To do this project, every student would be issued a paper credit card with a set limit, and phony check book with a consistent weekly paycheck. Day by day in the class, the teacher would tell the students to with draw money from checking for rent, cars, utilities, groceries, etc… Then the teacher would give the students emergencies which would require credit card purchases. In the end, the teacher would at a 20%, or higher based on the current real life rates, interest rate to the balances. When each student observes the money being lost with each purchase, it can show the reality of credit use.

A required consumer science course would be vital to any high school curriculum. Some high schools have a similar course as an elective, but making this course a requirement is imperative. Every person in our society will encounter consumer economics in his/her life time. This course would prepare students, even maybe in a small way, for the real world. Otherwise, the high school graduates would walk into the world and get themselves stuck, and no one may be around to pull them out.

Illegal Immigration

This is a research paper I did on Illegal Immigration when I was a Freshman in college. The tone of this paper may sound conservative and even insensitive at times. But bear with me and just take in some of the discussion points of the work.

Illegal Immigration
by Matthew Pitaro
December 1st, 2005

I used to live in Austin, Texas and we used to have an old saying, “trespassers will be shot!” It is common knowledge that Texas law is a bit different than most of the other states in the union, but why? It is indeed legal to kill a trespasser on your own property in Texas. Perhaps Texas is concerned for the welfare of its own, or maybe, Texas’ border is often overburdened with the waves of illegal immigrants trying to get into our great nation. This is speaking in recent terms, however, to the time period of the mid 1990’s that spans to the present. Back in 1952, it was a different story. “In the United States […] it was illegal for aliens to enter the country without visas, but it was not illegal for an employer to hire such persons. Indeed, such hiring was encouraged by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 as a concession to Texan agricultural employers; the act included a provision that exempted agricultural employers from restriction on harboring an illegal immigrant” (Miller 24). Back in the mid 1950s, there was a demand for unskilled workers and we made special provisions for illegal immigrants to work in Texas. Today we shun illegal immigration.

Illegal immigration is a major concern for the United States. It is something that needs to be addressed and contained. President Bush recently made a speech in Arizona talking about his concern on the subject. “Securing our border is essential to securing the homeland. And I want to thank all of those who are working around the clock to defend our border, to enforce our laws, and to uphold the values of the United States of America. America is grateful to those who are on the front lines.” (Bush par 2). I agree with President Bush when he talks about the importance of upholding American values and enforcing out laws.

Contrary to “enforcing” the laws though, the government’s punishment for attempting illegal immigration is somewhat of a slap on the wrist. Pretty much, the trespassers who happen to get caught are told not to do it again and are bussed back to their native country. Nothing further prevents illegal immigrants from entering the Untied States. It is not likely that they will be apprehended on every attempt to cross the border. Therefore, we have a considerably large number of illegal immigrants.

We have to examine the issue more closely. Why do immigrants come here? What rights do they have? What is being done to stop them? Where is the line between legal citizenship and illegal immigration?

America is a country of immigrants. My great-great-grandfather came here from Italy legally and his name is proudly inscribed on the mantel of the statue of liberty, this country’s international symbol of freedom. My grandmother, from South Korea, was a refugee from the Korean Conflict. My enlisted grandfather met her and soon married her in Korea. While being married to an American citizen, she came here legally and in a short while, went through the nationalization process and became an American. Both my great-great-grandfather and my grandmother became skilled and productive Americans. Their hard work for becoming nationalized and learning the English language and assimilating to the world’s melting pot should be celebrated, and it is.

I am proud of my diverse heritage. When I look back on my family history, I am proud to say that my ancestors have immigrated here to better themselves and their loved ones. But if they ducked the law, and snuck into America through the back door, or by any other sleazy way, I would be ashamed to bare the family name. For these ethical reasons, I am against illegal immigration. I am not blind, however, to the positive contributions they make to our economy. But have they accumulated too many civil rights that should be exclusive to legal American citizens only? Many have driver’s licenses, health care, and public education to their kids. Eventually though, they may be eligible for a college education. The question of fairness is raised in these examples: “Why should the cluttered job market and the competitive education system be filled with illegal immigrants?” “Why should an illegal immigrant get a valid driver’s license when my tax dollars pave the roads?”

Our biggest concern with illegal immigration is the border between Mexico and the US. According to the Bear Stearns Report of January 2005, there are up to 20,000,000 illegal immigrants. The Federation for American Immigration Reform calculated the amount of illegal immigrants to be between 10,000,000 to 12,000,000 in 2005. The Pew Hispanic Research Center has deemed that there are 11,000,000 illegal aliens that same year. These numbers cannot be tabulated exactly because no one knows for sure how many illegal immigrants there are. These educated guesses do show that they are indeed staggering numbers.

In addition to illegal immigrants simply being here, there is also another concern. There remains the possibility that terrorists can sneak into this country through the Mexico/US border. Since the September 11th attack on the US, certain countries have been designated as “special interest” countries. Illegal immigrants from these countries have been able to cross the Mexico/US border. The “special interest” countries include Afghanistan, Angola, Jordan, Qatar, Pakistan, and Yemen (Hanna “Problem”).

The illegal immigration problem isn’t confined to the Mexico/US border. Heated debate over illegal immigrants having driver’s licenses has emerged currently in the Northeast. Many immigrants were getting their New York State Driver’s Licenses revoked because they do not have a valid Social Security Number. The issue here is in the process of falsifying Department of Motor Vehicles documents with bogus Social Security Numbers and obtaining a New York State Driver’s License (Bernstein “License” par 4). However, many of the illegal aliens have begun to live somewhat productive lives that others depend on. An elderly lady will lose her home health care provider whose job it is to drive her to her doctor’s office (par 6). The poor elderly lady wouldn’t be in the dilemma if the government stepped in years ago to prevent illegal immigrants from getting into this country. If there were no illegal immigrants around to be home health care providers, then a US citizen could have filled that position.

A step in the wrong direction is a proposal that was created by Fernando Mateo, who is head of Hispanics Across America and the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers. This proposal, which would allow illegal immigrants to have driving privileges provided that they relinquish their fraudulent licenses and renew a one-year permit annually, is even opposed by other immigrant groups (Bernstein “New” par 2,4). If perchance that this proposal were to be ratified as a state law, then it is like a welcome mat for illegal immigrants to come to New York under the impression that it is OK to be trespassing in driving on our property.

In response to this one-year permit however, Gouri Sadhwani brings up a good point. She said that this permit would immediately identify illegal immigrants and have them arrested and deported (par 6).

New York is shadowing a new initiative in Tennessee that has some interesting ideas for illegal immigrants getting driver’s licenses. Tennessee law states that if you are pulled over, it is under the officer’s judgment whether or not you provide a valid identification, if he deems that you don’t, then you get put in custody (par 16). In Tennessee, licenses are to be given to only people that can prove American citizenship or lawful permanent residence. Immigrants with a visa living in Tennessee would have to get one-year driving permit, just like New York (par 17). Tennessee’s statue here works because it restricts the illegal immigrants, even legal immigrants with visas, from getting a permanent driver’s license.

A driver’s license is an extremely important part of our American culture. We use it as our primary source of personal identification. We use it to get jobs, buy with credit, and do our daily banking. If an illegal immigrant, who may happen to be a terrorist, gets a driver’s license will not only have access to our everyday system of life, but be trusted by the general public as a normal, everyday, American citizen. 18 out of the 19 hijackers of the September 11th attacks had valid driver’s licenses (Bernstein “License” par 3).

Different measures have been taken to curtail the waves of illegal immigration. In 1986, California adopted the Immigration Control & Reform Act. This act requires employers to see if employees are legal residents based on their application information. California has gone one step further in the 1990’s to pass Proposition 187. Prop 187 says that anyone who uses, or sells forged or illegal documents that falsify US residency can get serious fines or jail time (Becker 49).

Another concept that may work to help contain illegal immigration is to have a much more lenient legal immigration policy. Immigration can be good for our economy, plus, its cultural and diversity aspects are beneficial to our country. If there were more lenient policies for legal immigration, then that would reduce the need to enter illegally (52).

A different theory has been brought up recently, which has stirred some controversy on all the major cable news networks. The idea is called the “We Need A Fence” initiative. It is led by Collin Hanna. His idea is to build a fortified fence along the entire border between the US and Mexico. The concept for it is quite complex and resembles a military war zone. Basically you would have an endless bush of barbed wire that is roughly eight feet high. Then you dig a trench that prevents cars, trucks or ATVs to charge rite through the fence. If you breech those first two barriers, then you reach the fence itself, but don’t celebrate yet, because it is 15 feet high and has coiled barbed wire at the top. If you got though this point somehow, you would be on an access road were patrol vehicles would be. Don’t pop your bottle of champagne yet just because you don’t see any patrol officers coming, they may be on their way because of the cameras and motion sensors you triggered. If, by the grace of God you get pass the access road, you still have to go through the fence, trench, and barbed wire that is symmetrically on the other side of the border (Hanna “Fence”).

Colin Hanna has been criticized by the media and general public as being anti-immigration. I would just say that he is determined to control the flood of illegal immigration over the US/Mexican border. He does admit that illegal immigrants don’t only come from the Mexican border, but also from the Canadian border as well. But his third party research shows that the majority of our illegal immigrants have come here through the US/Mexico side (Hanna “Problem”).

This past October, I took a trip to San Diego, California for a conference. One night, I was in my hotel and wanted to get some of the local news. I turned on the TV to see what was going on in San Diego. I found something that was quite interesting to me. Within a half hour time-span of the show, I saw three separate, yet similar, stories on the border patrol stopping a van of illegal immigrants from Mexico. San Diego is about fifteen miles from the Mexican border. As a result of the stops, the vans full of attempted illegal immigrants were told to turn around. It made me wonder though, “Were there only three vans that day? What if some got through the border patrol? If the three vans were told to turn around, what if they tried again tomorrow and ended up ducking the patrol that day?” This goes back to the theory that nothing prevents the people who want to come here illegally from trying over and over again.

The reason I bring up my experience in San Diego is to show that people are determined to come here. Building a futuristic and militaristic wall between our neighboring Mexico wouldn’t solve the problem. If a person is determined enough to come here, he/she will find a way to get through any fence. What this country needs to do is discourage the benefits and luxuries that illegal immigrants get when they come here.

In California, before Prop 187 was passed, illegal immigrants could receive the benefits of health care, and their children could receive public schooling. Now they are limited to emergency health care only (Becker 49-50).

The economic state of the United States and foreign affairs can have a great impact on immigration motives. During the great depression of the 1930s, illegal immigration was at a low. And there were only 12,000 – 15,000 illegal immigrants during the 1940s due to our involvement with World War II (Miller 20).

What is interesting to note though, are some of the common misconceptions of why illegal immigrants are here and why they are bad. Some people have argued that illegal immigrants take jobs away from potential workers who are legal citizens. The opposite seems to be true however. “Research has found that the employment prospects of native workers are only slightly reduced when immigrants enter a local labor market”(Becker 51). Some people have also said that illegal immigrants get exploited for their cheap labor. The myth is that they will not speak up or stand up for themselves out of fear of deportation. However, employers and companies are forced to raise wages, which is well above minimum wage, to make up for the labor output that would otherwise be going towards Social Security or unemployment-compensation taxes (52).

The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. People come here because of civil liberties and unalienable rights. If we keep letting illegal immigrants come here however, we tarnish the good name of the United States by saying that it’s a party that everyone is invited to. Americans work hard to make this country work. We don’t work hard to make this country work for illegal immigrants. America’s immigration policies are in place to for good reason. You can get a visa if you are a tourist interested in becoming a citizen, a foreign exchange student, or a temporary worker sanctioned to work in an international branch. To become nationalized, all you have to do is learn English and take a history test.

English must be a requirement to be a citizen of this country. My feelings towards English being a requirement go far beyond the naïve idea, “Why should an American born citizen learn Spanish to cater to illegal immigrants?” Sometimes I work really late at a local supermarket. At around 11:00pm, the floor cleaners come in and wash the floors for the overnight shift. One time, one of my managers had to tell one of the floor cleaners something pertaining to protocol. This floor cleaner didn’t understand what my manager was saying. My manager went to the next floor cleaner who didn’t speak English either. Out of the entire half dozen or so of the floor cleaners, none of them spoke English. Not only was it surprising that they all had jobs, but it just made getting the job done right and done correctly, frustrating. In actuality I do not know the legal residency of those employees, but at my most educated judgment, I would deem it questionable. Either way, in this example, it was imperative to know English, or at least attempt to understand it, so you could take direction and guidance from a manager, whether you’re an illegal immigrant, or not.
Another time, when I was younger and living in Austin, I recall in my third grade class that we were working on something extremely important on the chalk board. The final bell sounded and school was dismissed, and we needed the notes on the chalkboard to be there overnight. I don’t remember what it was exactly, but I just remember that it was important and couldn’t be erased. My teacher reassured us and said that she’d put up a sign that read, “Please Do Not Erase!” The next morning came and we settled into class. To our surprise, the chalkboard was sparkling clean. The teacher was frustrated at her self, of all people. She forgot that all the groundskeepers didn’t speak, or read for that matter, English.

This event took place in Texas. Then I didn’t know the documentation of the Hispanic workers at the school. Irrationally, I questioned their citizenship simply because they didn’t speak English. But the point is that this event potentially, or has been ,caused by an illegal immigrant who just wants the benefits of living in American. He/She expects to receive a good job and health care. He/She does not want to assimilate to our way of life. He/She doesn’t want to adopt our values. And worst of all, they won’t attempt to learn English.

Illegal immigration is something that is of great concern to this country. No matter how you feel on the situation, the fact still remains, it is against the law.

Works Cited

Becker, Gary S., and Guity Nashat Becekr. The Economics of Life. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Bernstien, Nina. “License Crackdown Stirs Sharp Debate Hearing.” New York Times 20 Aug. 2004: 13 pars. Opposing Viewpoints
Resource Center. Gale Group Databases. NHCTC-Manchester Lib. 21 Nov. 2005 .

---. “New York Considers One-Year Driving Permits for Immigrants.” New York Times 26 Sept. 2004: 19 pars. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale Group Databases. NHCTC-Manchester Lib. 21 Nov. 2005 .

Bush, George W. “Border Security and Immigration Reform in Arizona” Presidential Speech. 28 Nov. 2005. 2:40P.M. MST. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Hanna, Colin. “Fence_Idea.jpg” We Need A Fence. 15 Dec. 2005

---. “The Problem.” We Need A Fence. 30 Nov. 2005 .

---. “The Solution.” We Need A Fence. 30 Nov. 2005 .

Miller, E. Willard, and Ruby M. Miller. United States Immigration. Santa Barabra, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1996.

The True Death of Edgar Allen Poe

This is an unfinished research paper I did during my Junior year of High School. There is a finished copy somewhere, however I lost it to time. It's not even on electronic format anymore.
Certain historical figures have encountered death in mysterious ways. Edgar Allen Poe was one of them. Enjoy what I have to say about his death.

The True Death of Edgar Allen Poe
by Matthew Pitaro
May 7th, 2004
One of America’s best-known and most recognizable writers, Edgar Allan Poe, has produced some of the most entertaining, frightening and often time’s mysterious tales in literature. His stories have been the topic of many classic movies and have appield to both children and adults throughout the last century and a half (Edgar). Though his literature prospers even to present day, his life was tragically cut short when he was found dead outside a bar in Baltimore at the relatively young age of 40. The true cause of his death has been under debate for the past 154 years. Perhaps understanding the circumstances surrounding his veiled death may shed some light into how the horrific incident would characterize and declassify the deep and profound nature of Edgar Allan Poe.
Several biographers have made extensive research into the life of Poe. Much of the time, in conducting their research, the biographers would often contradict each other based on different accounts of what happened according to personal interviews or the personal beliefs biases of the biographer (Poe’s Problematic).
It is indeed ironic that many of his stories pertained to the mysterious and that many aspects of his life remain a mystery even today. The actual place, day, and even year of his birth is uncertain. He has no birth certificate. Many believed he was born in Baltimore in 1811. Today however, it is generally accepted by all that he was born in Boston on January 19th, 1809. Poe himself was quoted as being born in 1813, two years after his mother’s death. (Edgar).
Regardless of the exact date he was born, he lived. But the life he lived was a difficult one to say the least. At the vulnerable age of two, his father left the family and the mother soon died in poverty. Mister and Mrs. Allan, friends of Poe’s mother, then cared for him. This is where he adopted the middle name of Allan. Though Mrs. Allan was found of Edgar, Mr. Allan and Poe often had quarrels. Occasionally, when Poe was becoming an adult, he and his father set apart their difference for Mrs. Allan, but when she died, so did their relationship.
Poe started his literary career as an editor at the Southern Literary Messenger, a reputable magazine, in 1835. This was the first of his many journalistic occupations. Because he was such a brilliant and dedicated editor, he often got into arguments and quarrels with contributors and the staff (McDougal 176).
In 1840, Poe left another journalistic job at the Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine under animosity. Burton claimed that Poe was fired for bad behavior. Poe said that he left because of bad company ethics. Whichever side is believed, there is no denying the fact that confrontations with people have followed Poe throughout his life (Poe’s Problematic).
Poe’s social problems may have proved to be fatal as the years went on.
On October 3rd, 1849 Poe was found by Joseph Walker in a somewhat incompasitated state on a street in Baltimore. Walker wrote a note to Dr. John J. Moran which read, “Dear Sir, -- There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan's 4th ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you, he is in need of immediate assistance, Yours, in haste, Jos. W. Walker."
Edgar Allan Poe died in the hospitol somewhere between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on October 7, 1849 (Poe’s Death).
There are three major theories involving Poe’s death. The first being that he died of alcohol poisoning. The second being that he may have simply died from natural illness. The third theory was that he was beaten to death by thugs for political reasons. This is generally known as the “Cooping” Theory.
The instigator of the theory that Poe died of alcohol poisoning is Dr. J. Evans Snodgrass. He carried Poe to the hospital on a carriage. He maintained that Poe was very intoxicated when found dead. Dr. Snodgrass “…was a radical temperance man and saw in Poe's death a means of persuading others to abandon alcohol entirely.” This disposition adversely affects the credibility of this witness.
Dr. John J. Moran claims that Poe was sober. Dr. Moran was Poe’s personal physician. Because he was Poe’s personal physician, this also greatly affects the credibility of his testimony. He may have been side barred by personal feelings towards his fallen companion. It was Dr. Moran who said that Poe was “probably” beaten by thugs (Poe’s Problematic). This probability is not unsubstantiated.
Poe wanted to seek a higher education to pursue his literary talents at his young adult age. Mr. Allan did not financial support Poe’s college career and he was often times stuck with not enough money live. At this point in his life Poe turned to gambling (McDougal 176). Poe’s difficult childhood and vices are most defiantly a cause for his recurring social delema with his peers in the media. Making confrontations came naturally to Poe.
Edgar may have just simply been walking down the street and collapsed. According to some, who attended his lectures a few days before, have claimed that Poe appeared sickly and pale. Dr. Moran diagnosed him as having “Brain Fever” long before the time of his death. What ever that disease may be today, or in today’s standards could have caused the sudden passing of Poe.
However, the most logical explanation for Poe’s death is the Cooping Theory. This is true because it ties in the other two theories closely. Also, it supports the peculiarity of the way Poe was found on the street. Poe was not wearing his own clothes, but that of a tattered beggar’s garments.
At that time in Baltimore, political elections were held in the same building where alcohol was served. Often times, political parties would have thugs forcefully persuade voters either through alcohol seduction, or a method known as the Coop. The Coop is a interrogation room where the thugs would beat you into submission for making a certain vote. Often times the voter would be made to change clothes to make multiple votes for the same party.
At that stage in his life, Poe was in a very vulnerable condition. He was suffering from the recent death of his wife and numorous unknown ailments.

Works Cited

“Edgar Allan Poe.” The Internet Movie Database. May 4th, 2004. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000590/

McDougal, Little. “Edgar Allan Poe.” American Literature. Evanston, Il: McDougal, Little & Company, 1989.

Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.

“Poe’s Death.” The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. Novemver 13th, 1999. The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. May 5th, 2004. http://www.eapoe.org/geninfo/poedeath.htm

“Poe’s Problematic Biography.” The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. May 10th, 1999. The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. May 4th, 2004. http://www.eapoe.org/geninfo/poebiog.htm

The True Death of Bruce Lee

This is a research paper I did while I was a Freshman in high school. In actuality, this research topic is unfinished. There is still a lot more sources out there pertaining to the life and death of Martial Arts legend Bruce Lee. In a way, this research is my homage to him and his memory.

The True Death of Bruce Lee
by Matthew Pitaro
May 16th, 2002
There is much mystery behind the death of martial arts practitioner, Bruce Lee. This is particularly interesting because his son, Brandon Lee, also died of mysterious circumstances. Before his death, Brandon claimed that the men in his family had been cursed since his grandfather. In this research, the facts of these men’s deaths will be sifted through the hysteria of tabloid rumors.
Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong on July 20, 1973 from Cerebral Edema (“Kung Fu Curse”). Cerebral Edema is a collection of fluid and resulting swelling around the brain. Applying pressure on the brain can cause various neurological problems and death. Lee’s passing was three weeks before the opening of the blockbuster film Enter the Dragon. This movie brought him international fame and fortune. On July 25, 1973, 25,000 people attended his funeral in Hong Kong, but he was buried in Seattle to be close to his family (Dragon).
Though he was a star from his movies, he was remembered as a legend concerning the mystery surrounding his death. All of his followers were shocked at his sudden death. At the young age of 33 no one would believe, or accept the fact that he died, especially of his astounding good health.
According to Yeung Sze, better known as Bolo Yeung for being Bruce’s co-star in Enter the Dragon, “He was the best I’ve ever seen. No one has ever come close to his talents… he had all the charisma that helped make him an international star.
…I don’t think people realize the obstacles he had to overcome to achieve the fame he
did” (Cater, “They” 77).
Yeung was a former student of Bruce and his testimonial would match many other followers of him. This would explain why the news of his unexpected death would come to such a shock to his successors. This is the cause of all the rumors that were ignited at the time of his death. A man of structural good health could not have died so suddenly. Be that as it may, Bruce was not as healthy as he seemed and he also had some inner demons behind camera.
Lee may be remembered as a hero from the characters portrayed in his movies, but his life outside of show business was much different. He was addicted to drugs, and had many mistresses. Many of his followers claim that he indulged in this sort of behavior of his divine devotion and hard work towards his martial arts. Yet, his personal life may shed some light pertaining to his death.
It is said that Bruce was a “hell-raising teenager” (Bruce Lee). Could this sort of lifestyle have lead up to his demise? One theory dictates he was murdered by Lo Wei, the director of his first two movies (“Kung Fu Curse”).
Throughout filming of Bruce’s first film, Fists of Fury, Bruce grew to dislike Lo Wei. Contrary, Bruce continued working with him to make his second feature, The Chinese Connection. By his third film, Return of the Dragon, aka The Way of the Dragon, Bruce had taken over and become writer and director of the movie.
As far as the theory that he was murdered goes, many suspected his wife, his lovers, rival moviemakers, and the head of his film studio. Some say he was taken out be the Chinese Mafia for sharing ancient Kung Fu techniques to Westerners. This may sound bizarre, but there might be some truth to it.
“Everyone thought he was an arrogant guy who wanted to change the ways of the master’s martial arts,” Dan Inosanto, today’s top practitioner of Jeet Kune Do, once said (Bruce Lee). Did Bruce’s arrogance eventually be his own demise from the Chinese Mafia?
When Bruce was living in Oakland, he opened a Kung Fu studio. News spread of this and he was ordered to stop teaching the foreigners by the Chinese community. He refused. A representative of the Chinsese masters, and Bruce fought in a Kung Fu duel. Bruce won within 3 minutes, but he still thought the fight took too long. Because of this, he began to work harder, lift weights, improve his techniques, and developed Jeet Kune Do.
Jeet Kune Do, or Way of the Intercepting Fist in Cantonese, did target mistakes and errors in various different martial arts. But in preparation for documenting all this, Bruce studied many different fighting styles from Fencing to Judo.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar, one of Bruce’s former students, said he became extremely exhausted by May of 1973. Bruce and he were shooting stock footage for Game of Death. One day, he just collapsed inside a non air-conditioned Hong Kong sound studio. At the hospital, no clear diagnosis was made. He recovered quickly and returned to work.
According to the South China Mail, Hong Kong’s biggest English newspaper, it claimed “Death by Misadventure.” Lee ate cannabis, the plant used to make marijuana, and collapsed. This happened months before his death. The day of his death, he again ate cannabis. He went to a girlfriend’s house and complained of a headache. She gave him a prescription drug, Equagesic. He went to lie down and never got up. Investigators ruled
he was probably allergic to a substance in the Equagesic (“Kung Fu Curse”). The substance was Nacrolomine. Doctor’s reports stated he was “hyper sensitive” to it, much like a person may be allergic to penicillin (Bruce Lee).
However, the story according to A&E Biography is slightly different. Bruce did not collapse in a girlfriend’s house, but in a co-star’s apartment in Hong Kong while working on a script. These minor differences in the story explain how the rumors have an effect on the truth. Because of these countless rumors, it is difficult for us today to decipher the true causes of Bruce’s death.
In Game of Death, Bruce’s last produced film; he portrayed an actor much similar to himself, Billy Lo. In a movie Billy was filming, the scene required him to get shoot. But a person in the mafia substituted a “blank” bullet for a real one. This concept is eerily similar to the death of Bruce’s son, Brandon. Game of Death was produced between 1972-1979 and Brandon died from getting shoot on set while filming The Crow in March 31, 1993, almost 20 years to the day of Bruce’s death.
During filming of The Crow, a revolver was filled with “dummy” bullets that were made of lead slugs and empty cartridges so the scene would be believable for a close up. When they were taken out, a lead slug stayed in by accident. For the next scene, the gun was loaded with “blanks.” Generally “blanks” are harmless, but when the gun was fired at Brandon, the lead slug was driven into his abdomen.
Much like Bruce’s demise, the passing of Brandon sparked many rumors. One theory states that Hong Kong moviemakers had it set up as revenge for Brandon not being in their films.
According to Eliza Hutton, Brandon’s fiancée, “Brandon believed the males in his family had been cursed because his grandfather angered some Chinese merchants. …They had their revenge by hiring a mystic [that] placed an ancient curse that would bring death, destruction, and unhappiness” (“Kung Fu Curse”).
Bruce’s brother, Robert, also feels there is a curse in his family. He plans to share his opinions in a biography about Bruce he will write. Robert feels that even discussing the topic is dangerous. He believes that he’s next in line to meet his maker (Cater).
Even today, 30 years later, there is still much debate over the actual death of Bruce Lee. The world may never know what the absolute truth concerning the death of possibly the greatest martial artist ever known. As William Shakespeare would put it, his life was tragic because he has reached an international fame and fortune, but was suddenly stopped dead in his tracks right when his career began to take off. However Bruce has left a legacy that can’t be tainted through his movies, Jeet Kune Do, and a worldwide hero that every person can look up to.

Works Cited
Bruce Lee. Dir. Molly Thompson and Bill Cometti. With Peter Graves. A&E Biography, 1993.

Cater, Dave. “Signing His Own Death Warrant?” Martial Arts Legends Magazine September 1994: 69-74.

---. “They Call Him “Bolo”” Martial Arts Legends Magazine September 1994: 77-81.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Dir. Rob Cohen. With Jason Scott Lee, Lauren Holly, Nancy Kwan, and Robert Wagner. Universal, 1993.

Game of Death. Dir. Robert Clouse. With Bruce Lee, Gig Young, Dean Jagger, Colleen Camp, Hugh O’Brian, Chuck Norris, Danny Inosanto, Mel Novak, Bob Wall, Roy Chaio, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. CBS FOX, 1972/1979.

“Kung Fu Curse.” National Examiner 23 April. 2002: 28.