We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, April 11. 2014
Prison for being a huckster? Is that right?
Do you have any idea how many medical procedures and medicines which are commonly used today are backed up by dubious science or unproven evidence, or with which placebo effect is dominant? And look at this: your at-home TMS machine!
And what about nutritional supplements, vitamins, and minerals? The benefits there are minimal to none, most of the time, yet the airwaves are full of sales pitches.
And on internet ads, "Take this miracle pill and..."
What about the organic food and Whole Foods scam on naive and ignorant people? And what about politicians and stockbrokers?
Ineffective things are sold every day, demonstrating the power of wishful-thinking, or magical-thinking, in humans. Hucksterism is an old American, if not worldwide, tradition. Caveat Emptor.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:58 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, April 8. 2014
Perhaps she should quit working and let her hubby support the family the old-fashioned way. If you read between the lines, I think that's what she wants. There's nothing wrong with wanting that.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:18 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, April 6. 2014
Friday, April 4. 2014
We did inheritances yesterday, so it seems fitting to review gift taxes today.
My impression is that gift taxes are largely dodged in the US today, unless they involve bank transfers of assets, or deeds. It is certainly not unusual for older folks to hand over jewelry, gold coins, artwork, etc. to their kids.
I do not understand why gift taxes exist in the US, but I am confident that readers can provide me with the rationale.
Here are the IRS' FAQs.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:43 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, April 3. 2014
Every comment I have read or heard about this terrible incident is ignorant beyond belief.
In fact, all too ignorant and stupid for me to respond to. This time, I have neither the time nor the inclination. It's tragic, unavoidable. There is no perfect safety from either nature or from human nature, and any perfect safety would be a living death.
(I am also opposed to gift taxes which limit how much one can give to a family member, or anyone else, without a tax penalty, but that's another topic.)
I do understand that the greedy government wants any money it can get, from any source, and I also understand that estate planning for the wealthy employs thousands of attorneys and accountants who might otherwise have little to do.
What's wrong with the idea that, over time and over generations, there would be the freedom for families to accumulate assets for the benefit of their present and future kin? The more, the better. Financial independence to some degree can be either a blessing or a curse, but, contra Teddy Roosevelt, that's not government's proper concern. I have seen family businesses, farms, and family vacation places destroyed by estate taxes, and it seems wrong to me.
Here are my poll questions - assuming you and spouse have died:
1. Do you want to leave any assets to your kids, grandkids, relatives, friends, or do you want to die broke?
2. What % of your estate would you wish to give to charities?
3. If you have one prosperous kid and two middle class or poor kids, would you write your will differently for them?
Wednesday, April 2. 2014
Most likely. However, it's a hot area of genetics nowadays: End the Hype over Epigenetics & Lamarckian Evolution
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:29 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, March 29. 2014
It's not really the nanny state, it's tort lawyers driving the nonsense. We did wild and crazy things when I was a kid, including BB gun battles and stone-throwing battles. We made bonfires in the woods, and swam in the reservoir in our underwear. We stole our parents' cigarettes and smoked them in the woods. Of course, that was not on school property. I was a tomboy.
We broke our arms and our legs, got banged up, and got lost. Good adventures, good training for life. I got to the point where getting lost was a fun challenge.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:02 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, March 27. 2014
Isn't all sex recreational in some sense of the word? Eating is recreational too, in part, and they are both fun. Well, unless these things are dutiful chores which they can be, sometimes, for some people.
What's wrong with recreational sex (eg FB's, friends with benefits, dorm trios - meaning studly guy plus 2 playful and adventurous gal roomies, one-nighters, etc) among the uncommitted? And isn't lots of marital sex really recreational, in some sense, anyway? If not "casual" - see "kitchen table sex."
It's a serious question. In the old days, people married in their teens so that an extended period of sexual ache, longing, and loneliness was more or less taken care of. Of course, we all have our morals, scruples, religions, ethics, and considerations for the feelings of others to take into account. That's the issue, isn't it?
Frequent sexual and romantic thoughts and desires are, for better or worse, a routine part of being human. People can fall into love, lust, or desire readily. (They can fall out of those things too, fairly readily.) I am constantly reminded in my work about how prevalent, but far from universal, recreational sex is among the young, and among older singles. (No, I am not one who views sex as sacramental but more as an animal aspect of humanity with an overlay, so to speak, of a hundred other meanings. In my youth, I think I was too sentimental, religious, soulful, respectful - and controlled - to ever have been a party girl. Some regrets? Not saying. My fantasies are exciting, but private.)
A book by Psychiatrist Stephen Grosz: The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves.
It's about peoples' life stories. Highly readable by the non-professional.
Sunday, March 23. 2014
Science is never settled, is it? Our approach is to always be skeptical of everything.
This is interesting: A Challenge to the Supremacy of DNA as the Genetic Material
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:05 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, March 22. 2014
Good posture makes people look better. It makes you look younger and inspires confidence, and it feels good.
Good posture is a habit, and so is poor posture. The military is effective at training good posture. Typical causes of poor posture are psychological, lack of training, aging, and physical weakness.
If you want to improve your posture, just imagine your Mom reminding to to sit up, or stand up, straight, all day long. Then you can work on your abdominal and back muscles, which are what make standing upright possible. Here you go: Exercises for Better Posture.
Life training matters, and can only come from home. Moms say "Stand up straight, look people in the eye, have a firm handshake and a pleasant but reserved demeanor. Nobody wants to know your natural self."
Friday, March 21. 2014
A Maggie's Farm Scientific Survey: Things we often want to avoid doing, but feel better after we do them.
No pain, no gain? This is about gratifications and pleasures earned in the completion of things one has the impulse to avoid which require possibly unpleasant exertion, effort or discipline in contrast to easy, unearned gratifications.
The capacity to delay gratification is considered a measure of maturity and life-competence, but we all struggle with something ever day. The enemies are "I don't feel like it" or "I feel like it." In other words, self-indulgence. The enemy is us.
The earned gratifications of accomplishment tend to feel better afterwards; unearned gratifications (eg food, booze and drugs, shopping, trips and vacations, watching TV, romantic affairs, surfing the web, etc, etc.) tend to feel good while doing but often worse after because they are easy pleasures or cheap thrills which have costs which are often out of proportion to meaningful gains.
I'll confess some of my personal routine challenges, some trivial and some not:
- Getting to church - hate to dress and drag us there on Sunday morning, but always glad we went
What's on your list of things you feel like avoiding, but feel good after you do them?
Thursday, March 20. 2014
For years, I have been explaining here that dietary fats are not a meaningful factor in heart disease (arterial disease). Your cholesterol level most likely doesn't matter either unless you have familial hyperlipidemia or diabetes. I believe those outliers skewed earlier studies.)
Here's more evidence: Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link.
The article also says this:
Once again, it's the carbs that are the problem. Best thing is to deal with that carb addiction.
Wednesday, March 19. 2014
Wednesday, March 12. 2014
I have written many times here about food fetishists. I am not referring to people with diagnosed eating disorders, just to people with neurotic concerns about "healthy food" and the silly wealthy people who go to Whole Foods.
"Healthy food" cannot be defined, because humans evolved as opportunistic omnivores. We can and will thrive on anything and everything we can stuff into our gaping pie holes. Americans and Europeans are the most over-nourished people on earth, as is most of the Western-influenced prosperous world.
Here's this looniness: Food Fetish on Campus - Colleges and universities are embracing "food studies" primarily as another way of pushing leftist beliefs.
"Food Studies"? Yes, with a minor in beer and pizza after classes. Unless you need to lose fat, have a pepperoni pizza and a beer, then some ice cream, find some other more productive interests to think about, and you'll do just fine in life. I regret informing you, as a physician, that "You are not what you eat." It's just too bad that life is not that easy.
In the Western world, too much nutrition is the biggest concern. It's now termed a "First World Problem" - How little of what will I eat for supper?
Tuesday, March 11. 2014
Forever Young? 20 of the Hottest Women Over 60 Years Old. 65 is the old 45. All it takes is some care, some flair, some estrogen, some exertion, and a little cash for teeth, hair, and skin.
Re the below by Peter Arno, Are you? And is he the young man you married?
Sunday, March 9. 2014
Saturday, March 8. 2014
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society by Dr. Carl Hart. Amazon comment below:
High Price is the harrowing and inspiring memoir of neuroscientist Carl Hart, a man who grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, determined to make a difference as an adult, tirelessly applies his scientific training to help save real lives.
Wednesday, March 5. 2014
A new study: High suicide rates for soldiers in, out of war
A while ago, Junk Science put in a well-deserved plug for Dr. Paul McHugh and Dr. Sally Satel in his piece, in which he notes that the majority of military suicides have never been near combat.
I could discuss the topic of suicide and suicidality for days. Suicide is not one thing. It is endlessly complex, and definitely not always accompanied by clinical depression or other mental illness. Shame, guilt, loss, or anger are often prominent components, along with personality disorders, Bipolar, psychosis, and other things.
PTSD? Readers know that I tend to think that it is not a "disorder" but a normal variant. The people who put the DSM together can't tell the difference.
Here's the article by Elise Cooper to which he was reacting: Suicide in the Armed Forces: Not a Disgrace
Tuesday, March 4. 2014
Taki is a blessed human being; one of the fortunate ones for whom life itself is a blessing and who can spread it to others.
Saturday, March 1. 2014
Psychiatry has seen its share of damagingly-erroneous fads over the years: multiple personality, satanism, "recovered memories." It's important to learn from such fads and errors, not to hide them in embarrassment.
Every branch of medicine, and of science in general, experiences erroneous fads and false enthusiasms. Only a few years ago, the climate scientists were going nuts about global cooling, and soon, perhaps, they will do so again.
The only cure is chronic skepticism.
Wednesday, February 26. 2014
It's fascinating how crowded Everest is becoming these days, with queues of mountain tourists for the rope lines. The highways are all mapped out, ladders installed, ropes installed, sherpas hired, etc., so it's almost like a rich man's chilly Disney World.
The medical part - and the risk of bad weather - seem to be the greatest challenges. First World Problems, if you will, because nobody needs to do this. However, if it is made too safe, where's the credit?
As with the Olympics, I think it's wonderful that some people want to try these sorts of adventures in life, but I do not admire the amateur tourists. Good film:
Sunday, February 23. 2014
Friday, February 21. 2014
Many of my medical colleagues would agree with this, more or less: Science tells us that taking most vitamins is worthless—but here's a few that buck the trend.
Of course, recommendations like this change all the time, just as do all dietary recommendations. I take it all with a grain of salt or, I should say, with plenty of salt. I love salt.
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