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
Tuesday, September 1. 2015
In the softer "sciences," even more so: An expansive new project is able to replicate results from fewer than half of its psychology experiments in question.
Monday, August 31. 2015
Sunday, August 30. 2015
Friday, August 28. 2015
Friends have just returned from a week in Ravello, While there, the whole family (all 5 of them) took a full-day cooking class with Mama Agata. Despite their other holiday pleasures, they all agreed that was the high point of their trip. Mamma Agata (click on cooking classes - reservations required).
They stayed at Hotel Villa Cimbrone, which they recommend.
Thursday, August 27. 2015
I enjoyed this subtle satire on the self-centered Western obsession with identity, self-realization, and self-actualization: How to Be Yourself When You Don't Know Who You Are - with JP Sears
Yes, it is as dangerous, or more dangerous, than drunk driving
How to Stay Awake on the Road: Tips to Combat Drowsy Driving. Those are some reasonable ideas, especially the quick nap in the car or a stop with a little walk. If it's a frequent problem that you have, and you need to drive long distances often, you might persuade your doc to prescribe some low-dose amphetamine or adderal for the purpose. That's what truck drivers do. Call it "Driving Narcolepsy."
It is odd, isn't it, that when you arrive at destination you can feel just fine?
Wednesday, August 26. 2015
"If it's dry, wet it. If it's wet, dry it. If it looks funny, cut it off and send it to the Pathologist."
Walter Isaacson: Walker Percy’s Theory of Hurricane:
"The problem with storms is that they pass."
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:47 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, August 19. 2015
Tuesday, August 18. 2015
A good, personal description of one form of what we put under the umbrella label of "depression":
Having anxiety & depression is like being scared and tired at the same time. It's the fear of failure, but no urge to be productive. It's wanting friends, but hate socializing. It's wanting to be alone, but not wanting to be lonely. It's caring about everything, then caring about nothing. It's feeling everything at once, then feeling paralyzingly numb.
Thursday, August 13. 2015
Wednesday, August 12. 2015
It's a more complicated concept than I had realized. At Wiki, Regression toward the mean
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:32 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
I have seen this plenty of times, and do not believe it automatically means that there is a marital problem (and anyway, marriages almost always have some problem or other). When it comes to light, however, it is a big problem indeed.
Friday, August 7. 2015
Tuesday, August 4. 2015
A bit from the article:
Mental health care and treatment in America is a hodge-podge of state, federal, charitable, and private programs. That is not a bad thing that there is no "system," because caring can not be a "system" and because there are no cures for the most severe ailments like autism, schizophrenia, dementia, and so forth. That's why mental health care is not a problem in America any more than it is everywhere on the planet.
There is no better place on earth for those with manageable problems under the mental health umbrella than in the US. Perfection is unobtainable, because it can not be defined, and some people will always be beyond effective help if only because they refuse it.
Because so many problems lack cures, and so many patients resist possibly positive amelioration, what people lobby for are governmental and private "services," not utopian fixes. As always with medical issues, lobbyists lobby for their fad interests and fad approaches.
There is no "mental health industry." I do not necessarily agree with the premises of the article, but I do agree with this: "Congress needs to understand that throwing money at mental health is not the same as delivering effective treatment to the seriously ill." Caring, like education, is not intrinsically expensive.
Sunday, August 2. 2015
Saturday, August 1. 2015
The ideal fitness program for those over 35 is 2-3 days of an hour of varied, intense resistance work and 2-3 days of 25-40 minutes of focused cardio/endurance work. That's all it takes. This will keep you going strong and looking good until everything finally breaks down and you throw in the towel on vigorous life and write your wills, get a trust and estates lawyer, and set things up to await the grim reaper.
Plus, of course, your usual sports activities and Yoga, shopping, work, hiking, jogging, casual bicycling, swimming, sex, whatever which are fun but of no health benefit. (People with physical jobs don't necessarily need this stuff.)
We mentioned in the past that, except for the elderly (over 78-80 in the US these days) or those with serious cardiac or pulmonary problems, walking, fast walking, comfortable elliptical or biking, do nothing at all to improve fitness or to burn fat. For the otherwise healthy, I consider those to be little more than anorectic rituals or wholesome entertainment.
Cardio can be boring as heck. My cardio exercises use intervals to keep it interesting. Here's an interval program that even cardio-hating people can stick with because it mixes variety with challenges: A Way to Get Fit and Also Have Fun:
Their research showed that many do not stick with a prescribed program, making it all useless. Lazy does not work. To add interest, I rotate this sort of thing from bike to elliptical to rower with minimal rest in between. Depending on my free time, I quit it all after 30-40 minutes.
Wednesday, July 29. 2015
Back exercises are the best things for posture, generally. Dead lifts, especially. Not a bad idea to stick a post-it on your desk saying what your Mom said at the dining room table: "Sit up straight with your shoulders back." (She also always said "Stand up straight like a soldier.")
A few links on the topic:
You probably spend hours in front of a computer every day—so make sure you’re doing it right
Working Out Isn't Enough: Advice for Desk Workers
Tuesday, July 28. 2015
Our friend Dr. Schneiderman discusses Adolescent Cutting. After many years of addressing self-mutilation with youth and some adults, I have become convinced that various sorts of self-harm entail "integrative" pain - a discomfort which helps a person feel more centered, whole, and complete. In fact, it is not unusual for somewhat shakily-constructed people to create or to be drawn to chaos and crises for their strange psychologically-integrating effects.
There might be an entire new theory of masochism in general built on that idea, but I think Freud sort of began to get there first. Perhaps he over-sexualized masochism, or over-death-wished it, but he was on the trail towards an understanding of masochism and its perverse gratifications.
Sunday, July 26. 2015
Loneliness is a painful state. Social isolation feels terrible. Most people need friends and family around for company. It's a true cliche that alone in the city can be the worst.
I agree with Schneiderman that, no matter how much of an outsider somebody is, if you get involved in things sooner or later some kindred spirits will be found: The Loneliness of the Outsider
Saturday, July 25. 2015
Friday, July 24. 2015
Wednesday, July 22. 2015
Many Americans tend to overeat.
The experience of food satiety is mediated by a variety of physiologic signals, psychological states, and cultural factors, and some of that signaling may have some genetic tendencies. However, it is my experience that the main causes of overconsumption are three simple things: the ready availability of tasty carb things (unresisted temptation), feeding+sitting as recreation, and ignoring satiety. By the latter, I mean not paying attention to when enough is enough. In our world, there is always more, and gluttony, eating until "full," makes no sense at all on a routine basis.
In other words, ignoring your body's "enough" signals instead of one's maximum stretched stomach capacity. Some people will consume whatever is put in front of them regardless of hunger, while some will only consume until they sense that they have had enough. The former two are the buffet-killers while the latter do not consume their cost of the buffet. Living in a world of food abundance has a downside but nobody would choose the alternative.
I have found that overweight people can be easily trained to identify satiety if they want to. We know a few things about this:
1. Protein seems to trigger satiety best.
2. Fast eaters tend to ignore their satiety signals far more than slower eaters. That's why it's called piggish.
3. Food impairs mental alertness and physical capacity for a while so it's best not to eat for a couple of hours before exertion. Hydration is necessary, though. If at your ideal weight or underweight, a little carbs an hour before difficult exertion is a good idea. After heavy resistance work, a little protein, or a regular meal if at target weight, is an ok idea.
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