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
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.
Thursday, February 20. 2014
Wednesday, February 19. 2014
Tuesday, February 18. 2014
Guys gotta do what guys gotta do, and sometimes they have to get banged up in the process. I applaud these male efforts - and female efforts - to remain in the game and not to quit despite the risks to bones, pride, etc.
A medical colleague emailed me a photo of his own left tibia this weekend, acquired when skiing at Jay Peak. Ouch. An MD degree is not required for this diagnosis. For a layperson, this is a version of a "broken leg." This will need pins or a plate or something. Some metal and some screws, and I think he'll miss a day or two of work.
Saturday, February 15. 2014
Friday, February 7. 2014
An annual re-post, but re-posted again because we seemed to help a number of people with this:
Forget the "Obesity Crisis." That's a crock. Abundant, good food is a blessing and a rarity in human history so it is a great privilege and luxury to be overweight. It certainly is true that, when tasty food is cheap, people will eat a lot of it and their bodies will kindly store what they don't need to survive today, to the detriment of our knees, hips, appearance, comfort, and general vigor. Trouble is, we won't need that storage tomorrow - or ever. It's like hoarding.
We can all be as fat or fit as we wish to be. It's a free country, and being fat (but not obese) isn't terrible for your health unless you are diabetic or want to be able to get around energetically. But don't listen to the Dieticians and Nutritionists. They will want you to get in shape slowly and in a "sustainable" way. In your heart, you know that will never happen. If you are bothering to read this, you just want to get in shape as quickly as you can without liposuction or use of the vomitorium.
Eliminating carbs reduces or eliminates carb craving in most overweight people over several weeks.
This can be a one- to three-month program as desired. Maintenance is another topic.
Details below -
Continue reading "The Official Maggie's Farm Get-Back-in-shape before Summer Plan"
Thursday, February 6. 2014
I never expect honest answers from questions about sex, substance use, or money, so I won't expect perfect honesty here.
However, in an effort to warm up this frigid winter season, here's my scientific Maggie's Farm poll question for today:
How often during a normal day out and about in the world do you think "Hmmm, that's appealing; I think I wouldn't mind having some sex with that guy or gal"?
Honest answers most appreciated.
Sunday, February 2. 2014
"Most important job in the world"? You betcha. It can be joyful, boring as heck, frustrating, and mindless drudgery. In my opinion, Moms need plentiful adult-oriented breaks from child-rearing tasks, and the husband must always be the priority. The best way to kill a marriage is to make the kids more important than the spouse.
Enjoy the game.
Thursday, January 30. 2014
The US government recommends 9-11 servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily.
What are they smoking? Unless a stalk of raw celery or a leaf of spinach counts as one vegetable.
If you ate all that, you would be obese, especially with the fruit which, as I always say, is God's dessert. Unless you are at a starvation weight, you don't need fruit. Fruit is just sugar, and you might just as well have some ice cream.
Is there any justification for that in a free country?
We debated the topic at dinner last night. At the end, I had to admit that sentiment and tradition were not adequate reasons for laws and, especially, criminalization. When I (rarely) refuse my hubbie nighttime pleasures, he has been known to mumble "I shoulda been a Mormon." I know he'd enjoy a threesome, in fantasy anyway, but that's not how I roll. I am a traditionalist.
Sunday, January 26. 2014
Most of the studies he discusses avoid defining happiness, and just let people report. At issue, of course, is that as long as one is not in dire straits, happiness and contentment in life depend on non-economic factors: temperament and personality, relationships, family, hobbies and interests, etc.
There is no one "happiness." Some are most happy when taking risks, others more comfortable when they feel more secure. Material gain is not a universal goal.
Saturday, January 25. 2014
When people get divorced, I usually recommend that a person have a coffee with at least 25-30 candidates, at minimum, before deciding to get involved with anyone. That's because the recently-divorced are usually lonely, unhappy, sex-starved; often hurt or angry or worried about the future, and generally prone to poor judgement and poor choices. However, those things may apply to many single people.
Because of this, I found this fellow's love story interesting: How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love
Do guys just want sex? That's a topic for another day. That guy wanted true love, whatever that is.
Wednesday, January 22. 2014
I always figured that it was because my friends are friendlier than I am.
Monday, January 20. 2014
Antidepressants fail to help around 70% of depressed patients on the first try.
Antidepressants are now the treatment of choice for anyone with acute or chronic symptoms of "major depression," ie anxiety, disturbed sleep, hopelessness and helplessness, self-hatred, appetite loss, irrational guilty feelings, loss of sex drive, inability to concentrate, sometimes suicidal feelings, and inability to find pleasure or interest in things. In my experience, the vast majority of patients with a fair number of those symptoms feel better with antidepressants, but, in my view, medicine should never be given without psychotherapy of some sort.
Where it gets complicated is that 1. there are many kinds of depression besides major depression; 2., the personality type, and personal strengths and weaknesses can effect the way depression occurs, and whether it occurs at all, and, 3. life circumstances have a real impact on the ability to improve depression with medicine (if your business is going bust, or your child dying with cancer, no antidepressant will make you merry).
I'll try to keep it brief. The generic term "depression" runs the gamut from the heavily-inherited form that occurs in Bipolar Disorder (which is probably a brain-wiring abnormality), to the grief-like depressive reactions to life-events, especially loss, which occur in vulnerable people. In between are sad-sack people with chronic mildy depressed mood, and many people with chronic mood problems due to personality disorders or neurotic problems. My point is that there is not one "depression". The word refers to a group of symptoms, not a diagnosis.
Because depression is not a unitary phenomenon, different forms require different treatment approaches, whether psychotherapeutic or chemical, but the research says preferably both for severe depression.
It is not widely understood that the new SSRI antidepressants are not "mood elevators." They have no effect whatsoever on people without depression, which is why they are never abused.
I will have to follow-up with a Part 2 later, because this is getting too long, according to our blog rules. "Short and sweet." But some subjects are complex and nuanced, as our esteemed French Senator likes to say.
Image is Durer's Melancholia.
Thursday, January 16. 2014
She points out the (rather obvious) practical and economic advantages of committed relationships. I can't imagine handling all of the complexities of life without a partner.
Wednesday, January 15. 2014
It's about subjectivity, mainly - being human, and a defense of Nagel in part. The essay is so rich and deadly-serious that it cannot really be taken in in one reading, and it is difficult to select a representative quote so I'll post a random one:
Well, because we derive our metaphors from the world around us. Freud's first metapsychology was modeled on the steam engine. The essay deserves study. Take a Ritalin and dig into it.
Sunday, January 12. 2014
Samizdata found this gem by Rauch in The Atlantic. A couple of quotes:
Wednesday, January 8. 2014
The message is that magical thinking about health and food, etc., doesn't accomplish very much. Neither does magical thinking accomplish very much in any other area of life - except in fiction.
Monday, January 6. 2014
We don't call it "dying of old age" anymore because we have much better diagnostic tools. Everybody has to die from something or other.
Sunday, January 5. 2014
It's a vivid description of what we used to call Anxiety Neurosis but now term Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Stossel says that nothing has helped him except for moderate use of Xanax and/or alcohol. He has concluded that he just needs to live with it, if not to embrace it.
Thursday, January 2. 2014
81% of kids have a mental disorder? "Everybody has Psychiatric symptoms."
The point is, you need a diagnosis for your insurance. Even if you're a troubled normal neurotic, we'll stick a label on you as a favor to you. Dr. Alan Francis, et al (h/t, Boring Old Man)