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
Sunday, April 19. 2015
Most exercise is a terrible and inefficient way to lose weight if you are too heavy or fat. Just think about it: A four-five mile high-speed walk will barely burn off the calories in a donut, muffin, or bagel (with the cream cheese, add another few miles). You would have to walk all day, every day, to lose weight.
Remember, all carbs=sugar and yes, that includes the carbs in beans, peas, corn, carrots, potatoes, yams - all the high-carb "veggies." We feed those things to farm animals to fatten them for slaughter. Some people get wacky about sugar, but human digestion turns all carbs into plain sugar so there is lots of physiological ignorance out there about "complex carbs" and so forth. So-called "complex carbs" just get turned into sugar more slowly.
Nature designed us to love carbs because nature expected us all to be poor and half-starving on the African savannah. If you have excess fat which bothers you or slows you down, you do not need hardly any carbs. You do need some fatty meats, though, or other fats like olive oil.
If happy with your physical condition and level of conditioning, please ignore all of this.
I've been following Bird Dog's fitness renewal program which is not designed for weight loss but to convert fat weight to muscle weight, and I approve of it. A bonus of that sort of high-intensity program (which I have done for a few months in the past to rapidly get back to fighting condition after periods of relative sloth, such as after childbirth, to get back my 28 year-old weight and fitness) is that it can help a fellow survive a male's almost-inevitable MI by building up collateral cardiac blood supply.
While high-intensity work-outs will burn fat (but only if on a carb-restricted diet), the main things they build are aerobic capacity and endurance, agility, a feeling of youthful vigor, and muscle fitness if not muscle power. Those are all good things. (Gross muscle power development - body-building - requires heavy lifting instead of reps and is more about appearance than fitness. A harmless hobby for some.)
Barnhardt says this:
I do not think food is the main post-Christian preoccupation, but it does seem common in the higher socio-economic classes. These are often the educated who missed Physiology 101 and Biochem 101. Think Whole Foods and "organic" farming. I think we have been clear on this site that most dietary preaching here is about weight loss, not general health. Nobody can define a "healthy" human diet, as we are omnivores which means we can thrive on anything digestible. In America, we are blessed with cheap and abundant food of all sorts and spend a lower percentage of our funds on tasty food than anywhere else in the world. Thus many people eat more than they need, for fun.
As I have said, I have seen 6'3" football players who grew up on nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and the occasional hot dog.
Thursday, April 16. 2015
This gives a very close idea, I'd say +/- 3 points. It is context-free so has nothing to do with education, just pure mental horsepower. Give it a try. You will either be humbled and hate yourself for being an overachiever - or hate yourself for being an underachiever. No, not really. Many will figure they had themselves pegged correctly.
Speed counts, of course. No allowances for slower thinkers or "disabilities" because it is not a test of knowledge or operations. I came out 123 which I think is about right.
Tuesday, April 14. 2015
We were introduced to this handy term for a certain kind of manipulation by the McCain website.
Wednesday, April 8. 2015
There's a name for that: Orthorexia nervosa.
It is indeed an eating disorder which is probably related to, and often overlaps, the other eating disorders. Unlike the other eating disorders, it seems harmless enough although irrational, a waste of time, and annoying to others. A waste of effort and money too. Basically another variant of the obsessional neuroses.
Vegans, organics, gluten freaks, Whole Foods, and all that silliness.
Nobody can define healthy eating and it doesn't matter as far as we can tell. Therefore, if you worry about food we say you just need to get a life. A social life, wholesome hobbies, etc. Unless you need to lose weight for health and vigor, to prevent arthritis and diabetes, etc, that is. Does your cholesterol count matter for anything? Not at all, unless you have the genetic disease of hypercholesterolemia which is detectable early in life. In that case, you take pills, cross your fingers, and pray.
Wednesday, April 1. 2015
This is the sort of crap that drives docs to retirement. It's called "electronic medical records," and it is essentially government-mandated in hospitals now. It is an incredible time-waster, and almost requires physicians to follow a script instead of focusing on you. Docs used to just note relevant positives and relevant negatives quickly on a piece of paper in a minute, and then practicing the art and science of caring about you.
"Care" is not an economic term. It is not a technical term. The "medical care" experts don't get that.
Read it and weep: Please Choose One.
It's too late to keep corporate and government bureaucracy out of American medicine. We all must now just seek out physicians with the traditional, independent medical values, who work for you despite the intrusions. However, most of them will not "take insurance" anymore. They can't afford the professionally-trained billing staff.
Sunday, March 29. 2015
I have seen plenty of marriages hit the rocks on those shores, but on plenty of other shores too. "Class" doesn't mean money in the bank. It means a shared understanding and approach to reality and relationships - and interior decor!
Tuesday, March 24. 2015
Different people with different problems and different personalities can benefit from different approaches. Psychoanalytically-informed approaches can be extremely valuable for some people, and useless for others.
Friday, March 20. 2015
I read that article in The Atlantic. I disagree with almost all of it. There is no better or cheaper (it's free) approach to substance abuse for the motivated person.
It's not about "Does it work?" It's about "Does the person work it?" Sanity, like physical health, is not a passive enterprise.
Nothing can be done for the unmotivated person. However, some people on a downward spiral need a little rehab (ie forced abstinence) first to get a little clarity; some people benefit from naltrexone or topamax, and all benefit from treatment of any coexisting problems.
Thursday, March 5. 2015
"Emotion" is sort-of an artificial construct, is it not? It - whatever it is - can rarely be separated from cognition, perception, ideas, and all other mental processes and biological instincts. We easily can identify, in ourselves, lustful desire ("urge to merge"), rage, despair, joy, fear and anxiety - but these extremes are rare and still more expressible by poets and musicians than by scientists.
Friday, February 27. 2015
Marketing can work wonders, as can the placebo effect. Don't be a sucker.
Wednesday, February 25. 2015
What drives the disease craze? Big Pharma, and insurance. Normal variants are labeled as diseases and disorders. Think ADD, ED, infertility, fear of dying, and on and on. I term them, smirkingly, "life-style disorders."
Here's an emerging new disorder: A Pill That Boosts a Woman’s Sex Drive Is Almost Here. But Do We Need It?
What shall we term the medical disorder which this pill fixes?
Monday, February 23. 2015
Sunday, February 8. 2015
These programs are designed by Child Psychologists. Since when are they experts in this? I'd prefer a panel of grandmas, myself. Some kids, of course, are especially challenging if not impossible. Easy kids make parents look good; tough kids make parents look bad.
Friday, February 6. 2015
A brief history of marriage, by a gal who may have missed the boat: All the Single Ladies
Monday, January 26. 2015
Mental-health practitioners whose clients kill themselves can face stigma from their colleagues, lawsuits, and a toll on their own psyches—making them less likely to take on suicidal patients who need their help.
Unlike most other medical specialties, where deaths are routine, suicide is imagined to be preventable. Very often it is not, any more than death from most cancers can be prevented. If all suicides were caused by simple depressions curable by a pill, that would be different. However, it's not like that. Intractable, relentless emotional pain is only one of many paths to suicide.
Like most Psychiatrists, I have had a number of them in my practice. It happens if you take on difficult cases or cover ERs. Despite all I know about suicide, it still does shake one's confidence and excites the ambulance-chasers. Most suicides, of course, never seek any help from physicians, and some who do, lie.
Wednesday, January 21. 2015
Look, everybody must come to terms with the fact that most people will not like us, or be interested in us, or want to help us. That's part of growing up. Despite that, there are plenty of people out there who want a friend. We have to understand that others, like us, are discriminating in their own ways. When friendships and relationships do click, it sure is fun and life-enriching, isn't it?
I once helped a very shy young fellow deal with his fear by commanding him to introduce himself to a pretty girl on a daily basis - including in NYC stores (eg Bloomingdale's), gourmet food markets, and supermarkets. He complied bravely with great faith in my advice, and in a very few instances somebody liked the cut of his jib and his (apparent) confidence and phoned him. Cured by Reality Therapy! He did not become thicker-skinned, just realistic.
Thursday, January 15. 2015
It has always seemed grandiose to me, but I understand that Frankl needed to find some purpose or reason to hang on, as do most people in prison camps. In the end, he produced a work which is inspiring to many.
It's easier for me, with an ordinary life, to get my mind around the search for simpler things like money, good food, romance, being useful, raising kids, living with integrity, being a good friend and spouse, and the like. When it comes to ultimate meaning, I'll go with Jesus and won't presume to invent my own. I am not smart or inspired enough to do that even if I wanted to.
Sunday, January 11. 2015
Saturday, January 10. 2015
No matter how much you may fight and argue, you become bonded tight over years if you are even half-normal. It is a wonder, given all of our annoying flaws.
Tuesday, January 6. 2015
Ladies do love their orgasms and tend to value them more highly than men do. They are deeper, and last longer, than the male version.
I have known women who come to orgasm when just making out with their hubbies, and women who cannot achieve climax after an hour of rambunctious bedroom fun. Quite a few women have orgasms with exercise in the gym, on horses, or with a quick masturbation. It's a spectrum, and I do not think that it is mainly psychological. Male primates were designed to spread their alpha seed by any means possible, and they did, and still do, often selfishly without extensive attention to female satisfaction. Biologically, the female pleasure component is just gravy but it makes the fellows feel extra happy.
Women envy those hot women who can orgasm after a minute of sexual activity. Most can not. One lucky gal I spoke with told me that she orgasms the instant her husband's organ touches her labia, and goes on for six or seven more thereafter in twenty minutes. Guys love women like that but it is relatively rare. It seems to be mostly about the anatomy of the clitoris although in the first episodes of a hot new romance anything can happen.
Oxytocin is good stuff.
Monday, January 5. 2015
What do most men need and want for a good life?
An update from Dr. George Vaillant's remarkable long-term study (since 1938) of men's lives: Insights from the Longest Longitudinal Study on Men Ever Conducted:
Sunday, January 4. 2015
It's not "sometimes" - it's frequently. Intelligence and rationality are separate things. Rational and Irrational Thought: The Thinking that IQ Tests Miss
Thursday, January 1. 2015
It's time for 2015 travel planning if we have not done that yet (most have done so already, I suspect, but some people are last-minute "planners").
I have a new case of a fellow who has developed a travel phobia. To be accurate, he has not really developed it, it has just been exposed by his frustrated family.
Many people with fears of all sorts never have them exposed because they find ways and excuses to avoid the things that make them uncomfortable. Typical excuses: "I hate cocktail parties," "I hate going to sports stadiums," "I don't want to go to that stupid place," "It's dangerous," "I hate cities," "Airplanes suck," "It's too expensive," "I don't need any new friends," etc etc.
Phobias are more often identified by avoidances than by real episodes of fear or discomfort. How does one tell what is a phobic avoidance from a plain dislike? Well, a little ruthless dose of self-scrutiny can answer most of your questions about your own fears and insecurities.
Like agoraphobics, travel phobics dart from place of safety to place of safety and familiarity no matter how often over-visited, never enjoy the trip or the adventures of life, and constrict their experiences and the richness of their lives in the process. Carpe diem. Life is short and shorter with each new day and each new year.
Men are particularly reluctant to admit flaws and weaknesses. Pride and shame prevent people from owning up to the personal weaknesses of their fears and frailties. I give blogger Ann Althouse, for example, credit for acknowledging her travel phobia (she feels that a driving trip from Madison to Austin is a daunting adventure). Properly naming one's fears, instead of making excuses, is the first step towards addressing them and conquering them.
What we term "simple phobias" are among the easiest things we shrinks have to deal with. In my experience, people with travel phobias and adventure phobias, once mastered, want to go everywhere and do everything.
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