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, February 9. 2016
Monday, February 8. 2016
An interesting case: The Lives and Lies of a Professional Impostor
Wednesday, February 3. 2016
Saturday, January 30. 2016
Yes, it is fine. Although it looks and can taste carby, it is not. It's a close relative of the tomato but more fibrous. Thus, like tomato and no many vegetables, basically carb-free and nutrition-free, but tasty and fun to eat.
It's a pretty good substitute for carbs, in fact. I like it grilled, sauteed in olive oil, or steamed or sauteed with tomato and summer squash. I can do without eggplant parmesan.
How do our readers like to cook eggplant?
Doesn't it depend on what the meaning of love is? We all have standards and expectations for relationships. Somebody said that romance is chemistry but love is a decision.
Tuesday, January 26. 2016
Meaning does matter, in all areas of human life. Unfortunately, fake meanings, ie "false narratives," can matter a lot in life too. Analysis is a mental laboratory as much as anything else.
Can psychoanalysis or psychodynamic therapy (which I prefer to offer) be curative? Sometimes. Can it be helpful? Certainly. Can it be done right? Not really. It's called "the impossible profession" for good reason.
I can testify that it did a lot of good for me and made me a better Psychiatrist too. (We were required to be in a lengthy analysis in analytic training.) Interestingly, that analysis has continued to work, grinding away, in my head ever since in a never-ending and self-questioning process. Self-knowledge is never pleasant, however, and I would rather play tennis than dwell on it too much. I only dwell on it when I need to. It burns sometimes, but it cleans the instruments.
Friday, January 22. 2016
A recent paper of his summarizes the field: The emerging synthesis of development and evolution: A new biology for psychoanalysis.
His most recent fascination is with epigenetics and how gene expression is affected by environment and spans generations. Gene expression - not genes - is transmissable. The egg from which we were hatched was formed in our Mom's ovary while she was still gestating inside Grandma's uterus. Thus many influences, all in nature's interest in providing variety for adaptation and natural selection.
Tuesday, January 19. 2016
Reasons for admission, 1864-1889. My favorite diagnosis is "Gathering in the head." This is not the DSM 5.
Sunday, January 17. 2016
There is a sort of closure when a missing person is found dead or alive. There is closure any time a question mark is resolved with a fact.
However, there is no closure to grief. Major losses leave a hole in the soul. The sediments of time layer evenly over everything, but the depression in the ground remains for your lifetime. WSJ (paywall, alas): Closure Really Is a Myth, A Stumbling Block to Grief - I know both professionally and from my own experience that the term “closure” isn’t only a myth, it’s an illusion that is counterproductive.
Wednesday, January 13. 2016
Do people focus too much about what they want, or too little? Well, everybody is different. I routinely disparage general discussions about "happiness." I never disparage people having personal life goals or direction, as long as they can be flexible in the face of harsh realities. But there is no generic definition of any universal details of happiness, and a large category of people is only happy when unhappy, upset, stressed, or in chaos because such things sort-of organize their thinking and thus help them feel "better".
This piece makes a good point: How much pain, sacrifice, and deprivation are you willing to sustain to try to reach your goals?
Sunday, January 10. 2016
Everybody remembers being told, by the scientists, not to eat eggs and red meat. Of course, now that is all known to be bogus. Unless you do manual labor or are significantly underweight, there is no reason to eat grains or cereals for breakfast except for fun. Oats and cholesterol? All now known to be bogus too. And real butter is good for you.
Just one reason I distrust reports has to do with data-mining. I was once involved with a medical study which applied data-mining to a large amount of data. Inevitably, we found some correlations which passed the t-test. That's not science, but academics get papers published that way and papers can lead to grants and tenure.
Is social isolation a good or bad thing? It seems to me to depend on the reason for it. Many people do not enjoy a social life while many suffer from loneliness. It's probably a bell curve, like most things.
This report, I feel, confuses causation with correlation. That's a rookie error: How Your Relationships Affect Your Health
Wednesday, December 23. 2015
Saturday, December 19. 2015
Beyond Fight or Flight: Healing Intergenerational Wounds
Friday, December 11. 2015
Most areas of mental life are far too complex to be reduced to black-and-white distinctions. I am pleased to see that others are talking about it. For example, Viewing Psychosis as a Spectrum.
I believe in Santa. Don't you?
Friday, December 4. 2015
Tuesday, November 24. 2015
A new book by a shrink friend (and his daughter): F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems
Saturday, November 21. 2015
Certainly real life is tragic in many ways, real life is full of worries, joy is fleeting, no promised rose garden, etc etc.
There is no "right to happiness."
I may be blessed in that, despite all of my own inner concerns and real life challenges and worries, I often find myself humming contentedly or smiling for no reason. Sometimes I think that might come from a life in Christ, and sometimes I think it's just me. I was a depressed, unmoored adolescent.
The pursuit of happiness is big business. The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being The transcript of the podcast is there.
It's a shame that happiness can't be purchased but, as they say in the program, "It's an inside job."
Tuesday, November 17. 2015
It seems unlikely to me that government could manage medical care there because it can't manage anything else. India Is Training Quacks to Do Real Medicine
Well-trained paramedics and EMS-type people can do a lot of good, if they have the skills to decide what needs more expertise and what does not. Even the best-trained MDs often get that wrong.
Tuesday, November 10. 2015
There are two ways to get rid of ugly, burdensome, hip-and-knee-damaging, heart-damaging fat.
The easiest way is carb restriction, or zero-carb diet. Fat will melt away just to fuel normal life. Remember, all carbs = sugar, and excess carb/sugar gets long-term storaged as fat in case of starvation conditions.
The hard way is to combine that with exercise. This basic physiology explains why it is so hard to reach down into your fat stores.
Sunday, November 8. 2015
Monday, November 2. 2015
It might sound crazy, but I have always seen Singer as evil.
Thursday, October 15. 2015
Can male and female sex drives be compared in any useful or interesting ways? It's difficult to get honest data for studies, individuals vary widely, and there is no easy way to measure "sex drive" anyway. I am pretty much convinced that the average male is more affected by physical sexual pressures and sexual fantasies than the average female. Why do men, especially young men, masturbate so much even if they have a sexual partner? It is because they do not always have a willing partner at hand when the pressure mounts.
There are two things, really: An (interpersonal) "urge to merge," (ie desire/love/lust), and a more impersonal need for sexual release/relief/recreation (a longing in the loins). A few pieces on the topic:
How Often Do Men and Women Think about Sex?
Brain cells specific to men fire up when mates are present and override the need to eat, scientists have found
All male animals are like that. The comments are amusing.
Males and females are sex objects, and most want to be that sometimes - plus sometimes, or often, more than that. In today's world, a bold woman has far more easy access to sexual experience than a bold guy.
Wednesday, October 14. 2015
From Ted Dalrymple (who is a Psychiatrist), Everyone on the Couch:
Thursday, October 8. 2015
Common sense people take it all with some humor and many grains of salt.
By borderlands, I mean the areas in which there are only subjective, untestable, vague complaints. Of course, that applies to many disorders in the Psychiatric domain.
One of my favorite bugaboos is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. I am told that one can obtain lifetime disability for this impossible disease which is, in fact, either fictitious in some cases and "hysteria" in others.
Another is "Chronic Lyme Disease," and another is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It used to be called Neurasthenia. Freud thought, at first, that it was caused by the chemistry of sexual deprivation. Every patient I have seen referred to me with this trashcan diagnosis has had a mood disorder and/or a personality disorder. No, one of them had an undiagnosed schizophrenia.
Nevertheless, the squeaky wheels get the grease: The Tragic Neglect of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Sunday, October 4. 2015
She said "I've been thinking all week about what you said about how I always focus on whether a boy likes me, and never think about whether I like the boy. I am changing this right now. What was wrong with me?"
Me: "Not worth thinking about that. You have made me a happy doctor today."
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