Society

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The southern California sun is blinding this morning. I really need my shades.

March is not over yet and I see the requisite blonde in a bikini, working on her tan, stretched out near the swimming pool.

The radio is barely audible; something about how we are all becoming heartless bureaucrats. Read more on Getting Some Rays…

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All information should be free, especially to people like me who struggle, really struggle to find new information and interpret it and make people’s lives better.  But instead, people who write this highly structured non-fiction that is scientific research, get it published in difficult (if not impossible) to retrieve places.  Where authors might actually enjoy hearing from fairly enlightened readers such as I.

But some pieces of science are interpreted by university press offices who deliver them back to me.  Sometimes, the message is so strong that I am nevertheless impressed, and need tooooooooooooo tell my beloved followers.  Like an article I just read: “Modern Parenting may hinder brain development.”

As that kid in Peanuts says, “AAUUGGHH!” I had always believed that civilization progressed only forward. I became a history buff when I was a child largely because I believed a dictum (which was once attributed to Harry S. Truman; more recently, I think, to Winston Churchill and now, to George Santayana.)

Read more on Can past traditions be better than present ones?…

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I have been in screaming and crying mode since this morning.  When I got started, I wanted to look up more info about veterans to help out my beloved veterans who have told me that they are having hard times getting enough benefits to survive.  I’m sure you read or have heard of by now about the story from the LA Times. Trying to figure out what happened is tough.  But it seems that about a decade ago, someone offered the California National Guard monetary rewards of ten thousand dollars and up for re-enlisting, which they took. I don’t think anyone can blame them for that. Read more on Can being a veteran (or soldier) get any worse?…

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Why people are obsessed with the Kardashians? I have not followed them in the slightest. I am obsessed about knowledge — how to apply it to helping humans (my favorite species) have happier lives through scientific knowledge. I was very surprised when I heard two professionals — a man and a woman whose knowledge I respect — gushing about how much they loved the Kardashians. I wanted to know why. I admitted to them that I was, perhaps, just a little bit, well, jealous. My patients mostly seem to like me well enough, and some even say the love me.  But I did not understand how or why people could “gush” about loving the Kardashians. My friends came to the rescue.  They told me, step by step, the things that the Kardashians had done to make them so “lovable.”  They thought I could replicate the process. Of course, me being me, I tried to find all that I could in the neuroscience and (more) the psychological literature, to figure out what worked, and why — and what they may have forgotten to tell me. Read more on Cashing In On The Kardashians…

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He was just 18. He had been followed by child psychiatry with a diagnosis of depression. He had long refused to take any pills.  As far as this poor, agricultural county was concerned, I was just seeing him so I could bill MediCal and fatten up the county coffers. The previous psychiatrists had simply noted he was depressed, was not suicidal, and refused any participation in his own treatment.

He was a young man of few words, with a common Hispanic name.  He sat there and twirled one of his lush curls. It became pretty obvious he wasn’t going to give me a complete history.  He said he would never take pills, not ever. To his credit, he did say I could talk to his mother, if I wanted to, but he had to be in the room and hear what she said. Someone brought her to me, from the waiting room.  She spoke only Spanish; fine with me. I learned my Spanish mostly from my patients, who in that time and place could rarely communicate well in either Spanish or English. His mother was charming, really grateful that I wanted to talk to her. She kept complimenting my clothes and elegance. I told her it was all thrift shop.  I doubt she believed me. Read more on Diagnosis From The Guts…

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I was a neurosurgeon in training in western Canada when I decided I need to buy myself a typewriter.  I know that I reveal my age when I describe it as typing only on the piece of paper inserted into it.

I reveal my age even more clearly when I admit that I read the classifieds in print in the local provincial Canadian newspaper.

I drove to the modest apartment of a family somewhere in the wilds of Alberta, Canada.  The typewriter was nearly new with a “standard” keyboard such as the one I had learned touch typing on at the Beaver Country Day School.  Typing was supposed to be a skill a woman could “fall back on” in case high-falutin’ plans like specialized medical training did not work out. Read more on Salespeople, And Used Cars In Particular…

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When I read the news on the internet that some folks were killed in some kind of what sounds like a Jewish oriented hate crime in the greater Kansas City area, I wasted no time.  I immediately consulted my favorite British reporting.  After all, US media has proven their biases and deficits in the reliability department, while the Daily Mail once again “done good” (as they say in Kansas).

I lived in Kansas for many years before I met and married my husband.  I spent those years as a resident psychiatrist, as well as a member of the Conservative synagogue of Wichita, Kansas.  I even taught a couple of classes at the Hebrew School.

I left before I met my husband, but it was for political reasons — the denial of ritual honors to women, and the threat of a major financier to pull funding if I took ritual honors a second time. Read more on When Are They Going To Stop Killing Jews?…

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Seeing the Metropolitan Opera “live” (okay, it was an ‘encore performance’ so not so live) on high-definition on a big screen is breathtakingly beautiful.

MET Live Prince Igorin a poppy field.

Prince Igor-a classic traumatic brain injury yields a fantasy sequence in a poppy field.

For one thing, the audience gets swept up in the phenomenon so completely they applaud wildly and spring to their feet fairly often. The greatest ‘Standing O’ from the audience in the beautiful California Polytechnic theater was not for some blood-curdling death aria, but rather for the trailer for Prince Igor.

In the trailer, the blonde interlocutrice interviewed the male lead, who spoke good English with a fairly hefty Russian accent.

He told how his first job somewhere out in the sticks of rural Russia was being stagehand for a production of this

Read more on Upward Mobility…

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