Brain Damage


Every year, back comes the Super Bowl. It is the closest Americans get to throwing Christians to the lions in a Coliseum.

Of course, since Christians are a majority in our delightful money-worshipping theocracy, we can expurgate the violent tendencies of a beer soaked, unhealthy snack-stuffed populace by throwing two teams of highly paid professional athletes at each other.

The only alternative programming known to me in the media is the Puppy Bowl of the Animal Planet Channel.  This is sufficiently important to be covered by Variety, the bible of the entertainment industry. I have an unusually high “cutesy” tolerance, but this canine phenomenon, with its attendant spin-offs and franchises (and extended parodying of professional football) is enough to generate nausea even in me. Read more on Superbowl Every Year…

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Waylon and Willie said it best.  “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to play football.”  Wait, maybe they said cowboys.

Actually, it was a soccer player who came to visit me regarding chronic pain of the knee and ankle on one side, from soccer injuries.  He was only semi-pro, but so loved the game he could not and would not stop playing.  I suggested marijuana balm, instead of just knocking himself out with smoking.  He did have to work at his customary job as some sort of electrician on most days and could not “medicate” with marijuana until he got home.  This produced some pretty painful days. Read more on When Will the Footballers Ever Learn About Concussion?…


The New Orleans Saints were busted for giving financial rewards to players who inflicted game-ending injuries on the other team.  Perhaps you can understand why I think competitive sports should be banned.

When I was very young, my father and mother took my brother and me to a Harvard football game.   My father — the original dyed-in-the-wool Harvard man — also pointed out how it was the only major stadium that was a “U” shape.  Being open on one end somehow made it special.  He told me about the values of sportsmanship and fair play, and how it was good for young men to play football.  They were “good” young men, and maybe, since many prep school girls like me dated Harvard men…well, someday.

My father was surprisingly naive about his love of Harvard and cheering.  He is the only person I have ever known personally who believed that Tom Lehrer’s parody fight song, “Fight Fiercely Harvard,” was a real Harvard song. Read more on Encouraging Brutality In Sports…

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My husband introduced me to the original “Star Trek” series and movies and of course the character I most identify with is Mr. Spock.

His famous catch phrase is “Humans are illogical.”

Children playing soccer taking a headerThat’s an understatement – and as a psychiatrist I often see those who are far, far past illogical.

One of the topics I have frequently commented about is perhaps the most illogical of all – SPORTS.

It seems there is always a story in the news about sports injuries and deaths, and it is well established that professional sports ruins the lives of the athletes who perform and the cities that finance these bread-and-circus entertainments for their fans.

Yet, sports fans are like religious zealots – they just don’t care about the wreckage and carnage as long as they get to drink heavily and act irresponsibly.

It’s even more of a tragedy when the athletes are not professionals – they are children.

Read more on Minors Should Be Protected By More Than Helmets…

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My husband has a fondness for what I generally call “testosterone movies.”

These are usually loud and fast-moving with lots of car chases (ending in crashes and explosions), gun fire (preferably automatic weapons) and huge gouts of flame erupting just as the hero is fleeing in slow motion.

One of the features of these movies is the “mano a mano” scene – where the good guy confronts the bad guy and they duke it out.  Fisticuffs. Knuckle sandwiches.  There are so many colorful phrases these tough guys use. Read more on Ain’t That A Kick In The Head?…


It would have been better to just say “no.”

Last week two young men died on the football field.  One known epileptic; another from some kind of cardiac accident.  Both had presumably passed some kind of medical clearance including a physical examination, signatures from parents, whatever.

In my day, which was not over thirty years ago, I heard about those diagnosed with epilepsy not playing football.  After all, people who have an alteration of consciousness such as epilepsy are held from driving cars, as they could lose control and the car could kill others, as well as themselves. Seems to me that people who had that capacity might not be ideal candidates for a full body contact sport. How long seizure-free is long enough? What kind of seizure?  There are all kinds of possible questions.  Hats off to ABC Good Morning America where the questions were asked, how do things like this happen? Both parents and kids want the chance at sports and may be minimizing symptoms. Read more on Choose Life Over Football…

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He was 28 and he was crying, He was not particularly suicidal, for he had tried his hand at that most final of activities and he had failed a couple of times. Didn’t take enough pills to do anything but sleep a little bit extra. I wanted at least to convince him not to think of this as a failure, but as a desire to live so great that he could not and ought not to try and fight it. I was maybe a little help, but not much. “I don’t think anybody can help me, nobody else has, and you probably won’t. Don’t worry. I’ll take the medicines because it is even worse without them. And I guess I’ll stay alive.” Great. Success, perhaps, but hardly an endorsement of my art.

I slowly realized what was going on. He seemed to forget what I had said almost as quickly as I was able to finish saying it. He had already asked me twice if I were really a doctor and a psychiatrist. I get that a lot, probably because of the bright colors I wear and my informal conversational style.

Slowly we got the part of the examination called the “mental status exam.” He did not know the date or the day of the week or even what city we were in. Apparently a “case manager,” one of those people who is assigned to work as an assistant to help low-functioning patients get to the clinic, had brought him in. He could only tell me that he had spent most of the past ten years in jail. As a matter of fact, he said jail was easier for him than the world outside. He said he always violated parole, because calendars were hard to read and he seemed to never show up on the right day.

When he finally had no parole left, and was done with jail, he scraped up all the marijuana he could find and called 911 to come arrest him, so he could get back to jail.

Read more on How To Lose Neurons Quickly…

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Sometimes people are shocked to find that I lead a relatively normal life.  After all, I’m supposed to be some high-falutin’ muckety-muck know-it-all doctor – not your average American woman.

But believe it or not, I live the same mundane life as many others.  I am married and have laundry and meal preparations and shopping just like most people.  Although, I must admit, I have a husband who is more helpful than the ordinary married man when it comes to the mundane things in life.

Often when we are out shopping and doing errands, I let my husband run in to a store and take care of business while I sit in the car.  Most of my time is spent in offices and I live in a natural wonderland of beauty – Southern California – that I get to enjoy all too seldom.  It seems as if in the life I have chosen, moments of quiet and calm are too rare, and I like to daydream, and look at fresh ideas, and to observe my world.
Heckle and Jeckle

Recently, while my husband made an appointment to take the car in for a minor repair, I waited in the vehicle and observed a small flock of crows. They were gathered on the sidewalk, under a tree.

I watched a crow who could walk only to the left.  He did not appear to have a wing or leg injury.  Apparently there was some kind of potential crow food on the ground.  He was having no luck at all retrieving it.  As the obviously impaired bird moved to the left, the food was unreachable on its right. Read more on Why Can’t People Be More Like Crows?…

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