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I was in my specialty training when I read Peter D.Kramer’s “Listening to Prozac.”

I remember thinking he was articulate and observant and all kinds of wonderful things, riding the cusp of a great change in psychiatry, doubting him to be a “real” scientist who would hang out at a meeting of the Society for Biological Psychiatry as I once did.

I was wondering what to do with the result of his observation that certain character traits, such as “rejection sensitivity,” could be somehow changed for the better with psycho-pharmacology. Read more on “Listening to Prozac” and What People Really Want…

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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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I do not claim to be perfect but I DO claim to be a good doctor.  Not just a good psychiatrist.  Being a good doctor comes first.

One reason is that despite a lot of medical practice since graduation (I will admit to wincing a bit when I quote the figure in years–34) in multiple specialties, I still believe that taking care of other human beings and trying to help them through life is a sacred trust.  I actually believe that doing what I do the best I can is more important to whatever religious future my soul can scrape up than showing up at public worship.  Honest.

Another reason that I am a good doctor is that I am old enough that an amazing amount of bad medical things have happened to me.  Often before I knew better, they were the side effects of prescription drugs.  I now accept them only as temporary solutions.  I would rather dive into the world of alternative natural substances — which do work — if the practitioner is someone who knows what they are doing which I do. Read more on Cholesterol Lowering and Drugs…

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I was traveling the United States looking for a graduate level training job in neurosurgery.  Women were not as accepted in medicine as they are now.  Personally, I think it is at least in part because medicine was still considered a serious profession.  Most of the places I interviewed had never hired a woman as a neurosurgery resident before.  They would ask me behind closed doors (with no witnesses) if I planned to have a family or practice part time and thus compromise the investment in time and money they planned to make in me.

Oy!

I had met Mother Rocky, the great Jewish matriarch of a hunk of St. Louis, on a flight to that august city, where I had lucked out by getting a free upgrade to first class.

She seemed to think I would have some interest in an arranged marriage. Read more on The Part of Being Female I Still Wrestle With…

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In my two years of fairly regular attendance at nail salons, I have learned plenty.

The people who run the salon are generally oriental in origin; everyone who has spoken with me about their lives has been of Vietnamese origin.  They tell me of families being in the business, and speak to me of America as a land of opportunity in a way I have not heard since my own Grandmother-Of-Blessed-Memory spoke of such things.

The “boss” of the salons is usually a male.  He answers the phone and masterminds schedules.  The general mood in the salon seems to be a function of his personality.  I have seen a few, especially in the larger salons, look angry and raise their voices at employees who seem to cower in fear.  The employees in such situations generally tell me that they respect such owners and deny any kind of abuse, even verbal.  They generally have structured rules about having clippers sterile and such and they tell me that he monitors such things. Read more on The Nail Salon As A Social System…

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Even though I am both a woman and a psychiatrist, I am no expert on the mother-daughter relationship.

My Mother-Of-Blessed-Memory was a “good” woman by any measure — the faithful and virtuous homemaker.  She spent a lot of time thanklessly trying to nurture my Father-Of-Blessed-Memory — a pretty grandiose if creatively powerful music writing and arranging manic with some Asperger traits — and my Brother-Of-Blessed-Memory — a full blown Asperger’s who was also bipolar.

They took so much of her psychic energy it is a wonder she had any left at all for me.  But she did, and she told me how she had to fight to get me freedom, the days she would drop me off in the car when I went to the Secondary Science Training program, or even just to walk in downtown Boston. Read more on Mothers and Daughters and Such…

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Query: Why do Belgian women have square nipples?

Response: To teach their babies to eat French fries.

That probably did not make you laugh out loud, reading it off your computer. But about forty years ago (gasp) when I was in medical school it was not unusual to hear this very joke in cafes in northern France, between Amiens and the Belgian border.  I still think of it when I see, for example, a Franco-Belgian movie production. In fact, I wrote this because I was enchanted by just such a movie on home video – “A Cat In Paris.”

(I recommend it – a very cute thing for both young and old) Read more on Prejudice, Proximity and Humor…

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We dropped in on the new Disney movie “Frozen” on the way home from work, where I had been “beatup” spiritually by some demanding and decidedly un-charming patients — some of whom would have been more appropriately treated by a stint in the local state “correctional” institution.

My omniscient husband seemed to know that this movie, of which I knew basically nothing before dropping in, was exactly what I needed, and more.

It is a work of art, a piece of magic wonderment.  Not just artistically, but on every imaginable level.  I mean Disney — especially since annexing Pixar — is not only on top of everyone else, but keeps topping itself in what I would have considered impossible ways. Read more on Frozen Is A B-r-r-r-fect…

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It is noble to teach the history and pharmacology of marijuana.  After practicing as a medical marijuana doctor and writing some for The NORML Women’s Alliance, and Ladybud (among others), my endorsement of marijuana and its constituents as nothing less than medicinal marvels is a matter of public record.

What is going on in Florida is something very, very different indeed.  Like the days of the Old West, when the gunslingers lived by the weapons on their holsters, now entrepreneurs are living on the cusp of an extraordinary wave of public opinion.  The pro-marijuana opinion in these United States has never been higher, and those who watch, comment upon, and work in the field seem to have little doubt that a generalized legalization of use is not far away.

Recreational and medical use are very different entities. Read more on Tampa Marijuana School…

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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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