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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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I have had some awfully difficult patients lately.  Males, in their early twenties, who misbehave and ignore all known authorities including me, and often tell me they will not take any “stinking” pills no matter what, and tell me to go do obscene things to myself. (I am old enough to know how and when to do the latter without their instruction.)

I felt silly that they bothered me, since I have actually had some success working with some very hardened criminals who have murdered folks and done some pretty heinous things.  As a matter of fact, such folks usually like me.  I actually remember from my prison work one cell block I often visited in person, where I earned the nickname “Mary Poppins” — for it was hot and I wore a hat tied with a scarf to fight the sun and the desert wind.

Even after the hat and scarf were determined to be a breach of prison security (since they covered my face and represented a potential method of disguise and flight for the inmates) they still called me “Mary Poppins” and broke into “A Spoonful of Sugar” whenever I entered the cell block.

Granted the inmates had few amusements, but I still think they liked me.

Sometimes, even with all my Herculean mental efforts, my best insights come from my husband.  Brilliant in aspects of his mind other than his excellent taste in women, he explained to me that the young toughs who came to my clinic and treated me so poorly were simply “pre-prison,” and had not yet dealt with the consequences of their actions.  Brilliant, and I believe, correct.

As a former prison doctor, I was more inclined to read a recent story about the effort to reduce state prison populations by turning low-level offenders back to county facilities. But this is the kind of headline that suggests there is something going on that is not at all what the story is about.

Counties and state government in California are not really in an adversarial relationship.  It is just that nothing works terribly well, which is no shock to anyone who has lived in California for a bit.

Border Patrol State of Jefferson (1941)

Rugged individualists in Northern California and Southern Oregon have wanted to form their own state of Jefferson for the past 70 years.

As far back as 1945 the folks in Northern California (along with Southern Oregon) wanted to secede because their agricultural interests made them feel

Read more on What Happens In Prison Anyway?…

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I have been “taking” tap in the not too distant past.  That means, I have been studying tap dancing, in a city just far enough from Los Angeles that we were pretty sure nobody in the class would go pro.  I had a real problem trying to get enough “sound” out of my taps.  I believe, without too much in the way of pretention, that I was able to get my feet in the right place at the right time.  Other students, obviously younger, just seemed to have more slap in their tap.

The sound is part of the great fun in tap dancing; I mean, come on, Fred Astaire danced on the radio.  My dance-teacher (I still have a tendency to call her “dance-Mistress,” in the European way told me that if I imagined my feet hitting one inch below the floor, instead of on the floor, that would treat the problem.  It did not.  After a day of psychiatrizing it seemed to be hard for me to find the force to stomp loudly. Read more on Dancing Outside The Box…

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In my previous entry to this blog, I talked about heroin overdoses and how people might be rescued – even if no doctors or EMTs are around.

Due to the timeliness, I mentioned the latest celebrity fatality, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I am usually asked for my take on these things when a high-profile person dies because of drugs – whether legal prescription or illegal street drugs.

I hate doing this – mainly because it is a sad and depressing topic.  And yet, I do this not to capitalize on the notoriety of the victim, but with the intent of teaching the public about the dangers, possible solutions and new developments in treatment and education. Read more on Death From Drugs, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Staying Alive…

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You know me – Little Miss Skeptical.

I would never give a baby a loaded gun to play with, and I would never give non-medically trained civilians syringes full of drugs with the intent of having them stab somebody directly in the heart and push the plunger.

You probably know what I’m talking about if you saw the movie “Pulp Fiction” – apparently about four people in the world have not. Read more on Too Many Die From Heroin…

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Okay, let me get this straight —

Medical care costs are over $7,000 a year for seniors who keep on living, and over $37,000 a year for seniors in their last year of life.

That study was done nearly 20 years ago – so adjusted for inflation, that comes to: Read more on To Die Or Not To Die…

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