Saturday, December 16, 2006

Richard Carlson, Psychologist and Author, Dies Unexpectedly

Sadly, I just read that psychologist Richard Carlson, author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--and it's all small stuff has died, apparently from cardiac arrest while flying to New York on a book tour (Hat tip: Althouse blog ). I remember after my heart attack seven years ago that one of my sisters gave me one of his books to cheer me up. At the time, I felt that I didn't need some stupid self-help book to make me feel better--I just wanted to be well. But the book and my illness made me realize how futile it was to be upset over the little daily annoyances of life that made no difference at all. Richard Carlson understood that and he helped me to understand it too, not just at an intellectual level, but at an emotional one as well.

Here is more about Richard Carlson's work. My readers may find it too "fluffy" and pop psych for their taste, but I think Dr. Carlson had a good message that made the world a better place. We need more people like him in the world, not fewer.
Dr. Sanity takes flight around the psychosphere to gather up some interesting mental health posts.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish readers and to those who celebrate with them.

Lethal Lady

On the right side of my side bar, you will see a blog ad advertising for Lethal Lady. I accept most ads unless they are pro-Nazi or child porn etc. so I clicked on accept for this particular ad. There is nothing wrong with it, I just find it a bit of a mystery. As you can see, Lethal Lady is advertising products with her picture on it in various costumes. I guess she wants people to buy them but why? I read her about me section but was left just as confused. She states that she is a 62-year-old grandmother who was abandoned by her husband and lost her job because of her age. What is the point of selling the products she does? Is she trying to make a statement that women over sixty should flaunt their sexuality? If so, fine, make the statement but it is not clear. Is she trying to say that she is a "discharged" lady who is trying to make a living off of her products because she has no means of support and needs help? I am not sure or maybe I am just slow. I do not mean any disrespect to Lethal Lady, I am just not sure what she is peddling and she never seems to tell her audience either. Any readers out there know?

Podcast on Male Suicide

Dr. Eric Caine is chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. An expert consultant to the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Caine is one of the nation’s foremost researchers in the field of suicide prevention and an expert on mental illness and suicide among the elderly. He talks with us today about male suicide, the use of antidepressants and suicide, and suicide prevention.

Dr. Caine noted that many suicide victims--especially older men--have seen their physicians within a few weeks of killing themselves. But he says that most general practioners don't ask the right questions: it's not enough to ask how someone feels, because often the most depressed guy will usually say "fine." They need to ask more pointed questions like "are you enjoying life as much as you used to? and "are you having fun?" The bottom line is, more education is needed about males and suicide in our culture as it is claiming the lives of around 24,000 men a year in the US out of 30,000 total suicides. What can be done about it? Listen to the podcast and find out.

You can visit the Suicide Prevention Action Network at for more information on suicide or take a look at Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide.

You can listen to the show directly -- no downloading needed -- by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the file by clicking right here, and you can subscribe via iTunes by clicking here. A lo-fi version suitable for dialup, cellphones, etc. is available by going here and selecting the lo-fi version.

This podcast is brought to you by Volvo at

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dr. Sanity's practical guide to victimhood. Sorry guys, you are not eligible--but then neither am I given that I wear the Scarlet R.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

There is a lot of controversy in the news about whether or not antidepressant drugs cause suicide. But what happens when depressed or disturbed people do not take these drugs? Maybe something like this (Hat tip to reader Susan):

TORONTO — Andrea Johnson had long battled the "monster" of depression, but in the end decided not to take prescribed antidepressants out of fear that her breast milk would harm her 2½-year-old son, her family said yesterday.

The sister of the 30-year-old who leaped from a Highway 401 overpass early Sunday evening, ending her son's life and her own, said Ms. Johnson made that fateful decision based on two fears: appearing crazy, and hurting her son, Sulla, who was still being breastfed.

Would antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy have helped? Maybe, and the outcome certainly would have had to be better than the alternative. But my real question here is, "why was this woman still breast feeding a two-and-a half year old?"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Scarlet R

I saw at Right Wing News that Tom Delay has a new blog, which of course, brought out the trolls in droves. I often get tired of seeing trashy behavior like that exhibited by the commenters like those on display at Delay's blog. John Hawkins gave a few examples of what liberals behave like when they think they can get away with it:

"Oh, by the way I mostly put the blame on your corrupted, twisted,criminal, phycotic,evil existance on your PARENTS who bought your no-good *ss into this world." -- Unregistered Commenter Bill Davis

"Did I mention that you are a f*cking moron?" --Unregistered Commenter john w

"rot in hell b*ch!" -- Unregistered Commenter mike

Here is Tom Delay's reply to John Hawkins for why he started his blog:

I think conservatives have to compete in every media that's out there. There are some good conservative blogs, yours included, that are very good and helpful. But, there are not enough of them. We are sorely outnumbered by the left in the blogosphere and I think we've got to compete and I'm trying to be a role model for leadership around the country. They ought to be involved. They ought to have a blog so they can be more personable in communicating our philosophy to the American people. This medium allows us to bypass the liberal media and make a more direct appeal and we ought to be using it. We ought to be involved in movies, we ought to be involved in documentaries, we shouldn't just (let the left have those mediums to themselves). Any time the New York Times writes something outrageous, all of us ought to jump on it and chastise them for it. The left does that to us and if you look at the comments made on my blog in less than 24 hours, they're going to try to shut me down by attacking me. When was the last time the Republicans or conservatives attacked the left for their outrageous comments or outrageous activities? We don't attack. It's time to start attacking and be aggressive about what you believe and fighting for your beliefs.

Professor Althouse disagrees with Delay and thinks we need to expose the lack of character, intelligence and substance of the lefty commenters:

"Hmmm.... I thought he was going to say that those nasty lefty comments show a lack of character, brainpower, and substance, but he ended up saying the righties should go on the attack. Yeah, more nastiness, that's what we need."

Sadly, I used to agree with views like Althouse's but I am beginning to see that while it is admirable to hold facts and substance above attacking one's opponents views, it doesn't work. The average American may say they hate political sparring and nastiness, but when they go to the voting booth, they don't practice what they preach. It affects them and the decisions they make in the electoral process. For example, in Tennessee, we apparently had one of the nastiest Senate battles around. Polls showed people did not like the nasty attacks and ads but who did they vote for? The guy who they perceived to have the nastiest attacks on the other candidate.

Many times, people mistakenly call me a Republican although I am a right-leaning libertarian. Apparently, labeling one as a Republican gives ammunition to call one sexist, evil, mean spirited or just plain scum. How many times do you hear someone apologizing for having right leaning views -- "Oh, no, I am not really a Republican, I have other views etc." My question is, what if one is a Republican or right leaning. So what? Is that a crime? Are those who are Republicans afraid to speak their views at universities, in academic settings, in the media etc. for fear of being labled something vile? Maybe speaking up and not slinking around in shame would be a better strategy. Maybe taking a strong stand in the media, in universities and with the American people about their views would help people to understand and see them as more normal, not as an aberration--the "conservative" view. Maybe it would just be a view like everyone elses.

It seems like those with views other than liberal must wear the Scarlet R. Well, I will not hide any longer. If people want to call me a Republican, I will wear the label with pride with the R proudly displayed on my forehead whether it really fits or not, just to show my solidarity with those who are oppressed by such labels. Maybe you should too.

Update: Professor Althouse weighs in--and check out the comments to her post, some are very insightful.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Who Says Boys Don't Like to Read and Write?

Vox Day, the Christian libertarian writer and blogger sent me a copy today of his son Christopher's new book, "This and Last Season's Excursions." It is an imaginative children's book that shares some wonderful adventures of a boy and his animals. What is most amazing is that Christopher wrote this book last year when he was six years and four months old. He may possibly be the youngest male author but this has not been verified yet. Anyway, go by and check out Christopher's website that tells more about the book and about Christopher. I think more boys would enjoy reading and writing if they were encouraged to read and write about things that held their interest, as opposed to what librarians and teachers give them on a reading list. Christopher is homeschooled; I wonder if boys who are homeschooled enjoy reading more than those who go to public schools?

Question and Answer Podcast

Today Glenn and I talk and answer our readers and listeners questions about politics, personal matters, blogging, the online disinhibition effect (i.e. why people feel free to rip into you on the internet) and more. How did Glenn and I meet? Did blogger Ann Althouse encounter disinhibition effect from another blogger or was it just plain old passive-aggressive behavior? Why am I interested in men's issues? What kind of vanity plate does Glenn want for his car? Intrigued or just disgusted by these questions? Either way, join us for the discussion.

You can listen to the podcast directly here or for dial-up users, you can listen here. Stream it from your browser -- no downloading needed -- here. You can listen to our previous podcasts here.

This podcast was sponsored by Volvo at

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Do Antipsychotic Drugs Control People?

"Antipsychotic drugs do not override personal choice, intentionality, or 'control' the people who receive them. On the contrary, abundant evidence suggests otherwise." So says research done by Yale University School of Medicine Psychiatry Working Paper Series. This is a fascinating paper written by Steven K. Erickson, J.D., LL.M., Ph.D. at Yale University and his colleagues that takes a look at the legal fallacies of antipsychotic drugs. Take a look.