A Crazed Psychologist Explains Why Things Are So Crazy

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 I think most people would agree the world is pretty crazy right now. 
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I’m not referring to rampant mental illness per se but a far more insidious cultural phenomena displayed first and foremost by a deeply divided and unusually polarized nation.  In addition, it appears that we have become an increasingly violent and anxious self-medicating population with considerable uncertainty about ourselves and the future.  A number of social indicators suggest that people at various levels of society are profoundly troubled and have begun to question the accuracy and veracity of the mythology we were taught in school about America. This includes a belief in the USA’s inherent goodness, greatness and its stature as a “beacon of light” for other countries. As a “role model” nation, the United States may very well be losing (if not already lost) its luster. Somehow the beacon of light thing is getting progressively dimmer and we may have to accept ourselves as having somehow gotten lost in the dark forest of our “manifest destiny”, a quite shaky and suspect historical concept to begin with. 
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Generally speaking there is a lot of “free-floating” anxiety going on today as well as a  feeling of foreboding that is probably still short of what might be characterized as a profound “sense of dread” or doom. It’s more like a highly generalized “anticipatory anxiety” which is a feeling of uncertainty about what terrible thing is going to happen next and/or where and to whom. Like many things medical or psychological in nature it’s not totally clear whether sufferers of this existential sensation are aware of this spreading cultural cold/virus or understand it’s pathogenesis. Regardless, large questions loom in the collective American psyche. Who are we now as a nation? What the hell is going on? Where are we headed? Is the United States washed up as a superpower? Are we no longer a highly respected country and gold standard model of  freedom, plurality and democracy? These are just a few of many overarching questions occurring about our national identity and self-image. They pertain not to any random individual seeking psychological help but to a conflicted, weakened and increasingly neurotic nation even as the majority of its people continue to carry on with daily routines, make plan for the Holidays, and regularly update their multiple social media accounts. But who will be the country’s therapist and what if anything is primarily wrong with us?  
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To some observers that which is wrong simply boils down to a deficit in our baseline morality, as if the nation’s “moral compass” has broken along with its Jiminy Cricket-like conscience ostensibly there to remind us to be “good” and to know basic “right from wrong”. Others contend that societal norms related to acceptable social behavior (the stuff that guides rational decision-making and keeps us from behaving like cavemen) are either absent or in transition due to a rapidly changing world and melting pot culture. Other more “conservative” critics see this as the direct result of adding too many immigrants (both legal and illegal), different religions with clashing ideologies, and incompatible racial-ethnic groups to the Founding Father’s original Constitutional recipe. Regardless of the reasons, there is an overpowering sense that something is wrong in Camelot (our most positive fantasy and romantic view of America) and while political parties and TV pundits point fingers and argue who and what’s to blame, signs of this “societal sickness” continue to grow and show. Put bluntly, if social issues and psychological problems were toxic fumes and the country was a coal mine (metaphorically speaking)… the canaries would be dead already.
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As a Clinical Psychologist in practice for almost 40 years and as a cultural critic, it’s scary to have to admit that it’s gotten so bad in terms of unhealthy thinking, stress-related conditions and overall maladaptive behavior that its difficult to say exactly who or what’s the MOST CRAZY. The fact that relatively few people in power (so called authority figures) seem alarmed enough to do anything proactive may be what drives me the most crazy.  
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As a psychotherapist, I feel less like the guy with his finger in the leaking dam or “dike of the deranged” and more like Dr. Chicken Little the crazed Clinical Psychologist and handyman running around screaming “the sky is falling” in a futile effort to warn the authorities and shore up an already crumbling hen house made of rotten boards and toxic asbestos. On the subject of toxicity, it only takes cursory research and a few keystrokes to realize there are more books and magazine articles on toxic work environments, toxic marriages, toxic pollutants, and toxic politics than there are on the social and psychiatric ills resulting from living in a HIGHLY TOXIC CULTURE. In fact, I couldn’t find anything substantial or comprehensive on the topic in the professional literature and research when I google searched “toxic American culture”. That seems kinda crazy to me too. 
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Certainly from media reports it sounds as if there are more “bad hombres” running loose and  unhinged than all the existing flavors of Baskin Robbins and Ben and Jerrys ice cream combined. The phrase “another senseless act of violence” seems to show up in the news on a daily basis. Trying to keep up with all the viral videos of incomprehensible antisocial acts and bonkers behavior or remembering the name of last weeks mass murderer or suicide bomber is becoming impossible even for a seasoned psychologist and  information junkie such as myself. 
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Unfortunately I don’t have a single all-encompassing explanation for the explosion of irrationality, violence and off-the-wall behavior occurring. It seems that no place (even schools) are safe from random encounters with lunatics or “bad seed” individuals. It’s even more crazy-making to hear neighbors or friends of the identified lunatic interviewed later saying, “He seemed so normal…he was pretty quiet and used to mow my lawn for free, etc.” This disparity includes the broad range of overtly disturbed and psychotic people as well as the plain old regular folk who apparently just snap and melt down like a lit candle in a pile of gas soaked rags in Suburbia USA. Certainly, the Internet, social media and 24-hour cable news haven’t been of much assistance in helping people to remain calm, sane or civil in these highly stressful times. For all it’s Steve Jobs hype and “interconnected” gobbledygook, the information revolution actually may do more harm than good when it comes to providing tangible support, safety and security and especially the kind of help that is shown to mitigate mental illness (see website at bottom). Ditto for the digital age failing to keep it’s Utopian pie-in-the-sky promise of transforming “gaming addicts” and sedentary technology consumers into “healthier and happier” human beings. In reality it’s more like a mash-up of the movies ‘Wall-e”, “Westworld” and “Halloween 3” both online and outside our double bolted and locked front doors. Finally, as far as I can tell NOBODY (including myself) is getting the doctor recommended 7-8 hours of “deep restorative sleep” every night. That alone is probably a really bad sign.
 
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Let’s put the topic in historical perspective. In the past, when most of the population worked on farms or in factories, people were too busy or too tired to develop floridly psychotic conspiracy theories or wacked-out delusions involving Jodie Foster, Vince Foster or wireless Foster Grants. Plus, if you brought that kind of crazy thinking crap up at the dinner table your mother (Ma), father (Pa) or grandmother (Granny) would wack you in the head with a large wooden spatula… or worse. With more discretionary time on our texting thumbs and hands the high tech information age has made it possible for millions of Americans to consume mass quantities of caffeinated energy drinks and sugar soaked honey buns from the gas station while watching 1000 different channels of shallow entertainment, reality TV shows, and informercials selling shiny objects like “fidget spinners”. Is it crazy to ask,”Who really wants or needs 285 hunting knives made in China or knock-off samurai swords in 15 different colors?” Don’t tell me. I don’t really want to know….altho I suspect many of those people live in Florida and Ohio.  Those who prefer to stay “well-informed” on current events choose between highly polarized and politically prejudiced TV news programs (can you spell “cognitive dissonance”) occupied by bombastic pundits, life-sized talking barbie dolls and desperate stand-up comics. Who’s bright idea was that? Science aficionados such as myself are relegated to pseudo-science documentaries about Mermaids, Bigfoot, and Ancient Aliens…or some combination thereof.  
 
 The online universe of “everything” may not be any better than the aforementioned boob tube. To be fair, access to the world wide web and the “internet of everything” (which also includes the dark web and more pornography per band width than creepy crawly insects per millimeter of mud) probably does have more to offer content-wise that is constructive. However, It also makes it possible for more people to connect with one another including those who were previously isolated, disenfranchised or just plain alienated from the mainstream. Isn’t that a good or even great thing? Not necessarily, because now really sick twisted Homo Sapiens akin to the serial-killer Ed Gein (the prototype for Leatherface in the Chainsaw Massacre movies) who was safer for society stuck on his dilapidated pig farm in Wisconsin is now able to reach out and form like-minded groups, web forums, paramilitary parades, and “meet and greet” social events. Connectivity also allows these formerly isolated and demented individuals to listen to wide ranging but completely psychotic and paranoid podcasts with “shock jocks” acting like know-it-alls and scientific authorities on topics that range from the 9/11 “hoax” to alien abduction and sightings of changeling lizard men in Obama’s Oval Office. Crazy people often only need one other totally cray-cray lunatic to agree with their thinking or their radical/violent philosophy and  rambling Unabomber manifesto to convince themselves of it’s absolute merit and veracity. In other words, we all need to learn how to lovingly tell certain friends and increasingly paranoid acquaintances, “Um, sorry but that’s fucking crazy”. 
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All I can guess is that “epigenetic” changes in the human brain including active mutations in the neurological and cortical structure are now occurring as a result of living in a continuously stressful, topsy-turvy and crazy-making world. The social universe we live in today is one in which “up is down” and even worse, down seems to have no bottom. Good examples would be college students violently protesting AGAINST free speech on university campuses, “trigger warnings” being put on classical literature, and groups of otherwise sane individuals (including certain elected officials) believing it’s “understandable” or acceptable to body slam a news reporter and then later blame it on Obama…or on something in the water.
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HOW CRAZY IS MADE:   If for some crazy reason the goal was to manufacture more and more unhinged and dangerous people in society then first you bombard the entire population 24/7 with offensive and psychologically damaging videos and sound bites of stress-inducing emotionally disturbing news (both fake and real). This includes both traumatizing and empathy-habituating videos depicting random violence, the death and decapitation of innocent people and young children, recurrent episodes of road rage, suicide, etc. Then you add to it an overarching social climate of fear and anxiety, status-seeking narcissism, general mistrust of others (especially those who are different) and excessive conformity to insular xenophobic values and authoritarian leadership (rather than humanistic, compassionate, cooperative or consensual cultural ideals, values and imperatives). Finally you eschew education both for young people and adults that promote objectivity, critical thinking, interior growth (self-knowledge), self-awareness relating to social-emotional intelligence and introspection and fundamental skills for coping and psychological resilience. Wait, did I mention rampant drug and alcohol use and abuse? Did I remember to include the over-utilization of legal and illegal prescription medications that are often highly addicting, toxic, grossly under-supervised, mood-altering and rife with physical and psychiatric side effects? They are a big problem too….. a really big problem.
 
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Over time, the inevitable result of all the above and probably at least a dozen other still unmentioned factors (including thousands of young often suicidal traumatized war veterans with PTSD returning to society without jobs, adequate mental health treatment or follow-up help) is a crackpot/crock pot recipe for societal disaster and social decay. At the very least all of these epigenetic brain changes and external stressors may be promoting a kind of rapidly reproducing meme or cultural virus in the form of maladaptive thinking and behavior, social mimicry (like competing to be the best school shooter) and psychiatric disorders that are neither quiet, reserved or primarily internalized (like say normal variety clinical depression usually is). Those with psychiatric and pharmacological expertise say that one of the worst thing a psychoactive medication (like an SSRI antidepressant) can do is “energize” or “give legs” to a severely depressed or suicidal person. What that means on a practical level is that a depressed person who may be considering suicide or violence is generally safer (to self and others) remaining depressed in bed or at home until he/she starts to feel better than they are “jacked up” on Paxil, Prozac or ANYTHING ELSE. In fact,  if not properly supervised (quite often) it might TRIGGER a suicide attempt or murderous rage.  Now insert “radical religious ideology” or “super crazy delusion” or “dangerous political belief” for Paxil or Prozac.  Rather than suffer in silence, this newer type of hybrid wired, fired, emotionally disturbed/culturally conditioned individual who is now walking around with a REALLY BAD motherboard in his head wants his name in lights and trending on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Put another way, due to the basically antisocial and radicalized violence-prone nature of his affliction (either genetic, acquired, or both) he will desire to achieve (rather than a college education, job, family life, etc.) his own “detonation” (literally or figuratively) and have it be videotaped for posterity as well as  live-streamed over the internet. Why is that so hard for people to understand? 
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Many people assume (at least at first) unusually violent acts and brutal crimes including mass murder to be principally associated with longstanding clinical psychosis, gang involvement , drug cartel criminality or extremist religious ideology, ie., just another treatment resistant schizophrenic dressed as a ninja, radicalized Islamic terrorist or intoxicated illegal alien, etc. . In reality, however, it often turns out to be someone quite unexpected who is either around 23 years old, minimally employed, a “drop-out dreamer”,  gun collector, solitary gamer/internet addict who just broke up with his girlfriend. Alternatively it turns out to be a married mid-life white guy who rather than just have a simple extra-marital affair or buy a red sports car decides to pick up a shotgun (from his growing collection) and use it on someone. Even later it’s revealed that he was “kinda nice but a little weird”, kept to himself a lot,  was socially unpopular, somewhat of a “nerd” or “kind of a loser” (by societal standards of success). We ( the helping professionals) pull out our diagnostic manuals and start to think maybe Aspergers Syndrome /autism spectrum disorder with unusually aggressive or depressive tendencies, conduct disorder, antisocial personality, undiagnosed or untreated schizophrenia or bipolar mania. However, REGARDLESS OF THE DIAGNOSIS the bigger problem is that off the radar and unbeknownst to most people these same individuals “primary interests” have increasingly become dangerous obsessions like learning how to make a nail bomb, collecting an impressive cache of automatic weapons and reading up on the current world record holder for mass murder (all at the expense of much needed therapy, meditation or yoga class, league bowling, craft beer collecting or any other far healthier social pursuit). More often than not these individuals have experienced rejection, humiliation, and a recent loss of their once important dream of personal success, personal belonging, and life fulfillment…yeah the American dream thing. The final outcome is someone inexplicably blowing up a packed music concert full of innocent teenaged fans, randomly shooting a completely helpless elderly man, a nightclub full of gay and straight people, beating a sleeping homeless person to death with a claw hammer, or for some god-forsaken reason murdering their entire family and then committing suicide …all while live-streaming it on Facebook. Now that’s what I call REALLY CRAZY and unfortunately I think WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT. Before you take that the wrong way what I mean is we need to “wake up” and get better at helping ourselves and others around us including those people outside our personal “bubble” of comfort, experience and expertise. In my opinion, we also shouldn’t be relying so much on well-meaning professionals like myself or even “esteemed” psychiatrists with thick prescription pads, undisclosed Big Pharma connections, and touting another new atypical antipsychotic drug to fix our emotionally disturbed, psychiatrically struggling, and/or socially stunted population. The same is true about believing there is some super reliable professional cure for alcoholism and drug abuse at any age.  Yes many to all of these off-kilter emotionally disturbed individuals need professional help and affordable treatment but they also need a kinder, healthier and more balanced CULTURE to live in. That would begin with all of us recognizing what is physically, socially and psychologically TOXIC to healthy human beings. For starters I”m pretty sure being deployed in combat at the age of 19 or 20 years old (especially if one is already psychologically vulnerable and who isn’t?) is generally toxic to good mental health. It’s impossible to be fully “prepared” or vaccinated for extraordinarily violent and traumatic experiences of that sort. Then these brave young men and women return to a country that busy arguing over everything, playing silly games on their “smart” phones, and watching shows on TV with names like “Survivor”, “Naked and Afraid”, and “Fear Factor”. Imagine what they (combat vets) think of that after having their legs blown off by an IED or having watched their best buddy bleed out in some dusty village in Afghanistan. That would certainly make me crazy.
 
In much the same way, the many thousands of victims of domestic violence, childhood sex abuse, social media bullying, drug addiction, drug overdoses, suicide attempts, suicide-by-cop, and even the much despised suicide bombers very often never had a chance to learn how to handle the uncomfortable truth that modern life is stressful, complex, unpredictable and that emotional pain, loss, trauma, tragedy and failure are inevitable. Helping others to learn how to deal and cope with current reality (rather than reality TV or Hollywood Kardashian distorted versions of reality) is the name of the much better “game” we should all be playing together.
Sadly, some of these troubled and highly disturbed people don’t get a second chance to come back like in the violent video games they play and never get to know that others in the real world can and should learn to be more loving, more compassionate, more present, less judgmental and overall better (humane) human beings. Rather than argue politics or point fingers we could learn to give hugs and train ourselves to listen with empathy and genuine compassion EVEN if we disagree on a number of major issues like politics or religion.  I keep saying this but I’ll say it again. I’m 63 years old going on 64. I’m a Clinical Psychologist with a Ph.D………but I myself have a long way to go in improving on most to all of the things I just mentioned above. It’s an ego thing.  I keep catching my mind making reflexive judgements and self-serving conclusions. In my fear, anxiety and anger I catch myself (usually after the fact) falling into the trap of blaming, inflaming, shaming, and defaming the so-called bad guys rather than reframing the basic underlying problem. Just like exercising more I know I should do it but tend to put it off or “forget”. Unfortunately, it’s often forgotten because I reflexively turned on the morning television news, immediately check my iPhone for messages or open my precious laptop (god forbid if it’s not already fully charged) to get on Facebook,  to argue politics, or to attempt like a flaming narcissist or failed stand-up comedian to get more “likes” on social media.
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Summary:  Help me (and help one another) to get outside of our ego-centric selves, our electronic addictions and our ingrained “habits” (which includes how we choose to habitually think) that are progressively blunting our empathy, our authenticity, our compassion and our essential humanity. Not to pick on China but I don’t want to end up like the “modern” Chinese people in the viral videos who watch with indifference while children get run over multiple times and then continue on with their busy day (see video below). Help me to NOT forget what I am trying to say in this essay about our toxic American culture. I don’t want to be another numb or narcissistic “numbskull” (my father’s term) who has habituated to a “crazy culture” and lost the ability to see the healthy forest of our future from the troubled and multiply traumatized trees of today.  Things gotta change and I promise you there’s no magic red or blue pill to fix this one. 
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How to Make America Great Again: Nuke North Korea

How to Make America Great Again: Nuke North Korea Now!
by Cliff Mazer, Ph.D., aka CaptCliff

Disclaimer: I happen to be a Clinical Psychologist in Atlanta Georgia. That means it’s my job to understand people. I’m also a light in the loafers liberal who has difficulty grasping the mindset of the tweeting troubadour better known as Donald Trump. Unlike the majority of people I interact with I consistently found myself “at odds” with practically everything he espoused both as a presidential candidate and now as the “weird orange guy” who is our Commander-in-Chief.  At the same time, I perceive our society as a whole to be increasingly polarized and divided.  As a result, I really wanted to find a way to personally bridge this troubling political and psychological divide. I reasoned that just as marriage partners must learn to understand, overcome and appreciate their differences, members of opposing political parties and adherents of different sociopolitical viewpoints would be best-served to do the same. But how could this be accomplished? Many of us live and work in self-imposed geographic and/or demographic “bubbles”. More often than not we belong to social networks occupied by people relatively similar to ourselves. Homogeneity reinforces what psychologists call “group think”, the tendency of group members to adopt uniform beliefs over time, even if they are wholly irrational or dysfunctional. In addition, this separation or bifurcation of beliefs may be exacerbated by popular social media platforms like Facebook which give users the option of deleting or “unfriending” others with whom they disagree, dislike, etc.

I pondered long and hard how I might stifle my ego and socially programmed biases as an overeducated liberal-minded Jewish male of Baby Boomer age raised since birth to have reflexive empathy for the needy and less fortunate members of society.  I strategized on the various ways I might access my “other side”, meaning my normally repressed Dr. Strangelove rabid Republican shadow self.  A Vulcan mind meld was clearly not possible and getting the current POTUS or Sean Spicer to lay on my home-office therapy couch was out of the question due to security concerns (my own). As a result I was forced to come up with an admittedly controversial alternative solution to plumb the murky depths of Trump think. Always one to innovate and push the envelope of “participant-observer” research, I decided to artificially alter my own consciousness and temporarily “become” a Trump follower. After leaving a set of written instructions for my political alter-ego and briefly consulting with both of my token Trump supporter friends, I proceeded to hypnotize myself using guided imagery, mindful meditation, three very large rum and cokes and a handful of brain-numbing Benzodiazepines. In this way I temporarily assumed the identity of a Donald Trump acolyte and instructed my “Make America Great Again” Republican self to jot down his “top political priorities and core values” while in trance state, a controversial technique sometimes called automatic writing. Somewhat reminiscent of my recent pre-surgical colonoscopy appointment, I felt vaguely apprehensive, like Jeff Goldblum in the “The Fly” about to teleport himself (in his case accidentally) directly into the physical body and mental state of a creepy conscience-less hive-minded insect.

The written transcript below is verbatim what “TrumpCliff” wrote down using a standard #2 pencil and a reproduction feather quill pen I purchased on an 8th grade trip to Williamsburg Virginia. Don’t ask. I don’t know why he chose that implement. Strangely, during this automatic writing session and manic diatribe TrumCliff chain-smoked unfiltered Marlboro cigarettes (something I’ve never done in my life) and put them out in the palm of his own hand like G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate fame, rather than just use an ashtray or bottle top.  Since undertaking this  experiment (about a week ago) I’m already on my third tube of Neosporin for the still blistered burn mark on my (non-dominant) left hand and my house still smells of cheap Jamaican rum, unfiltered Marlboros and testosterone gel. I will leave the interpretation of the “raw data” to you, the reader. As a result of the experience, however, I will be busy resurrecting my 1960’s era fall-out shelter in my Pirate themed basement.
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TrumpCliff Transcript: Let me answer your libtarded questions by first saying this: As an alt-right supporter and Donald Trump surrogate (SS…get it?), I am generally more of an isolationist and NOT a knee jerk warmonger. I dont take going to war lightly and this is especially true if it involves me personally risking my own life, possibly losing a limb or ending up a quadraplegic without the ability to use of my golf clubs or genitalia. I also don’t support ANY military action that might result in higher state or federal taxes, even tho I dont pay any. Anybody who does is likely a schmuck who is not only unaware of pro-business corporate loopholes but also clueless in regards to the Cayman Islands. That being said, as a nation we must face some urgent political realities and do the right (selfish) American thing.

Donald Trump’s White House is in serious disarray. Failure to repeal Obamacare or stop the flow of illegal aliens or radicalized Democrats from ultra liberal states like Hawaii and California are threatening to derail the Trump presidency. I believe we desperately need the following: 1) a BIG POLITICAL WIN for the Republican Party and 2) a HUGE DECOY-DISTRACTION from all the intelligence and congressional sub-committees investigating WH ties to Russia and everywhere else in the near galaxy. Still unconfirmed reports of a video showing President Trump making out with his own daughter Ivanka are also worrisome although who could really blame him? She is so HOT!

Let me get to the real point. The Syrian missile strike was good but not good enough. I believe we are on the brink of war with North Korea. Every single American (with the exception of Dennis Rodman) is at risk given North Korea’s rogue status, nuclear capability, and unstable dwarf-ish leader, Kim Jong Sick-in-the-Head-Un. The North Korean populace themselves are so hungry and brainwashed that they dont even consider trying to import produce from American agricultural sources and they continue to disregard our warnings about the ill-effects of eating gluten-free diets. Even tho they do keep their body-fat ratio down due to starvation and forced exercise (not a bad idea) they still dont grasp the Ayn Rand logic of taking personal responsibility for their own health by working out regularly ONLY in a Crossfit affiliated gym, going to AMA accredited western-trained doctors paid to prescribe Big Pharma meds (not an acupuncturist, herbalist, or Tai Chi master) and eating nutritious fast food like Domino’s Pizza (Trump’s officially branded power meal). I’m saying it’s not completely their fault but they are still Commie savages with the kind of bad breath that makes you literally turn your head and go, “omg, eww!” How does anyone expect us to negotiate with heads of state or rag-tag military leaders reeking of charcoal, halitosis and kimchi? That kimchi stuff, by the way, is just rank, and I dont care if it’s “anti-inflammatory”. Obviously their leader is not.

Bottomline: I dont always agree with Dick Cheney and the NeoCon cabal but they might have been right about a few things including Iraq. Once again President Trump was on point from the very get-go about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and said so on Twitter at 4 AM, 5AM..and 6AM, etc. He said if we’re going to do it then don’t do it half-assed.  Translation: We should have just gone in there like ballbusters and taken the oil and good looking women and then NUKED THE REST TO HELL. The women alone would have been worth a fair amount of cash with their high cheekbones, exotic eyes and submissive attitudes (visualize Melania but much shorter). Now of course they are getting all “westernized” but not necessarily in a good way, i.e., all uppity and refusing to engage in arranged marriages like all of the Trumps. In fact its starting to look like a Hilary Clinton convention in the Middle East and that’s not even mentioning Bengazi or the puppet leaders and proxy regimes we BRIBED and PUT IN PLACE after very briefly consulting with the CIA and NSA. Dammit, we taught these people how to use deoderant soap and toilet paper! Before we got there they were still squatting and wiping their butts with their non-dominant hand. That’s why Trump doesn’t like to shake hands for Christ’s sake! Can you blame him? You can’t negotiate deals with religious lunatics who would rather use their cellphones as IED explosive triggers than cutting edge technology capable of playing games and sorting through Tinder profiles while simultaneously sexting high-resolution photos of your penis to people you’ve never met. We invented that! What a pitiful waste.

Let’s face it, you cant make a “silk purse from a sow’s ear” and the kind of folks who live in North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and certain parts of Florida and Georgia just cant be educated or rehabilitated. It’s like in my all time favorite movie “Deliverance” with Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight. If you turn your back on indigenous people with poor dental hygiene and no basic knowledge of college football they will basically fuck you in the ass…which goes right back to the sow’s ear analogy (insert hog call here). If you need one last related “bullet point” to get what I’m saying then get this: many of these foreigners absolutely REFUSE TO EAT BACON. Enuf said?

I believe I’ve made my case. You want to know my main “priority” libtard?

We need to man up and make a damn decision. Obama only got Bin Laden because key Republicans told him to pull the trigger or else they’d release his phony birth certificate and a video of him, Michelle, and Hilary working out naked in the White House private gym. According to confidential Breitbart sources, they’ve never seen a P90x routine quite like that even tho group sex on a weight bench and yoga mat bearing the Presidential seal might just qualify as a form of “resistence training”. Anyway we need to act RIGHT NOW and launch a preemptive military strike on Little Kim/Psy Weirdo and his North Korean sheeple people. I suggest we use a combination military tactic of Team America’s World Police (see video on You Tube) and Norman Schwartzkopf’s “Hail Mary” armored blitzkrieg from Desert Storm…. minus the cultural respect and religious tolerance. Passover or Easter Sunday would have been as good a day as any for D-Day. I doubt the North Koreans even know what an Easter egg or box of Matzah looks like. I realize General Schwartzkopf passed away in 2012 and therefore can’t physically lead the charge Patton-style but his manly body could be exhumed and mounted on the hood of the lead Humvee like in Mad Max Thunderdome. If that turns out to be legally or physically impossible then let Arnold Swartzenegger take his place. He still looks good for an old man, his name is similar, and the North Korean Dwarf King knows “Ah-nold” all too well from all the times he jerked off watching his live-action movies. Plus, Arnold can redeem himself for publicly criticizing the POTUS, shtupping the help while still married, getting caught, and then ADMITTING IT like a ginormous cuck. Couldn’t he afford an expensive smiling-while-lying defense lawyer like Johnny Cochran or Jose Baez for God sakes? I said Jose Baez (Casey Anthony’s slime-ball attorney) not Joan Baez, libtard.

My fellow Americans, I’m talking about a “Win-Win” situation for America and for our Commander-in-Chief, except for the fact that Korean women are not quite as good-looking as Persian chicks, that’s just my personal opinion. Finally if the liberal wimps in the audience think nuclear weapons are too “drastic” and are afraid of a little gamma radiation or a nuclear winter or two in retaliation keep in mind we now have MOABs (Mother of All Bombs) and “tactical” nuclear weapons in our military arsenal. We can bomb the shit out of them or nuke ’em in surgically precise missile strikes that will wipe out their ICBMs and shitty rat-infested cities while still keeping select shrines and Chinese built skyscrapers intact for our commercial use as legal gambling casinos and sex tourism destinations . Genius or what? I say “Nuke ’em Now”!

Team America Movie Trailer: https://youtu.be/RPBX47zSktc

P.S. Once we get there, forget swiping North Korea’s so-called nukes. There’s a good chance they dont work anyway. Israeli hackers already made sure of that. We really only want their land, their mineral resources, their women and their tourist attractions. Another Disneyland just outside Pyongyang would be just perfect if we can teach them to not piss or shit on the monorail or Main Street. They can keep all their stinky ass Kimchi.

Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, Humorist, and Satirical Blogger living in Atlanta, Georgia. He loves all things Pirate. Contact: 404-932-7193

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Pirate-Style Home Remodeling

 

pirate paintbrush
As a Pirate loving Clinical Psychologist with ADHD, it was fairly obvious to those who knew me that things were not going to go exactly as planned when I decided to renovate my 1970’s cedar sided contemporary home in Atlanta around Stardate 2000 A.D. What they didn’t know and I didn’t even imagine at the time was that I would soon be entering a supernatural realm that my childhood hero Rod Serling talked about at the beginning of each and every episode of my favorite TV show, The Twilight Zone. While he talked about a journey “into a dimension of mind with boundaries limited only by ones imagination”, he failed to caution me that my major renovation would take me to a place far less wondrous and inhabited primarily by madmen, drunks, crack addicts and thieves. Of course I was the chief Mad Man and the two signposts up ahead pointed not towards the Twilight Zone with all it’s many “sights and sounds”  but instead toward two states of mind that sounded rather like places in the uncharted and untamed Old West, “Insanity” and “Chaos”.  
As a single dad with three young sons and without benefit of intelligent feedback from a spouse, life partner, licensed architect or sober construction-related professional of any kind…. well-advised precepts of home improvement like “curb appeal”, “cost/benefit analysis” and “systematic planning” were tossed overboard in favor of other ideas like multiple man caves, poop decks and secret passageways. Architectural treatments that would appeal to feral wolf children, Tom Hanks in the movie “Big” or anyone with more imagination than good sense gained immediate favor over lesser considerations such as how much money I had in the bank. How much money you might ask? Well, let’s just say that recouping my total investment in time, man-hours and renovation dollars is probably less likely today than the chance of Captain Ahab pulling into port dragging a tap dancing White Whale behind him on a retractable doggy leash. I also now understand why Ernest Hemingway chose to call his classic novel “Old Man and the Sea”, one of my favorite books in high school. The weather-beaten old man Santiago probably started out his adventure as a young stud with soft hands, endless optimism and a full head of curly Cuban hair. Speaking of dog leashes, I have three canines (two mini-dauchunds and a rescue black lab) and they especially love the poop decks I built and use them on a regular basis…to poop.  If the pirates of old were individuals who tended to reject conventional thinking, spurn traditional approaches and protocol and had an abiding love for adventure, freedom and total  independence then my house could be considered CaptCliff’s flagship of rebellious remodeling and architectural anarchy. In “Apocalypse Now” terms I was Colonel Kurtz, the blood-stained military leader who had seen too much and had witnessed something so horrific and debilitating to the human spirit that all he could manage to utter was “the horror, the horror….” 
 
Over the course of my long (and still unfinished) home remodeling, several significant insights occurred to me and are worth mentioning:
 
1) Renovations of this size and scope are not just a collection of finite tasks or ordinary home improvement projects like replacing a broken lamp or changing out shag carpeting for newer hardwood floors. Instead they are closer to epic ordeals and  life-death struggles worthy of their own stage opera…or at least a biopic type documentary narrated by Werner Herzog in his signature monotone voice. Like Timothy Treadway, the manic protagonist in Herzog’s “Grizzly Man” a guy who was literally eaten and consumed by his ill-fated love affair with wild Alaskan grizzly bears, I too failed to receive the kind of psychiatric care or psychoactive medications that I probably needed before casually venturing out to tackle my overambitious ( if not downright quasi-suicidal) remodeling goals. Like a Kamikaze pilot version of Walter Mitty, I was interested to find out what it would be like as a “regular person” and not a trained professional to immerse myself in a complete home remodel and do it basically all myself. If that wasn’t nuts enough, as a result of watching “Pickers”, “Flip This House” and other DIY related (and probably completely staged) television shows, I developed an additional delusion that I could accomplish this daunting task by using salvage materials, “sustainable” second-hand building materials and leftover items stacked up or slowly rotting in my basement. Yeah, I know. I should have been watching more episodes of “Intervention” and “Hoarders” instead. On the positive side, I was able to identify, invent and diagnose myself as suffering from a rare new psychiatric disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Renovation Disorder (OCRD).
 
2) Death, destruction, entropy, and financial ruin lurk like a gathering of hungry mutant ghosts around every home addition or sizable renovation project. That includes the ghost of some very well-known architects, designers and visionaries like Frank Lloyd Wright whose own residence burned down not once but twice from arson, electrical issues and extremely bad personal karma. As a result, throughout the demolition, construction and remodeling I attempted to remain keenly aware of the need to stay grounded, focused and well organized. I also knew that there was a certain method to my idiosyncratic form of creative madness. Unfortunately that method along with everything I just mentioned became lost repeatedly (along with my car keys, drivers license, prescription glasses and wallet) under an enormous always growing pile of important papers, unopened utility bills, hand-drawn renderings on napkins, certified mail, and purchase receipts from Home Depot or Lowes that eventually came to resemble the Devil’s Tower prominently  displayed in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” .
 
3) When one ends up taking literally forever to remodel their entire home, many popular design ideas and current trends come and go. Similarly, ones personal preferences change because, well, people change as they get older and mature…or at least “theoretically” mature in my case. Certain things one never considered before suddenly begin to cross our metaphoric “renovation radar screen” or are brought to our literal attention by deviously clever Facebook ads, Pinterest posts, etc. Through data mining, cookies and spyware these advertisers use personal information and demographics to “target” what they consider to be our most relevant or greatest consumer needs. By the way, am I the only person getting a spate of spam and pop-up commercials for Mexican Viagra, home catheters and adult-sized Depends diapers? Who knew that those battery-powered and electric chairs that take you up and down the stairs would start to look pretty good over time? Ditto with those walk-in bathtubs and thick stainless steel safety hand-rails. If anything, I came to view my original renovation design theme  ie. Southwest style, as progressively morphing into a much more “international” or eclectic architectural stew. I happen to like design features of a number of these different cultures and exotic places including Africa, Mexico, Hawaii, and the tropical Caribbean islands. As a result, it was quite natural for me to want to incorporate bits and pieces of these far-away ports and fantasized about places into my slowly emerging melting pot pirate residence.
 
4) While the design components, architecture and interiors I chose over the years are highly individual (particularly in terms of art and aesthetics) they also represent a genuine expression of my overall admittedly eccentric  personality. Furthermore, because of who I am and what I do for a living (professionally speaking) my house attempts to communicate certain things to those brave souls who cross my glass-tiled threshold and “come aboard” symbolically speaking. This includes a number of  key insights, core values, and humanistic principles that I believe are fundamental to “positive pirate living” and living rooms. Such notions include relatively obvious concepts and  values like “seeking peace” and “finding balance”, maintaining a sense of humor (with an appropriate amount of existential irony/sarcasm) and recognizing ones individuality, uniqueness and innate value in an unusually superficial and materialistic “show-off” oriented society (think Kardashians, Trump, or literally any of the Wives of (fill in the blank) reality TV shows. Honestly I’ve already been there and done that and it didn’t make me very happy. At least my current home (flaws and all) makes me laugh often (mostly at myself) and reminds me of mankind’s repeated folly in thinking that human beings have complete control over anything from subcontractors to supernovas (or tsunamis for that matter). A very large home improvement project will most likely teach you this fundamental life lesson. Of course it’s also important to realize what a naive idiot and total fool you or I once were and then forgive yourself for it. That’s not all that different from learning to look back on and forgive oneself for their lost and/or reckless teenage years or even an embarrassing mid-life crisis in which a man I know thought he could restore a Jaguar XJ12 convertible in his garage even tho the classic car was in 378,298 pieces and he didn’t even have a garage door. True story and I am still missing a garage door…..
 
Hopefully my home remodel does succeed to tell a human story (my own) that is artistic, entertaining and possibly even psychoeducational. As a therapist I learned that once you “plumb the depths” of most people they actually turn out to be relatively interesting characters and multi-faceted personalities. Without exception they ALL have their own story to tell. Like Johnny Depp’s iconic Captain Jack Sparrow character who’s “rogue” persona and scoundrel personality is counterbalanced by a soft heart and rollicking sense of self-deprecating humor, most of us are a proprietary blend of positive, negative, and neutral attributes. A complete or seamless integration of such disparate aspects of one’s “whole” self (totality) is not always possible, nor is it necessarily even desirable. Similarly, my house has many different parts, paths, levels and leitmotifs but with a few common themes woven throughout.
 
My never-ending renovation and 15 year (and counting) home improvement project not only mirrors my contradictions and ADHD personality but also demonstrates my desire to improve myself, primarily from within. At 63 years old (and counting) my exterior or “curb appeal” has gone the way of my hippie-era long hair, bell-bottom jeans, and silver plated “ID bracelet” from 8th grade at Edgewood School in Highland Park, Illinois. In it’s place is a primarily “trial and error” lifetime that includes many memorable successes, miserable failures, heartbreaking losses, regrets, redemption, romance and resilience. Like my unfinished house and the many small cuttings of bamboo I planted in the untamed backyard, I have grown over the years and endured, at times bruised and bent but still not broken. Naturally, many of these dramatic themes are grist for the screenwriting and storytelling mill and as a result have ended up as major elements in practically every decent pirate novel, movie,  tune, and rum-soaked buccaneer tale told around a wooden pub table or bonfire.
 
Admittedly, life as a pirate parable or symbolic sea journey is not something often seen or architecturally expressed throughout a grown man’s residence in the leafy landlocked suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. That’s probably especially true when the homeowner happens to be a 60-something Jewish Psychologist who in real life gets seasick standing on a fishing pier or when riding in the backseat of a slow moving car… However, once authenticity and imagination are given the green light, one is free to do as they please with their home. I chose to express myself and my inner pirate “CaptCliff” through a metaphoric never-ending voyage of self-discovery, through psuedo-nautical art, hand-crafted peace pipes, satirical sculptures, and through culturally diverse architectural spaces. If my very Jewish mother, Claire Mazer was still alive (God rest her soul) I could easily imagine her saying aloud, “Wouldn’t a few pieces of Judaica and a nice paintings from Safat or Jerusalem have sufficed?” Maybe it would have. Instead, I fearlessly (or foolishly) forged ahead and created a pirate style palace where form and function exist but are often superseded by personal meaning. Just like in my therapy practice, my home uses humor, metaphors, cultural symbols, and mental (cognitive)  “anchors” to express both a colorful life narrative and cautionary tale, depending on how you choose to look at it. I choose to see it as both sides of a gold coin with my name on it.
 
If my main goal in counseling is to help clients feel comfortable and safe while they learn to heal, grow and achieve balance between mind, body and spirit, then my home intends to do the same, but perhaps with my tongue more firmly planted in my cheek. By normal standards I realize one would have to be pretty “off the beam”, or different to custom design their primary domicile and largest financial asset in this way rather than just go to IKEA or call a licensed and bonded designer/architect/contractor. However, Cliff Mazer the Psychologist and CaptCliff the faux pirate both happen to believe that our “authentic self “(through the unfolding creative process and the passionate pursuit of wisdom) is not only the essential and enthusiastic spark of life that is so evident in small children (but too often lost over time) but also the real “buried treasure” that we seek whether we realize it or not. Making my house an honest expression of my dreams and youthful imagination (including my Captain Jack Sparrow-ish alter-ego) and a gallery/showplace in which to display my wonderful but not-so-perfect life story has been an ever-entertaining, exciting, and ego-humbling experience. Of course, on the other hand …or other side of the coin, finding real buried treasure in the form of Spanish gold or silver doubloons, shiny jewels and other awesome pirate booty on a beautiful far away tropical island would also be amazing too!
 
Cliff Mazer, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist living in Sandy Springs, Georgia. He has three grown sons and three female dogs. His favorite Halloween costume growing up in Highland Park, Illinois was a hand-made pirate costume and plastic sword. Contact: 404-932-7193 His blog can be found at https://captaincliff.wordpress.com
 
Addendum: Eventually I intend to offer my home and the purely pirate basement level as a community space for free pancakes and pirate-related learning, personal myth and meaning scavenger hunts, a Titanic existential “escape room” and specialized theme Airbnb hotel/hostel.
 
Soundtrack:  Teach Your Children Well
You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they pick’s the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.
And you, of tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they pick’s the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

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Trip Advisor Review: Gus’s World Famous Spicy Fried Chicken

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One of the downsides of being a semi-retired psychologist and part-time Pirate is that you can become lazy and/or complacent about “venturing forth” to try out new places to eat. Let’s just say the A (Adventure) in an aging suburban pirate’s life can get a bit stale. On the positive side,  you can stay in your fuzzy robe and slippers all day long and decide to do the dishes tomorrow…or even the day after.

Loath that I am to leave my self-imposed suburban Atlanta bubble, imagine my surprise when I saw they were putting in a Gus’s World Famous Spicy Fried Chicken location not even a mile from my pirate ship/survival bunker/money pit/ haunted house in Sandy Springs. It replaces the dearly departed Clay’s Pub which was a time-warp recreation of a stereotypical “Wings and Suds” hangout from up north. The great news is that Clay’s has  relocated and will soon occupy the Roswell Road strip mall location vacated by Jason’s Deli. To be honest, I grieved over Jason’s departure, not because Jason’s was so fabulous but because I swiped more free frozen yogurt and salad bar condiments from that eatery than probably anywhere else in metro Atlanta. Also, they never gave CaptCliff a hard time when they caught me foraging like a binge-eating squirrel on a mountain of bacon bits, sesame flatbread crackers, olives, brownie and blondie squares and assorted cut-up vegetables. But I digress…as usual. Anyway, also imagine my surprise when I pulled up to find out when Gus’s Fried Chicken was going to open only to see actual smiling patrons yucking it up inside while carrying around large plates of crispy fried chicken and fresh greens! Heck, last I saw there were still construction guys outside pulling wire and scratching their balls. They must have gone into warp drive to meet their contractual deadline and zoom through the final punch list with the owner. Maybe they were being paid in spicy fried chicken and sweet potato pie slices.

As a foodie and somewhat overweight person with little to no self-discipline,  I immediately recognized that this was their “soft opening” and that it would be restricted to family, friends, and local folks with favorable connections. Without hesitation or a functioning super-ego I decided to channel Leo DiCaprio in the movie “Catch Me If You Can” and marched into the small but appealing restaurant storefront and asked for the manager. Among the at least twenty identically dressed employees and smiling servers (all adorned in GWFSFC t-shirts) the manager emerged only to apologize profusely and tell me the place wasn’t “officially” open until next week…as if that would deter me. By this time, however, I could already smell the chicken frying in it’s Tennessee (actually Memphis) style spicy batter and noticed a young couple getting down on what looked like really good mac ‘n cheese and fried okra. The next thing I know I found myself shamelessly morphing into Andrew Zimmern from the Food Channel and lying like a psychopath. I propped my $2 Dollar Store reading glasses at half mast (low on the nose) and told the manager I was a “travel and restaurant reviewer”. Oy, I know….you don’t have to tell me. Im going to culinary hell. With that I was personally introduced to the new franchise owner (I believe his name was John) and was ushered ceremoniously to a private table with these explicit instructions, “Get whatever you want. I want to know what you think”. Whoa. I guess hunger and gluttony are also the mother of invention as well as outright deception and trickery when necessary….

Ok, that was the amusing backstory for my minions that realize this is standard larcenous but not quite illegal practice for CaptCliff. Here’s the actual review: The fried chicken was very good. Initially I was afraid that Gus’s signature spicy take on Southern fried chicken (and everything else they make besides the desserts) would overwhelm my taste buds but instead found that it added a nice but not too mouth-numbing flavor. The meat was moist enough and the skin extra crispy with a good amount of bite. The greens, among all other things on the plate were excellent and quite fresh. I like that they were unadulterated with all other kinds of treyf and traditional southern additives like bacon fat, pig hoofs, squirrel and highway-to-table  roadkill, etc.. I like to taste the actual fresh greens and Gus got it just right. Unlike some other online reviewers trolling other Gus’s locations, I did NOT find the coleslaw to be limp or watery and, in fact, it provided a nice if somewhat bland counterpoint to the cayenne pepper-infused main dish. The fried okra were similarly hot (temperature wise), fresh and while a tad commercial in their presentation and form (all the exact same size, color and battered texture) tasted quite good. The main take-away I got was that Gus’s goes for taste and consistency and attempts to establish a high franchise standard from the get-go (both in their limited menu and in the smiling service provided). There was a bit of a wait to get my order to the table but lying beggars and fake food critics can’t be choosers. Kudos to the attentive server as well who after the fourth time asking if I wanted a refill on my diet coke finally said, “I guess you want to savor that one…” After requesting a To Go box I snuck out the side door like a thief in the night, except that it was still only 4 PM and bright as day outside. Speaking of take-aways here’s my distilled reviewer take: Consider this place as a good and dependable place to get a moderately priced good-tasting meal of Memphis style fried chicken and sides all with a certain extra punch of peppery spicy goodness. I suppose I can’t really blame the free meal or Gus’s for the mild case of reflux I experienced later on. Perhaps that was just a bit of Jewish guilt……

Visited March 2017
4 of 5 bubbles
Value
4 of 5 bubbles
Service
4 of 5 bubbles
Food

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60898-d8618845-r464815518-Gus_s_World_Famous_Fried_Chicken-Atlanta_Georgia.html#

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Trump Think: Global Warming

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While Democrats and others of their ilk are doubling up on their Lexapro prescriptions and checking out Priceline for one way flights to Puerta Vallarta, I still want to understand how Trump people think. In other words I’m interested in finding out what is in the head of the average Trump supporter so that I may better comprehend his/her peculiar worldview. I know this is a complex riddle that goes beyond anything I might learn by going to Walmart and kidnapping, killing and harvesting the brain of an obese middle-aged white guy wearing a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap. Not only would that be illegal but many organic diseases and forms of advanced dementia don’t show up on standard autopsies or brain scans. It would take a much “deeper probe” to plumb the depths of this cognitive conundrum. So instead I shall proceed by looking at one major issue at a time.

Global Warming:  I’m not an environmental lunatic. I don’t even recycle most of the time. I typically only do that when I eat at Whole Foods or when neighbors ask where I put my empty plastic bottles and styrofoam take-out containers. However, I do believe in science, especially when there is overwhelming scientific evidence at hand. Even tho there are plenty examples of shoddy scientific research on everything from penguin penises to Prozac, there is no doubt that global warming is an actual occurring phenomenon. There is also pretty good data and agreement among climatologists and biologists forecasting the effects global warming is having (and will continue to have) on our environment, the air we breath, and on human health and mortality. In saying that, I’m not even taking into consideration the emaciated polar bears, beach stranded porpoises, prairie dogs with attention deficit disorder or endangered arctic foxes that Greenpeace and other activist groups are so worried about. I may be an animal lover and lifelong student of ethology (animal behavior) but in any given “ultimate survival” scenario all the non-bipedal species will have to get in line behind me. I’m not frickin’ Noah. I guess the rub in the Global Warming argument comes in definitively determining what the direct effects of human associated pollution, deforestation, and environmental damage have in adding to or speeding up global warming.

What I don’t understand and really need to find out from a die-hard “Global warming is a damn hoax” type person is why does it matter whether our human contribution is minimal or catastrophic? Are Trumpettes saying global warming is NOT bad in the long run? Are they saying that it’s “natural” to go through historical cycles in which the polar ice sheets melt, desalinization occurs in the worlds major oceans and which will NOT significantly affect ocean temperatures, sea levels, commercial fishing and coral reef production? Do Trumps chumps think it’s NOT a big deal if weather patterns shift dramatically as a result and certain highly populated islands and coastal cities around the world suffer significant physical, environmental and economic loss as a result of beach and coastline erosion, tidal flooding and storm surges? What I’m saying is we have science saying it’s happening and getting worse. I don’t see how this is a political issue. What am I missing? Finally, are Trump voters missing pre-frontal lobes or lacking connectivity to parts of the brain necessary for critical thinking? I would be glad to check for anyone interested in participating in my study who is willing to sign a very comprehensive waiver/release form.  Just last year I received a lovely set of serrated knives for Hannukah from my cousin Donna made of surgical steel so just bring yourself and your Trump hat. Naturally, I’ve also got a good bottle of Chianti and fava beans….

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Borderline Personality Disorder with Sociopathic Features

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shelob

There is, to my knowledge, only one psychological syndrome or personality disorder that includes the ability to successfully hide ones basic predatory nature by initially presenting itself as a sweet, sexy, compliant, possibly abused or previously neglected child. Only later does this insidious and beguiling individual inject her toxic hypnogogic “venom” into her clueless rescuer-victim. Once accomplished, this human chameleon with a scorpion tail will wait until its prey is sapped of it’s emotional vitality, masculine (or feminine)  self-image, and general will to resist. Even the dreaded mate-consuming black widow (spider) cant do all that, and when she does devour her sex partner/hubby (which is actually not that very often) it’s done out of sheer hunger and opportunity and not because she enjoys the combined  sport of sex and cannibalism.

The psychiatric condition I am referring to is called Borderline Personality Disorder with Sociopathic features. Fortunately, most borderline patients, whether they be male or female (usually female) do not suffer from this particularly treacherous character pathology. Fearful of abandonment and crippled by insecurity and underlying self-loathing, the majority of those with BPD either “act-in” or act-out”. Acting-in borderlines are prone to suicidal ideation, depression, cutting and self-mutilation,etc. They more often see themselves as burdens on their friends, life-partners, and families. In contrast, acting out borderlines are more overtly emotionally labile and psychologically unstable with recurrent episodes of seemingly unprovoked anger, rage and occasional violence. Intimate relationships are very often volatile and difficult. Such extraordinary hyperreactivity is often but not always associated with concomitant substance abuse issues and are  triggered by deep-seated fears of failure, rejection and abandonment.

It is the extra addition of the sociopathic or antisocial dimension that makes for the possibility of a rather different or “hybrid” borderline personality who not only acts out their emotional issues in intensely emotional, defensive, aggressive or passive-aggressive ways, but also doesn’t feel a lot of guilt or remorse about it. While still emotionally unstable, they seem at times to also be able to turn certain feelings and behaviors on and off depending on what best serves their immediate needs and longterm purpose. The more psychopathic borderline type is more likely to conceal their basic insecurity, unstable identity and psychological deficits under a facade of self-confidence, physical attractiveness and superficial “charm”. They are also more likely to talk about or exaggerate their sexual conquests, their diverse resume of professional employment, their creative and intellectual accomplishments, and their wide array of “skill sets”. At the very same time these individuals downplay details about past relationships and reasons for their having left a job, whether they were fired for any specific reason or were sent packing for criminal, immoral, or inappropriate behavior, etc. Dont be surprised if the actual reason turns out to have been inappropriate or excessive sexual behavior that was used to feed their near inexhaustible need for physical attention, adoration, validation or to set up an ingenious trap (spider web) to obtain financial, physical, and/or social support from vulnerable (and gullible) friends, coworkers, and especially  “able-bodied” men. Obtaining a clear, consistent and credible psychosocial history from such a person is unusually difficult and somewhat diagnostic.

This type of woman likes other women as temporary comrades-in-arms and opportunistic “wing buddies”, but prefers the way that men taste..if you know what I mean. They also wont care if a man is married, single, older, or in a serious relationship as they seem to enjoy the challenge of taking what is not theirs from someone else, even someone they may know quite well socially or professionally. In this respect they could be considered professional “home-wreckers” and wholesale “privateers”. Like the honey badger, when it comes to insuring their own survival and feeding their bellies psychologically, emotionally, sexually or professionally, they just “don’t care” and have little ability to empathize. All syndromes and clinical diagnoses lie on a continuum of severity and care must be taken to consider the possibility of other co-existing disorders, particularly Bipolar, ADHD, substance abuse and impulse control disorders that have either an organic or genetic basis. Finally, if the clinical diagnosis becomes confusing, just keep in mind that repeated manipulation, deception, and deceit are more prominent in BPD with sociopathic features while mood instability, emotional vulnerability and recurrent bouts of self-hatred more characterize BPD proper. Either way men or women who choose to hook-up or even marry such an exciting and very often attractive specimen are forewarned to proceed at their own risk and please remember to bring  a sharp sword and really good bug spray.

Shelob from Lord of the Rings: https://youtu.be/ZKeEZWbCRVE

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The Myth of Fixing People

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With Apologies to Humpty Dumpty: The Myth of Fixing People

It takes an extra long time for a psychologist/social worker/psychotherapist or “savior”  type person (code for codependent) to realize that you can’t really “fix” anybody. You can help them and you can be compassionate but whatever psychological or spiritual illness or drug/alcohol problem they suffer from….that change process has to start and finish with them. In fact, trying to fix them and using too much of ones energy, time, emotions, resources (or money) in an effort to “force” healthy thinking and behavior on somebody is a different kind of disease, and it’s one likely to end in rebellion, mutual misery, frustration, exhaustion, and resentment.

Unless you are Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama, which I am not, such a savior scenario (quite often on a unconscious or subconscious level) typically results in not just failure but a counterproductive rugby match of resentment in which both sides push and pull against one another while thinking they are merely representing their own “truth” or “higher” power. The obvious implication is that there also exists such a thing as a “lower self” (shadow) and while the nice or virtuous parts of ones personality attempt to communicate, broker peace, understanding and progress, the shadow parts (like the smiling Japanese diplomats in Washington DC  during the surprise Pearl Harbor attack) are often plotting rebellion and pandemonium. Just why this is so is open to debate but is at least partially explained by general physics (Newton’s Third Law about action and reaction), human nature, ingrained defense mechanisms, and individual reflexes like “don’t tell me what to do…even if it’s good for me”.  Also in my experience people get quite used to what they are most familiar with, even if it might seem self-destructive or counter-productive to everyone else. Changing or “doing better” certainly has its rewards but can also feel very uncomfortable. The anxiety (of uncertainty) and the pressure to succeed and improve (among a lifetime of previous disappointments, failures and poor decision making) can lead some people to return to jail, return to drugs, and even return to abusive or toxic relationships. Finally, some psychiatric problems like bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, complex PTSD, depression, and character pathology like Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorder are tumultuous and destabilizing by nature and can be extra challenging to live with both for the sufferer and for their loved ones.

Bottomline: There is an important difference between attempting to fix broken people and broken pottery. People who are either psychologically broken or struggle with mental disorders or addictions (just like the people who have a strong need to help “fix” them) have complex egos and personal expectations that can end up getting in the way. Broken pottery normally does not resist ones efforts to fix, be fixed or made whole. Perhaps even more important, broken pottery does not carry within it a strong and wholly legitimate human desire to be loved and accepted just as one is, cracks and all. Therein lies the rub….for some of us.

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