Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Laboratory Rat

The Wichita Killer's plea today got me searching in vain for some explanation of his behavior. One paper suggests its neither nature or nurture -

Psychopathy is not associated with low birth weight, obstetric complications,
poor parenting, poverty, early psychological trauma or adverse experiences, and
indeed Robert Hare remarks ‘I can find no convincing evidence that psychopathy
is the direct result of early social or environmental factors’ (Hare, 1993, p.
170). No sound evidence of neuroanatomical correlates for psychopathic behavior
has been found, though an interesting (and highly significant) negative
correlation has been found in 18 psychopaths between the degree of psychopathy
and the size of the posterior half of the hippocampi bilaterally.

The authorities need to take advantage of Dennis Rader's guilty plea and upcoming life sentence and use him like a laboratory rat.

He needs to be scanned, probed, prodded, dissected, MRI'ed, X-rayed, zapped, interviewed, tested, drugged, interrogated, scoped, sampled, and biopsied.

We should use his capture as an opportunity to get closer to the bottom of why this behavior occurs, without concern about the subject.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Close Encounters?

My 6th grade teacher in elementary school told our class a story about his encounter with space aliens.

He was sitting around a campfire while out camping with a friend and suddenly he felt "beings" surrounding him, and although they were invisible, when he waved his arms in front of him he felt a coldness and his arms being slowed by their bodies. He was very sincere, and not putting us on. As I recall in all other aspects this teacher was very rational and professional.

As a ten year-old I didn't give it much thought, but this story came to mind as we process the antics of Tom Cruise.

He believes psychiatry is a pseudo-science promoted by the Nazis (I didn't know Jung and Freud were party members), and that mental illness can be cured by vitamins.

Cruise also believes in Xenu, Body Thetans, Alien warfare on Earth, and auditing.

Now in terms of his career Cruise seems to be a pretty highly-functioning type of guy, and, like my otherwise normal 6th grade school teacher, also convinced that space aliens are part of our everyday existence.

So these thoughts raise the question - do you believe that Space Aliens have been or are among us, and am I simply behind the times in accepting this belief? Do I need one of these?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Why Hillary Won't Become President

It dawned on me today: Political views aside, Hillary won't be President because a) she wants it too bad, and b) she doesn't have a compelling life-story outside of politics.

Every job that I ever got through an interview process came to me when I didn't really need it. I wasn't desperate, and I approached each interview humbly and with enthusiasm but with a quiet confidence that failure to be selected wouldn't dent my psychic armor. A similar dynamic is at play with Hillary.

Hillary reeks of requiring power, and she has been calculating her ascent for so long that the Presidential race will be viewed as an all-or-nothing event in which she's staked her entire post-Bill life. Her aura of invincibility will wear thin with the general public who will interpret her iconic image as her own sense of entitlement. People will be wary of WHY she wants to be President.

And she doesn't have a life outside of politics, Rose Law Firm notwithstanding. With a couple of exceptions, Americans prefer a leader who seems self-realized and rounded in their life experiences. Reagan had his ranch and his career, Bush One had his war heroism and foreign service career, Bush II had his baseball team and his ranch, Bill Clinton has his women. What symbolizes Hillary's life outside of politics?

She's a pretty good political hack, but humorless, overly earnest, mediocre orator, and a poor dresser. I can't see her as President.

Spear Shaker's Guide to "Wellness"

The term “Wellness” is the new, New-age buzzword for our Era of Globalization and Acceleration. It’s meant to convey a more holistic view of physical and mental health, and softens the imagery (if not the practice) of alfalfa high colonics.

This seductive term has already been latched onto by the multi-level marketers and Ponzi schemes, promising ever-expanding cash flows if you just schedule one more Wellness Party and sell more jugs of dietary supplement powder. Wellness clinics are sprouting up around suburban strip malls.

Well, I’ve found the right prescription for “wellness,” and I suspect it’s more effective than a barley enema. Introducing the “Spear Shaker’s Guide to Wellness,” recently field-tested by me and certified by the Food and Drug Administration:

1) Avoid Airports – After 10 years of consistent business travel, I switched jobs and can say now, looking back, that I’d rather be bound in the fetal position on a urine-soaked floor of a Gitmo prison with rap music blaring at 150 decibels than travel on a consistent basis. Add 10 years to life expectancy.

2) Avoid Tom Cruise interviews – watching a clinical narcissist, who is physically unable to stop acting, “talk” about his myopic world view can hasten the onset of Alzheimer’s. Somebody give this man a Valium and tell him to stop PROJECTING. Add 5 years to life expectancy.

3) Avoid Attempting to Change Your Cell Phone Contract - Analog, TDMA, CDMA, GSM 1900 – the biggest scam going today is the Kafka-esque nightmare of cellular companies’ pricing schemes. Want to add your daughter to your plan and upgrade your phone? You’d have better luck reforming Social Security. Add 3 years to life expectancy.

4) Avoid The Stands at Your Child’s Little League Game – the not-so-dirty-little-secret is that parents are brutal when it comes to whispered critiques of coaches and players. I should know, my kid DIDN’T GET TO PITCH ENOUGH THIS YEAR!! Add 2 years to life expectancy.

5) Avoid Dietary Supplements – I read in Men’s Journal about this “miracle” supplement that had no side effects but made you feel like you’re 20 (wink). All I got after a week was diarrhea and insomnia. Add 2 years to life expectancy.

6) Seek Out – Mark Knopfler as he tours the U.S. this year. And seek out “House of Flying Daggers” in the DVD store. Both to soothe the soul. Add 2 years to life expectancy.

If you follow this prescription religiously, you’ll feel years younger. But be careful, inadvertently viewing a Dick Durbin apology on C-Span can quickly cancel the positive effects.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dipping the Big Toe...

...back in the water.

...but it's just a little too cold.

And I want to avoid coming back and writing my first post about what a putz Tom Cruise is...