Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sharks and Sheep

Ever since college where we learned fundamental life skills like living away from home, choosing a non-Liberal Arts major, and how to shotgun a beer, I'd resigned myself to the notion that the English major's lot in life was to see the nuance and beauty in an otherwise mechanical, left-brained world, and not perhaps drive economic trends, truly understand what a hedge fund is, or say things like: "Divide my assets between my 401k and my Roth IRA," or "We don't need to find a different ATM. My balance is high enough to cover the foreign ATM fee."

And I was okay with that. Truly fine with the notion that what I lacked in capital, I made up for in my ability to shotgun a beer. Certain that society needed both sharks and sheep. Career-driven capitalist every bit as much as hippy humanitarians. The "Type-A" predators with their smart, aggressive life and career decisions, and those of us content to bumble through job and relationship choices with all the calculating ruthlessness of a nurse shark

But then the universe, who'd always been up for shotgunning a beer with me, handed this sheep a series of personal, professional, and medical misfortune.   

Anyone who's experienced any type of adversity wants to feel there's a deeper meaning behind it all. Like a Super Mario Brothers game where of course it's hard to get through the Mushroom Kingdom but you can take pride in your collection of coins, Fire Flowers, and ultimately saving Princess Toadstool.    

But sometimes it seems like the empathy, altruism, and social awareness I've accumulated from my hardships have the real world worth of Fire Flowers. And, at times, that can be difficult to reconcile. Like a t-shirt that reads, "I've Been To Hell And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt".

But unlike sharks, that's when sheep [who are very deep thinkers, no citation] remember that there's significance in both our failures and our triumphs. How are we certain? There has to be.  

“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning" ~C.S. Lewis

Monday, December 5, 2016

How the Trump Stole 2016

Every liberal in the District liked democracy a lot...
But the Trump, who lived west of D,C,, Did NOT!

The Trump hated elections. The whole democratic season!
Please don't ask why, we don't know the reason [right wing fruitcake]

Some say that his hair was always trying to escape
Some say that his shoes knew this was a giant mistake

But I think, that perhaps, the most likely reason of all,
was simply his leadership was two sizes too small [that's what SHE said!]

Whatever the reason, his smarts or his shoes,
The weeks before inauguration, he stood hating the Jews,

And Mexicans, and Muslims, and ugly women, and fat women, and immigrants, and the poor, and Arianna Huffington, and Mitt Romney, and debates...

But now that the Trump was the president-elect,
He knew great waves of sadness was all anyone could expect

Yet hope didn't diminish, instead our faith even grew
And the Trump, with his hair and his skin's orange hue,
Puzzled and puzzled "How could this even be true?"

He puzzled 5 hours (in truth, less than 2 minutes)
"It came with out bribes! It came without snitches"
"It came without me moving on any bitches!!"

Our Nation united, prepared to lead on our own if we must
Maybe, just maybe, it's our own direction we're to trust

So in 2016 some people still say,
That the electoral college grew 74 sizes that day.

"Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world." ~Hillary Clinton

Sunday, November 13, 2016

That's great! It starts with an earthquake

What if Michael Stipe was onto something?

Usually my study of the bible involves skimming the water-to-wine story while waiting for the scotch to kick in, but now the words "President-elect Donald Trump" can be said outside of a psychiatric ward 

Image result for trump

and protest flood the streets, Doomsday prophets are fearing ends times in 2017. It was time to flip to the back of this thousand-page paperweight and see how the story ends.

Revelations probably won't make it onto Oprah's Book Club list. Compared to the rest of the New Testament, it's a real downer. A lot fewer McFish sandwich miracles, a lot more multi-headed beasts.

Much of Revelations reads like an exaggerated bar story. Like the Apostles were hanging out one night and John had a little too much shakar. "Wait, wait guys so I was sayin' this beast 
has these five—no seven—seven heads! An' ten horns, like at least ten horns!" Thomas is rolling his eyes and Matthew is pissed off because he always ends up being the designated driver, "Goddammit John, that beast has more heads every time you tell the story, what's up, you said you could hang!"

Personally, I feel a little mislead that after twenty-six books featuring the sort of easy-going, son-giving, non-vengeful God you feel like you could have a real future with...he decides to smite the shit out of us after all.

Talk about a misleading Match profile:

seeking women 25-39
within 20 miles of the Mountain of Zion

Have kids: Yes, they sometimes live at home (1)
Faith: Spiritual but not religious
Interests: Loving mankind, forgiving their sins

Drink: Social Drinker

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Everything I Know Is Ridiculous - Election Edition

1) The strongest poker hand in a particular situation is called “the nuts". Trump has confused this with "being nuts".
A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, and other gases. What makes them so unique is that unlike other mixtures of unless gas

Donald Trump - Getty Images
Nebula are astoundingly beautiful.
NGC Nebula
3) The number 888 holds a spiritual message.
Your life purpose, goals, and dreams are supported by the angels, the entire universe, and you will be compensated justly for sharing your gifts and shining your unique light into the world. Jeez divine guidance, get off my jock.
While the number 555 is the sort of easygoing, good natured spiritual message you could grab a beer with.
Great things are about to take place in your life. And Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and abundance is there to pick up the tab.
4) I think it's time to acknowledge the staggering number of 2:00am otherworldly visitations aren’t due to some alien altruistic agenda to advance mankind but rather simply the extraterrestrial equivalent of a booty call. "Why haven’t you called me back?? I left you like a thousand crop circles??"
It gets lonely in space...
5) Trump's here to offend others (Muslims, Asians, the disabled, women, PTSD, Mexico, refugees, Jews, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you, me) and cause irreparable damage to the Republican Party. And he's all out of people to offend...
Image result for trump memes whats the difference between trump and

Saturday, August 27, 2016

There's Waldo

When you have a mental illness, it feels like your life path becomes limited. As a social misfit with perceived special abilities your career options narrow down to (1) member of the X-Men; or (2) loner shut-in who freelances as a speech writer for Donald Trump.

Natasha Tracey addresses this dichotomy in her article Do the Mentally Ill Have to Be Extraordinary to Be Accepted?

Otherworldly brilliance, extraordinary talent, and creative genius are buffers that soften the Stigma of what it means to have a mental illness. And while some research has shown a correlation between mental illness and certain characteristics attributed to high functioning achievement, the underlying message remains that mental illness is something a person must compensate for. You can't have a mental illness, you're not a rocket scientist. Nice try, Mr. Poe, no one else hears the ravens, back to your padded cell.  

Image result for game where you remove bones and it buzzedImagine everyone was held to the same standard. Suddenly the days of innocent errors such as bad moods, awkward conversations, and social faux pas became redflags of a pending psychological meltdowns. This analysis would be generously provided by friends and family—but only those with the medical training of Hasbro—and don't forget to dilute the Stigma of mental illness with astonishing acts of brilliance so that it's tolerable to the masses. Like checking the clorine level of a public pool.

So get started on becoming the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art.

And for the truly remarkable, just how do you explain that you've yet to complete a 4th marathon?

What what

That's when I find comfort in the "Where's Waldo" book series. We've hunted for this stripped joker since 1987 having no idea who he is or even his last name. We don't know what he's up to or why he's always so lost, but he coasts contently past giants, gladiators, mermaids, on the beach when he likes, dropping his shit all over the place for someone else to find. Now if that isn't the actions of mental illness, I don't know what is. Waldo could easily be on the lam, owe someone money, or be a poorly dressed, disoriented, serial killer, but there's remained a strange satisfaction in finding him for over a quarter century.

The power, and maybe even origin, of Stigma is that we like finding what we're looking for. It organizes chaotic feelings and issues. So if we can embrace this sketchy wanderer without judgment or prejudice, maybe Stigma can be similarly reprogramed by stripping away the expectations and suspicions and simply viewing everyone as harmless but lost travelers who are just trying to find their way home.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Everything I Know Is Ridiculous - Olympics Edition

5) The longest unbeaten Olympic Reocord is held by Bob Beamon for his long jump during the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics with a jump measuring in at a staggering 27 ft. 4 in.

4) The Pierre de Coubertin medal "is one of the noblest honours that can be bestowed upon an Olympic athlete."
3) In 1996, the Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta Georgia. The Women's Gymnastics Team, dubbed the Magnificent Seven, won the Gold over the Russians in the team competition, a victory highlighted by the now famous vault of Kerri Strug.

2) In 1992, despite battling a torn hamstring, Derek Redmond was able to complete a complete lap in the 400 metre with the aid of his father who'd broken through dozens of guards and onlookers to help him finish the race. he received a standing ovation as he crossed the finish line.

1) In 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, a group of rag tag American hockey players made up of amateurs and collegiate players rallied to win Gold over the power house Russians (who play the villains in nine out of ten Olympic movies). Team USA eked out a slim 4-3 lead which they clung to for the final 10 minutes. In the final minute, Sportscaster Al Michaels, who was calling the game on ABC, who delivered his famous call:

"11 seconds, you've got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?! YES!!!"

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Everything I Know Is Ridiculous - Part III

5) Convinced you're a charming people person? Think again. Forbes identifies 13 traits of likeability which include listening, genuineness, and interest in others. Absent these qualities, you may in fact just be an asshole.

4) Or you really are a funny guy.

3) The three species of camels are best known for the distinctive fatty deposits or "humps" on their backs. Less notable characteristics include their sharp, ruthless sense of revenge.
Image result for soon camel funny
2) It's estimated only 2% of the world's population has green eyes, making them as rare as heterochromia iridis (having two different color eyes).
1) I went on a wonderful date last night. I've got a great feeling about this guy, Keyser Söze he might be the one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Everything I Know Is Ridiculous - Part II

5) 20% of Mensa members are left-handed while only 7% to 15% of the general population is. Mensa requires a score in the 98% on certain IQ tests resulting in an approximate IQ of 140.
4) I can only assume the richest families in the world have mo problems.

3) The Dyatlov Pass incident is an eerie event that occurred on February 2, 1959 when nine highly experienced hikers died in the Ural mountains. The following investigation yielded more questions than answersIt was discovered the hikers had frantically cut through their tent racing into the night barefoot or partially clothed.

All were found with 
bizarre injuries, such as broken bones, a severely fractured skull, and one hiker was missing her tongue and eyes. The inquest could only determine the causes of death as the result of an "unknown compelling force".
2) The most popular Monopoly game piece by far is dapper Top Hat. Look the part, be the part. The back story on the remaining pieces is about as exciting as the
1) At 20601 Bohemian Avenue, Monte Rio, California the all male, highly classified, and slightly homoecrotic Bohemian Club hosts an encampment each year. Attendees include the worlds most prominent heavy hitters from business executives to U.S. presidents. The club motto is "Weaving Spiders Come Not Here". So sorry Ralph, you have to stay home.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Presidents Day, Independence Day, Inauguration Day, et al

When I woke up this Veterans Day morning I thought about two things: why did my neighbors set their alarms damnit, its a holiday and my little brother.

He's an Intel Specialist for the Army and holds one the highest level of security clearance. Not a true top-tier secret squirrel, but enough so that what he does is simply referred to as "work" and this post required five drafts before it was approved for publication.

At 6 feet tall, 225 pounds, he has the type of presence you get from a heavily-narrated Morgan Freeman movie. Animals are oddly drawn to him. When he left for basic training, my parents dog lapsed into a three month long depression and gained 10 pounds.

Civic duty and service are the sort bureaucratic buzz words he'd never use to describe what he does. Silly and redundant compared to the experiences he's shared. The fellow solider who joined the Army after his entire family was killed during an uprising in Syria, to the 12 hour shift he took sitting with a solider suffering from PTSD to ensure he didn't comimit suicide, to the Drill Sergeant who jumped on top of a live grenade that was mis-thrown during a training exercise (the grenade, 1 of about 100 used that day, was a dud).

It culminates into a combination of worry and respect. I worry that some right-wing fruitcake will finagle his way into office and his inane ramblings will keep the U.S. locked in combat for years to come.

But I respect what my brother, and all the servicemen and women, absent motive or political agenda, are willing to give.

Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day.JPG

Friday, May 13, 2016

Everything I Know Is Ridiculous - Friday the 13th Edition

5) Alfred Hitchcock, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Nate Silver are among the celebrities born on a Friday the 13th
4) The origin of triskaidekaphobia or fear of Friday the 13th is actually unknown. But some research suggests that because the number 12 is considered a perfect number or number of completeness, number 13 simply seems super lame by comparison. 
3) Tupac Shakur died on Friday, September 13, 1996.
2) There are some seriously spooky events that have occurred on a Friday the 13th. 
 Image result for friday the 13gth funny

Monday, May 9, 2016

Everything I Know Is Ridiculous - Part I

5) There's a Wikipedia page containing a fairly comprehensive list of practical jokes, pranks, gags, and shenanigans. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to pick up some verbal agreement forms for work. 
4) There is an alarming amount of information availble for becoming a successful RPS (Rock, Paper, Scissors) player.
3) UFO enthusiast argue that proof of Ancient Aliens is clear from the many portrayals of flying crafts and discs in prehistoric paintings. It may seem difficult to make a factual claim of extraterrestrial existence based on its portrayal in heavily religious works, but elephants were discovered because they appeared in all those pictures of unicorns.
"You know, sometimes it feels like I don't actually exist."  
2) An eidetic or photographic memory is a vivid visual recollection with limited exposure. Neither have been scientifically proven, attributed instead to use of mnemonic devices, even obsessive compulsive disorder, however many notable people, including Nikola Tesla, have claimed to possess an eidetic memory.  
1) Now go home and get your fucking shinebox.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Blue Unicorns

It took awhile for my parents to come to terms with to my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For reasons we may never understand, my mother had a markedly easier time accepting the diagnosis than my father. 

But the other day, my dad told me he thinks he's finally understanding it. "I mean," he explained, "if you see blue unicorns running up and down Connecticut Avenue, who cares? Maybe I see red unicorns. The point is, we all have our unicorns."

"Well Dad, mine are actually pink."

"Well, I think they're actually white, aren't they?"

"Well, they actually don't exist so I guess there's no reason to argue about the color, but I see your point, and it actually means a lot."

"Just remember Peanut, we all have our unicorns."

Any situation that can prompt my  father, with his PhD in atomic physics to discuss blue unicorns with me simply because he's trying to better understand what I'm experiencing, makes me feel like if we look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling we'll find that unicorns actually are all around.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Great and Powerful Oz

How do you explain anxiety to someone who has never experienced it? Anxiety lives in a bar at last call. And while he's always had a few too many, he's full of advice

"Aren't you a little old for the bar scene? That's what Carol said at least."

"Everyone here is more successful than you. We were all talking about it."

"Listen, I'm just going to say it that boyfriend of yours, he's cheating on you."

"You can drive home. Taking a cab means you're a pussy."

"That guy seems alright, just go home with him. Your friends think it's weird you're not already married yet."

Both anxiety and drunks are belligerent loudmouths who rely on a reality that's entirely fictional. Since both are immune to logic and reason, combating anxiety is a process that some struggle with their entire lives.

And while we'd never allow a drunk to drive our children to school, manage our stock investments, or even choose a paint color for us, it takes years of therapy and self-reflection to realize that a drunk's and anxiety's perceptions are equally distorted. They both owe their sloppy success to a combination of illusion, confusion, and control.

Anxiety treatment programs have begun to shift their f
ocus fr
om attempting to eliminate every possible anxiety trigger tand instead concentrate on an internal shift one's locus of control. Building a foundation of empowerment, self-esteem, and positive thinking can be accomplished through journaling, healthy habits, or civil service.

This makes it easier to understand Dorthy's epiphany at the end of The Wizard of Oz. After experiencing an esteem enhancing journey (which did involve killing someone, but we'll put a pin in that) she was able to see that The Great and Powerful Oz was not this all powerful omnipotent being, but rather a shadowy shut-in with a Mutchkin fetish, possessing all the wizardry skills of a rent-by-the-hour birthday party magician.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis and Me: 5 Things I've learned about MS - Part III

5) MS Clusters are the perceived high number of MS cases in a specific time period or area. Clusters could provide clues to environmental or genetic triggers of the disease, however, to date cluster studies have not produced clear evidence for causative or triggering factors.
4) This year's World MS Day is May 25, 2016. The theme will be "Independance."  

3) A lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, is used to diagnose all types of MS. Although the procedure sounds alarming, it's completely painless, which makes my screaming entirely unnecessary. But it felt good to do. 
2) I tell ya MS is getting on my last nerve. 

1) Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is not affiliated with MS-13. So don't bother asking your doctor about it.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis and Me: 5 Things I've learned about MS - Part II

5) The diagnosis process is like being on an episode of House

4) When my MS diagnosis emerged on the coattails of my bipolar dianosis, doctors used humor (e.g. "Well someone drew the genetics short straw!") to help me understand this new condition. 
3) Famous people with MS include: Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Jack Osbourne. Couldn't we have gotten someone on the A-List?
2) MS loves the ladies, affecting more women than men by a whopping 2:1 ratio.  However, disease severity is worse in men.
1) MS affects coordination and balance which can result in stumbling or falling. But the doctor says it's okay as long as my falling is hilarious.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis and Me: 5 Things I've learned about MS

My family contains some of DCs finest armchair physicians. Until recently, bipolar was simply a condition I had made up to embarrass my family and make the neighbors uncomfortable. 

5) It turns out, there's a strong correlation between bipolar and Multiple Sclerosis. These two unexpected BFFs follow similar patterns of flare-ups and remissions, each magnifying the symptoms of the other culminating into what's medically known as "an arrest".
4) Multiple Sclerosis symptoms include pain, headache, dizziness, tremors, and bowel problems.

3) Multiple Sclerosis offers a sampling of four meet-your-maker options; which is very generous considering my bookie only gave me two. 
  • Relapsing-Remitting – clearly defined attacks lasting from days to weeks, with full recovery or with some remaining neurological symptoms and deficits upon recovery. Periods between relapses are stable and absent of disease progression. This is by far the most common form of the disease.
  • Secondary-Progressive – begins initially with a relapsing-remitting course that becomes consistently progressive and includes occasional relapses and minor remission. Deficits are accumulated without recovery between attacks.
  • Primary-Progressive – progression of level of disability from the onset without any distinct relapses of remissions. Temporary, minor improvements may be experienced.
  • Progressive-Relapsing – clear progression in disability level from the onset, but also clear acute relapses that may or may not include memory.
2) Can't stand the suspense of just how and when you'll join sweet oblivionBy exercising your Right to Die, an option most people select after working with an attorney. I trust that, when the time comes, my POA will lead me onto Brahmaloka, the fourth level of Tibetiam Heaven, without incident.
1) Medical Science has skyrocketed over the past two decades with many advances in the treatment and maintenance of MS. Even if all else fails, God Willing, I'll still be able to go out with a pair of giant knockers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before November 26th

1) Snoopy has appeared as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any other character in history, a whopping 38 times. Bet you feel guilty about how often you walk your dog.

2) An attra
ctive charismatic turkey named named Tom One received this year's Presidential Turkey Pardon. The charges from which Tom One was pardoned aren't shared with the general public, but I suspect they involve to the large quantities of snood he was caught distributing. Luckily he was a non-violent offender.

Since 1934, the Detroit Lions have "played" a game every Thanksgiving.

4) What does your favorite Thanksgiving food say about you?
5) This is Ralph the Thanksgiving Turkey. He was delicious.

Monday, November 16, 2015

From Paris With Love

I went to the emergency room this Saturday night. The doctor diagnosed me with the worst case of buzz kill he'd ever seen.

Exactly one and a half drinks into the night, and six weeks before the Paris Marathon three friends and I had been training for, I felt an overwhelming need to introduce my face to the floor of a local hookah establishment. It was a potential Code WGW (White Girl Wasted) and within minutes an ambulance arrived.

Many of you have probably heard assorted tales of interactions between athletes and medical personnel. When I'd imaged these stories they were always lighthearted in nature....

EMT: "I can't get a pulse over here!"
Patient: "Gotcha! I'm a distance runner, you see. My naturally low pulse rate is hilariously confusing."
EMT: "You rascal!"
Patient: "Now put that gurney away, drinks 
are on me!"

The reality of it wasn't nearly so charming. T
urns out, unless you're about to step onto an Olympic podium, doctors are hesitant to believe that it's exercise and not, say, opium causing your reduced pulse rate. And oh by the way all their machines are pre-set to beep if it drops below 50 so don't expect to get any sleep during your seven-hour wait.  

So me and my little brother 
 who deserves a very special shout-out here, for not only soldiering through a seven-hour ER wait, and being the first to call 911 following my face plant in the bar, but for also finding a way to put the other patrons at ease as I was hoisted onto a gurney in the middle of their shrimp tempura roll by joking, "She always finds a way to get out of paying the tab, am I right folks? This guy knows."  passed the time by Googling the potential diseases I could be dying from.

When I was fina
lly discharged it was at 4:30am, against medical advice, and with the discovery of an inverted T-wave on my EKG. What actually happened is still kinda a question mark.

But don't feel too bad for me, it just meant that my trip to Paris included a lot more cheese and wine and a lot less running 26.2 miles, which is, apparently, how most normal people travel overseas. It was the most beautiful, humbling, amazing trip I've ever taken. It's how I'll always remember Paris, except for the parts when we had too much wine.

"This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love." ~Peace Pilgrim