Thursday, February 26, 2009

Aging Well

2/26/09. Psychiatrist George Vaillant, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, offers advice for aging well:
  • A good marriage before age 50
  • Ingenuity to cope with difficult situations
  • Altruistic behavior
  • Stop smoking
  • Do not use alcohol to the point where your behavior shames you or your family
  • Stay physically active. Walk, run, mow your own grass, play tennis or golf
  • Keep your weight down
  • Pursue education as far as your native intelligence permits
  • After retirement, stay creative, do new things, learn how to play again

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Worries about Obama

2/24/09. David Brooks writes a succinct op-ed article in the NYT expressing his worries about Obama, a man he no doubt admires.

Brooks writes, "The people in the (Obama) administration are surrounded by a galaxy of unknowns, and yet they see this economic crises as an opportunity to expand their reach, to take bigger risks and, as Obama said on Saturday, to tackle every major problem at once."

Intellectuals often overestimate the power of intelligence to positively influence the complexities of society. Over the years, a diverse group of intellectuals --- such as Friedrich Hayek, Edward Banfield, Reinhold Neibuhr, George Orwell, Michael Oakeshott, and Milton Friedman --- have warned about the limits of top down rationalistic planning to reorganize society.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Quotations


Humour is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.

--- James Thurber (1894 - 1961)

A difference of taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.

--- George Eliot (1819 - 1880)

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to
Somebody Else.

--- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

The Evolution of Art

2/23/09. Some say art appreciation is in the genes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Will President Obama's Plan Help or Hurt?

2/22/09. A very smart economist says if you know whether Obama's plan will help or hurt --- then you don't know.

A Reconcilation on Gay Marriage

2/22/09. Disagreements on moral issues ususally bring more heat than light rather than finding common ground.

David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch offer a thoughtful compromise regarding gay marriage. Their compromise reminds me of a comment a smart Southern writer suggested many years ago during the heat of the school busing and school prayer controversies --- he suggested, "Let's allow school prayer on buses."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ann Coulter

2/21/09. I just watched a video of Joy Behar of "The View" interviewing Ann Coulter.

Coulter reminds me of a female right wing Lenny Bruce.

She is an expert at throwing well-timed cherry bombs to shake up our sleepy assumptions. No matter what your ideological bent, it is hard to watch Ann Coulter without jacking up your blood pressure, laughing, or shaking your head.

The Art of the Con

2/21/09. Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptics Magazine, reports on why we are easy prey for con artists such as Bernie Madoff.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Quotations


God is, or He is not. But to which side shall we
incline? Reason can decide nothing here.
There is infinite chaos which separates
us. A game is being played at the extremity
of this infinite distance, where heads or tails
will turn up: what will you wager?

--- Blase Pascal (1623 - 1662)

If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank.

--- Woody Allen (1935 - )

It could probably be shown by facts and figures
that there is no distinctly native American
criminal class except Congress.

--- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

The Evolutionary Gospel

2/16/09. The Evolutionary Gospel according to Richard Dawkins, fundamentalist atheist.

Promises, Promises

2/15/09. Chicago writer Joseph Epstein says Obama's soaring expectations collide with harsh political realities.

Friday, February 13, 2009

U.S. Court Rejects Vaccine Connection to Autism

2/13/09. This is a sad story. Many parents with an autistic child have grabbed onto the belief that vaccinations cause autism. With this belief, parents have not only ignored scientific research that has never supported the autism - vaccination link, but too many parents have put their children who are not vaccinated at risk for serious illness and death.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Darwin, Ahead of His Time, is Still Influential

2/09/09. Nicholas Wade of the NYT adds another fine article on evolution for Darwin's 200th birthday.

Monday Quotations


Owing to the struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relationships to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring. The offspring, also, will thus have a better chance of surviving.

I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to make its relation to man's power of selection.

I cannot look at the universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design or indeed of design of any kind, in the details.

---Chares Darwin (1809 - 1882)

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born.

Richard Dawkins (1941 - )

The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.

G. K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936)

The Pesistence of Idealogy

2/9/09. Grand ideas still drive history.

Unfinished Business

2/9/09. Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. His ideas continues to deepen our understanding of life.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Positive Psychology: Selected Readings


Csikszentmihalyi, M. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: HaperCollins, 1990.

Diener, E., and Biswas-Diener, R. Happiness. Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

Fredrickson, B. L. Positivity. New York: Crown Publishers, 2009.

Lyubomirsky, S. The How of Happiness. New York: Penguin Press, 2008.

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life. New York: Henry Holt Co., 2003.

Peterson, C. A Primer of Positive Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Seligman, M.E.P. Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment. New York: Free Press, 2002.

Vaillant, G.E. Aging Well, Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Company, 2002.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder / Learning Disabilities: Selected Readings


Barkley, Russell. Taking Charge of ADHD. The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents. New York: The Guilford Press, 1995.

Brown, Thomas E. (Editor). Attention-Deficit Disorders and Comorbidities in Children, Adolescents, and Adults. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 2000.

Faraone, Stephen V. Straight Talk about Your Child’s Mental Health. New York: The Guilford Press, 2003.

Hallowell, Edward M., and Ratey, John J. Delivered from Distraction. Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. New York: Random House, 2005.

Kelly, Kate, and Ramundo, Peggy. You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! Cincinnati:
Tyrell & Jerem Press, 1993.

Silver, Larry B. The Misunderstood Child. A Guide for Parents of Children With Learning Disabilities. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.

Weiss, Garbrielle, and Hechtman, Lily Trokenberg. Hyperactive Children Grown Up. New York: The Guilford Press, 1993 (Second Edition).

Weiss, Margaret; Hechtman, Lily Trokenberg; and Weiss, Gabrielle. ADHD in Adulthood. A Guide to Current Theory, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1999.

Wender, Paul H. ADHD. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and
Adults. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Wilens, Timothy E. Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for Kids. New York: The Guilford Press, 1999.

Practice Guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of ADHD:

Mood Disorders: Selected Readings


Alexander, Roger E. Stress-related suicide by dentists and other health care workers. Fact or folklore? Journal of the American Dental Association. Vol. 132, June 2001.

Clark, David B. Dental Care for the Patient with Bipolar Disorder. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association. Vol. 69, No. 1, January 2003.

Freud, Sigmund. Mourning and Melancholia. In The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, 14: 243 – 258. London: Hogarth Press, 1957.

Friedlander, Arthur H., Mahler, Michael E. Major depressive disorder. Psychopathology, medical management and dental implications. Journal of the American Dental Association. Vol. 132, May 2001.

Goodwin, Frederick K., and Jamison, Kay Redfield. Manic Depressive Illness. Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Horwitz, Allan V., and Wakefield, Jerome C. The Loss of Sadness. How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow Into Depressive Disorder. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Jamison, Kay Redfield, An Unquiet Mind. New York: Knopf, 1995.

Jamison, Kay Redfield. Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide. New York: Vintage Books, 2000.

Koplewicz, Harold S. More Than Moody. Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2003.
McHugh, Paul R., Slavney, P. The Perspectives of Psychiatry. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Second Edition.

Mondimore, F.M. Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Klein, Donald F., and Wender, Paul H. Understanding Depression. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Seligman, Martin E.P. Authentic Happiness. New York: The Free Press, 2002.

Simpson, Janice C. Job Hazard. Dentists Grow Richer But Feel the Pressure; Suicide Rate is High. Some Good – Dentist Traits May Foster Depression: Schools and Societies Act. Isolation and Malpractice Suits. Wall Street Journal. December 17, 1976. And, Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Dentists and Depression, Samuel Colish, January 1, 1977.

Storr, Anthony. The Art of Psychotherapy. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall Inc. 1990. Second Edition.

Styron, W. Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. New York: Vintage Books, 1992.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Five Best Books on Charles Darwin

2/7/09. These books about Charles Darwin are a very select group, says James A. Secord, the editor of Darwin's "Evolutionary Writings" and the director of the Darwin Correspondence Project and professor of history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How a City Lost Its Soul

2/6/09. This is a book review about my city --- Detroit. I have vivid memories of when Detroit, a flourishing and vibrant town of jazz and sports and more, began to lose its soul during the riots of 1967. I remember going down the morning after the riots to my father's store on Livernois in Detroit because his store, like so many others, was robbed.

In her review of Luke Bergmann's book about Detroit called "Getting Ghost," Julia Vitullo-Martin notes just how far Detroit has fallen since the riots.

"Getting Ghost" refers to disappearing from the neighborhood, coming in and out of the drug trafficking trade, or simply dying. Bergmann tells us about Detroit through the eyes of two drug dealers. This is a sad tale about a city that has not yet found its soul.