Don’t wanna talk about it!

You know how sometimes people on your friends list will post about their lives, and all of a sudden you think, “Wait a minute. Since when are they growing qat? And who still takes Gregory the Great seriously?” And then you wonder how you could have missed that seemingly standard information, but you feel too ashamed to ask for madlib answers. It happens to all of us. I mean I’ll bet you a sentence there’s a cut and paste with minor edits already.

Copy the questions below, erase my answers and post yours..


I have this thing where I need to whang on you with a tire iron.

There should be a word for this phenomenon, and perhaps there is.

I am making a complicated point, telling a joke, or relating a story that illustrates some new idea. It’s hard to get across, and after I make my point or tell my story, the other person doesn’t seem to get it. Finally, my conversational partner brightens up and fully comprehends the big idea. Then, he or she informs me happily of the complicated point or the reason for hilarity or the moral of the story, in a thoughtful but triumphant way. Clearly I hadn’t thought this quite through, but my story does lead to an interesting spot, had I only seen it!

It makes me want to kill people, with a shovel.

The antidepressant-debunking study

There was a news release today about a study that appears to show the uselessness of popular antidepressants.

This was reported in the Guardian, among other places. The publication can be read here.

There are problems, as summarized:

  1. PlOS is not an academic peer-reviewed journal. edit: They are in fact peer-reviewed, based on better information I have received by comments. Read the threads. They say they are peer-reviewed, but when you read their FAQ, you’ll see this: “We involve the academic community in our peer review process as much as possible. After professional staff have determined that the paper falls within the scope of the journal, and is of a minimum acceptable quality, decisions on whether to send a paper out for in-depth review are made via a collaboration between experienced, professional editors who work full time at PLoS, and academic editors who are experts in their field.”

    I’m not saying this is Wikipedia, but it’s not the same thing as a traditional journal, either.

  2. It’s one study. Beware of an equivalency between “one metastudy showed that these three or four drugs didn’t show a good outcome under these conditions” and “antidepressants don’t work.”
  3. The study measured outcomes at six weeks. That isn’t very long in a depression treatment, whether you’re using Prozac or a trampoline.

That having been said, anything that keeps family doctors from throwing the best-advertised drug at every problem is going to be helpful at this juncture. And using any kind of medication (except possibly the trampoline) without counseling is, well, crazy.

February is the adjectivest month

Influenza stalks Paradise this month. The health department has finally admitted that the flu status is “widespread,” and the emergency rooms are filling up with wheezing patients and the news crews that love them.

The worst of our influenza season falls in this half-Spring every year. The season see-saws between bright sunny butterfly-and-hummingbird days and windblown drizzle under grey. This has got to be harder on the butterflies but we hate it too. Be consistent! we yell and wave our tiny fists at whichever sky we’ve got that day.

Either I’m getting the influenza myself or it’s just postmodern anxiety. Exhaustion and dissociation are associated with both conditions, so the differential will be made with a thermometer before I go to bed.

Have you ever met a ghost of yourself? I met one today, and it’s been a few years. I saw myself as a very young child — like the one in the icon for this entry — playing on the floor in this house. The tile was different then, and because at close range each tile looked like a city block, I was driving a little Matchbox car along the street with my hand. No doubt there were vrooming noises. At one point in the journey the car encountered a furniture leg and whacked to a stop. Instead of going around, I just kept whacking the little toy car against the wood until some adult told me to knock it off.

And tonight I saw that kid in the dining room.

Maybe it’s the influenza.


I have no means to myself express how my brain feels right now, so I’m going to let my friend Karl-Heinz Stockhausen speak for me. With helicopters, a string quartet, and ululating.

And so to bed, at 5 am! Exit stage right pursued by bees.