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gandolfication last won the day on December 7 2015

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About gandolfication

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  1. Do you mind if I ask you about Repastonel?

    1. gandolfication


      Don't mind at all...though not sure if I can tell you much.  I don't believe I felt any effect from it whatsoever... Which is to say that it was a disappointment.

      I received it as part of a clinical trial focused on a couple different variants of ketamine.  I also did not feel anything really from the ketamine they gave me.  Maybe I need it in horse tranquilizer dosage.

    2. HeatherG


      Thank you.   You mentioned this on a post, and I was wondering about an update on if it was helping or still helping -- I appreciate you letting me know how it went.  I'm always skeptical about antidepressants and learn a lot from people on this site..  especially about side effects and warnings.  Your posts have been very helpful.  Have a good night.  Take care :)

  2. Depression and Work/Career

    Fantastic attitude Afterglow. Keep it. "This is the only job I have ever held where I actually am happy to come in each day and feel like what I do actually makes the world a better place in some small way." This is worth its weight in I don't know what, but something more valuable than gold. My life right now is a crazy mix between a sprint and a marathon and the scary loneliness of being dirt poor and facing things like avoiding eviction, etc. And even in that, we have rallied and are in mid-momentum in growing as people and a family again. It's really tough and stressful. But I feel like I have a chance, and am taking it to stay together with my family.
  3. Is Unselfishness a 'Cure' for Anxiety?

    A lot in there but that's about as good a description of the Vicious Cycle of self-reinforcing depression as I've read so thank you. A short while ago I read an article by a research psychaitrist quoting I think Voltaire, saying, mental illness is starting from an incorrect premise and then reasoning accurately from it. It's not perfect or universal, but I am sure have a lot of applications for me and the reverse is probably true as well.
  4. Is Unselfishness a 'Cure' for Anxiety?

    Pretty good article, thx.
  5. Is Unselfishness a 'Cure' for Anxiety?

    I think the DF has kind of relaxed its former policies about not talking about religion which your right is a very good thing. Seen the light one might say. I am no longer religious after years and years of his being extremely formative for me. I also went through an atheist, agnostic and probably now something like a deistic belief that finds more hope in faith in connectedness through things like neuroscience and the mysteries of quantum physics, literature, art, and humanism (human relationships and potential). It's interesting to note that we seem to experience the same good feelings about doing something good whether we set out and anticipate it and whether we are doing it for that reason or not. I have always thought that doing good should be encouraged and should be celebrated but John Piper help me understand it on a much deeper and clear level and most importantly without the guilt that traditional conventional Christianity necessarily levies on people about this.
  6. Is Unselfishness a 'Cure' for Anxiety?

    I think worrying about others, while it can involve perhaps an even greater feeling of helplessness and ennui and futility, is nevertheless easier. I just think as humans, our mode of thinking is nearly always in reference from the self and then outward. Sort of like the airplane-oxygen mask analogy. If one doesn't help them-self and their own crisis first, they'll not be any good to help anyone else with theirs.
  7. Is Unselfishness a 'Cure' for Anxiety?

    Epic, You've expressed a common feeling most of us have, which I hope you don't mind if I probe as an idea. It is ingrained in our culture and consciousness as deeply as almost anything I know, and it was expressed perfectly in your statement, "I hope I don't do it for that reason though [because it makes me feel good], but instead out of pure altruism, i.e. with the knowledge that no direct reciprocation could ever accrue to my benefit. Otherwise it is somehow selfish. I used to think like this. I still do a lot probably, especially in the context of being too hard on myself. But why? Does feeling good about or from doing something--whether done out of that motivation or not--make the thing less good? I know there is Biblical and religious reference and theory that answers this question in the affirmative. The parable about the pharisee who prayed loudly in public comes to mind, but close examination shows this situation is inapposite. We aren't talking here about getting external recognition; instead we are talking about inward self-satisfaction. Years ago, I read a book by the Christian mystic John Piper called Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. This was part typical reading and part quest to try to transcend what was already becoming my own world of feeling depressed through deeper Christian relationship and insight. All these years later the core kernel has stayed with me. If there be any omnibenevolent, omnipotent God, I may not know anything else, but this one thing I know is that this God would most certainly have created a reality--a system--wherein there would and should be naturally, perhaps even intrinsically derived reward and pleasure from doing good. And Piper would simply go the next logical step and say and that good feeling even for the self necessarily does glorify god and should be sought and celebrated, never eschewed. Conviction, not guilt, never shame, as one friend used to say to me. I think that's kind of stating it in the negative. The germ for the entire book comes in changing 1 word in the Westminster Shorter Catechism. I know little about such liturgical statements, except that there is most often a great deal of thought and nuance that has gone into them, and they have a serious does of substance if they last for any length of time (like Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, etc.). I know it is a confession of faith designed to bring different church bodies closer together and I believe also to be recited orally as a declaration of belief. So, its words were not errant or haphazard. The original creed states in what I think is by far its most famous question and answer couplet, "What is the chief end of man?" "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever." Piper turned much of traditional Christian thinking on its head by changing 1 word in the creed. The chief end of man is to glorify god by enjoying him forever. Ok, it changes one and a half words if you include converting enjoy to enjoying. But a world of meaning is encoded into changing "and" to "by." He challenged a generation of Christians who read it and asked some variation of what I'll try my best to encapsulate in shorthand into a single question: Isn't seeking godly joy better for everyone than elevating godly sorrow? Is nobility reduced because I followed a natural and good drive to feel good by doing good? Wouldn't it be awful if doing unselfish acts had a consistent negative affect of feeling? There aren't too many things I think and speak of optimistically in this world these days, but I think this is still one. I don't mean to make too much of a passing comment - it just caught my attention and I hope you don't mind that I wrote this about it. If you ever want a paradigm-shifting read, pick up Desiring God. I would also recommend in this vein, the (?former?) Catholic turned more evangelical mystic Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel. Even the two-page intro still moves and defrags my brain if I read it again today. I read several other Manning books that were also very good variations on the same theme. They were practically speaking about self-acceptance over performance-worth, before I knew that was a thing. Manning wrote one book that went out of print and I tried to track it down through collectors for years, but could never find it under its original title: Jesus Stranger to Self-Hatred. The idea is consistent with the rest of this ramble.
  8. Is Unselfishness a 'Cure' for Anxiety?

    Hm, thanks. Yah, I know it's not a silver bullet, and there's an obvious paradox here, as in, maybe if I try not to think about anxiety, it'll go away. Nope.
  9. I've been wondering about whether the kind of constant fear and anxiety most of us suffer with depression could be best ameliorated by attacking first the selfishness that almost always attends depression? I have noticed that trying to attack anxiety head on--at least for me--is most often an exercise in futility. Not always, and sometimes of course it must be done. But something about it usually fails. The incessant worry, rumination and acute, panic-like anxiety remains. And I wonder if it could remain as persistent if I were not so consumed in thinking about myself. That is to say, perhaps if I can rediscovery and enlarge the empathetic interest and concern that I do also naturally have for others, mightn't this also serve as a balm, even an antidote in part, to the fear. The fear of financial destitution, of failure, of utter loss and humiliation? Ego comes in to play no doubt. I like to think of myself as someone who doesn't much care what others think of me, but this is only part of that story. All of us want to be accepted, loved and in my case also respected. Frankly, I want people to think well of me and ultimately to look back at my life and even revere that I was someone who did good in the world. (I always presume everyone feels this way, but that may be my projection). May I--may we--by focusing more energy outward on how we can help in the world ('be the change we want to see in the world, etc.), and applying this, simply cut much of anxiety off at the knees? Let it dissipate. Maybe this is obvious, or maybe I'm as usual, making it more complicated than it needs to be. One thing I know is that when I help someone else (as I just had the very gratifying opportunity to do), I feel better about myself. My esteem, anemic as it is, is bolstered. I doubt it's any kind of complete solution. But I know that when I am focused on helping another, even for a moment (expressing love in its simplest form), it becomes nearly impossible at least in that moment to worry about myself. I wonder if others have thoughts or success stories in this vein?
  10. I'm posting something I wrote over the past couple weeks when I had time and after watching the two referenced movies with my kids. I apologize in advance that I've left in a section comparing the character allegories I'm comparing within to our current political moment. Please, please, if you are a conservative republican, a Trump supporter, or just don't care for political diatribe, skip this one. If needed, I'll remove this from the forum. Nevertheless, I wrote it, and am going to seek to publish it somewhere. I've written before many times about writing as therapy. It still delivers in its own satisfying, gratifying and absorbing way. It's just a little puff piece, but it felt good getting back into some enjoyable, creative writing. I read the non-political parts to my below-mentioned children, and they liked it. They're nice that way. I noticed that formatting below has been lost - mostly italics, but it shouldn't matter much. Finding Character In The Allegorical Retelling of Two Classic Fairy Tales for All Ages. When the Hollywood retelling of Maleficent and Jack and The Giant Slayer (restyled from Jack and the Beanstalk of old) came out in 2013 and 2014 respectively, I read reviews and watched trailers, but skipped watching both films. They seemed like movies for kids, lightweight and shallow. I was wrong. I watched them recently with two of my children, almost nine, and almost-seven-who-falls-asleep-before-third-acts. Actually, I am not chagrined that I let my kids watch movies with me that some parents would not. I do this especially if a film has any particular value as a work of art, entertainment, literary, or even scientific or philosophical quality. And as the one major form of art that at its best, combines all of the others - and indeed much of the best writing, music, imagery and of course acting - it is an extremely potent tool to explore so many important and interesting themes in life. And it is simply better than watching the cold hash that often passes for ‘children’s entertainment’ these days. Ignore rotten tomatoes (which I think rated Maleficent respectably, but I refuse to check on either). Watch them. Go, watch them, with your children if you have them. And be assured, these two films are both exquisite, fully realized allegorical adventure tales. They entertain and teach, as all good films should. “Maleficent” is a Disney retelling of the character from the eternal tale of The Sleeping Beauty, and “Jack” a pulse-pounding action morality drama far better than the CGI-fueled trailer or reviews suggested. As character study, these two films are spectacular almost beyond belief, uncommonly compelling in the ways they dazzle the imagination. Each borrows liberally and well, the dramatic irony from the masters of storytelling and character like Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, Shakespeare, John Bunyan, Hawthorne, Swift, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Greek mythology, and the world’s religious parables. As character allegory, they are extraordinarily effective. By allegory, I mean a narrative where the narrative events that make up the story on its surface can be peeled back to reveal additional hidden layers of meaning about life, invariably dealing with moral character in all its human fragility. Or, simpler, as allegories and other literary forms have often been described, they are mirrors held up to reflect and confront us with our own character, both good and bad; although more often and more memorably focused on the tragedy of flaws. This mirror image itself comes to us most directly from the story of young prince Narcissus who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. Ever since, his namesake has called forth images of self-admiration, vanity, pride and disdain. Remember the Wicked Queen in Snow White echoes this exactly when she asks literally, “mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Some people do seem to have an insatiable need to be superlative. It evokes terms like inferiority complex, God-complex, even Napoleon-complex and autocrats of all stripe whose boundless need for ego-affirmation grows reckless and dangerous. And as Manichean morality dramas and studies in character, neither film disappoints. In Jack, we have Tucci’s deliciously wicked Roderick whose treachery and vainglorious lust of power is apparent from his character’s introduction. Roderick seeks to seduce the King into arranging for him to marry his daughter. But this lineage to power is not enough, and we next see him absconding with the sacred relics (the magic beans) which will allow the horrifying giants to re-enter the world of men. This is treachery enough. But narcissism of this scale also requires a sort of blind ambition, and so Roderick has stolen the crown of the kingdom’s long-deceased hero King, which will allow him to rule the giants, subduing them beneath his heal, physically as it turns out. In Maleficent, the development of narcissism, vanity, ambition, and fear--always fear--of things different or not understood, is a slower burn as we see Prince Stephan evolve. As young boy, he foreshadows his potential for avarice when we are introduced to him as he is caught stealing a gemstone from the kingdom of the fairies. But in the turn of a brisk, important scene, Stephan appears to grow within himself, from his self-indulgence to an act of genuine kindness. When he embraces young Maleficent’s hand to kiss it in parting, his iron ring burns her fairy hand. Upon seeing this, he immediately tears off the ring and throws it away in the field, an act which begins what we believe is a genuine and noble love affair between the two. But, as the narrator (a future, grown Aurora) tells us, “It was not to be.” It is Stephan’s knowledge of good and capacity for kindness that makes his descent into darkness memorable, reminiscent of Anakin’s metamorphic descent into evil madness as Darth Vader. It is more poignant and painful precisely because, to repurpose Luke’s well-known words, we know “there is still good in him.” The best villains are never one dimensional. Part of the fear that stirs us to our foundations lies in the knowledge that even a monster was a person like us once. When Stephan’s father the King attacks Maleficent, he and his army are routed by Maleficent--now in full bloom and glory--along with the enchanted army she raises up from the ground. What was his motivation for starting the war? Fear, of course. Here we see the germ of Stephan’s decision to avenge his father and acquire power for himself. We do not know the exact moment when Stephan first plots to deceive Maleficent, but in its full fruition it is terrible to behold. He goes to her under the guise of warning her that the King intends to vanquish her--possibly Here is the part where unfortunately we get political. We must. Watching them in this time for one, makes it unavoidable. Despite our age of agog, politics still must be one of the chief means by which we are able to make peoples’ lives better (credit to the late Senator Paul Wellstone and his friend and political and heir, Al Franken). These two films are the finest depictions of the self-destructive power of betrayal, narcissism, revenge and schadenfreude. But also of nobility, bravery in the face of fear, and the transcendent if mercurial power of sacrificial love to overcome these vices. In our politics, I am thinking about how these characters and themes cannot fail to evoke the betrayal and narcissism, the sheer, boorish ogre-ness of the current Trump Republican farce. To call them parody is to elevate them beyond their deserve. They are not as witty or as imaginative as the worst sit-com on TV. Trumpublicanism, is the fungal rot like the black, oozing poison in Ferngully, or the thick stench of the resurrected ghouls in the Black Cauldron, (to name two other cherished childhood gems). It is the acidic puss in every alien and the Aliens movies. I wish that would do, but it will not quite. The Trumpublicans are the parasitic succubuses from Bram Stoker's Dracula, Lewis's Screwtape Letters, the awful Van Helsing, and the Passion of the Christ (mourn Christopher Hitchens when his cultural commentary is needed more than ever). They stand for nothing except that might makes right, the credo of totalitarians from time immemorial. Perhaps the most memorable, insipid and potent of Trump’s ‘verbal killshots’ (as dabbling political linguist Scott Adams dubbed them) was his conception of everything and everyone in terms of ‘winners’ and ‘losers,’ the latter which he ascribed even to terrorists during official presidential statements. And yes, Trumpublicanism also embraces our lovely newly liberated Nazis (they are not new, but rather more important than their adopted forbearers). They are the Nazis from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Hellboy, The Rocketeer, Captain America, and every other movie depicting Nazis, sans the cleverness and world domination ambition in good films and history. As I write this, the most ardent Trump supporters--also Stormfront Nazis (why call them 'new’ when they are banal evil without the perverse virtue of imagination) are planning to gather I'm a deciduous Forest east of Knoxville, not too far from my college town of Cleveland, Tennessee, to plan protest tactics. One assumes the forest is to avoid government satellite or drone monitoring, or maybe Aryan master troll races just have a natural proclivity for black forests. Brilliant caper, gents, don't forget the Tiki torches and digital breadcrumb trail. Always one step ahead. Trump’s most lethal epithet is that some enemy--real or perceived--is a ‘loser.’ Biographers have delved into some of the likely reasons for this from his late father (and KKK rally participant) who considered weakness as the ultimate human vice. It is social Darwinism taken to literal extremes. This may be what allowed--or compelled--an American President visiting a humanitarian crisis where hundreds of thousands of Americans lack necessities as crucial as drinking water, to utter the following: “they [the Puerto Rican locals] have to give us more help,” before he chastised them for throwing the nation’s budget “a little out of whack,” and downplaying the crisis as not a “real catastrophe like Katrina.” Meanwhile the death toll is still climbing, and of course Trump painted himself as the real victim, wining about how the San Juan Mayor begging for water was being nasty to him in conspiracy with the fake news media reporting his every word with full video. Trump 2017 ®. He did throw paper towels to onlookers in the relatively undamaged capital. In Trump’s world, might does make right, and it is that simple. It is a far cry from Lincoln’s words at his famous Cooper Union speech: "Let us have faith that right makes might.” American Presidents past have persistently repeated the idea that America is great because America is good, and that if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great. (This has often been ascribed to Alexis de Tocqueville, although it does not appear in his writings). The man, Trump is what every literary genre would call an antagonist. He is the ignoramus, the barbarian, the venal, disgusting piggish, manipulative dope, Hitler- or Napoleon- or inferiority-complex perpetually at defcon googolplex. His singular malevolent talent--so far--is staying one step ahead of the Wizard's curtain opening and the cops. The emperor's new clothes have fallen off long ago. Were they ever on? Matt Taibbi called Goldman Sachs, a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” The deluxe model is more an attention ***** and comes with Twitter and a toilet. The character Donald Trump is radioactive decay without the benefit of creating useful energy or even the bright, uniquely-shaped explosion, though on the nuclear holocaust front, can you metabolize that he has actually engaged in deliberate Twitter conflict out of childish egotistical spite and embarrassment?! It is happening, like all things happen that happen when no one could believe them until after they happened, and some not even then. And we knew all of this before a single vote was cast. He began his career as political carnival barker in earnest by race-baiting that then President Barrack Obama was a foreign-born interloper who stole the presidency. On the nuclear front, everyone is aware of his asinine antic tweeting taunting Kim Jong Un--a lunatic with nuclear weapons--as ‘rocketman.’ Most are aware that Trump recently called for (though he now tepidly denies it) multiplying our nuclear arsenal by ten-fold, which nary a US Military leader thinks is a good idea to say, much less to do. But many have forgotten what was reported by political insider Joe Scarborough in August 2015, that when Trump met with a well-known foreign policy adviser the candidate asked the putative adviser three times, if we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them? To say he's a maniac, would be to elevate his stature. It is regrettable to have to say, but he is a degrading, reprobate racist scum. If he cares for anyone besides himself, it is impossible to tell, and this should be the one single line defining what kind of person must never, ever be allowed near the presidency of any country, least of all America. Again. And every American who voted for him is complicit in his wreckage. All of them knew or should have known. The evidence was mountainous, ubiquitous, consistent and impossible to ignore even for the casual observer. No amount of uttering, ‘shake things up,’ ‘drain the swamp,’ ‘we are angry,’ or ‘we don’t like Hillary,’ or ‘democrats are in disarray too,” absolves those knaves who voted for him. And no amount of buyer’s remorse or weak-kneed penance redeems it either. We have to come to grips with the fact that from the start of voting through election night, we had a nation half of whose population ranged from knaves to nincompoops to antisocial to bigots and those willfully given to the worst fascistic propaganda. We are witnessing a person devoid of character. Not amoral. Not some demigod or inanimate object absent characterological facets. Rather he makes a vice of virtue like a Shakespearean villain, like a conniving, lecherous fallen angel. And that brings us back first to Maleficent. For that is what she is in this interesting backstory of the 'mistress of all evil’ from Disney's brilliant classic noir. A sorceress? Not exactly, not this time. A fallen fairy. The analogy to Lucifer is unmistakable. She is the incarnation of evil, and a beguiling one who seduces with beauty and power as awesome as it is frightening. We remember in the original Disney animation, she ultimately turns into a ravenous dragon with a bedside manner of Cruella DeVille with a migraine. But in this new incarnation, which Wikipedia calls a 'postmodern’ interpretation, she instead creates a dragon out of her servile sidekick. I don't know what is postmodern about it, but for her part, Angelina Jolie plays the character with subtle expressiveness that is entrancing. She teases out the subtlest smirks, flashes, and glints, speaking volumes with creased lips or narrowing eyes. She need not engage in gaudy demonstrations or threats until she is good and ready. Such is the luxurious poise of those heavenly creatures who know they are imbued with the powers of hell. Ella Purnell plays the glorious, radiant Maleficent as a child-fairy. Her eyes shine with unforgettable sparkle. Literally, there appears to be a twinkling effect added, and why not when we are dealing with one of the most storied fairies in all fairy tales. She dazzles, flies, plays and has a child-queen’s élan in the way Cleopatra must have before she bore the burdens of ruling an advanced, warring civilization. So it is with Maleficent - as life unfolds and even fairy children grow up to endure life’s nastiness, she becomes more somber, morose, and of course vengeful. But as a teen, Maleficent falls in love. And like most everything in these two films it is made comfortably 'safe’ for parents to watch with their kids at 6 and 8 (both ‘and three quarters’, I'm not a monster). Since we are speaking of what is appropriate for children now in our political culture, we need recall that our President--and the party complicit in supporting him--have rationalized and ratified his: ***** grabbing talk, son of a Biotch speech giving, sniveling quack who says--no vociferously insists--there are 'very fine’ neo Nazis, the nothing-if-not-dignified Barack Obama was an imposter who started Isis, and Mexicans are 'sending’ rapists and ******ers. This bigoted moral dwarf repeatedly insisted the wrongfully convicted and DNA-Exonerated, Central Park Five were still guilty, after he had called for their death. Unlike Maleficent, he quarrels with those he need not--like San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz. It is not because he needs to, but because he must. Character is destiny. Speaking of modern tales of nature and fate, Trump is like the fabled scorpion who when asked why he stung the tortoise mid-way across the river even though it will doom them both, answers, ‘because it is my nature to do so.’ He is like the Biblical King Herod *** Archie Bunker but with less style sense and self-confidence. In Jack and The Giant Slayer, the beautiful actors play the familiar Jack as the relatable commoner hero with the heart of gold and the restless princess who meet and initiate an adventure where crudeness-incarnate in the form of beastly giants fight elegance and virtue. Nicholas Hoult is Jack, Eleanor Tomlinson is Isabelle, and Ewan McGregor plays Ewan McGregor playing a white knight named Elmont, which turns out is exactly what we want to see from Ewan McGregor. And yet it is not saccharine or shallow. Stanley Tucci takes a turn as a real villain with little of his trademark hamminess, but all the intensity of a Barsteward betrayer quick to steal, ****, and deceive. He oozes avarice and treachery from his pores as only Tucci can. And whereas in Maleficent, the sermon on human frailty is doled out over many scenes often by the narrator, in ‘Jack’, the best of its literary punch is delivered in a single snarling line by Tucci as he digs a knife into the hand of Ewan McGregor's valiant knight protector attempting to drop him from the clouds to his death: “Did you really think you were the hero of this story? Don't you know we all think that?” It is almost regrettable that after a respectable retort from McGregor - “I may not be the hero of this story, but at least I get to see the end of it!” - the action must move forward. It is one definition of narcissism - thinking that we are, that we must be, the hero of the story. But in hearing it, there is quintessential truth in it isn’t there? Don’t we all think that way? Life and the world are and must needs be what exist in reference to us, the self by which all other things are measured and constructed? It may smack of pre-Copernican misbegotten pridefulness, but it is a hard line to shake nonetheless. Joseph Campbell would have loved it, imbued with all its archetypical prophetic potential. A bombshell litmus line, a dispositional Rorschach mirror held up to the faces of all viewers confronting them in harsh light, and then, sadly almost, the action moves on. Maybe this is the postmodern interpretation, but in any case it is a magnificent and jolting epiphany, and is a perfect example of why I am glad to watch well-crafted films with my young children, even if sometimes they are of a serious nature. Maleficent, alternatively, as a cautionary sermonette in film, drizzles out its human critique in mirthful, pathos-laden, empathetic layer upon layer, scene upon scene. The indispensable moral is singular - humans are sadly excessively consumed with petty things like power, greed, wealth, fear, and ambition. They lack perspective. They are to be pitied. This is where it seems more British lit, Homeresque, Sophoclean, about the irony of hubris. Jolie's majestic winged beatifically terrifying ferry of wrath, sails up above the clouds to touch the Sunshine, or ‘the face of God’ (if one likes Peggy Noonan channeling her best line ever from Royal Airman John Gillespie Magee’s “High Flight”). It is a triumphant moment. It is also pretty literal imagery of Icarus, and his rash, prodigal disregard causing or at least foreshadowing the protagonist's own demise. And in these films, we have a new iteration of the most absorbing of themes from Greek literature through at least Shakespeare. The intoxicating idea and question of whether our greatest aspirations nevertheless lay the groundwork for our ultimate demise (see The Matrix). Or, whether instead, there is “no fate but what we make,” the hopeful line from the Terminator. Are we building a tower of Babel? Or may we evolve into broader sunlit uplands as more enlightened creatures? In Mythology, this usually leaned more heavily toward the irony of hubris. In modern incarnation, it tends to deal more with notions of free will versus determinism. Especially since in the age of information science, it is not only possible, but easy to believe if one wants, that ones and zeros and analogous biological precursors actually do determine the entirety of all events from Big Bang to the end of time. By the way, is Jolie the antagonist or the protagonist of the eponymously named updated story? In an age of superheroes and antiheroes and misanthropes as antiheroes (see Marvel’s excellent Jessica Jones), there is delicious ambiguity here. Stephan cannot be seen as wholly evil, as he is after all, honoring his father’s last wishes and purportedly protecting the human race. And Jolie treads ever so lightly on the line between villain we root for and heroine with a malevolent streak. When was the last time you cared or asked who the antagonist and protagonist of a story were? Was it before, ‘Make America Great Again’ was at the center of countless broken relationships? A man-baby and imbecile, ‘tweeting’ some 15 or more times about his cartoonish racist football memes on the weekend when lots Americans in Puerto Ricans are. Dying. Of. Thirst! He is evil unspeakable in turgid orange flesh and blood. And to those conservatives who now or even before the election, speak out against him with principal, we wish this redeemed you. But you have supported the vapid, toxic stew of disgust for a generation more that gave rise to this odious miscreant. It's not miserly to say this, if one is willing to examine the conditions that gave rise to it. And because we are still one country, united in principle if not always in practice, we are bound to inquire if we must face the immortal words of Pogo: “we have met the enemy and he is us.” It is easy to rail, YOU HAVE VOTED AGAINST ALL EVIDENCE, DECENCY AND GOOD TASTE FOR AN OBVIOUS CON MAN! STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN YOU STUPID GULLIBLE FARCE BAIT! But we realize that the echo starts to vibrate back across the canyon wall to us as well. We need to demand better. Will excising money from politics help? Public funding of elections? Will fixing the winner-take-all insanity or the electoral college? Will striking down Gerrymandering? Hopefully all yes. But as ever, we must look inward. If character is destiny--and essentially all literature and life testifies that it is--then, we know as Gandhi most succinctly said, we must be the change we seek in the world. But in doing so, we need not shrink from the horror of the moment. To those still defending Trump, my best to you and may your proctology and neurology both be eliminated by Trump care, so your heads stay forever lodged in your monkey-butt, dingle-berried *****. Trump betrayed you like Stefan betrayed Maleficent, and for the some of the same reasons desperation and greed. He and your friendly safe white Republican Congress are hell-bent on: 1) screwing you on healthcare, 2) screwing you on tax cuts in favor of the unimaginably rich and privileged, while merely promising you table scraps, and 3) selling out the country to Russians who kept him solvent when no one else would, a proverbial thirty pieces of silver. You are the giants in this allegory, or maybe worse, Roderick the Judas who enabled. I feel like saying sorry but it just won’t do. You believe the vilest fiction, and mock our cherished institutions. You think the tiny margins in three Midwestern states were caused by actual political and character issues instead of the targeting and digital attacks by tens of thousands of Russian computer soldiers, algorithms, ads and fake news stories with a phalanx of crazy conspiracies of hotel pedophilia and mental and physical disease and secret **** lists. You think the undisputed facts that Trump and his stooges, er, Senior advisors and Cabinet Secretaries systematically lied in their written and spoken answers specifically about their conversations and contacts with Russians during the election. If you do, we need a new parable for the willfully blind.
  11. Ug. But congratulations on dodging the harassment bullet....seems to be going around a lot these days with men in positions of power. I've never seen the appeal. Hope you find a new doctor soon.
  12. Ceebee, That's unusual I think with trintilex, but in any case if I was experiencing those things and thought it was coming from an antidepressant I wouldn't keep taking it myself.
  13. Let's list the things we still enjoy (if any)

    Duck I don't know if you like to watch good historical dramas on TV but I just watched a really great show on Netflix called Manhunt about the 18-year longest in history FBI search for the Ted Kaczynski the Unabomber. The psychological cultural technological and characterological aspects were all really fascinating in addition to the forensic Linguistics they mainly used to caption. And it was a really well-done the drama even though they took a little bit of license.
  14. Depression and Work/Career