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Archive for May, 2011

Most people are familiar with Sigmund Freud and his impact on the world of psychiatry.  But not many people have heard of Sigmund Ford, Henry Ford’s estranged and imaginary brother who psychoanalyzed the personality of American drivers.

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.  ~Dave Barry, “Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn”

But you needn’t travel far on any road, anywhere, before you encounter a psychotic driver, a neurotic driver, a passive-aggressive driver, a Callaway Driver, or any other plethora of psychiatric illness drivers.  For me, it’s about half a mile from my home when I drive by Wal-Mart.  For some reason, that place attracts neurotic drivers like a flame draws moths. 

Some would argue it occurs much sooner than that . . .  like when I get into the car.  For the record, I am an assertive driver–not an aggressive driver.  The basic difference is that assertive drivers know what they are doing.  An aggressive driver is the other guy.

It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road.  ~Author Unknown

This should be standard equipment on all cars!

So there I am going to work.  I am late.  I’m a doctor, so that is expected of me.  If I could have left earlier I wouldn’t be late now, would I?  I’m driving along, minding my own business, probably violating a traffic law or two if not a couple of Laws of Physics as well, when I come to the traffic light at Wal-Mart.  I have a green light ,which to those of us that do not suffer mental illness, means I have the right-of-way.  At the crossing intersection, there is a lane for drivers going straight from Wal-Mart or turning left.  Those cars now have a red light.  There is a right hand turning lane that is marked with a YIELD sign.  Mentally challenged drivers have no idea what this sign means.  It is written in some foreign language and it never applies to them.

So Case Study #1 in Sigmund Ford’s treatise on Driving Personalities, proceeds to enter traffic in front of me . . . right in front of me . . . going up on two wheels as they careen and the centripetal force lifts their car off the road surface.  I don’t have a radar gun, but I estimate they must have been doing about fifty.  Anything less, and they would have hit me.

But then a funny thing occurs.  Their right foot goes numb, comes off the accelerator, and the vehicle slows down to 25 mph.  For all I know, they are completely paralyzed on the right side.  Their right foot might have fallen off and rolled back under the seat.  They are smoking but this is not a specific clinical clue to any specific disorder. It is commonly seen in slow erratic drivers and is probably due to shortness of breath on exertion.  They can’t breathe well at high speeds.

The posted speed limit on this road is 40.  There are two lanes going in my direction but alas, there is traffic in the other lane.  These are the people who always travel in the left lane, even though they are generally not passing anyone or making a left hand turn within the next 20 miles.  They just hang out there because it makes them feel comfortable.  They are right brain people who are drawn to the left side.  Maybe they are British.  They might have a turn signal blinking (does it really matter which one since we all know they are not turning anywhere soon) and they are almost always on the phone.  Again, phone calls and texting are not specific to any driving disorder, but they are frequently seen in association with a variety of driving illnesses.

I am now tailgating this Case Study, primarily because my antilock brakes have prevented me from joining them in their beat up Oldsmobile, and because the traffic behind me is trying to do the same.

Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.  ~Mary Ellen Kelly

I see a flicker in the rear view mirror of Case Study #1.  Not enough to tell you her eye color, but enough to know that she is now aware of my presence.  She has signalled that I am number one, but her choice of appendages is unusual. 

Now it was certainly possible that she could not see me before she pulled out into traffic.  Maybe she has lost vision to that side.  She could have a brain tumor or a stroke.  I may be having a stroke at this very minute thanks to her.  If visually impaired, she shouldn’t be driving, but let me tell you this as an ophthalmologist who has been practicing for 17 years:  POOR VISION IS NOT A DETERRENT TO DRIVING.  Some of the people with the worst vision are the most insistent that they are still SAFE DRIVERS.

I only drive to church and the store.  I don’t recommend you join their church or shop at that store.

One woman, who couldn’t even read the big E (that’s worse than 20/400 and in case you were wondering that would make her legally blind) begged in tears with me not to report her to the DOT because she could still drive safely.  I pointed out that she couldn’t read street signs.  She agreed, but she didn’t need to.  She KNEW where she was going.  Don’t we all?  I asked her what she would do if there was road construction and a detour.  Like that’s never happened!   Sometimes I think they just set those orange barrels up alongside the road because they have nowhere to store them.

With a perfectly straight face and with all honesty in her little heart, she told me that she had a friend that rode with her and her “friend” read the street signs for her!  (I know what you are thinking.  Why doesn’t the friend do the driving?  It’s because her friend is disabled and not able to physically manage driving.)

A sad situation really, but I digress.

I don’t think the problem here was visual.  And now that I have seen her beady little eyes in her mirror, I know that she knows that I’m here.  And she knows that I know that she knows that I am here.

There is a little burst of speed.  She suffers intimacy issues and does not want me on her bumper.

I speed  up as well.  She slows down.  More evil glares in the rear view mirror.  Smoke is coming out her nostrils.  Well, she is smoking after all.  It’s hard to tell, but it might be coming out her ears.

So let’s recap.  She pulls out in front of me.  She proceeds to then go slower than me.  And this is my fault?  In psychology, this is called transference.  She is transferring her feelings of anxiety and poor driving onto me.

This is not unusual.  There appear to be many people on the road that are in a hurry to get in front of you–but not in a hurry to go anywhere once this goal is achieved.  Had I been able to pass her, we could have determined whether or not she also suffered passive-aggressive driving personality disorder.  These poor wretches will accelerate as soon as you try to pass them.  The surest way to slow them down is to pull in behind them.

Unfortunately for Case Study #1, there is no effective treatment.  The condition is often terminal–eventually they will pull out in front of the wrong person.  Horn honking is typically ineffective and in fact, often produces adverse effects, including even slower driving (worsening of the right-sided paralysis,) seizure activity in the form of random and often obscene gesturing, and significant glaring.  Sigmund Ford wanted to try electroconvulsive shock therapy for this condition, but it is still waiting FDA approval.

* Driving Quotes from QuoteGarden.

* Image from I am an aggressive driver, I admit it.

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FRESHLY PRESSED!

I only started this WordPress Blog in April.  Maybe I’m expecting too much from the Eye Life.  But patience is a virtue that has eluded me all my life.

You may be wondering what I am talking about, or typing about as the case may be.  I can understand that.  I barely know what I’m talking about myself.  But let me enlighten you.

WordPress has this “thing” called Freshly Pressed which is featured on their website.  It is a kind of reward for “good” blogs which drives more traffic to your site.  After all, if someone writes a blog on the Internet, and no one reads it, does it make a noise?

Two months–well, nearly two months–and 16 posts later, I still have not been Freshly Pressed.  I am wrinkled.  Ugly.  Not even freshly squeezed.  I don’t even know why you are bothering to read this, since my blog is obviously worthless as blogs go.  Print this out and use it to line your bird cage.  Buy a bird if you have to.  I mirror mediocrity.  Maybe I should aspire to mediocrity.  Hope for it.  Embrace it!

So I began to wonder why my incredibly entertaining blog was not getting the limelight it deserves.  After all, I have a catchy title and a beautiful picture.  I am more or less funny looking.  Alas, blogs are not judged by their titles alone.

My wonderment sent me looking for answers.   Google is my friend.  I quickly found an article about Five Ways To Get Featured on Freshly Pressed.  I thought I was on to something here, but I couldn’t be sure.

The author looks young enough to be my daughter and she uses phrases like “video rocks.”  I am in serious trouble here.

I quickly scanned the article, but shamelessly submitting my article was not an option.  Neither was paying her off.  I’m not savvy enough to hack into their system and feature myself.  I am in really serious trouble here.

So I actually tried to read the article.

Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff.

I do that!  I have written about how I named this site, about my two new dogs, how I voted, my MahJong angst, about the recent Rapture that did not occur and Satan visiting my site.    How many blogs can say that!  (How many would want to?)  Whose side are you on?

Include images or other visuals.

They want “original” images or ones that are properly credited.  OK.  Hmmm.  I included my own pictures of my dogs, although my wife technically took the photos.  I have included videos and I believe that credit was paid where credit was due.  The picture of the baby suckling on the cow was my idea and photoshop.  Still not good enough.

Add tags.

I added tags.  I’m three for three, or maybe two and half for three since I probably didn’t credit every single image, but this is not a term paper for a grade or an application for a Nobel Prize here. 

Aim for typo-free content.

Hunt and peck.  Spunt and heck.  I can spell check.  My grammar ain’t too good though.  She’s got rheumatism.

Cap off your post with a compelling headline.

Let’s look at some of mine:  Picking your Noes.  Get it.  Not nose, but noes.  Since I was voting “no.”  Funny, right?  Creative?  Apparently not. 

MahJong MoJo is No Mo.  Unique?  yes.  My own screen shots–very original.  Neat name.  Didn’t tickle any fancies.

Who Let the Dogs In?  Pretty funny story about our two new dogs.  Kind of a play on Who Let the Dogs Out–get it?  Apparently not.

Udderly Ridiculous, a post about genetically modifying cows to produce human breast milk.  Udderly?  Utterly?  Get it?  They didn’t.

I’m flummoxed.  Stymied.  Constipated.

What have those other blogs got that I ain’t got?

Courage.  Free advertising, apparently.

So I checked out a few of these blogs featured today. . .

Happy Towel Day.  Seriously?  “Awesomely Nerdy News and Reviews?”  Sure there’s a Youtube Video–and I guess that rocks.  I guess it’s unique since I’ve never heard of it.  As a Steeler fan, I have a Terrible Towel.  Does that count?  But the final picture is clearly copied . . . you can Google it here.

Homemade Peking Duck with Mandarin Pancakes.  I can’t cook, but I love duck.  If you ever get a chance to visit the Village Inn in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, stop in and have the duck.  Best.  Ever.  But this site has pics of the duck in preparation.   Duck hanging from a string.  Was it suicide or fowl play?  I don’t know.

Egg Farming?  Built a chickencoop.  Now they have chicken poop.  Yea!  [Doing jazz hands.]  Original pictures (and a really kickin’ chicken coop!), but hardly unique.  I tried to farm chickens once.  Nothing grew.  I either planted the eggs too deep or too close together.  I gave up after that.

Six things you won’t be ordering from SkyMall.  I have never ordered from SkyMall so my list is way longer than that!  The pictures look like they were taken from the magazine and it certainly seems to be advertorial, whatever that means.

I could go on but what’s the use.  I may as well be typing at the wall.  And no one is reading anyway.

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I know it’s getting old, but this thing just keeps rolling along.

According to this article by Garance Burke, Harold Camping has moved the date of the end of the world to October 21st. 

Through chatting with a friend over what he acknowledged was a very difficult weekend, it dawned on him that instead of the biblical Rapture in which the faithful would be swept up to the heavens, May 21 had instead been a “spiritual” Judgment Day, which places the entire world under Christ’s judgment, he said.

The globe will be completely destroyed in five months, he said, when the apocalypse comes. But because God’s judgment and salvation were completed on Saturday, there’s no point in continuing to warn people about it, so his network will now just play Christian music and programs until the final end on Oct. 21.

He now returns us to our normally scheduled lives.  For those that gave all their possessions away . . . sorry about that.

“I still have to live in a house, I still have to drive a car,” he said. “What would be the value of that? If it is Judgment Day why would I give it away?”

Why indeed?

Talk about your Looney Tunes . . .

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My LEFT BEHIND is numb.  I guess it’s because I lean that way when I’m typing and I have spent too much time at the computer.

Why you ask?  Am I still playing MahJong?  (I am.)  Is it because I have no life?  (I don’t.)  Is it because I am trying to figure out why the Rapture hasn’t occurred yet?  (Hell no!)

Truth be told, though, I did wonder about all those people who were convinced by Harold Camping that the end of the world was supposed to start on May 21st.  Apparently, he has overlooked something.  Again.

According to Garance Burke, reactions over the failure of the world to end are mixed.  For myself, I am somewhat bummed.  I’m on-call this weekend so now I have to answer calls today.  We have an emergency line and I’ve already gotten one emergency.  Someone’s drops ran out.  Apparently, they weren’t expecting to need them today either.  Worse yet, I have to go to work tomorrow.  Is this the worst apocalypse ever or what?

Believers had spent months warning the world of the pending cataclysm. Some had given away earthly belongings. Others took long journeys to be with loved ones. And there were those who drained their savings accounts.

Seriously?  Why didn’t anyone give their worldly belongings or savings accounts to me?

“I had some skepticism but I was trying to push the skepticism away because I believe in God,” said Keith Bauer — who hopped in his minivan in Maryland and drove his family 3,000 miles to California for the Rapture.

“I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this earth,” said Bauer, a tractor-trailer driver who began the voyage west last week, figuring that if he “worked last week, I wouldn’t have gotten paid anyway, if the Rapture did happen.”

Is the Rapture really better in California?  I never thought about not working last week!  I did take Friday off but it was for a charity golf tournament.  I also went running on Saturday for 10 miles.  I figure if the world was going to end, I might as well be doing something I love.

In New York’s Times Square, Robert Fitzpatrick, of Staten Island, said he was surprised when the six o’clock hour simply came and went. He had spent his own money to put up advertising about the end of the world.

“I can’t tell you what I feel right now,” he said, surrounded by tourists. “Obviously, I haven’t understood it correctly because we’re still here.”

Let me enlighten you on your feelings here, Robert.  What you are feeling is stupid.  I hope Robert doesn’t work on Wall Street.  I’m sorry Mr. Jones, but I liquidated your portfolio to charity because I thought the world was ending.  OR, you would have had enough for your retirement had the world ended on May 21, 2011!

Earlier in the day, Sheila Doan, 65, Camping’s next-door-neighbor of 40 years, was outside gardening and said the worldwide spotlight on his May 21 forecast has attracted far more attention than the 1994 prediction.

Doan said she is a Christian and while she respects her neighbor, she doesn’t share his views.

“I wouldn’t consider Mr. Camping a close friend and wouldn’t have him over for dinner or anything, but if he needs anything, we are there for him,” Doan said.

Wouldn’t have him over for dinner or anything . . . doesn’t that say a mouthful right there.

I tried to log back on to family radio.com to find out what went wrong . . .

I guess the web site was taken in the Rapture after all!

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666

All this talk of the apocalypse, and then I check out my blog stats to discover that I have had 666 hits!  Oh no!

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Today was Election Day here in Pennsylvania (also known as Erection Day in Japan).  I performed my civic duty such as it is.

No I don’t want this person.

No, I don’t want that person.

I dutifully picked my noes today.

After carefully studying the issues, watching untold commercials, praying, and flipping my lucky quarter, I selected my choices.

Granted, this was just a primary, and we’re not electing a new czar or anything important  like that, but it is always a frustrating exercise in futility to elect anyone to any office.

There’s no one on this list I want to vote for.  Actually, one of my good friends is running for school board so I voted FOR him.  This may be the first time since I cast a vote for Ronald Reagan that I actually picked someone because I wanted to pick them; not because I didn’t want the other guy to win.

I am basically choosing the least of several evils.  I am not picking who I want to be President as much as I am picking who I don’t want leading this country.  I wasn’t even choosing–or not choosing as the case may be–a President today, but you get the idea.  Today I was not choosing judges and county commissioners.  Being that it was a primary, all the candidates were Republican on my ticket, so I didn’t even have the option of choosing against the democrat.  I had to become more creative in how to discern one candidate from another.  

I suppose things could be worse–I could live in a country where there is only one choice on the ballot, or no ballot at all.  There was only one choice for Township Supervisor and I don’t like him.  I left it blank.  That’ll teach him a lesson!

The older I get, the more I am convinced of this truth:  the people who are most capable of running this country and who would do the best job are all smart enough not to want the job.

I recently received an email about a wet monkey theory and its application to politics.  Obviously, when I think of politics, the image of wet monkeys leaps to mind, but bear with me here.

Basically, you take five monkeys in a cage.  There is a banana suspended from the ceiling and a step ladder that would enable a monkey to climb up and get the fruit.  Every time a monkey climbs the ladder to get the banana, you hose down the other four monkeys with cold water.  Apparently, monkeys do not like this, especially those that did drugs and sang in the sixties.  After a few times, the monkeys learn what is going to happen, and if one of them tries to go up the ladder, the other four take it upon themselves to prevent said monkey from bringing about a good soaking on the rest.  This more or less makes sense, but it remains to be seen whether this would stand up to clinical trials by the FDA.

Now you change this closed system by taking out one of the “trained” monkeys, and replacing him/her (I’m not going to check out the private parts but feel free to do so yourself if you please) with a new monkey.  This monkey knows nothing about the cold water, sees the banana, and heads for the ladder wondering why the others haven’t already taken the food.  The four “trained” monkeys proceed to beat the living crap out of this monkey every time he/she tries to go up the ladder.  He/she eventually learns not to do that, even though he/she doesn’t know why.  Maybe the FDA has ruled bananas to be bad for our health and he/she didn’t get the memo.

Now, you proceed to remove “trained” monkeys one at a time as above.  The scenario repeats itself.  Eventually, you end up with five monkeys who are willing to beat the living crap out of one of their own kind if he/she tries to go up that ladder.  But NONE of these monkeys have any idea why.  None of them were ever doused with water–only victims of being newcomers themselves and learning the system.

Hence it is with Congress.  We voters think we are going to change things by sending a new monkey to Washington.  He/she gets the living crap beat out of them for trying to change things, and the monkeys go about business as usual.

Maybe they should just hose us voters down each time we try to vote, and we could end the pretense that we can make a difference.  Perhaps I am getting too cynical in my old(er) age.  Maybe it’s just senility.  There are three signs of senility:  forgetfulness . . . and I forget the other two.

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As a follow-up to my last post (which obviously wasn’t my last post) about the world ending on May 21st, I bring your attention to the next sign of the impending apocalypse:  Rapture Insurance.  For Pets.

Are cats LEFT BEHIND a bad thing?

O.

M.

G.

Really?

For $135, and $20 for each additional pet, you can be sure that your pet(s) will be cared for after you are whisked away in the Rapture.

. . . pet-loving atheists who have sufficient space to take the usual types of household pets, including birds and hamsters, into their homes to live out their lives. Adoption of large animals like horses and llamas is available in Montana, Idaho, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Alas, Eternal Earth-Bound Pet does not have an atheist representative in Pennsylvania.  Sammy and Kurt will have to fend for themselves in the post-Rapture chaos.  West Virginia is the nearest state with coverage, so we have trained them both to use the GPS and head for West Virginia in the event that we disappear.  Unfortunately, pets have problems understanding “disappear”.  They don’t grasp the concept of “rapture.”  So everytime we leave the house, these two furry little idiots head off to West Virginia.  We’re working on that, but My God, we are running out of time!

And just in case both Harold Camping AND the Mayans are wrong about the world ending soon, your insurance is good for 10 years.  That’s like 70 in dog years!  How can you put a price on peace of mind like this?!

I would have thought that leaving your pet in the care of an atheist might be a deterrent.  I mean, they look so normal on the outside.  But people are buying this stuff.  Apparently, these atheists:

fully endorse the “Rule of Reciprocity”, also known as “The Golden Rule.” We just happen not to believe in God(s). …

Well, isn’t that special?

So when the Rapture occurs, and the world descends into chaos, and you suddenly realize that you were wrong, you still plan on welcoming 70 cats into your house to feed and care for until the Tribulation is over?  Seriously?  On the other hand, there are people that have too many cats now.

I really want to know how a guarantee works after I’m gone or the world ends?  I guess you just have to trust the atheists.

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