Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It's a Thin Line Between Love and Hate -- The Persuaders (1971)

 First day of Forensic Psychology:

It's a thin line, between love and hate

It's 5 o'clock in the morning
And I'm just getting in, I knock on the door
A voice sweet and low says, who is it?
She opens up the door and lets me in
Never do she once say, sir, where have you been?
No, she says, are you hungry?
Are you hungry, honey? Did you eat yet?
Let me hang up your coat, your coat, your coat
And the woman tells me, pass me your hat too
All the time she smiles, never once raises her voice
It's 5 o'clock in the morning
It's a thin line between love and hate..
The sweetest woman in the world
Can be the meanest woman in the world
If you make her that way, you keep on hurting her
She keeps being quiet
She might be holding something inside
That really really hurt you one day
Here I am laying in the hospital
Bandaged from feet to head
Ya see I'm in the state of shock
Just that much from being dead
I didn't think my woman could do something like this to me
I didn't think she had the nerve, so here I am
I guess action speaks louder than words
It's a thin line between love and hate..
The sweetest woman in the world
Can be the meanest woman in the world
If you make her that way, you keep on hurting her
She keeps being quiet
She might be holding something inside
That really really hurt you one day
It's a thin line between love and hate..
It's a thin line, between love and hate
It's a thin line...

Monday, September 1, 2014

C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity

Put it this way. Imagine three men who go to war. One has the ordinary natural fear of danger that any man has and he subdues it by moral effort and becomes a brave man. Let us suppose that the other two have, as a result of things in their sub-consciousness, exaggerated, irrational fears, which no amount of moral effort can do anything about. Now suppose that a psychoanalyst comes along and cures these two: that is, he puts them both back in the position of the first man. Well it is just then that the psychoanalytical problem is over and the moral problem begins. Because, now that they are cured, these two men might take quite different lines. The first might say, "Thank goodness I've got rid of all those doodahs. Now at last I can do what I always wanted to do-my duty to the cause of freedom." But the other might say, "Well, I'm very glad that I now feel moderately cool under fire, but, of course, that doesn't alter the fact that I'm still jolly well determined to look after Number One and let the other chap do the dangerous job whenever I can. Indeed one of the good things about feeling less frightened is that I can now look after myself much more efficiently and can be much cleverer at hiding the fact from the others." Now this difference is a purely moral one and psychoanalysis cannot do anything about it. However much you improve the man's raw material, you have still got something else: the real, free choice of the man, on the material presented to him, either to put his own advantage first or to put it last. And this free choice is the only thing that morality is concerned with.

The bad psychological material is not a sin but a disease. It does not need to be repented of, but to be cured. And by the way, that is very important. Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God's eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. [Victoria Cross] When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God's eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.

It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge.

We see only the results which a man's choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man's psychological make-up is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man. the thing that chose, that made the best or the worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first tune, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Golf Links -- Sarah N. Cleghorn (1916)

Hey! Looks like there's a new iPhone coming out!

The golf links lie so near the mill
    That almost every day
The laboring children can look out
     And see the men at play.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"I am not Herbert"

[Transporter room]
ALL: No go, no go, no go.
KIRK: Which one of you is Tongo Rad?
(A purple haired lad with shaggy eyebrows stands up)
KIRK: You can thank your father's influence for the fact you're not under arrest. In addition to piracy, you've left yourself open to charges of violating flight regulations, entering hostile space and endangering the lives of others as well as your own.
RAD: I'm bleeding.
KIRK: In addition you've caused an interstellar incident which may have destroyed everything that's been negotiated between your planet and the Federation.
RAD: You've got a hard lip, Herbert.
KIRK: If you have an explanation, I am prepared to hear it.
(Rad sits down again)
KIRK: Mister Spock, take them to Sickbay for a medical check. There may have been radiation from the explosion.
SPOCK: Captain, with your permission
KIRK: By all means.
(Spock steps forward and makes a triangular sign with his hands)
SEVRIN: (An older male with alien ears. Obviously the leader) We are One.
SPOCK: One is the beginning.
ADAM: (A red-headed youth) Are you One, Herbert?
SPOCK: I am not Herbert.
ADAM: He is not Herbert. We reach.
SPOCK: If you will state your purpose and your objectives, perhaps we can arrive at a mutual understanding.
SEVRIN: If you understand One, you know our purpose.
SPOCK: I would prefer that you state it.
SEVRIN: We turn our backs on confusion and seek the beginning.
SPOCK: What is your destination?
SEVRIN: The planet Eden.
KIRK: That planet it is a myth.
SEVRIN: And we protest against being harassed, pursued, attacked, seized and transported here against our wishes.
ADAM: Right, brother.
SEVRIN: We do not recognize Federation regulations nor the existence of hostilities. We recognize no authority save that within ourselves.
KIRK: Well, whether you recognize authority or not, I am it on this ship. I am under orders to transport you back to Starbase peaceably. From there you'll be ferried to your various planets. Because of my orders, you are not prisoners, but my guests. I expect you to behave as such.
ADAM: Oh, Herbert, you are stiff!
KIRK: Mister Spock, you seem to understand these people. You will deal with them.
SEVRIN: We respectfully request that you take us to Eden.
KIRK: And after they are finished in Sickbay, see to it that they're escorted back to their proper quarters and given whatever care they need.
SPOCK: Yes, Captain.
SEVRIN: We respectfully request that you take us to Eden.
KIRK: I have orders to the contrary. This is not a passenger ship.
ADAM: Herbert, Herbert, Herbert.
ALL: Herbert, Herbert, Herbert. Herbert, Herbert, Herbert.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The 10,000 Hour Rule: Wait, talent matters more than practice

Smithsonian Magazine
The 10,000 hour rule—first proposed by a Swedish psychologist and later made famous in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliersstates that exceptional expertise requires at least 10,000 hours of practice. The best of the best (the Beatles, Bill Gates) all amassed more than 10,000 hours of practice before rising to the top, Gladwell argued. So greatness is within virtually any person's grasp, so long as they can put in the time to master their skill of choice.
A new meta-analysis, however, indicates that the 10,000 hour rule simply does not exist. As Brain's Idea reports, authors of the new study undertook the largest literature survey on this subject to date, compiling the results of 88 scientific articles representing data from some 11,000 research participants. Practice, they found, on average explains just 12 percent of skill mastery and subsequent success. "In other words the 10,000-Hour rule is nonsense," Brain's Idea writes. "Stop believing in it. Sure, practice is important. But other factors (age? intelligence? talent?) appear to play a bigger role."  

In other words, practice matters, but only if the talent is there to begin with. Gladwell's idea -- that the ordinary can succeed if only they work hard enough -- is very American, but also, sadly, very wrong. Talent, intelligence, and other gifts are distributed unevenly throughout the population: some get more, some get less. Hard work does not even the playing field.

I would wish for two things: 1) We stop admiring professional athletes for their supposed virtues. After all, they merely exhibit gifts that they were born with. (We don't talk of a thoroughbred race horse's "work ethic.") 2) Smart people stop admiring themselves. You didn't get into Stanford because you worked hard, but rather because you were born smart, not impulsive, healthy (and rich). You already won the lottery. Rather than think about what you will buy with the prize money, think about how you can help others with your unearned bounty.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Oprah Winfrey's "The Help" Ignited American Jihadi's Violent Fervor

"It's spelled, M-A-C-A-R-T-H-U-R."
Washington Post

Well, maybe the movie had a little bit to do with setting this fellow off. His empty and meaningless life was probably a lot more of a factor. And I can't understand how someone could write an article on this guy and fail to comment on his ridiculous name.

Douglas McAuthur McCain, tattooed and thin, never stayed in one place long. Born on Jan. 29, 1981, in Illinois, he would spend 33 years hopping from school to school, from business to business, continent to continent — until, finally, he landed in Syria, where he became the first American reported to die fighting for the Islamic State.
Much of the Douglas McAuthur McCain story remains unclear. It’s unclear how he died in a recent Islamic State battle, into which he carried his American passport and $800. It’s unexplained what led him down a path to Islamist radicalization and violence. And it’s unknown whether he traveled alone.
It was around that time [i.e., after failing to finish high school] that McCain started getting in trouble. Over the next eight years, he amassed nine misdemeanor convictions, according to Minnesota state court records. Problems began with a 2000 conviction for disorderly conduct. Then, in 2001, he was busted for misdemeanor theft. Two years later came a misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession — his first of two minor busts for that offense. His driver’s license was eventually revoked, but McCain kept driving and got caught for that, too.
But his social media soon suggested [that he was not a "regular American kid"]. His tenure on Twitter began innocuously [sic] with a late 2012 dispatch: “I’m not feelin this Twitter sh– … wallahi I wants fried chicken. … Watching the Help starting to make me hate white people. … Ok its official f— white people.” He spoke of smoking hookah, watching National Geographic, his Somali friends and his growing religious zeal.
But on Facebook, his imprint was substantially darker. In 2010, McCain, who later traveled to Sweden and Canada, uploaded several images of the black Islamist militant flag. His photo spread became a confounding mixture of family life beside militants clutching swords and images of gold-plated firearms. Then there was this message: The “soldiers of Allah” are “coming back.”

"Watching the Help starting to make me hate white people. … Ok its official f— white people.” -- Douglas McAuthur McCain, former jihadi.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hard to believe we lost the War on Drugs


U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani, center, Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, right, and Benjamin Baer, chairman of the U.S Parole Commission, pose in undercover clothes in this July 9, 1986 file photo, after D’Amato bought what he later told a news conference were vials of crack on a New York City street.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

I actually wouldn't know, but don't those look like ENORMOUS pieces of crack? (Here's the clip.)
Isn't this more typical?