Friday, July 30, 2010

David Yamada

How we bash every vocation

“Oh those lawyers…”
“Oh those CEOs…”
“Oh those contractors…”
“Oh those politicians…”
“Oh those doctors…”
“Oh those pro athletes…”
“Oh those cab drivers…”
“Oh those accountants”
“Oh those bureaucrats…”
“Oh those public schoolteachers…”
“Oh those sales clerks…”
“Oh those reporters…”
“Oh those social workers…”
“Oh those investment bankers…”

Have you thought about how many vocations are subjected to easy put downs starting with “Oh those…,” followed by a story? I have done so myself, and I can’t promise that I won’t do it again. (This, coming from the lips of a lawyer!)

So what?

I’m not 100 percent certain what the “takeaway” points are from this, but let me give it a shot:

First, if a vocation has a poor reputation, there often are elements of truth behind it. (Believe me, I get it when people complain about the legal profession.)

Second, regardless of whether the negative characterizations are fair or unfair, their prevalence is making us very cynical toward our fellow workers. And a lot of us may be tossing these bricks from some pretty big picture windows.

Finally, if we want to improve the world of work and the products and services we all provide, then we need to ask hard questions of ourselves, our vocations, and our attitudes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It Will End

Not Chickens, But Roosting:

The number of soldiers committing suicide has increased since 2004, surpassing civilian rates in 2008. Use of prescription drugs has tripled in the past five years; prescription amphetamines use has doubled between 2006 and 2009. One third of soldiers take at least one prescription drug and 14 percent of soldiers are on some form of powerful painkiller.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's Positive About War?:

Bruce E. Levine is a clinical psychologist and his latest book is SurvivingAmerica’s Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007). His Web site

While positive psychology makes some sense for teenagers who are catastrophizing their first relationship breakup to the point of becoming suicidal, how much sense does it make to teach soldiers who are trying to stay alive in a war zone to put a positive spin on everything?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Solutions Needed

Know And Heal Thyself:,0,7261200.story

Here are some of the alternative approaches being recognized by renowned medical authorities:

  • Regular exercise: Moderate, regular exercise helps stabilize moods. Working out releases endorphins that make patients feel good, help them sleep and offer many other benefits.

  • Yoga: This ancient practice seems to help ease the depressive stage and reduce the frequency of mood swings.

  • Massage therapy: Anxiety and stress aggravate bipolar symptoms. Massage helps to release hormones that aid the body in coping with stress and social difficulties.

  • Acupuncture: This venerable Chinese practice of inserting tiny needles into the skin has achieved some notable success in relieving depression. A study published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences reports that acupuncture increases the nighttime release of melatonin, a natural substance that reduces insomnia and anxiety. Getting a proper amount of rest is an important part of managing moods.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Georgia On My Mind

One can't say anything one wants whenever one wants to say it. Freedom involves thoughtfulness. Careful thought will lead to mindful speech and then to to compassionate action. Too much energy is wasted trying to put angry words back into someone's mouth. Too much time is lost spinning those words around in our heads. Look forward, walk forward, think forward and the angry, the unmindful, the mean-spirited, the lost and frightened people surrounding you will not leave an impression.

60,000 thoughts a day occur. One out of eight are in the conscious. It takes work to regulate those instances. Imagine when delving deeper and confronting your own very disturbing sub-conscious? Thoughts in and of themselves are not good or bad. What rises to the surface is presented without a value system. It is you that decides what is important and what should be discarded. It is you that attaches an emotion in mental reflex. It is you that opens your mouth and shares it vocally giving the idea life. Once born, it has to be dealt with.

Thinking, Speaking, Doing. Thought, Word, Deed. All connected and consistent leading to a meaningful life. It's a hard practice with many shortcomings. Shake them off and proceed accordingly. The mind gushes, the larynx vibrates, the body moves and they all must have reason of certainty and a direction of purpose.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Morally Corrupt Society

Hang On Tight. The Ship Is Going Down:

I promise that I am not writing this because I am holding protests and no one is coming—these thoughts have been percolating in me for months now. (Note: Remember that old saying: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” Well, here in DC I am living the opposite: “What if they gave an antiwar protest and nobody came?”)

Friday, July 16, 2010

They Are Working For You

Have The Decency Not To Die At Work:

However most animal testing of new antidepressants is based on the "learned helplessness" model and involves submitting mice and rats to traumatic stress levels of stress. In the most common experiment, mice are dropped into a large vat of water and the researcher times how long they keep swimming before they give up. After taking a dose of Prozac, they swim longer before giving up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day, Et Tu Soldier?

To Whom May He Be Addressing?

I just want to say that based upon my observation of a few dozen glowing faces this past weekend at the convention of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) many of whom qualify as name droppable because you have heard of them and from them during this despicable first decade of the 21st Century--I just want to report that resistance is the health of the people.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Christian Comics

"God battles Man. Man battles God
God battles Nature. Nature battles God.
Man battles Nature. Nature battles Man.

It's a funny religion."

DT Suzuki, summarizing the Bible.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Monday Toll

So, Which One Was It?:,0,3537980.story
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A gunman opened fire at an Albuquerque fiber optics manufacturer on Monday, killing five people and wounding four others before turning the gun on himself in what police said was a domestic violence dispute.

...Schultz said the gunman was a former employee, but did not release his name.

(again, that obsession with naming rather things than doing things)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Best Essay of the Year (JJ recommended):

However, the unasked question still hangs in the air: Does the money economy even exist anymore? Is it still there? (was it ever?) Or are we all blindly going through the motions because:

A: we do not understand that, for all practical historical purposes, it's over;

B: we do not know how to do anything else so we keep dancing with the corpse of the hyper-capitalist economy;

C: the right calamity has not come down the pike to knock us loose from the spell of the dance, or

D: we're so friggin brain dead, commodities engorged and internally colonized by capitalist industrialism that nobody cares, and therefore it no longer matters.

This is multiple choice, and it counts ten points toward survival, come the collapse.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Emotion Is Contagious

Surround Yourself With Kind People:,0,2480069.story
When the information was put into a traditional infectious-disease simulation, slightly modified to reflect the unique qualities of emotional spread rather than actual disease, the researchers found a correlation between an individual's emotional state and those of the person's contacts.

In other words, it appears that you can catch happiness. Or sadness. Moreover, the "recovery time" doesn't depend on your contacts at all, which is a hallmark of diseases but surprising in an emotional context, since continuing contact with happy or sad people could be expected to affect one's emotional state even after the initial "infection."

On the other hand, sadness is more contagious than happiness: A single discontent contact doubles one's chances of becoming unhappy, while a happy contact increases the probability of becoming content by only 11%.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

As You Watch The Fireworks

"And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing … a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods."
Aldous Huxley, 1959

Friday, July 2, 2010

Om mani padme hum

Take Back Your Life:
New UC Davis study finds that practicing meditation can indeed improve perception