Archive for October, 2010

How to look at it

October 20, 2010 3 comments

The piles of things needing to be done keep growing and the directions from which everything must go and must take from me are many…so much so, that at times I find I have blocked out the background noise to deal with one thing, only to find the one thing wasn’t all that important and the important thing was going on among the background noise.

The term,…”it’s complicated”, is used by those who do not understand what is going on in their lives, so they just can’t find a way to say it plainly.

If you think about it, everything is complicated. Everything requires work, which requires force, which requires energy, which is derived from the force and energy and work of something else…from the ends of the universe to the smallest particle of each atom in existence.

We all belong to the complication.

Whatever is hard today will be behind you in a matter of time. Yes, life throws you, pulls you, drops you and drags you, but then lifts you back up again.

How to look at it? Simply put,…

One hell of a ride.

Enjoy it!

Categories: Philosophy


October 14, 2010 2 comments

“My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That’s like almost $7.00 in dog money.” — Joe Weinstein

A movie on our recent moves of politics and the economy, another scary story for the month of October.

Watch and see if you agree or disagree with the information.

Childhood chillers!

Everyone knows that ALL HALLOW’S EVE is just around the corner. The cool weather rolls in and leaves crunch beneath our steps. Wicked creatures start to adorn the doorsteps of even the some of the most “christian” neighborhoods. Fall carnivals and fairs fill empty parking lots with the loud mix of screams and carny music and cackles…smells of beer, corny dogs and cotton candy fill our noses … and I am reminded of a particular movie inspired by a childhood book I read from the creations of Ray Bradbury.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I remember sitting in my room on the bed, my eyes wide with anticipation for the next paragraph and the next page. So engrossed in the characters’ movements.

Then, they made it a movie and I watched with fascination as the book came to life before my eyes.

The phrase “something wicked this way comes” originates in Act IV scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. The speaker is the second witch, whose full line is, “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” The wicked thing is Macbeth himself, who by this point in the play is a traitor and murderer.

Like many phrases from Shakespeare, it has become a popular choice for titles in pop culture. Its enduring usage may be due in part to Ray Bradbury’s novel of the same name.

IN this particular story, two young boys named Will and Jim encountered a sinister carnival whose proprietor, Mr. Dark, lured the townsfolk to their doom by promising to fulfill their childhood desires. The movie trailer asked, ” What would you give a man who could give you your deepest desires?” The characters of Will, Jim, and Will’s father, Charles Halloway, found out these wishes came at a horrific price and the outcome was left within their own hands.

Here is a link to an intriguing scene: 

Another childhood chiller, read when I was 10 years of age, Monkey Shines.

This book gave new meaning to the ever-quoted, ” see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.  The movie did not do as much just to the story, as sometimes is the case. The story told of a quadraplegic who had given up on life until introduced to a monkey named Ella, who had been trained to help invalids by fetching and carrying for them. The monkey turned out to be a part of another experiment, a darker experiment and started to read her master’s darkest thoughts and then carry them out.

The first Stephen King ever read as a child of that same age, Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew. I believe I picked it up thinking it was related to the Monkey shines story because of the cover.

Three of the short stories within this collection were my favorites at the time,  The Milkman, The Monkey and The Word Processor of the Gods (my favorite of the three).

Without giving much recap on these stories, I will say that the milkman bordered on the demented. The monkey made for a good re-telling in a slightly varied version of The “X-files”(Chinga about a doll which was cursed) years later. The Word Processor of the Gods gave a man a chance to re-write and delete parts of his life and became an episode for The Tales of the Darkside series in the mid 80’s.

Each of these stories heightened my sense of the macabre.

As I grew older, around 13, I read more of the dark authors, Poe ( All works), Nathaniel Hawethorne (House of Seven Gables), Henry James (Turn of the Screw), Bram Stoker (Dracula).

By age 16, M.R. James (Ghosts of an Antiquary), Peter Straub (In the Night Room)

and H.P. Lovecraft (The Dunwich Horror). Each of these would keep me up secretly reading, eyes wide in suspense of the end…. and by the biting of my thumbs, wicked dreams would become.

Science of Murder

Is there a science to murder? Is evil real or folklore?

William Blackstone (citing Edward Coke), in his Commentaries on the Laws of England set out the common law definition of murder as:

“ when a person, of sound memory and discretion, unlawfully killeth any reasonable creature in being and under the king’s peace, with malice aforethought, either express or implied.”

The elements of common law murder are:

The killing—At common law life ended with cardiopulmonary arrest—the total and permanent cessation of blood circulation and respiration. With advances in medical technology courts have adopted irreversible cessation of all brain function as marking the end of life.

of a human being—This element presents the issue of when life begins. At common law, a fetus was not a human being. Life began when the fetus passed through the birth canal and took its first breath.

by another human being—at early common law, suicide was considered murder. The requirement that the person killed be someone other than the perpetrartor excluded suicide from the definition of murder.

with malice aforethought—originally “malice aforethought” carried its everyday meaning—a deliberate and premeditated killing of another motivated by ill will. Murder necessarily required that an appreciable time pass between the formation and execution of the intent to kill. The courts broadened the scope of murder by eliminating the requirement of actual premeditation and deliberation as well as true malice. All that was required for malice aforethought to exist is that the perpetrator act with one of the four states of mind that constitutes “malice.”
Now, these are only a few mentionings of the legal aspects of murder.
What are some of the scientific factors involed in one human being coming to that snapping point of murder. What actually happens in the brain?

The Killer’s Brain
What makes a murderer? Can malfunctions in the brain compel someone to commit acts of extreme cruelty? Are killers born or made? From Columbia University, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone has created journeys to better understand why people kill and shows this information on Discovery Channel’s Most Evil . He talks with a variety of scientists about their work and examines possible scientific explanations for violent behavior. Here is a small video excerpt:

Do you think that committing murder is only a matter of choice? Does everyone have the capability of preventing that snap in the brain? Is it all just chemical imbalances, lack of one chemical or too much secreted of another that causes the switch to flip in the mind of a murderer?

To argue agains chemical imbalances, Elliott Valenstein, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan who rejects the simple-minded ‘chemical imbalance’ theories. He challenges the conventional assumption that mental illness is biochemical.
In his 1998 book, “Blaming the Brain: The Truth about Drugs and Mental Health”, Valenstein agrees that while psychotropic drugs sometimes do work, they do not even begin to address the real cause of mental disorders. They are still considered an “unproven hypothesis” used as pocket-padding marketing practices of the drug industry.

So, are all of the murderers in our prisons considered to have a chemical imbalance/mentally ill?
Just eight years ago, there were 148,300 persons in America’s state prisons who had been sentenced for the crime of murder. Within these confines, approximately 16 percent of the population had been diagnosed by doctors, prescribing chemical lobotomizing drugs, as having mental illness. Thirteen percent of incarcerated persons who were mentally ill had been sentenced for murder. Based on these rates, and a recent state prison population count of 1,255,514,1 it is estimated that more than 26,000 persons with a mental illness are currently incarcerated for murder in the United States. Despite the magnitude of these counts, surprisingly little is currently known about prisoners with severe mental illness who have been incarcerated for murder. a high school education or equivalent, were living in stabilized housing, and, to a lesser degree, were involved in significant intimate and familial relationships. Rage or anger, sexual perversions and issues of control were overwhelmingly directed toward intimate or family relations and were frequently mentioned motives for murder. The use of a firearm or sharp object, were the widely used tool of choice . Most of those who were chosen to be studied had been raised in households with significant family dysfunction, had extensive histories of substance abuse and criminality, and had received little treatment for their mental and substance use disorders.
Some like to blame the quick-to-prescribe-a-pill psychologists and their sidekick pharmaceutical companies for creating these monsters. Others want to blame the actions of these twisted minds on the social impacts of poverty, alcohol and street drugs. And still, scientists are saying that they now have a way to prove the makings of a murderer through new technologies which can measure aspects of the human brain.
Is evil real and can science prove or disprove its existence within us?