Viewing entries posted in April 2011
In a 1961 study called Disasters and Mental Health:
Therapeutic Principles Drawn From Disaster Studies, the
sociologist Charles Fritz pondered: Why do large scale
disasters seem to produce such mentally healthy conditions?
Fritz noted that disasters often seemed to bring out the
best in people...
We don't like writing about death any more than we like
thinking about it. Just listen to the string of euphemisms
in Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch:
He has ceased to be!
He's expired and gone to meet his maker!
He's's a stiff!
Bereft of life!
In a magazine called Look, published in 1953, the
philosopher Bertrand Russell clarified what being an
atheistically-inclined agnostic meant for him, via a series
of questions. There is, perhaps, some benefit in juxtaposing
excerpts from some of the actual answers he gave with ones
Socrates said that the only thing he knew was that he knew
nothing. We're all cleverer than Socrates now. We all know
what he didn't know. Politicians know how to get the economy
growing again (which we all know to be a good...
Parenting is that grey area between inviting complete
strangers to live in your house and shaping your own friends
out of papier mache.
An age past, and responsible parenting amounted to little
more than being in a calm and contemplative frame of mind at
There's a joy to napping; an art or pleasure too, perhaps.
Who hasn't enjoyed the odd 40 winks, on or off the job?
History is littered with nappers as well as modern-day
despisers of sleep such as Thomas Edison or Margaret
Other countries have long...
In the old, old days, the ancients understood that we had
many different ruling systems in our brains. They called
this polytheism. The Greeks, for example, knew that humans
were swung this way and that by a rowdy assembly of
competing impulses, which they...
Love lifts us up where we belong. Does it?
'I know you get asked to do this a lot, but will you do a
reading at our wedding?'
My friend was right. I'm popular on the wedding reading
circuit. I'm at that 'Four Weddings'...
Imagine a hostess pressing a piece of cake upon you. Some
parts of your brain want the glucose, while other parts care
about your diet; some parts look at the short-term gain,
others at long-term strategy. Perhaps the battle tips
towards your emotions and you...
'Quote me that I was misquoted': so joked Groucho Marx, in a
famous quote that I hope I've not wrongly quoted.
You don't have to be famous, however, to suffer the ignominy
of misquotation. It happens all the time, especially in
relationships. Just think...