Monthly Archives: October 2016

Your brain on narrative

Our emotive selves both drive and are driven by hormones. Feeling stress? Cortisol leaks into your system. On a roller-coaster? Adrenaline injections. Laughing at a joke or feeling comfy at home, here’s a little serotonin. Holding your child, or staring into the eyes of your lover, bloop, here’s a drop of oxytocin. Just completed a puzzle or a project — how about some dopamine. Eat some hot chili peppers? Zip, have some endorphins.

There are lots of ways our bodies react hormonally to our actions, our interpretations of the world, and the influences of those around us. But how about when we read?

If you’re reading a scary novel, are you nervous? Adrenaline activated? Cortisol coursing? What if you’re reading a love scene and you’re turned on? Serotonin sips and some oxytocin offerings? If you read about a major success by a character, they just completed a race or won an election or found their father after a long search — dopamine drip?

My point is, wouldn’t it be natural for us to involve our body’s chemical responses to our reactions and attachments in narrative reading? Whether fiction or non-fiction, if we get attached to characters, if we invest ourselves in their plights, their glories, their failures, won’t we also get the added bonus of hormone release when important events occur within the story?

And just as obvious — if you are NOT getting these jolts of emotion driven by your brain and body’s reaction to what you’re reading — is this a sign that the story lacks in some way?

Is this what we as readers are looking for when we crack open a new book? Can we get that tiny teasing hit of drugs when we read the first five pages or so? Should we expect such a reaction? And what happens halfway through the book when the story ceases to enliven our emotive selves? Do we quit reading?

With this in mind, I suppose, as authors, we should be intentionally striving to write scenes which evoke reaction. Disgust, dejection, elation, adoration, bereavement, triumph — all of these and hundreds more — can keep readers reading. Keep readers addicted to the drugs their bodies are producing when they read our stories.

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Misery != Profit

Industries which profit from misery should not be profit seeking.

Here’s an ugly thought, and although it would never be stated as true, is true none-the-less:

• If every person on the planet became diabetic, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, and Mannkind (among others) share holders and board members would be thrilled (they make insulin).

• If every person on earth contracted cancer, Genentech (the leading cancer drug company) and its shareholders and board members would be equally energized (despite having cancer and diabetes).

• If you STOPPED getting sick, were healthy all your days until you died of old age these pharmaceutical companies would all collapse and die AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer, Roche, Johnson & Johnson and many others (representing nearly $500Billion in annual revenue – they MAKE that much money off of our misery every year).

There are other industries, like the entire health care system, HMOs and insurance industry. The healthcare system only makes money when you are sick or dying. The insurance industry only makes money when you THINK you are going to be sick or dying.

Lawyers who specialize in malpractice litigation are another foul industry — they only make money when you’re ill or dying AND you claim your doctor or hospital made you sicker or killed you.

For them your misery = their livelihood.

This is EVIL.

How do you fix it? It’s obvious I’m afraid. Many progressive countries have made the switch over to cure this egregious misanthropy: socialized medicine.

What entity does NOT want you to get sick, or be unhealthy causing you to be unproductive and becoming a costly burden on society? Society of course! And what is the central representation of society in every country on the planet? Government.

In a socialized healthcare system government loses money when you’re sick and can’t work, when you can’t be productive in society. So, government and the offices they create will try and make sure you are cured as quickly and effectively as possible. They’ll advance medicine and care systems to try and keep you healthy and reduce costs not increase them.

Society wants its citizens to be healthy and productive. Corporations want citizens to be sickly and profitable. Novo Nordisk does NOT want your diabetes cured — they want you to be forced to buy insulin for the rest of your life. Novo Nordisk loves the booming trend of obesity – get fat and get sick is their mantra.

That is EVIL!

Industries that make money off of our misery should be severely regulated and taxed or better yet – nationalized.

 

 


Spike up the Nog – a song

Spike up the Nog

Punch – it – up,
dump in the rum,
kick in the brandy,
gotta have sum.
Oh, gi’me oh gi’me oh gi’me a mug-a-nog.

Headin’ to a party,
where the tame folk hang,
down at the office, a neighbors,
or with the family gang.

But we’ll take a long a secret,
tucked in our tog,
a couple of bottles,
to crank up the nog,

Punch – it – up,
dump in the rum,
kick in the brandy,
gotta have sum.
Oh, gi’me oh gi’me oh gi’me a mug-a-nog.

It’s sweet like Cindy,
It’s spicy like Nell,
It’s smooth like Tanya,
and it kicks like,
I’ll tell ya,
Oh, gi’me oh gi’me oh gi’me a mug-a-nog.

Punch – it – up,
dump in the rum,
kick in the brandy,
gotta have sum.
Oh, gi’me oh gi’me oh gi’me a mug-a-nog.

Tonight at the party,
When the guests all nod,
We’ll pour in the secret,
and spike up the nog,

I said what? (2, 3, 4)…
SPIKE UP THE NOG,
I said what? (2, 3, 4)…
SPIKE UP THE NOG,

Oh, gi’me oh gi’me oh gi’me a mug-a-nog.
Punch – it – up,
dump in the rum,
kick in the brandy,
gotta have sum.
(fade)


Squirrels and Nuts – a song

[chorus]
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts,
toss ’em down,
scatter ’round,
pack ’em up,
dig ’em up,
save ’em in a dixie cup,
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts.
 
[verse 1]
There’s a squirrel in a tree,
and he’s lookin’ down at me.
I give him my evil canine stare.
But the squirrel, he doesn’t care.
 
[chorus]
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts,
toss ’em down,
scatter ’round,
pack ’em up,
dig ’em up,
save ’em in a dixie cup,
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts.
 
[verse 2]
The branch bends wild,
he’s steppin’ careful style.
His tail is nothing but a tease,
the thought of it just makes we want to sneeze.
 
[chorus]
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts,
toss ’em down,
scatter ’round,
pack ’em up,
dig ’em up,
save ’em in a dixie cup,
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts.
 
[break]
His back is turned,
he’s in the grass.
If I’m to catch him,
I must be fast.
I tiptoe in,
he doesn’t see me.
I think I smell him,
it’s kinda dreamy.
closer, closer, must get closer, closer, closer…. [pause]
now!
 
[verse 3]
There’s a squirrel in a tree,
and he’s laughin’ down at me.
I lookup and now I finally know,  [spoken]
that I’m just too dog’on slow. [spoken]
 
[chorus]
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts,
toss ’em down,
scatter ’round,
pack ’em up,
dig ’em up,
save ’em in a dixie cup,
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts.
 
[fade]
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts.
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts.
Nuts, nuts, squirrels and nuts.

Snow Angel – a song

Snow Angel

It was this time,
last November,
headed out to see the folks.

The roads were icy,
I don’t remember,
how I lost you, your dreams,  your hopes.

Like feathers falling,
onto pillows,
where you rest your little head,
my snow angel,

Tiny foot prints,
in the snow drifts,
lead me back,
to where you lay.

Wings a ready,
smile gleaming,
with rosy cheeks,
I hear you say…

Daddy, see the pretty angel,
I made for you here in the snow,
help me up and leave it perfect,
I’m getting cold, it’s time to go…

White feathers falling,
forming pillows,
on which you rest your little head,
my snow angel,

And here I find you,
sleeping soundly,
white surrounds us,
here we hide.

My little darling,
how I miss you,
I hope you find,
the other side,

Soft feather falling,
making pillows,
on which you rest your little head,
my snow angel.


Irish Joe – a song

The autumn leaves have fallen,
In the air, the hint of snow,
The wind blows, and you know
you’re gonna have ta’ have just one more cup-a-joe.
(Irish Joe…)
 
[chorus]
Some like it dressed with cream and sugar,
Some like it black as midnight’s toll.
Some like it laced with mint and molly.
For me, a little ‘Daniels, hard and bold.
 
Down the street, the lights are glarin’
and the kids keep right on starin’
And you know, that the show
only lasts through December, so…
 
we go..
 
.. and head out cuz the cold won’t stop us
struggle with the cash and fuss,
with the ribbons and bows, don’t you know,
that the sales are ending,
and the families, each of them sending,
you photos, you pose, touch your nose,
 
give a wink and you think that the day after Christmas is sad,
that’s too bad,
aren’t you glad,
that it only comes once every year,
like a fad.
I certainly hope that you like the two shirts that we got you,
they’re plaid.
Insert chorus
 
[chorus]
Some like it dressed with cream and sugar,
Some like it black as midnight’s toll.
Some like it laced with mint and molly.
For me, a little ‘Daniels, hard and bold.
 
But you know,
when the old year is ending,
winter, its cold fingers tending,
the garden of icicle rows,
hanging low, seem to flow,
down into the mountains of snow;
that it’s time for an extra delightful,
hot piping, steam curling,
tall cup of joe,
Don’t you know.
(Irish Joe…)
 
[chorus]
Some like it dressed with cream and sugar,
Some like it black as midnight’s toll.
Some like it laced with mint and molly.
For me, a little ‘Daniels, hard and bold.
 
(Irish Joe…,
hot and strong and heady,
smooth Irish Joe…)