Stop, you’re killing me

Letter to a friend:

As you have rightly intuited, the inflammatory politics is merely symptomatic of a larger crisis — the end of the time we know and the beginning of another — as presaged by war, famine, fire, flood and reality TV.

This just in:

NATIONAL (NBC ) – Does the financial crisis have you feeling stressed out? Well, you’re not alone.

A newly released survey by the American Psychological Association shows the declining economy is causing stress levels to skyrocket.

The annual report takes a look at the stress level of Americans, and this year, stress is on the rise.

As things get worse on Wall Street, it seems Americans are hitting the wall. They’re stressed out and letting it show.

Dr. Katherine Nordal, the Executive Director for Professional Practice, says they have “irritability, depression, sleeplessness, problems concentrating…”

A new survey by the American Psychological Association finds eight out of ten Americans say the economy is now a significant source of stress.

Almost half say their stress has increased in the past year and they are now increasingly worried about their ability to provide even their families basic needs.

Dr. Nordal says, “What we’re seeing is more and more people coming in because they are more stressed about financial situations, having homes foreclosed on.”

According to the survey, women are being hit the hardest, feeling more stress than men about money, the economy, job stability, housing costs and health problems.

Since I’m the canary in the coal mine when it comes to stress, I can tell you with an uncertain amount of authority that exercise, rest, vitamins, meditation, prayer, soothing music and talking things over with trusted friends are all terrific for smoothing you out. Humor, where appropriate, can also work wonders.

That said, the sheer numbers of wobbling blobs of bobbling blubber among us — I speak, of course, of our fellow Americans — tell us that not everyone “gets” this. We therefore have a lot on our plate. Not as much as them, but you see my point.

The foregoing does not cover all those who resort to drugs and alcohol, of course, who can be counted upon to spiral out into all sorts of lunacy, not all of them comical.

You can, again, mightily empower yourself, being such a good ear and wise counsel, by helping others at this time of crisis, always bearing in mind the final temptation.

Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain:
Temptation shall not come in this kind again.
The last temptation is the greatest treason
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

My love to you and the gang!

Our transcendent splendor,

Brian J. Flanagan

Our Chemical Imbalance

I saw a documentary by Bill Moyers on PBS a few years back. It was about the American chemical industry and its depredations — about how it dumped chemicals on the poor, introduced thousands of foreign substances into our environment and gutted the EPA.

Lately, I’ve begun to wonder which chemical(s) might be responsible for the current epidemic of autism.

Now this:

Congress Examines Role Of Industry in Regulation

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 27, 2008; Page A01

Despite more than 100 published studies by government scientists and university laboratories that have raised health concerns about a chemical compound that is central to the multibillion-dollar plastics industry, the Food and Drug Administration has deemed it safe largely because of two studies, both funded by an industry trade group.


“Tobacco figured this out, and essentially it’s the same model,” said David Michaels, who was a federal regulator in the Clinton administration. “If you fight the science, you’re able to postpone regulation and victim compensation, as well. As in this case, eventually the science becomes overwhelming. But if you can get five or 10 years of avoiding pollution control or production of chemicals, you’ve greatly increased your product.”

Studies on Chemical In Plastics Questioned –

Hang ‘Em High

“Internal memo: If we have to devastate the planet and kill billions to line our pockets, that’s a small price to pay.” [Ooh – ooh, let’s have some soccer mom say it.]

– Deleted scene, from America’s Energy Future, brought to you by the Oil and Gas Industry.

If Oil Industry Profits Are Up, Why Aren’t Gas Prices Down?

Could critics be right in accusing oil industry of gas price gouging? –

Please, God — damn them all to hell.

What State Looks Like a Dick


In Southeast Florida, a lot of what gets flushed winds up where people fish and sometimes swim.

Every day, six plants in Miami-Dade, Broward and south Palm Beach counties pump about 300 million gallons of sewage into the Atlantic Ocean. The brew is screened of its foulest components but remains nutrient-rich, not even clean enough to sprinkle on a lawn.

State regulators, with support from Gov. Charlie Crist and a key state Senate panel, are stepping up a push to phase out a practice that environmentalists, divers and some scientists believe has tainted reefs, marine life and beaches.

Lawmakers: Quit flushing into Atlantic – 02/17/2008 –

The Hills Are on Fire


I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. We have too much water in some regions of the world, too little in others.

We need to build an aquatic equivalent of the information, transportation and electrification grids to manage the flow of water.

Otherwise, climate change will continue to accelerate, along with all its attendant death, destruction and evangelical dementia:

  • California burning.
  • Climate change and Darfur
  • This guy thinks it’s false, ergo it must be true…

Stressed Out?

 Stressed out?

I used to work as a counselor and continue to help out pro bono among the walking wounded.

There’s been quite a lot of that, lately.

One group of obese people act like crack addicts, anticipating what’s for dessert.

Others drink & drug themselves into near oblivion.

Still others are sick at heart, missing work.

You can’t open the paper, lately, without finding an article relating stress to various illnesses — many of them fatal.

What to do?

  1. Go for a walk. Regular, rhythmic exercise works wonders.
  2. Talk to a trusted friend. For most of us, most of the time, this works as well as actual time on the couch.
  3. Laugh. It does a body good. Seriously.
  4. Listen to soothing music.
  5. Spend time in prayer and meditation, even if you don’t believe.*
  6. Have sex; see #1.

Beliefnet: Health and Healing

How Stress Affects Your Body

Coffee or Tai-Chi?


*Especially if you don’t believe.

You Sick Bastards

To think I used to trust CNN… : SiCKO : SiCKO News : SiCKO Truth Squad Sets CNN Straight

I was watching a notorious conservative talk show host expostulating as to how, if Michael Moore gets his way, you’d better pray you don’t get sick.

I couldn’t help but think, “And that would be different… how?!

For millions of Americans the answer is, of course, “Not much.”

As with the working poor, so with millions of immigrants: The haves are happy to enjoy the fruits of their labor — but give them a fair shake? No way, José!

Meanwhile, stupid little piggies parade their idiot celebrity, erect ever more McMansions, foist reality programming on the masses and drool over martinis costing thousands of dollars.

Before they start squealing about class warfare, let’s hand them their heads — on a gilded platter.

Let’s start at the top:

Bush suggests uninsured children go to ER

Healing Soldiers

“The concept of the wounded healer is prevalent in ancient and modern teachings alike. In many cultures, a shaman received the call during a Vision Quest or after a life-changing experience. In others instances, the healer’s path began in childhood, as the child’s unique gifts became evident. Even in modern times, the call to heal is often heard after a near-death experience or some other traumatic event.”

Roxianne Moore

How can we help our soldiers heal? How can we help ourselves?

We’ve all been through a lot these last years — our men and women in uniform especially so.

9/11, war, the Challenger explosion, the tsunami, Katrina, school massacres, environmental meltdown… it’s enough to test anyone’s mettle. Most of us have not had to face combat, but all good people suffer with our soldiers, grieve with the families whose kids return home wounded or dead and wonder where there is an end of it.

I used to work as a counselor and still get pressed into service when the need arises. People have felt free to tell me their troubles ever since I was a young lad. Over the years I have come to cherish that trust. Lately, I’ve been wondering what we can all do to speed the healing we all need — our brave boys and girls all the more so.

The basics remain the same: Rest, quiet, exercise, good diet and a support network. For most of us, most of the time, talking things out with a trusted friend has as much therapeutic value as actual time on the couch. For those who are deeply injured, however…

Professional therapy and medication can save lives for the most severely wounded, but I remain troubled by the thought that our men and women who fight are made of tough stuff — and may regard it as a sign of weakness to seek help. To them I would only suggest that it takes a lot of courage to admit it when you really need serious attention. I can say this because I was grievously wounded for a long time and it was only when I died and then returned to this plane that I learned the value of humility. I discovered that it is quite literally true that, without God, we are nothing.

So saying, I encourage everyone, including nonbelievers, to consider that there is a light at the very heart of us, a presence too powerful for flesh to endure, a spark that is one with the Light that fires the stars.


The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That quesions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind us of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.



Mind & Body: WebMD

Veteran’s Administration

Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing

Healing Music

The Spiritual Tradition