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68 very long days and counting...

since i like to be aware of whose fingers will be hovering over the nuclear button in the home of our neighbours to the south, i've been following some of the political theatre that's unfolding in denver.

this is going to be a very, very long autumn if what's appeared so far is anything to go by.

personally, i cringe at the overt phoniness of the convention, to say nothing of the sums of money involved in staging it (perhaps i should say buying it). both parties with a snowball's chance in hell of winning play this game and, given the number of people in the united states- let alone in poorer countries- who suffer real deprivation, the idea that it is necessary to lavish such amounts on a spectacle that purports to nominate someone to represent the populace is beyond cynical.

in the spirit of the season, both parties have ramped up their ad campaigns substantially, so that every few minutes i'm advised that someone who is smart and well-educated enough to know better has approved an advertisement that is a bare linguistic notch above schoolyard name calling.

there is nothing substantive in these announcements, of course- their fifteen to thirty second duration makes any sort of meaningful content an impossibility. instead, they are full of snide innuendo about the other party's shortcomings, goading the electorate to vote out of fear.

of course, the presence of around the clock news stations should, in theory, offer some space for analysis. i'll wait for you to stop laughing.

as part of its crack reportage, cnn has been handing over its airwaves to republican party strategists and supporters to comment on the democratic convention. because in order to get an honest, unscripted, cogent reaction to the proceedings, the best place to look is in the camps of those whose livelihood depends on the democrats losing the election. don't worry, i'm sure that the democratic commentary on the republican convention will be equally riveting.

normally, i love the autumn. it's my favourite season. it's not just that my birthday falls then. i love watching the changing of the leaves. i love the crisp weather. i love the smoky scent in the air. but i have to say that this fall, i'm really tempted to hibernate. although i normally cringe at the first sighting of a candy cane, this may be one year when i'll be happy to see those christmas decorations roll out.

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jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

mental health mondays :: employee of the month

one of the things that makes mental health difficult to manage is that it can be difficult to tell which are the symptoms and which are the root causes of a disorder. another is that sometimes the symptoms can disguise themselves as things we normally value. both of those things collided for me reading this piece in the atlantic, which deals with the possibility that work addiction may be a coping mechanism employed by people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

the idea isn't particularly farfetched; after all, 52% of men and 28% of women with ptsd will at some time in their lives meet the clinical criteria for addiction. and ptsd is often first identified through habits linked to displaced anxiety. and what gets linked to anxiety more than a demanding job? but drawing the line between the two isn't quite as easy as it looks.

work addiction isn't accepted as an addiction disorder in the way that alcoholism and drug addiction are. that makes it a little difficult to talk …

mental health mondays :: the dangers of diagnosing

when you take a look at any reputable online source of information about mental health, it comes with a warning that anything you read on the site should not be considered a substitute for evaluation by a medical professional. so why are so many people jumping on the bandwagon to diagnose donald trump?

it's not uncommon for people to make glib judgments about the mental health of others, because we think that we understand what disorders entail. when i was working in offices, i noticed a lot of this: an immature and garrulous employee being labeled and partially excused because others were certain he had adhd, or a moody and indecisive boss dismissed as bipolar. [as you can imagine, that one struck me as particularly ignorant and, since i was the audience, ironic.] but in the case of trump, even professionals are weighing in on the subject. no fewer than twenty-seven psychiatrists have collaborated on a book called the dangerous case of donald trump. up to now, it's been unde…