Welcome to the blog companion to the podcast, “Harley’n’Mr.D”. We are working feverishly to get our exalted opinions, views, beliefs, disbeliefs, ultra-paranoid uber-conspiracy theories, fantastical ravings, rantings, thoroughly unfounded and ridiculous explanations to every question, conundrum, riddle, puzzle, mystery and controversy we can dream up with our amazing intellect. We might even throw in discussion of topics that are relevant to real life, and real people. We might even do some honest work like research and share ideas that are informative, and may be even helpful.
No promises, though.
Below you’ll find a copy and paste from facebook. It’s a movie review…sorta. It might be helpful for when you are hurtin’ for something weird to watch…..
“Been filtering through a long list of werewolf movies trying to decide what might be worth 90 minutes of my life. I came across a review of “Blood Moon Rising” (2009) at IMDb
“…Along the way, there’s zombies and biker gangs and vampires and werewolves … all in a glorious cluster**** of a movies… almost a spoof of zombie-Satan-vampire-werewolf [aliens] movies.” [Uuuh, I would say forget the word “almost”]
With a review like that how can I resist? It just started…..looks like it will not disappoint. There’s even a treat for Ash v. The Evil Dead fans and a nod toward spaghetti westerns/Clint Eastwood. (FYI – look carefully at the artwork….featuring Ron Jeremy!! Also, a Caroline Munro look-like! )”
A tricky read…
OPINION/MINI-REVIEW: The article linked to this post blurs the line between TDP-43 and prions. I believe “Dr. Mercola” does this intentionally. The point of the article is to dissuade the reader from eating meat. That’s fine with me – I’m all for it. But this is NOT an article to teach you anything meaningful about Alzheimer’s Disease and I think the title of the article exploits people’s fear about Alzheimer’s. Here’s why I say this:
I have a particular interest in neuroscience. The article that accompanies this post caught my eye and I feel compelled to post a few comments regarding the topic in case you encounter the article and decide to read it. These are quickly composed comments. Included are a few references. There are many many more in-depth sources to explore but I focused on a few basic statements.
“Pathologic” TDP43**—is the “major disease protein and has been characterized as a main hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)” and other neurodegenerative conditions…..”Abnormalities of TDP-43 also occur in an important subset of Alzheimer’s disease patients.” — TARDBP and TDP-43 are gene characteristics. Genetic traits are not contagious – yes, genes are passed on through breeding but you know what I mean – you cannot catch a gene from someone or acquire a genetic trait via your diet. CONTRAST this with the transmission of prions. Prion diseases or “transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals…The causative agents of TSEs are believed to be prions.” I haven’t explored all the ways prions may be transmitted, but the most common one I am aware of is through ingestion of prion-infected animal tissue; however, it is not completely understood. I have friends who have a friend who is a medical examiner and it is my understanding special precautions are taken for autopsies on bodies suspected of being infected with prions.
**TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43, transactive response DNA binding protein 43 kDa), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TARDBP gene.
Eur J Neurol. 2015 May;22(5):753-61; Mol Neurobiol. 2016 Jul;53(5):3349-3359; https://www.cdc.gov/prions/index.html; wikipedia
ENJOY THE ARTICLE!
The following is an except from a group’s fb page: “…D. Controversial Topics (Religion and Politics). Because they are so detrimental to the cohesion of any community…”
I found this statement ironic. Religion and politics evolved to preserve social order and the cohesion of a community, providing structure and organization, rules to live by, etc. But the statement is also true. *The* most divisive subject matter (in my experience) for groups of people are the differing views held by members of a community regarding those exact topics and all the extrapolations thereof.
Among the thousands of topics that fly around in social media, two seem to have surfaced in recent months that are ripe for distortion and for pollution with egregious misinformation. One is “The Highly Sensitive Person” (HSP), and “the highly empathetic person”. But most disturbing is what I discovered today…. What appears to be a weird conflation of the two called…” The Empath”.
I was very sad to discover “empath” being used as a noun in a widely read pop-psychology publication. I feel embarrassed for them. They should feel ashamed of themself. A term came to mind that I first heard thirty years ago – intellectual masturbation.
Here is a picture of an Empath:
Here’s another one:
They are reading you now. Are you feeling it?
Someone, somewhere, decided to use a shortened version of the word “empathy” and make it the label for a person who is highly empathetic AND a highly sensitive person. My take-away from a website’s article explaining ‘empaths’ was that non-empaths better watch out or else! Empaths wreak vengeance on anyone that dares to deceive them, or feel jealous of them, or for whatever else pisses off an empath. Got it? Good.
I searched the word ‘empath’ at Merriam-Webster.com. Here’s the result: “The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary.” Turns out it is in the “Urban Dictionary”. It may be noted the Urban Dictionary explains itself as “a crowdsourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases”. Take from that what you will.
What follows are basic definitions and descriptions for which I found citations on short notice. Wikipedia was utilized, but I did not stop there.
- A highly empathetic person’s native language is Body Language. Body language is defined as “the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which a person or animal communicates with others”  and includes body posture, the use of space, and eye movement.
- “Microexpression” is a transient facial expression of an intense, concealed emotion, generally lasting a few tenths of a second.  But highly empathetic people don’t only notice the face – they are highly perceptive to the body language of the whole person. An outgrowth of the term microexpression is “micro cues”, and it seems fitting. Micro cues encompass all transient revealing indicators that may be observed in the whole person.
- Empathy is defined as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this”.  “Empathetic” means “of, relating to, or characterized by empathy, the psychological identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of others”.
*************Being highly empathetic does not equal being psychic.****************
- Personality is “the unique psychological qualities of an individual that influence a variety of characteristic behavior patterns (both overt and covert) across different situations and over time”. 
- Traits are “enduring personal qualities or attributes that influence behavior across situations”. 
- Cognitive processes are understood as the “higher mental processes, such as perception, memory, language, problem solving, and abstract thinking”. 
Empathy is a measurable personality trait (however imprecise that may be) and ‘psychic’ is a subject of metaphysical and mystical schools of thought (or however you prefer to characterize it).
Here’s some information about the so-called ‘Highly Sensitive Person’….
The following points are more fully discussed at The Highly Sensitive Person website :
- According to Dr. Elaine Aron’s definition, the highly sensitive person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment. These characteristics are innate, i.e. not learned or acquired. The HSP personality trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting.
- 15 to 20% of the population are believed to possess this personality trait. This is too large a proportion to be a “disorder”, but not common enough to be well understood. Biologists have found these high sensitivity traits in over 100 species (and probably there are more) from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates.
- Compared to the roughly 80% of people without the trait, the HSP processes everything around them more—reflect on it, elaborate on it, make associations — more than most other people. They are more aware than others of subtleties — they seem to “see more” than others because they notice This is mainly because their brain processes information differently than most people.
- HSP’s are more easily overwhelmed. If a person tends to notice everything, they are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.
- This personality trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer exercising some caution in new situations, they are often erroneously called “shy.” (30% of HSPs have been determined to be extroverts.)
- Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. In cultures where it is not valued, HSPs tend to have low self-esteem. They are told “don’t be so sensitive” causing them to believe they are abnormal or somehow flawed.
- Booth, Charlotte; Standage, Helen; Fox, Elaine (1 Dec 2015), “Sensory-processing sensitivity moderates the association between childhood experiences and adult life satisfaction”, Personality and Individual Differences, 87: 24–29.
- Boterberg, Sofie; Warreyn, Petra (2016), “Making sense of it all: The impact of sensory processing sensitivity on daily functioning of children”, Personality and Individual Differences, 92: 80–86.
- Wolf, Max; Van Doorn, G. Sander; Weissing, Franz J. (2008). “Evolutionary emergence of responsive and unresponsive personalities”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 105 (41): 15825–15830.
- American Psychological Association Glossary of Psychological Terms www.apa.org/research/action/glossary.aspx
- Dictionary.com, http://www.dictionary.com/browse/empathetic
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy
- Aron, Elaine N. PhD, (2013) The Highly Sensitive Person, Citadel (Penguin Random House Publisher Services).
- The Highly Sensitive Person (website) http://hsperson.com/