Friday, September 30, 2011


I drove into work today listening to a very enjoyable CBC Currents program on Bullying in the school.  A professor in Ontario has developped the "bully lab" to study bullying by children. Her most interesting piece of research to me, was the observation that bystanders in 80% of case egged on the bullies and clapped or cheered their victimization. Further, with exception, when they approached the parents, as one contributor said 'the seed didn't fall far from the tree'.
I became interested in bullying first as a child. It was indeed the "norm" in my neighbourhood.  My brother defended me from my first memorable bully, an older horrible boy in Scouts. I was a cub at the time and my brother was a scout.  It was good to have an older brother.  A group of brothers who I believe all ended up in jails were the notoriously feared bullies in the neighborhood.  I defended other kids and girls myself being a scrapper early before moving on to street fighting.  I remember as a youth getting pointed toed shoes and cuban heeled boots not so much for the style as their value as a weapon. Later I loved cowboy boots for the same reason.
A documentary of boys showed these happy go lucky little guys at the age of 5 then reviewed them through till they were teens.  After a year of school and the competition and physical threat that went with being a boy all of them had lost that joie de vivre.  They were learning wariness. The school and the way to and from were dangerous places.
I was lucky, bigger, faster, smarter in physical ways. After bigger boys beat us up my dad taught the neighbourhood kids boxing and self defence in the basement.  Then my friend Kirk and I got a Ju Jitsu book and practiced all the moves over and over again. Compared to the gymnastics we were learning at the YMCA this stuff was easy.  One of our coaches was a black belt in some martial art and he'd give us tips when we'd rough house at the Y.  At school the principle game we loved was 'murder ball', truly a game for bullies whereas in scouts and cubs the game was always last man standing with the one person starting in the middle and all the kids having to run to the other side. This one kid would be mowed down by the stampede till he caught another and slowly built up his team till the last man had to run through the pack.  We actually played Indian war games back then too.  So it was in many ways a war culture before the 60's, not surprising considering the recent WWII
As a psychiatrist I began to treat women raped in the office. Not sexually harrassed by trapped afterwork in empty buildings and raped by a boss or co worker.  In one famous case the wife and daughters were the principle defendants of this notorious sexual bully.  A group of girls sexually abused a younger effeminate guy sitting on him and playing with his penis.  He'd stayed a virgin until his 30's when he came to see me.
Therapy has tremendous benefits for victims.  Dr. Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery is a classic. She works still as the psychiatrist head of trauma at Harvard.
Alot of bullying that came to my attention in the office was so overt but happened in the workplace and in the school. One teen was routinely bullied but the principle and school denied it. I discussed the matter with the police department because I believed the kid even though the parents were less supportive. The police were terrific partly because of my good relationship and trememdous respect for the tough job they have. They did a clandestine surveillance of the playground and sure enough two kids were bullying the rest of the children simply to steal their lunches and lunch money.
In the work place there's tremendous bullying.  This occurs more now with the greater difficulty getting and keeping jobs.  Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Psychiatrists in New Mexico had focussed on Workplace Bullying and seen in the victims variations on PTSD, lesser forms but the same elements.
The horns of dilemna arise when people simply can't 'quit' a job.  It's always the issue, 'why not jsut quit'.  Yet a person may have invested a life time in their work or may be supporting sick family. There's a whole number of reasons that make quitting seriously less easy for some than others. Predators take this into account and usually pick on the weakest.
Bullyonline is the best resource I've ever come accross as a one stop shopping for information on this matter. Tim Fielding a simple employee began the site Bullyonline in England a decade or two back when he was having difficulties with an employer.  The site went viral and since there's been tremendous interest in the matter because bullies in the workplace literally cost millions in productivity.  Even other workers hearing an individual being shouted at will work less effectively for a day or two.
Now routinely any one who tells me they're being bullied in the workplace gets referred to Tim's site.  He even has links to children's resources with cartoons on how to talk back to bullies.
Bullying stifles creativity and reduces performance.  Despite television shows that show the worker doing better for a brief period when his daughter's life is being threatened, like torture, bullying has a very short shelf life with very unpredictable outcomes. Staff turnover is often a reflection of bullying. So much of the problems in workplace are directly a consequence of the usually very poor education and training of middle management.
I've been amused as how in my own field doctors with a dozen years of training and expertise and years of experience are commonly given an administrator who at best has an undergraduate degree, if luck a 3-5 year mba and not one of these august management types has ever had a phd yet they're often bullying colleagues with several phd's demanding more work for less pay while enjoying all the perks themselves.  Overall issues like this affect performance throughout the system.
Military platoons performance was best when the leadership was seasoned and experienced.  The new management model of 'parachuting' in untried leaders rather than taking people who are experienced from the ranks might provide 'loyalty' to the crown but it doesn't provide the highest standards of leadership and hence performance by the group.
I enjoyed the professor from the 'bully lab' who said that bullying commonly is a product of the 'bully' not being educated in alternatives and themselves being afraid.  It's those who are most out of control who desire control so earnestly.  Education and learning better means of coping help the bully as much as the victim. Programs like Anger management for men and women, locally we have Moose Anger Management, are the kinds of programs that can reduce bullying and teach potential bullies how to cope better and more effectively without doing the reptile or ape dance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Internet Pornography

The internet has brought explicit sexual imagery into the home much as Hollywood television introduced crass erotica to the American public.  The thrust has been predominantly commercial interests of individuals and families.  The potential for harm is great, according to Dr. Bancroft of Kinsey Institute.  Dr.   Vaillant, former head of psychiatry at Harvard and one of the grandfathers of addiction medicine, showed that the more prevalent and accessible a substance of abuse was, the greater the saturation for abuse in communities.
Sexual addiciton is a 'functional addiction' and addiction to pornography is a subset of this disorder.
There is however the concern also for privacy of individuals and the rights of individuals regarding adult sexuality. Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver has had an expensive repeated conflict with the authorities over what they deem as appropriate sexuality. It was only in the 70's that homosexuality was 'de criminalized' in the west whereas in Africa it remains a serious punishable crime in most states with only lesbianism approved of in many.  Anglican Bishop Spong encountered some criticism when he was paraphrased as questioning people who had "just climbed down from the trees" dictating morality and ethics to the western religious world.
Erotica has been called female pornography whereas traditionally males have been principally interested in pornography per se. A Canadian psychoanalyst 20 years ago went on record calling "harlequin romance' 'female pornography' and compared it as equal to Hugh Hefner's Playboy.  Male sexual arousal has been more commonly visual (a lesbian friend argued that was  because women in general are easier on the eyes).  Female sexual arousal has been more noted to be contextual.  Erotica videos have prolonged foreplay and stories with very little actual naked  activity with usually soft lens sexual content in comparison to male pornography videos where strangers meet and rapidly get into naked ritualized sexuality with detailed genitalia footage. With the egalitarianism of the workplace however women once protected in the home and suburbia are increasingly behaving more like men sexually and the industry of pornography is increasingly marketting to the growing female audience.
The truly brilliant movie 9mm starring Nicholas Cage showed that pornography actually tended to move from the life creating sexuality of church and Catholic marriage to infertility and ultimate snuff films.  It is interesting that anthropologically humans engaged in sexuality first for pleasure, knowledge of it's relationship to child birth coming later.
With pornography there's first  the rather tame nude man or woman pictures.   Then the slippery slope that moves to oral sex, anal sex, group sex, bondage then sado masochism, child abuse, snuff films of sexual murder, necrophilia with perhaps interspecies sex thrown in.  This is the increasing 'risk' scale that draws a person from the 'gateway' to the dangerous and illegal edge.  Addiction studies have shown that addiction isn't just about reward but is coupled to the risk potential. It's like the drug addict moving through the drugs to eventual needle sharing and high risk behaviour.In this case it's a functional addictive progress without the actual chemical involvement. The MRI preliminary results suggest the brain chemistry is about the same for functional and chemical addiction.
With alcohol the majority can safely imbide a glass of wine without going on to finish the second or third bottle. The same might well be true for erotica and pornography.  The concern though is that the more involved and the greater the access then the greater risk for a greater percentage of people moving along the continuum.  This leads to a greater cost to society.
Images of nudity go back as far as ancient Egypt  Sexual themes have driven art such that Susan Sontag in the late 60's celebrated pornography's imagery in the physical sense  comparing it to the ethereal process of  religious art.
Given that a specific per centage of people are likely to do poorly with pornography and go on to increasing problems the questions arises whether the huge multi billion dollar commercial industry should be held accountable for projected costs to society that come with increasing distribution.  The Gambling Industry has underwritten research seeking to identify those individuals who are at risk of selling their house and children for the sake of gambling.  The tobacco industry in contrast under the gun has paid considerably for it's costs to individuals and society.  The question arises now whether the pornography industry as a whole can be held accountable for costs while society carries the increasing legal burden and individuals bear the burden of disease.  Should only the individual end user be faulted.
Drug courts success with their implicit 'stick' certainly provide evidence for the need of more than a 'carrot' for individuals with addiciton.  Ideally those with addiction recognise their problem and seek help through voluntary attendance at 12 step programs such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) or Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA).  Others would ideally go to an inpatient treatment program such as the Canadian Homewood program in Quelph or Sante in the USA.
Without this willingness to seek help there is the need for legal consequence as has been used in the drug court process.  Some of the research regarding pornography suggests that it's use begets illegal behaviour and there is a need for society to be protected in these cases.
More research is definitely needed.  Individuals need to be warned of risk and therapeutic options supported, designated specialized funding for policing and legal units for protection need to be supported, with judges trained as drug court judges have been trained specific to the field. More training in normal sexuality and abnormal sexuality is needed in medical and psychiatric training. Community costs for policing and therapeutics need to be assessed and perhaps class actions suits need to start sooner rather than later learning from the dismal history of the tobacco industry.

Retrospective Falsification

This is an amazingly common psychological process.  My favourite example is arguing couples who say "I never loved you", or "I never loved him or her".  They can be anywhere from 1 to 30 years married when they say this and they can have children homes and cars and complete lives built around the marriage.  They will have taken vows and made formal committments yet here will one or the other or both be making this statement without any consideration that they sound and probably are as psychotic as the person who says "The CIA are speaking to me from a micro chip they put in my tooth."
Retrospective falsification is often as in this case coupled with 'emotional reasoning'.  The fallacy here is that "I don't love him now so I must never have loved him".  The notion here is that the person has a capacity for love today and that since this person isn't 'loveable' now then they must not have loved them.  Further the idea is that love is some kind of romance novel magic that gets permanently bestowed on a knight or princess and if that person doesn't remain loveable then it wasn't 'love' originally however the grandiosity and arrogance of the person who makes such statements is that they 'today' have the capacity to know 'true love'.  The fact is that love is what love does and that relationships that last, beget children, result in people staying together through crisis, building houses together, etc is as much love as love is.  A person may grow and realize that what they liked a decade or more ago is different from what they liked now. A woman who was a sociopath might well have loved as sociopath at the time, the love of two sociopaths (minimalist at best) being the best she was capable of given her limitted capacity herself.  Years later when she has grown as a human being she may realize that she no longer needs to be a sociopath, having developped spirituality and gained the capacity for care and generosity for others.  She then may experience a greater slice of the big world of love and say that what she had before wasn't what she has now.  She has matured in her capacity for love and her taste has become refined as say one's taste for music or food.  I 'loved' fast food as a teen ager but today while I still 'like' fast food" I love a well made salad or venison liver pate. I hated liver as a child though.
Retrospective falsification is the 'rewriting' of one's personal history especially in a 'politically correct' way. The communists were masters of rewriting history. When Trotsky was 'in' his picture was everywhere but when he was 'out' the Communists actually air brushed him out of group photos.  This is 'retrospective falsification'.  It's a sneaky form of lying to maintain the appearance of infallibility.  In this case the 'state doesn't make mistakes' whereas on a personal level its usually "I don't make mistates". To maintain one lie another lie is used.  In the case of retrospective falsification an person might have once been a friend of Clifford Olsen.  However when it turned out Clifford Olsen was secretly killing women the memory of the relationship might change to "I was his acquaintance but never liked him."  Certainly Peter's denial of knowing Jesus in the Bible is a classic example of retrospective falsification.  He only realized his 'lie' when the 'cock crowed' and he realized Jesus had 'prophesized' his memory lapse and denial.
Retrospective falsification is changing the past based on new information in the present.  It's been recognised that people are 'lying' routinely on a daily basis and many times a day in many ways not necessarily black hearted lies, but what are considered 'white lies' or just good manners.  One classic example is 'How are you?"  "Fine", the person replies, not because they are, but because they don't want to discuss being fired with the office gossip.  Retrospective falsification is often just a means whereby a person defends the ego and maintains the illusion of their being good decision makers rather than recognising that people commonly err and that we can learn by our mistakes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Canyon Alpine RV Park - Autumn

DSCN0347Friday night running away to the country, feels like shedding the city in a great escape. The clothing of work and worry lies strewn all along the highway. We provisioned at the Huskey Station in Chilliwack, filling  the truck with diesel, the jerry cans with  gas,  and the spare bottles with propane.  Victor had given us venison jerky for 'pattern recognition' . Gilbert was as interested in that the whole ride as the passing scenery.   Somewhere along the canyon highway before the tunnels I stopped to pee by the side of the road. At the Husky I'd only seen a couple of shy stars, now the whole sky was filled with a hallelujah chorus of them.     Then we're enterring the Canyon Alpine RV Park, Brent stepped out to welcome and greet us.  The park is pristine as usual. I love the trees and quiet.
It didn't take any time to set up the RV.  I plunked down in front of tv to watch a Space film about military time travellers bringing back aliens who attacked the world.  Perfect for before bed entertainment.  Laura had the mattress plugged in so it was toasty warm when I moved from the couch to the bed.  Gilbert was already beside Laura lying in my spot thinking me rude to move him.  He brought me a toy after that. Of course I must want to play, he thought. DSCN0337
5 am the shoe was on the other foot when I had to get a very tired little Gilbert out of bed and dressed for the morning hunt.  We headed out of the park and up Ainslee Road to the Forest Service Roads up back of the mountain that go for miles.  I found a spot and sat in ambush drinking thermos coffee and eating hard boiled eggs I'd brought along.  Gilbert loves to share the eggs.  It was a delicious morning.  Someone failed to schedule the deer  but after a couple of hours I was happy to go look for them.  Hunting is often just walking or riding about the back country drinking in the sights and exploring. I love nature. I love the wide open vistas. I love just being out with the crazy dog.  His enthusiasm and belief that just around the next corner we'll see game is even greater than mine.  Nonetheless I'm as surprised as he when we do.  This day it's just grouse and the birds are smarter by now. At least a half dozen or more escape by flying straight away and not up to a tree. Even Gilbert can't catch them when they glide off somewhere to land in bush running.  Thankfully one silly one flies up to sit on a tree watching me shoot him in the head with my Ruger 22:10 rifle.  Gilbert is ecstatic when he runs to find the fallen bird.
The sun becomes so hot I stop and strip down to pants and t shirt.It's the Daytona Motorcycle race t shirt my brother game me.
DSCN0341 Gilbert and I have walked about in the woods some and now he settles into the back seat looking over my shoulder as we have a leisurely ride back to the Canyon Alpine RV park.  Laura is waiting to hear all Gilbert's stories as he bounds about her.  Eventually his reunion is over and he settles into his Little Ceasar dog food while Laura brings out bacon sandwiches she's made.  I putter about the camp a bit.
I'm reading David Donachie "A Game of Bones '1796 maritime novel of privateers, frigates and the East Indian company ships.  It's a marvellous way to relax before evening settles in and the tv calls for zombies.  I'm on the couch watching my brains drain out of my ears and my body slime the floor.  It's tv time and Laura and I watch mindless detective shows with rapt attention.  Early to bed at 9:30 and I'm up at 4 am this time.
I've dreamt of killing a deer. A good sign.  Gilbert is all for staying in bed.  But I'm adament. We're on the ATV and up the mountain to leave the machine and hike to position ourselves  on the side of the mountain. I've a perfect spot to watch the treeline, a trail and clearing. I've seen deer and deer sign here.  I break out in coughing just as light comes up. I've forgotten cough drops and the coffee and eggs take a while to relieve it. I'm sure every animal for miles is scared away.  Another hour and maybe now at 7 am they've  forgotten the noise. I'm hopeful, listening and watching in total silence.  A crack in the forest, animal coming.  Gilbert barks, a challenge both brave and cowardly as if startled from revelry. I whack him, 'you idiot', and he looks up with that 'sorry, I forgot boss' look.  Another hour and nothing comes despite our mutual silence.  So we might as well ride about the back woods a couple of cowboys.
We meet a couple of other hunters.  "Haven't seen anything today but last week my friend and I both got 4 points up there," he points to where I've just come from.
DSCN0342He's driving a two by atv with canopy and they've been listening to iphone music plugged into the console. I want to ask if they were sitting walking or driving around but I don't. I 've just missed a grouse because I couldn't find my 22 clip.  Grouse aren't the thing to mention when guys are telling you  they've got big game and are back for seconds.  Young guys too. One Italian while the other was Asian.  New clothes, old guns, worn binoculars.  I know the Italian has sized me up too.  I look like I know what I'm doing but there's no deer across the front of my Polaris.  I drive away feeling more despondent. Maybe he's just trying to psych me out. Reminds me of medical school where the guys would lie about what they knew. There's no reason out here.  He doesn't need to impress me and I don't need to impress him.  If anything we'd tell each other we hadn't seen anything and hide our carcass so they move along to another place and leave the good hunting ground to us.
Gilbert and I return to Laura.  I'm beat. He's pretty tired too. It's 2 pm.  Brent comes by and tells me there's another salmon run starting. It will be going on next weekend.too. I 've told Laura how my father did more fishing when he was older.  I feel older now but think I'll fish more when I retire, not that many more years.  I tell Brent that the BC  hunting guide says that any bucks are open starting October 1.  This week was 4 points or more only.
Brenda comes by and we talk of travel. They're going to fly over to the Phillipines this winter for a holiday. I talk about Saipan and how I miss it. Brenda is from Phillipines and Brent says he loves exploring the countryside there like I've been doing here.  DSCN0338
I have a nap before Laura and I clean up camp and load the ATV. DSCN0339
It's 4 when we leave.  "The radio says that the city had wind storms." L aura tells me.  We have an easy ride down the canyon.  At Whatcom we stop at the Wendy's drive through for supper. Laura and I have chicken tenders while Gilbert has a burger paddy.  By the time we get into the city Randy Bachman and his wife are on CBC radio going over the oldies.
"Did you know his father was a Mennonite Minister?" Laura asks.  I say I knew he was Mennonite.   Brilliant man. Guess Who and Bachman Turn Overdrive were such great bands.  Tonight I love his show with songs of unusual instruments. Great way to drive into Vancouver.  Great end to a great weekend. DSCN9701

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gilbert, the Cockapoo Hunting Dog

cDSCN0246DSCN0140Gilbert is now in his second season of hunting. Last year, at 6 months of age, he came along on our bird hunt helping us find grouse for the first time. This trip he was an integral part of the hunt.  He normally is a 'therapy dog' where his gentler side is best displayed.  In the backwoods of Northern British Columbia his more ferocious and courageous side was most evident. He had many functions beyond the normal confidant and cheer leader capacity.  He protected the campground and RV barking away bears.  Laura felt safest when he stayed with her.
DSCN0123Several days of hard heavy hunting and the beginning of the rains, he crawled back into bed with Laura rather than accompany Luke and me at 4 am.  He figured she needed his comfort and protection  those days.  She spoiled him, feeding him treats, pulling burrs out of his hair, and wading by the lake where he was thorougly captivated by all the minnows. Later he told Luke and I that he really was tough drawing the line when painting her nails pink she eyed him with interest.  Maybe if she'd had cammo green.DSCN0202
. At other times he'd leave the raw windy cold outdoor back seat of the ATV and comfort Luke in the warmth of his truck drying himself out and cheering Luke with his enthusiasm.DSCN0223
DSCN0182Luke and I both shot several grouse and Gilbert found several birds we would have lost in the heavy under brush.  Back at camp when Luke went swimming Gilbert observed him as intently as any qualified lifeguard.
DSCN0143 On the rife range he served as monitor happiest when the firing was done to bullet himself off to check the targets and look for grouse in the proximity of where we'd been shooting.  His greatest achievements on this trip were searching for what we thought was a bear wounded at dusk.  Gilbert circled the whole area sniffing for blood, running patterns through the wood and confirming the bear had lived for another day.  The area was thick with bear sign but nothing that sent him off like a blood hound on a trail.  That came when I nicked a moose with poor shot creating a blood trail that led deep into the marsh before the bleeding stopped. Gilbert's nose was red with blood from sniffing and following the track. But then the blood dried up and the trail got confusing and I was so exhausted I almost fell down.  Further we were lost. Luke, who turned out to have great tracker skills, having followed the trail with Gilbert wanted to stay on while I hoped I could get back to the road following my compass siting.  I had to climb dozens of chest high fallen logs which Gilbert took with leaps hauling his little belly over the last bit to bound on to the other side. A regular Marines obstacle run with knee deep marsh.  We made it back and when Luke could be heard coming out Gilbert ran to show him the way.
He was forever checking up on us when we were hunting as a group, heeling behind me on command when we were alone together, ranging forward on command when told as well.  "Having Gilbert in the truck with me makes me realize how much I want a dog again.' DSCN0299
What a great hunting companion Gilbert is!   Cockapoos are a cross breed of cocker spaniel and poodle, both famed as hunting dogs.  With his running leaps scanning the environment around him and great tracking nose he's also fearless despite only being 15 pounds of sheer enthusiasm.    DSCN0265DSCN0227DSCN0126DSCN0198DSCN0322

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Northern British Columbia Wilderness Trail Photography

There's a great myth that there's nothing in the wilderness. Trees, flowers, bird, animals and bugs abound with all the wonders of natural life.  In addition there are a surprising number of man made objects that add in their own way to the scenery.  As I'm out walking or driving on the ATV hunting I see 'stuff' and photograph it. There are also views that catch my eye.  I'm looking first for moose and deer but can't help but be captivated by all the other special sites. The scents are truly unbelievable yet to date there's no way of sharing that. The sounds are something else too. There's the rumble of the Polaris ATV engine or the silence of the woods when you first sit down.  A little after the silence the insects start up, then the birds come round and often a chipmunk will let the world know you're there and bothering it.  After a while this gossip shuts up. It's then you listen for the sound of deer and moose and bear. Often I hear animals I know by sound walking through the woods but can't see them.  Stalking through the woods I will also startle birds and animals at the last moment. I startled a couple of sand hill crane in a marsh.  I have a whiskey jack picture I love.  There's Gilbert with a moose antler which he thinks is a very big bone. There's logging pictures, and clear cut and stuff lying about in the woods, old cars and such.  Then there's mushrooms and flowers and terrific scenery. I've literally been quiet enough and fortunate enough to be able to walk up on a deer and watch it wake from sleep. It's really exciting to be quiet in the woods but I also love the distances I can travel by ATV.  These are a mix of pictures I've taken this last hunting trip. They're a conglomerate of images with no where else really to put them.  Most of my pictures are taken with my Nikon Coolpix S9100 because I carry that on my belt in a pouch alongside my knife, ammunition and leatherman. A few are taken with my Nikon D5000 digital SLR. This tends to live in the truck or the boot of the ATV.  I justDSCN0088 wanted to share them.DSCN0225DSCN0199DSCN0259DSCN0260DSCN0241DSCN0242DSCN0090DSCN0315DSCN0277DSCN0306DSCN0266DSCN0237DSCN0252DSCN0096DSCN0120DSCN0131DSCN0133DSCN0317DSCN0201DSCN0205DSCN0192DSCN0288DSCN0289DSCN0287DSCN0286DSCN0290DSCN0191DSCN0188DSCN0135DSCN0248DSCN0134DSCN0292DSCN0265DSCN0211